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My Blog

a Memory Revisited at Joe's Donuts

It started out like any other day.  I had done my morning rituals when my husband came in and reminded me of the opening of Joe's Donuts around the corner from us in Niles.  He offered to take me there for a donut.  They are a favorite of mine since I have had them in the Glenview shop.  I agreed to go since I already had to make a stop at the bank, so off we went.  
When we arrived there about 10AM, I was surprised that there were only 2 types of donuts left.  They were making more but we were there at that time, so we had one of each.  I left my husband to check out and find a table.  The place was full of people.  As I sat there wondering how many had come and gone since they opened at 6 that morning, I also thought about the amount of donuts that had already sold and how disappointed I was that neither of my 2 favorites, pistachio and glazed were not there for me to enjoy. I soon found out that it didn't mater...the fact that I was put into a position to try a different brand was upon me.  And I can clearly state...WOW.  I had the red velvet/almond with glaze and it was delicious.  At that point I looked over at my husband who was sitting across from me eating breakfast.  All I could think of was "why didn't he ask me to come BEFORE I had had my bowl of cereal this morning."  
He had delved into his eggs and sausage while I stared at the homemade tater tots on his plate...my hand slowly made its way across the table to sneak one off his plate.  I must say they were even more delicious then they looked...and then the buttermilk biscuit sitting there drew my attention towards it.  It was huge and so tempting.  They had brought some homemade honey butter over to use and my husband saw my face and offered it to me.  I said I only wanted to taste it.  I slathered that delightful pastry with butter and sliced a sliver off so I could try.  Well OMG...I was blown away at how delicious that buttermilk biscuit was....reminded me of days of old when my grandmother made them.  
About now, you are probably thinking that is the memory...but no....that was an added bonus....in more ways than one.  
As my husband and I exchanged our critiques on the food I casually looked around and noticed a mom and a group of children gathered around a window on the other side of the restaurant.  All of their noses pressed into the window as they watched the employees on the other side making donuts.  It so reminded me of my childhood when my mother and grandmother would take me to Maurice Lennell Cookie Factory.  It has been a long time since something like that has been around.  It made my whole day thinking that in those minutes, a lifetime of memories were being made for those children.  How fortunate they were.  Some days, perhaps 50 years from now, they will sit in their living room and ponder that moment of excitement.  Thank you Joe's Donuts for more that just that cup of coffee and donut and my husbands breakfast.  Thank you for making my day with a reminder that there is always something special around the corner if you just take the time to look   

PURSE-ue Your Dreams Finale

Good morning...due to many complications with the website, I was unable to complete the postings of the additional purses that were involved in the auction.  Although, I must say that the were indeed a success.  I am posting here one of the displays of the purses that were at the Niles Library traveling display for you to see them as a collection.  I am in addition, posting the event pictures from that auction which we held on Dec. 2, 2017.  We were finally able to present the checks to Wings this past Friday and I was asked to paint a couple additional purses for them for their Fashion Show held in March.  What an honor this has been.  
The event was a lovely night.  I was excited to prepare the appetizers..I made a purse of strawberries, a purse of broccoli and one made from a cheese ball recipe I have.  A dear friend made the phenomenal cake purse along with the cupcakes.  I added the small purse decorations on the top that I made from fondant.  The Maine East HS band Strings played for us during the reception time.  Knowing that we had a hand in helping someone who needs a help restructuring their lives was the best Christmas gift we could have ever received.  Our mayor purchased 2 of the purses himself...bless his heart!  This picture of all ladies are just some of the artists in attendance that created this amazing pieces of art.  The Niles Arts and Culture Council which I am proud to say I am part of sponsored this event.  More events are on the rise after this successful endeavor.  I hope those that followed this blog enjoy the final pictures.  Thanks.

PURSE-ue Your Dreams-ART-Couture

Well...the time is flying...already the end of August.  I can't believe how quickly time is passing.  Children are back in school...holidays are quickly approaching, the world is swirling around us.  I am excited to present the newest purse reveal.  This purse has also been painted by me, Debi Gajewski.  This has been my personal dream of helping others.  How is this helping you may ask.  Well, the project is set to auction off these amazing hand painted purses on Dec. 2nd here in my Village of Niles.  I have been fortunate that the Council that I am part of has chosen to sponsor this project to help benefit the charity WINGS.  These are repurposed purses which I bought at local resale stores which are very gently used and then hand painted by myself and other artists.  We have a wonderful gentleman who runs an auction house here in Niles called Lot 14 and he has graciously volunteered to be our auctioneer.  I am so very proud of the people I have come to work with in this project.  These are people who are willing to donate their time and talents to help others.  The Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council is a relatively new organization who is looking to bring the arts to our village while along the way, helping the community.  If you would like to view the purses up close and personal...they will be on a traveling display beginning Oct. 5th and travel from our Historical and Cultural Center, the Library, our Holly Jolly Event and then they will head to the auction block.  More details can be found on my blog by scrolling down to the beginning story of Purse-ue Your Dreams.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have...just email me at thewonderfulwizardofart@hotmail.com
 With all that being said...onto this weeks reveal.  As I said before, this particular purse was painted by me.  I have been an artist for over 35 years. I am a self taught artist.  I have had the privilege of taking some classes along the way with some amazing teachers.  I have watched videos and many you-tubes.  I have practiced, practiced and practiced.  I have ventured into many unknown artists waters and learned much along the way.  A long time ago, my mother-in-law said she would never do what I do in a million years.  She didn't understand the joy of art.  She didn't understand the feelings of tranquility that happens while in an artistic trance.  She evidently didn't understand the feelings of accomplishment that I had each time I mastered a new technique.  I don't think she understand what it was like to teach students how to accomplish the same was such a sense of accomplishment for myself.  To see others prosper by learning as well.   But she never delved into my world.  My world of art is a place that makes me who I am...colorful, I have swirled around in artful endeavors and challenged myself continuously along the way.  This purse is done with a brand new technique that I have learned.  It has been done using DecoArt's Americana Acrylic paints.  It is a technique that I have had great fun learning and wanted to share.  So without further adieu..here is my ART-Couture.  

