Still snowing.

When I took the dog outside this morning at 6:15, the air was full of tiny white flakes.  Our rather drab and dingy apartment complex was transformed into a winter palace and we were the first royalty to step outdoors.  I don’t know that the dog was very appreciative, but as I stood there watching her sniff little piles of white fluff it didn’t feel so bad that I had to get up early.

The thing about several days of snow is that every time it snows, it covers up the old stuff – which was getting grey and dirty and had too many footprints – and makes it all clean and beautiful again.  When I was little, I felt so hopeful as long as it was still snowing.  If it keeps on snowing, school might be cancelled tomorrow!  We might get stuck inside the house and get to  watch movies all day! Pullman might get buried under a blizzard and we’ll have to make a tunnel to get out our front door!

While it was still snowing, anything was possible.  As soon as it stopped, my happy visions of the future were confronted with a lousy half inch of white and parents who were only too happy to take the kids to school.  Even though I am now the owner of a car that struggles to drive up ice-covered hills, I still want it to keep snowing.  I know that it only complicates a life that must go on no matter what the weather, but I look outside and feel a not-so-small twinge of disappointment when I see that this morning’s snow has stopped and the sidewalks are shoveled.  Maybe it will snow again tonight.  Maybe.

As promised, the finished pomegranates. 




(Yes, I misspelled it after a memorable mispronunciation during Sunday prayer.)
Remember the pomegranate project?  The one I was practicing for?  Well, I finally finished the drawing during Thanksgiving, just in time to hand it over to the new owner while she was in Pullman. I have a nice scan of the whole thing on my home computer and I’ll try to post it tomorrow.  But in the meantime, I present to you…the process drawing with colored pencils.  Yes, I was organized enough to take photos along the way just in case you’re interested in how a person goes making a full-color colored pencil drawing.  Let me know if it’s useful for you.

Special note: the method I used was one of layering different colors on top of each other rather then trying to match the color with just one pencil.  I really like layering because the closer you look, the more different colors you can see and the more interesting the drawing is.  The pomegranate drawings I did before are examples of these two different styles: the pomegranate in the green bowl was layered, while the two on the white cloth were done with color matching (mostly…it’s hard for me to kick the layering habit).  If you look closely, you can see the difference.
Step 1. I started with a tonal drawing in a dark color that serves as a base.  In this case, I was trying to match some silk curtains that were a bluish-red (almost a magenta), so I chose violet blue.
Step 2. After establishing my shadows and highlights, I added the first layers of color with orange-red, pink-red, and yellow.
Step 3. The shadows were still a little blue, so I layered burnt sienna on top of the darkest areas.
Step 4. At the point, the pomegranates were looking a little anemic and I went over the red areas with the most vibrant red pencil I had.
Step 5. The drawing was basically done, but the details needed to be sharpened and the red pushed up another notch.  I also worked some of the colors around a little to be a more accurate reflection of the real pomegranates.
Unfortunately, my camera isn’t great at capturing color and all of these drawings are still a little washed out.  But at least they give you an idea about the process.

Last week was brought to you by the colors red and brown.

The first real snow.

We got our first real snowfall last night (by “real”, I mean “snow that doesn’t melt immediately after landing on the sidewalk”).  The timing was great because last night I really wasn’t looking forward to trudging to work this morning.  But after peeking out the window at all the fresh snow – lots of it without footprints yet – I made it out the door early and happily.

I took some photos with shivering hands only to find that I cleverly took my camera cord home for the long weekend.  I wish I hadn’t done that, because there’s nothing like walking through a small town in the morning after a nice snowfall.  Everything starts off blue and becomes brighter and brighter as the sun comes up – the clouds, which covered half the sky when I started, were almost gone by the time I reached the top of the hill and the sun was reflecting off the snow so brightly that I could hardly see.  Cars with huge plumes of exhaust were slipping their way over white streets while snowplows diligently scraped that half inch of compacted snow on the road. 

I remember my first winter in Providence, RI, and my first real “blizzard.”  I’m sure that people from Alaska or Montana or Vermont would be unimpressed, but I was astonished to see more than six inches of snow on the ground.  I think it snowed almost three feet in one day, which meant that the snow piles on the sides of the road were enormous.  Being car-less at the time, I experienced Rhode Island’s weather to its fullest and got to stumble over snowdrifts on my way to work, class, the grocery store, the movie rental store.  Except for my constant fear of falling as I walked down the hill to RISD (who had the bright idea to pave the sidewalk in bricks, anyway?) , it was really cool. My second year in Providence, we had a blizzard that produced snowdrifts over my waist.  I lived on the campus of the school where I worked, but I only made it as far at the parking lot (to walk my poor shivering dog) and the neighbors’ apartment upstairs (to borrow some movies).  Being truly snowed in – while having heat, power, water, etc. – was a fabulous experience that I would love to repeat.

But back to this morning.  Lovely new snow +  fresh bootprints + clear frosty air + December on the iPod = pretty near perfection. 


Sorry about the long silence – has it really been over  a week?  In light of that, I am attempting to write a post using our very sketchy wireless during my lunchbreak.

So, the big excitement of last week was…the craft fair in Spokane.  I was all ready.  I spent hours making the cards, folding the cards, fixing up my display, printing cute little paper bags…


And there was the setup, which I thought turned out pretty well for something so low-budget.


In the end, everything was there.  Except the people.  The venue, a lobby/gallery next to the administrative areas of WSU-Spokane, was really lovely but not a great place to sell stuff.  There just weren’t very many people wandering through, and the ones that were there were on their way to do their jobs and not very much in the mood to shop.  $11.00?  That’s how much I made – not even enough to cover the table fee.


