Tuesday, April 30, 2013

and in the end, Z is for Zest ~ the a to z of one word messages

not an orange
not Zest
but a Sophia Mandala
Wayne Stratz
No Z word mosaics  to show off as we end the challenge.  Friends suggested ZEST, and I went for it.  And to tie the this omega to the alpha, I can remember the awe of finding out one could grate the peel of a lemon or an orange and use it to create a flavor explosion.  Zest is like that.  It surprises you and leaves you filled with life. I could see us creating a one word sign. Zest in orange of course.

The first friend, who recommended it, was Zoe, who knows a thing or two about zesty fruit, check out her art here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Your this, your that or your other word ~ The A to Z challenge of one word messages

Windward Farm Garden Retreat
lettering by Wayne Stratz
background by Margaret Almon
This has been all about one word messages and I will get back to that in a second. But truth is, some things can't be said in one word, when Dorothy Ernst contacted us to make the above sign, we did not tell her that she had to change her business name no matter how much easier that would have been.

As I have travelled from a to nearly z, some of the words have been mine and some have been Margaret's, and some of our words have been made for your situation. At Nutmeg Designs, we love to be inspired by you. 

Info about commissioning us can be found here

because it is all about YOUR... 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

X is for Xenial ~ the a to z of one word messages

As of yet we have not on our own or by way of commission created an X mosaic sign, but maybe Xenial would be a fine place to start. It is all about welcoming strangers. Being xenophobic means to be fearful of the new, the strange. If you are truly xenial you offer a gift.

While it may be nice if 100% of the people who entered our booth were friends, the truth is most are strangers to us. Do we gift them all with a smile, a friendly welcome, a gratitude that they are taking the time to examine our art?


Saturday, April 27, 2013

W is for Welcome ~ the a to z of one word messages

Welcome Sign
background by Margaret Almon
lettering by Wayne Stratz
Welcome is one fine word to call out when some emerges into your life. In my classroom, at church, at home, or in our booth at a show. 


A simple way to say, "Yes. Your presence is desired."

Welcome Sign
background by Margaret Almon
lettering by Wayne Stratz

Welcome Sign
background by Margaret Almon
lettering by Wayne Stratz

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is Voila! ~ the a to z of one word messages

Word by Wayne Stratz
background by Margaret Almon

This was originally commissioned to celebrate a house.  But considering this is our 26th anniversary of our first kiss (celebrated under the full moon of April!), all I can say is


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Up ~ the a to z of one word messages

Up, an Alexander word
Words and design (including big white pieces) by Wayne Stratz
Blue background and tower of color by Margaret Almon

OK, I wish I had two words to show you. My word is unfolding. It is my tagline. It is how I see my life.

Margaret digs up. It is a word used by those who have learned the Alexander Technique.  Margaret turned to this when she had a reoccurrence of back pain. It has helped her immensely and is still meeting with a master of the technique. Curious, check Imogen Ragone's site. To those with training this one word is a gentle reminder of how to align themselves. 

What word gets you aligned with this world?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Thanks ~ The A to Z of One Word Messages

Wayne as a young dude
in red jacket
When said simply and from the heart, Thanks, is all that needs to be said.  

Tonight I give thanks that the young Wayne featured above survived this, that, and the other thing to see his life as one that unfolds with God's creation.  Thanks.

Gardening Dude where he teaches 
Jazz Dude at the
Rochester Jazz Festival
Strudel making Dude who carries on
the tradition 
Stained Glass Dude, who digs the color orange
Back in the Day Dude
when Mosaic Woman was not yet Mosaic Woman
but was Margaret
Nature loving Dude with his dad
who took him out west one summer and
then years later
came out to Oregon and walked across a lave bed with him

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Serenity ~ the A to Z of One Word Messages

Would I have ever chosen serenity? It wasn't likely. Nothing against it, but it was not in my idea list. It is a word I almost never use. Do you? 

But my friend, Robin chose it as her word for 2013 and commissioned a stained glass piece, not a mosaic as we do most words these days.

Today is Earth Day and I was celebrating success stories with my students.  Rivers cleaned.  Birds returned. And an Iraqi man who returned to a country he had fled many years ago, to find the wetlands he loved drained. When he spoke of being a young boy on his father's boat, he used the word serenity. Then he dreamed.

My mind listened and then roamed. Maybe this is a calling to return to nature paths I love and the flowing water that soothes my soul. 


Where would you go to find it? 

