This is famed suffragette Madeline McDowell Breckenridge. She was fascinating! As a woman born into a prominent family, she could easily have spent her days in idle leisure. Instead, she fought tirelessly for women's rights, children's labor laws, health awareness, and better education for people living in poverty. What an admirable way to live a life.
I made a short video for a contest describing my experience in the "Creating Collections for Home Decor" class. That class was FAB! I got soooo much work done in 5 weeks. The deadlines are intense, and it really pushed me to do my best work. Read more about the course here from Make Art That Sells. It's taught by art agent Lilla Rogers and creative director Margo Tantau.
The video includes my first animation/gif...I've been wanting to learn to do this for a long time. Fingers crossed!
(I'm thinking of including a song/video to go along with each image. Do you guys like that idea? I was going to create a whole playlist on Youtube to go along with this project.) Today's song is "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon.
I created a short video to talk about my experience in the "Illustrating Children's Books" course. It was an intense 5-week course taught by Lilla and Zoe Tucker. It is a fabulous crash-course that gives you an overview of all you need to know to get started in children's books. If you're an illustrator and want to work in children's literature, I highly recommend this class. And it's just FUN, too. The live community is so friendly and supportive, and Lilla and Zoe are a hoot.
I'm taking a class called Creating Collections for Home Decor with Lilla Rogers and Margot Tantau. So excited for it to start this Monday! These are prep assignments to get our ideas flowing for the course.
Design a cup: Come fly the friendly skies with Nadine. Wait...they're probably not that friendly is SHE'S up there.
2. Create some color combinations you're excited about: Mysterious Moroccan and classic library inspired hues for fall. I'm feeling a deep dusky purple and worn leather vibe coming on .
3. Share your workspace: I'm sprucing up my studio over the weekend to get ready for the class. I need to get crack-a-lackin' on the cleaning.
I'm halfway through art agent Lilla Rogers' Bootcamp, a structured five-month program of monthly assignments designed to help you build a strong body of work. It's a fun, fast-paced way to improve your portfolio.
My journal is featured in the gallery, along with work from other artists. You can see all the journals at the Bootcamp Gallery here.
I've been taking a course through art agent Lilla Rogers. The first assignment focuses on fabric design. We were supposed to create a kitchen fabric with a pasta and vintage Pyrex them. I ran with it and added poodles. Because of COURSE poodles go with those other things.
Fabric design is FUN!!! Why didn't I try this years ago?
The course I'm taking has a section on bolt fabric. Our assignment is to design kitchen fabric based on pasta and vintage Pyrex. That's right up my alley, so this was super fun.
I've been sketching and sketching. I like mid-century modern design, so I'm going for that feel.
I do tons of sketches, then scan everything into the computer. I colorize some of it there, particularly the line drawings.
I also fully paint some elements, like the pasta.
Then I cut it out in Photoshop and smoosh everything around until I like the end result. I'll share more of the designs later this week. I'd like to see what you guys think of different color palettes.
I was so happy to see I was featured on the Make Art That Sells blog! In October, I took "Illustrating Children's Books" with art agent Lilla Rogers and children's book art director Zoe Tucker. It was an amazing class.
They asked the alumni to share some of their thoughts on the course, along with a favorite piece of art from the class. Here's mine:
It was so fun to place characters from my story in different rooms of Ada Lovelace’s house. I chose to make Lilla and Zoe teachers for my character. Lilla always says “Give a lot”, so I tried to make this image full of exciting things to look at. When I was a child, I adored books where there were tons of things on every page.
How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This course helped me really concentrate on characters. By thinking about how to tell the story in the best way possible, Lilla and Zoe showed me how to craft more effective characters.
What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I CAN create an entire children’s book course if I break it down step by step. Everything seems easier when you’re only focusing on the next step.
How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course is a whirlwind of information about how to illustrate a children’s book. It will teach you everything you need to know. Lilla and Zoe break it down for you step by step. They hold your hand through the process and make it fun! If you want to really challenge yourself and move your work to the next level, you simply have to sign up.
The little doggies are coming along! Actually, they're done, but I wanted to show you the process I go through in a pet portrait.
Meet Charles Dickens "Charlie", Henry Wadsworth Longdog, and Pooh. I think their daddy must have the soul of a poet!
I talk to the client and we figure out what they're looking for. The owner sends me lots of photos, too. I like to know what makes their pets special, and what their personalities are like, favorite toys, beds, etc. Usually, they have seen some of my work before, and are looking for something similar.
Next, I do a series of sketches. I try to decide on the best angles and composition. If the setting is a particular room or place, I get photos of that, too.
Then I start painting. And I paint and paint and paint. That's where I spend most of the time.
And finally...whew! It's done. This is "Jarrell's Boys". Aren't they cuties? Those dogs are VERY loved. And aren't their beds adorable? Their owner said they're actually cat beds, but the dogs are little bitty, so it works. I especially enjoyed painting the fruity wallpaper and those lacy curtains.
I can do pets, couples, whole families...whatever you want. These are great holiday gifts, but people like art all year long.
