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Busy Watercoloring

Boy has life gotten in the way with my blogging! It never seems like I have time to devote to this part of my life.  It is either grand-parenting, filling orders, or recuperating from my busy active life with my poor knees.  But, this grammie is not complaining about her time with her two adorable little girls.  They are my priority, but blogging has definitely dropped down the list….so….sorry everybody.

But, let’s get on with it. As many of you know my love is creating and watercolor painting. Lately, as I have long quiet evenings I decided to purchase ARTEZA watercolor markers and a set of the fillable brushes.  I LOVE, LOVE THEM!  Also, to get my mo-juice flowing I went to YOU TUBE and started watching watercolor videos. Creationsceecee is wonderful to follow!!! This link will take you to one of her videos of doodling with watercolor floral examples.  What she uses as her warm-ups, I love using for little thank you gifts or adding to my note card fronts.

So, for all of you watercolor enthusiasts or those that want to try watercolor, I highly recommend the watercolor markers and water brushes.  They are going to be much easier to travel with and you don’t have to worry about taking a lot of brushes or IMG_0919_Momentcontainers of water.  The watercolor brushes are right there for you.  I do suggest at least one of your favorite brushes.  I am including a round brush for my traveling kit because it does have better blending properties and gives my a little more control with my paints.

One of the great properties of the watercolor markers is that you can mix them on your paper or on a plastic pallet before taking it to the paper.  The paints blend and flow wonderfully! These two paintings were done on 140 lb. Arches Cold Press paper.

I have always wanted to be able to paint a bit more loose and these markers and doodling are helping me move into that direction.  I find the doodling allows me to think more outside of the box in adding lines that in reality might not be there.

So happy painting if you decide to venture into watercolor markers.

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Time for Learning

The flowers and trees are blooming in Michigan giving a sense of rebirth, renewal, and regenerating.  Everyone needs this time to renew soul, obtain new knowledge, renew friendships…….what comes to your mind? For me it is becoming re-energized after a long cold winter.  It is time for learning something new and spreading our wings to new challenges, to growth.

Last week I posed the question to my FACEBOOK friends at EighthAvenueDesign what they would like to learn how to do.  What a fun question!  What would you answer? Take a minute and write it down on a piece of paper.

I’m waiting to give you some time……………..do it!

So some of the answers I received included the following:

  • Watercolor
  • Crochet
  • ANY crafts 🙂
  • Creating SVG designs

So……now what you ask.  What am I going to do with this information? (laughing) Time for designing some classes for my followers, friends and family.  It has been over ten years since I’ve taught a watercolor class or any other kind of class.  WOW – that makes me feel old (guess that’s what happens when you do a major career change from art to higher education and wait til you retire to return to what you love). 

For myself, the challenge and regenerating is going to be educating others and still learning as I go of new ways to teach, getting to know my clients, and hopefully filling a gap in other’s lives. Teaching has always been so rewarding for me in an intimate, small setting.  It allows others to take time for themselves. It doesn’t matter if what they are doing isn’t a masterpiece, it is the journey. Are you getting ready for a new journey?

Well, time to begin developing and creating! It has been almost six months since my injury and rehab.  IT IS TIME to get back in the saddle and grow.  Come along on the journey with me.

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Returning to Life with New View

It is a beautiful spring day in Michigan and I am so happy to be back to enjoying life and creating in my studio. I have been unable to even get to my studio for  four months. In October I twisted my knee which led to falling and really hurting things. What proceeded from that point was my knee became septic with infection (MRSA), finding out I also fractured my shoulder and my knee required surgery.  After two weeks in the hospital and over a month in a rehab facility I returned home in a wheel chair to regain strength.

The most difficult part of everything was missing my second granddaughter’s birth, unable to prepare for Christmas and being the matriarch of giving joy and celebration of the holidays to my family.  I also wasn’t able to help my son after he had back surgery or care for his new daughter in a way that I did for my daughter’s little one.

