The Artist Community April Challenge Update

I can’t believe how excited I was to see each new submission for the Red Panda Challenge. I have been watching for new submissions to come up in my subscriptions, as well as in the reddit group and on Instagram.

All of the pieces are so varied, in style and medium. I hope you will click on the link below to watch some of the videos of these brilliant artists. (You may have to click on the YouTube logo to go to the playlist. I’m still not sure how this embedding works.)

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DIY Fairy Garden

Finally!! I’m so excited. I’ve wanted to build my own fairy garden every since the first time I ever saw one. It’s so me! I put one together yesterday. I used a plant saucer and flower pot from Home Depot. I had some rocks and figures from Dollar Tree. Then I collected moss from my own yard. It turned out so pretty. I love it.

Step one was to drill some holes in the bottom of my plant saucer. I added small rocks into the bottom of the saucer to keep it weighed down and to provide drainage. Then I filled the saucer up with potting soil.

I visited a couple of places around the yard to dig up a few different kinds of mosses. After watering the potting soil, I laid the moss out on top of it, attempting to get good surface area connection between the moss and the dirt so the moss can develop roots and grow there.

After that, I broke the flower pot and used part of it for a structure. I added a few black rocks, my plastic figures, and some fallen branches to create a forest floor looking scene.

Watch this video below to see how it turned out. You’re gonna love it!

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#ArtistCommunity April Challenge – The Red Panda

Kat Skinner of the #ArtistCommunity group on reddit issued the April Artist Challenge to create a work of art featuring the Red Panda. These little creatures are classified as endangered. If you’d like to learn more about them, read this National Geographic Article.

If you’d like to participate in this challenge, you can submit images to Instagram with the hashtag #ArtistCommunity. And let us know. We’d love to see it!

Here’s my submission for the Red Panda Challenge!

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Acrylic Painting Van Gogh Style Challenge

Vincent Van Gogh is one of those artists whose work is immediately recognized by so many. His bold use of bright colors, thick paint, and visible brush strokes are some of the hallmarks of his style. Van Gogh’s birthday was a few days ago. And in honor of that, some fellow artists started a Van Gogh style challenge on YouTube and in our reddit and Instagram communities.

In fact, I’m a few days late getting my challenge done, due to an injury, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me because it sounded like a lot of fun. And it really was! It didn’t take me long to envision this cute little owl sitting on a branch with the bright moon behind him. I was inspired by the full moon we had a couple of days ago and the mysterious owl I hear calling some nights when I’m out walking the dog in the wee hours.

This piece is acrylic painted on 11×14″ stretched canvas. I just love owls and I’m really happy with how this one turned out. I think it looks sweet and … every so slightly reminiscent of the style of Vincent Van Gogh.

Watch the time lapse video below to see my painting.

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New Sketch Book

I finally got myself a new sketch book. The last one I had was full. I can’t believe I used all of the pages. WOW! I got one a big bigger this time. I’m not sure why I was drawn to the bigger pages. It doesn’t lend itself to traveling. So, maybe I’ll have to get another smaller one to carry around with me.

I was looking around at and found a photograph of a tufted titmouse that looked like it needed sketching. I really loves those sweet little birds. I’ve only seen them around the house a little bit. But they are so precious and fun to watch.

I’m still not thrilled with my camera’s video performance. It’s not meant to be a video device, after all. But I do wish it would stay in focus better. In any case, you can watch the video below to see my first drawing in my new sketch book. Enjoy.

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Acrylic Pour in Red, White, and Blue

Well, it doesn’t seem like the time of year for patriotic paintings, but I feel like I got one! This pretty red, white & blue acrylic dirty pour painting. This painting was done with acrylic paint mixed with Elmer’s glue, water, and just a little silicone spray.

Interestingly, there are seven different colors in the painting including blue, brown, red, yellow, bold, black & white. But by the mysterious forces of physics, it was the red, white, and blue worked it’s way to the surface.

I got some interesting cells and swirls I like. There are a couple of cells that look like deep holes. It’s fascinating. I love learning how the colors work. I’ve realized that white can really take over. My guess is that it’s based on the weight of the paint, but I’m not certain.