Consider a portrait for a wedding, anniversary, birthday, adoption, save-the-date card, retirement, holiday cards, invitations, and more! You can choose your outfits and details, or I can choose for you.
For the family above, I included some of their hobbies. Clem is into Wing Chun martial arts, Charlotte bakes and decorates cakes, and they enjoy spoiling their dog Moto. In the background, I also painted some of their favorite vacation spots, like Paris, Venice, and La Jolla Cliffs.
I can also create a separate image narrating your personal occasion or story.
You can tell he's totally posing for the camera.
What a handsome little dog!
Do you have a favorite mascot or animal? I can paint your family as animals, too. I'm flexible, and like dreaming up quirky portraits for people.
In the children's book illustration class I'm taking, there are 3 texts for us to illustrate. One of them is Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat. I've always loved Lear's poem, but didn't relate to the song versions of it. I imagined it as a dreamy and romantic waltz...I wanted the music to make you feel like you were floating in that little pea green boat with your love. So I wrote a song version, and also created a video to share some of the illustrations from the other artists in the group. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to share their work for me to use in the video.
Halloween's blowing in, and it finally feels like autumn is here! Which, in Texas, means that it's finally in the 80s.
We have butterflies all around the pumpkins, and it's finally getting cool enough to open the windows at night. Is there anything better than a soft breeze and the sound of crickets, coyotes, and owls while you sleep?
I'm spending a lot of time in the studio painting and drawing for a children's book illustration class. The Halloween Room is one of my favorite places in October. All those stripes make me happy.
When I start for the day, I'll go in, look up where all the stripes meet, and turn in a circle. It makes me dizzy, and that always makes me giggle a little. Sometimes I'll give the butterly/owl/bat mobile a gentle push and watch it sway. It's like the little creatures are saying hello and swishing some nice ideas towards my brain with their wings.
I usually decorate slowly for seasons...a thing here or there every few days.
Take something down, put something else up. It's a slow progression...kind of a quiet meditation on the seasons.
Trucks show up to pick up load after load of hay. The trees are starting to turn, but it's slow and subtle. I watch the leaves like a hawk, so I notice. It's not the fireworks you get in New England, but I'll take it.
I let the girls choose our costumes. We're the "Amazing Irrgang Bat Circus". They even have a little circus routine where they fly through the hoop and everything! Those kids.
I made that orange pillow last year and still get a little thrill when I see all those orange ruffles. It was the first time I'd tried singe-hemming...you can see how I did it here in this video.
Gulf Fritillary, or Passion Butterfly
This is a cute litte guy. Anyone know what it is?
Some recent gnoshing...mussels with garlic, autumn beans over farro, and butternut squash soup with chives and sour cream.
I'm taking a fabulous children's book illustration course right now. It's from mega-agent Lilla Rogers and superstar children's book editor Zoe Tucker. I'm kind of in heaven. It's called MATS (Make Art That Sells), and teaches you pretty much anything you'd ever want to know about kids' books.
Here are some examples of the work we're doing. We receive a weekly "mini"...a small assignment leading up to a weekly "major" assignment. Then, we also get a daily sketchbook prompt. I'm trying to experiment and have fun playing with the sketchbook assignments. For the sketchbook in particular, I'm experimenting with a lot of different styles and mediums.
(Note: I was really excited that Lilla Rogers shared my glasses sketch on her Instagram for Make Art That Sells!)
Sketchbook#5-Skirts & Pants (Or "britches", as I like to call them. Hey-I'm Texan. Pssst...can you find the fish?)
This is a warm-up project for the children's book illustrating course I'm taking. We were asked to draw a pencil in 3 flat colors (counting black as a color). You wouldn't believe how many different ways people can draw a pencil. MATS is the name of the course, so I decided that would be their school name, and Scribblers seemed like a good mascot for the course.
I am already loving the "Illustrating Children's Books" course from art agent Lilla Rogers and children's book editor Zoe Tucker, and it hasn't even officially started yet! It sold out, so I'm glad I signed up early.
One of our first warm-up assignments asked us to work with character, illustrate the setting outside our bedroom window, and play with the idea of scale. I combined all of these into a short text I wrote called "Minette and O'Malley", and also recorded voice-overs and music to go along with it.
Yesterday, I sat bolt upright in bed at 4:00 a.m., and I knew there was no way I was getting back to sleep. About half the time, I'd spend those hours desperately tossing and turning, but I decided to try to do something creative with my time. I wrote a poem instead of worrying, and that felt good.
Four in the morning, some internal switch flips on. I roll onto my stomach and ask the fat slice of moon if there is more sleep in my future. "Get up, get up," she answers. "Behold my golden glow. Feast your eyes on my shimmering potential. You don't think I got this lavish and simple and mysterious by sleeping all night, do you?" I look to the summer constellations for backup, but stars are horrible conversationalists. I guess it's my fault for never remembering their names. "Get moving," the moon says. "Go make something." She's probably right. In a few hours, the house will sing where is my tennis racket, my ponytail is too loose, please pick up this short list of eighteen items at the hardware store. But for now, just heavy air, empty space, silence. "Go on," she says. "Go on." Maybe it's a gift.
