Saturday, December 31, 2011

Color Inspiration

I've been working on re-decorating my art studio, and am super inspired by the colors in this picture I found. Vibrant greens, soft beige, and rich earth tones... This is the perfect feel. I drew some swatch colors from it:

Hmmm... Now how to replicate it?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Break Visualized

My Christmas break visualized

1. Painting... Mostly a portrait for my friends' anniversary. It's a surprise, so pictures will be up after they've received it.
2. Organizing... One of my Christmas presents was some cube storage space for my art studio. Fantastic!
3. Studying... I'll be taking my modern foreign language competency exam soon so I can write my thesis.
4. Pink eye... One gift I was not happy to receive.
5. Christmas... Spent with my family and parents-in-love back home.
6. Running... It's been in the upper-50s all break. Running in shorts in December? Awesome!
7. Drawing... Pages for my web manga.

I am SO not ready to go back to school. This is all too much fun! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gifts That Give

Year after year, I've heard people complain about how consumeristic
Christmas tends to be. I've complained myself. This year, I realized that, although I gripe about, I have yet to actually DO something about it. I decided to make this year different. You can too! Here are some ways that you can purchase some nice gifts that will give back and make a difference.

1. World Vision's gift catalog.

World Vision provides a visual gift catalog that details how exactly the money you give will help change lives. Buy a family a goat. Provide clean water for a village. Help people from a different country learn a trade so that they can provide for their family. The best part about World Vision? All of the gifts are sustainable! You are not just placing a "Band-Aid" over poverty but are providing some real solutions to the effects of poverty.
And, if you want a physical gift to send to a loved one, World Vision will provide a card with the recipient's name. The contributions to the "Maximum Impact Fund" include a gift to give as well.

2. Thistle Farms

Thistle Farms is an organization that gives women a place to live off of the street and employs them through their bath and body shop. The women, who are victims of homelessness, abuse, and prostitution, are taught about God's love through a program that provides counseling and healing. All of the body products that the women make are wonderful, and the proceeds goes directly back into the program to help the women who make the products. I have a pump of hand lotion and lip balm, and they are of great quality (and all natural!).

3. Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace where artisans can sell their handmade items. It's amazing how creative and talented people are on here. Many artists donate some of their sales to charity organizations. Just type "charity" or "charity donation" into the search engine to see who's donating.
Fingerless gloves from GlenEchoDesigns.

4. One Cup

One Cup is an independent coffee roasting company based in Seattle. Not only do they have fantastic coffee, but they have dollar-for-dollar grants that match your coffee purchase and donates it to World Vision's famine relief efforts. Now that's a good cup of coffee!

5. Donate Fruit

The only thing better than a gift of fresh fruit in the winter months is fruit that helps end hunger. This fruit basket company matches your purchase dollar-for-dollar and gives fruit to families in the United States that are impoverished and malnourished. Give the gift of fruit -- twice!

This Christmas season, may we be aware of the hungry and oppressed and share with them. May we be consumed with the Creator and not with created things.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wonderful Christmas Time

It's that magical time of the year again... Time to bring out the sweaters, hang the lights, sip hot cocoa, and decorate.

Since my home is composed mostly of greens, I decided to incorporate that into my winter decor so that I can a) use what I already have on hand, b) save money.

I'm really proud of these new art pieces I created. I asked my grandpa to create some basic frames for me out of a light wood. I then hot-glued some tree branches in the frame to create a little forest. Here's the Etsy store where I got the inspiration: UrbanPlusForest. Obviously, the artist's work looks way better than mine. :)

And here's my centerpiece for the coffee table. Candles, a sparkly dove ornament, and a framed winter photograph (Photograph from Chelsea Victoria Photography).

How are you enjoying the start of the holiday season?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birds of a Feather Fair - Nov. 6

Yesterday was the first ever Birds of a Feather Fair in Florence, KY (right outside of Cincinnati, OH) and I was thrilled to participate. This was the first "modern fair" I'd ever heard and jumped at the chance to showcase/sell my art to my ideal market. We headed up to Cincy Sunday morning and got setup in the Hilton hotel (fancy smancy!).

