Thursday, December 29, 2011

Muddy Waters Cowl

P1010043 by megan_n_smith_99
P1010043, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have not been blogging much but expect to resume my more-usual schedule after the holidays. Well, and I am still looking for a job.

This started as a scarf for my friend Janusz but I did not think I would have enough yarn so I decided to make it shorter and add a button. I am not sure cowl is the right word - maybe cravat?

The button is one I've been hoarding, it's some sort of agate. I like the irregular shape. The piece is sort of "bumpy" - I could have blocked it but chose not to because I was going for the whole organic look, which went with the greens and browns.

I'm almost done with my holiday knitting / crafting / arting. my family is celebrating on New Year's Eve so I got an extension as it were.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Knitting 1

Reading Mitts by megan_n_smith_99
Reading Mitts, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I often make a lot of my holiday gifts and this year in particular for economic reasons. I still have a couple of gifts I am working on but so far I've made: 4 pairs of fingerless gloves, 2 scarves, 6 felt ornaments, a pile of crocheted stars a doll sweater, a number of paintings, and 6 pairs of earrings.

The gloves shown here are Susie's Reading Mitts. The pattern is available on Ravelry. The yarn is Malabrigo Rios, colorway 872 Purpuras.

Since they are reading mitts I had to have a book for a prop! I am sure Dumbledore himself would approve of purple reading mitts.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Minute Idea - Peek-A-Boo House Ornament Tutorial

I came up with this idea a couple days ago. These are easy to make and I must say addictive - I am sure I will be making more!

You will need:
wool felt
novelty fabric with a small scale motif
flower bead and seed beads
embroidery floss in a contrasting color from your felt
needle, pins, and tape

Cut out the little house pattern which is available here. Cut out on the outer line and then carefully cut the window out using small sharp scissors. you may need to adjust the size of the window to fit your motif.

Position the cut out house over your novelty fabric and move it around until you get just the bit you want peeking through the window. then cut out a small square of your novelty fabric that is a bit bigger than your window all the way around.

Lay your felt on top of the cut out motif and position as you want it. Pin it and stitch all the way around the window using 2 strands of embroidery floss.

Sew a flower bead at near the top of your house.

Layer the 2 felt houses together and stitch all the way around the outside of the house to fasten the front and backs together. Work your ends in. Add an embroidery thread loop to the top and it's ready to hang!

Winner of December give-away!

Last week I posted this chance to win one of my original drawings. Elli was the winner! Elli, I need your current address. For the rest of you, tune in around the beginning of January for another chance to win a piece of original art.

For the curious, winners are randomly selected by the random number generator at

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Minute Idea: Nest Necklace

I came up with this idea and I thought I'd provide you with some instructions. These make cute necklaces, or you could make smaller nests for earrings, or perhaps larger nests for holiday ornaments.

You will need:
A few yards of sock weight yarn
Crochet hook, size E
Sewing or beading thread to match your sock yarn
Assorted beads and charms including bird, feather, leaf, and /or flower beads
A beading or needle small enough to fit through your beads
A split ring
A pretty ribbon

How to crochet the nest:

chain 5 stitches and join in a ring. Place stitch marker if desired to mark the start of your rows. On such a small item I sometimes forego the stitch marker and just keep track of where I am,
Round 1: 2 single crochet in each stitch in the ring.
Round 2: 2 single crochet in 1st stitch, 1 single crochet next stitch, repeat till end of round.
Round 3: 2 single crochet in 1st stitch, 1 single crochet in next 2 stitches, repeat till end of round
Round 4: single crochet the whole round.
You may continue for a few more repeats of round 4 if desired to make a deeper nest.

(For larger nests start with thicker yarn / bigger crochet hook and / or add more increase rounds like rows 2 or 3. In these rounds, space several increases evenly throughout the round. Crocheted nests, like nests in nature, can be formed organically, adding increases to widen the nest wherever they seem appropriate.)

Finish and work ends in.

Using your beading thread sew beads into the nest and hanging off the bottom of the nest as fringe. For the blue nest I sewed 3 small turquoise into the nest to look like eggs. I also hung fringe off the bottom of the nest and sewed a split ring to the top of the nest to function as a hanging loop.

For the green nest i sewed a ceramic owl bead into the nest, hung fringes off the bottom, and sewed a small split ring to the top of the nest to function as a hanging loop. I threaded a hand dyed silk ribbon through the split ring to make a simple necklace.

Finish by knotting your beading thread and working the ends in.
Happy Beading!
Megan Noel

Last Minute Idea: Felt Unicorn Ornament

I originally posted this a few years ago but here it is again.. You still have time to make a whole herd of unicorns before the holidays!

This pattern requires: wool felt, 2 black beads, 4 tiny buttons, novelty yarns, stuffing, flower bead or ribbon flower, and polymer clay.

cut out 2 bodies and 8 legs and 2 ears from felt. whipstitch together, stuff, and sew shut, inserting the horn as you sew shut the head, as shown in diagram. after you have sewed all the peices together sew the legs on with the buttons (ask me if you need more details but i think a lot of my readers probably know how to make button joined legs.) lastly embellish the unicorn by tacking on his mane, tail, and the flower. sew one the 2 black bead eyes and the ears and enjoy! i have also modified this pattern in the past to make horses and donkeys. you could further embellish with beads or sequins, add wings, etc. they can be enjoyed as is or you can add a loop to hang them up as ornaments.

finished product. click on thumbnails to see larger:

making and inserting the horn from polymer and the pattern

full size pattern.

feel free to make, pass on, share, etc. just credit me and please don't make to sell them w/o permission!
edit: an alternate way to make the horn out of wool felt is here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Knitting

Holiday Knitting by megan_n_smith_99
Holiday Knitting, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Well, I am getting ready for the holidays, and that means knitting, beading, sewing, and painting. Whew! Well, just a bit of each. Ok, a bit more than a bit of knitting. But my family is exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve I think and some of my friends I probably will not see till after the 25th, which gives me a bit more time!

Here we have a sneak peak.. Some malabrigo, I think Rios and DK, and some koigu, and Berroco Geode, and a peak of Manos silk/wool blend.

Last Minute Idea - Soft Trees

112906trees by megan_n_smith_99
112906trees, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This pattern was posted a few years ago by Stefanie Barnes of Littlebirds. I managed to track it down though again though I had to do some hunting. These are easy to make so whip up a few! I made mine from lovely quilting fabrics and used fiberfill as "snow"!

the Pattern.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last Minute Idea : Crocheted Star Ornaments

Tutorial here:

The smaller stars omit round 3. The star on right consists of rounds 1 and 2 + a round of single crochet w/ sparkly mohair (Trendsetter by Dune.)

Add a hanging loop and you've got a cute ornament. You can also use them to decorate packages.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last Minute Idea: Crocheted Acorn Ornaments

more acorns! by megan_n_smith_99
more acorns!, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I made these acorns using the tutorial at Resurrection Fern. You can make a whole bunch of these in just a short time and They would make quite fetching holiday ornaments!

The Embellished Home, Part 2 of 2

If you read this post you'll see I started to re-share an article the the 7th issue of the zine I used to publish, Mysterium. It's amazing how much I had forgotten about. Here are some decorating tips I'll share again.

