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Prims Magazine feature!

 Hi friends,
    Yesterday I opened up my mailbox and found this inside--- the spring/summer 2013 issue of Prims Magazine! The most exciting part? It features an article by me and one of my paintings!~

   I believe this magazine will officially hit news stands on May 15 and you should be able to find it in most major book stores, or you can order this and all the other Stampington magazines online.

   This is a great magazine for primitive style doll makers and artists who paint in a more old fashioned genre. The painting that is featured with my article is sort of a blend of both-- it's "Clara and her Doll" which was inspired by an old daguerreotype of a young girl holding an Izannah Walker doll.

   I painted it a good while back, so it's fun to see it with fresh eyes now and printed up so nicely! You can really see all the crackle and aged detail in the printing of the magazine, I think it looks great!

Thanks for coming by today!~ It was nice to have you here at the blog :)
~H

Knitting for Sanity


   Today I'm going to mail off my last commission and then things are going to trickle down for a while in the art department as I somehow manage to pack up my house while also turning it into a complete disaster. How does that happen? How do you put things away and somehow create more of a mess?
   Does that happen to you, where the state of your mind starts to resemble the state of your surroundings? The more things start getting scattered around, the more scattered my brain feels. I'm looking forward to this part of the move being over.

   One thing that I'm not putting away or boxing up right now is my knitting, and it's a bright spot as far as feeling crafty goes. Last night we watched Mad Men and Game of Thrones back-to-back (we need to throw in a show that's less depressing, I think!) and when things get too intense or gruesome (particularly with Game of Thrones) I bury my head in my knitting. "I'll just finish this row while these guys murder each other or Don has another stupid affair."

  Right now I'm working on some free-form color stranding-- there's no rhyme or reason, I'm just playing with patters and seeing how they come out. I'm making this one for Audrey and I'm thinking of calling these 'tomten hats.' Eventually it will have a little pointed end! I'm also really enjoying working with double pointed needles, and I never imagined that would be the case. They feel easier to manage than circular needles, and for me, since the piece is broken up by needles, it's easier to keep track of the round. And you dont waste time continually pulling the cord through as you work.

   Well, better get started with today and this week. Hope you have a good one and thanks for stopping by!~
H

Book: Swedish Handknits


     I'd been waiting anxiously for this book to arrive-- Swedish Handknits-- for a few days. And when the UPS guy innocently dropped the box off on my front porch, I eager pounced and opened it up to get my mitts on this book-- and oh, it did NOT disappoint! 
   Swedish Handknits by Sue Flanders and Janine Kosel is a fairly new book (published in 2012) and is a treasure trove of Swedish style knitting and other fiber projects (there are some other fun projects that include felt and other fabric things, so it's not just knitting).
  Inspired by traditional Swedish knits and pieces collected by the American Swedish Institute, this book offers a variety of beautiful knitting projects for all different levels of knitting.

   Some of the different projects include an easy pattern for leggings, various gloves, ornaments, hats, bags and even Christmas stockings. I loooove the patterns for the Christmas stockings! I've yet to do a sock, let alone a large stocking, but I looove the look of these (and yes, my ardor does require extra Os).


   This books is much more than just a knitting book though-- it is a rich collection of information on the tradition of Swedish fiber arts, historical photos, and even recipes. This is going to be a great book to cuddle up and just pore over, and then start the knitting projects. It was so worth the investment, and so inspiring to see all the tradition-inspired projects.

    The authors already have a book inspired by Norwegian knitting called, of course, Norwegian Handknits and I think I'm gonna have to have that too (I know our friend Winnie must get it!). I think me and these ladies could totally be friends. They had me at sharing their experiences of entering the American Swedish Institute as children and feeling all giddy and inspired. I know I'd feel the same. Guess this calls for a field trip to Minnesota! Hehehe....

   ~H

PS: I found this blog entry about an exhibit at the American Swedish Institute featuring projects in the book and the original items that inspired them, take a peek and see some of the other things in the book!

