Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Season

Yep, it's that time. The weather has gotten cold and I've been neglecting crafting. I really should be working on the two cat paintings I've been asked to do and stocking my etsy shop, but it's so much easier to snuggle with Golly and a blanket and watch episode after episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I haven't been completely lazy though. There's been a lot of cooking and some Christmas present making, both partially due to Pinterest taking over my internet life. I finished the tomato slice pillow I was working on. Here's a picture of how that turned out. 
nom nom on those beautiful french knots

It's currently on its way to Jesi in Florida. I really, really hope she likes it! 

Now, I don't know about you, but I kind of have a thing for phone charms. I buy them, and I buy them often. My collection isn't huge, but it's probably bigger than your normal phone charm admirer. For a while now, they've all been stuffed away in a drawer by my sewing machine. I don't change the one on my phone very often. (Which is really stupid considering how many I have.) The last time I tried to buy one, Brittney reminded me of how many unused ones I have tucked away in a drawer. "Why don't you change them out sometimes?" (I'm paraphrasing here, Brittney, don't go saying I put words in your mouth. You probably don't even remember this happening.) So I decided to make a phone charm display thingy to hang on the wall. That way I can look at all the cuteness and change them out with my mood. I finished it two days ago but it isn't hung up yet. Where should I put this bad boi?
failed attempt at stripes :(
So I'm sure you're noticing where the blue bled under the painters tape. That's ok. I didn't mind the way it looked enough to do anything about it. I was going to keep adding hooks but I decided to wait until I get more charms :) Here's what it looks like with my little collection. (Laying flat since I don't have it up yet.)
I think I have some more in another area of the house... I should find those.
Speaking of hanging things up... I had a chalkboard left over from unused wedding supplies, so I decided to give it a purpose. 
It's hanging next to the stove

Gift giving! My sister and I just asked each other for specific gifts instead of worrying over what to give. We both got on ol' Pinterest and got to pinning. She's making me a stripey cowl scarf >o< EXCITE! I made her a wrap vest thingy. I used this tutorial from the blog Behind the Seams. The result is really cute and versatile. I think I'll be making one for myself. Tonight I want to get started on some infused vodka. Jalapeno for my dad and cranberry for my sister-in-law. I will, of course, have to keep some of each for myself because vodka. I made a few things of body scrub for various people. I can't remember where I got the recipe so I'll try to remember it...

Spiced Mocha Body Scrub
Those jars are just the right size for this sort of thing. I got them at Hobby Lobby for $1 each. (50% off) I can't wait to give them a little fanciness. Here's me taking a stab at the recipe:

1/2 C + about 1 Tbs white sugar
1/2 Tbs ground coffee
1/2 Tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 shake ginger
1 shake nutmeg
2 1/2 Tbs grapeseed oil (get this in the cooking oil section, it's way cheaper than the bottles by essential oils)

Mix all dry ingredients together well, then add in the oil. You can play with the measurements. I did. It smells really good and when I tested in on my hands, they felt great after washing it off. 
I decorated our tiny tree and wrapped Casey's presents. He's the only one I've finished shopping for. I'm really putting it off this year. I think it's because I told myself I would start early. Damn it.


Sunday, November 6, 2011


So I thought I didn't get any pictures of my last painting after I finished it... I was wrong! I forgot I took a few pictures right before framing it. I really wanted to get a framed picture but the buyer got to my house for purchase before I arrived home from work and I felt really bad so we rushed through the transaction. It's always awkward coming home from work and having semi-strangers at your house. Here's a finished picture of Cash & Tucker.
Cash & Tucker unframed
Rather blurry detail shot.
I'm not going to lie, this was a rush job. Considering I did all the painting in two days, I'm happy with the turnout. I usually take it slow with the painting. On the first day I spent about 6ish hours straight painting and had to call it quits when my hand started trembling. Kind of makes lining impossible. I framed it with a simple white frame and black matting. Oh matting.... I recently decided to buy a cheap mat cutter and after ruining two pieces of perfectly good mat board, I finally got the hang of it. And by got the hang of it, I mean Casey had to figure out we needed a lot of pressure to keep that damn mat in place while I cut. It involved him standing on a hole punch. 
In other news, the little fender bender I was in ended up totaling my car. After days and days of obsessive online shopping, fact reading, and test driving, I gave up and went with the cheapest/lowest mile used vehicle I could find. I pick up the little burnt orange thing tomorrow. Not crazy about driving a burnt orange vehicle but whatever. Speaking of orange, Halloween just passed. Every Thursday some friends of mine have a little get together called Champagne Thursday. We hosted it at our house the Thursday before Halloween and most people dressed up. I made my costume in about a day and a half. I finished it less than an hour before the party. Here are a couple of pictures from that shindig!
(All photos by Zack Huggins or at least using his camera.)
I was a fox. 
Brittney was a flying squirrel.
Casey didn't dress up but OBVIOUSLY had a great time.
All costumed attendees.
Hailey wearing a bat costume I made last year with Golly in his bat costume.

