Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I admit that I sat dumbfounded in front of the TV watching the horrible results of Hurricane Sandy's devastation on the other side of the country.  What a contrast, as we have not seen rain since March.  Every day it is the same clear blue skies.  Not complaining, but after over 7 months of clear blue for us transplants, it starts feeling like Groundhog Day.  Subconsciously in October I started painting big puffy clouds.  The very day I was painting the clouds (above) at the Anthenaeum in La Jolla these appeared over our art studio.  Someone called me to go look outside.  I grabbed my iPhone and captured these lit clouds and beams.  

What a glorious ride home as the sky was filled with cotton clouds in the rear view mirror and low, dark ones in front.  As it started to rain rainbows appeared on the interstate floor.  It was something I never experienced before and wanted to take pics as proof, but didn't dare take my hands off the wheel, as I don't trust anyone around me that rarely drives in rain.  When Tim got home he showed me a pic he took on the interstate of TWO rainbows in the sky side-by-side!  It was an amazing day and anyone you spoke with mentioned the clouds and rain.  Please, it was only 1/4" at best, but glorious all the same.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012




I am finding that I love, LOVE oil painting more than I ever imagined.  I'm also realizing that I love painting portraits, especially when I know they look like who they are supposed to, ya know?  Last week our art instructor said we would be working on the figure or portraits so I rummaged around for two photos of the grandkids and got so excited with the subject matter that by the time I came into class I already started both.  We don't learn HOW to paint in this class, it's more like a group of us painting together and getting the instructor's advise if needed.  When I joined this group they had all been painting together and knew each other.  I was the new kid and made the mistake of saying I had never painted in oils.  Now they all flip out and tease me with things like, "Yeah sure, you've never painted a day in your life".  I kept correcting them, but at this point, I just go with it and say I'm a fast learner.  The fact is, I am as amazed as they are.  It's killing me to see these sweet faces sitting at my house and no time to work on them since last Thursday.  It's okay though, because it gives me time to see what I need to do, like Wyatt's ears are two different sizes and pondering what Amelia will wear.  Hopefully I will remember to post these when complete, but just wanted to share the works in progress.   

Friday, October 26, 2012


We have been constructing 10'x10' built-in bookcases in the living room for a month or so now.  By we, I mean Tim.  I just drew up what I wanted them to look like and walked past with encouraging words like "Great job, hon" and " Lookin good".  It seems to have worked because they look amazing.  No reveal yet, as I now have to fill the many shelves.  I tend to like the clean, uncluttered look, which is a small challenge as Tim is a book lover and  the older the better.  I like the pretty books, the ones with more pictures than words;  art, interior design, fashion, and oh so pretty covers.  These are just a few books from the boxes and boxes of Tim's well-worn collections.  So once we got the worktable in my studio finally cleared off I sheepishly broke the news to Tim that I might like to make book sleeves for some of his know, to protect them and all.  God knows we wouldn't want them to get damaged or anything.  To my surprise he not only liked the idea...he wanted to do it himself.  We already had a roll of white craft paper which was my choice, but if you are thinking of doing this the butcher block craft paper would work nicely, as well.  

This barely puts a dent in the amount of books he still has to do, but I can't wait now to display these crisp titles.  As you might guess it is very easy.  I would have preferred old looking font stamps, but this is what I had in the size that worked and you wouldn't have thought about it if I hadn't mentioned it, right?  Now isn't this a happy ending?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


With the 100 degree temperatures and $5.00 a gallon gas prices going down slightly, the remodeling and oil paintings around here have ramped up.  This weekend we finally tackled my studio AGAIN.  We have probably rearranged that room four times. Tim would totally say that is the one time I have under-estimated anything.  Trying to figure out how to cram all I do and need in there is no easy task.  But every time we start another house project the studio tends to be the one place to stash, pile-up and close the door.   So, we got in there and made some progress.  Of course, now I can't find my car because we moved the piles to the garage.  But I can see the whole worktable surface and to celebrate I hung my Ball Jar paintings above the worktable and put the landscape painting over the living room fireplace.  Hurrah for progress.

Speaking of my artwork, you have asked and I can finally say that these four pieces are available through GREENBOX ART + CULTURE.  The canvas art is superior quality with deep gallery wrapped sides.  The Ball Jar canvases come in two sizes, 10" square and 21" square.  The landscape is 30" square.  Click on the link and get 10% off.  By the way, I have other pieces in their OOPSY DAISY division if you are looking for children's art.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


San Dieguito Park

This was my first assignment from my first oil painting class.  Other firsts: painting trees without compulsively painting each and every leaf and first try at water reflections.  I added my signature hoping that would be a definite  finishing point, then proceeded to tweek something else.  I need instruction on how to sign a painting with a paintbrush.  Whew.  Oh, and I clearly wasn't thinking when I chose a 1.5" gallery wrapped canvas.  I am more familiar with acrylic paints which dry so quickly.  I kept forgetting the four sides and had to go back to fill in which stayed wet for days.  Every time I moved, set down or touched the artwork it caused issues.  Let's just say, there is evidence around the house.  Oh well, it's been a huge learning curve, but a huge accomplishment, as well.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I did this in acrylics about three weeks ago.  I had just purchased my oil paints, but had those all lined up looking so new and pretty and intimidating and I decided to paint this with my acrylics instead.  Go figure.  I do have a thing for numbers...well, only the shapes of them, ha, ha.  

