02.24.12

Art Journal – Bouquets of Watercolor Flowers

Posted in Art Journal, Main at 12:16 pm by carrie

Getting in the Mother’s Day mood and painting lots of bouquets of flowers. These were painted using watercolors and a little acrylic whitewash on top. I’m loving this technique and how it’s so light, delicate and sort of misty-dreamy. I tend to be heavy handed with traditional acrylic so this is a good exercise in self control, color speaking.

Most of these are wedding arrangements or bouquets. I love all the colorful, fancy bridal bouquet pictures on Pinterest. The textures, colors, unusual greenery, berries, vintage brooches, feathers and ribbons are so much fun and so creative… although I like a simple arrangement of just hydrangeas or lilies of the valley, too!

One of these might be re-painted to become Mother’s Day card… but which one? Any opinions? :)



#1 – Blue & yellow flowers in milk glass

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#1 – Close up


#2 – Yellow ranunculus & sweet peas

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#2 – Close up


#3 – Pink flowers in blue vase

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#3 Close up


#4 – Orange & pink ranunculus with one succulent bouquet

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#4 Close up


#5 – Pink, white & blue bouquet

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#5 Close Up


I think I like #5 the best :)

02.21.12

Art Journal – Floral Watercolors

Posted in Art Journal, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 4:29 pm by carrie

While anticipating “wintery weather” here in Cary (really, it mostly just slushed with a tiny bit of snow that lasted 12 hours… but it was really beautiful!), I did a whole lot of movie watching and doodling/art journaling while hanging out under a blanket (a very nice weekend, indeed!).

Whenever I use watercolors, I always run into the big question… should I outline these paintings or not?

So, I thought I would line them up, side by side… before outlining and after. What do you think? Which do you like better?



I sort of thought of this comparison idea after I started outlining the first painting… oops.


And I outlined this one in white paint…


I have one card in the line that has the outlined watercolor flowers… I didn’t think it would be a popular design, but it turned out to be a good seller! So, I’m contemplating more designs similar to this in the future. Very 1960’s wrapping paper… which I fancy.


So, what do you think? Watercolor flowers and watercolor flowers with outlines… yea or nay to this design?

02.17.12

Glittered Cards…

Posted in Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 5:26 pm by carrie

There’s something magical about glitter… how it dances in the light and creates an atmosphere of fun and enchantment. Why more things aren’t covered in glitter, I’ll never understand. And glass glitter… if you haven’t used it, you are missing out. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s like mylar glitter on steroids.

It’s quite strange how glitter turns me into a boisterous 4 year old with little control. I make such a mess… slowly, but surely, the carpet in my office is becoming permanently glittered. And the dog, too. She insists on sitting directly underneath the spill zone when I’m working with the stuff. Better put on her doggles next time.

So, here are my cards… all glittered up with mylar and glass glitters and Swarovski flat back crystals, too. (You can buy them all dolled up on the website, if you are interested!).


And here they are more close up…

And here are all the cards, in display in my office on an old dresser:



And here’s a fixture from the store that I HAD to have… and moved it cross country, too (everyone thought I was nuts):


I love this card rounder. It was one of those things at the shop that made it feel like a “real” shop… if that makes sense. It had one purpose and one purpose only… to spin cards in a circle. And I could hear the little ball bearings in the rounder as someone turned it. Squeaky floor told me where they were, ball bearings told me what they were looking at. We ended up getting a few other simpler card rounders, but this was my favorite. My little sparkling glittered cards have a carousel to call their own ;) Perhaps the card rounder needs a layer, or four, of glitter, too? hmmmm….

02.14.12

Happy Valentine’s Day! :)

Posted in Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 9:53 am by carrie

Hope everyone is having a fun-filled day with Cupid! I didn’t send out any cards this year… I think I’m going to send out stuff for St. Patrick’s Day instead ;) I should probably start putting that together now.

Being a little obsessed with mantel decorating (Check out the past 7 years of mantels here!), I’m going to share my handiwork on the mantel this year, which isn’t as impressive as the past ones, but it still gets on the list!



