Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back at 2013 and forward to 2014

Beginning 2013
This year has been a challenging year, but it has also been full of blessings in many different ways. Our family had some personal challenges that were hard to work through, but with support from family and friends, it has helped me to get through them.  I found a new good friend who has helped me out in so many ways, that I want to thank her for her support and friendship.  It was a blessing to find a new friend, at this stage of my life, that I can trust and enjoy spending time with.  At the same time, you should keep your friends close, because you never know when they may be gone...or come close to it.  So, keep in touch with your friends...old and new.  Thank you to my friend, you know who you are.  (Kat)  And to my oldest friends from Pine Bluff, you are a blessing to me as well! Love you all!

Ending 2013
It has been a blessing to stay very busy with my art in 2013. Thank you to everyone who has supported me by being a customer or just encouraging me in whatever I do.  I really enjoy doing this full time. I am doing what I love to do.  In 2014, I plan to make some changes. I want to SIMPLIFY my life. I have been moving towards this for awhile. I am de-cluttering my space and now I need to refocus my art.  I have been all over the place with subject and media, but I have decided to start out the new year with a 30 day challenge.  It is a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge for January.  I hope that this challenge will help me to focus more on what I want to do.  So be watching for painting challenge photos.

Some of the commissions that I worked on this year include, the Snow House at the beginning of 2013. And one of my Christmas commissions was a cute little Yorkie named Khloe. She is a little cutie patootie! Looks like she may be a little spoiled, just like my little pup! This drawing was done with pen and ink.   I've done many others with color, including watercolor, colored pencil, and acrylics throughout the year and hopefully, more in 2014...so I'm looking forward to 2014 to see what it brings.  

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Christmas Rush is Over

Every year I tell myself that Christmas should not be so stressful and that next year will be better.  But the next year comes along and the stress starts building.  This year, I decided that shopping was not going to be one of those stresses.  So I did a lot of my shopping online this year.  I didn't have to take time off work to go spend a whole day or more looking for the perfect gifts.  Besides, the perfect gift does not come wrapped in a gift under the tree.  The perfect gift, for me, would be to relax with my family and enjoy the time together. No stress, no expectations of the perfect holiday, Just a special time to get together and make nice memories.

As a family, we changed our usual schedule and places for the Holiday festivities.  It was a nice mix of old traditions and new traditions.  

The stress comes when I try to take on to much work for others. After all, I am an artist, who works at this for a living. So I should be able to take it on.  I can work hard and long hours.  But the reality is, my time is limited before Christmas.  Custom orders cannot be late for Christmas.  Scheduling some projects before others because of shipping issues, drying or firing times, and just the fact that many of the things that I create take A LOT of time.  So, even though it comes with the job, it is stressful because I want to make everyone happy and I find it difficult to be limited by time.   

But after all the food was cooked and eaten, the packages were unwrapped, the Post Christmas illness settled in.  This year it took the form of a bad head cold.  As I type this, I am sitting on the couch, in my new pjs, that my sister gave me, with my pillow and blanket and tissues and medicine, wishing I felt better, so I could enjoy being home.  But this head cold that I got for Christmas is not allowing me to enjoy the time to relax.  Seems like many people have also gotten a cold this Christmas, as well.  I have to wonder if it is the stress that helps to bring on the Post Christmas illness...the dreaded cold.   I run myself into the ground trying to make everyone happy and try to make everything perfect...which is impossible...
...Which gives me my goal for next year....SIMPLIFY. 

So now I have to figure out how I can do that for 2014...and still make a living with my art! 

Until then...Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays! 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Studio Organization - Colored Pencils

Colored Pencils
Artists are notorious for having lots of art supplies. I'm guilty as charged. It is a necessity. It is a passion. It is like baking supplies for a foodie. And to make matters worse, I work in a variety of media...from colored pencils to pen and ink to acrylic paint to watercolor paint to oil paint to clay.

So I am constantly fighting to keep things organized and within reach at the same time.  So I thought I would post a few photos of a project that I've done to 'try' to get my studio organized a little.  But keep in mind that this is a work in progress.  One step at a time, right?  So, one side of my studio is devoted to drawing. The other is devoted to clay and paint...the 'messy' media.  Today I just want to talk about the colored pencils on the drawing side of the studio. In case you cannot tell, Prismacolor Colored Pencils are my favorite. I have a lot. I have more stored in containers in my desk.

