Di Russell-Horn Creates Art from the Heart, Creativity for the Soul, and Tranquility for the Mind.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On This Day of Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving!   As always, I wake up early when I really could sleep in so I decide to do the responsible thing and get up to work on homework.  I put on the coffee, opened all the blinds and put on the fireplace.  The sun is rising before me and it is glorious.  I have so much to be thankful for that I am overwhelmed with emotion and a deep peaceful contentment that all is well in my little corner of my world.  My son is sound asleep in his bed, which for any mom who has college children, knows the joy of having them home again.  I have a job at Pluta Cancer Center where I work with wonderful people and have patients that are truly inspirational.  On a daily basis I get to see the "big picture" and watch our patients beat cancer, go through treatment, somedays sick and other days with a smile on their faces.  It is truly an honor to work there and humbling.  I realize that my little problems and set backs in life are nothing compared to what others are facing.

I thank God daily for my life, my work, my family and especially my friends.  These last 7 months have been very challenging, out of work, on a tight budget trying to make ends meet, Brian living at school all summer, and me going back to school.  Throughout it all, I could not have made it without the support of my friends and my family.  Even Danny, my ex husband was there to lend moral support, a shoulder to cry on when I needed it, and genuinely caring about me.  

Today I thank God for my son, my family, for bringing our little Gianna (Chelsea & Matt Crawford's beautiful 4 month old little girl) into our lives, for my nieces who are pregnant and are bringing a baby girl and a baby boy into this world soon (for me to spoil of course), my new job at Pluta, for keeping Matt safe while he serves our country in Afghanistan, for my incredible friends, especially Garnet, Kara, Andrea and my Aunt Joyce, the women that love me unconditionally and are always there for me.  I give thanks that I have a beautiful home, that I am warm, safe and healthy, that my aunt & uncle are in a home where they are well cared for and I don't have to worry about them 24/7.  I give thanks for all the small pleasures in my life, my art, my artist friends through Art Is You and Suzi Blu, my health, and my life.

I also ask the Lord to watch over our military, all those who are sick, those fighting cancer and other diseases, those on Hospice and their families, the families that are facing a tragedy right now, our children, our homeless, people in countries that are fighting for their freedom and rights that we take for granted in the US, and all those that need a little extra love and compassion.

I am so thankful for my parents who are watching over me in heaven, for the values and morals that they instilled in me, and I in turn, instilled in my Brian.  I miss them everyday and love them so much.   

So on this Thanksgiving, be thankful for all that you have and remember to say a little prayer for others that need help or watching over.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don't forget to wear your stretchy pants today!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Well it's almost here!!   Art Is You...2011 in Danbury Ct starts next Thursday October 6, 2011.  As you can see I'm in the midst of packing for the retreat.  I'm teaching three workshops and taking two.  The bins are all lined up in the living room and I'm pretty much packed up for each class.  The excitement level is just growing and growing.  Through emails, our Yahoo Group and Facebook, everyone is so excited that it is finally here!

The maiden voyage of the West Coast Art Is You just finished up this week in Petaluma, Ca. and was a HUGE success, thanks to Sallianne  McClelland and Ellen Purtill-Legare, our fearless leaders.  As always these ladies have a way of weaving their magic and creating an art event that is hands above any other retreats.  They work long, hard hours to bring a host of fabulous teachers together with talented artists and it shows in the friendships that are forged and the excitement of everyone involved.

So most of my art supplies are packed.  Haven't given a thought to clothes yet but that will come this weekend.  I'm taking two fabulous classes and I will have pictures to post when I get back.  I'm teaching three wonderful workshops, The Art of Resin, Crocheting with Wire and Glass Beads, and Twisted Metals.  I'll have lots of pictures to share and I'm sure some great stories.

So if you aren't joining us this year at Art Is You, I'll bring back a little bit of the magic to share.  The art event is held on Columbus Day weekend every year, so plan on joining us next year.  The website is www.Art-Is-You.com .  Next year there will be three retreats, Petaluma, Ca. , Danbury, Ct., and Sydney, Australia !!!

