Starting a Painting Challenge!

 It's my birthday week and for me, that's really the start of my new year.  I wanted to get back to oil painting this year, and wanted to do a monthlong challenge to get me going.  But I wasn't ready to do so on January 1st when most of the challenges start.  So I decided to do my own, starting now!  

I was hugely inspired by @michellewoodersonart and her limited palette on kraft paper challenge.  She was getting amazing results with her unusual palette of Transparent Yellow Oxide, Rose Madder, and Cerulean Blue, so I wanted to try using something similar.   Michelle is uses Michael Harding Oil Paints, but I work only in Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Paints, so I had to change the colors to suit that.  I ended up with Raw Sienna, Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue, and Titanium White.  I'm also trying to limit my supplies to just 2 or 3 brushes, a palette knife, a mechanical pencil, a Micron Pen, a jar of water, and a stack of kraft-paper card stock cut to 5 ½" x 8 ½".  Plus either baby wipes and/or paper towel.   My plan is to paint daily January 18 through February 18 for just 30 minutes a day!  

Here is my pre-challenge trial of the palette.  You can see that I also tried using a cadmium yellow pale, but it was brighter than I wanted, so I ended up using the Raw Sienna, which though technically a "red", actually reads as a dark transparent yellow, very similar to the yellow oxide that Michelle used.  

Day 1!  I painted my special bunny sitting on the windowsill!  After our house fire in 1999, I reached out to "The Herb Farm" in Washington State (no longer in business) as I had previously purchased one of their Sleep Bunnies with an herb pouch to facilitate sleep.  They also had experienced a fire and lost their main building.  I wanted bunnies for me and my kids to help us overcome the trauma of our fire.  They had already stopped making these, but graciously were able to find 4 of them to send to us.  They really helped us, and have been among our favorites ever since.  Mine now lives in my office on the shelf near my desk.   So happy with how this little portrait sketch turned out!  

Day 2 - I painted the pot of faux snowdrops that had been my Mom's.  I've always loved spring flowers and tried to plant snowdrops so many times.  I've only ever gotten one of them to grow and bloom.  I keep this pot in my office where it brings me joy!  I find I really struggle painting flowers, which is so frustrating as they are what I'd love to paint more than anything!  I get bogged down in all the detail and how to translate it.  It makes me miss obvious things, like getting the shape of the pot correct.  Oh well!  I had fun and am reasonable happy with the result, though it did take me nearly an hour!  

Little Finn (not so little anymore, but I still call him "Little") loves keeping me company in the office, though usually he is on the desk in my arms while I'm at the computer.  But thankfully he was content in the nest while I painted! 

Other happenings this week included painting gold edges on a big box of inches that I'm going to use to make cards with!  

I also finally got all the Christmas decor packed up and ready to go up to my middle son's shed once the weather clears.  I had placed all the little trees I had around the house on top of the china cabinet to get them out of the way until I could figure out how to package them up.  I really loved this little forest and was a bit sad to pack them away in a big box.  I suspect this little forest will make an appearance in my Christmas decor next season! 

I finished the mug mat!  Watch for a video coming this weekend on how I made it!  

So glad to have this done and so pleased with how it turned out!  It goes perfectly in my sewing corner! 

If you are interested in owning any of my paintings, follow me on instagram.  I'll be posting a number of my small works for sale in a week or so!  


Hello Again! Stitching Resumes!

 Happy New Year!  I'm finally getting back to stitching after a long hiatus.  Though I've done a tiny bit here and there, it's really been a couple years since I've stitched regularly.  I'm currently working on a new mug mat for my sewing table. 

Speaking of sewing tables, I recently got a new one!  It's very similar to one I had, but got rid of in a fit of downsizing. I'd been stitching on a smaller desk, but found it frustrating for numerous reasons.  And not having my favorite stitching table for the past 5 years, has impacted my stitching, and truthfully, kept me from it.  How delighted I was to find a near match (except that this is a slightly sturdier model with a wooden top instead of painted) at a regional antique mall for a great price! And I had received a generous gift earlier that same day that allowed me to bring it home!  

This is the table I had gotten rid of.  Here, covered in SO much stuff from a stitching project back in 2014.  Embarrassing!  Truly, it received so much use and nearly all my crazy quilt projects were stitched at this table.  I knew I shouldn't get rid of it when I did, but I was determined to have less stuff and having two tables seemed too much, especially since everything I had was going into storage at the time. But I've regretted it every day since.  Now, I don't have to regret any longer!  

