Week 32 Animal Art Series: Bass and Perch

In order to continue my mission to draw all the time and fill up more sketchbooks in 2016, I’ve been busy working on a new theme of drawings each week. At the end of the week, it’s nice to have lots of new drawings and a full page illustration. And I’m learning how to draw so many new things this year, which is really exciting!

My theme for August is freshwater fish, so week 32 in my animal art series features bass and perch.
week 32 animal art fish

After doing a quick pencil sketch of my concept, I started out with a watercolor wash for the background colors of each fish. week 32 animal art fish sketches week 32 animal art fish watercolor

Then I love to dive in with my tiny paintbrushes to add details and give them personality.

week 32 animal art fish closeup

Can’t wait to turn this playful sketchbook page into fun new digital art! Drawing and illustrating always makes me happy!


Click here to see my Weeks 1-16 illustrations, ranging from bears to owls to whales to saltwater fish

Click here to see Weeks 17-20: Backyard Birds, Flamingos, Peacock and Macaws

Click here to see Weeks 21-25: Bugs: Neon Insects, Monarch Butterflies, Butterflies, Neon Spiders, and Moths

Click here to see Week 26: Nature is new every morning.

Click here to see Weeks 27-30: Wildflowers + Pollinators

Click here to see Week 31: Sunfish

From My Sketchbook Pages: Bird Watching

I have been noticing a lot of birds hanging out in our crabapple tree over the past wintery month.

robin close-up

I recently borrowed a telephoto lens from a friend, so I’ve been practicing taking close-up pictures during my birdwatching pastime.cedar waxwings

The crabapples must be just the right ripeness because I’ve seen a lot of robins (robins here in winter?), cedar waxwings, and chickadees, the latter of which are usually around here in winter. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen many cardinals in awhile.


It’s fun to observe things going on in nature, especially when it’s too cold to be outside exploring, so I like to capture those moments in my sketchbook while practicing my illustration style.

sketchbook page bird drawings

sketchbook page birdwatching

I started out with a pencil sketch and then added color. For this illustration, I broke out my set of Inktense watercolor pencils, which I haven’t used in a couple years. I love how you can control the vibrancy of the color with these pencils, different other watercolor mediums, by drawing in color with the pencil first and then going over those areas with a wet brush. You can make things really pop or you can get a more washed–out look. I really love using the Niji Waterbrushes because they are portable, in that they hold water in the handle. I also like the fine-tipped brush, which works well for me on more detailed illustrations like this.

inktense watercolor pencils

This is definitely one of my more favorite sketchbook pages, which is great motivation to do more illustrations like this!


Thankful Friday

Thank goodness it’s Friday. That means it’s time to take a moment to appreciate the big things and random small things I’m thankful for from the past week.

bonfire in Door County

  1. I’m thankful for my brother who is celebrating a big birthday this weekend.
  2. I am thankful to be able to go on a road trip this weekend to celebrate with him.
  3. I am thankful for new stationery orders.
  4. I’m thankful for a great conversation with my cousin.
  5. I am thankful for another new song.
  6. I am thankful for free pizza at work.
  7. I am thankful for a salted caramel chocolate bar.
  8. I am thankful for a gorgeous summer sunsets.
  9. I am thankful for freshly smoked salmon.
  10. I’m thankful for awesome falafels for lunch.

Hope you had a good week too, and enjoy a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by!


In Bloom

If you are here looking for information about my Ornament Swap in July, please go to this post.

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We are in full summer mode around here, so I have a few summer blooms to share with you.

Our collection of lilies are looking fabulous!

The new bee balms we planted are taking shape in their new location.

Best of all, my raspberry shrub is growing like a crazy weed!

It’s only our second year with these raspberry plants, but I’ve been out there every night enjoying a handful of these juicy berries. I’ve always wanted a raspberry patch, so I am a happy gardener.

Ghastlie Fabric Acquisitions

While away on a quilting retreat, I acquired some new fabrics. I don’t usually buy novelty fabrics, but as soon as I saw the new Ghastlies collection just inside the front door, I raced for the nearest cutting table. Definitely have to fussy cut the main print and frame it with some black and white.

There are spots of pink in the Ghastlies prints, so I got some pinks to go with them. There’s something about the combination of black and pink that I love.

I also bought this cute little rainbow pack of fat quarters. Just seemed like something I had to have in my stash, kinda like solids.

When I got back from the retreat, these Castle Peeps fabrics had been delivered in my mail. I usually tend to gravitate towards cool colors, so this time, I decided to change things up and get the warm fabrics.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with most of these fabrics, but I just felt like I had to have a small sampling of them. Does that ever happen to you?

Indecision Resolved!

You know happens to me when I’m experiencing indecision?  I sleep on it and usually have a gut feel the next day on what to do.  This morning, I woke up thinking I should just put those churn dash blocks I mentioned yesterday back into my stash bin.

Churn Dash Instructions and Examples

I’m not very inspired to work on them because they are kind of old fashioned for my current taste.  I don’t have a lot of free time these days, so I need to choose my sewing projects wisely.

I have pieces cut for at least six quilts in more modern fabrics that I’m much more excited about and anxious to work on!

Pop Garden quilt in progress

(Pop Garden quilt cut up and ready to piece)

Darla quilt in progress

(Darla quilt cut up and ready to piece)

Ava Rose squares and border(Ava Rose quilt cut up and ready to piece)

Right now, I’m in the midst of piecing a coin quilt using Bell Bottom fabrics by Jennifer Paganelli, which I love. I don’t have an updated picture to show progress, but I have the coin columns sewn together, and the white sashing pieces cut and ready to sew together.  I should have updated pictures by the weekend.

Coins cut up so far

I’m also ready to start the the sampler quilt-along with Elizabeth using Mod Girls fabrics by Jennifer Paganelli!

Whew, I feel so much better with that decision resolved now!


I have a confession to make. I left work early this afternoon. But it’s okay because it’s Friday, right? And it has been a long week. The second I got home, I went straight to my sewing room to work on shortening these two pairs of pants, which I have been procrastinating for awhile. Another confession – I’m a procrastinator. I don’t like to be that way, so it feels great to accomplish what I have been putting off. Here goes:

Measure once with shoes:

Try on and evaluate measurements before cutting (remember the number one rule of sewing/altering, even carpentry: measure twice, cut once)

Cut off the excess fabric

Fold under and press

Iron on hem tape. I like to use iron-on hem tape because it secures the new hem and keeps the fabric from fraying. But this stuff just wouldn’t adhere, maybe because my iron wasn’t hot enough, so I decided to scrap it and move on.

Whipstitch new hem in place

Press and… final decision: perfect! (or at least good enough to wear without trashing the back of the pant leg)

Whew, that felt good. Now I can move on to these other things that have been calling my name all week – much more exciting than shortening pants.

Hope you enjoy the last weekend of summer, before Autumn begins on Monday.