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Summer Sale!

  In anticipation of autumn coming, I've decided to have a summer sale! Just visit my etsy shop and enter the coupon code summer20 to receive 20% off your entire purchase!

  It's a hot and swampy day out today, steaming and wet thanks to last night's rain. We went to the Ozark Mountains over the weekend, and it was cool and crisp in the mornings-- in the 60s. I wish it was like that always-- but not out here in the flatter lands. We're set to steam and bake until Autumn blows in. At least things are still green, which is a miracle around here when its nearly August.

  Of course you know me--- already thinking of Autumn art and dreaming of cooler days and richer colors. I've got a new witchy painting on the table and a commission as well. The office/art room is a stuffed mess, but it's manageable. I can still find the cat in it.

  As for inspiration, the other day my husband brought home several tiny little tin type portraits from someone he worked with-- she found them in her mother's home after her death and had no idea where they came from. They're small-- about 2"x1.5", but the borders all seem to be very similar and there are men, women, and groupings of people. What could they be from? Samples from a photographer's studio? Photos from some sort of organization? So far, they're keeping mum on the whole situation.

  Well, back to that mountain of laundry that always happens after a trip. Hoping to treat myself to some painting though, very very soon!~

Little Princes

  So, like any good English loving American, I was following the news on the royal baby closely these past couple weeks as the due date came and went, anxious to know if it would be a boy or girl and what the name would be.
  On Monday, when I read that the duchess was finally in labor, I went to the grocery store and bought myself a big decadent pastry and set it aside until the news came that she'd had a boy and then I sat myself down with some tea and ate the whole darn thing myself!
   It was so nice to have something joyous in the news for a change, wasn't it? Something to look forward to with happy anticipation?
   And I'm also looking forward to seeing the baby boy clothes that this little prince will be sporting, since we're expecting our own little prince this winter and the clothing choices for boys I'm seeing seem, well, few and far between.
   I don't want to dress my little baby in cartoon characters. He'll have time enough for branding ;) I went into a baby store recently and they had display after display of gorgeous baby girl dresses. And a couple of puny racks of 'boyish' onesies. Now, that's not fair!
   So I left the store and walked next door to the yarn store, where I met an Englishwoman who worked there and we dished Royal Baby and picked out boy colored yarn. If they dont sell it, knit it, I suppose!

   Well, off to start the morning!~
Hoping there will be some time for painting and knitting...

The Headless Horseman!

    When thinking up ideas for new Autumn and Halloween art, I had an idea to paint a scene inspired by the spooky Washington Irving story about the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. It seemed to suit me perfectly-- given my Dutch ancestry that goes back to the area and the fact that well, I love a good scary story!

    This painting shows a young couple, perhaps meeting on the lane near her house to make plans and promises, when they are startled by the sound of hooves in the distance and the bone chilling sight of the headless horseman and his spooky stead.

   One thing I really wanted to do with this painting--- aside from trying my hand at a horse-- was work on a bit of architecture and homey halloween decor. I love old New England homes, and the thought of one out in the woods with candles and jack-o-lanterns in the window and bittersweet on the front door seemed lovely. 

    I'm pretty pleased with this piece though and I think it came out a success! I documented the work on this piece on instagram (see side bar to look through my pics) and it sold within moments of being completed and shared, which I am very happy about!

   But don't fret, this will definitely become a print and probably part of the halloween postcard set as well. I want to get enough halloween art created to have a fun autumn party here come Sept 1st like we did last year, and then you know...on to Christmas!

I am enjoying a bit of spookiness, even if it is summer still around here. There is just something so thrilling and fun about Autumn and the art that goes with it. It's a bit of a childhood indulgence and a celebration of traditions and legends that are so deeply rooted in our American past.

And who knows, perhaps on Halloween, on some dark lane in Sleepy Hollow...the headless horseman will ride again!~!!

A summer note

  We're in the long hot days now-- summer is here. Although not as brutally as last year and the year before, and I'm thankful for that! Waiting for the tomatoes to ripen and the sunflowers to open. But mostly? I'm thinking of my favorite season, Autumn, and cool nights, grinning pumpkins, spooky tales and Halloween art.

These days I'm reading up on some ghost stories and also got a book about Grandma Moses. I've known about Grandma Moses forever it seems, but I didnt really know any specifics about her or her paintings. This book came used from Amazon and I've been paging through it at the dining room table when I get little moments. How amazing that she started painting at 78! Why, I've got lots of time, don't I?

