Thursday, April 17, 2014

Coloring Page: Easter.


Today I am sharing a coloring page in celebration of Easter.
Today is actually Good Friday and it is impossible for me not to think about the pain Jesus suffered on the cross for the sin of the world,
for me.

My daughter has this verse in  her school curriculum as a memory verse, so I made this page for her to color and thought it perfect for Easter as well.

Here is also a colorized version I did with Copic markers.

These are free for use, as long as they are not used for resale.

Happy Easter to you!
(or Resurrection Sunday, as it is sometimes preferred to be called).

(To copy these coloring pages, click on the image, right click, and then click on "copy".

Open up Microsoft Word and right click on the screen, and then click "paste".
 The image should paste onto the page.

You can then click "print" to use them as coloring pages.

If you have difficulties or suggestions, please let me know.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Purple Polka Dot Wreath for Our Spring Door.

Have  you been enjoying the weather in your part of the world?
I have been busy digging up plants from my gardens.
The long winter made their appearance even more enjoyable this year.

I decided to stop for a few minutes and update the wreath on the door since it was still wearing a Christmas wreath: it definitely needed some spring colors.

My daughters helped me pick out some purple polka dot material that caught our eyes.

Our wreath was a simple project that cost us less than ten dollars:
  • 1 yard of material for $2.99 yd
  • burlap wired ribbon 5 yards at $.69 per yard
  • two flower bunches that were on sale for $1.39 each.

I began by cutting a circular shape from a large, unfolded cardboard box,
cutting the inside of the circle as well.

I then used some packing tape to secure bunched up plastic bags to the front of the cardboard circle.

I also cut strips of the polka dot fabric about 4 inches wide.
I then wrapped the strips around the bag-faced circle,
tucking the ends in underneath itself to secure.

When the circle was completely covered, I then wrapped the burlap ribbon loosely around the fabric covered wreath and then tucked the flower sticks securely into them.

I attached a bit of wire to the back of the wreath and hung it on the door.

With the left-over fabric, I tore small square to set on top of an old bench I painted with left-over purple paint from my daughter's room.
(Of course, they thought the bench was BEAUTIFUL!  They never tire of purple.)


A purple polka dot wreath is a diversion from digging in the dirt...

and certainly makes the place look more welcoming of spring.

Thank you for stopping by.  If you can, be sure to make some time to bring cheerful colors of spring to your home.  They are moments well spent.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Art Lesson: Beginning with Oil Pastels


I am sorry my post for an art lesson is a day or two late this week..
Spring has sprung here and underneath the snow from last week,
all sorts of plants are making their way to the surface.

I have been working on some ideas for children's books and wanting some illustrations that would make them come to life.

I decided to try a different medium, hoping a change would give me a fresh take on it.


I have a little tin cup of oil pastels that the kids have played with,
so I decided I wanted to try them since it has been quite a while since I have used pastels.

While I worked on some ideas, I watched a Youtube video on how to use them.

 I so appreciate all the opportunities that the internet gives for learning new skills like this.

It is a long video and I worked on a few different strategies while listening and glancing up from time to time.


If you do not have the time to watch the whole video, the part that I thought was the best at showing the ease and beauty pastels possess, start at about 58 minutes into the video where a hat is demonstrated.
It ends at around 1:16 into the video, but it is worth the 18 minutes if you haven't used pastels much, like I haven't.

I am sure there are other great instructions that can be used as well.

Pastels are a unique medium that are fun to try.
Have you ever tried them?

April is the busiest time of the year for me as I am digging up plants from my gardens to sell at a plant sale in early May.  I will try to keep getting some posts on here and working on some artwork;
hopefully along the way.

Thank you for stopping by.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

When Colored Paint Helps Hide the Damage.


  Sometimes I find it difficult to know whether to paint a piece of furniture or leave it as wood.  I love a mixture of the two around the house.  Take for example, this round table that my mother gave me.  I treasure this table and the beautiful carving all around the edges of the table top.

I needed to do something with it because the top was badly scratched and had bubbled and peeled varnish which made me feel like it looked messy all of the time.  I hid it with doilies for a long while but finally decided that I either needed to paint it or strip it.

Because of the detail of the carved wood and the fact that my life is filled with kids and so many other projects right now, I decided to give in and just paint it.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk paint which is a favorite of mine because it eliminates the need to sand or prime furniture.  I gave it a fun two-toned look:
white for most of it and then Florence blue on the top.  (I will admit that although part of the reason I painted it a different color on top was for fun, but also because the white made it look too obviously marred to me: the color seemed to hide the seriously marred top a little better.)

(I painted the frame with some Annie Sloane paint a previous day, but am not sure the color.
Annie Sloan paint seems to be useful on just about anything).

Of course, I love bold colors in my living room anyhow, so that was obviously a good part of the decision as well.

I sanded the whole thing after the paint dried to make it look distressed,
and then rubbed some Fiddes and Sons Rugger Brown and clear wax on it.

Painting it made me feel better about it's rough look and added color.
Of course, it is always whatever makes your house feel like your own home that works for each of us.

For me all too often, I have to admit, I opt for the easier route of paint.

Well, it is snowing here again...
I do hope spring comes soon as I am ready to head into the flower gardens.
We found a great couch for the basement this weekend off of Craig's List and it will be fun to show you that room all finished soon.
Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Free Vintage Prints: Medieval Scenes.

Happy weekend!

I have not posted many vintage illustrations lately.
I am sorry about that.

I finally took some pictures from my late 1800's books
and decided I ought to get some on here.

My daughter has been studying the medieval times in history this year,
so these images stood out to me because of that,
I am sure.

However, don't we all find the age of knights and castles intriguing?

Here is the cleaned up image in black and white.

 Here it is antiqued.

