Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Best of 2016

Watercolors, Home decorating, and Crochet projects.  Best of 2016- Grow Creative Blog

2016 was a year of watercolors! I mean, I've done lots of watercolor projects in the past, but this year at least 80% of my projects were watercolor. That's a record.  I even painted on eggs- it was awesome!

Here are my top 10 posts of 2016:

I took a leap and started my own YouTube Channel so I could show my readers how I paint flowers. I created six videos showing my painting process for anemones, roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, and leaves and stems.  The post I introduced these videos in was more popular than I thought it would be!


1. Watercolor Flower Videos
Flower Dreamer by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog


I started work on a series of flower-headed-figures.  The figures are drawn in ink and the flowers are watercolor.  I didn't get as many of these done as I would have liked- so I'm continuing on this quest for 2017!

2. Flower Dreamer


Bright spring colors are always a hit.  This wreath is one of my favorite things I painted this year.

3. Floral Wreath
Watercolor Floral Wreath by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog


I don't typically paint landscapes, but I was feeling the warm fall colors and couldn't resist.  

4. Fall Forest Landscape
Watercolor Fall Landscape by Elise Engh: Grow Creative Blog


I've had the idea to paint with watercolors on blown eggs for years, and 2016 was the year I finally made that happen.  So I glad I did!

5. Watercolor Flower Easter Eggs
Watercolor Floral Easter Eggs:: Grow Creative Blog


I'm always looking for ways to use up watercolor paper scraps, so inevitably I make lots of bookmarks.  These turned out so nicely that I laminated them gave them as Mother's Day gifts.

6. Mother's Day Bookmarks
Watercolor Floral Mother's Day Bookmarks:: Grow Creative Blog


With a new house to decorate, I had lots and lots of painting projects on the schedule this year.  I completed a good chunk of them and I'm so in love! Light blue and sea foam colors are my favorite. I painted a whole wall in a sea blue! I painted an Ikea bench in my hallway, some wooden crates to use as storage for the half bath, and lots of thrifted picture frames.

7. House of Blue
Blue Home Decorating Projects, Beach home decor: Grow Creative Blog


I did manage to complete a couple of crochet projects this year. I think my Aztec Rug was the favorite!

8. Crochet Cotton Aztec Rug
Mint Aztec Rug in Crochet: Grow Creative Blog


I hit a couple of milestones for my art business in 2016.  My Etsy Shop celebrated a 5th Anniversary and I landed a couple of licensing contracts with Hobby Lobby!  It was a big year for my business and so fun to see my hard work paying off.

9. Five Years Selling my Art
Original Watercolor Paintings by Elise Engh


I don't photograph myself too often, but felt the need to give my readers a peek into my little world and my art room with me in it.  So I plucked up the courage to post photos of me in my art room.  I was surprised that it was actually not too bad.  Maybe I'll try that again sometime :)


10. The Artist in the Art Room



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wintery Watercolor Forest Tutorial

How to paint a winter watercolor forest scene with Elise Engh.

It's almost Christmas! Yay!

Remember how I was decorating for this holiday with some golds and greens?  I had painted three versions of these watercolor pine trees to create a winter forest scene.  The painting process is memorizing and I'm in love with it!  


How to paint a winter watercolor forest scene with Elise Engh.
Original watercolor pine trees in winter by Elise Engh 2016

And now,  the Wintery Watercolor Forest Tutorial is up on the Craftsy Painting Blog.  The tutorial details the painting process in three different values.  You can even make a mini value scale to keep you on track as you paint.

So go try it out. You might just fall as much in love with painting these watercolor pine trees as I am!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Craft Tutorial: Rustic Wood Slice Ornaments

Homemade ornaments are the best! I grew up making salt-dough ornaments with my siblings and those were always the favorite ornaments to hang on the tree.  We may have fought a little over who got to hang the cinnamon roll ornament every year :)

If you're not into making huge messes with salt-dough, you can give wood slice ornaments a try this year.  They are very simple and relatively clean.  Plus they are right on-point with the rustic holiday trends!  Gotta love that style!

Read below to learn how to make your own customized family wood slice ornaments.

Rustic Christmas Wood Slice Ornaments with Family Photos: Grow Creative Blog

Materials:

  • Wood Slices (2 1/2 inch) 
  • Wallet Size Photos
  • Drill or Dremel Tool
  • Scissors
  • Modge Podge
  • Foam Brush
  • Sharpie
  • String



Wood Slice Ornament Materials and Tutorial: grow creative blog

Step 1:  Drill a hole at the top of each ornament.