PURSE-ue Your Dreams Galaxy Spillout

Week after week, I am so proud to reveal purse after purse. I hope you are following this project and enjoying the reveals.  I hope you have found one you love.  Come out to the Auction on December 2nd and make sure you make your purse dream come true by bidding on it.  
If you are unsure of what is happening, let me introduce you to my project which is sponsored by the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council here in my village of Niles, Illinois.  I have shopped the resale stores for gently used purses and found wonderful artists who so generously volunteered to give them a new look with their painting skills.  The purses will then go on a traveling display in Niles, ending with an auction on Dec. 2nd.  Even our auctioneer, Lot 14, has generously donated his talents for the event.  Detail of their travels can be found here on the original blog PURSE_ue Your Dreams if you just scroll down.  I am very excited to know that the monies generated at the auction will go to the charity WINGS.  They are a wonderful organization dedicated to helping women and children who have been subjected to living in domestic violence.  I hope you will help us help them by participating in our project.  What a great way to gain a piece of art that you can show off wherever your go!!  And so, with the being said, on to today's reveal of GALLAXY SPILLPUT.  This purse was done by me, My inspiration was 2 other artists actually.  The earth spill was inspired by an artist, Ian Harris tutorial and the galaxy was inspired by Cinnamon Cooney.  I so enjoyed their individual art forms that I combined them into my style.  There is so much wonder and beauty in the universe.  I hope you enjoy this design. 
This was painted using DecoArt's So-Soft Fabric Paints.  I absolutely love how beautifully the paint goes on and keeps a soft, flexible finish.  

PURSE-ue Your Dreams BRANDED

Well, another week has flown by for the reveal.  I am so thrilled as the purses that come in are just amazing.  I absolutely cannot wait until they have their opportunity to go on the auction block for charity.  In the meantime, we all get to enjoy these fantastic pieces of work.  If this is your first time to this blog, let me explain what is happening.  I am Debi Gajewski and I sit on the Arts and Culture Advisory Council in Niles, Illinois. It is my pleasure and joy to be in charge of this event. I have purchased 20 gently used purses from resale shops and have been honored by many artists who graciously volunteered to paint them so that we could have them auctioned off for the charity Wings.  Wings is an amazing charity that helps women and children who have battered lives.  How grateful I am that the monies gained from this auction will help them continue their work.  If you scroll down my blog, all the pertenant information on this endeavor is listed.  They will begin their traveling journey on October 5th, and end on December 2nd with the reception/auction.  If you are interested in something you see here and are not able to attend, feel free to contact me via email.  thewonderfulwizardofart@hotmail.com
So, with that being said, onto this weeks reveal of "BRANDED"


About the Artist:

Carol Luc has exhibited nationally and her artwork is in several public and private collections.  Other public art projects have included Cool Globes, Niles Night of Roses, and Ragdale fundraisers in Lake Forest. She has an MFA in Painting from Northern Illinois University.

Artist Statement:

The purse that I was assigned definitely had a “Western Vibe” to it, with the nail-studded trim all around and the overall shape suggesting a saddle. After musing over this, the idea of using western cattle brands as an all-over pattern to suggest movement akin to cattle milling about in a corral seemed appropriate. As a graphic designer, letterforms and mark-making intrigue me. Of course, ranchers physically brand cattle, but manufacturers also brand all of their merchandise to make it stand out in the retail arena, so the double entendre “Branded” is appropriate. This purse was painted using DecoArt's So Soft fabric paints.



PURSE-ue Your Dreams-Sunflowers

The weeks are flying by and I am so thrilled to see the purses as they arrive in their new styles.  I am in awe as I view the artwork from these wonderful artists.  Purse-ue  Your Dreams Project becomes more exciting as each  new design is uncovered.  I must say, there are so many amazing and wonderfully talented artists that I have had the pleasure of working with.  Not only are they talented and inspiring...but also BIG hearted.  They have donated their time to create works of art on the purses supplied by me.  If this is your first time to this blog, please scroll down on the blog page to read more about this project.  I am a member of the Niles Arts and Culture Council in Niles Illinois and presented this project to the council.  Art on purses is a way to repurpose an gently used purse rescued from resale shops.  They will go on a traveling display and then finally on December 2nd, they will go up for auction.  The money that is generated by the auction will benefit the charity Wings.  Wings is a wonderful charity that helps repurpose lives of women and children in domestic abuse.  More about wings can be found on their website.  I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with them on this project and hope that you...the general public will join me in this effort.  If you have any questions about the traveling display or the auction, please feel free to contact me at  thewonderfulwizardofart@hotmail.com.
With that being said, I would like to introduce this weeks reveal and artist.\

Angel Siegle

Angel began painting in 2001 as a means to fill in free time between completing her MBA and beginning her PhD.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, she fell in love with painting so much that she never continued her education as planned.  Instead, she has continued to study techniques by several different teachers with acrylic paint, watercolor and on rare occasion colored pencil.  Her goal for 2018 is to study in Tuscany Italy under the instruction of Nancy Medina.


