Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let's Get 'Down n Dirty'


Although I am known for my embellished, fancier hostess style aprons, which I absolutely Love to create..I have received many request for a more user friendly version. So to keep the customer happy, I am happy to introduce my 'Down n Dirty' line of full aprons.

These aprons are real work horses ( I've been wearing mine for 3yrs..everyday)

They can be machine washed and dried many times and with a little press look good as new.

Now you can be functional and absolutely beautiful at the same time... aren't we always?? I have just begun to list these in my etsy shop and will have more coming. Don't let the slender mannequin fool you, these aprons fit your average size woman, no problem.
Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Emergency Blog!

Good morning bloggers. I wasn't going to blog today, however...I have to share this fabulous giveaway a fellow blogger and Etsian is having. If you have not discovered Mikiep's wonderful art by now, let me introduce you. Mikie is a fabulous cartoonist and his blog is very cool and funny. Mikiep just announced this giveaway on his blog and I knew I had to share. The prize is a custom Super Hero portrait of you, your family, your pets...whoever you would like, done just for you by Mikie. When you check out his etsy shop www.mikiep.etsy.com you will understand why I am so excited. I mean , come on.....who doesn't want to be a Super Hero???? Of course we all know we already are, but this would be official...on paper...for all the world to admire!
Check out Mikiep's blog at:
I hope you all enter...but I hope I win!!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEAN!!

Today is my baby boy's 26th birthday. Sean was the cutest little kid when he was a baby and gave his dad and me so many laughs and wonderful moments.
Your all grown up now Sean...but you still make us laugh and you make us very, very proud. We love you and hope you have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday! Birth of a Canvas Floorcloth Pt. 3


Welcome back bloggers, today I am going to complete my canvas floorcloth. Last week I marked off all my design lines with a yard stick and pencil. The photo above shows all my lines and other markings. To make it easier to keep track of where I will be painting , I have marked an X on all the diamonds to be painted black. On the points of the compass rose to be painted black I have marked a B. This week I am going to paint in my Mariners Compass pattern.

Using an 3/4 inch angle brush I am painting the diamonds with black acrylic paint. I like using an angle brush because it makes cutting in close to my lines easier and neater. For this project I am using a variety of acrylic paint..Delta Ceramcoat, Folk Art and JoSonja paints. Any good quality acrylic paint will do...no cheap generic brands! My diamonds needed two good coats and be sure to let each coat dry thoroughly.

Always work left to right (unless you are left handed) when painting your cloth. You don't want your elbow in a diamond you just painted. I continued to paint until all my marked diamonds were black. Be careful to paint around your compass points, not over them.

Ok...now it is starting to come together and look like our design.

Next I am going to start painting the compass points. The points are painted half black and half white and as I said earlier I have marked a B on the black areas. Again I am using a 3/4 inch angle brush which will help me get into the corners and points. To get clean point tips I am using a liner brush. Two coats of paint here too!

Same technique using white paint..I am taking my time and being as precise as I can be. When it comes to my painting I am a neat freak ;-)

These smaller halfway points were painted with a burgundy color.

Now I am going to do some shading because I like my art to have a more 3 dimensional look. If you left your compass as is , it would look great. You do not have to shade and highlight for this design to work. I was taught to shade and highlight everything (damn those decorative painting teachers). For shading I tip the point of my angle brush into the puddle of black paint.

Then I work that color into my brush by stroking back and forth while holding the brush straight up. When shading and highlighting , start light and build your color. Remember, you can always add color, but once on it is almost impossible to undo. Build your shading layer by layer. Again..always let each layer dry or you will just pick up the prior layer and have a mess on your hands. I have made that mistake and it ain't pretty. I highlighted using pure white all along the ridge where black and white meet. I think it takes on a more 'raised' look. It is subtle..but it is there.

Notice the points on the left have been shaded and the one on the right have not. Both look great...but for me, I like the more dimensional look of the shaded points..more realistic. I shaded all my points. Any remaining pencil marks can be easily removed with an art gum erasure. Being sure to remove any shavings or lint with a lint roller. I use a roller all through the project to keep particles off my canvas.

