Friday, November 29, 2013

New Bird Painting

Meet my newest little bird painting....
Watercolor Bird Painting by Elise Engh

This one is a Lilac-Breasted Roller, just in case you were wondering.  I've learned to recognize a few more birds since I started painting them.  Art can be educational after all!

And here's a few shots of the painting in progress....
Watercolor Bird Painting by Elise Engh
Watercolor Bird Painting by Elise Engh

See it in my Etsy shop too!

P.S.  I'm having a Christmas Sale soon ,so stop by my shop between from December 2-7 and enjoy 20% off everything! 
Watercolor Bird Painting by Elise Engh

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Maintaining Balance and a Good Book

Hi friends!  It's almost Thanksgiving and I'm getting excited for turkey and to have a nice long weekend with my husband!

I picked up a good book last night by Stephanie Nielson, Heaven is Here.  It's the story of her life and how she survived a plane crash. My sister recommended this book to me and as a survivor of a major car accident, this book really appealed to me. I'm only at the beginning of her book, but it's really gotten me thinking about my own life, my little blog here, and what's really important to me.

Heaven is Here

This blog has evolved over the past 3+ years into something bigger than I ever imagined.  I've connected with more people than I ever thought I would.  It's been fun, but lately I find myself getting sucked into it all too often, eating away at the precious time I have with my son and husband.  I'm constantly trying to find the right balance between blogging and being a good mom and wife.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not a very busy person, at least in the sense of having a job or lots of activities and appointments to go to.  My health problems keep me more house bound than I would like, so I find little ways to keep myself busy, like blogging or making pretty things.  And those things can be fulfilling, but I want to make sure I'm spending my time on the most important things I can at this stage in my life.  My son is five now.  That time with him has flown by.  And now I'm at the point where I desperately want more children, but I don't know when or how that will happen.  I have to cherish this time I have with just the one. He is a special, special boy.  He has the coolest imagination and is always surprising me with funny things- like drawing pictures of "zombie bathtubs" or using old cans and dishes to make superhero "super suits"! I don't want to miss any of that!

Lately I find myself checking my email waaaaaay too much.  It can get to the point where I'm almost addicted.  I like feeling connected to others and getting feedback, but ya, I realize I should not  be checking things online constantly.  I need to live my life!  Does anyone else get sucked into that, or is it just me?

I woke up at 5:30 this morning with the usual cramps that hit me early every morning and started thinking.  I always do my best thinking in the early hours of the morning.  I know that something has to give here.  I need to be balanced to be happy, to be truly fulfilled in life.  What can I give-up here to make that happen?  The first thing I thought of was the weekly link parties I've been participating in faithfully for years.  Those eat up the most time of all.  They've got to go.  Ya, I might give up some chances to reach new people, but I have to draw the line somewhere. The second thing in mind is that I could schedule a certain amount of  "blog" time every day and stick to that.  Set up a set amount of time to respond to emails and maintain my Etsy shop too.

Those are my solutions for now and I'm going to stick to them.  What are your thoughts?  How do you keep balance in your life?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crochet Washcloths

Crochet Dishcloths

I think crochet dishcloths are my favorite kind.   They're pretty and durable.  I've been working on a few that may possibly end up as gifts... that is, if I can get myself to part with them! 

You can find the free pattern for these HERE at Petals to Picots.

Crochet Dishcloths
Crochet Dishcloths
Crochet Dishcloths

Each one of these took me about an hour to make... ya, I know you're calculating as you read this. I spent A LOT of time on these babies.  I crochet in the evenings after my son goes to bed while my husband watches documentaries.  That way I can listen in, learn a few things, and get things made at the same time.  It works :)

Blue Crochet Dishcloth
Crochet Dishcloths

Monday, November 25, 2013

Photos of the Week

Happy Thanksgiving Week! 

Even with the colder weather, we still get out when we can.  I always have a hard adjustment to winter and being indoors all the time.  So last week we endured all of 20 minutes outside at a park in 35 degree weather.  It's not much, but it kept me from going crazy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Clothespin Wreath

Last week I spent a really fun few hours with friends from my church making one of these little beauties:

colorful clothespin wreath

This is the funnest and brightest wreath I have ever made and.........I love it!  It's made with an 18 inch wire wreath frame and 72 painted clothespins.  The clothespins didn't even have to be glued to the frame, you just clip them on.  Cool!  It took me hours to paint all those clothespins, but it was worth it.

colorful clothespin wreath

It's supposed to be a Thankful Wreath for Thanksgiving. You can clip pictures of things you are grateful onto the clothespins in the center of the wreath, but I kinda like it how it is... just colorful clothespins on my wall. It livens up my dining room for sure!

colorful clothespin wreath
colorful clothespin wreath
painted clothespins

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Watercolor and Washi Tape Thank You Note Cards

Watercolor and Washi Tape Cards

Sometimes I'm a little behind the craft trends.  Like this time.  I finally got my first Washi Tape just a few weeks ago.   I've always wanted some, but wasn't quite sure what I would use it for.  I've come across quite a few washi-tape-embellished items..... phones, jars, and yes...even shoes...ha!

