- Jasper Green, and a little announcement.
- Indepth 2012
- 10 years of Decking the Halls!
- That's Mr. Deatherage to you
- Quick and Easy Themed Gifts
- Cookie Time!
- Sandi's Gift Guide, 2012
- Painted Porcelain
- Aloha from the Mainland
This year is going to be awesome! You know why? It's a green year. Pantone has claimed Emerald to be the color of the year. Now, I must take a color snob moment and make a disclaimer that I actually think Pantone usually is a year late in their color declarations, and at least a few shades off. However, green is my color! So I am going to ignore my forementioned snobbery and jump for joy that _my_ (it can be yours too) color is the shade of the year. Now, as I mentioned, I think they are a few shades off. I think the real color that is winner at the moment is _Jasper Green_. Ooohh.. Jasper. I was playing around with my watercolor palette a few weeks ago because I realized I had too many greens that were very similar in shade. I tested them out, playing around with different combos and found Jasper to be the winner of the moment for me. If you google Jasper Green, you will probably end up with a lot of different shades. There isn't really a standardized color system going on out there, which can make it really tricky when buying art supplies. I happen to have two "Cadmium Orange" colors in my watercolor palette because they are waaayy different colors. My Jasper green is a clear, deep green with a blue undertone, just enough to make it not Emerald but not quite to turquoise. Yep, that's the green sweet spot. I've been doing some painting exercises.. trying to minimize brush strokes to ovoid over working things, but I don't have that lightness yet that makes it look as though the paint just fell onto the paper and landed all beautiful-like. That's why they call it practice I 'spose. When I was searching Jasper Green, I found these awesome messenger bags via SwankySwans. I just wish you could see the inside of the bag. bummer Little announcement - I am soon going to be switching blogging hosts. Typepad has been good to me, but I am finding more and more road blocks in the direction I would like to take my blog and have finally decided to move to Wordpress. Unfortunately, I didn't buy my blog domain when I started up, so I am going to have to change it completely and won't be able to redirect readers automatically. (At least as far as I understand.) So, I want to make my first few weeks in the new spot extra great to help get everyone used to the new space. It's going to be great, assuming I figure out these coding issues (not my thang at all.) Would anyone like to join forces with me to make my new blog launch great? If you have a tutorial, project, recipe, inspirational story etc.. that you would like to share, please reach out to me! I won't be going live with this blog for a little while, but the cogs are turning on it. xo Sandi
This year. This year, how I have had a love/hate relashionship with it. Best and worst all in one. :) Anyone else have a year like that? The beginning of 2012 found me living with my in-laws at the worst point in my life. I didn't think I would make it to see 2013. I written a tiny bit about some health problems I went through this year, not a lot, I'm sorry about that. It isn't something I am ready to discuss, but it boils down to my body sincerely malfunctioning. I had horrible heart spasms, palpitations and missed beats. My vision would get stuck, where I would walk around, but an image would be frozen in my mind, sort of like in the movies when the burglar puts a photo over a surveilance camera. I passed out several times, and had very little control over my body. There were times when I was so weak, I couldn't walk up and down the stairs, much less to the bathroom. I couldn't even put on my own socks. January 2012 was probably the worst month of my life. I'm glad it is over. February.. much of the same. I contemplated up and moving to somewhere tropical to escape the life I found myself trying to maneuver. Drastic, yes? I did eventually come to my senses that a change of location wouldn't be what helped. :) I see it now as my way of coping with circumstances that were beyond my control. My 32 birthday ended February and I made a resolve to myself to see my way through the next year. I was seeing a doctor and a counselor, and started keeping a journal to document everything I was going through, mentally, physically, emotionally. One day I was so frustrated, I ripped it to pieces with tears falling down my face. Dustin tried to take it from me and eventually won. It was taped back together. I think the torn page scars in the journal are much more telling than