We’re Going to the Fair!

This year has been one wild ride. Can I get an amen? Businesses were shut down and then reopened at a fraction of their capacity. People began hiding their faces behind masks. All the spring craft fairs were canceled or postponed until fall.

Summer came and matters grew worse. Notices began to pour in announcing the cancelation of even the fall and winter craft fairs. At first it was just the indoor events that were nixed. But when they even canceled the outdoor events, my heart sank.

Sure, I got my money back, but that’s not what I wanted. No one can stay in business by simply receiving back their investment. You have to multiply your investment in order to grow. And as artists who depend primarily upon in-person sales, multiplication cannot happen without giving us the opportunity to greet our potential customers and show them what we’ve made.

What I really don’t understand is how it’s okay to shop at Walmart, but it’s not okay to attend an outdoor event where the vendors are spread well apart.

And while I’m on the subject, how is it okay to stand in line to enter a store, then to share aisles with other shoppers, then to stand in the checkout line, but it’s not okay to stand in line at the polls? This is a double standard, people. The stores dedicated the early hours for at-risk people to do their shopping. Why not do the same thing at the polls?

Enough of my rant.

But I ranted so that you can imagine my utter joy at discovering that a craft fair I was interested in was NOT CANCELED! Hallelujah! I had not actually signed up for this one because it’s out of state, and I don’t yet know how to handle the collection of Alabama sales tax. But you know what? I’m going to learn, because I’m going to be there!

For weeks I’ve been searching for the business card of the woman who invited me to the fall festival so that I could find out if it was still a go. No luck. Then yesterday morning I decided to do an Internet search for the event, and I found it! Then something led me to click on the event in my calendar. (Yes, I put it in my calendar months ago.) And believe it or not, right there in my calendar was the contact info I’d been looking for all along. I called Sherry to let her know of my interest, and she said, “I’m so glad you called. I’ve been looking for your business card for weeks!” LOL. We’re two peas in a pod.

So, in a few short days I’ll be packing my display racks, tent, tables, and wares into my pickup truck and heading to Luverne, Alabama, to their 5th Annual Fall Festival. Will you be there? If you live close enough, do come out. Wear your mask and keep your distance, but COME. You’ll be glad you did. As you can see by the notice, there’s lots to do for everyone at the Fall Festival:

  • Live music by Chris Eiland
  • Crenshaw Kool Ridz Car Show
  • Local Artists
  • LHS Art Show
  • Flyin’ Pigs Petting Zoo
  • Activities for Kids
  • Food Vendors
  • Community Awareness Programs
  • Door prizes every 30 minutes

See you there. . .and I’ll see you at the polls!

A Much-Needed Face-Lift

Last year I moved my piano art from another website host to WordPress. The intention behind this shift was to make it easier to manage my online presence, as all three of my sites would then be in the same place. Well, it has been a learning experience, to say the least. Initially I ended up with a site that was merely a blog with a gallery page, when what I wanted was a gallery with a blog page. So today I explored my options and selected a new format that should prove much more pleasing to the eye and easier to navigate. It is still a work in progress, but it’s finally starting to become what I had envisioned.

The home page now features photographs of my piano art, with links to my Etsy shop for the convenience of you who would like to make a purchase. I haven’t finished uploading photos of my newest work just yet, but I promise they are coming.

Also, ever since the new year began, I’ve been trying to get back to writing Encore blog posts, but so far my schedule has not allowed it. The articles will come, in due time.

2020 Florida Fairs and Festivals

Below is my tentative itinerary for this year. It’s much more sparse than last year’s schedule, and I’m also staying closer to home. But all that is because I’m working on getting into a store! I can’t wait to tell you about it as the story unfolds…. Meanwhile, if you live in Northwest Florida, I looking forward to seeing you at my table at one of these venues:



Fall Fling Arts & Crafts Fair

3475 Pine Forest Rd., Cantonment, FL
Saturday, September 26, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.



Spring Craft Show

Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave., Destin, FL
Friday, February 17, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 18, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Holiday Craft Show

Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave., Destin, FL
Friday, November 20, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 21, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Fort Walton Beach

St. Simon’s on the Sound Arts & Crafts Fair

28 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Friday, November 6, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 7, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.



Riverwalk Arts Festival

Riverwalk Park in Historic Downtown Milton, FL
Saturday, March 7, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 8, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



Alyssa’s Outdoor Market

Alyssa’s Antique Depot, Pace, FL
Saturday, April 11, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Alyssa’s Mother’s Day Mini Market

Alyssa’s Antique Depot, Pace, FL
Saturday, May 9, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.



St. Joseph’s Blues & BarBQ Festival

140 W. Government St., Pensacola, FL
Saturday, May 2, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Pine Forest UMC Arts & Crafts Festival

2800 Wilde Lake Blvd., Pensacola, FL
Saturday, November 14, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Getting Ready for the 2019 Fall Tour

What does “taking a break” mean to you? Normally, when those words are uttered, it means that we are stepping away from our work in order to relax a while.

