In The Works

crochet scarf

The beginnings of a new scarf...........

Crochet Infinity Scarf

Since watching too much TV gives me headaches, I have to find ways to keep myself occupied while recovering.  Crocheting is good and I dusted off my old French books from college.  The only college textbooks I actually kept! My skills are in sad shape but I it's amazing how much I can still understand of written French.

I also have this France in 360 book with amazing photography.  It's been my lifelong dream to visit France one day........sigh.

Crochet Infinity Scarf

Stay tuned for my new crochet scarf pattern.... it's going to be good :)

Photos of the Week

I didn't get out much last week so my photos were all taken in my backyard........
I love my cosmos flowers!

cosmos flowers
cosmos flowers
purple pink white cosmos flowers
purple pink cosmos flowers
purple pink cosmos flowers

Last week I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for my family.  Going through something trying and traumatic as surgery does that to me.  

I'm grateful for my mom who stayed with me over a week, cooking, cleaning, taking care of my son while I recovered.  My husband who puts up with an often sick wife and a job he doesn't like in order to provide.  He is the most patient man in the world.  My son who makes me smile almost every time I look at him.  As much as I would love more children, I can't help but weep tears of gratitude and joy for this little boy I have already.  He is a gift!

Free Crochet Pattern: Chevron Blanket

Free Crochet Pattern Chevron Blanket by Elise Engh

I've been working on this blanket for months and months and I'm sooooooo happy it's finished! I find myself looking at it again and again during the day.  It's so colorful and so happy.  It livens up my mostly brown living room :)

It's made from mostly thrifted yarn (which I did wash  by the way) and my left-over scraps, so it was cheap to make too.

Free Crochet Pattern Chevron Blanket by Elise Engh

Simple Chevron Blanket Pattern

Size I/9-5.50mm Crochet Hook
Worsted Weight Yarn- variety of colors
Yarn Needle

Sc=single crochet

Notes:  This pattern makes a blanket that measures approx. 53 inches wide by 66 inches long. Crochet fewer rows to make a shorter blanket.

Ch. 236 (or a multiple of 13 plus 2- to make desired width)

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in same ch, *sc in next 5 ch, skip 2 ch, sc in next 5 ch, 3 sc in next ch; repeat from * across to last ch, end with 2 sc in last ch, turn.

Row 2:  Ch 1, 2 sc in 1st sc, *sc in next 5 sc, skip 2 sc, sc in next 5 sc, 3 sc in next sc; repeat from *across to last sc, End with 2 sc in last sc, turn.

Rows 3-200: Repeat Row 2.  Change yarn colors as desired.

Fasten off and Weave in Ends.

Free Crochet Pattern Chevron Blanket by Elise Engh
Free Crochet Pattern Chevron Blanket by Elise Engh

Photos of the Week

I am home.  I survived the surgery!  Thank you so much for all the prayers and thoughts.  They have helped.  I'm still super super sore, but the surgery went well and I feel blessed to have had the doctor I have.  The only organ lost was an appendix- who needs that anyway?

I have a few posts scheduled, but other than that I will be taking it easy, watching Gilmore Girls from my comfy chair :)

How I Create

How I create: A look at creativity from an artist

That's a word I've thought a lot about lately.
What does is mean?  How do you get it? Where do creative ideas come from?
I've spent the last few years more dedicated to creating than ever before and here is what I've learned from my experience.

Ok, so just to be honest here, I usually don't come up with an idea totally and completely on my own. I'm almost always inspired by something else I have seen.  It can be another artist's work, nature, or even clothing designs.  I frequently walk out of Target with some painting ideas in mind. I just have a different idea of how I'd want it to look or how I would make it differently.  So in that way, it becomes my own.

wildlife photography

I get out often to take photos of nature and keep a notebook or sketchbook handy at all times to make note of my ideas.  If I don't write them down, they inevitable get lost in the jumble of my brain.

My creative process varies from project to project.  Sometimes I have to do a bit of experimenting, sketching, and planning to before I start the real thing.  Sometimes I have to work at using a new medium- learn how to actually use it to gain the necessary skills.  Other times I can go with the flow and start something cold turkey.  That takes practice, practice, and ya, more practice!  It's so rewarding for me to see a finished project that meets my expectations. The work is worth it!

