All Good Things…

Just when it feels like we’ve hit our stride, the Holiday Market in Market Square (like all other good things!) is coming to an end. It’s lovely, though, to think that after these last few days there will be no more aches from all that standing… no more exhaustion from early days and late nights. But we’ve gotten used to it! The smiles and the stories of our visitors and greeting old and new friends, especially the families who have come home to visit the Burgh, make it all worthwhile.

It looks like the weather will be pretty decent up to 3 pm on Christmas Eve, when it’s closing time for the 2023 season. Ornaments, coasters and 8×10 prints seem to be the favorites this year, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to restock along the way.

Please stop by this week if you’re in need of some last-minute gifts. We’re starting to see folks with that “(rein?) deer in the headlights” look when they realize they still have much of their shopping to do!

Tom and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year! May the next year bring you great joy!

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

You probably knew this already, but the holiday season is my favorite time of year!

I love being at my Chalet and looking into the eyes of folks I have yet to know, listening to their stories, and trying to assist them in finding the perfect present that meets their needs.

Sometimes I can, but even when I can’t provide them with that gift, I’ve often made a new friend. At the end of the day, it’s all about the joy and magic of the holiday season. If I can provide a smile and an ear, then I feel that I’ve truly made a difference in the world.

I know someone else who feels that way… and his name is Santa Claus! Last night a young couple with a new baby named George stopped by my Chalet. While we were talking, they recognized the Santa paintings on my wall because they had just taken their little one’s first picture on Santa’s lap. In fact, Mom and dad were also posed on Santa’s lap! What a glorious photo it was!

Santa was so kind last weekend to stop by and see my new painting, “Santa Golfs at St. Andrews.” Do you know someone who golfs? This might be the perfect gift! Check it out on my website:

I have lots to offer on my website, but here at my Chalet, I have even more unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. The Holiday Market is open every day at 11 am. I hope I can help you find the perfect gift.

Until next week… enjoy this magical time of year!

A Festive Fall!

I don’t know about you, but this last week really flew by! I’m trying to enjoy this last bit of summer weather before autumn “falls” right back into our laps.

Last weekend, we had an incredible show at the Mount Lebanon Artist Market. It was a record-breaking year for the show, and with so much talent and beautiful weather, there were smiles aplenty!

Of course, I’ve already moved on to planning my next Fall Festival – Fort Ligonier Days is less than two weeks away! I will return to the same spot for the second year, with my booth in the Municipal Lot by the YMCA. Fingers crossed that the weather forecast improves from what they’re predicting currently.

Since I wrapped up the Artist Market show last weekend, I’ve returned to the studio, and I’m painting up a storm on my new Santa painting. What do you think of my progress so far?  I have a good feeling about it. I’m really hoping that a lot of golfers will be excited when they see what Santa was up to in his downtime this year!

Meanwhile, I’m organizing my website for the holidays and bringing in new art gifts. Check out my work out at the various fall/holiday shows and online at!

Have a great week!



My Visit with the Rooneys!

The weekend before last, Tom and I personally delivered my original pastel painting, “Ice Ball Treats with Gus and YiaYia,” to its new home in Connecticut with the Rooney family. (Yes, THAT Rooney family!)

We had the pleasure of spending the afternoon and evening with the piece’s new owners, June and Tim Rooney. They loved that Tim’s brother, Dan Rooney, appeared in the painting, sitting and watching while Gus shaved the ice for his ice-ball treats.

Shipping an original pastel that size would have given me sleepless nights! So instead, we took a road trip, had an adventure, and created a lovely friendship. I’m honored that my painting will be a part of the lives of the Rooney family.

Now as we head into fall, Show Season is in full swing. And speaking of “full swings,” I have an announcement!

I’m creating a new Santa Claus painting for 2023 after all. This one may take me a little extra time to paint because of the amount of detail, but I’m off to a good start.

