Thursday, April 24, 2014

A hike a day keeps the poundage away?

Okay, I admit its cheesy, but I made you look! LOL  I was invited to an early morning hike today by my girlfriend Marta. I had been wanting to go and even though it was last minute I decided to jump out of bed and get out of the house. We went to the Hartford Springs Nature Reserve, it is a rocky place with trails and lots to see.

The weather was perfect, just what we ordered and I brought Randy's camera so that I could take lots of pictures to sketch from later. We hiked for about an hour and realized how out of shape we all are, the whining started about 3/4 of the way through. Marta started it!

We managed to get a tiny bit lost but climbed up onto the hill and could see which way we had to go to get back to our car.
Marta was the trail docent!

I found this rock that looked like it was going to fall!

Resting, even docents need a break

Gypsum Weed, poisonous and grows wild. I heard that kids were dying from smoking it!  

Another sketch of some of the flowers and the view from the hills

Our hiking selfie!!! Yeah we rock!

 Just being outside, hiking with friends, exploring a new place can just fill your whole day with sunshine. I even went home and did a few sketched of the things we saw today.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blooming during any Season

A bloom is the culmination of stored energy that bursts forward with color & fragrance.   


We all have the ability to bloom, wherever we are, each and every day. We don't have to be defined by our circumstances only, but more by the way we live in spite of them.  Learning to bloom where we are can be life changing. By believing in ourselves and finding the color in each day we can better weather the different seasons in our lives creatively.

Are you feeling as though its winter in your life? Are you creatively barren and fruitless. Has the snow packed in around you that you are wondering if it will ever let you go? Remember the bloom is inside of you! Storing up energy for the season will turn and there will be a spring again. I think that this happens to all of us creatively. Try getting out and seeing other peoples art or visit an artist friend. Sometimes by changing our surroundings we can get back that little bit of creative spark that can burst forth into a wonderful, warm, glowing creative Bloom!

Maybe you feel as though its summer in your life. When the pressure and heat from all those outside forces feel as though they are causing you to wilt beneath it. Remember that during these times what remains only grows stronger. 

I always think of plants that are grown in a hothouse. A place where everything is controlled, the temperature, the humidity, the fertilizer. Its called a hot house but really its a bubble of protection. Any time you buy one of these plants they tell you that you need to harden it off before putting it out in the direct sun. A time of limited exposure to the sun so that the plant can harden itself off and wont die when exposed to the direct elements. By living in that direct sunshine we are being hardened off so we can take the heat. 

You can bloom in any season, find inspiration during the harshest of conditions by looking for the beauty in the moment. I want to encourage you to find the beauty in today. The day I was writing this I was walking to the mailbox and out in front of my house I saw a tiny petunia that was growing in the crack in the sidewalk. The most inhospitable place to try and grow. The conditions are not conducive to growing and even farther from blooming yet, this little flower was growing where it was planted, blooming in spite of the conditions. When you bloom in the desert everyone will notice!!!

When you bloom make it spectacular!!! 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Blog Hop Today!!!

We are doing a blog hop to celebrate Lynn Krawczyk new book! I have been playing with many of the techniques in her book. It is a great book for giving you the courage just to throw caution into the wind and go for it. She gives you some great info for setting up your workspace and even has projects for you to try.
This is one of my thermal fax screen that I had done from my Baccus man fountain. I love him and started adding paint!

Another screen and adding inks

Some of Lynn's thermal fax screen prints, I like how she uses them on colored fabric.

 I love the featured artists pages, where they have taken her fabric and created their own masterpiece too. I hope you will give it a look over, oh and wait, LEAVE A COMMENT here for a chance to win Lynns book! Thats right leave a comment on this post and on April 16th I will draw a name from the comments list and send you the book!!

