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Living with Art – Painting on Fabric

This week for our living with art class we painted on fabric (find out more here about living with art).  As we have been doing the projects I tried to find things that my students can use.  For the fabric painting I found this messenger bag from Darice.  I thought it would be great for them to carry their art journal and painting supplies in along with the paper mache pencil case.

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Time for Summer Fruit Pie

Just a few years ago I started making fruit pies with fresh fruit when it is in season.  For me, what an amazing difference – the pies just seem to turn out perfect.  I am sure having the fruit at its peak is one factor.  Also frozen fruit always seems to have so much liquid and it is hard to know how much to keep and how much thickener to add.

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Living with Art – Painting Paper Mache

For our third week of living with art we painted paper mache.  Our first project was a pencil box for them to keep their pencils and other small supplies in.  I let them paint whatever they would like using DecoArt Americana acrylics.

Our class is 2 hours and they had a half an hour left so I gave them a second project – a small paper Mache jewelry box.

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Living with Art – Painting on Glass

If you have been following along, you know that I have been teaching some kid classes this summer where we are painting on different surfaces and using different mediums.   (find out more here).  The first week we created an art journal with watercolors that they will be able to work on all summer.  (find out more here).

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“Living with Art” Classes

This summer I offered to have some art classes with some young ladies 8-9 years old.  They all love art and love to create.  Since they are younger, I did not want to weigh them down with drawing or painting classes.  I wanted for them to just enjoy “art”, but I also wanted them to see how art is a part of everyday life.

So each week we will be doing art on a different surface and using different products.

The different surfaces we will be painting/creating on are:

  • paper
  • glass
  • canvas
  • wood
  • fabric
  • shrink dinks (plastic)
  • paper Mache
  • food

And in the process we will be using these mediums:

  • watercolors
  • colored pencils
  • craft acrylics
  • tube acrylics
  • glass paints
  • fabric paints
  • food dyes

And we will be making things that we live with, use and give as gifts.

Each week we will be doing a different project and I will be sharing with you what we are doing.  I would love for you to be following along and creating with us and/or teaching someone else the joy of creating.

When I teach kids I have three rules:

  • There are no rules – you can paint anything you want
  • It is OK to copy –  and learn from others
  • Everyone’s work is good

I love teaching kids. They are always so happy with what they do, so each week they will be painting their own designs.  I might give some suggestions but find that they have great ideas themselves.

I know not all of us feel that confident so I will also be creating some step by step projects throughout the summer that relate to the projects we are doing and I will do them as separate posts.

I do have another class of older student that I taught drawing and painting to last year.  They will be doing the same projects, but I might be giving them a few extra things.

In this class I want my students to just enjoy creating.  I hope that they will be able to see art in the things around them. But most of all I hope to give them a foundation and confidence to enjoy art for the rest of their lives.

I hope you will join us for this artful journey this summer.

Happy Creating,

Jane

 

 

 

 

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Web Presence – Getting Started

Do you want a web site and/or be able to sell your products without investing a lot of money in a website…but don’t know where to start?

At one time we could take our art to a craft show to sell, or our designs/patterns to a convention. Times are changing and we have to change also if we want to continue to reach our audience. I think that most of us would like to spend our time painting and creating and not thinking about marketing our art. It is hard to know where to start especially with so many options to choose from.

Over the last few years I have been researching and trying to figure out what would work best for me. On my blog I would like to share with you some of the things that I have learned.

There are so many things that we can do to market ourselves. We can have a blog, do a newsletter, have an Etsy store, use social media, have a website, etc. I think a website is a good place to start; it can be your control center with links to these other areas.

Before you begin you have to decide if you are going to hire someone to build your site, or if you are going to build it yourself. If someone else builds it for you are you going to be able to make updates to the site or are you going to have to pay for every change made to it by someone else. When you are just starting out it can be a big expense to get started, when you are not sure how much you will make from your site. For that reason and many others I encourage you to build your own site. It might seem a little overwhelming, but just do it in baby steps.

Before touching your computer you need to decide what you want on your site (the content) and how you want it to look (the layout). Take some time and look at other sites and note what you like about them, such as:

  • What color combinations do you like? What type of fonts do you like?
  • What type of layout would work for you? How do you want your navigation to work?
  • What type of information do you want on your site?

