Thrift Store Plate Paintings

thrift store plate paintings
If you, like me, decided not to host the big Thanksgiving dinner this year, you may change your mind after making these. A mismatched set secondhand plates get a completely new look with ceramic paint. No need mad artistic skills, just have fun. It’s a great project to do with friends, so grab your besties, put on a movie, and start painting!READ MORE

September Inspiration

September Inspiration
The four of us went to the beach the other day for some inspiration, and ended up collecting a few treasures that we’ve been having fun with ever since. Small pieces of driftwood, feathers, broken shells, beach glass, those kinds of things. We originally went to collect a few smooth rocks. I wanted a few more to crochet around. One of us wanted rocks to paint into dragon eggs, and another one wanted an interesting rock to use a door stop. Whatever the reason, we were all game for a little beach combing.
That same afternoon, I started painting tiny patterns on smaller pieces of driftwood. It was so fun just letting my mind just wander and “play” with a little paint, not really thinking about what the outcome would be. A little neon paint here and there seemed to be the perfect touch.
Here’s what I’m working on this month:
– I am speaking at School House Craft on Saturday (9/22) at 2:45. In our “Blogging 101” class, Marie LeBaron of Make and Takes and we will be sharing the ins and outs of why blogging is an important and fun aspect of running and promoting your handmade business. (My husband, Peter, will be speaking too!) This is a very inspiring weekend, a great way to kick off Fall.
– I am busy creating new original art for Home, an upcoming, end-of-year show at Artstream Gallery in New Hampshire. More details coming soon, it may be textile pieces, may be paintings, I’m not quite sure yet, but I’m very excited about this show and honored to be included.
– I am so excited to be joining my granny squares together. The timing is perfect here, weather-wise! If you want to join the Granny Square Sampler Afghan crochet-along, you can start anytime by following all the weekly crochet assignments on the Sampler page.

Good Fortune Hex Signs

Good Fortune hex sign

Good Fortune hex sign

Good Fortune hex sign

Good Fortune hex sign

Good Fortune hex sign

I needed something inspiring, colorful, and reasonably quick to do this weekend, so I painted a few new Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired good fortune hex signs. If you’ve been reading this space for a while, you may remember I became pretty enamored with Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs a while back (this one is living with my good friends in Portland). I still love them. These are small, only 4″ x 4″ canvases. (Just as a sidenote- somebody should really write a craft book on the millions of things you can do with those 4″ x 4″ canvases.)
I glued ribbons to the backs for hanging or attaching them to a holiday package.
We are looking forward to a fun Thanksgiving with good friends. Posting will be sparse here on the blog this week, but will be posting on Instagram. Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone who is taking part.

Altered Book Sketchbook


Not sure if I am much of an “art journal” person, but I thought it might be fun to try altering a book to create a sketchbook. I have been buying and using spiral bound sketchbooks for my daily sketches because they stay open, but I like the idea of having a full spread to work with too. A duplicate I-Spy book I found in our basement was perfect for this project… it’s large (10″ x 12″), stays open and flat, it will give me a surface to play with my carved rubber stamps, and another book to draw my daily sketches in.

4 New Quilt Paintings


(From left to right: Echo Star, Morning Star, Flutter Wheel with Toile, Turkey’s Delimma.)

I finished the Morning Star and Flutter Wheel last week, soon they are all four headed to Artstream Gallery in New Hampshire. Its fun to see them all together. That second picture up there shows the sides of the pieces, which has some smudges of paint. Should I paint the edges? Leave them as they are? What do you think? A part of me likes the layers and layers of paint just seeping over the edges a bit, but not sure if you’d want to see that when the piece is hung on a wall.


The rain returned over the weekend, after a record stretch (near-record? record? I can’t keep up) of no rain in Seattle. I missed it, I’ll admit. Was quite happy to curl up in my chair with my crochet hook and watch it drip outside. Finally gave in and started watching Downton Abbey, almost through season 1. Yes, I love it. Peter’s watching a 24 episode documentary on The Cold War. Emma is making more clay dragons and Ian is making stop motion animation movies. Gracie is napping. Tonight is baked potato night.


That’s how we’re rolling.

Getting some interweb inspiration for Halloween. We need to focus on costumes this week and next. I always make this process way harder than it needs to be.

Simple, Blair…simple.

Take care for now friends.

New Quilt Paintings

quilt painting
Turkey’s Dilemma, acrylic and gouache, 12″ x 12″ wood panel

quilt painting
Echo Star, acrylic and gouache, 10″ x 10″ wood panel

These will be going to New Hampshire in a few weeks. I am still very much in love with painting quilt squares, and as you may have guessed, that’s what these are. The whole process is enjoyable to me. To start with a sketch, then move to a painting, and perhaps even eventually to a physical quilt. Or not.
I have been working on these pieces for the past few weeks. The process went from love… to hate… to love.. to loathe… to love, with each of them. Which I have discovered is part of the process. I never felt those polar opposite feelings on quilts or other projects I’ve done. With my quilts, it either works or it doesn’t, and I tend to know that early on. Pushing past that moment of total loathing is somewhat new for me. (You would be surprised at the number of projects that get discarded.) Usually, I hate wasting time on an idea that just isn’t clicking, I have no patience for what doesn’t feel like its going anywhere. But something about painting and the process of adding the paint layers, over days or even weeks, doesn’t make it feel like a hopeless cause in quite the same way. Usually, when it starts looking awful, I know its time to rinse the brushes and call it a night. It always looks at least a little better in the morning sun. And sometimes a lot better.

Good Fortune Hex

Good Fortune Hex, 6″ x 6″ wooden board, combination of gouache and acrylic.
Even though the painting class is now over, I have found myself missing the act of sitting down and starting a painting. I wanted to create a new one and keep the ideas and inspirations I have in my head fresh, so I started this one on Saturday night and finished it Tuesday afternoon (I am not even sure the paint is dry when I snapped this photo). Paintings take a lot of time, I had no idea! I found a paperback book on the subject of Pennsylvania Dutch hex symbols at the thrift store several months ago and I’ve been pulling it off the shelf at least once a week to flip through it since then. That is where the inspiration started for this piece. First the book, then further reading and researching, and here you go. Originally painted onto barns to ward off evil spirits, these hex symbols also have a long and symbolic history. Each of the symbols within a hex have meanings that can be interpretive. I found several different meanings of each of the symbols I used in my piece, but roughly-
eight pointed star- good fortune
wheat- abundance and goodwill
tulips- trust in mankind

Week Five of Painting Class

Vintage Floral Sheet, acrylic and gouache, 6″ x 12″ wood panel
This was the final week of Lisa and Mati’s online painting class, Get Your Paint On, and our assignment was to choose between starting a new painting, or revisiting one we’d done during the other weeks of the class. I was anxious to start a new painting, and had already begun rolling around ideas in my head.
That is, until Emma recommended I not paint a quilt this week.

Follow Wise Craft Handmade