Warm, Fall Inspiration

Fall is my favorite season.  It has so much going for it–between the crisp weather and the ability to wear comfy sweaters and boots to work, it’s hard to go wrong.  It’s like an invitation to wrap yourself in a warm blanket and just enjoy life for a few months.

But for the past few days, the allergy side of the season has been hitting me and turning me into a tired, groggy mess.  Sometimes life calls for a warm cup of tea and some quiet rejoicing over the season.  Thankfully, I have a husband who encourages me to sit on the porch with a cup of tea.  He’s cool like that.

And there’s a cup of tea for the creative side of things, too:

watercolor from leschosettes.canalblog.com

watercolor from leschosettes.canalblog.com

Advertisements

Happy Otterday!

While we were on vacation, I sold a set of my favorite otter notecards.  It’s the teeny tiny victories that count when you aren’t devoting much time to your artistic craft.

il_570xN.395734437_dvntI mailed them off yesterday and realized that I only have two sets of otter cards left.  Good thing I get to keep the original!

Long-distance Peanut

We’re on a short mid-week trip today, and the morning included some reading time at a cute coffee shop. (Color me happy.) The real prize was that they had a painting of Peanut on the wall. True, they got his snout all wrong, but they got the spirit of the tail-chasing very right.

20140625-120028.jpg

There are few things I enjoy more than quality time with a small mountain town (and a book) on a day off. Throw a painting of Peanut into the mix, and I’m in hog heaven.

Non-traditional Holiday Prep

Of course, since we’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, there were oodles and oodles of recipes to pick and groceries to buy. And of course, I went grocery shopping after work on the one night that involved 37 degree weather mixed with decently heavy rain and large rivers through the parking lot. On top of that, I wore my boots that have a giant hole in the bottom on that day.  Not my smartest set of decisions ever.

But that’s what warm sweatpants are for when you get home.

That covers the traditional preparations.  There were also some non-food creative ventures that happened recently.  A few commissioned paintings allowed me to dust off my watercolor paint brushes.  That was a somewhat scary experience, since the subject matter for one was a bit outside of my normal trees and such.  I like how it turned out though:

photo(1)It’s an antique dive helmet, in case that isn’t obvious.  It’s also slightly brighter in real life.

After the watercolor adventures, there was a furniture painting adventure.  We’ve had this outdoor table and chairs since some good friends moved away several years ago.  I love inheriting furniture from friends, because it reminds me of people I really really like.  I also like that it’s free.

The table and chairs were cute when we got them–orange plastic with red metal legs on the table and chairs.  Unfortunately, sun and rain and potted plants on the table do eventually leave furniture in need of some TLC.  A few years ago, I painted the plastic portion a darker red to match the legs and bring the set back to its former glory.

Fast forward two years, and things were starting to look shabby again.  Now, thanks to two cans of spray paint that I bought years ago, they’ve been transformed into two shades of green that are really quite nice in our living areas inside and out.  Yay!  Furniture that looks brand new!!!

photoNow the munchkin table is fresh and Thanksgiving-worthy.  Thanks for the table, friends.  It is being well loved.

Being Okay With Imperfection

I recently read an Etsy article (written for and distributed to people who have Etsy shops) that focused on imperfection.  Apparantly, lots of Etsy crafters/artists/sellers struggle with listing items.  I’m not talking about technical issues with listing items, but a struggle that comes from a desire for perfection.  That’s something I can definitely relate to.

Perfectionism isn’t always something I struggle with.  There’s a pile of wallboard rubble at my feet as I type this–strong evidence that I can live with mess, at least to some degree.  But I think everybody struggles with wanting certain things to be perfect.  For me, one of those things is my image as an “artist.”  

I don’t actually consider myself an artist.  Not really.  I just like to paint, and I like some of the paintings I create.  Some other people have said that they like my paintings, too.  So presenting myself as an artist in an online shop is a constant struggle between wanting to present as many items as possible to fill out the shop and wanting to present a cohesive brand that’s as perfect as possible.