Home Sweet Home: Embellish it! Part 2 of 2
By Megan Noel, 2004, 2011

* Someday I am going to break down and take an upholstery class. In the meantime at least some things are easy to redo: Some chairs have seats that just pop out for recovering (use a staple gun) and so do some footstools. If you can sew even a reasonably straight line you can make new tablecloths, place mats, and curtains. If you can't sew a straight line make the edges wavy on purpose or cover with fringe or trim

* Decorate with maps. If they are old or valuable, make sure to use color copies. You can line drawers or cupboards with them, hang them on the wall, etc. I've always wanted to make my own globe. I reckon the best way to do this would be to buy an inexpensive school globe, gesso it, and then paint my own stuff over top. Do not do this with an old globe without checking to see if it is valuable. Do use old valuable globe to enhance your decor, but don't alter them!

* Hang beads off random items of furniture. This is easy to do. Just drill tiny holes or attach tiny eye hooks. Then you can hang beads off shelves, chairs, tables, you name it. You can never have too many beads.

* I had this idea for a bubble wrap shower curtain. You can buy it in rolls. Simply piece together with clear packing tape and hang. (It is even better if you can get a tall enough piece so that no piecing is involved.) When stressed out, pop the bubbles. When the bubbles are used up, make a new one.

* Do paint scenes on the back of your bookshelves (or collage them) and paint or collage the insides of closest or cupboard doors. We all need a little more excitement in life. Use acrylic paint for this.

* Decorate with your collections, whatever they are. I have decorated with jewelry and evening purses, scarves, and even a beaded velvet jacket hanging on my wall. One of my cousins has her vintage rolling pin collection hanging on her kitchen wall.

* On those days when you have an urge to nest but no extra funds you can still go outside and collect leaves, flowers, twigs, shells, and whatever it is that you can find in your neck of the woods, and make a table arrangement. Be creative and use things in unusual ways!

* If you can find, beg, borrow or steal and old decrepit dresser you can do interesting things with the drawers. Remove the hardware, paint and embellish, add partitions and hang on the wall for curious. Or you can add little shelves going across and them and use to store small items like thread, containers of beads, and mounted rubber stamps. You can even add a glass top, fill with art of curious, and add legs to make an unusual coffee table or end table.

* Things can go together without matching. Pick a color scheme and collect tableware, linens, etc. in those colors. You don't have to spend a lot. You can buy from open stock or thrift stores. I like the little bowls and things you can get in Japanese stores. Next time you entertain mix and match! Or even make each place setting a different color. This would brighten up any winter day.

* As may be clear by now, I am crazy about crows. I like to get those little crow figures in flower shops -- the ones with the real feathers -- and perch them on nails on my wall. They look good over doors and windows. You can scatter tiny fake nests around too. I have some on my window sill. Also, blow out eggs or dye or paint them to look like natural birds' eggs. Some eggs are amazingly pretty and would be fun to copy. I always like to have some leaves, feathers, shells, beach glass, and maple whorls scattered around too, in little bowls on sills and ledges. They are handy for instant art fodder and look homey too.

The End! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Embellished Home part 1

i was just rereading some things in the 7th issue of my zine, Mysterium. It's amazing how much I had forgotten about. Here are some decorating tips I'll share again. I will break this up over 2 days.

Home Sweet Home: Embellish it!
By Megan Noel, 2004, 2011

*You can never have too many pillows. Load up your bed, sofa, and chairs with art pillows. Make floor pillows too. If you make shams for pillow forms you can switch them out. [Ed. note: Also if you have kids or pets think about making shams of washable materials. If you have allergies it's best to wash pillow shams in hot water to kill dust mites.]

*Embellish with beads! Hammer tiny nails into your walls, door frames, or window frames and hang beads from them, strands of different lengths. You can put little hooks at the top of the strands to attach them with and switch them around at will. Do this at the top of your shower curtain too. [Ed note: you can put split rings at the top of your strands of beads and slip them over a nail or push pin.]

* Embellish with bottles. I saw some really neat ones recently. The artist had collected variously sized and colored bottles, created simple collages on them (also try in them) and wrapped the necks with ribbons, wire, and beads. You can either keep things in the bottles or leave them empty. This would be especially pretty on a windowsill. [Ed. note: you can fill clear bottles with water and food coloring if desired.]

* Go a little crazy with fringe, if you like. You can purchase beaded or fiber fringe by the yard and add to curtains, lamps, chairs, sofas, pillows, etc., OR you can make your own fringe.

* Remember anything can be artsy so do dress up your mirrors, light switch covers, and picture frames. You can paint them, collage them, glue beads or trinkets to them, etc.

* I have always wanted to paint door jams-- little swirling designs or dots as in Aboriginal paintings. Now that I am finally buying a condo I will be able to do this. Also write or paint blessings around your door jam, either visible to the casual observer or not. [Ed note: I have lived in the condo for a number of years now and alas never painted the door jams but I did paint a mural in the bathroom! You can see it here.]

*Art in unexpected places is also good. The bottoms of drawers, cupboards, closets. Don't be afraid to play. If you don't own your own place you can do art on canvas or similar material that is cut to fit and then take it with you when you move.

* Get weird old furniture from thrift stores, garage sales, or the attic. Clean, sand, prime, and GO! Paint, glue, draw, and more. You may want to seal when you are done with polyurethane or non-yellowing shellac, depending on what you will do with your creations. ALWAYS read the directions on your products. Use outdoors or with good ventilation, wear gloves and keep kids and pets away. Wear dust masks for sanding and painting. If you plan to do a lot of work with other toxic materials consider getting a respirator. A dust mask only keeps out particulates, not fumes.

* One cool technique to use on furniture is to paint it with a base color, allow to dry, then apply wax to the edges of things (drawers, a table edge, etc.) either using furniture wax and a small brush or by rubbing a candle over the edge. Paint on another color and allow to dry. Now sand off the wax from step 2. The result will be another color peaking through at the edges, as though the furniture had lead an interesting and multi-layered life. Try using various color combinations, both obvious and not. [Ed. if you are not afraid of color use opposites on the color wheel. Chartreuse and scarlet, Teal and orange.]

*Take a little field trip to the hardware store. They have tons of cool toys: new knobs, new legs for existing furniture (or build your own new piece), and fancy moldings and trim you can add to things, and more. Just go explore and get ideas.

* Remember you can paint stuff other than wood. You can use appliance paint in your kitchen and laundry room, metal tubs, etc. There is a new paint made for plastic by Krylon. [Ok it's not new anymore. I have not experimented much with this. I expect results would be best for indoor use.)

* Start a decorating scrapbook. Collect ideas from magazines, catalogs, the internet, paint swatches, etc. Even if you don't have space or money or time now you can save ideas for the future. [Ed. Note: if you've never played with Pinterest do so! It's a great way to visually organize information found anywhere on the web.]

more next time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

nature spirit 2

nature spirit 2 by megan_n_smith_99
nature spirit 2, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have been under the weather for a few days, hence no blogging. i am feeling a little better today, but still tired. i am trying to slowly get caught up on some things even if that means taking lots of (ok almost constant?) breaks.

so due to that this month's give away is not a new piece of art, but it from 2010. I just looked at it again and I really like it and I hope you do too. Click on the image to see larger. Leave a comment if you want a chance to win. A winner will be randomly selected on Saturday December 17th! Cheers.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This is one of my favorite poems. It just popped into my head tonight:

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Seed Stitch Scarf

Seed Stitch Scarf by megan_n_smith_99
Seed Stitch Scarf, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I made this scarf this weekend. I have not decided what I will do with it yet... maybe it will be a present for someone.

