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We all have a tune.

Everyone has a soundtrack.
We all step to a rhythm of some sort.
A song for everyone.
It might change for us as we get older.
Some days require different tunes.

But we all have a song.


Each morning I get up… I get out of bed… I get coffee..
Give Lesley a kiss, say “hello” to the dogs.
Flip the computer on.
Choose a song.
That first song sets me up for the day.
This has been the ritual since I was in junior high.
Sometimes it might be an older selection, bluegrass, punk,
old rock, cowbell, blues, soundtrack from an old movie, etc.
I’m big on soundtracks.

Most people can be read easily with a few simple questions.
Two kinds of people in the world…

TV folk or music folk?
Sinatra? Or Elvis?

Rolling Stones? or Beatles?
Ramones? or Sex Pistols?

Victoria Secret? or Fredericks?

Briefs? or Boxers?

Beer? or Wine?
Dog Person? or Cat Person?
Its all about your romantic view on the world.
Risk taking. Thought of adventure. Creative energy.
Self perception is a funny thing.

Do you remember the first time you recorded your voice on a tape?
Then played it back and really listened to the way you sound?

You got bored kids?… give them a tape recorder , a tape, and a microphone.
Just listen to what they do with it.
The gibberish and antics they can create .
But the best is when kids… really hear themselves for the first time.

Most of us identify with the sounds and images
we all see on television and at the movies.
Certain images and music can send us back, reflect, ponder, remember.

My family and I moved so many times as a kid…
How did I deal with always being the new kid?

I would choose a role model from a movie.
I would envision how I wanted to appear to others.

Make it happen.
I would choose the soundtrack from the television show or movie.
Then play it over and over in my head.

James Bond didn’t always fit in the fifth grade.
The “Fonz” would be hanging out in math class.
Ferris Bueller cut school often and did whatever he wanted.
James Dean from “Rebel Without A Cause”
would often make an appearance.

Christian Slater from “Heathers” made an appearance several times.
Started with a moped and french beret (not my best look).

Then traded up for a motorcycle and duster.

A really big “not so cool” moment…
When I first received my big black”duster” trench coat.
I wore it to high school.
I wore it while riding my moped.

At a red light.

I stopped.
Put on my ultra “cool” face.
As if a kid in a long black”Australian” duster
and a moped could look ultra cool.

I watched.. ” Man from Snowy River” way too much as a kid.

Anyway.. Some girls pulled up.
I smiled.
Didn’t give them much attention.
I was playing it really cool.
When the light turned green.
I cranked my throttle.
Ready to make the big departure in front of the ladies.
However…my duster got caught in my back wheel.
The more I cranked the throttle…
the more my coat got sucked into my back tire.
Causing me to choke myself.

It was a great scene to be sure…
A sixteen year old goth kid being
by his own trench coat in the middle of the road.

I ended up flipping the moped on top of myself.
I remember a “Jack In The Box” worker in full uniform came to my aid.
Bad day to be sure…
After that lesson…

I tried sitting on all that coat while riding my moped.
But then it looked like a speeding blur with a big black diaper.
Not the look I wanted.

I gave up the duster.

My soundtrack that day… “Staying Alive” … Bee Gees.
Then it went deeply into romantic comedy.

Talk soon all,


A quick class update & also a giveaway!

Playing this weekend..my new self portrait..
All last month I was playing with creating an
“Alice In Wonderland”set of digital prints. Almost done.
That was my fist attempt at a Mad Hatter / Steampunk character.
I was having trouble… less Mad Hatter… more odd.
So I took a photo of myself from last Halloween and blended it into the piece.
Not bad..
Here is a peek at one of the pieces from the “Alice” set.
Its the “March Hare” print….
Its coming along…

A giveaway of sorts…
Ok bloggers I need help….
Getting ready for the holidays.
Every year one of the big requests I get from folks is to do some
repair and restoration with photos.

I’m now in the process of putting together some display boards for service.

I need a good challenge…

I ‘m on the search for damaged photos..
So… it goes like this..
If you have a damaged photo …
a cherished photo on the brink of hopelessness…
tears? bends? fade out? discoloration? spots ? and noise?etc…
If you send it to me via email…
I will choose the top five -that I feel need my assistance the most.
I will repair your photo….and send it back to ya via email.

In exchange for repairing your photo…
All I ask …is that I can use it in my portfolio and display boards of work done.
Not going to resell your image, use it in my artwork, no collage cd, etc..

Just repair…… then back at ya!

If you would like to send me a photo or two…

Just scan your photo.

Send it to me as big as you can get it… 300dpi would be the best.
If you have no idea about dpi… just scan and send … I’ll work with what I can..