Organizing Colored Pencils

Problem: Keeping said colored pencils organized (in one place) enough that I can find the colors when I need them and make good use of 'small nubs' of colored pencils.
Buy (2) 2' length White PVC Pipes
( I used 3" diameter, cut to preferred size to hold the pencils)
** I cut 5 pieces approximately 4 1/4" each with the remaining piece being 2 1/2" for pencil nubs.

NOTE** You may want to get more, or longer, PVC and cut all pieces the same size.  But I always have little nubs of colored pencils that I want to keep up with.  I use them to glue onto new pencils!  But that is another story!

(2) 22"  length 1x4 painted white boards (I cut them to fit the number of pieces of PVC I wanted AND to fit the top of a bookshelf that sits beside by drawing table. You may want to cut one wider board, instead of two to fit onto a table or desktop.)  I wanted 2 separate boards so I could move them around later. Also, I already had the wood pieces painted.
*E-6000 Glue (or any strong glue) to adhere the PVC to the boards, making sure the black words printed on the pipes are facing each other for a cleaner look.

I had my husband cut the PVC pipe on his electric saw.  Then I placed them on the board, into position, the way I wanted them to be glued.  I positioned them so that the 'unattractive' words that come printed on them would be facing each other.  Then I started by picking up the end piece and spread glue onto the bottom of the PVC and placed it back on the board.  I continued with that until I finished with all six pieces. Then I started on the second board.  I let it dry overnight before I organized my sharpened colored pencils by color groups and placed them on the bookshelf next to my drawing board.

And for current projects,
there is just enough room at the end of the two boards to hold two large mugs that will hold the colored pencils that I will keep while working on a project.   I think this will work pretty well for me! I've been searching for some ideas for keeping up with my pencils and found some ideas on YouTube, but I recently went to a colored pencil workshop and the instructor, Nancy Charles, had a similar version of this.  So I modified it to fit my needs and came up with this.  So, thank you, Nancy, for the inspiration!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pretty Leaves are Going Fast

This week as I was outside walking the dog around the yard, I was also looking for pretty fall color in the yard.  This year another red maple in our yard started turning pretty red colors that I had not seen on this particular tree before.  This tree is special to me because we planted this tree in our front yard the first fall that we moved into our house 17 years ago.  Our house was a new house, so it did not have any trees, so we wanted to have some pretty colors eventually.  My son was in first grade at the time.  He and his friend helped his dad plant the tree in the front yard.  After several years, the tree did not grow very much. The tree is a Red Maple and is supposed to grow quickly, but it was not thriving like it should.  So we decided to dig it up and move it about 30 feet towards the backyard.  The tree must have liked its new spot, because it started to grow and thrive.  Now, 17 years later, the Red Maple has grown into this tree. It decided to show us its pretty red leaves this year. But they are falling quickly. They are covering the ground now.  But even on the ground they are pretty. I may have to  preserve some of them in a drawing or painting or maybe even a clay design.  I'm still hoping for a repeat of last years color from another tree in the backyard, but the cold weather last week may have changed mother nature's plans this year.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Palette of Color...

The colors of fall are so pretty.  Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons. They both are so colorful and I love color!  I created a hanging tile with fall colors that includes a little owl.  It is now listed in my Etsy shop: My Etsy Shop

I have also been watching for changing leaves for photos. Here are a few photos of what I have taken, but it is still early. But they are changing quickly.  I've been taking Sophie for some short walks to see some of the colors in the neighborhood.  I'm sure I will post more over the next few weeks.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Painting is Good for the Soul

After spending hours and hours getting ready for the Norcross Art Festival and finishing up a large commission, last week I just crashed!  I spent several days unpacking and re-organizing my tent display items, then re-listing items in my Etsy shop, so I was working, just not on the creative part of my 'job'.  So Friday I pulled out a canvas commission that had been waiting to be finished and by Saturday morning I was in the mood to be creative.  I painted all day Saturday, finishing 2 painting commissions and then on to one just for fun!  And it felt really good to paint! It was a rainy day, so it was good to be in the studio.  It lifted my spirits quite a bit.  The blahs turned into a happy feeling.  I think I will spend more time painting in the near future, mixing my time up with some drawing, clay work and painting.  Sounds like a good mixture to me.

