A Last Minute Gift & Wrapping Paper in One!

Hi there. How are you?

How is it December 15th already? This month is flying by and we'll soon be on our way up north to celebrate the holidays with family.

If you're like me and you still need to do some holiday gift buying, I've got a quick and affordable idea for you. Read on.....

Original feather pattern screen printed on 100% cotton tea towel.

Original feather pattern screen printed on 100% cotton tea towel.

Screen printed tea towel featuring a hand-drawn beer pattern.

Screen printed tea towel featuring a hand-drawn beer pattern.

Enter the Tea Towel

I've collaborated with my friends at Merchop to create screen printed tea towels featuring two of my favorite hand drawn patterns.

These 100% cotton towels were hand printed with water based inks and can be machine washed. They make a stylish and affordable gift (or gift wrapping) for your favorite cook, beer, or bird lover.

 A tea towel is a perfect size to wrap up a bottle of wine, spirits or big beer.

 A tea towel is a perfect size to wrap up a bottle of wine, spirits or big beer.

I have quite a collection (hoard) of tea towels. I use them all the time, and not just in the kitchen. I lay one down on the coffee table when we have weekend hors d'oeuvres in the living room. I use them as hand towels in the guest bath. I've got them on top of night stands and dressers to add color to a space while hiding little imperfections.

I've even been known to use tea towels as "wrapping paper." Sized at 17" x 30" my tea towels are particularly well suited to wrapping bottles. Pick up a bottle of wine, beer, or spirits, wrap the towel around it, and add a bow. Voila! Instant awesome gift!

There's Still Time to Shop!

If you purchase anytime between now and Thursday, December 17th, I'll automatically upgrade to priority 1-3 day shipping! In fact, December 17th is the last day I will be shipping until after the holidays. So shop now, and shop often!

Shop Locally Too!

If you live near Carbondale, you can also purchase my tea towels locally.  They are in stock at 6Pence Gifts, the adorable gift store inside Cristaudo's Bakery, in downtown Carbondale. If you've never been there, it's so worth a trip. The store is stocked with a mix of vintage finds, locally made goods, humorous gifts and great cards. And while you're there, have an egg between sandwich and a Russian tea cake. Yum!

Well, that's all for now. Thank you friends for supporting me much during this crazy busy holiday retail season.

Ciao and Happy Holidays!

How to Get Out of a Creative Funk

Hi there. How are you?  

I drew this pattern in my sketchbook the other night. I must admit, I love this one! It's organic, a little bit elegant, and very much me.  I don't know how I will use this new pattern yet, but you will see it somewhere. Maybe on a card? Maybe in a coloring book? Perhaps on a textile? (Stay tuned!) 

This drawing came to be after hours of creative struggle. Read on.....

A pattern drawing from my sketchbook.  

A pattern drawing from my sketchbook.

 

In a Funk

Before I made the drawing you see here, I was working one some drawings for a new coloring page. (I'm not going to share it with you because it was CRAP!) Everything I was drawing looked forced. I was frustrated. No good was going to come from these drawings.

Instead of sticking with it, I opened my sketchbook to an empty page and let my pen wander.

I came up with this new pattern by loosening up and letting my pen wander around the page.

I came up with this new pattern by loosening up and letting my pen wander around the page.

Loosen Up!

This is what I drew. The shape that became the repeating element in my pattern organically emerged from this doodle. Just as I've said time and time again, the looser I am the more the work flows. All I had to do was loosen up and turn off my inner critic.  Just moving that pen along the page with little thought and absolutely no judgement was enough to get me out of my creative funk.

If you're struggling with your creative work, try this!

Seriously, just get out a piece of paper and your favorite drawing implement and let your hand wander. It's terribly therapeutic!  (If you do try this, I'd love to hear about it and see your efforts.)

My other favorite ways to get out of a funk include walking, cleaning, and organizing. Just a change of scenery, rote, mindless movement/activity is usually enough to get me in a better space. (The time I spent today removing excess mortar from the shower floor tile we are installing in our new bathroom was incredibly therapeutic!)

What do you do to get yourself out of a creative funk? Do share!

That's all for today. Ciao, and Happy Thanksgiving Week!

PS. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your pals

 

Warm Winter Wishes

Hi there. How are you? 

This past weekend, I had my first craft fair of the holiday season, and I wanted to add another holiday card to my lineup.  

My newest holiday greeting card is now available! Click to purchase.

My newest holiday greeting card is now available! Click to purchase.

A fir tree pattern drawn in my sketchbook was the basis for this card design.

A fir tree pattern drawn in my sketchbook was the basis for this card design.

My Process

When I'm making a new greeting card, I often have a message in mind before I even come up with the imagery.  (Read more about that HERE and HERE.) That was not the case with this one! I knew I wanted to use the fir tree that I drew in my sketchbook,  but had no idea what I wanted it to say.

New card in process. I started with a more minty green and white trees.

New card in process. I started with a more minty green and white trees.

Crowd-sourcing

I actually posted this image up on Facebook and Instagram and asked for suggestions. I got some really great and humorous suggestions:

"A Holiday Greeting Especially Fir You!"

"Frolic around the Festivas Pole (tree)"

"Tree-son's Greetings!"

"Wishing you a Woody Little Christmas"

"This season...see the forest for the trees!"

"Wishing Happy Holidays "Fir" You!"

Someone even suggested to keep the greeting as is! (I considered that.) In the end I went more traditional, employed my signature alliteration, and went with "Warm Winter Wishes."

