Thanks for visiting my blog! MudBay Musings chronicles creative journeys, with inspiration and humor I find along the way... including my mother's and my artwork, stories, local bird life and garden favorites...
all of which I hope will bring a smile to your heart.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Thank you all for joining the Blog Party and sharing your thoughts and artwork. Your beautiful prose and creations are an inspiration!

Beth finds much inspiration in nature - her imaginative drawings and cloud paintings will knock your socks off! See her wonderful artwork and photography on her blog.

Lyneen finds inspiration in her collections of buttons and gifts people have given her; she displays these treasures in her studio. Check out Lyneen's blog to see how she uses some of these buttons in goodies in her artwork - you will love her creativity and enthusiasm (and she always has the latest news on "what's happening...").

Pammy Jo momentarily felt as though her muse was drowning from lack of sunshine, but sledded on through February journaling, reclaiming space and doing some wonderful painted "prairie portraits." See her lovely artwork here.

Sandy has had quite a prolific month creating beautiful cards! She is inspired by OWH and takes many photos to share with OWH donors; she's created an inspirational project honoring Operation Write Home, too. Other things about Sandy.... she has a sketchbook for jotting down ideas, says her cards sometimes subtly reflect her moods, like me loves those walks in the woods and on the beach (but doesn't do that nearly often enough), feels the burden of mowing and dandelions by mid-June, loves to snuggle with Ciara, has a bright yellow car, loves watching birds at her feeder in the morning, loves the sound of bacon frying (yes!!), loves blogging, has gained control over those flea market-garage sale urges. Thanks to Sandy for sharing her heart with us.

Shelly has a wonderful sense of humor that will captivate you, and makes the most scrumptious things (like cake toppers and decorated boxes) out of paper... oh my goodness... Yummy enough to eat! With trims and embellishments galore. Her blog truly will bring some bling into your life! Her three art muses are her Angel/Cherub "Emma" who was inspired by her "Oma (Grandmother)," her "Marla on Maple," mannequin head, and God. To read her comments in their entirety click here.

Wrightstuff undoubtedly draws deep down for her inspiration - her paintings are beautifully enchanting... some of the most soulful eyes I've ever seen. And, many congrats to her on her100th Post Anniversary this month!

Paula writes from her heart, and her words will touch your soul. Her words flow like a river of poetry - a beautiful, inspirational blog.

Thanks, Melanie for joining in as well; we'd love to read about your inspiration on your blog when you're ready.

It's a Blog Party!

(Scroll down for recent posts - this post will remain at the top of the list until the end of February.)

It's a Blog Party - and you're invited!

February is international Muse Month! Let's celebrate by having a "Muse" Blog Party!

OK, I admit I just made up the part about February being international Muse Month, but doesn't a Muse Blog Party sound like fun? For some of us, months of winter have been upon us, pelting us with rain, sleet, snow and frigid temperatures. What better way to recharge our inspiration batteries then pay tribute to our Muse? For those of you who are in the middle of a warmer season, perhaps a diversion from that is warranted as well.

Have you created a piece of artwork that embodies the spirit of your Muse? Are there people in your life that constantly inspire you? Do you have an inspiration shelf or board in your studio? Do your emotions find their way into your artwork? Are you renewed by taking walks in the beach or woods? Does working in your garden refresh your soul? Do the antics of your children or pets keep you grounded? Do you love to surround yourself with particular colors? Does watching your feathered friends give you wings? Do favorite sounds or fragrances ignite the writer within? Does journaling give life to, or put to rest, your innermost thoughts? Does the mere mention of a yard sale or flea market make your heart jump for joy? Does your everyday world have another life through the magic of a lens?

We each have our unique way of seeing the world, and as a result each have our own story to tell. This Blog Party is all about sharing those things, however small, that ignite our creativity and inspire us to record, share and embellish our lives.

Oh, and if you feel you've momentarily lost or misplaced your Muse, join us anyway... we've all felt that way at one time or another. To kick off the party, I'll be sharing an original tale about a tiny Fledgling Princess named Artiste', who of all things... loses her Muse!

