Knitting

Sorry for the delay, I ended up having to go into work this morning. But here I am now and here goes….

I had tried knitting a few times over the years and never really got anywhere with it. I felt clumsy at it and very slow. This past fall I took it up again and it has taken hold I do believe. Everyone got something knitted for Christmas this year! lol. And sometimes it took a couple of tries to get it right. What got me started again was last year I had put on a few pounds. Not alot, but enough to make the pants be a little tighter. And, to be quite honest I was having a hard time staying away from snacking or “grazing”. I saw where, it was either JoAnne’s or Michaels had yarn on sale and I took interest in it once again. I will tell you that it definitely keeps the hands busy! And it keeps your mind occupied and off food. So, without even trying anything else, I have taken 3 lbs off. Not quite halfway to where I want to be, but I am tickled about it. There is another thing good about it, I found. Keeping your mind busy helps your mind stay in shape. My daughter has been one to suggest different ways to do that. Be it crossword puzzles, computer games, or memorization. I think I’ll do the knitting more than the others. I am exercising my brain without any real effort.

So…..I have found a few websites that offer free patterns and have found yarn to be not that expensive, which helps when you are trying something new. There are many free patterns in different styles. However, I found one on etsy.com of a little doll. It cost $4.22. I looked at it at first and thought “No way.” Then I noticed it said it was a beginners pattern. Okay, so I looked at it again and thought “Well, maybe if I take my time.” Once I started on it, it went rather quickly,(and I am still rather slow at it). I felt that she needed a blanket to go with it, so I knitted one it the very simple garter stitch, and behold, there she was!

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Don’t you think she would be a great little gift for a 1 or 2 year old? Shhhhh…..don’t tell.

There is something else I found……kitties love yarn and knitted things. I found some fuzzy yarn and knitted, once again, in a very simple stitch, a little blanket for Molly. She loves laying on it. It looks like this:
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I made a pair of yoga socks for my daughter, Janet, out of wool. She posted a picture of her cat, Renee, laying on them.

I am having difficulty getting a link to work to get you right to the pattern, but I will try again in a bit.
For now, I hope you all are having a good day, and if you are going to be hit with another storm the way we are suppose to, stay safe.
Doris
Let’s try this link again:
The little doll pattern is called Snuggle Dolly and I found her at http://www.etsy.com/shop/quiethomedesigns.
I think she has been worth it!

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A Quick Note

Hello there! Just a quick note on this very busy and exciting day. I started off the day getting a confirmation that, yes ideed, I will be included in the Cavalcade of Homes this summer. It is too early to give any details, But when I can I will share what I can. There is always the element of surprise that is wanted for a Cavalcade or model home. I will tell you this much. It is my very favorite way to work. The teamwork that goes into is amazing. And the chance to be creative on a large scale.

After that I had an appointment with a previous client to see about redoing the kitchen. Very nice lady, I remember her well and her home.

Didn’t get a creative post up today, but I definitely will tomorrow. And………it is on Knitting. Yes knitting. It is a beginners piece that I did and it is a bit of whimsy too. I will explain about how I got to knitting tomorrow as well. AS for me right now it is time to unwind.

Have a good night all!

Paper Mache Relief – How To

Brrrrrr……baby it’s cold outside! Here in Illinois we are in a deep freeze. Where are you from and how is your weather these days?

I mentioned posting on paper mache reliefs the other day. I had a distraction from that but am now on it and ready to go. The first pictures are of a relief I created on a client’s wall in the upstairs foyer. The one is of myself actually doing the work and the other is the finished product. The following pictures and instructions are of a simpler project but done in the same technique. It just gets applied to walls on a larger scale. Hopefully I can include a photo of an urn relief that I did in a model home a few years ago. It is actually my favorite. So here we go…….The supplies you will need are, something to apply the relief to, pre-packaged paper mache, drywall mud (alot of times it is called joint compound), a water based primer such as Kilz, acryic paint (I used Delta Ceramcoat, but you can use any brand just get the color you want), red metallic paint, sandpaper, glaze medium, and water based varnish.
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I thought a little Valentine piece would be fun. I purchased a box at Michaels for $1.89 after my coupon. All of the other supplies I already had, but you may find at your local craft store. The only thing you will probably have to get elsewhere is the drywall mud. Unless you get your supplies at Walmart, then I bet they would have that as well.
A finished project —

