Trying new things…

Tried something new-to-me here… I appliquéd and sewed this house shaped pillow from scratch!

I have had a sewing machine for some time but I have only always used it to stitch paper to paper. Sewing fabric intimidates me. I’m not exactly sure, why! My mom and her mom could both sew well and were both self-taught. I still remember that one time on our way to my swim club, my mom stopped at a fabric store and bought a piece of very pretty fabric remnant and a skein of crochet thread. She had a crochet hook in her purse. During the three hours that I trained, she sat there and crocheted a beautiful lace pattern. After we finished dinner that night, mom pulled out her sewing machine. In the next hour, she brought her crochet piece and the remnant fabric together to create a unique dress for me! Me, I was proud to wear that dress and so proud of my mom. But I never dared to venture into that territory myself. Isn’t it strange how we hem ourselves in into believing we can’t do some things?

The idea for this pillow began in my head at Creativation 2017 in Phoenix in January quite by chance. I was doing demos at the Faber-Castell booth and Tea Stain Dyes was one of the products I was working with. I was showing and telling visitors how to prepare the dye baths and dipping fabrics in them. A lady walked up to me and asked me if I would like to make a pillow. I hesitated. She gave me a small bag of fiber-fill. I wasn’t sure. At the end of the show, I collected a few of the dry dyed demo samples that are usually discarded, and brought them home with me. The post-show work kept me busy for a month. Then preparing for the next assignment took up my time. Finally, I did a little spring cleaning and reorganization in my studio last weekend and recovered the the six little dyed cotton squares I had brought home.

Even though I never sew, I have a small fabric collection of my own. I sometimes use bits and pieces in my art journals. I dug through my bin and found some natural unbleached cotton fabric. After some experiments with the sewing machine and needle and thread, I had sewn myself a tiny house and a house-shaped pillow case. I cut open the bag of fiber-fill from the show and began stuffing. Before long, I had made a little pillow.

Now, my pillow has a bazillion flaws. But here it is, in the spirit of keeping it real and trying new things!

I still have some fiber-fill left. I might have another go at making a small pillow! Who knows, I might even end up with a couch full of ’em… only time will tell.




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Flipping through old journals

I started out planning to do some spring cleaning in the studio, sort of in an attempt to clear my mind. Then I found a pile of journals I had meant to put away and forgotten. And then I started flipping through the pages and saw this one. It made me smile! If I didn’t have art and crafts in my life, I’d be a perpetually frazzled person. ART SAVES SANITY.

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Walking into a Dream…

Just coming up for air today after finishing, packing and shipping off the last of my Creativation assignments… pink trees like cotton candy seemed to be the best cure for exhaustion. This spread was inspired by Mary Blair, who was a prominent artist and illustrator creating art and animation for the Walt Disney Company. Here’s to Mary!

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A Day at The MET

This Black Friday (for the unfamiliar, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day in the States), we decided to skip the mall and head out to NYC to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or The MET! We reached there a little after 11 am, bought our passes and immersed ourselves in art across time.

Whenever I visit a museum, I can’t help taking photos of the art. The photos don’t necessarily turn out great, given the lights, glass cases, reflections, equipment, skill, etc. they sure bring me joy. I look for common threads in art created in different times in history by different artists in different cultures using different mediums. I look deeper and notice details and find inspiration in them.

Below are a few pieces that caught my eyes during this visit that share a common thread: the color blue.

Meet William! This little hippopotamus was molded in faience, a ceramic material made of ground quartz by the Egyptian artist from the Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, ca. 1961–1878 B.C. The leaf designs represent the river marsh habitats of the hippos. William is very popular at The MET! You’ll find postcards, eraser, small reproduction statuettes, even soft toys!

This beautiful lady is Pauline de Broglie as captured by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the neo-classical French portraitist, his final commission and masterpiece! As the plaque at The MET reads, “Ingres captures the shy reserve of his subject while illuminating through seamless brushwork the material quality of her many fine attributes: her rich blue satin and lace ball gown, the gold embroidered shawl, and silk damask chair, together with finely tooled jewels of pearl, enamel, and gold.”

Wood, ivory, brass, paint, gilding came together in this North Spanish sculpture of Seated Virgin and Child from the late 15th century. Only a little over a foot tall, she still caught my eyes across a dimly lit room!

And this is Quappi in Blue in a Boat! She is part of the exhibition, Max Beckmann in New York running till February 20th, 2017. Beckmann captured his wife in Gouache and oil on paper mounted on cardboard. Isn’t she gorgeous?

I took this shot in the rain, while running to the car just to catch the time when we left. We didn’t even realize when the day ended and it was dark outside!

It was a day WELL-SPENT.

Oh, btw, did our shopping online between November 22nd and 29th 🙂


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CREATE II Event in Atlanta

On the 9th of November, I flew to Atlanta to teach at the CREATE II event organized by the queen of elegant paper crafting, Anna Griffin! I have designed for Anna since early 2009 and have always found her collections of products to be beautifully different. Being asked to teach at her event was an honor. The teachers and event concierges met with Anna for dinner at Bricktop’s. Lots of laughs, gifts and good food later, we retired to our rooms so we could be fresh and ready to set up the craft room at the Ritz Carlton for some 200 guests the next day.

The day flew by. The event kicked off with fun make n takes in the afternoon. Then there was a formal dinner for all the guests, all of Anna’s team, and HSN hosts. Beautiful flowers adorned every table, every place setting had gorgeous stationary gifts and the dessert was delicious.

