Thursday, January 31, 2013

More heart designs

I clipped these from a photo of a painting that I did last year. I'm looking forward to exploring new ways to use and improve them while using them as part of other projects. I  love it that old work becomes part of new projects. Everything just keeps growing and changing...including me!

My projects have projects

After I finished with the mail yesterday I finished crocheting the scarf I was working on and started another one, packed those up for crochet group and then I started a crochet hat and packed that up too. My favorite hat pattern only requires counting for the first 4 rows so I find it easier to do that part at home so that I don't make mistakes or get distracted while talking to everyone  at group.

A friend sent me more card making supplies today and I spent a couple of hours on those and now I'm headed to Zazzle for finish designing a few products I've got in progress there.

After that I'm putting together information for a freelance writing job at a local newspaper.

Between all of this my husband and I scanned photos for a local group and put the actual photos in an album before moving on to making a computer CD. We may even take it a step further and make a collage and video so that they can access their event in any way that they want to in the future.

As I always say "my projects have projects" and that's just the way I like it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carried away again

I had so much fun making that last card that I just kept making all sorts of other cards out of everything else I found but all I've got to show for it is a stack of outgoing mail. I'm not even quite sure how many letters I wrote but I've got to thank my friend Bernice for the fun package of rubber stamps, cards, envelopes and papers that she added to the mix today.

Yes, it's been hours and things are no better organized than when I started but I think a lot of us will enjoy my efforts anyway, don't you?

Wildflower Revival

While cleaning the studio I came across these scraps of pink papers and some stickers and couldn't resist taking some time to combine them and turn them into a card.

It's nice to see last summer's drawing find new life and keep brightening up my mail.

Sales, marketing and life in the studio

I doing a lot of cleaning and re-arranging in the studio to make enough room to work on some larger canvases. The projects I'd been working on to sell don't pay enough to help much so I'm going to grab my paints and slide away into something fun until I feel up to tackling the sales and marketing problems again.
While resting up between the other work I'm still crocheting that scarf for the homeless. There's enough of that yarn left to make one more after I finish the one I'm working on so soon that stuff will be out of my way here too.
There isn't room in the house for the big easel so it's either out in the garage or frozen to the ground somewhere out in the garden from the last painting. I'll hunt that down later...or wait until spring. It will depend on what sort of a mood I'm in.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine display

Super Easy Scarf

I'm crocheting these scarves for a program that gives them to homeless veterans and their families. A lot of people forget that many women serve too and a lot of our military have families.

Well, now that I've explained why I'm making these, I'll explain how they're made.

I call this my "No pattern, pattern"

step 1. Get some yarn

step 2. Choose  a size of crochet hook that works for the type and size of the yarn you have

step 3. crochet a chain as long as you want the scarf to be plus 2 or 3 stitches.(the extra stitches are to allow for turning your work without making it shorter)

step 4. single crochet in the 3rd chain and each of the other chains

step 5. turn

step 6. half double crochet (this is the stitch where you wrap the yarn like you were going to make a double crochet but pull it through like you're making a single. It's a nice stitch for scarves because you need fewer rows than single crochet but it isn't as loose or lacy as double crochet)

You half double crochet in each space or stitch (depending on your yarn sometimes it's easier to go in each opening from the previous row than it is to get in each if the stitches-do whatever works best for you) Chain 2 or 3 at the end of each row and turn to crochet the next row. Keep going until it's as wide as you'd like it to be. Cut the yarn off far enough away from your scarf that you can pull the end through you and have a long enough piece that you can weave the end in so that your scarf won't unravel.

Monday, January 28, 2013

White horse with hearts

I just finished this horse and plan to display it at the senior center with the two pink ones as part of the decorations for February. With each horse I improved the design a bit so I feel good about setting this project aside and starting something new.

Design Day

Zazzle is running a sale on iphone cases today so I'm off to design some of those before heading to the worktable and lots of other projects.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Photographing the snow and planning the garden

The snow seemed to show up better when shot through the kitchen window but doesn't look nearly as amazing as it does in person.

The main thing I notice in the pictures is the fact that I never got my wheelbarrow put away before winter hit.

I'm also enjoying a pile of garden magazines and making plans for this summer. The only thing that I've  decided so far is that there will be lots of poppies and sunflowers to paint. I'll also be moving a lot of the raspberries and roses so I guess I'd better relax , put up my feet and rest up while I can. It's going to be a busy year.

It began to rain

We're having freezing rain today. Between the snow and the idea of all that wet and cold I was feeling a bit sad so I heated a bit of apple juice with a couple of cinnamon sticks to warm and cheer us. Besides liking the way it tastes it makes the house smell great too.

