Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do IT yoURSelF 'nOn-SkID BooSTerS'

A quick, easy, HELPFUL one today, my friends! When you need to prop something up off your work surface to paint it, or work on it, these little guys are VERY handy to have around.
Grab four blocks of wood (I cut down some old wood flooring) -- All cut to the same size
A roll of non-skid shelf liner.
Adhesive -- Spray adhesive (permanent method) works great, or if you're wanting to choose something a bit more 'friendly'...brush on a white glue or even wood glue -- dry time will just be longer.
Cut your shelf liner to the same size as your block -- Cut out two pieces for each block because you'll need to secure it to the top AND the bottom.
Do up different sets in different sizes, if you like. They don't take up any room to store. Your piece stays put while you're working on it, and they make it very easy to paint or stain edges and things.
Toss 'em in a drawer and you're ready to go. ENJOY!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cre8TiV hoLiDAy REsTRaiNT

Going to be real honest here and share that surprisingly, yours truly......the gal who lives and breathes all things creative, hands-on, how-to, and do it yourself, does NOT get all that excited about holiday projects! Crazy, I know. And I always feel like I disappoint people a little bit with that because everyone expects me to be all creatively crazy with ideas and projects focused on the string of holidays coming up. Now that doesn't mean I don't dabble in things here and there, but unless it's quick, quirky or nature oriented, I don't get that jazzed about spending a ton of time and energy on holiday decor...making it or setting it about. LOVE the holidays, but my decorations are usually pretty minimal. Well, Halloween is upon us and I laugh every time someone stops by and asks when I'm going to finish putting my things out...They ARE all out, they're just subtle. They're kind of like little festive 'surprises' here and there:

Love me some Halloween art -- like a spooky portrait or two 
to throw onto the portrait wall for a short time. 

Don't like a lot of dark and creepy things around, 
but I'm drawn to having some black birds scattered about.

Love to collect pieces from local artisans.

I do love lots of pumpkins, 
but only a few are carved and the designs are simple and rustic...

And for some reason, driftwood spooky trees always make me smile.

I just like to be able to slip unique things here and there that work with what I already have going on, without having to go through all the trouble of packing/unpacking/storing a bunch of stuff that only gets used a couple weeks out of each year. Maybe it's a time thing, I don't know. Maybe it's because there's so much of it already out there. Maybe it's because it's what's 'expected' and I'm more about the unexpected. Whatever the case, I'd love to know I'm not alone. ::) ha.

(My Aunt DeDe however, LOVES halloween....she has created every costume under the sun using household items, and does all kinds of crazy stuff...This year, for her latest addition, she took a dress form, some branches, an old outfit from a garage sale, a mask, and some light up eyeballs to create "Betty") Isn't she a beaut?! :)

I may not go all out crazy for the holidays, but I sure enjoy when other people do!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


.....through my eyes

ah, the intrigue..........
For what's behind this post, or to play along yourself.....visit my inspiring friends, Chrysti's blog here: as well as Susan Tuttle's blog here:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DIY poP ArT PorTraiTS

On the heels of my pop art portrait wall post, thought it would be fun to share my 'fool-proof, anyone can paint a portrait', project.
This is a super fun, backpainting technique on glass that I've had a lot of fun with, with my family, my friend Sloan Rutter on her PBS show, Paint, Paper and Crafts, with the Good Morning America Weekend team, on our Courage to Create with Paint DVD and last year's workshop at Mohonk Mountain House. It's been tried, tested and it's TRUE...you'll end up with a good looking pop art style portrait of whoever, EVERYTIME, even if you've never picked up a paint brush before. (The more you do, the better you get!)
There's nothing more fun than being able to paint a portrait of someone and have it actually turn out to look like who it's supposed to. There's instant gratification because it doesn't take very long to complete, and it makes a great GIFT idea!

Have a go at it yourself, and ENJOY:

-Piece of glass to paint on at least 8x10 inches in size. Can use old windows, or picture frames. (multi-paned windows are great because you can do up your whole family)
-Titanium White Soft Body Paint
-One other medium or deep hue color - some good ones include: Mars Black, Cadmium Red Deep Hue, Cobalt Blue Hue, Hookers Green Hue or Sap Green Permanent.
-Assorted Brushes including a liner and a larger round
-Mixing Plate
-Rinsing Bath
-Rubbing Alcohol
-Razor Blade
-Painters Tape
-8x10 Black and White Headshot or size equivalent to your glass size (better the quality, easier it is)

Place photo on your work surface, face up.
Place your glass on top.
Tape down to secure so glass doesn't shift while you're painting.
Clean glass with rubbing alcohol
Create 4 values with your two paint colors.
White being one, your chosen color being one and two in between.

**note** be sure that your paint is dry in between steps before moving forward. Acrylics dry quickly, so you should be able to move from one step to the next pretty swiftly.

Start by painting the brightest whites. The whites of the eye, the sparkle of the eye, the teeth if showing, etc.
Choose the appropriate brush size for the area you're working on...smaller brushes for smaller details.
Then, using your chosen color straight up, you'll need to outline all of the features and the details of your photo and paint in the darkest areas.
Do brush strokes that mimic the texture. Not everything has to be a straight line. For example, the wisps of the hair around the forehead; instead of outlining the head, give your brush strokes more movement.
Accent and highlight the remaining features using your second value (white being your first, Red being your fourth). Be sure to blend as you go and maintain a 'dobbing' motion.
Let dry and then cover the entire painting with your third value using your larger round brush. Admire your handiwork and hang proudly!

