I made some cards instead

So, after giving serious thought to the comments from Leslie and Cindy, I decided to make some blank cards using the smaller tags I showed last post. Since they were too small to be placed on the 5×7 cards I already had, I bought a package of minimum postal size envelopes and cards as well as some archival glue dots and put them together.

blog_cards_4926I must say I am pleased with the results.  I think they look quite nice centered on the cards and still can be framed if so desired before or after mailing.  And no hole punches either.

I decided to mail one to myself before I listed them, just to make sure they can be handled by the postal system without damage.  The watercolor stock paper is on the thick side and I don’t want it to crease in the machinery.  I’m pretty sure it will be okay but I want to test it just to make sure.  I’m hoping it arrives back home today.  If all goes well, I’ll make up the rest of the package and list them online.

Inked aceos and gift tags

Little tags

Little tags

I sat down for a while this week and inked up the blanks I made.  I started with the smaller gift tags because for some reason they are less intimidating.  I had the impulse to put an iris on one of the skinny ones and I rather liked the way it turned out, so I did several more as well as a few of the more standard abstract flowers.  When I started on the larger aceos, I made a few with bunches of irises too.

One with a more horizontal flow of paint  reminded me of my little painting of the dog walker so I quickly sketched that one out. It might be fun for a house warming gift.  I am going to make a few more with an architectural theme.  Just thinking about it, it might be productive if I consider different event uses for them and let that help dictate what I draw.  Maybe birthday gifts, shower gifts, I don’t know.  I do think I will list some of the iris ones.  I am most pleased with them.



I thought the ones with blue on them might work as a water theme and drew the turtles on that one.  I think  am least pleased with it.  I have 10 aceos left so I will probably do a few more.

I went to the craft store to buy some different colored printing ink but all they had was the red. No yellow or green, so I didn’t ink up the latest linocut.  I really wanted to blend those two because it is a plant print.  The store hasn’t had a lot of colors lately and not been restocking so I might have to try the other craft store.  It is farther away so I go to it less.

First signs of fall

As I sit here writing this post, I can here the long-awaited rains hitting the roof above me. Today felt like the coming of fall. Yesterday was in the 90’s and today’s high was barely 70, with low flying cloud cover.  I washed off my horse’s rain sheet and winter blanket in the heat of the day and set them in the sun to dry.  Truth is, I should have done that in the spring when I brought them home, but you know how that goes.  At least I did it before today’s cooler wetter weather set in.  It has been a busy few days with a quick trip to see our son who travelled to Purdue for business.  Four hours of driving for a three hour visit, but well worth it. 


I did manage to sneak into the studio for a few hours today.  I didn’t have the time to lay out a new architectural so far this week, so I decided that since I hadn’t done any new aceos in quite a while, I would spend the limited time available doing a few.  I wanted to try a few abstract compositions and the other backgrounds seemed to lend themselves to a floral motif.  These watercolor blanks had a lot of orange and yellow ocher in them and were interesting to work with.  Many of the previous pieces were more red and green in tone.  I may do a few more this week and then list some in my store on Etsy.

Some does and the big buckAnd here is the photo 0f the oddly colored deer that I promised a few posts back.  They are actually that white.  I’m thinking it must be some coat/skin condition.  Even the more normally colored ones had splotches of white on them.  I hope it clears up before winter and is not an indication of some more serious health issue.  And, as you can see, the buck is getting quite a set of antlers.  I’d like to find those in the spring.  Wouldn’t you?

Midnight musings 2

Once again I was awake when I was supposed to be sleeping – and once again I was thinking of the gift tags. Plus, this week I didn’t get past the pencil drawing of the newest entryway  for many reasons, not the least of which was an all day road trip Tuesday to Ohio with John. What time I did have, I spent exploring the possibilities of making digital prints of some of my original aceos/gift tags. I chose these mostly because all of the little gift tags already had the ribbon hole punched and I didn’t want to have to work around that. I also selected a few un-inked watercolor blanks.  I really liked the unusual color patterns they had and didn’t think inking would improve them so I put them in as is.  In any case, I scanned a bunch in using my printer scanner and then was actually able to find where they were sent onto my computer. No mean feat for me as this was the first time I had tried to scan with the new printer.

