Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer School

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Custom Handmade Doll

As mentioned in a previous post, I met a sweet woman at the art festival who asked me if I make custom dolls.  I told her that I did and we chatted some, but I didn't think she was entirely serious.  The next day, she returned with her son's vintage and very worn-out  loved doll.  I was beyond flattered, humbled, and to be honest, a bit intimidated that she would trust me enough to hold onto this vintage toy to pattern the new one after for her baby grandson (her son's little boy).  The old british guard didn't have a coat, but she requested one for this new little fella.

I had so much fun making him and dreaming up the pattern and details.  I wanted to make it all baby-friendly (ie. no hard buttons or small pieces that could possibly come loose).  I emailed her last week to show her the finished product and I'm delivering him in person this afternoon.  She responded and said she was thrilled with the new addition to the family :)  WHEW!!  Always a relief to get the 'thumbs-up' after working hard on an extra-special project!  
So here he is!  A new Palace Guard for a new generation :)  

His coat is fully removable and he has hand-embroidered eyes and a hand-stitched applique mustache.  His coat is made from wool felt, as well as his legs and hat.
And isn't it fitting that she would ask me to make this little guy while we are enjoying the Olympic Games in London?!  Haha, love it!  And to top it off, earlier this year, John and I were on vacation in London, so I had added inspiration! 

I thought I'd see how he fits into some of my photos from London for fun...
...looks like he belongs :) 

If you are interested in commissioning a custom doll, please email me at recipe4cute{at}gmail{dot}com for pricing and details. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vacations are such a good thing!

{Pics from my instagram page...feel free to follow along if you wish!}

We're back from the beach!  A week of fresh sea air, sunshine, sand between our toes, staying up until midnight to watch the Olympic Games, exploring tide pools (and doing it in your pj's if you are Michael) ice cream cones, bike rides, shopping, time with my sister, reading books in the bathtub (most of those were picture books that I read to the mister!), tasty pub food, exploring small towns, visiting museums, sketching on the beach, sleeping in until 8am and taking 3 hour naps in the afternoon, making up silly games on the beach, building sandcastles, listening to 80's music on long drives and laughing about the lyrics, hitting up all the local art galleries for inspiration...
And necessary!!  
John and I had both been working so much without a breather and needed a break to just BE.  Be together.  Be a family.  Just take a deep breath and BE.  It was rejuvenating and relaxing.  Now that we're back home, life is in full-swing and we're enjoying the beautiful summer weather around Seattle.  Getting out and exploring.  Starting lots of new projects and finishing some old ones too.  Feels good to be refreshed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DIY Watercolor Labels

I have the simplest tutorial for you guys today that can be used in countless ways!

Here's what you'll need:

Inkjet Printer
Permanent Inkjet Labels...I used these
Watercolor paints of your choice

Mix up the watercolor paint with water to make a colored solution...more paint than water so you don't oversaturate the labels.

Quickly paint it onto the labels...I tried 2 techniques: 1) a messy approach leaving streaks and patches of white and 2) a more fluid approach that created a softer look with no white patches. 

I let it air-dry and to speed the process up, I also used a hairdryer, but that isn't necessary.  

I inserted them painted-side down in my inkjet printer and voila!  
New labels for my Petit Pablo Pencil Pack sketchbooks!

These are so easy and inexpensive to create and the watercolor adds a custom touch.  

The package of labels comes with 400 round stickers, so you can test out more ideas like these:

Monogram stickers to seal your envelopes
Jam Jar Labels
Party Favor Seals

I could go on and on...if you try this project, send me a photo or two!  
I'd love to see how you use it :)  Have fun!

Wedgwood Art Festival 2012

Hello dear readers!  My family and I are here on vacation in Cannon Beach, OR this week and it's been heavenly to be together, without a schedule of work and to-do's.  Every morning, Michael jumps out of bed, runs onto the deck overlooking the beach and announces 'Mom, the sea creatures are waking up...we better get out there!' Haha, he makes me smile every day!  

More pics of the beach coming soon, but if you want to see some now, you can follow me here for photos of highlights and things that make me smile in general: http://followgram.me/recipe4cute

I wanted to take a moment to share a few photos from the Wedgwood Art Festival this year.  Leading up to it, the weather was amazing, but the day before, Seattle had a major thunder/lightning storm...yes, we get a lot of rain, but we rarely get the crazy storms.  I'm talking POURING rain...buckets...like being in a shower and getting soaked within 10 seconds kind-of-rain :)  So I was worried to say the least since this festival is outdoors!  Luckily, the weather held up and we only had the tiniest bit of rain and some wind during the 2-day show.  Whew!!  Just to be safe, John got me a tent with walls this year :) 

This year, I doubled my inventory...basically made twice the amount of pencil packs and dolls since I almost sold out of both last year!  I also added about 12 new watercolor illustrations to my collection. 