Angel considers painting as an escape from her day job of working in fraud prevention within the financial industry. “I can come home from work completely brain-dead, spend 15 minutes painting a quick piece or touching up a previous painting.  I then have renewed energy to enjoy the rest of my evening with my family.”

Angel lives in Bartlett with her husband Josh and their two dogs, Milo and Olive. 

She can be found at: Angel_siegle@yahoo.com

Inspiration: I was inspired by this year’s growing season and the amazing flowers that are blooming this summer.  Sunflowers always make me happy and I wanted to paint something that may bring a smile to the person carrying the purse and anyone they may meet. Enjoy both the front and back of this Liz Claiborne Purse.


PURSE-ue Your Dreams-Mysterious Lady

Another week or so has past.  I hope that if you are following this blog, you are enjoying the posts on the updated purses.  It has been such an exciting venture.  It always boggles my mind when I see the creative juices flowing in others.  It always amazes me with what people come up with. If this is your first time seeing this blog...welcome and I hope that you will enjoy going on this little adventure with me.  I am Debi Gajewski of Niles, Illinois and I am proud to sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council.  I am also pleased to tell you that the Council has chosen to sponsor one of my projects called PURSE-ue Your Dreams.  I have scouted around Resale stores for purses that are in great condition .  Next I asked for artists to donate their time and creative talents to repurpose a purse with their art. I consider myself extremely fortunate to find some wonderful artists.  The purses will go on a traveling display beginning Oct. 5 until the day of the auction.on Dec. 2nd..which by the way, Lot14, an auction house here in Niles has volunteered to do for me.  The proceeds of this auction will benefit the Wings charity.  What better way than to repurpose purses to help repurpose live.  Wings is a wonderful charity and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with them.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at thewonderfulwizardofart@hotmail.com.  
And now...onto this weeks purse and this week's artist.

Mary Kay Fischer

I am a retired Dental Assistant.
I live in Prospect Heights, Illinois with my husband Paul and Eddy our dog, who allows us to live with him.
After retirement, I started taking classes in art.  I was lucky to have been exposed to some very talented artists as mentors.  In the art of acrylics, watercolor and color pencils.  Over the years, I have developed my own style of painting. I painted this purse using Deco Art SoSoft Fabric paints. I just loved working with them. 
I want to thank you for choosing me to be part of the Niles "PURSE"-Your Dreams project. 


Another week and another purse reveal. This project has been such an exciting experience.  If this is your first time reading this post...please scroll down to read and see all the other lovely purse reveals so far...not to mention the story itself.  I sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council here in Niles, Illinois who is sponsoring my project.  I am so very fortunate to have such wonderful artists volunteer both their time and their talent to participate in this charity project.  There are 20 purses that will go under a complete transformation.  Repurposing purses to help repurpose lives.  They will go on a traveling display from the museum, library, special event and finally end at a live auction at the senior center all in Niles.  This will begin Oct. 5th and end with the auction on Dec. 2nd.  I hope that you will enjoy viewing these wonderful pieces of art and that one of them will be just the perfect piece of art for you.  And with that being said...onto to this weeks Purse and artist. 
Artist: Linda Kay - Linda Kay’s Art
Website: www.lindakaysart.com
Facebook: Linda Kay’s Art
Email: linda@lindakaysart.com
Phone (847) 323-3615
Mixed Media Artist ~ collage, painting and mixed media

I have been working in mixed media collage since 2005 and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have both a self-taught and a formal fine arts background and am well versed in the arts and crafts. Mixed media is a great vehicle for me to practice all the skills I have learned over the years.
After living in Chicago for many years, I have relocated to St. Petersburg, FL and now have my dream studio in my new home. I travel teach classes in mixed media, Ink on Yupo paper and my “Healing HeArt” journaling and mixed media class for those who need to break free of a broken heart.
My artwork can be described as whimsical, feminine and beautiful. I like to create with items that are normally cast away as unusable and give them a new life in my artwork. I also enjoy teaching beginner painters and showing them that they too can be creative.
I have been working in mixed media collage since 2005 and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have both a self-taught and a formal fine arts background and am well versed in the arts and crafts. Mixed media is a great vehicle for me to practice all the skills I have learned over the years.
After living in Chicago for many years, I have relocated to St. Petersburg, FL and now have my dream studio in my new home. I travel teach classes in mixed media, Ink on Yupo paper and my “Healing HeArt” journaling and mixed media class for those who need to break free of a broken heart.
My artwork can be described as whimsical, feminine and beautiful. I like to create with items that are normally cast away as unusable and give them a new life in my artwork. I also enjoy teaching beginner painters and showing them that they too can be creative.
For 35 years I have dreamed of living in Florida again and live by the sea where bougainvillea grows. I've called it my dream life and have worked to create this dream into a reality. Finally, last year, my dream came true! I have a beautiful little blue house, in a nice neighborhood with saltwater canals that connect to the ocean. I enjoy the weather, the scent of the salty air in the mornings and many beautiful sunsets. A trip to the beach and the ocean is only 20 minutes away. I encourage everyone to pursue their dreams and follow their heart to live the life they dream of. 
This purse has been also beaded in a number of places, as well as fringe being added and beaded. Even the beads at the base of the handles have been painted and glittered.  What an amazing piece of art. 