any of the words in it. Looking back at pictures of those first four months of 2012 are painful. Every feeling, emotion and smell comes racing back to me and I have to remind myself that that period of my life is over. I am healthy now, I am happy, I am still here. Some days, all I could do to make it through the day without going CA-RAZY was to focus on one single thing, be it playing music, painting, working out.. whatever was willing to take my attention on that day, I would throw myself into it. I took up watercolor this year and found that I love it. LOVE it. I am nothing if not obsessive over a new skill to throw myself into, so learning all about paint was helpful to me this year and I can's see myself ever not painting. It has made it somewhat strange though, as my paintings are done in a style much different than I put on my fabrics. Hmm.. I'm not quite sure how to integrate the two, or even it I should. ? Not worth really worrying about, but its a thought that has crossed my mind a lot. March, April and May were hard. They were also the beginnings of change in my life. I reached out for help to my closest friends and have never felt more love at any time in my life. Friends that would drop everything and cry with me, drive around with me and sometimes have no idea what to say, but would be there anyway. The sun started to shine during May and I had regained control over my body. We only had one car this summer, and Dustin was working insane 12+ hour days to provide for us, as I obviously wasn't helping out too much in that department. :) I had to put every work project to the side, there just wasn't a choice in the matter. So the kids and I took to our bikes and got out every day. We rode about 4 miles every day and walked, swam, hiked and played all over Missoula. I didn't have a garden in 2012, which was hard for me. I think it is the first year since we have been married that I didn't have a chunk of earth to dig around in and plant things. I tried pots, failed miserably. :) By the end of summer, my body was strong! We all were, and it felt good. Dustin and I had plans, we were ready to move into a home of our own again. We decided that we wanted another child. This was the time that I learned more than I ever had before that even though you have your pennies in a row, it doesn't mean you will get what you want. :) Houses and two lines on the test just would not show themselves. Months went by and there literally was NOWHERE for us to live. My standards were not high by any means, but we just couldn't find a place. Until we did. We moved on Ethans birthday and our home is filled music, books, food, art supplies, chickens and noise. We are eating off of our own dishes and sleeping in our own beds again. I am even hanging photos on the wall, and working again. October brought Halloween, which I was here for. I was at Quilt Market last year, which killed me. I won't do it again, even though I know that was the right decision at the time. Still not sure why, but it was. Maybe because I wasn't able to go at all this year? Hmm, maybe. Anyhow, we went trick or treating as a family this year and it felt amazing. November rocked it out of the park. I went to Hawaii. If I could bottle that week up into pill form, there wouldn't be a sad person on earth. Hawaii has taken ahold of a piece of my soul and will forever be deeply planted there. Winter arrived and I was able to check one huge project off my to do list. I finished writing my next book, which will be available in March. The was a huge task, and because of my crazy year, the pub date was changed twice. I'm still grateful that Wiley worked with me on it, I didn't think I was going to be able to see it through to the end, but I did. Go me. December brought a month full of joy. We had our own Christmas tree that we decorated together (didn't happen last year), we are all happy and healthy and Dustin landed an amazing new job that kisses those insanely long work days goodbye. (He is working for the Red Cross now, hooray!) As today is the last day of the year, I am definitely being reminiscent. 2012 will go down in my history and the year that broke me, which forced me to rebuild myself stronger than I ever was before. So, worst and best at the same time. I made one goal on News Years Eve 2011, and I was able to accomplish it, along with many other amazing things. So I am happy to see the dawn of 2013, but am grateful for the gifts that 2012 will leave me with. I am happy to say that my face is much more frequently making this expression these days. I see a different girl here than I used to know, she is wiser and stronger, and I look forward to being her in 2013.
