Living Room Built-ins


Just as the trees sap starts to flow as spring nears, my creative juices start flowing and my right brain warms up at the thought of spring break and the ever-nearing summer off. For me, break from work brings the joy of less-interrupted project time.

Today we got out the PANTONE Moroccan Blue paint and touched up the bands of bare walls above the windows on either side of our fireplace. These have been bothering me since we had the windows replaced a couple years ago.

I have also been working on finishing my papier-mâché jackelope from a few years back. I’m torn on the face. I think it looks cheesy (kinda creepy, too) and will most likely collage over it before I mount it on my wall.

I broke out my black Sharpies and added textural lines on the insides of the built-ins on either side of the fireplace. The results are a fun fiber-inspired design.

I also reorganized the books by color. It makes a weird order to the topics but pleasing to the eye. This is the left side all done – aside from the bottom shelf which I left alone since it is on floor level and filled with children’s books.  I will post the right side at another time.


DSC_0152My newest finished artwork is one I have been working on for a while now, since before Christmas.  The texture, colors, and mixed media are all things I’m happy with.I started with a simple canvas and some collage materials.  The top of the canvas is magazine pages.  I discovered the best all-around craft and art adhesive a couple of years ago – Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive and will never go back to any other adhesive again.  It dries smooth, it is pH neutral, permanent, and not at all gooey!

To create the texture, I glued crumpled tissue paper, making sure it was not too smooth.

img_8455 Next, I painted over the tissue with acrylic paint.  Then, added some oil pastels to add texture and visual interest to the rich browns.
 Lastly, I added collaged items – pencil drawn bicycles parading along, buried classic cars, and a boulder or two.

Valentines 2016

  I still loathe buying greeting cards.  It’s a DIY disease – “I can make that.”

 This year’s Valentines have a bike theme going on.  I made this fun little stamp a couple weekends ago while Greta was working on her bicycle and heart print.  Or was that last weekend?  I don’t know…this time of year just escapes me.

 I started off my Valentines with some fun abstract watercolor paintings.  Once dry, I spliced them into sections.

 I attached the paintings to card stock with glue and by sewing machine.  Then, added small stamped bicycles to them.  On some of the cards, I stamped the bike directly on the painting.  Those ones turned out fine, but the bicycle ended up being a little hidden.

Greta had fun adding embellishments and her signature to her cards.  I love her ideas on what needed to be glued down!

 These are my two little Valentines, working hard at the kitchen table the other night.  The oldest was busy signing away – she opted for Ninja Turtle and Little Mermaid cards for her school buddies.  Meanwhile, little brother is sliding and throwing her Valentines on the floor.


 This is me this morning at work – I survived yet another year of teaching during the Valentine season – today were the element kids’ Valentine parties.  In the spirit, I decked myself out in my heart sweater (old one from Target!) and my heart earrings that my mom gave me way back in 8th grade.  They were sort of a big deal, because they were dangly and not just studs.  I cannot believe I still have them. My hubby and I are not much into gifts, cards, or any of the likes for Valentine’s Day, but whether you celebrate or not, Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!


Printing & Stamping


One of the best things about being an art teacher is the experimentation with materials and media in preparation for projects.  Lately, I have been into printmaking and stamping.  As my own kids get older, I often use them as guinea pigs for upcoming lessons at school.  The past few weeks, we have been experimenting with stamps and printmaking.  For further reading, I recommend a book called, Print & Stamp Lab: 52 Ideas for Handmade, Upcycled Print Tools (Lab Series), that I have in my classroom.

The image above, is the block stamp we made with a variety of materials – foam shape stickers, paper clips, a button, and pieces of pipe cleaner.  They are all attached to a scrap of wood with hot glue.  For twice the fun, I made the stamp two-sided.


We also tried DIY stamps from the trash bin – sturdy plastic caps are great for affixing Geometric Self-Adhesive Foam Shapes.  Wooden spools can turned on their sides and rolled, to make lines, or items can be affixed to the ends, in the same manner as the cap and wooden block stamps.


We have also been using pre-made, everyday items to stamp.  Above you see, small erasers in interesting shapes, a foam ear plug, and a cork.  All of these can be used as is, or carved into to create designs in relief.


Our favorite project so far, was using clean foam take-out boxes and cutting them into squares.  Then, my daughter drew into the foam with a pencil, pressing hard to make deep lines.  Her motif for this print is a bicycle and a heart.  No take-out boxes?  You can buy foam trays too.

She then painted over the foam with tempera paint and a wide paintbrush.  I cut papers into 5×7″ rectangles and showed her how to use her hands to smooth the paper and create a print.  After her prints were dry, she signed all of them and added some stickers for flair.  Can we say easy homemade Valentine’s?