Aug 15 2019

Art Journal Weekend!!!

June 4th-7th 2020
Art Journal Weekend
with artists Pam Garrison & Michelle Allen!

Registration Opens Nov. 1 at noon (PST).
We are offering early bird registration (10AM (PST))  for those who sign up on our newsletter.
Limited space, only 8 spots available.

This enchanting weekend will be hosted by Michelle and Pam in Michelle’s beautiful home, located in the Portland, Oregon metro area (Vancouver, WA).
This event is open to beginners and art journal aficiandos alike! Everyone is welcome –  treat yourself!

Join us for a long weekend full of inspiration, connection, laughing, art instruction, yummy food and being spoiled.
Fall in love with all Art Journaling has to offer!

This is an all-inclusive event! All materials for art journal making and creating in the journals themselves will be included! 🙂

In addition to creating your beautiful journal, we will also visit a few of our favorite places in Portland, OR, such as taking in the charm of art-journaling at a local winery, and getting a behind-the-scenes look of owning and operating an art-based business. You will also receive endless access to the art studio, to explore techniques and get creative!

Make new friends & spend time with like-minded creatives!

Professional artists, Michelle Allen and Pam Garrison, are passionate about creating, especially in their Art Journals, and they can’t wait to share their love of art journaling with you!


When: June 4th-7th 2020
Registration Opens Nov. 1 at noon (PST). We will do an early bird registration at 10AM for those who have signed up on our newsletter.
Only 8 spots will be available.

Where: This enchanting weekend will be hosted by Michelle and Pam in Michelle’s beautiful home, located in the Portland, Oregon metro area (Vancouver, WA).

Price: $1300 all inclusive, per person
*there are 3 queen-sized bedrooms (one with it’s own bathroom, and the other two share a jack & jill bathroom). There is also one king-size bedroom with it’s own bathroom. Sharing a bed will be required. so bring a friend, or make a new one! 
*airfare and travel not included

Sign up for Early Bird Registration HERE.


Aug 12 2019

Garden Gate Mural Painting

Painting a mural has been on my “list” for a very, very long time.
Several weeks ago I decided I just needed to go for it and not over-think it.

My small side gate seemed like a good place to start.

I began by taking a picture of my gate and doing the design in ProCreate on my iPad.
Which worked out great for choosing colors that went well with my existing fence and house.
Then to Home Depot I went!

And I was SO not prepared for this!
In hindsight, I bought  WAY too much paint.
The quarts were quite the overkill as I didn’t use a entire sampler size in a single color.

I set up my camera and was going to video the process but realized a good 30 minutes into it that it only recorded about 3 minutes of me painting. ugh, next time.

Look at how happy I am to be finally doing this. 😉
I believe a lot of my fear and procratination on projects like these comes from the possibility of not being happy with the finished product and having to spend time redoing them. I really need to get over this mindset.

All finished. I love how bright and cheery it ended up.
Hopefully my neighbors all like it too. haha! 🙂

Jul 5 2017

DIY Art Making Travel Bag

i love creating art in different places: a friend’s house, an art retreat, a blanket in the park.
the best way to be able do this i’ve found, is by having a designated art travel bag. easy to grab and go when inspiration hits.

the local craft stores never seemed to have all that i was looking for. so i had to create my own!

i ended up going to home depot/lowe’s (can’t remember which one) to find a tool bag.
something close, but may even be better, is this one I found here or here.
whichever one you decide on, make sure it’s a material that is porous and will accept the paint.

• first you’ll want to remove all labels, or pieces you don’t want showing, with small scissors or a seam ripper.
• next, i would recommend gesso‘ing it. which is basically priming it and will help the paint stick. to be honest, i didn’t and my bag is still fine many years and lots of use later. but, i may have just gotten lucky.
• then i just used all different kinds of acrylic paints and started layering colors and markings.
• when the paint was dry i used permanent ink to make smaller details. and then more paint again. the more layers the better is what i say!
• for the little flower on the pocket i used some felt and stitched it together first before using E6000 and gluing it to the bag.

once you’re all done it’s time to LOAD it up and go make art!
if you end up making yourself one i would sure love to see it.

happy art making friends!


