Thursday, September 18, 2014

exploring we will go- a trip to the oregon coast aquarium

A while back we made the promise to each other to always make time to seek adventure as a family (you can read about it here). Exploring new places and going outside is a big part of our daily lives and once in a while I like to share a little peek into our adventures.

Now that summer (and all the crowds) are gone and my work schedule is a little more flexible, we have a bunch of little adventures on our to do list. Something we have been planning for the last few months is a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Lucy has all kinds of little obsessions and interests that seem to come and go and one of her latest is all things from the sea- jellyfish, starfish, sea anemones and her favorite... sharks. She talks nonstop about sharks, has a tiny shark toy that she takes everywhere, we watch videos on sharks and spend a lot of time researching and learning about them. The Oregon Coast Aquarium seemed like a perfect day trip for the entire family (we all love the ocean) and a perfect place for Lucy to see some of her favorite sea creatures up close and personal!

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located in Newport, Oregon which is about 3 hours away from us. It sits along Yaquina Bay next to the Yaquina Bay Bridge and adjacent to the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

The facility is a non profit aquatic and marine science facility that sits on 23 acres and has both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

My favorite part and the real reason we wanted to visit the aquarium is the Passages of the Deep exhibit- a 1.32 million gallon tank that is home to 5,000 marine animals with giant tanks and tunnels that give visitors 360 degree view of rockfish, halibut, ling cod, rays and many species of sharks. I've seen a lot of cool things but these underwater tunnels are one of the coolest experiences I've had- it was AMAZING

But for Lucy, not so much! All that hype and excitement she had to see a real shark, all came crashing down when those sharks swam over her head. After a few tears and lots of coaxing, we finally convinced her to come into the tunnel and with more coaxing she finally opened her eyes. Andy captured the entire episode (like tons of photos) on camera and I have a feeling we will have fun looking at the photos when Lucy gets older!

While Andy and I could have watched the sharks all day, at Lucy's request we moved on to see all the "cute" creatures!

Needless to say, the trip (while it had a few unexpected challenges) was a huge hit and totally worth the 3 hour drive! We will definitely be going back.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

updates from the studio and a GIVEAWAY!

It's been a while since I've posted an update about the goings on over here so today I've put together a few things that need to be shared! 

First I am honored to be featured (and on the cover) in the fall 2014 Cloth Paper Scissors Studios magazine! I talk all about juggling my business, art and family. These types of opportunities are always really fun and super humbling- I still pinch myself thinking is this real?!? Included in this issue are some amazing artists like Leslie Riley, Damon Robinson, Jennifer Paganello, Pauline Lim and more!  For info on this issue or to purchase your own copy head on over HERE.

I am finishing up my latest online class- Redefine Creativity. I have been filming and creating classes back to back for the last 9 months and I will be taking a little break to plan and create more classes for the beginning of the new year (I've got some fun stuff up my sleeve). But for now I need a little break this fall to actually get into the studio to do what I love most- making art and craft.

This means I will have more time to create more fun goodies for the shop (I've got some cool stuff coming soon!) so stay tuned- in the next couple of weeks I will be announcing when new batches of pouches (accessories and more) will hit the shop.

And last, I am SUPER excited to announce that I will be teaching for Life Book 2015! Life Book 2015 is a year- long online course featuring 26 different teachers with 26 different perspectives on the creative process. Life Book is packed with lessons, inspiration and a vibrant community of artists from all over the world.

Registration opens on October 6th and the course begins on January 1st, 2015 and today I am giving away one FREE SPOT!  
To enter, leave me a comment below tell me one thing (anything) creative that you are interested in learning or want to try!
I will randomly select a winner and announce on the blog on Saturday.
All the Life Book teachers are giving away spots on their blogs (see the schedule below), so head on over to check them all out!
8th September 2014 – Tamara Laporte –

