Painting Brick

Painting the bricks behind my wood stove has been on my to-do list for way too long. Should I or should I not? Once you paint brick there’s no going back to the original color without sandblasting. That’s not something I ever envision happening in my family room. Not to mention me with a sandblaster in hand might be deadly to something or someone.painted brick woodstove

Our family room is long (think bowling alley) and has one big French door at the end of it next to the wood stove. This corner has always felt like it’s pulling the room into a dark hole.

This darkness of the stove combined with the dark brick has always felt like it’s pulling the room into a dark hole. Go ahead and whistle the theme song to Twilight Zone.

Here’s a before shot–unpainted brickeven the shadows scream hurry up and paint this wall!

I’m not sure why I thought this would be a good project to start after a 13-mile bike ride. But for me when the urge to paint hits I must do it! I love to paint but it’s been a while since I’ve had the energy to tackle a project but today I’m ready.

Vacuum the bricks first. Who knew so much dust and cat hair could make a home between bricks? Or um, could that be considered insulation? I might have discovered this detail if I ever took the time to clean the bricks. Hey, I have books to write, no judgment, please.

I had some Benjamin Moore Marshmallow White left from painting part of this room several years ago. I made a mix of half paint and half water. Then I removed my wedding ring, grabbed an old wash cloth and said a prayer.

brick one coat of paint

This is with one coat. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Too busy.

painted brick Benjamin Moore

Done. I’m debating painting the mortar joints, but for now, I’m learning to enjoy it. It’s such a difference that it’s taking a bit of time to adjust.  I’ve lived in this house for over 20 years so when I come downstairs I expect to see the dark hole behind the stove. It’s refreshing to see the light color!

This project was much easier than I thought it would be. I’d rate it a beginner, so easy that with guidance a child could do it.


*I’d recommend doing this on a day you don’t ride your bike 13-miles because it’s tiring to get up and down so many times.

While you’re here help yourself to a free copy of All in Good Time

iphone photography book

David Molnar has an amazing iPhone photography book that he is giving away free! I’m taking his course right now and am learning so much about how to use the iPhone camera.

The book he is offering for free has the aps he uses to capture amazing photos on his phone. I don’t know how long it will be free so grab a copy now. Even if you don’t have an iPhone some of these aps are available for other phones–snapseed for example.

iPhone photography tool kit bookYou can download it here.

Using the iPhone to get photos is easy–it’s the camera you always have with you! Using a few aps can change the appearance of your photos from not bad to amazing!

Here are two shots I took this winter both with my camera. The second one was edited using snapseed.

prairie grassPrairie Grass

 If you want to know how to use these aps I’d suggest getting David Molnar’s other book.

iPhone photography book

Get it here.

Here is another post I wrote about some of the iPhone camera aps  I use. 

Please use the share buttons and share this post! Let’s have beautiful photos showing up all over the internet!

The Best Wood Bowls

Wood Bowls from Trees

a2Z” The Letter “T”


After I wrote the title for this post-Wood Bowls from Trees I realized how silly that sounds. I will defend my choice of title!

The bowls I’m talking about are made from ONE piece of a tree. Yes! One piece, not glued together in section but one solid piece.

My friend Scott makes these amazing pieces from trees. He made one for me from a tree that fell during a storm a few years ago. It was a huge mess at my house and I can’t find the photos. One of the trees landed on my son’s car and totaled it.

Scott and his wife Barbara helped remove the trees. Later he gave me this bowl to remember the storm.


I can’t remember what kind of tree this is made from, I think it was an ash tree. I use this bowl often for Clementines, apples and even Christmas bows.

It’s hard to imagine a bowl this pretty came from something like these logs.


Since the time my bowl was made Scott has opened his own business Scott Schlapkohl Creations

Here are a few of the bowls he’s made.

110-1-150x150medium box

Aren’t they amazing? The one on the bottom is really a box.

If you’re looking for a special gift for some one check out Scott’s site.

Don’t forget to enter the goodreads contest! Look on the right sidebar!

AND…We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed A Survivors Guide to Blended Families has been nominated for Book of the Year on  I’d love your vote.

This is a bog hop.

Studios –is your’s as good as Pixar’s?

Pixar Studio

a2z:The letter “S”


Still in the recovery mode at my house so what’s a person to do when their foot looks like this?

foot in surgical boot

Yes, it hurts.

I spend a lot of time on the couch with my foot elevated while searching for things that make me laugh or inspire me to change things.

I stumbled onto this amazing youtube clip of PIXAR’s studios. I think my office might be to dull, lacking in fun and well–to pretty. I’d love, love, love to sit in the big chair.


What about you? After watching this are you thinking of adding some fun to your writing studio or home office?


This is a blog hop, so hop on over and read some more fun authors.

The Right Way to Move Paintings

How do you move paintings?

What do you do if the work you produce can’t be sent by email, text or put on a blog? Because my idea of fun is writing I often forget about others who work in creative fields. Like my son, Andrew. He produces amazing art work and it’s often on large wall size canvases.


brittany Andrew Brandmeyer pin it

What if your work is so big it has to be moved from one floor to the next down steep concrete stairs, or by an elevator?

