Wednesday, December 26, 2012

merry christmas

i had this post ready for yesterday, but in a twist of christmas fate, we were snowed in at my in-laws.  snowed in on christmas in north texas.  gotta love that!


hope you all had a magical christmas! 


see you next year!
-julia

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

wish i had thought of that

every once in a while, i come across a saying or a slogan where i think, "man, i wish i had thought of that!"  well, that's how i feel about hallmark's slogan...




i had been meaning to do a post about it for a while.  now with christmas around the corner, and in light of recent heart-shattering events, i thought now would be a good time.  because life is a special occasion.  it's why i wear gold eye shadow, even though i have on a tshirt and jeans, just because i feel like it.



it's why i sit outside with silly boys for two hours in the freezing cold to see a christmas parade...


and stand in line on a saturday to see santa.


 it's why we spend a sunday afternoon taking gifts to people we don't even know...




and why i have lunch with a bunch of preschoolers when i really need to be working.



it's why i order prints from an artist i have loved for a while...just because i want to look at them...



and why i let them stay up a little past their bedtime watching a christmas movie.


don't wait around...life is a special occasion.  thank you hallmark for reminding me.

sending love and prayers to newtown, and to all you.

here's to that special occasion called life,

merry christmas!

-julia



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

something old, something new...

something old..

last year, my art students made these cute santas from upcycled light bulbs (click the pic to see my original tutorial)...


and my sons and i made these super easy christmas tree ornaments.  they stuffed some of the glass balls with shiny pipe cleaners (which they gave away as handmade gifts)...


and they stuffed the others with shiny foil shreds i bought at the dollar store. 

 i love these, and they are hanging on our christmas tree right now.  see...



and last year, i displayed our photo christmas cards on a sparkly ribbon running down a door in our living room.  i attached the cards with tiny clothespins i spray painted gold.




and since i can never do the same thing twice...

something new...

this year, to display our photo cards, i made another version of the clothespin wreath i made for the 4th (you can see that one here.)

i used a $3 wire wreath from michaels (the original color was green) and wooden clothespins, all of which i spray painted gold.  i staggered the clothespins around the wreath until i liked the way it looked.  




now, i clip on photo cards as we get them.  can't wait to see it filled up!




 here's to the old and the new,

-julia



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

handprint christmas trees

last week, i showed you how i put handprints on ceramics.  this week, i wanted to show you some more super cute options for christmas, using craft acrylics and sharpie markers.  of course, you could do these on canvas.

but you could also do it on paper, like this card...



here's how i did it.  just make sure you let the paint dry in between steps!



i also love it on presents wrapped in plain paper...


 

or on a white gift box.  (no wrapping necessary!)


and, my personal favorite, on plain gift bags!


and after christmas???  you can cut out the print and stick it in a photo album or scrapbook, put it in a frame, or even stick a magnetic strip on the back for the refrigerator.


 how cute are these under the tree?!




here's to a hand made christmas, (sorry, i couldn't resist!)

-julia
 























 







Wednesday, November 28, 2012

painting on ceramics

i've been asked a lot lately about the paint i use to create my ceramic hand print and foot print pieces, so i thought i would do a post about it.  first let me say that this paint is not food safe.  if you paint on the outside of a mug or pitcher, then it would be fine to use.  But plates or platters would be decorative only.  now, yes, there are ceramics studios where you can go and get this done, where they would be food safe.  that is because they have the ability to seal the paint and then fire it in a kiln.  that is also why pieces from these places are usually very expensive.  if you are just looking for a keepsake item, then this paint offers you a much more affordable option.

ok...that being said...the paint i use is called porcelaine 150.


