A first go with embroidery

Embroidery is an art that I have always appreciated, always wanted to try, but just never really got in to it, until now, that is! At the start of student teaching, I was greeted by at least 100 third graders who knew all sorts of stitches and they were beyond thrilled to teach me what they knew. From their instruction, I mastered the lazy daisy, chain stitch, straight stitch, back stitch, blanket stitch, French knot, and the zig-zag stitch—a class favorite! Pretty impressive, right? Excitement is contagious because I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some embroidery floss and fabric. Isn’t it cool how inspiration can come from anyone anywhere if you’re open for it?

This is my first project. I bought a package of three plain camisoles which I felt were a manageable size for my first project, and they’ll be adorable on my four-year old! One of the hardest things about embroidery is choosing the colors—there are so many to choose from, and they’re so beautiful all together!


The stitches I used for this project are mainly the scallop, split stitch, and french knot. Before starting I sketched out the designs in pencil, which is still visible in the images, but it will wash out.

I gathered inspiration a book titled Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee Ray. This book is an excellent supplement to third-grader instruction.

17. April 2014 by schristian
Categories: art, embroidery, handmade | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Made Gifts for 2013

Each holiday I try my hardest to make time to create hand-made gifts and encourage my daughter to create gifts too. I have received a few handmade gifts through the years and they carry so much meaning. Since I just finished up my pottery class my first thought was that I’d shower everyone with pottery, and then I remembered I had done that back in 2003, and while everyone loved it, I just felt that it seemed a little bit redundant… exactly ten years later.

Some other handmade gifts I’ve created (pre-blog) are various crocheted items – a dog, art bag, and hats, pyro-doodled lazy susans, pottery, and framed paintings.

So for this year, I pyro-doodled cheese boards and my daughter painted wooden spoons, creating nice kitchen themed gifts. They were hit!


I found the cheese boards in Marshalls, they were each around $9 and in all kinds of unique shapes. When choosing, I tried to find smooth wood, with few knots and small grain to make it easier to burn into. In addition to the cheese boards I found some adorable cheese knives at Ten Thousand Villages that are shaped like mice, only $10 each, which made these pretty affordable gifts.


The spoons turned out great and everyone was totally impressed that they were hand made. While grocery shopping I wondered down the kitchenwares aisle and found sets of five bamboo spoons that were on BOGO, so I went for it, getting four sets for about $10. We used masking tape to tape off the the handle to create a nice smooth line. For the actual paint, we used water based, food-safe, indoor/outdoor craft paint that be bought at any craft store, we found ours at Michaels for about $1.50 per bottle. Once the handles were taped off, I just let my kiddo go for it and they turned out spectacular and she had a blast making them!


02. January 2014 by schristian
Categories: art, done by me, gifts, holiday, things to make | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwing Pots

Every Tuesday since sometime in August, I’ve been throwing pots. It’s a huge stress reliever and it’s one of the last classes I had to take to get my art endorsement. Since I had thrown one time previous for a semester, I had high expectations and I was slightly bummed when I didn’t get back onto the wheel as smoothly as I had hoped. Being bummed lasted only a short while and then I jumped back in. I suppose throwing pots is somewhat like a riding a bike, it’s just one of those things you don’t easily forget how to do.

IMG_5038The goal for the semester was to throw a set of four dinner plates, four bowls, a teapot, and cylinder at least six inches in height. Plates were tough, and the teapot was most definitely a challenge. I also made a few tumblers, some extra bowls, a few mugs, and some knobs.


All of my pieces survived bisk firing (whew), but not all of them survived the glaze firing as I had a few mishaps with glazing. For reasons unknown, the glaze caused my four dinner plates to crack, and my lids are sealed on tight with glaze… I had no idea they would be fired with the lids on (whoops!). Anyhow, they look nice in the pictures. My favorite pieces, that survived, are my “yum” and “eat your peas” plates. 


I chose the glazes, and they turned out completely different than what they looked like on the internet. No surprise there I guess. But I do like how they turned out. The dark green is Tourmaline, which is supposed to be more turquoise-blue. The lighter green is Art Deco Green, and it’s supposed to have little black specks, but the only specks I see are from the clay body itself. The blue is called Moody Blue and in the sample, the white specks were much whiter and the blue was more vivid, but it’s still pretty. The Matt White is the exception and turned out exactly how it was described.


And that’s that. A semester worth of work right there, and hopefully an A despite my mishaps with the lids and glazing. Fingers crossed!

19. December 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, back to school, ceramics, done by me, throwing pots | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lets Eat! Black-Eyed Pea Salad


Another scrumptious no-cook recipe here, and this one is even less hands-in than the Peanut Butter Balls, yippi!

Here’s the break down:

1 can Black-Eyed Peas, drained and rinsed

2 cloves of garlic, diced

1 avocado, sliced in cubes

1 red bell pepper, diced

Red wine vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper

Put the drained and rinsed black-eyed peas in a medium sized bowl, then add the garlic, avocado, and red bell pepper. Sprinkle on some red wine vinegar and olive oil, just enough to coat the ingredients. And last, add some sea salt and cracked pepper for taste.

Enjoy alone or with your favorite tortilla chips. Yum!

