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The Enchanted Pumpkin Patch

 
Good morning! Hope you all are having a good week. Thinking of those of you effected by Hurricane Isaac and hoping you and yours are safe. Here in Oklahoma, we expecting a bit of rain tomorrow from the storm as it whirls inland, although it looks like Arkansas will get the bulk of the rain. I know they've had a parched summer as well, so they will appreciate it. I'm looking forward to a rainy day for painting tomorrow. I'll have to run out for some supplies today and get ready to settle in.

    Speaking of painting---the clock is running out on time to make things for the September update, but I'm happy to report I am still getting a few things completed! Like this fun painting-- The Enchanted Pumpkin Patch! This piece is a little more on the whimsical side of things I've been painting lately, but I had fun dreaming it up. Imagine, an autumn field in the moonlight filled with silly enchanted pumpkins! 


    The closer we get to autumn the happier I get. I'm liking the new routine with school now in session--- I drop of Audrey and the dogs and I go for a little walk and then its time for errands, chores, or painting. I prefer painting, of course!

   Often times when I'm here in my little room painting, the dogs will join me and usually they end up passed out asleep. I snapped this photo of them the other night, I looked up and they were sleeping back-to-back, in identical positions! I thought it was so funny! I think Henry is finally condescending to have Franklin as a buddy.

   
Well, I hope you like this latest painting! It will be part of the group of new offerings listed on Saturday. I can't wait for you to see them all! I hope all of you find something that you love :) there will be several autumn pieces, and Christmas pieces as well. And more notecards! And a couple of new print designs! Oh my!~

   Til next time,
~H

Tasha Tuesdays Returns


           Hello there, my friends! I am so happy to have you here today with me on the blog as we revive the Tasha Tuesday feature here at Audrey Eclectic and also celebrate Tasha's birthday! Tasha was born on this day in 1915 and led an extraordinary and rich life.
         Lately you often hear that Thoreaux quote: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."
        That was Tasha's motto in life, and I believe it's through her use that the quote has regained notice. Because she truly did live a life of her dreams-- created out of hard work and determination--- but clearly of her own vision.
      
    
Over the decades we've come to know this elusive and often reclusive artist through her many illustrated children's books, cards and calenders, as well as through books on her lifestyle, garden and crafts. Tasha was an interesting and complex woman. She was complicated, sometimes difficult, and set in her ways. But she was also extremely talented, focused, driven to succeed and made her own path in the world. 
       She is an inspiration to me, as an artist and as someone trying to carve out a unique life. I believe she is also an inspiration to many of you. So let's take this day to celebrate Tasha, and all the good things she represents.


       As the days grow colder and evening comes quicker, i think we naturally become homebodies. At least for me, autumn is when I really get back into knitting, make simmering soups and stews, curl up with a quilt and a good book, and things start to slow down into a gentle rhythm of homey things. It's often the time when I'll bring out my Tasha books to get ideas for holiday gifts and decor, or crafts to work on, or simply just something pretty to enjoy (I love pretty, what can I say.)
     The first book I ever owned about Tasha was "The Private World of Tasha Tudor", which I found in the bargain bin at my beloved Borders. The cover sleeve had been ripped, and I remember fishing the book out of the box and flipping through it and feeling an odd sensation of joy and familiarity. 
   "This is me! This is me when I'm 80," I told my husband with excitement and had to buy the book. I've decided now as an old couple we will look like Tasha Tudor and Walt Whitman. We will be adorable.
   But I digress....
   What was so thrilling to me that evening many years ago in a bookstore and what still thrills me about Tasha is the immediate sense of a kindred spirit that I felt in her. When you find someone who likes what you like, even if it's a bit kooky and to some maybe ridiculous or juvenile (I like dolls! I like old dresses! I treat my animals like they are very furry children!) you immediately feel a kinship. You get them, they get you. You want to grab their hand and talk about all the stuff you have in common and jump up and down with excitement-- which you rarely do now because you are a grown up person who must only like grown up things. Until you meet that special friend.
 

   And although I certainly never really met Tasha, and I haven't met many of you who read and chat with me here, many of us share this same connection and affinity for similar things. It's nice to find that. And it's nice to be embraced for being authentically you.
    I think Tasha is wonderful because she was so unabashedly authentic. I am sure she got her share of snickers and comments. I'm sure there was some awkward moment when she was raising teenagers and wearing a calico dress at teacher conferences or school plays. But she was herself. And since we've only got this one life to live, you might as well live it being wholly yourself.  And Tasha is a wonderful example of that.