I encourage you to keep it simple. You want to have a clean, easy to navigate site, where people can come and find what they are looking for quickly.

Another thing you will want to do is to have your branding consistent across platforms.  If you are going to have a web site called JaneAllenCreates it would also be good to have the same name for your etsy store, facebook business page, Pinterest, and email account, if possible.   I wanted to have JaneAllen.com as my business name, but that was already taken, believe it or not, by another artist so I came up with JaneAllenCreates.  I like JaneAllenCreates because it is all encompassing where JaneAllenPaints would limit me to just my art.

Each platform will be a little different to find out if the name you want is available.  For a domain name you can go to whois.net, type in the domain you would like and see if it is available or what other options might be available.  For most of the others you can either go to the application and do a search on the name or set up an account to see if the name is available.   I would wait and buy my domain name from the platform I am going to build my website on.  Sometimes the platform will offer a free domain name.

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If your business name does not contain your name in the title, you will be required to file your Fictitious Name with your state, or at least that is how it works in Pennsylvania.  You will want to check with the guidelines in your state.  I believe if just part of your name is in the title you are ok, such as Jane Creates or Allen’s Creation.  Also in Pennsylvania it is by county, so the same business name could be in each county.  Definitely something to think about when establishing a business name because it involves time and legal fees.

Before building a web site I think understanding the following basic terms will be helpful:

  • Web Hosting – When you build your website you will need to have it on a web server (computer) that can be accessed by the internet. A company can provide this (hosting) service for you. The service can be free or there can be a monthly fee.
  • Domain Name – Is a unique name that identifies a web site. It replaces a longer, not as easy-to-remember address that is the technical name and location of your web site.
  • Responsive Design – At one time web sites were built as one size, usually a standard computer screen. Now web sites are built with responsive design so that they can automatically adjust their size to be viewed on our smartphone, tablet, and desktop.

In an upcoming post I will be talking about building your web site in a free product and some good training sources for that product.  I will also share with you some other products that are available.

Happy Painting and Creating,

Jane

PS. I would love to hear about the tools and tips that are working for you. Feel free to add comments below this article.

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Play Date & Stencils

It is always fun to have a creative playdate with friends.  Not too long ago I got together with my girlfriends Glenda and Deb.  We had no plan…which I always love.  We started playing with flowers which led us to talking about ideas for backgrounds.  Soon we had the stencils out.  Just using a few stencils in our projects brought them from pretty to gorgeous in a very short time.

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Froggy Pins Fun-raiser

“Isn’t it funny how you can start something and it just keeps growing.  That is what happened for me with these frog pins.

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One year my chapter was having a pin exchange and I came up with the idea to make these frog pins.  I called them my Jump 4 Joy frogs, because my frogs were so happy that they wanted to jump for joy. As I thought about them I thought it would be fun to give them names.  Fun names like “Cute Carol”, “Awesome Al”, “Sweet Sarah”, etc.  Every one loved them and selected them because of their names. Continue reading Froggy Pins Fun-raiser

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Hello Spring “Nest” Canvas

Spring is my favorite season of the year. I love how the days get warmer and longer.  There is something magical about seeing everything starting to bud and bloom.  You can tell by my painting palette that these are also some of my favorite colors….the soft pastels, and vibrant clear colors of spring. I also love the smells of the season from the smell of the earth thawing and coming to life, to the sweet smell of the blossoms. And then there are the birds….I love seeing them make their nest, lay their eggs, and then their little families learning to fly.

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French Rolls

Many years ago I was in Key West sitting by a pool reading a magazine when I came across a recipe for French Rolls.  When I got home I tried them a few times and then made them for our family Thanksgiving dinner.  From that moment forward, by popular demand, I make them for every family event as well as many other occasions.  They are a hit with family and friends.

These are a crusty roll with a soft center.

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Valentine Wine Glasses

Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make an occasion special….and we all appreciate when someone makes the effort for us.  This design is super quick and can be put on wine glasses like I am showing you. Think about all the other valentine gifts you could make using this design… it could also be put on coffee mugs, an ornament, votive candle holder, a glass jar holding cookies or even on a card.

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Being More Creative

Many times I seem to get into creative slumps. This year I found two things that helped me be more creative.

