Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last Peony of Spring

When I got back from my trip to Rochester I was so excited to look out the window and see one last peony still in bloom.  It was perfect timing too because I just bought this nice blue bottle at the Springfield Antique Show.  I also have to mention this was the first time I have ever used lamb's ear in a vase and I totally love it!  Its soft hue and texture were a perfect accent for the pale pink peony and it lasted a long time as a cut flower.  I guess you learn something new everyday! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homemade Sketchbook

This summer I am taking a sketchbook course from the Cincinnati Art Academy.  The course takes place in Taos, NM and is taught by Amy Bogard, artist extraordinaire (check out her website here).  Our class met once at the art store where we discussed sketchbook options and Amy mentioned that she could also show anyone who was interested how to make a homemade sketchbook.  She brought her own beautiful handmade sketchbook that was to-die-for so of course I had to try and make one.

Amy was nice enough to invite me over one day and I watched how she made one.  Many years ago I was into making books from scratch (buying the bookboard and covering it with bookcloth).  Although I loved the results, it was time-consuming and tedious.  So when she described her method of buying an old book and re-purposing it I loved it.  Basically you buy a used book (preferably with a good title if you are going to let it show), cut out the pages, reinforce the binding with paper (or bookcloth), and sew in new blank pages with the paper of your choice.

In her sketchbooks she left the title of the original book showing.  I liked the title of my book (Blessings by Belva Plain), but the title was so big my sewing would have to cover it to properly hold the pages.  I therefore decided to cover the title with bookcloth.  I ended up making this bookcloth because I found this beautiful southwestern-looking fabric that I thought was perfect for a "Taos" sketchbook.  To make your own bookcloth you just have to iron heat-n-bond onto your fabric and then iron tissue paper onto one side.  I learned this by watching this youtube video.  I also ended up doing a little sketch on the front and back in the style of my favorite New Mexican printmaker Willard Clark.  I think I am going to glue some of my favorite prints of his onto the inside covers for extra inspiration.  The course hasn't even technically started and I am already loving it!  Hopefully I will fill it with something blog-worthy.  Will keep you posted!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Succulent Arrangement

When I was a little girl my mom used to take me to Knollwood Garden Center and let me pick out a succulent.  I remember standing in the hot greenhouse with sweat trickling down my back, struggling to choose because I liked them all.  I don't know if that's when my fascination with succulents began, but I do so love their stout little bodies.  My favorite has always been the soft, chubby ones like the one in focus above.

In honor of that wonderful memory I decided to make a succulent arrangement for my Mom.  I bought this snail pot for her a few Mother's Days back at Home Emporium. This past summer she gave me a plant that was in it so I still had it.  I put calla lilies in it the first time around, so I wanted to do something different and the succulents were the perfect choice. And just standing in Lowe's today trying to figure out which cacti to buy put a smile on this girl's face.  Thanks Mom! 


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Flower Fabric

I created this sketch for another Spoonflower contest.  The theme was pen and ink colored with watercolors and the winner of the contest has a chance to start a new career as a fabric designer with Robert Kaufman.  The judges narrowed down the 750 entries to 100 and unfortunately I didn't make the cut (c'est la vie).  But you should still pop over to see all the great designs and vote for your favorite here.  Below you can see what my pattern looks like with a half-brick repeat.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Forget-me-nots & Heuchera

The other day my friend Annie hosted a get-together for the women of the neighborhood and I was struck by the simplicity and beauty of her flower arrangements.  She had Lily of the Valley and Forget-me-nots in mason jelly jars with just the donut outer lid screwed on so the flowers could come through.  The next day we were having a house guest (who happens to be a botanist) so I decided to make this little arrangement of  heuchera and Forget-me-nots for his room.  I love the color combination of lime green and purple-blue and the fact that it was so easy to make.  It may not be the world's best flower arrangement, but I love the idea that I can run outside with a pair of scissors and a jar of water and come back in less than five minutes with something that brings so much joy.