Nov 12 2014

My Home Art Studio Tour

in case you didn’t make it out to the Clark County Open Studios this past weekend i thought i’d give you a little “virtual tour” of my home art studio.


i will admit, i like organization and places for everything to go.
hence, the abundance of dressers and containers.



this is where i spend most of my time… unfortunately.
i’m thankful to have a nice window that looks out over the street and a pair of beautiful Ginkgo trees.





i really need to pare down my paints. i can’t resist a pretty color.
but then it almost overwhelms me when i go to paint.


i love this old library cart i got at a garage sale years ago.


thank you for visiting.


Oct 27 2014

Studio Sale, China Travel and Open Studios

there’s a lot going on!
first off, many people are a bit confused as to the difference between the Clark County Open Studios and our own Allen Designs Studio Sale.

i’ll start with the 14th Annual Allen Designs Studio Sale which is at our business location off Minnehaha Rd. this is where we sell close-outs, samples and slightly blemished products, along with everything else. you can seriously find some great deals here! the dates and times are in the image below. i’ll be posting more info on this later and also sending out some specials via our newsletter soon. so be sure to get on that list!



oh, and i’m in China right now, working on our newest line debuting in Jan. 2015. a little sneak peek above.


and then we have the Clark County Open Studios. this is where myself along with 49 other artists open their art studios (mine will be my HOME studio in downtown Vancouver) for two days- Nov. 8 & 9, 10AM-5PM, enabling the public to get a glimpse into what it looks like to be a working artist.
(p.s. i won’t have any clocks at this event)

and then there’s Preview Night, (where one piece of work from each artist will be on display) Saturday Nov. 1, 5-8PM.

if you’re a Portland/Vancouver local, i hope you can make it out to one of these fun art events! 🙂

Oct 18 2014

Clark County Open Studios

The 2nd Annual Clark County Open Studios Tour is almost upon us!!!
I hope if you’re local you’ll put this on your calendar and come out to see the incredible artists that are in our community. And it’s FREE! Visit the website to get directions and more information.

Preview Night is Nov. 1, 5-8PM
Open Studios Tour is Nov. 8 & 9, 10AM-5PM


artist michelle allen art studio
Here are some pictures from what my studio looked like last year.


artist studio michelle allen designs
A year later, it looks a bit more loved and used than in these photos.

One of my favorite artists, new to the tour this year, the FABULOUS Gretchen Gammell!

Her work is absolutely incredible. Her simple line, color usage, subject matter and creativity slay me!
She’s insanely talented.

Nov 4 2013

Artist Open Studios Tour!

this coming weekend is Clark County’s 1st Annual Open Studio Tour
featuring 50 local artists and their studios!!!

saturday, november 9th & sunday november 10th
(click the link above for more information and to download your map)

open studios web

artist studio michelle allen designs

i will be showing my HOME STUDIO for this event.
come see art in process… the place i work late into the night… where the magic happens. 🙂


hope to see you here!!!

Aug 30 2013

kinda one of my favorite things!

art journaling is probably one of the things that makes my heart sing most.
inspired by a friend coming over and us making new book signatures, i’m back at it!
2013_art_journalmy journals are mainly made up of a compilation of travel smack, doodles and all kinds of other misc. paper gems.




artist_studio_michelle_allen_designsand the aftermath…


i really can’t believe we’re about to enter the month of September!!!
time to get a new desktop calendar done…
hope you all have exciting and adventurous plans for this holiday weekend!


May 24 2013

getting squirrely!

remember this painting that i started FOREVER ago???
well… i’m finally going to finish it!


ha! as i just scrolled down, i noticed that the unfinished painting… sits atop an unfinished dresser.
notice a theme here? ugh.


sometimes when i really like the direction a piece is going, i almost panic and don’t want to finish it, afraid i’m going to mess it up.
this is a bad habit. one that i really need to break.


a close up of my progress.
i hope to be back here to show you the finished piece by weekend’s end!

