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Storytelling for all occassions

The Story Spinners

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a Memory Revisited at Joe's Donuts

Posted on June 12, 2019 at 8:46 AM Comments comments (5)
It started out like any other day.  I had done my morning rituals when my husband came in and reminded me of the opening of Joe's Donuts around the corner from us in Niles.  He offered to take me there for a donut.  They are a favorite of mine since I have had them in the Glenview shop.  I agreed to go since I already had to make a stop at the bank, so off we went.  
When we arrived there about 10AM, I was surprised that there were only 2 types of donuts left.  They were making more but we were there at that time, so we had one of each.  I left my husband to check out and find a table.  The place was full of people.  As I sat there wondering how many had come and gone since they opened at 6 that morning, I also thought about the amount of donuts that had already sold and how disappointed I was that neither of my 2 favorites, pistachio and glazed were not there for me to enjoy. I soon found out that it didn't mater...the fact that I was put into a position to try a different brand was upon me.  And I can clearly state...WOW.  I had the red velvet/almond with glaze and it was delicious.  At that point I looked over at my husband who was sitting across from me eating breakfast.  All I could think of was "why didn't he ask me to come BEFORE I had had my bowl of cereal this morning."  
He had delved into his eggs and sausage while I stared at the homemade tater tots on his hand slowly made its way across the table to sneak one off his plate.  I must say they were even more delicious then they looked...and then the buttermilk biscuit sitting there drew my attention towards it.  It was huge and so tempting.  They had brought some homemade honey butter over to use and my husband saw my face and offered it to me.  I said I only wanted to taste it.  I slathered that delightful pastry with butter and sliced a sliver off so I could try.  Well OMG...I was blown away at how delicious that buttermilk biscuit was....reminded me of days of old when my grandmother made them.  
About now, you are probably thinking that is the memory...but no....that was an added more ways than one.  
As my husband and I exchanged our critiques on the food I casually looked around and noticed a mom and a group of children gathered around a window on the other side of the restaurant.  All of their noses pressed into the window as they watched the employees on the other side making donuts.  It so reminded me of my childhood when my mother and grandmother would take me to Maurice Lennell Cookie Factory.  It has been a long time since something like that has been around.  It made my whole day thinking that in those minutes, a lifetime of memories were being made for those children.  How fortunate they were.  Some days, perhaps 50 years from now, they will sit in their living room and ponder that moment of excitement.  Thank you Joe's Donuts for more that just that cup of coffee and donut and my husbands breakfast.  Thank you for making my day with a reminder that there is always something special around the corner if you just take the time to look   

PURSE-ue Your Dreams Finale

Posted on January 30, 2018 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (8)
Good morning...due to many complications with the website, I was unable to complete the postings of the additional purses that were involved in the auction.  Although, I must say that the were indeed a success.  I am posting here one of the displays of the purses that were at the Niles Library traveling display for you to see them as a collection.  I am in addition, posting the event pictures from that auction which we held on Dec. 2, 2017.  We were finally able to present the checks to Wings this past Friday and I was asked to paint a couple additional purses for them for their Fashion Show held in March.  What an honor this has been.  
The event was a lovely night.  I was excited to prepare the appetizers..I made a purse of strawberries, a purse of broccoli and one made from a cheese ball recipe I have.  A dear friend made the phenomenal cake purse along with the cupcakes.  I added the small purse decorations on the top that I made from fondant.  The Maine East HS band Strings played for us during the reception time.  Knowing that we had a hand in helping someone who needs a help restructuring their lives was the best Christmas gift we could have ever received.  Our mayor purchased 2 of the purses himself...bless his heart!  This picture of all ladies are just some of the artists in attendance that created this amazing pieces of art.  The Niles Arts and Culture Council which I am proud to say I am part of sponsored this event.  More events are on the rise after this successful endeavor.  I hope those that followed this blog enjoy the final pictures.  Thanks.