After 6 ½ years, I completed my "O Holy Night" piece!  I filmed the finishing of it, which you can find on my YouTube Channel!  I'd love if you'd take a look, subscribe to my channel, and leave a comment there! I'm hoping to do a lot more crazy quilting and stitching on the channel this year.  

I also published a video on the making of my crazy quilted stocking!  Link here: CQ Stocking.  I thought I was done making stockings, but another grandson was born this fall, so there's another one to make!  
I started off the new year with a presentation of my crazy quilting at Sew Downtown in Greeley, Colorado!  I had demo'd and taught a class there a long time ago... maybe 7 or 8 years ago!  So delightful to be asked back!  There is going to be a class series starting in mid-March! 
I've been enjoying some gorgeous amaryllis blooms in my kitchen!  I'm loving this white one! Having blooming flowers in the midst of winter brings me so much joy!  

See you soon!  


March Activities

Hyacinth & Primroses 
March has been one of those months that feels like I haven't gotten much done.  But as I discovered while writing this blog post, there's been more than I realized!  I've had flowers blooming all month, most from bulbs that I have forced.  It has been a steady progression of hyacinths, the last of the paper whites, and a few supplements from the garden center such as these lovely primroses!  They start off white and turn pink as they age.  So pretty and a perfect pick me up on the gloomy days of late winter. 
2022 Journal set up #2
I filled all the pages of my last journal and needed to begin a new book. That meant I needed to do another yearly setup for the new book as I didn't want to have to jump between books for the rest of the year.  For the watercolor, I had done a study of a favorite Beatrix Potter painting and it was a perfect way to start this journal off.  I choose a new focus verse, still focused on trusting in God, as I feel that with all the things going on in my life, I need to keep my focus there.  No matter what happens in life, good, bad, or just plain difficult, God is still God and deserving of our praise.  It is God who helps me, and as the creator of all we know, he is more than capable of providing the help we need.  I just need to remember that. 

For the month of March, I did a watercolor of the primroses.  I struggle painting flowers, which is frustrating, as they are what I want to paint more than anything.  I was fairly happy with this one.  The layout of my monthly journals has been working really well for me, so I didn't really make many changes.  

Lisa new brace 
One of the great things that happened this month is that I graduated from the heavy, uncomfortable cast to a brace that I can remove to do PT exercises and shower!  I'm still not supposed to pick up anything heavier than a coffee cup until mid April. Since the muscles are pretty cramped and weak from being in a cast for 2 months, that hasn't been too hard, though this past week, I've probably done a little more than I should.  So grateful to be healing, albeit slowly. 

Kitties with Mouse #4 
The kitties have had some adventures.  We suddenly developed a mouse problem.  Mushu has caught four mice this month.  One didn't survive the attack, but the other three have been released to the farm fields to the east of our neighborhood.  

Mouse #3 
They sure are cute little beasties!  But I don't want them in my pantry or stockpiling the dry cat food under the washing machine!  

Kitties new nest tree 
The kitties also got a new kitty tree with multiple nests.  Now they each have a place to sleep or to watch the birds from and don't have to fight over a lone nest.  

Paint a long #1 
Mid month, I participated in Plein Air Live for the third time.  It was a pleasant surprise because I had completely forgotten that I had signed up and paid for it at the end of the last one, until I received an e-mail giving me instructions for how to log in to it!  This was from the first paint-a-long.  I worked in watercolor because I still can't paint in oils as I use both hands quite a lot.  With watercolor, I've figured out how to do it one handed.  

Paint a long #2 
This is my work from the second paint-a-long.  These are both about 5"x7" on 6"x8" paper.  Watch for information on an upcoming art sale I hope to hold soon to raise money to pay my medical bills from breaking my arm.  

Garden & Shed Before 
The biggest accomplishment of the month has to do with the garden shed!  I've been wanting to move it ever since I moved in.  This photo was taken last fall when I was working on my new garden bed. 

Office window before 
The reason I wanted to move the shed is this.  It completely blocked the view from my office window, and the only west facing window in my home.  Not very nice to look at.  

Shed interior before 
The inside of the shed has been a dark hole.  Last summer, I got half of the inside painted white, but it had so much stuff in it, that I never got around to cleaning it a out a second time so I could paint the other half.  Since I don't have a garage, it is the repository for anything that doesn't fit in my little house.  What a mess!  

edging removed and folded 
To prepare for moving the shed, I pulled up all the metal garden edging - that wasn't doing much of anything except making it hard to mow. I was able to fold it in half and flatten it by stepping on it, to make it more manageable to take to recycle.

Edging stakes removed 
The edging was held down with 12" long staples.  It was challenge doing all of this one handed, but I managed!  Took me four hours to pull up three 8 foot long sections and all those staples.   

