Christmas In July! Free Shipping!

It’s a sale! Yay!

Every year I run a Christmas In July Sale offering a discount on Christmas items in my Etsy shop. This year is no different. This year I have decided to offer free shipping on anything relating to Christmas. Whether it be a tree skirt or stocking, or maybe a custom painting that has a Christmas theme.
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A little too warm and rainy for you to be thinking of Christmas? Can’t forget the first day of summer was just 9 days ago? That’s okay! You have all month to warm up to the idea! (Pun intended, lol)
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There are so many things I love about silk…..the feel, the sheen, the way it drapes. And believe it or not, it is a pleasure to paint on.
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These are some of the Christmas related items that I have in my shop right now. I am, however starting on handpainted ornaments and a vintage/shabby chic tree skirt and stocking. That is besides a couple of Hydrangea paintings I have in the works, which I will be posting on before too long.
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I really love combining sewing and painting. The cream colored silk tree skirt and stocking I even got to do some hand sewing in the way of quilting and sewing on beadwork.
It’s all good!

You can find the sizes and prices on my Etsy shop…
https://www.etsy.com/shop/dcartwork?ref=pr_shop_more

Have a good week!
Doris

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Primitive Flag

Hi there! With 4th of July upon us it seems to put everyone in the mood for the good ole red, white, and blue. I have always wanted a primitive flag and this year I finally got around to doing something about it.

I started by thinking of what kind of fabric I wanted to make it out of. First thought was muslin of course, but I happened to be in the kitchen section at Walmart and came across a perfect solution. White cotton kitchen towels. And the best part? They come in a package of 2 for under $3.00. I took them home and immediately washed and dried them. They took a little pressing but then they were ready to go.
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I stretched the first towel so I could paint the actual flag on it.I decided on the size 14″x25″. It just seemed to suit my needs. Trying to keep things as simple as possible I used 1″ tape to measure off the red and white stripes. Once they were painted I used a navy blue in the upper left hand corner on which to paint the stars. (tip: I cut a small stencil from poster board to keep the stars simple and regulated).
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Once the painting had dried thoroughly (ideally overnight), I cut the flag out , leaving at least a good inch around it.I also cut out 3 tabs aproximately 3″x8″. I used pinking shears so that I could keep a rough edge. I had some quilt batting laying around, but you could even use an old white towel. Just something to give it a little body. I stiched around the flag wrong sides together, leaving about a 4″ opening and inserting the tabs on the top. I cut a piece of batting just a smidge smaller than the stitching line. With a little maneuvering I slid the batting inside the flag and then stitched up the opening.

I used regular thread and ran sticthes along the stripes and pulled knots through the stars for a quilted effect.
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It was at this time I aged the flag. Remember my friend Karen? I used her instant coffee recipe for aging it. (Karen uses instant coffee. 1cup of water to 1/4cup of instant coffee to be exact.) After it had soaked sufficiently I wrung it out and hung it on a line to dry. It may need a little touching up with an iron to get out any dominant wrinkles, but other than that it is ready to hang. I found a few twigs and pulled them through the tabs and Voila!
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https://www.etsy.com/listing/193993868/handmade-quilted-flag-americana-vintage?ref=shop_home_active_1

I hope everyone has a festive and safe 4th of July this year!
Doris

Goundcover

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Stepables. Yes that’s what it is called. That much I know, but I have searched the internet looking for the name of this type of Stepable with no results. I am hoping that my botanist nephew, Chuck, can help me, but if any of you know the name in the meantime I would appreciate. It has bothered me for some time because people will ask what it is, and, I, not being much of a gardener, had thrown out the name of the plant when I planted it a few years back.
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So, what do I know about it? I do know that it bursts every spring with little purple flowers. And they are in mass too. As you can see from the photo it fills up with flowers in the small bed that I created.
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I also know that it is very low maintenance. For me that is crucial. :). Except for the first one or two years when I was devoted to watering it in order to get the roots to take hold, I have done very little. I know it needs thinning a bit every year. My form of thinning? I dig up a scoop here and there to give to people who want to start it in their own yards. It actually looks like divots in a golf course. Maybe that’s not such a great idea but the groundcover keeps on flowering and filling in every year.
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I feel like I was darn lucky when I came across this type while searching for plants in a large nursery down in Frankfort, Il.