A final touch was a gold line I painted along the inside rectangle. I will let you in on a little secret...I used a gold paint marker for that line..makes it so easy. No having to detail the gold line with a tiny brush. After all my hard work, you bet I am going to sign my name to my artwork. That way my husband can't tell people he painted it ;-) I let my canvas floorcloth sit for a few days to let the paint cure and then I applied 4 coats of Minwax Polyacrylic water based varnish. In between each coat of Polyacrylic I let the floorcloth dry 24 hrs. As with painting the diamonds, I applied the finish left to right and I used a good 2 1/2 inch latex paint brush. Never..never let the paint guy shake the Minwax can..you will not get the bubbles out for days!
Gently stir only.
There she is... my beautiful Mariners Compass canvas floorcloth! Now do I keep her or put her in my Etsy shop????? Decisions, decisions.

This pretty and very practical floorcloth will last for many, many years and cleans up with a damp cloth. I hope I have convinced you to try painting a canvas floorcloth of your own. You don't have to follow a pattern...freehand design is just as fabulous. For much more advice and supply questions I encourage you to check out my favorite floorcloth internet shop www.canvasworksfloorcloths.com . Thanks for following along..have any ideas for my next tutorial? Leave me a comment and let me know. Until next time, be kind and stay creative.

We Humans are Funny Creatures

Summer Solstice Sunrise at Stonehenge

Well...you made it to Monday. Now if we can only get through the rest of the week, we will be doing great. It is now official....in case you didn't notice, Sunday, in addition to Fathers Day, was also the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year. Our days get shorter from this date on. Before you know it darkness will fall on us by 5 pm. Ok..maybe I am pushing things a little...but it will happen.
Going back to my post title..the' humans are funny' thing...I have to share something I found myself doing this weekend. I was cleaning up in the kitchen and found that my loaf of wheat bread had a little spot of mold on it....YECH! I ran it down to my compost pile and dumped it all in, happy I had not mistakenly used it for my lunch. I could have poisoned my family! So with no bread for a sandwich, I decided to make myself a nice salad. After constructing what I thought looked like a masterpiece of greens and veggies I proceeded to top it with my favorite cheese..........you guessed it..GORGANZOLA! Gorganzola..the king of moldy cheese. In fact I love the moldy parts the best..go figure!!! See what I mean ..funny humans;-)
Another point...a close relative of mine (who shall remain nameless,should she be reading this)
is fanatical about shredding every piece of literature or mailing that has her name on it. She keeps a shredder right next to her kitchen chair so it is ever ready to do it's duty and keep her identity safe from thieves. I was watching her the other day and she would open a letter, read it, shred the envelope with her name on it. Then she did something that made me smile...she wrote her own little note..put it in an envelope and....you guessed it..smacked one of those return address stickers in the left hand corner! So let me get this right...we have to shred when our name comes to us but it is ok to send our name out to the world for all to see? See what I mean...funny creatures indeed.
Final point...When I buy fresh veggies I very rarely put things like onions or carrots in separate plastic bags from the produce stand. I just put them unwrapped in my cloth shopping bag. Less plastic in the landfill is my thought. My husband on the other hand insists on putting every little thing in it's own bag..He doesn't want his veggies getting 'dirty' ...getting dirty! Hello.......they were grown in the dirt!!!!!!! Again..funny creatures...oh, I think so ;-)
Now go have a great day and so something 'funny'.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Honest Scrap Award!

Hello fellow bloggers..I am so excited..I just received my very first blog award! I am very honored that one of my favorite blogs chose me as one of the recipients. Upon accepting I must share 10 honest things about myself..thank my presenter and link back to her and pass this award on to 7 others whose blogs I feel are special. So here we go...

1- Thank you Wanda, your blog wanda-momentsofmine.blogspot.com/ is one that I turn to when I want some serenity and quiet time.
2- My honest things
1. Love all things Jane Austin and dream about being Marianne Dashwood
2. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Little House On the Prairie...over and over again while I paint and sew in my studio.
3. Although I am 54 and happily married 34 yrs I adore Adam Lambert..my sons laugh at this.
4. Oldest daughter of eleven children..7 boys/4girls
5. Was known as my Mom's chief cook and bottle washer (she worked evenings 3-11pm)
6. Only had 1 date before I met and married my husband ( too busy cooking & child rearing)
7. If I am your friend..I am true blue and will always be there.
8. I hope my sons know one of the most honest things in my life is my love for them.
9. Saturday morning coffee on the front porch w/ my man is an honest favorite moment of mine
10.Final 'honest' fact is that the final weeks of caring for my sister, Mary Sue( who lost her battle with cervical cancer) were so much harder for me than I ever admitted to my family.
I 'honestly' pass this the Scrap Award to :
Gretel, Hen, Diane, Kelly Ann, Kathryn, Alison, Mikiep