How is everyone doing!? Are you ready for the Holidays? Not even started? Been done since June? I fall somewhere in between. I started buying and making gifts in October and got about half done, which led me to feel very in control of the Holiday gift giving. So I slowed down and realized yesterday that Christmas is less than a week away and I need to finish up that other half of my list. Yikes. So today is my gift finish day, and I am getting a lot done. Hooray! I mentioned it before, but I am so so sooo grateful to be in our own home this year. Its the first year we have spent Christmas as a family alone in 4 years. Last year, we were living with Dustin's parent and the previous 3 years, we had people living with US. So we have had an amazing time cultivating some really great family memories this year. Decorating, baking, singing songs, playing games at night before bedtime.. Playing games with the kids is so different now because they are both old enough to understand and actually play for themselves. So fun. But makes me baby hungry. Today happens to be Dustin and my 10th Anniversary. 10 years. 10 years?! It feel like yesterday and also forever ago. I'm sure a lot of you know what I mean. We have been through so much together, and every year I realize more than I ever have before that the thing I lucked out the most on in this life is the husband I managed to snag. When we got married, it was a total budget wedding. Fake flowers were cheaper by far and I knew how to arrange them (my aunt Clarene helped) so that's what we went with. Our flowers ended up costing about $200 instead of oh.. $2000 for fresh. And I am so glad I went with fake, because we still have wedding flowers! This year, I gathered all the last stems that I haden't done anything with yet(previous projects have included rose sprays that we tuck into our Christmas tree every year and Christmas table centerpieces) and decided to make a Holiday wreath out of them. It really is cool having the Christmas season coincide with your wedding anniversary, every year I feel like the town is being decorated partly for us. :) It turned out nice - I would like to fill it in a bit more, but I love it all the same. Hope you are all keeping safe, holding your loved ones close and enjoying this holiday season. xo Sandi
I recently had the happy fortune to throw a baby shower for my dear friend. Amber is having a boy, to be names Jasper Deatherage. Yes, when she told me the middle name I had a double (quadruple) take. Deatherage? As in Death - erage? Yep. I guess it is a family name and well, they just think its cool. Which is what matters when naming a baby anyhow. So after my initial what???, I hopped on the odd name train and put together a shower for her, with the help of my friend Liesel. Before I go farther, I would love to hear stories of peculiar names that have an interesting story behind them, and I'm sure they would too. My gift to the Mama, appliqued onesies. My favorite is the "Juicy" one, as baby bellies are heaven sent. So rolly and round and juicy. Eliza helped me attach little flags to paperclips and slide them onto glasses. We had a pen next to the glasses so that people could label their drinks. I always loose track of my glass at a party and thought this would help. Worked like a charm. I am contemplating painting a chalkboard strip onto these ones (Online Target return that I bought in store - $6 for 18) but I'm not sure how it would hold up to washing. Lemon Curd cupcakes. Liesel rocked the treats, filling the center of each cupcake with a dollop of homemade curd. So gooood... Quick memo - if you are going to play the game where the person that finds a button in their cupcake wins a prize, it's a good idea to let your guests know there is a button in one of the cupcakes. Just sayin. It was a great party. I've never been to a shower held at night, but it added to the festive party feel. Give it a try the next time you are planning an event like this! OK, signing off. My brain is mush today, so I apologize for the droll writing. :) Going to take a nap! Hope your holiday preparations are going swimmingly! Sandi
We are getting closer! Who is ready? This year we set a really really small Christmas budget. As is, I've spent about 50 bucks. I'm not done shopping, but I am not planning on spending a lot more. We're saving our pennies over here for a few different things and are also trying to really teach our kids about the meaning behind Christmas. I am totally for gift giving though! And I love getting gifts, as I have made clear. ;) So this year the gifts are primarily handmade, but I also have a really looong list of people that I want to share Christmas love with. As much as I would want to sew, paint or create something for everyone on my list, there just isn't time! So, I came up with a few ideas for a gifts that don't take a long time to bring together. First, the themed craft kit. I wrote my list of friends down and jotted their hobbies next to each name. I then went on a hunt for containers around the house to fill, so I didn't buy any particular packaging. This one below happens to be a cocoa container. Then, I filled it up. This is where you have to know your friends. Will they find it tacky that you went around your house filling up a cocoa container with your cast offs? If so.. maybe go a different route. ;) But most of my friends share my same interests, and a goodie box filled with vintage buttons, trims and fabric will be better than something from the store. It shows that I love them enough to share parts of my collection. And as a bonus for me, these gifts cost me nothing. I've put together sewing kits, art kits, cooking kits (recipes, specialty pantry items, thrifted unique dishes) cleaning kits (my favorite cleaning products - this might sound like a horrible gift, but if you share fun conversations with people about how you both love to clean certain things, then it will touch home and be appreciated!). If you are looking for a good tutorial for a project to do with the kids, my friend Liesel shared these crayons on her blog the other day. Melting crayons is not exactly a new thing, but her idea to double boil them was genius to me! They gave them to our kids last year and they are still the "go-to" crayons. Do you guys have any great low - no cost gift ideas?