This was Sweetie, and she was floppy. I get a kick out of cowpokes and little dogs.
I now have the itch to build enormous metal sculptures. I wish I'd stood in the photo for size, but I only came up to the seagull's chest. It was HUGE! I'm guessing it was in front of a restaurant, maybe? And check out that Chinese dragon costume.
I saw this giant lemon being pulled behind a truck a few years ago. The girls were beside themselves with excitement. They just didn't understand why a ginormous lemon was on the road. This guys was a TALKER! I asked if I could take his photo and he told me..."Sure, hon-but you'd best be careful. I'm wanted in three states."
You know you want this.
Megan...this would be perfect in your place! It's big..about 2 feet across.
Aren't these cool? I like kinetic sculptures.
I scored a cheese-a-liscious tapestry for my Arabian Nights room. It glows under a black light. I'm in heaven.
Barbie Bel Aire convertible!!!
A pile of goldalicious faux-Egyptian jewelry. I plan to re-attach them into one ginormous, noisy necklace. Little silly plastic dogs in gumball machine bubbles for the girls, and a nice vintage ballet costume design book with color prints for framing.
An anchor necklace and a set of sleigh bells. They have glass marbles inside instead of metal, which makes for the softest, most delightful "tinkle". I have a set for the house but wanted bells for the studio door, too
I wanted to find a way to get myself to drink more healthy teas. So THIS fancy business will hopefully motivate me to fill it with pretty herbal drinks. You can put a tealight in the bottom to keep it warm.
A card game called "Woodland Snap". They're adorable and I love all things woodland/forest.
Adam said, "Is that a statue of a guy beating his dog with a gun???" No. It's not. My husband's inability to understand public sculpture never fails to amuse me. I think he does it to tease me.
My friend Jamie did a photo collage project recently. It looked like fun, so I decided to try one, too. I felt unusually energetic during my daughters' nap time, so while my husband stayed in the house, I gave myself one hour to do this. My goal was to do it fast and complete it. That's it. I made 3 constraints to help me work faster: 1. All vertical formats 2. No post-photo processing, all framing in camera 3. Take photos in order listed Then, I took about 1 hour to make the collage on the computer. That was so satisfying-thanks for the idea, Jamie!
Notes: -There was only one dang cloud in the sky. -It wasn't nighttime, so I had to fake the "after dark", and "sunset" -Inspirational photo...I found a "gift nest" Violet made for the squirrel who moved into our owl box. I'm inspired by the kind impulses of my children. -Strangers was difficult since I live in the country, so I rounded up some suspicious-looking characters in my studio -Only 2 flowers growing on our entire place, and they're smaller than a dime -The last photo of me has fingers crossed...I didn't have time to set up a tripod, and I was hoping to get a good shot...I don't know why, but I have the hardest time getting myself centered in the frame while hand-holding the camera.
Halloween comes and goes so fast! Our calendar was crammed full this year. Parties, carnivals, costumes, and way too much candy.
Piper's class got to scoop out the insides of a pumpkin. I did that when I was little, too! The smell of pumpkin guts snaps me right back to kindergarten.
We were a family of bunnies, and Adam was Farmer McGregor.
Uh oh...he got the littlest bunny!
When I woke up on Haloween, the girls had already dressed themselves for a (in their words) our special Halloween breakfast. That I got to cook for them. Ahem.
Pinata madness at a friend's party. We let the girls have all the candy they want on Halloween. It's one day a year. Piper went kind of insane....she jumped up and down beside the trampoline-not on it-, bit her sister, peed in her pants, then cried when we took away the gummy worms. Ah, Halloween!
That sugar rush is real, y'all.
Guess who got sprayed by a skunk on Halloween morning? Mooskies, that's who. He's so ashamed he can't even look at the camera. After much shampoo and vinegar he's bearable. But just barely.
It was a cloudy, rainy night. The leaves were skittering across the pavement in the wind.
Piper's class is so full of cuties I could squeal.
Give it a click and grab some cider or a pumpkin spice latte and meet me back here. Go ahead...I'll wait.
I used to make a LOT of holiday decorations/toys/paintings. Then I had my two little ghouls and my production levels have dropped off considerably. When they're back in school full time I'll get to crackin' again, I'm sure.
Here's a little recipe box I painted. I'm addicted to recycling stuff. What would I do without thrift stores?
There's a "secret" candy corn in the bottom.
Here's a small stand for a pumpkin or an extra-large cupcake.
Some silly appetizer pics.
A little cat doll on a swing.
This is a set of wooden salad bowls.
I liked their little metal pedestals. It makes your salads....fancier, I suppose. Because we all need fancier salads, right?
I took a fitted top and embroidered an orange owl with "Hoot hoot!" across the front.
I froze trinkets into a big block of ice, then let the girls try to excavate the goodies.
I liked the arctic layers...isn't that a neat looking section?