I hope it continues to thrive and bring joy to those who see it.

Have a good weekend everyone!
Doris

P.S. I use a latex glove when painting and doing other odd jobs around the house. I have found them to be quite useful when working in the yards as well. You can get them at a pharmacy.
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My Knitting Sister

My sister Joyce and I go way back. LOL. No really. Out of the 11 children Joyce is closest to me in age.

Joyce took up knitting not too long ago and she has been making delightful scarves with her craft. I went and visited her last week. We went to a conservatory which was lovely. All of the beautiful plants and it felt tropical!

Upon arriving at her home I asked to take some photos of her knitting including some of her actually working on a scarf. The scarf that Joyce was working on was a pastel one, she also showed me 2 others that she had completed.
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When my sister charges for her scarves, which is rarely she charges $10.00. I have never seen them that low, but like I said she usually does not charge for them. She enjoys making them and giving them for gifts and to someone who, perhaps, needs their day brightened.
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Joyce said that there is quite an array of colors of yarn to choose from when picking one out to make a scarf. The yarn is called Sashay and it can be found at Michael’s, JoAnne’s, and Hobby Lobby. And if you are really lucky you will have a coupon to purchase it at a 40 or 50 percent savings. I think I will leave the making of them to Joyce. 🙂
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I hope that you are all having a good week,
Doris

A Painted Table

I don’t know if you remember the table that has been mostly covered up with tablecloths……well they are now a set. Over the past few days my home has smelled of fresh paint and wax. Love it!
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This table I had gotten years ago at Crate and Barrel outlet. Have always loved the charm of it, but it still didn’t seem to quite fit in. Now, after all this time, and a little paint, it feels right at home.

It is not unusual for me to take my sweet time when it comes to making decisions for my own home. Working with clients and guiding them through decision making comes easy for me. Actually, over the years I have heard this numerous times from interior designers. Maybe it’s just because there are so many good ideas to choose from!
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After a good cleaning and sanding, I applied one coat of a latex primer (Kilz) and 2 coats of an interior latex paint. (I used Pittsburgh Paints and it is an off white called Milk Paint). I sanded in between coats but I still had brush marks remaining. Right or wrong, this has never bothered me, I like the way glazes work with them.
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Once the wax has had a chance to dry, I give it at least an hour (it should lose it’s sheen), it gets buffed. I have found the best material for buffing is old tshirts. Ordinarily I prefer to buff in a circular motion, however, the Anne Sloan wax is a bit softer and I found rubbing with the grain works best with it.

The top I gave an extra coat of clear wax and buffed again. This helps protect the surface all the more. Also what I have found is that it moves the glaze a little bit and therefore you can even it out a little more where needed. Let it dry and buff again. And you’re done!
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A little word of caution here: if you notice in the picture I have the floor taped off around the legs and sheets of white paper pulled through them in lieu of drop cloths. I advise only doing it this way if you have alot of painting experience and you are a clean painter. I wasn’t able to lift the table, therefore I approached it this way. Ideally? Lift the legs onto pieces of 2x4s that are sitting on top of a large dropcloth.

Once the paint has thoroughly dried I applied a wax glaze mix. This is the same paint and wax glaze mix that I used on the chairs.

Alice Adams Tea Cake

A Father’s Day treat, one of my mother’s treats…….call it what you will, this quick and easy little coffee cake really hits the spot. One of the best things about it is that it uses ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.

Alice Adams Tea Cake
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3/4C sugar
1/2C (1 stick) softened butter
1 1/2C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/2C milk, room temperature
cinnamon to taste

Mix first 4 ingredients plus cinnamon (I find about a level teaspoon is a good amount). Save 1/3 for the topping.
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To the remaining amount add the egg and milk. Beat until smooth. Pour into a square or round pan. Sprinkle the topping over it.
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Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
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I usually double the recipe and put it in an 8×11 pan. Of course, it will need to bake a little longer.