Time to go finish packing!  Take some time to create art today, I guarantee you will feel good!

Monday, June 27, 2011


I am beyond excited!!  I just got word that I have been accepted to teach in 2012 at Art Is ...You (http://www.art-is-you.com/).  I have been blessed to have taught there in 2009, 2010, and now in Oct of 2011.  We have so many INCREDIBLE TEACHERS from all over the world (yes I did say world) that I was truly surprised and delighted to be asked to teach in 2012.

Please check out our website, which includes a West Coast Art Is in September 2011 and (drumroll please.....) Australia in 2012!!!  The talent of those who attend, whether teaching or taking is simply amazing, but the best part is the family atmosphere that Sal and Ellen have created.  We are truly a family, welcoming newcomers with open hearts and arms.

So please think about joining us either on the East Coast, West Coast or Down Under, I guarantee an experience beyond your wildest dreams!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Part 3 Storage for "Short on Studio Space", Incorporating art supplies into your home decor

Welcome to Part 3 of incorporating art supplies into your home decor, or as I like to think of it, storage ideas for people that are "Short on Studio Space".  First off let me tell you, I am the queen of thrift stores, flea markets, estate sales and dumpster diving.  Nothing  (not even a trip to Tiffany's ) could get me more excited than finding an old used up item and repurposing it.
When we were getting ready for the big move to the apartment, I realized that I had nowhere to put my fabric stash, other than in bins stored away in the garage.  With that in the back of my mind for months, my girlfriend and I happened to be at Volunteers of America and came across this awesome hutch and buffet.
It was made of a gorgeous maple ( I think) and at a fantastic price, I decided to take it on the spot.  The buffet (which is in the left corner) was equally as nice but I couldn't figure out anywhere to put it ( later regretted not buying it, note to self).
So we loaded up the hutch and brought it home to the garage of my house.  I immediately wanted to shabby chic it (much more my style than wood) so on a warm and gorgeous Satuday I made a party out of refinishing the hutch.
My brother and another girlfriend of mine happen to stop over and we spent the day cooking, a little drinking (ok alot of drinking), and layer upon layer of paint.  First we decided to bang up the hutch a bit, let me just say, what a great stress reliever!!!  I don't know who worked off the most stress but with a rawhide bone (my poor dog!), a hammer and a big rock, we set upon beating the daylights out of the hutch.  It was really quite comical, I would mention someone (or something) to my brother and he would beat the furniture with a " I hate her, I hate her, I hate her".  Needless to say we had a ball with that. 
Then came the layers of paint.
I started with an off white (it was in the basement and not being used), then went to a pea green (no clue where that came from) on the corners and insets, back to a ecru, and finished up with the gorgeous seaside blue you see here.
After it was painted we did more beating up on the wood and sanded off some corners and insets to bring out all the other colors painted underneath.  Finished by all of us signing the back with the date.
I love the way it came out and it fast became the favorite piece of furniture in our new home.  I filled it with alot of my fabric (sorry to say it did not hold all of my fabric but that's for another blog) but enough of my favorites.  I filled the lower drawers and shelves with threads, rulers and notions.
The top of the hutch houses my big wicker basket of small scraps (for my little art quilts) and 2 huge jars filled with buttons.  Oh, and my favorite, the embroidered art pillow that my friend Linda Reese made for me years ago.
Small scraps of fabric to use in small projects!  So much fun and such a fun way
to jump start your Artist Block!

Who doesn't love buttons?  Nothing is a better therapy exercise than sorting buttons!
I love this art pillow!
So that is the story of how my fabric got a proper home!  Stay tuned for more storage tips.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Part 2 Storage for "Short on Studio Space", Incorporating art supplies into your home decor

I simply fell in LOVE with this wrought iron mannequin, finished in a shabby chic soft green, while I was at Art Is...2010 (http://www.art-is-you.com/)  for info on this years FABULOUS Retreat) in Danbury Ct.  Sunday mornings there is The Elephant Trunk Flea Market nearby and what a host of treasures there are to be found!  I was on the last row of the flea market, when I happened upon this beauty and just had to bring her home with me.  I named her Sara Rose Mannie after my wonderful niece and off she came to upstate NY.

