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.
My very good ART-ing friend, Janne, recently visited from Norway and while she here she inspired me to make a new journal. And I’m so glad I did! It feels so good to slap some paint down without any inhibitions or expectations. To experiment and play. To write down random thoughts and words. To collage in little scraps of doodles I’ve been piling up not knowing what to do with them. Below are the pages I have done so far in my new book.
Journaling does not need to conjure a yawn or a chore-like feeling. While it is true that some journaling lovers fill many journals in all shapes and sizes with deep thoughts, personal experiences, emotions, challenges, illustrations, ideas — and just about anything else that springs to mind – journaling can take a simpler position in your life too. Anything goes in a journal. And the freedom to express with no rules and personal abandon can spark a journaling habit that also invites a sense of joy, peace, and fun.
Journaling invites relaxation and the chance to relish being uninhibited. There is zero pressure to create a masterpiece. A journal can be long, short, sloppy, or neat, and just filled with everything that is you. You can share it with others or keep it private. You can write daily, monthly, or yearly. There is no right or wrong way to journal. The trick is to get started – to give it a try – and see where journaling takes you. You might just find yourself filling book after book!
The following five suggestions are easy ways start your journaling engine:
Choose a journal design that resonates with you. When you feel connected to the image and texture on your journal, it feels like a friend and an inviting space to just let go and relax. You can also consider the binding, and whether you want lined or unlined paper. Unlined paper works well for visual journaling to jot down pattern ideas, sketch, or play with color combinations. Lined paper could work well for creating lists – all sorts of lists – including goal lists, love lists, need lists, want lists, done lists, favorite lists, and why to make lists in the first place lists.
Journals are great reference tools. Just store ideas, notes, writings, inspirations, experiments, and doodles in your journal. The journal will become a useful reference for you should you need motivation or juicy new project ideas.
Use the journal as a creative portal. Dedicate your journal as a tool to frame things you might want to paste, adhere, or staple. These nifty items could include fun quotes, pictures, post cards, ticket stubs, business cards, and places you have seen and experienced. This type of journaling could even provide a bit of interactive paper therapy since it encourages textures and tangible items that will trigger memories, different emotional responses and feelings, possible solutions, or cool new ideas.
Journals give voice to your personal history. Document moments and life events that left strong impacts or impressions. This can also reveal interesting life patterns.
Journals provide a safe haven to just be. Your journal is a place to focus, express your innermost thoughts, and weigh pros and cons. A journal can go anywhere you do. And a journal will never judge – it only gives.
We’d love for you to join us at our annual sale 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 images below. I’ll be posting more info on this later and also sending out some specials via our newsletter (upper right corner of this blog) soon. So be sure to get on that list!
I am so excited about this opportunity to share my love of creating, explore Oaxaca, Mexico and spend time with like-minded people! Not to mention teach alongside the prolifically talented and fabulous Sunny Carvahlo (check out her work and her workshop post here)! We would LOVE to have you join us on this adventure!
Kathie Vezzani, also an artist, has been organizing culinary trips to Mexico with Culinary Adventures, Inc. and Marilyn Tausend for the past twenty years with chefs such as Rick Bayless, Diana Kennedy, Susana Trilling (from Oaxaca), Roberto Santibanez, and the late Elaine Gonzalez. Additionally, she tested recipes for Tausend’s last three Mexican cookbooks. Kathie’s tours combine two of her passions, food and art.
Joining her as she has with Culinary Adventures’ tours, is Ane Elena Martinez, a pastry chef from Puebla who coordinates details in Mexico.
Together with their many friends and contacts in Oaxaca, they have planned a once in a lifetime experience for us!
Trip will include:
• Painting and creating with Sunny and myself all week!!! • “Welcome” fiesta • Cooking lesson at Seasons of My Heart Cooking School with Susanna Trilling • Market Tour • Visits to artisans- black pottery and alebrijes • Visit to museum and paper making demonstration • Art supplies • Transportation within Oaxaca • Time to explore Oaxaca and its many artful offerings • Opportunity to sign up for massages and/or a temazcal • And, best of all… a new ART TRIBE!!!
