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Sketches from My Past ~ Reviving A Hobby

In high school (which was a long time ago), I took an Advanced Drawing class, and became obsessed with drawing portraits.  While I wasn't very good at drawing the whole person, I wasn't bad with faces.

Just the other day, I dug my old sketchbooks out from storage. That was fun! (I also found my plastic horse collection, a St. Louis Cardinals pennant from the mid 1960's, and my 6th grade autograph book...)

Some of the drawings had some moisture damage but were mostly o.k.  (I'm not sure why the teacher marked with red pen right on the drawing...)

I drew this one of Jim Croce and it made it into an art show.  I was proud!  (I do realize that many of you will have no idea who Jim Croce was. A great singer/songwriter from the 1970's.)

Drawing Portraits ~ anartfulmom.com

Handmade Photo Greeting Card with Floral Swag Doodle

A few posts ago, I challenged myself to make a handmade greeting card with my favorite photo of our cat, Lucy. (She was the best cat ever and has been gone for a few years now.)

I decided to make the card for my niece's birthday. (She likes kitties.) Here it is.  Pretty simple, but Lucy would enjoy knowing she is the center of attention!

Is this heaven?

Have you ever seen the movie, "Field of Dreams?" (If you are a baseball fan, you need to see it!)  There's a quote from the movie that always makes me smile.  "Is this Heaven?"  "No,  it's Iowa."

I kept thinking about that quote earlier today, as I floated in our pool.  (Although, we're not in Iowa!)

My husband worked so hard on the "work basin," (his name for the pool), for days, so that my daughter and I could get in and enjoy it.  (Only the girls in our immediate family like to swim!)

He's been out of town, and he has sent me several "news" stories about how he heard that the pool has caved in, and how squirrels have taken up residence in the pool and are tearing up the liner (rendering it useless), and how a deer has run into the side of the pool, causing a pool cave-in.

Can you tell he doesn't like the "work basin"?

(I'm not going to go into detail about the pool draining, the pool refilling, the back-breaking work as my husband stood, bent straight over, underneath the low deck as he changed the filter sand in the sweltering heat...)

The Best Markers for Brush Lettering and Fun Techniques

Hand lettering has always been a passion of mine, and when I get into something I really, really get into it!  (Do you hyper-focus like that?)

I posted a few of my favorite brush markers a while back,  and I have more for you today. (One of them has a little extra fun included.)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission, at no extra charge to you, if you purchase through the link. Thank you for your support!

The Zig Kuretake Brushables are way up at the top of my favorites list because they are pigment ink, so they are  archival quality and much more light-fast than watercolor. (That means that your artwork, envelope, journal, scrapbook, etc. won't fade quickly.)  The Brushables have a dual brush tip, and the second color is a 50% tint of the other side. (So great for shading.)  The tips are a bit firmer than some of the other large brush pens out there, which makes them easier to control.  Great choice for beginners and experts alike.  AND, they come in a bunch of colors.  Lightfast, photo-safe, easy to use --- I LOVE them!

I free-handed the above quote, using the Brushables for the brush lettering, and the bullet tip of a black Tombow Dual Pen for the black lettering and doodles.

Blick Art Materials has the Brushables for sale individually and in sets.

How I Save Money on Photography Equipment (Buy Used!)

I've purchased my share of photography equipment over the last twenty or so years.  (Maybe more than my share?)  I've always loved my purchases, but I've learned some things along the way.

Tips for purchasing used equipment are below the photos!

This post contains affiliate links, which  means I will earn a small commission, at no extra charge to you, if you purchase through the links.

I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D80, brand new. (I think that was 2008. I had been using point and shoot digital cameras before then. And before that, a Canon film SLR.)  I loved the D80, (and my daughter still uses it-- a lot.)  Great camera.

After I'd had that camera a while, and was looking to move up just a little to a larger, semi-pro camera, my brother-in-law,  (also an avid photographer), gave me some of the best advice.  He said, "No need to buy new cameras.  People are always trading in great used equipment, and you can save a bundle."

So, not long after that, I bought my first used camera, a Nikon D200, from a local camera store.  Not one single problem with it, and I still use it today, although it's not great in low light without a flash, and the screen on the back is really small!  Still a great camera!

These were taken with the D200.

How to Save Money on Photography Equipment ~ anartfulmom.com

A New Home, Upcoming Blog Changes, and a Good Prognosis!

Other than my last post, I have been missing here at my blog for quite some time. (Well, there was  the sporadic quick post here and there to let you all know I was still here!)

Why was I gone?  Well, the answer is long and convoluted!  But the short story is, we sold our house, thinking we'd find one quickly during the hot real estate market right after we sold ours. But it took us over a year and a half to find one!

Everything else in my life kind of went on hold, as we scrambled to, not only look for a house, but, (you may have guessed this already) find somewhere to live in the meantime.

Some of you may remember that my son and I suffer from extreme reactions to chemicals, especially remodeling chemicals (paints, cabinetry, carpet, flooring, and the list goes on.)  Yes, it's a real thing, NOT psychological (although, until the early 2000's, the science wasn't there yet, so many doctors still think that it is. Ah, the psyche always seems to be the go-to scapegoat, when doctors don't know the answer.)

If you're interested in the science of one possible explanation for extreme chemical sensitivities,  go and  google mast cell activation.  It's actually very interesting science about the immune system that goes awry.

Anyway, you can imagine how hard it is to find a house (or anywhere to live!), under those kinds of circumstances!

But, between family and various hotels, we managed to keep a roof over our heads, and we did finally find a house to buy.  We moved into the house in November, and it has been a blur.  (There's a long story about tearing out basement carpet and replacing a furnace and researching home ventilation, but that's a long story for another day...)

Sunny, the adaptable Yorkie that she is, didn't seem to mind hotel living at all.

Use A Photo to Make a Handmade Greeting Card

See this adorable cat? (I'm just a tiny bit biased--she was ours. We lost her a few years ago, but we keep her memory close.)  Lucy was taking time to smell the flowers. LET'S ALL DO THAT MORE OFTEN. 

Now, another challenge to myself this week is to create a card using this photo.  (I'm going to throw out the ideas first, and then show you the final result in a new post.  And I'd love for you to show me how you used the ideas too!)
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