Draw, stamp, screen print and more to create gorgeous art cloth with the help of surface design artist Lynn Krawczyk’s new book, Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Art Fabric(Interweave/F+W Media; $26.99.) Take part in our blog tour with stops along the way at:

 I can't wait to see who will win! 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Giving away feels so good

It is said that most of us spend the first half of our life gathering things and the second half giving them all away. I come from a long line of givers, that group of people that only feel complete if they can share. It could be possessions or talents or knowledge or time but the only way to feed our souls is if we share ourselves and give it away. I feel so very blessed and we all know you receive so much more in return!

Are you one of those too?

Do you glow in the sharing but wince in the receiving? I have been working on my receiving skills for a long time. That can be harder than giving since it can be unexpected and feel undeserved. It often feels uncomfortable, like I am wearing someone else's clothes. But I have learned over the years that it is all part of that giving cycle, of blessing and being blessed. 

 I was a receiver this week, twice! Carolyn Brinely sent me some adorable Easter Baskets made from one of my patterns. An unexpected gift from a complete stranger that touched my heart! What a completely unselfish thing to do, I am displaying them with pride! Carolyn is another giver.

And then my fabric company sent me the quilts they had made from my fabric to have! I had offered to pay them to cover their expenses but they declined the money and just sent the quilts, pillows etc! My cup runneth over this week.

Today my grandson Blake came to visit. Last year I had made some things to display with my Monster truck fabric line with Blake in mind. I am now done promoting the line and it was time to give him his gifts from Nana. Nothing fills me up more than someone who loves my gifts. That is what fuels us to keep giving, what keeps us charged. Creating what you love, with love, and then releasing it is the best. My daughter has been sending me pictures of him wearing his backpack around the house during the day and carrying his little monster truck carrier everywhere he goes, perfect joy for me!

Tommorrow I am sending out another love gift to a special baby who needs some comfort! Blessing abound!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Warm and Cool, who knew!?

I loved last months theme on the Sketchbook Challenge, it causes me to stop and think about something I do naturally, without much thought anymore. That's the one nice thing about practice, pretty soon it just becomes natural and organic and it can be done without over thinking it. I also need to admit that I am not one to follow rules when it comes to creating art. It needs to be a bit intuitive but knowing some basics about cool and warm can help you create more successful artwork. I thought I would share some simple tips that I use when I am painting that have helped me and I hope they will help you too.

COOL TIP: One of the things is that is cool about cool colors is that they go back or make things look like they recede in the painting while warm colors come forward in your painting. That is why when you look at landscapes you will notice that mountains are often painted in blues and purples for a few reasons. First, like I mentioned, those cool colors recede but also the farther things are away from us the more layers of atmosphere cover them. So I always think about layers of blue sky covering things as they get farther away from me. This atmospheric layering also softens the colors so as they go back they also get lighter.
Remember my sketch from Crater Lake, I was tucked in the lodge when the blizzard hit but you can see here how the warm colors of the rock wall stand out from the cool colors of the trees. As the trees got farther away they became less colored and lighter. See how if gives the feeling of depth.

In this sketch from the window at my moms house you can see how the warmer colors come forward and lead your eye through the painting. As the hills get farther away they became cooler and softer.

HOT TIP:   Warm colors bring things to the front of your painting, they tend to draw your eye. Norman Rockwell would use red in selected areas in his paintings to move your eye around the painting. Next time you see one of his paintings see if you can catch it. It is often something we do with out even realizing it. Do you remember the movie, The Sixth Sense, they used red in much the same way, to bring attention to a specific thing.

This is a painting that I have done on fabric with acrylic inks. I use cools and warms together to lend interest. Do you notice how your eye follows the red up the path, jumps the road to the bushes on the left and then across the roof to the bushes on the right? I am asking the viewer to explore the painting.  See how the stronger colors are close and soften as they recede. I did darken the cypress behind the Duomo to make it stand out even more. But do you see how the warm building comes forward off of the trees behind? I will be teaching this at the San Diego Quilt Show in Sept!

Greens can either be cool or warm depending if you use a green blue or a yellow green , do you see that here? Scan back up and see if you notice the warmer greens verses the cooler greens. Cool huh!

warm forward, cool back

I love to mix cools and warms, the results are sometimes so exciting! 

