Art Class

Free Art Class


When you’re living your month as a No Spend Month, you have to find ways to entertain yourself without any, or very little cost involved.  My friend, Tammy, and I have been going to the local library for some time and taking free art classes there.  She is a great artist, me, not so much.  Tammy has referred to my art style as Folk Art.  I like to pretend my art is more Impressionism.

Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts on my part when my husband worked another job, and a vacation/surgery for Tammy, we have been unable to attend class since before Christmas!  Needless to say, we’ve both been itching to get back to class, especially Tammy!  She is pretty darn good at the whole art thing, whereas, I do enjoy it, but it’s fair to say my artistic talents fall into the musical spectrum far more than painting.  However, I also think it’s fair to say after watching a ton of videos on YouTube, I have gotten significantly better!

The method we use for class is:

1.  Our instructor gives us 1 print or allows us to choose from several prints that are in Black and White copies.

I obviously did not make this original painting.  If anyone knows who the artist is, please let me know so I can give appropriate credit.  The information was not given to us in class.

I obviously did not make this original painting. If anyone knows who the artist is, please let me know so I can give appropriate credit. The information was not given to us in class.

2.  We flip over the black and white copy color the entire back of the page black to leave graphite behind.  We then flip the page back over and trace the painting.  No free hand drawing!  YAY!

Rooster Back

Not sure why there is a blue blob in the middle.  Yay for weird lighting issues!

Not sure why there is a blue blob in the middle. Yay for weird lighting issues!

3.  Once everything is traced, if there is a particular style she is trying to teach us, she gives us a few examples and starts us on the technique.

4.  She bravely turns us loose with whatever medium we’re using for the night.  Most of the time it’s Watercolor, however, we have used Pastels and Acrylic paint as well.  We’ve even used Tissue Paper for a different technique.  I HATED that one and never finished it.

Although we have had a few projects that made me think I would rather cut off my hand than ever go back and do that style again, I think I’ve improved over time and look forward to getting back into the grove and experimenting again!  Here is the progress I have made so far!

Aspen Trees- Masking technique with Watercolor- First Painting and First Class

Aspens by Jill Stewart

Practicing with Oil Pastels for the first time at home and learning to blend, freehand


Oil Pastel Experimentation by Jill Stewart

Impressionistic pastel landscape, 2-3 lessons later


Pastels by Jill Stewart

Free hand pastel practice for blending colors and some highlighting


Pastel Eye by Jill Stewart

Acrylic painting about 5-6 lessons- Unfinished


Acryllic Paints by Jill Stewart

Free hand watercolor at home.  This was inspired by an oil painting someone did on Youtube.


Watercolor Sunset by Jill Stewart

Painting on 5-8-14- Acrylic Paint on canvas!  First time on actual canvas!

Rooster Basecoat

Added a white base coat

Adding some base coat colors for shading.

Adding some base coat colors for shading.

Working through the shaded spots and getting the background prepped for all the crazy colors I'll add later.

Working through the shaded spots and getting the background prepped for all the crazy colors I’ll add later.

I had Tammy take mine to her house because I didn’t have nearly enough time to finish it that week.  I do not have acrylic paints here, but she does, so I’ll go over there on a weekend and work on finishing it up.  I also had to work on oddball spots because I kept sticking my arm in wet paint.  GRRRRR!


Have you ever taken any art classes?  What is your favorite way to do art? Have you considered teaching a free class at your local library?




Quilting 101 Class

One of my goals this year is to find something that is for me and to learn a new hobby.  I generally enjoy crafting, but get tired of all the supplies required for so many projects out there.  A few years ago, my friend, Tammy, gave me a sewing machine for my birthday because it was something I was very interested in learning and hers was possessed by Gremlins.  Slowly, I have been learning to sew.

When I saw a local library was holding a FREE Quilting 101 class last Saturday, we signed right up.  I am hoping to make a few quilts for Christmas as gifts, but wanted to learn from someone with more experience.  Tammy has never quilted either, she always made garments, so it was something new and exciting for her too!  They had stacks of books ready to go for us to look through and a very nice Powerpoint presentation.

Quilting Books From the Library

The class was 4 hours long and we went over the history of quilting.  Back in the day, quilting was done out of necessity for blankets.  The women would all gather together at one home and spend weeks quilting blankets for all the families.  The women who were not so great at sewing and quilting cooked and took care of the ladies who were actually making warm blankets for their families.

Quilting 101 Class

We learned a lot of quilting vocabulary like a quilt sandwiches, basting, and saw examples of different kinds of quilts.  We also learned about quilt care and different ways to prep fabric before sewing a quilt.  We also watched several tutorials on quilt binding (making a pretty edge all around the outside).  Like the photo below.

Quilt Crazy Quilt Binding

The best part about the class is it turns out it’s a series.  We’re actually going to have a quilting bee.  In 2 weeks we’re going to make a quilt like the one in the photo above.  It’s called a crazy quilt and if you notice, the blocks are not all nice in neat in your typical quilting rows.  Here is a photo of the back to give you a clear idea what the quilt will look like.

