Monday, November 29, 2010

What Else Can I Do With this Santa Pattern? Santa Card Step by Step

In my last post I mentioned that I was planning to do a step by step demonstration using one of the Santa faces from the First Star Of Christmas Pattern.  I used the face from the tin santa and changed the hat slightly and painting this on 140lb hot pressed watercolor paper.  I've painted only the face adding the shading and highlighting and painted in the base color of the hat.  The next step will be to add the shading and highlighting to the hat as well as beginning the process of developing the beard, mustache, hair, and hat trim.  Check back soon to see this project develop into a Christmas Card for family and friends.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Else Can I Do With this Santa Pattern?

I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.  I know that I did, we had a very nice day although we ate too much.  LOL.  I'm sure that you didn't have that problem.  "Grin, grin."  We spent the day with family and friends and it was a terrific day eating a wonderful meal and awesome company.  After we had cleaned up the Thanksgiving dinner dishes my thoughts turned to Christmas shopping and we began planning our shopping day on Friday.  I had actually done some shopping prior to Black Friday so I was in good shape but still needed to pick up some specific items.  Honestly I am not a Black Friday shopper at unbelievable times in the morning, the thought of being out that early in the morning just horrifies me, however I did go to town later in the day and did some shopping and then finished up the remainder of it on Saturday.  I have a few more items to purchase prior to Christmas but am in really good shape.   What a great feeling!

My thoughts are now on getting ready to decorate for Christmas, the tree needs to be put up and the house transformed.  I started thinking about my patterns and thought which patterns could be adapted, I have numerous Christmas patterns that could easily be adapted to different surfaces but this Santa pattern appears to be the most difficult because of looking like it is so surface specific.  With a little creativity you could definitely adapt this to different surfaces and with my next few posts look for me to offer you ideas how to adapt one of these Santa's to be used on a card.  It can be done with just a few minor changes.  I'm going to do a simple step by step project that you can use to make your own Christmas cards and who knows I may even use the Cricut to add some interesting detail. 

Take a look at this project and think about the other options for surfaces for it.  As I stated above cards are an obvious choice but what about candlesticks.  Why not use this pattern to make beautiful candlesticks for your holiday table?  How about putting one of the Santa faces on the center of a plate to serve cookies or homemade goodies on and give the plate and goodies to your friends as a gift.  There are numerous great small wooden or tin plates that can be used that are relatively inexpensive and anyone would be delighted to receive a wonderful gift like that.  How about using one of those fantastic battery operated candles to adapt the pattern to.  I think that one of the round candles would be a fantastic small chunky Santa. 

Anyone out there have any other ideas?  Look for my next post starting the step by step Santa adapted to a card. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Else Can I Do With This Love Bug Boogie Pattern?

As I write this we are in the midst of one of the worst snow storms that we've had at this time of year for a long time, it is hard to think about spring being right around the corner when it is Thanksgiving.  LOL. We have a long winter ahead of us if this initial blast is any indication.  It seems ironic that I would choose to write about Spring when we have blizzard and driving condition warnings, but somehow it seems oddly appropriate.  I must be a glutton for punishment when I know that I am going to have a terrible drive to work in the morning.  LOL. 

That being the case, what might possibly be some ideas for other uses for this pattern since I am obviously wishing for nice weather?  Lets think about the obvious ones to start with, cards always come to mind and you can view the free pattern that I did as a companion to this pattern on this blog the "Night Light Bug".  Since completing that free project I've purchased a Cricut Die Cut Machine and could certainly use many of the different cartridges to add to and enhance this design.  You could add borders, change the painted lettering to one  using the Cricut fonts, and enhance the background.  How about finding an interesting poem to use on the inside of the card, print it out on your computer, use a great scrapbooking paper as a background thus personalizing the card for someone special.  Of course you could do the same thing for any of the bugs that are on this pattern and make an interesting card design to showcase the individual bugs either on the clips or on the candle holder design.  How about making a long thin card where the bugs flow down the front of the card similiar to the clips on the pattern.  Keeping that theme going why not cut out tags on the Cricut and paint the bugs onto the tags and add them to your Christmas packages?  Wouldn't your friends and family think that was fun and just a little quirky???  Imagine the fun they will have when they open their packages Christmas morning?