Such a hot day.
We let them free the frozen things using spray bottles, paint brushes, forks, and salt.
Dinosaurs live in icebergs, right? RIGHT? It kept them busy a long time-yay!
In the end, we dunked two of them in the kiddie pool to help get the goodies out.
Since it was 104 that day, it was a nice way to cool off.
TREASURE ICEBERGS DIY:
1. Find a few plastic containers-salad bowl, shoe box sized plastic box, etc. Gather up your "treasures"...I bought a few cheapo mermaids and sea creatures from Dollar Tree, used shells we already had, a few random beads and bits of jewelry, and leaves from fake flowers to make lily pads and sea weed.
2. Fill you container. 1/3 full, and add a few drops of food coloring if you want an ocean-y color. Place a few things randomly on the bottom.
3. Place in freezer until frozen solid. Tip-make sure it's totally frozen, if not, when you pour the next water layer, it will crack and the next layer of treasures will sink to the bottom.
4. Add more water until the container is 2/3 full, add food coloring and more trinkets. Freeze.
I bought a vintage book a few years ago that was in a foreign language because I loved the illustrations. Some friends that speak Danish translated it for me recently. It's called something like, "The Tale of the Teeny Tiny Old Woman".
As an art exercise, I sometimes make sketches/paintings "in the style of" an artist I like. This artist had such a nice use of line, and I liked the circular composition.
Today, I made a quick sketch and watercolor that reflects the style in this charming vintage children's book from Scandinavia. Next time, I think I'd rather use ink instead of pencil. That way, your eye would be more drawn to the line work.
I didn't ask her to, but my daughter Violet decided to try it, too. I like her version a lot...it features our deceased cat, Clyde, asking for some hot cocoa. In the mirror above the mantle, there is a reflection of our ceiling fan.
Once upon a time there was a little little old woman who had a little little cottage.
My daughters always want to "play makeup", but there is no way I'm letting them loose with eye shadow and lipstick. Old wigs? Sure...knock yourselves out.
They keep asking and asking and asking. They're wearing me down! So I decided to make them some "pretend makeup".
Faux makeup...I'll talk you through it. It's easy peasy. Oh! And hang on to those cruddy brushes they give you with blush. Who uses those tiny things, anyway? You'd have a 3/4 stripe on your cheek. Hideous. But...they're great play brushes.
1.Grab some of your old makeup containers that are almost empty. Clean them out. If they're powder, just smush the extra powder and dump it out. If it's a cream, you may have to get in the corners with a q-tip.
2. Wash them with soap and water, then let them dry.
3.Fill each metal compartment with nail enamel. Let dry.
That's it! You're done. Happy kids. End of story.
My girls love it. They put makeup on our dog several times a day.
If you make some for your kids, send me your photos...I'd like to see them!
Day 20-I started making a collection of my favorite children's lullabies. When I'm done, I'm going to burn a CD for my girls.
What were your favorite lullabies as a child? Would you share them with me? I'm trying to put together a CD collection for my girls, and wondered what you guys grew up hearing. They seem to be really regional-even the lyrics are different for friends who lived in different parts of the country. I'd love to hear what your family sang to you!
Here's a sweet one:
I mentioned this friends on Facebook, but wanted to tell you guys, too. Piper's favorite song is "Jolene" by Dolly Parton (she calls her Dolly Barbie), but she totally gets the lyrics wrong. "Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Joleeeeeen...I tell you please don't take my macaroni."
Make it in May, Day 21-I made more mermaid baskets for teacher gifts. We have the best teachers at Wesley Pdo N Prek...we'll miss you guys this summer!
And I made chocolate shells. I'm usually happy with milk/dark chocolates, but I find it harder to melt the white chocolates consistently. I mixed in some fresh strawberries to give them a pinkish shell color. I thought they were fun on brown sugar...looks sort of like sand.
Day 22-Not much today, but I straightened up the fairies hanging above the reading nook. This is the view if you're lying on your back looking up. I hung them from clear filament and they'd gotten tangled up a little. It was rainy...we were lazy...it was nice.
Day 23-We made a day of it in the studio. Piper learned to make "tracks" with her toys in Playdoh, also playing with my Pee Wee Herman doll with the super sped-up voice box (that's not creepy or anything!). It cracks me up when she calls it Daddy Doll.
Violet learned to parry a little more efficiently in her fencing lesson with Adam.
I made breakfast for dinner, and I hope we won't be "making" a trip to the storm cellar tonight since a front is blowing in and the sky is kind of green. I'm also working on a decoupage suitcase, and I'm starting by clipping images from a vintage children's book.
Day 27-I made a start on my mailings to people I admire. This is the project where I'm asking people for advice on happiness and creativity in their forties.
Day 28-I'm taking a look at the grisaille technique again. That's where you do an underpainting in neutrals (usually black & white), then you paint the colored layers in with translucent glazes. I made a stab at learning how to do it a few years back, but never entirely finished my painting. I'm not crazy about the photos I worked from, but it was more of an exercise in technique than anything. I don't do a lot of self-portraits, but I use myself since it's hard to find models out here. I'm glad I tried it, but I'm not entirely pleased with it. It's okay in details, but the overall painting is a little stiff.