This 300 Days of Creating project has been unbelievably motivating for me! I’m realizing that every day I have a goal to be creative. Even if it doesn’t end up happening, it’s on my mind and something that is present. I’m also realizing how much I love looking back to see what I’ve already accomplished and the progress that’s been made. And THAT in and of itself is incredibly inspiring!
I’m going to attempt to do a monthly progress report here on the blog. Next month I might try to be a bit more detailed about certain pieces but for now, I’m just going to show the pics.
To date I’m at 24/300 days. And there are 304 days left in the year. That means I have a little wiggle room to meet my goal, but not much! When I calculate it out I think I can only miss approx. 2.5 days a month from here out. Oy!
As you can see, my counted days range from photo shoots to art journaling to painting to doodles. I’m not setting any boundaries . Just focusing on being actively creative! How is the project going for you??? Are you staying motivated?
And again, it’s not too late to start!!! There are still 304 days left in the year! 😉
dreaming of snow covered mountain tops…
i truly love going to the mountain (mt. hood) in the winter. driving up and crossing into the land of snow always gives me instant peace and a rush of happiness! sadly, snow is one thing we have not had enough of here in the NW. i’m sure there are many of you who would gladly give us yours. of course, wouldn’t it be nice if it worked that way!
click here for your copy of this month’s FREE calendar.
hope you enjoy!
Well, I have to say, this has been a REALLY GOOD challenge for me.
I’m already more intentional to be creative knowing that I can’t get behind.
And, along with it, I’m FEELING more creative!
Below are a sampling of a few of the days so far…
7/300 Thinking a lot about the lack of snow up in our poor mountains, makes me sad.
8/300 If all I get done in a day is a sketch, then I count that.
9/300 Love this wonky guy. “Angst Expressed”
11/300 I decided to make and keep a journal of the 300 Days of Creating as well as my 2015 Goals.
If you want to see more, follow along with me on Instagram (allendesignsstudio).
Also, check out the hashtag #300daysofcreating to find others who have joined me in this challenge! And, it’s not too late to join! There are still 331 days left in the year!!!
p.s. if you want a pdf copy of the 300 Days of Creating lettering from above, make sure to sign up for my mailing list as that will be included in the next newsletter 🙂
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everyone seems to be doing these wonderful and inspiring 365 day art challenges. Everyone that is, like these amazing artists- Pam Garrison, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, and Sonya Penn.
Through much thought, I’ve decided to “KIND OF” jump on the bandwagon!
I really try to set goals that I think I can achieve. With travel and life, I figured there would be NO STINKING WAY I could actually meet the 365 day challenge. Therefore, I’ve decided go for a 300 days of Creating challenge. Attainable and yet still challenging.
The 300 days of Creating can be made up of time spent doodling, painting, crafting, sewing etc. Just as long as I’m creating something. Cause to be honest, I can go weeks without doing anything creative. Then I almost fear it as though I’m fearing a workout. Scared I’ve lost my touch and not knowing how and where to start again. I’m hoping that with this challenge I will be in better “creative shape” and that I will have a more productive and artistic year.
These pictures are all samples of what I’ve counted towards my 300 days so far.
Please feel free to follow along with me as I document on Instagram (allendesignsstudio)! Better yet, JOIN ME!!!
Let’s have fun together!
Use the #300daysofcreating hashtag on Instagram or let me know in the comments below so I can follow you. 🙂
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
Here are some pictures from what my studio looked like last year.
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.
as some of you may already know, cause you follow me on instagram (allendesignsstudio), i was asked to paint a violin for a charity event put on by the Vancouver Symphony & Orchestra.
i had told myself earlier this year that i wasn’t going to say “yes” to any additional charity pieces through the rest of the year. but, when the violin came up, i just couldn’t say no.
i LOVE music. and who wouldn’t want to paint on such a beautiful instrument!
here she is as she came to me.
some of the progression.
i played the flute in 6th grade and i sucked. i really wanted to be good at it.
i practiced. and practiced. a lot. (my mom may disagree, but it felt like it was A LOT)
i had no rhythm. nor patience. so i quit.
if you look closely, there’s a string missing. that would be due to my lack of stringing-an-instrument-skills!
i was determined to paint a rose. i’ve wanted to for a long time and i just decided i was going to work at it until i got it.