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fabulous Giveaway!! The Little Fox

blog+giveaway1.jpgCheck out this wonderful giveaway on one of my favorite blogs http://onelittlefox.blogspot.com/ she is a fabulous artist. Very whimsical with a young edge...I love her work! She also has a great Etsy shop at www.thelittlefox.etsy.com take a few moments to say hello, but don't enter her contest because I want to win ;-)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday ..Birth of a Canvas Floorcloth Pt.2




In the last post I painted the double border on my canvas. Next I am going to locate the center of the cloth and paint a large circle(approx 10 1/2 inches) in a butterscotch color and border it with a thin line of the red used earlier. It is important that each section that is painted is allowed to dry thoroughly. I am not the most patient artist, so this does not come easy to me, but it makes a difference.



Above is the final design in pencil after connecting all my marks, I free handed the little in- between points.

For my harlequin diamond design in the background I wanted four centered diamonds across. My cream center rectangle measured 30 inches across, so I marked the 15 inch center and again at 7 1/2 inches on each side of the 15. Who says you will never use that high school math ;-) I did this at each short end of my cloth. Next I used my yard stick to connect the four corners, making a large X. I then started marking my diagonal lines by connecting the previous 7 1/2 in. and 15 in. marks down to the opposite sides. I measure as I go to keep the width of the lines even all the way across. Try not to pencil through your center star pattern. Draw with pencil to the edge and pick up line again on the other side of star. I sure hope this is making sense..if not, look at the photos and they should demonstrate pretty well what I am doing. The final lines are some small compass points I added in between the larger..you can see them in the photo below..click on it to get a closer look

A Little Eye Candy.....

Hello fellow bloggers, it's Monday and I have a lot of work to do in the studio today. Over the weekend I got two custom orders for aprons and painted tee shirts. I just have enough time to post a few pretty pictures of some of the beautiful flowers blooming around my home this month. Enjoy the view ;-)
This lovely pink rose bush is one that I purchased at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, Va. They have a fabulous greenhouse where they propagate and grow old fashioned roses from his original plants...very cool! These are not your new fangled hybrid roses of today, these are very hearty and pest resistant. Best thing about them is that they have a wonderful cinnamon aroma.

The two photos above are the flowers on my front porch. I love my very fast growing purple Clematis which I let vine on the railing. In the winter I cut it to the ground and every spring, it pops right back up almost overnight! A little Song Sparrow is currently raising four babies in a nest in one of them ...so cute. Then I have my knockout roses, geraniums and red verbena.

These beautiful giants are my tall English garden hollyhocks. I got these seeds from the front yard of my sister-in-laws beach house in Montauk, Long Island. My husband planted them last fall and they grew to about 12inches. Winter came and they just hung around..nothing seemed to bother them. They sat there through the winter snow, rain and major ice storm! When the weather got warmer.....Bam!!! they took off growing. They are now about 6 ft tall and still growing, the flowers are about 3 inches round and run all up the thick stem...gorgeous! I will definitely be saving some seeds from these to spread around. They are pink and now some watermelon red flowers are appearing...so pretty.
Well I hope you enjoyed the show...I must get upstairs now and get creative. Remember tomorrow is Tutorial Tuesday, so please come back and see how my Canvas Floorcloth is progressing. Until then be kind and stay creative.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Neighbors...

I love my neighbors. They are such a diverse group of friends and they hang out with me for many different reasons........Some think I make fabulous shaved ice!
Some are the type that like you just because you have a Pool..as long as they bring a towel and their own snacks, I don't mind.
Some however are bullies and only stop by to pick (literally) on others.
Every now and then a really noisy family moves nearby...they usually quiet down once the pizza delivery guy shows up.
A few of my friends treat me like a daycare...because I work out of my home they think they can just leave their kids with me while they shop.....I resent that!!
I have other neighbors who I only see when the promise of free food is made..then they can't visit you enough!
Some make quite a mess and leave without picking up after themselves...guess who has to clean up :-(
Every now and then this one neighbor I have just shows up and acts like she owns the place!
Some neighbors just show up on your front step everyday to say hello and I like that.