 A couple of months ago I painted the background of this canvas.  I used a coral color first. Then I rolled blue on top of the coral, leaving some of the coral showing through.  After that was dry, I drew the outline of the birds on the branch.  Then I put it away to get ready for the art show...then pulled it out Saturday. I got so excited about painting, I forgot to take photos of the background first.  I started lightening up the background (around the birds and branch) with loose brushstrokes of lighter blues, pinks, and yellows.  Monday I worked on the painting again and ended up here...

I'm letting it sit for a few days to decide if its finished or not.  We'll see. Now I'm ready to work on some commissions because my Soul is refreshed!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Checking My List...

Norcross...done!  Last weekend we traveled to Georgia to participate in the Norcross Art Fest for the
second time.  I really enjoy going to Norcross. The people are so nice and it is so nice to be a part of such a well organized show.  The other artists are so nice and helpful. The weather was great and the crowds were large. The only thing I do not like about it is that it is so far away and so expensive for us to attend.  I really hope to find a show that is closer to home and just as organized and whimsical and creative as the Splash Festivals in Georgia.  I'm still learning this whole Art Festival business and still have a long way to go.  My booth is looking a little better each time we go.  I think it looked better this time, but I still have some ideas to improve on my display on the right side of my booth.  If we can find another good show, in Arkansas, I may have to try it out.
So, I can check off this event off my to do list for this fall.  Now I need to concentrate on working on commissions that have been waiting patiently for me to return and listing new items in my Etsy shop.

Next on my to do list.. some paint, some drawing, some clay....have some fun.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Almost time for Norcross!


I have been very busy preparing to go to Georgia.  I am going back to Norcross Art Fest this year! I'm excited to go back! Here is a peak at some of what I will have in my booth.  I will be located in booth S42 on South Peachtree Street, in downtown Norcross.  If you are in the area, stop by and see me! 

Click here is more information about the Festival:  Norcross Art Fest,  October 5 & 6, 2013. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Do you Read Blogs?

To Blog or Not to blog...that is my question.

I started this blog to document my creative journey in 2008.  At the time, many artists were blogging and I was trying to create a presence online. I was hoping to retire from teaching one day and work full time as an artist.  So I started blogging about my art.  Now, 5 years later, I AM retired from teaching and working full time on my art (YAY!) and I am still blogging. Not as often, but I am still here.  But after 5 years, I am wondering who reads blogs and why?  Does anyone actually read this blog?  If so, do you want tutorials? or just pictures of artwork? or life stories...my life is rather dull, except the story about the raccoons in the attic, or tackling my grand dog who wanted to play chase at a bad time...but those can be saved for another post.

On an art note:
Of course I had to include a photo of some art. After all, this is an Art blog.  I have to include some type of visual in all of my posts. This is a photo of a drawing I did several years ago (2006) for an Art Class project demo.  I call it creative doodling.  These days, there is a popular thing called Zendoodles. I guess I've been doing 'Zendoodles' for about 20 years!  I had posted it on my Art Teacher blog and recently someone contacted me about wanting to purchase a download of it.  So I set it up in my Etsy shop.   Maybe I should do more downloads?  I am thinking about it, but don't know how popular that would be. We'll see. Click on the image to see the listing in my Etsy shop.  Maybe I should go dig out my 'zendoodles' from my teaching years...It was one of my favorite projects to have my students create!

I really would like to know what you think about the blogging questions.  So please comment below or on my link from Facebook.  Thank you in advance!  (Hope I'm not talking to a black hole in cyberspace!!)

Thanks for stopping by,
Beth  ♥ 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time Flies When You Stay Busy

July is going by so quickly! Make that, July is almost gone! It is already the end of July! I intended to
start posting more often, but I have been so busy working on commissions and working on new work to take to the art festival in October, plus keeping up with life in general.  I've always believed that time flies when you are having fun, but it seems like the older I get, the busier I get, it seems to fly even faster!  Not sure that I like that time is flying, but I am happier when I am busy, for sure!

