Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vintage Cake Toppers & Pie

The rains are upon us. We have a massive river running down our street during the deluge of rain. The little one announced today that she loves when it rains. We thought, 'yeah, its beautiful, smells springish, makes things grow...' She had other ideas. 'No, I love how over to the left of the backyard it gets full of water, perfect for mud stomping and mud creation making.' That's my girl. Always knows how to make a mess! ha

The weekend was eventful! I ferried my parents to the airport so they could be on their way to a blissful 2 week vacation in Rome & Venice Italy, Paris France and London England. Don't you just envy them right down to your toes?! They will also have the distinct privilege of meeting my artsy friend Liisa. I so wish I could go. Hoping sometime in the next couple years we can go and take the girls. Wouldn't that be such a learning experience? The teen is wishing for it to be next spring since she is planning on graduating high school then (fingers crossed please.)

The weekend included Saturday; a day to myself in the studio painting up a storm. Nothing is really finished (when they are, I'll share) but I had the best time. DH took the girls to the zoo and they actually enjoyed it! (You never know what a teen will like do you?!) I posted a few pics of the girls with birds on their shoulders on my Facebook. By the way, if you're on Facebook and would like to be 'friends', just shoot me a request. Let me know who you are and your blog so I can see who I'm befriending. My Facebook is: Kris Tuey.

Do you ever have that feeling that you've 'arrived?' That you have all your junk in order, you're on the right path, you're a grownup now? I never do either. I guess if you're always questioning ones self, you can discover new and exciting things about yourself and can also see your faults more clearly and hopefully correct them. I recently posted this on Facebook: 'I'm wondering when I'll feel like growing up and getting a grown up life. Do we have to grow up? I mean, is that written down somewhere? Where is my life manual?' Just been contemplating lately all my junk that isn't organized yet. Mental junk you know? I'm a thinker, can you tell? I think I need my own Thinker statue. Spring always brings out the deep thinker/list maker in me. Time to clean this, sell that, toss this, call these people, go here, go there, spend time with those people. Maybe I'm spring cleaning my cluttered brain!

I have finally started working on some more kits for Altered Pages. I had fun making these little cupcake toppers, pencil toppers, whatever you want to use them for toppers. Trying to use up scraps as much as possible so I can close the scrap drawers once again. The cupcake toppers are now a new kit over at Altered Pages if you're so inclined to duplicate these.

Miss Fancy Twist has been going around bragging about her big score of a delicious apple pie. I got jealous. So I made one.

It came out so good I posted the recipe to my foodies blog. Need dessert?!

Friday, April 24, 2009

THEATER - Illustration Friday

Upon learning the Illustration Friday topic I was immediately excited. I started envisioning ladies in waiting, dramatic hair-dos and poofy dresses, like the art that Sandra Evertson creates. Maybe a Hamlet or Henry the VIIIth play. The teen thought of Phantom of the Opera and a masked ball. The little one designed a picture with the 'happy/sad faces' she associates with the theater. I love our interpretations.

All art is done with either drawing pencils or charcoal and an addition of Koh-I-Nor woodless pencils.

Theater (by the little one):

Madamoiselle du Paon (by the teen):

All The World is a Stage (by me):

Today is one of the most beautiful spring days yet. We couldn't keep ourselves from walking out the door the moment we woke up. We ate breakfast with the birds, drew art to the sound of the wind blowing through the trees and did as much schoolwork as we could stand while the sunshine warmed our hearts and bodies. I am looking forward to more spring days!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Short Conversations

(art made for DH's office.)

Life is busy, so you get short conversations in bullet note form.