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I made this garland in 2005 or 2006…


I distinctly remember glittering it while talking to a customer. So, this was a store prop :)

02.12.12

Tissue & Crepe Paper Valentine’s Day Wreath Tutorial

Posted in Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 3:58 pm by carrie


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I made this wreath over the weekend. I went a little nuts with the glitter and add-ons. It would have been simple and cute just with the plain flowers… but… I just don’t know when to stop. The great thing about this wreath…. very cheap to make. I used tissue, crepe paper and glitter that I already had. My only cost was the wire wreath form which was $1.40 after my 40% off Michael’s coupon!

Here’s how I did it…



36 flowers total, 4 of each design


The red and white flowers are the same as the pink. Start on the outside, twirl and glue until you get to the center. Glue a set of black construction paper leaves to the back of each flower.

Here is the progress:



When all the flowers are finished, you can attach the flowers to the wire form with their pipe cleaner stems. I started with a large gray pom pom at the bottom center, leaves facing in, and just added the flowers counter clockwise, rotating the leaves so that some faced inside the wreath, and some faced outside. The cool thing about the wire form is that you can slide the flowers around, too, making it easier to move them around a bit.

Seeing as I like to take things 8 steps too far, I glittered each and every flower and their leaves, too. Black and dark gray glitter on the leaves, silver glitter on the petals. It’s up to you if you want to do this. I didn’t show this step because I think everyone knows how to add glitter. (And if you saw my mess… you’d mock me. It’s ALL OVER the place. Including the dog.)

Here’s how the flowers looked all glittered up:



I also shoved in some white feathers… because I had them… and I added these rosettes for the same reason:


The centers of each rosette are stickers that I printed and added glitter to. Very easy.

I sell these rosettes on ebay for $3.99 each, if you are interested :)

And, here’s the wreath with my Valentine’s Day decorations:


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I had a lot of fun making it… especially since this is the very first wreath I’ve ever made. It’s neat to watch paper turn into a three dimensional object. I’m thinking I’ll use felt for the next wreath… St. Patrick’s. And an Alice in Wonderland wreath at some point, too!

Ohboy… I’m hooked.

02.06.12

Art Journal… & Some Doodles…

Posted in Art Journal, Main at 7:12 pm by carrie

Art journal Valentine’s Day sketches… Mostly watercolor:



If the Queen of Hearts had a “good” sister
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Squirrels need love, too
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Love payout!
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Life, Love & Understanding…. gifts!
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I wrote a poem… (I never do that)
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I love art journaling because it’s like right brain yoga or art stretches. Do you ever look back at some of your old artwork and cringe? Perhaps you don’t have any of your old work to cringe at. Yeah… typical artist. I used to trash my old art stuff all the time. Then one teacher told me to never EVER do that. You never know when a little shape, color combination, element or doodle will speak to you again. So, now I keep everything… but I have yet to work up the courage to go look at all the old stuff ;)

Oh, and I added a new card to the card collection… I think I overdid it on the stripes… but it’s fun, cheerful and colorful! That’s a good thing, right? I think most of my cards are over-the-top, color and pattern-wise. But isn’t a celebration or time when you are trying to send someone some good cheer the time and place for over-doing it? ;)



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02.02.12

Have I mentioned that I’m making greeting cards now?

Posted in Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 9:38 pm by carrie

I love these colors. I’ve seen St. Patrick’s Day cards before… but not as swell as these ;) These are going to print tomorrow… should have them next week along with a few other designs. You can find these on our website, here.



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Sidenote… Pinterest!!! Seriously… hours gone… *poof*. SO addicting. Add me, if you like… I’ll add you back ;)

And have I mentioned that I’m selling said greeting cards in bulk, to retailers at wholesale prices, too? ;) Well, I am… in case you are interested… and how can you not be interested with the happiest Irish cupcake you’ve ever seen declaring its love for its mother country right there? In frosting. No pressure. (send me an email!: wholesale AT violetcottage.com!!)

end plug.

(But honestly… I sort of love the happy green cupcake nestled in the emerald hill framed with a harp-shaped-ish frame surrounded by thistle, lily of the valley and the greenest plaid I’ve ever seen.)