Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Color for a New Year!

Doubt...what a creeper... Friends, as I sit here I am convincing myself that my husband is right -- "Trust your talent and your instincts," he tells me. So, I am not going to second and third guess myself any longer. I have taken on a project to repaint a local non-profit music and art center (well, the hallways first!) This center has blessed our family with violin, viola, voice, and orchestra lessons and our family wanted to give back.

At first when the idea came to me and we talked about it, I thought I would just be repainting it the grey that it was. I didn't like the idea as it is really dreary, but I thought that there was an artsy reason behind the grey walls. Come to find out that they are loathed grey walls! So, I was off to establish a new color palette - one that was inspiring, one that made students want to be there and parents to want to wait there!

As with most of my projects, my mind develops an idea beyond what I originally intend--all for practical and necessary reasons of course! As these halls see hundreds of people I thought that it would be nice to just repaint the lower half of the wall if needed in the future. Hence, a two tone plan - well, how about 3-4 colors with a multi stripe? Actually, I think that the stripe would make me squirrely if it didn't stop along the way at a venue or have words to guide you down the hallway. So, I began to develop this idea further and found a great color palette that I think will suit the existing grey carpet in the hall and eventually the rooms that have a dark green with cream and clay flecks in it.  It is an Olympic paint collection you can view the "Celebrate" colors here: http://www.olympic.com/Paint/Explore_Color/connecting_spaces.aspx  There are some nice coral tones, muted blues, and clean yellow hues.

Now I am in the process of working with the data (photo below). Figuring square footage per color... As you can see in these photos, I broke out the chalk pastels to try to better visualize the spaces. I couldn't quite match the blue color which made it a little difficult to decide, but I used the computer generated rooms on Olympic's website to give me assurance of the color combinations.

Then I make a master list of each wall and the amount and color of paint required. That will really help me in the store and with the volunteers -- you didn't think I was painting this all by myself did you?

My Inspired Workspace - including sheet music to reference
Hopefully I will be able to get paint donated or discounted tomorrow, get the wall prep work started and the volunteers lined up! Photos to come when we are done. Here's to new color in the new year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cowling Around

What an experience! Inspired by my sweet friend, I began a cowl as a gift. I found this great Country Loom yarn in rich chocolate with blue and a little green. This is actually a photo of the second one I made...Of course there is a story here.

As I knitted, I thought that it was too tight, so I changed to a larger needle. It worked out pretty well making it have a nice collar effect. But it just didn't seem good enough to give as a gift, so I began again. I made the one in the photo and felt as though it was gift-able. Having tasted a bit of success, I made one more in a baby blue. It came out nicely, too. I have been wearing the first cowl myself and LOVE it. It is so warm and comfortable. I used to wear scarves around the house to help regulate my temperature, but the on/off and adjusting required was a bit annoying. I am a convert to cowls!

My new project has been a cabled item, hopefully completed by Christmas-- so far torn out only about 8 times : D  My friend's inspiration goes a long way toward keeping me knitting... so does my stubborn perfectionist side!

Christmas Skirts

As my girls have gotten older it has gotten tougher and tougher to buy them clothes. Everything seems to be too short, too torn, or too tight! So, we have dusted off the sewing machine and are making skirts this Christmas. The skirts are not a surprise, but what they wear with them will be! Here is a look:


We have about 8 more to make! Will post when they are done...

Super Tonic!

Super Tonic Mixture

Last week I made some Super Tonic to fend off cold and flu...It works wonders keeping sinuses clear and giving many of the nutrients and antibiotic properties your body needs when you start to get sick. This gallon jar contains horseradish, garlic, hot onion, hot peppers (as hot as you can find!), ginger, and Bragg's apple cider vinegar. The mixture sits for at least 2 weeks and can then be strained and kept for at least 3 years. I made enough to supply all my friends  : D

So, how do you 'take' this mixture? Good question! You take about a tblsp (I am a bit of a wimp and dilute it just a touch) and gargle with it -- then swallow. Yes, swallow. It really works, ask my kids! When they get stuffy, they gladly take this amazing mixture.  If you want to read more and get the recipe it is here:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's on a Mug?

