Monday, January 31, 2011


We're amazed and inspired by the number of different ways of looking at this old photo of the sunflowers in our yard. We'll be using some of these photos to make greeting cards tomorrow. As we paint and draw borders around them  I'm sure that other ideas and projects will come to mind.

Brought to you by the Color Yellow

Some days are perfectly ordinary and we go about doing the things we need or want to do. I made this potholder because I needed one and prefer these to anything I've seen in the stores. I'd also crocheted 2 hats and a scarf in the last week or so but I gave them away so fast there aren't any pictures. Then as always, my mind turns back to painting and when I "found" this old photo of the sunflowers in our yard.  My husband and I started thinking of ways to combine our skills (he's a photographer and does all the computer "stuff" around here) to do something new with it. I'd already done a watercolor painting, an acrylic painting and a pen and ink drawing from it but I was wondering if there were any new ways to look at it before I pick up my brushes again. I'm beginning to see some possibilities here but have a load of laundry to fold. Who knows where this day will go next? I don't really care as long as it's interesting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sit a spell, take your shoes off

Here's the painting as I left it yesterday. I'd worked until I could barely lift my arms or put together a coherent sentence but the day just seemed to fly by. At this point I needed some rest and began to wonder how to approach painting  the patterns in the fabric on the chair so I pulled it over next to my work and made a cup of tea.
Today I can't decide whether I'm more interested in sitting in this chair or painting it but moving it opened new possibilities.
There was enough extra space in that corner to display 2 more paintings and that painted chest. I find it easier to take care of the paintings when they're hung, aired and cleaned on a regular basis as opposed to encountering "surprises" when they're in storage.

The benefit of having the chair over where it is now of course is that I still do a lot of crocheting and the light is better over here. Is anyone interested in what I'm crocheting? I try to keep this blog about the painting and gardening but as you may have noticed by by now "my hobbies have hobbies" and we're always doing something creative around here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moving Day

The interesting thing about a small space is the way things have to fit together.  The challenge as always is like working a puzzle. Everyone has a different idea of where to start. My approach of late is to attempt to locate the most important pieces and get them into place first.

Today that meant clearing off the table and moving it into the living room where I've got great natural light to work by and I'm near that corner I  want to do a painting of. (it's got my favorite chair full of pillows I made and it's surrounded by some of my paintings-one from each decade I've been painting) I can't quite describe how this site makes me feel but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when I put brush to canvas and attempt to express it.

Everything but the kitchen sink

Just as I was starting to clean off the table in between projects the mail arrived so I couldn't resist clipping this quote from a catalog, adding pictures clipped form some free stickers and cutting a few leaf shapes from the edge of a magazine reply card to add to the bits of embroidery floss and of course after all that I couldn't resist grabbing the colored pencils to finish things off a bit.
It will be fun to hear what folks thought of the letter that I wrote on this...I guess you could say I'm "at loose ends"...and loving it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gardening P's, Planning, Planting, Painting

We're still months away from seeing the soil, let alone planting in it. The garden catalogs fill my mailbox and my imagination, I cut a lot of them up and decorate the borders of my letters while I try to decide which sorts of things I'd really like to grow this year.

The main thought I come back to is how quickly it all goes once the season finally gets here. I prefer to work from fresh flowers because you just can't capture the way the petals feel, move or smell from photos.

My plan this year is to get started now painting backgrounds with some of my favorite dishes on them. That way they'll be ready when the blooms finaly arrive and I can focus all of my time and attention on the flowers themselves this season. I'll let you how it works out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hanging on by a thread

Well, did the title sound dramatic enough? Hey, I made you look. I've got quite a reputation for being able to make something out of anything so a friend handed me this embroidery floss this morning so of course the first thing I did was toss it in the scanner to show you and to make a nice little card for her. Now I'm on to unwinding the various colors and embroidering a bright and interesting border around the hem of a black cotton top. That's 2 projects and I'm just getting started "playing" with it...Keep reading to see what's next.
I thought I'd add a few of these buttons from my cousin to the mix to decorate one of my old shirts. So far I'm really pleased with the results and may add a few more design elements to it later on. Meanwhile this project brightened both my wardrobe and my my mood so "it doesn't get much better than this".

15 below and more to go

A lot of winters I used to try a bit of indoor gardening this time of year but this year I'm embracing the time off from gardening to enjoy the seed catalogs and sort through my photos from last seasons plants. The TV news is saying the wind chill is 29 below and I'm thinking how delicious it is to be indoors and see where the day takes me. I re worked a scrapbook of my old Iris projects over the last couple of days and thought it might be fun to list the number of ways I've  managed to celebrate my favorite flower over the years.
Oil Paintings
Acrylic Paintings
Watercolor Paintings
Pen and ink Drawings
Colored Pencil Drawings
Embroidered Pillowcases
Embroidered Dish Towels
Embroidered Table Linens
Embroidered on Clothing
Painted on Dishes
Painted on Furniture
Painted on a Wall Mural
You'd think that after all of that I would have explored all of the design possibilities but the season is short and I like to work from the live ones in my garden. Winter gives me lots of time to think, plan and keep working on it all. Are a dozen ways really enough? That's the challenge that keeps me coming back.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Re-purposed Cigar Box and other projects

