Pretty Painted Frames

Thrift stores are the bomb-dot-com!  I visit them frequently to pick up picture frames for the piles of paintings I have stored in my art room.

Never seen a frame like this in the thrift store?  Me neither..... this one was gold when I found it.  But it had such beautiful molding on it.  I knew it just had to be painted white.  So yes, it does involve some searching and some work, but it's totally worth it :)

Paint a thrift store frame to decorate your home!

I actually found the pair of these perfectly girly!

If you've never painted a frame before... don't be scared.  It's not hard.  I start by removing the backing and glass, then lightly sanding and washing the dust off the frames.  I give them one coat of primer, let them dry, then give them a coat or two of the final color.  You can use latex interior house paint, spray paint, or even acrylic craft paint. Pretty easy!

thrifted white picture frames

Here's another originally-gold-frame..... painted in one of my favorite colors.... a bright aqua! 

Turquoise painted thrifted picture frame with watercolor cactus
watercolor bird in thrifted white frame

Scribbled Heart Valentine's Cards

Cookie Cutter Stencil Scribbled Hearts Cards

One of my favorite holidays is approaching!  Hooray for Valentine's Day and all the love shared because of it!

I'm sure I've already written about how much I love home made cards, but I'll write it again.... they're awesome!  They may not look as professional, but there's more care that's gone into them.  

I posted a fun Watercolor Resist Card Idea last year, but I didn't want to make the same cards again.  So I came up with Scribbled Heart Cards instead.  This is another one you can do with the kiddos!

Cookie Cutter Stencil Scribbled Hearts Cards

Scribbled Heart Cards Tutorial

Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter or Stencil
Crayons, Pens, Markers, Colored Pencils- whatever you like!

Step 1:  Lay a cookie cutter or stencil down on top of some paper and hold it down tightly with your hands.  You don't want it moving for the next step.

Heart Cookie Cutter and Crayons Card

Step 2:  Using a crayon, marker, pen, or colored pencil, scribble around inside of the cookie cutter.  Fill in the entire space.  You can even get crazy and use several different colors on the same heart.

Heart Cookie Cutter and Crayons Card
Heart Cookie Cutter and Crayons Card

Step 3:  Remove the cookie cutter to see your awesome scribbled heart!  Add a fun Valentine's message and other embellishments if desired. 

Cookie Cutter Stencil Scribbled Hearts Cards
Cookie Cutter Stencil Scribbled Hearts Cards

Happy Card Making!

Photos of the Week

ice crystals on a branch
winter tree with frost
ice crystals on a branch

Good morning!  We had some heavy fog last week that covered everything in these amazing ice crystals. So fun to photograph!  All the trees looked so beautiful in the morning sunlight before the sun melted the frost away.

Winter is long, but I do ok as long as I can see the sun often..... and have play dates with friends, phone calls from family, good food to eat, and good movies to watch.  My house is also a lot cleaner in the winter..... I sometimes clean when I get bored.... is that weird?  What do you do to keep sane in the winter?

How to Watercolor: Still Life

How to Paint a Pear Still Life: beginner watercolor tutorial

Ready to try a watercolor still life?

It's hard for me to really explain how I paint.  A lot of it is intuitive.  Everyone develops their own methods and style as they learn to paint.  The best I can do is to break it down to show you the progression of my painting and explain what I did along the way.

So please don't get discouraged if your first attempt doesn't look like mine.  My first attempt looked nothing like this.  It's taken me LOTS of practice to get to this level and even then I still have mess-ups.

Pear Still Life Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Pear or picture of a pear- you can use the one I have below.
Watercolor Paper
Watercolor Paints
Paint Brushes
Drawing Pencil

green pear

Step 1:  Looking at an actual pear, or a pear picture, draw a light outline sketch of it on a sheet of watercolor paper. Personally, I find it easier working in small scale- so I drew mine on a 5x7 sheet of paper, but you can use any size you like.

Pear Drawing

Step 2:  Apply your first light wash of paint leaving white spaces for the brightest highlights of the pear. This pear is mostly green, but the lightest parts of it are actually yellow- so that's the color I started with.