Enjoy!

And a Happy Father’s Day!
Doris

A Watercolorist Friend

Hello there! Hope you are all enjoying beautiful weather the way that we here in Illinois are!

I would like to introduce you to a new friend that came into my life a couple of years ago. We met at an Artist Reception, I with an oil painted portrait and Loretta with her floral watercolor. We just seemed to hit it off, and, as happens, we are very supportive of each other.

When I asked Loretta if she would be interested in a post she was all for it. I will let her, Loretta Hamilton, speak for herself and introduce you to her style.

This is “Otis the Ostrich”…
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Since spring is here…finally…this seems to go hand in hand with getting our creative juices flowing! So here is something to inspire you if you’re interested in watercolor painting. I have just started to switch from painting florals (which I love) to painting birds and animals (which I love also…but just haven’t tried painting much). But now that I’m into it, I find it to be lots of fun. So what could be better than the quirky face of an ostrich for starters?!

I always suggest that when using watercolors for the first time, it is best to purchase a few very good items. Getting the best quality paper and the best brand watercolor paints (you really only need yellow, red and blue) and one or two really good brushes makes all the difference between success and failure.

For this painting, I used Lowell Cornell brushes #26 and #14; and a Kolinsky Sable #6 and #4. I used a variety of colors that I have on my palette, including Vertider Blue, Indigo, Burnt Sienna, Mineral Violet, Permanent Magenta and Quinacradone Burnt Orange. But you can always use your primary color paints to mix a variety of these types of shades for a fraction of the cost. I also use Arches 300# watercolor paper…I like the blocks the best. The Arches 140# paper is also fine.

Step 1: I usually use a photo reference for my paintings. If you decide to do that as well, I suggest using a good photo that highlights your subject with the proper lighting and clarity. Don’t forget that you can use artistic license and if there is something you’d like to change within the composition…do it. You’re the artist…you get to decide! Once you have your photo reference, lightly pencil sketch the subject onto your watercolor paper which is what I did here…
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Step 2: I usually mask my whites so that I can save them as the painting develops (remember, no use of white paint in watercolors!). I use commercial liquid masking available at most art supply stores and apply with a colour shaper, flat or pointed tip. And I always start with painting the eyes. If the eyes don’t turn out right, the rest of the painting will not be good. So here I painted the eyes first and I thought they looked OK and continued on…
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Step 3: I painted the beak next, and the nostrils…I started applying color lightly, and then darkened the areas where I saw shadows. (The nostrils are very dark and require many applications. Black is not used in watercolor and even the grey w/c paint is pretty flat, so I mix my own darks.) Then I started painting the layers of feathers, letting each layer dry thoroughly in between applications (and I’m very impatient, so I have to work really hard at the “waiting game”). I also applied clear water in long feathery strokes outside of the bird’s head so that when I added pigment, it ran into the water strokes and carried color into those wisps of hair. Holding the paper at an angle to let the water flow into the waterways is a great way to accomplish this…
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Step 4: I finished up on all of the feathers and continued to layer more paint in the shadows…especially the feathers around the “eye lids”. I also continued to paint the neck and layered a bit of other color into areas here and there, using a touch of Permanent Magenta for highlights…
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Step 5: I removed the masking and softened the edges around the white areas with a wet #4 brush. As I examined my almost-finished project, I decided I didn’t like how light the area around the beak on the bird’s right side was…so I darkened it a tad. I also splattered a bit of paint around for added whimsy…looks like the ostrich has kicked up a little dust…
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Step 6: Here’s the finished product…time to let it completely dry before mounting…maybe time for a glass of mint iced tea as well…
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Hope you enjoyed these steps to painting “Otis”!

Loretta

…..Thank you, Loretta! Hope to see you again at an upcoming show!

Have a great day!
Doris

Loretta J. Hamilton
https://lorettasgallery.artspan.com

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