Although you can do this step later on, I prefer to drill the holes in the wood slices before I do anything else.  You can avoid having to drill through a photo that way. These holes will be used for the string that will hold your ornaments on the tree, so don't miss this important step!

If you have a drill, use a drill bit with a small diameter.  You can use a dremel tool too- that's what I used.

Wood Slice Ornament Materials and Tutorial: grow creative blog

Step 2: Cut your wallet-sized photos to fit your wood slices.  

You can lay the wood slices on top of your photos and trace an outline to get a good fit.  Trim the photos so that they are slightly smaller than the outer edge of your wood slices.

Step 3: Modge Podge it!

With a foam brush, apply a layer of modge podge to the wood slice.  Then lay your cut photo on top of it. Press down for about ten seconds to make sure the photo adheres to the wood slice well. Wait a few minutes to dry, then apply another layer of modge podge on top of the photo to seal and protect it.

Step 4: Poke a Hole.

Once the modge podge is dry, you can use a pencil to poke through the photo to the hole at the top if your photo covers the hole.


How to make wood slice ornaments with family photos: grow creative blog

Step 5:  Cut the string.

Cut your string to 5-6 inches long, thread it through the hole at the top of the ornament and then tie the ends together.  Simple!

How to make wood slice ornaments with family photos: grow creative blog

Step 6:  Date it! (Optional) 

Use a sharpie to write a special message or date on the back of the ornament.  One day I dream of getting a wood-burning-tool so I can burn the date into the back. That would be awesome!


How to make wood slice ornaments with family photos: grow creative blog

I made a few batches of these to give to the parents and in-laws as gifts this year.  I think they will be a hit!

Rustic Christmas Wood Slice Ornaments with Family Photos: Grow Creative Blog
Rustic Christmas Wood Slice Ornaments with Family Photos: Grow Creative Blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How to Ship a Watercolor Painting

Happy Holidays!

how to ship a watercolor painting: grow creative blog

How are you handling the lines at the Post Office?  The busy shipping season is in full swing and I've been spending a fare share of my time at the post office.  

If you are shipping some art this season and are a little intimidated by the postal system in the US, then you are in luck! I have a few years of experience in that area.  It's taken some trial and error over the years to get it down pat. It comes down to using the right packaging materials and securing your paintings properly so that they don't get damaged in transit.

I've put together a helpful post on how to ship a watercolor painting over at the Craftsy Blog.  Go check it out!

how to ship a watercolor painting: grow creative blog

how to ship a watercolor painting: grow creative blog

Happy Holiday Shipping!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

DIY Watercolor Christmas Gift Tags

pretty watercolor christmas gift tags: grow creative blog

It's gift-giving season again! Ready to make some pretty watercolor gift tags? If you have some left-over watercolor paper scraps, this is the perfect use for them! 

Here's what you need:
watercolor paper
watercolor paints
paint brush
water
scissors
hole punch
string


Step 1: Paint!

Paint small watercolor trees, Christmas wreaths, poinsettia flowers, ornaments, or flower garlands on your watercolor paper scraps.

Have fun and play with your color palette.  I didn't paint any pink Christmas trees, but I think that would be an awesome idea! Also, don't worry about making these paintings look realistic.  The quicker and more fluid, the better.

Let dry.

pretty watercolor christmas gift tags: grow creative blog


Step 2: Cut

Cut your paintings out of the paper to make small tags.  For the wreaths, I cut around the edges of the painting.  For the trees, I used my paper cutter and made rectangular tags.

Step 3: Punch

Use a small hole punch to punch out a hole in the top of each of your tags.

Step 4:  Tie

Cut small lengths of string.  I used baker's twine purchased from the dollar store.  Tie a string through the hole at the top of each tag.


How to make your own watercolor gift tags for Christmas: grow creative blog
DIY watercolor gift tags: grow creative blog


When your tags are all done, use a pen to write your "to's" and "from's" on your tags.  Use the loose ends of the strings to tie your beautiful watercolor gift tags to your gifts.

Happy gift giving!


DIY watercolor gift tags: grow creative blog
Easy Neighbor Christmas Gift- Soap with Pretty Tags:  Grow Creative Blog

Friday, December 2, 2016

Free Shipping for December!


It's your lucky month! Grow Creative Shop is offering free shipping on all orders within the USA for the entire month of December. 

Use code: SHIPFREE16
You're welcome!

I've added a new collection of Watercolor Christmas Trees just in time for Christmas.  Some even have flowers on top- my favorite part!