Well, let me encourage you to try and see if you can create the feeling of things receding and moving forward using cool and warm colors this week in your sketchbooks.  But most of all have fun!! Hope to see you in San Diego!

I hope you will sign up for my newsletter. That way you will stay informed about all the exciting news and tips from Desiree's Designs!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's almost time! See you Monday!

I am so excited to be finishing up my packing and getting ready to tour Southern California! What a great way to meet some new friends! I will be at the Moores sewing Center in Mission Viejo, Huntington Beach, Orange, Corona and Victorville next week I hope you will get a chance to come and meet with me! I am bringing lots of goodies to share and I have some great giveaways too!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A wonderful, whimsical week is in store for us three!

I am so excited to be traveling next week to five of the Moore's Sewing Centers in Southern California. I will be giving a talk at various times through out the day at each store. I will have freebies, give aways and drawings for some of my new fabric!  I will be showing my patterns and I will even be selling my newest patterns that aren't released yet!  I am also bringing along some of my art quilts to share with those art quilters out there! I will be teaching several of my art quilt techniques this year in Fallbrook and at the San Diego Quilt show.

We will be at the Moores in Mission Viejo on Monday and Tuesday morning, then off to the Moores in Huntington Beach on Tuesday afternoon and Wendnesday morning.   Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning we will be in Orange at the Moore's there then on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning we are at the Corona store. Last but not least we will be in the new store in Victorville/Apple Valley on Friday afternoon and hopefully Saturday morning if We haven't had to return home to recover! I hope that anyone living close will get the chance to come by and visit. We would love to meet each of you and share some gifts and products with you!

I have been working on some samples to show you at each store!  And who is the "we" that will be with me? Of course I will be bringing Jennifer and Chloe with me just to keep me in line. If you all are really good we might get Chloe to do some tricks for us!  Or we can do some trick for Chloe! Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 03, 2014

My website is up.

My new pattern website is up finally. I had been working on a new layout and site when it suddenly went dark right before the holidays. It has been down for months, ever since Yahoo decided to change all the small business accounts without letting us know. It threw us all into a tizzy as we tried to scramble and regroup somewhere else. Not a Yahoo fan at all, but with that said it forced me to buckle down and finish my website. I had been just limping along when Yahoo lit a fire under me and got me  moving and forced me to finish up.

My new website, I hope you will stop by and take a look.
You can read more about me and my team  on the "About Us" tab.

I will be moving my fine art to another site and will let you know where that will be soon. This will allow all of my quilting friends to follow my quilts, patterns and fabrics and all of my art friends to follow my art specifically. I hope this makes things easier for my customers to buy their favorite patterns, kits, workshops etc. I will also be offering freebies on my website along with my Newsletter so I think its a good change all around. I hope you will take a few minutes to visit and let me know what you think!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Things that inspire- what does that mean to you?

What inspires you? I am often asked that question. The " normal" response would be nature, the people around me and my life situations and those things are all true, but there is also something that keeps me going, that keeps me excited to keep doing it again. There is something that is stirred deep inside that makes creating art so satisfying.  It's more than the painting itself, the paint to paper is only a small part of the magic.

I put together a few questions that I think might help you zero in on what inspires you and what takes your inspiration away.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. There are no right or wrong answers.
1. Is it the planning or the finishing of a piece that is most exciting?
2. What makes you happier, giving something away to a grateful receiver, selling something or doing something for yourself ?
3. What excites you to action, a scene, a color, the lighting, a subject, make a short list of things that have excited you into creating art in the past few months.
4. What things steal your groove, zap your creative energy and make you feel defeated?
5. What areas of your art leave you frustrated and feeling inadequate?

Here are some of my thought about myself.

1. I love the planning or designing phase of art. My mind has so many ideas that for me it's not coming up with a project that is challenging but the execution and completion that is most challenging. 

