Watercolor Circus Tents And A Moon Face

I’m really enjoying playing around with my watercolors lately.  I began this tent scene by making a rough sketch first then following one of Linda Murray’s art by the river instruction sheets and filling in with watercolor.  (Linda Murray is my extremely talented watercolor instructor at Merrymeeting Adult Ed)  Anyway, I tried to add some mark making details using my Inktense pencils.  You see, I bought these lovely water-soluble ink pencils over two years ago and had yet to really do anything with them.  Being a mixed-media minded person, I have an urge to use these in my watercolor scapes but I really don’t know yet what I’m doing.  Well, I braved the unknown but what I ended up with was something very disappointing…  Really just a big giant two hour long mistake on paper!  I try not to dwell though as I know from past experiences that my mistakes are generally beneficial in that I learn something.  This time I learned a pretty neat trick:  if I held my painting over the  kitchen sink and washed the whole thing with the sprayer, I was left with a very slight colored impression, like a map if you will, of the scene with no more glaring mistakes.  I then was able to go back in and make it something much closer to what I had originally hoped it would be.

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I’ve also been using the Inktense pencils coupled with watercolors in attempts to draw and paint moon faces.  Here is one of the better ones:

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I would love to stay in that awesome creative zen-like state of mind all day and make art but alas, I must go get ready for work.

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Get Your Sweet On… Elementary School Style!

I can’t remember a bad elementary era valentine party.  I cherished that day at school…  February 14th…  The exchanging of beautiful little cards representing friendship, love, and sweetness.  Compiling a loot of red, pink, and white colored candy, (even though teachers often asked parents not to send in candy).  The “Sweethearts” were my all time favorite with little messages like “BE MINE” and “I’M YOURS.”  Now those candy hearts have phrases like “LOL” and “TEXT ME” on them.   Dare I sound old by saying that the Sweetheart people should not have tinkered with the sayings on those candy hearts?  Yeesh, what is this world coming to?

Anyway, I plan on living vicariously through my children when they come home today.  I’ll undoubtedly hog their valentine “mailboxes,” repeatedly sifting through all their varied and colorful goodies.  Oooohing and awwwing over them.  I bet we get some Star Wars ones…And Hello Kitty…I seriously can’t wait…

This year I decided to make valentines with my kids.  I usually buy them in big packs since it’s easy and I’m, well, a pretty busy mommy.   But a couple of weeks ago I had an impulse to gather paint sample cards for the start of some good old fashioned handmade ‘tines.  I went to Home Depot and grabbed a bunch, just about in every color of the rainbow.  I also picked up some Valentine-ish foam stickers at JoAnn’s.  With scissors, glue, glitter, ribbon, a few punches, and a lot of love, I spread the crafty loot in front of my kiddos and let them work their magic.  These are our, well their, valentine bookmarks to hand out in school today:

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Yes, I braved even the kid-use of microfine glitter and the resulting mess was humongous but we all got through it, unscathed.  I hope your Valentine’s Day is lovely.  I, personally, will be descending on my children’s backpacks at 3:55pm, the very moment they get off the bus…

 

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Ice Fishing, An Apocalypse, And Buttons OH MY!

To celebrate the impending winter storm “Nemo”, I’ll open with a peaceful winter scene painted in yesterday’s watercolor class:

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My structures need a bit of alignment work but don’t these ice fishing shacks seem so welcoming?  They must be toasty warm since there’s smoke coming from the chimneys.  Each time that I leave my watercolor class I think that I’m going to do all sort of practicing.  Ooooh, I think to myself, I’ll do a series of these throughout the week for homework.  The week comes on full speed and goes zipping by and not one painting, let alone a series, gets completed.  However, I am learning so much in class and having a great time doing so.

Last week’s painting made me a bit giddy.  This one isn’t quite finished (and may never be at the rate I’m going!) but I thought that it looked so dangerously apocalyptic.  An empty, destroyed city along the horizon…A blazing orange reflection of the somewhere setting sun…A bit of radioactive smog…Acid rain clouds…Dead trees…This just screams series to me.  Or maybe I’m just ready for spring.

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I taught a fantastic bracelet class last night.  It was called “More Chunky Button Bracelets.”  I love to teach button bracelets.  Everyone did a fantastic job too.  Being two-stranded, these are a bit challenging and took a more than the allotted time but they (the bracelets and the students) were so worth it!

