inspiration

Sometimes it's just best to step away from work to get recharged. That's what I did today with Little C at the park.



I was really focusing on the shapes of all the flowers, leaves, trees. I feel a new set of linoleum blocks coming on...





Rocks that little C wanted to bring home. She chose one for each of us. :)



Materials for a project that I plan on tackling tomorrow.

from mom





These two books where given to me recently by my mom. They were part of her required school materials. She had to take these classes in school. I wish they would've made me do the same! I'm not sure if it was in elementary or in high school. Either way they are at least 50 yrs old. I'm not one to cross stitch but I find that the illustrations in that book will inspire something. We'll see. In any case I consider these real treasures.



bla-bla-bla

The last of the series...open! I love the color.



Sending a trio off to a new home.



Today was very productive. Actually, the productivity started last night - embroidery of some wall art orders, wrapping packages, design work, a new Crafty Synergy post with the very talented Martha of Uniform Studio, some spring cleaning, starting to plan Little C's birthday that's coming up and other odds and ends.

I got mail from Dawbis! She sent me an envelope full of paper goodies so that I can make my submission for the Paper Quilt Project. I'm a little nervous because everyone's work has been great and I'm typically not a collage person. We'll see what I come up with!



I was contacted by a producer of HGTV's That's Clever because she was interested in my work for the show. My excitement was short lived because I realized that I had to let her know that I'd been on the show before. Just as I suspected they don't book people more than once. Bummer...but flattering that they approached me this time. Last time I submitted my application on a whim and got accepted. I can't believe more than a year has gone by! It was one of my first experiences with block prints now that I think of it, but my application and style was completely different at the time. Link to my project page (my photo looks strange...taken from footage they filmed here).

I love how my Fashion Plates got quite a reaction - here and on my flickr page! Isn't it great how childhood memories just flood back when you see something like a beloved toy? Even a couple of guys chimed in because they remember their sisters having FPs. Thanks for all the comments!! :)

Illustration Friday - I spy



As I sat here working tonight I realized that I needed to take a break and do something different. I went through some of last weeks photos and found a couple that I hadn't posted yet. They reminded me of what it is to 'just play'. That's what inspired me to finally do this little painting/collage.

Ever since I started working with linen I've wanted to do this with the border. I've had it in my head for a long time and it's finally done. I don't know why it is so relieving to me to get ideas out of my head and make them something tangible. I don't think this will go any further but at least I tried it.

Edit - I've submitted this as my IF for this week. I just asked little C what she spies in the tree and the first thing she said was "no leaves"...lol. I asked her a second time and she said "a bird". :)





Speaking of playing here are the photos I mentioned. If this doesn't date me I don't know what will! Raise your hand if you ever played with Fashion Plates. Me, me! After living in several cities and in two continents I have no idea how this toy has survived all this time. I have the full pink and blue sets no less. The outfits scream 70s all the way. Pretty funny - not that Little C cares at all. We love to pull this out every now and then and we have our girly artsy fun! :)

weekend of art

I didn't realize until just now that it had been several days since my last post. The days are simply flying by! The weekend was specially nice because we got to go to the Bayou City Art Festival where we always have fun. I didn't get a chance to see everything I wanted to see but at least we where there. A 3yr old's priorities are not necessarily in tune with walking around slowly and appreciating the surroundings. Little C kept tugging us along to go faster! lol.

The festival had a wonderful kids area where there where different projects to work on. D chose to work with colored chalk.



Little C worked with clay



I loved the clay they gave little C so much that I asked for the recipe. Here it is:
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of water
- Food coloring

If dough is too sticky, add flour. If it's too dry add more water.
This clay can be baked for 25 min. at 300 degrees to make it set permanently.

I finished this piece - Three Trees - and it's available on my site now.



And our yard is showing us signs that spring is really here. This was yesterday.



This was this morning.



