Champagne? Yes, please.

You ever look at a word for too long and it starts to look really weird? Like it’s not a real word even; and if it is a real word, it’s spelled wrong. I’ve been looking at “champagne” too long. After an hour or two, it doesn’t look too far off from “chimpanzee”. And I have the strong urge to spell it phonetically: “sham-pain”. There has to be some sort of psychology or witticism about how “champagne” is pronounced “sham-pain”. I got nothing.

I am working on a sign with the phrase “Champagne is the answer”. Hopefully, I’ll have it done by the end of the week. I am making some examples now for the lady to look at. I’ll update here when I have them done.

It’s been a busy week I guess. We are picking a new color(s) to paint the house. Right now it’s beige. All beige, with reddish, pinkish, yellowish brick accents and a brown roof. We have been getting paint samples, painting a bit of the house and then marinating on the color. So far we have three greens, a cream and a brown.

We are also trying to learn Sleigh Ride arranged for duet on piano. It’s quite a difficult song, so time will tell if we actually learn it for this year. We might need another year of practice.

(Note: Right now, Gordon is snapping the living room furniture with a dish towel and Louie is barking, running around, trying to bite the towel and generally freaking out. Heehee!)

Other than that, I am trying desperately to get the house organized. We finally got some sturdy shelves set up in the extra bedroom so I can store boxes and all the items that won’t fit in the kitchen like food processor, extra crock pots, pitchers, large pans, etc.

I just went through the garage sale leftovers (they’ve been in the garage for a looong time) and made a large box to take to goodwill. Then there are all the stacks of papers- old documents, sale ads, junk mail, recipes, newspapers, magazines, etc that ¬†have just piled up. Whenever we have a party, I just stack up all the papers that are out and throw them somewhere. Well, 10 parties later it’s starting to get¬†ridiculous. I filled a trash can last night and reduced the amount of boxes of stuff in front of my desk by more than half.

Speaking of my desk- I haven’t been able to work at it in about a month. I cleared out the extra bedroom so we could put the treadmill in there and I could practice my cello in there also. I put all the boxes in the living room so I could go through them. Then we had a Halloween party, so I shoved them all into the office in front of my desk, along with any other stray items and papers I found.

I also got the Christmas decorations out this week. Most of the interior ones are up and around. And there are two presents wrapped so far.

I guess that’s about it. Okay, back to the champagne.

The process: Opinion plaque

If I were someone else and not myself and I took a look at the signs I make, I know I might be tempted to think “that’s so simple, I could make that in like five minutes” or something like that. I actually still think that when I’m about to make something. Or I used to. I know better now.

I know I am always curious about the process of other artists. So in case you ever are too, here are the details of my latest piece.

First, I got a request for a custom piece from a lady. She had a pretty good idea of what she wanted, so I spent a day making 5 examples with gimp for her to look at. After she picked one, I had to decide how big to make it. Then I opened trusty paintbrush and stretched my text to fit all nice on the sign. (It wasn’t tall enough).

Then I asked Gordon to cut a piece of wood into the right size. We happened to have a couple small sheets of plywood. He cut one piece in the morning and left for work. I took the piece and went outside to sand it. While I was sanding it, I realized it was way too rough and that the bottom was cut pretty uneven. On top of that, the board was warped. So no go.

The next morning, Gordon cut me another piece from a different board. I took it outside, sanded it and applied the first coat of primer. It was a more humid day, so I waited a couple hours before sanding it again and applying a second coat of primer.

After that dried, I sanded it again and primed the back and sides. When that was all dry, I took it inside and painted the first coat of black on it. I set it in front of a fan to dry, then applied a second coat.

Then I do a patented, secret process to transfer the text from the computer screen into an outline onto the piece of wood. This takes a couple hours because it’s tedious and I have to take breaks every few minutes to stretch my arm and neck.

After i have the chalk outline, I begin to fill it in with paint. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover paint pens work great for this. As long as the text is black or ivory. (Those are the only colors I have right now). I tried sitting on the couch and painting, but the dog decided to run back and forth across my lap, so I had to go back to the table.

