This blog is for those of us girls (and guys) who love everything artsy and enjoy the challenge of discovering new and exciting ways of creating something wonderful. We do not discriminate against any artform but are willing to try them all and pass on our knowledge to you. In addition, we love to feature our ATA Girlz (and guys) so that those people who can't draw a straight line - but love unique and handmade items - can help support our wonderful friends. Visit often to discover what we're "playing" with next!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eggsperiments don't always work!

Easter is right around the corner… yes folks – it’s that time of year when egg artists around the world (myself included) get put their glitter and glue and work feverishly to produce fancy eggs for everyone to enjoy.  For me – that not only includes putting together the IEAG (International Egg Art Guild) quarterly magazine, but working to increase my stock of saleable eggs.

I have a problem though, and it maybe one that every artist shares (comment if you agree). I get bored!  I like to design and experiment, not do the same thing over and over.  That means I haven’t settled into one style of egg art –but play around with everything.  My show tables are definitely an eclectic mix of it all.  For that matter – so are the stores!

Lately, I experimented with a new kind of colored egg kit that I found at the local Michael’s store. It had beautiful 14K gold glazed eggs in amazing colors.  So – I thought – why not.  Bought the kit and ran home to try it.
Now the kit showed gorgeous eggs in solid colors of gold, green, violet, pink and blue, all with the incredible gold sheen.  I followed the directions exactly.  Did I get what was advertised?  Take a look……LOL.

 The solid color just would not apply evenly to the egg shell, so I ended up being creative and did a kind of sponge painting on them.  While pretty, not eggsactly what I anticipated.  

Does that mean I stopped… nope. I broke out the washi paper, inks and egg wraps and went to work…. After all – I have a table and store to fill.  

Anyone in the Rockford Illinois area can come see me this weekend (March 29 & 30, 2014) at the Rockford Egg Show and Sale.  Held in the Midway Village  & Museum (6799 Guilford, Rockford, IL), the show features some of the best Midwest egg artists displaying and selling their eggs, as well as suppliers selling miniatures and art supplies.  A great place to spend an afternoon, the show is open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Stop in and say hello.  

 For directions – here is the link to the museum ( )

Tell me what you are creating special for the holiday season!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Announcing new Etsy Store: My Murdock Designs LLC: Great Hand Made Bags and Totes and More

Hi Friends, It might be a little early in the game, but My Murdock Designs LLC at Etsy is an ATA Girls favorite we wanted to share.  A new endeavor by our friend Cynthia Frozena Monty, she will be selling handcrafted, original pattern designed and crafted bags, totes, jewelry, totes and even dog collars.

The idea for the business came from her love and loss of her beloved pet Murdock. Family member for over 14 years and best buddy, the loss of Murdock left Cindy with a void to fill and a wish to honor his memory in a creative way.  My Murdock Design LLC was born.
Cindy started out as an artist, and art therapist, and although her path has taken her on a winding journey through a few healthcare/therapy jobs, raising three boys, and freelance sewing/design work -her passion shows in her work on My Murdock Designs.

Although the beautiful work and attention to detail is worth a visit alone, the backstory to this amazing business is worth another look.  Get the tissues out... and read the local news story that talks about this unique relationship between Murdock and the Monty Family.  Meanwhile, visit her store, and drop her a note of encouragement. We artists have to stick together!


Family had one last weekend with an aging friend

Murdock posed last fall with Cindy Monty and her sons, Christopher (from left), Noah and Benjamin.

Murdock posed last fall with Cindy Monty and her sons, Christopher (from left), Noah and Benjamin.