michaels is the only craft store i've ever found it at, but the quantities are usually limited.  i usually order mine from dick blick.  you have to work quickly with this paint, because it will dry fast.  if you have never done hand prints before, i might suggest doing a couple of practice ones with craft acrylic on paper first.  but essentially, you use a brush to spread the paint out evenly over the hand.  make sure it is coated well.  then press the hand straight down onto the plate, press down on the back of the hand and each of the fingers quickly, and then pull straight up. if you like the print, set it aside and let it dry.  if you don't like it, wipe it off quickly with a baby wipe or a wet paper towel.  just make sure the plate is completely dry before you try to reprint.  also, you should wash the paint off the hand completely and then re-coat with fresh paint before trying to do a second print or a reprint. once the print is dry, you can add more decorative painting or writing with a small brush or with a porcelaine 150 marker.  

this hand print christmas tree, one of my most favorite designs, would be a good one to start with because it uses a limited number of colors, and doesn't require a lot of painting to finish it.  



once you have it painted how you like it, set it somewhere safe to dry for at least 24 hours.  if you try to fire it too soon, the paint might end up bubbling.  once it is ready to fire, set it in a cool oven and close the door.  then set the oven to 300 degrees.  turn the timer on for 30 minutes.  when the timer goes off, turn the oven off, but do not open the oven door.  let the piece sit in the oven as the oven cools back down to room temperature gradually.  once you are sure the oven has cooled down completely, then open the door and take it out.  the paint is now permanent, and your keepsake is ready for you to enjoy!

and, just so you know, this paint can also be used on porcelain, terra cotta, metal and glass as well.

i'll be back next week with some more hand print christmas ideas!  you can subscribe to this blog on the sidebar over there, or follow me on facebook or twitter, where I also post my blog updates.  

here's to one-of-a-kind, handmade treasures (china can't make these!),

-julia




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thankful...via instagram















here's to being thankful!  happy thanksgiving, my friends.

-julia


p.s...i'm also thankful that our local martin high school has a caring and compassionate student body and staff.  they made this video to raise money for cancer research, in support of one of the students there who has cancer.  their donations go up for every hit on u tube.  i put it on the bottom there, so would you please watch it?  it doesn't cost a thing.





















Wednesday, November 14, 2012

must see video


what advice would you give to your younger self?  legendary american painter chuck close tells us in this short video, and it is fabulous!

i remember the first time i was introduced to chuck close back in college.  his portraits blew my mind.  if you are familiar with his work, watch this video.  if you are not familiar with his work, click here , and then watch this video.  so inspiring!

there are a lot of great quotes in there, but here's my favorite...
      "inspiration is for amateurs.  the rest of us just show up and get to work."

love.  it.

this video is 5 minutes long.  watch it.  you will not be sorry!  then share it with your kids.  all my art students will see it this week!

here's to achieving greatness against all odds, and here's to the great chuck close!

-julia








Wednesday, October 31, 2012

studio update via wacom

i got a new wacom tablet for my birthday, and i've been having fun experimenting with it on pictures i have on my computer.  so i thought it would be even more fun to do an update through my new tablet!





remember how we went to chicago this summer?  here we are at the public artwork known as "the bean."



with the exception of teaching art lessons, i haven't been in the studio a whole lot lately.  this past saturday was our annual halloween bash, which also serves as our youngest son's birthday party.  the hit of the party is always the face painting booth my husbands does.



my art students have been doing some great fall inspired works.  like these fab charcoal pumpkin gesture drawings.  i'm a big believer in doing lots of gesture drawing!




after doing the charcoal studies, we did these oil pastel pumpkins on black paper, using color gradation to show volume.  i got this idea from this exhibition on artsonia and tweaked it to fit my needs.  my wednesday art class has one preschooler in it.  can you find her pumpkin?  i only turned my back for a second- lol



we've also done a lot of drawings and prints with leaves lately.  i love how these abstracted leaves came out.  i got this idea from the art education blog adventures of an art teacher.  we did ours with oil pastels and watercolors using complimentary colors.











as for the wacom tablet, i need to practice a lot more with the pen, but i think i'm getting the hang of it!






Thursday, October 25, 2012

5 years

today my baby turns 5 years old.


i can't even tell you how much joy this little boy has brought to our lives.  he is such a character!















how utterly boring our lives would be without him.

happy, happy 5th birthday, zachary isaak!

here's to 5 amazing years!

-julia


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