Dreaming of Gold

I've been seriously absent from this little piece of the internet, and I totally have no excuses.  Life hasn't been terribly exciting, and I've been away from the computer.  My days have been filled with babysitting my beautiful niece and nephew, making our own long weekends with great friends, travelling to see family and celebrate birthdays, and playing lots of video games.  Well, the hubs was playing lots of video games, and I was settling into the couch with knitting needles and crochet hooks.  I'm totally converting to the fuzzies of yarn, and definitely escaped the inks for a while.  

In the midst of all of this, two of our great friends got engaged over new years, and I've been blessed by being asked to join in the festivities through standing as a bridesmaid, as well as invite and paper goods designer.  Thankfully, it's brought me back to my desk for a little messy finger work.  One of the main colours of this wedding is going to be gold, and I'm totally falling in love with each shimmery bit of it.  I just want to make everything gold!  It's totally surprising, since I've always been a diehard anti-gold pro-silver girl, through and through.  But I think I'm completely converting.  Bring on the gold!  It's so so lovely!  Can't wait to share the final pieces after the wedding!  

Happy National Handwriting Day!

Sorry I've been incredibly absent lately.  Even this post was supposed to go up yesterday!  I don't always like to use the "I'm busy" excuse, so I'm not going to now.  I have been in a blogging lull, working on new projects for the shop, a whole new look for the blog, and creating a new website focusing on my work, and the new projects.  Plus, I feel like I'm still on Christmas break leftovers, trying to get in more visits with friends (who got engaged while they were here!! yay! I'm honoured to be a bridesmaid for her!), playing lots and lots of N64 with our friends while we try to escape the bitter cold, plus trying to spend more time with my husband, especially this week, since he's off north for a few days this weekend for work.  Throw in a few custom orders, thoroughly cleaning the house, extremely thoroughly, and planning an office reorganization.  Whew.  And I feel like I'm just starting to cross things off my to do list.

Yesterday was National Handwriting Day, so I thought that I'd include my handwriting as part of a little celebration for the art of handwritten letters.  I think that 'National....Day' holidays are really funny.  Which nation declared it, when so many nations often celebrate.  I know my instagram was lighting up with all the different calligraphers around the world, celebrating this day.  Whatever the national day, I've decided that I want a little bit of everyday of my life to be national handwriting day.  I am going to practice more and more, build a couple unique styles, and really build a portfolio, to partner with my new projects.  I can't wait to show you what I'm working on!  I can't yet though, until my sister gets a special little package in the mail.  She gets first peeks at one of the new projects, and first critique!  Oh, I can't wait until it can be released!

Off to bundle up with some Netflix!  It's been extremely cold this week, (last night was -43*C with the wind chill!!), and there's been lots of tea and hot chocolate, toques being worn in the house, layers of sweaters, and cuddling under blankets watching movies.  We watched all 7 Saw movies in three days.  We had to, since Josh was in the final film, but wanted to be able to follow the series all together, so we wouldn't forget anything.  So glad we did.  So many story overlaps and twists!  Almost as many overlaps as there is blood!  So much blood.  It's so good though!

Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags

I love paper, particularly brown craft paper (or even better?  that rosey brown butcher paper!)  I love cutting it up, writing or drawing on it, folding it, touching it, collecting...anything but getting paper cuts from it.  

The last couple years, I decided that I really wanted to just making my own wrapping paper, since buying it is sooo expensive, and sometimes the designs are so dumb.  Plus, it's more fun looking at stuff under the tree that has different textures or shininess, rather than all the red and green glossy sheets being the same.  Last year, I bought a $5 dollar huge roll of white paper from the kids craft section of Walmart, carved up some stamps, and made a clean and simple wrapping paper for all our gifts.  This year, I decided to return to a classic love, craft paper.  It's easy to find, at the post office, the dollar store, or again, just at Walmart.

I painted white stripes, pale green trees, frosty blue star bursts, and copper Xs.  I have plans to keep painting some more designs, using silvers and golds, metallic greens and maybe a little black here and there.  It's so easy to do!  I just clear off the kitchen table, spread out my paper and go to town.  After finishing the whole section covering the table, I wander off for a while to let it dry.  Then I just roll it up a bit, and reveal a new section ready to paint.  I like to use slightly watered down acrylics, for vibrant, opaque colours, quick drying, and easy clean up.

Here's a little peek at my trees.  I don't put a lot of detail into them, just quick swipes of my brush, and then I move onto the next one.  I felt like Bob Ross painting these happy little trees!
I also like to make my own gift tags for all my presents.  They're more personal, I like writing, and again, buying them just costs so much!  Plus, you can't go wrong with a little white on craft paper.  After looking at these for a while, I went back and worked them a little more, adding some silver along the edges of each card.
Do you make anything handmade for your loved ones?

Mood Boards

I spent the evening hunched over computers with a good friend, playing with pinks, purples, teals and gold.  We're starting to plan the theme for her website and business cards, for a new business venture she is taking on.  Step one, the mood board, is complete.  We had so much fun playing around with everything she had pinned on Pinterest, photos that inspired her, colours she loves, and patterns that make her smile!  We've settled, happily, on the elements that make up the picture below, and I can't wait to see where it heads to next!  We're still working on fonts vs. hand lettering, and which elements to be the main focus of the design, and which to keep subtle.  This mood board is a reflection of my friend to a T, so I think that we nailed it.

I'm so looking forward to being able to share more as we get more things decided upon and concrete. 

Paining Again After a Long Time Away

It's been two years, maybe even more, since I broke out my large glass palette.  I can't believe that it's been so long since I really sat down and painted.  Painted for me, painted for fun.  Not for a present, not for an order.  Just for me to have some time to myself, creatively, emotionally, spiritually.  I cracked open some seriously old oil paints (hello, I haven't been used in almost 7 years!) and gave up on the bottle of linseed oil that I just can't open for the life of me.  I had just a dribble of mineral spirits, so I settled for stinky, headache inducing Turpentine instead.  Most of my brushes were stiff and a little crusty, so I only had two decent ones to choose from, plus a knife.  My mom has my table top easel and my standing easel, so I had to make shift something to set my canvas on.  Man, looking back I feel like I should have quit while I was ahead, and gone to the store to get better supplies.

Even though the conditions weren't prime for painting, I didn't let that stop me.  I wanted to get my fingers messy, smell the oil paints, create something.  I squished out little bits of the couple colours I had, poured out some of my turpentine in a jar, and started getting some colour on the canvas.  It felt good!  I didn't have any kind of plan, I was going completely abstract, and I didn't care too much about my colours mixing.  I started with thin washed out layers of colour, and covered the whole canvas with swashes and dabs and blobs.  I started going in heavier after that, working the paint with my knife, scraping it across the canvas.  I really love the sound that a palette knife makes as it travels across the rough canvas.  It brings me back to the time I first used oils, first used a knife, first worked on stretched canvas.  I feel so blessed with the various mediums and techniques I've been able to try in my short life.

I'm not sharing bits of the piece I started working on just yet, as I'm not totally comfortable with it at the moment.  For now it's hanging on a nail on the wall of my studio, drying before I can put more layers and more colours down on the canvas.  I'm thinking about switching up my mediums a bit and going in with some vibrant fluid acrylics and lots of white.  I want to experiment with more mark making techniques than just a brush and knife.  I want to paint with my fingers, brushes, found items around the house.  I want to write messages and cover them up.  I want to share secrets in those layers, secrets only I will know are there.  I love the beauty of layering paint, the evolution of a painting, and the whole process in general.

I'm so glad that I broke out my palette again.  It had been way, way too long.