Shed just moved 
My wonderful neighbor moved the shed for me, almost single handedly in about 45 minutes.  Another neighbor chipped in for some last minute adjustments.  What a difference!  I love having it far enough back to see out of the office window!  Those logs are what he rolled it back with.  He used a floor car jack to lift it and slide the logs under.  I filmed the whole process and hope to get a YouTube video up soon.  

Shed interior after 
Since the shed was emptied out to facilitate the move (Huge thank you to Gary, David, Stephen, and Amanda for helping me move all the stuff I was not able to lift!), I took advantage and finished painting the interior (also one handed!).  So much brighter now. Before putting everything back in,  I took time to go through stuff and downsize and reorganize everything.  There is a pretty good pile of stuff to get rid of, plus some stuff that went into the garbage bin.  Now to keep from cluttering it up all over again!

Office window after 
The best part is now having this view from my office window!  Can't wait to get the next garden bed put in and to finish the arbor!  What a lovely view I'll have of my garden now!  The office is so much brighter now that it's not blocked by the shed!  

Mug Mat 
I've been working hard on the next round of YouTube videos.  Watch for a flurry of them coming over the next few weeks.  Here are a few of the upcoming topics:
  • Sewing Birds
  • Faux Paper Pieced Mug Mat (shown above)
  • Moving the Shed
And many more to come.  I've got so much material filmed that I need to edit.  I'm hampered by an older laptop that doesn't have the best capacity for editing, so it takes me a while.  I'm also switching editing programs and have had a bit of a learning curve with that, but the new program can do so much more that I'm excited to be able to use in my videos!  

Carol Sarchet

Perhaps the video I'm most excited about is a talk with Carol Sarchet!  She's a wonderfully creative textile artist who I find incredibly inspiring.  We had a lovely day filming and chatting about her work and process this past week, and I can't wait to share it!  

One last note!  I'm so thrilled that my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/c/IvoryBlushRoses, continues to grow with well over 3,000 subscribers and that I was able to get it monetized this past month!  This will help to support me a little and allow me to keep creating more videos.  

You can also support me by visiting one of my Amazon links in the tab above for my favorite CQ supplies and books before shopping on Amazon.  This allows me to receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, just for having pointed you towards Amazon.  This works even if you don't purchase any of the items I have linked above but purchase something else instead.   

Another way to support me is to buy me a cup of tea through the link at the top of the side column.  Watch for a Patreon site coming in the future which will allow you to support me and my work on a monthly basis!  I hope to have that up and running sometime in April.  

Thank you all so much for your ongoing support over the years - it truly means the world to me! 


January into February Happenings

Jan Post-3

What an interesting start to the year! The first thing I did was to complete the 2022 annual pages for my journal and the January page. I was so happy with my floral theme for 2021 but I wanted to do something a little bit different for 2022 so my annual page I chose Psalm 100 to focus on rather than a specific word.


Psalm 100 is all about praising God for who he is. This year, I want to focus on having a joyful attitude and a grateful heart. For the watercolor surround, I decided to do a year in trees and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I'm not sure why, but I seem to have trees on my mind lately!

Jan Post-2

For January, I had done a little sketch of the paperwhites that were blooming on my countertop and a pot of Ivy, and I decided to use this as the header illustration for my January page. For my verse for the month, I chose Psalm 28:7 which was a good transition between my focus in 2021 of “Trust” and showing my gratitude towards God in 2022. I used the same format that I used last year as I was really happy with it and it worked well all year.

Jan Post-6

Jan Post-1

Little Finn is growing! He's now almost 8 months old. He's just as lovable as he was when he came home with me. I love how he cuddles when I'm sitting at the computer and sometimes even when I'm stitching! He brings me his foil ball to toss for him all the time. Such a sweet boy!

Jan Post-5

If you read my recent blogpost, you know there was a tremendous wildfire here at the end of December. From the news footage we really thought that my childhood home had been lost to the flames. But incredibly, it turns out the house has survived when everything around it burned. We think that all those trees my dad planted helped to save it by blocking the embers from reaching the house. Amazing. I truly hope the family that lives there now is not suffering too much from survivor’s guilt, and that they had minimal smoke damage. You can see the house in the picture above still standing surrounded by trees while the houses that were nearby are just blackened foundations now.

Jan Post-7

One of my year goals was to take a trip to England to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum otherwise known as the V&A Museum to see the Beatrix Potter exhibit that is showcasing her “Life in Nature”. They are exhibiting exquisite treasures such as the embroidered waistcoat that she drew for “The Tailor of Gloucester”. Oh, how I have wanted to see that coat in person! But I realized that financially this trip is not a possibility for me, so instead, I ordered the exhibition book and it arrived just in time for my birthday! What a treat to travel virtually and to also have a permanent record of this beautiful exhibition.

