…Aaaand we’re back.

It’s been both an incredibly fast- and slow-moving couple of months. On the website/crafting-front, my ideas and interests have evolved considerably. There was an inkling (possible pun intended) of that in my last post about watercoloring. Since then, I’ve started an oil painting class, and also became obsessively enamored with digital art (no mess!)–more on that later–and also fancy lettering.

You may also have noticed another do-over of the look of the website. I spent a lot of time thinking on what I wanted it to be, what direction I was headed in, and even tried to learn a little bit about social media! So while the website has been under renovations, the instagram @frommytwohands has been very much alive, with posts almost every day. I’ve also started a Facebook page, because apparently Facebook is still a thing. Follow both please! This website has handy dandy social media icons on nearly every page to make it easy!

I’ve also started storefronts on a few sites, Society6, TeePublic, and Zazzle–more details here. For those unfamiliar, I upload my designs, and they produce all sorts of goodies and send them directly to you–including furniture, bedding, stickers, t-shirts, yoga mats, mugs, tote bags, stationery, and other home decor items. Here are a few examples from my shops:

Etsy will be coming soon! It will, for now, focus on photography and art prints. (Some art prints are available at Society6, but I suspect Etsy will be better–in the interests of full disclosure, I don’t control the pricing on those sites…. It’s a fascinating business model.)

So with all of that going on, I thought I might finally get back to the fun part of writing about making things and start pulling everything together.

Have you heard the old story about the cobbler’s children going barefoot? I’m the MBA consultant who is kind of ignoring all the advice I’ve ever given about business planning. I might come back to thinking about that, but for now, I’m doing what I feel like doing :-).

Just add water

This isn’t so much a written post as a semi-annotated photographic one…First, there’s a watercolor of poppies, starting with pencil and ink, then filled in with traditional watercolor.

Second, there’s an in-progress birthday card using brush pens… and then water. Still starting with pencil and ink:

The brush pens have somewhat different color options, but also (IMO) allow more control to start with–helpful, with so many tiny petals. With water and a tiny paintbrush, you can still blend colors and try different saturations.

Giant paper flowers

What else is there to say? There was a lot of modpodge involved.

Okay, there is more to say. First, use heavy paper to hold the shape better. Second, it really helps to have a rolling pin-like object (but narrower in diameter) to curl the petals. I made do with paint brush handles, but they taper, and it became awkward. Third, be sure to use differently shaped petals in different flowers (or the same flower). I found myself drawing the same teardrop-type petal repeatedly, without realizing it, and even then had to force myself to try something else. Fourth, the middle of the flower is hard. I think my favorite one is in the top left photographs, where rolled together mini-petals could just tuck between the inner part of the flower. Lastly, the tutorial I read said to use a hot glue gun. I don’t have one and used Mod Podge instead. It worked just fine.

Odds and ends and bits and bobs–and Modpodge

One of the reasons I like making a collage is that you can use (nearly?) anything. And you can make anything–something abstract and head scratch-inducing, or something with a bit more realism, or anything in between. I kept it relatively simple this time. An old Apple (tech, not fruit) box as a base, and a few catalogs from Pottery Barn and White Flower Farm (gardening). Lots of colors to be found in these types of products!

I started by drawing an outline of the image I wanted to make with my collage on the box, a lotus flower:

Then I started the fun part of tearing out pages from catalogs that had the shades of blue, green, pink and yellow that I might want to use. It was a messy process, and mind you, this photo is from AFTER I started trimming pages and sorting into color piles.

And then the gluing! First the sky and water, then the lotus pad, and then the flower petals. My working theory was moving from least perfect to most perfect pieces, so ultimately the pink flower would cover up any rough edges or weird overlaps from lower layers.

It’s not quite finished, but I think it’s coming along nicely:

Ack. Priorities.