This image of the girl out for a ride with the castle in the background was the only colored one in the book.


 I dulled the colors down a bit for this image:

 and here is the image antiqued.

If you would like to use these images,
they should, as far as I know, be free from copyright since they are from very old books.

To print them up in Word, click on the image, right click,
and then click on "copy",

open up Microsoft Word and right click on the screen,

and then click "paste",

it should paste the image onto the page.

If you have difficulties or suggestions,
please let me know.

Sharing at:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Art Lesson - Sketch Page: Little Mouse


I have been dieting the last month and a half,
a challenge between a couple of people and I,
It was a pretty focused endeavor.

My husband's boss and the secretary at his job are very thoughtful people
and often send home little treats to the kids or myself.

About a week or so ago, the secretary sent home a piece of cake for me:
she told my husband to have me wait until the kids were in bed,
and enjoy the cake all by myself.
Of course, she didn't know of my diet competition:
it was a sweet and kind gesture.

The cake was the most incredible-looking chocolate cake I have ever seen:
rich, dark frosting covered in mini chocolate chips,
drizzled with a bit of butterscotch.

The kids were all as desirous of it as I was.

Of course, I did what any good dieting mother would do:
I put it into a container and buried it in the freezer where it would be safe and sound until the competition was over, and I could enjoy it then.

The competition ended the day before yesterday,
and I waited a whole day before I dug the cake from the freezer.

I am being very good about it and only ate a section of it,
gave a few small bites to the kids,
and have the rest saved for another day...
after the incredible taste of it,
I am thinking that will be tomorrow.

All that to say, I purposed to make a nice card for the thoughtful secretary
for such an incredibly delicious cake.

I decided to add a bit of something cute to the card,
so I decided on a little mouse to be in the picture.

A great tool for digging up realistic pictures of creatures is,
of course, the internet.

I typed in "cute  mouse" in the search engine,
and these are some of the images that popped up:

Using a combination of the images,
I came up with a sketch page to get myself familiar with this creature.

 I then sketched a picture of a mouse with some cake,
and then copied my sketch (using the light box) onto another page.

I am glad that I did because I used watercolors and did not like the way a few parts of the picture came out, so I used my original and the light box again, and am coloring it in this time with copic markers and colored pencils.

I haven't finished it yet, but here is the image of the mouse in watercolors.

I wish I could share a bit of the cake with you...

Feel free to print up the mouse page and give him a try,
if you'd like.  He is free for personal use, just not for resale.

Thanks for stopping in!

(To copy these pages, click on the image, right click, and then click on "copy".

Open up Microsoft Word and right click on the screen, and then click "paste".
 The image should paste onto the page.

You can then click "print".
If you have difficulties or suggestions, please let me know.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Art Lesson: Watercoloring the Tractor Sketch.

Hello, friends.

A couple weeks back, we went through the process of sketching up some tractors.

This was the picture I was sketching from.

Today I wanted to share the process of using watercolors to paint the dried, inked image.

First, I used a mustard yellow wash to fill in the ground

and a lighter yellow on the tire hubs and the tractor.

I then added a green wash to the tractor and to the farmer's shirt and cap.

Next I made a very light gray wash using red, blue, and green and began painting the tire...

and loosely painted a background of trees.

I could see that there is three layers to this field:
the forefront layer that has a grassy look,
a cut layer of grass,
and a distant uncut stand of grass.

I made a green wash to paint the uncut distant grass.

I finished shading the tires, the exhaust pipe, some touches of black on the tractor,
and the piece of farm machinery being pulled by the tractor.

Next I decided to create the grassy front part of the field by loosely painting streaks of green,
some darker than others.

To created a faint look of cut grass for the layer of field behind the tractor,
I painted a wash of green and then painted swatches of a reddish green lines
and then dabbed them up somewhat with a tissue.

I create a division of the cut grass with the still standing grass in the background by painting a line of darker greenish red with strokes going up loosely, like grass would grow.

To darken the background trees, I first made a reddish black,
almost a purple, and did a wash of that over a section
and then went over it with sections of green.

Once this was complete, I changed to a very light blue wash and started the sky at the top and worked down toward the tree line.

I made a skin color with orange, yellow, and white and used a wash of this on parts of the farmer's face and arm as well as the child's face and legs as they stood out in the picture.
At this point, I also used blue on the farmer's pants and child's clothes with this same selective area painting.

Using some dull gray left-over from the tree background in the paint tray,
I put some shading in the yellow tire hub.
I also touched a few areas on the tractor with a reddish green to lightly shade areas as needed.

At this point, I sat back and looked at the painting.

 Something about it was not right to me.


I felt like the child's head was too small for his body.

I had a choice to leave it or try to fix it.

Perhaps I should learn to leave some things as they are,
but I couldn't let this one go.

I mixed some white, heavy on the brush and enlarged the head where I could see there was a white patch in the picture.  I added some blue, some brown for the hair, and a curl of dull white for the ear.


 I decided at this point it was good as it was and that I had better stop painting.

I painted this for my husband for his birthday as a checkbook cover.
(A plastic, clear cover that I found through a craft catalog years ago,
something similar to the one at the end of this post.)

Although this isn't perfect, I am enjoying learning to work with watercolors.
It is a rewarding working with a paint that you enjoy.
 I am glad the painting turned out in a way I feel happy with on a gift for my husband...
he deserves it. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

(I have added a few advertisements to the side of the blog for those who want to know the products that I use or think are useful... just trying to be helpful.  Of course, if you purchase anything from the links, I will be paid a little something, which is always helpful in funding my home and art supplies,  a helpful gesture! :)
(If these ads are annoying to you as you read, please let me know, and I will see if I can put them on their own separate page of the blog. ) 

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