Monday, November 25, 2013

People I know: Angela!

This is my buddy Angela--known around here as "The Cupcake Queen."
 These guys are yellow cake, chocolate with Kahlua frosting, and raspberry jam. (Photo by Angela)

She has made the cupcakes for many a get-together, including my son's birthdays for the past 3 years. She's also encouraged his interest in reading and in Harry Potter. She's not just an awesome baker, she's also involved in community theater, is super crafty, and is a budding photographer. I asked her a few fun questions and here's what she had to say.
What's your favorite way to spend a fall afternoon?
My favorite way to spend a fall afternoon is baking and cooking comfort food. I love making cupcakes or a pie. Also watching a move, drinking a pumpkin spice latte. I love all things pumpkin spice.
What are your top three craft supplies? Sewing machine, hot glue gun and glitter! 
What are you reading right now?
I am reading the 5th Game of Thrones book A Dance With Dragons. I am also reading (memorizing my lines) my script for Hansel and Gretel. I am playing Dizzy in the Children's Theatre at South Suburban College. We are currently in rehearsals. The show opens in January.
Would you rather be able to travel anywhere in space or anywhere in time? I would rather travel anywhere in time. I love the Elizabethan Era and 18th Century Scotland so it would interesting to experience life then.
What inspires you these days? Autumn/Fall has really been inspiring me lately. I love this time of year, the colors, the cooler weather, and the holidays. I love Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is my most favorite time of year.
I have also been really inspired lately by fairy tales, I have been wanting to work on an embroidery project with different fairy tales, like Little Red Riding hood, Cinderella, and Sleeping beauty and create a crazy quilt with the designs.
There is also a blog that I have been finding really inspirational is Bustle and Sew. Its by a woman who lives on a Devon farm and she has embroidery and crochet patterns, and I love her stuff, its so cute and whimsical. I get a lot of cool ideas from her blog.
Thank you, Miss Angela, reigning monarch of confections and darling of the stage.
You can follow Angela on Instagram and Twitter, and if you are in the area you can come watch her in one of the many performances at the Kindig Performing Arts Center in South Holland, IL.

Monday, November 18, 2013

People I Know: Melora

Melora is the genius behind the tie-dye at Harvest Moon Creations. She graciously allowed me to come into her studio space and get pictures of the process and ask her a few questions. For my fellow artsy types, you get why this is a big deal--a studio space is even more personal than one's underwear drawer. It's like letting someone crawl inside your brain and poke around. 

Melora has been doing tie-dye for more than 10 years. It started when she was pregnant, and wanted some clearly identifiable onesies for her son while he was in the NICU. In the summer you can find her selling her wares at the Crete European Market in Crete, IL. Year-round, you can find her through her Facebook page

She makes onesies, toddler shirts and dresses. She does t-shirts, dresses, wrap skirts, thermal hoodies, union suits, ponchos, and scarves. I have custom ordered from her a few times, and she never ceases to amaze me with all of the work she produces. 

After we spent some time in the studio, we went to her dining room where she pulled out some finished pieces. And I may have made a bit of a mess--but I couldn't resist the pile of color and pattern!

So not only are these things gorgeous and handmade and all that jazz, but Melora uses the most eco-friendly dyes she can find. There's no weird chemical smell when she works--and as an art major I have smelled my share of weird chemical smells--she doesn't use aluminum in her dye process either. Her fabrics are cotton, rayon, and silk. An ethical business woman, and a genuinely wonderful human being. I'm happy to know her and happy to introduce her to you. 

Seriously, guys-- look at the skulls. And the hearts, and the yin-yang, and the tiny watermelon dress! It's too much, I swear.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The people I know...

Kind of like the people in my neighborhood...but now my neighborhood is the world.

Do you ever think about the people that you know and think: I know so many cool people. It happens to me frequently. Like at least once a week.

And to reward you for stopping in and saying hi, I thought that I would like to introduce you to some of the people that I know. Like the world's biggest dinner party, where only awesome people are invited---that includes YOU, so don't sell yourself short.

It's going to be a semi-regular post type deal. There will be photos. There will be questions and answers...when I feel like it. There will be linking to websites when websites are available. There may be guest-blogging. But mostly, there will be the people that make my life a little more awesome by simply existing.

Because PEOPLE ARE AWESOME and the world needs more awesome.

Monday, September 02, 2013

This week...

You should remember: Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't. --Bill Nye

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Color combos

I was out for a walk and saw some lovely colors I wanted to share! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

COLOR, the basics

Hi there! This is a study break for me, while I let my brain absorb all of the acronyms and new vocabulary I have just stuffed in there. Classes started back yesterday...sort of...there was a problem with the server so only 1 of the 3 were uploaded and accessible to those of us taking online classes and HOLY EYEBALLS IS THERE A LOT OF READING IN GRAD SCHOOL.

But that has nothing to do with why we are here. We are here because of COLOR. Unless your eyeballs are also run through the television tubes of the 1950's color is EVERYWHERE. And everywhere you go it is intentional. Corporations, retail establishments and even schools are using color to affect you. You can learn to wield your very own wand of color to do your bidding once you understand how colors play together.

These are your primaries.
 That means that you can't mix them, you have to buy them
 (or mine them if you are hardcore into your art)

Mix your primaries together and you get secondaries.

Look at the happy color wheel! 
If you never did one of these in school you are missing out. 
This is the color-coordinators bible. Once you understand where 
these guys sit, you are ready to move forward.

Then you can add your primaries and your secondaries to get tertiaries. 
The color-math keeps going this way until you run out of colors. (I think a 24 bit RGB monitor can recreate something in the order of 16 million colors)
So now you can mix colors...