Send it to:
Once received I will confirm with you via email…
Give me a day or two…
I ‘ll fix and post it here and send back to you within a couple of days.

Here is also an upcoming class update!
Lesley and I due to busy schedules, family, and more…
will only be teaching two classes this month.

Both will be at Paper Vineyard.
The first class is this Saturday at 10:00am
at Paper Vineyard.
Its our
Ranger Ink Technique Class Part 1
or as some like to call it “Mini Ranger U” class.
This is one of my favorite classes.

I love nothing more than sharing all the
techniques that I learned from Tim, Claudine, and Suze.

If you have Ranger products at home,
and your not sure how to incorporate them into your work,

or get the best results from these products.
This class is for you!

This class is all about the process and the journey.

Everyone will leave with a full tag book
with detailed directions for each technique.

Here is also a quick peek at our “Pretty Paris” Beeswax Collage Class.
This class will be taught at

Paper Vineyard on Saturday , November 21st at 1:00pm.
We will post more on this before Friday…
we have a few more examples coming up.

If you have any questions … send us an email.
Talk soon,


Saturday Morning…. Beeswax melting…

Prepping for today’s class. Mixing some color. Then out the door.
Heading off to that wonderful haunt spot classroom at Mystic Paper.
Class today.
Colored Beeswax & Halloween Silhouettes.
The smell of beeswax is heavy in the house.

Before I head out the door …
wanted to post yesterdays photo and Art A Day project.

This should be a fun weekend, lots of B-Movies, Halloween crafts,
Oktoberfest, Derby Dames, live music venues.
Plus prepping for Lesley’s B-Day on Monday!

So here is the shot from yesterday morning….
I headed over to Tempe Town Lake where they
will be hosting “Oktoberfest Fest” this weekend.
I knew I would find something of interest to photograph.

Its the best.
When you can creep into a place that will be smacked
with hundreds of people in a few short hours.
You can get the shots before the storm kinda thing.
Plus for me its haunting….its ironic.
Its sort of like when you see a playground with no kids.
A candy shop with no warmth.

The best is when you go to Disneyland.. be one of the first thru the gates.
You can beat the crowd… and be the first one at a certain section.

You know that for the rest of the day it won’t be as still and as soft.
It will become chaotic, crazy, messy, and worked.
Make sense.

So yesterday… roamed the grounds before the event.
Best light is in the morning and before the sun goes down.
My favorite times.
What I always try to work on is balance.
I’m not a great photographer.
Far from.
Its hard for me to balance a pic… center things.
Take the time for the shot. Its something I’m still learning.
Don’t move fast.
Center the image…own the moment to take the shot…
or move just a hair to the left or right.
Meaning most times you will find…
that the difference between a great shot and not so good.
Is if I had just shifted a few inches down, up, or to the side.
If I had moved to the left just a bit..
I would have avoided those ugly power chords.
Or I would have got the top of someones head, etc…

So yesterday…. working on just centering myself
and looking and trying different angles.

Titled “Yo Yo”
Attached is also yesterday’s Art A Day project.
A Halloween collage sheet I made for our email mailing list.
Happy creating.
Talk soon.

October 2009

First Day of October!

This mornings “Art A Day” titled “Ghosts”

Morning all!
New music player mix today…
A collection of fifties tunes….

Happy October 1st!

So a quick post.
Then out the door to work on several projects.
I’m back with my “Art A Day” & now “Photo a Day”.
It might seem tedious to you.
The reason behind it?
Is because if I don’t do it?
I loose it.
Its easy for me to fall off the artistic wagon at times.
Make sense?
Life is busy.
So many things get thrown at ya.
I went several weeks without taking a photo.

This morning’s “Photo A Day”

Its so easy to sit and waste a few hours watching too many reality shows.

I can do that when my legs don’t work anymore.
In my retirement home, or trailer.
Or wherever someone decides to put me.
I can spend hours watching old TV shows
and eating soft foods in my older days.

But I won’t always be able to go out and capture life with my camera.
In my retirement trailer I hope to still
have a spark of romance and adventure.
But I might be trapped in my own head by that time.
It runs in the family.
In my bloodline they live long but crazy.
Also good hair.
My three step brothers not so lucky.
They will be sane … but bald.

October 1st -Railroad Tracks

So anyway… my goal… a photo a day.
Does it need to be great?
It just needs to be me… using my camera.
Learning new tricks… working on settings…. balance, light… etc.
I will also be doing my “Art A Day”.
So here is today’s photos.
Also my “Art a Day” project.
Took and combined them both.
I will be back later.
A certain friend sent me something very cool in the mail.
Made my day! Can’t wait to share it!

Talk soon.

Did we go missing? October madness….

Wow… Three Weeks!

