Happy Halloween from ...

such a scary tiger! Ha, ha!
Just a quick couple shots from the night. Hope you all had a great weekend!


Memorable Week

This week like so many others flew by but with a couple memorable/exciting happenings. The beginning of the week I made my 100th etsy sale. To some that is very little, but to me it was huge! I can't say how thankful I am for my customers, and for my blog readers and commenters for encouraging me. You guys are incredible!!! I think most of you etsy shop owners know its not a walk in the park on getting customers to your shop when there are so many other amazing talents within etsy. It just amazes me that all these people all over the world found my little space in the on-line world and liked it enough to buy something! I am one thankful girl! ...and my awesome husband surprised me with this cake to celebrate! ♥

Another amazing thing happened for my husband today. Those of you who have been reading for a while know how much hubby likes to run and bike.. Well he found out yesterday that Lance Armstrong was putting on a bike ride about an hour away from us! I was seriously excited for my husband to go and I can say he couldn't wait either! So when the hour finally came this is what it looked like:

Yeah, I told him he had to take pictures for me since I was unable to be there. As you can see quite a few people were in front of my hubby. I can't even see Lance.

But ...

since my man LOVES riding and can kick butt going up hills, lots of people were dropped and he was able to place himself nice and close to Lance. (He did have to work for it though. Hee, hee.)

Lance is wearing the black shirt with the number 28.

And here Lance is signing autographs afterwards. Hubby just took a picture of him rather than getting anything signed. He didn't want to be pushy. :)

We definitely have lots to be thankful for!
Have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween!


Dispersing ~ New Mixed Media Painting

Wow! It's crazy how much the weather can change in a week. Last week we were painting our house when it was in the 60's to higher 70's and today it is in the 30's with snow! Unlike me, Kaelyn was excited to see the snow and was jumping up and down and said "Lets go sliding!" I'm pretty sure she meant sledding. :) She was not a happy camper when I said she had to wait until there was a little more on the ground. She'll get what she's hoping for soon enough.

Above is my newest mixed media (thought provoking) piece, "Dispersing". It represents our life... the whole growth process. We, like the flower, are always changing. The more we learn about our self and apply the skills or rather talents we know we start blooming. Our goal is to bloom into a beautiful flower. The circles represent the petals than will eventually fall. Its like the memory of us that will be left behind. Hopefully we will have touched others in some wonderful way through our journey here on earth. The flower can be quite a powerful symbol... something beautiful but it won't stay around for long. It grows up so quickly and then disperses its self... so much like you and me.


Major House Project

This post will explain what I've been so busy with last week. Non-stop work from Tuesday through Friday... scraping, taping, priming, and painting. It was a job! Since the inside of our house has done a complete 180 it was time the outside felt some love.

Here are a few before and afters. Note that this house was moved to town in the early 1950's, not sure when it was actually built. I like the charm of an old home!
{starting to scrape; new door has been installed}
{after: color adds character and makes the trim work pop!}
(another angle: scraping}

A little difference don't you think? In the spring we will be working on a deck and a little landscaping. So happy to have this big job done. I'll tell you it was pretty scary! A friend lent us scaffolding, but boy it pretty much terrified me climbing up on that thing. It felt like I was 3x higher than I really was and when it wiggled I seriously thought I was going to puke! Thankfully my dad brought in his loader and lifted me up in that. It felt like I was at an amusement park. There was a section that my dad had to put David up high in the loader with a ladder on top of that to reach a part the scaffolding couldn't get to. That was extremely scary... yes, I was praying that everything would turn out smoothly and thankfully it did! And a huge thanks to my mom for watching K while I was working on the house! Hubby and I couldn't have done this job so quickly without the help of my parents!


Birthday Invites and Logo Design

I have been busy with a variety of projects lately... makeover projects on items around the house, art projects and a few freelance projects as well. Here are a couple of the latest design projects I worked on for others:

Dr. Seuss Birthday Invitations
The request was for a fun saying with possibly a fish illustration - Dr. Seuss themed. So I came up with the fun saying, "Oh the places he will go! from there to here, from here to there, a one year old is everywhere!" Yeah, we read a lot of Dr. Seuss books in our house so it didn't take too long for that to pop into my head. And isn't it the truth, a one year old is certainly on the move! Ha! The cards were requested to be flat so on the back I designed the cat's hat with the one. Something simple but adds a little extra spice... better than just leaving it blank. The package also included thank you notes where I illustrated the cat in the hat saying thank you from the birthday boy. It was a fun project!

