Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dinosaur Coloring Sheet

This is the line drawing from a birthday card I made for a friend which I only later realized might make a fun coloring page (see original version here).  Had to take a photo of a colored in version and then convert it back into a line drawing.  Not ideal.  The original drawing is only about 4x3 inches, so it may not print well too large. 

Recent Greeting Cards

Two cards I've drawn lately, for a birthday and a secret santa gift.  Usually I draw things large and then print them out onto cards, but drawing directly onto the card is very satisfying as well.  I really enjoyed making the minimalist/etched dog drawing; I may have to try out more of those.  The dinosaurs are essentially a coloring book page I drew and then colored in myself (forgetting to scan in the original outline, so I cannot make more! silly mistake).  I ended up taking this photo and pulling the original line drawing out of it through a process I like to call "erasing a lot of stuff."  Hoping to get to do more art this winter!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Great Cow Burden

Interchangeable burden

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Running and Dogs and Cats

Another T-shirt drawing that never got used.  It's supposed to be a dog, a person, and a cat lined up to start a race, but the cat is not paying attention.  Apparently it's a bit inscrutable. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Banana Runner

Time flies like an arrow, fruit runs like a banana with a broken arm.  T-shirt design that didn't end up being used, but was quite fun to draw!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wine Cork Succulent Garden

Wine Cork Succulent Garden

This fall I found myself with quite an abundance of tiny jade plants thanks to my experiments this summer learning how easy it is to propagate jade plants.  Fortunately, The Culinary Capers had a suggestion on what I should do: Make tiny cork succulent gardens.  There are a number of websites describing this out there, but it is an extremely simple idea:  Take a cork, drill or dig a hole in it, plant a tiny succulent in it (don't forget to water it!).  There are a million things you can do with such a tiny garden; put a magnet on it and slap in on the fridge, put a suction cup on it and stick it on the window, put a pin on it and attach it to your hat, the possibilities are endless.

I don't predict these to have very long life spans (the fingernail full of dirt that they are in will be used up pretty quick) but they are adorable.  I used a chopstick to help push the dirt and roots into the hole.

Update: Two months later it appears to still be alive! At the very least this could be an amusing way to transport tiny jade plants. 

Update: June and it's still alive (over seven months later!).  I'm planting it back into a regular pot to see if it is still viable. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quick Last Minute Halloween Super Hero Shirt: Marvel's Wolverine

Need a last-minute idea for Halloween? So did I!  I was fresh out of ideas for Halloween after what has been a series of very fun and rather elaborate Halloween costumes.  This year I went simple and straight-forward: T-shirt + markers.

Solid print T-shirt
Permanent markers (or better yet, fabric markers)

Find a hero you like.  See how they make their costume.  Convert to a T-shirt.  Very simple, very satisfying.
I did Wolverine from Marvel's X-Men.  If you have to draw a lot, make sure you have a few markers available as you can run through them quickly.  Also, permanent marker, despite its name, does run if you wash the shirt.  Wash by hand to avoid too much running (and to keep other clothes from getting markered), or better yet do not wash the shirt until after Halloween.  

If you are looking for more elaborate costume ideas, see all the posts here

Thursday, September 20, 2012

drawing 3D in 2D

Saw this on This Is Colossal and wanted to try it out.  So far have just done a couple quick doodles, but it's really fun!

Here you can see I have done two doodles in slightly different planes, so when one looks 'right' the other is slightly skewed.  The bricks in the wall are drawn normally, because the plane of the paper is the right plane for the wall, so the skewing occurs on its own!

If you use the side of the vertical side of the paper as a wall, you can just draw normally on it, and it will skew itself properly.  If anything protrudes from the wall, however, it has to be skewed in the drawing to look correct.  The fire hydrant top is very skewed if you look at it from straight on because it is drawn to look as if it is in front of the vertical plane of paper.  On the right is looking at the paper from the other side, to show how odd the paper looks if you don't have just the right angle.  It is quite frustrating to draw these without any sort of form to keep the paper bent properly, I need to find a good cardboard box or something to make a bent easel.

For another way to draw 3D in 2D, click here

Friday, September 14, 2012

Facebook Graffiti: Food

Some food I've drawn using the Graffiti app on Facebook.  A fun program to use, though admittedly the only computer drawing I've really ever done.  Would probably be a lot easier with a tablet and pen than a mouse, but if you're patient you can make some really nice color blending.  I frequently get bored drawing them before they are finished because of the limitations of trying to use a mouse to draw, but the times I can stick it out they look pretty nice. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Emu: Cardstock and Ink.  Bird on the right is showing extra contrast. 