**Tip....Carefully tip glass up (without disturbing placement of your photo) every so often to check your work and make sure you haven't missed any of the details.

Cheers to NOT being able to stop at ONE!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

nEW aDDitiOns To mY WaLL oF pERsonALIty

One of my favorite ongoing collections is my family of portraits. I've been picking up portraits from flea markets, garage sales, artisan friends, and family basements for quite a while now and I'm always excited when I get to make new additions. Some of my favorite pieces are those done by family and friends. Some are rough sketches and some aren't even finished....works in progress...just like all of us....

My latest additions I scored, were from my Grandma over the weekend. She purchased some sort of 'art lessons by mail' in the early '90's and played with it for a while and then sadly after my grandpa passed away, it all got packed up in a box and shoved in the attic for the past several years. Well, thankfully, she's pulled it all out and will hopefully start getting back at things! I think it will truly add some additional joy to her days! She begrudgingly gave me some of her sketch exercises I was excited about and told me not to show them to anyone! (sorry, Grandma....love 'em because you did them with your hands and I'll be proudly framing them up and adding them to my expanding wall of personality)

My Grandma's Self Sketch

Love that she sketched a collie! Our new pup, Junie B. is a collie.

Savanna High School...where I went to school

My Grandpa's profile

Random Woman

My cousin Brandon's self-portrait work from high school..

My Aunt Kathy did this one of me when I was little.

work by 'joy'...an anonymous artist that I've found quite a few random pieces from at a flea market by my parent's house.....
Sanford's my fave! him and I share a few interests! :):)

Have no idea what drew me to this one, but it sat in an antique store for years and about the 5th time I visited, I noticed someone had taken the effort to put a frame around it, so I dropped my $20 and brought him home to meet the others! It's always good to throw a little "crazy" into the mix!

Would LOVE to know who this is on their wedding day, and why someone would ever get rid of it!

The woman in this painting reminds me of my great grandma.

A familiar face from childhood, maybe?!

Sad and melancholy, but there was something about her....

Some colorful, big eyed gals from artist Christy Hydek (Art by Chrysti) excited and ready to join the gang!

Each and every one I pick up has something special about it. It makes for an interesting display when you group them altogether, and they always make me smile. It's intriguing to think of the different minds, eyes and hands that were behind each of them; the process, who the subject is and why they chose them, why they were discarded and the journey they took before they ended up in junk stores and flea markets, was the person who painted them happy with their work, how many other portraits do these different 'artists' have out there, what's the 'personality' behind the 'personality'?!?! They're true treasures and a collection that will never be complete. One can never be alone with a family of faces to look over them. They're quiet, yet always there for ya, and since I don't know the stories behind most of them, I just make up a few colorful tales of my own!

Cheers to all the personalities behind these personable works of art! Thank you....I love them all!

Friday, October 9, 2009

...the pERfeCtlY, IMpeRfeCT Do It Yourself LIfe...

Greetings from the 2nd floor at 408 Grant, overlooking beautiful downtown Van Meter. The brownstone's a buzzin' with episodes, short-forms, writings, ideas, projects, events, products... and a few fruit flies. All the activity as of late has left me with periodic feelings of living a double life, only instead of worrying about getting caught, I'm diligently working to get the two to outwardly coexist harmoniously and authentically. My earthy, nature oriented side is getting full play with all our b. organic goodness, but then there's also my unconventional, free spirit side that likes to break the rules, experiment, and follow no one when it comes to anything creative, DIY, or home redo oriented, who also has to show up for things. As much as there is synergy with the two, the two sides can sometimes be at odds, and it's my job to make sure the new messages, ideas and products enhance one another, not contradict. For example, I may be faced with the less than environmentally-friendly product or material needed to get the creative job done, or I continue to drive an SUV because that is what I presently need to support the people, supplies and materials I'm having to haul around on a daily basis to do my job. In other words, I'm on the same journey as everyone else and embracing it all with a realistic, practical mindset and sharing the discoveries every step of the way. I too attempt to do the best with what I have available to me at the current time and figure out which alternative actions I can adopt. I search for new products and experiment to see if there are better options for the creative projects; I fill my car with E-85 fuel and don't make unnecessary trips or pool up with others when I can until I can make the swap to something 'better'. Nothing is perfect, and there are so many things that come into play that determine how far we're able to go with anything, including being "green"; situations, finances, responsibilities, lifestyle, etc. I've never been an all or nothing kind of gal because it's what lies between the two that's real, genuine and natural and that's what our practical use of the word organic is refreshingly all about. As my creative world intertwines with an even deeper engagement with the environmentally friendly world, the commonalities are becoming louder and prouder every day, bringing it all together. One of them being, there isn't only one, right way...there are many ways, many ideas and many options. Another, is that the do it yourself lifestyle, is in and of itself, self-sustaining, creative, resourceful, organic, and naturally good. And that, my friends has been my message from the beginning, and will continue to be so in everything we put out there.

cheers to the do it yourself life!

(an excerpt from the 10/9/09 smi newsletter) to view click here