  And so, on this special Tasha Tuesday, take moment (or two, or all day!) and celebrate Tasha and celebrate you. Take a moment to enjoy some tea or coffee or a decadent desert. Take time to let yourself read a bit of that favorite book, or work on that art project you keep putting aside. Take some of your day and devote it to bringing a little happiness and light into the world. Take JOY.

~H



-Images in this post are by photographer Richard Brown.

- For more information on Tasha Tudor, visit her family website

- For more celebrating of Tasha Tudor on this day, visit Clarice's blog and see other posts about Tasha

Gourd Plans


     Last week I wrote about trying to come up with an idea for what to do with all my dried gourds from last year. While thinking about it, I remembered this gourd bird house hanger in one of my favorite decorating books, Seasons at Seven Gates Farm (which I also wrote about not that long ago...I guess it's on my brain!) and I knew that this would be the perfect project!
    The piece will look beautiful in the middle of my veggie and herb bed, an it wont require a lot of work with the gourds, just putting a hole in for the birdies to get into. I think the wooden hanger will be good too since we have a curious little kitty who can now climb the fence and our little trees with ease.


      I was talking to my mom about making this since my parents live on much more wooded land where I might be able to find some thick branches like the ones needed to make the stand and she told me that she had made this project as well, back in the 90s. I don't know why I don't remember it! But I'm looking forward to making my own! Hopefully sometime soon I can go searching through the woods for some pieces to make the stand and then get to work. I can't wait!

   Well, hope you have a good start to your week! And don't forget--- tomorrow Tasha Tuesdays returns!~
~H



An Autumn Gathering


  Can you believe that we've only got a week left until September? I am so excited! To me, September means the beginning of autumn, the holiday season, and my birthday! It's a great time to start celebrating and getting ready for all those fun things that the end of the year brings.

   The shop update with new autumn and Christmas art is set to start on September 1! I've decided to call it 'an autumn gathering', but there will be lots of winter items as well. I will probably do another update as we get closer to Christmas as well. It is my plan to only do one local show this coming season, and that will be Indie Emporium at the end of September. That will leave me more time to make special holiday offerings here online, and also concentrate on my family's Christmas. Audrey will only be little once, and I want to make the most of it.

   Hope you have a good weekend! It's cloudy and rainy here and I love it. It's such a welcome change to what we had for most of the summer. I'm ready to bid this season farewell and go on to bigger, better and more pumpkin flavored things.

   Thanks for stopping in!~
~H




Kid in a Candy Store

               
         Of all the things I've inherited from my father-- the brown eyes, the curly hair....
probably the most prominent thing I've inherited from him (and now passed to my daughter), is a passion for chocolate.  We crave it. We adore it. We pout a little if none is to be found in the whole house.
         So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I was invited for a special Blogger Night at the new See's Candies in Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, Ok. At first I wondered "how did they find out about my habit?" and then I just shrugged and RSVPed like nobody's business! 


   So my little mini-chocoholic and I joined our good friend Tasha and other area bloggers and toured the new store, learned more about the company of See's Candies, and got involved with an indecent amount of chocolate.
    This store in Tulsa is the first in the state of Oklahoma, so it feels special. I also loved learning more about the company's roots and foundation (the company was started by a man who used some of his beloved mama's candy recipes and they still use those old fashioned recipes today. That means no hi-fructose corn syrup or preservatives. It's butter and sugar, people. And that's quite alright with me!)
   All the stores have black and white tile, just like mama Mary See's original kitchen where she concocted her treats, and the whole place-- from the color scheme to the adorable old fashioned outfits that all the ladies working there wear-- has a striking vintage vibe.



        We were treated to lots of wonderful chocolate and even played an "I Love Lucy"- esque chocolate packing game (did you know the famous chocolate factory scene in "I Love Lucy" was filmed at See's Candies in the 1950s?) and Audrey made a terrific mess of herself with just one innocent chocolate lollipop. 
    Some of my favorite pieces included the Dark Chocolate Chip truffle and an amazing Apple Pie truffle that made me think of our friend Winnie and her love of apples.