But my favorite neighbor is the one who stays in his own yard and waits for me to visit him....he always reminds me to bring the carrots. Here's hoping your neighbors are as interesting as mine....now go knock on their door and introduce yourself!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Love the Internet!

Good morning friends. Yes... I love the internet. For the longest time I fought it, and had no interest in learning all the wonderful things my Mac could do for me. Well I am here to tell you I am a changed woman. The biggest reason for this change of heart is all the wonderful, talented and funny women I have met and now call my friends. Perfect example is my new friend Sylvia. Above is a photographic image Sylvia created just for me. It is called 'After the Rain'. Sylvia told me her inspiration came from the photos on my blog of storm clouds and my Iris beds. She is a film maker and photographer in France. www.myspace.com/systemzeit Sylvia found me on Etsy, purchased a handbag and then commissioned a second. Most of her images contain mystical and romantic settings of oceans, mountains, gardens and almost always gazebos. It is no wonder she loved my fabric choices. Take a look at the following photos and it will become very clear why we have become friends. Merci Sylvia!
Beautiful Breamore Toile fabric depicting gazebos

Lots more pretty toile inside
Handmade gold crushed silk rosettes with vintage buttons

Where else but the world wide web can you sit at a computer in Virginia at 9 pm and chat(using my widget translator) with a lovely lady in France who happens to be wide awake 3am because of a thunder storm?? I'll say again...I Love the Internet!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday! Birth of a Canvas Floorcloth

Good Morning bloggers..I have decided to post this follow along tutorial on Tuesdays so you can easily track it. Every week I will take you along with me as I design and create my canvas floorcloth. My hope is that you will come to realize how easy and so much fun these are to paint. Just remember...this is fun, so relax and don't take it too seriously...this is art, not politics ;-)

Base coated floorcloth...

Above is a 2'x3' pre-primed canvas from Canvasworksfloorcloths.com that I have base coated using a cream acrylic paint with a little walnut brown mixed in. Apply evenly using a 2-3 in good quality paint brush. Start in upper left and work your way to the right. Let base coat dry and cure overnight. Paint can feel dry to touch but still not actually cured and that could cause cracking and warping.


Taped off edge border w/ painters tape...

Make sure you secure the tape to avoid any bleed under, but not to worry..that is an easy fix too. I used the hem stitching as my guide, but you can make border any size. If you are feeling brave, skip the tape and wing it. We are not aiming for perfection.


Paint border left to right...

Use paint sparingly along the tape edge and never brush into the tape...always away, apply two coats of paint. Be sure to cover all the way to the edge so no base color shows. I am using Delta Tomato Spice Red.

Carefully remove tape when dry to touch...

Don't worry if some paint has bled under the tape. Use a small liner brush and touch up with your base coat. Hint...if you mixed your own basecoat colors be sure to make enough for touch-ups later.

Border after my cosmetic 'touch-up'...

DSC05703.jpg

Your floorcloth is now basecoated and has a nice border...

I used to buy my small 2' x 3' floorcloths from Michaels, which is fine for maybe your first one. They make a decent and inexpensive canvas floorcloth to start with. However, once you get going you will find that much better quality canvas' can be purchased on the internet. My favorite website is www.canvasworksfloorcloths.com , owned by Lisa Curry Mair. Lisa is an Historical expert on canvas floorcloths and her work is nothing less than stunning! Lisa sells very affordable and very high quality floorcloth blanks. You can even purchase them pre- base coated if desired. Hers will last much longer than the craft store cloths. I love her sewn in hems...much nicer than glued hems.
Next Tuesday we will add our second border color and start on the floorcloth design...hope to see you then. Until nest tuesday, be kind and stay creative.
P.S. NEVER EVER fold your floorcloth..if you need to set it aside while working on it, after completely dry, loosely roll it up and set it aside! Again ..never fold! Ok..I am done yelling at you now ;-)