First you have to have a space to create work of that size. For my son that means an older building in the city. The building is ancient and has been used so much that the concrete stairs are worn in the middle much like wooden stairs of the early to mid 1800s.

This weekend we helped our son move his paintings from his studio to the Concrete Ocean Art Gallery in St. Louis. His show is Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 pm if you happen to be in St. Louis stop by and check it out. Here’s a painting by Andrew Brandmeyer that will be available–without the blue MOVING PAINTINGS rectangle –I added that.

Moving paintings require muscle, great care and a truck. We have the truck and trailer, and Mr. Quiet has the muscles. (He’s not going to like this photo…I took it when he wasn’t looking. That’s his thinking face.)

muscles needed

And a cat.

No artist or writer is ever without a cat right?

studio cat

Don’t touch these!

Andy packed the painting with care into boxes. Lot’s of protection to make sure the frames aren’t scratched or the paint chipped.

moving paintings from Andrew Brandmeyer studio

I couldn’t help it. I had to play with some of the fun apps I learned about in the iphonography class.

moving paintings

This one fit through the door. After one attempt we realized the bigger paintings couldn’t make the turn at the bottom of the stairs and had to be moved by the old building’s freight elevator.

Every time we left the studio for a few minutes the door gate had to be locked because of where the studio is located.

locking studio


We followed Andy to the gallery, driving slow, cautious of the cargo we carried. Works of art, creations only one person could do. With a sigh of relief we arrived at the Concrete Ocean Art Gallery and our responsibility ended.

concrete ocean

What special things have you moved?





10 Creative iPhone Camera Apps Make Your Photos Pop

10+ Creative iPhone Camera Apps to Make Your Photos Pop

a2z: the letter “I”

Creative Live hosted an iPhone class last week on iPhoneorgraphy.  Thanks to Jack “Wow” Davis now have a few new apps  to add to some favorites.

What made the iPhoneorgraphy class, even more fun, is that my friend Patty Wysong, took it too. I’m sure you’ll find an “I” post  below.

iPhone camera apps Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

Hover to Pin!

Don’t forget it’s okay to pin to Pinterest just hover and a ‘PIN IT’ button should appear.

Some of these are free and others are under $5.00.

Camera Plus

I’ve been using this one for a few months. I love it. I can adjust the exposure.

black and white photo book

Pin Me!

King Camera

There is so much to this ap I’m not sure I’ll ever use it all. It will post to INSTAGRAM!

Kingcamera iphone app



Easy to get full-resolution HDR pictures with this app.


Pin Me!


Create posters with photos and quotes.

Hubert H. Humphrey

Pin Me


Use this app to change photos–one of my top picks. I used it to change the poster below.

Herbert H. Humphrey

Hover to Pin


It’s a mini Photoshop for your iPhone or iPad.


This one is my go to camera now. I get a clear shot because it takes more than one and does some magic thing that makes me look like a better photographer. This guy hates cameras and yet…here he is with a *smile*.


Pin Me!


This one is pure fun and not just to entertain kids.

green, purple, yellow



UPDATE!!!! I’ve found another app that can be used on the iPad, iPhone and androids (or use your computer)


I love it’s simplicity in creating graphics for all the social media sites that I use. Facebook covers, twitter posts, Pinterest and more  are quick to design.

I used CANVA to make the blog graphic for this post.

lightning on tree

Many of these apps are available for the Droid or there are some like them. So go check out some new apps and see what kind of photos you can create!

teenager with phone

Pin Me!

Painting to Feel Better starring Benjamin Moore Smoke Embers

a2z:The letter “F” is for feel better by painting

As my faithful readers and family know this past year has been a blur due to taking a statin drug, followed by the mold season! I really don’t remember much of 2013. I do remember telling my husband we’ll know I’m better when I drag out a paint brush.

I love to paint! But the idea of cleaning walls, taping fixtures and dragging ladder inside seemed like something I would never be able to do again.

A few months ago I did paint the new outside doors. it had to be done, but my heart wasn’t in it, neither was my body. It took a week to feel better.

But now!!! I’m feeling better! Look what I did!!! I even had Ed take down the light for me so I could spray paint it. It used to be an odd antique something…. I used Rustomluem metalic nickel.

The paint I chose for the walls is a Benjamin Moore color Smoke Embers.

Ed was more than happy to have me back to painting and feeling better. He does not like to paint.

bathrom before smoke embers gray tone paint on bathroom wall

If you want to pin to pinterest use the photo below! What do you think of Benjamin Moore Smoke Embers paint color? I love the softness it brings to all the hard surfaces. OH please do pin!

benjamin moore smoke embers

Next up, the laundry room and WRITING!!!!! I love feeling better.

When you don’t feel well what things do you miss doing?



Why choose 26 Letters for a Tag Line?


