Monday, November 29, 2010

video: painting watercolor backgrounds

When I posted my last video, I asked what you'd all like to see - so this is a very very informal video of how I paint my backgrounds. (Try to see how many times Sophie sticks her hand in.) It was fun!

This is one of the three paintings I finished yesterday, with #4 in the works...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

crafty thanksgiving

Fun things to make around the house for your Thanksgiving celebrations:

Give Thanks Banner

This was actually my kids' idea! They wanted to make a banner that said "Give Thanks", and other than a tiny bit of help from me, this was all their work. Each letter is one half of an 8.5" x 11" piece of copy paper, and they're decorated with all the other bits of copy paper. :) It's hard to tell from this pic, but the hole puncher played an important part in our decorating - all those polka dots are from cleaning out the 3-hole punch! I stapled each letter to the long piece of yarn, and added an extra thread to anchor the G so that the bottom didn't curl over.

Thanksgiving Tree

This was an idea I'd seen online and adapted for my CCD classes. I drew leaves (four to a sheet of paper) and copied them on various autumnal colors of paper. Each child got a leaf and wrote his or her name and what they were thankful for. Then I hole-punched each leaf near where the stem would be, and tied it to branches from our yard. I took all the extra copies and gave 2 sheets of different colors to each child to bring home so that their families could make their own Thanksgiving Tree on Thursday. I absolutely love how this came out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

300 thanks!

As promised, I'm posting my Twitter background as a thank you to everyone! Take the one on the left, or continue the color wash onto 2 monitors and download 'em both. They measure 1600 x 1200 pix. Enjoy!

Click each link to download each to your own computer. These graphics are for personal use on a home computer only and are not meant for anyone's website or business. These are the only graphics you may use from this site without written permission.

Main screen background
Right screen background

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

help me get 300 fans!

I have a longer, more introspective post coming, but I noticed this morning that my Facebook page is hovering around 300. While it completely astonishes me that almost 300 people (who can't possibly all be my mother) want to know more about my work, it's inspiring to know that, and it helps push me to create more, and share it.


When I get to 300 fans, I'll post a new wallpaper to download! I'll also post one for people who use two monitors, like me. (For those who want a peek, it's my new Twitter background.)

</shameless self-promotion>

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

video: how to make a custom fan page on facebook

Ever wanted to hear what I sound like? Or learn how to make a custom fan page on Facebook for your artwork or your company? Kill two birds with one stone and check out my first foray into the world of video! :)

This is for our blog at PRI, but if I was going to do an instructional FTG video, what would you want to see? Watercolour techniques? Packing school lunches? Sewing? Leave me some ideas in the comments.

Monday, November 08, 2010

jumping in, feet first

I've mentioned previously about my lack of painting, drawing, and general downturn in just plain old creating. You know how the cycle goes: you stop doing something, and then it gets to be more and more of a burden to start it up again because now there's not only the effort of starting something that's completely at a standstill, but the added pressure to make it "GOOD". I put it in quotes like that because it's subjective and should be completely up to me on a personal project if I deem something to have a satisfying or worthy result or not, right? But there are days I look at my work and think it's all rubbish, and then I come back later and find it wasn't so bad after all. So by my definition, if I create? It's good.

In any case, the holidays are looming coming up, and I've been giving careful thought to what I want to do, and what effort I want to go to, to make the season feel right to me. This isn't me going all Martha on the family, it's more of putting the priorities in the right place and making sure we focus on the right things without going overboard. And for me, that includes a certain amount of homemade goodness, whether it be food, crafts, or paintings.

So - I'm taking the handmade pledge again this year, and I will be trying to make as many of our presents this year as I can. I'm hoping that by doing that I'll also be able to satisfy the paint dragon that lives within me that's been growling and unhappy lately because she's hungry. Boy, is she gonna get fed.

Will I be documenting and posting my progress here? You'd better believe it!

My goal for today: email the painting recipients and start taking requests, and make a game plan and schedule for the other items (tiny stuffed animals, ornaments for our CCD classes and family, finding recipes for good vegetarian food I can serve up on Christmas so I have something to look forward to).

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Squirrel Scouts!

While we didn’t go away this summer, or do anything exciting, we did have one special project I made up for the kids.

Squirrel Scouts.
Because my kids weren’t doing any large, organized activities over the summer, I made up a fictitious organization/day camp I called “Squirrel Scouts” to keep them occupied. We had a handbook (see above), a nature journal, t-shirts, and of course, we earned badges!

Since they are pretty young (6 and 7) we concentrated on a few main things we wanted them to learn over the summer, or at least get a good handle on:

  • Learning to swim 
  • To be able to tie their own shoes 
  • To ride their bikes without training wheels 

Along with that were many other badges to earn, some pretty easy for them and some pretty difficult. All of them took TIME and they were so proud of themselves when they earned each badge!

The badges of course were paper (I made them in Photoshop. How crazy do you think I am? Don’t answer that) and we had a place on each page to paste the badge once it was earned. I think their favorite one was the cooking badge, where they had to plan a menu, make a shopping list, and then do every bit of the cooking they were capable of with Mama to do the heavy lifting/dangerous bits. Their meals leaned heavily on macaroni, cheese, and creatures made out of bits of veggies, but we loved it all and documented their creations with a photo shoot and much fanfare.

But my personal favorite was the Nature Journal badge.

They have been keeping amazing journals for themselves, full of notes, colors, and observations from their time spent playing outside. They can open them anytime and relive that summer (and now, autumn) when they took special notice of the world around them.

ps ~ I'm seriously thinking about making all of this a PDF package for purchase for next summer for any other families who want to use it. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

let's have a toast!

excellent news from the eye doctor: Sophie is to be patch-free for three months!
wonderful news from the dentist: none of the kids have cavities!
super news from today's parent-teacher conferences: all the kids are behaving and doing well in class!
amazing news from yesterday's post: we got a shoutout from ALLCAPS! WOO!
best news of all: Grandma and Grandpa are going to watch the kids and Paul and I are going to go on a real date!

Please share your good news with me in the comments:
Your marvelous news: ______________________________!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Don't unplug me

Halloween, 2010. Robots, robots, robots.

And the video that inspired it all....