The booth setup was a bit different than I was anticipating (tables all lined up side-to-side, like one super long table), but my husband was super helpful in aiding the layout. Since my particular table was actually composed of two narrow, long ones, I placed one of them in front of my large table and the other one along the side. This actually worked WAY better than I had hoped!
Once we got the layout figured out, everything went up in no time. :)

I could not believe how many people poured in to this banquet room! There had to be a few hundred people who came out (about two hours in, I overhead one of the directors commenting that two hundred people had already come). I've never been to such a successful show before!

It was wonderful to meet the two lovely ladies who put this whole show together. I was astounded at how hospitable they were, even coming over to my table and acknowledging me by name as soon as I arrived. They went out of their way to help me set up and floated around the room during the fair checking up on everyone. I could not have asked for better hosts. :)

Strangely, although the turn out was better than anyone had imagined, it was a slow selling day for me. I really can't understand why. The whole place was packed out, people were constantly at my booth, and the demographics appeared to be the people I thought would be interested in my style of art (women in their late 20s - early 40s, well-dressed, stylish, from the Midwest, etc). It was a bit disappointing.

My best seller was by far my mini paintings, as it often is. I was hoping to sell out of my calendars, but those didn't seem to catch on. I did meet a whole bunch of awesome people, however, and really enjoyed the atmosphere. There were so many nice, talented people who had many similarities with me. I'm so glad that I went, and it proved to be another important learning experience.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Good Day

After a rough week of school, I took a mental health day yesterday. Shopping + new outfit + Starbucks' seasonal gingerbread latte + afternoon spent in the studio = good day.

I spent the afternoon finishing my prep work for the art fair tomorrow. I'm super excited. Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learning About Myself

I've never considered myself to be a country person. At all. I hate country music, I've never worn cowgirl boots, I stay clear of rustic/primitive-looking decor like it's the plague.
And yet, I've noticed a marked chance in my art since the last year. Just about every subject has been styled with a country living flair.

I've realized that I really am a country person. Maybe not a grandma, old-fashioned country person, but a country person nonetheless. There's just something about simplicity, fresh air, picturesque fields, and vivid colors displayed in nature that "speak" to me.

Here's some country inspiration I found from Pininterest (don't be surprised if you see a very similar painting from one of these photographs in the near future!)

Credit: link

Credit: link

Credit: link

I think I'll deem this style "modern country." :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Already?

Gah, I am so behind... Since November is upon us, it seems like everyone is already looking for Christmas gifts. All of the treasuries on Etsy are displaying Christmas items, all the stores already have seasonal items and are playing Christmas music... Why don't we just skip over Thanksgiving altogether? :)

I haven't even started making my "winter line," much less finished all the art I had planned for autumn. Where has the time gone?

Here's my [lonely] first Christmas item of the year:

Available here.

If you are someone who is already on the hunt for presents, go check out Pink Lemonade's gift guide. There are several awesome artists featured, one of whom is your truly. :)

In addition, I'll also be at the Birds of a Feather Fair just outside of Cincinnati this Sunday selling my artwork. The busy Christmas season has already begun! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011


Here it is, almost winter, and I'm still painting summery pictures. I can't help it... I just love sunshine and bright, fresh colors. My husband teases me and jokes that I'm just "solar-powered." :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And Then... It Was Over

It's amazing how much time I spent arranging and rearraning my festival setup and then just like that it's all over.

This was by far the smoothest art festival I've done to date. The setup and tear down was a breeze and I had no rough spots whatsoever. The only complaint I had was the weather. Saturday was an abnormally cold, overcast day. It was so cold that I couldn't even take off my gloves to paint a demonstration, as I normally do.

My first sale came within ten minutes of opening, and my last sale right at the end when all the other vendors were packing up. Biggest lesson learned? Be on time and stay until (literally) the last minute!

Now time to restock for the festival next month... And back to schoolwork. :(

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Art Festival Prep

It's a busy time of the year for me! This weekend marks the season's first art festival, and I've been busy all month preparing my store front for it. I think I have my booth much more polished than last year. I've also been busily (but happily) painting so that my little shop will be full of items for purchase. I seriously cannot wait until Saturday!