14. November 2013 by schristian
Categories: Recipes, salads | Leave a comment

A Collaborative House Portrait

We have lived in a lot of homes—one apartment, one townhouse, and seven houses—whoa! Sometimes we like to sit around and see if we can remember all the addresses of the tops off our heads which is fun because then it stirs up fun memories specific to each home. We’re going on two years in our current house, and I thought it would be fun to draw a portrait of it because I’m sure it won’t be too much longer before move on, again. Our home is a classic colonial style built in the mid-1980s and there really isn’t anything too exciting about the exterior. So with that, I decided to employ my youngest kiddo’s artistic expertise for the project. I did a really light, simple pencil sketch of the front elevation, and then had her paint it with the Kid Made Modern palette of watercolors. Once she was done with her masterpiece, I sketched over my very light pencil sketch with a black Sharpie Pen.

house-portrait collage

It turned out really awesome, in my opinion, and is begging for a frame! I love how this one turned out so much that I’m thinking about going back and doing some of our previous homes the same way.

17. October 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, watercolor | Leave a comment

Lets Eat! Peanut Butter Balls

PeanutButterBallsThese little delights are so easy to whip up, and so yummy to eat up! They don’t need to be cooked, and they’re healthy—can it get any better than that?!

Here’s the break down.

1 c peanut butter

1 c powdered milk (There are even Vegan options if you order ahead on Amazon)

1 c honey (local is best!)

1 tsp vanilla

1 bag of shredded cocoanut

Combine peanut butter, powdered milk, honey, and vanilla. Mix well!  Once mixed, it should be kind of sticky, but shapeable. Pour some shredded cocoanut into a clean bowl. Pull about a tablespoon of the mixture out and roll in your hands to shape it into a ball. Drop the ball into the shredded cocoanut and gently roll it around to fully cover it. Place it on a plate and repeat. Once the mixture is all rolled up, cover the peanut butter balls and place them in the refrigerator for about two hours (if you can wait that long!) or until they firm up a bit. Then, enjoy!


15. October 2013 by schristian
Categories: Recipes, Sweet Stuff | Leave a comment

paint the town

The header was begging for a little something extra, so I decided to paint the town.


Generally, I don’t use pretty tape to hold my paper down, just some regular masking tape. But I since I’m not the only artist in the house, my supplies sometimes get used up before I know it. So, pretty tape it is!


I wanted to leave the background white since my plan was to use it as a header, so I started with the next biggest areas. I stuck with a very basic color scheme to keep it simple.

IMG_4897And, there you have it!

02. October 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, illustrations, watercolor | Leave a comment

Visiting the VMFA

I did something completely new, seriously, something I’ve never even tried before; I visited a museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. All by my self. No kids in tow. No husband. No one, just me, well, and the other people who chose to visit that day, but I wasn’t responsible for them having a good time. Sure, it was for a homework assignment, but I still did it, so there.

I’m taking an art history course online at a local community college, also something I’ve never done before. There are a series of assignments due for the course and they all revolve around a single piece of art that I had to select. There were many contenders.

Like this one.


And this one.


Oh, and this one, which is cool because the artist gives tribute to Richard Diebenkorn (the artist who painted Ocean Park above) via the stucco. Can you see it?


And this one. The big red ugly dumpster is sort of an elephant in the scene isn’t it? So big ugly and intrusive, yet no one will even acknowledge it’s presents. Interesting.


But the one I loved the absolute most was this beauty.


Isn’t it lovely? I certainly think so. The woman has a story to tell, and even though this painting was done in the early 1900s there something very relevant about it. Those assignments are going to be fun!


06. September 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, back to school, blog | Leave a comment



This is a self portrait, and I have not done one of these in ages! As part of one of my current classes I had to do a two-day practicum in a visual arts classroom. One of the teachers I spent time with had assigned her students the task of painting self portraits; however, she kept mentioning how she had NEVER done one and never would. I am not sure of the reasoning behind that decision, but her comments made me wonder when the last time I had done one and recall how difficult it was to paint what I saw rather than what I thought I knew. Sort of like the Dove Real Beauty Project.

I sketched my portrait from a photograph and then left it taped and unpainted for nearly a month. Finally, I got the courage to paint it, and I’m pleased with the outcome. It certainly is not as realistic as my last attempt at a self portrait was (I wish I had that example to share… or maybe not?), but I think this sort of impressionist version captures my essence well.

PS. Those lovely brushes and paints were my Grandaddy Bob’s, he picked up painting when he was in his 70s, and I’m pretty sure they’re one of the most special gifts I have ever gotten.


26. June 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, blog, watercolor | Leave a comment

Red Couch


Comfy red couch with an elephant ear. Watercolor.

5in x 7in


28. January 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, illustrations, watercolor | Leave a comment

Watercolor on Canvas

Painting on canvas has some advantages, such as, no framing, when the painting is done, it’s ready to hang! However, acrylic and oil painting are not strong areas for me, so I wanted to find a way to paint with watercolors on canvas. It turns out I’m not the only one who has had the desire to try this. A quick search revealed a product by Golden called Absorbent Ground that can be applied to canvas that creates a more, well, absorbent surface for the watercolors. I quickly purchased this miracle stuff along with some Gesso.

prairie flowers on canvas

I followed the instructions on the container and was pretty successful. As I painted, it was clear which areas I went heavier with the absorbent ground and which areas I skimped on because the heavier areas sucked up the watercolors like good ol’ watercolor paper and pooled slightly in the skimped areas. Needless to say, if you don’t want the “rainy day” look, make sure the absorbent ground is applied evenly!

The flowers in this painting were directly inspired by Prairie Flowers, overall the design transferred well to canvas.

24in x 18in



19. January 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, illustrations, watercolor | Leave a comment

Prairie Flowers

prairie flowers

prairie flowers

These prairie flowers were inspired by my oldest daughter who suggested I paint a Prairie Dog for her. Since the paintings were small I decided to do two so they didn’t look lonely hanging on the wall. These are flowers I imagine prairie dogs love to sniff out on the prairie.

5in x 7in

08. January 2013 by schristian
Categories: art, portfolio, watercolor | Leave a comment

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