Painting of The Cottage

Every year for Christmas, we do a drawing among the adults so you just have to get one person a larger present.  This year, I drew my aunt's name and I decided to do a painting of our favorite cottage in Wisconsin and getting notecards made for her to write to people.  It took me about a month or two to do the painting and most of the time it would be sitting there with me trying to decide what needs to be done... Basically, a majority of my creative process is me staring at whatever I'm working on and deciding on what needs to change.

It has been a long time since I've really sat down to paint something like this, but as I mentioned in this post, it has been very relaxing and inspiring.  I started out with a layer of green paint and sketched in the general plan.
Started with the red of the cottage... looking real good!  It took me a couple different red paints and quite a few layers to get the right color for the cottage.  The final perfect color was a red that my grandpa gave to me when he was cleaning out his paints.  I felt like that was pretty perfect.
Then I moved onto the rough white trim and some trees.  It took quite a few layers to cover up the sharpie, so I probably would have picked something else to sketch it out in hindsight.
Painted in the windows, made the roof black, and started darkening up the background.  Below you can see the picture I was working from.  About halfway through my project, I realized that this picture was probably ten years old and we've cut down a couple of those trees and added a different basketball hoop, but generally the picture is still true to today's form of the cottage.

Next, I painted the trees brown and darkened up the background.  I paused for a while here because I wasn't really that happy with the brown.  I tried switching the trees back to gray and working on the foreground, but then I wasn't happy with that either... so this was where I hit the not-so-great middle ground that one hits in the middle of projects.

Okay... back to brown (here you can see the progress of the weaving I was working on).  Added in some more texture with the brown, added some more branches, and tightened up the red and white on the cottage.

Added in some details on the windows, the basketball hoop, the grass, and the hammock.... and then I danced around with what I wanted to do with the trees (lots of branches? no branches? some extending to the top of the canvas?).

Added my signature for a brief moment here, but it was completely distracting so I painted over it.
Added in the planking detail and black outlining of the windows and declared it finished.
The colors are pretty bright in this one, but you can get an idea of the details in the trees and grass.
Once I decided I was finished with the piece (is an artist ever finished?), I took some nice photos to get printed.  I tried getting this printed on photo cards from Walgreens and they turned out terribly and I started to second guess my whole gift idea/painting.  I ended up putting the photo in a document and adding "Original painting by Haley Strom" on the back and sent it off to Kinko's to get it printed (like I did with these shower invites and thank you cards).  I cut and folded them myself and wrapped them up for Christmas.  I didn't get a great photo of the cards (story of this blog), but here are some out of focus phone pictures so you get an idea of what they look like.  I'm printing off some more soon, so I'll get some better pictures of them then.

My aunt says she loves them and even sent me one as a thank you card.


Weaving Number Two

For the holiday, I always exchange presents with my friend Jazz... and my present for her is always 2-3 weeks behind.  She got me and awesome giraffe cardboard taxidermy head thing and the most perfect infinity scarf ever (great pattern, draping, volume.  basically everything you need in a scarf)... and I just made her this woven wall hanging.  I knew Jazz would be the perfect recipient of a woven wall hanging and I was just itching to make another one after finishing my large triangle weaving.  I not so slyly asked her about colors she likes and what would fit in her decor (I'm sure she fully knew what I was making her because she's always up on her Facebook and IG stalking).  She basically likes all colors so I just went for it.
I started with some scraps from some fabric I got in Africa.  I love the way it brings in pattern, texture, and metallics, but doesn't dominate the piece.  I planned a small weaving with a simple hourglass shape because my large weaving took so long to make.  Once I started, I was flying through the green part so I decided to go ahead and make it a larger/longer piece.

I knew I wanted to add the white fluffy yarn because I love the texture it brings in... Then it sat like this for a couple days while I decided between a couple different colors for the other areas.
I originally wanted to bring in a mustard yellow because I know she likes that and it would work well with the African scrap fabric, but I wasn't 100% sure.  I eventually decided that the yellow and green were the same shade and it really needed black for more contrast.

Finished up the black and added the fringe... trimmed the fringe... wasn't so sure about the fringe length/shape so let it sit for a couple days... then finally declared the piece finished.

photo by Jazz
Jazz loved the present and has it hanging up near her fan from Asia just like our weaving is hanging near the fan she gifted me.  I love that we both hung our weavings and fans in a similar fashion.

I love making projects for gifts, so this was really fun for me!  I also took some 'nice' pictures with my DSLR of the finished project, so I'll share those whenever I get around to uploading... so stay tuned!


Large Triangle Weaving

I mentioned a couple months ago that I started weaving using a cardboard loom.  I've been seeing a lot of weavings popping up around pinterest and blogland.  Despite being extremely intimidated, I finally decided to have a go at making a larger weaving.  I love seeing pictures and hearing the thought process on DIY projects, so I thought I'd share some behind-the-scene details (bear with me on the picture quality).
I made my own loom using an old canvas frame and nails and then I got to weaving.  This piece took me quite a while because its not really a craft that can be done with a toddler running around and I took breaks between each color to make sure I liked where I was going.  I started out with a general plan, but I also kept myself open to going with the flow if I was feeling something else in the moment.

I took a two month break here because I wasn't sure exactly what color I wanted to use, then I couldn't find the right shade of green.  Green is my favorite color, but I'm very particular about the shade.
I didn't like the original plan for the fringe once I saw it in person.  I let it sit for a couple of days before I made the plunge, then I trimmed it up and made little tassels from the scraps.
I picked a fluffy white yarn for the background of the piece to bring in texture.  It was amazing how long it took me to weave the triangles, but the white filled in so quickly because of the size and fluff.

It took about 2 hours tops to fill in the white, but I was so happy with the look and I was almost finished.

We hung it up in Cora's nursery area so we can all enjoy it.  I'm hoping to take some better pictures of the weaving and nursery changes once I'm home when there is daylight in our apartment... so in the spring.  This project kind of felt like the baby quilt where I was extremely intimidated to start and paused between each step, but in hindsight it wasn't very difficult and I love the results.  Have you ever tried weaving?  Have you ever had a project you were intimidated to try, but it ended up not being all that hard when you finished?


Christmas Break

We enjoyed our together time for all of the Christmas festivities and I got a nice little break between Christmas and New Years.  Not much got crossed off the to-do list, but I fully enjoyed slowing down a bit, sleeping in, extra baby cuddles, Netflixing, and putzing around our apartment.  We did a little bit of adventuring outdoors and to the museum, but we really just spent most of my time off enjoying each other's company.  I didn't take many pictures, but here are a couple I shared via Instagram.
 Cora quickly became a pro at ripping open presents... then going to play with whatever her cousins got.

This girl loved all of the activities at the Children's museum.
 Happy New Year!
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