Sorry, but the kitty is not for sale. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

An Autumn Weekend

This beautiful weekend is best summed up by this painting I created yesterday- apple picking at the local orchard, baking apple pie from scratch, drinking pumpkin spiced coffee. It's weekends like this that make the absence of summer a little easier to bear.

Up next weekend - the local art festival! :D

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nearing the End...

This weekend I worked on something very different from the other items I have in my shop - a monthly calendar featuring my paintings.
I ordered a few copies and plan on bringing one of my own to work to brighten up my office desk. :)

The other ones will make great stocking stuffers. :) You can purchase your own set here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This month's sudden change of weather has me longing for soft wools, hot drinks, and cozy atmospheres. How is it that the temperature can literally drop 50 degrees within a day??

Here's some recent "cozy" inspiration...

Source: Grazim
Source: Chicnwarm
Source: Luminology

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Fair Prep

It's time to start stocking up for fall art fairs! As the season rapidly approaches (my first one is exactly one month away!), I've been busy reworking my display. It's amazing how an attractive- looking setup can bring in more sales. I quickly learned at my first attempt last October that it doesn't matter how great your artwork is if it's not displayed in an eye-catching fashion.

Here's one of my tables I'm working on. As you can see, there's still several more pieces I need to paint to fill in the gaps.

My kitty keeping me company while I work. <3

Whew, my second year of graduate school starting today, beginning a new job, painting, preparing for fairs, drawing my manga comic... These next few months are going to be busy busy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recent Etsy Finds

I admit that I just might be addicted to Etsy... It seems like all of my gift-giving comes from there now. What can I say? As an artist, I appreciate handmade items and find that items on Etsy have such a uniqueness about them. I have a hard time buying manufactured, cookie-cutter items now. :)

Here are some recent finds of mine:
Source: CharlenePrecious
A shabby-chic, beach-inspired photograph print for my MIL. This is just darling!

Source: SummerwindSoy
A beautiful, custom-made bird nest for my mom. She is just going to adore this!

Have you had any awesome finds lately? :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Farewell to Summer

It's been a wonderful summer, and as the sun begins to set earlier and the mornings grow chillier, I'm not ready to see it go. School begins next week, and the only reason why I'm anxious for classes to commence is so I can be finished with the full-time job I've been temping this past month. I'm greatly looking forward to having more time for studying, thinking, and creating.

While walking yesterday through a meadow on a gorgeous Indian summer afternoon, I was inspired to paint summer's fading glow:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mixed Media

My husband, who works at the seminary library where I attend, brought home this unneeded book of organ sheet music a while ago. I've been using the pages to create some mixed media work. Imagine my surprise when I recently found out that the book sells for around $90!
I painted a sheet of music with watercolor paints and added some glitter. Look at what I came up with:

I have been very inspired by mixed media lately! I'm already rolling up my sleeves and planning another one... :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Sewing Made Easy(er)

I love the look of sewn cards but don't own a sewing machine to create them. I've recently begun sewing my Starbucks coffee albums, but pushing a little needle through stiff cardboard is not easy on the fingers. Ouch.

When I saw that Making Memories recently came out with a product to make sewing paper items easier, I immediately placed it in my shopping cart. Finally, something to make sewing through thick paper and (hopefully) cardboard much easier!

Several different shops and video reviews said that this here tool would pierce through paper, allowing the user to simply sew through the holes. I don't know what they were thinking, but this is definitely misleading. The "Sew Easy piercer" does NOT pierce anything whatsoever- not even thin computer paper. It does, on the other hand, make small impressions in the paper that serve as a guideline.

I was definitely disappointed. This was not what I was expecting. My stitching is neat to begin with, so I don't really need a guide. Plus, given the nature of the head on the piercer, it's impossible to use a straight-edge to create a perfectly level stitch line. If your line slopes up or down, you can create another impression, but there will be awkward dots where you messed up.

That said, if you can sew neatly, don't bother with buying this item. If you would like a guide to help you sew by hand, this might be your thing.

Here are some cards I created and added some stitching for nice finishing touches:

(this card was made using the tool, which is why some of the stitching isn't straight)

Cute triangular stitches :)