Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall Mosaic

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
                                                                                                   --Albert Camus

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Seek Peace

Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

    "Seek peace and pursue it."
                                                                                                                                  --Psalm 34:14


Monday, October 9, 2017

Backbone State Park

This image is of the boathouse at Backbone State Park in scenic northeast Iowa.  As the state's first state park, it remains one of the most unique as it is named for the steep and narrow ridge of rock cut by a loop of the Maquoketa River.  And, as a result, the highest point in this area was formed and is still referred to as the Devil's Backbone.  Although it is delightfully beautiful in all seasons, autumn is a perfect time to visit.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Register Now!

The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. All purchased supplies will be yours to take home and continue practicing of this exciting method of pattern drawing. The class instructor is a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) who has trained with the Zentangle founders. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at
Class #:         59487
Date:              Wednesdays, Nov. 1 –15
Time:             6- 8 p.m.
Cost:              $39 / Additional Supply Fee Due the First night of class
Instructor:    Stephanie Funke
Location:      NICC Manchester Center, 1200 ½ W. Main St.

Registration Deadline: Monday, Oct. 30

Monday, October 2, 2017


Octo by Stephanie Funke, CZT

Recently I named this creation "Octo" but upon further observation I noticed there were more than eight tentacles; therefore, this is more accurately known as Octo Plus One.  Unlike most of my tangles, this was different as I didn't have a preconceived idea about where it would end or the shape it would take.  And, I love it as it swims perpetually on the paper and flows effortlessly in all directions.

"My mind's an octopus reaching tentacles of thought in eight different directions at once."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fall Colors

"Autumn paints in colors that summer has never seen."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Here's One

Tangle by Stephanie Funke, CZT

Each time I tangle my tendency is do begin with something easy and or very familiar; however, I have challenged myself to try new patterns and incorporate those into new tangles.  This image is an example of trying a few new things.  And, what appears to be several 'yin and yang' circles are a new favorite as they are super easy, fit in anywhere and add a neat new dimension to a tangle.   Visit to learn more about this delightful art form. 

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
                                                                   --Erich Fromm

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Blanket of Blooms

Each year I look forward to this blanket of delicate white blooms that adorns much of our home's facade.  Specifically it is a perennial known as Sweet Autumn Clematis.  This is not the only late-flowering clematis variety but certainly is one of my favorites as it is hearty, and provides nesting habitat for small song birds and shade for the house.

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet."
                                                              --James Oppenheim

Monday, September 18, 2017

Homecoming Parades

In Iowa an annual fall tradition is a Homecoming football game along with a parade.  Of course, two mainstays in these special events are the marching band and floats.  The week is filled with all sorts of activities that involve students and the community.  In my area of the state some high schools just concluded these festivities but most are still to come.  Look for what's going on in your area.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A "Funke" Creation

Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

"Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"
                                                             --Dr. Seuss

Monday, September 11, 2017

Home Sweet Home

 "Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style."
                                                       --Billy Baldwin

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Bit of Whimsy

"You must not ever stop being whimsical.  And you must not, ever,
give anyone else the responsibility for your life."
                                     --Mary Oliver

Monday, September 4, 2017

Mix It Up

Stuck in a rut?  If so, use these images as inspiration.

Begin with something mundane or predictable or common.

Then give it a slightly different twist.  Maybe that means drink your cup of coffee outside on the steps instead of at your kitchen table.  Or, instead of adding salt to your food, today you add pepper or some olive oil.  Take it easy on this Labor Day holiday but have some fun as well.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


"Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."

Monday, August 28, 2017


Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT
Recently I completed these six tangles to give as gifts to my nieces and nephews.  Each contains a first initial with some, for the little tykes, being quite obvious and others, for the teens, a bit more inconspicuous.  Take a closer look and see if you can detect the letter.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


"Just living is not must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
                                          --Hans Christian Anderson

Monday, August 21, 2017


Artwork by Stephanie Funke, CZT

"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."
                                          --Herman Melville

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