I played it safe and used the pretty tape on mini- thank-you-note-cards to send to my lovely Etsy customers. I'm lovin' the watercolor/washi tape combination.  What do you think?

Watercolor and Washi Tape Cards
Watercolor and Washi Tape Cards
Watercolor and Washi Tape Card

What's the strangest thing you've seen washi tape used on?  I'd love to know!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Photo of the Week

Only one photo this week, but I really like this one.  The birds have been out more this week or maybe it's just easier to spot them now that the leaves have all fallen off of the trees.

Last week was not an easy one, but I'm trying to stay positive and focus on the good stuff.  So here are a few of the good moments from my week:

1) Celebrating my little boy's 5th birthday, taking him to the park on a warm day and having an overall good day.

2) Spending time with the fun ladies in my ward on Saturday crafting, eating good food, and having fun conversations.

3) Snuggling up with my family on the couch watching the old 70's version of Escape to Witch Mountain and my son cracking up so hard at the part where the kids make a bag of flour fly out the window of the car!

Good things happen all the time.  I just have to remember them more often.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern: Black Angry Birds Hat

Black Angry Bids Hat
Black Angry Bids Hat

So........ my son doesn't wear hats.  Except, of course, when it's an Angry Bird's Hat.  I knew that making a Black Bomb Angry Birds Crochet Hat for him was the only way I would keep his head covered this winter, so I spent an entire evening designing one. 

Keep in mind that this pattern is still in it's testing phase- I've only made one so far.  So please let me know how it goes for you if you try it out.  I'd appreciate the feedback :)

Black Bomb Angry Birds Hat Pattern:
*Copyright Elise Engh and Grow Creative 2013*
Worsted Weight Yarn: Black, White, Light Orange, Dark Orange
Size H (8/5.00MM) hook
Yarn Needle

Ch= chain
Dc= double crochet
St= stitch
Sl st= slip stitch
Sc= single crochet
Hdc= half double crochet

Gauge: 4 rows and 8 dc= approx. 2 square inches

Beginning Ch 2 of each round does not count as a dc.
Always begin each round in same stitch as ch 2
End each round in st before/next to beginning ch 2.
Join each round with sl st in top of dc, not ch 2.

Toddler Sized Cap:
Black Yarn:
Round 1: Ch 3, 12 dc in 3rd ch from hook, sl st in 1st dc (not ch). [12 dc]
Round 2: ch 2, 2 dc in each st around, join. [24 dc]
Round 3:  ch 2, *2 dc in 1st st, dc in next. Repeat from * around, join.  [36 dc]
Round 4: ch 2, *2 dc in 1st st, dc in next 2 sts.  Repeat from * around, join. [48 dc]
Round 5-10: Ch 2, dc in each st around, join. [48 dc]
Grey Yarn:
Rounds 11:  Switch to grey colored yarn, ch 2, dc in each st around, join. [48 dc]
Round 12 & 13: Ch 1, sc in each st around, join. [48 sc]
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Child Sized Cap:
Black Yarn:
Round 1: Ch 3, 12 dc in 3rd ch from hook, sl st in 1st dc (not ch). [12 dc]
Round 2: ch 2, 2 dc in each st around, join. [24 dc]
Round 3:  ch 2, *2 dc in 1st st, dc in next. Repeat from * around, join.  [36 dc]
Round 4: ch 2, *2 dc in 1st st, dc in next 2 sts.  Repeat from * around, join. [48 dc]
Round 5:  ch 2, *2 dc in 1st st, dc in next 11 sts.  Repeat from * around, join. [52 dc]
Rounds 6-11: Ch 2, dc in each st around, join. [52 dc]
Grey Yarn:
Rounds 12 &13:  Switch to grey colored yarn, ch 2, dc in each st around, join. [52 dc]
Rounds 14&15: Ch 1, sc in each st around, join. [52 sc]
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Round 1:  With black yarn- ch 3, 9 hdc in 3rd ch from hook.  Attach white yarn and join.[9 hdc]
Round 2:  With white yarn- ch 2, 2 hdc in each st around.  Attach grey yarn and join. [18 hdc]
Round 3: With grey yarn- ch 1,  *2 sc in 1st st, sc in next. Repeat from * around, join. [26 sc]
Fasten off.  Leave long end tail for sewing the eye onto the hat. Weave in ends.

Eye Brows:
With dark orange yarn:  ch 11, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each st across.  Fasten Off.  Leave long end tail for attaching to cap.

Round 1: With light orange yarn: ch 3, 9 hdc in 3rd ch from hook, join.
Round 2: Ch 2, *4 hdc in 1st st, sc in next 2 sts.  Repeat from *around, join.

Top Feather:
With Black Yarn: ch 10
Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each st across, turn.
Row 2 & 3: ch 1, sc in each st across, turn.
Attach light orange yarn.
Row 4 &5: Ch 1, sc in each st across, turn.
Fasten off, fold in half- long ways.  Stitch top and open side closed.