The yarn:Becoming Art Adventurous Yarn Club 2010 "Potion". worsted merino,
200 yards.
needles: size 7
Stitch: Seed stitch
Finished Size: 40 x 5"

The yarn is mostly a sort of rust / olive with flecks of a lot of other colors, mostly warm colors.

I knit most of it this weekend visiting friends. My friend Karen and I had a nice afternoon of knitting and playing with the kids on Friday then I spent the night and yesterday we went out to pancakes and they had a gluten free menu! i got pancakes!

then we went out to a u-cut tree farm near the foothills. ingrid (age 4) and I had a lovely little nature walk. we admired the different trees. we looked to see how you could tell new growth from old growth. i explained how fir needles are specialized leaves. we examined the little nubbins that will turn into pine cones. we counted tree rings on some of the stumps to see how old the trees were. she found some snail shells and we took home the empty ones. she took home a pine cone. we found many different types of mushrooms, some teensy, and some self / bracket fungus which i love. we even saw some deer poop. Do deer eat Christmas trees?

Star Ornament Tutorial

A few years ago I posted a tutorial for making holiday star ornament. Check it out if you'd like to make your own stars!

Holiday Ideas Part 9

If you read this post, you know I used to publish a zine called Mysterium. For your reading pleasure I have been sharing 100 holiday ideas from an issue published in 2002. The world has changed since then, and I have changed as well, but some of these are still good ideas!

91) If you can manage a sleigh ride, or a horse-drawn buggy ride, that would be excellent.

92) Make eggnog, or mulled cider, from scratch.

93) Light a candle on Winter Solstice. Better yet, make candles and or decorate candles you have purchased.

94) Have a gift wrapping contest amongst your immediate family. Have silly prizes for the most beautiful, the most original, the most deceiving, etc.

95) Do something nice that no one else will ever know about. Clean out the microwave or fridge at work, shovel someone's walk, throw out litter you find lying about, etc.

96) Make puppets out of paper lunch sacks or old socks and have a puppet show.

97) Make your own advent calender. Save it to use again next year!

98) Start a holiday chain letter with family members, sharing favorite memories. Just don't threaten anyone with bad luck if they do not forward it!

99) Have a progressive dinner with friends. That way each person only has to prepare one dish. I suppose everyone needs to tidy up a bit.

100) Tell someone that you love them. Or a lot of people.

okay! that's 100!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Ideas part 8

If you read this post, you know I used to publish a zine called Mysterium. For your reading pleasure I have been sharing 100 holiday ideas from an issue published in 2002. The world has changed since then, and I have changed as well, but some of these are still good ideas!

81) Dig out the family recipe books and make at least 1 thing your grandmother always made at the holidays and you've always wanted to make. Or, if you hate to cook, resolve to buy all your holiday cookies this year, thereby single-handedly rescuing the baked goods industry from the recession.

82) On New Year's day write letters to your political representatives, letting them know what kind of city / county / state / nation / world you would like to live in during the next year.

83) If you must make New Year's resolutions, be kind to yourself.

84) If you do like to bake, make nontraditional cookies, like red and green turtles, Bumbles, dancing mice, etc.

85) Read Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on January 6th.

86) If you make holiday cookies consider making gingerbread men and women who look like family members or friends. And don't forget pets!

87) If possible, sit at the "kid's table" this year. I am sure you will have more fun.

88) If you have children, sprinkle glitter on their windowsills while they are asleep and tell them the frost fairies did it.

89) If you find yourself restless and have cabin fever, set up a tent in your living room and sleep in there. If you don't have a tent, make a fort out of blankets and cushions.

90) Make up stories about your child's favorite toy, or make up stories about toys you had as a child.

Stay tuned next time for the last 10 ideas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Ideas part 7

If you read this post, you know I used to publish a zine called Mysterium. For your reading pleasure I have been sharing 100 holiday ideas from an issue published in 2002. The world has changed since then, and I have changed as well, but some of these are still good ideas!

71) Use your computer to create your own mad libs and choose your own adventure stories. Print out, bind, and give to your playful friends and relatives for holiday gifts.

72) Make a loved on a "to-do" jar and fill it with fun suggestions-- write a story -- take a walk -- give someone a hug -- go to a movie, etc. This would also be good to do with kids over holiday break from school.

73) If traditional holidays stress you out, invent your own. Also you can find some lists of weird holidays on-line. When is Yeti day?

74) Try stringing popcorn this year. I mean, if you are bored or anything, not if you feel you need to be the next Martha Stewart. suggest a large needle and dental floss for string. Also don't salt the popcorn, especially if you have any hangnails...

75) Make your OWN list of 100 holiday ideas because I am having a hard time thinking of 100 ideas and they might start getting silly from here on out.

76) Leave a plate of cookies out for Santa, and a carrot for the raindeer, and some yak jerky for Bumble.

77) Bumble is so cute. Check eBay and/or CVS for plush Bumble and Bumble accessories. [Ed. note: not sure if CVS still sells but you should be able to find some on eBay.)

78) Try making a holiday wreath out of the weirdest things you can think of. Also try making an edible wreath out of the weirdest things you can think of.

79) Make snowmen out of marshmallows and watch them melt in your cocoa. Then drink it. Provide sound effects.

80) Especially if you live in Florida, make a huge batch of popcorn balls and have a faux snowball fight.

tune in next time for more ideas! 20 left to go!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

give away!

Just to let you know, I will be giving away another little painting in the next few days. Check back for your chance to win!
Happy Creating!

Holiday Ideas part 6

If you read this post, you know I used to publish a zine called Mysterium. For your reading pleasure I have been sharing 100 holiday ideas from an issue published in 2002. The world has changed since then, and I have changed as well, but some of these are still good ideas!

61) Don't give anyone pickle forks this year. Well, MAYBE if they specifically ask for them, but even then give it a second thought.
[Ed. note: I am not making pickle forks up. Check your grandmother's silver box and you will see what I mean.)

62) I have a really cool thing I made for myself and everyone wants one but so far I have not made any more. It's one of those microwave heating pad thingees. I call it my microwavable monster. I drew rough monster shape, cut out out of blue Berber fleece, stuffed it with brown rice (uncooked!!) and stitched it shut. Then I added button eyes. Make sure to use plastic buttons, not glass or metal which get too hot in the microwave. Great for cramps, Grr. [Ed note: I have since made a number of these and they are always well received. don't forget to add felt fangs.]

63) Not for the faint of heart, but a made-up game would be super cool as a gift. Either alter an existing game board with paint, etc., or start from scratch. Concentration would be an easy game to make using color copies of your art or family photos. Games can involve cards, boards, playing pieces, etc.

64) If you and your partner or roommate have been putting off something forever, perhaps cleaning out the oven (which has burnt-on dinosaur roast stuck to the bottom,) or the fridge (yuck!) surprise them by taking care of it.. Um, wear gloves, masks, those little tyvek suits... I wish they made self-cleaning fridges.