PURSE-ue Your Dreams-ART-Couture

Posted on August 28, 2017 at 10:48 AM Comments comments (0)
Well...the time is flying...already the end of August.  I can't believe how quickly time is passing.  Children are back in school...holidays are quickly approaching, the world is swirling around us.  I am excited to present the newest purse reveal.  This purse has also been painted by me, Debi Gajewski.  This has been my personal dream of helping others.  How is this helping you may ask.  Well, the project is set to auction off these amazing hand painted purses on Dec. 2nd here in my Village of Niles.  I have been fortunate that the Council that I am part of has chosen to sponsor this project to help benefit the charity WINGS.  These are repurposed purses which I bought at local resale stores which are very gently used and then hand painted by myself and other artists.  We have a wonderful gentleman who runs an auction house here in Niles called Lot 14 and he has graciously volunteered to be our auctioneer.  I am so very proud of the people I have come to work with in this project.  These are people who are willing to donate their time and talents to help others.  The Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council is a relatively new organization who is looking to bring the arts to our village while along the way, helping the community.  If you would like to view the purses up close and personal...they will be on a traveling display beginning Oct. 5th and travel from our Historical and Cultural Center, the Library, our Holly Jolly Event and then they will head to the auction block.  More details can be found on my blog by scrolling down to the beginning story of Purse-ue Your Dreams.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have...just email me at [email protected]
 With all that being said...onto this weeks reveal.  As I said before, this particular purse was painted by me.  I have been an artist for over 35 years. I am a self taught artist.  I have had the privilege of taking some classes along the way with some amazing teachers.  I have watched videos and many you-tubes.  I have practiced, practiced and practiced.  I have ventured into many unknown artists waters and learned much along the way.  A long time ago, my mother-in-law said she would never do what I do in a million years.  She didn't understand the joy of art.  She didn't understand the feelings of tranquility that happens while in an artistic trance.  She evidently didn't understand the feelings of accomplishment that I had each time I mastered a new technique.  I don't think she understand what it was like to teach students how to accomplish the same was such a sense of accomplishment for myself.  To see others prosper by learning as well.   But she never delved into my world.  My world of art is a place that makes me who I am...colorful, I have swirled around in artful endeavors and challenged myself continuously along the way.  This purse is done with a brand new technique that I have learned.  It has been done using DecoArt's Americana Acrylic paints.  It is a technique that I have had great fun learning and wanted to share.  So without further is my ART-Couture.  

PURSE-ue Your Dreams Galaxy Spillout

Posted on August 17, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)
Week after week, I am so proud to reveal purse after purse. I hope you are following this project and enjoying the reveals.  I hope you have found one you love.  Come out to the Auction on December 2nd and make sure you make your purse dream come true by bidding on it.  
If you are unsure of what is happening, let me introduce you to my project which is sponsored by the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council here in my village of Niles, Illinois.  I have shopped the resale stores for gently used purses and found wonderful artists who so generously volunteered to give them a new look with their painting skills.  The purses will then go on a traveling display in Niles, ending with an auction on Dec. 2nd.  Even our auctioneer, Lot 14, has generously donated his talents for the event.  Detail of their travels can be found here on the original blog PURSE_ue Your Dreams if you just scroll down.  I am very excited to know that the monies generated at the auction will go to the charity WINGS.  They are a wonderful organization dedicated to helping women and children who have been subjected to living in domestic violence.  I hope you will help us help them by participating in our project.  What a great way to gain a piece of art that you can show off wherever your go!!  And so, with the being said, on to today's reveal of GALLAXY SPILLPUT.  This purse was done by me, My inspiration was 2 other artists actually.  The earth spill was inspired by an artist, Ian Harris tutorial and the galaxy was inspired by Cinnamon Cooney.  I so enjoyed their individual art forms that I combined them into my style.  There is so much wonder and beauty in the universe.  I hope you enjoy this design. 
This was painted using DecoArt's So-Soft Fabric Paints.  I absolutely love how beautifully the paint goes on and keeps a soft, flexible finish.  

