Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Cottage Garden | Redbud Tree

redbud leaves II
redbud pods
Sometimes I think the leaves are prettier than the flowers. 
We are off to DeBaggio's, a little family owned greenhouse, to pick up some herbs for the season.
I have long list of projects for the yard and the weekend is the perfect time to dig in. Pun intended.
Happy Saturday all! What do you have planned?
A big thank you to Amanda Soule aka Soule Mama
for featuring my Bluebirds and Honeybees fabric this week.
What a treat. I can't wait to see what she makes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where Did She Go?

florentine fabric collection
I'm here! I know I've been MIA for the past two weeks. Here's what happened: 
Our darling puppy Cowboy arrived home {fabulous and fun} 
and I caught a terrible cold and lost my voice {not so fabulous or fun}
Other than sounding like a troll, I'm feeling much better!

florentine fabric collection II
I just finished some new fabric designs which are the start of my Florentine Fabric Collection.
From the left to right: Celeste, Pitti Keys, Quatrefoil

florentine fabric collection III
and Stelle, Escutcheons, Boboli Keys. All of these designs are available on Spoonflower.
I also entered a design in the Fabric8 contest sponsored by Spoonflower & Robert Kaufman.
I couldn't resist. The theme was pen and ink and watercolor!
Keep your fingers crossed for me. You can preview my entry here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Birdie and Cowboy resting together.
Cowboy came home just a few days ago and they are becoming fast friends.
I've been completely distracted watching these two frolic.
We're off to take our walk in the field. 
Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Watercolor 101 | Brushes

Brushes are your tools for painting.
 Using the best quality brushes will yield better results. 
So, how do you choose? Your selection will be made by these four factors:
medium, material used to make the brush, shape and size.

brushes II
First, you need watercolor brushes. 
Oil, acrylic and craft brushes are made for a 
different purpose and are not suitable for watercolor. 
I prefer to use kolinsky red sable brushes made from 
the soft tail hairs of the siberian weasel. 
They are expensive brushes but well worth it because 
the natural coat and taper of the hairs holds the paint 
really well and they maintain their shape 
and point much longer with proper care.
If you prefer not to use animal hair 
or would like more economical brushes,there are 
wonderful synthetic watercolor brushes 
that you can use as well.

brushes III
Brushes come in all different shapes and sizes. 
You will want to be able to make a variety of marks 
from very large washes to fine little details. 
Brushes are numbered to correspond with size 
from small to large. Every brand is slightly different.
Honestly, you really only need five brushes to get started.
It's nice to have more, but they are not necessary 
and you can always add to your collection. 
I would recommend starting with one large round or 
oval brush for big washes, one large or medium flat brush 
for washes and painting a straight edge,
one medium pointed round and one small pointed round 
for finer brush strokes,and a rigger or liner brush, 
which makes a beautiful fine line.
The rigger is my favorite brush. 
I have them in several sizes. 

brushes IV
Every brush has this basic anatomy: 
a handle, a ferrule, and a brush head.
When looking for a brush, these three parts should fit 
tightly and seamlessly together. A new sable brush head 
will be stiffened with gum arabic to hold its shape
and it will need to be rinsed in cool water before using it 
for the first time.The hairs should not appear 
misshapen, frayed, split or crooked.

brushes V
With proper care your brushes will last a long time.
I have ruined quite a few brushes over the years 
and my dog has chewed a few handles much to my dismay 
(see the picture above).
Here are a few tips for keeping your brushes in good condition:
Don't use your brushes for anything but watercolor paint.
When you are working, gently mix your paint by swirling 
and rolling the brush through it, don't smash the tip 
into the paint or it will quickly fray and lose its shape. 
Don't leave your brushes soaking in water as this will 
loosen the handle and ferrule, not to mention 
that the brush head will become misshapen.
I rest my brushes on a little rolled up rag next 
to my palette while I am working.

brushes VI
Rinse your brushes in cool water when you are finished 
painting for the day. Remove paint residue from the brush 
and ferrule and tease out any loose hairs. Pat dry and 
reshape the tips of your brushes with your fingers.
Store your brushes in a container or rest them on a 
ledge or in a brush holder so that the brush heads 
are not resting against or touching any surface.
You can also use a brush soap or a very mild soap 
to thoroughly clean your brushes, but you don't want 
to strip the oils from the natural brushes 
by doing this too often.Synthetic brushes are less 
fragile and a little easier to clean.

Places to shop for watercolor brushes:
Do you have any questions about watercolor brushes?
Experiment and see what works for you! 
Next time 101 is all about paper.