Digital tags

Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with the print out from my computer. The colors weren’t even close to true when compared with the original. This left the box stores as the only option. I actually thought that this might be the case anyway, given the cost of home printer inks. So I decided to try one box store for a color print out with nine and the other store with a print out of 16. Both actually worked out well and were rather evenly priced so it’s a tossup.  I’ll probably go with the closest store in the future.  I spent the rest of the week cutting out each tag from its sheet from a total of 18 sheets.  Rather mindless work but necessary.  Then I had to punch the hole and insert the ribbon.  I opted to also put a hole reinforcer on this set just to see if I felt it was necessary since I was using 120 lb cardstock.  I may not in the future but I haven’t decided yet.  They actually look pretty nice.  The colors turned out quite vividly and I am pleased with the combinations. 

 So what was I thinking about in my midnight musings?  Probably the hardest decision of all.  Pricing.  I am thinking of selling them as a set of nine, just to make it easy on myself.  I have given myself a day or two to think about it.

Happy Father’s Day to all.

Midnight musing

Last night I woke up at about 3 AM and started to think. This is usually not a good thing.  Sometimes, when I get just enough sleep, my mind wakes up enough and I can’t fall back to sleep again. This time I started to think about my online Etsy store.  Yesterday I got the opportunity to participate in an online promotion and I am trying to figure out how to do it.  The number of items required is rather prohibitive for me to supply. 

Mini gift tags

It just takes too much time to make up my originals.  Even the gift tags take more time than anyone would think, if you include making the watercolor sheet, cutting it, drawing, and then punching a hole for the ribbon.  So there I am, awake in the early hours and thinking about how I can resolve this delimna.  It came to me that possibly I could print up some as a contact sheet and then cut them up and sell them as just plain old printed tags instead of originals.  It would take me a little time to work out the details, but maybe it could work.  I guess I’ll have to think about it, preferably not when I am supposed to be sleeping.  And in the spirit of my tags, here are a few more samples.

Another rainy Wednesday

It’s been another wet, misty day. Not much actual rain mind you, but just enough moisture in the air to get you cold and wet and uncomfortable. I think that this spring has been just a continuation of the very long winter we just had.  All I can say is that at least it is not snow.  I’ve had enough for quite a long time, thank you.  A good day to stay inside, so of course I didn’t. I went out to play with my horse for a little while (out of the wet though) and then a little birthday party preparation for my husband.

I have been working on the latest entryway and have finished the inking for now.  I think I managed to find the black and white balance that was missing before.  I have found that if I like the positive/negative space in a drawing, I have a much better chance of being pleased with it after coloration.  I then tend to just redarken some areas that didn’t pop through the pastels and pencils and then make minor adjustments until it looks good to my eyes.  After I finished yesterday afternoon there was plenty of studio time left, so I worked on more of the artist label tags.  I sold some to my weaving friend last weekend and was in the mood to replace the stock.  I cut some of the aceo sized watercolor blanks in half (her prefered size) and proceeded to spend a few hours making some more.  I quit when my eyes finally started to cross.


Since the inking hasn’t changed that much from the last time, here is a picture in honor of the weather – fit for ducks only.  I know you’ve seen them before, but I’ve seen this rain before too.  Not much else seems to be moving around lately.

While I was gone…

Not a great deal of artwork was accomplished over the last week or so because I was away for the weekend attending our son’s MBA graduation and for Mother’s Day. We had a lot of fun in a family affair and I was able to take lots of architectural photos. He lives in an historic district which is made up of many lovely homes in a vast array of styles. Because there were so many in a relatively small area, I concentrated on the Tudor ones. I really love the steeply angled roof lines and the combinations of wood and stucco, and brick and stonework. You will undoubtedly see them appear in the entryway series and maybe some sets of windows. The mixes in the neighborhoods were quite eclectic, from Spanish influence to contemporary, but I really like the Tudors. Some were very large and spread out and some were more compact cottage style.  The weather was quite beautiful so we walked for an hour and I took pictures until the camera battery died.

My beautiful bearded irises

And while I was gone, the bearded irises decided to bloom.  I put them in a few years ago so they are finally filling out the space allotted.  They come in such beautiful colors that I may have to dedicate another area in order to  get some new ones.  The daffodils are long gone, so I planted the wave petunias to take over the space after they die back.  A few of the lilac bushes bloomed for the first time and the other spring flowers are coming along nicely.  The rhubarb has lived so far.  I don’t think I will touch any of it until next year.  Next up will be planting a few tomatoes and peppers.