Watercolor Floral Christmas Trees by Elise Engh
FLORAL CHRISTMAS TREE



Watercolor Winter Pine Forest by Elise Engh
WHITE WINTER FOREST

Watercolor Floral Christmas Trees by Elise Engh
Watercolor Winter Pine Forest by Elise Engh

Happy Holidays and may all your online shopping have no shipping charges!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Crochet Hats for Kids

It's been too long since I've posted a crochet project.  What can I say?!!  Life got busy and most of the time, if I do something creative, it involves painting.  But I still like crocheting, especially if it's something for kids.

Here are a couple of hats I made this fall. These make me smile!

Crochet Hats for Kids by Grow Creative Blog
Purple Crochet Pom Hat for girls: grow creative blog

The pom hat is one I sort of made up. I should have written down what I did, but it was an experiment.  It's loosely based on a hat pattern by Ali Crafts.

The bear hat was made from a pattern by JJ Crochet

Crochet Mint Bear Hat: Grow Creative Blog


If you are looking for more crochet hat pattern ideas, head over to my Hats of Crochet Pinterest Board.  I've been collecting the best hat patterns there.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Sale: 50% everything in Grow Creative Shop

Grow Creative Shop Cyber Monday Sale 2016

I'm throwing a sale today! Yay!

Please enjoy 50% all watercolor paintings and prints in Grow Creative Shop today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Make Your Own Watercolor Business Cards!

Watercolor Business Card Tutorial: Grow Creative Blog


The holiday season is upon us and if you are an Etsy seller or small business owner, you have been gearing up for this time of year for months!

My business checklist for the holidays includes:

  1. Having a large inventory of paintings to purchase in my shop
  2. Having collections of seasonal items
  3. Finding ways to promote my artwork through my blog & social media
  4. Ordering shipping supplies
  5. Creating lots of business cards


I've done well on all of those except the business cards. So a major watercolor business card making session was in order last weekend!  I make my own business cards to cut down on costs and because I can make each one unique and colorful- just how I like it.

As I was making this last batch, I realized that I need to share the process.  It's simple, but also kinda fun. Each card is like its own mini-painting in itself.

Keep reading to learn how to make your own watercolor business cards.

Watercolor Business Card Tutorial: Grow Creative Blog


Materials:
  • heavy white card stock or watercolor paper
  • watercolor paints
  • large paint brush
  • computer and printer
  • large paper cutters or paper punch


Materials to make your own watercolor business cards: free tutorial


Step 1: 
Using an photo editor, like picmonkey or microsoft publisher, design a printable page of cards with your business's info.  Include name, website, email, blog or social media pages.  Space these evenly apart on the page so that when you cut them out of the paper later on, they end up the same size.

You can find a tutorial on designing cards with picmonkey here.



Step 2: 
Lay out your paper and cover it with light washes of watercolor paint.  I like to vary the colors and leave some white space to keep it interesting.  Remember to keep the paint light so that you can see the font that will be printed on top of your paper later. Let this paper dry completely.

Step 3:
Change your printer settings to ensure a high quality print on thick paper, then hit print and feed your paper into the printer.  If you have a setting on your printer that allows you to feed thicker paper through a separate feeder tray, then use that mode.  Try not to have the paper be rolled through your printer any more than necessary.  A laser or an ink-jet will work just fine!

Step 4:
The last step is to cut your cards out of the paper with a paper punch or a paper cutter.  I like my cards to be fun shapes, so I use a large flower paper punch for my cards.  I flip the paper punch over and feed the paper into it with the print facing me so I can make sure the print is centered on the card.



Make your own watercolor business cards: free tutorial!

Now you are all set to go! You have unique business cards to ship out with all your sales.

Watercolor business cards: grow creative blog

Monday, November 21, 2016

Photos of the Week: Grove Creek Trail

Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove UT- in fall color

Thanksgiving is almost here!!! Do you have your turkey ready?  I'm lucky this year. My very own mother is cooking the turkey for me. 

The fine fall weather has passed and it's cold now, but since I missed posting these hiking photos, I'm going to post them now and pretend that it isn't 30 degrees outside.  

Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove UT- in fall color
Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove UT- in fall color

It's a rare occasion when the husband has a day off at a time when our son is in school.  We took advantage of one warm afternoon and explored a new trail together to blow off some stress. The adoption home study is not for the faint of heart (and neither is hosting a birthday party with 13 little kids!).  With our home study, we have had to give so much information about ourselves, like really personal stuff, and we've had to do a lot of soul-searching to figure out how we really feel about things, our weaknesses and strengths, our parenting style, and so on. But, we know it will all be worth it one day. 

I can't wait for that day!