Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Updates on the weeks projects

I guess you're wondering where I've been. A lot of the time has been spent on Zazzle seeing what sorts of products the new watercolor paintings look good on.

I spent quite a lot of time decorating the senior center with all of the leaves that I'd made from watercolors and card stock. I also took the tablecloth and new centerpiece that I'd make over there so that more people can enjoy them.

Back in the dining room sorting and organizing continues and 2 bags of "stuff" went to the local thrift store. Of course I stop often to stick odd bits of pictures, catalog pictures and other things together to make my letters fun for everyone. It's the sort of break that energizes me and keeps the rest of the job in here from being tedious.

I wander out in the garden from time to time to pick things up and get them put away for the season but all of the leaves falling on my tea table make me sad. We'll miss our outdoor home this winter and I think our friends will miss it too.

There's mending and sewing to be done and  scads of dull and boring housework to do so I'll close this now before I depress us all.

I think I'll head to Zazzle and make myself a nice coffee cup and take a break.

I'm wishing you pleasant and productive days ahead and lots of fun too.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bird watching from my window

Fall colors card and envelope sets

This started as a photo of the trees, bushes and vines outside my studio window...OK, we never did get the studio put in so it's really what I see when I go to the coffee machine in the dining room where I do most of my art and crafts these days at the table.

I bordered the photo with card stock and mounted it to a watercolor note card that I drew and painted on.

This is the design that I came up with on the corner of the envelope.

I'm experimenting with additional borders and treatment ideas on my products on Zazzle.

This one started with the centerpiece left over from the Halloween Tea, a blank watercolor envelope, watercolors and ink.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Painting and cutting paper decorations for fall

The photos I'm working with were taken right from my studio window, the fake flowers are from dollar tee and the cardboard leaves were 25 years old torn on the back and poked full of holes. Somehow I needed to take what I had and decorate a whole building.

I started with some marked and stained watercolor paper and traced around the cardboard leaves, being careful to lay them down in a way to take advantage of where the existing bits of color were. It was fun to relax and just paint a few random bits of color to fill them in.

The fun came when I cut them out and put them in the copy machine. I got lots of different effects by making a copy on photo paper, some on regular card stock  and a few on different colors of card stock. The assortment of different looks are kind of nice together and will be mixed with plain/solid color card stock in orange and gold.

I hate to think what the ink and various papers cost me but i had them on hand and it will brighten things up a lot in the building I'm decorating.

Now that I've got all of this made I can move on to some watercolor paintings based on my photos so that I can decorate the envelopes and get these cards out in the mail.

The next project after that will be to do some drawings based on the centerpiece before I give that away too.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everyone brought cheese and repaired the faucet at the Halloween Tea

Sometimes you just have to laugh at life and all of the plans we make. My company arrived just as I was getting the food laid out on the table and they dropped a hostess gift, a computer project,4 kinds of cheese, muffins and yogurt in the middle of it which of course changed things a lot. I never got the chance to set the salad out and in the middle of the mayhem (three different deliveries and a phone call) and I discovered that the shrimp ring hadn't been thawed.
Ordinarily this would not be a problem, you can thaw it in minutes under running water but there hasn't been any running water in the kitchen for over a week while we were waiting for parts to repair the faucet unless you count the 2 inches of water shooting EVERYWHERE  and rolling down the basement stairs when the shut off valve under the sink gave out. (more about that on Doug's blog). The good news is the parts arrived, the bad news is that he installed them DURING THE PARTY.
Anyway, there were suddenly 5 kinds of cheese and a computer project(which of course is another story) in the middle of the table for the salami taste test. (same brand but one package of lite and one reduced sodium) It was interesting to compare the numbers and most preferred the lite and there was also the question of  whether or not to cancel our pie taste test ( one regular and one diabetic friendly version) after the muffins and having spent our morning baking.
The crackers (for those of us who still eat them) were a number of different choices and I was surprised to find that my favorite was Blue Diamond Natural Almond Nut Thins which are a nut and rice cracker snack.
the calorie count per serving was the same as Back to Nature Spinach and Roasted Garlic Crackers but you only get 6 of the wheat crackers per serving as opposed to 16 of the rice ones. I don't know about you but if I'm trying to diet a larger portion is going to help me feel like I'm eating more and being deprived less so I was excited about that as well as the fact that they are gluten free which is important to a lot of people these days too.
What does any of this have to do with gardening or painting?... which of course are the main subjects of this blog. Actually a couple of things, if the weather had been better we'd have headed to the garden to pick rose hips to make tea with (you can use fresh ones, chopped and boiled) and now that the party is over I get my work table back and have and least 3 painting projects I'll be working on.
What's next? Follow the blog and find out. There's always something going on around here and generally lots of things at once. Thanks for stopping by to visit with me, come again soon.
The big excitement for me right now is that I just discovered that Zazzle is going to do wrapping paper and I can't wait to see some of my designs on it!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Setting the Halloween Tea Table

It's a little hard to tell from this photo but the extra skeletons are poked in here and there in the centerpiece.