    Then at the end of the evening they handed us each our own bag full of more chocolate and little Audrey and I went home, giddy on chocolate and excited about our latest adventure. I hope she'll remember this, the night Mama took her to the candy store and she got anything she wanted just by pointing her little finger and flashing a smile. What a fun evening!~ And many thanks to See's Candies for inviting us to get to know them and sharing their wonderful treats with us.


  Til next time,
~H

PS: See's Candies in Tulsa is having their Grand Opening this weekend, starting today! So stop by and get yourself a little treat!~

Home Grown Crafts


    Last summer, which was the season it was so hot none of my vegetables even produced, I did make one good harvest-- gourds! Evidently these hardy dipping gourds weren't deterred by the scorching temperatures and grew up the fence, and then over it, making perfect green gourds wherever it could.
    When the autumn frost killed the gourd vines, I cut off the gourds and went about trying to figure out how to dry them. I found lots of tips online, some super basic (just leave them on the vine out in the elements!) others more technical about ventilated barns, methodical turning and hovering and babying. 
   When I had read enough to make my head spin, I chose to just drill a hole through the top of the necks of the gourds and hang them from the rafters of my back porch and wish them luck. Some didn't even get hung, but were piled up on the porch to see how they did. 
   The answer? They all did pretty darn good! After months of hanging (or just laying around for some) they are now all dried out, brown and beautiful. I also chopped down some garden fennel and hung it up to dry with them, and it is now a pretty autumn straw color as well. The photo above shows the fennel and the gourds hanging and ready to be created with.

   This year I didn't even buy seeds or actually plant the gourds. However, due to being played with by a certain curious 5 year old, a few gourds were broken and their seeds got into the lawn and some vines actually sprung up! Earlier this summer I dug up one of the little gourd vines and replanted it in my herb bed to see how it would do. It is now climbing up the porch post and an iron bedstead I have in the herb bed and although there aren't gourds yet, there are lots of blooms and hopefully, a second season of gourds!

   So...I think it's safe to say that if you want to grow something fool-proof that you can later use for crafting, gourds are the way to go! They're so hardy and so fun. I love all the interesting shapes and I'm looking forward to deciding what I'll do with the gourds that are now dried and ready to use. I'd thought I might paint them, but I'm also thinking I might make an autumn garland out of them. Who knows what I'll think up! But I know it will be lots of fun.

   ~H

An Old Fashioned Family Portrait


    One thing I really love about doing commission work is getting to know the people and families I'm making the art for. It is a unique task and lots of fun to try to figure out how best to go about making something special and meaningful to someone I usually have never met. I am happy to report that this painting was very rewarding to create and has a lovely family to go home to!
   It started out in a unique way as well because the piece is painted on an antique wooden drawer that had been part of the workshop of the family's grandfather. It was such an interesting surface to work with and really gave it a little something extra that made the piece have an authentically old feel.
   I painted the family in a springtime scene using the mother's favorite colors and arranged the family in front of their 1817 New England home, wearing period clothes. There are lots of little details in the painting, and I enjoy tucking little things in for the families to find upon close inspection.


   This photo of the painting still on my desk as I worked on it gives a better look at the texture of the wooden drawer. The wood was very sturdy and well worn, and made a perfect setting for an antique-style family portrait!

    The painting is now safe in it's new home and it's on to other pieces for me! I'm just finishing up a smaller commission and then I have another huge one to tackle--- I'm looking forward to it! I am also getting prepared for the store update on Sept.1 with lots of new fall and winter items! Can't wait for you all to see them!
    In other news, school started yesterday and things have been busy, but I'm looking forward to the new routine and time to paint. So far she's loving kindergarten and I'm so excited to see all that she learns this year! 
   Thanks for stopping by, and I'll talk with you more soon!~
~H




Things to Share


       After a bit of a summer vacation, I am pleased to announce that I will be resuming the Tasha Tuesdays feature here on the blog come August 28! That seemed like the perfect day to start because it is Tasha's birthday! There will be lots of celebrating across the web with Clarice's celebration, and we will have a little birthday party here ourselves :) It'll be a great way to kick off the autumn festivities here!
   If you'd like to catch up on past Tasha Tuesdays, you can visit the archives HERE.