2. it is the excitement of seeing the face of a client when they buy a piece of my work that thrills them. It is a phone call of thanks from a card I have sent someone or the excitement on the face of my granddaughters when they try on a skirt I have sewn them. So my happiness comes from sharing artwork. Whether that is posting online and reading comments, sending art cards, teaching or exhibiting. For me art is best when shared. When I sell a piece I get a feeling of worth and I feel that my art is valued. When I share my art for art sake I feel blessed and satisfied that I am sharing a gift only I can give.

3. I love color and value! I love extreme lighting that allows for a glow. The subject is secondary, it's capturing something special. I also love to tell a story, the story can be the best part of art for me. For myself I know I also get great joy in having something published and seeing my hard work in print. It can be a painting in a magazine or book or It is handling and feeling the fabric I designed on paper come to life as fabric. It's the excitement of sharing my story with others.

4. For myself I think social media can do two things, it can inspire or create anxiety. I love to see what other artists are doing and creating but with that said I can easily be overwhelmed and start to compare myself and my accomplishments with other artists which is only defeating and feeds that negative voice I fight to keep quiet. I also find that being too isolated can make me unproductive. Keeping a balance of art and work and other outside activities helps me stay energized. I also believe in eating well and pampering myself by indulging in good things for me instead of bad.

5. Frustration comes from over committing and a lack of production. I needn't I make the time to make the art. Filling my day with the sand leaves no room in my day for the big rocks of production. 

So take a minute and ask yourself what is it that lights your creative fire and identify the things that are counterproductive. When we take time to identify the things that make us excited and the things that take away our muse we can better equip ourselves with the tools to combat those dry periods in our life.I would love to hear from you! What is it that makes you excited to do your art? I want to know!



Monday, February 03, 2014

Chloe's page in Quilting Arts Magazine

As many of you already know, my daughter Jennifer, trained and certified her own service dog. Chloe does so many things for her and happily! They are inseparable and go everywhere together so when Quilting Arts had a readers challenge about bestfriends I couldn't think of anything else. I did her little quilt. I used raw edge appliqué, paint, pencils and then found a little love charm that worked great for her tag!

This month the Quilting Arts readers challenge came out and I am thrilled that Chloe got a full page! 


Jennifer is thrilled and the little quilt now hangs in her room! Lovin these little projects! #littlequilts, #littleprojects

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Small little projects that feed my creative soul.

I have been enjoying painting and sewing some small little projects lately. I think the fact that they are manageable and doable right now allows me to fit them in. Sometimes life can get so busy and complicated that by allowing ourselves the luxury of completeing some smaller projects we can continue to create without being overwhelmed. It's okay to just do what we can at that moment in time. It is finding that balance that will keep us moving forward and not running dry.

This is my 25th Anniversary piece for SAQA, shipped and received! 
Here is a new project I am working on for a new workshop. I am enjoying the hand sewing and embroidery stitches, its been awhile!
This is a photo transfer of a watercolor painting I did, then I added more paint, stitching and its done!

Are you struggling to start 2014 creatively? Why don't you just have some fun and create something small!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Another fun Chalkboard project

I wanted to share this before anymore time goes by. I did this over the holidays so I am late in posting but it would be perfect for your Parties and get togetherness this year! For Christmas I made my Grand daughters framed blackboards for their rooms. I then got a small bucket from target and put the command strips on the back and stuck a bucket to the frame for their chalk.
The girls chalkboards all ready for them on Christmas Morning

They loved them! Megan is trying to copy her Name like I wrote it on her chalkboard

I got the chalkboard at Home depo, they carry chalkboard already made up and they are happy to cut it up into any size you like! Do you have an old frame you want to use? Great, just have your chalkboard cut the size you need and you have a cheap new chalk board for your kitchen, kids room etc! So from my granddaughters Christmas gift I had a piece left over and at the last minute on Christmas Day I decided to do a Christmas dinner Menu.

