The Society of Decorative Painters | Chapter Happenings | Volume 5 Issue 3 December 2009
In this Issue

• A Message from Elizabeth

Dear Chapter Presidents:

It’s an exciting time of year! Time for elections, reflecting on what the chapter has done this year and looking forward to next year’s events.

We are thrilled to have so many new members joining SDP this year. Please be patient with these new folks, as it takes awhile to process their memberships, and they may not have their membership card in hand at meetings quite yet.

Now, down to business! Below you find links to the annual forms that have normally been mailed to chapters each fall. In order to reduce expenses, links to the annual forms have been sent electronically. If you would like hard copies mailed to you, please let us know and we would be happy to do so.

2009 Chapter Achievement Award form
The Chapters Department is looking forward to hearing back from your chapter about all the great things you did this year. This form is to be returned to the SDP office by February 15, 2010 in order to be eligible for the award.

2010 Annual Chapter Form
Election time is upon us, and we need the names of your officers for the new year. Be sure to send your chapter form, along with the annual chapter service fee of $30 plus an additional 10 cents per member (U.S. dollars only), to the SDP office. Remember, the deadline to submit this info was December 8, 2009. If you have not yet sent it in, please do so as soon as possible. Even if you have no officer changes, the form must be completed and returned. Receipt of this form and service fee is a mandatory requirement in order to be eligible for the Chapter Achievement Award.

2010 Membership Form
Please be sure to pass this information on to the Newsletter Editor and Membership Chair of your chapter. It is important that the chapter is using the most current available copy of the form. Also, make copies for your events throughout the year. What better way to bring new people into your chapter than to invite them to become members of the Society of Decorative Painters!

Treasurer’s Year End Report
This is now a required report. The report can be mailed along with the Chapter Achievement Award by February 15, 2010.

2010 Chapter Liability Insurance Invoice
Chapter liability insurance covers injuries or damages caused by a chapter or chapter members while conducting chapter activities. The 2010 liability insurance payment was due to the SDP office by December 8, 2009. If you still need to send us your payment, please do so just as soon as you can. Payment of the liability insurance is a mandatory requirement. These invoices will be mailed to the chapter treasurer.
IMPORTANT! IRS Filing Requirements! Remember, chapters risk losing their tax-exempt status if they do not file an annual report with the IRS. Chapters with gross annual receipts that are normally GREATER than $25,000 would still continue to file the 990 or 990-EZ. Chapters with gross annual receipts that are normally LESS than $25,000 will need to file the 990-N electronic notice. This will need to be completed between January 1 and May 15, 2010 for the 2009 year. For more information, please visit

View all forms on the website Chapters page.
Please note, too, that there are new regulations for booking teachers from outside the U.S. You can download that info here.
If you have any questions about the above information or forms, feel free to call me at (316) 269-9300, ext. 107 or email

Happy Painting!
Elizabeth Stevenson
SDP Chapters Coordinator

• Special Offer for New Members

Business members DecoArt and Royal & Langnickel brush company want to help us recruit new members to SDP. With this in mind, they have generously offered to give a Decorative Painting for Everyone New Member Kit to every new SDP member. This will help all of us encourage new members to join our beloved Society! Each new SDP member will receive a coupon in their membership packet good for one kit.

The free Decorative Painting for Everyone kit includes:

  • Set of seven Americana Acrylics and three DecoArt mediums.
  • Set of five Royal Gold brushes and one Royal 1” sponge brush.
  • Black & white carbon paper, tracing paper, and an 8” by 10” clear styrene sheet that can be used for practicing brushstrokes.
  • Decorative Painting for Everyone,” course guidebook.

Warmest thanks to DecoArt and Royal & Langnickel! Imagine how much easier this will make recruiting new members. Now, let’s all get out there and spread the word to newbies about SDP and this fun offer!

