Duncan’s Family Jewels at The Painted Dog!!!

So this new studio space, shared between myself and Rebecca Sweek, is not just one intended for teaching, it’s also the new home of Duncan’s Family Jewels!  This is Rebecca’s smartly named line of handmade bags, clutches, and the like, available for purchase here on Etsy.  (Duncan is the name of her beloved dachshund who can do no wrong).  She actually waxes the fabric herself before sewing these items and often adds an up-cycled belt for a handle.   Her most popular item is the large tote-style bag like the one below.



I love how she combines two types of prints for the exterior.  Rebecca really has an eye for great fabric marriages. Each bag is fully lined and quite rugged!



So when thinking The Painted Dog, also think Duncan’s Family Jewels!



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The Painted Dog: An Art & Stitch Studio Coming Soon!

I cannot contain my excitement any longer!  My very creative (and hilarious) friend and I are renting a humble and darling little studio space in downtown Brunswick, Maine.  She will use the space to stitch her wax canvas bags, clutches, and other creations while I will hold after-school art clubs for several age groups, along with art and craft classes for adults.  I have updated my classes page to reflect The Painted Dog kids’ class schedule for fall.

We’ve been busy with very important things, like what should our logo be? It needed to be playful, kid-friendly, funny (if possible), and inviting…Or non-threatening.  Our name reflects our love of dogs, so we came up with this cute little guy (or gal).  It’s probably a gal, if you know what I mean.


There’s been a lot of confusion over why we are showing the back end of the dog.  Like why not the front?  The cute face? Why the rear?

The only thing I can say, other than the fact that the image shows way MORE than just the butt, is that this frolicking doggy will be eye catching for sure.  We have almost zero dollars in our advertising budget, so this little gal stamped on a printed 8.5 x 11 informational poster will surely be an item of interest.  We probably should name her.  Any suggestions would be helpful.  She’s a dachshund.  Blanche? Dorothy? Rose? Sophia? Lucky?


I like to be open and honest when blogging and probably share a bit too much really, but I fully admit to having moments of horror, worrying about just how I will manage this new endeavor on top of all my other responsibilities.  I woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn’t fall back asleep for a couple hours thinking about the staggering task(s) ahead.  I suppose it all comes down to time management and paramount self-care.  But do I actually have enough hours in the day for everything?  I will keep my current part time job running a small sewing, art, and craft classroom at my local Joann,  which I do love, most of the time!  Maybe 87% of the time.

Anyway, wish me luck.  And energy. Wish me energy!

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Screen Printing With a Freezer Paper Stencil: A Tutorial (this time without any dirty little secrets)

I’m back at it, arting and crafting in many directions.  I’ve recovered from my vacation-is-over blues.  I’m again forgoing stylish clothes (heck, even clean clothes) for art supplies and passing up on Cosmopolitan or Glamour magazine for the latest trendy how-to art-related book.  I’ve delved knee deep into freezer-paper-stencil-screen-printing and must tell you how very easy it is.

Assemble a padded printing area.  I just tacked down some leftover quilt batting covered with a piece of scrap muslin.  I certainly could do a better job but see how simple it can be?


It reminds me of a changing table.  For babies.  Here it is again closer:


Next, place a large piece of freezer paper (found at Wal-mart or Hannaford) shiny side up on a cutting mat.  It must be a bit larger than your screen.  Draw a simple design with a Sharpie and then cut out the design, carefully following your marker lines, with a sharp exacto knife.  Place your screen on the design, centering it, with the deeper side (or well) facing up, and trace around the screen with the Sharpie.  Trim off the excess freezer paper following the traced line.

Place a piece of fabric on your make shift padded surface, i.e. changing table.  Place your stencil on the fabric, shiny side up of course.



Here I’m screen printing the two parts to a doll’s head.  It will be sewn later.

Next place your screen on the stencil, lining up the edges.  The deeper side of the screen must face up.



