I always wanted to do a proper advent calendar with my daughter and this year I finally got around to making one. I bought a plain papier mâché box with twenty-five drawers and decorated it with collage, acrylic paint and some stickers. I was going for a rustic, nostalgic, and nature themed advent calendar. I used a lot of Phoebe Wahl illustrations from Taproot Magazine. My daughter loves it and goes to it first thing in the morning to get her piece of chocolate.
Today, I finished my first semester of nursing school. I have been working tirelessly since the beginning of September. I only painted one time during the whole semester and I felt guilty about taking the time away from my studies. I am so looking forward to making some art over the next three weeks!
I took a break from drawing and painting to work on some sewing projects: mermaid dolls*. While I enjoy sewing, it can be very intense and time consuming because I don’t have a machine and do it all by hand. When I was done with this project, I was relieved to pack up all my sewing supplies for the time being. I am so ready to get back into my sketchbook!
*I followed a free pattern from Made by Marzipan. I added the yarn hair, a different face, a decorative button on the bikini, a belly button and sequins to the tail.
This year I tried out making some small gifts for my daughter and nieces. I am still learning to sew but the kids do not care about the imperfections. Next year I think I will make gifts as well, but I am going to start working on them much earlier to leave myself more time.
Sometimes I get little projects in my head that stay there for years and never manage to get out into the real world. This year I have actually finished some of my small projects, like this mini book made with a manila tag. It is filled with small nature vignettes from around my neighborhood. There are a lot of interesting things going on outside right now – things usually look more interesting to me when they are in a state of decay.
I made myself some new bookmarks in preparation for the fall semester that started today. This time I am taking all of my classes online which I have never done before. Some people have trouble keeping themselves disciplined with their self study schedule, but my years of homeschool have prepared me well.
I took a few weeks off in between the end of the summer session and now. By the end, I was really itching for school to start again. I was very overwhelmed with my intense schedule over the summer and I just could not wait to have some time off to do whatever I wanted with no demands. I was anticipating a really productive time doing a lot of painting and drawing, etc. Interestingly, I found that my expectations did not match reality. Instead, I ended up losing my motivation, getting way off my sleep schedule, and wrenching my shoulder so that I did not do much drawing at all. I realized that I function best when I have some sort of structure to my day (but not too much) with defined work to do and have to fit my artwork in between everything else. Lisa Congdon wrote an interesting post about how her expectations did not match reality when she recently went on a three week artist residency.
I’m interested to see how this next semester works out because I will mostly have complete freedom over my school schedule. Will I end up getting more artwork done? I hope so!
I took a little break from my normal work to paint this box. My boss gave me this 4.5 inch diameter plain paper mache box filled with candy last Christmas, and I immediately thought I would do something to decorate it. I painted the box with acrylic paint and then did some detailing with a gold Sharpie paint pen and stuck on some rhinestone stickers for the jewels. I left the sides of the box fairly plain as the cover was so ornate. I am going to get a piece of stick on felt for the bottom of the box.
I was planning on giving this to my daughter as a part of her Easter gift, but I decided to hold onto it and give it to her when she is a little older. She will be able to keep her necklaces and bracelets in it.
On a related note, artist Elsa Mora has been making and painting some custom sized boxes for her new home, which she wrote about here and here. I really enjoyed how she discussed how she constructed and waterproofed the boxes.
My latest project has been some hand painted Christmas tree ornaments, finished just in time to hang on my tree. I worked on them slowly over the last few weekends and after work hours, taking me far longer to complete than I thought they would. It was a pleasant experience as it got me into the Christmas spirit and I am happy with the results.
These were also cheap to make, as the laser cut wooden pieces cost about $1 each at Michael’s and I already had the gold and silver Sharpie paint pens on hand from an earlier project.
Some time ago I bought a lamp at Target and started doodling on it with some Sharpie oil based paint pens. Last weekend I finished it up and I love how it came out. It was tricky to work with the pens because the lamp shade was made of a textured fabric and the paint flow was uneven. If I did a project like this again, I think I would just paint with a normal brush and I would have more control.