What's new


   This weekend we rambled through northwest Arkansas and into southwest Missouri to visit my husband's family. It's so pretty this time of year in the Ozarks, with everything greening up and turning into spring!
   On our way home we stopped at Perennials, Etc. in Arkansas and I was so inspired by all the beautiful gardens and statuary! I can't wait to start planting! I'm so excited about hostas and hydrangeas and hellibores....oh my! ;)


   And speaking of fun things for when we move, I got one awesome thing early--- this beautiful cream colored bike! It came shipped to us in pieces and Will and I put it together in the living room last night. We actually worked well as a team! I guess that's what nearly 10 years together will do for you! 
   It was nearly dark when we got it completed and I was a bit wobbly on my first go on it. It's been a long time since I've been on a bike! But I'm scheming to add a basket to the front and a crate on the back so that I can go to the post office and the grocery store and on other errands with my bike and not have to use my car. I'm excited about the prospect!

  Of course now, just about 3 weeks til we close on the new house, my house here is a complete wreck. I'm going to start packing up the nonessentials of my studio and then on to the nightmare of our garage ;) I'm really looking forward to getting settled and reorganized and ready to paint though. It's never too early to start on Christmas art, you know! ;)

  Hope you have a good week!~
~H


A Sweethearted Angel


       Just yesterday I finished a large angel doll commission, and I'm excited to share her with you! I thought she came out really nicely-- a balance of rustic and feminine with her burlap wings and belt and lace edges. 
   I also love a good heart ornament and gave her one to hold in her hands--- the lace edging just makes it, don't you think? Here are some other photos:




This girl has a bit of a different hairstyle too-- her owner requested a braid, so I have her a long side braid over her shoulder. It's such a sweet look, and I love the wool that I got from my friend Jane Deason at Angora Jane's. Real wool makes the most amazing doll hair! And Jane even sent me home with some extra stuff that will be fabulous for more dolls last time I visited her little farm. 
   I've had a lot of compliments on this angel on the facebook page, so I'm thinking I might make some other dolls to sell on etsy later this spring when we're all settled in the new place. What do you think? Would you like a little doll?

  Signing off for now!~ Talk with you soon~
H


Knitting in springtime



   The sun may be out, the sky blue, trees and flowers in bloom and short sleeved shirts getting pulled out of the closet but I'm still knitting! I've been playing around with color strand knitting, kinda sorta fair isle (what is construed as fair isle anyway? I'm not sure!). I was inspired to play around with knitting designs by a pattern in Amanda Keeys' book Baby Beanies which has a pattern called Euro Baby, which is a really easy intro to color stranding.

   So you know me....I went Scandinavian knit crazy! These little caps didn't take much time at all. And last week Michael's had all their little Sugar and Spice yarns on sale for 99 cents so I made a bit of a yarn investment, haha. Audrey picked out some colors and I'm now working on a hat for her.

  It just feels so good when you figure something out like this. Whether it's color stranding, purling, making a hat, or finishing that first wonky scarf, it feels good. And you always learn something. Each project makes the next project better, I think.

  Well, I've set a little goal for myself to get some work done this afternoon and then I will treat myself to the new (and sooo adorable but sooo darn expensive!) issue of Country Home. I've even got a game plan...Hobby Lobby will let you use a 40% off coupon on magazines. So I'm hoping to find it there and get it cheaper. There is a method to my madness.... :D

  Have a great week!~
H


New Prints in the shop!




Hi Friends--
   Just a quick note! I've got new prints in the shop, including Picking Dinner and Bedtime Stories! They look so good, and so bright and perfect for Spring and Summer! I decided to have these prints (and some others like St. Lucia and Madonna of the Blossoms) printed on linen paper and they look fantastic! The linen texture gives the prints a bit of a textured canvas style look, which is beautiful. Can't wait for you to see them!

  Come on over to the etsy shop and have your pick!~
~H

Spring Sale!~



   Hi friends, in preparation for spring, it's time to offer a little sale on my spring art! Flowers and blue skies, friends and lovely ladies--- it's all on sale! Just use the coupon code spring13 at checkout and get 15% off your ENTIRE order at the Audrey Eclectic etsy shop! I'm only offering this for a couple of days, so come shop!~ :D

Tutorial: A mossy flower planter


    Every spring I think, "I'm going to take it easy on the flowers. I'm just going to do mostly perennials and only a few annuals...I don't need to buy a ton of flowers....Oh who am I KIDDING!?"

