Thursday, March 16, 2017

Finding my Inner Artist

One of the things I've always wanted to do is paint. I've done craft painting in the past, and I've enjoyed a couple of evenings at Painting with a Twist. (That's a super fun way to spend a couple of hours! I highly recommend it!) But I've never really explored painting much. I didn't even take an art class in high school.

So, after my first Painting with a Twist experience just after Christmas, I went to Craftsy and purchased a couple of painting classes. And didn't watch them until about three weeks ago. Because I'm a weirdo like that. So I went to the craft store and picked up a table-top easel, some paints, and a couple of canvases.

This is my little work space in my bedroom. The table was purchased by my grandparents when they got married in 1940! I love it, and it gets covered with a vinyl tablecloth when I'm crafting.

I also checked out a bunch of books from the library. In one of them, the author mentioned her "art journal." I wondered what that was, so I Googled it.

Holy crap.

How have I not heard of art journaling until now?! This is some seriously inspiring, creative, amazing stuff! So back to the library's website I go and find a bunch of e-books about art journaling. Then, back to the craft store for more supplies.

I actually made two more trips after this one because I kept reading about things I wanted to try!

Saturday, I spent a good portion of the day painting and working on my first art journal page. I painted one canvas, and my mom instantly claimed it, saying it would look great in her bedroom. Moms are supposed to do that, right?

I thought it seemed sort of childish, but I had fun doing it, and it loosened me up. I also spent this time learning how to tell my inner critic/fear to shut the hell up. It didn't really matter what I made. I just wanted to follow my heart and keep my brain out of it. I showed it to an acquaintance and she said it reminded her of Matisse. That made me feel pretty good. Not gonna lie.

Once that was completed, I turned my attention to my new art journal. I had already covered one page with gesso to prepare it for acrylics. (It's a watercolor pad.) I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like. I knew I wanted to make the earth in the center using the same painting technique I had learned when painting the background of the dandelion painting (above) at Painting With a Twist.

It gives the feeling of "the world" without having to be too exact. I was pretty pleased with it. My daughter later suggested that I could have used a large round stencil to have a more even edge around the circle. But, I like the unevenness of it.

Then I used red and yellow to paint the rest of the background and walked away for a while to allow it to dry.  My intention was to use a black pen to draw and write the words, but when I saw the fully dried background I changed my mind. Enter: metallic gold paint pen.

It was so much fun, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with my art supplies. This weekend, I'll be experimenting with watercolors. I've also decided to take a couple of art classes at our local community center starting in April. I'm really excited about all the possibilities that are laid out before me!

Friday, February 10, 2017


Have I ever mentioned how much I love mosaic knitting? It's freaking brilliant. You create this amazing colorwork, but only use one color at a time, slipping the stitches you want to be in the opposite color. It can be done on garter or stockinette stitch, so the possibilities are endless. It just so happens I'm wearing mosaic socks today.

Pattern: Masonry by Kate Gilbert. Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage in Marine and Crystal Palace Yarns Sausalito in Big Sur.

I also have a mosaic cowl on the needles.

Pattern: Earth Weave Cowl by Kim Sequeira. Yarn: Cascade 220 in various colors.

Now I'm eyeing the Optimist Shawl by Lisa Hannes.  Here are the colors (Cascade Heritage again) I'm planning to use. Don't they just scream "OPTIMISM!!!"  I love light, bright, happy colors.

I'll very likely start that one this weekend.

What knitting techniques are you particularly fond of? What techniques would you like to learn?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Hi Everyone!  (Ha! See how I said that like someone is actually reading this?)

So, here's what's going on in my life right now: a week before Christmas, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It sucks. I was shocked. My A1C levels had never been elevated before. Now, suddenly, they were high enough to make me diabetic. I tried not to think about it too much because it was Christmas! But, I knew that as soon as the holidays were over, I needed to make some major changes.

Enter New Year's Resolutions. I didn't resolve to lose weight. I didn't resolve to exercise. I didn't resolve to overhaul my life. I resolved to do just one thing: DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR ME. In ALL things. Not just for my physical health, but for all of me. My mental and emotional health. My need to be creative. My life. I'm not setting specific resolutions. Instead, I am making decisions as I go using that one resolution as a guiding light: do what's right for me.

So far, it's working for me. I'm spending more time with friends. I've started painting a bit. I've drastically reduced the amount of time I spend on social media. I've started seeking out unbiased news sources. I've almost entirely eliminated excess sugar from my diet. (Seriously: I used to eat Apple Jacks for breakfast. Every day. There's a damn lot of sugar there, which resulted in me wanting sugar the rest of the day. Switching breakfasts to a protein-packed, delicious breakfast sandwich drastically reduced my sugar cravings.) I've started loving my body exactly as it is. I'm not worried about losing weight. I'm done focusing on that. DONE. (It's really quite liberating to say that.) If it happens, great. If not, that's fine too. As long as I know I'm doing what's right for me, that's all that matters.

So here I am, determined to live my best life. Determined to do what's right for me in all things. You should watch and see what happens. Part of my plan is to write more here. I'll still talk a lot about knitting and my other creative endeavors, but there might be some more personal stuff too. Stick around. Let's see what I do.