Sunday, December 25, 2011


It's very early on Christmas day and I have quietly made my way to the kitchen to have some quiet time before the craziness of the day begins. A time to give thanks for God's gift to us,His ultimate gift of salvation. In all the busy-ness of the season it is easy to lose sight of why we celebrate this day.

Today my house will be filled with family, gifts and good food. We will laugh a lot as we play games and visit. The noise level will never go below the roar of a low flying aircraft and the kids will be making messes in every corner. When all the festivities are over my house will resemble a battlefield of fun. I am so thankful for these crazy days of Christmas, knowing that each year we are all together should be cherished. I was trying to put together a video of Christmas's past to play throughout the day with our music. As i was going over all the photos it was a reminder as to how quickly everyone grows up! It also reminded me how much things change although they feel so "the same". Our family is forever changing, growing, multiplying, dividing, dying.
This year is hard for us as Randy's parents are not doing well, his mom with dementia and his dad with pneumonia. So many years a part of our Christmas day celebration, we now are running down early to see them before Christmas. My mom,still weak from surgery, unable to travel,so we will go to her after Christmas but they all will be missed so much this year at our table.
With the baking done,Blake's stocking finished, the decorations complete and before my day begins, I wanted taking a few minutes with you to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope and pray that your time together with friends and family is filled with love and laughter and many, many wonderful memories.

- Desiree

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas is only 5 days away!

Where does the time go? I have to still decorate my tree and finish shopping but I managed to get the paintings of the 12 days of Christmas where they needed to go! Phew! Now to get to cleaning my house, do some shopping, plan Christmas dinner and wrapping. I am looking forward to a few nights of doing nothing but sitting by the fire and drinking tea and watching movies with Randy and Jenn. Here are a few of the finished pieces, I am showing some of the ones you didn't see, with their finished border.

I will be sewing some pillowcases for Nathan out of the 3D fabric I found him and then I will be making some prayer flags. The first two are already in my mind as I am praying for two dear friends as they each deal with a hard, long fight. One with breast cancer, one a brain tumor, their treatment doesn't stop for the holidays, for baking or shopping. Praying for a quick and complete recovery!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Less than 12 days til Christmas!

I was asked to paint the 12 days of Christmas in the next few days, a rush job for a company overseas. They want bright and whimsical so I am having fun painting these small little characters before next week. I never realized how many birds are in the first part and how many people are in the second part. I also discovered that the Catholic church has religious meanings for all of the images. I am so blessed to be able to create and paint everyday as a passion and for a job! I am thinking that these will soon be quilt patterns too!

- Desiree

Friday, December 16, 2011

My blog is a book!

No, no don't get excited! LOL it's not good enough for that but I did use the blog2print service and decided to have my blog printed from when I started it to the end of last year, 2006-2010. I got it the other day and I LOVE it! It's so much fun to go back and see all the things I wrote about,the old sketches, pictures, special occasions! It is far from perfect,typos and poor sentence structure I'm sure. There are also probably tons of run-on sentences because I am famous for those! But,it's mine all the good and the bad. If you are a blogger you might want to think of doing this every year or two. My book is 120 pages, cha-ching, but I love it!

- Desiree

Crepe Paper Poppies recreated!

I received a box today, but with the holidays, it is a common thing to see on my front porch. Jennifer discovered eBay and we have been getting little packages lately. As I carried it in I noticed it was for me and couldn't wait to open it. Inside,surrounded by popcorn were three narrow boxes,as I pulled them out I could see the brightly colored tile inside the smaller box. I immediately recognized it as my poppy design. It is so much prettier than I thought it would be. It comes with hanging mounts on the back,art tiles. They are also bigger than I thought they would be,6"x16". I am going to order a bunch for special gifts. This design was done for an art quilt that won many awards and was featured in several publications. It was sold to a private collector who is now thinking of tiling something to match!

- Desiree

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Latest Commission piece for Christmas

I finished a commission piece for my chiropractors wife for Christmas. She almost lost her dog this last year and he wanted to have the dog painted for her. I used pastels on suede mat board which is a wonderful surface for doing fur. Here is the progressive painting which is 16"x20"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fons and Porters The Love of Quilting

Fon's and Porter- For the Love of Quilting

Its been a busy week, full of surprises!. Yesterday I shared with you that my interview was posted and my quilt was auctioned off on ebay. Well today I received the new Love of Quilting magazine where my pincushions and I are featured. You get the pattern in the magazine, I hope you will check it out. It is on the shelves now, it is the January/February 2012 issue. Also Kelly Mueller from Wooden Bear has a huge spread. They are giving you one of her patterns also and they did a whole spread on her studio and then taped her for a new show they are doing on QNN called Quilt with the stars. It is a wonderful opportunity for her and she is such an amazing person! I happen to know her personally and she is so sweet and down to earth. I hope you will check it out and I have posted some of the links here for you! The first part of her interview is here, the rest will hopefully be up by the time the magazine hits the shelves. Also ask your local quilt shops to get her latest Christmas fabric line coming out for next year, you won't want to miss it!!!!! Her adorable artwork and great projects are perfect for all you quilters wanting a fun, holiday project. Enjoy

- Desiree

Busy month Decembers are!