If you'd like to join in the Blog Party, leave a link to your blog here in the comments to this post so we can find you, and pay tribute to your Muse on your blog during the month of February. Grab the official Party badge at the top of my sidebar!

Happy "Muse Month" - and thanks for joining the Party!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Antique Album Pages

I've had SO much fun during the last day! My dear friend Lyneen gifted me with the most wonderful antique cabinet card album - really blew my socks off! I was speechless - which is a bit unusual for me. Lyneen loves these antique albums and cabinet cards more than anyone else I know (myself excepted), so to part with this was quite a sacrifice. Well, Lyneen... rest assured that as much as you loved this album - I cherish it even More!

To see what fun I had digitally altering this album page, and to access other free vintages images, take a peek at my images blog:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Birds of a Feather

Thanks to The Three Muses for this wonderful challenge - "Birds of a Feather." One of my favorite topics! This little Junco told me he would like to join in the fun!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Fledgling Princess - A Fairy Tale for Artists

The Fledgling Princess

A Fairy Tale for Artists
Anyone Who Has Ever
Lost Their Muse

An Original Fairy Tale and Photographs

Catherine Mitchell, copyright 2010

Once upon a time, there was a tiny Fledgling Princess named Artiste', who lived in an Enchanted Garden where smiling flowers wore skirts of crinkled silk and shimmering jewels of morning dew, butterflies flirted with the breeze, bees busily groomed pollen-laden blossoms, and everyone sang songs because they were happy in heart and it never occurred to them not to sing.

Mornings were a magical time in the Garden. Overnight frost embellished the tiniest leaves with dainty picot edging, while leaving remnants of ghostly feathers upon the rocks. As soft rays of sunlight trickled through the fog slowly warming the Garden to life, a myriad of songs began their crescendo into a glorious symphony.
Honeysuckle blossoms dripped from the arbor, hiding a secretive regiment of ants - their bodies plump with sweet nectar as they made their continuous journeys to and fro. It truly was an Enchanted Garden, gloriously alive with the mundane and ordinary, just as every breath and heartbeat articulates its own tiny miracle.
Fledgling Artiste' had bravely negotiated the many trials thrust upon her when leaving her soft, safe nest, but soon she would face even bigger tests in life, as is the curse befalling all true Princesses.
One of Artiste's responsibilities was to tend the Enchanted Garden. If truth be told, that was her only responsibility. To aid her in her toil, Artiste' was bestowed with Inspiration, whose name was Muse.
Muse was a precious companion, opening Artiste's eyes to the extraordinary beauty of the Garden, teaching her to appreciate its wonder down to the most minute detail.

Although Artiste' adored her Enchanted Garden home, she soon became a bit spoiled, and a bit bored, as is often the case with Fledgling Princesses.
One day, Artiste' awoke to find that Muse, her Inspiration and the life of the Garden, had vanished. At first Artiste' was angry, as she felt betrayed by Muse. But more importantly, like most Princesses, she did not enjoy being alone. Artiste's anger soon turned to despair. She had taken Muse for granted.
Nothing was the same without her beloved Muse. The once-vibrant hues and tantalizing textures of the Garden now seemed flat and lifeless. For days, Artiste' mourned Muse's departure. Then, one day, as all real Princesses must eventually learn to do, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She would enlist the help of her friends, she determined, and together they would search for Muse.
Artiste' thought it prudent to first pay a visit to Owl, as Owl had the reputation for being the wisest bird in the garden. "A missing Muse will not be easy to find," pontificated Owl. "Quite difficult. Yes, quite difficult indeed. I believe knowledge is the key to solving this problem. You are welcome to immerse yourself in my vast library... perhaps it is there you will find your Muse."

Artiste' thanked Owl for his wise words. She eagerly ruffled and rummaged through Owl's collection of tomes, but Muse was not in the Owl's books.
As Artiste' continued on her journey, she happened across Crow. She was very pleased, as crow was always apprised of current goings-on in the Garden. Surely if anyone knew where to find Muse, it would be Crow. "Oh, I know just what you need," said Crow. "You need someone to talk to! I will be glad to tell my friends about your plight, and then they can tell their friends. Soon, everyone will know about the disappearance of Muse. The more we talk about your problem, the better chance we have of solving it. I do believe that endless conversation is the best way to find Muse."