Here are some students’ work in progress:

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So I’m trying my best today to harness some energy and get my artsy/craftsy gears turning but I must first power through heaps of (drumroll please…) laundry, dishes, picking up, and all the myriad chores of a half-time working mother.  I’ll get some coffee going and begin…And thanks for stopping by!

 

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Superheroes, the Maine Coast, and Warm Wrists

I’ve let my blogging rate drop a bit lately.  I’ve been swamped at work and preoccupied with various kid-related items of interest.  I have however been as crafty as ever.  In fact, I’ve just begun a watercolor class at Merrymeeting Adult Ed  taught by Linda Murray.  I have no idea what I’m doing really, but she has all these neat tips and tricks.  In just the first class I was able to accomplish some pretty neat rocks.  These rocks are quite like the ones found allong the coast of Maine.

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And some more rocks:

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I’ve been sewing too.  I designed this purse after one I bought while teaching at CREATE in Chicago.  I like the rough and tough superheroes coupled with the frilly ruffles and yo-yo embellishment.

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I found the button in my vintage shank button collection- It was one of the biggest, and yes, I do sort my buttons into shanks and holed.  Funny, but it makes for easy work when I need a button.

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Lastly, it’s been ridiculously cold here.  Single digits represent our high temps lately.  This has never ever been my favorite weather but my mantra is: Spring is just around the corner…  So I bundle up everywhere I go.  I made a few pairs of wrist warmers and this one is of the up-cycled sweater type:

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I added a crocheted edge at the cuff and whip stitched around the thumb hole to cover the raw edge.  I added a bit of contrast around the thumb with a running stitch done in a robin’s egg blue.  Because the robins will be laying eggs soon.  And it will be springtime.  And much much warmer.

Short term goal:  Update my classes page!

 

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Farewell 2012, Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year!!!!  As 2012 came to an end I was feverishly knitting a darling pair of Owl Wrist Warmers.  I found the pattern on the cover of Mollie Makes, a British magazine publication that I’ve fallen in love with as of late.   Here is one wrist warmer, almost finished, sans thumb:

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I’m using a bulky plied Malibrigo and big needles (10 1/2).  It’s a quick, thick knit.  I found four perfect vintage buttons in my stash for the eyes:

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Did I mention that I’ve been crafting up a storm?  I recently finished a felted bag that had been on needles for 9 months or so.  I had to wash it several times to get it down to a good felted size.  In between a couple of washings, I stretched the rim of the purse so much that the half-felted-knitting actually ripped!  In just a split second, after many moons of working on this project, I managed to put a rip into it that was about a half inch long.   I gasped and nearly cried but then quickly realized that I had an arsenal of crafty items and a never ending crafty imagination and therefore this could be fixed with an embellishment of some sort.  So, I bravely finished felting it and then trimmed the bag with a piece of vintage bar cloth and old lace.

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The buttons certainly add to the cottage slash old lady charm.

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My last picture is of something that I made a while back.  I had knit my son this gorgeous cabled fisherman’s sweater when is was maybe 1 1/2 years old.  My gauge was off and I ended up with something very long and skinny.  My son at the time was very stout and fat.  But the work was so pretty…It sat and sat for a few years until I thought of the perfect use for that sweater; it’s destiny was to become this purse:

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This purse also bears that vintage, old lady flair!  I even lined it with appropriate fabric, keeping with the flavor!

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So, I’ve decided on a single attainable Artsy Crafty New Years Resolution for 2013.  It’s an idea that sounds great to my ears.  My resolution is to gain inspiration first from stuff I have in my stash.  Either supplies or an unfinished project.  I hope to achieve a downsizing of sorts by the end of 2013, with no lack of finished artsy craftsy marvels.  Just like the sweater that became a purse, my goal is to first make starting with what I have, buy less because of it, and turn out some uniquely wonderful handmade goods in the process.  Ofcourse the rack of magazines at Joann’s may be death of this plan, but I shall give it my all…Possibly I could glean inspiration from the magazine covers that only use an ingredient that I already have in my stash…You see, I’m already strategizing about how to make this a success.

May you have a wondrous new year!

 

 

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