This month, besides going to a bridal shower and wedding shopping (my daughter's friend is getting married), a family birthday get together, painting and drawing and working with clay (the fun stuff)... I have also cleaned closets, cleaned carpets, cleaned floors, cleaned drawers, and thrown away lots of old stuff, packed in boxes lots of old stuff, and painted walls and cleaned walls...wow, I'm exhausted thinking about it! We are getting closer to being ready to put our house on the market and see what happens.  Future plans will not be finalized until we sell our house, which could be a month or 6 months, or it may not be God's plan for that to happen. We'll just have to wait and see.  Right now, I just have to focus on getting my current obligations taken care of.

On another note, I've been playing around with different photo editing apps on my phone.  It's fun to turn an ordinary photo into something unique. So I've included some photos from my activities this month that I've played with and edited on Cymera, a relatively new app, for me.  I like it because it has more options for editing the filters, the frames, the effects.  It's very fun to play with.  Note the borders around the photos and I learned to make a collage with photos (see the flag photos).  I found another photo editing app on my phone the other day that I will have to play around with too.  But right now, I have a lot to do.  Back to the studio!
Have a nice week!
Beth  ♥ 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pink Garden

I love flowers, but I really do not do much gardening anymore. We planted everything in our yard, but since I have started working more on my art and have had knee problems, I just don't do a lot, besides just maintenance.  I plant a few annuals each year and try to keep my perennials going.  But this year I've had an abundance of thriving plants with pink flowers! First the azaleas, then the hydrangeas, and now the crepe myrtles.  It's a good thing I love pink! I have other crepe myrtles. Hopefully they will bloom as pretty as this pink one.

I went out to trim the very large azaleas bushes back a little and found this crepe myrtle with all of these blooms! It is on the back end of our storage building and last time I looked at it was before it had blooms on it.  I guess it didn't get its annual trim back, so it had blooms almost all the way to the ground. The 2nd photo is before I trimmed it up some. The last photo is the top of the shrub after I trimmed it up some.  I really thought it was pretty with the sunlight coming through the neighbors trees. It's very peaceful back there.  My only wish is that I didn't get eaten up by the mosquitoes every time I go out and trim my shrubs!  They really love me! I guess I must be really sweet! Haha.   Oh and I never trimmed much off the azaleas. They are taller than I am!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Thinking about Christmas? in July?

Usually I don't even think about Christmas until December. No, I'm not decorating for Christmas, but I am
working on Christmas orders (custom gifts) and items to sell at an art festival that are Christmas theme.  I have even purchased a couple of Christmas gifts...which is a first for me.  The last few years, I was really stressed out over Christmas shopping, or rather the lack of Christmas shopping.  But because the Fall/Christmas season is so busy (hopefully it will be again this year), I don't have much time to shop...and I do NOT like to shop!  Probably because it is hard for me to decide what to buy for other people.  But they (the marketing experts) say that many people start looking and shopping for Christmas in September! Who knew? I guess I've been missing out all these years.  It does make sense though. So this summer I will be working hard getting ready for Christmas.  My little clay houses and things can't be created at the last minute, so I have to start now to build up my inventory, along with working on other orders.

I'm also going to Norcross, Georgia in October!  I'm excited about that!  I've only been to a few Art Festivals, and I am still learning, but Norcross Art Fest is a very well organized and attended art festival. Hopefully, for me,  this one will be even better this year! I hope to be more prepared for this one.  ( See my  booth story here)  My Hubby, my assistant, and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about art festivals. We learned it is a lot of work and exhausting, but fun...if the weather cooperates! (We almost blew away at the John's Creek Festival when a hurricane Sandy was passing by on the coast!)  I've learned a lot about what sells and what does not, and how to display my items. I've also been getting a lot of cool ideas for improvements on my display. I'll be posting some pictures of my booth later, when it gets closer to Art Fest time.  .

Since I am currently working on items for my Etsy shop and for the Art Fest, I asked some of my Facebook friends, "what type of functional items (out of clay) would you buy at an art festival?"   (If you have any suggestions or ideas that would complement my little clay houses and clay tiles, I am open to suggestions! ) Most of the suggestions I got were for more bowls and cups.

