Thursday, December 26, 2013

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Yes, I know: long time no blog. It happens sometimes. Okay, maybe it happens frequently or annually. Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Since I last posted:
  • Went to the Art Fair when it was 90˚F.
  • I had a medical issue.
  • Finished a project.
  • Handed out candy on Halloween.
  • Made Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Took down the summer decorations & put up the winter decorations.
  • Spent 3 months working on illustrations for the holiday calendar. 
  • Made Christmas dinner.
  • Finished the holiday calendar.
  • Had one of my printers die while printing the pages for the calendar.
  • And completed the wrapping of gifts at 4am on 12-25.
It's been an eventful half-year.

This was how my living room looked right before the hustle and bustle of calendar production & assembly and gift wrapping. It may not presently be that tidy...

This was the last scene of  the last bit of illustrating that took place at my desk. It was a long haul of drawing. You can take a look at my last 3 months of illustration work here.

Yes, I do manage to post a lot of things on Tumblr. It might seem much easier to use and more accessible to more random people... therefore it might get more attention. Or I might make more of an effort to make regular posts here. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

One of the things that I enjoy the most is when Christmas is over with. It's the time when I usually finally have a moment to myself. I can just sit at home and relax. I'm not trying to finish something or work on something for someone or prepare some sort of massive feast or schedule my off-time around get-togethers or whatnot. There's a moment when the 25th becomes the 26th when everything is just calm and nice and solitary. I like those moments.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

birthdays and butterflies

My birthday is June 21. So, today would be the day after my birthday...
Every year there's cake - Betty Crocker Cherry Chip cake with the corresponding Cherry frosting.
I became aware of this cake somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8. It was served one year on Grandpa Duda's birthday. Prior to this particular family shindig — all cake had been white or yellow or chocolate, and was either frosted with vanilla or chocolate.  Grandma Knight did occasionally break out the German chocolate cake. While I am always a fan of the coconut pecan frosting - I never quite got the appeal of the cake portion of the cake...

Anyway, cherry chip cake became my favorite cake immediately. The fact that the cherry frosting is pink was probably also part of the appeal. I was a child, it was an unusual flavor, what can I say? I mean, other than it appears at least once a year in my house. It's awesome cake.

My sister's birthday is in another couple of days. Every year we basically trade $20 back and forth in the span of a week.  So, every year I have to conjure up a gift and usually end up making a trip to the post office on my birthday so that it will arrive around or on her birthday...

I conveniently worked up a couple new "species" of butterflies in the last month or so. You can see some of them here.

Hopefully you're enjoying your summer!

Friday, May 10, 2013

sidewalk tourism: magnolias...

The magnolias had a decent run this year. Usually they bloom and then it immediately snows...

Enjoy your spring!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

sidewalk tourism: spring magnolia

The temperatures finally warmed up! So I'm declaring it officially spring... that means it's sidewalk tourism time. No more winter blues. No more cabin fever. No more funk.

Hopefully your flowers are blooming : )

Saturday, April 27, 2013

sometimes I wonder...

Sometimes I wonder what the point is... of blogging.

I wonder why I feel compelled to do it, and yet when I sit in front of the computer or think about what I would blog — my mind draws a blank.

Who's reading this thing anyway? My parents? Some random person who remembers people they went to high school with? People I work with?

I wonder this publicly, perhaps to no one, because after a long absence I wrote a couple blog entries and had changed the posting of comments to moderated... and then looked at the comments that were awaiting moderation and they are 100% spam.

I was on vacation this week... and it was, perhaps, despite many things, very enjoyable.
I had no plans. It rained. I went nowhere. For a day or 2 I had no car because I took it in for a repair.
I didn't blog. I didn't spend hours compulsively clicking on things on the internet. I did nothing on etsy. I didn't set the alarm clock. And in spite of that — I did stuff.

I didn't even finish anything, but I just spent hours doing stuff unencumbered by the notion of having to interact with other people or wonder about opinions and feelings and it was like the greatest vacation ever.

So I do, I wonder why I feel compelled to blog.  What is it that I really have to share? In 7 paragraphs I don't have the answer to that, just that I do still wonder.

