Monday, January 31, 2011

dreams and a give-away

i am over the moon to be able to share this news with you. i want to scream it from the rooftops - I AM PUBLISHED! beginning february 1st, you can find linwood avenue within the covers of the 3rd volume of apron•ology produced by the lovely people at stampington. a big thank you to beth livesay, apron•ology's editor, for pulling together a beautiful collaboration. i read this mag cover to cover the moment it arrived - it is filled with so many beautiful pieces, you won't be disappointed. one of my favorites is the farmhouse apron from sweet magnolias farm. check them out here. i also adore the apron merit badges on page 40, such a great idea!

to celebrate this little accomplishment of mine, i am running a giveaway - the winner will receive an apron of their choice from my shop. i will contact the winner and at that time, they can let me know which apron they choose. the contest will run for a week and close midnight EST february 7th. how do you enter? it's 2 simple steps...

1. add your name to my list of sweet followers by clicking the "follow" button in the right hand column.
2. leave me a comment letting me know what you would use your apron for. ie: crafting, gardening, teaching, you name it, i want to know!

*** as a bonus, if you tweet about this giveaway (and let me know in the comments), you gain an extra entry. woohoo!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

roses are red and...

love and appreciation, what more could we hope for out of life?

new print in my botanical series which will hopefully be in the shop soon :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

experimenting and doodling

i did it! i finally got the courage to "enhance" book pages. part of me felt like the book police were going to show up at my door and haul me off, but the other part was wildly excited. the book was purchased at a yard sale, so no big investment if i screwed up. i absolutely loved the sweet poems and black illustrations when i found it and knew that colorful doodles would be a perfect compliment. i used black micron pens and my prismacolor watercolor colored pencils. if you know me at all, then you know that painting is not for me. i have nothing against it, i simply have other artistic ventures that i am dying to tackle. if you have this aversion as well, you should try watercolor pencils. you draw on the paper with the pencil, then take a wet paintbrush to the color and you instantly have the look of watercolor. i use a very stiff flat brush because it lets me drag the color exactly where i want it to go (as in the downward motion of the raindrops in the above image). if the page is wet, but you still want to add more color, you can run your brush against the tip of the pencil and the color will come off that way too.

after a night of experimenting and doodling, i was so happy with the finished results. while i have no idea what i am going to do with these pages, i am extremely excited that i stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new. 

what new technique have you tried lately? who knows, i might need to add it to my "experiment" list :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

scallops and the wind

so, i have 2 bags of these vintage fabric circles. what to do, what to do?  i immediately started making yo-yo's with them, yo-yo's for days. you know, those tiny scrunched circles generally found on granny knitting purses or couch throws? anyway, i love making them and will continue making them, but my fingers needed a break. so...

as a diversion, i cut out a piece of 20 inch canvas and started randomly arranging some of my circles onto the fabric. i found a pattern i liked, pinned them in place and was so excited to start zig-zig stitching them on my machine. but then i finished, held up my new fabric and ugh! all i could see was a polyester fish windsock. something along the lines of this.

lesson learned: sometimes things turn out different than the picture we see in our head :)

i think i can still salvage this and turn it into a cute circular pillow with a large button in the center. if i am crazy, i might even make more. however, i definitely need to use some quilting spray to flatten out the circles and then iron the heck out of the piece when it is done. as you can tell, this fabric has never seen the underside of an iron. ooh, or maybe this can be turned into my idea of a giant owl pillow. maybe there are more possibilities for this than flying in the wind :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

decisions and realizations

this post has been such a long time coming, i just haven't been able to wrap my head around the correct words i want to say. instead, i will start with a conversation i recently had with a friend.

me: so i am going to meet a lot of art people this coming week, what is a quick description of who i am, if someone asks?

her: well, what do you want to be known as?

me: um, i am a graphic designer, a stitcher, a crocheter, an illustrator, a lamp maker and other things as well

her: say you are an illustrator, that covers a lot of areas

me: ok, that sounds good

so that is how i cornered myself into the role of "illustrator". don't get me wrong, i LOVE that title even though it is a bit self proclaimed. but i fully believe in dressing for the position you want, so why not?

fast forward to a night last week when a very sweet woman opened her very amazing downtown loft to a bunch of artists in town for the gift mart show. attending this party, i so felt like i was back in my element again. back in the days of art school where all your friends are artists and everyone understands you. it was bliss. some very big art names were there, but big egos were not. this was a group of such warm, welcoming, and generous women. conversations progressed as they do and i asked a few women what they did and the strangest thing happened, they were tongue tied with a lot of "umms..." and "wells...". these women who were so advanced in their career still could not give themselves a title. it was fantastic! i swear this is the biggest aha moment in a long time. why was i so hung up on a title for myself? the greatest thing about being an artist is that you have talents in so many areas. in fact, defining yourself as one thing is not being an artist at all. it's in our nature to want to be free, try different things. an artist yearns for new discovery and can feel trapped if forced to work in one medium, or genre, or style for their entire life.

