Session 5 / Handmade Tassels & Mermaid Garden!

Hello! This project was a lot of fun to work on and I had a secret agenda! I knew I wanted to put together a mermaid garden and this spurred me onward to make one!
There were some sweet geese there that morning at Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Ames, Iowa. They definitely kept a watchful eye on us!
The process of making the tassels is shown here in the sets of photos. After I made all of the tassels I cut the ends of each one with fabric scissors so that they were each the same length. The eight tassels were spaced out equally around the terracotta pot. I also needed to use some glue to attached the tassels to the pot since the tassels were a little heavy.
For the mermaid garden, I already had the shells and the mermaid and then I added some succulents.

I love how this turned out and I plan to make one more tassel/terracotta pot project soon!

Thanks so much and happy solar eclipse day!!

Session 3 of 2017 at Ada Hayden / Watercolor

Hello! Last Friday morning we had session 3 at Ada Hayden Heritage Park near the water. It was a really beautiful morning and the weather was gentle even though the promise of hot heat was upon us. At the very end we took it as a cue from Mother Nature when baby spiders floated in on their single strands of web!! Otherwise, the water was gorgeous and there were small groups of people hanging out with each other while others exercised. As I said before, watercolor isn’t my specialty but I was inspired by an artist, Sarah Burrier, and her wonderful watercolors of fairies and mermaids. I brought one of her bookmarks with me as seen in a photo. During the session I only sketched out my painting with a graphite pencil in 4H on Bristol board paper and then worked on the watercolor part at home. I’ve only just begun with the painting part and that is just fine. 🙂

Stay cool out there! I know you will! 😉
The next pairs of sessions will involve making tassels to decorate a planter for a boho look, and then drawing on material (I will be drawing on a tank top) so if you would like to work on any of those with me, I would start rounding up your materials!
With the tassels you only need string and a piece of thick paper that can be folded in half, such as some of the advertisements you get in the mail. With drawing on material, there are wonderful pens found at your local craft store that are specifically for material. I will use a light colored tank top with a smooth knit to the fabric, and a piece of cardboard to put under the first layer of material.

All the best,

Session 4 at McFarland Park

We made a dragonfly friend!
It’s been a little while since this session occurred but it was a gorgeous and unforgettable morning. During this session we worked on watercolor paintings or individual projects. We decided to work on one of the tables there. Watercolor is not my specialty but I think it is important to push oneself and have fun while doing so. I’m very thankful for the Iowa Design Tribies who were able to come out that morning! 🙂

All the best

Session 2 of 2017 at Ledges State Park

We met at Ledges State Park and did some much needed forest bathing while sketching and working on our own projects. Do not underestimate how great forest bathing can be. At the end of the session I felt incredible! Many thanks to these fantastic humans who were part of Iowa Design Tribe!

It really was a tremendous day for being outside. I can’t wait to get back out for another Iowa Design Tribe!
All the best,

Session 1 of 2017 at Ada Hayden

Hello! Session 1 of this year was a success! We met at Ada Hayden Heritage park in Ames, Iowa and relaxed by the water while sketching.

It was a gorgeous day and I was thankful to share the morning with some truly amazing humans. The morning of the first Iowa Design Tribe is always memorable to me and everything in nature seems bright and young. The light at this time of day is gorgeous. If you have the opportunity to hang out near water in the morning to start your day, I highly recommend doing so.

Many thanks!

First session of 2016

Hello! I’m very excited to start the first session of 2016 this Friday, June 3rd from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Ada Hayden Heritage Park. This will be a sketching session so remember to bring your chair or blanket and your sketching materials. The weather forecast calls for beautiful weather! See you then! IDT_2016_onthewater

IDT session 2 of 2015 / Tech pen & watercolor project

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Session 2 was held at McFarland Park, northeast of Ames. I started sketching the subject for my tech pen and watercolor project and the subject is dinosaurs and peonies. I was laughing because I was doing my research for the anatomy of dinosaurs on my phone and it was ridiculous! I recommend doing this ahead of time and printing out your findings. While there I couldn’t help but take some photos of the beautiful irises and some of the other flowers. It was a perfect day for being outside and creating!

IDT / first session of 2015!


Well! The first session of Iowa Design Tribe (of 2015) happened this morning and it was a sunny and fantastic day for it! This was a creative sketching session and I can tell that I’m a little rusty just at sketching. No judging! Such a beautiful day to be outside in the morning and working on something creative.

I hope all of you have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend! Make every moment count even if that means relaxing to the max!

