Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.


For this year's Christmas card, I hand painted japanese paper with watercolor paint. For the tree I used a variety of greens, blues and purple. While wet, I splattered in some yellows and verzino violet. When dry, I splattered on some gold gauche. For the trunk I used various shades of brown.

After the very thin and fragile japanese paper was completely dry. I trimmed the paper into strips. My husband cut the strips of green into triangles while I sliced the trunks into squares. I adhered each trunk and tree onto watercolor note cards and allowed them all to dry overnight.

The next day, I signed the cards and hand wrote little notes inside each and every card. I hand addressed all the envelopes as well. I simply love a handwritten Christmas card and envelope. It's a little gift in itself.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Acrylic on Canvas

I am contemplating painting more of this type of seascape.
I love it!

Acrylic on Canvas
24" x 36"

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beading Joy

I was finally able to break out the torch again yesterday and created a bunch of amazing beads. Today, I photographed a bunch of those beads and the photos came out fantastic if I do say so myself.

I absolutely love this trio of beads ... almost kept them for myself.

These torch fired metal beads coated in glass enamel are so unbelievably lightweight. Perfect for creating a statement necklace! Or use one as the focal point of a necklace and create a matching pair of earrings.

I turned a set of these same beads, same colors into a pair of earrings and I love them! They really are lightweight. I wear them a lot.

You can find these Mission Lavender Pinks in my Squier Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Etsy Front Page

It's so exciting to find out one of my paintings was featured on the front page of A wonderful Etsy jewelry designer, Kelsey, alerted me of this delight.

Thank you Kelsey!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Handmade Cigar Box Guitar

It's one of my favorites!

My husband, Michael does an awesome job building these cigar box guitars. He hand carves the neck from a fallen black walnut tree that used to stand in his parents' backyard. He carves the neck with vintage tools. The necks are fretless and the markers are burned in. This helps to create an usual and unique playing experience.

The cigar box guitars have three strings. It can be played acoustically or plugged into an amp.

This would make an awesome gift to yourself or someone special!

You can hear a sound clip of one of his cigar box guitars:
You will even find a music video at the bottom of this page where one of his CBGs is played!

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Place Baby Puppy Class

Yesterday, we took our little 4 1/2 month old puppy to his first German Shepherd Dog Show. To our surprise our little Boo won the First Place Trophy in the 3 to 6 Month Old Baby Puppy Class.

Will this be his one and only dog show?
We haven't decided that yet.

I wish he could stay this size!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Few Favorites

A few of my favorite beads that I have saved for myself to create something special just for me. I need to find the time and the inspiration to turn them into something fun and unique.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Woven Bead Board

This was a fun way to display some of the torch fired enamel beads I have to offer in the large holed woven pattern. Almost houndstooth like. My customers can choose the exact bead by number.

A piece of foam core with a 1/4 inch hole punched in a grid to keep the beads from rolling away. I added the numbers in photoshop.

Let's hope Daisy kitty doesn't find it fun!

Fancy any beads?

Baking Soda Shaker

One of many uses of baking soda is to sprinkle it on your carpets to freshen them up. Helps to deodorize them. After a rather humid summer and a new puppy, I figure it's a good time to freshen up all the carpets before we close up the windows for the season.

I took a clean mason jar, filled it with baking soda, screwed on the lid. Found a little hammer and a large nail. I tapped a few holes in the top, making sure to stay away from the outer edge, don't want to hit the glass. Voila! A baking soda shaker!

I spent my Sunday afternoon sprinkling baking soda on all the carpets and cloth covered furniture. You can wait a few hours or even a day or two and then vacuum it all up.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Favorite Bead of the Day

Red Tiger Loopy Bead

I've been editing photographs I have taken of my torch fired glass enamel covered metal beads. The stunning close up detail of this one bead fascinated me. This bead is approximately 18mm round and super lightweight.

A set of five red tiger loopy beads will be available soon in my Squier Etsy shop.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

MaimeriBlu's Sap Green is back!