The working title is “Santa Golfs St. Andrews,” which kind of says it all. St. Andrews, Scotland, is known as The Home of Golf, and the game has been played on its links for over 600 years! It was fun developing the sketch and gathering all the elements to make it special – including a vintage leather golf bag and clubs, a Christmas plaid golf cloth with a suggestion of snow, a candy-cane emblem, and even holly on Santa’s golf hat. In the background, you can see the famous St. Andrews Hamilton Grand as well as the historic Swilcan Bridge.

The original pastel painting has already been sold… even before I finished painting it! I hope to have it done in a few weeks and will keep you updated.

Adventures in Customer Service

Did you notice last week that I didn’t send out a newsletter? There was a really good reason. I was in the midst of a customer service nightmare – 11 hours of phone calls over the course of two days!

It began on Wednesday afternoon as I tried to make a business call. A robot told me that my service was suspended. When I finally spoke to a real person, I was told “no service until you pay up!” My bill was over $2000!

I was sure that I’d called before we left for Italy to sign on for the international phone plan. Did we mess something up? It was only supposed to cost $10.00 a day for 21 days.

Well, it turns out it wasn’t our fault. The plan worked fine. But remember how I mentioned the serious issues I’d been having with my email? Apparently, someone hacked my phone account and used my upgrades to buy an iPad and a Pro Max 14 iPhone, both with a terabyte memory. (The thief certainly had expensive tastes!) One was sent to Penn Hills and the other to Philadelphia.

Reconstructing the case was an amazing journey. I really had no clue that anything was remotely wrong until they shut off my service; this boggled my mind. I was told that they probably cloned my phone and sold my info to hundreds if not thousands of scammers, subscriptions, and mailing lists.

It was definitely a blessing on Day 2 when I spoke with an angel – the greatest customer service agent of all time! He stayed with me all the way through to the resolution. He empathized with my frustration and said, ”You sound like you have a good spirit.“  I responded by saying “Thank you! My husband refers to me as the Mayor of Happy Town”! We just laughed together, and I felt good for the first time after eight maddening hours on the phone.

So while I go through the craziness of straightening out my email, here’s a heads-up – keep an eye out for a new email from me coming soon!

With all of that going on, I was blessed today when a prominent family originally from Pittsburgh’s Northside purchased my original pastel painting of “Ice Ball Treats with Gus and YiaYia.” That original painting has been hanging in my home gallery for a very long time, and I’m really going to miss it. But you never know who is going to call! I’m so grateful it’s going to someone who truly loves Gus and his family.

Show season is just getting started, so mark your calendars! My next show is the Ebenezer Covered Bridge Festival on Saturday, September 16th and Sunday, September 17th. Check out for more information.

Don’t forget – the Covered Bridge Festival is a cash-only show. (The reason is that cell service is spotty to nonexistent at our location.)  So come out to the country and see me! You can check out my new painting, “Glad Tidings at Gimbels” and other new art gifts!

Have a great weekend… and always protect your identity!

What’s the Big Dill About Picklesburgh?

Picklesburgh is one of Pittsburgh’s favorite summer festivals. In fact, USA Today readers recently voted it the #1 Specialty Food Festival in America! Every year, Picklesburgh attracts bigger and bigger crowds of happy people eating and having a good time… and of course, pickles, pickles, pickles everywhere you look!

I missed last year’s event because I was on an amazing family vacation to visit The Mouse with my grandgirls, but I’m back for 2023… and boy, do I have the pickle gifts for you!

Picklesburgh is growing every year, so the festival has a new footprint for 2023. Instead of
being set up on the bridges, it will be between Stanwix and Smithfield Streets on the Boulevard of the Allies. You’ll find me in Lot D, Tent 73, close to the entrance with the Holiday Pickle floating overhead.

Not only will we be celebrating all things pickled this weekend, but we’ll also be celebrating Christmas in July. My booth will also be stocked with holiday gifts for those of you who like to plan ahead!