Quilt Back

This is a no spend month for me, so I was really disappointed at first that I wouldn’t be able to participate in the class due to the supply list.  However, it turns out I got really lucky because I bought several fat quarters to use for future quilts and I had the EXACT number I would need for the quilt and the other supplies are already in my stash!  WOOHOO!  I am super excited to get to participate in this and even more excited that I know I am going to be able to make an awesome gift for someone who always stumps me when it comes to gift giving.  Unknown to her, she just confirmed how much she liked this quilt this evening.  *insert maniacal laughter*


Have you ever been to a quilting bee?  Do you like quilting?  Do you have any tips or favorite quilt styles?


Why you should take advice on hem length

Sewing My First Hemline

At the end of January, one of my co-workers asked me to hem a cute little dress for her.  It was just below her knees and she wanted to wear it for her birthday and a night out on the town, so she wanted it to become a mini.  Not “church appropriate” was her exact description.

The day came that I actually remembered my measuring tape and pins, so after work she stood on a chair and we measured off where she wanted the hem line.

Me:  Are you sure?  That’s REALLY going to be short, especially when you put on heels.  (She forgot them.)

Her:  Yes, I WANT it short.

Me:  But…the length you want is a tunic, not a freaking dress.  You’re going to show off all your business.

Her:  I’m sure, that’s where I want it.

Me:  OK …hussy (followed by a long drawn out sigh) and a lot of giggles.

As I mentioned before I am new to sewing and my friend Tammy has been teaching me in our free time.  So, I loaded up my machine and went to her house for a hemming/sewing day.  We also had plans to start working on some purple camo nightgowns…her idea, and the day was going to be full of girl time.

Using a rotary cutter

The dress was a polyester blend with a lining.  Since my “client” wanted 3.5 inches removed, we made a chalk line at 3 inches and used a rotary cutter to trim the material.  I’m now in LOVE with rotary cutters and never want to see another pair of scissors.  (Tammy is the hand model in these photos.)  I absolutely REFUSED to cut the fabric due to lack of experience and didn’t want to mess up the birthday dress.  I’m a chicken ok?  I also tried to talk Tammy into letting me hem it at 2.5 inches, but she stuck to the original number.  I obviously was not going to win this argument.

Chalking the hem line

Then, I measured out and chalked a line where the hem should finish.  I did the same steps on the lining after I finished the outer shell.

2-1-14 photos 038

Then I used a metric crapton of pins.  It’s a real measurement, I swear!  The fabric was very slippy and slidey, so it took all of those pens to keep it from flipping back.  I only folded the material once because I was really nervous about the length.  My co-worker and I are about the same height, and I kept holding it up and panicking because it was…A TUNIC.

Sewing the hem

Tammy started it off for me since we were using a brand new machine she received for Christmas.  We tested it on scraps, but I wanted to make sure the material wasn’t going to slide everywhere and freak me out.  I was quite anxious since this was not MY clothing.

I forgot to take photos of the final project, but it came out very nice and gave me a lot of confidence about hemming.  I’ll be trying it on a project of mine I haven’t finished because I was scared of the hem.

I took it to her the next Monday.  By Wednesday I had a text from her confirming everything was straight and she liked it, BUT her butt was hanging out when she sat down.  She was embarrassed and was afraid I was going to be upset by it, so after we both confirmed neither of us were angry, I had to send a final message…

I TOLD YOU SO!!!!! 😛

Have you ever freaked out about a sewing for someone else?

Did they like the final project?


My First Jelly Roll Quilt Top

Jelly Roll Quilt

I am learning to sew.  Slowly.

I also thought that there is a chance I could make some quilts or crafted items for Christmas presents in 2014.  Yes, I know I am planning way ahead, but when you’re crafting you can’t really wait until the last-minute.  I purchased 3 jelly roll quilting bundles at Joann’s after Christmas when they were on clearance for 50% off.  WOOOHOO.  I figure a $6.00 investment wasn’t too bad for a learning tool.  The packs had 20 strips in them and it made a lap sized quilt.  This was a nature and neutral inspired pattern, and I am not fond overly fond of the treebark pattern as I feel it looks more like camo.  After this experience I have also decided that when I make the next one I will split the colors up more instead of pulling the colors directly off of the roll as per the instructions from the other tutorials I have read.

Every website where I researched these quilts made them out to be the most simple quilt on the planet.  I’m sure they are to someone who sews regularly.  Although it wasn’t “difficult” there were some issues that I wasn’t warned about on any other website.  It’s also very difficult to find a good description on how to do vertical patterns.  I figured it out, but I would have had a lot more confidence with a better description.  When I do a full tutorial (probably while I am on vacation), I’ll address those issues.  All in all, I found I liked the process and am inspired to try again and to try more difficult quilts.

My friend, Tammy, and I also discovered my sewing machine is not likely marked in the correct places for seam allowances.  That would explain some sewing snafus I have had along the way.