Monday, July 29, 2013


My zinnias and sunflowers have begun to bloom - exciting times for my flower garden!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Freshwater Prototypes

I'm working on something new and fresh (freshwater, I mean) for Watercolor Submarine. Here is just a little sneak peek at some prototypes I'm currently working on. Can't wait to post more info as this new line develops!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Find Your Voice Week Five

In this week's lesson I explored my "design style." The all encompassing style component of my stories and art. The end-of-lesson prompt I chose encouraged me to find a project that has a style I really admire and would like to emulate. I was then to create a project of my own using the admired project as inspiration. When completed, I was to sit back and take a look at similarities and differences between the projects.

Lately I've been in love with the minimalistic and geometric trends that I've been seeing on Etsy, in home improvement magazines and in clothing (think color block clothes). I kind of use minimalism in some of my stories and creations, but it's typically in a cute and cartoon-like fashion, and not in the sleek, modern way that I so admire. I would love to develop some minimalistic drawings of my own, but those clean, simple designs are harder to create than you would think!

There are a lot of big brands that use minimalism in their design. One of my favorites is Lacoste. You know, that iconic little alligator.


So, I decided to try to draw my own minimalistic animal. One of my favorite animals right now is the fox, so I decided to put my focus on foxes. I first drew a fox like I normally would, all fuzzy and full of motion. Then I slowly whittled away at it until I reached a point at which I no longer felt comfortable whittling any more. I tried to add some geometric elements in as well.

Here is the evolution of my minimalistic fox. It was hard for me to ignore all the little furry lines I wanted to add in, but in the end, I managed. I like how the little guy turned out, I even like the triangular patterns I added to the tip of his tail and legs (I was unsure of them at first). He still definitely seems a little more "free" than the Lacoste gator, but I guess that makes the drawing a little more "me".

Now I'm off to use my new minimalistic fox drawing to make a secret, surprise project for a friend! More info will be posted later.

UPDATED 7/29/13:

Here is the project I created using my drawing. It's a little wooden pendant that I hand cut and painted and then added to a necklace for my friend, Lauren, for her birthday.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Free Stuff Section

I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday, I've been working on a drawing project for the past couple of months in which I'm sketching and catologuing all of my Aquatic Avenue Characters. Everything is in black and white now. I'm not sure if I'll ever give my characters predetermined colors or if I'll always leave that up to the imagination. I'd love to see how my readers (or some of the younger folks they know) view my characters so I've added a brand new (and exciting) page to my blog. Check out the "Free Stuff" page by clicking on it in the top bar. There you will find printable coloring pages and stationary featuring the Aquatic Avenue Crew. I'm hoping to eventually add another new section titled "Hall of Fame" in which I will post coloring pages that have been filled in, so if you print and complete any of my coloring pages please take a picture/scan it in and email your finished project to me  ( and it will be added to my future blog hall of fame.

Eventually I hope to have some hand stitched coloring books available for sale at Watercolor Submarine. So, for now, enjoy the samples that I post in the Free Stuff section (check back often, I'll be adding more as I complete my drawings), and be on the lookout for future coloring books!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Yesterday, I was attempting to create a handmade birthday gift for my friend, Erin, when I accidentally made a gift for all the girls in our little group: friendship necklaces (hopefully slightly more grown up than the usual be-st fri-ends broken hearts that are typical for preteens.) I'm pretty pumped about these. I've been wanting to make wooden pendants for awhile and this was a fun way to do it. I made us some little rectangular puzzle pieces with a mountain view and a couple of secret messages.

Each individual pendant is a little abstract necklace, but when our powers combine... (just kidding, we're not superheros - yet.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Find Your Voice Week Four

This week's Find Your Voice lesson was entitled: "What's your storytelling style?" and it touched on lots of important storytelling topics such as character, theme, setting... etc. After doing my homework (filling out the worksheets), I decided to do the crafting based prompt once again. This was the prompt: "Pick out two different storytelling styles, and tell the same story using different styles. Make sure to use styles that push you out of your comfort zone."

Lately I've been making a lot of black and white comic strips. I love creating these little cartoons, and I've been toying with the idea of creating a flip-book style hand drawn movie. It seemed too hard, though, so I hadn't tried it yet. Well, this prompt just shouted "TRY YOUR MOVIE!", so I did. I chose a story that came from a dream I had about growing plants that produce rabbits instead of flowers. I'm calling this epic (kind of) tale Rabbit Bloom. View it for yourself below:

I was surprised to discover that creating my entire cartoon movie took only about 2.5 hours. I like the finished product, it's short and sweet, but it would have been even more great if I'd added color and more detail. However, my movie is only about 10 seconds long. I can only imagine what it would be like to A) draw a 10 minute (or longer) story B) add color C) include a detailed background. Yikes! I have some serious appreciation for any old-skool cartoonists that made their creations by hand, this takes time!