   In other news, the Jane Austen Collection of notecards are now available in my etsy shop! I hope you like them! They are perfect to send little notes to a fellow book lover, and can work any time of year. I think they'd also be nice for wedding cards or for a bridal shower, since Austen was so adept at romance. There are still several sets left in the shop:


   I am also happy to report that it's cloudy and cool and actually raining here in Oklahoma! Much like last year, we suffered through a scorching July and then August seems to have brought us some much more mellow temperatures. I am so thankful! It's been in the low 90s and even the 80s here lately. Last night I woke up to the rumble of thunder and went outside to make sure I'd covered the rabbits (there's nothing worse than a wet and annoyed bunny!) and we got some good showers. There are more moving in as I type and I love it. I'm so ready to be done with glaring sun and soaring temperatures.

   School also starts on Monday and we're all excited. Audrey has literally been counting the days! We've met her teacher and bought all her supplies and have all her school clothes ready. It will be so nice to settle down into a routine again, and have a real routine of working through the day on my art. I'm really looking forward to it!~

   Well, have a good weekend!~ And talk more with you soon,
H


The Jane Austen Collection


   Well, as promised--- and after talking about it most of the summer--- here it is! The Jane Austen notecard set! What do you think? I hope that you love them! It is so nice to see this little project through to completion!
   Each set contains six cards with matching white envelopes. They measure 4.25x5.5" and are professionally printed. The card set features two copies of the painting "Emma Woodhouse", Lizzie Bennet" and a new one, "Captain Wentworth's Confession." That one reads:

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. I have loved none but you."

That'll make quite the love note, wont it? :)


You can find these cards sets while they last over in my etsy shop! HERE is the listing. So please stop over and have a peek! And have a wonderful weekend!~


A love letter to old Country Living


      As a real-and-truly grown up, I have a subscription to Country Living Magazine and I love it. It is a beautiful magazine and I love it's fresh take on country style, and my generation's version of this classic decorating scheme. But you know what else I love? The old Country Livings. I'm talking at least 20 years old, or close to 30. Let's talk about this....surely I'm not the only one?

     I'm a notorious Antique Mall magazine hunter. You can usually get an old magazine for 50 cents or a dollar. So you can get a good stack of lazy lunchtime reading for the cost of one current volume. I always keep an eye out for Mary Englebreit's Home Companion, Early American Life and of course, Country Living.

   The old-school Country Livings are practically another magazine, with it's focus on more rustic and colonial Country style, and it has a lot more articles that are like short stories and how-tos on old timey skills. They are also full of women in denim jumper dresses with Dorothy Hamill haircuts, cigarette ads, and porcelain dolls available in just four easy payments. But something about them is so...comforting. It's like a time capsule back into my childhood where I would sit in the dining room floor and play with my mom's faceless Amish rag dolls while Dallas played on the living room TV.


    I am also really drawn to the Early American style of decorating. The salt box houses. The huge fireplaces and the stories about how normal people scrimped and saved and bought their dream home--- a nearly broken down 200 year old shack in a field usually, that they slowly brought back to it's old timey glory. Because I don't know about you....but I am sick to death of reading about rich New York City hipsters who up and leave the city and purchase a fairytale farmhouse in Vermont where they raise their equally hip children, Pinecone and Periwinkle. But I digress ;)

     Other than being drawn to the more rustic style, I am also drawn to how much it feels like home and childhood, but the best parts. There is no talk of recession. There is no talk of the latest thing for a mother to be afraid to feed or give her children or feel guilty about doing/being/not living up to. Sure, they covertly (or not so covertly) try to pursued me that cigarettes are chic, but the lady promoting this is wearing a 1980s business suit and using an awful lot of aqua-net, so what does she know?

   But over all they take me back to living at our little house on Shadow Lane when my mom went to Longaberger Basket house parties, summer was lovely and lasted forever, Santa Claus came every Christmas, and I wrote Little House on the Prairie style stories in reams of notebooks (completed with bonneted illustrations) and all was well in the world.

    So there you have it. That's my, perhaps odd, infatuation with old Country Living magazines. Do you have a favorite little something that transports you back to childhood? Or do you also have a love for a more rustic/primitive country style? I'd love to hear about it :)

   Well, I think I'd better get this day started! Hope you have a good one as well~
~H



Just a peek....


    Well, I have been planning and scheming about greeting cards for what feels like the entire summer! I worked hard on a set of Jane Austen inspired images and then submitted them for printing and today they arrived at my doorstep!

    I'm still playing around with how I will package them and then I will of course have to photograph them properly to show them off. But I wanted to give you a little peek! This is a look at the Jane Austen set, which will include 6 cards in total, featuring 3 designs (you'll get two of each design in the set.)