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On the first day of November a post that I shared to my timeline from the year before showed up as a memory in my Facebook news feed. It was a challenge to make time for art every day even if only for a few minutes.  It tugged at my heart and I mentioned the challenge to my husband who encouraged me to do it.  I reluctantly posted on Facebook the challenge and asked if anyone wanted to join me.  To be accountable I then posted updates on my Jane Allen Creates Facebook page.

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Christmas Tour 2016

Merry Christmas my friends and family. This year I decided to simplify some of my decorating so that I could have a little more time to paint, bake and enjoy the season.

I have so many treasures that I enjoy putting out every year, but I do try to change things around a little.

As you come in the front door you will see some of my Byers Choice angles and an angel tree which is a Rosemary West design that I painted years ago.  The tree is still one of my favorites.

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Glass Glitter Houses

Last year I did a post on creating glitter houses which turned out to be very popular.  Many of my friends and family were inspired to create their own houses or have me teach them.

This year I am up to my eyeballs in glitter. 🙂  Our family made glitter houses after thanksgiving dinner, I am teaching two full classes at a local shop, and I have made houses to sell in the shop which after a week are almost sold out.

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Happy Thanksgiving from our House to Yours

I love the colors of fall and how the season encourages us to reflect on our blessings.  So today I want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope my sharing of ideas,  both decorating, creating and recipes are a blessing and encouragement to you and your family and friends. Every time I get a comment or a new follower I am encouraged to keep sharing….and when someone tells me they tried a recipe or project and liked it I am over the moon.   Thank you!

Today I thought I would share a few glimpses of my fall décor before I dive into decorating for Christmas.

These two decorate my patio and front door.  The hose lady is a Shara Reiner design and the scarecrow is by Maxine Thomas.

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Shrinky Dink Jewels

A few years ago I was looking for something new to do with my grand niece Sheena when we went to visit her in San Francisco.   I am not even sure where the idea came from but I decided to take some shrinky dinks along to play with.  We made a lot of projects but mostly jewelry, and we made many trips to the craft store to get more supplies. 😊

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Macadamia and White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

On a chilly fall day I love to make soup and bake.  Nothing warms you like yummy smells coming from the kitchen. One of my favorite fall cookies are Macadamia and White Chocolate Cookies.  They are a delicious combination of pumpkin, spices, crunchy nuts, and sweet bits of white chocolate.

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Paper Mache Pumpkins

Last Year I tried a new DecoArt Media product call Crackle Glaze. I had used it on a Christmas Tree and also some coordinating ornaments. (See Them Here)  It was so easy to use and I loved the results so I thought I would make some pumpkins with it.  I started with paper mache pumpkins from my local craft store and painted them Buttermilk, Spiced Pumpkin, and Mint Julep Green and the stems Khaki Tan.

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Cinny Buns with Peaches and Pecans

I love fresh fruit in season and right now I am enjoying peaches.  Last year I bought a new cookbook by Rosie Daykin called Butter, which is also the name of her bakery.  So far I have only tried one recipe in the book which are her cinnamon buns made with peaches and pecans.  They are so yummy that I have made them at least a half a dozen times.  I like them with fresh peaches but they are also good with canned or frozen peaches if you are craving them in the off-season.

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HOOT – A Painting Convention

I am sorry that I have not been posting for a while.  I put a lot of pressure on myself the last three and a half months, working on a book, and preparing to have a booth at Heart of Ohio Tole Painters Convention (HOOT).

I did the book with my friend Amy Mogish.  Not only did I design and paint the pieces for the book, but my husband and I did the photography for the book and I did the desktop publishing.  It was a wonderful learning experience and I enjoyed the process. On top of that I coordinated a Multi-author book.

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Thinking of my father today

Today is the anniversary of my father’s death and I have been thinking about him today. I know he did not choose to leave me fifty-one years ago, and because of my faith I believe we will be together again someday.  I don’t often share such personal things, especially to the world, but feel the urge to do so in hopes that you will be comforted especially if you have lost a loved one or even a pet recently.

This is a story about my father’s sister at the end of her life and how my father came to her.  I had written it at the time, because I knew that time would fade my memory and I did not want to forget a single sweet detail.

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My father Carl Allen when he was little.
Carl Allen 1908 - 1965
Carl Allen 1908 – 1965

Aunt Sid’s last days:

Aunt Sid was my father’s baby sister.  Daddy was born in 1908, and then his mother married and she had two daughters, Greta (1912), and Hildred (1913) who everyone lovingly called Sid.  Even though they did not always live in the same home, the siblings were always close.  Unfortunately Daddy died at the young age of 56 in 1965.