I felt kind of humored by the situation on Wednesday (hey, the lady across from me only made $5.00).  On Thursday it was less funny and I felt more rejected – am I the only person who likes my cards?  But now I’m back to the what-a-terrible-venue perspective, and I’m really hoping that the next/final fair on December 9 will go better (’cause I really need the money for Christmas presents).


So that’s the amusing/sad story of my first craft fair and its lack of success.  Next time, eh?


Still to come: photos of the dolls, which actually turned out pretty well.


A crafty weekend.

…was full of cards.  Orange cards,


yellow cards,


red cards.


I finished the fabric + print cards and put them in their nice little plastic sleeves (they look really good!), and now I have a stack of laser-printed cards that I should be folding.  The dolls – my class assignment – did not fare quite as well.  I have a lot to get done tonight and tomorrow.

Josh said he might put a Christmas list on his blog sometime soon (’tis the season for Christmas lists), and I’ve been thinking ever since about what would go on mine.  I’ve always been a book person, although I haven’t bought a new book in ages.  I’ve seen some crafting books highly reviewed on other blogs that I’m sure will never make it to the local library.  So, for anyone reading this who happens to care, I’d be really happy to unwrap any of the following on Christmas morning:

1) Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe2) Amy Butler’s In Stitches  

3) The Crafter’s Companion

4) Last-Minute Fabric Gifts

Special note to a special reader in Japan: we need to talk about fabric.  Lovely Japanese fabric.


So, our “free” (i.e. mooched) wireless internet hasn’t been working so well recently and my lunch breaks have been full of frantic PhotoShopping.  Sorry about the silence.  Printing continues in the evenings and I have high hopes for what I will get done this weekend.  

I’m hoping to see lots of this,
and this,
and this.
Lately I’ve found that I’m really attracted to things that are simple.  For my last class project I had to design a label for a wine bottle, and instead of choosing something detailed and illustration-y, I went with a (fairly) simple overlay of vector images with flat color.   As I was cutting up leeks to make leek-potato-carrot soup on Tuesday, I noticed that chopped up leeks have the most amazing circles inside them.  So simple and beautiful. 
And finally, randomly: do you ever find yourself suddenly attracted to different color combinations?  This week was brought to you by the colors chartreuse and grey:

More printing.

My amazing husband washed our clothes (and our dog) and made dinner before I got home yesterday, leaving me free to print in the evening.

I’m not as happy with all of my stamps as I thought I’d be. I kept the sparrow and quail carvings pretty small because I didn’t want them to overwhelm the card, but now I think they look dwarfed by the fabric. The chicken works best because it fills up more the space and “holds its own” again the fabric print, even though it’s not my favorite carving. Hmm. I’ve decided to make up some laser-printed cards out of scans I’ve made of the best prints and some other fabrics, and hopefully I’ll be able to fix some of the problems in Photoshop.

Hope you’re not bored with cards yet…more photos to come.

{Note: WordPress is being a real pain right now and my lunchbreak is almost over, so I guess there won’t be any nice photos. Tomorrow?}

The weekend.

Last weekend was really good.  It still didn’t feel great to trudge to work this morning, but I didn’t have any if only I had gotten X done last weekend thoughts.  Spent some time with husband, mother, and friends, did a little window shopping, and got as much crafting done as could be expected.  It’s a lot of fun to take this:
and add this:
and get this:
My overall goal is to cut, sew, and print 100 cards and I think I’ll be done in plenty of time.  Drying prints will be spread over our dining room table all week, but patient husband doesn’t mind and it makes me feel very productive.  As soon as these are done I need to start on another craft project ASAP (a packaging assignment for my fine arts class), but after a few weeks fo prep work it’s a relief to see that the arts are turning out okay.

Other things that are making me happy: the new orange suede shoes I found at the thrift store for $2.  Thrift store shoes can be kind of icky, but these still had the brand-new $16.99 price tag in them.  Do you know how hard it is to find vintage shoes when you wear size 10?
More card pics to come (sparrow, cardinal, and chicken). 

Some photos from last summer.

I know that “last summer” was a long time ago now, but I was just finally able to download these photos from my digital camera (which is not the best, I’m afraid).  In August, Josh and I took the first Summer Vacation of our married life and drove to San Francisco to stay with some friends.  The drive was kind of brutal (16 hours? 18 hours?), but everything else was fabulous.

Our friends live in Menlo Park, so we took an afternoon to walk around the Memorial Chapel area at Stanford. 

The next day, we went downtown SF.  We had lunch on the wharf (you can barely see the Golden Gate Bridge behind our heads), saw bakers making animals out of sourdough bread, went to a huge music store, and walked quickly through part of Chinatown.


Then Josh and I took one whole day to drive to Monterey and visit the aquarium.   I’m so glad that my husband loves aquariums as much as I do, or I would have felt bad for making him stay so long.  But we slowly walked past the exhibits together, holding hands and watching our faces turn different shades of blue and green.  Monterey Bay Aquarium = Bestest Aquarium Ever. 



I know that I tend to anthropomorphise things, but when God made creatures that look like this, it’s kind of hard not to.


Good memories, especially since it’s darkly overcast and 45 degrees outside. Ah, summer. 

Another picture.

I still can’t find my camera cord, so no photos of the projects I’m working on right now (hopefully this weekend?).  Our dining room table is covered with little pieces of paper and fabric which need to be turned into cards soon – I’ve got a couple of deadlines I’m trying to meet.  So for now, I have one painting not many people have seen.  It was a commissioned piece to go in a dining room and match the colors and theme of a Tiffany-type lamp.  I forgot the grapes, but other than that I think the new owner was pretty pleased.

So, “Still life for Debbie”, gouache, approx. 18″ high by 30″ wide.