Trying to Fly?

Imitation Wings

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight. Psalm 3:5-6

I have experienced the difference between trying to fly (living in my own strength), and taking flight (trusting in the Lord).

lyrics from “the Walking Dead” on “My Heart’s Lament” Album. featured in my upcoming book “The Faith Keeper”.

initial image from, added quote and design by Cindy Palin

Creating a Collage of Achievements

Knee surgery, among other less invasive issues, has kept me from my spring cleaning.  But it didn’t stop us from  having a house concert with Ben Rogers, Dan Zepick, and our daughter Julie Palin!  Class act indeed!

After the dust settled and Monday morning came, I hobbled slowly down the stairs to choose another forgotten object off the shelf.  This time – a Fire Fighter license plate.  My husband volunteered with our hometown Fire Department for fifteen years.  Once he recognized (in his own words) that he wasn’t getting quality time with his toddler children, he quit.  Everyone thought I put him up to it, but he made that decision on his own.  I think he decided being part of his children’s lives was just as important as saving lives.  He may have stopped putting out flames, but having him home kept the home fires burning.

Recently I framed his Carpentry Apprenticeship Certificates and hung them above the desk he made for his final project.  This license plate is going to add to the collage of his achievements.  However, rather than frame it just because I can (we own and operate a custom framing business called; My hometown Framing), I thought hanging it much like a sign would be the trendy thing to do.

I visited and pinned a few of  my “license plate” choices on a new board called; license plate art.  The selection is vast and varied, but I selected only those that suited our home.  One in particular stood out, with a black background.  I was actually looking to find choices with the plate standing alone (without a frame).  If I decide to hang the plate without a frame, I want to use the same hardware you would use to fasten a plate to your vehicle, but only a false front look, as you don’t want big nut and bolt holes in your wall.

Next, I searched pinterest for ideas on hanging different kinds of art on the wall together.  It is one thing for me to create a collage of art on our art rail, and a whole other story to create a collage above my husband’s desk.

We have a letter “P” that my sister gave us one Christmas.  I noticed that many of the wall collages contained different shaped frames with an object or two, like a “letter/alphabet” to create interest.  I’ve decided to hang the letter in the collage as well, since it represents our last name.  The letter was designed with an inset hanging device on the back, so a simple nail should do.

I’ll be sure to pin a picture of this collage – to my pinterest board,



Spring Cleaning Responsibly – Recycle

When you’re cleaning off shelves, especially those in the basement, photo albums are not the only keepsakes that can take you back in time.  How about a plastic floppy disc container?  When was the last time you used a floppy disc?   I used them in the 80’s, when I worked at Extension Services at Olds College.

This floppy disc container looks official, grey, clean lines, with a lock – but no key.  I searched for it briefly, the proverbial needle in a haystack.  I tried the detective move, the one we’ve seen countless of times on television.  Sharp objects in both the key opening and the drawer jam at the same time.  Wiggle them around with a measure of umph!  No luck.  It now sits by my kitchen sink, freshly washed, waiting patiently for my daughter and husband to come home and break into it – hopefully.

There are floppy discs inside, I could tell when I shook it.  But my guess – they’re of no importance and could easily be shredded and recycled.  Besides, if they were important, would I not have done something with them by now?

VERY IMPORTANT:  do not throw your unwanted plastic household items in the garbage!  Plastic does not break down in a landfill, nor should we pass off the object onto someone else for them to deal with – two of my largest pet peeves.

In the meantime I went forward into the future to the internet, to Pinterest and other sites to explore ideas for recycling such a “thing”.

You may want to visit:, to see how you can make colorful, industrial looking planters from floppy discs.

You may want to visit Pinterest.  Whether or  not you have a free account, you can still use the search browser with in Pinterest and type in “floppy disc containers, or boxes”.  There you will find similar planter ideas and may come up with some of your own.  For example, if my container didn’t have holes, I could turn it vertical and use it as a vase – it would make a great office vase.  The floppy discs inside could be made into containers as well, by following the directions on the above sites.  I could potentially end up with two containers that compliment each other.  Painting them is an option as well.


One site mentioned converting the container into a recipe card holder.  Great idea if it suits your decor.  Do not fill your home with recycled projects if they do not suit your decor.  You can always use these ideas as gifts for the more suitable scenarios.