  Other big news around here is that it seems our little baby is going to be a boy! And knowing this has got me suddenly motivated to start really looking at baby things, and looking at boy stuff which is a foreign concept for me! I've spent the last 6 years immersed in pink. I've got a lot to learn about this boy business. I just hope he's sweet and kind like his daddy. I've already made one just like me ;)

  Since it's getting so hot, I haven't really been spending much time outside except for in the mornings. Then I look after the plants and check on the vegetables. The pretty rose on the shed is blooming again, and it's the star of the yard. I'm hoping after a season or two, the hydrangeas I've planted under the old Cedar tree will start to fill out and blossom. The garden now, with all its tiny not-yet-ripe veggies, is all about patience. If a curious little girl doesn't pick the egg plant before its mature, and if the dogs dont trample my last pepper plant, I might get a modest harvest, even with this late start. I'll at least have tomatoes, which have gone crazy and brambly.

   Planting this little garden makes me think of my great-grandma's huge garden that she grew at her house just down the street. Or maybe it was huge because I saw it with a three year old's eyes? It's hard to know. But what I do know is, this time next year, there will be a new little one here....who will probably inspire more boys in my paintings, and who I'm sure will grow to love Halloween as much as me and his big sister.

   Well, time to sign off and get the garden watered while its still shady back there, and then hopefully-- more painting!~


Custom Logo

      I just recently finished was this logo for my friend Patricia in New York who does genealogy research as well as other ancestral services such as grave tending and digital preservation of family documents. This was a really fun project to me because I love the mix of history and family research, and worked with Patricia to find just the right image that would represent her business in all its facets.
   We settled on this Early American floral arrangement with two silhouettes hanging within it. The idea for it came from designs I've seen in antique rug hooking designs, and we incorporated pretty blue forget-me-nots within the arrangement to compliment her business name.
Patricia was also a big help to me in doing some family research on my own family, as I'd gotten pretty stuck on one side because my great-great grandfather died so young and his wife remarried.
  My maiden name was Van Winkle and I knew that it was a Dutch name, but that was about it.
   Patricia was able to trace my family back from these prairie Van Winkles (Jim and Lula Mae, left) all the way back to New England, particularly New Jersey, where I had two Revolutionary War solider ancestors, a father and son.
   I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that the Van Winkles have been in American a long time. Perhaps arriving just after the English pilgrims, but my ancestors were Dutch traders who eventually settled in the Manhattan area and then down in New Jersey. That is so amazing to me!
   It also made me realize that so much of our 'American story' is left out of what we're taught in school-- and that there is so much more to learn about. In school we usually focus on the English and their settlements, but the Dutch and the Spanish were also very busy in the Americas. I'm curious to learn more about my Dutch ancestry ( my lady ancestors had some pretty amazing name such as Antje, Jacomyntje, Trintje and Grietje...future baby names, perhaps? ;) )
   It was really exciting to hear all about what Patricia discovered, and so funny that my family line stretched from where I live here in Oklahoma to her own neck of the woods up in the New York area!
    If you'd be interested in having Patricia do some research into your family, or if you'd like to take her up on some of her other ancestral services, you can find more information on her website, HERE.

   Til then, have a great monday and rest of the week! Its rainy and gray here, and I love it!~

Come on over-- a bungalow tour!

      It's been over a month now since we were handed the keys to our 1916 bungalow and it's finally starting to come together like home and really feel like home. Now that (most) of the boxes have been cleared away and we've figured out how to hang some things in the rock hard walls, I thought I'd give you a little bit of a tour of the new home of all things Audrey Eclectic!

  This is our new living room-- with a new couch! We acquired it by a twist of fate-- it was my parent's couch and they were giving it to my brother to use in the carriage house out back. But the problem was-- it was too tall to get up the narrow old stairs into the apartment! So I suggested that he take our couch, which was much lower, and we take mom's. It was a bit of a sofa shuffle, but we all ended up with beige couches at the end of the day!

   Above the mantle in the living room is the wedding portrait of my great-great grandparents Jim and Lula Mae Van Winkle. I love that I am now living in the same old down town area that they lived in during the early days when this was just a small prairie town. I recently had a friend who's a genealogist look into this side of the family, and she came up with some fascinating stuff!

    Of course one of the main things I fell in love with about this house was all the woodwork and these beautiful original bookcases. This place has some fabulous built-ins, including a kitchen hutch and an 'ice box' original to the house. I store my ice cream maker in there now! ;)

  In honor of actually having a dining room now, we had a big country dining table built to fill the space-- and ever since I was a kid and my grandparent's had a dining room table with a bench to sit on, I've wanted one. Guess what I've got now?
   The guys who built our table and custom finished it for us run a business out of Springdale, AR. called James + James. They make amazing pieces for really reasonable prices--- and they deliver all around the country!

     The wow room in this house is no doubt the kitchen-- which was remodeled a few years ago and is totally modern, complete with granite counter tops. I never imagined I would own granite counter tops--- I wanted an old house, and I was prepared to have to live with something just a smidge off from 'nightmare outdated mess' until it could be upgraded, so this was an awesome bonus. 
   It wasn't completely overhauled to lose the original charm, however--- there is an original alcove with the ice box (I'll show that area at a different time, it's sorta stacked with odds and ends now) and the built in hutch, which is now home to all my pretty mugs and cups.

