Stress and Buying Time to Create Art

This summer has been a crazy mix of excitement and hoops to jump through. All four of us are heading off to different schools this fall; my youngest is starting kindergarten, my oldest is starting middle school, I’m heading to high school to be a photography and art teacher, and my husband is coaching at a different high school. With all the excitement and figuring out logistics like what to do with the girls after school, getting school shopping done, planning my curriculum and developing first day documents like a syllabus, classroom rules and policies, deciding how to decorate my room, etc, I have been swamped and completely ignored my need to create art.

At some point last week I decided I couldn’t put it off any more, and plus, I attended the RAW Artist exhibit and got super inspired. So, I bought some time to create my own art by helping my girls make play-dough which I knew would kept them busy for hours! Win!

So, as I sat there in my favorite spot at the kitchen table where I tend to always sit to do work because my office was taken over by my young artists, I noticed how gorgeous the light was streaming into my kitchen through the window over the sink and the skylights above. My kitchen is simple. It has white cabinets, builder-grade ceramic tile, a white ceramic sink, white fridge and matching white dishwasher and stove. Simple. But that’s okay with me because when the light streams in it looks like crisp and happy and that is what I decided to paint.

I didn’t take any progress pictures because time is precious, and I knew the play-dough time I bought wouldn’t last forever, so without further ado, here’s my kitchen in the afternoon sun painted with watercolor on watercolor paper.


This is how it fits in with the rest of the kitchen, and please excuse the iPhone pictures 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset



18. August 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, back to school, illustrations, watercolor | Leave a comment

Creating with a Limited Palette

The challenge of a limited color palette, ever tried it? Entire picture books were once printed with a limited palette of one or two spot colors and black. To me, that is amazing! Feeling inspired, I gave it a shot. I was feeling beachy, longing for sun filled days with my toes in the sand and was drawn to a rich orangey-red, warm yellow, and green-blue that reminded me of the ocean, and black.


I tried to think of all-things beach, sail boats, sunshine, sun bathing, waves, sand to come up with a line of illustrations.


I am in love with the outcome, and will probably create some more. I think they’re begging to be printed on greeting cards and post cards.



28. April 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, illustrations, watercolor | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lunch Notes

Last week’s lunch notes, one for each day, yea! It was a gorgeous week, but tough getting back in the swing of things after an amazing spring break.


Memories from this week are dreaming of spring break in a hammock, picture day, states test, and awards assembly for getting Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance, and the B.U.G. Award (!!!!), and dreaming of heading to the beach.



23. April 2015 by schristian
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lunch Notes

Four lunch notes from the week before spring break, which happened to be Spirit Week with field day on Friday. We totally spaced on Monday, no note, and I think it was tie-dye day, which we also missed. It was an absolutely gorgeous week for an early field day with bright sun and warm air. Ahhhhh, how I love the Spring!

IMG_5268Memories from the week are: Character day featuring Fern and Wilber, Crazy Hat Day, Mismatch day, and then Field Day.



16. April 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, done by me, lunch notes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lunch Notes

Lunch notes from last week. So excited to see Spring! Totally enjoying the warm(er) sunny days and the sometimes rainy mornings.


Memories from this week: Reminiscing about the warm weekend and playing outside, jumping jacks in PE, standing in the rain at the bus stop, wearing crazy pants, waking up to bright warm sun.



02. April 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, blog, illustrations, lunch notes | Tags: , | Leave a comment

You’re Beautiful Just the Way You Are

Remember in elementary school how fun it was to write backwards? I loved doing that! I loved the challenge of writing backwards then holding up to a mirror to see how well (or not) I had done. Well, this joy has not faded and reflections still fascinate me.

We have a pretty standard half bath, you know with the mirror directly above the sink that reflects right back to you on the thrown and to the big blank wall above. Well, you know that reflection was begging to be played with.


Just a quick layout sketch in case you never thought about what your bathroom would like like if you were a tiny spider creeping across the ceiling.

