Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tree Humming Green

Tree Humming Green by megan_n_smith_99
Tree Humming Green, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Sorry for the lack of blog entries! I went to visit my parents for a few days, then I was not feeling well for a few days, then I was busy trying to organize my condo! It's a lot closer to organized, anyway.

I am trying to finish up some projects I've been in the middle of for a while. I am nearly done with 2 knitting projects. I have a sewn skirt in progress and 2 more cut out. And some other little things too..

But I have also been painting after a little break from it and it good to come back to it. I finished this painting last night:

Tree Humming Green
8 x 10 inches
watercolor on paper
available on Etsy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

iced tea

nature spirit 1

speaking of tea, which i often do, i have made the best iced tea ever at home! well, i was trying to make a home version of a popular coffee chain's black iced tea.

the tea: Tazo's Black Iced Tea. This is not the same as Tazo Awake Tea. Tazo Black Iced tea is brewed hot but intended to be served cold. It comes in large tea bags. Each is intended to make a gallon of tea. You can order it here. I have not seen it in stores.

the water: filtered

the pitcher: Bodum Celyon Iced Tea Jug with Filter. This container is very sturdy, can stand up to hot water, and has a handy integrated tea filter.

the method: open tazo tea bag and empty half of the contents into the filter. (The large bags make a whole gallon and this container is closer to half a gallon which is why i only used half a tea bag. Save the rest for later.)

Fill the container about half way with hot water. Let tea steep for 5 minutes. Don't oversteep, it will get bitter. If you want stronger tea it is best to use more tea leaves, not to extend the steep time.

Remove tea filter. Fill the rest of the picture with ice and cold water and drink when chilled.

If you want it sweetened make some simple syrup. Sugar won't dissolve in cold tea but simple syrup will.

Simple Syrup:
bring equal parts sugar and filtered water to boil in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly. Allow to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and Chill. You can store this in the fridge and sweeten your tea as needed.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer!

061407art1 by megan_n_smith_99
061407art1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Summer at last and the sun is shining in Seattle! I am heading to stay with my mother and stepfather for a couple days and play with fabric and yarn and things. Well, my mom and I will play. My stepfather will probably read a book and drink a glass of wine.

This is:
Heron Marsh
4.5 x 3 inches
watercolor and ink

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yeti Doll

dollbook2 by megan_n_smith_99
dollbook2, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have been kind of tired the last couple days, hence the lack of a blog entry! And I have not done much art.. well, I knitted a little today.

I thought I would show you this, though. This is the very first doll I ever made. I wish I could remember when, but it must have been the mid to late 90s. He's a yeti, and he's 8 inches tall. I did not really know exactly what I was doing, I just forged ahead. Since I had already made beaded evening purses I approached it that way, beading the front and the back flat and then assembling them and stuffing him. He's actually 4 pieces: front, back, and 2 small dime-size pieces at the bottom of his feet. He's the one that started me off on my art doll journey. I have not made any dolls in a few years but I am starting to feel the urge coming on again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beaded Dolls

Beaded Dolls by megan_n_smith_99
Beaded Dolls, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Yesterday I said I would show you two of my most colorful beaded dolls. When I started doing beadwork I did a lot of monochromatic pieces - a lot of black and white, and some other colors. When I did mix colors it was just colors that were next to each other on the color wheel (blue and green mostly.) But during my years of working for Dale Chihuly I was certainly around a lot of color! He often uses contrasting colors together. Not always colors directly opposite on the color wheel, but close, like orange and purple and orange and green. Well, really there is not a single color he is afraid to use. And that sort of thing does influence you, being around it all the time. These 2 pieces sort of came partially out of that and partially out of a low period in my life. I was really physically ill when I made these, with some chronic health issues, and I was also very depressed. I was visiting my friend Janusz, who has always been a good person to be around when I am not feeling well. He lifts me up . Anyway I created these dolls on that visit, beading while he was at work. (Also he introduced me to Southpark on that visit, but that's another story!)

Beaded Dolls

Be Who You Are
& Live Your Dreams

6" tall.

Sketch Journal and Earthsea

Sketch Journal by megan_n_smith_99
Sketch Journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

well! i could tell you about all the exciting things i have done lately but oops, i just did. that was it. but wait, i did actually watch a good movie yesterday. Miyazaki's Tales from Earthsea. It's a beautiful film. No one does backgrounds like Miyazaki. I was also impressed that they captured a feeling of different types of light in animation. However if you are a fan of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series it is probably to think of this film as a relative to them - perhaps a distant cousin. There is some resemblance but not that much. The movie is more enjoyable as a stand-alone work than part of the Earthsea series.

