Busy as a....well....bee...

 Hey, Friends...

Whew! It's been a busy few months for us! When we weren't entertaining company, we were doing a little traveling of our own. I'll try to share some travel photos with you soon, but first, I thought I'd show you what I spent my time working on in the car!

This first "bee skep" hat was knitted for the new baby of some very good friends of ours... I had been wanting to try making one of these ever since I spotted a similar one on Pinterest, and overall, I'm very happy with how it came out. I'm still working on perfecting the art of using DPNs without the dreaded "laddering" effect, but it's not too terribly noticeable on this project. The hat itself is knitted, and the bees are needle felted and then sewn on.

My second project was another baby hat for my sister-in-law's new baby. In the first few photos (forgive the groundhog - I don't have any babies or dolls around for models!) I accidentally put the hat on upside down - the scallops should be along the bottom, not around the face. Oops. However, it's on correctly in the photos of my niece (isn't she adorable?). I guess I should pay more attention when I'm photographing projects.

If you'd like the patterns or my notes for either of these hats, you can find them on my Ravelry profile. If you'd like to learn more about needle felting, check out my tutorial videos in the sidebar!


{ART} I Corinthians 13 Sign

We recently bought a new king sized mattress set, but haven't found a bed frame or headboard that we like to go with it... I wasn't digging the giant blank space above the bed, so I thought I'd whip up a little something to fill the space while we continue the hunt.
I've had this piece of plywood sitting around for several years, and I decided that this would be a good use for it. I love the subway and chalkboard art that I'm seeing everywhere right now, so I thought I'd do something in a similar style, using one of my favorite Scriptures from I Corinthians 13:4-8. We had this read at our wedding so it's special in that way, plus it's just a good reminder to have hanging in our home.

I had a lot of positive feedback when I posted this on my Facebook page, so I thought I'd do a little post on how I made it, and include the graphic so that you can make one too, if you'd like.
My piece of plywood was 30"x48," and after sanding the edges and front and back, I coated the whole thing with a layer of white acrylic gesso. I used several different colors of acrylic craft paint, ranging from a light celery green to an aqua blue and burnt umber. I squirted small puddles of each color onto a paper plate, then added a puddle of acrylic blending medium in the middle. Using a large, regular paintbrush (like you'd use for painting trim in your house), I dipped the bristles into a few of the colors at a time, including a little of the medium, and then brushed it onto the plywood. I kept the brush fairly dry, and added different colors in a streaky pattern (don't just blend all the colors together - if you dab one end of the brush into one color, the other end into a different color, then tap it into the medium, that should make it turn out like this. You want a streaky, weathered look that makes it seem like it's had several layers of different colors of paint, and they've worn off in places.
After my base coat had dried, I used an art projector to transfer the lettering onto the board. When you project it, you need to make sure that the lines are straight, and that the projector and board are perfectly facing each other, without being at an angle (or it will distort the lettering/lines). I penciled the letters in first, then used a small flat brush and a small round brush to go over the letters in an antique white. This part can be a little intimidating, but trust me, mine doesn't look perfect up close.
If you don't have access to a projector, another option would be to have a printing place (like Staples or Kinkos) do one of those giant prints for you (like they do for blueprints), then you could use graphite paper to transfer it to the board by tracing it.
Once my letters were dry, I mixed a small amount of burnt umber into the acrylic medium, and did a glaze over the whole thing to give it a uniform, "antiqued" look that toned down the contrast between the background and the lettering.
I let that dry, then added some hooks and wire to the back for hanging! I also used some sandpaper to knock a little paint off the corners and increase the "weathered old sign" look.
I'm sorry I didn't take pictures of each step so you can see what I'm talking about - this was kind of  a spur of the moment project - but feel free to send me any questions you may have. I'd love to see pictures of your finished project if you make one yourself!
Here's a copy of the graphic I made in Photoshop - feel free to copy for your own personal use.


{Art} Hymn Series: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"

My latest collage, based on the hymn,
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
by Martin Luther
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper He amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name,
from age to age the same,
and He must win the battle.
And though this world,
with devils filled,
  should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
I hope you're having a lovely week.



Mi casa es su casa...

Last weekend we were invited to our landlord's birthday party, and for the occasion, I wanted to do something special. The house we live in is a stacked duplex, of sorts. The top level is our home, and the lower level (which is completely separate) is our landlord's.

I decided to do a watercolor of the house; the original was a gift for our landlord, and I plan on making a print for us to remember our home in Spain.

Here's the finished piece:

And here are the in-progress pictures for you to enjoy...

The gift was a big hit, and now I've got a special piece of artwork to commemorate this unique time in our lives...

In other news, I'm in the process of getting my business approved by the command here, so I hope to have my shop reopened for business in the next few weeks.... stay tuned!


¿Cómo se llama?

Before we left the States, a friend of mine casually mentioned that she and her friends were painting the inside of her car, and naturally, my ears perked up when I heard the word "painting." Intrigued, I asked her a little more about it, and then demanded to know why I had not been invited to paint inside her car, at which point I was formally invited.

A few days later, Bethany showed up with her car, five bottles of craft paint (red, blue, turquoise, white, and glow in the dark), a few Sharpies, and a paintbrush, and told me to have at it... I chose one of the door panels, and about an hour later, there was this...

Bethany likes llamas. She wants me to bring her one home from Spain, although I'm not quite sure if they're even indigenous to Spain, and I'm quite sure one wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment even if they were. So this may have to do...

Painting inside a car was certainly a first for me, and I had never really attempted painting with such a limited palette before, but I kinda like the quirky way it turned out... and Bethany's a little quirky herself, so it suited her.

I think she was happy with it!