Watch this video to see how it all came together.

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Giant Fabric Haul WOW

A few days ago, I got a message from my mom saying she had found more fabric in her storage and wanted me to get it. She wasn’t feeling up to company, so my older son ended up bringing me a 30 gallon trash bag full of it. He said there’s a lot more. The container where the fabric was stored wouldn’t fit into their car. So I have to get it in stages.

It was about two days after that when I finally had some time to open up the bag and sort through it. It took me over twenty minutes to go through it all! It’s a lot of fabric, and very heavy.

There were some items that I recognized from when I was a teenager. One piece was still marked with the sales receipt from 1990. Talk about a blast from the past. There was another piece of fabric, printed with the night sky, that I bought about 15 years ago when I was pregnant with my younger son. I used the fabric to make a mattress cover, so it’s a very big piece. It was so sweet to see it again. I’m glad my mom kept it for us.

Watch this video to see all the other amazing fabric I got.

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New Soap Cutter

I finally got a soap cutter! Yay! My dad made this one for me. My days of making silly looking, lop sides bars of soap are over (I hope)!

Dad made this cutter out of some three quarter inch plywood. It’s very sturdy. I stood around the giant wall of screws at Home Depot for about half an hour, sending Dad pictures of the different things they had, until we settled on an assortment of drywall screws. They worked fine. There’s a split in the box one inch from the stop, so my soap will be one inch thick. And it will be straight, thank goodness!

The screws situation became almost comical. I first stopped by an Ace Hardware store that is much closer to my house than Home Depot, but it’s also much smaller. I talked to a helpful man working at Ace while we looked for screws. I was waiting on my dad to respond to a picture I’d sent him of the 1.5″ wood screws that were available. Dad said the shoulders were too big.

So, while I waited, I told the man, “These are for my daddy. You know what daddies are like.”

He laughed and agreed saying he was a daddy himself.

I never did find the exact screws I was looking for, but i found some that are good enough.

Watch this video to see how my soap cutter worked out for me!

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Adult Coloring with Oil Pastels

I’ve been at those adult coloring books again. Hm. Every time I type that “adult coloring book” I think I should look up a new term for it, because it always sounds a little bit scandalous. Come on–I can’t be the only one who thinks that. Still… that’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what it’s called.

This time I’m in a new book I got at a fabric store that was having a going out of business sale. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some oil pastels from Walmart. It’s been a long, LONG time since I used those. Thirty years or more. But the one time I got to try them, I liked them. So when I saw a set of them for just a few bucks, I jumped on them. While looking for some oil pastel projects to do, I came across a YouTuber, Paint with Nathalie who was using them for adult coloring. I decided that was the perfect first project.

I chose a landscape image with some mountains in the background, a stream, an old tree, and a bench in the foreground. I really love the brilliant colors that the oil pastels produce. Plus, the pastels are a lot easier on my hands than the gel pens, and even the color pencils are. The picture turned out really pretty.

Have a look at the video below to see how it turned out!

Daler Rowney Simply 25 Oil Pastels

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Make Your Own Lemon Salt

I love seasoning chicken and seafood with lemon! Have you ever tried it? We eat chicken fairly often and stuffing a few lemon slices under the skin before roasting it is my favorite way of cooking it! YUM! Oh, man, that is some good chicken.

I had a couple of lemons I needed to use up and decided it was time to make lemon salt, which I’ve wanted to try for a while. I started by using a lemon zester to remove most of the zest from the lemons. It came off in little strings. Then I mixed the lemon zest with the remains of a box of sea salt I had on hand.

After the lemons were zested, I sliced them, pith and all, and put the slices in a jar. I then covered them with apple cider vinegar. I’ll dilute this solution to use as a hair rinse.

The lemon zest and salt mixture went into a 170F degree oven for a couple of hours. After it was dried, I stored it in a small jar. I’ve already used it to make roasted chicken twice. It’s SO GOOD.

Check out this video so you can see how I made it!

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