Speaking of the Holidays, if you stop by my tent and pre-order my new painting, “Glad Tidings at Gimbels,” at the show, you’ll get free shipping!

Can’t make the show? Order your print online and receive 15% off the price before its release date on August 1st! (Online orders only) Check it out at

Tom and I are all packed up and ready to move in. Has it really only been a week since we were strolling the Italian countryside? Time flies!

The show starts at noon on Friday – can’t wait to see you there!

PS – You can get the whole dill about Picklesburgh by visiting!

Arrivederci, Pittsburgh!

I’m writing these words from Pittsburgh International Airport as Tom and I begin our Italian adventure!

Before we take off, I have some GREAT news to share with you!  Prints of my new painting, “Glad Tidings at Gimbels,” are now available at a preorder price of 15% off – no code necessary!  My latest pastel painting will be released in a limited-edition giclee print on August 1st, and I am taking 15% off the price on all preorders before that date. You can order your print by clicking here.

The edition will include 50 Artist Proofs, 50 Artist-Enhanced (with soft pastels), and 500 standard-edition prints. Each one will be numbered and signed in gold. Each print will be a giclee, archival, and printed on the highest-quality museum paper.

“Glad Tidings at Gimbels” is the perfect addition to my nostalgic Pittsburgh paintings series, “Wishing Under the Horne’s Tree,” “Holiday Memories under Kaufmann’s Clock,” and “Meet Me Under Kaufmann’s Clock, Too!” Make your memories of shopping downtown back in the day complete with this iconic trilogy. Check them out at

A big “Thank You” to each and every one of you who provided a piece of the “puzzle” and helped me develop this painting from a dream to reality.

Want to help make this Holiday Season a blast from the past? Get your print of “Glad Tidings at Gimbels” before August 1st and save 15%!

“Glad Tidings at Gimbels”

It’s been a super busy couple of weeks in the studio. I can’t believe it’s just a few days until Tom and I embark on a new adventure – a three-week excursion to Italy!

I had to double down in the studio to finish in time, but my new painting, “Glad Tidings at Gimbels” is ready for unveiling! I’m off to the printer today to tweak the details to make sure everything is just right. There will be more information about it on my website soon, including pre-orders!

Meanwhile, there’s been a lot going on in my studio since I last wrote you. As you can see in the photo, it looked like quite the mad, mad, mad, mad world! Resources were strewn about as I pored over photograph after photograph, vintage images of Gimbels over the decades, most in black and white, rarely in color.

There were photos of streetcars from the Trolley Museum in Washington, PA, photos from a friend who shared his collection with me, and photos I’ve collected myself over the years. There were photos of people who posed for me, people from other photo shoots that I borrowed, and some from the past of people just walking around downtown (and maybe even a few imaginary friends?). I had a collection of photos of display windows, though I made up the one on the right featuring Raggedy Ann and Andy because one of my faithful readers wrote me and asked me to!

I used more pastels pencils and soft pastels than my taboret could hold at times, and my obsessive need for detail actually led to the premature demise of two pencil sharpeners. But at last, with a final dab of snow, it was finished.

My hope is that you’ll see what I see in this painting – all the magic of Pittsburgh’s nostalgic downtown holiday shopping of yesteryear… with memories of swirling snow and merrily sparkling lights… and the rush of shoppers seeking holiday treasures at the iconic Gimbels Department Store. I want this painting to inspire you to once again experience the excitement of the holiday season in days gone by.

The official release date for “Glad Tidings at Gimbels” will be August 1, 2023.

P.S. – I was driving through the Northside last week, and I just had to stop and see Gus. I knew he would be there! Even at 90, he’s still as wonderful as ever. I strongly recommend that you go and experience Gus and Yiayia’s, a beloved Northside tradition. I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face and some yummy treats to your tummy!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Today was the day I finally got back to my studio. This was one of those weeks where I didn’t have much time to devote to painting, despite the fact that every day, my brain kept telling me “I want to paint!”