• Waiting List for a Second Seminar with Maureen

The upcoming Home to the Heartland seminar with Maureen Calvert McNaughton CDA, TDA has sold out! We are still receiving inquiries about this popular class and are considering a second seminar Feb. 18-21, If you are interested in taking the class, please contact SDP Education Coordinator Lisa Curry at (316) 269-9300, ext. 104 or email her at to be placed on the waiting list. If we can assemble a class of fifteen or more students, we will conduct a second seminar! Don’t delay. Contact Lisa as soon as possible.

• Heartwarming Holidays

For the past several years we have featured a recipe and holiday memory from our SDP president, president elect, and past president. We get such a wonderful response that we’ve decided to do it again. Enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Christmas with Aunt Hazel

By SDP President Nancy Genetti
My mom and my aunt were very close, not only in age, (just a year apart), but they lived near each other all their lives. My mom hated to cook and bake but my aunt loved to. She was that type who can make something from nothing! She spent a week with my family when I had surgery once and we lived on whatever was in the refrigerator. While I thought there was nothing there, she made wonderful meals!

I used to go next door to my Aunt Hazel's house and help her bake fruitcake and cookies for Christmas. It was so much fun and I think of her often, especially when baking. Her fruitcakes were delicious—really! They were chock full of fruits and nuts but none of those bitter citron pieces. Unfortunately, her fruitcake recipe is packed away this season while my house is torn apart replacing damaged floors, but I do have a delicious cookie recipe of hers that we used to bake together.

Date Van Winkles
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup diced almonds
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Dice dates. Rinse and dice apricots. Combine dates, apricots, and almonds. Set aside. Blend butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, sour cream and extract.  Sift together flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt; add to butter mixture. Stir in fruit mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto a well-greased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to12 minutes. 
Makes 3 1/2  to  4 dozen cookies.

Start Your Own Traditions

By SDP Past President Linda Neilson Biedermann TDA
Given the chance, children will draw and paint on anything and everything. They start with the walls and furniture, then move on to other things if you let them. This only proves that we were born to paint! When my daughters were young, I found a good way to stop the destruction, without stifling their creativity. I told them I would make cookies for them to 'paint' on if they would stop decorating the walls. It worked!

At Christmas time, we started making gingerbread people together. I made crispy gingerbread cookies and gave them an assortment of sprinkles and various colors of the frosting you can buy in a tube with changeable tips. You would be amazed at the detail a four-year-old can put on a gingerbread man. Of course, many of the ginger people crossed paths with a little fox and were missing arms or legs before they made it to the cookie platter.

This tradition has continued with my grandsons, who enjoy baking with me as much as my daughters did. I have also tried to help other families with small children get started by giving them gingerbread mix in a jar as a Christmas present. Easy instructions for this can be found at Tie a handpainted ornament to the jar lid to show off your painting skills.

To make your own ginger people, use the recipe at the website above or try my personal favorite below.

Sturdy Gingerbread Cookies
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1-Tbsp ground cinnamon
1- Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
12 Tbsps unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks, slightly softened and cut up)
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2 Tbsps milk
Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda about 30 seconds on low speed using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Stop mixer, drop in butter pieces, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes on medium-low. Mixture should resemble very fine meal. Reduce mixer speed to low as you add molasses and milk. In about 20 seconds, you should have an evenly moist soft mass of dough. Increase speed to medium and mix an additional 10 seconds.

Divide dough into quarters. Roll one portion at a time between large sheets of parchment paper, until about 1/8-inch thick. Leave in parchment paper and stack on a cookie sheet and either freeze until firm about 20 minutes or put in refrigerator for about 2 hours. Alternatively, if you want to make the dough the night before, you can put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough sheets from freezer one at a time. Peel off top parchment paper and gently lay it back in place. Flip dough over, peel off and discard second parchment paper. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut dough into gingerbread people and transfer to cookie sheets with a spatula. Place them about 3/4-inch apart.

Bake until cookies are slightly darkened and firm in centers when pressed with  a finger, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for two minutes, and then remove with metal spatula to wire rack to finish cooling at room temperature.
Roll all the scraps into a ball, and then roll it out for more cookies. You can use these cookies for tree ornaments if you poke a hole in them with a straw when they first come out of the oven. Use frosting, candy and sprinkles to make each one have a different personality. They keep in a sealed container for about a month.