65) Make your own magnetic poetry using a printer, laminator, and sticky magnets from your local office supply store. Or you can hand print the words in vivid colors and laminate them magnetize! Be sure to include good words like "Bumble" and "Mysterium."

66) If you are a little short this year try taking your loose change to the bank. One of my friends just did this and it was over 100 dollars -- yikes!

67) can you say gift certificates? No mess, no fuss, no lines at the Post Office. Some suggestions: (an independent bookstore!) Daniel Smith, and your favorite Etsy shops.

68) Zines! Zines make good gifts and also, no lines. A gift that keeps on giving. [Ed. note: there are not as many zines out there as there once were but there still are some. Magazine subscriptions are good gifts too.

69) Another idea Martha probably stole from someplace, make your own snow globes. Take a small jar, such as a baby food jar, glue some cool stuff inside the lid, fill with water, glitter, and a drop of glycerine and screw the top on. seal it with silicon caulk. Shake and have fun! Don't use any materials that will immediately rust or fall apart under the influence of water.

70) Trace around cool cookie cutters on felt, cut out, and whip stitch shut for fast ornaments. Glue or sew on beads and sequins if desired.

more tomorrow! 70 down, 30 more to go.

Here, in Autumn

Here, in Autumn by megan_n_smith_99
Here, in Autumn, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Well, I really did not feel well yesterday and did not get much done. I was in a lot of pain and lying down was the least painful position. I watched some X-files and listened to part of an audio book.

today has been better. I met my mother and we had lunch together. We traded some handiwork.. I had knitted someone for her to gift and she had something woven for me to gift. Trading is a handy thing.

This new painting is:
Here, in Autumn
8 x 10 inches
watercolor and ink on paper
available on Etsy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

fingerless gloves

fingerless gloves by megan_n_smith_99
fingerless gloves, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

these are some of the knitting i did on the train and over the thanksgiving weekend... i am not very good at sitting and doing nothing. i am not even very good at sitting and doing just one thing. i am better at doing at least 2 things at once, though i think it would be better if i could do less. anyway i knit these while glancing up at passing scenery. when it got dark out i knit these while listening to the 2nd Hunger Games audio book (Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins).

I have no idea why i bought this yarn, but i bought 2 skeins! and it was perfect for the recipient. It's Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino, 1 skein. There were some leftovers too so I crocheted a scarf for my stuffed mouse because you know it's important to keep warm! Not sure what I will do with the 2nd skein. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jade Bird

Jade Bird by megan_n_smith_99
Jade Bird, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

The days are getting shorter and greyer and I guess I need some color in my days, because I am painting and knitting bright colors. You would not think it from my art, but I am sort of a mousy person and dress mostly and brown and grey. I manage to introduce colors in my art though. This painting is:

Jade Bird
8 x 10 inches
watercolor and ink on paper (Arches 300 lb coldpress)
available on Etsy.

holiday ideas continued (part 5)

If you read this post, you know I used to publish a zine called Mysterium. For your reading pleasure I have been sharing 100 holiday ideas from an issue published in 2002. The world has changed since then, and I have changed as well, but some of these are still good ideas!

51) I might be wacky but I like to spend New Year's Day thinking and writing and doing art, spending a quiet calm day. It is also a good day for a fresh start. One year I redid all my shelf paper - we're talking excitement! It is also a good time to start a project you intend to continue through the year - a journal, a quilt, etc.

52) People with pets will appreciate pet care products as gifts but first spy on them a little to see what brand they prefer, since kitties may turn their nose up at the "wrong" brand. This is nice for someone on a fixed income, you know they will use it.

53) Gel pens! They make good gifts for artsy friends I also like Pitt Artist's Pens and Micron Pigma Pens.

54) If you can manage it you can give artist friends something they can use in their art. I've given knitters hand-made buttons. (I've made them from polymer and have made beaded buttons.) Handmade faces (drawn, sculpted, carved etc) can be great for doll-makers, etc. Handmade or purchased art paper would be a great gift for any sort of visual artist. Get creative!

55) Make sure you watch the Rudolph special. Bumble is so cool - yah Bumble!

56) If you write, write stories specifically for your friends. This is a great projects for kids to do, with help if they are younger. Or write parodies of favorite fairy tales or classic stories. Harold and the Purple Crayon is an easy book to parody, for instance. Print and bind your books, or have it done at your local copy store.

57) Firewood can be a useful gift for people with fireplaces, especially if their house is chilly or they live in a place prone to power outages.

58) I am sure my mother would love it if i would sit down and put all her photos in albums, since she is not into scrap booking. [Ed. note: I think my sister finally did this, but I have family photos I need to scan for her! CDs of scans of family photos can be a nice gift, costing little but your time.]

59) Once year I started a Yoga class on January 2nd. It met every weekday morning for a month. It was a great experience though I am not sure I can convince myself to get up every morning at 5:45 again.

60) Have a blue collar holiday - nachos, beer, bingo, and bowling. Or select another theme for your holiday. Fondue? Do you still have your fondue set? Check the buffet next to the pickle forks.

more tomorrow!

Monday, November 28, 2011

holiday ideas continued part 4

If you read this post, you know i used to publish a zine called Mysterium. For your reading pleasure i have been sharing 100 holiday ideas from an issue published in 2002. The world has changed since then, and I have changed as well, but some of these are still good ideas!

Holiday Ideas by Megan Noel 2002, 2011

41) More cool stuff to make: tea blends, bath salts, lavender sachets.

42) Handmade stationary and envelopes would also be a cool idea. Or even just envelopes. You can take apart a purchased envelope and make a template then make your own envelopes out of wrapping paper, art paper, magazine ages, junk mail, sheet music, old maps, etc.

43) I am not a huge Martha Stewart junky but recently she had some votive candles sunk in the show, lining a walkway, that were super cool. And I think it was last year that she froze berries and leaves and stuff n ice and set it out as decorations -- fun and cheap, though not good if you live in Seattle like I do -- drip drip.

44) I think it would be ever so nice to just go for a drive on the holidays and ignore the stressful family stuff (unless it isn't). But if you do that make sure you have plenty of gas and snacks and stuff like that. You'll probably have the beach or the forest to yourself. Oh, bring something for he squirrels. I worry about them in winter.

45) Did you roll pine cones in peanut butter and birdseed and hang them out when you were a kid? Weren't you a Girl Scout? That was fun. For that matter bird baths and bird houses and bird feeders can be nice gifts for the homebound, it gives you something better to watch than CNN. You can get those bird feeders with suction cups that stick to the window. But if you get Aunt Mildred a birdhouse you may need to fill it for her.

[my stepfather set up a bird feeder so the cat would have something to watch. i am not sure if she found it enjoyable or just frustrating, but i am sure it made her kitty day fly by.]

46) Make your own books on tapes for gifts, especially for little kids learning to read. You can buy a bunch of kid's books and record them (maybe use a little bell with it is time to turn the page.) Add sound effects if desired. You can get the books from used bookstores too -- recycling books is cool! [i suppose now you'd make mp3s instead]

47) When I was growing up one of my girlfriends made a really cool gingerbread house out of graham crackers. It is not really cheating! Just add frosting and candy and look at all the time you saved.