   And, so it begins. The flowers are now in the plant nurseries and my hands are itching to get into the garden soil. I love flowers. I come from a long line of 'ladies who dig in the dirt.' I also spent four years working in a plant nursery where I learned a lot about flowers there and got a lot of opportunity to play around with planting and learning what goes where and what does best where.

   In the trial and error experiences of having my own yard and flowers, I've had some issues with beautiful iron baskets that look oh so pretty when first planted, but then dry out or fall apart in the elements. This year i got an idea that I saw at a local plant shop, and so I've rigged up some of my wire baskets in this new way, and I hope it does the trick in staying beautiful all spring and summer long.


    The biggest problem I've had with my wire baskets (and other planters that traditionally use a coco moss liner or spagnum moss) is that they dry out super quick, turn the dirt hard as a rock, and kill the flowers. So I've decided to go into my planting with a battle plan!
    
   To do this, I got some chicken wire and lined my basket with it. Then I took an old terra cotta pot and put it inside the basket. If you don't have a terra cotta pot to put in your planter, you could use an even cheaper method and line the wire with the plastic from a trash bag with a drain hole (a small one, just like you'd see in a flower pot) cut into the bottom. The idea is that the terra cotta or the plastic will keep the wind from blowing through your planter or basket and drying out the pot before the water has had a chance to get to the plants.


   To make your basket look cute from the outside, you can line the basket with mulch or you could line it with moss. I've lined this wire basket with some moss because that worked best with this particular basket, but on a couple of others I used some mulch I had on hand.
   
   What's fun about this part is that you can make it as wild and unique as you'd like. You could even plant some trailing vines, or strawberries into the sides of the planter (just make sure it has some soil). I like things a little wild and wispy, so I didn't worry about being too neat with the moss.


  I planted this pot with the new house in mind, and I know it will sit on the front porch with East light that is filtered. I am so enthused about this light! My front yard now faces west and gets the brutal, baking afternoon sun. After two years of drought and weeks of triple digit temps, I am so tired of just trying to keep plants alive, forget about even looking nice, in a west facing yard. Bring on the dappled morning light!

  Since eastern light is pretty much the ideal light, I picked an assortment of half sun/shade plants like coleus, impatiens, trailing petunias, bacopa and sweet little button-faced ageratum. I want these baskets to get big and overflowing, and I know given some time and care, these plants will do the job. I also pulled up some creeping jenny and rabbit's ear (some call it lamb's ear) that grows each year in my flower bed and put them in the planter for good measure.



  I used Miracle Grow potting soil that already has fertilizer in it, but you might want to add some fertilizer to your pot if you're using plain soil. I figured if I'm going to make the investment in buying each of the flowers for these arrangements, I might as well get the good quality base material in the soil. My hope is that we get a more mild summer than we've had the past couple of years so that the baskets get a chance to thrive and in a couple of months, they're huge and gorgeous! But even 'huge and gorgeous' starts out modestly.

   Here's the finished project:
















   It'll be a bit before all the plants mature, but I'm hopeful that with good moisture retention and rich soil, the planters I put together will thrive and become gorgeous. I'm excited to think that the next time I show them to you, they'll be all grown up and sitting on my new front porch! I am SO so excited. About so many things. What a fun summer it's going to be!~

   Well, I hope you enjoyed this little break from art to dig in the dirt. Gardening to me is like making art though, and it's growing art that is always fun to watch and enjoy.

  Hope all is well with you & yours!~
~H

Giveaway Winner


  Hello there!~
    First-- a BIG thank you to everyone who took part in the Easter Parade. I enjoyed seeing everyone's entry, and celebrating Easter with you, all around the country and the world! :D I hope you enjoyed it too!~!

   Of course, I have a giveaway winner to announce, don't I? So-- here goes!
The winner of the 8x10" print of "Preparing the Easter Basket" is..... MARY! Congrats, my friend! 

   If you would like to purchase a copy of "Preparing the Easter Basket", it is also available in my etsy shop. Every purchase helps and I so appreciate it! I've got a little ballerina doing a dance competition today, and mama's gotta keep her in shoes that fit and tights without runs!

   Thanks again to all those who participated and commented! These blog parties are pretty fun, aren't they? Wanted to let you know that I plan on doing the St. Lucia blog procession again this winter, so we will have that to look forward to. It was a big success last December, and really got us all in the holiday mood!

