Monthly Archives: July 2012

Phase one of Palette to Canvas

Jes and I are in the humble little studio in our home painting today. Here’s where I am at with the first painting in the Palette to Canvas: The Light of Nebraska project.

This stage is called “Toning the canvas”. It allows me to create the “mood” of the entire piece and with every color that is added. Any color, when placed next to or on top of gives you a different color experience visually.

As I continue to paint in stages I will bring you along the visual journey until the piece is complete. Stay tuned! Smiles!







Now we begin

I spent most of the day trekking through the woods & hills on an 80 acre ranch in Washington County Nebraska taking photos for our From Palette to Canvas : The Light of Nebraska. Here’s just 1 photo example of over 100 photos that were taken.


A painting will be completed & donated to the Blair, Ne library,dedicated in an individual’s name- all selected by one of the contributors to this project.

Tomorrow is Douglas Co and the waterfront photo shoot.

We are still accepting donations for art supplies for this project. There’s a donation button on the right side bar. Thank you for supporting this project of Beauty, Inspiration &hope.

Leaving some love

Just leaving some love for the Awiya project and my fellow artisans, Lou and Jes Ewers! Our fundraiser was a success in large part to loving, creatives such as them! Many thanks and much love from our little family….Cory, Crystal and Chloe Vandevoorde

From the “never judge people by appearances” file.

Guest Blogger Thomas Klein

From the “never judge people by appearances” file.

Wednesday, I am driving my Grandpa’s pickup truck back from Omaha. I had previously blown the side wall in the passenger front tire and I am driving on the spare. I have 4 brand new Goodyear Wrangler tires sitting at home, waiting to be put on the truck. I get 6 blocks from home, and the spare decides to blow out (not leak, explode). No spare to put on, so I leave the truck overnight, to get a new tire mounted. I take my lunch hour to put on the new tire. It’s about 100 degrees, and my floor jack is too short to lift the tire. Suddenly, about 8 young Hispanic Men appear, that are roofing a nearby house. A couple of the have a 3 ton hydrolic jack, and start jacking up my truck. Another guy starts loosening the lugs. Another guy throws on the new tire. Guy tightens my lugs, and the others let down the truck down, and I am standing there looking stupid (I can specialize in this look). I say Muchos Gracias to my new friends and offer to buy them some beer. They turn me down, but say they would take some “Coke or Pepsi.” I drive Corner Market and buy the guys some two 12 packs of cold Pepsi to say thank you.

I have no idea who these nice, hard working young men are, but want to say “Thanks” for all their help. After all, it’s not who you are (or what you look like) but what you do that defines you.

So, Muchos Gracias mi nuevo Amigos! /blockquote>

Painting Contributors

Preparations continue for our July 28 th Photo shoot & Plein Air painting adventure to the waterfront areas of Southeast Nebraska.  I’m excited! Painting is our joy & bliss in life. Having the opportunity to freely sharing our talents and abilities to benefit small community libraries  and inspire others is the cherry on top of the sunday!

Check out our “wish list” link to see exactly how expensive art supplies really are. If you feel inspired to contribute supplies for this project, feel free to purchase items on our wish list & it ships directly to us.

Thank you Jenny & Paris M for your contributions… That will give us the gas money for our July 28th painting trip. Thats 1 of 10 trips and 1 of 10 paintings to be completed for this project.

Please visit our  crowd funding campaign as it ends in 7 days and this is a year long project that Jes and I are dedicated to seeing to completion.

From Palette to Canvas: Light of Nebraska 

Stay on the Awiya Side of Life my creatives and lets make a difference.


Plein Air River Front

Jes and I have planned our 1st travel date for photo shoot and plein air painting on July 28th. We are going to start with the waterfront areas of Eastern Nebraska.

This is a year long project folks. One that Jes & I are very passionate & dedicated to. The amount of time, travel and preparation for each piece is part of the creative process to capture not only the image on canvas but the light through use of color and the energy of the area.

I’m excited Folks! Our river front day adventure of taking reference photos and setting up at 2 different locations to do some plein air painting is quickly approaching. We’ve narrowed down a list of small community libraries in the areas we will be painting.

If you are not familiar with plein air painting- it mean painting outdoors. We’ve chosen 2 time frames- 1 early morning light and 1 early evening light to paint. That will give us time to travel between locations and set up again. Mid day light washes out everything and not very interesting to paint. So stat tuned as Jes and I continue to do what we love “Paint” and share the hope, inspiration and beauty by donating the paintings to Nebraska Libraries.

It’s Just A Number

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” –Life’s Little Instruction Book

Artistic Thread

Guest Blogger Michelle Mullin

“When we had moved back to Nebraska, after my Air Force time stationed in Tucson, I eventually worked at Nebraska Furniture Mart. There was an elderly lady who worked at the central info desk who I used to talk to all the time. Vivian, with bright red hair and twinkling eyes. One day at lunch, she was watching me make something and remarked that she saw very few young people these days who could crochet, or would take the time to make
things like that. Then I found out that she knew how to make tatted lace! I knew what that was because I used to make some crochet patterns I found in old Workbasket magazines, and I had seen some shuttle tatting patterns there. But no matter how I begged and pleaded, she wouldn’t agree to teach me. She said she just didn’t have the patience, but finally she told me she’d ask her husband to show me… Apparently, he was the one who’d taught her in the first place!