[Ed note: after the last time i struggled to assemble a gingerbread house from a kit i have decided to use hot glue next time. no one wants to eat the house part anyway, it's probably rock hard and stale. slather the glue gunned house with icing and candy and who will know? you can still eat the candy.]

48) For that matter take the leftover graham crackers and put frosting or ice cream between them, mmm. Also, I have been known to make pie crust treats just for the heck of it when i was not even making a pie. Roll out piecrust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up into little logs and bake. I used to love it when my mother made these.

49) I have a huge cookie cutter collection (er, like over 100 probably.) Weird shaped cookie cutters are a nice gift for bakers. Among my cookie cutters the VW bugs are always popular. If you can't find a good selection locally you can check on-line too.

50). This holiday season remember - recycle, reduce, reuse. I almost always reuse tissue paper!

more tomorrow!


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

This is my latest pen and ink drawing. Most of it was done while listening to the audio books of The Hunger Games trilogy. I think I started it last week - then found it waiting for me when I got home from my trip to Eugene. Most of my art is pretty free form ... I do not usually start with a plan in mind but after I've gone a little ways a plan will usually suggest itself to me. This drawing is 8 x 11.5" on Aquabee Bee paper using pitt pens, sizes s, f, and b.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

more holiday ideas

If you read my post Monday you'll know I used to publish a zine and this list was part of the 2nd. I am going to share 10 ideas a day...

Holiday Ideas (continued) by Megan Noel, 2002, and 2011.

31. Give the gift of time, whatever you are good at: Bike repair, car repair, cooking, baking, leaning, weeding, painting, cutting hair, etc. I mean, who doesn't want a few more hours in the day and that is basically what you'd be giving and it would not cost an arm and a leg either.

32. If you want to have some sort of holiday gathering, try something non-traditional like cooking making, card marking, ornament making, etc. If, on the other hand, you never want to see anyone ever again it is also okay to tell everyone you are going to Hawaii and then just stay home and ready trashy novels.

33. Personally it would be fine with me if one of my friends swapped trashy novels with me - you know i have about a years worth of books worth reading once and NOT worth reading twice and it would be fine with me to swap for a friend's stack.

[Ed. note: i think my taste in reading material has improved!]

34. I assume if you are reading this zine [where this was originally published] then you are a tiny bit creative. Get together with your other creative friends either in person or through the internet and swap hand-made stuff to give as gifts. In case your family does not ever want another pair of hand beaded earrings, maybe they would like some handmade soap or something else, and vice versa.

35. If you want to, decorate with all your favorite stuff, whether it is "appropriate" or not. Last year I had my Harry Potter legos under the Christmas tree and the year before that it was stuffed animals.

36. I particularly enjoy rereading my favorite classics around the holidays. You can do this as a family or with friends, too. Some suggestions: The Narnia books, The Little House on the Prairie books, Edgar Eager, E. Nesbit, etc. The same goes for old movies.

37. My favorite very easy and cheap gift wrap technique: Wrap gift in brown kraft paper. Write the recipients address and your return address as though you were going to mail it. Wrap with string (tea-dyed if desired) an stick on either some real holiday postage stamps, or cool old stamps, or a postoid rubber stamp. Or make your own holiday faux postage.

38. My mother used to get stocking stuffers at the grocery store. I appreciated getting stuff I always run out of like moisturizer, rolls of quarters for laundry, etc. This is especially good for students and starving artists.

39. If you ARE a starving artist, make a deal with all your other starving artist friends to skip the gift exchange and just go out to dinner together, or coffee together, or a movie, depending on how starving you are.

40. If you are not broke and starving feel free to wonder what I am talking about!
[Ed. Note: I was a bit flippant about this when I wrote it almost 10 years ago. I guess if nothing else I am at least a little wiser than I was then.]

tune in tomorrow for 10 more holiday ideas and some art show and tell!

Etsy Sale!

I am having a sale in my etsy shop, today and tomorrow. coupon code HOL2011 to save 15%.

I'll be posting some more holiday ideas later today! i got home from my jaunt to Eugene Oregon late last night and am planning to lie around in my pajamas for a while.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ten more holiday ideas

If you read my post Monday you'll know I used to publish a zine and this list was part of the 2nd. I am going to share 10 ideas a day...

Holiday Ideas (continued) by Megan Noel, 2002, and 2011.

21) Try concocting some odd dish. Pumpkin shortcake? A cheese ball shaped like a snowman? Or have a holiday picnic in the middle of the living room. Roast hotdogs and marshmallows in the fireplace. (Oh, don’t burn the house down.)

22) I mentioned stationary, but really STAMPS. The postage kind I mean. Everyone uses them. You can get fun ones. Yu can even get them from the post office website and not have to stand in line. Someone please give some to my coworker Jeremy who keeps using mine. Anyway It’s a gift you know will be used.

Edit – this is a little dated too! But a lot of people do still use stamps. Cool people who send letters and cards and things

23) For journalers who do not make their own, a handmade journal would be appreciated. Look on Etsy

24) A journal kit would be nice; especially to encourage someone knew to art journaling. I suggest you keep it simple, a glue stick, some gel pens, and a small ruler for measuring or tearing. Then add whatever suits the recipient, a portable watercolor set, some colored pencils, stickers, etc.

25) Personally I would love it if I came home one day and my laundry was done, my dry-cleaning was dropped off, my mending and ironing were done. That would be a real treat. So especially if you are trying to keep things simple this year and get away from all the “stuff”, consider a gift like this for your roommate or partner.

26) Another gift for your partner or roommate if you are trying to simplify, walk the dog. Take out the garbage, do the dishes, whatever chore they hate for a week, or a month, or however long they deserve a break for!

27) For a change of perspective, if you are inclined to be critical, try going a whole day without criticizing anyone or anything. If you are meek, try going a whole day without swallowing your words. Or, if that’s too much, try an hour. I need to do this!

28) Take time for yourself during this stressful time – whatever that means for you… art time, writing time, time to run or do yoga, a trip to the gym or a coffee shop, a hot bath, something just for you. Do this every day. Especially if you have company staying with you.

29) Have a Prairie Home Christmas. Tuna Hotdish, white bread with butter, green bean casserole, and Jell-o Salad. That sounds easier than cooking an enormous turkey.

30) One thing I like to do when I make gifts is to not bother giving hem on time. I mean I always figure anything before Twelfth Night still counted. Someone else pointed out to me that really anything before the end of winter could count. So that gives you a lot of flexibility and your friends and family get something to look forward to … eventually.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

100 holiday ideas continued

If you read my post yesterday you'll know I used to publish a zine and this list was part of the 2nd. I am going to share 10 ideas a day...

Holiday Ideas (continued) by Megan Noel, 2002, and 2011.

11) A gift idea for someone who writes a lot of letters... a box of cards, stationary, stamps, etc. If you want to get really fancy, include hand made cards and faux postage along with the regular kind of postage.

12) Film is a good gift, and so is a gift certificate for processing film, This is a gift you know will be used and appreciated. Well, if you give it to someone with a camera that is.

OK, now that is REALLY dated. So how about batteries, smart media cards, a handy camera case, or photo paper?