Cheap Joe's Fall Sales Event flyer has Sap Green listed in the catalog. So exciting!

I love MaimeriBlu's Sap Green. It's my favorite shade of green. I have yet to order a new tube. Pictured here is my very last tube of sap green next to my second choice of sap green made by M. Graham. I have tried many other brands and many other shades of green and these two are the best.

MaimeriBlu stopped producing the color for awhile. I found it listed for sale once again. Let's hope it is as good as ever and here to stay!

MaimeriBlu Sap Green is my best recommendation for green. The hue, the transparency ... love it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Recently Read

Summer at Tiffany
by Marjorie Hart

I found this book at one of the book sales I went to earlier this year. I just recently read it this past weekend. It is a delightful book. A memoir about two college girls who get jobs at Tiffany for the summer of 1945. Love it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Ironing Your Watercolors

A repeat from June 2009 - An excellent reminder!

Ever paint a very wet watercolor painting on 140 lb. paper only to end up with a warped wobbly painting? There is a very simple cure to this problem. Iron the painting! This works well with paintings done on quality 100% cotton rag watercolor paper. That is 100% cotton rag ... cotton ... yes, you can iron cotton. Just iron on the back.

1. Starting with a wavy watercolor painting, place it on the ironing board, or multi-folded smooth cotton material on top of art table. Preheat your iron, NO steam.
2. Flip the painting upside down and iron.
3. Allow painting to cool and you will have a flat painting ready to frame!

Give it a try! 
If you're nervous about it, test it on a practice painting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dew Drops Meet Fine Art Prints

The new series of Dew Drop watercolors as 8x10 inch prints are available in my Squier Etsy Shop.

Shown here are:


The 8x10 Dew Drops are only available as affordable fine art giclee prints. They are printed on luxurious somerset velvet paper and have a 1 inch border for ease of matting and framing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Labor Day Weekend is Almost Here

Are you venturing off for a mini weekend vacation?

Pack up your travel palette, a few brushes and some paper and add it to your luggage.

If you're staying home, take a little time and head to the beach, the park, a scenic spot and bring along your travel palette, a few brushes and some paper.

Take a little time to enjoy watercolor painting.

Put your travel palette to good use over the weekend!
Have fun painting!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spicy Hot Color

Spicy Hot Paisley Beads

I love torch firing metal beads.
Adding coats of glass enamel.
Playing with colors, blending, mixing, torching.

These paisley beads are surprisingly ultra lightweight and rather big at 20mm.

I love them!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On a Mission

Mission Khaki is the last pair of beads I torched.

Yesterday and today, we have been on a mission to secure all things outdoors and prepare for the impending hurricane Irene. At least she's visiting here on a Sunday.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This phrase has been repeated over and over the past few days.

All things movable outdoors have been taken care of and today we're making sure the generator runs. We've got sand bags, actually mulch bags incase we need to sand bag our driveway due to flooding. Hey, it's useable afterwards. What would we do with all that sand?

This morning, I'm baking cookies and cooking up some chicken. If the power goes out for a few days, let's hope not, we've got plenty of cold things to eat.

Enjoy your day and stay safe if you're in Irene's path!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Clean Your Palette!

It is best to clean your palette when you're done painting for the day.
If you've finished your painting, there is no reason to save the slop on your palette.

It is best to start with a clean fresh palette every time you sit down to create a new painting.

Taking the time to clean your palette at the start of a new painting, may spoil your enthusiasm to paint. You may end up loosing your muse if you have to clean up the leftover slop.

When you're done painting, clean your palette!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Luxury Shopping

A cigar box guitar from our Squier Etsy Shop was featured in Saturday's Etsy Finds in the Luxury Shopping Section.

Check out the guitar:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Side Load Your Flat Brush

Here I have used a flat one stroke brush. First I wet the brush with clean water. Then I load one side of the brush with indian yellow, then carefully dip the opposite side of the brush into a small pool of crimson lake.

