Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Handmade With Lots of LOVE

Who loves receiving handmade gifts?  In this day and age, it seems that getting a handmade gift is a rare event but I think the effort spent speaks volumes.

As long as I can really remember, I have loved making homemade gifts for people.  As I child I loved to embroidery and would make dishtowels and pillows and now these days I pick up a pencils or paintbrushes over sewing needles.  I would paint my own stationary designs and make my own clothing.  I'm blessed that I learned to sew and that I could draw and paint.  It sure made gift giving easier and less expensive over the years.

Today, I am invited to a dear friends retirement party.  She has spent almost 20 years serving the community on our local police force.  I know she has looked forward to this day for a long time and I'm sure her family will rest a bit easier knowing she is no longer out there in harms way.  I so appreciate her service and I know that in the past few years it has become increasingly difficult to work in the law enforcement profession. I can't imagine the stress involved to put on that uniform each day.   Now she can just focus on her family, her faith, some gardening and maybe she and I can even plan a little road trip.

I decided I was going to put my newly learned Photoshop skills to the test and create her a retirement card from my artwork.  I decided this bee and daisy sketch would be perfect.  I added some digital paper for the background border and then added text.  Maybe I could have thought of something more clever to write but this is what I came up with in the small space afforded me.

Now, I also decided that I would paint her a cowbell.  I know maybe she isn't into cowbells or mice but I'll just have to take my chances with that I guess.   I decided to paint a little mouse climbing a dandelion stem headed upward towards the prize.  It makes me think of this scripture in Philippians 3:14 "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

As a child, I remember being told to make a wish just before I blew as hard as I could to send each little feathery seed pod off in the wind.  Reaching retirement is like having those wishes come true.  I pray she will be blessed in this new phase of her life and I really hope she likes her cowbell.

I would LOVE to hear from you if you have recently used your skills to make a handmade gift.  If you send me a picture and the details I might feature it here on my blog and Facebook page.  Just send me a message and let me know about it.

You can check out more of my artwork on my website at JulieTownsendStudio.com

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hanging around for years

I LOVE ANYTHING THAT IS OLD.  I always have.  Even as a small child I would walk around the very old parts of the cemetery just to look at all the old grave stones.  So naturally I would want to decorate my home with old pieces collected here and there.  I guess you would call that decorating in either Rustic, Primitive or Country.  
It may have been as long as 15 years ago I noticed a listing on Ebay for these two E. W. Townsend Sons catalogs dated 1935 & 1938.  The oldest catalog is actually just in black and white and I purchased it first.  When I saw the 1938 catalog with it's juicy red strawberries and bright green stems I knew I had to have that one also.  Since my last name is Townsend and I love the red and green color theme in my kitchen and dining room, I decided to buy them and have them matted and framed.  They have been hanging in my dining room ever since.  I'm hoping they will be something that I can pass on to my grandchildren since I have plenty of them that also share that name.

Another item, among many that hang on the wall is my Nevada Ghost Town Map.  I bought this map, if my memory serves me correctly in the old ghost town of Johnnie.  Since Brad and I absolutely love exploring the desert, this map was perfect.  I have always had a bucket list goal of visiting every ghost town in Nevada.  There are a LOT of ghost towns in Nevada and so this is a really large map.  I acquired this really large poster frame that the map would fit in and I knew I wanted to display it.  Many may disagree, but I decided to lightly burn the edges of the map to make it appear older and give it some interest.  I have it attached on top of a piece of black matte board rather than behind it.  I feel it helps identify the fact that it is a map and the burnt edges gives it character and interest.  After all these years, I still LOVE it!

Here are just a few of my favorite Ghost Town Photos we have taken over the years while exploring Nevada and the neighboring states.  You don't have to go to a museum here in Nevada because there are little bits of history just lying around all over the place.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Step Away from the Green Sponge Paint

I've Been Dreaming of the Perfect Bathtub
I am really disappointed in the fact that I haven't written a creative blog for sometime.  When I started this blog I had made a commitment to myself to post here at a minimum of once a week.  A month has passed and here I am silent as a church mouse.  

It isn't because I haven't been creative during the time.  On the contrary, there has hardly a day gone by that I'm not creating some sort of art or learning Photoshop or thinking about marketing my art.  I have another blog for that activity.  No, this blog was to motivate me to step up my game here in my home and with my family.  

I've never been much of a craft person, but I do absolutely love country, rustic or primitive decorating.  That can be a challenge when you live in a large urban area and there no agriculture around.   Thankfully, we do have a Hobby Lobby now and they have plenty of adorable decorations to add to my collection.  

This past fall, the last child at home flew the coup.  With that event, comes the pressure to finally tackle those really big projects that having children in the home discourage.  So Brad and I made the decision to begin remodeling our main bathroom.  I should clarify this and say Brad was more like a hostage to my zeal to finally in my life have that amazing, as deep as I can get bathtub I have always dreamed of, the bronze fixtures, granite counter top and beautiful travertine walls and floor.

Tearing out the one piece tub
We took it down to the 2 x 4 studs, ripped out plumbing and tile.  Pretty much every square inch will be impacted and nothing there will be remaining.  As the old saying goes, "No PAIN, No GAIN!"  This mantra expresses perfectly the remodeling process as well as an effective exercise routine.

Even mopping the rest of the house seems like an effort in futility so to say I've been on the top of my game creative wise would not be true.  I've just been struggling with keeping the chaos organized and the drama to a minimum.  I FAILED!

Paint Swatches on Green Sponge Paint
We are now approaching the stage of remodeling project where I can begin to think about being creative.  I'm considering the paint colors and the accessories and little touches that will make this area pop with my personality.  I am SO ready to be rid of this 90's green sponge paint.  How did I ever think that was a good idea.  

New Travertine Shower
I've been in love with Teal and Brown for quite sometime now and I really want to make that the color theme.  The bathroom is really small so I'm planning on only painting one accent wall with the largest color sample.  The rest of the walls will be painting with a nice neutral beige to tone down all that browns of the stone floor and vanity top.  

Granite for the vanity top
I know that this particular color scheme just screams out Ocean or Beach decorations, but I'm not letting that hinder me here.  I'm thinking more in the line of flower gardens,  birds, nests with eggs and feathers.  I've already started gathering ideas for creating my own artwork to decorate with and will be blogging about this whole process so please consider following me as I attempt to transform this overused and worn out bathroom into a place that I can truly enjoy.  I had better start stocking up on bubble bath and candles.

Here are some small bird paintings I have done in the past and might try to either recreate or utilize them along with some purchased decorations.  As you can see two of them are on cowbells but I could repaint them on small canvases.  The center artwork is a colored pencil drawing I did last year.