13) Start your own holiday traditions. Personally I have been collecting my favorite holiday movies on DVD. The Muppet Christmas Carol and A Wish for Wings that Work are high on my list. This year I think I will add Meet me in St. Louis. That's not technically a holiday film but it ends at Christmas and feels Christmasy to me.

14) Dare to be different. If you don't like celebrating the holidays, just take a little vacation. Even a trip to a scenic spot close by could be a way to check out of the holiday madness. Or go to the movies on Christmas Day. (Oh! Be prepared. One year I went to Chocolat and then I HAD to have some chocolate but all the stores were closed!)

15) Another way to check out of the stress is to make all your presents (HA! HA! HA!) or just pare your list way back to immediate family and very close friends, or just give cards. It's supposed to be fun - right? Not agony. Your Great Aunt Mildred will probably be relieved she doesn't have to crochet you another potholder next year. Be bold enough to break the cycle of meaningless gift exchange.

16) For your family and friends with kids, if you do feel inclined to give them something, rather than another toy or book how about if you just baby-sit so they can go out and do something by themselves, or take the kids for a day so they can stay home and be lazy by themselves.

17) If you are feeling cranky--that EVERYONE is going someplace for the holidays and you aren't--offer to water their plants, feed their cats, and cover for your coworkers. At least it makes me feel better to think about someone else rather than feeling grumpy, though I am good at that too.

18) Amidst all the stress and expectations, keep in mind that you don't have to please or impress your mother, your grandmother, your aunts, your kids, your pets, your partner, or your neighbors. And remind me of this from time to time if you don't mind.

19) If you think holiday decorations are too much work, don't bother. On the other hand, if you live alone and you think it's silly to put all that work into it when no one will see it -- but you always WANT to -- do it for yourself. Or do something weird. Get your turtle collection out, decorate your potted palm, decorate in some unconventional way. Or decorate for some other holiday, oh that makes me feel sneaky -- a Christmas tree with Halloween decorations on it. A Christmas tree with flamingos. Whatever.

20) Put lights in weird places. I used to have them in my bathroom. I also had a clear shower curtain so I could look at them through the drops of water when I took a shower. It was very relaxing. Oh, and leave them up.

more tomorrow!

Fossil Flowers in Landscape

I got this watercolor paper recently. I was attracted to the size but had never used the paper before. It is a block --Fluid 140 lbs cold press. It won't stand up to the sort of mixing on paper I do on Arches 300 lb coldpress so I have been backing off on that and doing more glazing. Still learning what works best on this paper, but I am attracted to the vertical format.

So here is the latest in the Fossil Flower series. It's 6 x 12 inches. It's available on Etsy.

Monday, November 21, 2011


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

it has now been shown that doodling improves concentration and memory. so i feel ok that i doodled some today during a presentation.

Holiday Ideas

Those of you who have been following my art for a while know that I used to publish a zine or two. My two regular zines were Mysterium and La Luna, and there were some on-offs as well. I still have a few zines left storage and may be listing some on Etsy if there is interest. Also I have decided to make some content available on-line.

Mysterium issue 2 had a list of 100 holiday ideas. I am going to start sharing these on my blog here. I figure I will do 10 per blog entry - but I may miss some days blogging over Thanksgiving so please be patient! :)

So, here we go, 100 Holiday Ideas, by Megan Noel, 2002, with some edits made 2011.

1) To celebrate Autumn, have some fun with leaves. Press leaves overnight in a book, just to flatten them. Then lay them out on black paper and sponge paint around them. I prefer Lumiere, especially the Halo colors. You can get an interesting effect. Try any acrylic paint, metallic if you prefer.

2) Try tracing around leaves and then drawing inside the shapes with ink, crayon, etc. Or do the same on watercolor paper and do layering and glazing so it looks like some leaves are lying on top of others. For kids I would trace large leaves with sharpie and let them color the rest with crayons.

3) Make acorn beads. It works best to pick slightly green acorns and punch holes in them with an awl. They will naturally dry to the usual brown color. You can try this with brown acorns but they are more likely to crack. Also you might need to glue the caps on with white glue or wood glue, because they are prone to falling off. You can leave the acorns natural or spray with metallic spray paint.

4) Pretend you are back in grade school and iron leaves between layers of waxed paper. We used to make place mats.

5) Don't forget to collect cool autumn stuff to use in your art, twigs, acorns, seeds, maple whorls, etc. You can dry them and store them in plastic containers or zip-lock bags. If you leave near the beach this might be a good time to stock up on shells, bits of driftwood, etc., unless you like cold walks on the beach in winter.

6) Hmm, I have not tried this yet but I wonder if it would work to emboss velvet with leaves? Mist the velvet with a spray bottle, arrange the leaves on top of your ironing board, lay the velvet over the leaves with the good side up, cover with a pressing cloth, and press briefly on the appropriate iron setting for your fabric content. Or try the same using leaf rubber stamps.

7) Send out Halloween cards, or Day of the Dead cards, or Thanksgiving cards. Everyone likes getting unexpected mail. Postcards are good too if you want to save on postage.

8) If you are expecting small holiday guests and want to keep them amused draw an interesting picture on 11 x 17" paper. If you can't draw, use clipart or art from coloring books. Take this to your copy store and have it photocopied onto 11 x 17" card stock, Now use these for your holiday place mats. Add small boxes of crayons and you are set. Adults might like this too, anyway, I know I would.

9) On the note of coloring, make your own coloring book to give to your artistically inclined friends. Again use your own line art or clip art, print it or have it photocopied onto nice paper. Your local copy store can bind it inexpensively, or you can bind it yourself if you are into bookbinding. I recommend a stab binding or pamphlet stitch. Add a few beads to spruce it up. Wrap it up with a box or crayons or markers.

10) If you are an artist, writer, or other creator-on-paper, make a holiday zine or booklet to give to your friends. Use art, poetry, stories, etc. Have it printed and bound at your local copy store or do it yourself. This won't cost much and is an inexpensive way to share your artistic vision with family and friends.

stay tuned for 90 more ideas in blog entries to come!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fossil Flowers 2

Fossil Flowers 2 by megan_n_smith_99
Fossil Flowers 2, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Based on the number of people who "favorited" my original Fossil Flowers painting on Etsy and Flickr, it's one of my more popular paintings (and still available on Etsy.) The original concept for that painting was for a longer leaner look - it ended up being 5 x 7" but this painting, Fossil Flowers 2, is more what I was originally going for. I think I will be exploring this idea a bit more. They are sort of the watercolor versions of my Strata series but different too. We'll see what happens. I am liking this size, 12 x 6".

Fossil Flowers 2
Watercolor on paper (Fluid 140 lbs cold press)
12 x 6"
available on Etsy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


acrylic on canvas by megan_n_smith_99
acrylic on canvas, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

My friend Karen and I, and her 2 children, went up to Everett today to Stuff What I Like and took down the Strata paintings. So now I suddenly have a houseful paintings again. Well, not quite since 2 dozen watercolors are at Mosaic. If you are thinking of doing a little Christmas shopping you can check out my Etsy Shop Let me know if you don't see what you want -- the Strata paintings are not in my Etsy shop but click this link to see them on Flickr. If we are in the Seattle area we can arrange to meet do you can see things in person...