  There's Henry and Franklin enjoying the cool tile floor on a day that's supposed to be in the triple digits. We are so so thankful for central heat and air in this place! A must-have in Oklahoma! Just outside those windows is a view of the carriage house, which is full brick and reminds me of an old Jane Austen cottage. My brother lives in there now, however I haven't made him start dressing in breeches and a cravat to help complete the picture. Yet. ;) 

   This is our sweet little stairwell with its painted steps. I have always wanted a pretty stairway, mainly to decorate at Christmas, and I'm so happy to finally have one! Plus, 21 stairs. We've counted. But they're a smooth stairway to climb. I wonder how many hands and feet have worn these stairs into their buttery smoothness? Countless, nearly 100 years worth!

  This is our master bedroom, which is so cozy. I love waking up and looking out over the porch and the yard in the morning. And my old chippy flea market pictures seem to go well in it, and of course the union jack pillow. You might remember my other master bedroom was very dark and rich with its peacock green-- its interesting to see all my things in a lighter, more mellow light. And yes, that's the crib there on the left. Waiting for our winter baby, whenever he or she arrives!

  And did you notice this little ornery one up in the middle of it all? He loves to snuggle in the pillows...but who could blame him, really? Officially, his name is "Snowy" but we mostly tend to call him "Kitty." Although I think he should be named "Trouble." At least he's not swinging from the light cord in these pictures, like he loves to do ;)

    The other side of the master bedroom, looking out into the living room. I love the look of all these little old prints and samplers grouped together on the walls. Since the rooms are so big and the ceilings are so high, what may have looked extremely busy in the little house looks balanced here. Which is a good thing!

   And so....that is the tour, for now! Other rooms are starting to come together, and I'm sure you'll see more as I blog on. Hope you enjoyed your peek into the bungalow! Glad you got to stop by for a visit!~
   Now how about some iced tea?

Original Painting: The Witch's Garden

    Guess what season I'm totally ready for??? I'm determined to live in complete denial of our frying temperatures and concentrate on the idea of October. Sound good? Well, then we can be friends :D

   I've also had several requests for autumn postcards, so I thought I'd better get started on some designs so I'll have the cards in plenty of time. This little painting sort of just thought itself up--my painting desk overlooks the back garden and I found myself wondering what a witch's garden would look like. I imagine cone flowers, bee balm, daisies, and all sorts of herbs. And cats, of course. Can't forget the cats.

  I also wanted to paint a quaint little New England village because surely, all of those sleepy little villages must have had a cute little witch to spice things up, right? Imagine the trouble she caused ;) or imagine the young ladies sneaking up the path to her gate for a love potion or something to pinken their cheeks and brighten their eyes so a certain young man would notice them? I'm sure this little witch would be much obliging. 

  This painting is just now on etsy and looking for a new home! I wish the scanner could capture all the tiny details-- of course nothing compares to the original. But maybe you'll fall in love with her ( and her cats, they are, of course, inseparable!) and want to bring her home with you?

  You can find here HERE-- for now!~
Back to painting--

Painting: A Thankful Harvest

    One great thing about anticipating the busy fall and winter seasons of shows and holiday sales is that I get to totally shut out summer and pretend it's fall! And one of my first fall paintings is this one-- A Thankful Harvest (original piece already sold.)

   You may remember these characters from my painting Picking Dinner. It's the same little family-- this time the baby is big enough to start standing on her own, perhaps she'll take her first steps by winter? Anyhow-- this painting shows the bountiful harvest of the garden come autumn, with corn, squash, pumpkins and even a basket of apples!

  I also love little black speckled chickens, and so I thought I'd give them a couple. Plus, a pumpkin headed scare crow-- Audrey really liked that part!

   As for this afternoon--- Audrey and Daddy have gone out fishing, so it's just me and critters. I have another autumn (this time very Halloween!) painting on my painting desk, and I also finished a logo for an ancestry services business! Can't wait to show you!

  Wishing you a merry weekend--

Sleepy Summer

   I'm sitting here in the art room this morning with a kitten curled up in my lap and two snoring dogs under the desk. It is a chilly morning-- there were shivers as I went out to fill the bird feeder, and I love it. Mornings in the 50s in July is a heavenly treat. This time last year, we started the day out sweating. This week's weather has been a little miracle!

   Of course, I wish I were more alert to enjoy it, but the truth is I'm still feeling like our little kitty, above ;) I'm up bright eyed and bushy tailed, but my noon I start to drag and more often than not, I'm in bed by around 8. It's ridiculous! But since I'm heading out of my first trimester with this little one, I'm hoping I wake up soon. So much to do! To plan! To paint!

  Well, time to start the day. We're having dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday and then closing the evening with some good front porch sittin'. And then tomorrow we'll celebrate Independence Day...and probably end up on the porch again!~

   Until next time!~