Friday, December 31, 2010

My Favorite New Year Celebration

Last night we toasted my daughter, Dana's, 21st Birthday.  One of my favorite New Year's celebrations was the year Dana was born.  She was due on December 31, but decided to come a day early.  Even though I ended up having a C-section, it was such a wonderful time to be in the hospital wasn't crowded so I ended up having a private room (doctors don't want to be working on a holiday), I got full staff attention, hubby worked in the hospital and could visit anytime.  We even had a wonderful New Year's Eve dinner.  I remember trying not to laugh to Jay Leno because it hurt so much.  I didn't know then how special it was until Kristen was born during July which was the total opposite experience.

How time has she is, our little "Bubba Dana",  all grown up and ready to take on the world.  We each toasted a shot called, "Peanut Butter and Jelly".  Everyone was disappointed because I sipped uncool. It sure helped my cold though!

I want take a moment to thank all of you for joining me this year on this artful journey here in blogland.  I have met some wonderful creative women and look forward to continuing experiencing the joy of our creative friendships in the New Year.  Besides the supportive and kind comments left here on my blog, many of you have continued conversations with me by email, which has brought me closer to you and I am blessed to have gotten to know you better.

I'd  like to make another toast to all of you for our creative bond that brought us here, and I hope to be that person to you that makes a difference in your life as you have done to mine.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Anthropologie Felt Leaf Garland

Store Window with Cuckoo Clocks

These handmade pinecones were hanging over a bed

I don't know about you, but  I love walking through Anthropologie.  I love the creativity that oozes all around you as you take it all in.  Do you remember the season they did all the paper sculptures?  It was amazing.

So, while finishing up my Christmas shopping, I had to visit once again.  This time I really looked at the seasonal decorations and studied them a little.  I fell in love with this sweet felt leaf garland on top of an armoire and quickly took a picture with my phone.

It gave me the idea that I'd might copy it for a gift and that's exactly what I did.  Of course, I made two 6' foot garlands a day before Christmas....auugh, my cutting hand.  A very sweet sales lady in Joann's was asking me what I was doing and I showed her the picture...she never heard of Anthropologie before.  She was enthusiastic though and help me find some pompoms and advised a good scissor.

This is one for myself.  I think I'm at the end of my holiday projects, but who knows maybe I'll copy their chandelier made out of book covers next?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Pyramid

I am fortunate enough to have inherited my family's "Advent House", or as my friend, Carola Bartz has told me it is called "Weihnachtspyramide", which means, Christmas Pyramid.    This advent house was brought over from Germany by my grandparents as a gift to my family many years ago.  Although all my siblings and I enjoyed the house every Christmas, I think I got to take it with me to CA because, mostly I made it known that I loved it so and  it always needs some kind of artistic love and repair everytime I set it up.

This time I had to glue three shepherds and sheep.  We gave some of the sheep toothpick legs for replacements.  Still beautiful after all these years.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ornament Exchange

Every year I look forward to attending an ornament exchange party with some friends..  I had made one of my bird ornaments for the event.  With a little help from Geninne's Art Blog, my bird ornament had a very special wrapping.  I liked it, but I think because it wasn't bright, it wasn't picked until second to last. least when it was picked, it was well received.

I used an air dry modeling compound called "Delight" from Michaels for the ball and tree. 

What wonderful blogs have you gotten Xmas ideas to hear!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sheet Music Ornaments

Sheet Music Ornament using Antique French Sheet Music
You may have seen my glitter trees and sheet music wreath a couple of posts ago.  This week I've added three paper ornaments to our Christmas tree.  So this year our  tree has a very natural feel.  I only hung ornaments that were mostly silver, gold, white and natural.  All brightly colored ornaments are taking a break.   Because the french sheet music is so dear to me and I only have a little left, my friend suggested I use other papers. 

Sheet Music Ornament using Contemporary Violin Instructional Book from the Thrift Shop

This is a great idea for anyone on a budget.    See below, I used a winter Trader Joe's bag.  The winter bag has additional white lettering and drawings.  Also, you could use a little gesso and stamp some craft paper to get the same effect.

Trader Joe's paper bag

It's so simple, you really don't need a tutorial, just a few pictures might do the trick.....

Pinch the end and staple it

Just cut a round disk.  I used the lid of a pickle jar. Cut little rectangles,  ( maybe  3-1/2" x 5"),  fold the widest side in half and then pull each flap back on itself as shown above, and staple it at the end.  Staple them to the disk in a round circular shape.

1st layer on left, almost finished on right

You can use a glue gun for the interior portion.  Add a layer around the back plus a ribbon and your done!  I did this while watching a Christmas movie.