   Well, it's time for me to start the day! Have a wonderful weekend!~
~H

Inspiring Fairy Tale Art






 
   Some of the first artwork that I ever fell in love with was fairy tale art. I still have a book of fairy tales that I loved so much as a kid that I....colored all over it. In the most reverent way possible, of course ;) I had a habit of coloring on nice things as a kid. But I digress....

   There is something so captivating about fairy tale art, isn't there? I think it's because it's where we learn to read art as a story when we're children. We see the action, the emotion, the life going on in a still image that is so full of color and detail. I know for me it made such a big impression. So big that I am still pursuing the 'story in the picture' concept in my day-to-day life.

   As a lover of folk art in particular, I love the Eastern European fairy tale artwork especially. I found a Polish fairy tale book at the library and got this Russian lacquer fairy tale book on eBay after Melissa raved about it on her blog the other day (it's out of print, but there are several really inexpensive copies on eBay! I got mine within days as well.)

  There is so much pattern in movement in both types of illustrations. I love the illustrations in the Polish story book for it's sort of childlike quality of illustration, it is fun and whimsical, and has a great color palette. And I've always had a huge love for Russian Lacquer, which often features fairy tale subjects. I have been obsessed with Russia in various ways since I was a kid (yes, I get obsessed about other countries, don't I? I considered taking Russian in college, but went with French instead. At least I already knew that alphabet!) But I love the gorgeous figures, the amazing detail, and the rich color. You may may not know this, but I begin all of my paintings with a black background and then put the color on top of it. I like the dark undertone it gives, which is similar to the lacquer look in some ways.

  Well, I'm off to work on some commissioned pieces, but wanted to let you know that I've ordered prints of Picking Dinner and Bedtime Story. I should have them by next week! So stay tuned if you'd like one!~

  Have a great weekend!~
~H



This & That...a bit of a ramble





1. My doll pattern with some 'improvements' done by my Miss Audrey 2. Franklin and Mr. Darcy display how even when you're very different, you can still be friends 3. Reading this book and so far its really good and given me lots of food for thought 4. Speaking of food, I'm obsessed with Greek food at the moment.

 
  Hello from a wet and soggy prairie! It's been raining and gray and cold here for two days, but you know I'm not complaining! We desperately need the rain. And gray rainy days are good for staying in and creating, and I've got several commissions in the words-- including a doll-- that need to be completed this month.
   I thought you all might like to see my doll pattern though (I make my patterns out of old paper grocery bags, repurpose! Reuse!) that Audrey got ahold of. She was very offended that the poor girl didn't have a face. So she made her own!

   And of course around here there are always critters around cuddling, and I took this photo on Easter of Franklin and Mr. Darcy. This is one of the few moments when Franklin wasnt nuzzling and kissing the rabbit. Awww, buddies! See, you dont have to be alike or even similar to someone to be friends!

   And speaking of friendly differences, I picked up The Faith Club at the library the other day and have really been enjoying it. It discusses some really good interfaith issues, misconceptions, differences, and similarities between all three faiths. I'm a firm believer that if you're going to have an intelligent conversation with someone about an issue, you better learn about it, on all sides. And this is a great way to get to know different faiths in an open and honest way.
   Another book I just finished was written by my sweet blogging friend Wendy's father-- Becoming Orthodox. Which i found really enlightening because I have several Orthodox friends and am really inspired by Orthodox icons and art. It was also a really good read because I saw how in many ways their faith  with mine. (And speaking of Wendy, have you visited her great children's book blog? You gotta!)

  And while these books are great food for thought, I am also always eager for, well, food food. And I have been super obsessed lately with Greek food. I'm talking....we've been eating it nearly every day, and it's so good and honestly so much more healthy than how we had been eating. What is it about Greek salad that makes you obsessed with having more Greek salad? I also made a hybrid gyro/Greek burger using ground turkey, feta, kalamata olives and basil to make a pretty amazing dinner the other night (inspired by this recipe).
  Also got THIS recipe book for some great recipe ideas. And while it may sound strange to say "I'm taking up an ethnic diet" instead of "I'm eating more vegetables" I guess to me it's more fun and seems less like a chore. Hey, I'm being worldly! I'm totally trying new things! And there's comfort in the option of baklava...am I right? ;)

  Well, back to art making! Hope you have a great day--
~H