It was time. Murdock's hips were failing, his hearing was gone and other ravages of age had caught up with him.
So his family, the Monty family from Wauwatosa's west side, convened a tearful meeting at the dining room table. It was decided that they all - mom, dad and the three boys - would go with Murdock to the vet's office the following Monday and hold him close during the final moments of his life.
But first, they would spend the weekend doing the things Murdock liked best, spoiling him with treats and giving neighbors a chance to say goodbye.
Such is the love that people have for their dogs. This is not an uncommon story. That's the beauty of it. It happens all the time.
That Saturday, Jan. 21, they took 14-year-old Murdock to the sledding hill at Currie Park. He couldn't run and chase the kids like he used to, but he could remember those days.
Cindy and Joe Monty got this dog before any of their children were born. It was 1997 and they were vacationing in Door County when they saw a roadside sign for free puppies. All of the eight puppies were black and white except for one brown one. That's the one they took home, giving the owners some bakery in exchange.
The dog is a mix of malamute, black Lab and Australian shepherd. Joe came up with the name Murdock, after a loopy character on "The A-Team" TV show.
From the beginning, Murdock hardly ever barked, and he went everywhere with the family. The tellers at the drive-in bank got to know him by name. He carried a backpack and sat in the canoe during several trips the childless couple made to the Canadian side of the Boundary Waters.
The family grew. Christopher is 12, Noah is 11 and Benjamin is 9. Until now, they have never known life without Murdock.
On the final two nights with their dog, the whole family bedded down in sleeping bags in the living room to be close to Murdock. Saturday night they watched a movie together.
"Everyone said it had to be funny," Cindy said. "We could not watch 'Marley & Me' or anything like that. We watched 'Grumpy Old Men.' "
Murdock was given free access to a bowl of popcorn. Everyone slept right there on the floor.
On Sunday, they all went to Elm Grove Park, another favorite destination. When they got home, the boys pulled out Murdock's favorite toys from over the years. Then they made a steak dinner. Murdock didn't often get table food, but tonight he would have his own steak.
"He looked at us like, you gotta be kidding me. He ate it with gusto, and he hadn't been eating that terrifically in the weeks before. His hips were so weak that it was hard for him to stand at his bowl of food for any length of time," Cindy said.
Word got around about Murdock, and neighbors stopped over to say goodbye. Some brought comfort food. Murdock had a reputation as a friendly rover who would show up in people's yards. They said he would be missed.
Monday morning came. Joe, a UPS driver, had a day off, and Cindy didn't need to go in to the bakery where she works. The boys did not have school.
They decided to take Murdock on a last walk, even though it was rainy and dreary. They would skip the leash this time and let him lead.
In recent weeks, it was hard for Murdock to walk more than half a block. He used to love running along on bike rides, but it got to the point where Cindy would include him by putting a comfy pillow in the kids' bike trailer and pulling him behind her bike. Aging calls for compromise.
Limping along, Murdock led the family to Eisenhower Elementary School more than three blocks away. It was a walk he had done many times as Cindy accompanied the boys to school.
After they returned home, they toweled the dog dry and got in the minivan for the ride to Elmbrook Veterinary Clinic. Benjamin tried to comfort his mother by telling her, "It's the right thing to do." Cindy and Joe and the boys sat on a blanket on the clinic floor with Murdock. It was time.
When the weather warms up, they plan to bury Murdock's ashes in the yard and mark the spot with a concrete angel. In the meantime, they put his leftover treats in a bucket near the curb and urged neighbors to take them for their pets.
It's too soon to consider getting another dog, Cindy said. They will know when it's time.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Holiday Ornament Making : Zombies and (steam)Punks Everywhere!

Hi Everyone! Started work on my holiday gifts, and went all Zombie Nutcracker! What do you think? Also continued my trend from last year with the Steampunk snowmen and gals.  Now all for sale at our store-envy site! 
Nothing like a zombie-fied nutcracker to get you in the mood right? Want something custom? Email me at


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Glitter Glitter Everywhere

All glitter is not created equal.  That’s what I have discovered lately.  In the course of creating my Christmas Holiday ornaments for this year (yes folks, I did say Christmas!), 
Winter Egg Ornament

I have been glittering my little heart out.  After all – what’s not to love about a glittering egg ornament twirling on your holiday tree – right?

White Glitter with Gold Accents
There is clear glitter, big glitter, colored glitter and glue-glitter. In addition, there is big, regular, small, fine, ultra fine and ultra ultra fine.  There is white glitter that is enhanced with slight color enhancements so that even though it goes on and looks white or clear, it sparkles with gold, green and blue accents. 

Then there’s also vintage glass glitter that is larger, hard to find and available in only a few colors like copper and aqua. (I got mine from Martha Stewart YEARS ago!)  And the colors - - ARGGGHHHHH !     How do I choose?
Velvet Glitter on Eggs

During my last trip to the Eastern Ohio Egg Art Show I picked up some new “velvet” glitter. OMG – I am in love.  It is nothing like my regular old glitter and creates this beautiful velvet look to my egg ornaments. 
But can I simply ignore my old standbys while I use this special glitter and the glue needed for that velvety look – or do I mix it up and use both?  I’m SOOOO confused.

Colored Velvet Glitter
I have learned a trick however that allows you to glitter something and not have the glitter fall off.  After gluing and glittering your item, let it dry completely, brush off any extra then apply a second layer of glue or some Mod Podge over the entire item. It will seal your glitter in and keep it from attaching itself to everything and everyone in the area.  Try it and let me know what you think.

In the meantime – I’m going back to my craft room to make more glittering creations.  Have a craft sale coming up and I think these sparkly beauties will be a hit!

Remember - there's only 76 days left til Christmas!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Art as Therapy.... Meditative Nature Art: Stone Cairns

Hi Friends,
Wanted to share this art therapy column ATA Girl Diane Steinbach wrote for another blog;

Her topic is the making of Stone Cairns, and it sounds like the perfect spring weekend project to get your head clear and find some peace in the chaos.
Check it out...