What is on your mug this morning? This past summer I painted these mugs as a wedding gift for a dear young lady at our church. I created the design from a photo I took in a field of poppies by one of our highway on-ramps (by the way -- I don't recommend that! It was quite precarious!) I painted them with a special paint designed for china and then baked them in the oven per the instructions. The paint was easy enough to work with. The one big difference with this paint was that I had to be careful not to work more paint onto wet layers. Doing that would lift the previous paint up of the mug. The nice thing was that if you didn't like what you did you could wipe it off with a little rubbing alcohol.

They turned out beautifully! I recently asked her if the mugs have held up as promised --dishwasher safe, etc. She said they were still perfect, so I planned to make more of them as gifts this year.

My problem is that I can't decide what to paint! It is now 3 days before Christmas--eek! They don't take long to paint, but what to paint?? I have friends I'd like to give them to and have considered a different one for each of them... but that is a lot of deciding to do at a time when my brain is overloaded. Also, the design must be simple and graphic enough to be effective on a mug... I am thinking that another simple floral might be the way to go. I'll be off to peruse my photos now, hopefully to post some pics tomorrow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

$100 Holiday Gift from Novica

$100 Holiday Gift from Novica
Check out this great site and enter to win $100 gift card for use on their site!

Heirlooms...Are you inspired?

My mother-in-law, Edna, made this wonderful crochet nativity set and passed it on to our family when our girls were little. It is a family heirloom! I love it and each year find a prominent place for it.   Sometimes it is in my foyer and others in the dining room (which we do actually use!) I think this is my favorite spot, however, and plan to take the clock down for the season and put up a simple wreath.

My girls took these photos as we were decorating for Christmas. Some would say - oh, it is so 70's and dated, but I see something different.  I look at these figures and see hours of love poured into them... for her family to enjoy and be reminded of God's gift to us. In her words -- as she so thoughtfully wrote them upon completing the nativity -- "It is my prayer that my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will also be passed along through the generations of my family."

This gives me the desire to ensure I pass on sweet, lovingly made gifts to each of my girls -- sharing with them things I hold dear. Do you have heirlooms that inspire you?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Still Tearing and more...

In process - collage portraits
Our first class with our Close/Warhol inspired portraits went very well. Students really worked hard and fingers were not so sticky that anyone wanted to give up! I am hopeful that one more hour and a half session will complete them -- just in time for a Christmas gift to their parents or grandparents!

At home I have started two knitting projects: a cable (surprise) and a round (surprise) -- Sorry, but as they are gifts, it wouldn't due to give away exactly what these items are. I will however post a photo later! The cable item has had to be torn out several times -- but thanks to my dear friend, I am back on track. It is no where near perfect, but I am hopeful that for its application and the love that is put into it,  it will be well received anyway!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tear Me to Pieces

I am completing the preparation of my next homeschool coop art class... 8"x10" collage portraits in homage of Chuck Close (amazing collage artist who used perfectly shaded handmade pulp) and in a milder way, Andy Warhol (the up-close-and-personal shot.) Chuck Close gained recognition in the 1970's and stated, "How an artist chooses to do something is often as important as what the artist chooses to do." I believe there is merit in that statement.

In my case, the art of collage will be suitably taught with store bought papers! Additionally, (ref. top photo) the students will work from a photograph as you can see the gray printed portion of their photo which is the base of the collage. I have used photoshop to "poster-edge" the pictures and make the changes in skin tone easier to discern. Additionally, this gives the eyes a neat look -- the irises will not be collaged and the eye lashes are re-drawn with pen. That would be just too much to ask of a group of students aging from 7-14! Besides, no one has even noticed that the technique changed in those areas!

So I am off to collect my papers and sort them for the groups, print my photographs, and gather glue sticks. With some patience these portraits could be great Christmas gifts!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Inspired - Woohoo!

I never dreamed that I would have a blog, but I have been inspired by my friend Andrea to record my projects! As she would write - "Woohoo!" Maybe one day this will even be meaningful to my children as well --  With joy...