PURSE-ue Your Dreams LA FLEUR

I hope that you are following this wonderful project.  I must tell you how excited I am in the way that the purses are turning out.  For those who are new to this blog...welcome.  I am Debi Gajewski, an artist who has been fortunate enough to be supported by my village in this project.  The Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council in Niles, Illinois has chosen to sponsor and event that I proposed.  Repurposed purses.  They are all in absolute perfect condition and some are even brand new.  I have scouted them out at my local resale shops. It took a while, but after total up, down, and inside out inspection....20 purses were chosen. I have to say how very lucky I was to have such wonderful artists volunteer to paint their visions on a purse.  Why a purse you might ask?  Well, I wanted to have this project be something that was useful and wanted by everyone.  I am so excited to see the talents of so many come together for such a great cause. What is the cause?  I have chosen Wings Charity to be the recipient of the monies generated at the end by auctioning off these magnificent pieces of art.  What a wonderful charity this is.  If you haven't heard of them...please check out their website and their mission statement at www.wingsprogram.com
We have also been fortunate enough to have our local auction house agree to be our auctioneer for the evening.  LOT14 of Niles has a wonderful auction place and has graciously agreed to help us for this cause.
The purses will go on a traveling display beginning Oct. 5th at the Niles Museum ...travel to the Niles/Maine District Library on Oct. 25 until Nov. 20th.  They will then be on Display at the Niles tree lighting ceremony "Holly Jolly" on Nov. 25th with their final journey back to the Museum until the 1st of December.  The Auction will take place at the Niles Senior Center on Dec. 2nd followed by a reception and meet and greet.  I hope that you will come out and view these works of art and find the one that is just right for you.
With all that being said...onto this weeks purse reveal.  Once again, this purse was painted by myself.  I absolutely love hydrangeas and thought that they would look wonderful on the top portion of this particular purse.  I couldn't quite decide on which color to do...so I thought...why not put them all.  I decided that French words would be a nice addition and hence the bottom of the purse.  I added small petals scattered throughout the words to pull down some of the lovely colors in the top portion.  I hope you like it....awww...nope....I hope you LOVE it. 

Purse-ue Your Dreams- American Hero's

A week goes by so quickly....and once again I am pleased to reveal once again another one of the purses.  If this is your first time here...let me take this opportunity to explain this project.  I sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council who has agreed to sponsor a project I have presented.  I, along with other wonderful and talented artists are repurposing purses by painting them with art.  The purses, once completed, will go on a traveling display beginning with the Niles Museum, then onto the Niles Library.  They will appear for one day at Niles Holly Jolly Event.  The time frame for this will begin with Oct. 5 until the day of auction on Dec. 2.  The auction will be at the Niles Senior center beginning with a reception.  Niles own Auction Lot14 will be our official auctioneer.  Wings charity has been chosen as the recipient of the monies generated through this endeavor.  We felt that the mission of Wings was perfect...repurposed purses to help repurpose lives. 
I hope that this project intrigues you and that you will come out and see them in person.  And so, with that being said....onto this week's purse.  I am once again the artist of this purse.  I thought that with the 4th of July just around the corner, American Hero's deserved to be the purse presented.  As I grew up in Chicago, I was always patriotic.  My patriotism grew stronger in the 60's when my neighbor went to war.  I often reflect on the days spent sitting on my front porch with my grandmother talking to our neighbor over the front porch railings.  I recall her reading the letters that her son Tony would send to them.  It was heart filling to hear of his future plans once he returned from the war.  He was fighting during Vietnam.  Then one day in November, I remember the screams next door and his mother flailing down the stairs as she screamed out his name while holding a letter in her hand. Tony had been killed.  That sweet, chubby faced, kind young man's life had been taken.  I have carried that memory in my heart ever since. 
Since those days, my patriotism has grown even more.  With today's social media along with the internet...I have read and seen the sacrifices that both men, woman and dogs have made.  I hold them in high esteem and my flag as a symbol of freedom.  I salute them all. So when I looked at this particular Perry Ellis purse with the signage of AMERICA on the front...my idea came to fruition.  I hope you like my vision.  I present to you My AMERICAN HERO'S

Purse-ue Your Dreams #4 Strutting Like a Peacock

It is once again time to post another purse.  If this is your first time here reading my post...WELCOME.  If you are wondering what this is about...I would love to introduce you to my project.  I am proud to sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council here in Illinois.  I presented an idea to the Council and they agreed to sponsor the project.  My idea was to gather artists who would be generous enough to donate their time and talents to paint purses for charity.  My idea was to repurpose the purses to put up for auction.  The monies raised would go to a charity to help repurpose lives.  The charity chosen was Wings.  I am so pleased to work with Wings in this endeavor.  The purses will go on a traveling display beginning with the Niles Museum, onto the Niles Library, a one day appearance at the Niles Tree Lighting Event called Holly Jolly and then return to the Museum.  This will begin Oct. 5 and will end on Dec. 2nd where they will be auctioned off at the Niles Senior Center.  I hope that you will come out and view them in person and hopefully you will make it a point to join us on the day of the auction.  Niles Auction Company, Lot14 will be our auctioneer.  With that being said, I would like to tell you about this weeks, purse. 
I, Debi Gajewski is the artist.  I have been painting for over 35 years.  I have never had any formal training, but have taken it upon myself to continue educating myself in the art.  I have watched, read and learned as the years have gone by and have practiced, practiced and practiced some more.  I was fortunate in the past few years to have participated in art programs here in Niles.  I have been granted permission in the past from the NHL to do a piece for charity.  I have dreamt my whole life of pursuing my own dream of becoming an artist.  I hope that as you follow this project you will acknowledge that I am putting my all into achieving my dream.  As for this purse called Strutting Like a Peacock, the shape of the purse inspired this particular design.   I love seeing the beauty in feathers.  I felt that this particular designed fit the bill.  I used DecoArt's So-Soft paints as well as their Leather Paints to create this piece of art.  I love using their project.  It goes on beautifully.  This paint allows for the purse to be flexible.  I hope that you enjoy my vision.  With that being said, I present to you this week's purse. 