Maybe when spring finally hits and I feel compelled to go outdoors and do something, then I will know.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

little things and lizards

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference.
As you may know, I'm enjoy kitsch, particularly when it comes to my decor.  I have a bit of a thing for lizards and frogs and turtles and birds.  And I have seasonal decorations.  In the winter time I hang glitter snowflake ornaments from the ceiling of my living room, and in the spring and the summer I have a set of monarch butterflies and some hummingbird ornaments that I use.  The hummingbirds were Christmas ornaments that I found in Target like 5-6 years ago. I thought they were so cool that I bought all the ones they had that weren't broken. I have 14 of them or so.  They're resin ornaments, so I brought them home and painted them so that they looked like real ruby-throated hummingbirds, right down to using various shades of iridescent nail polish over their plumage to make them shine... 

Anyway, back around that actual beginning of spring, I took down all the snowflakes and put up my butterflies and my hummingbirds.  And then it snowed the next day.  It's been a long winter, and that's meant a lot of time in doors.  So much so that I started changing out and moving around pictures and artwork just to entertain myself and stave off boredom and malaise.

I thought I was done until I found myself standing in Hobby Lobby buying 2 more resin lizards (like these).  So, of course, I gave them a new coat of paint.  And after they sat around my work space for a week or two - on a whim I finally got around to hanging them up on Tuesday morning.  This of course also meant that I needed a new picture for over the computer...

I am definitely not a minimalist.  But I think we all already knew that...

Hopefully the weather starts acting like spring soon. As much as I may enjoy decor and pictures and knick-knacks and stuff, I'm ready to put on my good shoes and grab the camera and throw some extra batteries in my pockets and go out wandering around enjoying some budding trees and daffodils.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

so I was away for a while...

February and March plodded along until they just flew by... Yes, long time no blog. It was winter. It was Michigan. What can I say? I spent a lot of time in doors working on the in doors. My office / studio / living room underwent a slight cosmetic makeover. It is the room that I spend the bulk of my time in, so it was time for it to feel like a room that I wanted to spend most of my time in.

It's the little things that make the biggest difference. I bought bookcases and assembled them so that I could move a lot of magazines and piles of paper and boxes of craft supplies out of the room. That alone made it feel like less of a glorified storage closet...
Then I started working on my desk. I have 2 of them. One of them had just become a place to set a printer and pile things... that was kind of silly. So, I moved a lot of stuff off my desk and better organized the things that needed to stay. And now I can actually sit there and draw - which was the desired result.
Plus, I framed and then hung many of my original drawings...
And then I got the chair...
It's one of those padded accent chairs. It's perfect. It's nice and low - the way I like my desk-to-chair ratio so that what I'm working on is close to eye level.

So, it's nice to have somewhere to sit and work without trying to balance a drawing board on my lap as my foot falls asleep.
Hopefully winter treated you well, and spring will eventually begin and stick around for a little while before we veer directly into 90˚F days of summer...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

meandering thru January

It's been bitterly cold here lately. It's to be expected, it is January after all and this is Michigan. That means a lot of indoors time. Which either means aimlessly watching tv or procrastinating on projects...

So, I went grocery shopping a couple weeks ago and found myself standing in Hobby Lobby. Don't worry, I don't cook with craft paint. Anyway, I'm a sucker for garden statuary, and low and behold they were setting up that section of the store... so, some critters followed me home. And since this stuff is just mass produced resin - I decided to repaint them to better match my decor and taste...

And then I decided to paint some watercolors. Evidently it's been a while since I had to vacuum salt up off the carpeting. For the uninitiated - you can see my watercolors here. I work with color and salt, and I mix in some gouache for kicks.

I have subsequently named all 22 new paintings, and will eventually get around to scanning them and adding them to the shop... eventually.

At the present moment my stuck-indoors-spree-of-projects has meandered on to working on a series of illustrations. So, I've scanned a bunch of sketches and printed them out as blue pages that I am in the midst of inking...

