Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

(Cute vintage postcard given to me by my MIL)

Many blessings for a happy and healthy new year!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6 NLT (painted for our church's Christmas Eve service, 2007)

I hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas with your loved ones.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Talented Sister-in-law

My husband grew up in a family of girls...(well, except for his Dad), there were all girls in the family.
He has three sisters; one older, two younger....he was in the middle somewhere, :)

They each grew up expressing their own creativity in different ways. One is a talented writer and works at a not-for-profit organization, one is a musician (I'm married to him), one is a teacher.....and one has just opened up shop on her own little piece of the world wide web.

(here is Julia's profile pic.....a pic of her swinging upside down from a tree, not sure of the year)

Julia (one of the younger sisters!) is using her talents to create beautiful bookmarks, collages , felt pins, and other handiworks. She opened an Etsy shop and she is now an artist on Glitter and Grunge.

Julia also started a new blog for her business, Turner Hill Studio. You can read all about her here:
(don't you just love the web address of her blog?)

She is a remarkable woman, a lovely person and a kindred creative spirit, please welcome her by stopping by her blog to say "hi".

Monday, December 14, 2009

Concerts, Choirs and Commissions

Snow, Snow, Snow!! That's all it did this weekend. Remember my fondness for it last post? Well, after having to shovel it from the sidewalk, and scrape three inches of it off of the car, I'm sort of changing my tune!
It is pretty, but really difficult to walk in right now....really great exercise for the legs though, especially in my heavy winter boots!
We did drive around in it for the many concerts my husband is conducting and directing this month. He teaches HS Choir as well as being the director of music at our church.
Every time we attend a concert, I forget to take my camera so I can "catch him in action" for my MIL! Last night he conducted a large brass ensemble and a full choir (our church choir, plus a few extras from around the area), and he was in a tux with tails....he was quite handsome, and I forgot my camera....again! Of course the music this time of year has been beautiful to listen to. And all of his choirs, (school jazz, concert choir, as well as church choir) have been wonderful (I'm not biased at all!).

If we weren't trudging through the snow to attend a concert, we were trying to stay warm inside the house. I sat by a heater and painted most of the weekend....really dries your paints out quickly, I wouldn't recommend it....but I was warm!
I was commissioned to paint an illustration for this year's Children's Christmas Eve service at our church. The children's director gave me an Arch Book with an illustration by Kathy Mitter. I hope Ms. Mitter doesn't mind! I used her illustration for placement, and painted the baby Jesus in a manger with the sheep looking on, in my own style.
(The huge blank space in the top right corner will be where the title of the program will be typed.)

This is our last week of home school until the Christmas break and we are ALL ready for a long winter's nap, oh, and of course shoveling more SNOW! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Snowfall!!

"Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling, "Yoo-whoo!"...........from the song, Sleigh Ride

Well, if they are out in this, they must have to go to work this morning, 'cause its a "stay-inside by the fire" sort of day!
The first snowfall is always so pretty. You always seem to forget all the perils from the previous year....the slippin' and slidin' on ice sheets, the dirty, grungy, sludgey mud/snow that sticks to your boots and tracks through the house.
But for today, I'm going to enjoy watching the snow softly fall outside my window. And if I stick my head out, I'll enjoy the hush and quietness that comes when it blankets the ground. And enjoy the white freshness it brings to everything.

(Roscoe isn't crazy about the snow, but he has to do what he has to do......poor thing!)

(I zoomed in with my camera for this photo....I'm not as adventurous as Roscoe!)

(If you look to the right, against our neighbor's house, you can see the flakes falling.)

Watching the first snowfall, scones with butter and jam, coffee, and a nice fire....that's a perfect morning!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Few Things............

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. My parents enjoyed their anniversary with my siblings and their families. We live too far away to make a quick visit, so we had a nice, quiet (well, with two teenage sons at the table) Thanksgiving here at home.

Over the long weekend I finished my son's (See Bedroom #2) bedroom walls; think race car track! The red and black stripes over the tan stripe looks "hip" and "mod", (my words~and I'm showing me age!) and "totally cool", (his words). Here are some pics of the process:

The taping of the stripes; this took awhile.....the prep before the painting always does!

I must have been a little *tipsy* with paint fumes when I took this one!

The black stripes......I guess I forgot to take a photo after the red stripe was painted.....blame it on the paint fumes!

