Dollar Store Wreath

Fall Flower and Pinecone Wreath Craft

Fall is in full swing and it's time for some fall decorating!  I opened up my small box of fall decorations last week and decided I needed to add a few more items to my stash, especially since I now have a whole house to decorate... not just an apartment.  I planned on getting a cheap vine wreath from the dollar store with some fall flowers to decorate it with, but the dollar store was fresh out of wreaths.  I assume everyone had the same idea.... that's what I get for living in such a crafty state...  :)

I bought three fall stems for $3 and then headed over to the thrift store to see if I could find an old abandoned wreath I could bring back to life.  I found a sad old spring wreath and bought it for all of $.75! oh ya- take that dollar store!

Fall Flower and Pinecone Wreath

With the help of some hot glue and spray painted pine cones I fixed that sad wreath up and hung it on my front door.  Not bad for $3.75!
Dollar Store Fall Flower and Pinecone Wreath

Green Crochet Shell Hat

Well, it's not too cold here yet, but I'm still getting in the mood to crochet!  I whipped up another one of my Shell Stitch Crochet Hats.

If you want the pattern... you are in luck!  I posted the free pattern earlier this year... so check it out.

p.s.  I love that I have a brick fireplace to take photos in front of now.  It's much more interesting than a plain white wall :)

Photo of the Week

Just thought you might enjoy a glimpse of my little family... we had such a fun time yesterday! It feels good to be goofy once in a while :)

Lets Go Ride a Bike

watercolor vintage bicycle

Is anyone else loving all the bicycle decor going on these days?  I'm really really loving much in fact that I created my own watercolor illustration.

watercolor vintage bicycle

This is another one of those paintings that I'm not so sure I can bring myself to sell one day.  I love it too much!

I've still not been successful in finding a good place to make prints of my work.  So for you other artists out there,  where do you make prints?  Do you go through an online service or somewhere local?

Abstract Watercolor Bookmarks

Not that I need more bookmarks, but...... I just wanted to relieve some stress by doing a little abstract painting.  I made good use of my stash of left over watercolor paper scraps I've been saving forever.

Here's what I made:

They remind me of the ocean, which makes me feel relaxed and happy :)

Photo of the Week

It's my first time drying my own herbs from my own herb garden.  So exciting! I love that I can save my basil for the winter.  I'm finding that fall gets me in the mood for home-making and preserving foods.  I have some major plans for my walnuts once they fall off my tree... can't wait!

Easy Watercolor Portrait Tutorial

I'm still working on decor for the bare walls of my home.  I have lots of family photos to hang, but I wanted something with more color..... so I opted to created some bright watercolors of my son and created a tutorial to share!

Now you may be thinking that this is way too hard, but it is WAY easier than it looks.  If you can trace an outline and color it in, you can do this!  

DIY Easy Watercolor Portraits- free art tutorial

digital photo of a person
printer paper
watercolor paper
watercolor paints

Step 1:  Find a nice digital photo of your subject with an even amount of light and shadow on the face.  This can be kinda tricky.  If there's too much light or shadow on the face, you won't have enough definition to make this work.  So you may have to try this with several photos to see what works best.  Finding the right photo is key!

Step 2:  Open the photo in PicMonkey, a free online photo editor.  You can use another editor if you like, but I'll explain the next steps in terms of the picmonkey editor.

Step 3:  In PicMonkey, select the Effects option on the left sidebar.  It's the second symbol down from the top.   In Effects, select the Posterize option towards the bottom of the sidebar ( I've circled that one below also).

Step 4:  In Posterize, slide the number of colors bar down to 2.  It's important to have only two colors here.  This project won't work with any more colors or any less.  Keep the detail at 80% and the fade at 0%.  Then hit apply.

Your photo should look like this now.  Only one light shade and one dark shade.

posterize a photo

Step 5:  Decide on the size of painting you want to make and print out the digital photo in black and white in the size that you desire.  I printed mine to fill a whole 8 1/2 x 11 piece of copy paper and it worked well to make an 8 x 10 painting.

Step 6:  Once you have your printed photo, flip it over and color over the entire backside with a regular pencil.

You may be wondering why you are doing this, but trust me.... there is a reason.  The pencil graphite will help you transfer your image onto the watercolor paper.  So fill it in the best you can!

pencil transfer technique

Step 7:  Flip your paper over so the photo side is up and place it directly on top of the watercolor paper.  You need to make sure the paper doesn't shift or move during the next steps so it may be a good idea to tape it down.  

Step 8:  With a sharpened pencil, press firmly to  trace the outlines of the face. I've outlined in red in the photo below some of the areas I traced to give you an idea.

I traced all the black outlines of the face and then moved down to trace the outlines of the neck and shoulders.  Depending on your particular photo, you may want to leave the background out.  For this one, it worked best to leave it out.

pencil transfer technique

Step 9:  Once you have the whole image traced, take the printed copy off to see the image transferred onto the watercolor paper.

pencil transfer technique

Step 10:  Now it's time to add some watercolor! Select a color and carefully start painting inside the lines you traced.  Keep your printed copy handy to make sure you are painting in the right spots.

watercolor portraits
Tip:  To give the portrait a more varied look, try adding just a hint of another color on certain areas. I added a touch more red in some areas and left others more orange-y. 

watercolor portraits

Step 11:  Fill in the entire portrait and let the paint dry and finally... You Are Done!

DIY Easy Watercolor Portraits- free art tutorial

DIY Easy Watercolor Portraits- free art tutorial

Photos and tutorial are copyright protected: Elise Engh 2012.  Please do not copy or use photos without permission. Thank you.

Photo of the Week

orange yellow autumn leaves

We've been enjoying the early fall colors :)

And something else totally unrelated but also awesome...... I happened to hear something profound on PBS this week!  A woman in a documentary said,  "The more I give, the more I like who I am." That has stuck with me because it's true for me too.  Giving to others makes me feel good.  It makes me feel better about myself even.  So my goal this week.... give more!

Two Pears and a Pepper

Fall produce is in full swing and I've been doing a little watercoloring.  I haven't grown any of my own produce yet... maybe next year.  So I've been stalking up at the grocery store.

I painted even more pears, (ya I don't ever quite get tired of those). So sorry, you'll have to see more pear paintings.
watercolor pear
watercolor pear

And then I ventured out with a bell pepper.  That's a first! 

red bell pepper watercolor painting

All three are for sale in my Etsy shop.... just so you know :)

For the Love of Nature: Decorative Stones

Sharpie Decorated Stones

Nature always inspires me so I'm happy when I can create something using nature itself! And when it comes to stones.... I have plenty in my back yard......too many, in fact.  So if you want some, come on over!

Sharpie Decorated Stones

These hand drawn designs were made with a sharpie and were inspired by these owl pebbles.

decorative stones

decorative stones

I love them all, but I think the butterflies are my favorites.  I have plans for many more decorative stones.... birds, bugs, and even sea creatures!  I can't wait to get crackin'!

decorative stones

Photo of the Week

Hello there... and a happy Labor Day to you!

Have any fun plans for the holiday?  Last night my family took a little drive up a canyon in our lovely Utah mountains and happened to find this beautiful bridge surrounded with green!  I love discovering new places.  I think this is our new favorite canyon :)