lesson learned: it is perfectly ok for me to be a graphic designer, a stitcher, a crocheter, an illustrator, a lamp maker and other things as well. having multiple outlets does not make me any less desirable as an artist, i think it only enhances my overall ability.

ps. don't forget to cast your vote for my newest chandelier color over there in the column on the left :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

paint and choices

remember this watermelon baby?

or this sweet lemon yellow chandelier?

well, believe it or not, on a recent antiquing trip, i found yet another one. another one!!! i am going to make it my mission to rescue everyone of these chandeliers from a depressing tag sale. i just love how it is dripping in crystals. literally dripping, they are everywhere. the question is, what color should i paint this one? soft pink, kelly green, or trendy grey? take part in my poll over there on the left side of my blog. it will be up until monday - help a girl out :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

gift show: come and gone

the international gift and home show at atlanta's americasmart has been happening for the last week or so. saturday, i was lucky enough to go and it was such a huge whirlwind of creative goodness. living in atlanta, you hear talk all the time of the awesomeness of the mart. before i went, i just could not comprehend all that was housed in 3 buildings located in downtown atlanta. above is a shot of just 1 building and a sampling of the floors contained within. i swear you need to be in marathon shape to be able to get everywhere you want to go without falling over from exhaustion.

last year, i was entranced by the jewelry on the cash and carry floor, but this year, it was a ribbon vendor that captured my heart. velvets, pom pom's, grosgrain - all the gorgeous ribbon that used to exist before cheap ribbon spools took over your average craft store. between me and my 2 friends, we did some major damage here! if you have a tax id# for your biz, head here to pick up some amazing ribbon for yourself.

after a day filled with shopping for clothes, jewelry, and ribbon, we headed up to the permanent showrooms to ooh and ahh over the artists and artwork that has found a home in the world of licensing. i have learned so much about licensing over the past week that my head is swirling. i definitely know where and where not i want to be headed in the next year (more on that a little later).

the demdaco showroom is a must stop if you are at the mart. not only are the artists they represent, amazing, but they employ incredibly talented visual merchandisers. the props and displays these people create rival any new york christmas window. of course we had to get in line for kelly rae robert's signing of her new little girlie ornaments. as always, she is super friendly and warm.

it truly was a great day all around. and to top it off, i may or may not have gotten sucked into the diamond floor and bought something that is sparkly all over and far too expensive for my bank account ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

lemons and a bud

my lemon tree has buds, already!!! i guess my tlc regiment is working well :)

i'm heading to the atlanta gift show tomorrow for a day of mouth watering inspiration and fun. check back next week to see all the goodies i discover.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

love quilt and finishing

remember the quilt that i started way back in may? well it is finished. my love quilt is finished! i don't think i have been so happy with a finished product before. this quilt is composed of anna maria horner fabrics on the front mixed with a screen printed tea-towel i bought during a trip to london last year. i used colored embroidery floss to embellish the black and white tea towel, being especially partial to the solid red heart.

this is the third quilt i have sewn and i definitely think in my case that the third time is a charm. i have so much satisfaction from creating this specific piece, i will be on cloud 9 for weeks. as you can see, it is a very geometric pattern. and i actually prefer this, it is more my style than a traditional quilt made up of triangles.

what i am most proud of is that i hand-quilted the entire piece. it is a bit bigger than a lap quilt, but smaller than a twin bed quilt. i used low-loft batting, sandwiching it between the top of the quilt and a vintage pink sheet which i used for the back. then i started working on the embroidery. there is no consistent stitch, i simply followed the patterns in my fabric. the entire quilting is very free form. while it definitely took much longer than machine quilting, i have to say that this way was much easier.

now it is your turn to finish that project that has been set aside, what are you waiting for?????