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 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


Mar 2 2013

hello there, i’m baaaaack!

once again, i CAN NOT believe it’s already been 2 WHOLE WEEKS since i blogged last.
time just starts flying by with lot’s of exciting things going on…
and, i think i get overwhelmed by the blog and where to even start!

art studio michelle allen

so, here i am.
with the goal of being consistent.

art supply bag travel creativejust over two weeks ago i received a surprise invite to one of the most amazing adventures EVER!
one in which i packed my up my art bag. (above)

gathering of my art tribeand also involved pretty goodness as shown above.
i’ll be going more into that in the next few posts.
not quite enough time right now.

allen designs clocksthe studio has been crazy busy, thank the Lord.
above you can see how we just went from having hardly any inventory to having a ton!

coffee meet up vancouver wa torquelet’s not forget the coffee meet ups.
i’ve had quite a few opportunities of late to get more involved in my community and in other artist’s lives.
this makes me soooo excited!
more on that later as well.

hope you are having a lovely weekend.


a good reminder for us all. and oh so true.

LOVE this artists’ studio tour!

Feb 3 2013

love bandit bunny

my art studio has been kind to me as of late.
painting & sketching up a storm.

love bandit bunny©2013 Michelle Allen, Love Bandit. Acrylic, graphite and ink on paper.

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 4.42.17 PMthe initial sketch.

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 4.41.59 PMand in process.

painting palettemore art in process.
not really sure what all this art will end up being used for.
but i’ve got some ideas… we’ll see.

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 4.42.55 PMoh, and can’t forget these cute new joli jewelry earrings i recently acquired.
LOVE her pieces!

looking forward to this week and getting lots done.
hoping the same for you!

Nov 20 2012

totem art original painting

i’m really happy with my newest painting.
and i honestly, don’t always feel that way.

the colors, imagery and composition make me happy.

here’s an instagram of it in process.

Oct 4 2012

art studio tour part 2

i didn’t get all the pictures of my art studio  done today that i had wanted to, so there’s going to have to be a “part 3”.

i really love this little area of my studio.
slowly over the past couple of weeks i’ve been cleaning out and getting rid of a lot of the knick knacky stuff.
you probably can’t tell…  can you imagine what it was like before!

the one thing i don’t like about this corner is the reminder of all the un-done projects/paintings!
like the dresser that’s partially painted and still sporting the holes from the previous handles.
and the squirrel painting… still not done.

this metal cabinet is a total catch all for art supplies and the uglier side of things.
some of my favorite artists are displayed here…
cori dantini, pam garrison, karla dornacher (my mom), elizabeth and jennifer davis.

the corner of possibilites!

i found this wooden drawer chest a few years back at a garage sale.
it’s perfect for hiding and organizing little things along with having the tools easy to grab on the bottom shelf.

the drinking octopus… another unfinished painting.
having this comfy chair means my family will actually come up and visit me sometimes.

i know most of you have already seen this pic- but i’m just so happy to have it done i had to add it to the tour.

i’ve been collecting some of these vintage pendants but i have not a clue what i’m going to actually do with them!
any ideas?

i’m hoping to be back tomorrow with the last of my art studio tour.
thanks for visiting with me!

Oct 3 2012

art studio tour part 1

i figured i’d start of my home art studio tour with some instagram (close2myart) shots.

notice how well i take care of my brushes???
there are probably 20 of them just sitting in that water there.
the really bad part- they are still there 2 days later!

quite the eclectic collection of pieces here.
i’m a sucker for other people’s junk.

i’ll be back tomorrow with my art studio tour -part 2.
hope you are well  my friend.

Sep 25 2012

art studio sewing corner before & after

another project i’ve had on my to-do list for quite some time is my sewing corner.
the other day i woke up and just decided that it was going to be THE DAY.
i jumped on my bike and rode down and bought some primer & paint.
and set to work.

the white shelf is from ikea.
the yellow one was an old one i had sitting around that i finally spray painted happy-yellow.

SO much better!

now off to decide which sewing project to take on.


Sep 14 2012

A letter wall & coffee

i’m on a roll now.
two days in a row!

just realizing that both these pics are of coffee. oy!
obviously coffee is a big part of my everyday.
this picture was really to show off my new headband i made at CW that i’m LOVING!

coming back from CW i’m inspired to get a few projects done that i’ve been lagging on.
one being this “A” letter wall…
which i finally hung!!!
and crazy as it was, it only took me about an hour-
and that included putting hangers on a few of them and drilling some holes.
i don’t know why i procrastinated so much.
maybe fear in wanting to make sure it was perfect?

i don’t know. but i’m TOTALLY STOKED to have yet another project done!!!

p.s. sorry about the picture quality. i’ve been totally lazy about getting my camera out. so these are all from my phone.