If you're also stuck indoors, hopefully your time is productive : )

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

new year, new me

New year, new me. Well, kind of.
I'm 33. When I turned 18 way back in 1997 I left home and went off to college where I met something that would become part of my life forever: the internet. My generation made the message boards, the forums, the chat rooms... and really, to do those things, you need an avatar.
So, one night while I was on break at work I sketched out a caricature of me and colored it in with prismacolors. And that's been my avatar for 2 or 3 years now. People who know me in person who find me online always seem to be amused that my little rendering of myself looks like me; well, me-ish. I decided it could look a little more like me. So, I sat down at my desk yesterday and went about updating my avatar...

The progression - from current to new...
I took the old avatar, enlarged it, got rid of the color, and added a new face. I printed that out as a blue page, inked it, scanned that back in - colorized it and then printed that out to color over:

 So, now I suppose I should get to work on the rest of the projects I have lined up. Hopefully your new year has gotten off to a productive start!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Picture Story: bear ride

I needed an illustration for January for my calendar. We have the four seasons here in Michigan, so, January is usually a picture of something cold and snowy, because that's what it is. Somehow I decided on a girl and a bear trekking through the snow for the picture...

And so it was sketched:
Then sketch was scanned in photoshop, converted to a blue page. That was printed, 
inked, scanned into photoshop and cleaned up and converted into  a file...
That file was filled with color and then printed off to be colored by hand.
 Once the entire page was colored it was scanned into photoshop.
 Where I began to add other elements, like the snowy ground and the sky...
The sky needed a little more visual oomph, so, I added a layer of a 
scan of one of my paintings: sunkissed alchemy phantasmagoria
There was snow on the ground, so there should be snowflakes in the air. 
The issue was to leave them behind or on top of the girl & bear...
 I decided to leave the snowflakes on top, so, I selectively deleted some of them...
And there it is: bear ride

You can find "bear ride" at sarahkdesigns or sunshinesight

Friday, December 28, 2012

Craft project: painting the birds

We all have our own quirks and proclivities and personal touches. I like weird stuff. Now, everyone has different sensibilities when it comes to weird stuff, myself included. I like to decorate with what I assume people would think of as weird stuff. I like frogs and lizards and turtles and apparently my new thing is birds. I have them all over the studio / office / living room. Most of them are probably supposed to be in a garden or a child's toy box, but, well, I'm not much of a gardener. So, yeah, I have garden statuary and toys standing in as knick knacks in my living room.

Basically, I like kitsch, and I decorate with kitsch.

And since I was done coming home from work and finishing up the holiday calendar — well, I suddenly had free time again! I know, it always seems novel to come home from work and not have to work on something. Leisure, who knew?

Anyway, after catching up on the last 5 episodes of the now cancelled Leverage and probably 7-10 miscellaneous hours of tv watching, well, I had to pry myself away from the facebook and do something (besides sleeping).

As it turns out, I had a little home dec project to finish. My vcr/dvd player died in the beginning of December, so, there was some consternation over hooking up the replacement and having the correct number of cables and looking at diagrams and attaching the right cable to the right slot between the new dvd player, the cable box, and the television. Apparently, in order to watch a dvd you need to have a degree in engineering...

Anyway, one of the cords was too short, and I had to rearrange things, and it was weird looking. So, eventually I was standing there in Target while Christmas shopping and bought myself a little stand for the tv to sit on so that the tv could be in the middle of the spot for the tv again...
Before: the original configuration
 Middle (the new dvd player) (above)
After (below)
So, of course, now there's more space for knick knacks, boo-yah! And by knick knacks I mean the birds, the turtle, the frogs, and the lizards.

I like to buy bird, frog, and reptile decorations that look realistic. Occasionally, I buy things that I think just need a new coat of paint, because I'm crafty like that. So, my post holiday I-did-it-for-the-fun-of-it project was to paint a couple resin birds I had bought that I thought needed a do-over with paint.

So, with some craft paint, a knowledge of bird plumage, and some satin and matte varnish:

 So, now I have 3 yellow warblers (2 females, 1 male) and a chickadee on a pine cone in my menagerie of creatures.
Oh, and the chickadee has a home too : )
Someone needs to make sure the plastic iguanas behave themselves.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday (and perhaps some post holiday relaxation or maybe a craft project) and have a happy new year!