Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Water Colour Painting with the Family

 After all the excitement of Santa, and presents, great meals and fun games, I settled down to do some art with my niece and her dad.  I created this little birds on a cherry tree branch painting - my sister liked so much - she framed right away!
I am not really that good at water colours.  I am more of an acrylic painter - used to layering on (and fixing mistakes).  But this turned out ok.
 My niece is a brilliant artist and did this painting from a photograph she found on line.  She has the knack (which i lack) of leaving the white space where the sun sparkles on the water.
 My brother in law hasn't painted in many years - but is getting back into it.  Here is a first layer of a west coast scene.
 Another work in progress, some pretty fall birch trees.
 Anthony  is a pheasant hunter and illustrated a recent outing with his trusty Labrador, Jazz.
Here we are deep in the creative process at my sister's kitchen table.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Crafterino Petaluma

I spent a lovely morning with a couple of pals at the Holiday Crafterino craft fair in Petaluma. Since we got there early - we got these awesome goodie bags, filled with, you guessed it, goodies!
a goat milk soap from
a wooden die cut of California key chain from
a wee little baby bug ornament from
a Kleenex case from
some manga magnets from
a pottery gift tag from
a notebook from
a card from
some stickers from
some heirloom seeds  and assorted cards and discount coupons.
what fun!  all in a nice canvas bag - just for the cost of attendance - a whopping $1.

I did actually BUY a few things~!  I bought this bubble glass locket, from
  It has no bug in it - I can add my own image or object.
I  picked our these pretty bird postcards from
I got one of these last year and just love it - a garland made from wool discs from
This is a set of notecards and envelopes from  the envelopes are made fromold book pages and have interesting images.  there are stickers to match.
And finally a collage kit from
I always buy stuff from her - even though I have all sorts of interesting collage materials in my own studio.  I am just a sucker for new stuff!
I have told my friend Z, just sneak into my house, make clever little kits with my stuff, and sell it back to me!
If you didn't make the sale this year, I am sure they'll be back next year.  or check out their blog with links to all the vendors:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Card Party 2014