The thought of endless conversation made Artiste' feel very weary. She thanked crow for being so willing to help, but knew that talking would not help her find Muse.

Squirrel, who had been listening to the conversation with Crow from a nearby tree, immediately chimed in, "Oh, I believe that worrying is definitely the way to solve this dilemma. Whenever I face a challenge, I sit and wring my hands - doing so always helps me think. Worrying is a form of thinking, you know."

Pigeon, also listening from the same tree, vacantly cooed, "Life is too short to be talking and worrying all of the time, Artiste'. Just empty your mind, let go of your thoughts, and then... if you wonder what you should do next, just follow what everyone else does. This life strategy sure works for me... by the way, who did you say you were looking for?"

Artiste' realized her friends were trying their best to be helpful, but in spite of their efforts, her troubles left her feeling quite forlorn.

On she trudged to Jay's home, hoping he would have a solution. "Perhaps we should bury your problems," said Jay. "I've buried my problems in the Garden for years, and doing so has served me well. Out of sight, out of mind, I always say. However, I admit I do run across some of those old problems from time to time."

Artiste' sighed to herself. The last thing she wanted was to revisit the same problem again years down the road. This was certainly not the path to finding Muse.

As Artiste' wandered on, Woodpecker suddenly swooped down across her path. "I think being yourself is highly overrated. Believing you are someone else is much more interesting! Why, look at me... I'm not a Woodpecker, I'm a Medieval Griffon - defender of castles and princesses in distress." And with that bizarre display, he was gone again just as mysteriously as he had arrived.

Stifling a giggle, Artiste' wearily shook her head. As cryptic as it was, she understood Woodpecker's point. But, she knew that silly charades would not gain her an audience with Muse. She would never find Muse by pretending to be someone else.

Flicker, not to be outdone by Woodpecker, thought of a more palatable ruse, "Perhaps a more covert operation is called for. Disguising your voice could aid you in sneaking up on Muse. I have various intonations in my repertoire, each with its own objective. By varying my voice, it is quite easy to camouflage my whereabouts."
Although Artiste' appreciated the suggestion, she knew she would not get any closer to finding Muse by imitating someone else's voice or using someone else's words.

As the day was rapidly coming to its end, Artiste' began to grow more and more concerned. She hoped Townsend would have a novel idea; he was quite brave and inventive. Just then, she heard his excited twitter, "I'm here to save the day!" he exclaimed. "Perhaps someone has stolen Muse and will be frightened into submission if confronted by the legendary Masked Avenger!"

Although she admired Townsend's enthusiasm, Artiste' knew she would never be able to fit into his costume. Furthermore, she knew she would never find Muse by wearing a mask or disguise.

Artiste' had one more prospect in hopes of finding Muse. Nuthatch was an expert problem-solver, having raised so many children. When Artiste' explained her dilemma, Nuthatch pondered for a moment between feeding her babies and then thoughtfully replied,

"Perhaps all you need is a different perspective. In our family, we spend at least half of each day upside down. That way, no matter which way is up, we are seeing things the correct way at least half of the time!"

Artiste' felt a slight headache coming on at the mere mention of spending half of her life upside down, but the idea of a fresh perspective began to whittle away at her heart.


By now, Artiste' was exhausted. The day was at its end. How would she ever find Muse? Her friends, although well-meaning, had not been able to help her unlock this mystery.
What would come of her beloved Garden now? Without Muse, the Garden will surely die, she thought, and perhaps she would wither away as well. Artiste' was overwhelmed with emotion, as Princesses are often prone to do.

Fearing all was lost, she wept until she felt as though she would have no tears left and hung her head in despair. "Can one go on living without the capacity to see or express beauty?" she cried.
As if to answer, something softly fluttered against her cheek. Through her tired, tearful eyes, Artiste' beheld the most beautiful sight - the angelic wings of her very own Fairy Godmother!