One wall done! We "tried it out" on the smallest wall in the room before he decided he liked it enough for me to "go for it!"

Another finished wall. I took these at night, so the lighting isn't I still have to do some touch ups.

If you stand in the middle of the room and look around the room, you can get a little dizzy, but he's happy! :) Do you think he'd notice if I painted a Rufus Porter-esque mural under those stripes?


A new month also means it's time for website updates. For my update on TDIPT, you can adopt some ancestors HERE
(they are very quiet and don't take up a lot of room.....the ideal relatives to have!)

and on EWM for the month of December, I've made a few holiday hostess/ keep for yourself gifts HERE.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Anniversary Silhouettes

Mom, if you are reading away now! I'm taking a risk posting this today. My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Thursday, also Thanksgiving Day, and I'm about to show you their gift.
Mom is not one to wait for surprises, so she is probably still here.......(tapping foot)..........(folding arms).........waiting for Mom to click away from this post!!!!

Ok, hopefully she is gone. Now let me show you what I made for them:

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a very sweet lady asking me if I painted custom silhouettes. I told her I had never done that before, but let me give it a try on my own children and I'd let her know if it was something I felt I could offer her.
So, I took profile photos of my children's faces and sat down to draw and paint. After I was done, my boys could recognize themselves, and said they liked them (this is high praise coming from them both!). So, I decided to ask my sister for her son's profile photo and see if I could paint my nephew's silhouette as well.

So three silhouettes later, the end result is the gift. I've painted all three of my parent's grandchildren in silhouette as a gift for their 50th wedding anniversary.

Here are my two boys; their profile photos I used to paint their silhouettes and their finished silhouettes:

This weekend I was busy painting the grandchildren of the customer who first inquired about custom silhouettes, and I sent out a little announcement last weekend offering custom silhouettes to customers on my email list and have also started painting those. Thanks to my email list for your orders!!

After my Mom and Dad receive their gift, I'll offer this on my website as well as my Etsy.
(Mom would probably peek if I put it on there now!)

If you are interested, just send me an email (also on sidebar), and I'll give you all the details.

Happy 50th Anniversary to my parents.....I hope I didn't spoil any surprises!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Books, Birds, and Birthdays

I had to give the blog a rest this past week. There was so much going on, it was hard to keep up!
We were taking mid-semester exams, reading novels, and writing papers, and in the midst of that, I was working on items to send to a show in New York.

My older son is reading the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. I loved this book in high school, and have read it many times since, and now we are reading it together as I do my best "southern girl" accent when I'm reading aloud to him, (being from TX, that's not too difficult for me). After we are done with the lessons and test, I'll make him watch the movie with me. I'm SURE he will appreciate the novel as much as I do when we are finished.
If he doesn't, perhaps he will when he is older..........

Atticus said that Jem was trying hard to forget something, but what he was really doing was storing it away for a while until enough time passed. Then he would be able to think about it and sort things out. When he was able to think about it, Jem would be himself again. ~Scout

~*~*~*~*~*~(Santa's face will be at the show, lol!....his beard is made from molding gel and it looks a little squished in the photo b/c I scanned it!)

This week was also spent painting some Christmas items, and boxing them up to ship to New York for a show. I was very excited when Sarah of The Paisley Studio asked me to send some items to the show. This will be my first "show", although I won't actually be there! Sarah will be there and if you live close by, please plan a visit during the show. Here are the details:

Country Parlor Holiday Home Show
Thanksgiving Weekend 2009
Friday, November 27 9 am to 3 pm
Saturday, November 28 9 am to 3 pm
Sunday, November 29 10 am to 2 pm

How to get there:
Route 58 Riverhead, New York to Northville Turnpike (3.5 miles east of Tanger Outlets)
Turn left onto Northville Turnpike to end at Sound Avenue
Turn right onto Sound Avenue and head east
Hallockville's Naugles Barn wil be approximately 2 miles east on the left

Simply the best Holiday Show on Long Island!

And here is a link for more info:


Just a little "Happy Birthday" wish to my he turns: (*?*) and I love every year of him! Happy Birthday Honey!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

~*The Eclectic Artisans*~

TEA (The Eclectic Artisans) final show of the year is now open. Please follow the link to the show and to the online Holiday Scavenger Hunt!

The Eclectic Artisans

There are so many fun Holiday/Winter/Christmas offerings to see!

