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Showing posts from 2011

(Tucson Is) My Kind of Town

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Went to get my hair cut yesterday. After the debacle of the last 2 times, I switched to a different salon. On the walls of this new place are various paintings and even some framed quilts that are consigned by the shop from local artists. Must be something about the light here in Alabama, because yet I again my eyes were barraged by an array of chalky paintings with discordant colors. After sitting there criticizing the paintings in my head, I decided to see if I could paint what I preach.
I've always wanted to paint a picture of home, especially now that I'm exiled from it. Honestly, I didn't know if I had it in me. Every landscape painting of Tucson I've ever done, with the exception of rough sketches, has turned out horribly. But I surprised myself and came up with something that's not too terrible. I can almost even tell what it's supposed to be. Sabino Canyon in the summertime. My brother and daughters were in the original photo I worked from, and I took t…

Lost in Translation

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Was invited to another painting session at 16 Main. This one involved no pre-drawn canvas. Instead we were supposed to Bob Ross our way through, complete with fan brushes, white paint to denote where the sky and water met, and a "happy little tree." This painting is supposed to be "Christmas on the Beach."
I did a bad thing. I completely ignored the instructor's color choices and lighting situation. Please let me tell you why. But first, let's look at my painting:
Ok. Now, let's imagine the clouds on the right corner of the painting are actually dark purple and go in a line all the way across the top of the painting. And that blue sky? Imagine it bright yellow. Then the water and the sand are both royal blue with some white mixed in here and there to make it look like shadows and highlights. The tree and grasses/bushes (whatever they are) are all the same green from the tube. If there hadn't been any white mixed in, the whole thing would have looked …

Christmas in Killarney - The Rush Order

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3 days ago a certain someone was feeling pouty about I don't even remember what. While we were on our daily family walk, we started talking and it came out that she really really wanted to wear something that looked like an Irish dance costume for her upcoming Christmas program. (Side note: this was most likely influenced by the fact that we had just finished reading "Girls of Many Lands: Kathleen", an out-of-print book by the American Girl company about an Irish girl in the 1930s who learns to dance. Her family is poor, and has no $$ for making a costume, but her aunt is inspired by reading "Gone With the Wind" and comes up with a great idea. Which in turn inspired my daughter...) I suggested she wear one of the new dresses I bought her for her birthday. Not good enough. We talked back and forth and I admitted that I had bought some lovely turquoise blue plaid flannel but hadn't decided what to do with it, exactly. I offered to make her a ruffled skirt out…

Cake Bawse - Irish Dance Birthday Cake

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It's time for Lord of the Dance! And by dance, I mean the Cakewalk! I never liked that silly dance show anyways. My oldest daughter is having an Irish Dance Birthday Party and wanted a cake to match. Well, there are no dancers, and no shoes on this cake, because I haven't gotten myself up to the task of learning fondant work. I chose to learn about royal icing instead.
First, let's talk about plans. I'm not even going to show Lina's, partly because I don't know what she did with it. It was four tiers, with fondant irish dancers on the top and a second cake sculpted in the shape of a hard shoe on the bottom. Time, skills, and small children notwithstanding, it was a little much for a party of 10 girls to eat.
Later, when I realized what size the cake actually would be, I scrapped any notion of irish dancers on top. I put Irish lace on the bottom tier, along with the words, Happy Birthday in uncial script (it's the same kind of calligraphy used in the Book of …

Ain't No Land Like Dixieland

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I was instructed on rather short notice to get myself a costume for my husbands' work costume party. I am as unwilling as my children to wear cheap plastic that parades as "cloth" as isn't even washable, so I turned to my closet for an answer. Spying my favorite old locket, which was missing a piece, I decided to find said piece, fix it, and be a flapper for Halloween. I used an old asymmetrical jersey skirt from Forever 21 and turned it sideways so that it was shorter in the front and longer in the back. I wore a lace tunic over it as well as a nude-colored tank that I bought forever ago and never wear because it's too tight around my ribcage and too loose around my waist. For the 1920s boyish figure look, I assumed it would work. Lace overlay was pretty popular.
The lace tunic is really A-line, which made me look really bottom heavy when worn over the long skirt. So I tied a length of gold silk charmeuse from my fabric stash around my waist in a looped bow.  Th…

Dreams of Jeannie

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So I got a late start on the Halloween costumes this year, then postponed everything for a few weeks because of physical therapy, but I finished both girl's costumes in time for Halloween parties this weekend!
Originally we had bought Miri a mermaid costume at Costco. It was so colorful, so enticing, and it including not only a matching headband but a necklace and bracelet as well. But it was cheap material, unlined, and too itchy for her to wear. So I returned it and we began to look online at costume patterns. After lots of tears and indecision, and general lack of what exactly a costume entails, I managed to get Miri to decide on a "genie" costume. To her it's like a Jasmine costume, so she has told everyone that she is a "Jasmine genie" for Halloween. I let her pick out the material and trims. She did a not bad job. The pattern was almost impossible to execute in such a way that all the seams wouldn't bother her. I did my best.