Picture this:

I’m sitting in a chair surrounded by people I’ve just met at the (AWSA) Advanced Writers and Speakers Association conference.

Annetta Dellinger, the group leader and Joyologist pulls out a sheet of paper and says, “I’ve been visiting your website and I have some questions.”

While I wait my turn I wonder what she’ll ask, will it be about my quilts, or blended families or maybe she’ll want to know about Mind of Her Own. I start putting words together in my mind on what I’ll say.

It’s my turn. I hope I can get this out without stumbling over the words. Deep breath –I’m ready.

Annetta asks, “Why do you have stringing 26 letters into stories in the header of your blog?”

Brain melts, tongue takes over. “I stole it.”

Someone says, “At least she’s honest.”

I feel the capillaries in my cheeks lighting up like a Roman candle on the 4th of July. Quick recover, you can do this. “It came from a song and it touched me, I did tweak the artists words but the idea is the same. All we have are 26 letters to tell our stories about God.” Whew.

So here is my official statement:


Welcome To America (LP Version) [Music Download]

The song is called 26 Letters by Ben Glover

Here’s the chorus:

26 letters is all I got
To tell You how I feel about You
26 letters and you know I’m never ever
Gonna write the perfect paragraph
I try to express
With adjectives of thankfulness
But, I don’t know if I can do it
With 26 letters

See how well it works with writing?

You can read the rest of the words to 26 letters here.

Buy 26 Letters  I’m not an affiliate.


How do you handle suprise questions?


How to use Post it notes and Washi Tape to Organize

 Organize with Post it and Washi Tape


Michelle had this amazing ‘to do’ board video and I wanted to see if I could make her system work for me.

Michelle has a much larger company than I do.  My company has 3 employees.

Me and

Oliver and Wendell.

Office cat on printerwhite and gray cat on keyboard


So I have this ‘to do’ board but instead of ‘doing’ those things I made a video. I think my hand gets in the way once, sorry about that! If you don’t have time to watch most of what I said about post it notes and washi tape organization is below the video.

I could have made a huge board with all the daily chores that need to be done around the house but honestly that was too depressing! So I thought this board would work better for my office chores.

I have two Ikea bookshelves –full of course and one of the sides is close to my desk. Perfect place to do my board. Michelle uses white board but this was handy and free.

I bought some fun tape at Target in the scrapbook aisle. There were a lot of choices but I went with something tame.

I probably should have used something to make sure the lines were level but that’s not my style. I did measure to make sure there would be room for the post it notes.

I kept it manageable for me. My columns can be changed by removing the top post it. I have 5 ‘to do’ lists that I can easily keep track of. One thing I loved about Michelle’s idea was the horizontal line at the end of her boards to keep track of what’s been accomplished. I like to see what I’ve finished by the end of the week.

Right now my columns are:

A Time to Dance—rewrite for ebook

Numbers—where I’m keeping track of an ad I placed and how it effects the amazon ranks

L&L –another book I’m working on

Blogs-where I keep ideas or where I need to write a post for someone else

Social-media—what tweets, fB, google+ I want to focus on for the week

Critiques and Reviews—I need to know where I stand in the stack of books I have to review and what needs to be sent back to my critique partner.


Here’s a link to Michelle Shaeffer’s video on using a white board with post it notes.

To do list  post it notes washi tape

Organize the Fun Way!


How do you make your to do lists? Please share!

Cleaning Up with Photoshop Elements 11

Cleaning Up with Photoshop Elements 11

Using Photoshop Element 11 filters


Part of my job as a writer is to check  out what other writers post on their blogs. I ran across Liz Tolsma’s Changing Scenes blog. She had Pam Hillman, author of Claiming Mariah as a guest discussing how photos look different by changing filters on her camera.  Read her post Old World Christmas. I have Photoshop Elements 11 and wanted to see what I could do with my Christmas Tree. It’s a very small tree and not all that impressive–unless you are a cat, then it is an amazing playground.


Christamas Tree in color

No Filter

It’s very busy, you can see the light switch and part of the lamp and photo behind the tree.
Over at the  Coffeshop Blog they offer free actions (filters) for PhotoshopElements 11 and older versions. I used the Autumn Vintage filter on the Christmas tree.
Photoshop Elements filter

Coffeeshop Autumn Vintage

It’s softer looking but I can still see the problems in this photo.
Next I headed to Ree Drummand The Pioneer Woman and picked up her Sepia Filter. Also a free download.
Pioneer Woman photoshope elements

Sepia Toned Tree

Much Better! I can still see the unwanted elements but they aren’t as distracting. If I wanted to I could use the healing tool and make them go away.
healing tool photoshop elements 11

No more Unwanteds

Oops forgot to remove the photo behind the tree but it’s barely noticeable.
Besides having fun playing with Photoshop 11 have I learned anything else?
Yes. It may seem odd but the more I played with the photos and made the mistakes disappear it reminded me of someone who made my mistakes now and in the future disappear. Jesus is our filter when we stand before God.
Merry Christmas!