Tag Archives: #art

Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Otomi Painted Canvas Shoes

You know that I like a good painted tribal print.  So as soon as I saw this Land of Nod Otomi Lamp Shade, I had to figure out a way to get that print in my life.


At first I thought I would hack the lamp shade idea, but I couldn’t find a room in my house where it would work.  Argh!  What to do?  This is, after all, the perfect week to do a Mexican textile/print craft project.

I considered a canvas bag or a t-shirt, but (again) I have plenty of both.  What white-background object did I NEED in my life?  A scarf? No, getting too warm around here for scarf weather.  A pillow?  No.  What?

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sketched #seekarencraft #diy #blog #annumography

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The answer is always white canvas shoes.  I buy a pair of these before each summer and immediately remove the shoe strings.  At summer’s end, I throw the scruffy things away without guilt.  I immediately headed to the nearest discount store and bought myself a pair.

I don’t have a before shot of my new pristine white shoes, because I was too excited to begin sketching.  I simply printed a picture of my inspiration photo, picked up a pencil, and started drawing.  This print is meant to look hand-drawn, so I tried not to didn’t worry about making a mistake or two…or many.  After all, it would all be covered up with paint in the end.

Next I popped open some acrylic craft paints, grabbed a small artist’s paint brush, and began filling in the blanks.  I painted one color at a time on both shoes, using my picture as a guide, but making changes as needed to evenly distribute the colors across the two shoes.  It was a little bit like paint-by-number.

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side view #seekarencraft #diy #blog #annumography

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I’m pleased with the results.  You might notice that both shoes have the same pattern, just shifted slightly so that they are not identical.  I also took some creative license to substitute animals that fit the shape of my shoe better than the original pattern.

My favorite may just be the little marigold bunny on the back of the right shoe.

As a final step, I sprayed the shoes with some water-resistant, clear acrylic protectant.  I probably won’t wear these in the rain (or near any body of water), but I want to make sure they last me all summer.  Heck, I might even get fancy with these and add some colorful ribbon laces.  What do you think?

If you are visiting from JAQS Studio: Made By ME #79 Linky Party, WELCOME!   I love comments, visitors, and followers.  You can also find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.


SeeKarenFollow: This Week

I was a post or two short this week, so much happened that it was a blur.  Let’s catch up on Instagram.

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BIG DAWG #dogstagram

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With our guest room remodel, we have been shifting furniture all over the second floor of the house.  The ‘dog couch’ in the craft room, however, has remained in place.  Much to Greta’s delight.

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105/365 cherry #365project

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I’m taking a lot of joy from all the trees and flowers that are now blooming.

Buddy, though, is not so fond of the April showers that bring May flowers.  Here he is glued to my side during one of a few thunderstorms that we experienced last week.  Greta was just as close on my other side, making me a doggie sandwich.

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109/365 spring clean #365project

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So when I wasn’t trapped on the couch between two dogs, I was cleaning out closets and drawers.  How is it that a project in one room results in so many other projects?  I know I’m not alone here.

The good news is that more couch time meant more time for pinning.

  1. If we weren’t replacing the back stairs with a small powder room, I would definitely be using this idea of putting wallpaper samples on the stair risers.
  2. Yes, I am an adult.  I am!  That doesn’t stop me from wanting these Super Mario pillows and this superhero comic book pillow in my living room.  Geek chic.
  3. I told Glamorous Mommy that I am totally stealing this chalkboard art idea, since I have these exact Target prints.
  4. I just finished my own cookbook bird house, but now I want another one, or three, like these road map bird houses.
  5. Some one serve me up one, or three, of these lemon vodka slushies.
  6. Yum!  I think that I could eat this warm salad with all the Spring produce superstars weekly.
  7. I am so making a gluten-free version of this Ploughman sausage and cheese pie.
  8. Mother’s Day will be here in a flash.  This handwritten recipe tea towel would make a lovely gift.
  9. Of course, flowers in this gold-dipped vase is a sure hit too.
  10. And if you aren’t feeling crafty, support other crafty artisans with a gift like this family tree pillow.

Have a splendid weekend!  I have thrift shopping and room remodeling on my agenda.

Tutorial: Leprechaun Silhouette Art

leprechaun silhouette art - annumography

If you ask my husband, he will tell you that his favorite holiday is St. Patrick’s Day.  With the below-average temperatures that we have been experiencing lately, we will likely stay close to home this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  So I’m pulling together some Irish-inspired decor to make things a little more festive around here.  I mean, you can’t just let a favorite holiday go by without decorations can you?