An Unexpected Lesson

By SDP Vice President/President Elect Gretchen Cagle
As a child of German descendants, we followed the tradition of opening our gifts on Christmas Eve. Often we would go to the movies in the afternoon only to return home and find that Santa had come. One year, upon our return from the theater (I was eleven years old), we found there were no gifts under the tree. What a disappointment. It wasn't long until there was a knock at the door. Who should it be but Santa Claus! My dashed hopes turned to joy! Santa wheeled in a bike for both my sister and I. What joy! The next day we were out riding, but to my surprise, what should I see on the neighbor’s porch, but the poinsettia that my mom had sent home for Mrs. Claus.

I wasn't sure about this and tried to wish it away when we next rode by the house. But without a doubt it was our gift to Mrs. Claus. I wanted to cry but instead I distracted my sister from looking in that direction and continued on down the street. Again, what a disappointment ... one I've never shared with anyone until this moment!

Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without this wonderful fresh fruit salad. My grandmother made it, my mom made it and now I continue on with the tradition.

Fresh Fruit Salad
1. Fresh or canned (drained) pineapple cut into tidbit sizes.
2. Fresh oranges cut into tidbit sizes. Canned Mandarin orange slices (drained and cut) may be substituted for fresh oranges.
3. Several sliced bananas mixed with a bit of bottled or fresh lemon juice to keep the bananas from turning dark.
4. Several apples cut into wedges and then cut into small pieces. Mix with lemon juice to keep them from turning dark. When finished discard used lemon juice. Do not add it to the salad
5. 1 to 2 cups of mini marshmallows.
6. Whip a pint of whipping cream with a bit of sugar and vanilla added (to taste) and fold into the fruit mixture.
7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

• Ornaments for the Smithsonian

By Mary Dunlap, Smithsonian Ornament Project Committee Chair
A special dream of Board Member Tammy Browning-Smith came to fruition as an SDP special service project: the 2009 Smithsonian Ornament Project. After the program was approved by the Smithsonian, our members were asked to volunteer by purchasing an ornament surface, painting the ornament, and providing the ornament for the Smithsonian display. For the first time in SDP’s history, members were asked to create a special, original ornament using a portion or an entire painting from the Smithsonian American Museum of Art’s Renwick Gallery’s Grand Salon exhibit as inspiration. Each of our volunteer artist members painted a three-by-five inch birch rectangle.

The ornaments were submitted as a cross section of SDP members’ abilities, from a very talented six-year-old member to members at all levels of artistic accomplishment to our awesome CDAs and MDAs to our most senior fine artist member participant at 82-years-young. This broad representation of artistic abilities showcased the very special artistic talents of our volunteer members.

The beautiful ornaments were given to the Smithsonian staff as outlined in the original agreement between SDP and the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian staff, as part of its outreach program, placed our volunteer members’ special ornaments on a live fir tree in the Grand Salon on Friday, Dec. 4.

The Smithsonian staff held a Family Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The most prevalent comment about this program was that “it was a huge success.” The Nations Capital Chapter hosted the celebration with hot cider and cookies and provided paints, brushes, surfaces, and so on for the Smithsonian’s visitors to use to paint a memorial ornament to take home.

To the Smithsonian’s visitors during the month of December and until January 3, this project will look easy. It could not have happened without the many hours each of our volunteer members spent painting special ornaments for the tree.  The SDP Board, the SDP Staff, and the Smithsonian Ornament Committee wish to thank each of you for your generous participation in this SDP service project. It is through your dedicated and sustained support that SDP enjoys the highest integrity in all of its outreach programs. 

