Portrait of Helen

This portrait is of the character Helen in Charlotte Bronte's novel "Jane Eyre"- my absolute most favorite novel of all time.  I think I'm a little obsessed with this story- do I dare admit that I've read it at least 8 times in addition to watching at least 3 different movie versions?!

I can't help it.  I connect with the main character all too well.  And of course the love story is compelling.

Last week I was watching a newer version on Netflix.  I got to the part in the movie where Jane is drawing a portrait of her friend Helen in their cold and brutal boarding school and I just had to draw the same portrait-cheesy, I know :)  I actually cried later on in the movie when the school master see's Helen's hair and cuts it off because he thinks she is being vain by having red curly hair.  In this movie, I can't remember if this happens in the book, but Jane proves herself a true friend and has her hair cut off too.  Aaah, such a good story!

Well, I am off to California at the end of this week!  Yes! One whole week of the beach, sunshine, and my husband- can't wait!

yo-yo center piece

fabric yo-yo centerpiece

Alright, today I'm showing off a little centerpiece I've been working on over the last two weeks. It was a bit time consuming, but I've had this on my to-do list for quite some time now.  So it was time to finally make it.

Upon visiting the history museum in my hometown last year,  I came upon an old pioneer blanket made of these cute little yo-yo's.  I loved the look of it, so when I got back to Utah, I sat down and figured out how to make them.  I even wrote a tutorial in which, I unknowingly called them "pinwheels".   I had no idea they were called "yo-yo's" until about a month ago.

Apparently, some one out there makes a yo-yo maker.  I'm not sure how helpful it is because these are seriously so easy to make without anything but fabric, thread, and a needle.   Check out my tutorial here.

fabric yo-yo centerpiece

Modge Podge Canvas Tutorial

Alright, today I'm sharing a tutorial for a modge-podged decorative canvas that I shared a few weeks ago at Craftionary, in case you missed out on seeing it there.

The canvas I made was inspired by a previous canvas I created last year (as seen below).  And that one was inspired by a little something I saw at Tai Pan Trading.

Bird Canvas Art

I didn't write a tutorial for that one, but I made it exactly as I made the one below.   So enjoy the tutorial and happy decorating!
Modge Podge Canvas

For this project you will need:

black spray paint
patterned paper
black ink
modge podge
foam brush

Step 1.  Spray paint your canvas black.

The middle of it doesn't matter so much since you will be covering it up, but make sure the sides are covered well.  I recycled a canvas from one of my previous wall art ventures.  It needed a makeover! 

Step 2.  Pick out your paper.  I chose colors from my living room, which is where it is now hanging :)

Step 3.  Draw or print your design for the center.  I drew my own design, but if you don't feel so inclined, there are loads of copyright free images on the web.

p.s. kindly disregard the orange scribbles- my son got to it while I wasn't looking!

Step 4.  Now it's time for cutting!

Lay your design  on top of your paper of choice and tape it down securely.  With an intricate design like this, I decided use a small exacto knife and cutting board.  But if scissors are all you have, I'm sure they would work fine too. 

Step 5. Lay out your paper and design on your canvas to make sure everything fits and make any adjustments.

Modge Podge Canvas

Step 6.  Now comes the hardest part... modge podging your paper to the canvas without creating wrinkles or bubbles.  Work with one piece at a time, applying modge podge liberally with a foam brush to the back of the paper and the canvas.  You have to work quickly because the modge podge dries fast.

Make sure the piece is lined up, then lay the top edge down smoothing the paper down as you work the paper down onto the canvas.

When you get to the branches and leaves, work with one section at a time.  I modge podged the whole thing at once and it stuck to the newspaper it was sitting on and ripped in a few places :(  Luckily I was able to modge podge it back together on the canvas :)

Update: 10/25/2011- Even if you are very careful laying your paper out flat, you will still get a few bubbles due to the fact that the modge podge makes the paper a little wet.  The bubbles will disappear as the paper dries.  So not to worry! Just let it dry!

Step 7.  Distress the edges with ink.

Dab a sponge in some ink and apply it to the edges of the paper covered canvas.  This gives it more of an antique feel.  Depending on the kind of ink you use, you may need to do this step last as some ink will smear when modge podge is applied on top of it.  Just to make sure, do a little test on a scrap before doing the real thing.  

Modge Podge Canvas

Step 8.  Outline your branches and leaves design with ink.  I used a paint brush and the same ink I used for the edges to do this, but a black pen should do the trick also.  Let this dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 9.  Do a final coat of modge podge and you're done!

Modge Podge Canvas

Watercolor Geraniums #2

pink and red geraniums painting

Here is another watercolor of my lovely geraniums.   This painting is all I have left to remember them by since some kids got to my flowers last night- grrrrr.  They picked every last one of them and threw them on the ground even though they were sitting right on my fenced-in patio!  If I knew who it was I would report them for vandalism.   I am so done with living in apartments.  Seriously, no one respects your property or space, especially if you live on the bottom floor like I do.

Studies of a Pear

ink pear drawing

I'm having sleep troubles again :(  This is a very frustrating thing, but it does give me time to do some sketching.   So last night I did a little sketching of a pear. Pears have such interesting shapes.  No wonder artists are always painting them!

ink pear drawing

ink pear drawing

Butterflies on the Wall

butterfly wall decals

I made mini paper butterflies and covered a wall!  Its a fun, easy way to use up paper scraps and it really livens up a room.  This would be perfect for a girl's room, if I had a girl :)

These butterflies are incredibly easy to make.  I found a website with instructions, if you want to check it out here: Paper Butterflies!

paper butterflies

paper butterflies