PURSE-ue Your Dreams BRANDED

Posted on August 11, 2017 at 9:34 AM Comments comments (1)

Well, another week has flown by for the reveal.  I am so thrilled as the purses that come in are just amazing.  I absolutely cannot wait until they have their opportunity to go on the auction block for charity.  In the meantime, we all get to enjoy these fantastic pieces of work.  If this is your first time to this blog, let me explain what is happening.  I am Debi Gajewski and I sit on the Arts and Culture Advisory Council in Niles, Illinois. It is my pleasure and joy to be in charge of this event. I have purchased 20 gently used purses from resale shops and have been honored by many artists who graciously volunteered to paint them so that we could have them auctioned off for the charity Wings.  Wings is an amazing charity that helps women and children who have battered lives.  How grateful I am that the monies gained from this auction will help them continue their work.  If you scroll down my blog, all the pertenant information on this endeavor is listed.  They will begin their traveling journey on October 5th, and end on December 2nd with the reception/auction.  If you are interested in something you see here and are not able to attend, feel free to contact me via email.  [email protected]
So, with that being said, onto this weeks reveal of "BRANDED"


About the Artist:

Carol Luc has exhibited nationally and her artwork is in several public and private collections.  Other public art projects have included Cool Globes, Niles Night of Roses, and Ragdale fundraisers in Lake Forest. She has an MFA in Painting from Northern Illinois University.

Artist Statement:

The purse that I was assigned definitely had a “Western Vibe” to it, with the nail-studded trim all around and the overall shape suggesting a saddle. After musing over this, the idea of using western cattle brands as an all-over pattern to suggest movement akin to cattle milling about in a corral seemed appropriate. As a graphic designer, letterforms and mark-making intrigue me. Of course, ranchers physically brand cattle, but manufacturers also brand all of their merchandise to make it stand out in the retail arena, so the double entendre “Branded” is appropriate. This purse was painted using DecoArt's So Soft fabric paints.



PURSE-ue Your Dreams-Sunflowers

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 10:36 AM Comments comments (2)
The weeks are flying by and I am so thrilled to see the purses as they arrive in their new styles.  I am in awe as I view the artwork from these wonderful artists.  Purse-ue  Your Dreams Project becomes more exciting as each  new design is uncovered.  I must say, there are so many amazing and wonderfully talented artists that I have had the pleasure of working with.  Not only are they talented and inspiring...but also BIG hearted.  They have donated their time to create works of art on the purses supplied by me.  If this is your first time to this blog, please scroll down on the blog page to read more about this project.  I am a member of the Niles Arts and Culture Council in Niles Illinois and presented this project to the council.  Art on purses is a way to repurpose an gently used purse rescued from resale shops.  They will go on a traveling display and then finally on December 2nd, they will go up for auction.  The money that is generated by the auction will benefit the charity Wings.  Wings is a wonderful charity that helps repurpose lives of women and children in domestic abuse.  More about wings can be found on their website.  I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with them on this project and hope that you...the general public will join me in this effort.  If you have any questions about the traveling display or the auction, please feel free to contact me at  [email protected]
With that being said, I would like to introduce this weeks reveal and artist.\

Angel Siegle

Angel began painting in 2001 as a means to fill in free time between completing her MBA and beginning her PhD.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, she fell in love with painting so much that she never continued her education as planned.  Instead, she has continued to study techniques by several different teachers with acrylic paint, watercolor and on rare occasion colored pencil.  Her goal for 2018 is to study in Tuscany Italy under the instruction of Nancy Medina.


Angel considers painting as an escape from her day job of working in fraud prevention within the financial industry. “I can come home from work completely brain-dead, spend 15 minutes painting a quick piece or touching up a previous painting.  I then have renewed energy to enjoy the rest of my evening with my family.”

Angel lives in Bartlett with her husband Josh and their two dogs, Milo and Olive. 

She can be found at: [email protected]

Inspiration: I was inspired by this year’s growing season and the amazing flowers that are blooming this summer.  Sunflowers always make me happy and I wanted to paint something that may bring a smile to the person carrying the purse and anyone they may meet. Enjoy both the front and back of this Liz Claiborne Purse.