Not one to let any storage opportunity go by, I decided to use her as a jewelry display.  I put my favorite pieces of jewelry that I wear most often on her, and since she is right outside of my bedroom, it is easy to grab a piece as I'm heading out the door to work.
She has more room for earrings, necklaces and bracelets, but I"m careful not to overload her and take away from her nature beauty.

Next to Sara Rose Mannie, is yet another bookcase filled with books, storage boxes, shells and treasures that I love.  You may notice the 3 Clementine Boxes? 

Clementines are the new favorite citrus in our house (Brian will eat 3 or 4 at a time) and they come in these wonderful wood crates.  Now, after recycling dozens of crates, I decided to incorporate them in my storage. They now house my pickled and hand dyed fabrics.
  Beautiful to look at, and it keeps my fabric within arm's reach.
Stay tuned for more "Short on Studio Space" Storage ideas!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Short on Studio Space" Storage or Incorporating Art Supplies in Your Home

A little less than a year ago I downsized from a 2800 sq ft house to a 1100 sq ft apartment.  Having come from a huge house, not to mention a  full basement, 2 1/2 car garage and 1/2 acre of land, it was quite an adjustment to move to a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 small balconies and a one car (well, one after I fit all my "stuff" in the other parking space) garage.

I would not be having the luxury of a dedicated studio in our new home, but being unwilling to ever give up my art (it would be like not breathing, quite impossible really), I set about to give much thought to how to store my art supplies and how to carve out parts of our apartment for art, without making the apartment look cluttered.

I was sure that others had faced the same problem and I scoured many a book and magazine addressing the problem of small spaces, big (and sometimes messy) art.  I made sketch after scaled sketch of the apartment, down to the last detail and size of furniture, trying to figure out how a mixed media artist could make it all work.

While my son and I were deciding on the furnishings of our new home (casual, beachy style), I had to also incorporate how I was going to store a huge multitude of art supplies, not to mention where I would work on various mediums.

Since there wasn't  alot of storage space in the apartment, I decided that I would need to have my art supplies out in the open, so that they became a part of our home's decor while maintaining the uncluttered look that Brian and I love.

One way I did this was to store my yarns and fibers in the living room, next to the rocking chair (look closely at the first picture above to the left of the chair).  I purchased a few large floor size clear glass vases expressly for this purpose (love those 40% off coupons at craft stores!), and went about arranging my yarns in them.

Not only do the yarns look pretty, but I can see at anytime, what I need.  It's a win, win, situation!

Another storage problem that I had to deal with was how to store the vast multitude of art supplies I have amassed, while keeping most of them in plain view (for easier accessability and lack of storage space), but making it work with our new home's decor. 

I found the perfect solution, photograph boxes!  They are very affordable (especially if you wait for a sale like I did), very pretty and a great size.  I started out by buying about 3 dozen of them and went about sorting my supplies so that each box was designated for a type of supply. 

I had one very important rule, I would only keep what would fit into 1 box (of each supply of course).  I went about separating my supplies, paring down anything that did not fit in one storage box.  Then I very carefully labeled the photo boxes for easy accessibility.  I have boxes labeled: Colored Pencils, Markers, Glues and adhesives, euphemra (broken into categories, vintage, sewing, etc),  paints, paintbrushes, tools, grommets, small 3D inclusions, etc.

Then I grouped the photo storage boxes ( I went with solid bright colors and switched out the lids to change up the colors too) in categories, for ease of finding supplies.

I also have a weakness for books.  Novels, poetry, self help but especially art books.  I  had to decide where my vast colllection of books would be stored and I came up with the idea of many  bookcases scattered through out our apartment.

I also wanted to incorporate glass canning jars (quart or pint size) filled with collections of seashells, sand (crazy I know, but I collect sand from all beaches), buttons, glass beads layered in a variety of colors, ribbons and anything that is pretty. 