Purse-ue Your Dreams-#3 Waters Fall

Good morning, I am hoping that you are following this blog and watching as the purses become ready for posting.  I am Debi Gajewski and I sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council.  I am so thrilled that they have chosen to sponsor an event that I came up with.  When I first thought about the idea of repurposing purses found at resale stores...I discovered that it was going to be quite a challenge.  I wanted the purses to be in excellent conditions.  I cannot begin to tell you how many purses that required me to inspect.  After a number of months and a plethora of visits to local resale shops, I found some amazing purses to use for a makeover.  I am so grateful to have artists who were willing to donate their time and expertise in creating works of art.  I will be posting a purse a week here on the blog with some info on what may have inspired their amazing and wonderful designs.  The purses will go on a traveling display beginning will the Niles Historical Museum (they will also have a vintage display of purses for you to enjoy as well.) then onto the Niles Library, an appearance at the Holly Jolly Tree Lighting Event, back to the museum and finally auctioned off on Dec. 2nd at the Niles Senior Center.  I am hoping that you will come out and view them and hopefully one will speak to you and you will have the desire to bid on one...maybe two at the auction.  All the monies generated will go to the Wings charity so that it will help repurpose lives.  A great charity and their work is so commendable.  I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with them on this project.    As for today's purse, I am once again the artist.  I was inspired by the shape of the purse as well as its layers in the front.  My love of water and beauty of water falls is what inspired this purse.  I enjoyed including the splash at the bottom of the falls.   
The paint that I used is absolutely wonderful in painting this purse.  I used DecoArt's So-Soft Fabric paint and DecoArt's Leather Paint.  These paints are fabulous to work with.  They allow for movement and does not crack.  The colors are vibrant and easy to blend. 
I hope that you enjoy this particular purse and if this is your first time reading the blog, I implore you to read the others and view the other purses.  I hope you will come back each week and enjoy going on this journey with me.  So here you go....purse #3...WATERS Fall.

Purse #2 Dragonfly

How time flies...and so does the dragonfly.  That is the theme of purse number two.  Dragonflies have always been an inspiration for me.  When I look at this beautiful little creature I cannot help but admire its many colors. It's ability to move.  Did you know that Dragonflies can move at a 4 miles per hour speed? I am the artist of this purse as well and it's lush color of aqua led me to this artwork.  I wanted to capture the whimsical feeling that a dragonfly gives me whenever it has whizzed past me on so many occasions.  I wanted her eyes to reflect self realization...hence they are bigger and more whimsy.  The background just became second nature to where I felt she would be flying most.  I used DecoArt So-Soft Fabric Paints along with DecoArt's Leather paints.  If you look closely at her wings and eyes, you will notice that they have an extraordinary shine to them.  I really wanted them to look like glass so I used a product from DecoArt called Liquid Glass.   The dragonfly exhibits iridescence both on its wings as well as on its body. Iridescence is the property of an object to show itself in different colors  and I hoped that the glass effect helped to capture that. 
As an artist, I have been fortunate enough to continue to grow with my artwork.  I have been painting for more than 35 years and never had any formal training.  I love learning each day something new that I can apply to my artwork.  There is nothing more thrilling than being able to look at something I am working on and getting a sense of pride. To look at a piece and smile.  Hoping that perhaps that piece will do the same for someone who is viewing my piece.  This dragonfly makes me chuckle.  Her wide eyes make me think of myself....always looking for something new. 
The fact that this purse will be auction off for such a wonderful cause makes it all worth while.  If you haven't read the other posts...these purses will be auctioned off for charity.  I am on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council and they are sponsoring this event.  The purses will go on a traveling display from Oct. till Dec. 2nd when they will be auctioned off.  The proceeds will benefit Wings charity.  These repurposed purses are being painted by various artists.  I hope that you will continue to follow their journey here and perhaps one of them will speak to you.  I will be posting a purse a week and will also post their transformations.  Follow along...I will be posting their upcoming travels along with a page with all of them in the end.  If you are interested in one of them, you can send in a secret bid....contact me at thewonderfulwizardofart@hotmail.com
With that being said....let me introduce you to DRAGONFLY.


Well, as this endeavor for charity moves forward, I would like to take the time to tell you about the Niles Art and Culture Council.  I am one of the members of the Council.  We began our journey 2 years ago and have reached a point now where we can support an artful endeavor.  I was fortunate enough to have the Council agree to support my idea where artists will volunteer to paint purses to go on auction.  Wings charity was our choice since we are repurposing purses from resale stores into beautiful works of art just like the lives that are helped through Wings to repurpose their lives and pursue a dream of a better life. 
With that being said...I have revealed the purses bought in a previous blog.  It is now time to begin the reveal of some of the makeovers. 
Here is todays 1st purse....done by myself using the Deco Art's so-soft fabric paints and their newest Leather paints.  I am so thrilled with the way they came out.  What great paint....it went on so smoothly and the finish is fantastic.  Thanks Deco Art for a great product.  I am rest assured that whoever gets this purse will be happy in the durability of the paint. 
The purse is done by using a technique which has become very popular in the art world recently.  It has been painted and then "Zentangled"  I love that you can create such beauty by doodling. It was fun to choose the colors to help co-ordinate with the purse's amazing pink shade.  I hope that you enjoy seeing it.  If you are at all interested in bidding on the purse and are not able to attend the auction on December 2, 2017...please contact me.  We will hold closed bids that will be bid on by a stand in on the night of the auction. 
I will be putting on a new purse each week as well as a composite in the end. 
Enjoy and thank you for looking.  I would love to hear your comments.


