Our New Home Art Studio

With young kids in the house, and no safely designated area to do art, we’ve defaulted to trying to cram out results during nap time or other opportunistic moments.

Not any more!!!!

We just took a room in our house, put a gate across the doorway, and instantly gained a safe place to leave projects half-done.

It has proved itself very useful already, as a place I can leave paintings to dry, clay sculptures to sit untouched until another free moment, and sewing projects can be left out without the worry of kids pulling on the sewing machine chords. Stay at home seamstress’ out there, you know what I’m talking about!

It has taken us almost two years to take the plunge and commit to turning this room into a studio. Why? We thought we needed the money that renting it out gave us. But…. when we figured out a way to not need that, a whole new freedom opened up! I can pursue my creative side every day, even if only a half hour at a time. It has also made filling my Etsy orders much easier and less stressful.

Why didn’t we do this sooner?!!!!

I encourage you to make your own studio at home. Take the plunge! Be it a corner of the living room, one end of the kitchen counter, or that old tool shed in the back yard. Make a space dedicated to you and your passion!

Go on, do it!




Monsters on Etsy

Seth and I like to be creative in some way every day, even if it is just doodling on paper with the girls. Sometimes we get a little more time and dedication to do something bigger.

Seth usually goes out in the garage and builds or modifies bicycles, while I prefer to sit down at the kitchen table and play with fimo clay.

Usually I make air plant holders in the guise of Monsters. Later when I get another chunk of time, I take it outside and set up a little photo shoot, then do some online editing, and then finally post a new listing in my shop on Etsy. Sometimes the whole process can take a couple weeks from start to finish. I know, I could be more diligent, but I kind of save that for when orders come in, getting them made and shipped without delay.

Here’s a couple of the monsters up in the shop;

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A Project for the New Year

You know how some people set New Year’s Resolutions? In fact, most people in Canada and the States do. Well, seeing as I made a point years ago to never set a resolution for the start of a new year, I’ve been working on something since mid December and hopefully will get it up and running by the end of the next little bit. See… it’s not because of a calendar date!

My little thing I want to get up and going, is an Etsy store. I’m sure that most of you have heard of Etsy before. Handcrafted items mailed to you in a lovingly wrapped package, etc.

I do have one little problem though. While most people seem to have set up stores because they make too much of one thing for the fun of it and no longer have room in their house, and have to sell their items in order to make room to make more things, I’ve got a little different problem. I like making too many things, and don’t make the time for any one thing! So what to set the store up with?

Years ago I used to draw with charcoal. They were on regular sized art paper, but took ridiculously long to finish because of all the detail that I would try to put into it. Right now I just don’t have any place to leave something like that set up, away from careless fingers.

Currently I’ve been having fun making wool leggings with skirts for Marin, small kites out of tissue paper and bigger ones from recycled wind surfer sails, as well as some other random crafty stuff. It would be great fun if the kites were to be big sellers, but who is to say that any of them will sell at all? Set up with something special in mind? or put out a bunch of different items and see what sells?

Grrr! and then there is the issue of taking wonderful pictures of said items. I’m not a photographer! Worse yet, I don’t know how to properly tweak photos on the computer to make them look better.

Well, I guess instead of a New Year Resolution to stop doing something, start doing something else or change something I don’t like, this New Year project will be to create a working shop with real income (no matter how small it starts).

Cheers everyone! Here’s to being creative in 2014!

Blacksmiths and a Birthday

To celebrate my brother Mitchell’s 15th birthday, we spent the day hanging out and exploring Durango. We didn’t know what to do before we got there, but as we drove through town we saw signs for multiple different shows all in this one little area, so we found a parking stall and people took off to go explore!

Marin was still asleep in her carseat, so she and I stayed in the van a little while after everyone else left, then once she was awake we went in search of the rest of the family. I thought they would have gone first to the big flea market, but I could not find them anywhere there! There was however lots of stuff to look at, so we didn’t rush but rather took our time perusing through the tables and admiring the hand crafted items. One particular table caught my eye, filled with hand forged knives, wall hooks and other assorted metal items. I thought the knives looked familiar, made from railroad spikes. My mom had sent me a link to a website by a fellow they met who lives in a school bus and makes a living out of making and selling hand forged items. Sure enough, the name was the same, so I increased the intensity of the search for my family, to tell them that Joe was here in Durango!