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The different steps along the way. You will need prepackaged paper mache (photo). Sometimes it is called plaster papaer.
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I just freehanded it but you might prefer to draw a simple heart on the center of the box for guidance. Wet the paper mache according to directions, cutting it into pieces about 5-7 inches long. Apply it to the top of the box forming a heart shape. Smooth it down a bit, but you can expect it to stay a little rough. (That’s where the drywall mud comes in) Press the edges down so there are no gaps. Let dry several hours or overnight.
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Next step is to apply the drywall mud. I used a painters knife but a putty knife works just fine. Apply 2 thin coats letting it dry a few hours in between coats. It’s important to layer on thin coats as it can crack as it dries if it’s to thick. I also sanded mine in between coats and after the second coat. The way I like it is leave it with some hills and valleys for texture. When this has dried thoroughly coat the entire box with a water based primer such as Kilz.
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Next comes painting the heart. I used a color called Cardinal Red but any red will do. I applied 2 coats, let it dry and then painted on 2 coats of red metallic. Don’t worry if the red goes past the drywall mud, you can clean up any edges when you apply the pink to the rest of the box. Which is what is next actually. It took 2 coats to cover the box with pink, sanding between coats and after to give it a smooth feel.
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The final steps are the writing and the glazing. The writing you can do whatever you are comfortable with as long as it is permanent. Be it paint such as I used, a stencil, or even rub ons. And you can use a saying of your choice. Let the lettering dry thoroughly and then mix 1 part burnt umber paint to 2 parts glaze, I brushed each side separately and immediately used the cheesecloth to remove enough so the pink shows through well. When this is dry, I suggest overnight, I applied 2 coats of water based varnish.
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And this has been my favorite so far. It was done on the wall of the vestibule going into a master bedroom. It coordinated with what I did in the master ceiling and on the master bath walls.
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I hope that you will give it a go and try the technique. Whereas it can be just a little messy, the rewards are great.
Have a good evening and stay warm!

Pet Portraits

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paintfrompics 004P1010631I have a cat named Molly. She will be 21 years old in September. She still is relatively active for her age. She’s pretty special. I have done some traveling in this life and sometimes I like to imagine Molly at those places as well. Except as you can tell she is larger than life there. I first painted Molly in Paris. I now have painted one of her in Sedona with 2 other destinations coming soon. I loved my time in Sedona and I think it is a perfect venue for the relaxation of a cat. I have posted pictures of the painting in different stages. To me, it kind of tells a story.

If you go to my Etsy shop you will see the portraits of Molly in Paris. I do custom pet portraits in a variety of styles and mediums. These most recent ones will be up there soon as well.

Our imagination is a wonderful thing.
Have a good weekend all.

Italian Soup

Good Morning World!

I have a soup recipe for you today but I would like to give the story behind it. Now, I have to tell you that I have many really great clients and have done some interesting and fun projects for them. The one that comes to mind every time I make this soup I can’t help but think of the client and the project that went with it. And it always makes me smile.

I was hired by a client to paint a sports themed mural in their son’s room. It included a locker with a shirt hanging in it and some other things like a baseball bat and some sports shoes to name a few. It took me three days to complete. On the second day, midmorning, I was painting away upstairs when I began to smell a wonderfully fragrant recipe being made down in the kitchen. This doesn’t usually happen with me. I had to go out to my jeep to get something and when I came back in I noticed a woman at the stove. She said hello and we chatted for a minute about what I was doing. Then I couldn’t resist, I asked her what she was making. She said that she was the Grandma visiting and she was making their favorite Italian soup. She showed me what it looked like, I complimented her on it and when back to my painting. A short time later she came up and said, “Here is the recipe if you would like it.” I love to cook so I was thrilled. At the end of that day I said good bye and thanked her once again for the recipe. Anxious to make the soup I picked up the ingredients on my way home and made it that night. It was so easy I soon was sitting down to a fresh bowl of soup for my supper.

And so I would like to pass on my good fortune of receiving this delicious soup. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Italian Soup

Mild or medium Italian sausage (if using links at least 4 or about 1 lb)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic from a jar, (I like garlic, therefore, I use more)
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 can beef broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

Brown the sausage (if links, remove from casing) breaking it up into small pieces. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread.

Enjoy!

BTW, my daughter and son-in-law are vegetarians and I often think of ways to change recipes into meatless dishes. I think if you remove the sausage, switch the broth to a vegetable one, maybe increase the vegetables by 50%, and add Italian seasoning this would be delicious that way too.

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Let’s Talk Color!

Lots of people get confused when it comes to choosing colors for their home. It’s no wonder – there is so much to choose from!

Let’s say the dominant color throughout your home is an earth tone and you want to choose an accent color for a certain room or wall. The process is much easier if you have a fabric chosen in advance. You may then choose either a prominent color in it that is your favorite, or use a secondary color found in the pattern. Keep in mind that the brighter the color is, the more easily you will tire of it. It is good to keep in mind that it may be a color that you might want to use in another area of your home. For example, the color you choose for an accent wall in the family room might just be the perfect color for the walls in the powder room, thus keeping a flow going.

It may be the artist in me, but I consider white and black colors as well. Using black as an accent color in a room can add alot of drama to the space.

If you want to learn more, say – what colors are compliments of each other, you might want to invest in a color wheel. Some paint stores carry them, most art supply stores do. Or you might just want to ask a professional such as myself, to guide you through the process.

Many times I have created custom colors for a client. Mixing the color to be just the right one for their particular home. Lighting plays such a big role. For instance, in my home I wanted a warm color for the main walls and ceilings. I brought home several samples of colors from paint stores and none of them were “just right”. So what did I do? I created a series of colors from light to dark that I could use so that the color would flow properly throughout. I call it the Dog Series.

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The colors from dark to light are:

Maltese Mocha

Terrier Tan

Boxer Beige

Corgi Cream, and

Poodle Puff

(My friends at the paint store were very patient. lol)

And here is how they look on walls and ceilings:

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After all that I will tell you that paint stores are making it much easier for consumers these days. You can go into almost any paint store and find pamphlets that show colors that work well together. They also carry the current trends in color selections.

I hope this helps if you are thinking of painting, or if you have questions please leave a comment.

Have a good day!


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