* Only 4 more weeks until summer vacation and a much needed homeschool break!
* I've been keeping up with the house cleaning and clothes folding. Yes ME, you naysayers who know me well.
* I dyed my hair. It's like black cherry. Scary cherry I'm calling it. At least it covers the gray.
* I am sitting in a chair right now as a guinea pig for dd who is streaking said hair. I'm hoping for some pink streaks since she says I'm too old for blue. Who says I ask you?!!!
* My new favorite snack is dried cranberries and almonds. I used to hate almonds.
* I have started and not completed 7 canvases in the past few weeks. I need some art time!
* I get a whole art day to myself this weekend while kids and DH are at the zoo! Woo Hoo!
* I've been blog hopping again. For wonderful inspiration visit Fanciful, Paulette and Miss Sublime.
* I'm pondering what to give mom for Mother's Day. It's the day they come back from Italy/Paris/England. What do you give a woman who has been everywhere? I guess a ride home from the airport? ha
* I haven't finished 'The Egg and I'. I gave it to mom for her trip to Europe on Saturday. Has anyone read it lately? Cute book. I have the movie of it to watch too.
* Spring has sprung! We're enjoying the gorgeous great outdoors!
* Time to wash out my hair. The moment of truth.
* I think I'm tuning in Tokyo with all this foil in my hair...
* I'm not very good at SHORT conversations.

Back to your regularly scheduled life.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Egg and I

Today's post is brought to you by this (my favorite paintbrushes of course):

I'm in the studio whipping up some painted goodness. Working on two pieces for my bedroom. I tend to create art and either sell or give it away while my own house suffers from undecorativeness (is that a word?!) It's time that changed. The pics are a sneak peek of what is on my workstation today...

I was blog hopping and saw that Semiprecious Salvage is raising adorable black chickens. We happened to be talking about a chicken coop last week. The teen wants to do a final project for her Architectural Engineering course and suggested a playhouse out back. I asked for a chicken coop. Why not? (I've always wanted a farm.) DH says no way in heck is that gonna happen. One more thing to take care of. In all fairness, we're not very diligent keep-up-with-things-for-years type people. We've managed to love and feed our cats and pup but chickens? Outside? In the snow? I don't see it happening. I told DH we could bring the coop in the garage during the winter. He just snorted at me. It would be fun though.

Yesterday I was searching for some words for a piece I'm working on. I pulled The Egg and I off my shelf to use but couldn't find what I wanted (my book is a vintage 1945 copy.)

Then on this post at Semiprecious Salvage, a poster mentioned a movie based on the very book I had just looked through! Now I must see that movie. I'm very impressionable see? hehe I've ordered it from the library. I'm going to quickly read the book so I can know what the movie will be about. Isn't it fun how our lives can connect over the internet in so many ways?

Back to the project and listening to Pride & Prejudice on tape. Two birds with one stone you know...

P.S. Wishing you a happy Easter! May God's love wind through your life, may you see him in everything. Thanks be to God for taking on our transgressions and making us whole.

Painting by the teen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

FLEETING - Illustration Friday

I always have that small moment of panic when a new Illustration Friday prompt comes out. I think 'I have no clue what to draw!' (We drew and watercolored this time.) Today, the easiest way for the girls and I to get started was to look up the word.

Fleeting: (adj) - passing swiftly, transitory. Vanishing quickly, Ephemeral.

Then, of course, we had to look up ephemeral being the wordy nerds we are. *eyeroll*

Ephemeral: (adj) - Lasting for a markedly brief time.

Then we searched Google images to give ourselves ideas of what others think of as 'fleeting.' We found hummingbirds, butterflies, time, days, life, age, beauty and more. After that we had ideas start to pop in our heads. Some slower than others (ie: me.)

The little one thought of dandelions, flowers that go to seed and those little helicopter plants that fall out of trees.

The teen thought of emotions and how you get butterflies in your stomach at times but it goes away eventually.

I started working on a sunset. They are so quickly absorbed back into the sky that if you don't watch carefully, you will miss it. However, my piece is needing to be done in layers so I set it aside to work on something else. Here is what I have so far on the sunset. It's from a
pic I took last July when we were at the beach. Be kind, its a work in progress...