So my bookcases house a variety of books, photo boxes of supplies, interspersed with my transparent glass collection and canning jars of supplies.  It really worked out well, very striking, not at all cluttered and the best part, I'm surrounded by my art supplies and can put my finger on supply at a moments notice.

In the coming posts I will be sharing various parts of our new home and some tips and tricks on storing supplies in plain sight, by making them work into the decor of our living space. It's taken alot of thought, planning and the right accesories.
It is still a work in progress but I have had alot of fun rising to the challenge and Brian and I are pleased with how it looks, uncluttered, beachy and very, very comfortable.

Until we meet again, enjoy your life and don't forget to take time for creating art!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm in Quilting Heaven

About 21 years ago a friend introduced me to quilting.  I worked in a travel agency with mostly women and we decided to hold a monthly "Art & Craft Night" at the office.  Each one of us would teach a new type of craft.  My girlfriend decided to teach quilting, using the traditional log cabin pattern.  I remember going to JoAnn Fabrics and the excitement of  buying blue and peach fabrics, lovingly washing, ironing and cutting the fabric into strips with a rotary cutter.  I couldn't wait for the night of that class! 
I had taken Home Ec in high school and made a few required outfits, but, like my mother, I really didn't take to the sewing "bug".    You see my Mom hated sewing even though my Dad bought her a beautiful Singer machine when I was young.  The reason?  My Mom's father (my Grandpa who died when I was born) had been a tailor and had a tailor shop, "J. Cenname"  on State Street in Rochester, NY.  My Mom never wanted to learn because as she put it, "When I could go into my Dad's shop, pick out material and have him whip me up a suit or coat, why would I want to learn to sew?"
Well apparently, the sewing gene skipped a generation because I fell in love with, not so much sewing, but more specifically quilting and I have never look back.
I taught quilting and fiber art courses for years, but in the last 5 years had gotten away from it with the busy life of a mom, wife and career.
I was determined to get back into it because I have two Bernina sewing machines and a serger ( I worked part time for the Rochester Bernina dealer, Linda Fellows of The Bobbin Case) and my hands were just itching to quilt again.  I also, over the years have amassed quite the collection of beautiful fabrics ranging from whimsical to batiks. 

There is a saying in the sewing/quilting world that "She who dies with the most  fabric, wins" and I would come in at a close second to that.
So I set up my sewing cabinet, my cutting table and ironing board in Brian's room (since he's away at college) and have begun to quilt again.  I'm making a baby quilt for a girl who is like my daughter, a friend of Brian's and her mom is one of my closest friends. 
I cannot tell you the joy of designing a quilt, picking out fabrics, washing, ironing and rotary cutting them.  And then the ultimate of sitting down at my Bernina and making the magic happen.  Piecing the blocks, sewing them together to make the quilt top, sandwiching it with backing and batting and then either machine quilting or hand quilting it.  
I have always loved traditional quilts, my favorite being the double irish chain, but I have a passion for non traditional and making my own designs, as well as funky art quilts, which are much smaller and pieces of art to hang on the wall.
  If you are a quilter, you know the feeling.  If you're not, then I suggest you think about taking a fiber arts class or quilting class and you too, may experience the same joy it brings to me.  So I'm off to quilt for the afternoon and evening and I'll be in "Quilt Heaven"!!
"Mother's Day Madness" 10"x14" framed,
in Memory of my mom, Ursula C. Russell

"The deepest of feelings, shows itself in silence" Unknown

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Perfect Day to Play

It's a perfect day to play!
17degrees outside, it's a beautiful day with no
snow in the forecast, but lots on the ground.
I went into my hardware supplies and
found washers in various sizes
and decided to see what I could do to
make them into earrings.
I grabbed my "sticky" glue, gold leaf foiling flakes
and set out to make foiled earrings.
I "painted" the sticky glue on one side of the washers,
Let it dry, flipped over and painted the other side as well.
Then I took my gold leaf flakes (available at any craft store)
and put them in a cardboard box (don't use plastic because
the flakes will stick to the plastic) and I grabbed my washers and
coated them on both sides with the gold leaf.
When everything was covered I took a sponge and sponged off any excess
leafing, making the washers nice and smooth.
I coupled the washers together with huge colored jump rings, added
earring findings and Viola! 
I have beautiful new earrings to wear.
It took about 1/2 hour total.
Surely you can find a 1/2 hour today to do something
for yourself.  You will feel wonderful!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 A New Year, A New Beginning