I finally found them up in some bleachers watching a junior horse skills “rodeo”, which they quickly abandoned once I told them that Blacksmith Joe was just at the far end of the parking lot. They all jumped up and excitedly started asking question, eager to see once again their friend Joe.

When Joe saw the family his face lit up with a big smile. Of course he remembered them!

Impromptu plans were made, and we so after the market shut down we met back up with him and he took us out to his bus, so we could have a covered area from the rain in which to share and eat cheesecake for Mitch’s birthday. He even had a candle in a heavy home forged base for Mitch to blow out!

Joe also gave me a little tour of his bus and how he has it set up to take veggie oil, which I found quite interesting because that is the set-up Seth and I would like to have eventually but I’ve never actually seen a veg-fed house-bus first hand before.

I would tell you how amazing the veggie oil system is, but that information is easy to find on the internet and with greater detail, so I won’t. But I got some pretty cool ideas from Joe, as he pointed out some quirks and fun finds that he discovered in the 4 years he has had his bus. Seeing someone actually live in a bus and see how they do it, gives me confidence that Seth, Marin and I will be able to do it as well soon-day.

Soon-day; Alternative to Someday which never becomes Today but rather always stays in the future, Soon-day is capable of transforming into Today and becoming a reality.

Un-Schooling Never Ends

I grew up home-schooled and un-schooled, loving the “un” part the most. Spending time down in Colorado with my younger siblings reminds me of my “schooling years” and how learning never ends.

My brother Mitch has always been obsessed with sailboats, building first paper models when he was 3 and 4 years old, then progressing to wooden models as he grew older. Now at 14 almost 15 years old, he is building a 15 1/2 foot sailboat to take out on a reservoir here in Colorado. He also has been helping Dad and Mr Tim build a house and separate  garage. He smiles all day long, loving the work and learning.

Maret and the younger girls are drawing and expanding their sketching skills ever day. They spur each other on, talking about their mystical characters and coming up with new ideas.

Mom keeps expanding her knowledge, researching everything from making kefir to setting up an internet business. Always learning, always sharing.

Dad? Well…. he’s the one in charge of keeping the building projects rolling, as he knows what steps come next, but he still takes time to check out books from the library to expand his knowledge, and finds new places he wants to explore around the Cortez area.

All this creativity is contagious.

Gosh I love my family!

Last Thursday

Last night was the Last Thursday On Alberta St Market.

Neither Seth or I had ever been to it before, but that didn’t stop us from cycling up there with the trike and setting it up as our own art stand!

Sorry, in the excitement we forgot to take pictures. Bad us!

We slow walked through the first couple blocks until we found a very nice little corner where the road narrowed a bit and the crowd was drawn in by one of those “see how strong you are” bell thingys. I held Marin while Seth did most of the setting up, then I added my touch with the art and started working on a painting right there.

Just sitting and looking at people never worked to draw in a crowd. No sirree. What DID work though, was ignoring them and painting, open coffee jar and everything! I think people were drawn mostly by the comforting smell. They would stop and look… smile… ask what kind of paint it is.

“Why it’s coffee!” I’d say, to which a look of surprise would cross their face until I allowed them to smell my paint.

“Wow, it really IS coffee!”

I think that was the most fun part, seeing people register that yes indeed I was making art out of their daily morning beverage.


Coffee Painting of Gaelyn

I’ve started playing around with coffee as a painting medium. I tried it once in Sooke when my sister got a coffee stain on her white shirt and wanted it turned into something a little more artistic, but now I’m doing it on watercolour paper instead of tank-tops.

A couple pieces have been finished, but this one here is my favorite, taken from a photo that my mom posted on her blog, of my youngest sister Gaelyn.

Gaelyn in coffee