Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Carrots Hanging in the Wind

So with my last blog I had written about how I had come across what I thought was a really cute idea for an Easter decoration.  It was so cute  that I decided I was going to try for myself.  
Several weeks ago I had purchased this very large rabbit from a Ross Dress for Less Store to use as part of my entryway spring display.  A can of Kono Brown  Glossy spray paint was all that was needed to him transformed him into the largest chocolate bunny I've ever seen.  He REALLY looks like he made of solid chocolate now.  This was so simple and yet so adorable, I decided to spray paint a couple of wooden eggs I had stowed away in the studio and give them a simple painted design.  
I then got the creative idea that I needed to add a few carrots to complete my decorations.  I looked around at Michaels and Walmart and not a fake vegetable on the shelf to be found.  I decided would take matters into my own hands and get MESSY with some paper mache!  
I gathered up all the necessary supplies for my project: 
Sticks from my tree in my front yard 
Tin Foil
Floral tape
The four sticks I had gathered had to be broken down into the correct size.  I wanted fairly large carrots so I tried to keep the straightest portions and yet it really didn't have to be perfect.  Using the floral tape I attached 2 or 3 frowns of greenery to each of the 4 sticks.
Sizing up my sticks and greenery
The next step was to take the tin foil and shape it around the stick in a form of a carrot.  Wider at the top tapering down to a slimmer pointed end.
When I had all four carrots shaped out of the tin foil I then turned my attention to mixing the flour and water paste.  It has probably been since Mr. Drinkard's Jr. High art class that I have used paper mache.  I have a memory of making masks or animals or something but that was MANY years ago. 
 I first tried one cup flour and one cup of water but that seemed much too think.  I ended up with 1 1/2 cups water to get the consistency that I remembered. I cut my paper into thin strips and then plunged into the really messy part.  The strips of paper must be well coated with the flour paste.  I used my fingers to pull the extra paste off before I then applied the sticky paper to my tin foil carrot.  Working from top to bottom trying to make sure each piece of paper is well attached.
When I managed to get all 4 carrots finished I then took them outside and hung them up in my tree to dry.  
The following day I decided that another coat of paper mache was necessary and so I repeated the process for each carrot.  I probably could have added several more coats to smooth out some of the more bumpy areas but I was getting pretty tired of all the mess I was making in my kitchen.  Two layers was going to have to be sufficient.
The final step was to paint them with orange paint and apply a coat of spray varnish. 
As usually you can see that I have been a rather busy artist this week.  I gathered up a number of items that all needed a coat of varnish applied.  This actually included 3 cowbells and 2 small cow paintings that I didn't remember about until after I had taken this picture.
Here you can see my carrots hanging out to dry for the last time.  The varnish really takes very little time to dry but because they were wet all over, hanging was really the best drying option.
All in all I like my end results and am happy that I decided to take the time to make my own decorations.  Even though the photo is just a little bit dark here you can see just how lovely all the pieces go together.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

DYI Faux Chocolate Bunnies

 I found such a cute and easy idea today that I just felt compelled to share it with you.  Now I wish I could say that I had thought of this on my own but I must give credit to the very creative woman who shared these photos of her creation.  

Photo by Violet Lively
Violet Lively, Owner of Ranch Bar-B Rustics, LLC in Delores, Colorado shared this amazing Easter decorating idea on Facebook today and I just have to give it a try. Violet writes, "Easy DYI faux chocolate bunnies!  Dollar store Easter decor or thrift store finds and brown gloss spray paint!"  Don't they look amazing?  
Photo by Violet Lively

I'm sending Brad out here pretty soon to buy me a can of gloss brown spray paint so I can give this giant bunny a yummy looking coat.  I bought this bunny at Ross last month to add to my spring display but giving him into faux chocolate exterior will surely get the attention of my grandchildren!

I can see him now in a large basket surrounded by fake carrots.   I really am not a fan of shopping but I did look for carrots at Michaels this week but only found fake fruit.  So since I haven't found faux carrots, I guess I will just have to make my own this week out of paper mache.  Getting a little messy will hopefully prove to be more fun anyway.

Give me a couple days and I will hopefully be able to show you my beautiful creations as I endeavor to "Embrace My Creative Side".  I would love to hear from you if you try this idea for your self.  Send me your pictures and I will share them on my Facebook Page.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Creativity Doing It's Part to Keep the Universe Safe

What a great idea my young friend posted today on Facebook.   I love this and thought I would share this creative idea with you.  She found this idea on Pinterest of course and decided to do some spring cleaning in her son's room.  

These super hero toys can be really important to some kids and with this handy idea they can keep track of them at a glance. They can make sure that all their crime fighters are accounted for. This just may will help keep forces of evil in check and the universe a safer place to live!

 Of course was many years ago,  but my three boys loved their little action army figures.  They were their favorite toys.  Each little soldier was all about 3 inches long and their arms and legs moved.  They were just nameless soldiers and heroes that had the task to teach some little boys how to grow up to be brave men.