We know that plastic does not break down and should not be in our land fills.  And on that note I found an interesting site to read up on such things:

Have fun cleaning this spring and do it responsibly – recycle.


The Defining Stroke

I reached for yet another generic photo album eager to find something to throw away. Instead, I found a long forgotten door to the past, a colorful vignette of yesterday with the first tiny stroke towards who I am today – a musician.

After our third child was born, I gave myself permission to write again, with the understanding that I would also record if possible.  I had written a song that a fellow musician took a liking to, and he suggested I enter it into a competition in Estes Park, Colorado.

We found a company on the internet that would professionally score and print my song called:  We Are the Church.  I sent my entry application off, and my husband and I began planning a family vacation to Colorado – with the intent to spend a large portion of it at the 1994 music competition.

Inside the album lay several adjudication papers with scores and judge’s comments.  I read through them boldly, unabashed about what I might find.  Writing is much like art – very subjective.  The song or canvas might be a masterpiece to one person, and a scribble to another, regardless of what you the author or artist may think.

Interestingly enough, although composition is still a large part of my life, the old adjudication papers quickly found themselves at the bottom of my waste paper basket.  They had no value left.  I had won no accolades or awards, but took the experience to heart, hoping it would add color to the music of tomorrow.

After the loose paperwork had been disposed of, the plastic pages of the album were revealed – pictures of our trip to Colorado.  Treasures that had lay hidden for over 19 years.  I looked into the eyes of those faces, my 35-year-old husband, our three children and our beloved babysitter Natasha.

Perhaps the most defining stroke of the brush upon my heart,  is the one that spells mother? Is there anything worth writing about if you have not loved?  Is there anything worth writing about if you have not given birth to a child?  And I have three!

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

*I scanned the photos that were most important to me and began a digital album project on, called; Estes Park, Colorado.  When it is published I will put a link to it on this page.




The Piano

Denim in color with a fine coat of dust, and a faded Avery label at the top.  The handwritten title on the hardcover notebook read:  Will Notes – J A R Palin.

I opened the three-ring cover and found the brand “Hilroy”, size 8 1/2 x 5 1/5.The inside was a hounds tooth pattern, black and white.  The yellowed edged paper with rounded corners framed my father-in-law’s handwriting.  And what was the first item he wrote about willing to someone?  The Piano.

I skimmed through, from beginning to end of this first special notation to find the date:    April 8th, 1990, and the name of the person who was to receive the piano.

I scampered out to the shop where my husband was helping me take some staples out of a project and I showed him the treasure.  Together we read through the notes, me aloud and he silently until I came upon a town or a word I couldn’t make out, then he would interject and we’d continue.  The piano began its travels in 1911, from Oshawa, Ontario to Flaxcombe, Saskatchewan….and on the story goes.  Something about rain and getting stored in a tent while a house was being built.  Water damage then lending it to a piano teacher, and so on….

It was late when I plucked this little gem off the shelf.  I had already found two mechanic manuals that I placed in our son’s room on his shelf next to his hat collection.  I was sure he would appreciate the sentiment.  Dad had probably given them to him a while ago and somehow they had gotten misplaced and forgotten.  They boasted the year 1977.             I couldn’t begin to imagine how the art of mechanics had changed since then.

But this little notebook, I had not seen before.  Unfortunately there were not enough of Dad’s precious handwritten notes.  Not that he didn’t leave lots of stories, and a family genealogy complete with pictures – he did.  It’s just that once a person is gone, what is left never seems to be enough.  The more stories you can find the clearer you may hear his voice?

The notes on the piano should be scanned and reprinted and preserved for her.  On some vintage card stock perhaps.  I picked up my first ever meter of music fabric the other day, it would serve as a great backdrop.  The project would be nothing short of perfection if we could frame the actual handwritten notes, but they’re double-sided, and we can’t miss a single word of the story, the curve, the scrawl, the shape of who he was at the end of each stroke of his pen.  A reprinted version will do, with the originals in an envelope on the back.  It will be as if it was always meant to be, and the project may even find its place hanging above the actual piano in their home.  What’s a piano without the history?

Thank you Dad for taking the time to write out so many little details about so many things that were important to you.  They are important to us and we are grateful!





METAL is IN and Apparently SO is SHREDDED Paper!

What is it about containers that fascinate us?  The material they’re made of can tell us something about our personal taste.  That being said, my personal taste has got to fit in the “eclectic” category. I have every kind of container under the sun, but as you know I am about to change that.  Cleaning up, throwing out, or is that throwing up and …..anyway – I’m getting the job done one day at a time and blogging about it!