This is where Azzam Alwash's dream led...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rainbow ~ the A to Z of One Word Messages

Collaboration between Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz
Rainbow is another word that does not need letters, but it does take some time to pick out colors.  We have made some rainbows here at Nutmeg Designs. Hope you are ready to experience some color. 

Rainbow mandala
by Margaret Almon

Rainbow Wernersville Cross II
by Wayne Stratz

Rainbow Dr Ed Mandala
by Wayne Stratz

Rainbow Spiral Mandala
by Margaret Almon

Rainbow Celtic Cross
by Margaret Almon

Rainbow starflowers
by Wayne Stratz

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Queens ~ The A to Z of One Word Messages

background by Margaret Almon
Lettering by Wayne Stratz
 One of the more interesting commissions we have received at Nutmeg Designs was for six place names.  Fortunately for me one started with a Q. I can't say Queens is a one word message to me, but to many it will be. What one word takes you somewhere? 

Margaret has been blogging an A to Z of places that mean something to her.  Some are more than one word.  Some of them are places special to her from before I met her.  But some are names of places that bring back a flood of memories to both of us (plus she has been scanning some classic photos).  


Philadelphia Mosaic Sign
background by Margaret Almon
Lettering by Wayne Stratz

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Peace ~ the A to Z of one word messages

Peace sign
letters by Wayne Stratz
background by Margaret Almon

"Peace be with you," is the message to be sent to our enemies. I am a man of imperfections, who am I to judge. I do judge. But I also pray that those who have done the unimaginable, can find peace. Peace!

A student once asked me why I listen to jazz.  She wanted some rock.  I told her I was no longer an angry young man, well here is one for that young man, who was on fire in his teens and 20's ... 

As I walk on through this wicked world, 
Searching for light in the darkness of insanity, 
I ask myself, Is all hope lost? 
Is there only pain, and hatred, and misery  
Nick Lowe

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Open ~ The a to z of one word messages

Blue by Wayne Stratz
Orange by Margaret Almon

Second day in a row of a letter that we have not ventured into, well at least to start a word.  All those Hopes had O's.  

But as I considered the word Open I grew to like it more and more and can imagine it happening one day.

  • To be open to yourself so that you can be open to others.
  • To be open to new adventures no matter the uncertainty to where it will take you.
  • To be open to change, to refuse to be stagnant.
  • To be open to what the other side is saying so that middle ground can be found.
  • To be open to love.
  • To be open to a God that may not be the God you have been told about.
  • To be open to your part of disasters.
  • To be open to those who want to know you.
  • To be open to new music, new art, new neighbors, new bosses, ...
  • To be open to your imperfections
  • To be open to your talents
  • To be open to challenges you would rather avoid
  • To be open to the idea that your true self is ready to emerge.
  • To be open that you must let go to find that true self.

Imagine being open.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Nuthatch ~ the A to Z of one word messages

White-breasted Nuthatch
created and designed
by Wayne Stratz
Yes, that is a bird and not a one word mosaic sign, but we have not done an N word (commissions welcomed if you have one in mind).       


Bird names for me are often one word messages. Name four species of woodpeckers and you can take me back to a spring break camping trip to the Smokey Mountains, a forest east of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, a time share in WI, and the Monocacy Creek that I walked to as a teen in search of solitude. 

Maybe going for a walk recently with Mosaic Woman on a path along a busy road during rush hour will come to mind if you say Red-Winged Blackbirds to me ten years from now. We stood as they perched and called out and flashed their red allowing us to appreciate their beauty.

And that makes these one word messages indeed.  So where do nuthatches take me? My childhood home and the oak trees that soared above our house and the tiny birds that delighted me as they behaved in a rather unexpected way.

  What animal name creates a one word message in your mind?

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Music ~ a one word message that soothes my soul

Lettering and treble clef by Wayne Stratz
Background by Margaret Almon

Those of you who followed my blog before the A to Z challenge know that I gave up news for Lent, especially while commuting to work.  Since Easter, I have turned the news on but not everyday. So with a decision to go with news, I drove home getting the earliest news reports of the explosions in Boston.

For as long as I can remember I have turned to music to soothe my soul. Nothing moves me in the same way. 

Recently we went to see Kurt Elling in concert. He told the story of wanting to find words for a tune by Duke Ellington.  Then he was inspired by an improvised melody by Von Freeman.  Finally he read a poem by Rumi and it all came together.

I offer this up on this long night.

I like the sunrise cause it brings a new day
I like a new day. It brings new hope thet say
I like the sunrise  blazing in the new sky
Nightime is weary.  Oh, and so am I

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Love ~ the a to z of one word messages

Our First Love
was a fruit of the spirit

Lettering by Wayne Stratz
Background by Margaret Almon

Love. Lets get rid of all the extra words. One word suffices for now.