It is a time of decorations and lights, parties and food, performances and plays, family and fun. A time to remember its Christ's birthday we are celebrating before we get lost in the busyness of it all. I found that I waited too long to do some of the things I had wanted to do with my students and friends sadly. Next year I will work on starting earlier. My decorations are still coming together slowly, I need to finish those up too. Why is it that I am dragging with everything this year? I did manage to get my cards painted and printed, a family photo taken and included in the cards. I also managed to make some gingerbread cookie dough and spent yesterday baking cookies with the girls. I told them to add some raisins and red hots to make eyes and mouths but don't add too many. Not wanting to inhibit their creative flow I watched as they decorated the gingerbread men to death,I did end up limiting the decorations so we actually would taste the cookie which, by the way, looked and tasted delicious when all was said and done! Some of the small cookies didn't survive the finger assault that happened on the pan while being decorated. We ended up with many limbless cookies that we had to eat since they were too small to go into their cookie dishes.

I also have been working on some hand made gifts. I love gourds for some reason. No one, including my husband, can seem to figure out my fascination with gourds. I buy them, grow them, decorate them, burn them and save them! LOL These are pear gourds, and I love this simple covered dish I make by first cleaning the gourd and then drawing the upside down flower for the lid. Gourds are dried and when they are completely dry they dirty skin needs to be washed off. It leaves a wonderful mottled design on their hard surface that will accept stains and paints easily.
Not cleaned yet!
After they are cleaned with just some warm water and a scrubber sponge or steelwool I draw on my design. I then take my small jigsaw and cut out the flower designed lid. I have to make a small opening in the gourd to insert the blade, this can be dangerous if that knife slips so be careful! After cutting out the top I clean the inside out. It is filled with seeds and dried innards! I am allergic to the dust so I wear a mask and that seems to stop the lung irritation that happens when I saw or clean them.
I now burn the design into them, adding some shading and decorative elements. At this point, once I am happy with the whole design I will decide whether I like the stem or if I want to add a decorative hardware pull as the top to the gourd. On this one the stem was broken off so I drilled into the top and put on the hardware. I then us leather dyes to stain the inside of the gourd and let it dry. It dries rather quickly if its warm but it was cold so it took about an hour. I then use the same leather dyes to paint the outside of the gourd, the flower and leaves. You can either leave it natural or paint it, they both look great and its just personal preference. Once they are dry I spray them with a high gloss sealer, but leaving them natural is nice too! Its all about how I am feeling at that moment. 
Just the top flower and inside is stained at this point

All done

another view

These make wonderful gifts and the top lifts off in the shape of the flower revealing a hidden place to store things. I love covered jars and this one is perfect. Let me know what you have been doing this Christmas season, also share any home made items you have done as gifts. I like those the best. It is easy to buy things, its so much more personal to make something unique.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Featured artist and my quilt is up for auction.

So much is happening today. I woke up to find my interview for the sketchbook challenge blog was posted. They asked me some questions which made me have to really think about what and why I sketch. I hope you will comment on it. I would love to be asked to be a part of this group of artists.

Jamie Fingal also sent me word that my small quilt I did for the Alliance for American Quilts is up for auction,you can see it here.
It was a photo quilt I did for them but dedicated it to Jennifer and here work with the animals.
- Desiree

Friday, December 02, 2011

My Pistache tree

My Pistache tree by ddhabicht
My Pistache tree, a photo by ddhabicht on Flickr.

My Pistache tree never colors up the way they are suppose to,beautiful reds and oranges but after Randy threatened to rip it out we got the most beautiful golden yellow,pinky color this year. It was as though it heard him and in an last ditch effort it gave us a golden display that seemed almost lite up when the sun hit it. Yesterday we had Santa Ana winds, my tree is now here but it went out in a blaze of glory,covering the back lawn in spun gold! The girls decided to lay in the leaves as they watched the last few hanging on the tree be blown off. It was raining these gold leaves for hours yesterday,amazing!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A block of hope for a dear friend