And now to work! ;)

EDIT: Wow! That was fast! The trees are now sold. Thank you! I have more on the way. :)

it's short now

I really don't like taking photos of myself but this was a must. The photo I had on my website and on Crafty Synergy was pretty old; as you all recall I just got my hair cut so I felt I needed to show something more current; finally there's something coming up (I'll let you know if it happens) and I need to send a photo of myself. I had to take a minimum of 40 photos to get one that I liked. No joke. Picture, picture, picture, delete, delete, delete, repeat. So there you have it. The new me.

No new projects this weekend. One of the kiddos was sick but we did make it to the zoo on Friday afternoon. A lot of fun. Saturday and Sunday we were just home taking it easy. I did manage to get all the materials that I need for more of my trees. So those will be coming in about a week.

Speaking of my work I need to thank several people. Thank you to Cynthia Tinapple of Polymer Clay Daily for posting about my little clay experiment. It certainly was a pleasant surprise that it caught her eye. For any of you interested in that particular medium her blog is a must read. Also, thank you to Jena at Modish and Jen at IndieFixx for posting about my linen wall art. I'm very grateful about the attention my work has been receiving in the blogging community in the past week or so. I couldn't spread the word without you! Thank you! :)

And lastly, I know, I know, you're all going to get sick of my trees but I just had to post one more shot of them before they head off to their new home. I didn't think I would feel a small loss by sending these off but I do. I do want to see them go but at the same time I know I'll kind of miss them. Yes, my name is Patricia and I'm weird.

new idea



So I'm back with a little experiment that I worked on last night. It's small - about the size of a business card and I made it with one of my blocks and some polymer clay that I had here. I love the texture and I'm tempted to add a little bit of something to make that stand out a little more but I'm also loving that it's monotone. We'll see if I let it stay or ruin it trying to do something else to it.

What is the purpose of this little clay thing (notice how I have a problem naming what I make!)? I don't know. I just thought about it the other day and had to give it a try.

Thank you for all your 'feel better' wishes. I think they worked! So much so, that we went bowling with a friend and her kids yesterday. I'll publicly admit that in the first round (there was six of us - two adults and four kids) the youngest of us all, my daughter little C, beat everyone! Now isn't that just pathetic of the two adults present! Granted, half of us (2 adults and oldest child) used a lane with no bumper thingy and the other half of the group (the 3 younger kids) did use it. But still! Anyway it was fun.

As promised, here are a couple of recipes for making plantain...

Fried plantain using green plantain (aka - tostones or patacones)
Ingredients:
- 2 plantains (they need to be green - important!)

- Canola oil (enough for the plantain to be deep fried)
- Salt, add to taste


In a deep pan or deep fryer (preferable!) heat the oil. Peel and cut the plantains into one inch rounds. Place them in the hot oil and cook for about 3 minutes while turning. They'll turn yellowish in color as they fry. Remove from oil and place each round on a cutting board and smash it with the bottom of something flat. I used a wooden spoon. You'll see that they kind of puff out and get deformed - don't worry. When you fry them again those edges get crunchy! Yum! Put them back in the hot oil for about 3 minutes turning until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and pat dry with a paper towel. Add salt to taste.


Fried Sweet Plantains (aka - maduros)
Ingredients:
- 2 plantains (they need to be very ripe - yellow toward ugly looking black)

- Canola oil (enough for the plantain to be deep fried)

In a deep pan or deep fryer, heat the oil. Peel the plantains and slice them diagonally lengthwise. Slices should be 1/2 inch thick. Place them in the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes turning until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and pat dry with a paper towel.

Typically we have them as a side dish (it sort of replaces a starch) or as an appetizer.

BTW I realized that I'm not very good about writing recipes so I can't take credit for the above. I got them from this site and edited them to what I did. There are another couple of recipes there that I've done in a similar fashion and are excellent too (the barbecue without the beef and the baked plantain). I've never tried or heard about any of the others.

I hope these are clear and that you give them a try. Have fun and enjoy the weekend!

thank you!