This is a page scanned from my art journal. I appear not to have dated it - it's from sometime last week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In My Dreams I Wander

new painting by megan_n_smith_99
new painting, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Sorry for the lack of, and lack of quality, of blog posts. I was pretty depressed last week and this week I am not feeling well -- 2 completely related facts, I am sure. Some of my chronic health problems are affected by my mood - no big surprise there...

But sometimes when I have been depressed some of my more colorful art has come out of that, so perhaps I am trying to pull myself out of it that way. In particular two of my most colorful beaded dolls, which marked a transition in my beadwork, came out of a low time period. Maybe I will share photos of those dolls tomorrow. In the meantime this is my most recent watercolor.

In My Dreams I Wander
10.5 x 13.5 inches
on Etsy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

pink skirt up next

next skirt by megan_n_smith_99
next skirt, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

i went for a walk today, only 2 miles today because my back started to bother me. i went down to the Ballard Locks. In addition to the locks there is a park and botanical garden and the fish ladder. If you cross over the locks there is another park on the other side. It's beautiful and interesting and if you ever visit Seattle you should make the trip out there! I always think of my grandmother when I am there. She lived in Ballard for many many years. She even went to the opening of the locks, in 1917. She was a young girl then. Her father took her through the tunnel under the locks -- it's only accessible when the locks are shut down for maintenance -- the rest of the time it is flooded. She cried "Papa, don't let them turn the water on!". I think it was a bit traumatic but she got over it and she took my sister and I there often when we were visiting her while we were growing up.

Of course to make it an even better walk, the Quilting Loft is on my way to the locks. I had about half of the fabric I needed to make a pink skirt so I picked up a bit more. These are the fabric I will be using, some from the Quilting Loft and the rest from my stash. Everyone there is friendly and helpful and the clerk told me that this type of batik - from block prints - is boiled to remove the wax, so it's essentially pre-shrunk. That's good to know, I don't have to wash and iron it before I sew.

Via Flickr:
Batiks from stash and from The Quilting Loft in Ballard

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Autumn Sky

Autumn Sky by megan_n_smith_99
Autumn Sky, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have not had too much to say this week, I have been kind of down and not feeling well. But at least I have painted some. I've been trying to loosen up a little with some of my watercolors. I guess I mean not cover every inch of the paper with insane detail and let the watercolor do what it wants to do sometimes without trying to control the results too much. Hence the sky in this little painting.

Autumn Sky
5 x 7 inches
watercolor on paper
available on etsy.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bark and Bracket

Bark and Bracket by megan_n_smith_99
Bark and Bracket, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Title: Bark and Bracket
Dimensions: 8 x 10 inches, to fit standard 8 x 10 inch mat or frame.
Media: watercolor on Arches watercolor paper
Year: 2011

This watercolor painting was inspired by tree bark and Bracket Fungus (also called Dryad's saddle). For me it calls up cool green shadows, fallen logs, the smell of earth and moss, and the silence of a Pacific Northwest Forest.

It is available on Etsy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

new skirt

new skirt by megan_n_smith_99
new skirt, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

i made another new skirt, from the same pattern as before:
Cute Skirt, by Favorite Things. Again I cut each of the 8 gores from a different Batik. I really like blue and brown together. I think my next skirt may be from SewSerendity. I have the book and really like it though I have not made anything from it yet. I also really like their new Kimono Dress pattern and it sounds like it is easy. I am working on a little applique too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Owl and Pussycat Necklace

I made this necklace for my favorite 11 year old's birthday. Well, she was my favorite 10 year old but she's graduated. I called it the Owl and the Pussycat necklace. I actually did not know that she had memorized that poem for school last year, I just knew she likes kitties and pink! The kitty charm reminds me a little of her cat, though he's got more grey. (Skippy is a siamese / grey tabby mix.) I love owls and this pink one is so cute. This necklace was a lot of fun to make. I included some vintage flower beads and swarovski crystal beads.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Skirt by megan_n_smith_99
Skirt, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have been learning more sewing. This skirt pattern is called "The Cute Skirt" from the company "Favorite Things". It has 8 gores and I cut each from a different batik. I also managed to make it all from Fabric in my stash! I am working on another one now. This pattern has elastic in the back only. I'm going to learn to make a shirt with a zipper soon!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Sunbursts by megan_n_smith_99
Sunbursts, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

5 x 7 inches
watercolor on paper

You probably already know this, but I use Daniel Smith watercolors, and my favorite paper at the moment is Arches Aquarelle Watercolor Paper, 300lb. It's cold press. I've been buying it in blocks, 12 in x 16 in, 10 Sheets in a Block. I also like Arches Aquarelle Watercolor Paper, 140lb, Cold Press. The 300lb weight really seems to soak up pigment like velvet and since I don't stretch my paper it works well for me.