We were asked to make a block for a friend who just found out she has breast cancer. All the blocks will be gathered and made into a quilt for her,each block given as small letter of hope and love from so many people who love her. She has been such an inspiration to so many as well as being an example of a strong, successful women. I have so many people in my life right now that seem to be dealing with so many hard things. I think I am going to start making prayer flags. I found these on "The Prayer Flag Project" noticed many of my quilting friends were making them. The idea behind them is that you create one for every prayer you might have, some are doing one each day for 30 days, then you hang them outside. The wind is to blow the prayers to set them free. You leave them hanging in the yard and let the elements take them slowly, disappearing over time. I think I will add this to the wonderful thought behind these prayer flags, I already believe my prayers are set free as I say them. So my prayer flags will be there to remind me when I see them blowing to pray for those special people that I have made the flag for. I will share my flags soon, but for now this is my small block for her quilt of love and comfort during a hard road ahead. It is sent to you with much love and many prayers!
The guidelines were a cream background with fall colors and they have to have a heart in the block somewhere. Well I took the fall colors and made them into heart shaped leaves. Fall is the time when nature explodes into the warm wonderful colors of Autumn as it readies itself for the hard times winter brings. It is my prayer that during those dark days of winter she can wrap herself in this quilt and feel the warmth sent to her by so many as she waits for the spring in her life to bloom with that gift of hope and health again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thought for the day!

I was asked to do some costal, beachy things and I am not having much luck since my head is full of Christmas! I did this little sketch and made it into this card, kind of how I am feeling about the assignment.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A new painting for the series-Pears

I did this one to go with the others but need to move on, although this is such fun!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011

Sketch of our Turkey this year! LOL
 This year we decided to cook a turkey although we have been vegan since March, we decided that no one would come for dinner unless we delivered meat!
We started our Thanksgiving celebration the night before with brining our turkey for 16 hours, Randy was anxious to get up and get the bird onto the rotisserie the next morning.  I was ready since I was doing mostly fresh vegetables and potatoes. Even though we have been vegan since March we decided that no one would come for Thanksgiving if I didn't do a turkey so we decided to cook for the masses and make some things that would work for everyone. The morning came and Randy jumped out of bed to get the turkey out of the brining solution and get it on the spicket.  We tied up the legs and the wings nice and tight so that it would turn without anything dangling and burning. Happy with our sewing job we got the bird onto the barbecue. Since it was so early, I asked him if he could help me do something that would only take a minute. He agreed and came inside. While inside, I guess the grease from the bird caught fire and when Randy looked outside our barbecue was on fire! He ran out to put out the fire and save his bird! Finally, with most of his arm hair now gone, the fire was out. The tile behind the barbecue was black, and there was a lot of smoke. When we opened up the lid of the barbecue we found a blackened, charcoaled turkey shaped briquette! Oh my gosh! He decided to take the bird inside to be cleaned up. He began to run water over the burn victim in hopes of saving it. Most of the skin had to be removed and he then decided to take it off of the spicket and put it in a pan on the barbecue grill to cook. The metal running through the bird was hot and burned his hands as he tried to removed the burnt bird. Finally, in the pan, covered in aluminum foil the bird was back on the barbecue cooking. He then decided that the turkey might taste burnt so he ran to the store and bought a fresh turkey and paid top dollar for it. I decided to take control of this bird and got it ready for cooking inside, in a real oven. No more man-turkeys. At the end of the day, both birds turned out perfect, and as far as being vegans we now had more turkey meat than anyone else on our street! We ended up sending a whole turkey home with my son! Randy is threatening to cook another turkey for Christmas but I am going to give the fire department a heads up this time! A fireproof apron and gloves sounds like the perfect Christmas gift for the hunter/slayer in my family!

Turkey after being cleaned!
So Thankful that everyone is safe, healthy and we could enjoy the day together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

International Postcard Exchange

I belong to an amazing group of artists that live all over the world, the group is called sketchersize. The idea is that we are supposed to send sketches from our walks. We have been sending postcards to each other over the past year and I have collected a wonderful assortment of artwork depicting the everyday lives of people and locations I only dream about. The postcard I sent out last month was from my San Diego Zoo trip. The weather was so amazing, the big cats seemed to lay right up next to the fences, begging to be photographed or sketched. It was a great day to enjoy living in Southern California.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I am working on a series of fruit and vegetable paintings. I did this layout and challenge originally on the DPW site with my persimmons. I really have enjoyed painting these, photographing at different stages. I am using watercolors so the first scan I do is while the paint is still translucent and softer. Since I like them looking older and more weathered I continue working the paint and applying layers to achieve the look I want. Here is my newest one, strawberries.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Playday with the girls

After spending a few days in LA it was so nice to get home and have a day with the girls. They were so happy to see me,there is just no better feeling than being loved! The house turns into a cluttered mess with the whirlwind activities that seem to fill every moment while they are here. It makes me wonder how I ever kept a clean house when my kids were all so young and so close in age. Here is some of the fun,quick sketches I did. Can you recognize the crazy little sketch I did of Megans wacky haircut?! We are still trying to get it long enough to style.