I've added some photos of the bowl that I made a few weeks ago along with the cup that I made to match.  I guess you might say it is my prototype for a new functional design that I will be making more of and with more color variations. The cup has a tree design on one side with branches that hold the little birds on the other side.
I also included a photo of the inside of the cup because I added a little leaf design on the inside bottom of the cup. I had to use a flash on the camera to get it to show up and it looks like there is liquid in the bottom, but there is not.  Anyway, I liked the effect that it gives.  I enjoyed creating the bowl and cup, but they took some time to decorate. Hopefully the next ones will go more quickly...or I will be spending all my time on glazing cups and bowls!

But if I'm quiet this summer, you know where I am!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where did June go?

It flew by! It always does though. I love June, because the weather is usually very nice.  It's been a little on the warm side, but not too bad until this week.   When it starts to get hot, like it has this week, I stay inside and work in my studio a lot more.   I seem to get more accomplished in the studio when the weather is not good outside.

But just a little picture today of some of the clay things I've been working on. More clay owls, a house, and a couple of hanging tiles.   I didn't draw the little drawing of "Bethie".  That was done by the talented Tim Hunter.  She sits on my shelf in my studio.

Time for some sleep. I'll be posting some of these hanging tiles in my Etsy shop soon.  The owls and the orange house are already spoken for.  More to come soon.

 Love my job!

Beth  ♥    

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pink Hydrangeas Blooming this Month

 I love flowers and love to have them in my yard.  I just don't seem to have the time to baby them like I used to.  But this hydrangea is looking very pretty with a lot of blooms right now.  I love all colors of hydrangeas, but pink is my favorite.  This is the only one that I have in my yard.  After we moved into our current house, I received a cutting from my mother's hydrangea and because our house was new (17 years ago), there was no shade.  I tried to find a shady spot to plant it, but it was difficult and it was a little droopy and slow to grow at first.  But now I have some shade and I moved it to a better spot several years ago.  Now it gets plenty of shade and is pretty healthy.   I plan to try to root some cuttings off this plant, so I can take some with me, when we move...whenever that happens.
Hmmm...I guess I need to do some rooting technique research.  And maybe draw this one too!


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

Colored Pencil and Ink
Beth S. Macre ©2013
My love of clay and paint and colored pencil and ink, can be really confusing to some...even me! But it can also be a blessing to me!  I never get bored with what I do, because there is always another project or media that is waiting for me to play with!   But sometimes I'm just not feeling the clay work, or sometimes I just don't have the time to really get much of a painting done, so I will work on something small to just relax in front of the television.  I enjoy the variety!

I have been working on several different projects lately. Some of them are commissions that I cannot post photos of, just yet, so I will share some of what I have been working on, on the side. I like to experiment with new ideas for my online sales and for future art festivals.  Right now I have one festival scheduled for the fall.  My little clay houses are the biggest seller in my booth at the art festivals. But I also like to include other items for customers who may not be interested in little houses.  So I've been creating clay tiles and acrylic paintings.  But I need more variety of clay pieces.  So I am working on some functional pieces to try out at the Norcross festival.  I have decided to make some small bowls and small cups with whimsical designs painted on them.  Here is one of my first experiments.  I like how it turned out, so I will definitely be making more.  Hmmm...I think I need a larger kiln!

Beth  ♥    

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thank you for buying Handcrafted and How Time Flies...

...when you are having fun. I knew that I would enjoy retirement, because I have always had something to do in my spare time.  Spending time creating is the best job for me! Many people that I see around town ask how I like being retired.  I do miss the interaction with my co-workers and the students, but I love working from home. And now I get to have interactions with customers and other artists.  So I don't call it retirement, I just call it my change in careers or work place.  Because I am working on my art career every day. I never get bored (except when I had to wait in the Doctor's office for 3 hours the other day! ) because I work on a variety of media...clay, paint, pen and ink, or whatever a customer may have an idea for a custom piece!  Some of that time is working on the computer, listing, marketing, and paperwork, but many hours are spent thinking, planning, and creating.  Although I would like to spend more time on the creative process, marketing and paperwork are necessary to be able to continue to create.  Because if I do not sell my creative work, then it would soon overtake the house and I would have to get another job that is not so creatively fulfilling!  So thank you to those of you have purchased my artwork at some point along my artistic journey! I hope that you enjoy having a little piece of my creations. And hopefully I will be able to continue on this journey for many years to come!