With one quick circular swash of the brush, I have created a multicolor flower petal. The yellow and red blend together on the paper.

This is an excellent technique for quick, fresh multicolored flower petals. Works great for leaves too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Fab Feature

My husband got a feature yesterday in the newsletter, today a set of my torch fired enamel beads made it to the front page of Etsy.

I just happened to be checking my emails, when I received a note from Bacon Square Farm saying I looked fab on the FP. When you get a chance check out their awesome bird houses!

So of course I quickly opened up and grabbed a screen shot to share with you all right here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Music Lover's Gear Guide

An Etsy Finds Feature

My husband's Cigar Box Guitar No. 31 is featured in today's Etsy Finds - Summer of Love in the Music Lover's Gear Guide section:

Check out the cigar box guitar right here:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Flat Brush Shapes

A flat watercolor brush isn't just for making square swashes of color. Learn to really use your brush.

• You can make the standard rectangular swash with a quick simple stroke using the wide flat part of the brush.
• You can also make a thin vertical or horizontal line with the tip of the brush and not too much pressure. Excellent for line work.
• Use the corner of the brush and vary the pressure as you swash your brush in an irregular pattern. Start with the corner of the brush and light pressure, applying more pressure and more of the bristles to the paper and then lighten up again. Good for creating leaves.
• Use the corner of the brush, by holding the brush at an angle.
• Vary the pressure as you're creating a swash to make the swash.
• With sticky paint, not so much water, spread the bristles apart, stroke the brush upward to make clumps of grass.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Having Fun

My blog has been a bit quiet lately.

Been spending time enjoying the summer.
I love the weather in July.

I have lots of new ideas for various artistic projects and will be filling you on some of them soon enough.

Have fun and enjoy the summertime!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Creating Long Smooth Fine Lines

Work your brush back into shape to create a fine line with watercolor paint using a round brush. Mix a puddle of paint in a smooth milky consistency, fully load your brush with the paint mixture. Work the paint into the bristles, you want a fully loaded brush. Then roll the round brush through the puddle of paint and pull backwards across the palette to form the bristles back into a round point. This will help you create a more consistent fine line to do fine line work in watercolor.

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Creating Long Smooth Fine Lines

Work your brush back into shape to create a fine line with watercolor paint using a round brush. Mix a puddle of paint in a smooth milky consistency, fully load your brush with the paint mixture. Work the paint into the bristles, you want a fully loaded brush. Then roll the round brush through the puddle of paint and pull backwards across the palette to form the bristles back into a round point. This will help you create a more consistent fine line to do fine line work in watercolor.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Tips & Techniques for Watercolor Painting

A Repeat Tuesday's Tip from 2009

Clean your brushes!

It's a good idea to clean your brushes ... oh at least once or twice a year. :)

Check out this old post:

I'm on a brush roll aren't I? :)
Use them and take care of them!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Etsy Front Page

My Bakers Dozen Torch Fired Enamel Beads made it to the Etsy Front Page on Sunday, July 24th at around 1 pm eastern time!

The Bakers Dozen set did not sell, but a few other sets of beads have sold, which does make me happy.

Check out more of my beads for sale in the Boho Chic Beads section of my Squier Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

The Fan Brush

Along the same lines as last week's post. The fan brush is yet another brush I purchased and rarely use. I haven't used it in years.

A fan brush is great for creating clumps of grass in one swoop.

For me, I find it easy enough to fan apart the bristles of a round brush or even a flat brush wet with sticky watercolor paints to create a similar effect, the clumps of grass blades.

Let's turn the table ...

How do you use a fan brush in watercolor painting?

Monday, July 18, 2011

8x10 Print

Purple Passion Drops

Print Size: 8x10 inches
Paper Size: 10x12 inches

A fine art giclee print of my original watercolor paintings from my popular Dew Drop Series.

My new prints are professionally printed on somerset velvet paper with epson ultrachrome archival inks.