 My friend Karen had her annual christmas card extravaganza this past weekend.  It had a theme (of course!) of Christmas Red and Winter White.  Here we are beside her two hand made trees.
Here is the adorable invitation she sent up for the party - yes an altered Altoids tin!  
She encouraged us to dress in the theme colours.
   One tree was made with miles of red velvet ribbon and the other a dripping willow tree with white lights and red balls.There were even MORE decorations around the house.  Check out last year's party HERE.
 Here are the little presents i brought for the ladies.  I wrapped them simply in white deli paper with red velvet ribbon and a glass candy cane.
 Inside the tins i placed some bling - sticky gemstones and pearls. Here's how i made them.
 Here are just SOME of the supplies Karen put out to share with us.  If we brought nothing, she had us covered.
 Of course there was coffee, pastries, fruit and yogurt when we arrived.  But in addition she served a delicious luncheon - including this tasty and beautiful citrus salad with pomegranates.
 She made us individual chicken pot pies and an arugula salad with dried cherries and goat's cheese. 
For my cards this year - i decided to make the base from pretty scrapbook paper - the heavier weight card stock.  I made good use of Karen's generosity with her supplies!  I designed a simple pattern of trees in a landscape format.
 I cut down the scrapbook paper from 12" x 12" to 9" by 7 1/2" to fit perfectly into a standard business envelope when folded in half.  this was to avoid having to fold up my annual christmas letter to fit.  A simple tri-fold and i'll be done.
 I usually like to do a simple design that i can crank out pretty fast.  But i still want it to be nice.  I cut 100's of "trees" - in triangle shapes from coordinating papers.  Sticking mainly with a blues and greens palette. a splash of red thrown in here and there.
 Here they are work in progress all stacked up.
 After a few more hours of play, it was time for tea!  karen made this impressive layer cake with a white chocolate frosting.
 Inside was even prettier!  and theme appropriate - of course!  Red velvet cake and cheesecake.  luckily we all got a second piece to take home!
During "tea time" Karen gave us all a little gift bag.
 Inside were three festive napkins which had been coated with resin - which transforms them into a mica like material, suitable for collage.  there was also some rose soaps, a little calendar, a notebook, a music rubber stamp and some chocolates.
My friend Z gave us each a vintage christmas card and a little vintage photograph, prettily packaged in a vellum envelope with lace trim.  The colours were perfect with the theme of the day!
My friend D gave us each a pretty scented soap.  I wonder how she knew i like birds so much?  (snigger)
Our friend M owns a bead store and brought some of her "bead soup" - a box filled with assorted bead for us to choose from.  Sunday (after the party on Saturday) i made this necklace with the beads i had selected. I used waxed linen thread and simply knotted the thread between the assorted green and amber beads to create separation.  it turned out long enough to wrap two or three times. 
Since i got out my bead things - i went ahead and made this one as well!
I didn't get any pictures of the Christmas cards the other ladies made (just so much going on!)  But my friend D made these eclectic new year's postcards and offered us each one.  They look just like one of D's quilts all laid out together.
 She has such a talent for collage and mixing patterns and themes.
 I, on the other hand, stick to pretty and predictable!  Here are the 44 cards i made all lined up on my dining room table.  A veritable forest of christmas tree shapes.
Oh - must confess.  there is ONE card that was upside down when i glued on the trees!  OOPSIE!  so i just added a few more triangles, some sticker balls - and now it is a festive holiday banner!
It goes without saying that our friend Karen is UNBELIEVABLY talented at throwing these parties.  her hostess skills, her cooking and her decorating are over the top.  We are truly blessed to have her as our crafty buddy.  She knows just how exactly make us feel special.  Including giving us SHOES!  well, ok, just one shoe - this pretty sparkly red one.
Thanks Karen!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Paper House Luminaries Workshop

I had the pleasure of taking another workshop with the imitable Cathe Holden at her Inspired Barn in Petaluma, CA.  We each made three adorable paper houses, with a flickering tea light inside they do this:
We did pretty christmas theme - but you can imagine how cool they could be for halloween!
 Cathe always makes us feel special, and this class was no exception.  We were given all the supplies and tools necessary to create the house - including a full printed guide.
Luminarie Mobile by Cathe Holden
 Here is Cathe's sample - 6 little houses used to create a delightful mobile. when attached to a golden crown.
 From her instruction guide - here are some ideas for where to place the bling.
 Here are all the components all laid out - including glitter and mica flakes to create a snowy effect.
 Did i mention bling?  Cathe arranged for each of us to get a sampling of gorgeous rhinestone and sparkly goodies from the Blumenthal Lansing Button company.  they were all so pretty - it was hard to choose which ones to use!
 Cathe printed the layout for the house on the back of these card stock images of text and vintage printing from the back's of cabinet cards.
 So we simply had to cut and fold!  her patented technique (i have no idea if it patented - it should be!) made it super easy to assemble and glue these houses together.
 Once we had cut out the little windows it was time to add the adorments.  i brought a few things from home.  a couple of birds (of course) some aqua blue trims (of course) and even a little bunny charm which i coated with glitter.
 The rooflines were run through Cathe's vintage pinking machine - to create that lovely scalloped edge.
 The final touch was to add some ribbons and lace to the curtain hooks to allow for hanging.  I even applied glitter and snow to the hooks!
 With the flicker battery operated candles inside they really do come to life.
 Here are the houses my friend A made - so sweet.
House Assemblage by Cathe Holden
Cathe had many ideas for the little houses, including this lovely country scene using a book cover.  Please check out Cathe's website and blog.  She is super generous with her time and talents and has many freebies and ideas to share at just something i made.
Thanks Cathe!