I did two coats with the paint pen. Let that dry, then lightly wiped it with a damp sponge to remove the chalk lines.

I then painted two coats of black on the back and sides of the board. When that was dry I took it into the garage and sprayed a nice coat of matte finish on it. I then picked up the gorilla glue to glue the sawtooth hangers to the back. Unfortunately, the gorilla glue was rock solid in the bottle. So I started reading the back of every glue variety I found on the work bench. Wood glue? No. Glue-All? No. Pipe sealer? No. Old, peely, tube of liquid nails? Perhaps. I figured I’d give it a try and if I didn’t work, I’d go to the store in the morning and get a new bottle of gorilla glue. So I put on the hangers and went to bed. In the morning, they seemed to be attached pretty well, so I wrapped the sign in bubble wrap and kraft paper, taped it up, addressed it and took it to the post office.

The End.

Then I had to make pumpkin cheesecake bars.

To Do:

I don’t have a piece of paper handy to make a list. I can’t get up to get my list pad because the little grey kitty is all snuggly on my lap. If I make a list in a word doc or in my email, it’ll just get lost. So here it is:

1) Pack and mail two etsy orders
2) Two Thanksgiving canvas paintings
3) Two wooden star door knobs
4) Custom “my opinion offended you?” plaque
5) Painting for mom’s living room
6) Photograph and list more things on etsy

Did I forget something?

I went to a small craft fair tonight. I bought something from a girl and asked her if she had a card with a website or anything. She said she had a website up, but hadn’t listed anything on it and asked if I had heard of etsy. (Ha!) I said yes, and that I was going to recommend it as a great place to begin selling things. She said that’s where her site was but that she hadn’t listed anything because she doesn’t have a tax number and that etsy makes you charge sales tax. She said etsy recommends you check your local county tax laws or something or other. This bewildered me. I have never read anything on etsy about having to charge sales tax or needing to have a tax number.

When I told them I don’t report or pay taxes on my (small!) income from etsy, the girl and her mom kind of looked at me like I was criminal. I feel like I read everything there was about how to sell on etsy and all the rules and regulations. Am I right to think it’s a little extreme to report an income of like less than $500 a year? Who is crazy here? Me or them? Wisdom, please.

A custom order

Here are some designs I made up for a custom order I received. Thanks for your interest in my work!

(Click thumbnails to bring up gallery view)

I just did a butt-load of pictures.

I am amazed at how many pictures I just drew. I drew even more than the ones I am posting right now. I’ve drawn 15, 8×10″ pictures! That is definitely a record for me.

The close-ups are of my face, so I had high-res photos to go from. The scenes are made up, and the drop in quality and detail is pretty obvious. They are different styles, though.

Here:

Six drawings. Well, two and a half.

I am working on a series of six drawings right now. I need them done by later today. I have two of them pretty much done, and a third that is done except for the background.

The backgrounds are sequential, so I decided to add them all at once so I can make sure they flow together well from picture to picture.

I have the ideas down for the other three and hopefully they will go easily.

Here are the first three:

 

It’s been a while…

…since I updated here. I haven’t really done any new work either, haha. First, we went on a mini-vacation, then I got sick and spent 3 days on the couch. Right after that I had to get ready for a big party i had planned for Halloween weekend. I spent this week putting the decorations away, taking care of some clutter and looking up recipes.

I have a job in the works right now. A series of drawings to go with a song for a conference coming up on the 11th. Guess I better get busy! I’ll post some sketches when I have them!

Second craft fair

Greetings to anyone who saw me today at Isle of Faith! Thanks for stopping by!

Today was my second craft fair ever. The weather was lovely, and there was quite a lot more traffic than last week. I sold six pieces this time, which was great!

I’m not sure if I’ll do another show this year. I have enjoyed the two, but for the money and time I have to pay, it’s not how I want to spend every weekend. Especially when I am just barely even making back the rental fees. We have talked about and planned to sign up for some fairs in the spring. For now I am just going to list all my inventory on Etsy and spend my Saturdays sleeping in and making cookies.

Please check my Etsy store soon for many new items!

Pictures from today to follow, as soon as I sit and stare at the wall for a while.