Celina decided to be …

Alcazaba Again

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Patio del Leon. I got tired of trying to draw all the details of the tiles/grass while someone was talking to me. I was too distracted so I started another sketch.
Patio of the Chambermaids
Didn't finish...maybe next week, maybe not...Friday is the last class...

Sunny Spain

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During Miri's Friday Painting Class at the Museum of Art, us parents are delegated into a little room that I guess is used to house various types of references (videos, slides, books - there is even MICROFILM!). Anyways, we're allowed to look at the books, so I picked up a little one called Alcazar de Sevilla. It's pictures and history of a castle in Spain. I really like some of the pictures and have made up my mind to sketch as many as possible during the next few weeks. I got mostly through with this one of the huntsmen's courtyard, where the hunters would gather to wait for the king, before somebody panicked and I had to go calm her down.

Girl's Night Out

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Was invited to a Girl's Night Wine and Paint at 16 Main Art Gallery in Madison. I went, and we were given a board with a pre-printed ballerina on it. Our job was to paint her in acrylic. I was a good girl and followed the instructor step-by-step. It was a totally different method of thinking for me, and I think it confused a lot of the other women in the class. I found myself expounding color theories more than once. Basically, we were supposed to glaze the color on in light, watered down washes for the dark parts, then add white to the color and glaze the light parts. And mix a background color (one of the colors straight from the tube) with brown (she never said if she meant or warm or cool brown, which, depending on the color each woman chose, could turn out ok or horribly wrong). If I could do this over, I would have made the background a lighter, golden brown color. Or a bluish gray, like a Sargeant painting. I understand the concept that a dark background will make a lighter…

Sauced Up At the Playground

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This is an old couple with I think a baby in a carseat-holder thingy (what are they called? I never had one for my kids so I don't know...) They are getting ready to leave the church/school playground now that the traffic has died down (there's only one way out). What caught my eye was the beautiful brilliant turquoise blue of the woman's top, and how well it looked with her skin tone.
You don't see brilliant turquoise? Well, that's because this was drawn in Yarka sauce, as a sort of quick sketch. Which means a better, brighter pastel painting to come.

Petticoat Junction

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A recent romp through the dress-up clothes chest prompted my girls to ask for some underpinnings in their current sizes. Miri couldn't find any skirts to use as a petticoat, and Lina really wanted pantaloons to wear under HER petticoat and dress. She wanted a corset too, and I told her no way am I breaking out the eyelets and the hammer right now.
     For Miri, I took some leftover blue flannel fabric (that I had originally intended to use for Celina, when she was smaller) sewed up the sides, put elastic in the top, let her pick out some lace, and sewed it to the bottom. DONE! She wears it all the time, and though it's a little warm still, it's nice to know that she'll probably still wear it when it gets colder and she actually needs a cozy skirt.


As you can see, she clearly enjoys wearing it whenever and wherever she can.  For Lina, I got out the old pantaloons pattern I had originally gotten when she was in preschool. She had come to a point where she couldn't sta…

Idle Hands

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I realize I went a really long time without posting anything at all. It wasn't because I didn't DO anything. I was mostly working on the flower girl dresses. I did do a few smaller projects at the same time, not to procrastinate, but because I either didn't have the space (like inside my car waiting to pick up my oldest), or the ability to concentrate on such a big project (most of the time the girls were awake). So here are a few other things I did these past months that I never found time to blog about (free computer time is at night, and I needed night to work on the dresses):

I really wanted a floral print top (I don't own any -well, now I do. But anyways...) so I bought one at Target. This is the back of it. To make it less generic, I decided to add lace to it around the collar. This picture is of the back. It has an exposed zipper.
As I was adding the lace, I got the idea to use a lot of it vertically down one side in a manner similar to a Isabel Lu top I'd re…