No blog post for the last three weeks…
Long time.
Where have we been?
Buried deep in projects, classes, vendor shows, and fall prep.
As soon as the first day of Fall hit… you could feel the change.
Holidays, craft shows, art circles, new ideas.
This summer was rough..
Here in Az. we still have the heat lingering at a fine high…
However you can start to feel it cool down at night and in the early mornings.
We apologize for being gone so long.
We have been working hard on a few new ideas and new looks.
You should start to see some changes in the next week.

My favorite month is just around the corner… been planning and prepping.
Expect a smather of posts, collage sheets, giveaways,
classes, and a few surprises.

Perhaps a new web site and blog.
I always consider the Fall as a creative jump off point.
It kicks it all in high creative gear.
I’m a strong believer that however my October goes … its a precursor
for how things flow until Spring.
Its fortune cookie faith…
I know…..I can’t help it.

Been that way since I was a kid.
If the month of October is filled with creative energy, inspiration, good food,
lots of friends, lots of romance, and travel.
Then that is what my month’s will be filled with until spring.
Now… if its filled with bad food, no energy, bad television, poor costumes,
fighting family, bad health, plus a real bad Halloween.
Then I can usually count on an even worse Thanksgiving, a real long Winter,
and a very boring New Years.
However in the “Book of Mike” all this can be prevented.
It just takes more energy.
Nothing is ever set in stone.

The next few month’s for me always hold adventure, inspiration,
family, and a desire for breaking the norm.

Speaking of new adventure…. I can’t help but make a comment…
Did anyone notice where T!m H. was last week?
That blows my mind.

Seriously…. wow.
I’m envious. Totally and utterly envious.

I’m having a Veruca Salt moment.
Forgive me.

You should give his latest post a read…

We need to say a huge “thanks” to a big crowd.
We have taught several incredible classes in the last three weeks.
Met some very talented folks, had some great laughs,
shared a few techniques, and nibbled on a lot of candy corn.
Thanks to everyone who has stopped at our booth, shared in a class,
and has found time for an email or two.
We appreciate you all.

A big “Thanks” to Kim & Jennifer at Mystic Paper!
Happy Store Anniversary!

A big “shout out” and “thanks” to
Adriana and her fantastic creative ladies at Paper Vineyard!

Here are a just a few pics and also a free poison collage sheet for your crafting pleasure.
Our way of saying sorry for not posting.
Talk soon.
Thanks for reading.

Now go create.

-Mike & Lesley

Poison Labels

Sick as a dog and more…

Sick as a dog… the term conjures several images for me…

A nostalgic post of sorts….
I have been sick once again the last few days.
Food poisoning like no other.
“Food poisoning” is a term that gets thrown around alot.
Especially when people take a day off work.
Call in sick.
Its one of those excuses bosses hear and roll their eyes.
But in the last two days I received a
horrible reminder of what food poisoning is.
You forget.
Sometimes you get a reminder.
I was doubled over in a ball for two days.
Have you ever had the kind of sickness
that makes you reflect on your own lifestyle and bad habits?
You suddenly find yourself pleading to a higher power.
Please make it go away.
Just let me survive this and I promise to do more for my fellow man.
Oh great powers of earth? or God?
That was me the last two days.
If I live thru this -I promise never to eat another animal again in my life.
I will only eat twigs and berries. I will be a healthier, better, person.
Your so sick that you suddenly find religion.
Yes , I was that kind of sick.
My muscles are still recovering.
I know what your thinking..
“thanks for sharing” or “what a great catch up post”.
I’m so glad to hear about your bad eating habits and illness …
Your last post talked about dog feces.
Can’t imagine what his next post might be about! Hmmm?
I know …I’m thrilling.
Such is my life lately. During my illness.
The evil dogs went back from once they came.
My house has been cleaned.
Some of you have asked…Where did these demon dogs come from?
My mother… I was repaying a life debt. Something like that.
Lesley and I told my mom that we would watch
her darlings while she went on vacation.
My mom then booked a ten day vacation to
visit my rock star brother in Seattle.
Life is getting back to normal.
In the last two days in and out of fevers.
I had visions of Lesley doing battle with man size hairballs and dust bunnies.
These things were damn big.
We had dust bunnies the size of large pigs hiding in between door cracks
and taking refuge around base boards.
It reminded me of one summer……