Special kudos to each of our participating volunteer members who painted ornaments adorning the Grand Salon’s tree and special holiday wishes to all SDP members. 
EDITOR’s NOTE: And thanks to you, Mary, for all of your hard work! She would never tell you, but we know that she spent scores of hours cataloging and photographing ornaments, tying ribbons on them to hang them on the tree, answering questions from participants, delivering the ornaments, and much more. Your dedication is very much appreciated!

• Learn to Paint Online Video

Do you need a fun and easy project for church, a scout troop, a club event, or a demonstration? Or maybe you just want to hook a few friends on decorative painting! Visit the website and view the video of the current Learn to Paint project, Terra Cotta Makeover by Chris Thornton-Deason. The video presents the project taught by Jillybean Fitzhenry. Then you can download copies of the complete instructions to share with beginners. They’ll enjoy creating the project and will love the results. You might even inspire a new painter to become an SDP member!

• Painters Go to Juvenile Court

By Dorey Joy, Berkshire Brushes
Berkshire Brushes of Lanesboro, Mass., recently went to juvenile court. Two representatives of the chapter, Community Service Chair Sheryll Ellery, on the left, and Newsletter Editor Gloria Greaves, on the right, dropped by to see Cheryl Duval, center, at the Berkshire County Juvenile Court.

The purpose of the visit was to deliver handpainted Adoption Boxes for the families who were adopting children on National Adoption Day, November 20, 2009. Along with the boxes, members of Berkshire Brushes painted a generic ornament for the children. These treasures were painted with care and presented with love as a memento of the day adults and children came together as a family. A special message, written by a Berkshire Brush member, was placed inside each box.

• Busy Painters

By Marie Lyons, Yellow Rose Chapter
Members of the Yellow Rose Chapter in Dallas, Texas continue to surprise everyone with their commitment to painting. During our monthly or half-day classes we have completed our Christmas ornaments for this year, and gifts for friends or relatives—and ourselves. Projects we worked on include “Christmas Roses” taught by Peggy Frieden, “Holiday Elegance Ornaments” and “Spotlight on Santa” by Sharon Warren, “Chef, What’s for Dinner?” by Bette Thompson, “Merry Christmas Santa” by Marge Bode, “Chippendale Style Tradition” by Barb Revitt, an eagle by Linda McDonald, and an art class, “Drawing the Average Head” also by Linda McDonald. It was a very fruitful year of projects for the chapter and a wonderful year for our service projects.

• Painting with Bobbie

By Melinda Barnes, High Plains Chapter
High Plains Chapter members in Littleton, Colo., enjoyed painting with Bobbie Campbell June 27 and 28, 2009.

• Bringing the Landscape Indoors

By Barbara Sepples, Shades of Northwest Hills
The doors of the Memory Impaired Unit at Valerie Manor in Torrington, Conn., recently received a makeover by members of Shades of Northwest Hills, a new SDP chapter. The unit is named “Meadowview,” which is what the group painted: a view of a meadow for residents to enjoy all year long. The group also spends one morning a week sponsoring a painting club for the residents.

• Totes for Recovering Soldiers

By Sally Doak, Delmarva Decorative Artists
Delmarva Decorative Artists of Delaware are sending canvas tote bags painted by chapter members, (some original designs, some patterns by others), to bring a smile to the faces of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Our local Korean War Veterans have a special group that have fundraisers and even bring some of the recovering soldiers to Delaware for a picnic each year and to participate in other activities. They supply backpacks, personal grooming items, underwear, tee shirts, postage stamps, and so on. We asked if they would take our painted tote bags to the guys and gals. We thought the bags would be suitable to put on wheel chairs to carry items to physical therapy and also could be attached to a bed rail for personal items to be in reach of anyone unable to get out of bed.
Members were asked to think “outside the box” when selecting a subject for their bag, and to choose something that would touch the heart of a GI who might be from anywhere in the U.S., from any walk of life, and with any kind of interests. They did a great job and a wonderful variety of subjects are represented on the tote bags.

About Chapter Happenings

Chapter Happenings is published bimonthly by the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) for members of its affiliated chapters. Do you have a story, photo or idea for Chapter Happenings? E-mail Teri at

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