Wednesday, November 13, 2013

LOVE at the Beach

Well it is that time of year again and this time I thought I would offer a little something different in the way of holiday art and cards. I thought it might be nice to keep the "LOVE" going all year so I painted up this watercolor LOVE. These are little beach treasures that I have collected over the summers, and some winters too, at the NJ shore. I keep a box full of strange nature finds, from the beach and farm. I'm thinking the farm finds would be great for spring, but right now I'm feeling the beach!
These are in my web shop, ACLEVERSPARK.COM in small art prints and holiday cards.
Enjoy!
LOVE at the BEACH

CHRISTMAS at the BEACH



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

PEARS!

Pears are my all time favorite fruit so it's no surprise that I have pear trees!
At the end of summer we always pick pears, these are not the juicy Bartlett pears but hard as a rock cooking pears. I put them in the fridge for 30 days or so then let them ripen on the kitchen table until they reach a greenish golden color and smell like heaven!

Single Pear Original Watercolor.
Triple Pear Original Watercolor


Mod Pear on Reclaimed Picket Fencing Boards
Original Watercolor Enclosure Cards with Book Page Envelopes
 I can't resist painting them in all the different stages and all different ways. Just did watercolors last week and the picket fence I did a while ago.


Soft Sculpture Pillow Made with Scrap Fabric
I made this soft sculpture pillow a couple of years ago from scrap fabric and hand painted canvas. It has long been sold to some other pear person. I might make myself one!

Detail of Oil Painting of Pears on Yellow Chair.
I have these pear oil paintings in my kitchen, simple but some of my favorite pieces.

So with all the pears I make a cake that is to die for! I have written out the entire recipe on my "Something Tasty" page so please feel free to bake away and change it up and make it your own!
Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sign Me Up!


A Good sign can say just what we need! 
These signs I made just the other day and thought I would show how fun and easy it was.

First I want to mention that I am painting with the fantastic GREEN, Ce Ce Caldwell paint!
Now for those of you not familiar with this paint it is super easy and great to use. It is a clay, mineral and chalk based paint that requires no stripping or sanding of previous finishes. Ce Ce has all sorts of great finishes too; such as waxes, plant based polyurethane, glazes, dusts, and on and on.
(FYI..we just started carrying this paint at Sea & Green in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. LOVE IT!!!)
On these signs I used what I felt were "fall" colors and just kept changing the combinations.

Step one. The wood. 
I used the never ending picket fence boards I have that are crying out to be made into something!
 I picked some pretty beat up ones since I was going to be covering them with color.
The Ce Ce Caldwell Paint!

I used: Smoky Mountain Gray
Sedona Red
Santa Fe Turquoise
Kissimmee Orange
Mesa Sunset
Georgia Clay
Cinco Bayou Moss
Young Kansas Wheat
Traverse City Cherry
California Gold
Michigan Pine
My Picket Fencing!
I just painted the boards a solid color and let them dry in the sun.


Then I cut them in lengths that would make good signs.

Now this is the really easy part that makes you look really good...I used sticky letters on the boards to make the words. I only had the basic font but if you had script letters or something fancy it would be really cool!
So, stick on your letters.

                                      
Paint over them. Try to use your brush like a stippling stencil brush, there is less bleed under the letters that way. Let them dry.

                                      
    Carefully peel up the letters. Stick them back on a piece of plastic or wax paper so they can be reused.
I then used a small brush to touch up where needed, let it dry and sanded it with 60 grit sandpaper. Just barely touching the letter area. Really mostly on the edges. Then to finish, I brushed on Ce Ce Caldwell's Endurance finish. (the plant based polyurethane I mentioned before)
A couple of nails and a wire for hanging and there you have it!
Easy, Fun, and would make a great gift......!
Enjoy!
                                        

                                                                             

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Words To Live By

I love a good quote and I have used some great ones here on these little picket fence pieces.
Oddly Vincent Van Gogh has a couple of my favorites, well maybe it's not so odd, creative people, and all........

Have a great day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

MAKE Eco-Jewelry!

 
Learn how to make this fun, summery jewelry!
I am teaching a class at Sea & Green on how to make jewelry from all those used up gift cards!
 Easy, fun and perfect for summer!
All supplies and tools included, make a bracelet or necklace, or a pair of earrings! Leave with instructions and a piece of jewelry!
 
Date:
There are two class times:
Saturday May 18 11am - 12:30pm
Saturday May 18 2pm - 3:30pm
 
Place:
Sea & Green, 502 Bay Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
 
Cost:
$20.00 per person or Adult and child (age 8 to 12) for $35.00
Must pre-register with a $10.00 deposit.

Contact:
email michalsparks@aol.com
Call Sea & Green to save your spot! 732-701-1166
open everyday 10:30 - 5:30 Closed Tuesdays

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Things That Make Me Smile....

Here in NJ it is almost the end of April and in the 40's!!!  Today in particular is really dreary so I made a fresh pot of French pressed coffee and got a fire going and thought I would share a few of the little things that make me happy.  
These are some branches I cut and put in my studio. Every time I see them I can help but thing that spring is here. Just love the pink with the dark leaves.

I love a challenge, especially a gardening one! This poor guy was on his last leg but I got him to bloom again!Love it!!

There are few things better than a bowl of eggs fresh from the coop. My girls really out do themselves! I know it is probably wrong but I love eggs in a pretty bowl in the fridge instead of a carton!

These pansies sit on the kitchen window sill. They made it through the winter and started to bloom a few weeks ago. They make cleaning up the kitchen a little bit better!

I love the fact that my husband drinks his morning coffee from this sweet French cup and saucer. A little souvenir he picked up on a trip.
Hope these pictures brighten up your day!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

One Thing Always Leads to Another...

 
 
 
So here on the farm I have many loves and a few love nots. Let's start at the beginning.
 
I love blackberries. Huge juicy ones grow really great here and actually, they are overtaking a little side garden that we have near the barn so I figured I would make a berry orchard near the chicken
garden. Then the other day this guy showed up and stole one of my hens!
 
Mr. Coyote
At first I thought he was a over sized fox because we do have foxes that are always reeking havoc on my chickens, but no, now I have a coyote problem! How is this relating to blackberries?
 Well it goes like this.
Because of Mr.Coyote I can't let the chickens roam the property so I decided to make a section of the fenced area of the coop all grass and veggie goodies. So I head to the local hardware store to get some grass seed only to find out I need pasture mix if it is for animals (chickens) to eat. OK, fine I need about 1/2 lb of seed. It only comes in 50lb bags.
But wait, back to the berries!
So if we dig rows for the new berry orchard I can use the sod, which is pasture mix, (our entire 10 acres is pasture mix) to put into the coop!!
 
Mr. Rooster,
 
This idea seems so simple!! And lucky for me my two teenagers wanted a "sick day" from school!!
So I want 6 rows that are roughly 24 feet each. We each started to dig, then I started moving sod while they continued digging.(truth be told most of the digging was my daughter Ivy!)
 


The chickens were watching every move!

One row. It does need to be a bit wider but a fantastic start!

This was a few exhausting hours later. Half of the area is filled with sod and three rows are dug.
Now I need to go dig up the blackberries and start planting but it has been pouring rain for the last few days. (which is a good thing as I am never as strong as my ideas and need the rest!)
But, Chickens are safe and soon to be clipping the grass and the blackberries are almost to a new home and the barn garden will soon be slightly under control! Whew!
As the title says, around here one thing really does lead to another, and another, and another.....


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