Tag Archives: painting

This is a Test. This is Only a Test. Butterick 6132


And now, back to what is becoming our regularly scheduled programming–sewing.  This blog certainly didn’t start out as a sewing blog, but it seems to be heading in that direction, something I both love (because I love sewing), and am a little bit surprised at (because I love SO MANY THINGS).  But, I’ll go with the sewing for a little bit.  I do have some non-sewing ideas, but I’m still working on the huge batch of projects I set myself to toward the end of summer, so all the other stuff will have to wait.  Believe it or not, I’m making my first piñata right now, but that will most likely never make it onto the blog.

What I do have is a little bit of a backlog of sewing projects to show you.  You may or may not remember that in August I made myself a huge list of projects, narrowed down alittle, then traced all my patterns, cut out all my fabric, and began to sew.  Then, after getting a bunch done, I put everything on hold to do the Refahioners 2015 contest and my first ever pattern testing for Megan Nielsen (keep your eye on her site–she has a really cute girl’s pattern coming out soon).  One of my goals within the batch sewing that I was doing was to make wearable muslins so that I could determine if I liked the patterns I was trying and if any fitting was needed.  I’ve had a few good makes (the Coco dress from Tilly and the Buttons and McCall’s 6848 shorts) and a not-so-favorite (the Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studio).  Today’s pattern, Butterick 6132 was another win.



I made View B.  I was inspired (like so many others) by some of Boden’s color-blocked t-shirts, and I had in mind to make this out of some Riley Blake stripe and polka dot fabric that I had seen at fabric.com.  While I had originally traced a size 14 for the bust and blended out to the size 16 at the waist and hips, in the end I took it back to a straight 14.  The 16 gave me little “wings” at the sides, but the straight 14 was great.

Now, before I show you, remember, this is a wearable muslin.  What I mean by that is, that these are not my normal color pairings.  When I finished this shirt, though, I did text my Mom and sister a picture with the caption, “The ’90’s are BACK!”  I’ve probably been watching too much Saved By the Bell lately.  Really, though…those styles are what we are all wearing again, just tweaked a little.  Everything old is new again…

Butterick 6132 (test version)

When I showed some of my friends, I noticed they were a little quiet…until I told them this was just a test.  I actually don’t love these colors together, but I was working with the leftover knit sheets I had in my stock.  I also experimented with adding the painted dots on the teal section.  Here is the shirt before dots:

Butterick 6132 (test version)

It was a little boring for me, so I took some inexpensive white acrylic paint and added some textile medium.  I used the eraser end of a pencil and dipped it in the paint and dabbed it on.  Then I followed the directions on the bottle of textile medium for how to make it permanent.

Butterick 6132 (test version)

I’m happy with the change.  It was quick and easy, which I like.  The hardest part was letting it sit for a week or so in order for the paint to cure before I heat set it.

Butterick 6132 (test version)

Butterick 6132 (test version)

Butterick 6132 (test version)

So, the final analysis:  I would make this again.  This one gets to stay in the Pile o’ Possibility!



A Weekend Project and a Weekend Recipe


It’s time to take a break from sewing (and reading about and thinking about sewing, which I often do more than any actual sewing) and do a necessary project.  Here’s what’s on my weekend to-do list:

Weekend Project (Pattern and Branch)

Weekend Project (Pattern and Branch)

These guys need a little TLC.  Chair #1 is from a couple of Brimfields ago.  Sad, but true.  The green one I got at a local flea market and redid, but since it’s been sitting on our deck for a few years, it’s started to develop new rust spots.  I’m hoping to find a cool color of spray paint to give these guys some new life.

Secondly, I have a recipe (sadly undocumented in photos) that I developed just for you.  I made it up for a picnic we went to last month, and it went over well.  If you need a good picnic dinner, give this a try.

Sunny Day Picnic Salad

makes about 13(ish) servings


  • 1 pound baby potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • cooking spray
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound of rotisserie chicken, deboned (or chicken of your choice)
  • 6 ears of corn, cooked, corn cut off the cob (or about 4 cups of corn kernels, cooked)
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced crosswise
  • 3 packages of Ramen noodles without the seasoning, cooked and cut up with scissors until the noodles seem like a manageable size
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated or processed in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt


This salad is easy to put together little by little over time.  So, feel free to do the steps in a different order or do a step and put the salad in the refrigerator until you have time to do another step.