When I was a kid my mom would trim the dogs at home in our kitchen.
I was always amazed at how much dog hair would be on the kitchen floor.
I was always thinking of a way to harness its power somehow.
So much hair. Such a waste? Or was it?
Growing up we usually had two Lhasa Apso dogs in the house.
That summer I was obsessed with old horror movies.
One of my favorite icons was ” Lon Chaney Jr.” the “Wolf Man”.
I would spend hours looking at pics from the old movies.
One afternoon that summer my mom finished trimming the dogs.
I happened to be looking in the refrigerator
for some grand snack (as most kids often do).
When I looked over and saw the dog trimmings laying
in a nice swept pile on the kitchen floor.
The idea hit me in the head quicker than white trash to wonder bread.
I grabbed all the dog trimmings from off the floor.
Took off into the bathroom armed with a
pair of scissors and a bottle of Elmer’s white glue.
I began to glue pieces of dog fur to my face.
I was trying to recreate the same makeup effect as “Lon Chaney Jr“.
In my young mind it seemed as logical as anything else.
About ten minutes into it and about 90% coverage to my face.
I discovered small amounts of dog crap in the trimmings.
This really grossed me out.
That some of the dog fur I was pasting to my face contained traces of dogshit.
It really made me freak.
Plus the white glue and fur was having trouble sticking and began to
slide into this cluster of a beard and moustache around my mouth.
I also began to brake out in huge red hives across my face.
However even with these obstacles I pressed on.
I decided that Lon Chaney Jr was probably uncomfortable as well.
They said so.
Its the price you pay for theatrics.
I just wanted to get it good enough for one perfect Polaroid.
That was the goal.
One celebrated pic would make it all worth wild.
After about ten more minutes of struggle.
I completed my masterpiece makeup job.
I had succeeded in gluing clumps of dog hair all
over my hands, chest, and all over my face.
I couldn’t wait to show everyone my monstrous transformation.
How I had turned myself from “Star Wars” bed spread boy to young wolf beast.
I exploded out of the bathroom with a howl ready to unleash my
animalistic surprise on my family.
Only to find the majority of my siblings had gone to the store with my step dad.
My mother was on the phone with a friend.
At first she gave a laugh.
Then rolled her eyes. Then looked confused.
Then signaled for me to go away.
I needed a bigger target.
I decided to hunt for my old sister for a better response.
Once found, I decided it best to try to scare her.
I received an angry punch in the stomach and was called
such names as “Harry Palms” and “Harry the Howler”.
She also kept pointing out that I had
chunks of crap in my makeup.
This was not the response I was hoping for.
Then I went hunting for the camera.
Only to be sadly disappointed again.
No film.
At this point the glue hair mixture was
quickly melting down around and into my mouth.
My skin under the mixture was burning and itching uncontrollably.
I had no choice. I was forced to remove my gluey concoction of my face.
It would not come off so easy.
It stuck to my eyebrows, my hair, it was in my nose.
My skin swelled and puffed.
At this frustrating moment-I did however find compassion for
a person who I had committed a mean act upon the year before.
It happened at a sleepover at Mikey G’s house.
We played a mean practical joke on Martin J.
Due to the fact that Martin J. was the first to fall asleep at the party.
My friends and I had decided to fill one of his ears up with Elmer’s glue.
At the time we thought this to be the funniest most clever thing in the world.
I believed we laughed until our sides hurt.
All the while Martin J never heard us.
Because his ear that was exposed to us was filled with glue
making the situation that more hilarious for us.
However we all awoke in our sleeping bags
covered in vomit the next morning.
Because Martin J. got so ill during the night.
We were told by all later that “glue ear” is extremely serious.
Its a real term.
While others got very much in trouble for that one.
I somehow managed to get out unscathed
with no punishment (my parents never found out).
Karma does play out in certain ways.
Martin J got his revenge on all of us a year later.
That’s a tale of urine and lemonade.
The games young boys play.
So grand.

However I’m glad that I wasn’t in attendance when Martin J.
lost his pinky in a Cuisine Art.
I heard about that one for years.
Martin J.was also the neighborhood kid
who supposedly lost a finger in a sewer.
It was told on the playground that he lost the tip of his right index finger
while attempting to lift a manhole cover.
He stuck his fingers in the holes of a manhole lid in attempts to lift it.
He was trying to retrieve a lost Star Wars action figure.
“Yoda” or perhaps a “Jawa” it was rumored.
While turning his finger in a circular motion in the hole
he severed the top of his right index finger.
I heard that they found his “figure” but not his finger.
We liked having Martin J. around because he was the the type of kid that
had done it all (or could be talked into it).
He was like our “walking Handbook of Dares and Dont’s“.
For as easy as Martin J was to entice into a bad idea or dare.
I don’t believe he ever willingly glued dog fur with chunks of crap onto his face.
I had the taste of wet dog fur with a
smidge of crap in my mouth for weeks after that.
Such is youth…
Talk soon.

Images for Inspiration This Week….

To go back in time…. I would love to be an old vaudeville actor/ comedian.
Hit the American stage about 1874 would be perfect. Or perhaps 1900-1920.
Love old vaudeville, magicians, and the good old American circus.