I chose to create a comic strip for the second storytelling method. I used color for the first time ever (I'm always afraid coloring my comics will ruin them, but I like it in this one.) I also added a new character, thus causing this story to be narrated differently. In my movie, the viewer is simply watching from the outside, but in my comic strip we get to witness the rabbit bloom through the eyes of this witty little lady bug. I definitely like the addition of this six-legged narrator.

I like both methods for storytelling, however, the movie certainly took more time than the comic strip. There are some stories that need motion to be told visually, others will do just fine in a comic strip. I'll have to carefully consider my options before selecting a storytelling method in the future - especially now that I have a new skill set to utilize!

If you're excited about this project - you can still join Find Your Voice and start telling some stories of your own. Check it out:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Greenhouse Labels

What am I doing today? Not much, just sorting what seems like 100 billion plant labels.

It doesn't look too bad from this picture, but imagine that all of these are scrambled in a pile and covered in dirt...
 It will all be worth it when the greenhouse is shiny, organized and clean - I can't wait!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Handmade Gift Card Envelope

Last weekend I attended a wedding reception for a fantastic old friend. I got the couple a gift card (it seemed the best choice, since I knew they were moving shortly - and packing up a gigantic load of new gifts would probably just add stress to the situation.) I still wanted my gift to look fancy, though. I'm tired of the white envelope wrapping or the impersonal little card envelope that the store gives you. I spent a while browsing Pinterest (who doesn't for this type of stuff?) and eventually my brain concocted a mish-mash of ideas that I gathered from my research, and I created my first ever hand-stitched envelope. It is easy and fun, and I think the finished product looks down right cute!

The front of the envelope: I selected my favorite piece of scrapbook paper from a paper pack that I've been hoarding for awhile, and cut it to a size that I thought was right (It just looked nice!). I then sewed on a couple of buttons from my antique button collection (I even found a matching pair!) and then added some cotton string to tie it closed. I used my trusty label printer to add the names of the recipients.

Here's my envelope showing off its contents. I didn't get too crazy with the card. You can't tell, but it's just a complementary piece of scrapbook paper with a short handwritten message on the back.

The back: you can kind of see my stitching here (the paper pattern detracts from it a bit). I used heavy duty cream thread to match the detail on the paper.
And that's all - simple, but I was so excited about it that I had to share it :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Find Your Voice Week 3

In this week's lesson we explored our own creative goals and how they fit in with the rest of our lives. I chose the craft based prompt: "Create a project that makes you happy... Come up with five reasons that it makes you happy."

I was excessively excited about this prompt, because it gave me an excuse to make something for myself. I used a small piece of scrap wood (about 9" by 3" give or take a bit - I measured it with my eyes, so it's not necessarily accurate.) I then went to town creating a little abstract city with acrylic paints. I took pictures to document my progress. I am definitely happy with the end result (mission accomplished!) I think I will be hanging it on the wall by the computer in my studio to remind me why I love making art - because it makes me happy!

Phase One - it's just a little pencil drawing

Phase Two - I've added the night sky

Phase Three - Leaves on the trees

Phase Four - Everything's finished except for the buildings

The final product - my tiny abstract city shines its lights!

So now for the second part of the prompt - five reasons why my project makes me happy (this is something I typically don't give a lot of thought to, I just know something makes me happy, and I leave it at that. It's interesting  to dig deeper every once in a while.)

1. The city in the night reminds me of when I was very young coming home from a trip to Grandma's house and staring out of my car window at all of the homes and buildings lit up. It's comforting to think about all the people in the buildings living their lives, and it reminds me of home.

2. It's small. Tiny things make me happy - miniatures, puppies, bite sized cookies, scale models of  construction projects - whenever something is smaller than normal I just think, "Oooh... how cute!"

3. There are lots of rectangles in the painting. What can I say - I like rectangles! If there was a competition between rectangles and circles I would vote for rectangles.

4. It's lonely, but not in a bad way. This painting is quiet. It seems like a nice place to take a stroll down the sidewalk and just think. Sometimes if I make something with a lot of bright colors it's almost hard for me to look at it, because I feel like it's screaming at me. I like these muted tones a lot.

5. It's abstract - I like making things up and not having to worry about the logical rules involved. I know this tiny city is missing a lot of things, like proper perspective, driveways, dumpsters, etc. However, it doesn't matter, because it's an imaginary place, so I get to make the rules.

P.S. If you're interested - you can still join Find Your Voice:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Christmas in July SALE

It's hot today. In order to beat the heat, I've decided to have my first ever Christmas in July SALE at Watercolor Submarine. Everything in my Etsy shop ( is currently 25% off when you use the coupon code XMASJULY2013 at checkout. So stop on by, and take some time to check out these sweet deals!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day America! I hope everyone is out and about enjoying the sun. I like this holiday, but I'm not big on fireworks unless they're taken care of by professionally trained pyrotechnicians. I've been fearful of them since I was a small chile - all because of a strange news story I once watched that included images of crash test dummies having their heads blown off by homemade fireworks. I even drew up a little comic to share how I feel every year around this time:

SCENE ONE: There I am, waving a flag and expressing my patriotic pride. All is well, so far.