The list of creative projects I want to do, that are either in progress or not yet started:

  • Rose garden duvet cover (finish)
  • Experimenting with watercolor
  • More doodling with colored pencils and pens
  • RBG cross stitch (finish)
  • Shades of blue and white braided rug (finish)
  • Braided-braided flannel möbius scarf (experiment)
  • Duvet covers for other 3 seasons (summer, fall, winter)
  • Baby quilt gift (way overdue to finish)
  • Decoupage/collage-based images of flowers or other scenes (experiment)
  • Paper or fabric flowers to hang on mobiles (experiment)

Yes, these could take quite some time… especially considering I can’t decide where to start.

Anyway, take this as a list of things you may see popping up here and there as I get going…

All the pretty shapes and colors

Over Christmas, someone delightful let me help with drawing these adorable holiday cards to go with little gift boxes. Picture a crowd of snow people peering in a window. Although I maintain the shape of the window could pass as a hearth, suggesting a caption like, “We’re melting!” (a la “Wizard of Oz”).

She had every drawing utensil known to humanity, AND knew how someone without drawing experience could self-teach in a fun way. Of course, an obsession was born. I got my own little sketch pad and set of colored pencils and pens on our way home.

I’ve been doodling ever since. Great masterpieces they are not, but very relaxing and oddly satisfying. And these won’t explode.

“Meh,” the mother of flexibility

Last year I became obsessed with quilting. Not that I knew how, but that didn’t stop me. I should also explain that to me, “quilting” meant the fun part of what is apparently called “piecing” together different fabrics in pretty colors and patterns. The quilting is the boring, annoying, hard part of stitching the “sandwich” of fabric layers together: quilt back, batting (warm stuff), quilt front. I’m told it’s much easier (and faster) if you have a long arm sewing machine, which are a) expensive and b) huge. Plus, any way you do it, you have to have a flat surface large enough to lay out the quilt, tape it down, and pin the layers straight with no bunching.

Do you know anyone with a table the size of a king size bed? Or a hard/uncarpeted floor clean enough to tape delicate fabric to, with no foot traffic?

Meh. So I decided to make a duvet cover instead. So much easier, and more practical for me. With that decision, I magically moved from about 50% to 80% completed on one project. I’m very excited. Perhaps I will even attempt pillow shams.

This is a very springtime duvet cover since it’s all pink, green and roses. Obviously, that means I need three more, one per season, to alternate with my plain white one.

Perhaps “winter” will have a flannel side to be especially cozy. I’m all about the cozy these days. More later on my personal take on the hygge craze.

Things that go boom

I’ve been reading about how to make soap lately. Lovely, homemade soap with herbs and essential oils. According to one school (the only school?) of thought, there’s simply no way to do it without using lye.

Apparently lye can also explode if you don’t stir it into the water quickly enough and it just pools at the bottom. The instructions didn’t describe how large an explosion it could be for a small batch recipe. Maybe it’s more like a sparkler than a firecracker?

Of course, there were also all the other warnings about safely handling lye and fumes. But I got distracted by the, “stir quickly, or it might explode.” Way to bury the lede.

(Side note: I only recently learned that “lede” is the proper word in this case. I can’t believe I’ve gone more than thirty years believing it was “lead.”)

This brings me to the ethical dilemma of whether to fully inform the household of the risks associated with soap making, or just cross my fingers, or put off soap experiments for the time being. I suspect option three is inevitable.

But never fear, there is still lotion (no lye), and candles (fire! But not at home) to play with.

New year, new look, new plans…

It turns out that starting a business, even a tiny one, is really hard to do while also moving to another state. My elves went on strike.

While they were on strike, it did give me the chance to reconsider what, exactly, I wanted to be doing craft-wise and potentially Etsy-wise.

You may have noticed a slightly new look to the blog. It describes in broad strokes what I’m interested in making…in some ways, it’s much broader and more experimental than before, and in others a lot more clearly focused.

The shop is on hiatus while I figure more of this out and do some R&D and potion-brewing, so the blog will mostly be about things I’m working on, or aspire to work on, someday.

Stay tuned!