   This photo shows my painting of "Emma" and the set also includes Lizzie Bennet and a floral quote that I don't think I've shared yet....do you know what the quote could be? I'll give you a hint--- Persuasion :)

   I will get these ready, and I also have a few other little cards that will make two additional sets. I think you'll like them! They will include cards with just one image, but both sets are of two of my most popular prints. 

   So stay tuned! I hope to get them arranged and photographed tomorrow and maybe...just maybe...I'll list something early before the September 1 seasonal debut!~

   Have a good evening!~
~H

End of Summer Sale!


    Who doesn't love starting off the week with a good sale?! I know I do :)
Just this morning I have marked down many of my prints and original pieces in the shop in an effort to tidy up a bit in anticipation of my big autumn debut of many new items. I'm hoping that Sept 1st will be the date of the big update. 
   Several originals such as ALL my Little House on the Prairie pieces are on sale, as well as many other originals and prints. I hope you come by and check it out! They want new homes before Autumn settles in and they're surrounded by witches and santas!~
  Click HERE to go visit the shop....

   Speaking of witches, I just finished this witchy lady this weekend. Her name is Bronwyn...


She will also be part of the autumn update in September! I think she turned out really sweet. I like witches that are pretty ;) surely they're not all green hags, right?
   Well, thanks for stopping by today! I hope you take a moment to visit the shop and see if there's anything you'd like. 
   Have a great week,
~H

A Downton Abbey-esque Family Portrait


   For the last couple of weeks I have been working on a large project for a lovely lady that was right up my alley-- a Downton Abbey style family portrait featuring her family! It was a fun challenge, and my biggest painting to date at 30x40" in size!
   She wanted it to have a more impressionist and free-flowing look to it and I used a color called Indian Summer as the background. The camera had a hard time capturing it-- but it is a lovely cross between turquoise and robin's egg blue. She has a beautiful little family that was perfect for the era she wanted and I had fun with all the Edwardian style outfits and tucking in the little Siamese cat.
  To give you an idea of the size of the piece, my husband so kindly took a photo with me beside it to give a sense of scale. Honestly, I think it was bigger than it looks here ;) It will make a great 'above the mantle' piece!


   Lately I've been asked to do some really special and personal pieces and gotten to know some wonderful folks in the process. I am touched that people will share their stories and their families with me and trust me to take those images and stories and special things and make them a work of art. I never want anything less than perfection and love when it comes to making something for a family. And it always fun to try and figure out what will be the perfect way to convey on wood or canvas all the things that someone loves.

   I hope you like the painting! And from what I have heard, I think the new owners like it as well! That's always my goal!~

   Have a great weekend, and a good week ahead. I think after some hot first few days, we're going to cool down here some! And fingers crossed, maybe see a raindrop or two. That would be amazing!~
   Wishing you well and a happy evening,
~H



Sweet Treats


   Hello there!~
             Here it is Friday! And only one full week left until school begins for the new school year! The intense heat has cooled (it will only be in the low 90s today! Where's my sweater?!) and I've been enjoying some rather sweet treats that are helping me get into an autumn mood.
         Although honestly, it's not hard to fool myself that it's October (aside from the heat) the lawns are already straw and the trees are getting brown and losing their leaves. Too bad its from too much heat stress! But it does make a girl get a bit confused....
      I was inspired to get out my copy of Seasons at Seven Gates Farm, one of my favorite decorating books. Seriously, love it. My mom has a copy of it and I was borrowing it so much that I just bought one for myself. It is perfect for getting in the holiday mood, and also to get ideas for the coming spring. 
    I also treated myself to a new candle at Yankee Candle--- Apple Pumpkin! Doesn't that sound wonderful? I've already burned it a bit and it smells delicious. I love candles that smell like food, lol!

   And speaking of apples, I received the cutest things in the mail from our friend Winnie the other day! She knitted up these apple cozies, so that Audrey could take an apple to school and it would be protected in her lunch box. Aren't they just adorable?! Thanks so much, Winnie!~


            And while I'm talking about unexpected treats, I also won this original drawing of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz from Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations the other day! Well, this is also Audrey's, technically ;) that little miss is raking in the treats, isn't she? It's a beautiful drawing! Theresa is a lady of many talents! Love the little hint of glitter on the rainbow as well.