9th September 2014 – Jane Davenport –
10th September 2014 – Joanne Sharpe –
11th September 2014 –  Jenny Lee Wentworth –
12th September 2014 –  Violette Clark –
13th September 2014 –  Chris Zydel –
14th September 2014 –  Danielle Donaldson –
15th September 2014 –  Effy Wild –
16th September 2014 –  Flora Bowley – 
17th September 2014 –  Alisa Burke – http://
18th September 2014 –  Rachael Rice –
19th September 2014 –  Jeanne Oliver –
20th September 2014 –  Andrea Gomoll –
21st September 2014 –  Kristin van Valkenburgh –
22nd September 2014 –  Jill K. Berry –
23rd September 2014 –  Alena Hennessy –
24th September 2014 –  Juliette Crane –
25th September 2014 –  Jenny Doh –
26th September 2014 –  Mati Rose McDonough –
27th September 2014 –  Patti Ballard –
28th September 2014 –  Lynzee Lynx –
29th September 2014 –  Roben Marie Smith –
30th September 2014 –  Andrea Schroeder –
1st October 2014 –  Lynn Whipple –
2nd October 2014 –  Donna Downey –

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DIY toddler chair

Lucy is growing like a weed and while she has outgrown her high chair, she is still too small for an adult chair so it was time for us to figure out a solution that works for her and our table. Andy got busy designing a toddler chair that is tall enough for her to sit up to the table and safe for her to climb up and down by herself (the kid loves to climb). We are not experts on kid's furniture (or kid's safety when it comes to furniture) but Andy came up with something that works really great for Lucy. Here is a peek at his design drawings-

His inspiration came from a life guard chair- Andy spent a couple summers working as a beach lifeguard and liked the idea of a wide chair with steps that are easy to climb. As a former structural engineer he knows how to make something sturdy and his goal was to create a chair that is strong enough for a toddler but could transition into a chair/step stool that we all could use in the future.

Of course I had to paint the chair! I added colorful triangles to the seat and painted the steps and arms in different colors.

Then we sanded the paint for a bit of a distressed look.

Needless to say the chair is a HUGE hit! Not only have we been using it at the dining room table but it also works great at our art table in the garage and per Lucy's request, we have been moving it around the house to random locations where she can sit on her perch and play.

Monday, September 15, 2014

palette knife play

When working with paint, a palette knife can be a really fun alternative to using a paint brush! Typically a palette knife is used for mixing paint but it can also be used to apply paint. These days there are all kinds of palette knives (and even decorative scrapers) with different tips and edges that can be used in many creative ways. Try ditching your brushes and swipe, scratch, drag, dot, mark, layer and spread that paint! 

TIP: Keep in mind that using heavy body acrylic paint tends to work best with a palette knife when creating thick heavy layers but just about any acrylic paint will work!

P.S. I've got some new designs over in my Society 6 shop including a few of my palette knife paintings! Head on over HERE to see everything.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

5 creative ways to use a feather

I love using feathers in my creative projects and today I am sharing five of my favorite ways to use a feather in creative projects!

Living at the beach I am always finding feathers and while I love them- sometimes they can need some cleaning up. I've found that soaking them in a little bit of dish soap and water works great!

I think my favorite way to use feathers is for sketching inspiration. I teach a lot of sketching classes and feathers are actually one of my favorite examples for demonstrating how to use lines in a drawing.

I love using a feather as a stamp! Simply cover the surface with acrylic paint (using a brush or a brayer) and press firmly into your surface and then pull it away. The result is a beautiful imprint of your feather. This is a great way to create a feather pattern on a surface,a way to add layers to a painted background or just a creative alternative to traditional stamping.

Gelli printing is one of my favorite ways to create really unique surfaces. I start by inking up the plate and then I press feathers to the surface. Next, I place my paper onto the surface of the plate, roll my brayer over the backside of the paper and then peel it away.

The result is a beautiful and abstract print of the feathers!

If you use a brayer in your mixed media painting you will know that your brayer can actually pick up texture and you are able roll that texture from your brayer onto paper. 

I start by placing my feather into wet paint and I roll my clean brayer over the top. Then I roll my brayer onto a clean surface- the result it a really light reverse imprint of the feather.

Painting feathers is a really beautiful way to transform something from nature into a colorful little piece of art! Since feathers tend to absorb paint you have to use a fairly thick layer of color to get everything covered. I've found that spray paint actually works really well. 

Then you can add all kinds of embellishments with a variety of materials- paint pens, glitter, puff paint, beads and more!


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