Day 30-It was just me and the girls for the past 3 days, so we made it a "Woodland Weekend". Violet loves to pretend we're deer from the forest...she calls me "Mother Deer" and she is my young fawn, Honeysuckle. Piper is, as Violet says, "A plump rabbit we bring around with us."
They wanted me to have "Mother Deer's Restaurant", and we decorated the table with forest stuff and had waffles with berries. We pretend the field mice are in charge of picking berries early in the morning, and the fairies bring the whipped cream.
Make it in May, Day #1-I wrote a quick song on xylophone to get started.
I'm a big fan of Mister Rogers, and I wrote a song that sounded like something cheerful you might hear in Trolley Land.
Day 3- Honeysuckle smells GREAT! I wear this in the spring and summer. Well, I switch perfumes a lot, but this stays in the rotation.
Day 6-Over forty ladies, many of you are on my list! Share them pearls of wisdom, yee haw!
Day #7-We made soap "scrimshaw" carvings with my daughter's group in kindergarten. We carved the soap with toothpicks, then ground up burned wood to make charcoal dust, then smushed it in the carved areas. Mine above, Violet's below-I love Mama Daughter projects!
Day 8-It may be too small by the time fall rolls around, but I'm glad to be close to done. And that yarn makes me look forward to autumn.
Day 10-I added some summery, bright butterflies and feathers in a globe to the studio. You can't tell, but there's a petrified egg resting in the feathers. I found it in the woods.
Day 11-I made another storytime video to add to my YouTube series. This is Piper's favorite story lately.
Day 12-We made photos at Violet's school's Spring Fling.
They had an open house and set up photo booths outside every class. Great job, LOISD teachers!
Make it in May, Day 16...I finished the poster for my daughter's kindergarten class. It's not perfect because I'm far from a Photoshop expert, but I did the best I could.
I think it's fun, and I hope they like it. I got a big refrigerator box, and had everyone pose inside it.
Then I cropped all the photos in Photoshop and stacked them together, Brady Bunch-style.
Day 17-Violet and I made cards and small treat bags for her kindergarten's end-of-the-year picnic.
Day 18-I wrote a song to sing and play on harp to accompany Edward Lear's poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". (I'll record it one of these days and share it.) I visited my daughter's kindergarten, and their lovely teacher turned the pages of Jan Brett's book while I played. I came at snack time, so I made blueberry muffins and brought clementines. It was fun to sing some songs, and teach the kids a few that they could sing along with. They're such a happy group!
Day 19-We made supply boxes for some of the victims of the tornado in Van, Texas. It felt disrespectful to take photos while we were there, so I'll share some images of the destruction and clean-up effort I found on Van Texas Tornado Recovery. The community still needs aid and volunteers.
Day 21-Didn't make much, but it was my daughter's kindergarten graduation, then she got out of school all day and we had a Mama-Daughter Day. It was Date Night, so Adam and I are picking blackberries on our country road. I could eat ALL the blackberries...blackberry ice cream, blackberry cobbler, blackberry port, blackberry jam, blackberry smoothies, blackberry EVERYTHING!
I wanted to round up my Make It In May projects and share them with you guys.
Things have been crazy with end-of-school-year stuff, so I haven't been blogging as much as usual. I've missed hearing from my bloggy friends! (These are going to be out of order a bit.)
I always forget our vitamins, and hate that ugly bottle on my table, so I tried to find a way to make them more fun.
I found a $40? $50? ugly dresser/hutch with potential. I painted it white, and I'm happy with it. I want to add some aging glazes with a faint brown, but I'm not ready to do that yet. I just wanted it USABLE.
I made some "ocean drums" with my daughter's GT class. They had pretty glitter and shells in them, and were fun to play.
Spring is most definitely here, and I find myself needing any extra time to recuperate and enjoy things. My family, sneaking in an hour of reading at bedtime, snuggling just a little longer with the girls.
For you guys, how often do you want to document (photo, blog, journal) and how often do you want to just be in the moment? I have swings of wanting to snap away and share, but lately I've wanted to just be.
Did I ever show y'all what I made Piper for Christmas? She has several of those vintage Fisher Price houses, so I made a peg doll version of our family. We really like those old houses...so sturdy, but the accessories and dolls are usually missing. These are someone else's photos of the houses, but you get the idea.
I love all the 1970s details. Reminds me of my grandparents' homes.
Our castle was totally empty, but it was $1.00. Yay for $1.00 castles!
So...the blank wooden peg dolls are available at most craft stores. I found mine at Hobby Lobby. They have male and female shapes.
Then, I did my best to paint them like us. I had Adam drill a small hole in the bottom of each. This has two purposes: 1. It makes them "lock" into most toys that have a peg to put dolls on. 2. It makes them easier to paint. I stuck a cake skewer in the bottom so that I didn't have paint all over my holding hand.
