Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Step 2.....Finally!

Working canvas with step two completed.

To do this, first I cut a piece of paper the same size as my working canvas. Then I made a sketch of the image I wanted as my focal point, in this case flowers. Then I cut out my image (the black is just the background I photographed my paper flowers on). I arranged my paper image on the canvas and traced around it with pencil. Then I went over the pencil with black permanent marker.

I have to confess that I couldn't quite leave step one alone. Before I started step two I added some rubber stamped images including letter stamps. I promise you won't have to wait very long for step three!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Want to play? Step One.

Use a foam brush to spread gesso on raw canvas (mine is 10"x10", not stretched). While it is still wet dip your brush in a few different acrylic colors and mingle them on the canvas. Scribble with a palette knife and stamp with found objects. I used bubble wrap and a wine cork. To be continued...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Twirly Skirt

I wish I had a little girl modeling her twirly skirt but this is a Christmas present I just made for Hannah, so my flock of colorful birdie clips will have to stand in for now. I have three out of four fabrics picked to make a skirt for Emily, that will be my next project. So it is off to the fabric store so I can get started on skirt number two.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My first crafty sale event!

Whew! No more burning the midnight oil, my debut craft event is finished! It was at a fall festival at my kids school, so a pretty small potatoes event, but it went really well. This is an overall view of my table. I wish you could see the cool fall colored fabric a little better. I topped it with chocolate colored felt.

I sold prints of my fall watercolors on chocolate cardstock, and fall fabric pin cushions.

This is my bookmark tree, with the original watercolor below it. You'll see a close up of that in a minute.

Skeletons and mummies. The mummies have cheesecloth bandages. Both were a big hit. I was only making skeletons but my daughter Hannah said I needed to make mummies too. Of course she was right.

Closer in on the pin cushions. I embroidered each leaf and made the mushrooms and snails from fimo clay. Those are seed beads around each felt flower.

I had people who don't even sew buy pin cushions because they thought they were so cute.

Each tree is made from seed beads, the berries are crystals, and the branches are done with silver and gold metallic pens. Instead of tagging each item I had acorn cards for each item group tucked into fall leaf placecard holders. The idea for pricing by group came from the lovely Jenni Horne at Mattie's Social Circle, be sure to check out her AMAZING blog. For business cards I watercolored and salted sheets of paper and punched large maple leaves. The picture doesn't do them justice, they turned out very pretty even if I do say so myself.

This is the original for my bookmarks. I had it in my head that I wanted to hang something from branches, and then thought of bookmarks. This is one night prior to the show, so of course I was up way past midnight painting this. It wasn't my intention, but I loved it as a whole (and it works as such), so I just erased the dividing pencil lines and matted it. Now if I can ever find a way to make decent prints you may buy them some day from the vision of an ETSY shop that is dancing in my head.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall watercolor cards

I'm working on a series of fall watercolor greeting cards, these are still in progress but I like how they are going so I couldn't wait to show them! The paintings are done but I think the first one needs a tiny crop and the edges have some tags to smooth before I glue them to the chocolate cards.

I plan to paint a bunch more, all with different images. Should I sign my name (on the bottom right) on the watercolor itself or on the card?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Penguins for Christmas!

It's still in the nineties in Dover but I have been dreaming of ice and snow. I have been very busy making stocking stuffers for Christmas, shhh, don't spill the beans! (I think I'm safe posting this picture because my blog has a readership of exactly one - and you will get something else!) So far I've made a baker's dozen of these little guys, the rest of the flock didn't fit on the pedestal. They each have their own personality to make them special, at least that is my spin, I couldn't figure out the head pattern. In case you want to make your own flock for family and friends, it can be found in Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts, on your newstand now. The penguin designer is Jesse Truong.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Sketchbook

This is my new format for doing one painting each day. I have been pressed for time lately, so I have switched to a watercolor sketchbook and hope to complete a tiny square each day instead of a whole painting.
This is my palette, and it makes me very happy. I love all those cheerful wells of color just waiting to seize the day. My favorite brush is a Grumbacher no. 8 round, made from squirrel. Sable is supposed to be the best and I own many, many brushes including sable, but I have never found a brush I like better than this little guy. My paints are by Winsor and Newton, artist quality.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Best laid plans....