If you look carefully at the candleholder design you will see that it tells a story of a bug's night out dancing in the moonlight. Why not use that idea to paint a series of paintings as a storyboard on watercolor paper or cardstock, mount them either individually or as a series using matte board and an interesting frame.  This would be darling in a child's room or as a seasonal accent in your home.   Years ago when I first became interested in decorative painting it was all the rage to cut out individual pieces and hang them on your walls as plaques. Wouldn't these bugs look darling cut out as individual pieces to hang as accent pieces for the storyboard idea that I mentioned above?  Here's another thought paint the bugs onto the edges of the picture matte board to enhance the storyboard!  That would continue the design on out to the outer edges of the piece.  Some of my favorite pictures that I've hung in my home are those where the painting incorporates the matte extending the painted surface. 

Have you been listening to the news media and the concern over the body scans that airport security is using?  I'm not going to expound on the whole issue of body privacy in this blog but it certainly made me start thinking about my travel concerns for 2011 and one is certainly how to recognize my luggage.  Why not paint a luggage tag with bugs on it to help identify your luggage? 

How about painting a fun pin to wear with one or more bugs on it?  I love to wear pins especially my vintage pins that are family heirlooms.  As a teacher my students look at my jewelry  and comment on it and a bug pin would be a fun addition to my spring clothing wardrobe.  Ok, now I know that I've gone over the deep end if I am thinking about wearing cooler clothing when I decided to take a space heater with me in the morning because my classroom was so chilly yesterday.  I'll leave you with those ideas to mull over while we weather through the remainder of winter and think thoughts of snowmen and winter driving.  Like me it will give you something to think about instead of cold winter weather and concerns about driving, shoveling snow, and cold weather.  Have a wonderful winter season while you dream of nice weather to come.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Important change to the website!

I have made some changes to the Pattern Categories on my website that you will need to know to purchase your favorite patterns.  If the pattern is only available as an E-Pattern it is still under the E-Pattern Category.   However if the pattern is also available as a Paper Pattern Packet, that you will receive through the mail, the patterns are organized according to the pattern theme in the Menu.  To find the patterns that are available as both E-Patterns and Pattern Packets you will need to look through each pattern category.  I have placed a drop down menu to purchase either pattern type under the pattern description.  Simply click on either the Paper Pattern or E-Pattern and the red cart button and the pattern will be added to your shopping cart with the accurate price. I hope that this makes your shopping experience simple. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Else Can I Do With this Wildflower Pattern?

This is one of my very favorite patterns, I spent a great deal of time developing my techniques to paint this piece.  I have to say that hours went into using a variety of brushes in a variety of ways to try to come up with something that looked very much like the original wildflowers.  Needless to say I've done a careful study of these wildflowers to try to be as scientifically acurate as possible.  These are two of my favorite wildflowers, the Lupine and the Scarlet Paintbrush and they are fairly prolific during the summer months. They can even last into August if we have a decent amount of moisture.  Not only do we see these in the mountains but they are also found in the prairie regions of the US from Montana all the way down into Texas. 

I began to wonder what else could I do with this project to make it more versatile, which we all know that painters and crafters are so good at doing.  My daughter, who loves hiking and camping in the back country, wanted a photo album painted with wild flowers for her birthday.  I used the flowers in this piece as the border and painted a young lady with her backpack holding a map as the centerpiece.  It was truly lovely and unfortunately didn't have a chance to get a photo of it prior to giving it to her.  I just used a larger sized album that I purchased from Creative Memories, I think that it was 12"X15", and this size gave me a nice sized canvas area to paint on.  Now my daughter can save all of her backpacking memories in this album. 