I will announce the next sessions on Monday which will start up again on the following Friday morning.

Thanks for reading, friends!

The first session of 2015 is nearly here!


Hello! I am so very proud to announce Iowa Design Tribe of 2015 starts this Friday morning at 9 a.m. on May 22nd! The location will be Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Ames and near the water to the north of the park and off of the main parking lot. We will be working on creative sketching which means this is your chance to let your creative ideas spill out onto your paper. Feel free to bring any medium to sketch with and on. Also, please don’t forget to bring your own chair, sunscreen, insect spay, and anything else you may need. I’m beyond excited to start another year of providing a meeting place for anyone wanting to create, network, and to be inspired by the outdoors. Please remember if the weather doesn’t cooperate and if the sessions are canceled, I’ll let you know in the big text on the front of this blog and also on Facebook!

See you soon,

Happy first day of Spring!


Hello! It is the Spring Equinox and here’s to warm days spent outside filled with sunshine. Everything will start growing very soon and the start of Iowa Design Tribe sessions for 2015 are just around the corner. I’ve estimated they will start towards the end of May but if the weather keeps getting warmer, the sessions might start earlier.

Thanks and enjoy yourselves!

IDT session 18 / Velvet Painting Practice Run & Research

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Hi! Last night was the 18th session of Iowa Design Tribe and there are only two sessions left for this year! I’m taking these last three sessions to work on one last project and the photos above show the practice run for painting on velvet and in my case, I am painting on a velvet jacket. I was also testing brushstrokes and how much paint to load on the brush and at what consistency. It seems that the velvet really pulls out the water in the acrylic paint that I used so I needed to keep the brush somewhat watered down. I also learned that I may need to put down layers of paint and the first layer absorbs into the velvet quickly. I plan on using the velvet of the final jacket better such as in the dark areas of the composition. Also, I painted on my artist’s board but I would also recommend adding a layer of plastic under the velvet to keep it from soaking through, although I didn’t have a problem. I’m having a lot of fun with this project! I’ve been meaning to work on this for years and years and I’m so happy to share my findings with you!

All the best,

IDT Session 14 / Sketching (Back to School)

sketching with white crayonlake view of McFarland ParkDrawing wings on a fairy figure with a white crayon on white sketch paperAfter layering with yellow marker, the white colored wings can be seen. up close of fairy sketch with the yellowview of the prairie flowerslandscape view at McFarland ParkIDT_sidewalkview_backtoschool

Hello all! Here are some pics from session 14 which was a sketching session at McFarland Park in Story County. I decided to experiment with a white crayon which is very fitting since so many kids are headed back to school this week.

First I drew my subject, a fairy without wings. Then I added the white crayon to draw the wings and some details within them. Next I added a layer of yellow marker to see if the wax of the crayon would repel the marker. It didn’t work as well as I had hoped but the details of the wings are still visible. It’s always important to try new things in art!

The quality of the photos are different because I used my phone instead of my camera. I think they turned out nicely and the humidity of the day is really captured! McFarland Park is one of my favorite outdoor destinations! Just look at all of that natural prairie and there are plenty of animals around. In the last photo, the dark creature on the sidewalk is a little ground squirrel.

Thanks for reading!

IDT Session 9 / Potato Print Scarf


Hello everyone! It’s Monday and I hope your day gets a little brighter by looking at these photos from the Potato Print Session! I had a lot of fun with this. I started by sewing the scarf itself. It’s made out of a light and airy cotton gauze material. I made this scarf 7 ft long because I like really long scarves for extra wrapping capabilities.

When the scarf was ready to print on, I took 2 baking potatoes and cut them in half. I used a knife to cut out the lines to make the feather/leaf design but you could also use potters’ tools or other kitchen utensils to get the job done. Then I painted the carved potato with metallic black fabric paint. I used a foam brush however a small roller may also be used. Then I placed the scarf on a hard surface and started printing, alternating the shapes. I chose to let the pattern be somewhat random.  I needed to repaint the potato after each print. After all of the printing was completed I let the fabric paint dry for 4 hours as directed. Then, voila! My scarf was finished and ready to wear!

This was such a satisfying project and I can imagine some spectacular adventures with print making in my future!

Thanks for stopping by! The next session is this Friday at Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Ames from 9-10 am. The project will be Toy Making/ Research. I’m excited about this project as well! Have a great day!