Add 1 layer to the back for fullness and a ribbon

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Girls

Dana and Kristen
I've been a busy beaver this weekend ...decorating the tree, making ornaments and Christmas cards.

I just love this picture of my 2 college gals.  Since Kristen had a blue shirt on I just made this a sepia print for our family Christmas card this year.   Hoping your weekend was special, too.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

Welcome to Sneak Peek Friday!  Today is the big reveal for the little online ornament exchange from our Sneak Peek group at "In the Studio".

First of all, I have to give a warm hug to all the wonderful artists who participated.  I so enjoyed running to the mailbox to see if another one had arrived and also how much each ornament reflected each individual creator.   

To tell you a little bit about how developed my ornament.  I started with a visit to Michaels to see if I would see anything for an idea.  That's when I found the round disk.  So on a leap of faith I grab 10 round disks. 

I have this wonderful inspiration page from a paint brochure that I've kept over the years and between the colors from that and the bird idea and many wasted starts, I finally came up with this ornament.  The feather in this picture reminded me that I bought this pheasant years ago from Ebay to use the long feathers in a vase or something.

My "bird" dog, Tucker,  would go crazy every time I would take it out the package.  I think he could smell the bird.  So,  I had never used the feathers until now.

Little birds drying on my table lamp
Little birdies awaiting their new homes

I thought the disk looked a little plain after it was painted so the feathers and the ribbon seem to pull it all together.  Even the packaging was perfect... I had a clear box for notecards that I never used and the nesting was in a craft box I came across out in my garage.  All meant to be!

This little one awaiting its new home. 

If you would like join are little group, we would love to have you on Sneak Peek Friday, just visit Jennifer at  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Paperwhite Delight

The weekend after Thanksgiving I rolled up my sleeves and tackled our messy garage.  While loading up the trash bins, I remembered seeing a broken pot that had probably been knocked over by the landscapers and left with dirt spilling out everywhere.  There amongst the dirt was a paperwhite pot I had stuck out there from last Christmas.  About an inch of stem was coming up on an angle.  It had always been my intention to see what would happen in a year, but I do these things and never remember that I did them.

So now I'm enjoying my little reward for all my cleaning efforts.  Isn't it great the way some things just work out!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Antique Paper Christmas

I almost bought these glittered trees which were on a dining table display this week at TPT Home .  It seemed like an easy project to make, so I grab a few cardboard cones at Michaels to try on my own.   I chose white gold glitter from Martha Stewart which is finer than regular glitter and gives it that antique look.

Because some of the cardboard was peaking through, I made some ribbon out of my antique sheet music to continue with that antique paper feel.  I used the Golden medium for the glitter but it seems the fine glitter doesn't stick as well.   So I think I better buy some fixative or nothing will be left!  It still love the way they turned out.

Miss Mustard Seed always has such wonderful displays and I first saw the sheet music wreath on her blog.  I just did something small to compliment the little trees.  Looks more like a ball, but still pretty.

Of course, festive pictures were provided by my favorite free photo program....Picnik.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

Our little Ingrid gets another coat...of paint

Welcome to Sneak Peek Friday...  Last night my friend, Michelle, came over for another paint night.  So fun to have another creative person sitting across from me exchanging ideas.  I see why people love workshops.  Last time, Michelle gave me an idea to finish my star ornament with little glitter balls from Martha Stewart.  So I ran out and got some, and then she showed up last night with them, too.  We both had a bag from Micheals with the same stuff in it!   I worked on finishing up little Ingrid.   

But I almost new banner is up and running!

A special thanks to Franchesca from Small Bird Studio,  who had a blog makeover special she was running  on her blog.  I was intrigued by the rotating banner she did for a photographer.

Making a cohesive banner with my tendency to create different types of art was a challenge.  I know I'm failing "Branding Yourself 101", but right now all I do means so much to me.     

Look at how wonderfully we solved that problem.  Everytime you click into my blog, another banner will appear.  So fun. There are 5 templates!  Franchesca was so patient with the fussy designer in me, and I'm so thrilled with the outcome.  One of the templates is of Kelly Berkey from Kelly Berkey Designs  from our sketch challenges.   You'll see the painting if you pop over to her blog, too.    She's such a sweet and special person to me, too.

By next Friday, I should have received all 10 ornaments created by you many artsy bloggers out there stop by next Friday to see!

If you would like join us for Sneak Peek Friday, just visit Jennifer at  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Isn't She Lovely, Isn't She Wonderful"

Ingrid, 8 x 10  oil on board

This song came to mind while I was painting baby Ingrid.  The song Stevie Wonder wrote for his own daughter.