This period of my life has given me a new prospective of being retired, family, starting a new business, and what is REALLY important to me.  It reminded me that God answers prayers in many different ways and we may never understand why. Things happen for a reason. In the process, I realized I don’t need to have the PhD behind my name and family was more important than dedicating so much time to that en-devour. My love and bond with my husband also became so much stronger. He never left my side when I was in the hospital and cared for me in ways that I never believed he would.  Just talking about all of this has tears running!

I am sharing this with you so that you take a step back and think about where you are today.  Many of you are beginning to enter your fifty’s and are beginning to think about life very differently I am sure.  What legacy will you leave for your family? Is it that you have a PhD?  Is it that you taught your grandchildren how to crochet or play the piano? These were some of the questions that I now have clarity with.

My life has been blessed and I am back to bring creativity to everyone – one day at a time – with love and affection.

Come along with me for this wonderful ride called LIFE…….

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Pumpkins & Harvest

What a whirlwind of a summer it was! My granddaughter turned one year old and we are now expecting our second granddaughter. But, this time it is our son’s little one.  She will become part of our family sometime after Thanksgiving. Yes…….it has been an exciting summer and start of fall for us.

I retired to be GRAM and that is exactly what I have been doing.  There has been limited time in the studio.  But, what time I am there it is productive. Right now we are designing ornaments for Christmas giving and also some holiday stethoscope covers.  Our steth covers are actually our best sellers on Amazon.  Who would have thought?  Here is our latest stethoscope cover for Halloween.  It has been fun using my newest purchase for the studio – a heat press.  If you look closely the Happy Halloween is heat pressed vinyl.

Continue visiting the site as I add new listings to the gallery.IMG_8091

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Dreams, Challenges, Family, Retirement

The last few weeks have been quite reflective for me as we prepare our life for retirement in a few years. If you ask me what that means…….I would have to tell you it is changing every second of every day right now. What do I want, where do I want to be, what do my kids want, what does my husband want, what does my father need. You understand don’t you?

A few weeks ago, after taking care of my granddaughter all day, I could hardly move. Picking up 25 pounds all day killed my back.  It took me 3 weeks to get things back so I could at least sleep. Then, I watched her and am hurting again.  But, I am not going to let pain stop my quality of life! Now I am going to doctors to fix whatever is wrong, probably my bulging disks…….

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Photo: Dana Phillips Photography

It all made me reflect the stages of life we have been given.  During our school days it was all about friends, doing what our parents wanted and getting good grades (at least for me….haha). Then after school it was about how we were going to be successful in life.  That might have included college, military, or going right to work for each of us.  What it was for me was doing some schooling to take over my dad’s business (a man’s world of manufacturing) and getting married. But, marriage took me to being the woman behind a successful man. My husband and I left my father’s business and started our own. It was whatever we had to do to be successful and achieve the material things we wanted. Does this sound familiar?

Along the way children were added into the picture. Now the success of raising good, moral, intelligent children were part of the success picture. Of course, there were bumps and bruises along that road. But, I have been blessed with two wonderful adult children. Now, we watch our children working toward their dreams and successes.

So, now where I am today. Preparing for retirement years to enjoy life, family, and the fruits of our success. I can hear some of you laughing out there. For those of you that know me, though I am retired from higher education, I have to work and create every day….this website is part of that….creating another success. BUT….this time it is different. I am doing Eighth Avenue Design because I enjoy what I am doing.  My success isn’t about making tons of money.  It’s about being happy and finding contentment.

So, each morning, after getting my sore bones moving, I head to my studio to create. I am not making the six figure salary. But, I have contentment and joy when I box up one of my creations and send to some corner of the world. I am blessed.

This has been a difficult journey but I am trying…….any tips?  Where are you at in your journey? What is your end game?  Please share.

 

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Celebrating America’s Birthday

It has been a while since we have posted in our blog. But, the studio has been quite busy! Our feature photo promotes the heat press shirts that were completed for the 4th of July holiday.  Yes, of course, I had to do one for my grand daughter……lol…….and excitedly, my son and girlfriend are expecting in December. Needless to say, this momma bear had to made something special for the new addition to our family.  I ended up making two designs for expecting mommas and gave one to my nephew’s wife.  It is such a wonderful time for this retired grandma for sure.