Then the design job I just completed was a logo design which was then made into several vehicle decals. I've made a few decals for Larry before but he recently decided on adding trenching and some sort of graphic so here is what I came up with:

Freelance projects always keep my job interesting. Each request seems to challenge me in a new way, sure some I struggle with but when I get to the end of the design process and see the end product I can't help but be pleased with the outcome.


New Art Print: Raining Down Love

Finally this design has been put to color. I made this one the same time I designed "Radiating Love" but never got around to putting in the color until this week. I have a few boy color options that will be added to the shop soon.

This is a pretty simple modern design with lots of white space and placed in the upper right to resemble the placement of your heart. Isn't it wonderful knowing that God is always showering us with His love no matter if we deserve it or not?! I thought these would make great reminders for children's rooms. You can read more information about the print HERE if you're interested.

{detail view of Raining Down Love}

Have a wonderful weekend!


Still Here!

This Grave's Disease has been taking a lot out of me lately. I've been completely drained of energy the last few days. Thankfully I'm starting to feel a little better now and am sure the beautiful weather has helped a bit. Saturday after my painting group, hubby, K and I took the boat out. This is the boat that David built 4 years ago. We didn't think it was going to make it out on the water this year as the summer seemed to fly by. But when you have 70-80 degree weather in October you can't pass the chance up. So even though rain clouds were coming we went for it. Kaelyn was so excited to go and no way was she going to take a nap and miss out on any boating time.

The rain clouds had gone by, there was food to eat, the scenery was beautiful and it was oh so peaceful. This was a much needed mini getaway. Even when rowing it was relaxing!


A Bit About Drawing

{Fighter Pilot ~ pencil drawing}

After participating in Kelley Berkey's drawing challenge I was asked to share some tips/hints on how I draw with charcoal. I figured there may be a few other people who would like to know a bit about my drawing process... I hope this information will help you in some way.

I go about drawing with pencil and charcoal in very similar ways. Above is an example of my pencil/graphite drawing and the drawing of Kelly done in charcoal can be seen HERE. I first start with a light sketch of my subject. I try to crop or angle to the most interesting view. I prefer to work from top to bottom especially when I use charcoal because it can smear quite easily. It helps to lay a clean sheet of paper under my hand if I'm working over something I have already drawn... I don't want a grungy looking mess to happen after all the hard work. Whether I use pencil or charcoal I never just use one pencil unless its a super quick sketch. If you aren't aware of the numbers and letters on the pencils, it is useful information. H means the pencil is hard and will show light lines, the higher the number is with a H the lighter it will be. B's are soft and give you darker colors... nice contrast to the H's. B's will give your picture depth. I use 6B to get my darkest areas in my drawings. When using graphite pencils I prefer working with the pencils from scale 4H to 6B. For charcoal I use HB, 2B, and 4B with a lot of blending and erasing to give an even larger scale of lights to darks.

For a realistic look, blending is key. I use pretty small pointed blending stumps... I've never had a need for the large ones. If I'm working with a large area, I use my finger. If I'm using charcoal and I want an area to look really black, I will not blend it. I simply work up the dark color in layers until it is solid and you don't see the paper any more. If you try blending it, it loses the rich dark color. I start with the lighter areas and gradually layer up with the dark areas/shadows.

Another useful tool that helps me immensely when drawing is a needed eraser. You only need a small one because you can keep pulling on it to have it clean its self. I like to roll it into a point and use it kind of like another pencil only it takes away to give lighter areas. This works awesome when working with charcoals and you want a smooth transition between light to dark or if you want to give highlights to an area.

I use my needed eraser and blending stump more often then I use my actual charcoal pencils. Sometimes when I'm wanting a light gray area, I will just use my blending stump. If there's already a bit of charcoal left on the tip I press softly with it to give light gray areas. I will then use the needed eraser to lighten any spots where there isn't a smooth transition.

How much time you spend on blending is entirely a personal preference. I like to layer up with a variety of pencils and then blend... sometimes it is harder to erase after you blend and of course the harder you press the harder it is to pick that color back up.

I suggest if you're new to drawing start with drawing a ball and play around with the light to dark ranges. Practice making it look and feel round. Make sure you think about the light source (where the sun or light shines on the object)... you will need a highlighted point (white area) somewhere with a shadow (your darkest area) that the light is not shining on. The contrast is what will make your image pop.

The more you practice the more you will get used to your pencils, blending stumps, and needed eraser. Have fun!