I haven't gotten around to making lunch yet so I'll take a break to do that and then head back to the studio. As I do that my husband is sanding some more wooden Dala Horses for me to paint.

Since I sat down to write this post snowflakes began to mix with the rain, it must be getting colder because it's somewhere between rain and snow now which makes me glad that I'm not planning on going anywhere today.

I was a bit disappointed that the snowflakes didn't show up in the pictures, I've just got an old and very basic camera so I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

Running with scissors, inspiration is EVERYWHERE

I tried to get some photos of the squirrels chasing each other around the front yard and the few birds that were at the feeders outside my window this morning but I didn't have any luck so I returned to the worktable where I "found" scissors, tape and a couple of photos of different crazy quilt Christmas stockings that I had made years ago. I know you can make a collage on the computer but it was a lot more fun to cut them up and combine them into one image by hand.

I'm listening to a bit of music and deciding where to start next. Living in such a small space means that EVERYTHING is handy and inspiration is EVERYWHERE which as you can imagine is both good and bad but always fun.

Indoor citrus trees

This is my 3rd year with this orange tree and though it hasn't been a great success it doesn't look too bad. It lives in my dining room most of the year.

The lemon is a different story. We bought it last summer and it actually had a lemon on it so we had great hopes for it. Apparently putting it in the living room was a mistake. All but 2 of the leaves have dropped off and they are a bit odd looking so I suspect either an insect or disease problem and will be doing some research on the internet to see if I can figure it out.

 I hope my little friend survives long enough for help to get here. The lemon it did have last summer
was lost to the squirrels. It was out in the yard for some good sunshine and bees to make it happy when the squirrel chewed off the branch it was on and then decided it didn't want it. We were sad because it was getting ripe and we had plans to slice it for tea. Somehow we just didn't want it after the animals had it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Finished Hearts Dala Horse

Next Step to the hearts Dala Horse

The hearts and other details are added in a darker shade of pink. (In this case it's #20346 Pure Pink) Use a round brush for the hearts and comma strokes and a liner brush for the eyes, bit and bridle (the parts around the face)

This part of the project goes pretty fast. Let it dry and finish with tiny white dots around the edges in the smallest round, liner or detail brush that you can find.

Back at the worktable

We found the key we were looking for and labeled some of the others before clearing them away and getting back to work.

I just finished sanding this and am ready to start painting. This one will be another attempt at a nice valentine's heart design. There's just one change I plan to make with it this time, the small heart below the saddle area on the first one seemed to throw the balance off so I plan to eliminate that and enhance the design of the larger heart. I'll add more  pictures as I go.

There's no need to use an expensive paint because these are going to be used as decorations for a Birthday Party next month so I'm using Apple Barrel Gloss Acrylic Pint by Plaid in a 2 oz bottle. It costs around a dollar at Wal-mart and the color I'm starting with is #20631 Pink blush.

Base Coat with pink blush and after it drys, sand anything that needs it and repaint it.

project updates

Sharing the table yesterday was helpful. After we did as much as we could with the computer repairs there was enough of the table clear to have dinner before getting back to other projects.

This morning we're sorting keys and trying to find one that's "gone missing" It's funny how you loose track of things that you don't use often so we thought we'd take advantage of the extra space to get organized. As much as I hate to admit it some of these go back to the 1970's which was 3 houses ago so many of these that don't belong to anything will become art supplies and part of other projects too.

As you can see I've got a number of wooden horses in various stages of carving and sanding. There are an assortment of paints out but I'll be putting away the ones that don't get used for this project.

There are papers to sort and bills to pay and some days I just don't know what to do first. The bills are
are the most important but there won't be any money for them until next week so I might as well get back to my painting or the horses.

I did have a couple of borrowed books from a friend on tracing your Swedish ancestry but realized while looking through them that I haven't got enough information to pursue that anyway so those are packed up and ready to return.

When it comes to painting I haven't decided whether to let loose and start something new or get back to one of the canvases in progress around here...of course I've given away all but one of those big tote bags that I had made so I'm tempted to finish the one I'd been embroidering so that I can use it for one of my other projects.(The bag I have now is full of the projects that go back and forth to crochet group.) Yes, it's a toss up today between painting, sewing or woodworking. Come back later to find out which one got my attention first.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Timeshare, multi-purpose rooms

I was ready to settle in at the worktable and get back to work on those horses but my husband is working on one of the computers and needed the space to spread everything out while he made the repairs and replaced the light for the screen.

While that's going on I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine and headed back to work at the computer in the living room/office.