It is hard to tell it from the original!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Second Chance to the New Brush

My favorite brushes are all made by Winsor &Newton.

My two most favorite flat brushes are the 3/4 inch One Stroke and the 1 1/2 inch Wash Brush with the short house painter style handle.

I do plan on giving the 1 1/2 inch Series 680 red handled brush another go this summer. I have recommended it to my students as a lesser expensive alternative to the slightly pricier wash brush. As you may be able to tell by the photo, I haven't used the red brush all too much. The bristles are still practically white.

I do have my favorite standby brushes, but now is the time to set aside the old favorites and perhaps give the newer ones a chance.

I bet you are like me, you have a few brushes you've purchased but do not use all too much. You keep reaching for the old faithfuls. You bought new brushes, maybe you have never used them. Perhaps there's a special technique or flick of the wrist the new brush may perform better or differently than the old brush. You won't know if you don't give it a go.

Let's pull them out and get those new brushes wet and sticky with paint!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Long Awaited Product

You've chanted, "We want prints!" over and over.

The long awaited product is here! Now available in my Squier Etsy Shop is a special set of prints from my Dew Drop Series.

This time around, I'm keeping all the originals for myself and making the prints available to you for purchase.

Currently there are five different images available.

Print Size: 8x10 inches
Paper Size: 10x12 inches

Mix and match to your heart's delight!
They will look awesome matted and framed and grouped together.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

The Pitt Pen

For my pen and ink watercolors, I always use a Faber Castell's Pitt Artist Pen. It is an india ink pen which is also waterproof.

Waterproof is important when drawing with ink and then painting in watercolor over the top. If your ink is not waterproof when dry it will bleed and look messy.

The Pitt Pens can be purchased as a set or purchased individually. They also come in different sized pen nibs:
S - Super Fine
F - Fine
M - Medium
B - Brush Tip

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Etsy Front Page at Midnight

Foggy Blue Too

My torch fired beads were featured on the Etsy front page at midnight on July 3rd in this awesome treasury.

The beads sold on Friday, July 8th.

Double yay!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thai Watermelon Carving

Watermelon Rose Baskets

Every summer picnic or party should have a nicely carved watermelon fruit basket.

This is the start of one I carved for my nieces graduation party last weekend. I ended up carving two that were pretty much the same. I forgot to take pictures of both and pictures of the finished basket. The fruit salad was delicious!

Time to head to the grocery store and carve one for the Fourth of July.

Yes, I carved it myself!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Holiday

Have a fun and colorful Fourth of July Weekend!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

10 Steps to Mask and Pour
Mask out your main subject of your painting and pour on the background.

1. Apply masking fluid to the main subject of your painting. In this project, I masked all the flowers.
2. Choose your colors. It's best to start with 2 or 3 analogous colors, colors next to each other on the color wheel. Here I used green, blue and purple.
3. Using a small cup, mix a small amount of the paint with water to easy pouring consistency. Do this for each color.
4. Wet you entire page with clear water.
5. Pour on each color, one at a time. Tilt the board to blend.
6. Optional: Add kosher salt just as the shine goes off the paper.
7. Allow to dry completely.
8. Wipe away salt, if used.
9. Remove masking fluid with a rubber cement pick up.
10. Paint your main subject.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Personalize Printing Source

Today's design project was revamping Squier Design's Click Print website. An awesome little site where you can go to order Labels, Mailing Labels, Rubber Stamps, Business Cards, Post-It Notes and more.

Design your own layout using the templates online or upload a completed design. Fun and easy to use!

Plus excellent prices!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Boho Chic Beads

Torch fired beads, each with unique color. I enamel each bead one at a time, by hand using a torch. Each metal bead is heated until glowing orange at about 1500 degrees, dipped into powdered glass enamel and heated again. This process is repeated several times using both opaque and transparent colors until the desired effect is achieved. The reaction of the metal beads and enamel in the torch, each bead is somewhat unique.

Can't you see yourself creating your own fabulous jewelry with these bohemian beads?

