New Print - Rustic Watercolor Leaves

I've been pushing myself back into watercolors over the past year. I wanted to reconnect with painting again (I had been mostly using pen and ink since college).

 

My mother is an artist as well and has been working in watercolors since before she was my age. Her style of watercoloring is very different from mine (she does it properly with a soft hand and very little layering). Either way It's been fun, I need to back through the stack of paintings I have and get things scanned so I can put them into patterns. 

Keeping my skills active

I entered the Printed Village  nautical scarf design competition last week. This was a last minute decision, but I had some free time and I had not used Illustrator in a few weeks (as I have been mainly Photoshop based recently).

I have put myself in positions in the past where I took on an illustrator based project, but hadn't done much in the program for years. It was a rough few days of re-teaching myself skills that I should have been building upon in those years. Since then I have made it a rule to keep myself familiar with both photoshop and illustrator, no matter which I am favoring at the time. Technology is advancing so fast, it is too easy to fall behind. 

I don't expect anything to come of my entry, but I enjoyed the time and I think it has inspired me to use illustrator in more of my day to day designs.

DIY Reupholstered Stool

I got this chair for free at the end of an estate sale in my area (at this sale all items were free after a certain time since the house needed to be cleared) I also scored a big bag of zippers that helped me kick start my sewing. Although I loved the size (and price) it needed a facelift. With a drill, a staple gun, and some extra fabric, I knew I could make something work.

I got this chair for free at the end of an estate sale in my area (at this sale all items were free after a certain time since the house needed to be cleared) I also scored a big bag of zippers that helped me kick start my sewing.

Although I loved the size (and price) it needed a facelift. With a drill, a staple gun, and some extra fabric, I knew I could make something work.

To start I unscrewed the top from the base of the stool. I used a power drill, but a normal screw driver would work for this part of the project. 

Next you need to pick your fabric. Since I work as a textile designer, I have accumulated a large stash. Fabric can be picked up at a local store, repurposed from an old item, or I have found lost of free options through sites like Craigslist.   Make sure to keep the thickness of your fabric in mind, too thin may tear easily and too thick may not be difficult to staple though. 

Next you need to pick your fabric. Since I work as a textile designer, I have accumulated a large stash. Fabric can be picked up at a local store, repurposed from an old item, or I have found lost of free options through sites like Craigslist.  

Make sure to keep the thickness of your fabric in mind, too thin may tear easily and too thick may not be difficult to staple though. 

Next use your staple gun to attach the fabric to your top, like wrapping a present. Since I chose a thicker fabric I had trouble getting the edges (where fabric is doubled over).

Next use your staple gun to attach the fabric to your top, like wrapping a present. Since I chose a thicker fabric I had trouble getting the edges (where fabric is doubled over).

Attach the top back to the base. Again since I used thicker fabric, I had to really work to get the base back on and definitely needed the drill to get the nails through the fabric.

Attach the top back to the base. Again since I used thicker fabric, I had to really work to get the base back on and definitely needed the drill to get the nails through the fabric.

But it is all worth it in the end! With a little hard work I created something I love and that will now help my little dog (Burt Macklin) jump on the bed!

But it is all worth it in the end! With a little hard work I created something I love and that will now help my little dog (Burt Macklin) jump on the bed!

Cactus Tree?

I found this odd "plant" in my new Los Angeles Neighborhood (Mar Vista) and I had to stop to talk a photo. This might be a variety of cactus that I am not aware of, but to me it looked like a tree (perhaps a birch) grew simultaneously with/outside of a cactus?

In hind sight I wish I had gone across the street to get a full picture of this behemoth of a tree. The top was full on cactus and the bottom looked like a tree stump. I love this mix of textures. Here are some close ups of the texture.   

Learning as I go

So after looking back on my first few posts I realized that I could do better with the photos. I work in the design industry and I am very comfortable with photoshop. I don't plan on overly adjusting my photos in any unnatural way, but I often use my iphone and after seeing my posts online I knew I needed a change. I realized that especially after lowering the resolution for web, I needed to fix my exposure and do my subject matter the justice it deserves. The fact that I'm usually taking the photo while a little black and white dog is trying to pull me along the path probably doesn't help either. 

I am a visual person, so photos are usually my favorite part of a blog/website. I've learnt in this situation that it is worth it to invest a bit more time to make the photos look true to what initially inspired me to whip out the phone/camera. 

Here are a few of my "Re-Dos"  

This is the rust from the top of my parents back up generator in their house up near the coast in Northern California where storms often cause blackouts. My dad originally installed the back up while my Grandmother was living there alone and from personal experience, I think it was well worth the investment. I'm sure the rust is actually a bad sign, but I'm a sucker for a pretty turquoise next to contrasting colors. I thought the blue and contrast levels didn't pop in the original photo like it did in person.  

This is the rust from the top of my parents back up generator in their house up near the coast in Northern California where storms often cause blackouts. My dad originally installed the back up while my Grandmother was living there alone and from personal experience, I think it was well worth the investment. I'm sure the rust is actually a bad sign, but I'm a sucker for a pretty turquoise next to contrasting colors. I thought the blue and contrast levels didn't pop in the original photo like it did in person.  

I've come across this type of tree before and in my research it (or cousin trees of the same "spikiness") seem to have many names like: Silk floss tree (usually has pink flowers), Sandbox tree, or Monkey No Climb Tree. There is a version in Costa Rica called The Pochete Tree, which is often used for fencing since it sounds like the branches of this Costa Rican cousin can be replanted succulent style. I wonder if the Cali version does the same. 

I've come across this type of tree before and in my research it (or cousin trees of the same "spikiness") seem to have many names like: Silk floss tree (usually has pink flowers), Sandbox tree, or Monkey No Climb Tree. There is a version in Costa Rica called The Pochete Tree, which is often used for fencing since it sounds like the branches of this Costa Rican cousin can be replanted succulent style. I wonder if the Cali version does the same. 

I also may need to research different moss and mold growths on trees. I must have over 20 photos like this, but this is my most colorful one yet. 

I also may need to research different moss and mold growths on trees. I must have over 20 photos like this, but this is my most colorful one yet. 

Patterns in Nature

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My favorite way to exercise has become hiking the past few years. I know it doesn't have as much impact as a gym membership but wow I love the scenery so much more. I always bring my phone/camera to capture the textures and possible pattern inspiration living around us. Here are a few of my recent favorites. I plan to do a whole post on wood and bark textures since I have enough of those saved up to fill pages and pages.

DIY Project - Tribal patterned planter

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Supplies needed :

-Terracotta Planter (lets be real you can use anything here that has some drainage or that you can drill a hole in the bottom of - I found this old cracked planter in the garage and decided it needed a new life)

-Scissors 

-Making tape (painters tape and probably whatever you have on hand will work fine)

-2 different colors of spray paint (unless you are ok with the design portion being the existing color of your planter)

-A plant or seeds and soil

-I also suggest an inspirational helper such as Jack the Camel  

They are not in the supplies image but i HIGHLY suggest gloves as well. Since I discovered my love of gold spray paint I have "gilded" myself many times. Super not fun to get off.... 

They are not in the supplies image but i HIGHLY suggest gloves as well. Since I discovered my love of gold spray paint I have "gilded" myself many times. Super not fun to get off.... 

Give your planter a coat of your base color with protection for your ground surface (and hands) of course too. Depending on your design, you might not need to cover the whole planter.

Use your tape to make your own design and then coat with your outer layer of spray paint

Peel off the tape, plant your plant and bam you are DONE!