roses are HARD! in the end, i’m pleased with how it turned out. happy with myself that i pushed through the good hour of frustration that it took to paint and repaint till it actually looked like a rose.
i love how this turned out. it’s playful yet serious. free yet organized. Playing it Forward auction Nov. 1st.
over the past several years our business has evolved & changed.
to the point that we have a fairly large space upstairs that doesn’t get much use.
and it has been killing me. the light is amazing up there!
but no longer, we’re taking action!
we’ve replaced the ugly brown carpet with salvaged shiplap. and it’s BEAUTIFUL!
flooring makes all the difference. (as it should since it is so crazy expensive! ugh.)
we had gorgeous tables custom-made from salvaged wood.
i’ve been scouring garage sales for random chairs… not sure how this part is going to turn out, right now it’s looking a bit disastrous. 🙁
now we’re down to the details. the fun stuff!
at this point i still don’t have a definitive plan for the space.
i’ve got lots of ideas swirling around in my head.
i do know, that i’m TOTALLY EXCITED about the possibilities!
so stay tuned 🙂
wow! two blog posts in a weeks time. i’m out of control!
to be completely honest, i came home from Camp Create with a new perspective on who i am.
i can tell you, and if you’ve read my blog at all you already know, i’m not the best writer. and truth be told, i’ve been super INSECURE about it!
i really want to let that go.
if you can’t handle my poor writing skills and bad grammar then maybe my blog isn’t for you.
and another thing you really need to know about me… i’m pretty much all about the pictures anyways! 🙂
above and below are samples of what the gals made in the block printing/pillow making workshop i taught.
i was beyond thrilled, they did SUCH A GREAT JOB!
thank you again Meg & Kimberlee for inviting me and for offering this experience to others.
i’ve come home inspired and encouraged.
and it feels good.
UPDATE: check out Meg’s blog post that has a lot more details and fun pictures!
i don’t know if you remember, but a few years back i went down to Newton, KS to Meg Duerksen’sWhatever Craft Weekend? it was a blast! so, when Meg asked me if i wanted to come down and teach at her newest endeavor Camp Create, i was ALL OVER IT!
i mean really, who wouldn’t want to go to a place stocked so beautifully & creatively with arts & crafts supplies?
and where beds with vintage quilts like this welcomed you!
like last time, i had to get my hands on her giant chalkboard!
pretty sure this took me half the day. at some point i would love to take a hand-lettering workshop to learn tricks to make it look better and go quicker. i’m thinking i’ll give this one by mary kate mcdevitt a go. many people have said great things about it. and she is crazy good!
we had mini devotional/thought provoking times working on our “god sized dream“, led by the lovely, wise & oh-so-kind author holley gerth.
we went to a gigantic sunflower field. it was B E A U T I F U L !!! #duh (as stephanie ackerman would say)
sunflowers for days!
the sweet lady herself. her heart is so big. her intentions pure.
many special moments. friendships made. dreams shared.
and lots and LOTS of laughter!!! and i’m talking gut-hurting, face-cramping, eyes-watering laughter!
really, all this to say… i didn’t have much fun. 😉
I’m back!!! Did you miss me?
It’s been as hectic as ever around here lately. Lots of family stuff & business stuff. All good… just lots of it!
But I did find a sliver of time to make this little beauty up for you! Hope you like it! xo-m
Click here to enjoy this month’s free desktop calendar. 🙂
can you even believe we’re already to the month of October??? i sure can’t.
for me, this month means a trip to China to develop our 2014 winter Allen Designs product line.
and all the preparation to be ready for that trip.
it means time to pull out all the warm clothes and put away the flip flops. boo 🙁
it means it’s pumpkin-everything time!
it means watching a LOT of soccer games in the RAIN.
and last but not least, it means it’s almost my BIRTHDAY time! 🙂
click here for your copy this months free calendar!
i hope you enjoy it!