The lemon tree next to my desk is pretty sad, there are only three leaves left on it so I'll try to find a sunnier window for it and hope it survives until I can put it on the front step this summer. That always seems to help and I someday if I'm lucky I'll actually have fresh lemons growing here. I think it would really cheer the place up a lot.

In the meantime I'll head back to work designing those ipad covers and will post again, later.

Today's mess at the worktable

Is it any wonder that after looking at this I just ran to the computer and decided to design on Zazzle instead of diving into the mess? I wasn't sure where to start with the sympathy cards so I designed ipad and smartphone cases instead.

I've got people waiting for the wooden horses so I'll have to get to work carving, sanding and painting them after lunch. The problem with that is that I'm really wanting to get back to that sunflower painting and as I've mentioned before...I'm easily distracted...

Designing Sympathy Cards

I had always wondered why Sympathy cards seem to say the same thing but I realized yesterday that no matter who the person was or how they died you've always got Sympathy for the people left behind and it's a good place to start.

The challenge for the designer is how to express that in a way that is better suited to different ages and types of people and that covers an assortment of situations.

I'm always amazed that even though we all loose someone along the way no one really knows what to do or say at times like's not just me.

My challenge today is to look through the artwork I have and see if there's anything suitable, create something new if there's not and to try to make life better for the people left behind.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Easily Distracted

I'm not sure where that painting is going but it's been interesting. I'm tempted to pick another set of colors and go back at it but I'm a bit too worn out to consider it tonight.

I crocheted a few more rows on a scarf today and stared at the worktable wondering what to dive into next and wondered how to break the cycle that always leaves me sitting in the middle of a mess.

As much as I hate to admit it I've been trying to get things cleaned out, organized and fixed up since 1985 but I always find something interesting to work on and then off I go.

Stuff goes out, stuff comes in and I never get ahead. The big question becomes "if I'm tired of the cycle, how do I stop it...and do I want to bad enough to make it happen?"

A fresh approach to the Sunflower painting

Sometimes it's easy to over think things. My plan today is just to relax and fall into it. I'm not even going to pick colors. I'm  just going to shake up the paint box and reach in like a prize drawing,  grabbing ten tubes at random and using whatever colors I end up with.

If nothing else I think it will be fun and interesting. Music would be nice too, I still find myself listening to Donovan and The Moody Blues all these decades later because of the way Donovan often mentioned paint colors in the song lyrics. It often helps me when I get stuck and can't decide what I want to reach for next. I'm not sure what it is about the Moody Blues but I've done some of my best work while listening to them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Organization and inspiration

I'm feeling a bit wrung out from struggling with that sunflower painting so I took a bit of time off to organize things in the studio.

 I found myself singing a little Beatles tune (with a little help from my friends)  as I was working because the embroidery floss and the box I decided to store and display it in were given to me by a friend (thanks Irene!)

Having all the bright colors where I can see them may spark some ideas and it's just pretty and cheerful to look at. There are any number of ways to put things away, you just need to decide what meets your needs best based on the things you have to work with.

I painted the edges to keep things a bit cleaner and nicer( it would be easier to dust if I ever felt myself inclined to do that) but didn't feel the front really needs it right now.

A dark place

This may look black but it's actually dark blue, alizarin crimson, hookers green and orange in various amounts and mixes. I tried a bit of white with some of them but it just got "muddy". It looks like I'd better put this painting away until I'm in a better mood for it or a new idea hits. That happens sometimes.

Monday, January 21, 2013


This is the point in a painting that I really enjoy. With the flowers and vase finished I pull out the palette knives and just start moving the paint around, it's relaxing and you don't have to think about anything too much. It's usually the point where things begin to flow.

The progress so far

Those of you who know me will laugh when you see this because my intentions to try other designs on the vase went out the window when I had a nice stir-fry for lunch. Yes, I'm easily distracted.

I'm still working on the background and wondering if it's going too blue. I had wanted to include a shimmering effect of all colors but blue is always the first thing I reach for.

I'll rest up a bit and see what happens next if the light holds up. Winter days get pretty short up here.

A bit more organized at the worktable

Since I started yesterday I finished a hat and a new dala horse so it's cleared a few things off the table. of course I'm carving and painting more horses there now so that may or may not be considered progress. I seldom clear space at the table without starting another project on it.

It's a bright sunny day so I'm going to get back to working on that sunflower painting while there's bright, clear, natural light to work with.

This is my starting point today. The biggest issues will be resolving the background and adding the pattern to the vase. Those of you that are regular readers here will not be surprised that it will be something in blue and white. There are some swedish inspired ideas that i'd like to try this time just to see how they'd work out and maybe to combine them with the folk art of other countries.

A simple valentine design