After dinner, the teachers and their assistants went on to check the class kits and set up for the next day.

Outside each classroom, gorgeous displays were put up. I couldn’t help but get a photo taken with the display created just for my class!

For the next two days, I got to meet and know and teach several groups of wonderful women. So many stories, so many laughs. There is such amazing power and peace in crafting together, to spend time with like-minded people.

Outside the craft room, Anna had galleries set up for inspiration. I was so excited to spot  several of my scrapbook layouts in the galleries!

And the food each day was just awesome! I loved these veggie chips… they reminded me of orchids.

And there were friends, new and old. I was meeting most of them for the first time in real life. Here’s Kate, Patti and Tracy, from left to right. I think I could write several posts about these wonderful women – kind, supportive and CREATIVE!



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Behind the Scenes: Collage Painting

There’s something absolutely magical about squeezing paints out, mixing them and slathering them on a surface. It helps clear your mind. Sets you free to be a kid again. It is soul balm. If only for a second you could drop your inhibitions, perfectionism and complexes, you could feel the joy that is painting!

I have been painting for as long as I can remember. With chalks, with pencils, with crayons. Then with poster paints, finger paints, acrylics, watercolors. Sometimes I sketch first and sometimes I paint first.

As a natural progression to that, I have started pairing my painting with my magpie tendencies. I collect lots of stuff that are radically insignificant to most people. And the only thing that keeps me from becoming a legendary hoarder are my collage paintings. Scraps of papers, fabric, laces and found objects happily find their ways into my paintings and art journals.

This summer, I worked on a whole collection of collage paintings that were inspired by my two daughters. Some of the simple things that they love to do became translated to the joyful movements the girls in my paintings made.

I set these paintings in simple scenes, painted each one of them in bright and cheerful colors. Like my two girls, these paintings make me and those who visit our home, smile!

The originals currently grace my daughters’ rooms. Maybe I’ll have some prints of these collage paintings in the Color Happy Shop too.

See you next week. Until then, make time to paint!

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Behind the Scenes: Inspired by Words

I think you’d agree that some words have really powerful impact on us. Whether you are an avid or an occasional reader, you chance upon written messages that you can never forget, words that can change how you think. Empower you. Inspire you. Remind you of what’s important.

When I’m reading, I jot down the words that I love, in a notebook. If I don’t have a notebook with me, I scribble them on small pieces of paper. At any time, you can find several such small scribbled notes in my purse or on my desk. I clip the notes to the pages and if time allows, I copy them in my notebook.

I read through the notebook pages and mentally short-list the ones that I want to brush-letter. It takes a little time to get into the flow of lettering. I have been practicing brush-lettering for a few months now and my style is still evolving. There are many guides to show you how to brush-letter. But I find that following those guides makes my writing look and feel like someone else’s and I like my handwriting to be as authentically mine as possible, mistakes and all.

So, I came up with a regimen of my own – brush-lettering one quote or saying till I am satisfied. I’m not aiming for perfect spacing or even sizing, but what feels like the best and most consistent visual representation that I can create of each word according to its significance. And sometimes, I add a bit of illustration to a piece.

I choose a few of the finished ones and frame them in my studio. The power of the words give me hope and perspective. They also help me improve my lettering techniques over time.

What are some of your favorite quotes? Please share in your comments!

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Happy National Coloring Book Day to You!

Did you know that there is a National Day dedicated to Coloring Books?

Yes! I was so excited to learn that TODAY is that day.
Of course, I had to celebrate… so, I’m coloring in my own printable coloring book, “No Place Like Home” as pictured above!

And I invite YOU to join in the fun!

I like to take my time with coloring. Here’s my page in progress…

Since these pages are printable, you can print them as many times as you like and color them as many ways as you like! You don’t even have to wait for the mail to arrive. I’ll email you the PDF right away, within 24 hours at the most, so you can get started fast. You can buy the book right here!

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When you are getting ready to be on TV

Earlier this year, I was asked by KS Productions to be on a TV Show called Make It Artsy. The show will air on PBS stations nationwide as well as online at starting this September. I have been on TV before on a different show called Scrapbook Soup. Every member of the KS Production team have been most helpful for preparing novices like myself for the show. So, there’s been a lot of shopping (of course!!!) and preparing projects, step-outs, instructions and talking points.

Here are some jewel tone and pastel dress shirts. I needed at most 2, but I bought 8. Please don’t judge!

Now, clothes aren’t the only thing I bought. I bought some props too. What can I say, I love how chefs use little dishes and utensils and they inspire me as much as the food they cook. So, I took this opportunity to buy some TV props of my own!

Shopping, however, is NOT the only thing I’ve been doing. I have been working very hard and many late hours to create my projects, editing my write-ups and planning my presentation.

I’ll be shooting three Technique segments and one Tip segment. And guess what? I GET TO SHOW OFF MY OWN COLORING BOOK ON TV!!!

Here’s the page from my coloring book No Place Like Home that I’ll show how to watercolor following the principles of chiaroscuro (the technical term for understanding light and shadows).

This is my project for the book episode. I will be showing how to alter a book to create an art journal.

In the stamping episode, I’ll show how to create this mixed media canvas with stamps I designed and cut myself. In this episode, I’ll also present a fun stamping tip you can easily recreate.

Okie doke, time to get back to work!

Happy creating y’all!




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