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! my journals are mainly made up of a compilation of travel smack, doodles and all kinds of other misc. paper gems.
and 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!
a few months back, i was invited by a friend to participate in a charity event, “HeArts of Clark County“, which is raising money for an improved life saving heart room of sorts at PeaceHealth Medical Center.
we were asked to paint on fiberglass hearts to be auctioned off at a gala in the fall.
above are the humble beginning of my heart.
and with a few more layers…
my sweet daughter keeping me company one of the days.
starting to come together.
this is probably after about 13 hours of painting.
not positive which side is meant to be the front.
and not quite sure which side i like better. maybe the bird?
and after about 15 or so hours of very intense painting, it’s finished!
my friend Anne John is the lovely woman who organized and kept everyone on track.
not to mention, a crazy-talented artist!
and the friend who got me connected, is this sweet & uber talented lady, Jennifer Williams.
this has really been a fun and meaningful project.
i’ve had a desire to get involved in my community in this sort of way for quite some time.
i’m thankful to finally have had the time and opportunity!
p.s. i think i look kind of cray cray in this picture!
i guess that goes with the guy at the preview/artist reception who told me that my bird looked stoned!
i was tired of my plain ol’ black uncomfortable camera strap and wanted to create something with more comfort and “cuteness factor”. i’m not much of a sewer, so I would consider this a pretty simple tutorial.
to start, take your camera strap off. camera straps can come in different sizes. measure it. (measure up to where the strap meets the leather.) add a bit more than a ¼” to each side and ½” to each end. then, tear your strips of muslin to those dimensions. you will need to tear 2 pieces per strap. don’t worry about being perfect; it actually looks cool if one of the pieces is a hair smaller or larger.
now we’re going to work on the back. take the same measurements and take your pretty fabric and tear it. you could also panel together some smaller pieces for fun like i did in the photo on the 2nd one from the bottom. then cut your strip of fleece about 1¼” wide.
now take just your backside, not your muslin, and pin your fleece down the center. i started with stitching right down the center so i could determine about how many stitched lines on each side i could fit in. to add a cute little detail, i actually did the reverse stitch several times down each line. now take your time and really watch the fleece. it likes to move around, even with it pinned down.
pick your coordinating felt colors and have some fun! i chose simple circles with some alternating colors. remember: you are going to be stitching in on each side just a bit over ¼”, so don’t get too big.
after you have circles all laid out where you want them, go ahead and mark where they go with a pencil. there is no need to pin them because you’ll end up taking it out anyways!
using your free form/motion on your sewing machine, take your two-piece circles and starting in the middle, doodle your flowers or whatever you choose on your two pieces of muslin. take your time to watch the smaller circle so it stays flat. have fun and don’t be afraid to be messy. messy in repeat is organized pattern that doesn’t look messy anymore!
now you’re going to sew the front and back together. i like the frayed edges so I don’t turn mine inside out. make sure to check your camera strap to your fabric one last time to see how far in to sew. you don’t want to get too close to the edges nor be too loose on the strap
mix Raw Umber and Azo Gold(or colors of your choice) acrylics with quite a bit of water to get an antique brown that I just love. you can also just use a good orangy brown. then, loosely brush it around all the circles leaving a rough ¼” of original muslin. don’t worry about covering every square inch, it will add character. i’m sorry i don’t have a better picture of this stage. if you need to, take a paper towel afterward to soak up the extra moisture.
take the colored acrylic paint and again, loosely paint it on with a large hard bristle brush. leave areas of the brown to show through. i say “large dry bristle brush” because that way you can’t be too perfect! you shouldn’t have to water it down since you will already have so much moisture on your strap. also be sure to hit spots on the outside of the seam, this will help the muslin from fraying more than you want it to.
finish by hand sewing some beads on and you’re ready to make you’re camera oh so pretty.
putting on the new strap: tape the end of your strap to the end of a paintbrush and work your strap through your cover. you might have to “cup” your strap a bit to get it in but there should end up being a bit of give in your fabric by the end of it. if your cover seems too long for your strap it’s supposed to be that way. it will soon bunch up a little and you want it to be long enough to still cover the strap.
if you end up making one i would LOVE to see what you come up with!!!
good luck and if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section and i’ll answer them. 🙂
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.
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!”.
as you can see- over time a LOT OF paint has been added!
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.
my friend Janne and i strongly believe that “arting” should be a word. right?!?!
i love all the outside pockets on this bag.
over the past few years i’ve worked it’s contents down to my personal arting essentials.
• blue shop paper towels- love these cause i can use them over & over again
• recycled lids for paint palettes
• washi tape
• art journal or project of the moment
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?
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.
i’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?
risk 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