Purse-ue Your Dreams

I have been involved in a few auctions for charity and want to share the newest one.  In Niles, Illinois, I sit on the Arts and Culture Advisory Council
whose mission is to
(assist the Village in fostering arts and culture in the community by supporting the people and organizations that create artistic and cultural experiences that are open to all residents and visitors)
and have recently proposed an event.  Recycling in today's world is an important issue for so many of us and I thought that this was a great endeavor.  When I contemplated what would be a good source of something desirable as well as something always used...well, purses came to mind.  Women love purses...of every shape, color and size.  Throughout history, a woman from young to old has been seen carrying her purse. So, being an artist, I thought why not create a piece of art on it.  Thus, my idea came into fruition. 
When I think of a purse, naturally, my next thought went into who uses a purse...of course my answer was easy...a woman....so the charity chosen should benefit woman.  The choice was simple...Wings.  Wings is a charity that believes that everyone has the potential and strength to overcome difficult life circumstances and to accomplish goals that will lead to an enhanced quality of life. WINGS is committed to treating each woman and child in a respectful and compassionate manner while valuing the unique qualities and needs of each family. Perfect.  This charity repurposes lives. My idea of repurposing  purses into beautiful pieces of art lines up with Wings purpose.  A charity was chosen.
Next, came my search for the purses.  I started my hunt in the resale stores for just the right purses for this endeavor.  Some days the finds were amazing, while other days I would leave the stores empty handed.  As I browsed through the selection of purses. I soon discovered I needed to become a quality control inspector.  I inspected the purses from top to bottom looking for wears and tears.  I was one tough inspector. It needed to be clean and mar free from inside and out.  The shapes had to be considered due to the idea of them finally being on exhibit.  But after a couple of months, my quest was completed. 
I am finally ready for the next steps.  After arranging for their display, I was able to put a Call out for Artists.  If you are interested in being part of this artful endeavor..please contact me...there are a few blank canvas' left.  Debi at thewonderfulwizardofart@hotmail.com
So here is the information on what will transpire after all the purses have been artfully transformed. 
They will go on a traveling display beginning October 5th-24th at the Niles Historical and Cultural Museum (8970 Milwaukee Ave, Niles) then next they will travel to the Niles-Maine Library (6960 W. Oakton, Niles) October 25-November 20.  They will then go on display at the Niles Holly Jolly Event on November 25th. (7877 N. Milwaukee Ave).  They will return to the Niles Museum on November 26th until December 1st.  Finally, they will make their way to the Niles Senior Center for the Auction Day on December 2nd.   
I am excited that so many amazing artists have chosen to participate in this challenge. I will continue to keep you abreast of the artist's and their bio's.    I will  also continue to post as the days move forward and hope that you will go on this journey with me and these works of art.  I am posting pictures today of the purse that have been rescued from the resale stores and will post their transformations as they become available.  I truly hope that if you are in this area that you will come out to see them in their truest forms.  
Should a particular purse call out your name...please feel free to send in a secret bid.  More details pertaining to this shall follow. 
And so, onto the show of purses. 

Mother's Day Story

Last year I won 1st place with a story that I wrote for Good Will's Amazing Mom contest when I wrote about a dear friend.  This year I decided to write about my mom and won honorable mention.  I am so pleased.  How fortunate am I to have had such amazing women in my life.  Here is this years story.  Last years story follows.
Honorable Mention - Debi G.
I was born in 1954, a time when woman stayed home and raised their families. Unfortunately, my mother had to assume the bread winner position in my life. Divorced from a nightmare, she sought for a better life for me and her. Not a time in history where taking on a man's world was all that easy. My mom built a career for herself working as a manager at Woolworths in the food department. I remember her taking me to work and going downstairs where the food was prepared. She lightened up days for me when she brought home a Nancy Drew book, a Barbie outfit or a box of Fannie Mae Candy (white almond bark). It hadn't dawned on me at the time how she must have sacrificed things for herself so that I didn't have to go without. There were trips to the lakes, Santa's Village and far away places like Disneyland in California and NYC. It's strange to look back in time and realize that everything she did, she did to make my life better. Now, as I look back, I realize that she was a young girl with hopes and dreams for herself, who unfortunately met with hard circumstances like an abusive alcoholic husband,which made her redirect HER hopes into hopes for ME. She made sure to give me an education and a life that was filled with hopes and dreams for a future. She also cared for her aging parents that we lived with. She never missed a beat when it came to sharing all that she had. My mom Joan... just my mom growing up, but today, she is a hero in my eyes.
Winning Entry - Debi G.  
When you get to my age (60), it is sad to say that my mother has passed away. It would have been wonderful to have written about what a wonderful mom she was, but instead, I choose to write about someone who has stepped in for my mom.

My dear friend Lorraine, who is 82 years old, landed on my doorstep as a perspective red hat lady (Red Hat Society) for my group. She joined and as the years went on, she became the dearest friend and a mom to me as well. There are things that friends will do ... but she has done things that a mom would do ... and things that I never had the opportunity to have with my own mother. Countless acts of kindness, always an open ear for listening. On my birthday, she invited me over because she had made me a birthday dinner, something I had done many times for my own children.