A photo of my John managing the booth.  I'm so grateful for his generous support and love.  He always makes sure I have time to work on my art and takes Michael out on fun adventures so I have quiet time to work.  I'm definitely someone who needs time to myself to just 'BE'.  I've always been that way.  Even when I have a 'night off' and I'm going out, John will suggest that I call up a friend to come with me, and sometimes I do, but lots of times I enjoy my own company ;)  Anyway, I digress...he just understands me so well and I feel so loved because he supports my dreams of being an artist/illustrator/crafter/wife/mama.  I could never do this alone...we make a good team!  Thank you for being incredible, John!  I'm the luckiest girl to have you :)

Side-note: I think some of the funniest moments were when customers would approach the booth and John would casually mention that he made everything...ha, loved seeing the reactions ;)  

As my son would say, 'I spy with my little eye...'  a 'Piglets Over Paris' birthday card!  Working on the storyline/illustrations for a new children's book.

This little girl's mama bought her a second doll just in case the first one gets lost/ruined/wears out after years of love.  She told me that it's her bedtime dolly and she can't be without it...way to think ahead Kirsten :)

This little guy was soooo cute...his name is Lucky and he even smiled for the camera ;)  I saw so many sweet companions during the festival.  Lucky's owner bought 3 of my illustrations for her 'future kids'.  Wow, that was a huge compliment!  Thank you Beth!!

My Happy Little Camper

A close up of about half the dolls this year...I made more boys and the little lad with his bow tie was gone pretty quickly...a gift for a new grandson.  I was a tiny bit sad to see him go, but I know he's going to a happy home!

A group of modern dance teachers (this beautiful woman was born in Jamaica and grew up in NYC) came by my booth and we had fun chats.  Two of them bought dolls and the other bought a pencil pack for her son.  I LOVE talking to all the diverse people who come to these events.  I love hearing about others' lives...their stories, their interests, the people they hold dear and for whom they are purchasing the gifts.  I feel so fulfilled and happy to know that my art and creations are bringing others happiness as well.  I suppose that's why my motto is 'Art that will make your heart smile!'

Other highlights that made the festival so much fun:

One mom had 3 daughters and their middle names were Faith, Hope, and Grace...so I customized the word 'Love' on the horse illustration to read 'Grace' so each girl could have a print.  What are the odds?!  So cool :)  

One new grandma brought me her son's old British Royal Guard doll that was very well-loved and falling apart and asked me to make a custom one for her new grandson.  Such a loving gesture for this sweet grand-baby and I felt quite humbled to be taking home her son's vintage doll to pattern the new one after...whoa, you'd better believe I'm taking EXCELLENT care of that little guy!  

Another great year!  Thank you to everyone for your support...my wonderful family who helped take care our son leading up to the festival and also during the show, friends who stopped by and texted/emailed me the week before to show their love, and for all those people who made purchases.    Wow, thank you from the bottom of my heart!!  My cup runneth over :)  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Livin' life

1) A new tutorial I'm working on
2) Piles of crafty-goodness all over my kitchen table  
3) One of probably 10 sparklers that Michael enjoyed   
4) Fresh peonies from a thoughtful friend   
5) Poppies in full bloom on a walk around the neighborhood   
6) Petit Pablo Pencil Packs all prettied up and ready to go   
7) Happy 4th!

Yep, I'm alive :)  This past month has been CUH-RAZY busy for me and my family...all good stuff happening and for that, I'm very thankful.  I'm finally coming up for air and popping in here on the blog to say HI!!!  I'm not someone who thrives on being busy all the time, and lately, life has been more than busy all. the. time.  It's not really my cup of tea, but I keep thinking to myself 'Somehow we're making this work and it's not total chaos!'.  I feel like I'm learning to just go with it more and work around the busy-ness of it all, and I'm happy about that.  So what if I have piles of crafty goodness in every room of my house right now (with Michael's cars and toys mixed in)...it means good things are getting done little by little, right?  I feel the tug of work because of deadlines, but not so much that I won't stop to play with my mister.  I'm never too busy for moments when he comes up to me and says 'Mom, I want to snuggle with you!'.  

John took a few days off work (much needed since he's been working what seems like 20 hour days lately) and we enjoyed a fun-filled 4th of July holiday on Wednesday.  It's one of my family's favorite holidays and fireworks and bbq'ing with friends and neighbors made it so special.  I've also had big chunks of time to get some productive work done for the upcoming art festival while John and Michael have gone on adventures to the park and zoo.

I'm typing this post with the window open, listening to the birds singing and the sunshine is bright and warm on my skin.  It smells like fresh-cut grass outside and John is in the kitchen singing to Michael and making us breakfast, (all while Michael carries on with his little banter of pigs and peg-legged pirates!?).  Life this morning is a little slower and I'm savoring it.  I'll tuck this memory away for more busy-ness that is sure to come my way again, probably sooner than later.  