  1. Boil your potatoes for 5 minutes, drain, and put into a large bowl.  You’ll use this bowl to mix and store the salad, so make sure it’s a pretty big one.
  2. Coat a medium skillet (cast iron works great, but isn’t essential) with cooking spray and cook the garlic and onions over medium/medium-high heat until they are softened, adding more cooking spray as necessary.  Cook for less time if you like them barely softened and longer if you like them really soft.  I opted for really soft, and let them cook while I did other prep.  Stir occasionally.  When they are finished, add them to the bowl with the potatoes.
  3. Add in all of your other ingredients and stir, stir, stir until it’s all mixed up.  Don’t forget to do a taste test of see if the seasonings seem right to you.
  4. Enjoy!

Everyone I served this to really liked it and went back for seconds.  I should have picked an actual serving size–one cup would have been good.  So, the number servings may be slightly off.  If you try it and get an exact number of servings, I would love to hear about it.

I hope you have a great weekend.  The weather looks to be good here.  I’m thinking up some fun projects and excursions for the summer, so stay tuned!




“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd.  Without innovation, it is a corpse.” –Winston Churchill

I read this quote for the first time on Thursday, while watching this video of art student David Popa (Gordon College, Wenham, MA) .

I was struck by the quote itself, but also by how perfectly his work embodies it.  It inspired me to keep studying art history, and to continue to explore.

 "Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer

VERMEER, Johannes “Girl with a Pearl Earring” c. 1665 Oil on canvas, 46,5 x 40 cm Mauritshuis, The Hague

Artwork courtesy of Web Gallery of Art.

Learn more about David Popa, Peter Huang, and their art co-op Bumbing Happens at the link.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project: Painting!


This is the last post on my latest art project based on the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence”.  You can find the earlier posts here, here, and here.  I hope you are ready for a lot of pictures!  I tried to catch each step of the painting so you can see what I did.  (If you feel impatient, just scroll to the end.)  First up, preparation!

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)First I had a friend cut some hardboard/Masonite into a circle for me.  I traced the Hex sign from the first post to get the circle shape and size that I wanted.  I gathered advice on how to prepare the surface, and then sanded it a little bit and covered it in gesso.  I also painted an X on the back in gesso to keep it from warping. (Thanks, Tanja!)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Once that was dry, I transferred my sketch onto the prepared board.  You can see I did this before I colored in parts of my large sketch.  I wanted you to get an idea of the process, even if things are a bit out of order.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

I also made myself a little color key.  Once I found the colors I liked in pencil, I tried to match them to paint colors.  Because I don’t usually paint, I wanted to avoid having to mix colors in order to keep things consistent.  I was pretty fortunate to find the colors I wanted fairly easily.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Finally getting started!  I’m usually behind the camera, but I love to see pictures of people working on creative projects, so I had my husband shoot a few pictures of me painting.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Here are the center circle and the second circle.  The center is an imaginary sixpence.  I took some elements from real sixpences to create the image.  The second circle is the rye in the nursery rhyme.  I liked blue as a background because it made me think of a blue sky over a rye field.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Next was the yellow stripe on the blackbirds’ wings.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project: Painting! (Pattern and Branch)Then came the bottom of the pie.  I tried to apply the color on this ring in order from lightest to darkest.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

This was the beginning of the outer crown ring.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

I liked the red jewels, but wasn’t sure about my second color.  I knew I wanted two jewel colors, so I tested out the idea on my color key (several pictures above) before trying the green on the actual crown.  I was happy with how they looked in the end.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Here it is before the final varnish.  I got nervous at this point.  What if the varnish somehow messed everything up?  I would have to give the library a photo and say, “Well, here’s what you were supposed to get!  Sorry!”  Luckily, my vivid imagination doesn’t often play out in reality (Thank God!  Do you know how many bridges would have collapsed just behind our car or how many medical emergencies I would have lived through?!)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Getting ready to varnish…(Having a child in preschool taught me that produce trays make great paint/craft trays.)

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)Finally finished!  It took awhile for that to sink in for me.  Here’s one more shot.