"Artiste', you have done well," said Fairy Godmother, her melodic voice soothing Artiste' like a cool stream on a hot summer day.
"But how can that be?" agonized Artiste', "For Muse is gone. I am unable to tend the garden and shall never be inspired again!"
Fairy Godmother, who was not only very kind but also very wise, replied, "Although you lost your Muse, you stood your ground through many well-meaning suggestions, which if implemented, would have certainly caused you additional turmoil. Everyone must chose their own path, and you have learned the importance of staying true to yourself and following your own heart."
"You have proven that you are ready to take responsibility for your life and are ready to guard the gifts that have been bestowed upon you."

"As of this day, you are no longer a Fledgling Princess - your full royal name shall now be known as The Princess Artiste', Keeper of the Enchanted Garden."
"Now, close your eyes and open your heart," instructed Fairy Godmother, as she sprinkled Princess Artiste' with enchanted fairy dust.

Squirrel, who was observing in awe from a nearby fence, closed her eyes too, out of solidarity.
For what seemed like an eternity, Artiste' kept her eyes shut tight. As she did, swirls of fairy dust raged around her. Then all at once, the whirlwind subsided.
Slowly, Artiste' opened her eyes... scarcely daring to breathe. "The Garden - it's beautiful again!" she gasped. At once she was overwhelmed by the intensity of colors and textures that enveloped her. Melodies entwined around her like vines, culminating in a glorious symphony.

It was all so clear to her now. Her Muse, true enchantment, had been there all along - right in her very own heart. She had only to open her eyes and look beyond herself to see the incredible beauty that was present before her.
From that day on, Princess Artiste' blissfully tended the Enchanted Garden, with friends at her side and Muse in her heart. And they all lived very happily ever after.

Like all classic fairy tales, this one has a moral, too:
Be true to yourself and follow your heart, and you will find your Muse.

The End

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Recognize Anyone?

For all of you other mixed-media / found object / assemblage / collage artists out there....
You know you are a Mixed-Media artist when:

  1. You've attempted to weave your own faux bird's nest.
  2. You see a gorgeous antique Lalique necklace and Tiffany pocket watch on Antiques Roadshow and can't stop wondering how they fabricated those amazing, fitted boxes.
  3. You regularly find rocks, shells and feathers in the dryer and don't wonder how they got there.
  4. You buy plants based on whether the leaves would make good prints, PMC earring bases, or molds for concrete bird feeders.
  5. When you break a plate, you're secretly happy about the guilt-free addition to your mosaic supply box.
  6. You save the lint from your dryer and keep it sorted by color.
  7. You've posted pictures of tree bark, weathered wood, broken windows or iridescent oily puddles on your blog.
  8. You postpone cleaning the algae off the sidewalk or repainting the fence because you find the weathered colors and textures to be an inspiration.
  9. You have more than one (OK, more than ten) button box or jar.
  10. You've tried making your own "handmade paper with inclusions" at least once.
  11. You buy ugly old lamps and fixtures at garage sales just for the crystals.
  12. You use your heat gun to melt things that require you to wear a respirator.
  13. You've drawn, stamped or attached wings to something within the last two months.
  14. You have several antique optometrist lenses - and know how you will use them.
  15. You've made a bracelet or necklace using charms you've made from your "lone" earrings.
  16. You rust things on purpose.
  17. You've been squirreling away your dog's shed hair in a shoebox.
  18. You've used your gas grille to strip the paint off of any metal object.
  19. You see a cooking show detailing how to make creme brulee, and instead of inspiring your palate, it prompts you rush to your studio to heat-patina some copper mesh.
  20. You save leftover tea or coffee for dyeing fabric and paper, and use the spent tea bags or coffee filters in your artwork.
  21. You know what ATCs, twinchies, moos and fat books are.
  22. You know what day the new arrivals are shelved at the thrift store.
  23. You think those bakery cupcakes would look better with a touch of glitter.
  24. You have more tools in your studio than in your garage.
  25. You compliment your friend's new sweater, but what you're really thinking is, "I wonder if that would felt in hot water?"