Its cookie baking time my friends. I am excited, this year is the first year that I have noticed Eliza being an actual help with holiday preparations. She has always "helped" but this year, she helps. It is a blast having her in the kitchen with me and talking about food, cooking, school.. I love it. We hopped over to the dollar store the other day and gathered some decorating supplies and cookie tins. We got to the checkout and the total came to $25. I handed over my card, to get that much dreaded "it's been declined" from the apologetic cashier. It was pretty miserable. Come to find out, I had just brought the wrong card with me, but it was still embarrassing. And I felt horrible because the kids had been so good through the store and I let them pick out hot cocoa mugs that they were really excited about. As I was explaining to my sad kids that we had to leave the items at the store and run to the bank, a lovely lady behind us handed over the $25 and wouldn't take no for an answer. I was completely overcome with gratidute and humility. She just gave me a hug, said "Merry Christmas!" and told me my kids were sweet and that she was once a young mother too. For me, to know that people still do that sort of thing probably made my holiday season. So, I want to pay it forward. I am going to specifically look for another shopper in a store that I can assist in person, because it made all the difference, but I would also like to send some care packages to people that could really use them. If you know of someone that could use a pick me up of fabrics, patterns and goodies, would you please let me know? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know who this person is. Or if it is you and the gifts could really help you this holiday season? I want to give back. Thank you guys! I have picked all the recipients I can handle right now. xoxo!! Anyhow, back to those cookie tins that cost me nothing. Eliza and I decorated them up with ribbon, pepperminty yoyos and some other holiday cheer. Aren't they cute? I love how they turned out. We're going to line them with wax paper and fill them up with goodies for our friends. My anual cookie tradition has come to consist of homemade marshmallows (recipe in my next book! Spring 2013), White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread cookies. (Image Credit) I've been making these cookies the longest and I have to say, they are probably my favorite cookie. Not favorite cookie, just down right favorite cookie! I prefer to drizzle the white chocolate on top of the cookie rather than dip half the cookie in. Spreads the love a little better. I'm going to try these caramels this year too. I have room in my boxes for two more goodies. Do you have any favorites? I think I need something chocolaty in there and then maybe pepperminty too. Hmm. Suggestions? If you want to check out some truly awesome cookie decorating, hop over to Sweet Sugar Belle to be in awe. I would love to develop that skill set with sugar, but for now I am content to just look on in awe. Pretty impressive.
May I preface this post by stating that I feel all kinds of greedy putting this out there? But, people ask what you would like every year and it is so much easier to do your Christmas gift readying when you have an idea of what someone would like isn't it? So I decided to cultivate a little "Creative Christmas List" for the artsy craftsy sewy types of the world. This is uh.. tailored to my wants, but feel free to send your loved ones to view! OK! Art Supplies. The most obvious for me I think, but probably really hard for people to shop for, especially if the buyer isn't familiar with art supplies. WATERCOLOR PAPER Watercolor paper comes in sheets, journals and "blocks". I love watercolor journals. Either by Moleskine or handmade. I have purchased two of these handmade journals from here and have loved them and filled them to the brim with sketches and paintings. I also love watercolor sheets. My favorite is Fabriano Artistico Traditional White watercolor paper in cold press / 140 lb. Thats a whole lot of talk for a piece of paper, before I understood the lingo of art supplies I thought I was listening to another language. Watercolor Blocks are pads of watercolor paper that are glued on all four edges instead of just the top edge. When they painting is complete, the top sheet is cut or gently peeled away. I assume this