Nursery Rhyme Art Project:  Painting!  (Pattern and Branch)

Do you think it looks slightly convex?  My husband and I think that every time we look at pictures, even though the surface is flat.

I sort of wish I had added up the hours that this took, but sometimes I’m glad I didn’t.  It made my life very busy, but it was so great to be busy with something I loved.  It made me excited to get up each morning.  I haven’t always had that feeling, so it was a real gift.  I hope the library and the kids there like it.  I loved working on it.




I love beautiful landscapes.  I love looking at them whether in person, as a photograph, or as a painting (and probably in many other media, as well).  Since discovering new artists is something that I love, I thought I would share some of my favorite landscape artists with you as well.  I’ll link to each artist’s site or a gallery that carries their work.  Here they are, in no particular order.  Let’s go!

Dorothy Kerper Monnelly

Salt Marsh Island, Clouds by Dorothy Kerper Monnelly

“Salt Marsh Island, Clouds” by Dorothy Kerper Monnelly

If you love photography in the vein of Ansel Adams, you will love Dorothy Kerper Monnelly’s work.  Her images are pristine, precise, and expansive.  She also has two books out.  For My Daughters is her most recent, filled with her mother’s poetry and her photographs.  It’s a moving homage to a great poet by a great photographer and to a great mother from a loving daughter.  Her other book is The Great Marsh.  If you want a picture of an important part of the New England landscape, you can find it here.

T.M. Nicholas

“Sierra Morning” by T.M. Nicholas

T.M. Nicholas is an oil painter of the Rockport School of Art.  He is also the son of landscape painter Tom Nicholas, with whom he shares a gallery in Rockport, MA.  His New England landscapes are some of my favorites, but his work is fabulous no matter which part of the country it depicts (like in the picture above).  I met him a few years back and when I found out what he did, I looked up his work.  I was so much in awe of it, that I couldn’t talk to him the next few times I saw him.  It was sort of like a celebrity sighting, you know?  Luckily, I got over it.  🙂 His work makes me wish I had good money to spend on fabulous art or the skills to trade for some fabulous art.  Guess I’d better work on my sewing, huh?

Julia Purinton

I’ve seen Julia Purinton’s work in exhibitions several times, and I’m always struck by the luminosity of it.  Looking at photos of her work online doesn’t truly do it justice (as with all of these artists).  There is a real depth and light in her landscapes that isn’t fully captured by technology.

Pamela Turnbull

"Farnham's View" by Pam Turnbull

“Farnham’s View” by Pam Turnbull

After living in New England for several years, I decided to start a small art fund, so that someday, when I found a painting of the marshes that I loved, I could buy it.  Then one summer, at an art fair, I found the perfect painting called View from Farnhams.  It was by Pamela Turnbull.  (The above painting is similar to mine, but is not the same one.)

Tom Hughes

“Ready for Spring” by Tom Hughes

I discovered this painting several years ago and jokingly put it on my Christmas “wish list”.  It perfectly captures New England on the brink of spring.  His work is stunning.  I was telling Tom (T.M.) Nicholas about how fabulous it was and, guess what?  They’re friends!  It was almost like a double celebrity sighting (except that I’ve never seen Tom Hughes, but maybe we can just pretend).  🙂  Sadly, no one has yet bought this artwork for me.  Maybe someday…

Caspar David Friedrich

The Sea of Ice 1824 - Caspar David Friedrich - www.caspardavidfriedrich.org

“The Sea of Ice” 1824 – Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich’s work is moody, mysterious, and romantic.  I love the drama in his paintings.  His “Wanderer Above the Sea of Mists” was always my vision of Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff returning to Wuthering Heights in her book Wuthering Heights.

Ansel Adams

“Tetons and Snake River” by Ansel Adams

Who can talk about landscapes without talking about Ansel Adams?  His work is unparalleled.  He captures light, dark, and all the gradations in between with unwavering clarity.  When I was in the ninth grade, he inspired me to want to become a photographer (these days I can’t seem to stick to one medium, but I still love to take pictures).

We don’t have time and space now to visit the many other talented landscape artists I’ve found, so maybe we’ll return to this again, buy you can always visit my Pinterest page and look in the Art board if you’d like to see more of my favorites.