Remember that you are working from the lightest parts to the darkest.  It's better to err on the side of using too little paint at the beginning  because you can always add more on later.  If you apply heavy dark paint from the beginning it's really hard to fix.

How to paint a watercolor pear

I've circled the parts I painted around to leave white space on my painting and the corresponding spots on the pear photo.  White space in watercolor painting is really important.  A watercolor with no white space comes off looking flat.  So don't be too hasty with the first layer- remember the white space!

How to paint a watercolor pear

Step 3:  After the first wash has dried (you need to allow drying time between each wash), apply a second light wash (I added a tiny bit of green to the yellow color I used on the previous wash).   Make sure to paint around the highlight spaces so they stay white and also paint around the next lightest spots.  This is hard to explain, but you are painting around the the light spots to build it gradually darker and darker.  It takes some time to get used to thinking and painting that way.  

How to paint a watercolor pear
How to paint a watercolor pear

Step 4:  Add a third wash of green, again leaving the highlights white and painting around the next lightest areas.  This time I added a hint of brown at the top of the pear and a couple of golden yellow spots where I saw yellow on the pear.

Your pear should be starting to look more three dimensional.  Leaving the highlights white and building in the darker shades gives it depth.

How to paint a watercolor pear

Step 5: With slightly more saturated green paint, apply another wash, leaving white space as before.  I really got the shadows built up more with this wash. I applied heavier paint on the left side and the very bottom of the pear where the darker shadows are.

How to paint a watercolor pear

Step 6:  Add more green to the shadows and fill in the stem of the pear with a light wash of brown.

How to paint a watercolor pear

Step 7:  This was my final wash, but depending on how dark your previous washes were, you made need additional washes to get more saturated hues for the shadows.

To finish off the look of the pear, I filled in the shadows of the brown stem and added some more texture to the body of the pear by dipping the end of my paintbrush in green paint and dotting it on the pear.  Real pears have visible dots on them, so this texture technique gives it more life.

How to paint a watercolor pear

Photos of the Week

duck on a pond
frozen lake landscape

We took a little trip to our favorite lake last week.  It was almost totally frozen, but still beautiful!  It was fun just to get out of the house for a bit and get some sun.

Sometimes I think I would like to be a world traveler.  I can imagine myself going everywhere with my camera taking pictures of absolutely everything.  That would be awesome! Maybe that will happen one day, but for now I'm happy to be a mother and to have the best job in the whole world...... taking care of my kid!

Thank you for your kind comments and thoughts from last week's post.  It has been a rough time for our family, but I have hope for our future and if anything, these trials make me appreciate the child I do have that much more.

Crochet Chevron Scarf Pattern

free crochet scarf pattern


Hopefully you have some time off to relax, watch a movie, or crochet.  Crochet is relaxing to me..... most of the time, except when I'm trying to figure out a super complicated pattern.   Sometimes it feels like trying to learn a new language!

But you are in luck, I'm starting off 2014 with a simple and free crochet scarf pattern!  This one shouldn't have you pulling out your hair :)

Crochet Chevron Scarf Pattern by Elise Engh Studios

Crochet Chevron Scarf

Worsted Weight Yarn ( I used Caron Simply Soft in Grey Heather), 5-7oz
Size I/ 9-5.50MM crochet Hook
Yarn Needle

ch = chain
dc = double crochet
st = stitch

Ch 2 does not count as dc.


Ch 27.

Row 1:  2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, dc in next 5 ch, skip 2 ch, dc in next 5 ch, 3dc in next ch, dc in next 5 ch, skip 2 ch, dc in next 3 ch, end with 2 dc in last ch.Turn. (25dc)

Row 2: Ch 2, 2dc in 1st dc, dc in next 5 dc, skip 2 dc, dc in next 5 dc, 3dc in next dc, dc in next 5 dc, skip 2 dc, dc in next 3 dc, end with 2 dc in last dc. Turn. (25 dc)

Rows 3- 107: Repeat row 2.  (I wanted my scarf extra long so I crocheted 107 rows.  To make a shorter scarf, decrease the number of rows to desired length.)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Free Crochet Pattern: Chevron Scarf