I also managed  to get to another hobby store and replace the little hole punch for the mini labels that I had just bought.  Its punch rod managed to misalign itself after only a few uses in the heavy watercolor stock and I have to return it.  Its replacement seems to be fine though and I think I may try to use it for real today.  I am going to take the tags to my weaving friend and let her choose a few before I list any more.  I will be finishing the latest entryway very soon.  It has had an overlong “rest” with all of the other activity.

Mini tags

Just a short little post today for fun. When I was first working on the aceo/gift tag idea, I took some that I had made to show to my book group. All were appreciative but a woman who is a fine weaver (she has a very large loom where I would have a studio) asked if I could make some in a smaller size that she could use as a tag on her weavings.  She liked the larger ones but felt they were too large to use as a tag only. 

I said I would try, and the next time I had some down time letting a drawing rest, I cut  a few of the aceo watercolor blanks in half.  I also had a few odd pieces left from the big sheet cut down and recut them a little smaller.  These will have to have some sort of hole punched because they are definitely to be used as tags, but I find that I don’t have as much a problem with it as I did deciding on the aceo sized ones.  I think I will let her pick out some and list the rest as straight gift tags.

Mini gift tags

Why are we sometimes intimidated by our own work and afraid to ruin something we are creating?

One of the aecoe gift tags

The aceo sleeves arrived shortly after I made my last blog post.  I spent the next two days selecting which aceos I wanted to photograph and then preparing them for listing.  It is quite a project to do all of the photography and edit it for listing online, especially if there are multiple items.  I have to take several shots shots of each one to account for the light and the focusing aspect since sometimes the automatic focus on the macro lens  changes its mind between shots.  I want the pen and ink lines to be as crisp as possible and sometimes the lens is a little finicky.  I don’t want to have to redo a lot of photos  because the pen lines are blurred and I can’t always tell from the digital playback on the camera. 

I decided to prepare 10 cards in an initial run.  First I had to punch the ribbon hole in the sleeve and select an appropriate color ribbon to attach.  Then I took pictures of each one a couple of times in and out of the sleeves and ended up with 55 shots to go through.    All in all it took over a day to get it all done but I am pleased with the results.

This whole project brought to mind other thoughts concerning me and my art and the lurking aspect of the circular file.  Would I just be making something that would end up there?  After I had made the watercolor background and cut up the sheet into aceo sized cards, I felt quite intimidated by them and actually felt like I might “ruin” them by drawing on top.  Some of the cards were rather pretty on their own and I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them to their best advantage.  I actually stared at them for quite a while, working up the courage to start drawing on them.  I had to select the ones that were the least intimidating for me in terms of the color combinations and just start somewhere. 

Perhaps this feeling of intimidation goes back to those teachers that told me that realistic art and what I liked was not worthwhile – that the Old Masters had done it all already so just give it up.  If  it wasn’t abstract, it was passe and irrelevant.  I think that now if I was told those things I could slough it off more easily and move on.  In some ways I guess I am still working them out of my head.  At least now I can actually go ahead and do it, even if it takes a while to get started. 

I have started on my next picture – a lovely entryway that is about 1/3 inked.  I felt like going back to a close up drawing of a pleasing architectural feature .  Sometimes the part is as intertesting as the whole.  If I have finished the inking by Wednesday I’ll post it.  Not too many “mistakes” yet on it.

Waiting on the ACEO sleeves to come in

Not much done on the ol’ studio the last few days. We went to see Justin get an MBA honor and win a 25 km trail race last weekend, which is why this post is late. Just when we get to see him run for the first time in a while, the weather at 6:30 am is back down in the twenties. Still, a good time was had by all. He lent me some  running clothes so I had on running tights, jeans, four tops and my coat, hat, and gloves and managed to stay warm.

I went ahead and ordered the ACEO sleeves, so they should be coming any day now. When they get here I can make the determination of how to use them. I may go to the local craft store and get a fancy scrapbooking hole punch and some nice ribbon. I am thinking of marketing them in groups of one or three, just like the book marks, as frameable keepsakes. We’ll see. I’ve asked friends and family but there doesn’t seem to any consensus so I may just have to try them both ways and see what happens. I am rather anxious for the sleeves to arrive, so that I can move to the next phase.

An antique sewing machine

I have started lining out my next drawing.  I decided to work on an interesting entryway of a house.  It has good lines, unique sidelight windows and pretty landscaping.  I was in the mood for something a little different from what I have done recently on the architectural front.  It is almost drawn out and I may start inking the landscaping today.

Because I’m behind in the studio, here are a few watercolors which I painted a while ago and quite liked.

A white gable end and green shutters

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