The little cigar box is still in progress but seems to be coming along well. I'm still using watercolors on the note card and envelope sets and acrylics on just about everything else. My ideas for the cover of the box will involve pine branches and pine cones on the lid to go along with the theme of the rest of the box. Since the brand names and things were burned fairly deep into the wood I'm using the indentations as placement for trees, bushes and other design elements. People are really surprised that you can't tell what it was until you open the lid and see the cardboard label inside. They just pick it up and say "what a great box" and then make the most amazing face when they discover it's secret.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

You Can Sit on my Art

I found this while sorting through things around here. I wrote it nearly 20 years ago but the only thing that's changed is that I no longer have a front porch.
"You can sit on my Art: I've been an artist all of my life but the art market being what it is these days I've been putting my painting to more practical uses.
It all started when I decided to fix up some of my wooden interior chairs and my big, metal patio chairs.
The best place to work was out on the front porch so I could take advantage of the fresh air-this of course also brought my little project to the attention of  almost everyone in the neighborhood that happens to pass by and soon they began to bring me their "sad" chairs to be cheered up with a bright, brand new and original paint job.
After doing this for a while I began to buy new chairs just to explore the design possibilities, now I've got all shapes, sizes and types in many designs ranging from landscapes and florals to geometric and fantasy inspired designs"
All of those chairs sold so "finding" this again inspired me to get started on a couple more. I'll add pictures when I get a chance but I wanted to share this with you before I lost track of it again. Join in, grab a brush and paint your world into a brighter and better place...I'm sure trying.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Creativity by the numbers

As I was painting in the "Winter Studio" (that sounds so much better than telling you I'm talking about the dining room doesn't it?) I was asked just how much of my work surrounded me so here are a few numbers that I found interesting:
11 foot square (the size of the room)
3 painted birdhouses (built by my husband and I over the summer.)
I large painted chest (built by a good friend)
2 painted boxes (one of those built by my friend as well)
5 pen and ink drawings
11 acrylic paintings
5 watercolor paintings
5 quilts (4 finished and one in progress)
1 patchwork vest
2 pillows (one with patchwork and quilting, one made of a great tapestry fabric I found)
3 tote bags that I designed and made and of course all three of those are full of crochet projects that I'm working on.
1 embroidered dishtowel
2 patchwork and quilted table runners (one finished and one in progress)

I'd even drawn the lilacs I'd embroidered on the shirt I was wearing.
It made me laugh to wonder how much creativity I've got by the inch around here because this list is just the stuff in one room and I just remembered that there's some pottery in there that I made as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dreary Winter Days

It's snowing off and on today but not enough to freshen things up and make it pretty again so I finished crocheting a hat and played with my mail a bit while deciding what to do next. Lot's of projects in the works but not much ambition to do them with. Do you ever have days like that? I've been sanding a chair but it's a long way from being ready to paint on so I primed a little wodden box that should be a fast and fun project to paint sometime in the next day or two...I'm still waiting for the mood to strike, guess it missed me ;-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Watercolors on Todays Mail

The first photo was the corner of the envelope (with the addresses cropped out) and the second photo it the actual letter which was painted on 140 pound watercolor paper before I started writing the letter. It may not be art but I enjoyed painting it as much as my friend will enjoy recieving it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Incoming projects and outgoing mail

Somewhere in all of this at my table today is a vest I'm sewing, embroidering and decorating, the pencils used to decorate these 4 envelopes and a potholder, hat and afghan that I'm crocheting. No wonder we're eating in the living room...that's fine with me. The sun is out so from time to time the solar powered crystal in the window makes a shimmering light display across the ceiling and walls.
The vest came along nicely and I repeated this design in several places...of course being plus size there was a lot of space to cover ...

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I put these together about 20 years ago and am wondering what's new in supplies and methods so I think I'll do a little research and shopping before deciding whether to re-arrange and combine the items I have here or create something totally new from items I've collected since then. Either way the subject has just become new and exciting again and it will be interesting to see what becomes of it all.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Paint, Pencil and Photography to go

I'm having a lot of fun today with a handful of photos of my paintings, some colored paper, card and envelope sets and tying them all together by doing some pencil drawings and watercolors around them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

All Together Now

It's fun when you can combine a bit of everything (patchwork, charms, embroidery buttons and pins) as I did in these Christmas Stockings for my husband and I. Some of the fabrics were a gift from a Cousin on her return from Hawaii, some fabrics were from my sister the decorator and I combined those with a stick pin embroidered by one sister, buttons from another and of course a few buttons from my cousin as well. So many things come together here including my husbands pins from his years at the Post Office. They make us smile every year and we're STILL adding things.