Friday, May 25, 2012

Let's do it again!

About a month ago, I received my acceptance letter into the 7th Annual Wedgwood Art Festival and I'm SOOO looking forward to participating in this 2-day event again on July 14th/15th!  The above photo was my booth last year and I wrote all about my experience here.  I'm really grateful to have been accepted again this year with all the great talent out there!  The show is limited to 45 artists and the jury receives about twice as many applications, so I feel humbled that they granted me a spot!  Hooray!  More details will follow as the show draws closer.

In other artsy news, I've been creating a few new pieces...ones that I've had in my sketchbook for quite a while now and even longer swimming around in my imagination!  

I love monograms...so classic, simple, and refined.  And since I grew up all around apples, I chose to use apple blossoms and springtime as my main inspiration.  I really do love how it turned out and the tiny little insects add a touch of whimsy :)  

Any 'Sound of Music' fans out there?  I love that movie and its message.  I've wanted to illustrate this quote for a while now and I finally got it out onto paper.  And because it uses the same flowers as the monogram print, they can be paired together seamlessly!  

And this one is in celebration of sunshine and summertime!  Mmm, I'd better go eat that ice cream cone before it melts!  Speaking of summertime, I feel like it officially starts this weekend!!  Have any fun plans?  I'm hoping for lots of time at the beach, BBQ's with good friends, juicy watermelon, long walks at dusk, giggles with my kiddo, and (crossing my fingers) a day to sleep in!  Enjoy your weekend!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

There is beauty all around/ No. 2

1) Twinkling lights at the annual carnival we took Michael to a couple of weeks ago on a family trip home.

2) My rock rainbow!  I found all of these naturally colored rocks while we were at Lake Washington...aren't they cool?!  I love nature and all its beauty...I was pretty excited :)

3) 'Let's go fly a kite!'  I can't help but sing that every time I fly a kite...this was Michael's first time and he loved watching the kite go higher and higher!

4) Some magnolia trees on a recent neighborhood walk...ahhh, springtime!  So inspiring!  

I love looking for the artistry all around me...of course, I have 'those days' when it's more difficult to have a positive attitude, but it's a good goal to take notice of the happiness and little beauties that exist.  They.are.abundant!  I hope your week is off to a beautiful start!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


...I'm a perfectionist.  Sighhhh...in my case, this can be a good and bad thing.  I probably change my mind way too often about things that are just fine, but when it comes to my artwork, I'm not happy with it until it's 'just right'.  So I've tweaked a few things that were buggin' me on this last piece...I was feeling like there was too much red and I wanted the piece to speak for itself, instead of having a word on the print (although if you prefer the 'Faith' printed at the top, I can print it that way too).  Now that I've changed it a bit (more), I LOVE the finished product!  If I ever change it again, you can just laugh at me :)


And I've finished the companion pieces too...



They look so sweet on their own or all lined up in a row!

They'll be listed in my shop later tonight (right now I'm headed outside to enjoy this lovely, warm, sunshine-y day!)  Wishing you a beautiful spring weekend, too!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Illustrations for Boys!

3 cheers for little boys!  I've wanted to add some more illustrations for boys to my collection and thought I'd share a couple that I've recently finished.  What little boy doesn't want to search for buried treasure and pretend he's a pirate during an afternoon at the beach?!   

And this next one just makes me smile :)  I love the soft, sweet, sleepy colors and his fluffy friend. This print would really compliment a little boy's nursery. 

I've listed both of them in my little shop.

Hope ya like 'em :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nature's Canvas

Around here, I spent most of this last week outside enjoying mother nature's artwork and took a break from creating my own.

We're fortunate enough to live about an hour away from one of the most stunning celebrations of spring...the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  Michael and I drove up there this week with a good friend and her sweet baby girl to soak up the beauty.  Yes, it was raining quite hard on the drive up, and yes, it rained on us while we were there, but I honestly didn't mind one bit.  I just kept saying 'This is so gorgeous!!!'  Honestly, ENDLESS fields on the most vibrant tulips with the mountains and the backdrop.  Ahhh, makes me crave wide open spaces and a slower-paced life.    

Because of all the rain, the mister had THE BEST time jumping in the puddles (even when I tried to coax him out of them so he wouldn't be freezing!).  He really was so cute :)  At one point, he was yelling 'Mom, mom LOOK!'  I looked over and his boot was stuck in the mud puddle, and he was standing in his socks...needless to say he was stripped down to his t-shirt when we got back to the car and fell fast asleep on the drive home.  
Fresh air + mud puddles + endless places to explore = one happy, sleepy boy.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, too!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Under the weather...