At a time in my life when I felt that everything around me was caving in ... she was there ... wrapping me in a prayer shawl and holding me as I cried. She has sage advice, a sincere heart and most of all ... love for the taking. I am so grateful to have her in my life as my substitute mom. How amazing it is to have been given such a gift ... a mom to cherish. It may be true that blood is thicker than water... but such a kinship and special soul is a miracle ... and Lorraine is mine

Bone Appetit

It is always such a rewarding moment when you hear a story of someone young who is a mover and a shaker.  It is just this type of story that I heard this past weekend.  I was at the Grove show personalizing when a woman came up to me with one of my "Bone Appetit" dog ornaments.  Awaiting to hear the dogs name...the lady revealed a very human name....one I had never heard given to a dog...but of course...anything is possible.  The woman then proceeded to inform me that the ornament was for her granddaughter.  Taken a bit back that someone would purchase and personalize a dog ornament...she then proceed to tell me that her granddaughter owned a business where she baked dog biscuits...and the name of her business is "Bone Appetit"...now as much as that is a little wow...it became a big WOW when she informed me that her granddaughter was only 10 years old.  Now if that wasn't enough...the woman then proceeded to tell me that the town her granddaughter lives in nominated her for kid of the year....and to top that...she WON. 
Now doesn't that say something!  We hear so many negative things about kids these days...and very little bragging about the amazing ones.  I was quite impressed by then with all that my customer revealed to me...but there was MORE!  When the girl won...she was given $5,000.00 in dog food...and she turned around and donated it to a local shelter.  How amazing is that??  I must say...it totally renewed by belief for our future knowing that there is this amazing young girl out there who has the gumption to go out and do it.  Nothing stops her.  AND  to top that she has a heart full of love, compassion and generosity.  I wish I would have gotten her name, city etc...but just knowing the story alone made my day....I hope it makes yours.

Halloween and Ghost Stories Are Not Just for Children

It seems that adults take their children out for some entertainment...but in essence, I think they get even more out of it than sometimes the child.  Yesterday, I had back to back programs at 2 different locations.  The first being a school...and I must say...what a well behaved group of children.  As I proceeded to tell the ghost stories...all eyes were on me.  I love looking into the eyes of my audiences...with each word spoken, I can see how they are being touched.  The innocence of the children make storytelling so special...but it is truly when I look into the eyes of the adults among them that I really receive an extra reward.  The adults assume that I am there to entertain the kids...and without really knowing it...in those moments...they, themselves are transported back to childhood.  They never go about their business, but instead, they are transfixed on the words that are spoken.  It is usually the adults hands that being their appreciative clapping. 
I moved on to the next location. I was a bit early, so I sat in my car and watched as families piled into the building.  I chuckled to myself as I watched the costumed donned children...but what caught my eye even more was seeing their parents dressed as well.  One in particular touched me greatly.  There was a young boy...dressed as a ninja turtle...and holding his small little hand was his father...who looked to be about 6 feet tall....dressed to match his tiny son.  My heart just melted.  I hope that some day that young boy looks back and realizes the love that father has for him.  I saw parents dressed as Minnie and Mickey, witches, cowpokes and fairies...and as they all entered the room where I was telling ghost stories...I could tell that they were just as transfixed on the stories as the children...in fact, perhaps even more.  In those few moments....they are allowed to be there to listen to the stories with the pretense that they are there for their kids.  I am often approached after a performance with comments about the stories told.  How much they loved them...how they enjoyed them.  Last night, after one of the stories, one mom commented on how shocked she was on the ending of the story told.  She said she had wondered how I was going to end the story.  Those types of comments make me feel good about what I do.  I know that my words touch each and every person.  Perhaps they will go home and retell the story.  Those are their gifts to me...hopefully....my gift to them was pure and simple...the chance to be a child again...if only for a few moments. 

A story that touches the heart

Good morning....I have just finished reading a story that touched my heart.  I find it amazing how some memories can touch another persons soul.  The story was about a gift exchange during grammar school years.  Reading that story instantly brought back memories of my own school day parties and gift exchanges....something I personally had not thought about in decades.  The writing out the names on pieces of paper and then drawing a name of who you would give a gift to.  This particular story was about a gift given that couldn't have been any farther away than any gift a young girl would have wanted and yet taught a lesson of a lifetime.  The lesson of course had not been learned for many, many years later.  Funny how that works.  It seems that lessons we often learn come so many years down the road! 
The message of the story was to appreciate the small things...how gifts through the years are set aside and often forgotten...except for the certain ones.  Mine was a stuffed animal that came on Christmas Eve by a postman.  I can still remember sitting in the kitchen and the television that was on the kitchen counter was playing The Christmas Carol.  The door bell rang and my grandmother went to answer it.  She returned carrying this brown paper bag wrapped box  which donned my name on it,  contained a white stuffed dog.   I named the dog FIFI.  I took that dog every where with me.  He went to parties, on vacations and even on my honeymoon.  He narrowly escaped being thrown off a train when the conductor thought it was garbage. Thank you Uncle Ted for saving my FIFI. 
Fifi is still with me...some 59 years later.  My children had a riot teasing me aobut my little dog.  He no longer looks the same as he did upon his arrival.  He has lost all his hair...his eyes have been replaced with black buttons and neither of them match.  He is stuffed full of nylon stockings...no not pantyhose...they weren't around back then.  He has many battle scars in every direction.  My grandmother sewed him back together many times over!  He really looks as though he should be in some heap somewhere...but that little dog is my childhood treasure.  I can't really explain why...maybe because of the special deliver that brought him...you know, the first real mail delivery.  Perhaps because he came on Christmas Eve. I thought that perhaps it was a special gift from Santa.  It wasn't until much later that my grandfather announced that it was HE who sent it....that made it even more special!  
Well, this morning, as I read this quaint little story...I was immediately transported back in time.  I thought about school parties and exchanges...special gifts, special times and what gifts I could remember.  The very first was my dog Fifi.  the next gift was some underwear that came from my husband on my first Christmas that we were married.  No...it wasn't any fancy underwear...in fact...I called them "Old Lady" underwear upon opening the box.  I couldn't believe that my husband would actually have the nerve to give my such a gift when I was only 20 years old and this was our first Christmas together.  (pretty much happened because he left shopping to the very last minute).  Needless to say...that was a gift I have never forgotten either!  So, sometimes it is not how much a present costs that leaves the lasting memories. 
I am grateful for the story that I read today that caused all those flashbacks for me.  I hope that when I tell or write a story...that it does exactly that for my readers and listeners.   