- Desiree

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall bush covering the hills in gold and oranges

I set out to paint with my plein air group. I waited in the car for the rain to stop but it just seemed to get stronger so I decided to paint while I waited. It went a bit like this,paint,turn on car,windshield wipers,defroster,heater,paint. This went on for sometime,my painting slow to dry,but still some magic happened as I do like the results. Tired and cold I left early,I think just about the time the sun came out and the rain stopped!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Our First Retreat!

Our First Retreat! by ddhabicht
Our First Retreat!, a photo by ddhabicht on Flickr.

Well I must admit our first retreat went great. Ann and I both got together and planned three days of techniques then followed up with a challenge. We did a spin off from iron chef and called it iron quilters, starting with a "basic ingredient bag" they had to design and make a 15"x15" quilt for our theme underwater. Then every 45 minutes or so we through in another ingredient that they had to be used in the quilt. They also had to make an accessory! Everyone did amazing work, here is my little quilt.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Art quilters Retreat!

Art quilters Retreat! by ddhabicht
Art quilters Retreat!, a photo by ddhabicht on Flickr.

Our art quilt group, Sub Q, is about to embark on our first retreat. Ann and I have been busy organizing activities, awards, gifts and games in preparation for 3 days of fun! We will be doing demos and mini workshops in preparation for the big event Saturday afternoon. Hopefully I will be able to post from our location and share the fun with everyone! Here are some of the things I am packing to go tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Christmas Cards 2011

Well, its that time again, Christmas cards, and I am actually a bit late. I like to have them done in Oct but this year I am having a Christmas Card Class so I was trying to work it into that. I love designing my cards every year. It is more expensive, harder work but I feel as though I am sending a bit of a gift at the same time, not just a card. Every year the biggest struggle is figuring out what to paint, this year, after my workshop I had it all figured out! Berries and greenery will be the theme this year! I am working on several and will pick my favorite but need to work quickly so I can take advantage of a sale at Shutterfly. I love painting berries for some reason so I will love this chance to play around.

I took the girls to Oak Glen yesterday, fall seemed to fill the air and the trees had started to turn. The farms were all starting to close down for the season but we found a pumpkin patch with a few small pumpkins that no one wanted and the girls were happy. Oh such wonderful days with them! I am getting hundreds of pictures of our adventures. I am babysitting them two days a week while mom finishes school, the time is racing by and will be over too soon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I took a workshop in Pasadena!

I decided to take a workshop,it was just wonderful. Sometimes I get all wrapped up in teaching and creating and I lose touch with what's happening outside my little world. In my sketching class we have explored some negative painting and had a lot of fun. Brenda Swenson has taken it too a new level and I love how exciting and loose her paintings are. We began with a black and white value painting so we could get familiar with value changes before jumping into color. I found the students liked to get too dark too fast and lost some of their mid tones quickly. Because we had done many pieces already I knew where this was going. Everyone,including myself was anxious to jump into color but as I really got into my value study I found it hard to stop when the time was over. The next part of the class was taking a photo and doing a contour drawing, making sure to define the negative shapes. We then worked on triad paint combinations, using all Holbein watercolors and that was very exiting. I haven't used all their colors and found so many new colors I had to have! She also went over how to read the paint tubes which will be so helpful going forward in choosing watercolors in the future. Next year I am going to treat myself again,it was stress free and so relaxing. I hated having to leave before my piece was finished.

Taking classes is wonderful as long as they are a spring board from which to grow,learn and move forward. I listened to many of the students there saying they had taking 5+ classes during the show! Wow,that's a lot to take in and you only get better by taking what you learn home and applying it over and over . Practice is still the answer not millions of workshops. There are invaluable lessons we learn during that private time applying principles whether we are sucessful or not! Someone in class said that it takes 13,000 hours to master something. No one can afford that many workshops so i hope your all painting! I finished my piece when I got home although miserable from my sinus infection,tissues in one hand and a paper towel and brush in the other. Here are my two workshop paintings.

- Desiree

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Halloween. We spent Saturday night with our Kids and grandkids at Vail Lake trick or treating with everyone. I have never seen so many people in one area scrambling in the dark. I am amazed no one got lost or worst in all the confusion.
I thought i would share my fabulous folded bag pattern, is a fun way to make cute candy bags for gifts during the holidays. So quick and easy and you only need fat quarters. Here are my pumpkin and Christmas designs, all the templates come in the pattern. Available on my website

- Desiree
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