Jan Post-9

A huge accomplishment was completing the first of our family photo books. While we were able to save many of our family photos from the house fire, we also lost a large number of them.   Many of them are smoke stained or water damaged. I found a large number of the negatives and have scanned all of them, done a lot of photo editing and have started putting them into books.  It's so nice to finally make these photos that we nearly lost, available to every member of the family.

Jan Post-11

The paperwhites have been blooming beautifully, but Mushu has been a bit mischievous and broke one of the stems off before it had a chance to bloom. I tucked it in a little Aqua bottle and enjoyed it next to my comfy chair. They bloom so quickly you can almost see it happening.


Jan Post-13

The kitchen windowsill has been especially pretty as the geraniums that I had outside this summer are blooming amazingly inside! In fact, they are blooming better than they did outside! Mushu enjoys them too.


Jan Post-14

I decided that I needed to focus on painting more often, so I started a new personal art challenge to encourage myself to do a small piece of art every day if possible. I've been doing tiny index card sized watercolors. For reference I am using landscape photos on my iPad. I went back to the oldest photos on there and I'm working my way chronologically through them trying to create a painting out of even the questionable photos. So far, I'm having a lot of fun though I have not been able to paint as often as I would like as you'll see shortly.

Jan Post-31

For my birthday I went to the Denver Art Museum to see the “Whistler to Cassatt” exhibit American impressionists in Paris. 

Jan Post-15

 It was a great way to spend my birthday! 

Jan Post-16

This portrait of Alexander Hamilton by Cecilia Beaux intrigued me because the figure is just a little bit out of focus, but the paint palette is in full focus and when you're standing in front of it, it almost pops out of the painting towards you.

Jan Post-17

Another favorite was this grassy creek, "Wild Asters" by Dennis Miller Bunker, an artist that I was unfamiliar with.

Jan Post-20

I was thrilled that they had three paintings by one of my favorite American impressionists, Frank W Benson. 

Jan Post-18

He painted his family near the seashore wearing white or pale pink dresses in the majority of his paintings.

Jan Post-19

I think he paints light on white better than just about anyone else second only to John singer Sargent.

Jan Post-22

I've long wanted to see them in person, so this was a real treat.

Jan Post-24

The day after my birthday Colorado had a rare freezing drizzle/ ice storm. The ice lingered for two days. On the second day I slipped on the ice while taking the trash out and broke my left arm. Thankfully my son Stephen works nearby, and he was able to take me to the ER where I was put in an enormous bulky cast. Oh my! I have a new deeply felt gratitude for having two hands. Having to do everything with one hand has been a real challenge. Thankfully my kids and friends have been enormously supportive and have helped me manage, despite the fact that I live by myself.

Jan Post-26

Little Finn has been especially attentive and cuddly which has been so nice especially on the more difficult days.

Jan Post-25

I got to meet one of my new grand dogs! (I have three new ones!) Hopefully I'll get to meet the other two soon. Haley came to visit then got to meet Mushu! I think if they lived in the same home, they would become best buddies.


Jan Post-28

Despite my broken arm, I have been able to paint occasionally. It definitely takes me longer! I did this cute little Bunny sitting in the garden at the end of January. I'm so happy with it!

Jan Post-29

I was trying to come up with a watercolor sketch for my February journal set up and decided to use the Bunny sketch. I love the way it turned out and as my sister said, this way, I'll get to enjoy it a lot for the month of February! A plus side of having a broken arm, is that my task list for February is smaller than it would be otherwise!

Jan Post-32

We had a little excitement the other evening right before bedtime. The cats were intent upon the pantry. So I opened the door and started to clear out the bottom to see what they were after. Mushu pounced upon the mouse the moment it dared to show its whiskers! Good job Mushu! Having one eye hasn't slowed him down one bit!  I will say that he wasn't at all happy that I took his bedtime snack away from him though.

I'm in a smaller cast now thankfully, and it is making it easier to get dressed and do a few things though I still am unable to use that arm or hand. I still get pretty tired, but as my son pointed out my body is working pretty hard to heal right now but every day is getting better, and I am so grateful for that. 

One last bit of news! I'm so happy to report that my YouTube channel continues to grow (over 3,000 subscribers!), and is now monetized, so it will hopefully provide a bit of supplemental income! Thank you so much to all of you who have watched, subscribed, commented, and liked the videos! It truly means the world to me!