Turn around dolls. Thanks. I sealed them with several coats of water based acrylic. So far, the paint still looks nice even though they get a lot of play time.
There we are! I fly the Hello Kitty plane and Daddy guards the castle. Piper spends a lot of time playing with them. She tucks us all in at night, isn't that nice?
My friend Stacy shared these ring box dioramas. They're so unusual. Kind of disturbing, but packed with details.
I'd like to try something similar with Altoid tins.
Tawlst, the artist, hails from Toronto. He says:
The idea for this series of miniature dioramas came about when a street vendor in Paris handed him an antique ring box and told him “I want to see what you make with this.” Talwst created a scene of a figure emerging from the sea and has been creating tiny scenes ever since.
The antique nature of the ring boxes he uses, as well as subtle details used in his tiny dioramas, help drive home his focus on history; “I want the viewer to open the box and feel they have been transported to another world,” he told the Guardian.
Women & Creativity is a women's art group that celebrates their 10th anniversary in 2015. To commemorate a remarkable decade, they are offering a fun project for the public-an art card exchange! The deadline to sign up is March 15th.
(image from Favim.com)
Tête-à-Tête Trading Cards asks you to beautify 10 trading cards (they’ll provide them) with poems, paintings, prints, whatever you see fit, and return them by April 15, 2015. You will then receive a set of 10 cards back, each made by a different person who played along. It's a great way to share some of your work, and collect small pieces from other artists.
Here are some examples of art trading cards from Opus Arts Supplies. They're usually 2 1/2" x 3", and can be ANYTHING...typically, they're drawings, painting, collages, or photos. Your imagination is the limit. Some people have collections of, say-all rabbits, or all fairies. I've seen neat collections based on landscapes, a certain state, or a hobby, like ballet. I was thinking of starting a collection of art in a certain color palette...like cards featuring red as a predominate color.
I'm going to play-it sounds like a neat project. I hope you'll play along, too! I look forward to seeing the cards I get back. I plan on framing them all together. Please join us. You can make a voluntary donation of $5-15 to help pay for the shipping fees, but if you can't provide that, you're still welcome to participate for free.
We are committed to recycling. And by that, I don't know if I mean we really like it, or we should be committed.
Here's Violet, ready for their Daddy Daughter Dump Day. Complete with sack lunch. She's so excited. Seriously.
We don't have a reliable recycling service this far out in the boonies, only trash pick-up, which we don't use. Rural recycling is sometimes a bit of an oxymoron.
Sooo....we keep these ginormous 50 gallon barrels and sort recyclables all year long. Then, once or twice a year, we (and by "we" I mean "Adam"...I can't budge those barrels) take everything to a Dallas recycling center. We could just throw everything away, but that seems wrong. Yay for recycling, boo for having to go to so much trouble to do it.
I made a whole batch of "Dinosaurs in Love" for Violet's Valentine's Day party.
I'm coordinating a party with all 4 kindergarten classes together...wish me luck! I've been really fortunate-this is one volunteering group of parents. They all sign up to help and seem happy to be there...yay!
Violet's class will make card holders out of big food canisters, so they'll look kind of like this. Oh boy...Valentine cards! I loved making a shoe box for mail when I was in school. I could barely sleep the night before, wondering what kind of cards I'd get. I always picked out the nicest card for the cute guy in our class, and I tried to make my friends' cards extra special. I'd bring them home and spend hours looking at every single one. Did you get all silly over Valentine's Day, too? Tell me I'm not alone.
That tiny ring was hard to make. So. Many. Glue. Burns.
Didn't we all grow up thinking that noodle slurping scene from Lady and the Tramp was soooo romantic? The spaghetti is embroidery thread and the sauce is nail polish.
T-Rex looks so happy to be getting his cards, doesn't he?
Dino Prom! He has a bow tie to match her hair bow. He's presenting a corsage to her. Adam didn't get it. My husband said he's NEVER in his life bought a corsage for a girl. Pssst...I'll let you pin one on me any day.
"Bye, Honey-have a nice day!"
I like long term, real life, husband/wife/family love best of all! There's no place I'd rather be than with Adam and my girls.
Baby Triceratops even has on a diaper, but you can't see it in this photo.
Gettin' pretty. I think she's going to need a lot of work.
Hot glue is our friend. Seriously...is there anything hot glue can't do?
Getting hungry yet?
"I'm so glad you called!"
Here's old Aunt Jane Austengosaurus penning her love poems. I made the pencil out of a toothpick and used a printer to reduce real Valentines and envelopes to teeny tiny scale.
Holding hands. Aaaaaw.
"I'd kiss me," thinks Velociraptor.
Adam came up with the tail hole. Thanks, honey.
I don't know if you can see it, but I wrote "Max Raptor" on the lipstick. Like "Max Factor"...get it? GET IT PEOPLE???? I think I've inhaled too much hot glue. Can you even do that?
I hope you and the hug-and-smooch-worthy people in your life have a fabulous Valentine's Day!
I get a little verklempt when holidays are over, do you?