It's also hard to tell from this photo but the skeletons sitting on the teacups have teacups, teapots, spoons and a tiny charm of a tea bag wired on to them...and are wearing black bow ties to dress things up a bit.

Entertaining is a multi purpose room is always a challenge because there are lots of things around that have nothing to do with the party.

The flowers and skeleton will come off the table when the food comes in.
Today's Menu:
shrimp ring
meat and cheese tray
sliced apples
pumpkin pie

Yes, I spent as much on the food as I did on the decorations but I've been looking forward to this party for a long time. I'll post again soon and let you know how it went.

Monday, October 21, 2013

25 cent Halloween Party Favors

It's amazing what a bit of scrap paper and some creativity can do! These parachute skeletons can be great fun if your guests get bored so at 4 for a dollar I thought I'd find a way to make them a cute part of the table decorations.

1. start by cutting the 4 toys apart.
2. trim the cardboard and plastic around them in the shape of a coffin
3. use double stick tape to attach it to black paper or card stock
4. trim to shape
5. attach to orange paper or card stock with double stick tape or glue
6. trim to shape
7. enjoy the fun

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Today's Card and Envelope Designs

As always I start with a blank watercolor card and envelope then begin to look for odd bits of paper or photos around my work table and studio space.

1. Add photo and bits of scrap paper to the card.
2. Fill remaining space with drawings or paintings inspired by the photo.
3. Do a matching drawing or painting in the lower left hand corner of the envelope.
4. Give it away as is, sell it or do what I usually do - write a letter on it and drop it in the mail.
5. Enjoy both personal satisfaction and a few comments or compliments from others.

Any way you look at it, it's time well spent and a great use of the resources on hand. This one just took an old picture, scrap paper, watercolor paints and a marker.

I don't know where this little scrap of floral paper came from but I thought I'd have a little bit of fun with it. I used pencil and marker on the card and watercolor paints and marker on the envelope. Yes, this is already in the outgoing mail. It's been quite a day around here and it was nice to be able to share it with a couple of people who really know what I'm going through these days.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall color from the computer, the view from my window

Most of the leaves are from this birch tree and the neighbors maples and oak. While everyone else would be raking them up I walk around out there trying to find some really pretty ones to scan or paint.

It's pretty easy to see why a lot of people loose patience with artists. We just don't look at the world the way that everyone else does. When I watch TV I notice the soundtrack, the set design or the way it's shot, I hardly notice the characters or the action in the rest of the program.

Leaves and fall color from the studio window

Every year I think I should clean this mess up and trim it back a bit but a lot of birds and animal live or take shelter in it and I just don't have the heart to disturb them.

There are so many types of trees, bushes vines and other plants in here it makes an interesting show when they begin to turn colors.

Who knows, someday they might be the inspiration for a painting or two.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

14 dollar and 51 cent Decorating for a Halloween Tea for Three

This dishtowels will be a take home gift after the party. I still haven't decided whether or not to use them as place mats when I set the table. They have chef's knives on them and were on clearance at Target for 88 cents each and they reminded me of the knives in slasher movies so I thought they'd fit nicely with the Halloween theme. They'd be a nice souvenir of the party and everyone can always use an extra dishtowel.

cost: 2.64

These paper plates and napkins came from dollar tree for a dollar a package if we only use one for each of us the cost for this party will be 30 cents. I purchased brown cups and saucers at a thrift store for 10 cents each that should go nicely with these, they're real dishes so they'll last for years.

cost: 90 cents

This tablecloth was from Walmart. The reason I chose this design is that it went well with the paper plates and napkins and I can use what's left again at Thanksgiving. Depending on how you figure things it makes it less than 2.00 per holiday.

cost: 3.97

Here are the makings for a centerpiece from dollar tree. it can be used for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. That's more like 2.50 per holiday.

cost: 5.00

I think you'll agree that you'd have to pay a LOT more than 5.00 for this an arrangement like this almost anywhere.

 This jointed skeleton will be laid out across the table and was purchased at Dollar Tree
cost: 1.00

 These little skeletons were also purchased at dollar tree. I took the garland apart and plan to sit the jointed skeletons on the saucers, leaning up against the cups. The leftover one will be worked into the centerpiece.

cost: 1.00

The decorations will go together in a flash and then I can get on with planning the menu.

Today's envelope art

This one is pencil, watercolor and ink. It went with a card that had photos of some of my floral paintings and other garden inspired art and crafts on it.

Designing invitations for a Halloween tea

This is one of the first times I've tried designing anything special for Halloween. The only reason I'm doing it is for the friends will be joining me for tea. I painted these on envelopes for the invitations.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The art that came to town and what happened next

I continue to sort through the clutter here and "found" a few interesting photos that I'll share here.