So what happened to a painting a day? I thought once the kids were back in school I would be even more productive with my creative pursuits, but then I took a SECOND job. The girls have cross country practice and meets, and family life just got busier and busier. Instead of letting my poor neglected blog gather dust I thought I would give you a peek at a slice of life in Delaware. These pictures are from Fifer Orchards one of my favorite places in Delaware. They have pumpkins....
and more pumpkins, from Jack-be-quicks to cannonballs and on up in size.
they have warty pumpkins, and white pumpkins,

pretty pumkins, and...

green warty pumpkins. There were many more varieties, plus pick your own, but you get the idea. They even had homemade pumpkin donuts, yum!

Here is the cute old original Fifer truck. I brought home some fresh peaches and apples, a few weird gourds, apple cider donuts and of course a couple of Jack-be-quicks for my son Jack. Back at home today, our hokey little town is having one of its parades that goes by our front door. Today it's the Fireman's Parade. Who doesn't love a fireman? But let me tell you this parade lasts for HOURS, and after the first twenty five trucks or so (okay, that number is actually much smaller for me) the novelty kind of wears off. There are a smattering of bands and color guards (who doesn't enjoy Delawareans weilding axes?) and of course the marching ladies' auxillaries in their sensible shoes.

Now... I am off to paint watercolors of some beautiful pumpkins. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Farewell to Summer

I know the heat and humidity aren't gone for good, but darn if it didn't feel like fall is on its way today. It was the first full day of school for my kids and it was cloudy with a nice cool breeze. We enjoyed the weather by biking to school. Fall is my favorite time of year and I can't wait to switch to a fall palette and colorful autumn scenes, so I thought I would say goodbye to summer with one last beach scene.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I love this plump little guy. He was fun to paint. I really need to work on foreshortening technique, he looks kind of silly, but I'm very pleased with his head. For some reason I have a terrible time with beaks, but this one worked out pretty well. Shhh, we won't mention that wing. So much to learn!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Warblers have a special place in my heart. I was out to sea on a research vessel and a storm blew in one night. The next morning was clear and calm and when we came out on deck there were little warblers everywhere. They must have been scared to death but they were so pooped from fighting the storm they just stayed and rested. I sat quietly next to one perched on a ladder and we just watched each other while he regained his strength. I will never forget all those beautiful tiny birds.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mater Season

Don't you just love tomato season? Here are some quick studies of tomatos from my husband's garden. As much fun to paint as they are to eat!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Today's painting

A quick sunflower sketch keeps me up to date!

Three new paintings

In keeping with my new goal of a painting a day, I have three to show you because I wasn't able to blog for a few days. For the hollyhocks in the first painting I used my standard technique, painting onto a complete drawing on dry paper. In this second painting of the desert, I did only a little sketching of the main lines, and then painted wet on wet while looking at a photo I took on a trip to Arizona. The desert painting has some problems, but it is really beginning to grow on me.

I tried wet on wet for these magnolia blossoms as well. I will be back later tonight with today's painting.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A painter paints

I haven't been painting much lately so I have decided to challenge myself to do a painting a day. A "sketch" painting in my watercolor journal will count as well, as long as I am painting. I will still be working on my colorful quilt, and I have a cute embroidery project in the works too, which I hope to post soon. I won't be able to post for two days, so I should have three paintings for you to see by Sunday.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My new romance (the next big project)

Several years ago I was smitten by a couple of books by Kaffe Fassett. I bought the books and some fat quarters and they have remained in my mountainous "someday" project pile ever since. Then along came my new blog friend Carolina, and suddenly I found myself sewing. Now Carolina has been bitten by the Kaffe bug too, and we are planning to each make a quilt.
I haven't even dug my Kaffe fabrics out of my stash yet, but of course I just knew I needed to augment what I have, so... Many of these new fabrics are by another Rowan designer, Philip Jacobs.

The fat quarters will make the quilt top along with the purple and magenta you see as borders. The quilt back will be the grape fabric, here is a bigger shot of that...