The prompt from Illustration Friday included the quote 'Art is long and Time is fleeting...' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Since he is a favorite around here, especially with the little one, I wanted to add the actual quote to my piece. I tried to interpret time as fleeting while art is long. Can you see an adaptation of the sunset I'm working on, on the wall?! ha

The girls have been painting all week. You should see the gorgeous pieces they've created. They're improving by leaps and bounds. See my homeschool blog for pics.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

See Contessa Sew

I'm in fabric heaven again. I love fabric. It used to be an addiction. Like any other craving, I fed it regularly by going to the fabric stores, petting the fabric, seeing which pieces wanted to come home with me. Lately though my interests have been elsewhere. But with organizing the studio and bringing the fabric hoard back into my sight, it brings up the ole' feelings again.

I went with mom and the church quilting group to several fabric stores this weekend. I tried to be sensible in my buying but its been so long since I've had seen anything new, I couldn't resist several new pieces of Kaffe Fassett, pretty Moda and my new favorite; Anna Maria Horner. I even picked up a pattern for children's aprons (it included 5 different styles.)

I cut out pieces to make one of the aprons this week. Instead of whipping it up on the machine, I decided to piece it by hand. Just for a bit of relaxation. I haven't quilted in a long time. I love hand quilting. I don't do it very often anymore.

Creating something by hand is an art. I've made my share of quilted pillows but I don't think my attention span is long enough for a whole quilt. Just yet. Maybe someday. I know you can make a quilt in a weekend or whatever but I have a thing for a piece that has hand planted stitches. I say that now, but I saw the cutest tied bed cover pattern the other day over at The Purl Bee that I saved and must try with all my leftovers. Maybe I'm mellowing, or realizing I'll never get anything done if I don't 'cheat.' hehe

I'm working on 2 more aprons just for fun. 1- I enlarged the pattern to fit an adult and 2 - I saw an apron on a fabric shop wall that appealed to me and I'm trying to duplicate. I'm also finishing up some canvases that I started last week and lost steam over. What art projects are calling to you?

Friday, April 03, 2009

TALISMAN - Illustration Friday

I don't really believe in 'luck', 'superstitions', 'karma' or 'magic'. Oh sure, I don't walk under ladders, I hold my breath when we pass a cemetery, I always take the fortune cookie nearest me to claim as my own and I can never figure out those magicians do those card tricks! But I don't really believe in talismans or good luck charms. I don't really believe that if I'm talking when we drive by the cemetery, all the leftover spirits hanging around are going to enter my body. Superstitions are just for fun, to me. I think you make your own luck. With help from God, you can do anything you set your mind to, whatever he gives you the strength to accomplish. I prefer to think of good things that happen as blessings.

But there are symbols and amulets we associate with luck. The girls and I chose to draw images for this week's Illustration Friday prompt 'Talisman'. We added a bit of color this time with Koh-I-Noor pencils.

The little one:

The teen:

If I were ever to claim a 'talisman' as my own lucky charm, it would probably be an ornate cross. They're beautiful and remind me where my heart and head should be.

By Moi:

Drawn from these charms:

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a wonderful day. The teen is off to take her ACT for the first time. We really don't care how she does so much as she gets the practice of taking the actual test (I know she is stressing it a bit though.) She'll have plenty of opportunities to take it again in the fall. I'm off with the church quilting group for a 'Quilt Shop Hop'. I believe I attended this last year. I don't look forward to riding the bus we take but I love being with friends and buying new fabrics I don't need but MUST have. I think DH and the little one plan to finish taking stuff to the dump and thrift store so I can finally have my basement finished and to myself with no junk. Hallelujah! It's supposed to be a balmy 68 degrees! Yay!

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend. May it be filled with family, friends and art!

La Connaissance

Knowledge. I have a thirst for it, whether through reading new books, studying the ACT with the teen (she hates it, I don't) or trying out the latest art technique. I love learning. I'm sure I've mentioned this before.