This will be a quick one. I want to thank Holly at Decor8 and Jan at Poppytalk for featuring my wall art yesterday (here and here). It was a great feeling to really start getting the word out about my work. Thank you ladies! :)

And, thank you for all the lovely things that you had to say about my trees and well wishes for my store. I truly appreciate all your comments and wish that this silly blogger software gave me the way to reply to your messages. Just know that I read and enjoy every single comment. I'll be back with plantain recipes Sarah and yes, Geninne the ceramic dish that I had the plantain in is from Colombia. I brought it back home from our trip there last year. It's really almost embarrassing to admit how much I paid for it. That may be a post for another day.

I have finally succumbed to the cold going around everywhere so I'm not feeling too great. Off to drink some tea. Have a great day!

food and art



This will be short and sweet because the kids are on spring break. Wow, does that throw off my routine!!

These Two Trees aren't new to those of you kind enough to visit. They're the same I posted here and they are now available in my store. This project is a lot more time consuming than it appears so the price is reflective of that and the fact that it is a one-of-a-kind item. I really don't like the whole pricing thing. It's hard to gauge what is fair with what is feasible.

As you can see, this time I stained the border. I definitely like it better this way. I also figured out how to make the shadow thing work. I made a small thin frame that is smaller than the entire piece so that it appears to float on the wall. Nice shadows! I amuse myself so easily, don't I?



On a totally different note...have you had plantain before? If you haven't you must! It is the only fried thing that we eat in this house and it's a treat that we enjoy maybe once a month or so with red beans, rice, avocado slices...among other things. It's as close as we get to the "bandeja paisa" a typical Colombian dish.

I remember a couple of years ago I made a lot plantain and took it in a big bowl to a neighborhood barbecue. No one there had ever had plantain before and it completely disappear within minutes. It was a HUGE hit. Personally I LOVE it! These are the salty kind called "patacones". When the plantain is ripe you slice it differently (on a diagonal in thin slices) and it is sweet. Either way it's yummy! :)

linen wall art


These are a couple of wall art pieces that I added this afternoon.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

open


Finally. For those of you that visit my blog frequently you really won't be seeing anything new. I still have products to add but I figured if I keep making up excuses not to open I never will. I did the same the very first time I opened the shop.

I ended up keeping the cards in the same colors I worked on the other day. Sometimes I feel like a little color and sometimes the silver is the perfect way to go. I'm thinking people will be the same. To be perfectly honest I'm in love with the silver more and more every day...

I know I'm starting slow but I prefer it that way. I hope you like it! :)

illustration friday - hide


This is a really quick submission for this week's Illustration Friday. I haven't submitted anything in a long time. I do check in every week but lately the words haven't inspired me to draw anything. Don't know why.

As a mom, I've lost track as to how many times this 'hiding' thing has happened. Little C doesn't like it when a stranger, or someone she's not too familiar with, comments on anything about her when she's not expecting it. She'll typically make a mad dash to hide behind me. It's kind of funny because as out going and strong willed as she is, sometimes she can be quite shy.

cartagena


I'm killing time and here are the results. I do a lot not to go bed early. I've always been that way - a late owl at heart.

Today I found this drawing and the photo that inspired it in an old pad of drawing paper. I took the photo in Cartagena, Colombia in 2001 when we went to a friend's wedding. I think the drawing came a month or two after that. Cartagena is an AMAZING place. It's just so full of history and lots and lots of color and art. The old part of Cartagena has been preserved and it's gorgeous. I remember feeling visually bombarded everywhere we went.

All I did today was work on color. I've had the drawing thing on my mind for several days. I really need to do more of it.


wall art


Compared to embroidery and printing, framing isn't as entertaining. I discovered that this week. Here's a peek at a piece that I'm trying to get a decent shot of for my store. I tend to forget how long it takes to photograph and place all the products in a web site. Not my favorite thing to do but at least it's coming along nicely.