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

I always thought the last line was, "But isn't she lovely little daughter".  No daughter in it at all....go figure.
Of course, I mean the baby is lovely,  not the painting.  That needs work..  I changed her mouth some, because she looked a little unhappy. 

This is my friend's grandchild, and I can't wait to surprise her with it on Friday.  She wants to give it to her daughter for Christmas.  She's so sweet all snuggley in her lambie cap.  Isn't she?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sweet Life

Guest House

Before creating art, homes have been my expertise for 20 years.  As a special treat, we took a home tour of a house that was finished 6 months ago.  The vegetation has grown in nicely and it was a mild, gorgeous day.  I have so many wonderful photos of this Provencial home, but to respect for our client's privacy, I can only show a couple of sweet shots. 

Guest House Window
Looks right out of a Provence magazine. 

Loving Onlookers
A huge house to photograph, and I'm taking pictures of the children.  So sweet.

a fountain peaking through the trees

The end of a glorious day       

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Birdie Christmas Card

Christmas Birds, 8 x 10, mixed media (female and male vermilion)

Every year we send a family photo Christmas card.  The last couple of years, it's just been the girls alone. Since the girls are in college, I think it would be a good time to transition to an artistic card.  It's hard to break tradition...but I thought I would have one ready. 

This is a mixed media piece on board.   The background painted with acrylic consists of stamping holly leaves and other textures.  The birds and flowers are painted in oil. 

I'm kind of liking the birds by themselves. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Workshop For One

A wishing star ornament  (This is NOT the exchange ornament!)
A friend of mine asked if she could come over and paint with me one day.  She loves art and hasn't done anything in a long time.  So Saturday morning we sat at my table in my studio partner style for a couple of hours of happy painting.

Originally, we had a couple of ideas of what to paint and I had prepared some boards to paint on for each of us, but when Michelle saw the little ornaments hanging to dry for our ornament exchange at Studio JRU, she just had to make one for herself, too.  I was happy that she wanted to, because I  needed to work on them. 

By now, I had a step by step process, because you can't make 10 little ornaments without a little organization, right.  I also enjoyed teaching her little things I've learned along the way.  We talked about what women talk about and drank coffee.  It was so much fun.  I could get addicted to this.  I can't show you the ornament until Dec. 10, so the one above is another very different one I made.

I also want to give a special thanks to my friend, Kelly at Kelly Berkey Designs for posting my painting and having the challenge that introduced me to many of you.  I wish you could join me and paint one Saturday, too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sneak Peek Friday

Remember how restaurants and bars use to give away free matches?  You never had to buy any.   I had some really interesting and creative ones.   Last time I grabbed a box of matches on my way out of a restaurant, turned out to be crayons.

Gift shops sell some pretty ones next to scented candles, etc.  So I  decided to make this little pack for fun and put one of my images on it.  I got a pack of ugly plain matches from Ralphs for my fill. 

Little matchboxes 1-1/2" x 2" cute!

My table's been full of pretty little ornaments, too.  You'll have to wait to see those.  If you would like join us for Sneak Peek Friday, just visit Jennifer at  "In the Studio"  and give it a try.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plein Air Painting

I came across the website of fine artist, Tom Brown, who I happily discovered teaches at an Art Center very close to me.  Although the workshop is not in session until after the holidays, I joined his group this past weekend in Laguna Beach for a 3 hour plein air session. 

Hotel Laguna, (Tom Brown)

We set up in the shade on the main beach smack in the middle of all the action.  This was Tom's first painting of four that he did during our session.  He was demonstrating painting in impasto style.  When painting the final layer of paint, he painted each stroke very thickly and didn't mess with it again.

Palm Tree, (Tom Brown)

Tom painted this palm tree in 15 minutes.  It was fun to watch him paint and I tried learn from his movements as he painted.  He was constantly sharing experiences and tips with us newbies.

It was a beautiful morning, and there were so many people there, it was like a summer day.  I was trying to paint the tower through all these people.  I never did finish it.

Hotel Laguna, my painting impasto style

The night before I researched what supplies I needed, but forgot about getting 2 wet paintings back to the car with my hands full of supplies.  Luckily, another resourceful artist taped my paintings to the outside my paint box and I could carry them back easily.  Tom showed me a couple of boxes he made to carry wet paintings if I go again, I'll be more prepared.  It was a pleasant experience, even though it felt like the first day of school.  Gosh, I have got to start a list of first time's growing everyday.