I adore Eclectically Vintage’s bunny silhouette, and it inspired me make my own St. Patrick’s Day artwork.  To begin, I pulled out some frames that I bought at a yard sale a couple of summers ago for a quarter a piece.

25 cent yard sale frames - annumography

Isn’t it funny what you sometimes fine when you pull apart old ‘artwork’ from a thrift store or yard sale?  These fruit prints were actually from a 1991 calendar.  I know that I will probably never use them and should throw them away, but I will probably add them to my craft horde for future project opportunities.  Just in case.

silhouette cutout - annumography

To make the actual silhouette, I found a free image that I liked online.  I played around with it a little in my Paint program to attach the head from the online image to some shoulders.  I like shoulders.  Then I printed the image on my home printer and cut it out to use as my template.  This is the black-ish image above.

I traced around the template onto some green card stock.  Then I cut out the image with ordinary scissors.  To cleanly cut out the silhouette, I made sure to keep the traced outline on the outside of my scissors.  You can see some of the leftover outlines on the card stock above.  After I finished cutting out the entire image, I cleaned up any rough edges with my scissors.  See, no fancy machine needed.

I used double-sided tape to attach a piece of scrapbook paper to the back of the mat in the yard sale frame.  Then I flipped the matted paper face-side up and centered the silhouette image.  Marking where the image would be placed, I removed the image and turned it over, so that I could put more double-sided tape on the back.  My secret for getting the double-sided tape right to the edge, so that the silhouette lies completely flat?  I put the tape on the image, so that it hangs over the edge of the silhouette.  When the silhouette is well covered with the tape, I trim the excess tape from the it with my scissors. I taped the silhouette to the matted scrapbook paper, and placed the mat and backer into the frame.

st. patty's day silhouette art - annumography

The frame is a little chippy around the edges, and I love it! To celebrate, I poured a couple of coffees. And maybe I did Irish it up a little with some whiskey. Who says you can’t start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a little early?

Gold-Painted Vintage Frames: One Thing Leads to Another

Remember when I told the story of 1960’s Annette painting a pair of watercolors in her pretty pink bedroom?  Well it turns out that Annette is actually Artis, and these watercolors were really painted in 1947.  Doh!

I’m sure that I read this handwritten inscription on the back of each painting when I first purchased the watercolors.  They have been hanging in my foyer long enough, however, that this detail was conveniently forgotten when I wrote the first post with such romantic, creative license.  That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.  Truth be told, I could have just as easily forgotten that detail in a week…or less.

Ahem.  So I mentioned in my previous post my plans to bling-up these blonde frames with a little gold-leaf action.  I decided that this weekend was THE time to give these Asian beauties the glitzy love they deserved.  Too impatient to go buy some gold-leaf, I decided to use some of the metallic gold paint that I had left over from this project.  With painters tape in one hand (I didn’t want to disturb the original framing and Ms. Stover McKersie’s inscription) and a cheap sponge brush in the other, this project took less than 15 minutes to complete.  The change is small, but I love how the gold frames look against the wallpaper.

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nook #seekarencraft #annumography

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Now, as usually happens when I make one improvement, I noticed all the other little things I wanted to change.  To pull more color from the paintings into other parts of the foyer, I moved the Crate and Barrel pillows from the living room swivel chairs to the built-in bench seat.  I also bought a new shade at Garden Ridge for the credenza lamp (on the far-left).  Hmm.  I love the shade with the vintage tangerine glass lamp, but the scale is a little off.  It may not look like it in this photo, but trust me.  Expect to see this duo move to another part of the house soon.

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48/365 hanging wallpaper chads #365project

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I also finally got around to trimming the wallpaper around the stairway.  It’s only been like this for about…oh…three years.  Yup.  I’ve never been a good finisher; ask my high school track coach.

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Buddy approves #365project #petsonfurniture

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Speaking of little things, my sweet Buddy boy approves of the new changes in the foyer.  What is he staring at so intensely, you ask?  Oh nothing.  He’s just concentrating on givng the camera his best profile.  Divo!

A Fox, A Squirrel, and A Bluebird Walk in to a Bar

Recently I posted about a gift that my husband and I bought for ourselves.  But we didn’t stop there.  On a warmer than usual December Saturday, we decided to wander down Mass Ave. in Indianapolis to do some more “Christmas shopping”.  One of the shops on our shop-local-hit-list was The Inventorialist.  We had done some window shopping on a previous evening, and I swear the inside of that store is what my dreams look like, so we had to go back.  I’m so happy we did, because the inventory a The Inventorialist exceeded my expectations.  We bought SO MANY things, but these prints from Aesthetic Apparatus are among my favorites.

