Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Progress Report

Knit and Crochet: "They say charity begins at home". I say "been there, done that". I just gave 2 scarves, one hat and 4 pair of slippers to my family and made 1 pair of slippers each for my husband and myself.

Zazzle: Sales are improving and we're still designing lots of things with my artwork on them and just discovered that we can do ceramic tile there that can be put on everything from a trivet or gift box to a bathroom or kitchen. I got SO excited that I designed dozens of them.

My Studio: I'm still working on the dining room table because we couldn't afford to finish the old garage we were converting to studio space but I'm not letting that stop me from planning a series of workshops on color mixing and problem solving for watercolor and acrylic artists. Even if I can't do them here I can do all of the planning so that I'll be ready to go when things get back on track.

Organizing, Recycling and Downsizing: 3 bags of "stuff" went out to charity last week, some bins were emptied and others reorganized. My go to system for things these days is tote bags for each activity or place I need to go to so that everything is always sorted and ready. people say "you're so organized" but they'd be horrified to see what a mess my house is in. Somehow I can always find something more important or interesting than housework...I'm sure that won't surprise you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are we there yet?

 I'm pretty happy about this envelope design except of course that some of the outlining strokes are a bit to wide. Thank goodness that can be corrected with the computer.
As far as the card goes I want to do a bit more shading on some of the beads and I'll add a bit of something spilling out of the top of the stocking on the card. We've scanned it here in case I overwork or spoil it somehow as I continue painting.

Christmas Watercolor Card and Envelope Set

 I had enjoyed working with this garland on the acrylic painting I did of it back in September so I thought I'd see how it would work out in watercolors. As always I started with the envelope first so I'd have some practice with the design before painting on the card itself.
 Here's the start of the design on the card.
 Here's a shot of the card in progress.
 It looks like the foot of the stocking came out too large because I hadn't sketched it in first. I also didn't make the whole image small enough to leave room for the sock monkey. Oh well, I may try it again...meanwhile, it's nice enough to toss in the mail.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Recycle, Re Use

 I got this toothbrush holder full of toothbrushes a couple of months ago at the dollar store.
 Since I use them one at a time and like to keep mine in an individual case I decided to pack the rest of them away.
 The case was just perfect to use my watercolor brushes in.
The cover comes in handy for storage and you can use it as a tumbler to rinse your brushes in when you set up to that's what I call "getting some bang for your buck"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A penny short of a banana

The title sound a bit like a joke, doesn't it? We had to laugh at the sound of it but the truth was that we had 23 cents left and were beginning to worry how we'd eat for the rest of month. It's the situation people find themselves in around the world these days.
We were lucky, just then 20.00 came in for some of the work we'd done and you'd be surprised how many groceries you can get for that if you're careful.
Well fed and rested life looks a lot better, I'm hoping life improves for the rest of you too.
In the meantime I keep doing my best at the things I know, as we all do. The great thing about art and craft projects is that they're a great way to keep your mind off your troubles and create things we can use. It was fun taking that bag of knit and crochet things to my family today. I hope you're doing things that make you happy too.
We tried to make a crochet video today but didn't quite get it to work out but we'll keep at it and see what we can come up with.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Scrap Yarn projects to unwind with

 The pink, peaches and cream scarf is easy. You can use any yarn you have handy. Use any size hook you're comfortable with and make a chain as long as you want the scarf to be. hdc (half double crochet) in the 3rd chain and each chain to the end, chain 3, turn and hdc in the back loop only and keep going that way each row until the scarf is as wide as you want it to be then end off and work in the tail. Let me know if you need me to explain or illustrate any of the steps. Going in the back loop only puts a nice rib design in it. I just like the way it looks. You can do yours any way that you want to.

This scarf is all just double crochet. You just pick any size hook that works for the yarn you've got. Make your chain as long as you want your scarf to be. Double crochet in the 4th chain from your hook and in each chain to the end. Chain 3, turn, double crochet in each double crochet and just keep going this way until the scarf is as wide as you want it to be and finish it off. (clip the yarn a few inches away from your work,pull the end through your last loop and work the tail into your scarf)

I had SO much fun! More Christmas Stuff

 I had so much fun "playing" with our Christmas stockings yesterday that I pulled this tote bag out of storage (I'd been trying to sell it for a couple of years and had given up on it). Who knows, this may look nice on products too.
 This is a detail view of the back of the bag.
 These are detail views of another couple of Christmas stockings.
 I'm feeling more hopeful this year thanks to the support and kindness of so many of you. It may be a Happy Holiday Season yet- Thanks SO much!!!
Special Thanks to those of you shopping my stores this season. I couldn't do this without you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crazy Christmas Ideas

 We threw our Christmas Stockings into the scanner so that we can see what all of the patchwork, embroidery and bead work that I did all of those years ago will look like on products at Zazzle.
 How's this for a green Christmas idea? It's fun to see the things you love in new ways, it's my favorite way to recycle this season and I'm hoping that everyone else will love it too.