Aunt Greta married, but never had children and Aunt Sid never married.  Daddy’s family was wonderful and always showed you unconditional love.  Needless to say, I always had a close relationship with them even though they lived an hour away from us.  The sisters always lived about a block apart and did everything together.  Aunt Greta being the older sister was the bossy one, and Aunt Sid always went along.  Sometimes to keep peace and sometimes I think it was just her easy-going good nature.  Aunt Greta died in 2000 at 88.

I was able to move Aunt Sid to an assisted living facility near me and my husband.  We were blessed to be able to spend a lot of time with her those last three years of her life.

The end of July 2004 Aunt Sid was not doing well and she was hospitalized.  This was a Tuesday, that night she slipped into a coma.  They told me that she would not come to; it would only be a short time until she died.  The next night I went to see her and she was still in a coma, I went for a supper break and when I came back she was sitting up in bed.

Aunt Sid was looking around the room and her eyes were sparkling, she said to me “Janie, look at all the food they have prepared.” Then she said “look at all the people here” She used her finger to count and include my husband and me.  There were 10 people in the room.  She then said to me that we should get back or Greta would be upset with us.  I still had not caught on and I said “Aunt Sid you know that Aunt Greta is dead”.  She then crossed her arms and said very emphatically “Well, I know that my brother is alive.”  I knew in that instant that my father was in the room with us.  Being the big brother he was there to walk her home.   Aunt Sid then said to me “look at the pretty little girl in the pink dress”.  This time being smarter, I asked her who it was, and she told me that she didn’t know.  I know that she was named after a little girl who had burned in a house fire and I thought that it might me her.

Aunt Sid adored my husband Al.  She looked at Al and I could tell that she was upset with him; she said “why aren’t you taking care of your dog?”  He asked her where it was, and she pointed to the corner of the room.  Aunt Greta always had a dog that the both of them would spoil.

Aunt Sid slipped into a coma on Friday evening.  I told her that I loved her and what a blessing she was to me, she spoke to me but I couldn’t understand because they had an oxygen mask on her.  I was with her when she slipped away on Monday afternoon.  I’m sure that the whole gang was there with her, and they are celebrating in heaven.

I feel blessed and very and thankful that God gave me that little glimpse into eternity.   I know that we never have to be afraid to die and that we are never alone.   I know that we can look forward to being with our loved ones in eternity, when we are done with this brief life.   As I was blessed by this experience, I hope that you will also be blessed.

Greta, Sid, and Carl when they were young
Greta, Sid, and Carl when they were young
Sid, Carl and Greta when my dad was home on leave.
Sid, Carl and Greta when my dad was home on leave.

From this story I believe:

  • There is food in heaven, lots of food, really good food!
  • Even if you die alone, you don’t die alone because those your love come to you and walk you home. And I think the party continues.
  • There are pets in heaven.

I hope this story does not fill you with sadness, but with peace, hope and joy.

Love and Blessings,

Jane

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Using the Gifts You are Given

I don’t know about you but sometimes it is easy to get discouraged with our art (or whatever your gift is).  It is easy to look at what others are doing and think what we are doing is not the right thing or our art doesn’t measure up; or, even worse, have others tell us what we are doing isn’t good enough, or that we should be doing something else. Continue reading Using the Gifts You are Given

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Spring Houses

When I was out shopping at Micheals I saw these cute houses.  I immediately had an idea of what I would like to paint on them.  When I got home I keep thinking about the cute flower cut outs they had and how they would make fun rooves on the houses.  So back to Michaels and then I started working on my updated idea.  If you don’t have a Michaels available to you, the houses could be cut from 2×4’s and the roof could be made out of scrape book paper glued to a heavier paper and cut out.

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Pretzel Rolls

My mother had made soft pretzels when we were young and they were always a treat so a few years ago I started making soft pretzels and pretzel rolls.  The nice thing about the rolls is you can eat them as a pretzel treat, a sandwich roll or as a dinner roll.  This recipe makes 8 rolls so I always quadruple the recipe, then you can share some and freeze some for later.  The original recipe I found in the Food Network magazine.

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