Well, that is not exactly what the words mean in the context of this post. I began this page just a few months ago to help present my art to the world. However, I have not been able to find sufficient time for writing the articles—and not for a lack of time management. I simply have a tendency to spread myself too thin. And what do you know, I’ve done it again. I may write a little over the next few months, or at least share a word from someone else, but most likely I’ll be fairly silent from now until January. It’s not because I don’t want to be here, but because I’m only one person, and duty calls.

Working Hard

This summer I’ve been working hard on building up my depleted inventory of piano art and home décor items. It’s important that I work hard just now, because next month begins the fall craft fair season, and I have committed to 9, maybe 10 shows between September 6th and December 7th. I’ll go ahead and list them all here, and if you happen to be in the area, I look forward to meeting you in person at the event.

September ~ Florida

Fall Street Fest (weather permitting)

34 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Friday, September 6, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Farmer’s Market (tentative)

34 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Saturday, September 14, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Pensacola Seafood Festival

Seville Quarter, Downtown Pensacola, FL
Friday, September 27, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 28, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 29, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Fall Street Fest

34 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Friday, October 4, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

October ~ Florida and Virginia

Suffolk Peanut Fest

Suffolk Executive Airport, 1410 Airport Rd., Suffolk, VA
Thursday, October 10, 2:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Friday, October 11, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 13, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. — Military Appreciation Day

Tidewater Baptist Craft Fair

501 Providence Rd., Chesapeake, VA
Saturday, October 19, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

November ~ Florida

St. Simon’s on the Sound Arts & Crafts Fair

28 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Friday, November 1, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 2, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Pine Forest UMC Arts & Crafts Festival

2800 Wilde Lake Blvd., Pensacola, FL
Saturday, November 9, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Holiday Craft Show

Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave., Destin, FL
Friday, November 18, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 19, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

December ~ Florida

St. Mary’s Winterfest

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Milton, FL
Friday, December 6, 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 7, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dogs of Blogs


Riverwalk 2019
Guess who came to visit me at the show?

Duke, a 6-year-old German shepherd, is a relatively new addition to our family. My son adopted him a year ago in Virginia, and he just came to live with us last month. When Bobby found him, Duke was malnourished, sick, and severely underweight. With the help of a family friend, who also happens to be a veterinarian assistant, Duke got the care he needed, and now he is healthy and happy.

Duke loves to shadow me around the house. I don’t allow him in the studio because there isn’t enough room in there for the two of us, but he is right by my side in the living room and kitchen.

Duke did not go with me to the art show, but Bobby stopped by for a visit, and I asked him to take a photo of my display, with me in it. Naturally, I had to hold Duke so Bobby could hold the camera.

Getting ready (4)
Isn’t he a handsome fella?

This week I am responding to the photo challenge, Dogs of Blogs, hosted by Jessica of Sorting Life’s Issues with Jess. She has chosen a dog theme for the month of March to celebrate the birthday of her dog Oreo. I do hope you’ll hop over to her page and take a look. Her photos are absolutely adorable.

I discovered Jessica, her blog, and her challenge, on Cee Neuner’s list of challenges, so I wish to give her credit as well. Thanks, Cee, for this wonderful directory you’ve created: “For the Love of Challenges.” For the record, Cee’s directory lists not only photo challenges, but also writing and music challenges as well, and they are grouped by category. It’s very well organized.

Getting ready (1)
Duke waited for some attention while I worked on preparing my display.

Tomorrow I’ll give you more details about the show.


From the Studio: Quartet

Strings. Every piano has them. I’ve been learning a lot about strings lately, because I’ve been cleaning them for a new project, and I came across an anomaly that prompted a bit of research. But that story is for a different day. Today I simply want to tell you about one of the many things I make with piano strings: the Quartet.


The bass strings would have to be extremely long (like 30 feet!) to achieve the necessary pitch if they were not wound by copper to make them dense. Copper is a beautiful precious metal, and soft, but the steel core inside the piano strings is strong is difficult to bend into shapes. I have found shaping piano wire to be more challenging than the wire sculpting I tried in art class, but I do love a challenge!

Just how this particular project came to be escapes me now. Why did I choose four musical symbols rather than two or three? I think it’s because I purchased a set of four canvases and then needed to do something with them, but who knows?

Why did I choose these four symbols? Okay, I know the answer to that question. Of all the possibilities, I chose the treble clef, bass clef, half note, and eighth rest because they are both easily recognizable and artistic to reproduce. The eighth rest has proven to be the most challenging of them all, due to its sharp angles and opposing curves, but there is great satisfaction when it finally comes out right.

I can create an entire set of symbols from one piano string. First I clean the string, then wearing gloves (to prevent tarnishing from the oils in my hands), I begin my work. My tools for the first part of the project include a metal file (to smooth the cut edges), bolt cutters (because wire cutters just don’t cut it), needle-nose pliers, and slip-joint pliers.

Quartet WIP (3)

To form the soft bends, I use my bare hands; but when the curve needs to come in sharply, that’s where the two pairs of pliers come in handy. They do tend to bend the wire unevenly, however, so I go back with my hands and smooth out the finish. Arthritis is starting to set it, and I feel it after several hours of working with wire. But I’m not going to stop. Would you?