I'm up early gathering my art supplies and heading to LaJolla to take an oil painting class.  All giggly here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Yes, a May tutorial in September.  I made this quilt for my granddaughter before we moved.  Hopefully, this one is worth the wait?


Have you ever wanted to try your hand at making a quilt, but think it’s too difficult a task?  Then you are going to love this project.  By purchasing a ready-made quilt in the size of your choice (available in most bed and bath departments for a bargain) you can make this appliqued beauty in a weekend.  Easy. Fun. Done.

½ yard cotton quilt weight fabric for stripe
Cotton quilt weight fabric scraps for approx. 15 circles
1 yard lightweight fusible interfacing
Purchased ready-made cotton quilt in either twin, full/queen, or king size
Circular items for tracing circles in a variety of sizes
Sewing machine
Cotton thread to match quilt color
Thread for basting
Hand sewing needle
Pencil, pen or fabric marker

Let’s get started!

Making the Stripe

1   Cut the ½ yard fabric (18” x 44”) into three strips 6” x 44” each 

2   Sew the strips together end-to-end, right sides together, using a ½” seam allowance.  This will result in one strip 6” wide by about 131” long 

3   Press seams open.

4   Lay the long strip of fabric wrong side up.  Fold each long side ½” and press.  Press top of strip under ½”.  Finished strip will be 5” wide.

Set aside.

Making the Circles

5    Gather a variety of round dishes, saucers, drinking glasses, etc. to trace around for the circle patterns.  The circles on the quilt shown are anywhere between 2” to 8” for a total of 15 circles.  Hint: If you have a fabric with a printed pattern you’d like to center inside the circle then use clear glass, as you can see through it.
6      Trace around one of the circles onto the wrong side of a fabric.  Hint: Use larger circles for large prints, smaller circles for the smaller prints and solids.  Cut the traced circle out and pin it wrong side up to a piece of fusible interfacing fusible side up (bumpy side).  Pin and carefully sew all the way around on the traced line.  Cut a 1/8” seam.

7     Turn the circle over and cut a slit into the middle of the interfacing.

8     Pull the fabric through the cut slit in the interfacing.  Now you have a circle with the front of the fabric on the top-side and the fusible (bumpy) side of the interfacing underneath.   Finger press and voila!  Cool, huh?  Make the remaining circles.

Putting it all together

I designed this quilt so the long fabric strip and circles can lie either on the left
side or the right side of the bed by merely turning the quilt around and you can do the same.

9     The best way to begin placement is to lay the quilt on the bed and place the strip approximately 10” in from the edge of the bed.  Align the pressed top edge of the strip right under the binding of the quilt; pin in place.  Working from top to bottom start pinning both sides of the strip to the quilt, making sure to keep the strip straight.  Cut off any excess length of the strip left over at the bottom of the quilt, making sure to leave ½” to fold under right above the quilt binding; pin in place.   Baste stitch (large stitches) with a contrasting color thread ¼” in along the edge of both sides of the strip and remove pins.

Lay the circles randomly along the inside edge of the strip and pin to the quilt. Either slip a board under the quilt on the bed or lay the quilt out on the floor to press the circles.  The iron setting should correspond with the fusible interfacing directions.  Remove pins before ironing each circle 

10    The final step is to hand applique the strip and circles using the amazing blind stitch technique (one of my personal favorites).  The stitches are almost invisible and one trick to achieving invisible stitches is to use a thread color that matches the color of the quilt exactly.  Normally, you would stitch by coming up through the back of the background fabric, but since you are appliqueing onto a finished quilt you can easily make all your stitches without going through the back of the quilt.  

Here’s how:

Choose a short hand-sewing needle, usually called “sharps”.  Thread the needle and knot one end of the thread.   Roll the edge of the applique back slightly, just enough to grab a bit of the quilt fabric with your needle without going all the way through to the backside, and pull the needle and thread until the knot stops.  The knot will be hidden underneath the applique edge.  Start the first stitch by letting your needle catch a few threads from the folded edge of the applique fabric.  Bring the needle back down directly opposite and take a tiny stitch from the quilt fabric just at the edge of the applique.  Slide the needle through along the inner edge of the applique and pull it out approximately 1/16” to 1/8” beyond where you went in.  The smaller the stitch is the better, as you want the stitch to disappear.

11   Continue taking tiny stitches until you have completed sewing the applique on.  Notice the circles will bubble up slightly, which I find quite desirable.  However, don’t pull the stitches too tightly to avoid puckering.   Knot the thread off very close to the applique.  Insert the needle in between the applique and the quilt at the knot and push the needle into the center of the applique about the length of the needle.  Pull the needle and thread up and out the top of the applique taut and snip the access thread close to the applique.  The thread poking up will instantly disappear.  Amazing, I know!  Remove any basting stitches and relish in your accomplishment.  


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