What about complementary colors?

Complementary colors sit across from each other on the color wheel. 
If you think of it as a clock face, 3 and 9 would be complementary. 
As would 12 and 6, 1 and 7, and so on. 
They are called complementary because they create a visual tension that we find pleasing. 
If you were to mix them you would wind up with brown.

This is a color wheel with primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries. 
Beneath the wheel is complementary color matches. 

Ready for some more? 
Using your color wheel isolate 3 colors that sit next to one another. 
This is called an analogous grouping. Once again this arrangement is visually pleasing.

By using three analogous colors, you can harmonize your pallet. 
Whether you are painting a still life or redecorating, 
understand color relationships can make your work sing.

We can talk a little about the meanings behind colors, but the meanings will change based upon cultures. 
All of the meanings I will share come from a Western European interpretation.

Exciting, hot, passionate or danger, aggressive, violent

Fun, happy, child-like or loud and over-bearing

Joyful, lively, enlightening or hazardous or cowardly

Fresh, trustworthy, prosperity, traditional, nature

Calming, cool, peaceful, faithful*, dependable

Meditative, sensual, royal, dramatic, mysterious

Powerful, elegant, mysterious, strong or death, mourning, and the underworld

Pure, clean, innocent, airy, ethereal, efficient or clinical, cold

Classic, timeless, neutral, logical, deliberate, and methodical

Next time you go shopping, or to eat, or anywhere pay attention to the colors. They are sending you a message! You can use the meanings behind colors to send your own messages in your home, wardrobe, and art work. 

What's your favorite color? Use that with it's complement and see what you think. Mine is BLUE so I would pair that with ORANGE. Not my favorite combination, but there is a reason so many universities use the blue-and-orange combo.

There are lots of little tricks that I like to use when doing art work or decorating. 
  1. Don't underestimate the power of a neutral color! I use tan, brown, and grey as neutrals as well as white.
  2. Contrast is your friend. It can be a little scary at first, but start small and work into it.
  3. Paint can always be painted over. I painted a brown accent wall in my dining room 3 years ago on a whim. I still love looking at it. I painted my kitchen a shade of yellow that has been burning my eyeballs this summer--time to repaint!
  4. Any color combination found in nature will ALWAYS work. Mother Nature is the ultimate designer!
  5. Ask small people what they think of your color choice. They will always be unabashedly honest.
  6. Make mistakes and learn from them
Now get out there and make color work for YOU!

*This is why brides carry "something blue" on their wedding day.

PS- there were a lot of references to eyeballs in this post. Completely unintentional.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Photo Friday

These are from our trip across Illinois on Interstate 80 last weekend. 
We had to go pick up the kiddos from the grandparents'. 
The clouds were all low and plump on the horizon-- they reminded me of sea creatures. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watercolor Resist with crayon.

Possibly my favorite resist technique of all time. It's super easy and more than a little addictive...

Crayon, meet paper.

It helps to work in a room with strong light on one side--
you can kind of see your white crayon marks on the paper.


The darker the paint, the better your writing will show.

Red, orange, purple.

Load your brush with A LOT of wet paint. 
Paint a stripe along the bottom of the page and

Flip it upside down. 
You may want to add extra paint to the orange stripe to help it run.

Lay it flat.

If it's puddling somewhere you don't like, dab it with a paper towel.



Let's do more! 
White gel pen + doodles.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Watercolor Workshop: Resist With Glue

So last week I mentioned that I had tried glue resist and had a request for a tutorial. This one is for you, Angela!
While doing this tutorial, I learned something new and kind of cool about working with glue.Cool enough that I may not swear off this technique after all. Curious? Read on. 

My birthday is Monday, so more cake just seems appropriate. 
To start, you will need white school glue (I used Elmer's) and paper (preferably heavier paper 70lb-press or more, so when you watercolor the paper doesn't pill)

 Draw on your paper with the glue. Keep in mind that whatever you do needs to be loose and flowey. School glue doesn't do sharp edges and right angles very well.

When you get to the end of a word, double back as you release your pressure on the bottle. It minimizes the stringy ends.

You can leave it at just words.

Or you can doodle around the edges.

Let that dry for a couple of hours or overnight. I let mine dry overnight--it minimizes the stickiness of the next part. 

Get out your watercolors and a nice big round brush.(I used an 8)

Wet up your watercolors by dripping water off of your brush and into the the paint wells.

Load up your brush with water and then with paint, and start painting. 

 As you move around the page, your designs will start to appear.

Switch colors and keep pushing that paint around.

Add a third color and keep painting.
You will notice that the letters show up better when the paint is darker. We are going to outline them later, so just get down with whatever colors move you.

Once your paper is full, you can add a line of color around the edge. I think a border keeps the eye on the page.

And because I can't get enough of layers, lets go ahead and spatter some more paint on there. I used two colors, red and magenta.

 Looking good! That needs to dry, so set it aside. Depending on the weight of your paper it could be dry in 30 minutes or in 3 hours. If the paper feels cold to the touch, it's still damp.

All dry!

Get out a permanent pen. I'm using a fine-tipped Pitt pen. It's a felt tip and I love the way the ink flows from it.

Outline your words.

POW! They really pop, don't they?

Now, here is the interesting thing about school glue. Once it is dry, you can color on it with colored pencils. How cool is that?! 
Go ahead and bust those babies out.

And color on your glued bits. I was enjoying this more than I should have, probably.

So there you go. Glue resist. Fairly easy for all ages. 
And while I was waiting for things to dry, I worked on another tutorial for next week. 
Have a super awesome weekend!