Now there are so many superhero figures with amazing super powers that I can't even begin to know all their names.  Of course I haven't really paid attention to the current movies so besides Superman and Batman my knowledge of superheroes is pretty limited.  My 4 year old grandson sure knows them all and these toys are important to them.  He seems to have a complete collection of both the smaller versions and the super sized 12" rendition. 

This back of the door shoe organizer idea really struck me as a great idea for a boys room.  Not only are the action figures up off the floor and no longer posing a tripping hazard but it is teaching organization skills at a young age.  

I should clarify that it is not just boys who appreciate a good superhero.  I did buy my 4 year old granddaughter a couple of the 12" crime fighters and a set of superhero capes for Christmas.  She like Batman the best I'm told.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Feels Like Summer Outside but it's Spring Just Inside My Door

I would really like to know where spring has gone.  With temperatures in Las Vegas well into the 90's it feels much more like May than March.  Then if you add in the factors of recovery from the 1000 mile road trip to Reno topped with the springing a head of daylight savings time, you can see why this week has been pretty much a blur.   

Before our trek across the vast emptiness of the Nevada desert, I had finalized my spring decoration in my foyer area.  I was happy with everything EXCEPT the table runner.  I just couldn't find one that jumped out at me so I opted for a plain ivory lace runner that I found at Hobby Lobby.  I think it was about $6 (1/2 off sale).  Not bad but it really wasn't what I had in mind.  

While I was in Reno, I spent a little time walking around the Ross Store near our hotel.  As I was almost finished shopping, I ran across a picked over display near the front of the store.  This cute little chick appliqued on a set of two cotton dishtowel caught my eye.  Embellished with pastel colored ric-rac and at only $3.99 I couldn't resist.  I knew I had found my perfect spring table runner.

Today I finally got a chance to put the towels together.  A needle and white thread were all I needed to add some quick basting stitches so that the towel ends lined up and would stay in place under my sewing machine needle.  I started with a stitch at both ends to make sure they lined up perfectly and then I worked my way to the center.  I think it only took about 8 stitches and I was ready to get my ZIG ZAG on.  

Since I wanted the runner to lay flat it was important to stitch them together rather than overlapping and then having a thick seam running down the middle.  

Here is my finished table runner and I couldn't have asked for a better fit.  This antique buffet was a trash treasure that my husband found about 2 years ago.  I had wanted a high narrow table to fit behind our front door in our foyer and this piece was just perfect.   

And finally, here is my completed display down to the malted robin's eggs in my antique Red Wing spongeware mixing bowl.  How could something so easy make me smile so big?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Watching Carrots Grow

I thought I would share a poem with you that I wrote this month before the Easter season.  I call it "Watching Carrots Grow" and since I have several pieces that actually feature carrots I thought it was appropriate to let them serve as the illustration.

This first sketch is actually titled "Watching Carrots Grow" and you will have to use your imagination like I did here to actually believe that a rabbit wouldn't have already eaten every visible part of that carrot.  As you know, Rabbits are like eating machines.

The second sketch I have here is a long time favorite of mine.  I just love the contrast between the monochrome rabbit and the colorful carrots.  I call this one "Don't Forget Your Vegetables".

 The last piece is actually a pretty large painting that I did as part of the Down Country Road series.  I used my adorable grandson, Noah to pose for my little boy with a basket full of carrots.  I call this piece "Fence Post Rendezvous".  You can see by looking at the picture that these two young ones have taken a detour from the garden for the purpose of feeding the horse some fresh picked carrots.  I'm sure the horse is in for a real treat.

I hope you enjoy my artwork and my poem.  Drop me a message and let me know.  If you want to see more of my artwork, please visit my website at

Julie Townsend

Waiting and watching for Carrots to grow
Have you ever seen anything so painfully slow?
From the time in the spring when you place the seeds in soil
And don’t you forget to water, weed, sweat and toil

Then you jump for joy when you see that first bright leafy green
Looking like a plate decoration for some fancy cuisine
Remember with carrots the important part is growing out of sight
Deep in the ground without a single spot of light

For it’s the roots of the carrot that cause your lips to smack
Their crunchy sweetness is always a favorite snack
Patience is a virtue many will say
And you better have plenty because it takes many a day

Remember the saying “Good things come to those who wait”
Waiting you must do before that orange goodness is on your plate
There is an important lesson that you should take heed
Plant these words deep in your heart to grow just like a weed

I’ve read in the Bible that we should “fix our eyes on things unseen”
It’s not the outward appearance that makes you selfish and mean
But just like carrots that grow underground and out of our sight
It’s those invisible qualities of Love, Joy and Peace that makes you shine bright

And let’s not forget to save plenty of room
Because there is nothing so sweet when Kindness and Patience are in full bloom
Stand strong and guard the garden of your heart

The reward of that harvest will give your life a good start.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Cute as a BUTTON!