So it will be a Kaffe Fassett inspired quilt, LOTS of color saturation. I couldn't resist a few more fabrics, I think these next two will make another messenger bag.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Magic Eight Ball

While traveling to Annapolis the other day, I found myself compelled, COMPELLED I tell you, to go into Borders and browse. After the sewing frenzy of late I soon found myself in front of the sewing section and spotted this little gem "The Sewing Answer Book" by Barbara Weiland Talbert. Now right on the cover Barbara makes the claim, "Solutions to every problem you'll ever face (seriously?), and answers to every question you'll ever ask." Wow. As I stood there in my state of dubiousness, pondering all the questions I could ask of this magic eight ball of a book, and weighing the merits of purchasing it, another woman walked up, quickly scanned the shelves in front of me, grabbed the other copy of this book and left. That sealed the deal for me.
P.S. Of course I will let you know if I can stump the book

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sewing Challenge Finale

I have been sewing like crazy during every spare moment to finish what I have come to think of as THE DRESS. Just a short time ago I "met" the lovely Carolina through blogging and quickly discovered I had found a kindred spirit. We both want to learn how to sew, and decided to make the same dress and blog about it. We chose a tunic dress from the book Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt. I have sewn a few craft items but never a garment. I made several attempts, but never finished anything because even with the "easy" patterns I always encountered BIG problems. Not so with Kay's instructions, I was able to make her tunic dress without any difficulty. So without further ado, here is the first dress I have ever made. Tada!

I am very pleased with the results, the dress fits, and I had a lot of fun making it. Thank you Kay! Because I'm a novice, I did get a little confused while putting in the invisible zipper. I have never put in any kind of zipper before. Even though I felt a little lost, I must have done okay because it looks great (as much as an "invisible" zipper can). This next picture shows one of my favorite parts. It's the inside of the bodice, and I love it because the edge looks so neat and clean and tidy unlike any other sewing I have done previously. Maybe you shouldn't look too closely, you'll see I can't sew a straight line very well! I will definitely make more clothes from Sew Serendipity, and highly recommend the book, even for beginners.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I couldn't sleep this morning and went outside very early, good thing too, because I was just in time to rescue this little cutie-pie from the jaws of death. He was scared but didn't appear to be injured. After a long, quiet rest, he seemed quite frisky. I didn't want to turn him right back out into our neighborhood which has lots of prowling kitties, so the kids and I took him to a place suggested by a wildlife rehabilitator. We wished him well and watched him bound away to conduct his bunny business.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sewing challenge update

I have been reading (Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt, of course), and pinning, and cutting...
and fretting, because now I actually have to sew! My sewing partner, Carolina, has already made a muslin prototype from the pattern we are both attempting, which you can check out at her blog here.

The writing isn't flowing today, probably due to fretting, so I will switch gears and show you a quick gift idea someone told me about. I put fresh basil in a vial with water and centered it in a square vase, then filled in around it with cherry tomatoes, added ribbon and its ready to give!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sewing Challenge!

I'm so excited!! The extraordinarily creative Carolina of The Muse of the Day challenged me to work through a painting instructional book together, and I suggested we alternate each painting with a sewing project. We decided to begin with a sewing project and today we reveal our fabric choices. We will each post our progress on our blogs so be sure to checkout Carolina's blog and follow her progress as well.

Our first project is from a book full of wonderful ideas (with full size patterns) called Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt. You can find out more about the book and order it from Carolina's booklist on her blog. We are going to try the tunic dress you see here.

I love the border print the model is wearing, but since I have never sewn clothing before, I decided to choose a simpler print that I wouldn't have to match up. I'm very nervous because I've never sewn a zipper before, but it should be lots of fun too! I'm really looking forward to sharing triumphs and probably tears as Carolina and I work our way through this. I need to thank my lovely and agile photo assistant Emily (my soon to be 11 year old daughter) who was willing to climb a drippy wet tree in exchange for a cheese omelet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Messenger Bag

I made this little messenger bag because my philosophy is "never go anywhere without a book." I'm pretty proud of it because I can't really sew. I took some computer paper and scotch tape and made a paper mock up the size I wanted. Then I measured the model and winged it. I lined it to make it strong enough to tote a hardback. Most of the credit goes to Anna Maria Horner for her beautiful fabric. I embellished one flower with embroidery which you can see in the next photo.

I tried a photo-op with Lucky, but there is always a critic in the bunch. He just wanted that bag outta there.

Now these next two photos I decided not to use, but I like them, so here they are anyway. A big thank you to my friend Janet, and Lucky, at Summerwinds Stable!