Believe it or not that "quarter" is really a button, we thought it might bring us luck. One of my sisters made all of the little plastic charms so this whole project is full of positive energy and good wishes-no wonder it makes me feel good.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Scrap Yarn Projects by hand and machine

 Merry Christmas to me. I managed to get a pair of slippers and a spare. (yes, I have been known to wear different colored slippers on each foot when no one's looking)
 There wasn't quite enough yarn on any of these cones to make more slippers so I decided to crochet a scarf or two, we'll see how far it goes.

Some ideas don't make the cut

 I'd grown tired of the background on this watercolor so I decided to remove it.

 I thought I'd try combining these flowers with one of my other paintings.
 This is a detail of a recent watercolor
I wanted to see how these looked together so it's a good thing I'd just tossed them loose into the scanner because I didn't like it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kindness, Surprises and a few more projects

 I finished these slippers yesterday
 This is a long scarf that I finished this morning. It's crochet of half double stitches on the back loops. I love the ridged effect it makes and it's really easy to do. When it's all stuffed in the scanner like this it's a bit hard to tell what it really looks like so I also scanned one end so that you can get a better look at it.
It's been a good day, we were treated to lunch at the local bagel shop and a friend sent stamps in her letter today. I've got one dollar and eighty cents in the bank and was feeling pretty low so thanks to everyone who made today special. it felt great to know that people appreciate us and miss my letters when I can't afford to write.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Watercolors in the mail

 These are the follow up to my post about using watercolor masking fluid.
 Once the masking fluid was removed all I needed to do was paint in the flowers and a couple of leaves.
 I painted some envelopes to match and enjoyed using them to answer my mail today.
 Here's a close up of one of the cards. 
 Here's a closer look at the envelopes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The fifty six cent Breakfast

 Breakfast for 2 starting at $1.12 (I haven't quite figured out the per cup or per pot price of making coffee at home or the cost of 2 old hamburger buns with butter and cinnamon sugar. It can't be much, the cinnamon came from the dollar store last month.) There's a lot in life we can't control but as an artist I CAN control the presentation and make it pretty...It's fun to play with your food!
 I've been picking up individual fruit at our local Target store because it's priced by the piece instead of by the pound so you always know exactly how much it's going to cost you. Bananas are 24 cents and apples run between 54 and 74 cents.
Yesterday they were 64 cents so I just grabbed one.  
Since the tops of hamburger buns are thicker than the bottoms you can split them in two before buttering them and adding the cinnamon sugar. I toss them in a  375 degree oven but you could do them up any number of other ways depending on whether or not you have a kitchen or appliances to work with. Let me know if you want me to include those ideas as well.

Few artists make a living at their work so I plan to include a lot more survival techniques so that we can pursue the work we love without becoming those starving artists people hear about.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Progress Report

 I continue to work on those Dala horse ornaments in between other projects.
 I made this hat to use up some odd bits of yarns. I actually got about half of it done while waiting in line at one of the local food programs this morning. It made the time pass quickly and gave a few of us something to talk about besides the state of the economy or hard times. I finished a pot holder too but forgot to get a picture of that for you.
 I've actually gotten more done on these red horses but haven't shot pictures of that too.
I knit these slippers on the knitting machine tonight. My holiday gift to the family is to make sure they have something warm so I'm packing a big bag of things to take along when we get together for Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A busy morning's work

I started the purple hat for an elderly friend, finished 2 hats I donated to a program for women Veterans and their families and then I went back to work on potholders.

All of that before noon today. Who knows what's next? There's still a lot of the day left.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are we there yet?

 I think I've done as much as I can with these ornaments, don't you? At least for now I'm going to consider these done and get to work on the other 5 at the work table.
Of course, once I've done those all bets are off and I may take another run at these. You just never know...