Kids Angry Birds Hat
Black Angry Bids Hat
Kids Angry Birds Hat

Monday, November 11, 2013

Photos of the Week

Good morning and Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you've had some good weather like we had yesterday......

russian olive berries
Utah Lake
Russian Olive Branches

Global warming?  Very likely, but I'll take what I can get!  After our first snowstorm last week I'm already wishing I was on the other side of winter... the side where you are coming out of it rather than going into it.  Oh boy...... it's going to be a long winter!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pray, Trust, and Be Believing

Today I came home early from church like I normally do.  It's nearly impossible for me to sit for three hours straight without getting a migraine, so I have to miss out on things, but it's what I have to do.  I was resting and thought I should check out the Mormon Channel.  There always seems to be a new inspirational video on there at the very moment I need the encouragement and today was no exception.

I've had to make some difficult choices in my life.  Some I have felt certain were right and they were and other times I felt I should do something and it ended up not working out, but I learned. I've gained something with each decision, especially the health decisions I've had to make, and I know I wasn't making those decisions on my own.  I know a higher power was guiding me all along.  Even with the choices that didn't work out the way I thought they would and seemed to set me back. In the end, I know I wasn't alone.

I'm going to have to make some more health decisions in a few weeks.  Decisions that could affect my ability to have more children and I've been a bit nervous about that.  What if I make the wrong choice?  What if there's damage because I didn't decide to see a doctor sooner?  What if I mess things up?  I definitely feel like the message in this video was meant for me.  It gives me courage to know that sometimes the Lord lets us go down a wrong path or wait so that we can be more certain of the right path.  He loves us that much and He is in control.  So take courage friends.  Things are going to work out :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Watercolor and Ink Flower Bookmarks

It's time for more watercolor bookmarks.......
watercolor flower bookmarks

This time I doodled with an ink pen along with the watercolors... such a fun combination! I love how the ink bled into the still wet paint in certain spots.

I really love making these.  They're so quick and it's a good way to use up all the watercolor paper scraps I accumulate.  I'm not one for throwing perfectly good paper away just because it's cut into small strips.

watercolor flower bookmarks
watercolor flower bookmarks

To check these out in my shop, just click on the links:
watercolor flower bookmarks

watercolor flower bookmarks

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Art Tutorial: Crayon and Watercolor Leaves

Crayon and Watercolor Art

Watercolors and crayons are so fun to play with!  I'm always fascinated with the effect of the crayons resisting the paint.  It's awesome!  

Here's a Fall Art Project using this fun resist method that you can do with your kids:

(Too bad I can't take the credit for coming up with this cool idea.  The original idea comes from Elementary Art Fun.)
White Card Stock or Watercolor Paper
Watercolor Paints

Step 1:  Draw leaf outlines on your paper with crayon.  You can look at a leaf or trace one to help you out. Then draw the veins inside each leaf.
leaf drawings

Step 2:  With watercolors and a brush, paint the leaves with pretty fall looking colors.  Try to stay inside the lines for this one, but you don't have to worry about being perfect here.
Watercolor Leaf Art

Step 3:  Let the paint dry and you are done!
Watercolor Leaf Art
Watercolor Leaf Art

Monday, November 4, 2013

Photos of the Week

Some shots from a walk around my neighborhood....

Walks like this always help me clear my head.  They help me find some peace.  This week I got some sad news and I knew a walk was what I needed.  I won't go into details here, but I'll just say that it might be harder for me to have more children than I thought it would be.  I don't have an actual for sure diagnosis yet, so I'll keep on praying and hoping that it will work out somehow.

In the meantime, thanks for reading friends.... I'm so thankful for this little tiny corner of the internet where I know I always have friends :)  You guys are awesome!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern: Two Layer Flower

Two Layer Crochet Flowers

Ready for another flower pattern?  Yes, I know I've done a few before, but I finally created a good flower to go with my Shell Stitch Hats.  I've had a few questions about the flower I used for the hat pattern.  Well, now my pattern includes the flower with it so you don't have to go elsewhere!  Nice!

As for the Flower Pattern itself..... here it is:
(click the title to download a PDF for the flower)

Two Layer Flower
copyright Elise Engh 2013- please do not redistribute, sell, or copy as your own

Use an H Hook

Ch 5, sl st to 1st ch to form ring.
1st Layer
Rnd 1:  Ch 7 (counts as dc, ch-4 sp), [ 2dc in ring, ch 4] 5 times, dc in ring, sl st in 3rd ch of beg. Ch 7, do not turn -12dc.
Rnd 2:  [Sl st, sc, hdc, 4dc, hdc, sc, sl st] in each ch-sp around- 30dc.

2nd Layer
Rnd 1:  ch 1, [sc around 1st dc post from round 1, ch 3], repeat around 1st dc of remaining dc sets around, sl st in 1st sc.   – 6 ch 3 spaces
Rnd 2: [sc, hdc, 3dc, hdc, sc] in each space. Sl st in 1st sc. -18dc
Fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Two Layer Crochet Flower