With all the images of perfection being thrust upon us from society, I thought, what better way to use that reflection than a positive message! This is what I came up with:


So, get it now? No one spends that much time in the bathroom looking at the wall, but they do looking the mirror. The fun here is that it looks a little abstract this way, but then the reflection is…


And if you were standing, or um, sitting, in the bathroom, this what it would look like. Finger smudges on the mirror, chipped corner and all.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

I’m considering selling prints of this in my Etsy shop, so check back for that.


23. March 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, done by me, handmade, watercolor | Leave a comment

Lunch Notes

This collection of lunch notes represents the schizophrenic nature of Virginia climate: notice the sledding picture and then a bike ride. The Wacky Wednesday drawing is a good illustration of how I feel about the weather.

IMG_4710Highlights that week were a snow day, going for a bike ride because it was relatively warm, library day, wacky wednesday, and a field trip to the science museum.



15. March 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, done by me, illustrations, lunch notes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lunch Notes

So there’s six here, the school week is five days long, obviously I’ve missed something, but I’m trying!

IMG_4527Sometimes I try to coordinate the sketches with what’s going on that day. So here we have DARE Graduation, Library Day (everyone reads upside down, right?), test day, remembering a snow day, wish we had a dog day, and music day (this girl can play a recorder like nobody’s business).




28. February 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, done by me, illustrations, lunch notes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Great Grandmother Agnes’s Buffet Table

Talk about inspiration that’s right in front of you… this buffet table. It has been in my life for as long as I can remember. When I was young my parents inherited some of my great grandparent’s furniture. My great grandmother Agnes loved to refinish furniture to her liking. This particular piece was painted shiny black with flower bouquets decoupaged on the doors and drawers. Funny how things fall out of style and back in, isn’t it? Not that people are currently going crazy decoupaging flower bouquets on their find furniture, but face it, black paint is making a come back and I never decoupaged anything until I was in my thirties. The woman had taste!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This table now lives with me, in my kitchen and is filled to the brim with art supplies. That’s what buffet tables are for, right? Thought so.

My parents paid a pretty penny to strip that lovely black paint and decoupage to return this piece to it’s original natural beauty. I’ve been dying to paint it but I know my parents would kill me.


Back to the inspiration… I love this piece of furniture, my mom basically forced it on me, I thought we didn’t have space, but I do and I love it, so I painted it, even made it into a card… which is for sale on Etsy along with prints. Go there!



08. February 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, illustrations, watercolor | Leave a comment

Lunch Notes

I started making lunch notes for my daughter quite a while ago. First I only did them when I had a few spare moments in the morning between making breakfast, packing lunch, and coaching her through every other part of the morning… Go brush your teeth! Get your shoes on! You can’t find any socks??!! Here comes the bus, go, go, go! So, as you can imagine, lunch notes were not an everyday thing.

But, an amazing thing happened, the lunch notes that I was making when I had time became so desired that she decided she could make her breakfast and pack her lunch independently! One win in the mommy column.


The catch; however, is that I have to make a lunch note every morning. It’s a challenge I’m willing to take, but I must say, creating a sketch every morning before coffee every morning is really difficult!


For a long time the notes would build up in the lunch box and I’d usually just toss them in the trash after they were wrinkled with crumbs and other mystery substances that are inevitable in the bottom of every lunch bag. Then, my brilliant daughter, the same one who wants the notes each day and saves them until I toss them said, “Hey mom, why don’t you take a picture of them before you toss them so we ‘save’ them?” Yes! Fantastic idea!

So, now that’s a new thing. Here’s the first round of lunch notes that I decided to save from the rumpled depths of the lunch bag. Some were in there a really long time (notice the happy Halloween?!). That’s alright, onward and upward!


What about you? Do you send any special reminders or notes to school with your kiddos?

08. January 2015 by schristian
Categories: art, done by me, illustrations, lunch notes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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

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