is to help the paper not stretch or move too much when painting but I have never used a block. Just never tried it out, prefer the portability and easy of a journal that I can flip to. If I am working on a painting I need to have loose, I go for the sheets of paper, which are large (22" x 30") and cut it to the size I need. WATERCOLOR PAINTS. Paints are like everything else. You can buy a range of qualities. For many of lifes necessities I am happy to make do with the cheap stuff. Not when it comes to paint. The student grade as they are called have much less pigment and don't go as far. This may be a really great option for someone just starting out in watercolor as they are more like painting with a marker. The color you see is the color you get. The hues are usually synthetic and don't go as far. Artist quality paints are packed so full of pigment that the color that comes out of the tube usually looks nothing like the color you will get on the paper. You dilute watercolor paints with water, so you can achieve many different values of a color just by using more or less water. Tubes or Pans? I highly prefer tubes. I did a lot of cost comparison before I invested in paints and tubes are so so sooo much more ecconomical. A half pan of Winsor Newton Alizarin Crimson runs you about $5. A 5 ml. tube of the same color and brand costs pretty much the same amount, but the tube will fill a half pan probably 4 times. Watercolor goes a long way and I have been able to fill my own palettes as well as those of friends from the same tube. My favorite brands are Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, M Graham and select colors from Holbein. Holbeins quality isn't as up to snuff as the other brands, but they offer some colors that I haven't been able to achieve by mixing with other paints. I am swooning (somewhat obsessively) over Dr. Ph Martins Radiant Watercolors. They are liquid watercolors that are juicy and bright. I haven't used them, but am kinda dying to. You can use them completely in place of other watercolors, but I want to use them in wet on wet painting. When you have wet paint on your paper, you can drop in color and have it bleed and swirl around wherever the wet is contained on your paper. These paints have a dropper in the lid and I think playing with them like this would be like watching creamer go into tea, but full of glorious color. PAINTBRUSHES. I have a lot of paintbrushes, but they are mostly small for fine detail work. I'm playing around with much more loose paintings and larger areas, and could use some good, plump brushes. I have my little heart set on owning a few of these. If you have someone who is considering starting watercolor painting and isn't sure if they will love it or not.. Winsor Newton Cotman Sketchers set is perfect for starting out. The palette comes with the colors needed for learning basic mixing and when they graduate themselves to artist quality paints, the pans will pop out and the box can be refilled with tube colors. I have it and love it. The brush it comes with is actually the reason I bought the kit and is my favorite detail brush. Daniel Smith has it for about $16 right now which is a steal. Add a watercolor journal and a starting out book would be perfect. This is my favorite book for watercolor, but maybe do a little searching before buying it. I got it for $6 at our used book store, but it is in the hundreds on amazon. Maybe it is out of print? BOOKS I love getting a good book for Christmas. After all the hustle and bustle is over, curling up with a new book next to the Christmas tree is _perfect_.. I just finished Matched and would like the second and third. I have it on a completely not sly authority that the second is on its way, so the third book will needed soon. ETSY Its probably safe to say that anyone who appreciated handmade things would love a gift certificate to etsy. If you want to look for specific items, anything from Lucilles Kitchen: For Strange Women: Love Mia And friends? My life will not be the same without these earrings. I need them. They would be the crowning joy of my jewelry, they would be worn everyday a lot. And then I think I would be quite happy picking out a new outfit from Ruche to accompany them, so a gift card there would go to a happy home too. I could go on, but I think this is a pretty good jumping off point, don't you? What is on your list?