So, I'll walk you through the creative process that led to one of my favorite watercolor projects, my Watercolor Portraits.  

I got the idea for making these from another watercolor portrait I had seen somewhere online.  It had the same posterized effect and looked so cool, but I had no idea how I could actually make one. Drawing the portrait like that by hand would take phenomenal effort and talent and I wanted to find an easier way to make it so that everyone could make one too, not just the super skilled artists.  So I let the idea simmer a few months. It was always in the back of my mind.  I was problem solving.  

Finally I remembered a pencil transferring technique I had learned in school and it donned on me that that was the answer. So then I entered the experimental phase. I tried posterizing all kinds of photos to see what worked best. Then I actually tried it would with watercolors on watercolor paper. Luckily this one was a success!  So I made more!

Creative Resistance:
Even with ideas flowing, there are still times when my ideas don't materialize the way I envisioned them.  But you never know unless you try right?

One of the biggest resistors to creativity is fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of not producing exactly what you had in mind.  In my case, I worry about wasting materials- I'm cheap like that.

You have to think on the positive side to be creative.  Even if you end up with a failed project, or semi-failed project, there is still something to be learned and gained from it.  Sometimes I discover that the idea was a bad one to begin with, sometimes I just have to figure out a new way to do it. And then once in a while, you get those glorious happy accidents- where you didn't plan something to happen, but it turned out better than you what you had in mind.

How I Create:  A look at creativity from an Artist's perspective

When I find myself having failure after failure, it's usually a sign that I'm just frazzled with life and need a break.  I need to get outside, take a vacation, play with my son, talk with friends.  I come back later feeling energized and like my mind is alive again. I feel more inclined to create when I am balanced.

So those are my thoughts on creativity!  I hope that gave you a little insight into my world!

Stamped Thank You Note Cards

mini thank you note cards on watercolor paper

Etsy sales usually start to pick up after summer is over- thank goodness!  Hence the need for more thank-you note cards.

This time I made us of my watercolor paper scraps and my small stamp collection.  Stamps on watercolor paper look so much more elegant than on regular computer paper or even card stock.  

mini thank you note cards on watercolor paper
stamped mini thank you note cards on watercolor paper

I use Strathmore 140lb coldpress watercolor paper for most of my watercolor projects.  It's a gorgeous paper with a beautiful texture.

stamped mini thank you note cards on watercolor paper
stamped mini thank you note cards on watercolor paper

Photos of the Week

Late Summer Roses Photograph

I took these over the weekend on a walk with my family and in-laws.  It was a gorgeously stormy late summer evening.  I never get tired of rain in Utah!

Pink Roses Photography
Landscape Mountain and Storm Photography

Watercolor Wildflowers

Wildflowers Original Watercolor Painting by Elise Engh

I picked some wildflowers on one of my walks last week and knew I had to paint them.
This is the result.................

Wildflowers Original Watercolor Painting by Elise Engh
Wildflowers Original Watercolor Painting by Elise Engh
Wildflowers Original Watercolor Painting by Elise Engh

Fun Photography with Garden Flowers

wildflowers and herb photography: grow creative

I have so many beautiful things growing in my yard right now.  
Garden herbs, wildflowers and my trusty zinnias.

I wanted to find a way to preserve some of it- so I got out some pruning shears, a painted white board and my camera.

wildflowers and herb photography: grow creative

It really was fun arranging these flowers for photos- I think they'd make some awesome watercolor paintings one day too!

wildflowers and herb photography: grow creative
wildflowers and herb photography: grow creative
wildflowers and herb photography: grow creative

Photos of the Week

Oh the beautiful days of late summer.  I love it!  I can go on walks again without over heating.  I can read out in my backyard.  It's a relief. 

I read some great advice this week, courtesy of the great Dr. Seuss.

I'll be thinking this as I drop my kid off for his first day of Kindergarten tomorrow.  Maybe it will keep me from crying too much.............maybe.