   Well, I hope you have a good weekend, and I'm sorry to be bombarding those of you who actually enjoy summer with my constant talk of autumn ;) but it's what gets me through this summer of shattered heat and fire records with my sanity intact ;) I am also very focused on making the coming holiday months the best ever for Audrey Eclectic and want to make sure I'm prepared. I've been painting to Christmas music for months now! Yesterday I finally turned it to the Halloween channel on Pandora and have been painting some spooky little things. I hope you all enjoy what I have in store for you!~

Til next time,
H

Apple Pickers


     Hello and good morning!~
             I have a new painting to share with you today! Another one to add to my collection of autumn pieces. This one is called "Apple Pickers" and it shows two pretty ladies out in their apple orchard harvesting some fruit. I enjoyed the challenge of painting baskets in another painting not too long ago, so I thought I'd add some more to this piece! In the background is an old fashioned white farm house and red barn set against the brilliant orange foliage of fall.

    It is my hope that come September, I will have a good sized collection of autumn and Christmas items to add to my etsy shop. It will be so fun to really start the season off and revitalize the shop. My plan this year is to participate in Indie Emporium in late September as my local craft show, and then just focus on online sales. Though it was a hard decision, I just think that December craft shows are too much. I want to be able to focus on my family's celebrations that month, and make sure that I'm giving proper attention to my etsy shop and national and international buyers. So often those things get pushed aside for a craft show, and I feel like I need to try something different for a change.

   So! Here is to a new season, coming to us very soon! I hope you will join me in celebrating!~
~H

Some special pieces

 Good morning to you!~
    First, thanks for all the thoughts and prayers and wishes for rain you've sent here to Oklahoma. They're all greatly appreciated. And although we haven't seen any more rain and our chances are still slim, it has been cooler, especially on Sunday. It was beautiful on Sunday. Low 90s I think, but it practically felt like fall. I was able to take the dogs out for an evening walk, something we haven't been able to do in weeks, and they loved it. The sky was clear of smoke and I just feel thankful that the danger has passed and we're rolling closer and closer to the beginning of school and, of course, autumn!~

I have been hard at work lately on some custom pieces, and I wanted to show you a couple that I've finished and have sent to their homes. The first is this American flag inspired angel which I made as a special gift. Last summer our neighbor and Oklahoma National Guard staff sergeant lost his life in Afghanistan. Last summer was a really, really hard year for the Oklahoma units and it just made my heart ache for his wonderful family and all those families who lost their loved ones. This summer our neighborhood decided to dedicate our neighborhood playground in his honor and I wanted to also make a little something special for the family to let them know that they were still in my thoughts and prayers, so I created this little angel as my humble thanks to them. I created her in a classic Americana style and while it might be hard to tell from a photo, the star was painted in a gold paint that has lots of shine, and there is also some gold detail in the halo. I was happy to make this for my neighbors, they are a really great family.

   Another special painting that I completed recently is this engagement present for a really talented Oklahoma couple! They are both local musicians making a name for themselves in the indie music scene. I've done a couple of paintings for some friends of theirs, and these friends commissioned me to create this portrait for John and Samantha. After listening to their music and seeing some of their photos, I got a sense that a really grass roots, natural, Oklahoma-themed painting would be well suited to them. So I used a really natural palette with local wildflowers like Queen Anne's Lace, the Oklahoma State Bird-- the Scissor Tail Flycatcher-- and a lyric from one of their favorite songs.

    I'm so happy to finally get to share these paintings with you and hope you like them! Of course I hope their new owners love them best of all! I've had a spurt of custom projects lately and they are always a fun challenge. I try to discover what it is that the owners love and what will compliment their personality and aesthetic. I try to make each piece a balance of myself--- since 'myself' is what people are drawn to when they ask me to make something-- and also the person the painting will belong to. If you're ever interested in having your own piece created, you're welcome to browse through my FAQ section for more information!