How many of you have grand children that are reading this post?  I never thought I would be so impacted by the arrival of a grand child.  But, they melt your heart.  The feel of their little hands in yours, their arms reaching out to you, or burying their heads in your chest……need I say more?  This is the best time of my life right now and I am trying to absorb as much as I can.

For those that follow this that would like the designs please email me at eighthavenuedesign@gmail.com and I will give you access to the designs for the three shirts.

Happy 4th of July!

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Day of Reorganization and Thought

Fabric Organization

Today I took time to begin reorganizing where my fabric and yarns are kept. There has been a bit of a lull in orders on Amazon and Etsy so it is giving me time to make things hopefully a bit more efficient. My orders have been evolving into more and more personalizing and embroidery. So……all this fabric needs to be out in front instead of stuck away in bins. You know how that is right? Keeping the juices flowing.

So…..I did some searching on Pinterest, of course, to see what everyone was doing to store fabric.  I found many people were wrapping them on custom made boards. But, the DIY’er that I am, and with a stack of foam core that I had stored from my watercolor painting and framing days, I cut boards to fit my cabinets perfectly! AND WA-LA! ORGANIZATION IN PROCESS.

Through the day I realized I had an added benefit to cutting, folding and wrapping the fabric. Can you guess what it was?  Yep! Thoughts and designing in my head. Now I can’t get this fabric organized fast enough so I can start on some new projects that will be just in time for the holiday shopping.  I am so excited!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When is your best thinking and designing time?  Normally mine is first thing in the morning before I get up or while I’m laying in bed at night trying to fall asleep.  I don’t think we allow ourselves the quiet times during the day to really think about things that are not right in front of us screaming. Unfortunately, this is what our world has become. Hopefully, you have a daily job that you enjoy and are challenged to improve yourself each day, not one that just drains every drop out of you.  So, I share with you, take time to think and reflect as often as possible. I know it is hard. But allow yourself this time, even if it is only for 15 minutes a week.

As I spent today reflecting, I also want to send a shout out to all our veterans out there and say THANK YOU for serving us and our country. Happy Memorial Day to all.

 

 

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PhD or NOT????

PhD or Not —–That has been the looming question for me over the last six months. I have continued writing and trying to keep my head around the literature review, research design and working with my chair.  But, do I really need to have a PhD any more?  I am retired and working in my studio and loving every minute that I am there creating.  I’m 57 years old and I don’t think that I will ever go back to higher education.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this topic.  It has been interesting as my college friends say – ABSOLUTELY FINISH and my other friends say DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.

What do I do………..

 

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Creating with Chalk Markers

I have been able to learn a new medium while being part of my grand daughters growth and part of the photos.  I have be assigned the responsibility of creating her monthly boards that are included with her monthly photos.  I started out using dry chalk markers and just this week purchased a set of chalk markers by VersaMarker with a finer tip.  I have to tell you – I LOVED them!  The color is richer when they dry and I was able to get more detail.  You should try this.

I have been so thankful that my daughter has wanted me to be such a part of their lives as our first grand-baby arrived. I remember I was so thankful for my mother and she was a big part of my daughter’s life.  All I can hope is that my grandchildren want me to be around and allow me to teach them fun things.

Here are a few of the boards! It was fun to change with the holidays and seasons. The top three are with the dry chalk markers and the bottom two photos are with the liquid chalk markers. Love Love Love

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Regenerated – REQUIRED

Two weeks in paradise every February is what this girl needs.  Sun, water, no alarms, a6398B78D-C8AC-4CBD-AD02-7887E2F12619nd no planning! Just time for my brain to rest and explore shapes, color and nature.

Now it’s studio and design time, which there is never enough, between my granddaughter and family requests my life is pretty busy.  I thought I would have so much time after retiring.  Little did I know that my daughter would loose her job and need mom more than ever. How do I balance everything?  I have so much that I want to do on my blog and designing, But, I can’t resist getting on the floor with Ava. She is growing so fast. Yesterday was her 6 month birthday. REALLY!

So…..visit my Facebook page and Etsy page in the next few weeks to see new items.   Hopefully, after I have completed listing items in my new Amazon Handmade page I can start doing some tutorials for watercolor as many of you have been asking for.