Kettlepot Tracks

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To my delight, his week I’ve been featured on Kettlepot Tracks Art on the Hill.

I absolutely love what they are doing over there. The husband and wife team invite independent musicians and bands to their home just outside of Philadelphia, where they record live tracks and videos for their blog. They also feature visual artists, weekly.

If you’d like to check out my little feature, that can be found here.

Latest Commissioned Portraits

image (5)I have been truly astonished with the amazing photographs supplied to me for reference material. And what better than wedding photos to work from.
image (6)For a couples portrait of you and your illustration loving guy or gal, visit my Etsy shop for more details.

Facebook Friends Portrait Project

blogOver the past few months I have grown to love drawing on my Android phone. Sketches go quick, are easily edited and it makes for a great boredom buster.

This past week I began drawing of photos I have taken of friends and family. I began with a drawing of my step-brother, Steve, simply because I liked the way his clothes were wrinkled in a particular photo. I continued to drawing my 2 year old daughter and then myself.
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This quickly transformed into a full-blown illustration project with 50+ Facebook friends requesting custom portraits. A full gallery of the project in progress can be found here. If you would like to commission a custom portrait, for very reasonable prices I must say, please visit the shop for more details.

drawing on your phone.

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I have a tendency to find some new creative outlet and become completely obsessed with the experimentation process of finding a new way to create art. Lately I have been dabbling with little drawings on my Samsung Galaxy S2 Andrioid phone.

When I first got this phone a few months back, I downloaded approximately 8 drawing and painting applications. Some were okay, and most with a lot left to be desired. The selection of brushes, finished image size and quality were definitely lacking. Then I found Sketchbook Mobile by Autodesk. I was able to “fingerpaint” by building up and saving layers, much like in Adobe Photoshop. You are able to your preferred drawing tool and customize the stroke and opacity to suit your needs. I freakin’ love it!

The three drawing above were drawn by finger in about 12 layers over a three night period per drawing. I found that drawing with a touchscreen stylus was more frustrating than helpful. The best part is, each finished piece can be exported as a .PNG for the highest dpi and they even look pretty great printed.
summerbearI’m then able to use my artwork in graphic design projects or other image manipulations. Totally rad, right?! Lots of plans for these drawings (and more importantly, this awesome app!)  for future projects.

experiments with shrink plastic.

As an artist, I can safely say I love every medium. Now, I’m not saying i have every craft supply completely figured out or the end result will be a masterpiece, but a love just the same. In this past year I have experimented with embroidery, rediscovered my excitement for printmaking, and even tried to sew a summer dress for my daughter. Not everything has worked out as planned, and I am well aware that I have no business touching any 3-dimensional material such as clay, ever again.

Today I found a new craft material which I foresee a lifelong love affair with. Shrink plastic. You might remember shrink plastic marketed as Shrinky Dinks from when you were a child. A thin sheet of plastic which can be drawn or painted on, cured in your oven, and resulting in a shrunken, thicker, and more vibrant version of your work of art. Shrink plastic has since grown up and many adults see it as a medium for scrapbooking, decorations and jewelry.

On almost every website that offered a shrink plastic tutorial, testing a square before your actual design was highly recommended. But guess what? That’s not exactly how I roll. I lieu of my sister’s upcoming birthday, I decided to make her a necklace featuring her beloved Great Danes, Abby and Emma.
abbyandemmanecklace-blog2As it turns out, I was completely thrilled with my first attempt using shrink plastic. I chose to use only standard black Sharpie markers, instead of getting all crazy with color for fear of making a muddled mess. Some of my sister’s Facebook photos of  “her girls” were used as reference. I ignored the enclosed instructions of an oven temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit and decided to play it safe at 275.  I did however, seal both sides with clear glossy varnish as suggested by many. Overall, I see a lot of shrink plastic in my future.

I bought my shrink plastic from Artistic Supplies on Etsy.

valentine’s day sweet heart felt garland.

DIY1I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been feeling all that festive for holidays this year. Between running an Etsy shop and our house been taken over by the terrible two’s, if there is any sort of celebratory decorating happening, it has to be quick. Today I made a simple hanging heart garland using craft eco-felt and baker’s twine. Once you have all of your supplies in order, it seriously only takes a matter of minutes to add a hint of romance to any of your household spaces.
STEP1-suppliesYou will need:
one piece of scrap paper, any weight.
a thin sharpie marker
scissors
scotch tape
sheets or scraps of wool felt, various colors
contrasting bakers twine (I used a black/natural twine I got from KNOT & BOW)
a large sewing/embroidery needle

step2-cutoutYou could go ahead and free-style your felt hearts if you desire, or make a simple template like I did. Just like you might remember from some sort of grade school craft assignment, fold your paper in half and draw one half of a heart shape against the folded edge. After drawing two types of hearts, I chose to go with the more stretched out heart look. I made my hearts approximately 4 inches square. Cut paper heart out.

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Layer your sheets of felt in a neat stack and scotch tape your paper heart to the top sheet. Cut out using very sharp scissors, making sure to firmly hold stack of felt in place. There is no science to this step, you will have some wonky looking heart on the bottom of your stack. Simply shape that one (or two) separately, using your scissors. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This is just a time saver, believe it or not.

step4-sewTake your time and thread your baker’s twine through the eye of your needle. Keep in mind, your chosen needle’s eye has to be quite large for this to work. I bought a standard package of embroidery needles and used the largest one. Then, hand sew a running stitch along the center of all of your felt hearts, alternating in colors. This last step really flies by, so it would be almost effortless to make a super long strand of this garland.
When you have sewn all of your felt cut-outs, make sure you leave a good amount of twine on either end to tie a small bow or for hanging.
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As I mentioned above, if you are looking for a great place to find baker’s twine, KNOT & BOW on Etsy has some pretty good deals from time to time. Eco-felt can be found at any craft supply store or at shops such as Felt For Less on Etsy. This project cost me about $2.50 in supplies and only 15 minutes of a very much needed toddler-naptime.

hello there.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve written on a blog. That being said, things are a hell of a lot different these days. All of those late nights in high school spent memorizing html and css script are gladly behind me.

A lot has happened in those years, but since the August 2012 opening of my etsy shop, AMPERSANDxyz, I’ve strived to build a larger internet presence  By creating this blog, I hope to share some of my recipes, daily findings and crafty ideas. Ready, set, go!blogyall