Tiny pies I made for the occasion.
So that was really fun. Those tiny pies were really delicious. My mom visited me a couple of weeks ago and gave me a bag of pears she'd picked with my grandma. I went off of this recipe from Cooking Creation. There were quite a few things I changed but that was the basis for it. Here's an up close shot I took right out of the oven.
I also just finished a cloud plushie pillow this week. Here she is and here's a link to the etsy listing :)
Sweet little blushie plushie.
I'm now working on a tomato slice pillow which is taking longer than I'd like. Hopefully I can finish it in a couple of days. New car tomorrow! Brittney's birthday Tuesday! This week could turn out alright. We'll see..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cash & Tucker sketch and a sprinkle of self-loathing.

Well, I finally finished one of three commission sketches I've been working on. After a mental block, Casey's transmission going out, a short trip (and long drive) to Colorado Springs, and last but not least, getting in a car accident yesterday, I'm glad to at least have this done. I'm still pretty pissed that I deformed my car. I started on a happy cloud pillow for a customer in NY and plan on getting supplies this week for a tomato slice pillow for a friend. SO, do you wanna see these pups? Ok, ok, here you go. 
Cash & Tucker Dominate at Croquet
Now everyone will see how extremely messy I am with my sketches. I usually start out on a 5x7 sketch pad and then copy what I've drawn so far to complete the drawing on regular paper. Later I'll shrink or expand it with a copier to fit it onto illustration board. Bigger sketch books are bulky. They also intimidate me. Stupid since I have several that are barely used. Also weird considering I used to paint giant canvases without even sketching first. Oh well, that Amy is long gone and won't ever return. Self-doubt came with age. 
I decided to put Cash & Tucker on a croquet field. Why? Because beagles and bassets seem like outdoorsy dogs. I mean... They're hounds. Anyway their owner, Meighan, said they usually just laze around the house so I couldn't make them too active. Once I started dressing them, croquet just seemed to fit. I'll admit part of the mental block was because I had no idea what kind of setting or attire to put them in. These types of dogs make me think of farms and hunting and I don't think that's what Meighan was looking for. Hopefully she approves of this choice.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

drawings & paintings

I have to admit, I just recently started drawing and painting regularly again after a long dry spell. Sometimes I get tired of it... No, not tired of it but rather uninspired. After my second attempt at college, I kind of hated art. I don't regret going but I don't regret dropping out either. Art school killed my creativity for some reason. However, it also enhanced my skills, taught me painting trickery, and gave me a new media to work with that I otherwise wouldn't have ever tried. <3 gouache <3 Here are a few examples of stuff I've done in the past few years. It's a depressingly small of number pieces. I've really been wanting to get prints of most of these so I can sell them on my etsy shop and get the word out that I can do custom illustrations. Sigh. I don't really want screenprints of them because I want to be able to sell them at a relatively low price. I'm tragically ignorant on getting good quality prints made commercially. Well, here we go.

I did this drawing for my husband's now disbanded band, Dear Human, a few years ago. It was used as cover art for a CD they released which I am so very proud of. It was my first time in a long time to do such a big pen drawing. I think I had only really done so in the past when in drawing classes. Working with pen makes me so nervous but I kind of like it when I have different sized Micron pens to use. I wanted to try digitally painting it but that shit seriously confuses me and I have come to realize that I kind of suck at technology. SAD. This is one that I would love to get prints of and I would even consider doing some screenprints of, but I don't have a screen anymore anyway.

Why did these two pictures not go in the center? What did I do wrong? Told you I suck at technology. So I was sitting around one day when I had just moved to Denton and reunited with my best friend Brittney. I didn't have a job yet and thus got pretty bored throughout the day. I had been crafting a lot but decided I wanted to do another pen drawing. I started sketching and drew a pretty nice looking beak. Onto this beak I added a chicken and beside that chicken went another chicken and before I knew it, I was looking at Brittney and I as chickens. Obviously I'm the chicken on the left.

Brittney's mom has a pack of beautiful dogs. Two whippets and two small Italian greyhounds. My personal favorite is Claire the whippet. Though I depicted her as reserved and graceful in this painting, she's actually rather hyper and a little dopey at times. She also likes to rear up on you which is pretty painful. I left the claws out of the illustration. There are some flaws in the paint on the background walls but other than that, I love the way Claire turned out. Also, if you can't tell yet, I really love playing with wood grain in illustrations. 