Autumn Canopy

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

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Knitting

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

I feel like I have not had a whole lot to say lately. This is something I am knitting - maybe I will show you when it is done. It's for a friend of my mother's. I hope I don't run out of yarn! It's Koigu. I have not used this pattern before so we will see.

I'd like to knit something in NW Autumn colors. Of course I knit and paint a lot of things in what I guess you'd call New England fall colors - though I've never (yet) been there. NW fall colors are more green with some flashes of red, orange, or gold. What I can see from my condo is mainly green and gold. There are lots of evergreens here so in winter it will be grey and gold. I am glad Seattle has so many trees. I'd like more, of course, but there really are a lot more here than some other places.

I have been experimenting with some new watercolor paper. One of the pads I got I thought I did not like but I've decided to use it for pen and ink w/ maybe a little watercolor or mixed media. The other one I do like but am still figuring out its properties. So hopefully I will have a new painting to show you soon. My sister sent me some Daniel Smith watercolors for my birthday, and she was surprised how small the tubes are, but they last such a long time! They will probably last me at very least a year. She sent mostly greens so maybe I will paint a NW Autumn.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

We have a winner!

If you remember This post from last week you'll know I was offering the Mustardseed painting to a randomly chosen winner who commented. Thanks to the random number generator at we have a winner! The winner is #11 - Sue Chesleyo! Sue, please send me your mailing address. If you go to my website -, there is a link to send an email on every page.

For those who did not win, I will be having one drawing a month, usually around the start of the month, so keep reading for another chance. Also you can always find my work on Etsy.

sketch journal page

sketch journal page by megan_n_smith_99
sketch journal page, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I've been feeling blue for the last few days and not feeling very well. i am sure those 2 things are connected. I have not done much but read and watch depressing movies. maybe i should not watch depressing movies when i am down? but that's just when i gravitate towards them, i think. At least I've been reading some good books.. Camilla and A Live Coal in the Sea by Madeline L'engle.

The art install on Thursday at Mosaic Coffee in Wallingford (Seattle) went well. The work will be up until the 1st week of January. See my website for details.My friend Janusz helped me hang the art and I am so grateful I had help.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

sketch journal

sketch journal by megan_n_smith_99
sketch journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Last night was "Shop Till you Drop" - an annual trunk show put on that benefits local women and children in need. This was the first year I have participated. Sales were slow, but that seemed to be the case for everyone and they seemed like a nice group of women so i think i will try again next year. I sold 3 watercolor paintings and handed out a lot of business cards.

I was so glad my friend Janusz was there to help me transport and set up art work and to general keep me company. I am a bit high strung and it helps to have a someone with me. Hm, I guess that makes sense since I play violin (sometimes not as often as i should) and he plays viola - which shares 3 strings with the violin and then has 1 lower string. We did, during the course of the evening, between discussions of books and movies, discuss the merits of playing upright bass. I am too small but he could do it. I hope he does sometime.

This is sort of rambling but I guess my thoughts are a bit rambling now. Since I brought up stringed instruments I'll tell you what music I've been listening to most lately:
Violin: David Garrett: Rock Symphonies
Violin: Ducan Chisholm: The Door of Saints
Violin: Martin Hayes (anything of his is wonderful)
Cello: Adam Hurst: Ritual
Cello: Zoe Keating: 1 Cello x 16: Natoma
Cello: Christine Fellows: 2 Little Birds
Assorted Strings: Kristin Hersh: Strings

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

sketch journal

sketch journal by megan_n_smith_99
sketch journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Another page from my sketch journal. When I don't feel well sometimes I just curl up with an audio book or a dvd and just draw without trying to make something good or finished or anything like that. This week I've been listening to the audio book of Madeline L'engle's The Young Unicorns.

Today I am doing some chores and then going to the trunk show. Feeling a little frazzled but I will have a helper and I am sure everything will be fine. I just don't have the personality that looks forward to new experiences in general. In general I feel rather tentative of them. Though I am going to take the train to Eugene in a couple weeks - my 1st train trip, and I am sort of looking forward to that. But tentative about actually being in Eugene! Well, I guess this mouse can't change her stripes or spots or whiskers!

Monday, November 7, 2011

getting ready

sketch journal by megan_n_smith_99
sketch journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

i have spent the last couple days getting my art ready for a trunk show i am doing. it always amazes me how long this takes, even though i should know how long it takes since i used to be a professional "get art ready-er".

everything needed to be priced, and places in acid free protective bags with acid free cardboard. some pieces got matted. everything got labeled and i made my list. this is less elaborate than what i would do for a gallery, since the only one relying on my information is ME. i wish i'd been feeling better, things would have gotten done sooner.

at least i know how to do all of these things but i tell you if my art ship ever comes in i am hiring a helper who will be my: registrar, archivist, webmaster, and shipping department. i already have someone picked out...

so hopefully tomorrow will go well. then Wednesday i get ready to go hang art in a coffee shop on Thursday. Most of it is ready to go so that won't take too long. I'll see if I can add some more pieces over what i showed in Ballard, it depends on what sells tomorrow and what frames I have in my random frame stash. I might buy 1 or 2 larger frames if I have something to fit in them - and I think I do.

My art is going to be at stuff what I like for an extra month! So if you have not made it up there yet, you have some more time. And they are adding soups to the menu, which I look forward to trying.

Info on the trunk show and SWIL can be found on the sidebar.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Atutumn Bounty

Atutumn Bounty by megan_n_smith_99
Atutumn Bounty, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This little painting is:

Autumn Bounty
5 x 7 inches
watercolor and ink on paper

I was quite happy w/ how it turned out and want to paint some more mushrooms. Today I sadly have not done any art, though I have been getting things ready for the trunk show I am doing on Tuesday (info in sidebar), and I have read some. I am almost done with The Enchanted Place, an autobiography by Christopher Milne (aka Christopher Robin). It's not a very long book and I have the sequel as well so I might finish both today. Unless I get some actual energy to do something, like chores, which seems a bit unlikely right now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

sketch journal

sketch journal by megan_n_smith_99
sketch journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is a bit from my sketch book. click on the photo to see the whole thing, for some reason it is cropping strangely lately. the software did not used to do that. it's an "improvement" i suspect.

i had a sort of quiet and melancholy day. it's that time of year. And not the easiest week. i did at least go out. i went to the library and pharmacy and got a pumpkin spice latte.

i've been reading a lot lately. i reread Sybil, Which has just been debunked, I had put a hold on the 2nd book from the library and thought i might as well reread the first.

Then today I read A Little House Traveler, some later writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She lead quite a life. First crossing the prairie in covered wagon, later by train, and finally in a car. How the world changed in a short time. When the railroads were first laid out everyone was so excited about them and thought they were amazing. A journey that had taken months could be made in a week. Of course now we've replaced trains with cars and realize we need them back, at least those of us in the city do, so we are having to start over again.

Also, Laura and her husband were excited to drive on gravel roads - that was the height of luxury. Well, times change.