My thoughts on buying directly from an artist or craftsman...just my 2 cents, for what its worth if anyone really reads this.
If you buy handmade you are helping to support someone and their career, which translates into that person being able to pay their bills and support their family.  Know that when you buy something that is created by an artist/craftsman, you are getting something that is handcrafted, usually one of a kind, and not shipped from a foreign country.  (I am not talking about children's craft or hobby craft, but a dedicated artist/craftsman)  And the artist appreciates customers who support them and are willing to pay them for their skill. And many times you can get an original work of art, jewelry, pottery, or even clothing, for the same price or close to it, as what you would pay in a nice store.  Now if you go to a discount store, you will get inexpensive and cheap...and probably made in China or India. Buying from or hiring an artist, is no different than hiring a contractor to remodel or fix something in your home.  You hire someone who you know does good quality work and you pay them what they charge. They have the training and experience to do a good job, so you pay them what they are worth.  An artist puts many hours into training, practice, and working on their
art/craft, not to mention expenses such as supplies, taxes, fees, etc.   Next time you go to a chain store and start to buy some artwork, look on the label on the back and see where it comes from. Is it made in China? Or India? Is it mass produced?  Is it one of kind?   Probably not.  I will always remember the painting that my parents had over their couch when I was growing up. (See part of it in the photo here, complete with the 1960s wood paneling, and the gold colors of the 70s. (I cut out the photo of my friend sitting on the couch from 1977...I can't do that to her!)   I don't know where that painting came from, but I also saw that same painting in several of my friends houses!  So it must have been a department store purchase.  Its was a 60s standard, I guess.  Back then, artists were not as accessible as they are now on the internet. It definitely was not an original painting, but it is definitely retro!   It seems like only a few years ago that I was sitting on that couch watching our big box TV with 3 channels!

Time flies!  If it doesn't, then you are not having fun! Make the most of every minute with whatever you enjoy doing.  And try to buy something handcrafted from someone you may know this year.

Thank you for supporting handcrafted!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Slowly but Surely...

...checking my list.
I have a long to do list for the Spring Spruce up project. Some of those things on my list are outdoor activities and some are indoors.  I checked a few things off the list as finished. Some have been started, but need to be completed.
Flowers planted...check! (must plant a few more when the rain stops)
I moved the art studio to one of the spare bedrooms...check!
The old art studio was painted and turned into an office...check!
De-clutter and organize the new studio...well the new art studio is still a work in progress.
I did get some things off the floor and hung on the wall...shown in the picture.  These are shelves that I use to display some of little clay houses.  I've also added a little drawing of 'Bethie' (Me), that was created by an artist friend, Tim Hunter, a few years ago. A little souvenir shot glass I got in France, that I put some colored pencil nubs in. A little clay owl ornament (in the house shadow box) that I purchased from an artist, that I met at the Dunwoody and Norcross Art Festivals.  She has since moved back to her home country of England, but you can find her very very cute creations here on Etsy... JoyElizabethCeramics.  The rest of the little clay items in the shadow box can be purchased  from my etsy shop here:  HeartHomes .

Slowly, but surely I will get everything done from my list.  But the list seems to be getting longer each week! The goal is to get the house ready to put on the market to sell.  I am hoping that that will be easier to do now that school is out and hubby can help with some of those things on the list!

For now, on to the next item on the list.....to be determined by the weather.  Hmmm...For now I am going to  draw.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Home is Where My Heart Is Doodle

I love to doodle with Zig Millineum pens and my Prismacolor colored pencils. It is very relaxing.  I can pick it up to work on it any time outside of the studio.  (I have trouble sitting down with nothing to do with my hands, so I always like to have something nearby to work on.)  This is one that I just finished.  It represents my HeartHomes in the Four Seasons.  I had to include a little Owl and a little Red bird.  I've included two close ups, so you can see the details.   I have the flowers of spring, the yellow and orange leaves of fall, the snowflakes of winter, and the greens of summer. Just an example of how I relax and have fun. Hope you enjoy!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Put Your Big Girl Pants On...