Until today, I had been going mostly with the “as perfect as possible” theme.  I listed only the items I would take to an art critique.  Today, I posted items that maybe weren’t formal enough or were painted too long ago (high school!).   

Image

some of the new stuff

And you know what surprised me?  I’m glad that all of those paintings are posted online.  Some of them are incredibly cheerful.  Others have a nice decorative vibe, even if they aren’t fine paintings.  Maybe someone needs that burst of perkiness or that small piece of decoration.  (Need being a relative term.)  

I was proud of the way my shop looked before.  It was mostly full of muted colors and relatively realistic (if simple) landscapes.  Now there’s more ridiculousness.  Because of that, my shop looks more like me today than it ever has before.  I do think there’s something to be said for imperfection.  There’s life in imperfection.

Merry Mid-January

We’re very nearly into the double digits in January, and I’m working my way into the month with our Christmas tree proudly standing in the front window. I kind of like it. It is the prettiest Christmas tree of my adult life, and it’s definitely cheery. Why not leave it up for cool winter nights?

Peanut is hoping the tree will fall soon so that he can see out the window again, but I’m happy with things for now. I’ve got other things to do.

Before mid-January arrived, Scott, Peanut and I got to take quick trips to Blacksburg and North Carolina. This was our greeting at the family farm:

sunset

When we got home, I needed to apply for a new passport ASAP (more on that fun reason soon). I was afraid that when I submitted my old passport for renewal, they might just keep it a la the DMV and old licenses. Fortunately, that’s not how it works. I took a few pictures of my old passport before dropping it off, just in case. I really really didn’t want to lose those stamps.

passport

While I ran back and forth between the post office and home to get paperwork sorted out, I got a few packs of seeds for our winter vegetable garden. As I was paying for the seeds, the store owner put them into a small paper bag that was decorated with a marker-drawn flower. I loved it right away, and I loved it even more when he shrugged and said, “My granddaughter was here earlier.” A granddaughter-decorated paper bag is the perfect way to start a winter garden, in my opinion.

bag

What else am I doing? I’m editing things, painting things, and painting other types of things (the first being watercolors, the second being doors and trim and such around the house).
painting

I’m hoping that my paintings become more than rough drafts of ideas soon. I feel good about that.

Between You and Me

I’m going to show you a few of my favorite random pieces of art from Etsy.  Keep it between us, okay?  I would hate for all of my picks to vanish from my realm of possible purchasing.  Then again, you’d be doing my budget a favor. So on second thought, I’ll say that you should absolutely buy these.  You’re also morally obligated to suggest another good Etsy find to me if you buy one of my picks.  Buy away!

If you have no idea what Etsy is, it’s about time you found out.  It’s like Amazon for crafty or artsy folks.  You can buy and sell anything from beads to chandeliers or furniture (sometimes), jewelry or art.  There’s a huge range of stuff, too.  You could buy a $0.25 postcard or a $10,000 original oil painting.  If someone can make it by hand or if they can find a vintage version of it, you can find it on Etsy.

There’s also a funny site called Regretsy, but I’m going to make you work to find that.  It can be hilarious–a collection of the weirdest things available on Etsy.  Believe me, there’s some weird stuff.  It’s also wildly inappropriate sometimes.  You’ve been warned.

Okay, so today’s winners are listed below.  Each picture links to the object listing on Etsy, and you can find more things by the same artist by looking at their shop.

  1. I’m feeling somewhat nostalgic and wouldn’t mind spending a day or two in San Antonio, college stomping grounds extraordinaire.

    by Capow

  2. When have I ever turned down a great picture of trees and/or clouds?

    by irenesuchocki

  3. I am definitely thinking about Christmas lights already.  They’re corny and commercial and have nothing to do with the real meaning of the season, but I love them anyway.  They’re sparkly and magical, and I could stare at them for hours.  Sometimes I thank God for giving me a neighbor who puts twinkle lights into their trees around Christmas.

    by irenesuchocki

  4. This letterpress poster just makes me smile.

    by 1canoe2

  5. And this one makes me sing songs about Texas, so it can’t possibly be anything but good.

    by 1canoe2