IDT Session 7 / En Plein Air sketching at Gray’s Lake Park


Hello all! This is from the 7th session at Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines. It was so super windy that my drawing board could have blown away! My muse in the water could barely keep his sail up as well. For this project, I used oil pastel on Bristol Board paper. I also used blending sticks. I think the final turned out a little more colorful than the real life photo (I wish we had turquoise water here in Iowa) but it is all up to an artist’s interpretation anyways.

All the best and keep on making!

IDT Session 5 / Researching for the graphic novel project

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Hello all! Here are some photos from the 5th IDT session that was held last Friday morning at Ada Hayden Heritage Park. The session consisted of researching a graphic novel for the current project. I’m currently obsessed with Nell Brinkley’s drawings! Some of her graphics and advertisements were the inspiration for the Ziegfeld Follies! I also read that her audience would cut out her illustrations and scrapbook them or decoupage them! It’s so interesting to me and I’m going to be having fun with this project. Speaking of projects, I have three sessions in row planned for this week in locations around central Iowa. Information can be found under the Calendar button or in large type on the home page. Come out and see me and get your art on!

All the best,

IDT Session 4 / Final of Pattern on Fabric / Tribal Dress

Hi there! This is how session 4 went this past Sunday evening along with the finished project of the drawn pattern on fabric!
Session 4 was at Hickory Grove Park in Story County
Here is some of the process
The storms started to move in.

I had really drawn all over the dress to get the shapes just where I wanted them. Then I used a white eraser to carefully remove the marks and guide lines. What I didn’t erase will wash out.
Here is the pattern when I finished with the fabric roller pen.

Afterwards, I used the glow in the dark marker.
And voila, here is the finished dress with a tribal, symmetrical pattern! For the nighttime photo, I “charged” the glow in the dark areas and then used a blue light for lighting. I love the results.
This was definitely a fun project and now I have an obsession with the fabric pens that I used! I’m going to have to make more wearable art and wear it all summer!

Thanks for stopping by! And just a reminder that the next session is tomorrow morning from 9-10 am at Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Ames. For more information about the new project, check out the last post here. I hope to see you soon!

Upcoming dates, locations, and the Graphic Novel Mixed Media Project


Hello! I just wanted to let you know that there are more sessions added to the Calendar button and the next session is this coming Friday, June 6, from 9-10 am at Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Ames Iowa. There is a new project starting this Friday but of course you may always work on your own thing. Remember to bring your insect repellant, it’s starting to get buggy outside!

The new project will be a single page artwork depicting a modern scene or element shown in the style of your favorite graphic novel. The finished artwork will be mixed media so you have a lot of room to work with the media that you like. The session for this coming Friday is just to research the style that you like and study how the artist treats line weight, colors, maybe action scenes, captions, you name it. As for the modern part, I thought it would be interesting to comment on what is happening around us, right now through this art piece. After all, some of the most powerful and hauntingly unforgettable artworks have strong messages from the artist to the viewer. Keep in mind to include something the viewer will recognize as being very 2014 or near to it!

The best way to start with this is to do some brainstorming! What are you most drawn to right now in June of 2014 and how can you incorporate this into a graphic novel style?

Last week I just discovered a book that’s about the Nell Brinkley girls and I’m going to incorporate her style from around 1910-1920.

This project will cover 3 sessions: June 6, June 13, and June 15. In the middle, on June 14 there will be a En Plein Air session in Des Moines at Gray’s Lake Park from 11am-12pm. (cancel if rain) For the en plein air session at Gray’s Lake Park, bring whatever medium you would like to work with. I may simply sketch in my sketchbook or I may be drawing on Bristol board paper. Also remember to bring your own seating to any session and anything else you may need.

Thanks and keep your eyes peeled for the drawn pattern project results. It should be posted by tomorrow.

All the best,

IDT Session 3 / Drawn Pattern On Fabric, Part 1


Hello everyone! This morning was the third session of Iowa Design Tribe and wow is Iowa getting humid! You can almost see the moisture in the first photo! Nonetheless, it was stunning out at Ada Hayden Heritage Park and I felt an overall sense of calm wash over me as I worked on drawing a pattern onto a dress. You can see some of the guides I made on the dress in the 3rd photo and the start of using the fabric pen. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!  For suggested materials please look over the last post!

Part 2 of this project is planned for this coming Sunday evening, June 1st at Hickory Grove Park (near Nevada and Colo, Iowa) and from 6-7:30 pm. So far there are thunderstorms in the forecast so I’ll keep a watchful eye on the news and this session may need to be postponed for another Sunday evening. I will make a final decision Sunday afternoon and announce any change on the home page and on facebook. The upcoming project and dates will be announced soon!