Have you ever seen those crazy parades in Austria around Christmas where people dressed like Krampus walk down the streets scaring kids? Terrifying!
According to National Geographic:
"Krampus was created as a counterpart to kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets. Krampus, in contrast, would swat "wicked" children and take them away to his lair."
Anyhoo-I'm raising children who like to be stuffed in a sack. They think it's fun! Like I've said before, go ahead and send me money for a therapy fund if you want to. They'll probably need it.
VIolet squeals, "Daddy, daddy-wrap me up in the sack and run!"
What a good father you are, Adam.
And there they go! Notice how not cold Christmas is in Texas?
He ran off to the woods and dumped her. Good times.
Piper rolled herself up in her blanket, all ready to go. "My turn next, Daddy." She waited so patiently.
What am I going to do with these two?
We're not Swedish or Catholic (although I probably should have been), but we celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13th. The Swedes choose a girl from each home/village to be that year's St. Lucy. In a home setting, it's the oldest daughter still living at home. She wears a crown of real or fake candles, and leads a procession through the darkened house, symbolically bringing light back in the dark of winter. The real St. Lucy was a martyr who met an unfortunate death. Some versions say her eyes were plucked out-eeeek! We skip over that part and go straight for the cookies.
All the kids wear white clothes and red sashes, and the younger siblings are "star girls". Or boys. They serve their parents special pepparkakor cakes and coffee, which are like spicy gingerbread cookies. In our house, the girls sing Santa Lucia while I play harp. This year, Violet sang while Piper did a dance. If you contact me privately, I'll share the video if you want to see it.
Look who snatched that crown the second her sister wasn't looking!
This was the first year we chopped down trees we planted. This is the tree in the studio. I've never had a tall tree before-it seemed like a fun luxury. I had to use a ladder to decorate it.
I decorated it with dolls riding in different sleds and carriages and things. It was our "girl tree".
If I decided anyone was dressed inappropriately, I made them "snow suits" out of quilt batting. There. Doesn't he look better now?
The dolls taking a ride around the base of the tree.
This one sings When You Wish Upon A Star.
I had an old carousel horse/riding toy I finally painted. I couldn't decide between gold and silver. The gold paint gave me better coverage, so gold won.
My Fiesta Room.
More Fiesta Room. Can't get enough Fiesta Room.
The studio is my happy place.
Our friend Magic Mouse (he lives in the wall behind the red door) sent us a gift. He said he was working in New York and found this mouse replica he thought we'd like. It plays a bunch of different Christmas carols and sings. We discovered Magic Mouse is an antiques dealer, so he travels a lot for work.
Little bits of green.
I have four David Delamare Fairy Processional prints...one for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. This is the winter version. I look forward to switching them out every time the seasons change.
I can't believe this was a year ago. Last year, I took Violet to see The Nutcracker. Someone was teasing me about dressing all of us in matching outfits. What are you talking about, Amy? I would never...oh, wait. I look like an overstuffed polar bear, but it was cozy. It looks like Violet is throwing gang signs. I figure I'll only have one or two more years of Mommy & Me outfits before my children say NO.
Violet was so itty bitty. Why are my babies growing up?
Waaaah! Christmas is over for another year. I'd better get busy enjoying January. I feel like it's always half over before I'll allow myself to realize it's a new year.
I like to decorate every last nook and cranny. Here's the Arabian Nights room. I hid a "surprise" nativity under the bed for the girls to find.
I found some tiny Morroccan lantern lights at Big Lots.
You have to get down on your tummy to look at it. That's half the fun. Unless you're old like me and everything makes creaking noises. When did I start making creaking noises???
What's that? Is it a procession of camels? In case you wondered, the wires are "travel limiters". Thanks, Adam-you're a genius. That way, when my children play on the bed, it can only swing so far before it stops. I didn't want them playing monkey and knocking a hole in my walls.
There it is! That's a super bright manger. Someone shield baby Jesus's eyes, please.
Those camels have tiny things carved inside them. Their backs are hollowed out, and there are intricate little whittlings inside. I'd show you one, but I had enough trouble crawling under there and setting the whole thing up as it is.
Shhhh. He's sleeping.
Charlotte, thanks again for this tapestry. It couldn't be much more perfect for this room. I love how sneaky and tempestuous everyone looks. Do you think they stole her? I think they stole her. So un-p.c. these days.
Blurriness plagued me in 2014. But I shall decorate everything anyway.
Not like anyone cares about my Halloween shenanigans halfway through November, but I'm going to get these dang photos posted so it's not hanging over my head.
Beautiful Medusa descending the stairs. In the reading nook underneath, there are oodles of fairies and butterflies floating overhead. The girls love to nap and dream in there. More photos soon.
I really like this deep purple variety of morning glories...they're called "Grandpa Ott".
See the pretty purplish candy cane pucker they make when they close?
Bowling for Barbie. Or Bratz. Those dolls aren't good for much else. It's satisfying to knock them over with a bowling ball.
Good old fashioned "bite the apple on a string".
That game is harder than it looks.