A lot of people ask me how I get so much detail. Well, I use small round brushes - lately size 1 and 3. I work in good light as much as I can -- Seattle is not known for the quality of light come through its windows! And I do not use very much water.

This little painting is on Etsy.

Scenes from a walk in Ballard

Today I took a long walk around Ballard. I was tired but my brain was whirling too fast and sometimes it's best to get out and see the world instead of the inside of your own mind. So I walked down Market and up to Sunset Hill, near where my mother grew up. I went Sunset Hill park, one of the best views in the area. After stopping for some water and to read a bit I went North to the massive stairway - 258 stairs - down to the beach. Last time I climbed up, today I went down. I rested a bit at the beach, people watching, and then came back to my house via the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks opened in 1917 - my grandmother was present for the occasion.

I took a few photos on the way, mostly details of botanical life as inspiration for my drawings and paintings. I only had my iphone camera with me so I got what detail I could. I am not sure what these plants here are but they were grown in a rockery and the little green-grey critters look like succulents.

Friday, June 3, 2011

autumn purse

autumn purse by megan_n_smith_99
autumn purse, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

In my previous post I mentioned my applique. This is a purse I made a few years ago. I used batiks and hand dyed wool felt. A few years ago I made a number of purses, dolls, journals, and pillows using this technique. I want to get back to it again, in particular I would like to make some more purses. I find hand work so meditative.

You can see more examples here on Flickr.

Zipper Pouch and a lecture on fabric

Zipper Pouch by megan_n_smith_99
Zipper Pouch, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

i made this in a class I took last night at The Quilting Loft in Seattle. It was taught by Pederson. She is a great teacher! I would recommend her - and her blog has some good tutorials and links and things - check it out!

The Quilting Loft opened in Ballard maybe a year ago? Maybe more, but it is relatively new. It's great to have in the neighborhood. I go to Jo-ann Fabric for notions but their fabric is not great. It doesn't have a very high thread count and won't hold up as long. If you are going to take the time to make something by hand I think it is important to use materials that will last a long time. People have asked me what my raw edge applique does not fall apart and the reason is I use good fabric - it really does ravel less!

Now that I know how to do zippers I will make some more, maybe do some of my applique and beading and things on them.

River of Dreams

Yesterday was a pretty good day, other than the part about getting completely drenched returning a library book. Apparently I forgot it was June in Seattle and that although it was sunny when I woke up an umbrella would be required later.

After I recovered my wits with a nap, my friend Janusz came over for a bit. Then I went to a sewing workshop at the Quilting Loft in Ballard, which I will talk more about in my next post!

This is my latest painting:
River of Dreams
8 x 10 inches
watercolor on paper

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meet me at the Center of the Earth

Well, it's been a while since I went more than a few miles from my house. Today I ventured forth.

I went to the Seattle Art Museum to see the exhibition that is closing this week -- Nick Cave's Meet me at the Center of the Earth. Now, you may be confused because I am NOT talking about the musician Nick Cave. There is also an amazing visual artist named Nick Cave. I've been a fan for years but had never seen any of this work in person until now. It's amazing! It's hard to describe. He uses textiles, mostly repurposed textiles, to create the full body costumes, which are works of art on their own. But also they are interactive - they make sound when they move. And they are made of everything from vintage crocheted afghans, to pieces from vintage beaded gowns, repurposed sweaters, buttons, almost anything you can imagine.

I loved it! It was so fun! And there was a little girl there with her mother and she loved it too. It is such happy and fun art that I think anyone could find something to enjoy in it.

Here is a Flickr set which some more Nick Cave images. Also if you do a google image search for "Nick Cave Artist" you will find lots of amazing things!

After that I had lunch at the taste of SAM restaurant which a gift card I had and then went and fussed about with my IRAs. I wonder why the downtown branch of Fidelity is in the retail core? Between a sports bar and the Levi store. Well, it was easy to get to but still seemed a bit odd! Then on the way home there was a crazy lady with a pet rat and I really wanted to steal the rat because she was very much smoking something and I thought the rat deserved a loving drug-free home! What is it with people and their pets? I saw someone walking their cat on the beach a couple weeks ago. The reason you have to keep your cat on a leash at the beach is because it is terrified of all the people, dogs, screaming seagulls, etc etc and wants to run and hide. It wold be easier on the cat if you left it at home to hide.

And then, to round out my adventures of the day I let a man who spoke almost no english wax my brows. And they actually turned out ok.