SCENE TWO: Then the fireworks begin. Ear shattering explosions are taking place (although they do make a beautiful display).

SCENE THREE: My brain goes into overdrive as the fear kicks in.

SCENE FOUR: Some small child (not even out of diapers most likely) throws one of those relatively harmless snap firecrackers near my feet. However, I'm already insane with fear that I will be set on fire, so I completely overreact and take off running into the sunset. The 4th of July can be an embarrassing day for those of us with pyrophobia.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Find Your Voice Week Two

This week's Find Your Voice lesson is all about finding out who you are and how you tell stories. I've had a great time filling out the worksheet and responding to the writing prompt (which I won't currently share here, because my memoirs are as of yet unfinished - you'll have to wait for an official publication date - possibly 2078, I'll be senile enough then to spill my guts to the general public.)

I decided to use the photo prompt for my blog. A few other FYV participants made a "day in the life" photo montage for last week's prompt. It looked like fun, so I decided to do the same today. I'm kind of forgetful, though, so when I didn't remember to take a picture, I supplemented with drawings. You'll just have to take my word for it that these things really happened!

The first thing I did this morning was wake up. Then I made the arduous walk to my bathroom (almost ten feet down the hall from my bedroom.) When I looked in the mirror, I saw something like this:

Let's be honest, pixie cuts never look good right when you roll out of bed in the morning. But on this particular morning, my hair was an absolute monstrosity. I did my best to tame it, but it was still a little iffy when I left for work.

When I got to work, I completed various boring (but vital) office tasks. When I was finished, I did a little victory dance and then went upstairs to my studio to work on art - hooray! I did a little survey on my Facebook page yesterday, which led me to believe that turtles are more beloved than butterflies and foxes. This revelation led me to continue working on turtle themed items, which is awesome, because turtles are my number one favorite animal. Here's some of the "craftermath" of my creations:

I love being able to make use of photos I took while at the zoo - in the next picture you can get a little insight into how my photos help me:

I also spent a little time giggling at my newest variety of toilet labeling home decor. Yes, I think this kind of thing is hilarious, and I'm definitely making one of these toilet signs for my own favorite chair :)

Before I knew it, my tummy was telling me it was time for lunch! So I hopped in my tiny green car and drove home. On the way there, I noticed an extra large falcon (or hawk? I'm no bird expert, but he was big - with talons!) As I drove past, he quickly turned his head and gave me the evil eye. I think he probably then whispered something like, "I'm going to poop on your car later." But it was hard to tell from so far away. Of course, I didn't get a picture of this one, but I think I captured the spooky creature's essence in this drawing:

When I got home, my tummy was happy to find out that we had leftovers from last night's supper: Falafel and Greek salad. This is one of my favorite meals, but I don't make it often. I absolutely hate deep frying things. It's not that I don't LOVE the way deep fried food tastes, it just makes my kitchen feel like the back room of a fast food restaurant.

After lunch, I drove back to the shop on the usual gravel roads. I was a city girl for over 90% of my life, so driving on these sub-par roadways still scares me every time. For an example of how I feel when I drive on gravel, just view the drawing below. For me, it's like driving on the edge of a steep drop off that's riddled with sharp rocks, and the drop off goes into the ocean, and the ocean is filled with ravenous sharks. It's dramatic, I know, but it's how I feel...

Once I returned safely to the shop, I spent a little time cleaning up the greenhouse. I swear I've swept it a gazillion times, but no matter what I do the dust just seems to keep materializing and ruining everything!

Well, I'm not sure what else will happen today, because I can't predict the future (thankfully), but this is my "bloggin' time", so I can't wait around to find out. I suppose I'll just have to take a guess at what the rest of the day will be like. Hopefully my guess is accurate, because that. would. be. awesome.

My guess for the rest of today's events:

If you think Find Your Voice looks like fun - it's not too late to join! Check it out:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The End of Spring Greenhouse Season

The greenhouse is empty (with the exception of a few dried up pots I haven't cleaned out yet). It was a lot of work this spring, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little lonely without my flowers. Sure, I have a few to comfort me planted out front of my house, but it's not the same as looking into the greenhouse every morning and seeing thousands of smiling flower faces looking back at you. I took a TON of pictures while they were growing. Here are some highlights from this season:

Coleus - Kong Red

Fuchsia Dark Eyes - Seriously, the brightest flower known to man-kind

The ever popular gerber daisy in my favorite shade of orange

A pretty in pink tuberous begonia

And another tuberous begonia (because they're my favorite) this one in a sunny shade of yellow

Wave petunias in a hanging basket, basking in the sunlight
Now, I can't wait for next spring :)