Inktober 2018

I’ve been participating in Inktober 2018. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a movement reportedly instituted by Jake Parker in 2009 where artists create one ink drawing a day, every day, for the month of October. You can read all about that here at Jake’s website.

This is my first year participating. I haven’t ever spent much time drawing in ink. Frankly, I’m not very good at it. I decided this was my year! As of October 12th, I’ve created something each day and posted it on my Instagram account, @thethinkersrock.

I have found it very challenging. I started out with some very simple doodles and have so far just been drawing simple objects, for the most part. I’ve toyed with the idea of adding color to some of them and decided to start working on that last night.

Check out the video below where I flip through my sketchbook at use color pencils to add color to some of my drawings.

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Pumpkin Inspired Soap for Fall


I’ve been making a little soap again. I’ve gotten a couple of two pound loafs done for fall. My most recent reaction is that adorable pumpkin shaped soap scented with “Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin” from Aztec.

I just recently got a box of assorted mica and have been trying to experiment. It’s easy to use, but the added liquid I’ve been mixing with the mica to make it blend better has been making the soap act differently than I am used to. It’s staying soft longer. Normally, I would be cutting this loaf of soap by the second day. But with the added water, day four still left the soap a little softer than was best for cutting.

That didn’t stop me. I cut it anyway, but I need to wait a little longer to stamp my logo into it. Let me know what you think of this pumpkin inspired soap and have a look at my recent video showing the loaf cut!

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Hallmark Cards Now at Dollar Tree!

**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Have you been to Dollar Tree lately? Of course you have! I know most of my readers love Dollar Tree as much as I do. With over 6500 Dollar Tree stores nation wide, there’s sure to be one close by. Did you know they now offer Expressions From Hallmark greeting cards for $1?! AND Heartline a Hallmark company greeting cards, 2 for $1. Dollar Tree also offers a selection of faith based cards including the Joyfully Yours line which allows you to celebrate special occasions in a meaningful way.

Dollar Tree sent me a sample of some of their cards so that I could talk about them with my readers. These cards are so nice! They are really beautiful with the great quality you expect from Hallmark.

This cow birthday card is one of my son’s favorites. It made him laugh out loud.

My favorite is this pretty daisy thank you card with glitter. I love the retro look.

These are just a couple of the many, many designs you can find at your local Dollar Tree or by visiting I hope you’ll have a look at them and let me know which ones are your favorites.

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My New Owl Nightlight

A Gift From My Husband

if u dark
and want
no scare
my strings
for plug
can n e ware
when park
my toes
nearby at
u has
no fear
i gives
u lite

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Pretty Purple Fabric Beads

I am at it again! Boy can I sure make a mess with beads. They are so fun to play with and they get *everywhere!*

I found a small piece of purple satiny fabric in my thrift store scraps and just knew it was going to make an awesome bead. Guess what. It sure did!

I glued a piece of parchment paper onto the back side of the fabric. Then I painted on the front side with a little white acrylic paint. I let it dry, then cut them into strips. I made some about one inch wide tube beads. Then I cut some of the strips into long tapers to make taper beads. I rolled them up on a chopstick, secured them with glue and left them to dry for a while. Once dry, I rolled them in glossy Mod Podge and let them dry again. It can take a while. I usually put on one thick coat.

I liked it so much, I made another sheet of them and ended up with quite a few beads as well as a big mess.

Check out my video to see how I turned out!

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#ArtistCommunity Challenge June 2018 – Hunger

Kat Skinner of the /r/artistcommunity group submitted the June challenge with the topic Hunger. Hunger is such a powerful and thought provoking word. I spent a lot of time thinking about it trying to decide how I would interpret it.

The first thing that comes to mind is food scarcity and the very real struggle of so many of our fellow humans around the world to access adequate nutrition. That is not, however, the deeper meaning that stuck with me as I contemplated this challenge.

Hunger, to me, talks about a deep and insatiable longing–some want or need that cannot be filled. 