I was visiting blogs today and came across Pink Chalk Studio's post about the books on her table. I'm always fascinated by the piles people are reading at any given moment. I usually find a new book I've never heard of, when someone shares their favs.

On my studio worktable I have a pile of movies and books on CD so I can do art AND enrich my brain or tickle the funny bone at the same time!

At the moment, being voracious readers AND homeschoolers, we have 64 books out of the library (after I just returned about 50 yesterday!) Most are kids books and videos for our World History study but I do have several that I can call my own. Now to just find the time to READ all of them!

1. Ready for anything : 52 productivity principles for work and life - David Allen
2. The 1000 Journals Project - Someguy
3. Simple printmaking : a beginner's guide to making relief prints with linoleum blocks, wood blocks, rubber stamps, found objects & more - Gwen Diehn
4. The encyclopedia of printmaking techniques - Judy Martin
5. Printmaking for beginners - Jane Stobart
6. Handmade prints : an introduction to creative printmaking without a press - Anne Desmet
7. Confident color : an artist's guide to harmony, contrast and unity - Nita Leland
8. It's all too much : an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff - Peter Walsh
9. Have a new kid by Friday : how to change your child's attitude, behavior & character in 5 days - Kevin Leman
10. Wrap, stitch, fold & rivet : making designer metal jewelry - Mary Hettmansperger
11. Living the creative life : ideas and inspiration from working artists - Rice Freeman-Zachery
12. The creative family : how to encourage imagination & nurture family connections - Amanda Blake Soule

What are you reading these days? Care to share your list or a picture?

(note: La Connaissance, as far as I can figure out means 'knowledge' in french. Faire La Connaissance is 'To make The Acquaintance'.)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sweet Goodness & Studio Visitors

Yesterday was a fantastic mail day! The man in the brown shorts & brown truck delivered a package from my Sweet Goodness Swap partner, Tina! I am in swap heaven! The swap was suits. As in card suits; hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades. We were to make sure that all suits were represented. I sure hope she likes her package as I adore mine!

Some of my favorite items: Handmade heart by Tina.

Vintage pen with magenta diamonded shape inlays.

A lovely old calling card.

My favorite item. A bracelet that fits me perfectly. It's not too big, not too small, it isn't bulky and doesn't make my sausage fingers actually look like sausages. It looks dainty and beautiful. The teen saw it and said, " If she made it, order me one. If she didn't, find out where she got it. I have to have one." So it was a favorite piece all around.

P.S. If you're keeping track... remember my new friends who are now permanent members of the studio? Well, 2 more lucky and esteemed guests decided that the studio was a nice place to visit but a better place to live!

Don't they look like they have lived here all along?!

I had more guests today. Ones that don't really stay long, just long enough to be petted and/or to grab a treat or show off their favorite toy.

Fat Cat 'Liza'

the pup pup 'Clemie'

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Crowns & Birds

Ready for some cutesy cutes? Michaels has these packages of 12 wood (pressed wood I think actually) shapes in various styles. They're about 4 or 5 inches tall. A friend on Altered Gypsy suggested a swap. My girls and I decided to participate. The girls traded with the one lady's dd. I sent my little pieces up north and one to England. I always hope that the pieces make it to their new homes in one-piece so to speak. I saw that Michaels has a 3 or 4 foot version of this crown. I just might need to get one for my art wall. I am, after all, a Contessa by choice. hehe

Made by the teen:
Made by the little one (9 yrs):

Made by moi:

We hope our recipients love them.

P.S. Want to know what I had for dinner? New recipe is up on my foodies blog.

P.P.S. Is it me or has there been a lag in all artsy mags as of late. I feel like I haven't received an issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors or Somerset Studio in forever! Maybe I have and just have misplaced my copies. Does anyone recommend any new mags for me to see? Always interested.