PURSE-ue Your Dreams-Mysterious Lady

Posted on July 28, 2017 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (1)
Another week or so has past.  I hope that if you are following this blog, you are enjoying the posts on the updated purses.  It has been such an exciting venture.  It always boggles my mind when I see the creative juices flowing in others.  It always amazes me with what people come up with. If this is your first time seeing this blog...welcome and I hope that you will enjoy going on this little adventure with me.  I am Debi Gajewski of Niles, Illinois and I am proud to sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council.  I am also pleased to tell you that the Council has chosen to sponsor one of my projects called PURSE-ue Your Dreams.  I have scouted around Resale stores for purses that are in great condition .  Next I asked for artists to donate their time and creative talents to repurpose a purse with their art. I consider myself extremely fortunate to find some wonderful artists.  The purses will go on a traveling display beginning Oct. 5 until the day of the auction.on Dec. 2nd..which by the way, Lot14, an auction house here in Niles has volunteered to do for me.  The proceeds of this auction will benefit the Wings charity.  What better way than to repurpose purses to help repurpose live.  Wings is a wonderful charity and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with them.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]  
And now...onto this weeks purse and this week's artist.

Mary Kay Fischer

I am a retired Dental Assistant.
I live in Prospect Heights, Illinois with my husband Paul and Eddy our dog, who allows us to live with him.
After retirement, I started taking classes in art.  I was lucky to have been exposed to some very talented artists as mentors.  In the art of acrylics, watercolor and color pencils.  Over the years, I have developed my own style of painting. I painted this purse using Deco Art SoSoft Fabric paints. I just loved working with them. 
I want to thank you for choosing me to be part of the Niles "PURSE"-Your Dreams project. 


Posted on July 18, 2017 at 11:38 AM Comments comments (4)
Another week and another purse reveal. This project has been such an exciting experience.  If this is your first time reading this post...please scroll down to read and see all the other lovely purse reveals so far...not to mention the story itself.  I sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council here in Niles, Illinois who is sponsoring my project.  I am so very fortunate to have such wonderful artists volunteer both their time and their talent to participate in this charity project.  There are 20 purses that will go under a complete transformation.  Repurposing purses to help repurpose lives.  They will go on a traveling display from the museum, library, special event and finally end at a live auction at the senior center all in Niles.  This will begin Oct. 5th and end with the auction on Dec. 2nd.  I hope that you will enjoy viewing these wonderful pieces of art and that one of them will be just the perfect piece of art for you.  And with that being said...onto to this weeks Purse and artist. 
Artist: Linda Kay - Linda Kay’s Art
Facebook: Linda Kay’s Art
Email: [email protected]
Phone (847) 323-3615
Mixed Media Artist ~ collage, painting and mixed media

I have been working in mixed media collage since 2005 and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have both a self-taught and a formal fine arts background and am well versed in the arts and crafts. Mixed media is a great vehicle for me to practice all the skills I have learned over the years.
After living in Chicago for many years, I have relocated to St. Petersburg, FL and now have my dream studio in my new home. I travel teach classes in mixed media, Ink on Yupo paper and my “Healing HeArt” journaling and mixed media class for those who need to break free of a broken heart.
My artwork can be described as whimsical, feminine and beautiful. I like to create with items that are normally cast away as unusable and give them a new life in my artwork. I also enjoy teaching beginner painters and showing them that they too can be creative.
I have been working in mixed media collage since 2005 and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have both a self-taught and a formal fine arts background and am well versed in the arts and crafts. Mixed media is a great vehicle for me to practice all the skills I have learned over the years.
After living in Chicago for many years, I have relocated to St. Petersburg, FL and now have my dream studio in my new home. I travel teach classes in mixed media, Ink on Yupo paper and my “Healing HeArt” journaling and mixed media class for those who need to break free of a broken heart.
My artwork can be described as whimsical, feminine and beautiful. I like to create with items that are normally cast away as unusable and give them a new life in my artwork. I also enjoy teaching beginner painters and showing them that they too can be creative.
For 35 years I have dreamed of living in Florida again and live by the sea where bougainvillea grows. I've called it my dream life and have worked to create this dream into a reality. Finally, last year, my dream came true! I have a beautiful little blue house, in a nice neighborhood with saltwater canals that connect to the ocean. I enjoy the weather, the scent of the salty air in the mornings and many beautiful sunsets. A trip to the beach and the ocean is only 20 minutes away. I encourage everyone to pursue their dreams and follow their heart to live the life they dream of. 
This purse has been also beaded in a number of places, as well as fringe being added and beaded. Even the beads at the base of the handles have been painted and glittered.  What an amazing piece of art. 