I work with the entire length of wire because I have no idea how long each piece needs to be. Perhaps I should cut off a length and experiment with it, but I’ve never done that. So instead, I simply work until I’m satisfied, then cut off the excess, sand the cut edges, and move on to the next piece.

The colors for the canvases have varied greatly over the years, as I experiment with one look after another. But just this week, while getting ready for the Riverwalk Arts Festival, I was looking at the yet unfinished canvases as they hung on the display below the clock made of piano keys. The canvases had been dark brown and teal (two of each color). I had determined that the dark brown was not to my liking, so I changed it to a cream color—dark titanium white, to be specific. As I sat there looking at the display, I noticed that the dark titanium white looked very similar to the aged white of the keys on the clock, and I wondered if maybe the other two canvases should be a brown-black to match the ebony keys. Since the piano string shapes had not yet been mounted, it was easy to repaint the canvases. So I took them down and went back into the studio. First they got a coat of burnt umber, then while the brown was still wet, I marbled black all over. At a distance they appear black, but up close, you can see the marbling. I did this because genuine ebony keys are not pure black either, but up close you can see the ebony wood grain. This is not my usual marbling technique, but it’s what I wanted to do for these particular canvases, because I didn’t want too much brown, I just wanted it to take the edge off the black.


The canvases sat overnight to dry, and then I went to work mounting the musical symbols to the surfaces. First I tried using regular hot glue, but they popped right back off again. Forget that. Then I switched to an industrial strength adhesive called E6000. I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to call it. This stuff works really well in a variety of situations. Even so, I don’t put all my eggs in the E6000 basket. As an extra measure of precaution, I “sew” each musical symbol onto the canvas, to be sure it won’t come off. Using an ice pick, or similar tool, I carefully poke a hole in the canvas in two strategic places under the piano wire, where it won’t be noticed. Then I take a 3″ length of copper wire that I’ve unwound from a smaller (treble) piano string, form a loop, and push both ends through the hole in the canvas, looping the “thread” around the wire décor and effectively fastening it onto the canvas. On the back side of the canvas, I put a dab of hot glue, thread a button onto the wire, and press it down into the hot glue, then twist the wire to hold it firmly in place, and it’s done.

Quartet WIP (1)

Finally, I put the finishing touches on the backs of the canvases. First, I enclose them all with brown paper, then install a sawtooth hanger. Using some of the brown paper, I construct a small pocket and mount it to the back of one of the four frames. This will hold the sheet that tells the story of my piano art.

When the artwork is done, it needs a name. I have tried to give every piece of mine a name related to the field of music, for obvious reasons. 🙂 I have three different pieces that are sets of four, so naming them has gotten tricky. One of them is named “Harmony” because the pieces work together to form a cohesive whole. The second is called “Quatrain” because it has two sets of nearly identical pieces, so I think of it in terms of poetry (abba). That makes it easy to give this one the name “Quartet,” since this one is four different musical symbols that come together in one song.

And now this song is done.

Thank you for joining me on this tour of the studio. I look forward to seeing you on the next one. Until then, I invite you to check out photos of my other work in the gallery. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Music in Art on Display!

Tomorrow kicks off my very first juried art show! Here are a few photos of my display as it looked before I packed everything up, including close-ups of all the brand new items.

Setup is tomorrow, and the show runs all day Saturday and Sunday. Next week I’ll tell you all about it!


Riverwalk Arts Festival


On March 2, 2019, the Santa Rosa Arts and Culture Foundation, Inc., will kick off their 31st annual Riverwalk Arts Festival along the Blackwater River in Milton, Florida. Attracting about 22,000 visitors, this is one of the largest fine arts events in Milton. Artists from throughout the southern region will gather to exhibit their fine art and heritage folk art in a juried show. Not only that, but art from the youth in Santa Rosa County will also be on display here. Plenty of food vendors will also be available to satisfy appetites and quench your thirst. And a variety of talented cultural artists will perform live music throughout the two days of the festival. Children will enjoy face painting and an activity area designed especially for them. Visitors may also watch artists demonstrating their skills, participate in the 8th annual plein air “Paint Out,” or check out the antiques and classics at the car show.

My piano art has gone to many craft shows over the past eight years, but I’ve never been in an art show before, much less a juried show. I decided to try. So I sent in my application, with the required fee and sample photos of my work, and about a week ago I received a call stating that I had been accepted as one of the artists. Wow! What a privilege! My display table is set up in the living room, and each day I add a bit more to it, filling it out with items made with love and care from old pianos, praying over each one, that it will find its way to the home of a musician/music lover that needs it. I love what I do, and thank God for giving me the opportunity not only to make art from old pianos, but also to share it with my community.

If you live in the area, I hope to see you at the Riverwalk Arts Festival. You will find the details below:

31st Annual Riverwalk Arts Festival

Located in Historic Milton, at Riverwalk Park

Saturday & Sunday

March 2 & 3

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

Fine Art and Heritage Folk Art
Countywide Youth Art Exhibit
Live Music
Food & Beverages
Plein Air “Paint Out” (Saturday)
Car Show
Artist Demonstrations
Children’s Fun Zone


Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Arts and Culture Foundation