Monday, September 3, 2012


Jellyfish.  Permanent marker on cardstock followed by some edits in Microsoft Paint.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Coloring Sheets: Grey Squirrels

Some Eastern Grey Squirrels.  Should print well landscape.  Hoping to do a series of coloring sheets over the summer!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

African Violet Propagation

How to propagate African Violets:
African violets are easy to propagate by leaf cuttings.  Snip a leaf near the base of the plant (so that you have a good long stem on it), and place in a dish of water.  Make sure that only the stem is in the water, and the leaf stays dry.  Periodically add more water as the water evaporates.  It will take a few days or possibly weeks for the stem to sprout roots.  Once the roots are about an inch long, plant the leaf and stem in african violet potting soil.  Water occasionally.  The new plants do not grow very quickly, but as long as the leaf is green and fleshy the plant is still alive.  After a few weeks you will have a new plant!

For more details on rooting plants in a dish of water, see my Coleus Propagation post

For all my plant propagation posts, click here

Jade Propagation

How to propagate Jade plants:
Jade plants are another easy propagator.  I usually go for one of two methods: leaves or stems.  For leaves, I simply take a few leaves off, put them into dirt, and water occasionally (note that it can take up to 2 months for jade leaves to start sprouting roots if they are simply placed in dirt indoors).  For stems, I break off a small section (usually only a few inches, but larger should work as well) and put that in the dirt and water it.  Easy as pie! Not all of them will root every time (at least not for me) but each adult plant has plenty of leaves to spare.

For all my plant propagation posts, click here

Below: New growth from two leaves (left and center), and a longer stem being propagated.  

Oxalis (Shamrock) Propagation

How to divide Oxalis:
I have two great oxalis plants (a green and a red/burgundy) that I have been propagating recently for friends.  I suppose more accurately I have just been dividing the plants; they are propagating themselves.

It is very simple to propagate an Oxalis: simply dig up a few of the roots (they look like little pine cones), and replant them upright in a new pot.  I usually put them in with either the very tip sticking out of the dirt or just underneath the dirt (either way has worked for me).  The one tricky thing is that the existing leaves will wilt off these roots (I just trim them off), but don't worry!  Keep giving them water periodically, and in a few days to weeks they will sprout anew!  I have been mixing green and burgundy plants together to make mixed pots.
                                         For all my plant propagation posts, click here

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pirates and Dinosaurs

There are dinosaurs at the zoo and pirates at the science museum, so I drew these. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Coloring Sheet: Poison Dart Frog

Today I had an opportunity to teach some kids about animals! It was quite fun.  As part of the lesson, I had them design their own poison dart frog.  It was extremely satisfying to see something I drew be used as classroom materials.  If I have time this summer I think I'm going to try to draw a series of coloring sheets.

If you would like to print a copy of this, click on the image (to make it bigger), then right click and select 'view image' to get the full size file.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Single succulent terrarium with Zebra Haworthia

This is a small terrarium I made for a friend last fall.  I had a glass bowl at the house, and thought it needed to be put to good use.  I purchased a zebra Haworthia succulent, and found some old rocks, dirt, and sand at my house.  That's all you need!
For all my succulent garden and terrarium posts, click here.

First I put some rocks at the bottom of the bowl to allow drainage.  You don't want a succulent to ever sit in water, so the rocks in theory help keep the plant sitting above any water that pools at the bottom after watering.

Next I put in some sand, then dirt, then the succulent, then some more dirt.  The idea is to get loose, sandy soil.  You can make this all simpler by just using succulent/cactus soil instead of mixing sand and dirt.

Lastly I added finishing touches: polished river pebbles and some seashells.  Done!  The plant has been doing quite well for half a year so far.  You don't need to water these very often, which makes them easy plants to have around the house.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

DIY Picture Frame Terrarium

I saw this project awhile ago and really wanted to make one myself.  The basic idea is to make an enclosed glass terrarium using old picture frames with the backs removed.  You screw the frames together, add a few hinges and paint, and voila!  I ended up using the directions, rather than the original, so mine has a hinged top.  I also didn't have any access to plywood (or even a saw...) so I used thick cardboard to make the triangular wall tops (we'll see if they rot or not). There is no bottom to either the countryliving or the blogspot versions, so they aren't air-tight, but still hopefully keep in some humidity. 

This is where the project comes from and complete directions. is the original, is the fancier version that they then published.

The hinged-top version (countryliving) has the benefit of being easy to use (you can put plants into it rather than having to pick up the entire box and set it over the plants) but you lose more humidity.  I use mine mostly for decoration, and also as a handy way to keep the cat from eating plants.  Currently I am giving it a trial run with an orchid and a peace lily plant to see whether it keeps enough extra humidity around to help them grow.  Here are some pictures of construction and the final project.

I first foolishly tried to put the screws into the frames by hand.  This led to splintering the frames beyond recognition, so I changed to a drill and life was much easier. 

The four frames making up the top of the case did not sit very flush, so I used Popsicle sticks, wood putty, and hot glue to seal it up a bit.  In the end though, it was a hefty coat of paint that covered most of the little gaps.   

I put the glass back into the frames after the paint dried, and used a bit more hot glue to make sure they stayed in place.

 The little poison dart frog is from an earlier project you can see here.