PURSE-ue Your Dreams LA FLEUR

Posted on July 10, 2017 at 9:48 AM Comments comments (2)
I hope that you are following this wonderful project.  I must tell you how excited I am in the way that the purses are turning out.  For those who are new to this blog...welcome.  I am Debi Gajewski, an artist who has been fortunate enough to be supported by my village in this project.  The Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council in Niles, Illinois has chosen to sponsor and event that I proposed.  Repurposed purses.  They are all in absolute perfect condition and some are even brand new.  I have scouted them out at my local resale shops. It took a while, but after total up, down, and inside out inspection....20 purses were chosen. I have to say how very lucky I was to have such wonderful artists volunteer to paint their visions on a purse.  Why a purse you might ask?  Well, I wanted to have this project be something that was useful and wanted by everyone.  I am so excited to see the talents of so many come together for such a great cause. What is the cause?  I have chosen Wings Charity to be the recipient of the monies generated at the end by auctioning off these magnificent pieces of art.  What a wonderful charity this is.  If you haven't heard of them...please check out their website and their mission statement at
We have also been fortunate enough to have our local auction house agree to be our auctioneer for the evening.  LOT14 of Niles has a wonderful auction place and has graciously agreed to help us for this cause.
The purses will go on a traveling display beginning Oct. 5th at the Niles Museum to the Niles/Maine District Library on Oct. 25 until Nov. 20th.  They will then be on Display at the Niles tree lighting ceremony "Holly Jolly" on Nov. 25th with their final journey back to the Museum until the 1st of December.  The Auction will take place at the Niles Senior Center on Dec. 2nd followed by a reception and meet and greet.  I hope that you will come out and view these works of art and find the one that is just right for you.
With all that being said...onto this weeks purse reveal.  Once again, this purse was painted by myself.  I absolutely love hydrangeas and thought that they would look wonderful on the top portion of this particular purse.  I couldn't quite decide on which color to I thought...why not put them all.  I decided that French words would be a nice addition and hence the bottom of the purse.  I added small petals scattered throughout the words to pull down some of the lovely colors in the top portion.  I hope you like it....awww...nope....I hope you LOVE it. 

Purse-ue Your Dreams- American Hero's

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 7:21 AM Comments comments (0)
A week goes by so quickly....and once again I am pleased to reveal once again another one of the purses.  If this is your first time here...let me take this opportunity to explain this project.  I sit on the Niles Arts and Culture Advisory Council who has agreed to sponsor a project I have presented.  I, along with other wonderful and talented artists are repurposing purses by painting them with art.  The purses, once completed, will go on a traveling display beginning with the Niles Museum, then onto the Niles Library.  They will appear for one day at Niles Holly Jolly Event.  The time frame for this will begin with Oct. 5 until the day of auction on Dec. 2.  The auction will be at the Niles Senior center beginning with a reception.  Niles own Auction Lot14 will be our official auctioneer.  Wings charity has been chosen as the recipient of the monies generated through this endeavor.  We felt that the mission of Wings was perfect...repurposed purses to help repurpose lives. 
I hope that this project intrigues you and that you will come out and see them in person.  And so, with that being said....onto this week's purse.  I am once again the artist of this purse.  I thought that with the 4th of July just around the corner, American Hero's deserved to be the purse presented.  As I grew up in Chicago, I was always patriotic.  My patriotism grew stronger in the 60's when my neighbor went to war.  I often reflect on the days spent sitting on my front porch with my grandmother talking to our neighbor over the front porch railings.  I recall her reading the letters that her son Tony would send to them.  It was heart filling to hear of his future plans once he returned from the war.  He was fighting during Vietnam.  Then one day in November, I remember the screams next door and his mother flailing down the stairs as she screamed out his name while holding a letter in her hand. Tony had been killed.  That sweet, chubby faced, kind young man's life had been taken.  I have carried that memory in my heart ever since. 
Since those days, my patriotism has grown even more.  With today's social media along with the internet...I have read and seen the sacrifices that both men, woman and dogs have made.  I hold them in high esteem and my flag as a symbol of freedom.  I salute them all. So when I looked at this particular Perry Ellis purse with the signage of AMERICA on the idea came to fruition.  I hope you like my vision.  I present to you My AMERICAN HERO'S