For the update, I painted two Belsnickle Santas and used the gel medium for the trim on their coats. Then sprinkled some German (kind of fitting!) glass glitter on the medium while it was the trim sparkles like snow; the freshly fallen kind :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TEA will be served.....

Saturday evening (November 7th) The Eclectic Artisans will have our last show of the year. We will be having a Holiday Scavenger Hunt with several prizes to be given away! So, please plan to join us for the fun!

Just click on the name above to be taken to the site, and there you can read more about the details. I'll post a link tomorrow when we open. You don't want to miss the Scavenger Hunt....wish I could play! :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Costumes and Christmas

It's Halloween, and my youngest will be in charge of handing out candy while dressed up like the character "Where's Waldo". We made a "homespun" costume which means being creative on a limited budget! Here he is in his costume....we looked and looked for a rugby shirt with red and white stripes, but couldn't find one. So, we bought a Henley and wrapped it in white adhesive tape!
And for his ski hat, we couldn't find a red a white one. So we had a white one and I added a red ribbon at the bottom and made a red pom pom for the top. Next year he probably won't want to dress up, so this may be my last costume to put together. That makes me a little sad, :(


It is also time for online market updates and that means lots of fun new offerings to peek at over on TDIPT and Early Work Mercantile.

TDIPT is hosting an online Open House with the theme: "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". The celebrations include a giveaway. Several artist (including myself) have donated a little something for the give away. So be sure to sign up on the blog starting November 1st (Sunday) for a chance to win. Here is the link, and I'll post it on my sidebar too.


For the updates, I've painted a few new items:

~ Santa's Portrait in Miniature: I used the Ivorine for this one.
(he is only 3 X 3 1/2 inches)

~ Christmas Lights Swag

~ Santa in Silhouette: *The List*

(just refresh the page if you still see the Thanksgiving Swag)

Early Work Mercantile

~Devotion: "Preparing the Christmas Sermon"
(a watercolor painting)

~ Christmas Holly Swag

~ Silhouette of a couple: "Under the Mistletoe"

Me on Early Work Mercantile
(refresh your page if you still see a colonist!)

Stay safe this evening!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Traveler's Trip

Since the travelers have returned, I haven't had a chance to post about their trip. I know my relatives have been wanting to see some photos, but of course, the slideshow that was put together for church wouldn't post on blogger, and then the camera's battery died. Well, its been one of those weeks!


Two weeks ago, my husband and older son spent a week in Guatemala. They went with a group from our church to build a home for a family. They went there anticipating a week of manual labor, but spent most of their time with the children of the area. In the first slideshow you'll see faces of these children. They loved to have their photo taken and they loved having visitors! You'll also see a few photos of my son with the children.....I'm sure you'll be able to figure out which ones! :)

In the background of some of the photos, you can see the homes they live in and the neighborhood they've created. Most live in homes made of scraps of tin with dirt floors. The area does have water and electricity, and the organization that helps these families is building cement homes for them. My son and husband did actually build and lay some cement!

In this second slideshow, you'll see the city of Antigua. One of the days they were there, they were taken to the large city to see over 500 year old ruins, eat authentic foods, and see the culture of the area....and of course, pick up a few souvenirs!

*My son took most of these photos and did a beautiful job chronicling their trip*

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Week of Walls

This past week I've spent painting, not miniatures, or even regular-sized canvas, but lots and lots of walls....well, eight in total, ok......sixteen if you want to count the closet walls and ceilings.

(the travelers ready to depart)

My husband and our older son left for a trip to Guatemala this past week (more on that next post.....with lots of pictures hopefully!). So, while half of our family was off being international travelers, I jumped at the chance to freshen up some bedrooms that were in need of some help!

(Before....very early in the morning)

Bedroom #1- belongs to my older son who was away on the trip. So the day they left (very early in the morning) I took photos of each wall so he could put back everything exactly as it was when he left. He has a difficult time with changes, so nothing "new" was done. He wanted the same paint color (in fact, it is the same paint color he has had since he was five years old!). The only "surprise" I had for him when he returned was that I painted the inside of his closet.

(After.....late at night, same blue color just cleaner and fresher.)