Ninety Minutes in Heaven and My story

Okay...so you went to the movies and saw "Ninety Minutes in Heaven" and wondered..."Is this for real?".  Well, I am about to tell you a story about how real the description of the light it.  No, I have never died and saw the light...never traveled down a tunnel...never met others on the other side.  Then how is it that I can say it is real?  Well, because I saw it. 
It was a horrible New Years Day.  I sat in a hospital room holding my Grandmother's hand as she lay in the hospital bed on a respirator.  She was not conscious...and all I could do was pray that she could her me speak the last words to her.  I sat on one side while my mother and husband sat on the other. My chair faced the hospital window while they faced the wall behind me.  As I sat there stroking her hand and telling her how much I loved her, I noticed the most peculiar thing on the outside of the hospital window. 
Now...I know...what did I see??  Well, first I must tell you the events that led up to this moment.  It was Christmas morning when my grandmother called me and told me that her pain (arthritis) was way too bad and she couldn't make it to my house for Christmas.  I immediately told her not to worry and assured her it was fine.  I called up the others that were coming and informed them that we would just go to Gram's instead.  I intended to just pack up the food and take it there.  After all....Christmas was about family...not the location of where we gathered.  All the rearrangements were made when the phone rang again.  Gram decided she was coming to me after all.  So back on the phone I went and informed all the guests.  When Gram arrived, my heart broke into a million pieces.  She had to just about crawl up my back steps to get in the house.  She told me that she took some meds to help her get there and then informed me that she needed to come because this would be the last Christmas that she would be able to come.  I just poo pawed such a thought and went on the festivities of the day.  Gram just kept telling everyone of us that she was going to give us a great New Year!  We had no idea what in the world she meant by that...we thought she must have some plans that we would hear about once Christmas was over.  The day was wonderful...we went about our gift giving and dinner.  Laughing and talking like all our other Christmas'...only this would be the Christmas that I would recall the rest of my life.  Later in the day, Gram came into the kitchen with a beautifully wrapped gift and handed it to me.  I was quite surprised since we already exchanged gift...Gram informed me that this gift was special.  With trembling hands, I unwrapped the present only to find Gram's cast iron popcorn pot.  What you need to understand is that my Grandmother made the best popcorn anyone had ever had.  It always tasted just like movie popcorn...(I know....today we have all those microwavable popcorns...but this was way before those times),  She informed me that she was handing over the pot to me and that the pot was part of her popcorn making secret.  I would have to take over making it from that day on.  I was touched over this gesture and we hugged and cried a bit at the same time.
The next day, my mother told me that Gram didn't feel well and she was taking her to the doctor.  The next thing that happened was Gram was put in the hospital with pneumonia.  All systems failed from there.  and NOW...here I was sitting in the hospital room holding her hand praying for a miracle.  Only the miracle that happened wasn't the one I expected.  As, I sat there in the room...my eyes occasionally wandered to the window and beyond.  You see...the strangest thing happened.  It appeared to me that outside...the sun had dropped down from up in the sky and was slowly approaching the window.  You have to imagine how stunned I was in seeing this type of phenomenon.  It all happened very quickly.  I sat there in total awe and confusion as this ball of light approached the window as though it would crash into the building.  In that instant...a nurse stepped in and diverted our attention as she requested that we step out into the hall for a few moments.  We all stood up and left as we were asked to do.  The nurse had closed the door to the room behind us.  We stood right outside the door of Gram's room when suddenly the overhead lights blinked on and off, and then the nurse opened the door and informed us that she was sorry....Gram was gone. 
You see....the light was coming for her.  I saw it coming...at the time it was happening, I had no idea what that phenominum was....but in that final moment...I knew...without a shadow of a doubt.  No doctors can dispute it with saying that electric inputs in the brain caused that...I wasn't the one dying or dead!!  But I was the one who witnessed the miracle.  The way that the light was shown in the movie when the pastor dies is the same thing that I witness as my Gram was dying.  There was no fear...just a moment of splendor.  I grieved for myself...in the loss of my Grandmother...but in the same breath in in every breath I have taken from that day on...I have peace in knowing what is to come.
On a side note...weeks after Gram died....which by the way...was NEW YEARS day....Gram said she was going to give us a good New Year...I think she thought that she may have been a burden to us...and nothing could have been farther from the truth.  Well...weeks after her death, I developed our Christmas photos.  Oddly enough....every photo that Gram was in had an odd light around her.  None of the other pictures of anyone else contained the light...just the ones of Gram.    
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