   Well, off to start the day!~ Have a lovely Tuesday~
~H


Fire~

Hi friends,
    Well this weekend has been pretty eventful, but not of the kind you'd want. You may have seen on the news that there are several grass fires burning across Oklahoma right now--- the largest fire my county has ever seen has been burning for at least three days and yesterday things got pretty intense.
    Several communities, including two good-sized towns, were given a mandatory evacuation and hundreds of acres and many homes have now gone up in flames. Yesterday the sky to the west was a strange and unnerving billow of gray and yellow and the heat, climbing past 110, was just terrible. Ash from burning land and homes dropped from the sky in Tulsa and other surrounding towns. The fires were burning a couple of towns over from where I live, perhaps 30, 45 minutes away. 
   However, a "cold" front was coming through and going to change the wind direction into, of course, our direction. Living in Oklahoma all my life, I can usually take weather phenomenon in stride, but this had me worried-- especially since the wind shift was going to happen in the middle of the night. 
   I know that there were probably thousands and thousands of prayers going on last night for rain. And you know what happened? It did rain. For the first time in a long time, we had thunder and lightening and a good soak here. I just hope that this rain also poured down on those areas that need it most.
  This morning I've heard that at least one of the towns evacuated has had the order lifted and people can now return to their homes. I hope-- although I haven't heard precisely yet (the news coverage on these fires has been really frustrating and pretty disappointing for an event where entire populations are being asked to leave their homes!) that the rains have helped firefighters contain the fires and weather conditions make them easier to put out.
   Since the 'cold front' came through, we're supposed to be a whole 10 degrees cooler--- but when it's 111 outside, that just means it's going to be about 100 degrees out. So....cool, relatively.
  I just read too that the entire county is under mandatory water rationing until further notice, with all outdoor watering prohibited. I'm glad my plants got a good soak last night. And I was so happy to see those clouds and that lightening and thunder arrive last night. It felt like a miracle. It probably was.
   So I am thankful to report that we are fine here where I live, but keep these scorched plains, and the people who have lost so much in your thoughts and prayers.

Til next time,
~H

Swedish Christmas postcards!


    Ooooh, you guys! I am so happy to be sharing these with you! They've been a long time in the making. And I'm proud of myself for being so early with them :) and while I still have a lot more planned for Christmas, I am happy to now be offering a fancy set of Swedish Christmas postcards in my etsy shop!

   The set includes six cards, with two each of the images shown. The paintings included are God Jul Sisters, St. Lucia and God Jul Tomtes. The backs of all the cards are a pretty deep and festive red and have an extra 'God Jul' (which is Swedish for "Merry Christmas") on the back. 

   Since I've started painting Swedish and Scandinavian themes, I've met a lot of like-hearted people who also have an affinity for tomtes and St. Lucia and the romance and mystery of traditional Swedish Christmas artwork. I love having that connection with people and finding things we have in common. It always leads to great conversations (sometimes screeching "hey, I love dala horses too!!!")

   I know this blog might feel like a little bit of season whiplast at the moment, but I'm just gearing up for what tends to be my busiest time of the year. I'm determined to make this the best one yet! And thank you to those of you who make Audrey Eclectic a part of your home decor, gift giving, and holiday celebrations! You have no idea how much it means to me~

Happy early August God Jul,
~H

Absolutely Autumnal


   I've heard stories that in other places, far far away, people are having a nice summer. I've even heard outlandish tales of people in the UK not even getting a proper summer-- being stuck in a rainy springtime. But here....well, for most of the U.S. I think-- we are in a baking season we'd rather forget. This week I've had to bring all the outdoor creatures indoors, because I'm not sure that the poor rabbits could survive in 114 degrees, and for days at a time. Even little Cocoa has had some respite inside during the day, and he purrs happily cuddled up in a quilt on the couch with the AC blowing on him. I think everyone in this particular house is in general agreement: It is too hot outside for anything or anyone.


   That's why, when I was at the store the other day and saw the magazine display above I was so excited! Pumpkins! Spice cake! Autumn flowers! Being able to be outdoors without feeling like you're literally cooking! I was surprised to see the magazines out already (when I took this photo we still had a day or two left of July) but I am happy to see it. It means autumn is on its way. And there is nothing I like better than an autumn magazine!

And in celebration of the approaching season, I just finished this little piece and I think she turned out really cute! Sort of a sassy little witch. I've named her "Myra." I love a more subdued Halloween palette, like black and white with a touch of moss green or a punch of burnt orange. I'm thinking up other autumn/halloween scenes, of course to have them all ready for the early September debut. What are your favorite parts of autumn or Halloween? And if you're an international reader, what does Autumn bring to where you live? I think I probably have a very American view of autumn, what with pumpkins and crows and things like that. I'd love to hear about the autumn traditions of other places!


   Well, lots to do as usual. I'm working on a large commission right now, and also dreaming up some new seasonal things. Thanks for stopping by to visit me! I always enjoy hearing from you :)
~H