Apr 29 2013

make your desktop pretty! may desktop wallpaper

today IS going to be SUBLIME!
i hope you enjoy this month’s free desktop wallpaper.

may_desktop_wallpaper_freeour Allen Designs wiggles clock can be found here.

i like the idea of making that statement as i wake to encounter each day.
my days ARE better when i begin with that kind of attitude.
sometimes it’s fiercely hard. there are people & things that are constantly trying to drag us down.
it’s our CHOICE if we let them.
it takes practice & discipline to keep going back to a happy & thankful heart.
for me, i have to let myself lean into God and trust that he’s got my back.
he’s protected & provided, why should i doubt him now.

MAY (pun intended) you have a wonderful & sublime month! xoxo-m

 Just click on the image below to open the file, then right click to save.


please feel free to share it with your friends. 🙂


china flowers & crazy food

i am soooo tired, a LONG day at the factory, but i wanted to check in real quick and say “hi” and share a few pics.

china_flower_travellove the stamen on this pretty. it is “stamen”, correct?

allen_designs_whimsical_clocks_flowerthese colors are making me very happy!

food_in_china_travel_southernthis is actually a pretty decent round up.
tofu & green beans, corn, bread things that you fill with some sort of root/vegetable mixture, spicy fish (in the center there) and pork.

china_travel_small_lobster_seafood_soupand this… i’m not a big seafood buff. is there such thing as mini lobsters?
if so, this might be them.

well, i’m off to sleep.
thanks for peeking in on me!

Apr 27 2013

hello China!

yes, i’m here in China again.
at least twice a year.
i can’t believe this is my 10th year of coming here. am i really getting that old?!



i’m working on lots of new designs. pretty darned excited about them!
after 10 yrs., i still get completely blissed out in the development process.

seeing two dimensional art become three dimensional is just downright fun.

table setting: plastic wrapped dishes (that you still end up rinsing in boiling hot water), ashtray (ugh, so many smokers here in China!), toothpicks, tissues (instead of napkins. always) and peanuts (quite common appetizer).

fish soup.

i love the farmland here. small areas with lots of different crops, sustaining the areas nearby.

something new to me on this trip- riding a high speed train. 200 MPH!!!
a little nerve-wracking. glad i’m still here to write about it. 🙂

more china travels tomorrow. xoxo-m

Apr 13 2013

my art bag and it’s contents

i love creating art in different places; a friend’s house, an art retreat, etc.
the best way to be able do this i’ve found, is by having a designated art travel bag.

allen designs art bag monogram
the local craft stores never seemed to have all that i was looking for.
so i ended up going to home depot/lowe’s (can’t remember which one) to find a tool bag.
it was hideous and very manly.
as curly girl designs says, “i am fairly certain given a cape & a nice tiara, i could save the world”-
for me it should read, “given paint and a paint brush i could change the world!”.

artist michelle allen art bag
as you can see- over time a LOT OF paint has been added!

art bag whimsical travel art journal
i also took a box cutter and removed some of the inside separators that I didn’t need and were just going to get in the way.

art travel bag artist michelle allen
my friend Janne and i strongly believe that “arting” should be a word. right?!?!

traveling art bag tote painter artist
i love all the outside pockets on this bag.

art journal travel bag
over the past few years i’ve worked it’s contents down to my personal arting essentials.

what's in my art bag

arting bag colorful travel carry all artist
and there you have it.
that’s what’s in my bag.
obviously, you could make a bag like this for all sorts of hobbies- scrap-booking, sewing, crocheting, beading etc.
do you have one? if so, how does it differ? what’s in your bag?


Apr 9 2013

random bits of my life

lots of change going on in my life right now.
some of the change has me smiling ear to ear with the cheesiest of grins.
and some of the change is giving me a pit in my stomach the size of a grapefruit.

on the fun side- we’re slowly redecorating our close2myart/allen designs studio!
allen designs studiopainting some walls, rehanging & organizing clocks.
we’ve been in this space 1.5 years and haven’t really done much in terms of decorating.
so we’re all really excited about cozying it up a bit.

alexis & austinAlexis and her boyfriend… nice hair, eh?… like i’m one to talk 🙂 
another big thing… my oldest daughter turned 18 yesterday!
i seriously CAN NOT believe that she’s that old and that i’m THAT old!

succulentfinally got me-self a few succulents.
they’re doing their job and  making me happy every time i walk past them.

artist michelle allenand the not so fun-
my graphic design gal quit and i’ve been scrambling trying to figure out what to do.
i’m holding off hiring someone, which has me taking over her tasks along with my own everyday ones.
all along just trying not to screw anything up!
it’s been a good opportunity to reevaluate our needs in the studio.
as hard and stressful as it is, i feel like it’s going to be a blessing in disguise.

art fortune cookiefound in our fortune cookie a few days ago.
so true. so true.

Apr 5 2013

monograms & letter love

i’ve been working hard on and off over the past few months trying to paint the alphabet for a line of small canvas giclees.
i personally love, as most of you know, the letter A. (my A wall)
so i was thinking, there must be lots of people out there like me that love letters…
hence the line of monograms i’m wanting to produce.
paint brushes pretty blue artist
art studio michelle allen portland or

monogram g letter love allen designsi’m halfway through the alphabet now and i’m starting to have major self-doubts-
is anyone going to buy these?
am i wasting my time?
should i be spending my energy elsewhere?
am i the only one who loves/collects letters?

monograms letter love artist studiorisk is inevitable in business.
some risks work out and others bomb.
not sure which category these are going to fall in.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” William Shedd

Arrow heart


Apr 2 2013

hand lettering & artist’s open studio tour

this year clark county, washington will be having it’s first annual artist’s open studios tour!
not sure of the dates, but it will be happening some time this fall.
clark county open studios

here’s a little logo hand lettering artwork thingy that i’ve been working on.

hand lettering open artist studio

not positive if it will be used or not but it’s been fun nonetheless.
open studios color web



and how about you?
been doing something fun?
ever participated in an open studios tour?

and btw, never ran yesterday… bad girl!
but did finally give in and shower. it had been several days and my husband was ready to kill me!



Apr 1 2013

easter & chalkboard art

happy late easter friends.
easter for us was filled with- church, family, a walk in the hood, lots of laughter and WAY too much food!
hand lettering font typography chalkboard art

the beginnings of chalkboard art.
and don’t judge my bunny… he’s got some issues!

chalkboard art hand lettering easter
can i just say, i love the freedom of the chalkboard.
perhaps the knowing that it can, and WILL be erased makes it more fun.

easter candy polka dot dishwhat would easter be without a bowl of these babies.
well, besides healthier!

magical forest heart hairLOVE this picture of my youngest!  it’s just dreamy.
thanks cousin monica for making this shot happen!

off to get some painting done now.
and maybe a short run. 🙂


April Desktop Wallpaper

 hello April, hello spring!
in celebration of this beautiful sunny weather we’ve had here in the NW-
we gift you with this month’s equally cheerful desktop wallpaper!

april desktop wallpaper allen designs“love first” giclee can be found here.

Just click on the image below to open the file, then right click to save.