WEEKEND WARRIORS: Saturday Zentangle and Knitting Added at The Painted Dog in Downtown Brunswick!

As we slowly wind our way into fall, I have begun to think about knitting and crocheting.  I love to knit during this time, especially fingerless mitts!  I also can appreciate the fact that many people have day jobs and only have evenings or weekends free.  So…..I have an amazing friend, artist, and knitting instructor on board to teach a knitting 101 class at The Painted Dog, my sweet little gem of a studio.  It’s Saturday October 17th at 10am.  Click on my classes page and scroll down for more info!



I have also added a Zentangle 101 Basics class on Saturday, November 7th at 3:00pm.  I love to doodle and even more so, love to shade those doodles and make them appear to have real form.   Again, check out that classes page for more info. Below is a very gray mandala filled with Zentangle doodling… But not yet shaded in…

Image 4


As I fervently juggle my tasks as of late (and drop a few balls along the way),  I will say this:  I love this new journey in my life.  This little teaching studio space fills my soul.  I’ve had 4 adorable kids’ classes and 1 awesome adult class.  I really love doing this.  I have found my little niche.  I can be creative, make a bit of income, and have my own little special place to do so.  I can be my own boss, make my own schedule, make a huge mess, and make my art.  I feel busier than ever but in a very good way.

Happy fall to all!

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Softcover Clothesline Book: A New Class!

Make a sweet, multi-signature book with me this fall.  In two 3-hour long sessions, I will show you how to make this chunky beauty.  During the first session, we will explore different mark making methods and painty surface design techniques, including stenciling, screen printing and stamping.  I’ve added new several techniques to this repertoire (if you done this with me before) which include doodling with fountain pens and India ink.  Since we only decorate one side of each sheet of paper, about every other page ends up blank.

For the second session, we will chop our papers in half and bind them using my own stab binding pattern and waxed linen thread.  The binding is my very favorite part and is quicker than it looks.  At the end of the second session, I will demonstrate how to collage meaningful elements (the scraps we save in our lives) onto several pages to make this a real keepsake.  This baby measures 6 inches tall, 1.5 inches thick, and about 5 inches wide.


Softcover Clothesline Book is offered once at my little gem of a studio: The Painted Dog!  Located at 13 Pleasant Street Brunswick, Maine, on the second floor of a building called The Title Company.  The cost for the class is $60 and includes all materials (about a 15 dollar value!).  Bring an apron and expect to get messy!

DATES & TIMES: Wednesdays September 23 & 30, 5:30-8:30pm

LOCATION:  The Painted Dog: An Art & Stitch Studio, 13 Pleasant Street, Brunswick, Maine

Space is limited, email Mandy at arusse71@maine.edu or call 207.504.2438 to resister.


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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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