This rabbit is just the start of my spring decorations

Spring is here and it is most definitely time to box up and retire all the pink and red of Valentines Day decorations and look to bright and pastels to warm up that chill that is still hangs in the air.  This weekend I bought a large plaster rabbit and some realistic green apples with the idea of coming up with my spring decorations.  I have a bird's nest and some eggs and of course I'm thinking those yummy "Robin Eggs" malted candy will be perfect for my candy dish.  As I get going I will be blogging more about my spring decorating attempts.

I started today looking for some cute ideas that I could make with the grandchildren and came across several images that grabbed my attention.

My Grandma's Button Collection

BUTTONS have always held a special fascination to me.  I can remember stringing buttons of all sizes, shapes and colors together with my grandmother to make pretty bracelets for ourselves.  As a matter of fact, I inherited her button collection and I store them in an antique ball canning jar and have them displayed on my bookshelf.

Here I have taken a picture of my button jar sitting on the old ice cream parlor chair that was in my grandmother's house from my earliest childhood memories.  This little chair has to be nearly 100 years old.  If I recall, she kept her buttons in a can or a box but I love how they look in this old glass jar.  So many colors and shapes.  Many of them are plan white or grey and I'm sure she got them off my grandfather's work shirts but there are many that appear to be very old and are quite fancy.

I loved these flowers made entirely from buttons. Just a glue gun and plenty of colorful buttons are all you really need.  I would put them on stems of green floral wire so that you could attach them or display them in a bouquet.  This should prove to be a fun activity for the older grandchildren.  You can then attach them to make hair accessories, front door wreath or add to a hanging garden decoration.

I really like this second picture where they have used old shakers to display such a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers.  I would love to have this to display on my entry foyer antique buffet table.

This is as CUTE AS A BUTTON!

This one is probably my favorite.  Such a simply project but it just makes me so happy to look at it.  I can't wait to come up with a way to display these cute stitched button flowers.  Wouldn't it be so cute have different shades of blue buttons to make an arrangement of "bachelor button" flowers?

Believe me I have already added some packages of colorful buttons to my Amazon shopping cart and I can't wait to get started on all these spring flowers!  I will be blogging more about my progress as we say goodbye to February and warmly EMBRACE March.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Free Valentine Gift to You

I've been pretty busy this past week working on a number of drawings to incorporate as Valentine Day cards.  I've managed to create 5 separate designs that I feel pretty pleased with.

Surrounding myself with all this pink and red has brought back some very old memories of my own childhood and I wondered just how many of you remember being sent home with the dreaded "CLASS LIST" of names and pressure to create your own unique Valentine Box that had to serve both as a card receptacle and a juried art piece on the day of the highly anticipated "Valentine Day Party."  Using only materials around the house, which mainly consisted of magazine clippings, construction paper and of course an old shoe box. Oh the stress that was put on kids in those days.  I mean do they still do "Valentine Boxes" in school?  I doubt not.  It has been phased out right along with cursive writing and math that makes sense.

There were always a couple of kids on the list that you just didn't want to give a card to but your mother insisted that you must.  I know I was guilty of sorting out the cards into piles; the cute cards in one pile for kids I liked or wanted to be friends with and then the not so pretty cards in a pile for those kids I didn't so much care for.  My friends might get two candied hearts and the rest would only get one in their envelope. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Then on the day of the party, there would be awards given to the best decorated box.  I guess because I already had the artist gene in my DNA, for me this was a serious competition.  Even at a young age I wasn't playing around with my Valentine Box.  I don't really recall off hand if I ever won any awards but I always gave it my best.

If only there had been Pinterest back in the stone ages of the 60's & 70's.  That would have been a game changer I'm sure.  So much creativity and awesome ideas just a few clicks of a keyboard away. I just typed in Valentine Card Shoe Box ideas and all I can say is "WOW".  I don't remember any of our boxes looking like those.

Now that I have strolled through memory lane, I guess it is time to return to 2017 and my studio.  Here is just a stack of cards I managed to put together just the other day.  I want to have a good supply for the different galleries that I have my art represented in.  I also made a number of the designs into 4 x 6 art magnets with they hope that they too will be a popular item for sale.  We shall see.

I ran a really fun contest this past week on my own personal Facebook page just to see which of the 5 designs would get the most votes.  I announced that I was planning on making a free Valentine gift of the most popular design as a printable download on my blog.  I was very happy with the number of friends that actually participated.  The design that I thought would win was that of the pig but to my pleasant surprise, the "Puppy Love" design got the most votes.  This is actually a drawing I did of my granddaughter and her giant doberman Odin.  So I was equally pleased that was the design that won.

So here is my Valentine Gift to You- My original artwork in a Downloadable format.  I just ask that you drop me a thank you comment if you decided to print it out.  I would love to hear from you.

A Free Printable Valentine Postcard