Such a nice old gentleman, Wendell must have been close to eighty…and when the weather was bad he still would drive her to work and wait all day to take her home safely. One of those days, during my lunch hour, he taught me to tatt. He had learned to tatt from his father, who’d been a fisherman in Canada, and they used it to make nets. Sewing, embroidery, knitting, crochet, tatting; in his day and age they weren’t only for women. Obviously, there wasn’t tv, and most people still had to make their clothes. If you wanted to have something nice, you needed to make it, and if you were bored, there was always something that needed made or mended. I was so grateful he thought I was worthy of the time.The only thing he asked of me in return was that some time in my life, I had to teach at least one other person to tatt. I promised him I would, and I also gave him my first tatted doily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thread Art by  Michelle Mullin

Eventually, after having a string of jobs that each worked out worse than the last, I started my own small business teaching crochet and tatting classes through Hobby Lobby… and one of the times I was sitting there by the door handing out my fliers, in walked Vivian and Wendell! I was so happy to be able to tell him that I had lost count of how many people I’d taught to tatt by then. Since then, I’ve taught crocheting and tatting at various times thru Michaels, and even the Adult Continuing Education dept. at Metro Community College.

I volunteered at the elementary school my daughters were attending for Pre-K to teach small numbers of sixth graders to crochet as a reward. Twice a week for an hour we’d take a table in the library and work there. There was a girl who the librarian was tactless enough to comment that she doubted would ever finish anything… I made sure she darn well did. She crocheted a decorative scarf for her grandmother which she even went so far as to finish off with beaded fringe. So there! I took her picture wearing it and I still have it. Never assume what a kid can’t do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Holiday Ornament by Michelle Mullin

One other little girl there really touched me, because she was just so determined. The first project she made after learning chains and starting a small potholder, was a baby blanket for the little brother who was coming soon. And I don’t mean a little cutesy postage stamp sized baby blankie, no… she made a baby blue and ivory striped afghan big enough for a single bed. One day as she worked I was so tickled when she told me, “You know what Mrs.Mullin, crochet is all about math isn’t it?” Yes, Karla, it is… wasn’t that sneaky of me?

Next, she brought in a scarf someone had begun in shell stitch which she wanted to finish for her little sister. After that, she wanted to make a purse! She’d never had one, and she wanted to make one for herself. 3D crochet is quite a leap from just learning to do it flat… but we started one, using the fuzzy eyelash yarn that’s so popular, but a royal pain to work with. That was what she wanted, and she was determined to make it.

was impressed, she did a fantastic job. She crocheted around some hoop handles, and did gradual increases and decreases of stitches to form the shape – no pattern, simply by how it looked! – and then we sewed a liner in it. But before she finished it, she told me that she wasn’t going to get to keep it, her family was going to visit her Grandmother in Mexico, and she was told to give it to her as a gift. It never occurred to her to object, although she really had wanted to keep it and I didn’t say anything, but I almost cried and the minute I was out of her hearing I said some unfriendly things about her elders under my breath. It did seem unfair to me, but I’ve since come to understand that in her family, it was considered an honor.

Her counselor (who taught me to knit, BTW) and I decided, however, that would not stand. We got her the stuff to make another one, and this time, instead of making it from scraps, she got to pick the color. It ended up the pinkest, fuzziest purse I will probably ever see…and I was secretly thrilled because probably no one would want one that pink but her. She told me later that there were members of her family who had begun to ask her to make them one, and I was so proud that she remembered what I’d taught her about what to charge and how to conduct her small business. In a family where her older siblings were off doing their own thing and she was the one to watch the smaller ones than her, she’d developed a useful skill that got her respect.

We barely had time at the end of the year for me to quickly teach her granny squares and give her a big bag of yarn scraps to use over the summer to work on a blanket. I thought I’d probably never hear from her again, but the beginning of the next year, she called me at home to let me know she’d finished it. At the start, she didn’t think her family would be willing to spend money on yarn for her to learn… but by the end of the year, they took her to the craft store and got her what she asked for.

I create things; I am an artist with thread!”

Wisdom of Grace


Spent a couple of hours at the lake today with Grace. We walked a couple of miles. Having MS is a challenge during hot weather as anyone living with it will tell you. Inflammation is not our friend. Sweet Grace kept an even pace & when she felt me lag behind via tension on her lead due to my leg going numb, she would stop, smell around the green foliage and flowers, look back at me with a look of encouragement before walking again. At first I thought it was just her doing her own exploring, but it happened more than once. After we arrived back at our starting point, about a two mile walk, we sat in the shade, drank some water and she nuzzled my numb leg several times. She even laid her head in my lap and snuggled.

Amazing experience with a beautiful soul! As I sat there with Grace, I realized what this gorgeous creature was teaching me.

She was telling me that it’s okay to stop and smell the flowers, sometimes we are hurt & hurting, it’s not a fast paced race through life, it’s about the connections to life we make and those we touch. All experience Grace has experienced herself.

Thank you Grace!