What kept me out of the studio? A lot of running around, but mostly babysitting the grandgirls. They are getting very big indeed! Why is it that they are getting older, and I’m not? I do feel young, though there are days when it feels like my age is catching up with me!

The girls are a goofy kind of funny, almost always laughing, and you never know what they’re up to. One day this week, Bop-Bop decided to surprise them with a special treat and brought them donuts. They were very happy to express their excitement while posing for a photo.

So, as far as the painting goes, I am up to my eyeballs in windows… lots and lots of windows, everywhere you look! Similar to the Horne’s building in “A Holiday Tradition,” the new Gimbels painting is mostly just windows until you get to street level. Years ago while I was working on that painting, I was also dealing with the challenge of painting dozens of windows.

Back in the day though, I had my dad. My parents lived on the other side of the state where I grew up, but occasionally they would surprise me and come visit. I was driving myself crazy with all the windows, and my dad – God bless his soul – would sit in my studio and play his accordion while I worked through each row. It had a soothing effect on me, and I was able to paint all of those windows without tearing my hair out. As you can see in this photo, it also had a soothing effect on my girls when they were young!

I have such happy memories of my dad playing the accordion, and he’s on my mind now while I’m working on this painting. So this time around, I’m actually enjoying painting all those windows. It feels like getting together with an old friend.

Here’s the latest update on the progress of my Gimbels painting. I had fun painting in the sign and its reflected light on the wall. I also set the clock to the time right after work when it’s getting dark in the Holiday season. If all goes well, by this time next week, I’ll have more than just windows to show you.

Wish me luck… and thank you to all of you who have shared stories! Keep ’em coming!

PS – If you were wondering, I’m left-handed, and my medium is soft pastel chalks, so that’s why I always paint from right to left and from top to bottom!

Is a Word Worth a Thousand Pictures?

The word is “Gimbels,” and I wouldn’t be surprised if I have a thousand pictures of it. So many different perspectives and points of view… a little of this and a little of that.

I was just talking to a client on the phone about my process of researching and planning this painting these last couple of weeks. She asked if the Gimbels painting will become a puzzle. I told her I haven’t even thought that far ahead. Then it occurred to me that putting this painting together has been a lot like solving a puzzle. I am so thankful to those of you who have reached out to me and helped me fill in some of missing pieces!

But I have a big question that has yet to be answered…

It seems there were a number of different Gimbels signs during the store’s lifetime. The one pictured above is the one I will be using. You can also see it in the sketch below. In the photo it looks blue, but so do a lot of other items in the picture. It’s almost as if it were taken with a blue filter. My question is, does anyone remember this sign and what color it actually was?

Many of the photos I’ve acquired are rather odd, insomuch as they have color in parts of them, but then other parts look mostly black, gray, and white. Whenever I’ve come across this particular sign in other photos that seems to be the case… all except in this photo, which I’m afraid I can’t trust. Also, the trim and awnings seem kind of brown with a dark grey edge. Tom says I’m overthinking it. But I’m afraid that if I paint it the wrong color, someone will surely come along later and say “No, no, no!”

It’s going to be an evening painting anyway, so I could make it an almost-black dark blue. The letters will be lit up, of course. Though they’ll be small, there will be holiday windows, and I’m thinking some snow would be nice. The streetcar will have a really nice glow to it, and the background will be a bit foggy. I feel like I’ve included enough people to make it festive, but I may add a few more as I go. And as usual, if you look closely, you may see a few familiar-looking children admiring the window displays!

I even found an image of a Gimbels bag on Pinterest so I can put the logo on some shopping bags.

As you can see, I’m actually thinking out loud and planning the painting as I write this. My next step is to put a watercolor wash over the sketch. That may not make much sense to you all, but it will be a roadmap for when I paint with my soft chalk pastels.

I’m still open to your thoughts about the colors and eager to hear more of your stories about this iconic Pittsburgh landmark!

Wish me luck!