Bedroom #2- belongs to my younger son. He was home with me so he had lots of input into the transformation of his room. He has always loved the color red, so when we moved into the house four and half years ago, I told him I'd paint just one wall red...and the "red" of my choosing! :)
Well, after living with it for four years, he decided he wanted a much brighter red. So, this past summer we "tested" another red on a small wall area in his room. I wasn't crazy about the color, and of course, he wanted it all over the room....every wall! After three months of seeing red, (literally on two walls) I came up with a compromise and a solution he red stripe painted horizontally around the room. I "think" I can live with that, and he really like the idea.

(Sorry I didn't take a photo of the two red walls "before", guess I was in such a hurry to get rid of them before he changed his mind!)

So far, I've primed the red walls, painted the base coat a soft off-white called Swiss Coffee. I love that color, I've used it on all the trim in every house we've owned. Then I measured the horizontal border all the way around the room and taped it off with blue painter's tape. Then painted the border a tan, this will help the "red" and black stripes not be so "striking"! (And yes, I typed "black", lol.)
I had to put all of his belonging back into his room to get the house in order before the travelers returned on Saturday, but this week the plan is to finish the red and black larger red stripe in the middle of the tan with a smaller black stripe above and below the red, but still on the tan border.

Funny little story: As a "good faith measure" I took my son to the paint store to purchase his red and black paint. A lady was also having some paint mixed and when mine came out of the mixer and they showed me the "red", she asked, "What are you going to paint with that red?" I know she was thinking I'd say, "Oh, my front door." But I explained the design idea to her, and while my son turned his head, she mouthed the words: "You are a brave Mom." Lol!......if she only knew!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Miniature Portrait: A Painting Process

*Update*~Thanks everyone! If you want to try this surface for yourself, here is a link to the business where I purchased the ivorine. She has all sorts of supplies for miniature painting, and she shipped it quickly too. I purchased the ivorine, the frame, and some very fine grade sandpaper to lightly scuff up the ivorine before painting. Happy painting! :)

Most of us who blog or visit blogs enjoy some sort of creative outlet, either art, creative writing, home decorating, or just being inspired by others who have a passion and wish to share it via the internet.
My creative outlet is painting. The joke around here is if something or someone sits still long enough, Mom will paint it. I'll paint walls, canvas, paper and even a kid or two. (Face paint for Halloween, of course!)

The beginning: Glasses- check, inspirational painting- check (I have to look at a face to paint or draw a face), drawing pencil- check, new miniature painting surface- check, eraser- definitely!

Sketched out and outlined with burnt umber paint. One thing I learned is not to be too heavy with this outlining or the painting has a harshness to it.

Ok, reading glasses are not strong enough, had to pull out the magnifier. It is starting to look like a science experiment! In this photo she has had a colorwash on the background and I've started on the facial features, and a little color on the hair.

Painting has always been a learning process for me. I'm self-taught and only really discovered I could draw or paint after I had children and became a stay-at-home Mom. Painting was for my own pleasure until someone saw my art and requested my first commissioned portrait. And especially back then I enjoyed trying to paint on just about anything because it was all new. Now I try to come up with unique surfaces as a challenge to myself.

Peek-a-boo, I see you....through the magnifier!

One surface I've always wanted to try is ivory. But, of course it is not available except on old piano keys, and that size sort of limits your options as to your subject.
So I've been on a search for a similar surface to ivory and found a product called ivorine. It is basically a thick plastic that has the look of ivory. It comes in sheets and you cut it to fit your painting or frame.

Having never painted on ivory before, I can't compare the ivorine to painting on ivory. But the ivorine was definitely a learning curve experience for me! I guess part of the challenge was the new surface I was learning to paint on, as well as the subject I wanted to first miniature portrait.

I love learning new things, and as anything, the first time is a learning process, so as I share these photos of the process....keep that in mind! :) She is not perfect and I've learned a lot about how the ivorine responds to the watercolor paint, so next time I'll use that knowledge to improve, hopefully! (I know, I'm my own worst critic!)

Up close and personal! Working on her face......eyes are so hard! You want them somewhat symmetrical, but not perfectly so. But hers need a little more work at this point! But check out her ear (enlarge the photo), I was really pleased with how that turned out.

A little more color is added. Layering and letting it dry was the best way to build the color.

She is in her 2 1/2 X 3 inch frame....all 1 1/2 inches of her! Still not quite sure if she is completely "done", but I'll look at her for a few more days and decide. Or, I may start another one! :)