I Love You.
Our second Love
commissioned by my parents

Lettering by Wayne Stratz
Background by Margaret Almon

Our third commissioned love
celebrated a wedding anniversary

Lettering by Wayne Stratz
Background by Margaret Almon

This love is for sale
Lettering by Wayne Stratz
Background by Margaret Almon

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kindness ~ the a to z of one word messages

Border by friend and client and artist Suzanne Halstead
lettering by Wayne Stratz
Background by Margaret Almon
Kindness is one of those words we need to reflect upon as our day comes to an end. It is a message to seek out moments when we met the call to be kind to both friend, stranger, and nemesis. And then go deeper and see when missed the call, and failed to respond with kindness. And then hope for a better response to the world when we awake to a new day.


May we seek out opportunities to provide some to a person in need. May we see all as those who are in need.

the crew of us celebrating
the completion of the
Fruits of the Spirit

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Joy and Jazz ~ two one word messages

Joy Mandala
Design, lettering, big pieces by Wayne Stratz
dark to light background by Margaret Almon

Jazz shimmers
letters by Wayne Stratz
shimmering background by Margaret Almon

  • The most important moment in my teaching career was when I decided the number one thing that mattered in my classroom was the presence of joy.  Not that I have anything against peace, love, and understanding (and Hope!)
  • Besides hope, no other word has emerged as many times from our studio.
  • I have a splendid friend named Joy, who I miss and who I hope to see this June.
  • Joy is a full immersion one word message.  It resonates from your heart and fills your entire body.
  • My 21st rule on my classroom wall ~ feel free to enjoy the jazz.
  • My musical tastes have changed my entire life.  Who knows what the future holds, but for a decade plus jazz has ruled the day.
  • Jazz concerts are joyful.  The musicians are truly playing with each other.
  • The one word message.  Jazz unfolds with my life. It is in my classroom, my commutes these days (today I sat in a long line of traffic stopped by a train and enjoyed listening to Miles Davis), it is in my studio, and it randomly flows from six CD's when we have friends over for pizza. 
What brings you joy?
What word represents a presence in your life, like jazz is present in mine?

Rainbow by Margaret Almon
classic black by Wayne Stratz

background by Margaret Almon
peachy keen jazz by Wayne Stratz

one of our best
background by Margaret Almon
Youghiogheny Jazz by Wayne Stratz

small blue pieces by Margaret Almon
lettering and big blue by Wayne Stratz

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is of Imagine ~ The A to Z of one word messages

Imagine by Nutmeg Designs
lettering by Wayne Stratz
background by Margaret Almon
Imagine is word we chose to make.  For me it is a powerful reminder of times spent at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville.  Ignatius was big on using imagination in prayer.  Read scripture and place yourself into the story.  Be a bystander, be a main character ~ no matter, just place your self into the story and see where it takes you.

Of course this can be applied to real life as well.  Imagine a friend's misery before saying I can't imagine.  I think we say we can't imagine because it is painful to place ourselves into those shoes.  But if we do we can then respond to the needs of our friends.  Doing it for the stranger for the enemy is just as valuable and even more difficult.  Imagine.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Hope ~ the A to Z of one word messages

a friend's desire for Hope, a commission
design and made by Wayne Stratz

Hope in the Desert
lettering and bottom by Wayne Stratz
Top background by Margaret Almon

Lettering and large background design by Wayne Stratz
small pieces and swirl by Margaret Almon

Rainbow of Hope
lettering by Wayne Stratz
Rainbow by Margaret Almon

Hope ~ the missing Fruit of the Spirit
lettering by Wayne Stratz
Blues by Margaret Almon

Stained Glass Hope
designed and created by Wayne Stratz

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Garden ~ The A to Z of one word mosaic messages

I spent my day with my students, who were so excited to be out and about in the gardens at my school. March was cold.

I came home a bit tired, but was excited to see how Margaret had finished off the background on what looked like this not so long ago when it left my studio ~

The client who ordered this chose the colors based on a welcome sign we had done in the past. Well, if you know us you know we love orange, and we surely love orange in our garden. So, who were we to refuse. Does the one word message, "Garden" take you to special place?

Here are orange scenes from gardens past ~

zinnia by Wayne Stratz

Midas the orange cat with orange zinnias
by Wayne Stratz

Flower arrangement
by Wayne Stratz
Lantana going well with a
mosaic bowling ball (created by Margaret Almon)

Marigold by Wayne Stratz