Monday, January 10, 2011

feathers and nests

don't you just love after christmas sales? i get so excited about them, but this time, it seemed the pickins were a lot slimmer than previous years. it's a good thing that what i did find, i loved. these cute feather bird nests were found at kmart no less! they are about 5 inches in diameter and covered with sparkling/glittered feathers - i couldn't resist the dollar price tag!

i am seeing stuffed fabric birds sitting in the circle with maybe some hand painted miniature eggs added in. my friend jenni is the bird lady, so i have no plans of selling the finished product, but wouldn't that be such a cute easter table centerpiece?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

sheets and shooting

meet ellie! i know, not a very original name for an elephant, but she is so cute, i thought ellie suited her perfectly.

as a christmas gift, i received the sewing book "one-yard wonders" and as i came across the pattern for this elephant stuffie, i knew this was the gift i needed to make for a baby shower i am going to on sunday. i used 2 different vintage sheets as fabric, then embellished her with some felt flowers. the one on her neck is to hide some stitching which came apart during the stuffing process (oops) and the one near her leg was added to balance out the first. just goes to show you that hiding mess-ups sometimes makes for a sweeter finished project.

on the photography front, i recently read this post from the lettered cottage and i think it has completely changed my life! remember when i posted here how daunting photographing products was for me? i really didn't think there was anything i could do about my poor lighting besides buying expensive studio quality lights. well, i was wrong. with a few setting adjustments, a tripod which was stuffed away in an upstairs closet, i now have tools to get much better shots. for years, people have tried to tell me what aperture and iso settings are, but my eyes always glaze over. it all was just a foreign language to me that i had no hope of ever learning. with these few tips, i got exactly what i wanted. specific settings without all the explaning. this photo has had no photoshop work done to it and i couldn't be happier with it. the depth and brightness of the shot is exactly what i was hoping for. i am realistic enough to know that not everything will turn out exactly how i want it to, but i do know that i will be steps closer to the finished product with these tips. woohoo!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

summer and heat

last summer, when we were vacationing in emerald isle, nc, the family and i took a boat trip out to their local "shell" island. this is something i vow to do every year, it was amazing. you would not believe the quantity of shells these islands block from reaching the main shoreline. seriously, whole intact conch shells found only a few steps in the water. not sure what the shells pictured above are called, but they are clam like, and vary from 6 inches to 3 inches across. i collected a ton of them and planned on making them into candles for christmas gifts. they were made, but then christmas came and i already had gifts to give, so i ended up keeping the whole lot of 20 or so for myself.

making candles is so easy to do and doesn't require any new tools, just things that you have lying around the house. the only supplies you need to buy are candle wax and some wicks. i bought a 3x10 inch block of wax from michaels. it is a bit expensive, but with a 40% off coupon, totally doable. you can also get wicks there and some candle scents if you wish.

to begin, i took a metal can i had lying around the house that held soup and placed it into a pot of boiling water to create a double boiler. then i chopped up the wax and dropped the pieces into the can. i used a can rather than another pot because the can can be thrown out when you are finished. next, i dipped the bottom part of the wick into the melted wax, then pressed the wick down into the center of the shell base. it held perfectly! next, using tongs, i picked up the tin can and poured wax into each shell. when the wax dries, it forms a dip around the wick so i applied wax once more to each shell before i was finished. that's it, a beautiful and simple homemade gift for a friend or, ahem, yourself!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

lots of water and tlc

hello friends, i'm back! and i'm rested and full of resolve to slow down a bit and not take things too seriously. i had the most wonderful holiday despite having a house full of sickies. the best part was signing off of the whole online world for close to 3 weeks. 3 weeks - a record for me, for sure. no design work, no blogs, no perezhilton, no to everything. towards the end of the year, i sort of lost sight of all the reasons to love blogs and twitter. i started becoming obsessed with who was having opportunities handed to them that i was working so hard to get myself. a lot of self pity, brought on solely by yours truly. because the thing is, no one was making me read those posts. my little hands were clicking away on the keyboard taking me into these worlds which weren't healthy for me. it is so easy to get caught up in the online world, trying to keep up with some and out do others. i needed the time off to realize that it is all a figment of my imagination. my life isn't inside the computer, it is in my house with my family and friends. as a result of this epiphany, i am rested and back with a lighter blog reader and twitter feed.

moving forward, i am going to be very conscious to only follow blogs that inspire me and make my life richer. blogs that teach me new creative techniques or blogs that invite me in to laugh or cry. i promise you i will follow this path with my own blog as well. i want you to come here and be inspired to start on that specific project you have had lying around for months. or pick up a camera to capture the little things in your life. or discover that you can draw, or make that step into signing up for an art class. the one thing i can count on in my life is that it is full of creativity and that is what i am bringing to you.

on a completely different subject, my most favorite christmas gift this year was a miniature lemon tree. it's live and it can live right inside my studio most months out of the year. i seriously squealed when my husband brought it into the house. i love having a tree sitting right in front of my window. fingers crossed it will actually bear fruit, i'm told the lemons will most likely appear next year. i have the most horrible green thumb and can never keep house plants alive so i am hoping beyond hope that i can change that cycle with this tree.

i promise to give it lots of water and tlc which is a great prescription for myself moving throughout this year as well. hello 2011!


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