After years of starting seedlings, I finally got a moonflower to bloom.
The spinner board is covered with vintage beauties in costumes. This is from a game I made called "Halloween Hullabaloo".
It's hard to explain this when people aren't playing, but you stand on either side of the pumpkins facing your partner. You have a butterfly net, and toss 3 rubber bats to each other, trying to catch them.
My sloppy scoreboard. Let's see, we played all sorts of stuff...darts, tic tac toe, mini golf, bowling, archery, vile vials, bat catch, ring toss, costume contest (my friend Laura the well-loved-doll won!), Halloween pictionary, movie guessing game, spider sumo wrestling (don't ask), broom races, and the rest is a blur.
My pogo stick. What? You don't have a Halloween pogo stick? Why not?
Hear all the ladypeople cackling?
I'm going to eat that pie pumpkin soon. Mmmmmmm.
See all the paper bags on the table? Those were my Tricks or Treats. Throughout the evening, everyone got one trick and one treat. If you were good, you got things like pumpkin scented lotion, or a small painting. If not, well then.....a rock, a broken calculator, or a scorpion in a jar for you!
I set up a not-so-ambitious mini golf game.
I'll have to put more thought into that next year.
But hey...can I get points for the empty pumpkin can buried in the ground for the hole?
The Arabian Nights room, waiting for guests. We finally hung all those lanterns! More photos of that later, too.
Food. Because hey...it tastes good.
Adam was a love to grill chicken and shrimp and veggies and whip up margaritas.
We made rice bowls with black beans and a bunch of veggies. And a sage-y pumpkin sausage soup that I could eat every day if someone else made it.
"Vile Vials" game...I filled a dozen beakers with a variety of smells, and you had to guess what was in them. This one was hard, apparently! The best score was 6 out of 12, by our resident soap maker, so she's used to sniffing stuff. I had things like wintergreen, patchouli, lavender....I should have used vinegar, nail polish remover, motor oil, and nasty stuff. Maybe next year.
I spray painted some tall candle holders black to make "pumpkin stands". I need to repaint those red drums. I just dread using industrial paint stripper to get the stuff off. It smells terrible, and will take your skin off if you're not careful.
Boy, that was fun. Sniff! Only three hundred and forty eight more days until next Halloween.
I'm a little behind this year, but I'd rather be doing than blogging most of the time. Especially if it involves my kiddos.
Violet wanted us to be a family of deer, so they are fawns and I'm Mother Deer. One of Violet's favorite games is to pretend I'm a mother deer and she's my fawn. Her name is Honeysuckle, I'm Mother Deer, and we live in the woods. OR...she's Violet, and I'm the deer who doesn't understand the ways of people. Like...I'll ask why she doesn't eat grass, or I always forgot the word for "shoes", or I get confused about light switches. She thinks that's hilarious.
Violet has been friends with Brylee since they were two. I'm so happy they're in the same kindergarten class! Also-Piper's photo bombing cracks me up.
I'm glad I got to be her class room mother this year. I made our carnival game..."Feed the Cat". We had the kids throw those rubber squeaky rats through the cat's mouth. We had a bunch of great parent volunteers from the class-thanks, other parents! This is the lovely and very involved Shawna, mom of another sweet girl in Violet's class.
I am such a fan of carnival games. Good ones, bad ones, hokey ones-I love 'em all!
Spinner games are fun! I want to make one for myself.
This is a bit blurry, but I wanted to show the back of their costumes. I love the little white spots. I just painted them on with craft paint. I made the ears with felt. I took old Santa hats and dismantled them...the band became the cuffs and the ball on top became their tails.
I dressed up, too, but we only have one shot of us together. I was making a ridiculous face and having a major costume malfunction. But darn it---I had on antlers! Getting sugared up kids to be still is nearly impossible, isn't it?
I like the sound Plinko makes.
Violet and her friend Lily Rose...such cute flower names!
There were a bunch of Elsas!!!
Our friend Marcia made a lovely version for Violet. She was so happy she held out the "prissy hand".
Violet had trepidations about the "Nose Picker Game".
"What was that?" She was horrified when green silly string "snot" sprayed out on her hand. "I do not ever want to play that game again."
The bouncy house made things better.
Bouncy fawns. Poor Piper can't stay upright very long in the bounce house.
Violet kept lunging. I have no idea why. Maybe she thought she was getting on all fours like a deer? She'd just suddenly bust out into a lunge all night.
Did you guys go to a carnival? We're about to watch Charlie Brown-it's not Halloween without it!
Do you have a favorite Halloween special? Le snort. Like they even have "specials" anymore. You have to be fairly *cough* mature to even know what a "special" is.
To me, it's not Halloween with It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
This is the Paul Lynde Halloween Special.
I'm not sure who this Paul Lynde is, but he is something else. He has that heavily made up, frantic, slightly fruity and smarmy air that men who hosted these things only seemed to have in the seventies. It features Margaret Hamilton in her only reprisal of the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. And Betty White, KISS, and Danny & Marie Osmond.