I also thought that maybe it would be nice to have summer even in the cold winter months and painted these flowers on glass ornaments to give for Christmas gifts.  I personally love nontraditional ornaments on my tree and thought that these were a great idea.  I sat down one afternoon and within 2 hours had painted 2 dozen ornaments.  I've also painted these on my old standby of cards that I've given to friends on their birthdays. 

So often we look at a design and are put off by it because we don't own the brush that the artist used to paint it.  I used two of the Dynasty Butterfly brushes to paint these but have found that you can easily substitute the Dagger brush to paint the Scarlet Paintbrush with outstanding results and a small flat brush to paint the Lupine.  I've painted both of these flowers with a variety of brushes and had a great deal of success in fact I used a 1/8" Lettering brush to paint the Lupine recently and loved the result.

When I was demonstrating this project at the Hoot Show in Ohio this year I had a number of ladies mention that "of course I could do these wildflowers I designed them" which made me laugh because they are truly so simple to do if you follow my instructions and look at the color worksheet which I am posting for your information here. 

Let me know your thoughts on this project?  Does it scare you off because you feel it is too scary or do you feel comfortable giving it a try? 

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Else Can I do with this Tooth Fairy Pillow Pattern?

How many of you paint or craft with children in mind? I know that I certainly do. I painted for my children when they were small and painted gifts for nieces, nephews, and eventually my children's friends. I have a number of projects that were designed specifically for children and one of my favorites is the pattern "Even Monster's love the Tooth Fairy". I think that it is darling as a tooth fairy pillow but can't you just picture it as a card or a wood cutout for some adorable child.

This project was inspired by one of my own children's favorite books Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I can't tell you how many times I've ready that book over the years and it remains one of my favorites to read aloud even now. In fact I just read it last month to my kindergarten classes. Both I and children alike love a good monster story and if you've been a follower you know that this is a project that I've done over the years with some of my students.

As I was thinking about what else could be done with this pattern I immediately thought about cards, but why not think in terms of enlarging the monsters faces, cut them out of 1/2" pieces of pine and hanging them in a nursery or a toddler's room. How about painting them on a larger pillow or in the center of a quilt for a lovely bedding set? How about on a glass block to use as a child's nightlight?

I think that the possibilities are endless and would love to hear your ideas. I hope that many of you will take the plunge and share your ideas.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Else Can I do with that Pattern? Second in the series.

With the economy the way that it is I don't know about all of you but I certainly want to be able to find creative ways to use the things that I already have. I think that the word that I am looking for is repurposing. Not a particularly good post when I am in the business of selling new patterns. In spite of that thought thriftiness is exactly what prompted this set of blog posts. I've been taking a look at many of the patterns that I've designed and thought what else could my customers do with that pattern that would be fun and creative. Cards are one thing that comes readily to mind. Don't we all love to get handmade cards in the mail. I know that for me handmade cards are the ones that touch my heart and tend to get saved and pinned up onto my bulletin board or hung up on that popular repostitory of all things important in my life, the refrigerator. If I can't find something that I "thought" that I had filed I look up on the refrigerator. LOL. Often I find it there. Sad but true.

I like to send cards to friends when they are having a rough week for one reason or another and find that a cute card brightens up their day. I've recently had a number of friends and family who have fought a battle with cancer and later each one of them reminded me of how much it brightened a rough patch when they received a card in the mail. A handmade card that I had made for a friend in a similiar situation brought her to tears, not exactly my plan, but it certainly showed me how much any handmade item touches the hearts of those we love.

Keeping that in mind I took a look at the patterns on my website and thought which ones might be fun to redesign into cards. Since I've been thinking about friends who have been having challenges in their lives I immediately thought of the pattern "Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil" under the Miscellaneous Pattern Category. Since friends have been on my mind I thought what a perfect pattern to develop as a card because it already shows three friends out on a night on the town having a great time. A little bread, a little cheese, some yummy wine and good friends, what more could we want? There would be minimal work to adapt it to a card surface painted on watercolor paper and layered over a lovely scrapbooking paper would be fantastic.

How about ideas from all of you?