Her writing about her visit to SF in 1915 for the world's fair were quite enjoyable - and less sparse that the other writing in this book. Her journals were more like logs to set her memories. Her letters were more like the writing she published. It made me want to go back to SF. I've only been once. It's amazing how much it has - and HASN'T changed. It's kind of sad that only one building remains from the fair and it was rebuilt so that may not count!

ok. back to my books.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed by megan_n_smith_99
Mustard Seed, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Happy November! Time for my November giveaway. Leave a comment for a chance to win this little painting. I will randomly pick the winners on Saturday, November 12th!

This little forest creature is Mustardseed from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Leaf

Red Leaf by megan_n_smith_99
Red Leaf, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is another of my recent autumnal paintings. I usually trace real leaves, but then my imagination takes over from there. Tree bark is one of my favorite things to paint, though again my version my be a bit fanciful.

i have not been feeling well today - oh, the joys of having chronic health issues. at least i did not have anywhere i HAD to so so i lay on the couch, drew a bit, painted watercolor a bit, and did nothing a bit. while watching bones. i can't draw or do watercolor when i am sick but i can't do any big art. not that i am very good at big art anyway. i think i might go make a cup of tea and hide in bed now. it seems like that kind of evening.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Forest Creature

Forest Creature by megan_n_smith_99
Forest Creature, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Well, this week has not gone as i expected it to. My temporary position suddenly ended. I admit I was not happy there but I was happy to have work. Fortunately my unemployment claim was still open and my extension was approved till March. So I am back looking for a job. I do get more art time, and it would still be great if I could eventually do that full time, but it does not seem likely right now.

I am going to have artwork at a trunk show in Magnolia next week - see the side bar for details!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


IMG_1792 by megan_n_smith_99
IMG_1792, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

this is dangermouse. he was my cat for a while, and then he went to live with some friends of mine. they took this photo. i actually stole dangermouse from someone who threw him off a 2nd story balcony. when i got him he was completely flea infested and had worms. i took him to the vet and we got him all fixed up. unfortunately he just drove me crazy in my small condo, jumping on my head at 4 AM. also he could open all the doors and cupboard doors. so he went to live with friends until i found him another home but they got attached to him and wanted to keep him, so he stayed.

he was a very large cat - 18 pounds and simply huge. he had an enormous amount of character. anyhow! there is a point to this. this is my favorite picture of dangermouse. his family was carving pumpkins and here is dangermouse trying to help. i can just see his little brain whirring, "how can i pick up this pumpkin carving knife? i know, leverage!"

dangermouse died a couple years ago and is missed.

happy halloween eve to you dangermouse, where ever you are.

Autumn Leaves

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

well, i got some good painting in yesterday! i am really happy how the latest two came out - this is one and if you click the picture you can go to flickr and see the other. i am working on some others. we'll see how much art time i get this week - not much i think. today i hope to get some art time later today but am also trying to get ahead on chores and cooking and things because i expect to be working very long days next week and i want to make it was easy on myself as i can! i am thinking of making a big pot of potato soup and some pumpkin bread.

i am working a temp job in downtown seattle. i like working downtown for the most part, though i wish there was someplace quiet to go at lunch! i used to often go to a park near my old job, but in downtown the parks are crowded and noisy and if you sit down on the ground you will be told you can't do that, you can only sit on benches. and i am sure if i lay on a bench like i did at my old part it would NOT go over well. of course there are a lot more police and security guards down in the area now because i work across the street from westlake park, which is where occupy seattle has been situated. but last night they moved their base camp to a community college, about a mile away. they still plan to be in westlake park during the day, though. i have to say anyone willing to camp out in the often miserable seattle weather is pretty dedicated to their cause. and most nights they have not had tents.

so anyway while working downtown is interesting and i appreciate the proximity to various food and coffee options, i actually hate my job. i started out liking it ok and probably still would if i could work 40--45 hours max a week, but that's not going to be the case starting monday. so i really can't wait for the job to be over - i am hoping it will be at the end of november. i am probably going to eat lunch out more just to get out of the office and sit somewhere quiet. the top floor of the building connected to mine has a good court and lots of light - mostly grey light but never the less, light! i have found i can get some nice fried rice or pad see ewe for about $7--$8 and it's gluten free and enough for 2 days of lunch!

now if i could just get over this cold!

Two Leaves
5 x 5 "
watercolor on paper
available on Etsy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Strata paintings

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

Don't forget - you still have a couple more weeks to see my Strata Paintings at Stuff What I Like in Everett Washington.

At SWIL every meal is an adventure! Read about them here in the Everett News.

Little Spook SALE!

Little Spook by megan_n_smith_99
Little Spook, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

my little halloween paintings are on sale in my etsy shop! (they are on page 2) happy haunting!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leaf Song

Leaf Song by megan_n_smith_99
Leaf Song, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Ugh. I wish I felt as light and free as this leaf, but I did paint it Saturday, so I must have felt better then!

I am sick. lots of colds going around and this is a bad one. I even got my flu shot but of course that does not protect you from everything! Lots of people at work have been sick and I suspect I picked it up there. But we were told no more sick time so I may not be able to go back to my job. We'll see.

I think I will make toast and tea, I think I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch today, though I've napped a bit!

This little painting is available in my Etsy Shop and there are still some little Halloween spooks who needs good homes too.

Hope you are all keeping warm! I am tempted to get pho but that would mean leaving the house...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the start of ... something

This is how I get started. Well, sometimes I go more free-form but for this one I knew I wanted a giant octopus (Kraken) and a temple inspired by traditional mosques, so I penciled things in a bit. from here on out things will be more spontaneous! Spontaneous is the way I like things. I am always surprised - usually pleasantly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat by megan_n_smith_99
Trick or Treat, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

October is winding down but I still have some halloween art in my Etsy Shop.

I am so tired this evening that I am going to Let Annie Dillard provide the substance for you. I just finished reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek which is amazing, though some readers might lose patience with it because in some ways nothing ever happens - and in other ways everything happens. the whole world.

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

"I am a fugitive and a vagabond, a sojourner seeking signs.”
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


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

This is my latest painting. I really liked the way the flowers came out and will probably experiment some more with that color scheme. These days I have much less time for painting and the ideas are coming faster than I can paint. We'll see what makes it out on paper, in the end.

It's good to have work of course but I actually have less time now than I did before I got laid off in March - The hours of this job are a little longer and the commute takes more time. I am trying to take the mental shift necessary to go from having been part of a team for 15 years with people I knew well and cared about to being ... a temp. There is just something about that word that sort of sums it up. I am also trying to make the shift to a different future than what I had imagined. I don't know if I will be able to keep my condo and stay in this neighborhood that I love. I've never been very good at taking things one day at a time but I am going to have to try!

I have some other things on my mind that I may or may not blog about in days to come. My sister seems to manage to blog about more personal things than I manage to. This blog is really supposed to be about my art - at least that was my vision when I started it. Is that why you read it?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stuff What I Like

ammonite strata by megan_n_smith_99
ammonite strata, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Last night was my opening at Stuff What I Like in Everett. Thanks to everyone who came! This is one of the paintings that is in the show:
Ammonite Strata
10 x 20"
acrylic and ink on canvas

Good food and good company! Check out my review here. The show is up until Nov 13th - if you are in the area you should check it out! And be sure to save some room for dessert - the chocolate rice was awesome and the desssert lumpia sounds really good too!