Now, using a plastic spoon, glop on some screen printing ink at the top of the screen, above your image like so:



Using the screen printing squeegee, scrape the ink across the stencil quite a few times, applying moderate pressure.  The idea is that the ink with fill the stencil openings, completely and uniformly.  Each time you scrape, go all the way to the end of the screen’s well and scoop up the excess ink onto the squeegee.  Bring the ink back to the top and plop it down again, getting as much off the squeegee as possible.  Repeat with the scraping.  You will have to do this more times than you think.



I didn’t complete enough scrapes, or enough passes, for my first image above.  It’s all blotchy and incomplete. So I moved my screen to a new spot on my fabric and did a better job the second time!


And there it is!  A lovely ballerina face and back of the head, if I do say so myself!  Let the image dry completely and set according to ink directions.  Get messy, make mistakes, and have fun!!!


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Somerset Studios GALLERY Giveaway Winner Announced Plus A Brief San Juan Range Trip Report!

These comments are amazing, each and everyone of them!  You ladies have cheered me up so much! I am home from my grand and glorious adventure, this is day two back to reality, and I must admit that I’m more than a little depressed.   My dear hubby and I went kid-less to Colorado to see a bit of family and to have our own little vacation. Being home now means dishes in the sink, kids saying “maaaaaawm” 150 plus times per day, and back to…dare I say it…work.  Such a dirty word, work.

I can’t help but feel unappreciative saying all of the above.  Simply because what I just experienced was truly magical. Our trip was a lovely journey- everything I thought it would be and more.  I’m grateful for the memories.  I guess I’m just quite sad that it’s now very much over.  We all went grocery shopping today and I felt pretty teary eyed in the frozen foods aisle.  I’m certain this feeling is “normal” and over time I will grieve and let go.

My most exciting thing to report about was our hike up Uncompahgre Peak located in the San Juan Range of Colorado.  A 14er, as the mountaineering world calls it, this beauty towers above nearly all of the Rocky Mountains at over 14,300 feet tall.



The hike to the top led us through an expansive alpine wild flower meadow.  There were columbines, moon flowers, sedums, geraniums, anenomes, and much more.  The alpine meadow reminded me of the movie The Sound of Music.  It was a religious experience to say the least.  The beauty was overwhelming.  Emotional really.



We saw many marmots and even more marmot poops.  I deduced that the poops were from the marmots.  The poop to marmot size ratio was fitting.  It was the cutest poop ever!!!  And the marmots were super cute too!  Way cuter in fact than their cute poop.


The hike was a two-day affair and the air was thin.  I was out of breath and my lungs hurt the whole way up.  The altitude made it feel like I was running a marathon even though I kept a turtles’ pace.  Finally getting to the top and viewing the hundreds of massive peaks outlining the 360 degree horizon was nothing short of a bucket list accomplishment. These images don’t do it justice.


Here’s another:


And one more for good measure:


That’s my hiking and life partner.  My better half.  Makes a dragon wanna retire, right?  After packing up and hiking out, we drove to Ouray, Colorado.   The prettiest place on Earth I’ve ever been.  I’ve been to a few places too.  This area is where we want to retire.  If we can wait that long.


Ouray is a small, old-west town nestled in the valley of these striated, scrub brush dotted hills. Our sweet little motel had an indoor hot spring/sauna.  And an outdoor hot spring fed pool.  And great food.  And maids that cleaned our room…  Sniff sniff…


The ornate shop fronts are actually a thing of history; they are called MESKER fronts and are made of stamp-pressed metal panels that are then decoratively painted.  The Mesker brothers owned a factory, two competing factories actually, that made these stamped facades a hundred plus years ago.


We traveled to Silverton, Eureka, and Lake City.  We explored a few ghost towns and mines.  We drove around the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison where these spirally trees caught my eye.



I talked to these big cows.  They listened briefly but overall I’m pretty sure they thought I was nuts.



How much art journaling did I get done on this jam-packed trip?  Not a whole lot.  A few pages.  Here’s a page that I did on the plane.  This marks a realization that I run around at a lightening-fast pace like a clown most of the time. In other words, I had a mini epiphany, mid-page here, to slow down, stop and smell the roses, and guard my free time.  Limit obligations if at all possible.