Isn't this fun! Everyone loved it and read it when they came into the kitchen. I am now using it for my Bocce Ball scoreboard! I am using the chalkboard pens available at Micheals and regular chalk for the score. The chalkboard pens do come off with water but are a bit more permanent than plain ole chalk! Let me know what you do with your chalkboards this year!

Friday, January 17, 2014

It all looks perfect from a distance

My little lemon tree looks so pretty from a distance. The leaves are green year round and it is either in bloom while also holding lots of beautiful lemons. I love to paint in my yard which also allows me to really notice things when they go amiss. I see this lemon tree everyday, walking by it several times without really noticing a problem.

I know, so you're thinking big deal, if you've seen one lemon tree you've seen them all right!? Well, as I got closer to draw and paint it, I could see the twisted, discolored leaves. From this closer position I can see the lack of fruit and blooms. I can see the twisted curled leaves and weird growth. I notice it's stress and see that something is terribly wrong. Since I have had this little tree for many years I know it suffers from an internal parasite called leaf miner. Leaf miners wait for their opportunity to attack a tree and then wreak havoc unnoticed unless you're looking for the signs.

This little tree is a lot like us, a lot like me! From a distance we may look fine, attempting to set fruit and bloom as usual. Trying to appear like all is fine but underneath something might be terribly wrong. Unless we are willing to get close enough to see it, it will go undetected. At the same time the tree has to be willing to allow people to get close enough to see the problem which it is working so hard to cover up and deal with alone.

The good news is that it's so treatable with some extra attention my little tree will be well on its way to a full crop of lemons. As the tree grows it gets stronger and the ugly curled up leaves will be replaced by green glossy ones. 
More lemons

Now you have to figure out which one are you, the little lemon tree or the artist painting the tree. Maybe, today you're both. If you are the tree you might need to allow people close enough to see you, exposing some of your weaknesses. If you are the artist you might need to really see the problem and be able to offer some help in the supporting the recovery or solution. The blessing from the experience is that the tree produces more fruit from which the artist, the tree and others gets to enjoy!

We all want to be a Happy Little Lemon Tree!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Being who we are meant to be means embracing a title

I think as artists we are blessed with this unsatisfiable need to create beautiful things from simple supplies. Just some blobs of paint and a piece of paper, maybe just a pencil and a napkin. I can't tell you how many times I have grabbed a napkin to do a quick sketch of something that had to be captured at that moment. We often are not understood and thus the crazy artist stigma.

This crazy behavior reminds me of the time a group of us artists were having dinner at a little restaurant in San Clemente. We had all ordered our meals and we were having a glass of wine and laughing when the sun came into the restaurant through a small window during sunset and lit up a shelf full of colored jars. As if we had choreographed it, we all jumped up at the same moment and ran to the shelf to start taking photos, trying to capture the moment, the light.  Well you can only imagine how we scared everyone in the restaurant including the chef and owner as they watched us all jump out of our chairs without a word and stood in a doorway taking tons of pictures. Within minutes the sun was gone and regained our composure and looked around to see everyone staring at us and we couldn't help but laugh. They had no idea what drove us to do that, they didn't understand that need to capture a moment. They were clueless and so we did look like a bunch of crazy people. I have so many of those crazy "artist" moments when I just have to pull over and take in the scene or capture a moment.

 I know that many of you, my artist friends, find it uncomfortable to call yourself an artist. That you can't even say the word, let alone feel like one. But why my friend?

Do you have that desire to create? Do you love to experiment and play with different types of supplies. Do you see a painting in every sunset and sunrise, in every tree, driving down the street or just sitting in a restaurant? Does it feel like you have all these projects or paintings inside of you and you don't have enough time to do it all?

Now ask yourself do you feel inadequate, untalented and not worthy of the title "Artist". Do you think people will judge you and you are not good enough? Well then congratulations, POOF, you are an Artist! You need to sign all your work and appreciate your talent now and use it more often. One of the biggest artist stumbling blocks is not practicing your talent! Go forth my artists friends and create! If you haven't viewed the little video on the right side of my blog you should take a few minutes to do so, it is well worth it!
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