Thanks and have a great weekend!

IDT Session 2 / Creative Sketching

Hi all! This morning was the second Iowa Design Tribe session and it was really gorgeous outside! It felt great to be working on something artistic early in the morning and to make things even better, the weather was perfect! Even the little bees were out as seen in the last photo.

For the next 2 sessions I’ll be showing how you can draw a pattern on fabric, creating a one of a kind piece of wearable art! If everything works out, there will also be glow in the dark elements. The next session will be Friday May 30th from 9-10 am at Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Ames, Iowa (postpone if rain). The following session will be Sunday, June 1st, 6-7:30 pm at Hickory Grove Park (southwest of Colo, Iowa), exact location in the park will be announced closer to the date, and postpone if rain. I’m also planning to lead a session in Des Moines, Iowa at Gray’s Lake Park within the next 2 weeks, and that date is yet to be determined.

Materials for the hand drawn pattern on garment May 3oth & June 1st:

Gel Roller For Fabric (these seem to get used up quickly so you may have to consider that when planning your pattern and your budget for this project. They draw smoothly and it feels natural to use, like you are using a pen on paper.

DecoFabric Glow in the dark marker. This is the first time I’ve used this. Very exciting!

Fabric: I’ll be making a pattern on a dress but there are so many options! Shorts, tanks, skirts or jackets for example. Also, keep in mind that if you use a jersey knit, the material will bunch up a little as you’re drawing on it and with a linen it would be less bunchy.

Cardboard: as you’re drawing, the ink may seep through the top layer and could easily ruin the other side of your garment. There are t-shirt cardboard pieces at the craft stores that work well and you would insert it under the layer you are drawing on or you could use any other piece of cardboard.

Computer: If you want your design to look more technical, I suggest bringing your design into Adobe Illustrator and straightening the lines where applicable and replicating the design elements until you find a pattern you like. I plan on making my pattern a simple vertical flip. It will be two mirrored designs making a whole. After making the pattern, the next step is to print it out!

Graphite transfer paper: If you are transferring your design from your computer to the garment, this is helpful. Get normal graphite transfer paper for a light colored garment, get white transfer paper for dark fabrics.

Graphite pencils: the darker the better. So to determine where your pattern will go on the garment, you’ll have to do some measuring and marking on the garment itself. I think the dark pencils seem to wash off better and you can see the marks better while adding your pattern.

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic weekend!

IDT Session 1/ Sketching


Hello! The first session of Iowa Design Tribe went fantastically and I thought I’d share one of my sketches from that evening. The next session is this Friday, May 23rd,  from 9-10 am and it will also be at Ada Hayden in Ames. This will be the same thing, creative sketching. I can’t think of a better way to start off the Memorial Day Weekend!!

I believe I will have sessions this June in Ames, Des Moines, and potentially Davenport so keep a watchful eye! This is such a great way to relax, be creative, meet new creatives, and reconnect with nature.

Thanks and see you soon!

photos: all taken at Ada Hayden Heritage Park, Ames Iowa. The last two were taken a day before the session.

Gearing up for the first ever Iowa Design Tribe session!


Hello all! I’m preparing for the inaugural session of Iowa Design Tribe this coming Sunday May 18th from 6-7:30 pm at Ada Hayden Heritage park in Ames, Iowa. I will set up near the north parking lot on the grass. It will be a sunset session!  I’ll keep an eye on the weather, some sessions will be cancelled for extreme weather or rain. If the weather cooperates, the next session will be at the end of next week and I’ll post that information in the large text on the home page.

Iowa Design Tribe has been a long time coming and I can’t express how excited I am to lead like-minded designers, artists, and makers. Comedians, cosplayers, writers, and anyone wanting enjoy nature as you work on your craft in a group is welcome. As a faceted, diverse, and creative bunch I believe we really need this hybrid of part networking and part creative session in this area! And for free! Save your money for supplies and entree fees for contests.

Please bring your own supplies and your own seating (camping chairs, blanket) as well as anything you might need like something to drink, sunscreen, a hat for shade, insect repellent etc. Sunday the 18th (and the following week) will be creative sketching sessions but feel free to bring anything you are working on and please make sure to clean up your work area when the session in over.

The above photo shows some of the materials you may find helpful for sketching:

A spiral bound sketchbook
A hard surface like an Artist Clipboard
Colored Pencils
Graphite Pencils
Bristol Board Paper, this is thicker than sketchbook paper and I use it for water colors
Random Pens
Tech. Pens
Cork-backed ruler

Thanks and see you soon!