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Stone Cairns

 Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.

A stone cairn is basically an elegant stack of stones, not held together by any mortar or cement. Found in ancient civilizations all over the globe, they are currently found in desert communities, hiking trails and used not only as an art form, but as navigational and ceremonial markers.

From larger stones at the base, to smaller stones on the top, the rocks towers can be placed in a single placement, or in groups, and in any location. Depending on the stone colors and shapes and the way the stones are stacked, the cairns convey an emotion or feeling to the viewer. For some reason, most people feel a connection to the cairns... do you? 

Collect stones from local beaches, woods or anywhere you can find them. Pick out an indoor or outdoor area where you can safely construct your cairn. Feel free to use superglue or epoxy to hold your cairn together especially if you have pets or children around who may bump or topple your cairn.

Stack the stones into a cairn. Make one or a grouping of cairns.


The act of creating the cairns is a meditative process that connects us to the earth in a healing and peaceful way.

Read more here:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guerilla Art: How Art Therapy and Guerilla Art Can Set You Free!

Hi Friends, we just wanted to share this bi-monthly column by one of our ATA Girls on the Treasuring Grace blog to share the inspiration. Its about an art therapy process that involves giving away your artwork... kind of Guerilla Art.... meant to help artists release their emotional baggage along with the canvas...
Check it out. What do you think?

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Found Hope (Love,Courage, Peace,...) Guerilla Art

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal. 

We have talked about Guerrilla art here before. Basically it is the concept of bringing art into the community in an unexpected way. Usually it involves big, bold artistic statements, but in this case, it is more about a generous sharing of handmade art and a simple message to a stranger that is a gift to the art maker and the surprised recipient.

Making art is a deeply personal expression for most of us, and because of this, the act of giving it away, to a stranger...indeed, to leave it behind is both terrifying and liberating.  This art therapy process challenges the artist to consider a concept on a personal, emotional level, and then share it with a stranger.  By creating something meaningful, then lovingly gifting it away, the artist can work through issues of loss in other areas of their lives.

You'll need:  Small art canvases between the sizes of 4x6 to 8x10" on hard board, acrylic paints, brushes, water, Pens, high quality writing paper, dry glue sticks

Choose a word that reflects something that is important to you:  Hope, Courage, Love, Peace, Faith, Joy, Friendship, Mercy, Forgiveness etc.

On the small canvas, paint an abstract expression of that word using color, line and movement. Use the entire canvas area, covering it entirely.  Let it dry.

Once dry, paint the word your chose boldly somewhere on the canvas, over the painting.  Allow to dry.

Pick up the paper and pen.  Cut the paper down to the size of the canvas.  Write the word "Found" followed by the word you chose to represent on the front of the canvas.  (so, you'd have "Found Love, or Found Forgiveness, Found Courage etc.

Read the rest at :

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eggs Eggs Everywhere and not a one to eat!

It's getting close to that holiday that makes every Egg Artist's heart go pitter patter.... Easter.  Now that's not to say that egg decorating is only for Easter... oh no - it's an all year round passion that includes conventions, shows, clubs and even an international guild.  That's right folks - Egg Art is EVERYWHERE!!!

What can you do with an egg?  (you ask innocently)  Anything you want - it just takes a bit of imagination.  There's the traditional egg decorations like Pysanky; incredible jeweled eggs inspired by Fabrege; carved eggs; beaded eggs; jeweled eggs; dyed eggs; painted eggs; eggs that are open with dioramas inside (like the old sugar eggs); eggs that are made into jewel boxes; you name it - you can do it to an egg.

Even Steampunk is making it's way into the egg art world.  Diane and I are having a back and forth exploration of the world of steampunk - as many of you have noticed.  This is my latest try.  I elaborated on it a bit, as Steampunk to the artists of the Guild (of which I am now 2nd Vice President and Newsletter editor!) and the rest of the world can mean 2 different things. I toned down a bit, added a little bling bling (because everyone loves some sparkly) and came up with this ornament just in time for the holiday.  (warning- obnoxious self promotion occurring now) They will soon be on my Etsy and Store Envy sites - links on this page - along with all my other springtime creations available for quick sale now in time for Easter! (phwww that's over with - on to the rest of the article!).

From Ostridge to Finch and everything in between, eggs are everywhere.  The White House receives one from every state, created by artists across the country, and holds a ceremony where they are put on display just in time for Easter.  So.. what does my house look like right about now?   You REALLY don't want to know - but I can show you the display on my desk!

So - what are you doing with your eggs for Easter.  By the way - you can make a really great custard with all the innerds after blowing out all those eggshells!

by Dani

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