Well, I’ve probably talked long enough.  I’m again so inspired by all your thoughtful comments.  It looks like Maui should be on my bucket list.  And more camping.  I do love camping…  I am so inspired that I’ve decided to choose a second AND a third place winner to each receive a little bundle of goodies.  So all your lovely names are going quite literally into a stainless steel mixing bowl.  I’m stirring them up and I am pulling out the grand prize winner now for the latest GALLERY magazine and one of my hand bound books… And the winner is…

Lynda Gilchuk!!!

Congrats Lynda!!!  I was so happy to read your sweet comment!!  Photos certainly count as being creative.  Just email me your address (or message me on Facebook) and I shall send you your magazine and book and maybe a little something extra!

So, the second place winner?  Here goes… Mixing names,,, And the second place winner is…


Congrats Sharon!  I love your little story about your acrylic painting!  Again email me your address and I shall send off a couple little artful surprises!

And now for the third and final winner of some cute little artsy goodies:


Congrats Konstanze!!  Your story sounds so meaningful and I just loooove Neocolors!!! Email me your full address as I’m in the US!

Thank you everyone  for playing.  You’re all dears and you’ve brightened my return immensely.





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Stampington Sponsored Giveaway: Somerset Studio GALLERY Summer 2015!!!

Oh goody, goody, goody!!! I am announcing another hot-of-the-presses, gorgeous Stampington magazine giveaway! This time I get to send to one lucky winner the latest Somerset Studio GALLERY magazine; the summer 2015 issue.  This issue is a jam-packed collection of amazing Somerset-esqe art.  From artsy mermaids to painted matchboxes, and waxed envelopes to altered playing cards, this issue is sure to inspire the new and seasoned artist alike.  I will also include one of my small, yet lovely, handbound blank journals with this prize.  Oh how I do LOVE to make books!


Kim Collister’s awesome black ‘n’ white angel adorns the cover and she’s written a gorgeous article inside to follow it. I’m  just drooling over Deborah Company’s art journals presented in this issue.  She’s painted, collaged, written, stamped, and stenciled all over several of her pages in a section titled “Metamorphosis.”



I love this messy kind of journaling.  Where you just do it;  not over-thinking art rules but solely get immersed in the process of making.  I also love the uneven fore edges, of which she has many.  And her eyelet/waxed linen binding is simple but oh-so-perfect.  Like I said, I’m drooling.  Which means I’m thoroughly inspired!

I’m also quite intrigued by altered playing cards these days.  Playing cards are certainly making an appearance in the art journaling scene and Cynthia Jerred has me more than enthused.  She has painted, collaged, stamped, and doodled on a deck of playing cards, always leaving the number and suit visible.


What do you need to do to win this issue and one of my little books?   Let me verbosely explain…I’m going on a trip in a while.  I’ve begun to pack the most important part of my luggage; art stuff.  I have to really pare down here as we are doing lots of visiting/traveling/hiking while on this trip.  So I’ve packed a nice little Art Bin box full of the “bare” essentials.


This is it in a nutshell.  A tiny bit of crochet, several pens and pencils, two hand made books filled with glorious cold press watercolor paper, two brushes, a travel set of Koi watercolors, and a white Gelato stick.  My hope is to do some “photo art journaling.”  This would be art journaling around some of my favorite photos that I have adhered into one of the aforementioned books.


My plan is that the photos will act as some sort of journaling prompt.  Whether it’s the subject matter, the colors, or the memory of the day I took the pic, the photo will be my “jumping off point.”

I really like working from a “bare essentials” collection.  The restraint itself allows me create more freely.  Without the sometimes overwhelming art supply hoard at my fingertips, I feel freer to just create.  I guess it’s a simplicity thing…

So, to be entered to win, please leave me a quick comment about the best place you’ve traveled to, where you also did some kind of art or craft.  Food craft counts too!  I’d love to know details (be as wordy as you’d like) but that’s not necessary, just the name of the place and what you made with your hands!  I will draw one lucky winner, literally from a hat, in 12-or-so days.   Thank you, too, for stopping by!

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