Tweaking the Color

On the advice of Matt (my artist husband), I also switched up the color scheme. He didn't think the minty green I had chosen was :holiday" enough. Though I protested at first, I took his advice and reduced the amount of blue in the green. Good call Matt!  I also switched up the white trees and made them gold. I think this might be the first time I've ever used gold in my work!  I'm pretty much a silver girl, but gold has been calling me lately. (I even got a rose gold iPhone 6s!)

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Warm Winter Wishes Now for Sale

You can purchase my newest greeting card as a single or in a set of 6. They are blank on the inside for your own holiday message. "Warm Winter Wishes" is an elegant way to send holiday cheer.

Go and buy me out today!! Ciao friends.

P.S. Would you like to carry my cards in your shop? All of my paper goods are available for wholesale. Do get in touch!

 

My Favorite Tools for Adult Coloring

Hi There. How are you?

As my loyal readers know, I produced a coloring book this fall.  (It's been the most popular item I've ever sold to date! Thank you for that!) I often get asked about the best materials for coloring, so I thought I'd share my personal faves.

My Favorite Tools for Adult Coloring - JENNIFERJOHANSSON.COM

My Favorite Tools for Adult Coloring - JENNIFERJOHANSSON.COM

I'm All About Prismacolors

If I'm going to sit down and color, I'm going to use Prismacolor pencils.  They are so soft and easy to blend. (I'm in no way being paid by Prismacolor to sing their praises, I just really like them!)

At more than $1.00 each, Prismacolors are expensive. That's why I recommend you start with a set of Prismacolor Scholar pencils.  Designed for the " developing artist", Prismacolor Scholars are really just as nice as the Prismacolor Premiers, but are a little less expensive and don't break quite as easily. You can get a set of 24 Prismacolor Scholars for $7.48 on DickBlick.com. That's a steal!

If you are new to colored pencil blending, I also recommend you pick up a colorless blender.  It's basically a colored pencil without any pigment, and helps to soften edges and blend two colors together.

Sharpening Prismacolors

If you're not careful, It's very easy to break the lead while sharpening Prismacolors. To keep this from happening, always use a handheld sharpener or even an exacto knife to sharpen your Prismacolors. I'm quite fond of the General's All Art sharpeners, as long as they stay sharp. At just $1.00 a pop, you can afford to pick up a new one every few months or so. When sharpening Prismacolors, turn the pencil sharpener while holding the colored pencil still. You put less stress on the pencil and have less of a chance of breaking the lead.

Erase if You Must

The art teacher in me believes that you don't need to use an eraser with colored pencils. You just find a creative way to cover up your "mistakes." Colored pencils don't erase all that well either. You'll never be able to get back to a perfectly, white paper, but you will be able to lift up most of the pigment.

My favorite eraser of all time is the Magic Rub. It's a vinyl eraser that won't smudge or leave marks like pink erasers can. If you're trying to get into tiny detailed areas, try a kneaded eraser. They are like silly putty and can be molded into all sorts of shapes and sizes.

A page from my coloring book, Pattern Play, colored with Prismacolor pencils.

A page from my coloring book, Pattern Play, colored with Prismacolor pencils.

A Coloring Tutorial?

I'm thinking about doing a little Prismacolor coloring tutorial video. Would you be interested in that friends? Leave me a comment and let me know!

What Do You Use to Color?

I'd love to hear from you. Ciao friends!

 

How Charlie Brown Inspired Me to Draw Beer

Hi there. How are you?

If you've been following me on Facebook or Instagram lately, you have probably seen that I've been drawing beer. Beer bottles, cans and mugs all made an appearance in my sketchbook.

Beer drawings from my sketchbook, that I scanned and turned into vectors.

Why Beer?

I'm not much of a beer drinker myself. It's just way too filing for me. I do enjoy a good pint from one of our fine local breweries now and again, but that's about it. My beer drawings all came about for an irreverent holiday card idea I've had floating around in my head.

It all stems around this song:

I still don't get it???

The first line of this sweet little song is "Christmas time is here. Happiness and cheer." In our family, that line is sung like this, " Christmas time is here. Time for lots of beer." I know I'm terrible, but it's tradition, and I can't sing it any other way!

Irreverent Christmas card is now available in my shop. Click to purchase!

Irreverent Christmas card is now available in my shop. Click to purchase!

An Irreverent Christmas Card is Born

I know this card won't appeal to everyone, but I know it's a sentiment that many can relate to.  With all of the holiday parties and events than happen between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the holidays can be such a time of excess!

A beer themed birthday or congratulations card. Click to purchase!

A beer themed birthday or congratulations card. Click to purchase!

Beer Birthday

It was my husband's birthday last week, so I decided to make him a beer themed card featuring the same drawings. It's amazing what a little color change can do! This card isn't birthday specific; it could be given for a variety of purposes. Send it to celebrate a new job, a college graduation, or any time you want to send a lighthearted note of congratulations.

One of the things I'm really liking about the way I'm working currently is that I can get a lot of mileage out of one drawing! (I'm working on yet another iteration of this designfor a totally new product. Stay tuned friends!)

Both of these cards are for sale in my online shop and will be available at my upcoming holiday craft sales. (More on my holiday schedule coming soon.) You can also pick these up at Dayshift in Carbondale and at Bricolage in Paducah.

Just one more thing!

Is there any specific type of card you'd like me to design? I'm always open to suggestions. Heck, I love suggestions! I would have never made my coloring book if it wasn't suggested by several of my patrons. Thanks you friends.

More next week. Ciao!