My photo boxes are usually cream with some of kind of warm antique feel as if I’m gravitating towards my grandmother. But who really needs all their photo boxes to match?  I guess I do.

My storage boxes, no big deal, but usually plain cardboard.  I do like that raw quality, and a place to label what’s in the box.  Perhaps that means I’m an earthy anal combination?

What about the metal kind of container? It appeals to my sense of clean lines, looks professional, and did you know?  Metal is in.  I think it’s a classic type container, like navy and red in fashion.  Never goes out of style.  In actuality I believe we bought the metal containers for fireproof reasons to store important paperwork.  And indeed, I looked inside and found paperwork dated 2001.  I have heard from reliable sources that you can throw your personal paperwork out after seven years.  If I am wrong I apologize, to whom ever I need to apologize to – because I am shredding the paper as we speak.  I know, multitasking, two hands on the keyboard and big toe on the shredder power button.  Kidding.  Be careful using a shredder!

The shredding lasted for about five minutes.  It has got to be the most mundane chore in the world.  And what to do with it after it’s shredded?  We can use it to pack boxes, or recycle it.  I highly doubt any lurking criminals at the recycling station would want to piece my top-secret information together – but you never know.  So…. maybe a craft?

I betcha it wouldn’t take me long to find something on Pinterest,  handmade and spectacular, and out of shredded paper?

You may want to visit me at Pinterest and check out what I found!

one of my own creations at

one of my own creations at

Thirty One is Too Young for Anyone to Say Goodbye.


“I never knew him” I mused, but was positive once I typed his name into my computer’s browser, I would recognize his face and I did.  I spent a generous time watching Glee episodes for the first time with my jaw stuck to the floor.  My own musical dreams hadn’t turned out the way I thought they were suppose to, so rather than mope around or live vicariously through someone else, I watch science fiction and escape the melody altogether – usually.

He looks kind of like my niece’s husband, clean-cut, bright faced, happy and healthy.  Learning about his addiction problem didn’t affect how I felt about him, but hearing his age and that his life was now over – crushed my spirit.  Thirty one is too young for anyone to say goodbye, so much more he could have discovered and overcame and celebrated.  I am thankful we do have some amazing reel to remember him by.

Being an artist myself, I know that passion has to run deep for the song or the voice or any other instrument, or acting – to impact the world.  That same passion can often be called a “weak heart” condition, a tenderness that feels beyond the normal check-point of sorrow, which if unchecked can tip the balance and send a person into an earthly black abyss.  The pills or the alcohol are the quickest way back to sunshine for some, but only for a while.

I’m not sure where his mind was before he died, if he was on the edge of the abyss, or not even close, but I can tell you this….I am going to watch Glee now, and get to know just a small piece of who Cory was.  My sympathies to those who knew him well and loved him. We are all at a great loss today.  When ever any soul lives and dies, a treasure leaves our midst.

For those other deep artist types out there, “guard your heart, for out of it flows the very issues of life” (Proverbs 23:4)





Refind, Reclaim and Frame?

Even my latest “object projects” cannot seem to escape the written word.  The suspended Seagull in a sand colored frame whispers a faded message in the sky.  The World War II Victory collage wouldn’t be as spectacular without the pin dangled message “They’ll always be an England.”  My favorite so far, the vintage hanger with its prize possessions of a broom, coat and bowler hat in retro green – with bubbled captions “charming”, “so pretty” and “adore.”

You can find my latest project sitting on a shelf this weekend at “Refind”, an artsy and hip consignment store in quaint uptown Olds, Alberta.  A hidden treasure from the past found its way into someone’s heart long ago, is it any surprise with a bit of polish and transformation,  it could do so once again? Perhaps at “Ladies’ Night”?   Don’t miss it, this Friday, March 15th at Refind!  See for more details.

*$5.00 coupons are available Friday night only, gifted by Cindy and My hometown Framing.  Bring your coupon into the studio and put it towards having a special treasure of your own immortalized behind glass.

And don’t miss all the other surprises Cory has in store!

Thanks to Refind’s very own – Cory,  for this opportunity to be involved with my community and to Karen at Dunrite for her printing services.

Cindy Palin at My hometown Framing – 5406 52st. – Olds, Alberta –