...or have a Pitty Party?  or both?  Do you ever have those days or weeks that you feel like you are getting nothing accomplished? You just don't feel like doing much of anything? Is it just me or is this more common than I think? Sometimes I just want to sit down, have my pitty party, take a nap, then wake up feeling better, ready to start checking things off my to do list...with my big girl pants on.  Move on.  (Note to self...The Pitty Party didn't help anything!) I don't like to whine, but it's been one of those weeks for me. I've been worried about some things that have drained my energy.   I started out with lots of energy and motivation.  I went to the garden center and bought lots of pretty flowers to plant in the yard to spruce things up outside.  After figuring out where everything is going to go, I started planting.  I got about half of the flowers planted before I had to stop and clean up and go out to the ball park to help out in the concession stand.  So by the end of the evening, I was worn out and feeling about 20 years older than I should feel. So I crashed and burned.  Each day since, I've tried to plant a few more flowers, trim some trees, and water the flowers so all this effort doesn't die!  A few years ago, this would have taken me 2 days to plant the flowers and then sit back and enjoy!   But this time,  it is taking a little longer.  I am feeling every muscle that I've used all week. My bum knee is not cooperating very much either.  It is getting done, but slower than I would like.  I'm sure it will be worth it once it is done and the flowers start to grow.  And I know that many people are hurting much more than I, so I am grateful I only have a few aches and pains and that I have the time to work in the yard.   For now I have to put my Big Girl Pants on (panties doesn't sound very much like a Big Girl, does it).   So even though I feel like I haven't accomplished much, I have.

My lesson learned here is to take time to enjoy the flowers and the sunsets. Time goes by way to fast!  Enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Did I say that I love making Owls?

Well, I have probably said that I enjoy painting them, but recently I have made a few owls out of clay too!  So I will be making more clay owls this week.  I may come up with some other little critters too. You never know what will happen when I start playing with the clay.  You can find the little purple and lime green owl in the top photo, here...in my Etsy Shop.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Annual Girlfriend trip to New Orleans

The annual girlfriend trip rewind! I spent four days in New Orleans with my long time girlfriends from high school.  We go on a trip together each year. About 5 years ago, we decided that we should get together for a weekend and catch up.  After we had so much fun, we decided to make it an annual event.  Before that, we rarely saw each other because we were busy with our own lives since the wedding showers, weddings and baby showers of our younger days. Then a personal tragedy for one of our girls, brought us together.  We realized that we should be there for each other, no matter what!
Time goes by so fast and things change.  We all need our girlfriends to get us through the ups and downs. It is always such a relief to get together.  This year we had 5 out of 6 of us. We really missed our friend who could not make it, but we had a great time! A really great time! (We are getting together with her in a few weeks.)  Our trips are not filled with fancy events, just time together exploring and seeing the sights and lots and lots of laughter!  You know the kind of laughter that you can have and not worry about what people think, about laughing too loud or too much or at the wrong time.
One afternoon, we spent a few hours having drinks and appetizers on a balcony, just enjoying the music and the weather.  While we were there we were able to experience this wedding party going down the street. Then they stopped just below us and danced and took pictures! It was great to experience the culture from our 'little' balcony.    We went out to eat each night, wandered around the French Quarter each day, played games, and laughed a lot.  So it was a great week! I wish we lived closer to each other so we could get together more often.  

I also took a lot of photos of the local architecture.  If you know me, you know that I love to draw architecture! Well, I was in heaven with all of the interesting doors, shutters, windows, iron work and all of the Old French feel in the architecture. The colors are pretty awesome too!  I have plenty of photos to use as references for some drawings and paintings!

On a side note, I will be looking out for a book that should come out next year. One of our cab drivers told us that he is in the process of writing a book about his 52 years as a cabdriver in New Orleans.  If his (Giovanni's) book is half as interesting as our cab ride, the book should be pretty interesting!!


Garden Markers for the Creative Gardener

Ceramic Plant Markers Plant markers are a fun way to decorate your garden and to mark your new or existing garden plants. I've se...