I have viewers from around the world, and I don’t want to presume the religious experiences of anyone. I imagine that people who read my blog or watch my videos have wonderfully diverse cultural and spiritual backgrounds. I was raised in a Christian household. So I would like to share a story from Christianity that inspired the image I chose to represent the Hunger challenge.

In the Bible there is a story of Adam and Eve, depicted as the first humans created by God to live in the idyllic Garden of Eden. These humans had their every need provided for them by God who came to visit them and talk with them. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted except one thing–they were not to eat the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge. 

As time passed, so the story tells, Eve was tempted by a snake in the garden to eat the fruit of that tree, which she eventually did. In the Bible, the fruit is not named, but it is often symbolically represented by an apple.

The story of Adam and Eve is part of the creation story of Christianity that explains how humans fell out of favor with God. To me, the story illustrates how people are never satisfied. Having all of their needs provided for, these first humans could not resist the one thing that was denied them and were ultimately banished from Paradise because of it.

Some things never change, do they? So often, it feels like nothing is ever good enough and we are always longing for something else–anything else–everything else. It is in that spirit that I decided to paint the simple apple.

I’ve wanted to do another work with the oil pastels and found this the perfect subject. The picture is created on 9″x12″ watercolor paper. You can watch my process in the time lapse video below.

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The Artist Community Challenges for May

During the month of May 2018, The #ArtistCommunity issued two challenges. One was an Ocean Theme, submitted by Kat Skinner, and the Other was Painting Music submitted by David Cavallin. I participated in both of those.

I’ve created a playlist for each challenge. I will continue to update those playlists as I come across new entries. If you participated and don’t see your video in the playlist, let me know! I want it to be HUGE!

The Ocean Theme Playlist can be watched on YouTube by clicking this link.

The Painting Music Playlist is a little shorter, but I hope it continues to grow. You can watch those videos by clicking this link.

For the Painting Music challenge, I collaborated with my husband, John Hall. John had written a short tune that he sent me via messenger. While listening to it, I wondered what I might paint to go along with it. The image materialized in my head–a cartoonish little flower with bees buzzing around it.

Then I painted the picture I’d seen in my head. Afterward, John looked at the painting and wrote another piece of music which was inspired by the picture. That’s the tune we used for the video. You can watch that here:

Kat Skinner has issued a June 2018 Challenge using the theme Hunger. You can read all about it here.

You can join in the fun by using the #ArtistCommunity tag on Instagram. Check it out. There are many thousands of beautiful works of art there for the looking.

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I Got My New Soap Stamp!

If you’ve been following any of my social media, you might’ve noticed that I’ve been making soap lately. It is so much fun experimenting and looking for the perfect recipe. It turns out making the soap look pretty is just as much fun as making a soap with great soap properties.

I saw some of my fellow soapers using cute stamps on their soaps, and I wanted one, too! I dug out a design I’d made quite a while ago. My original intention was to use it as a wax seal, but I never got around to that. I still love the design, though. It’s the one I use as my website logo!

I sent the image to Tatiana at SoapStampSource on Etsy. She was so kind and helpful in getting my image up to the right quality and level of detail to make the best stamp. 

I can’t even tell you how much I love it and how cool it looks! So, naturally, I’m going to show you. Enjoy this video of me using my soap stamp for the first time. And if you need your own stamp, go visit Tatiana’s Etsy shop. She will sure hook you up!

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#ArtistCommunity May Challenge – Ocean Theme

I was really excited when Kat Skinner first announced the ocean theme challenge for May. I love the ocean and enjoy painting beaches and ocean scenes. Then, a few days after that, I got a commission to paint something ocean related, yet totally different!

My client sent me a photograph–a stunning, awe inspiring photograph, of the offshore oil rig where her husband works. The sky was dark and misty with gray clouds. The water, a beautiful navy blue, was broken up by choppy waves which battered the oil rig standing there, impervious to the storm.

I couldn’t wait to start painting this!

View the video below to see how I did it.

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