Doesn't this art installation make you smile?  I love it!  Maybe it's because I live in Seattle and rain is just a part of life.  The umbrellas remind me of spring blossoms bursting forth to welcome a new season...they are out in full force here right now and it's beautiful!  Our neighborhood has lots of mature trees and taking walks in the late afternoon is one of our family's favorite ways to spend time together...just talking and getting some fresh air.  And right now we could use some fresh air.  I had anticipated posting a bit more this week, but both Michael and I are sick (with our hero out of town), so it's probably not going to happen.  That's just how life goes sometimes, so we're rolling with it :)  Here's to getting healthy soon!  

Coming up:
Highlights from our recent trip
New art and new projects
Thoughts on a subject most creative people wrestle with from time to time

Friday, April 13, 2012

Simple Organizing Tip for Crafters

I think art supplies are beautiful...miniature works of art themselves.  I know that's why I can spend hours in craft stores (not that I have that kind of free time!) and feel so inspired!  

In France, the yogurt and chocolate pudding come in the cutest little glass jars.  So when we picked up some strawberry yogurt to snack on this past trip, I kept the jars with this simple project in mind:  organizing my watercolor tubes.  Before now, they sat mixed together in one large jar making it difficult to find the right color quickly.

It took me less than one minute to make all 3...just wrap it around and you're finished!  How's that for QUICK AND EASY?! :)

I used coordinating tape for each color family of paint tubes. 

And if you don't need to organize watercolors, you can really use this tip for any craft supply...

I also thought this would look cute on a flower pot/ flower vase.  Washi tape doesn't stick permanently and easily peels off, so the looks you can create are endless :)  

I've purchased washi tape from a few different sellers on Etsy.  Most craft stores probably carry it too (look in the scrapbook section!)

It is S-U-N-N-Y outside right now in Seattle :)  Crossing my fingers it lasts through the day!
Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We're home!

Vacations are a 'good thing' as Martha would say.  Our trip was wonderful, filled with beautiful blue skies, miles of walking, and countless trips to boulangeries to buy pain au chocolat :)  I guess we walked so much that it probably hopefully equals out!  And it was the perfect amount of time because I don't think John or I could have lasted a day longer without seeing our little boy.  We both missed him SO MUCH and were thrilled when he met us at the airport!  When he saw me crying (tears of joy of course!!), I think it worried him and he offered to share his Easter candy with me that he had in the car...he is so tender-hearted and I love that about him.

I'll be back later this week with some more photos as soon as I attack our mountain of laundry and go grocery shopping for food other than cheese and chocolate :) haha!

Friday, March 30, 2012

In less than 12 hours...

...we leave for LONDON!!

I'm jittery with excitement just typing that!  John and I are like little kids going to Disneyland...we're over-the-top excited!!  I've never been, but have always wanted to go...John's been a few times for work, but never explored, so we can't wait to experience it all together!!

Ever since I was a little girl, London has always been the setting of magic books in my mind...think about it...so many childhood stories are based in London:

Peter Pan
Winnie the Pooh
Peter Rabbit
Harry Potter
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Mary Poppins
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe...
...just to name a few!

EEEEeeeeee :)  That's me screaming inside!

These are just a few things we're going to do (good thing that lots of these sites are within walking distance!)

Visit and Explore
Natural History Museum
Big Ben and Parliament
Changing of the guards
London Bridge
Tower of London and Crown Jewels 
Eye of London (Ferris Wheel)
Buckingham Palace
Westminster Abbey
Notting Hill
Portobello Road
Ride a double decker bus
All the beautiful parks and statues

Indian food 
Turkish Food
Fish and chips (of course!)
Tea Time

Night Attractions
Wicked Musical (super excited for this!)

Hamley's Toy Store
Mr. Humbug's Candy Store
Top Shop
Liberty of London

We'll spend 4 days there and then 4 days in another one of our favorite cities:  Paris!!!  We're taking the chunnel under the ocean (still sounds so unreal to me!) and since we know a little more about this city, we have some definite to-do's, but we'll also enjoy some down time for picnics in the park and wandering the streets and getting lost.

Considering John has been gone traveling 6 out of the last 13 weeks for work, it's an understatement when I say I'm SUPER excited to have him all to myself for 9 whole days!!  And because he's been traveling so dang much, he had a bunch of free upgrades, so we get to fly first class round-trip!  I still have to pinch myself when I say that...I think John is more excited about this part of the trip because he knows how amazing it will be for me to fly WITH A BED across the Atlantic!  He does it all the time for work, but it'll be my first time!  Wow!  I don't think it'll hit me until I'm able to lay down when I'm sleepy!  Trust me, this won't be a regular occurrence, so I'll live it up and love it while I can :)  My parents are taking care of our bitsy boy and I know he's going to have a BLAST with them...always does!

Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you :)  If you are in London or Paris and have suggestions (or have been to either city yourself), I'd love any recommendations!