BUNNY! I don't know, I love cute animals. I just wanted to draw a sweet, innocent, shy little bunny sitting in a field of billowy grass and dandelions. Unfortunately, this original is damaged. I had it at a craft show, framed and sitting on my table, when it got knocked over and off. Glass went everywhere and made a little cut or two on the background where it's flat green. I was all :_: because it was my first craft show and I was already nervous. Oh, hey, I'm the embarrassing one who destroys part of her display before the show even starts. I don't really like selling originals that I do for my own pleasure anyway. ^^^Reason I will never make much of money off of paintings.

Once again, months passed without me doing much as far as drawing is concerned. Then I started sketching again. I decided on three paintings I wanted to get done out of these sketches. My dog, Golly, being the first and most important one. I have a tattoo of Golly as a samurai on my leg but I had never paid tribute by drawing him myself. So he became a pirate. Then there's a basset hound who's looking at a pocket watch. (I actually recycled, with a few adjustments, a body that I had originally meant for the Dear Human drawing from earlier.)And finally a tabby cat who ended up looking like some kind of dangerous gypsy pirate guy.

Pirate Golly
It took me a while to finish this because I was being lazy. I tried some new techniques that I kind of made up on the fly and in one case because I dropped a paintbrush saturated with an orange from the background onto an already painted Golly. After immediately bursting into tears, I decided to try to fix it because there was no way it could have gotten worse. Everything worked out and I took a lot away from that experience. Doesn't he look great as a pirate? I had a lot of fun painting this other than when I dropped that brush. I wish I hadn't painted all the way to the edge though... Not sure why I did that. I left no room for matting. Well I posted Golly on my facebook and that led me to THIS-

Brutus before framing
Framed Brutus and Brian

You know those people you're friends with on facebook who attended the same high school as you but you never really knew? I went to a small school so most people knew each other to some extent and lots of people that graduated within a few years of me, before and after, have found me on fbook. One such person ended up being a great connection. At one of the first art shows I was in, I sold a painting to this particular guy's mom which is just something I'm adding in because I think it's cool that they've both bought stuff from me. Anyway, Michael saw Pirate Golly and wanted to commission me to do a painting of his dog Brutus for an anniversary present to his beau Brian. I was thrilled! He gave me freedom to do whatever I wanted with Brutus' appearance and surroundings. I looked at pictures of Brutus and immediately pictured him as a contemplating professor in his study. I used some of the techniques I accidentally came up with during Pirate Golly, but on purpose this time, and loved the outcome. Then Michael asked me to go ahead and frame it, so I found that heavy, distinguished looking frame and did the damn thing. BTW framing is kind of hard when you don't have all the appropriate tools. Nevertheless, it got done and a week or so later Michael said he had a friend that wanted to commission me to paint her dogs :) I'm working on that one now and hope to be finished in about a week and a half. I also have two other commissions for friends of kitties that I'm going to be doing after this one is finished. Lots to keep me busy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I guess I'll start off by posting some recent and not so recent projects. I'm hoping I can keep a record of all my custom works as well as what I'm doing creatively in my life on here. Maybe this blog will encourage me to do more. I keep hitting a wall with a commission illustration I'm working on. I really need to get a move on it because that money is going to help me out a lot this month and I don't want to keep this girl waiting. Frustration to the extreme. Here's what I've finished this week even though my sewing machine is totally fucked up. 

I really love making these chicken legs. I think I'm almost out of that fuzzy tan fabric which really blows because if I remember correctly, it's kind of expensive. This was the first time I used fleece for the bone. I usually use muslin but the fleece looks 10000x better and makes it more *plushie* like. 

I also made my nephew a birthday present which I will be delivering to Colorado in person a week from now!
Giant fleece bacon. I thought it would look good with my happy egg wall hanging. Anyway, Jacob REALLY loves bacon. More than any two year old should. I hope he doesn't try to eat it. I'm reasonably pleased with the results. I wish it didn't have that weird pointy part at each end. Honestly, I could have easily fixed that but I was tired and ready to finish the damn thing. 

I also made a pillow cover a couple of weeks ago out of some fabric used for table runners at my wedding. 

Riveting, I know. I have a ton of fabric from IKEA left over from the wedding. Probably enough for twenty-some-odd pillows. I will not be making that many pillow covers.

Are you asleep yet? I guess I'll just keep this post to sewing things I've done recently. If I start adding in drawings and paintings, it's going to get really, really long and my attention is waning. I'll just save those for next time.
bai bai!