This photo is 12 years old and only one of these paintings remains here and even it has been painted over a couple of times. I'm glad this photo turned up because it's confirmation of the fact that my work has changed and improved in a lot of ways over the last decade or so.

 This photo shows that I finally got a lot of my hobbies together. I drew the iris on the pillowcases before I embroidered them and I printed several of my paintings on fabric before making this quilt and stitching them in. I don't have any of these things anymore either except for that pillowcase which is rarely used but thoroughly enjoyed whenever I want to feel a bit spoiled and special.

My bedroom is too tiny for a dresser or closet so we put a row of cabinets around the top of the room so we'd have somewhere to put things. We didn't want them to stand out too much so I did different paintings inside each of the doors so it looked like there were paintings in the room. A lot of people don't even notice that there are cabinets in the room so I consider that a successful idea.

I decided to put the pictures together into a scrapbook page which will keep me from loosing them again and give me someplace to add any more pictures that I might find while going through things around here.

Rainbow Carrots

I needed to get outdoors a while and since it's still wet and cold I figured I'd pick the rest of the carrots and be done with it.

I love both the look and the flavor of these so this is a variety I plan to plant again next year. I also need to remember to plant more because I didn't end up with enough extra peas and carrots to freeze this year and I want to get to the point where I'll be able to feed us all year long on the things I grow here.

It did me good to get outdoors for a while and I'm making some hot, spiced cider to chase away the chill.

There's some housework to tend to and then I'm headed to my paints...or a dive back into the clutter on the work table depending what I'm in the mood for by the time I get to the dining room.

Still caught up in the clutter

The most interesting thing I came across today was a journal entry I started on 5-19-92. I'm posting it here because a lot of you will be familiar with that feeling when we're working on a project.

"I'm knitting a garter stitch scarf. Sometimes I think it's good to refresh yourself and relax with the basics--no counting, just the rhythm of the work, click-swish of the needles and the feel of the yarn. I get lost in thought and time. It's that way when I stitch a quilt too."

The trouble with my hands has forced me to give up hand knitting and limited my hand sewing but the feeling is the same on any project that I work on. These days it's painting and those easy crochet potholders.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lost at the worktable

I've been designing a lot of things in my Zazzle stores and am still spending a lot of time sorting through things in the dining room and of course I wind up sticking a lot of odds and ends together to decorate mail as I write letters which of course is much more fun than cleaning and sorting anyway.

Here's the corner of one of today's envelopes. the flower on it was done to coordinate with the postage stamp I'd used on it.

I'm really wanting to get started on a new painting but there are so many other things I need to be doing these days. One of the more urgent ones is watering in the new plants and getting the water barrel emptied before the weather starts to freeze.(yes, it's one of the plastic ones)

The animals seem to be having a lot of fun, we spent part of our teatime in the garden today just laughing at some of the antics of the squirrels and a chipmunk in the front yard.

I'm doing a bit of sewing at the table tonight and will let the painting wait until the morning light.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Resistance is a good place to start

There are technology enhanced beings in Star Trek called the Borg who always say "resistance is futile" when approaching those that they want to take over and I got to thinking "resistance is..." and came up with the following thoughts a few years ago. The notebook I'd written it in turned up while sorting through my studio space so I thought I'd share it here since I didn't know what else to do with it and will quite probably loose it again.

Have you ever noticed how hostile people can get when you start making positive choices?

As they trudge along in their comfortable ruts they wonder how you have the nerve to poke your head up out of your own rut to start looking at the world in a new way.

As you make changes in each area of yourself and your life they get more uncomfortable with the new you.

They begin to ask "What's your problem?" and suddenly we realize that we don't have one anymore-we've been able to leave both excess baggage and our own rut behind us as we move on to the brighter and better life we would have had all along if we hadn't fallen into a rut in the first place.

I often wonder what shape the world would take if we all climbed out of those ruts and left the negativity behind.

in a RUTLESS world we could see more clearly into the future which would change the way we look at everything and hopefully history would stop repeating itself and wars would cease.

There are some parts of the world that have never been stable or peaceful. Marching in and killing people won't change that, it only diminishes us and keeps the cycle going.

There ARE choices beyond staying in ruts or going in circles- move ahead to find or create a better future-
I'll meet you there.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mahogany Sunflowers Mixed Media and Fun with the Mail

Yes, it was another one of those days sorting things out at the worktable. There was still a bit of green paper left and my chair is next to the shelf where my cards and envelopes sit. Every now and then they get together with some of the  "stuff" on the table and do something more or less interesting.

The photo ended up framed in the center and surrounded by watercolor and ink. I'll be painting an envelope for it next and the set will be going to a friend who grew the flowers in the photo.

I think she'll like them. Don't you?