Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gardens at The Elms

My recent trip to Newport, RI, included at tour of The Elms mansion that was completed in 1901 for approximately $1.4 million.   Of course, the interior is stunning with a collection of Renaissance ceramics, 18th century French and Venetian paintings as well as Oriental jades.  But, my favorite part of the property was the Classical Revival gardens that were created between 1907 and 1914. Featured are a couple images that show the marble pavilion in the sunken garden; however, throuhgout the gardens are terraces with marble and bronze sculpture, a park with multiple prized species of trees, fountains, and a carriage house.  Have a look.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Inspiring Creativity

Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."
                                                                                --Edward de Bono

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Breakers

As noted on the website of the Preservation Society of Newport County, "The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer 'cottages' and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America."  Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt established the family fortune through his involvement in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad.  Later the Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became Chairman and President of the NY Central Railroad and was responsible for the creation of this 70-room Italian Renaissance Palazzo style mansion.  Be sure to check out my photos but also learn much more about all the Newport mansions by going to

2 for regular hot and cold while the other 2 were for salt water obtained from the ocean

Monday, August 7, 2017

Newport Flower Show

A few weeks ago my husband and I attended the 22nd annual Newport Flower Show.  Wow!  It was a splendid event and almost difficult to put into words as it is held at the Rosecliff Mansion (of the Gilded Age) with hundreds of vendors, amazingly beautiful horticulture displays / arrangements inside the mansion and out, the rose garden at the Rosecliff (which is home to the American Beauty rose) and the ocean as a backdrop.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend, do it.

The Rosecliff Mansion

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Full of Crop

It's that time of the year when rural Iowa truly is brimming with fields of corn and soybeans.  From border to border in any direction, the Hawkeye State is full of crops, gently rolling hills, trees and waterways along with thousands of farmers hoping that Mother Nature works her magic in their favor.  With scenery such as this, I often recall the lyrics from "The Iowa Corn Song" that say, "We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.  That's where the tall corn grows."

Monday, July 31, 2017

Providence, RI

Since 1994 Providence, Rhode Island, residents have enjoyed what is known as WaterFire -- a public art installation and annual festival .  There are 86 anchored burning braziers (each with approximately 33 pieces of wood) that are mounted on steel tripods and float just above the surface of the waterways that flow through downtown Providence.  In the photo below be sure to notice the boats that are full of additional wood as those vessels operate for the duration of the event as the firewood is replenished in the 86 receptacles.  There is music along with vendors and thousands of folks who enjoy the riverfront walkways and surrounding streets.  Truly, this is a magnificent event.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Puzzle Fun

So, who took the last piece?  In my family there is a particular aunt who is always the primary "suspect."  Anyway, in this photo, I hid the piece and would like to hear if you find it.  Given the repeating patterns and colors along with the grassy green background, this image was the perfect choice for this challenge.  Have a look.

Monday, July 24, 2017

JFK & Jackie Married Here

So, back to Newport, Rhode Island and a stop at St. Mary's Catholic Church where JFK and Jackie were married in September of 1953.  The exterior is delightful with its Gothic architecture and one can try to imagine the scene of the historic wedding and newly married couple as they emerged through the large wooden doors.  The site is located at a busy intersection with multiple lanes of traffic, towering trees and narrow New England streets; therefore, I had trouble getting decent vertical shots of the church.  Of course, the structure was locked but masses are still held regularly in this location.

The above scene makes me wonder just who attended the wedding and waited outside these doors to greet the newlyweds.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Chicken Creek Studio in Manchester, Iowa, will host guest artist, Stephanie Funke, on Wednesday, July 26th. Join us Wednesday evening, July 26th from 7:00-9:00 p.m.for Tangle Time with Stephanie.

Learn how to draw beautiful images with repetitive patterns using the Zentangle® Method (learn more at and experience its calming effects as you get lost in your own creation. All materials will be provided and you will take home what you need to continue your practice of this exciting art form. This class is for anyone -- no worries about artistic ability.

The cost is $25 per person (includes materials that you will keep). Space is limited so reserve your spot today! This is a great technique for all ages. Our evening classes are limited to ages 8 years and older.

Chicken Creek Studio
2614 197th Avenue
Manchester, IA  52057

Register via one of the following contacts:


Monday, July 17, 2017

Remain an Artist

Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."
                                                                                 --Pablo Picasso

Thursday, July 13, 2017

International Tennis Hall of Fame

Most people think of the Newport mansions and sailing vessels lining the harbor, but most forget that it is also home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum.  Since I am an avid tennis fan and love playing the game, I was eager to visit and was not disappointed.  The following are some images of the property, including women playing doubles on a grass court.  Next time I'm taking my racket.


View from just inside the above entrance


Monday, July 10, 2017

In the Harbor

These images are scenes from the harbor in Newport, Rhode Island.  Yes, this is a city by the sea on Aquidneck Island and all sorts of vessels are visible in this beautiful setting.  In the next few weeks look for more pictures from my visit to New England.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

"Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love."
                                                                                       --Mother Teresa

Monday, July 3, 2017

4th of July

"One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation forevermore!"
                                                              --Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A "Tri-Tangle"

Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
                                         --Albert Einstein

Monday, June 26, 2017


"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
                                                    --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 22, 2017

50 Years

In a few days this couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary -- congratulations!  And yes, they are my parents.  Here's to them and their devotion to one another.

"A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love,
trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.
The order varies for any given year."

Monday, June 19, 2017

Catch the Wind

"When the winds of change blow,
some people build walls and others build windmills."
                                        --Chinese proverb

Thursday, June 15, 2017


"Sandwich every bit of criticism between two heavy layers of praise."
                                                                     --Mary Kay Ash

Monday, June 12, 2017

In Simple Terms

"I walk.

I look.

I see.

I stop.

I photograph."

                                           --Leon Levinstein

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dirty the Paper


"All art is but dirtying the paper delicately."
               --John Ruskin

Monday, June 5, 2017

Got Chives?

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Center Circle

"...If you have a sketchbook, open it and start by making a line, a mark, wherever.  Doodle."
                                                                                          --Chris Riddell

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In Season

                  "The expert in anything was once a beginner."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Be Bright

"There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
                                            --Edith Wharton

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tranquil Setting

"The ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquility."

Monday, May 15, 2017



"No color will ever be brighter for me than black and white."
                                                                --Alessandro del Piero