These beads and more can be found in my Squier Etsy Shop:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Peeling Tape

When peeling the tape off your watercolor painting, peel at an angle away from the painting.

By doing this, you lesson the chance of tearing off a layer of paper with part of the painting that goes with it.

Once you remove the tape from the edges it really brings the finished painting to life. No more tape, no more messy edges, no more messy board to which the painting is mounted. That little white paper edge virtually frames the piece for the first time.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yay! Etsy FP!

Happy Birthday Etsy!

Just found out my Squier Etsy Shop made the front page of with my husband's handmade Cigar Box Guitar No. 29 La Gloria Cubana in a fantastic Happy Birthday Etsy Treasury. It can be played as either an acoustic guitar or plugged into an amp and played as an electric guitar.

Pair it up with our portable battery operated cigar box amp and rock out by the camp fire!

Chocolate Roses

What I did today ...

I baked a half dozen chocolate rose cakes and 11 cupcakes.

Then I poured a dark cocoa glaze over the top and topped them all off with red sprinkles. Love the sprinkles!

I baked them for Father's Day, but I think we're gonna have to test one tonight. Make sure it's good. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

So you've tried landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, florals and abstracts, what's next?


Don't be afraid to give portrait painting a try in watercolor.

A few little tips and you'll be on your way.

Use transparent colors. You can create endless skin tones with a warm red, a cool red, a warm yellow and a cool yellow. Burnt sienna is an excellent choice for skin tones that are warmer and darker. Okay, burnt sienna is not a transparent color, it's sedimentary and kinda semi-transparent, but it's still perfect.

Use LOTS of water. Whether you're mixing up your colors with red and yellow or using straight burnt sienna, lots of water is key.

Layer up the colors to achieve shape, form, texture, depth.

Use hard and soft edges. You will need to define shapes and shadows with lost and found edges. To define the jaw and the ear, start by painting a hard edge under the jaw and behind the ear and then blend away the top edge so it fades upwards. This will also give shape to the head.

Start by keeping it simple and work from a photograph. Choose a photograph where the person's eyes are closed or looking down or maybe they're looking away. A profile. Eyes are tough. Choose your subject matter wisely. If you think you can't paint a portrait you can if you choose a simpler subject. A toddler, a baby, a bald headed person. Don't laugh. Eyes can be tough and so can hair. So don't let that stop you from trying to paint a portrait.

Study the photo. Look for shapes and textures. Simplify. Don't think of a nose as a nose, look for geometric shapes, organic shapes. A nostril can be a quarter of an oval with a hard edge at the top and a soft faded edge to the bottom.

Take your time. You can do it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prints or No Prints

I've been trying to decide do I make prints or just keep making originals. I'd love to turn some of my dew drops into prints. I've got a bunch of favorites from my Painting A Day Challenge that would make great miniature prints. ACEO sized.

But I've also been toying with the idea of starting a few new larger dew drop paintings.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know. Thank you!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

One Single Bead

One of the 101 beads.

Love it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

March of the Bead Groups

I have been busy this afternoon organizing, sorting and photographing my beads.

This week I have created 101 torch fired beads. I am doing a test to see how many beads I can create with one bottle of map gas. So far, 101 and the bottle is not empty yet.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Cool Effects with Waxed Paper
Enjoy creating abstracts? Want to try your hand at an abstract watercolor but don't know where to start? Grab a roll of waxed paper, tear off a few strips. Trim it into whatever shapes you feel like creating.

Start by creating a wet into wet watercolor background. While the paint is still wet, lay down pieces of waxed paper. Allow to dry. Peel off the waxed paper to reveal the cool texture left behind.

Use this as a base for your abstract painting. I added a few circles and a rectangle using lost and found edges. Experiment and have fun with it!

Use your imagination ... I'd love to see how your experiment turns out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More for My Dew Drop Series

Two Raindrops
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Miniature Art
ACEO - Art Card

I love the dew drop series!



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