I always love the beginning of a new year. Everything is fresh, a time to reflect on the past, make plans for the future and reevaluate your life. I am not one for making New Year's resolutions, I think they are a waste of my time and energy. I prefer to live everyday to it's fullest in it's ever changing way.
This year is especially a fresh start for me. My divorce was finalized on the 29th day of December, my wonderful job with Hear For You will be coming to an end soon as we close the Rochester offices and I continue to look for a new job in a career that involves customer service and business administration.
For those of you who do not know the wonderful guy in the picture with me, that is the love of my life, my son Brian Russell Horn. Brian has embarked on his own journey this year, as his studies have taken him to London, England for the semester. He is a Political Science and American Studies double major at Hobart William Smith College in Geneva, NY. He left on the 5th of Jan. to study for four months in England and he is loving exploring "Brit" style.  We knew that we were a small part English and love all the pictures of  the word Russell in England!

Brian and I are looking forward to beginning this new year with adventure, wonderment and whatever 2011 holds for us. I am sure it won't be filled with all goodness and light but we have learned how to weather the storms and keep on fighting through to find the positive and good in our lives. We are truly blessed to have each other, our family and our friends.
May you all look forward to 2011 and have a Healthy and Happy New Year.

What Will Be, Will Be

My mother always used to tell me "What will be, will be". I always hated when she said that because I never could figure out what it meant. It's taken me 30 years, multiple heartaches, times of great joy and downright depression and grief, but I have finally figured it out. I'm sure my mom is sitting by the ocean in heaven (That's where I get my passion for water) and smiling, thinking, "She's finally got it, my Diane". She always called me "my Diane", words that I would give anything to hear just one more time. And my Dad is sitting next to her saying "Christ, it took her long enough!".

They say "Time heals all wounds". They say "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger". They say "Give it time, things will turn around". And they are always right.Now if I can just figure out who "they" are....

My life hit a rough patch about 16 months ago, well let's be honest, it pretty much went spiraling out of control. Or at least, out of MY control. I lost my job on Feb 4, 2009 due to the economy. A few hours later I drove my Dad to Strong Hospital for what was to be an overnight stay for him to have a test run. We left 8 weeks later with a terminal diagnosis. I continued to take care of him, watch him suffer and slowly he lost strength and use of his limbs, and 8 weeks after coming back from Strong, he died a peaceful death at Hildebrandt, the Hospice center in Rochester with my brother Bobby and I watching over him throughout the long night, into his favorite tee time: 6;55am.

Then a few weeks after that, of mutual agreement, my husband left our home and marriage of 29 years.In a matter of months I had lost my Dad, my husband, my job, my happiness, my world.  We put our house on the market and that was just one more loss. I had sunk pretty low and had a hard time pulling myself out of bed in the morning. The only thing that kept me going was my faith, my son, my family and my friends. Now as I face the 1 year anniversary of my Dad's death,I realize how right my Mom was,"What will be, will be".

I lost total control of my life last year and still haven't gotten it back. But I realize now that I never did or ever will have total control of my life. I didn't realize until today, that losing control was why I hated when my Mom used that saying. But she was wise beyond her years, something I wish that she would have shared with me before she died.  But I know now that it is a lesson that we must all learn on our own. And it is a lesson that is frustrating, hurtful, sad, but one what we must all learn.

We do not control our destiny, We can do things to "steer the ship" called our life, through our actions, words, thoughts and the way we choose to live our lives. BUT total control is impossibleand now that I realize that, it's not such a bad thing. If I have a strong faith and trust that I am doing what I feel is right, then that is all I can ask for out of life.  The higher powers that be, have a plan and I can only pray, meditate and trust. And that my friends, is EVERYTHING.