Jul 31 2012

i almost feel famous!

funny that i’ve pretty much fallen off the face of the blogging world and i get featured in artful blogging.

 i’ve loved this publication since it started and am crazy-excited & honored to appear in it’s delicious pages.

if you’ve never picked yourself up a copy… you must!
every issue is just jammed full of inspiration, from decorating to cooking to art.
pure loveliness.

May 4 2012

cat & bird painting original art

and here she is in all her grandeur.
this cat has a big heart for her friend “bird”.
they were created to be together; soul mates.

“soul mates”  18″x 24″x 2 1/4″  © michelle allen 2012

you’ll see some of the painting progression in the following photos.

notice that the bird is a different color 3 times!

now off to enjoy dinner and a concert with friends.
happy friday to you. : )

Apr 19 2012

old rug dinosaur pillow

since moving into my new studio i’ve been trying to work through items i’ve been hanging onto for future projects.

you know “those things”…  you have them too. right?
this old rug was one of mine.
YEARS, i’ve been moving it from one place to another!

when jolie gave me this awesome dino screen print she did in my workshop
i knew it would be a perfect compliment to this rug i had been saving.

the juxtaposition of the dinosaur and the pink & red pillow base just makes me smile.
i also love the woven texture that the rug brings.

first, i used the fused webbing stuff to adhere the screen print to the rug.
then stitched around it with the sewing machine.
the rug was the perfect size to just fold over so i would only have to stitch three sides…
which ended up being a good thing since i broke my needle and ended up having to do that part by hand!
the one thing i would have done different would have been to put the fringe on the side instead of on the bottom.
but oh well, it’s good enough and, it’s COMPLETED!

it feels so good to get a project done!

p.s. stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow!

Apr 18 2012

colorful hand painted stairs

i warned you that i was going to keep going on and on about my hand painted stairs!  ha!
in reality… i needed to post them here on my new blog with my watermark and the quote reference.

the stairs lead from our living quarters to my home studio above the garage…
i thought this quote by john maxwell was quite appropriate for the location, and oh-so-true!

i painted them on 3/8″mdf  and then they were installed.

we used beat up oak for the treads so it would flow nicely into the studio space where we were able to use the salvaged oak floors from the original house.

here were a few of my inspirations…
1. stencil gallery  2. color between the lines  3. claudio paillalef  4. apartment therapy  5. style files
6. french by design  7. pinterest

Mar 19 2012

weekend in a nutshell

we had sushi (seaweed salad)

jess decided to make us lunch one day…

her masterpiece: honey & pnut butter sandwiches, pnut butter & plantain smoothie and apple/plantain sticks.
pretty cute presentation.
best part? -she cleaned up the mess!

lex got lot’s of homework done, including this chemistry project.

i finished labeling & organizing some studio baskets.

you’d laugh if you saw how many different things i tried before i ended up with these very simple, chalkboard on heavy chip board, ones!

all in all, a weekend i feel good about.

Mar 12 2012

here kitty kitty painting

not quite completed but close

part of this weekend was spent weeding through my studio, working on completing all the paintings that are half done.
the bummer is, starting again after not touching them for SO long- i end up essentially repainting the whole thing over again.

perhaps i will grow out of this rotten habit someday!?!?!?!?
PLEASE say you have experience with this and you’ve conquered it.
give me hope that the whispered words to myself of “never again” are not lost in the wind.

i also managed an 11 mile run on Saturday!
my longest run in over a year.
it feels good to be active again.
and my body seems to be holding up. yay!

Mar 7 2012

having WAY too much FUN!

another painting complete.
a bit on the hedgehog-ish side.
super love him…

but still trying to come up with a title.
anything yelling out at you?
i have a few in my mind, but i’ve not settled on any one of them yet.
words are my weakness.
as you can probably tell with my mad writing skillzzzz.