I love nativity scenes. They are the Christmas decoration that I allow myself to have more than one "set" of. I figure it represents most directly the reason we celebrate Christmas, so why not have one in every room? My mother in law has a beautiful nativity that is glorious color. I have wanted one like it ever since I saw it, and apparantly it came from costco. I couldn't find it there when I was looking, but maybe they still sell it? However, one day during the middle of the year, I was leaving a church activity and someone had the set in the back of their car and they were giving it away! Hallelujah!! Angels singing!! A few pieces were broken, but I figured I could work with it. Then, I found a complete plain white porcelain set at goodwill for about $3 later on. Of course I had to get it. I brought it home and realized that it was a pretty close size and style match for my beloved color set. I immediately wondered if I could paint the porcelain to match. You can totally paint porcelain! Maybe this is a no brainer to some, but I was shocked when the paint stuck for some reason. I think I had firing kilns and specialty glazes forming a blockage in the creative wall. But good old watercolor and gouache worked perfectly. When the kids blew through the door after school yesterday, we set out snacks, brushes, jars of water, and our large watercolor palette and turned on the Christmas pandora station. (That palette started out as mine, but I found I prefer a smaller palette with less colors. However, it works _perfectly_ for family painting.) If you decide to try a project similar to this, here are a few pointers: *Use a lot of water, it will help the pigment cover more evenly. *Everywhere the paint touches on porcelain, it will stay. Don't let this scare you, you can blend mistakes or paint over the watercolor mistakes with gouache (opaque watercolors) but be aware of it. The paint will not "lift out" of the porcelain like it will paper. *Even given the above note, this is a perfect project to do with kids. You see results fast. And any "mistakes" really can be fixed quite easily. Again, see above note! *We use artist quality paints which have a much higher concentration of pigment. If you use a student or craft option (which would work perfectly I am sure) you may need to use more paint. *If you are using artist quality paints with children, make sure they understand that the paints are toxic. Most people just forego artist paints with kids for the above and also the higher cost.. but I prefer to just give em the good stuff to begin with. My children fully understand the safety issues behind our paints. Can you tell which ones we painted vs. the store ones? They match pretty well, I'm a happy camper! We aren't quite done, but I think we can finish it up today after school. I'll share it with you when the whole thing is complete. On second thought, why don't you just come over for a cup of cocoa and a cookie and we can wrap presents together? Wrapping presents with cocoa on hand is probably my favorite Christmas activity. Day 15 of a killer cold over here. Iwillnotwhine. I mean, online at least. xo Sandi
I am working through one of those crazy months that has inadvertantly resulted in a blogging slump. Bad blogger. Instagram is too easy. :) So I am doing the best thing I can and just diving in! I had the most amazing time in Kauai at the beginning of November. I went with my mom, sister and best friend from high school! I could have stayed a month. I got to pick the island we went to and after consulting with Sarah, definitely knew Kauai was the place I wanted to go. It's known as the Garden Island and was overflowing with greens, pinks, oranges and yellows.. pretty much color paradise. We hiked along the Napali coast, which is one of the most breathtaking views in the world. Along the hike, we gathered limes and lilikoi. We swam every day, and the ocean felt like bathwater. This is a little river at the end of our Napali coast hike you had to cross to get to a secluded, small beach.. that was full of rock sculptures. How awesome right? We went to a luau (pork is yummy, poi is not) and I got up on stage in front of, oh.. 500 ish people and did the hula. This is where that photo would go, notice it is not here. However if you friend my mom on facebook, I'm sure she would be happy to send you a video of it. Moving on. Glorious, yes? It was the best time imaginable.. I felt so rejuvenated and full of ideas and gusto and happiness. A week in paradise with girls only. I highly recommend it. There were times that I missed my family - Ethan would have loved the boogie boarding at Hanalei pier and Eliza would have geeked out over Glass Beach. Dustin would have been a fun companion to everything. But we all needed this. Mama's need to regroup, clear their heads, join together with friends and family and feel that surge of how amazing it is to be a woman. And especially to travel with my best friend of 16 years. We met when we were 15. I've known her longer than I haven't! It is so cool to travel back through history with her and talk about the things we had planned when we were young and to now, "poof!" instantly be able to see some of those outcomes that we wondered about so much. Do you guys take girls only vacations? We're talking about Rome next.. but I'm kinda into Greece.
Just a super quick note to let you know I am selling the remainder of our previous samples that didn't accompany the studio boxes. Take a peek in my Instagram feed.. Over there on the right sidebar to see a small selection. Or, I am happy to look through the samples and find something specific for you. Dustin is away for the night and I am tackling this overflowing closet of samples as my busy work. ;) I have fun costumes to share this year, and I'm leaving for Hawaii on Sunday. Busy week, I'm so excited!