If you hang around for very long, you will learn that I am obsessed with birds.  And squirrels.  And foxes.  And basically an entire cast of wild creatures.  My dogs are also obsessed with birds, squirrels, and an entire cast of wild creatures.  Though, I’m not sure how they would handle an encounter with a fox.  Recently we stumbled onto a hawk on our morning walk, and Buddy immediately dropped to the ground while Greta quietly scooted herself behind my husband’s legs for protection.

By the way, why is the plural of fox foxes, when the plural of ox is oxen?  Maybe I will start saying foxen.

Anyway.  When we were buying the prints, Kris mentioned that they would fit perfectly in an album cover frame.  Score!  Because we were looking for a clean-line frame at a budget-friendly price.  Remember, we had done quite a bit of “gift” shopping at this point.

Coupons in hand, I recently headed to the craft store to buy album cover frames.  As i was pouting about browsing the single option available at that store, my eyes wandered to these t-shirt frames.  Though the look and quality were about the same as the album frames, they were deeper.  Wouldn’t this give the prints more presence on the wall, I thought?  And when we are ready to replace the frames with something a little more quality, I may have more options for re-using the t-shirt frames than three lonely album cover frames.  (Yes, I am already dreaming up new crafty ideas.)

I placed the prints in the frames, and began a series of measurements.

  • I measured the width of the frames (13″).  I know the measurement is listed on the paper insert of the frame, but I wanted to know the width from one outside edge to the other.
  • I measured the center of the frames to double-check that I had replaced the hanging hardware in the correct position.
  • I measured the height of the frames (13″).  Yes, I know these are square.  So this measurement should be the same as the width, but I wanted to make sure.
  • I played around with the spacing between the three frames until I it looked just about right, and then I measured the distance between the frames (1 1/2″).  Then I measured the total height of the three frames as they would hang in a vertical arrangement on the wall (42″).

Next, I took my measurements to the wall.

  • I measured width of the wall where I wanted to hang the prints.  Well, really my husband did this.  Then he measured the center of that width.
  • He measured the total height of the three frames, so that the center of the arrangement was at approximate eye level.
  • He held a frame up against the wall, so that I could envision how the frames would look in relationship to the adjacent curtains, built-in bench, and furniture.  Do you all do this with your hanging partners?  Well, then you know that some discussion ensued.
  • We adjusted the measurements to take into account the curtains, bench, and discussion.
  • He measured up the distance of the frame height (13″) from the bottom of the total height (42″) and hammered in the first nail
  • He measured the distance of the fram height plus the spacing (14 1/2″) and hammered in the second nail.  He repeated this step for top nail.

Before hanging the prints, we played around with the order in which we wanted to hang them.  As you can see in the shot above, each print has a different colored circle.  I’ve been calling it a ball.  The black ball in the bluebird print ties it to the black squirrel, and the red-orange ball in the squirrel print ties it to the orange fox.  After deciding that this the way to go, I hung framed prints on the wall.

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49/365 Aesthetic Apparatus prints #365project

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Finished, I immediately wondered if I should have hung the prints with the fox on top, the bluebird in the center, and the squirrel on the bottom.  I am really liking how the colors in the prints also pull from red-orange framed chess board with the turquoise and ivory marble chess pieces on the table below.  What do you think?  Leave them as they are?

The Geisha and Her Artist

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27/365 watercolors by Miss McKersie #365project

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A couple years ago, I found this pair of watercolors on the online Goodwill auction.  I think I won the auction for less than $5 for the pair.  Since our foursquare-style house has some Craftsman architectural influence, I like to bring some Asian decor into our eclectic mix.

Once the framed watercolors arrived, I noticed some small details that I couldn’t see in the online pictures.  Each watercolor is signed A. McKersie, and it appears that the framing isn’t a professional job.  The scalloped, faded pink mats look as if they are cut by hand from paper.  These details make me love the watercolors even more.

I like to imagine a young art student named Annette painted this geisha and her musician lover in a pretty pink bedroom in her parents’ suburban home.  It’s 1964, and Annette is conflicted between her desire to marry her high school sweetheart, Tom, and her dreams to be an artist in the city.  The empowered geisha symbolizes her desire to be more than a traditional wife and mother, yet the musician is representative of her own love for a man that won’t necessarily lead her to fame.

I have plans to gold-leaf these frames soon, but I wouldn’t change another thing about them.  I feel like I have been given the honor of preserving Miss McKersie’s artistic expression.  And telling her “story”.