Well, today is another gorgeous day but little C is sick so we're stuck in here reading books and whatnot.

I showed this to the kids the other day and they got a kick out of it. Only go there if you really have time to kill because it took me a while - or maybe that's just because one part really stumped me.

lovely afternoon

I'm breaking a record here...two posts in one day!

This is my first non-crafty post in a while but I guess I just wanted to share. We had a GORGEOUS day here today. Almost no clouds in the sky, breezy (unheard of in these parts!) and about 70 degrees (21 C). It was just one of those days that it's almost criminal to stay inside.



This is a photo of some "lovely" weeds that are popping up in our grass (literally overnight!!). I see yard work in my near future (Saturday?). Little C grabbed a hold of the longest of these weeds (which up close are actually kind of pretty) went into the kitchen and asked for a vase filled with water. She then proceeded to put the lonely skinny weed in the vase and place it on our dining room table. I asked her if that was our new center piece (she removed the one I had there) and she gave me an "Uhuh" that sounded more like an "Of course!". She's too much!

The last two photos are a couple I took during our little excursion to a pond that's about 10 minutes away from home. We were killing time before picking up little D from school. Little C was very excited to see ducks and turtles and really got into throwing all sorts of things in the pond (leaves, rocks, pine cones). Why is it so fun to throw things into the water? Someone needed a lot of prodding when it came time to leave.

As I was taking this first photo I totally thought of my balsa trees.



I love this photo because I caught Little C in the middle of her confident stride - hair swinging and all.



Anyway...it was a lovely afternoon.

exploring


I'm still playing with the colors of my cards. These are still drying. I loove the way the silver is looking. I'm not afraid of color (you should see my house!) but for these cards the silver is feeling more "me", more in line with everything else I've been making.

I have my helper, little C, assisting today. Printing keeps us both entertained! :)

this and that



It's late, I'm kind of tired and I'll have my hands full with little C tomorrow (no school for her on tuesdays/thursdays) so here are a few tidbits...

I'm still busy working on things for my shop. My cards are a little brighter than I expected but I feel like coaxing the warmer weather into coming sooner with color (I'll probably take back that statement in a couple of months!). This photo is actually quite deceiving (I'll have to retake it with better lighting) because the colors look like they came right out of the tube when in reality I did a lot of mixing to make the inks a little softer without looking like pastels. I'm still experimenting with other colors as well. Hmmm...



My trees are time consuming to make but I enjoy them. My intention is for them to be framed with or without a mat board (depending on the owner's taste) and definitely not to be used with the back end of a frame like I did here. I still haven't decided which option I prefer (a dark border vs. a lighter one). Which one do you think works best?

I already sold my "four trees" to a super/duper creative person. I'm so flattered he purchased them!

I now have very short hair! The summer is coming soon so I just decided to go for it (we don't have spring in Texas haven't you heard!?). I haven't had my hair this short since we had little C three yrs ago. It feels great! I have naturally curly hair so I basically wash and go. Yeah for efficiency!

And last, but certainly not least, a little story about my little C. For those of you that don't know she's only 3.

I went to cut my hair on Saturday and as I'm out and about I got a worried call from my hubby. He was worried because he said little C was "playing" with my things. She basically had rolled out some ink on my inking surface, started inking one of my linoleum blocks with a brayer (yes, this "smart" mom left everything oh so handy and within her reach!) and proceeded to make a print on a blank sheet of paper with the help of my baren. She did everything right!! As hubby was talking to me on the phone, describing everything she was doing, he also managed to take some photos. Here are a few... She knew how to do all of this because I let her help me the other day with a batch of cards I ...sorry... we made. When I got home she did it all over again to show me what she had done. I am sooo proud of her!! :)

Ok...now that I got my proud-mom-story out of the way I can bid you all a good night!

almost!



Cutting, printing, embroidery thread, linen, paper, envelopes, balsa wood, wood stain, photography and design work are all part of my daily work day right now. Busy, busy bee. I'm almost there!