Cardinal colored pencil drawing: in progress

Cardinal colored pencil drawing - progress 1

The bird drawing continues!  I started this colored pencil drawing of a Northern Cardinal yesterday using this photograph on Instagram as the source image.  I was really drawn to this photo because the cardinal is looking straight at the camera – what an amazing shot!  When I showed the drawing to my partner yesterday, he said, “This bird is staring straight into my soul.”  Haha!

Cardinal colored pencil drawing - initial sketch

I am happy to report that, unlike last time, I didn’t trace the outline of the bird beforehand.  It is all free-handed.  It’s not perfect, but it’s not too bad either!

More progress to come next weekend, hopefully!

Cedar waxwing colored pencil drawing

Cedar waxwing colored pencil drawing by Allspice Abounds

Cedar waxwings are such striking birds!  Last spring I started to get interested in bird watching (you know, yet another old lady hobby to add to my list).  🙂  It was my first spring in Minnesota, and I learned that we are located right along the Mississippi Flyway, which means many opportunities to see a diverse array of beautiful birds during their seasonal migration.  Plus, my new neighborhood has a lot more trees and other vegetation than my old neighborhood in Massachusetts (which was much more urban), so I have seeing birds left and right.  It has been awesome!  I am definitely still a bird-watching novice, but I’ve been enjoying the learning process. Continue reading

Random sketch from an Instagram photo

Random Instagram sketch 2

This evening I found myself all wound up after a stressful day (and week) at work and an eerie walk around my deserted neighborhood.  I think being cooped up in the house is finally starting to get to me.  In search of something, anything, to get my mind off of everything that is going on, I dug out my sketchbook and decided to distract myself with a little drawing.  I scrolled through Instagram for inspiration (as one does), and found this photo by @orchidsheart, which I saw shared by @helens__closet.  About an hour later, I came up with this little sketch.  I almost never attempt to sketch people, so this was a bit of a challenge for me.  Although I am tempted to spend many more hours on it to “perfect” the shading (as if I am capable of such perfection, ha!), I’m calling it done and going to bed.

Many thanks to Ophelia for the inspiration and a welcome distraction on this unsettling night.

“Quilts and Color” at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Quilts and Color at the Boston MFAImage from the MFA Boston

I had the pleasure of visiting the new “Quilts and Color” exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts yesterday, and WOW was it amazing.  If you find yourself in the Boston area or within a reasonable driving distance, I would very highly recommend stopping by the museum to feast your eyes on this absolutely gorgeous, bold, and inspiring collection.  To say that I was blown away is an understatement.

I didn’t take any photos because they wouldn’t have done the quilts any justice whatsoever, and I didn’t want to spoil the exhibit for any of you who plan to visit.  However, I was so overwhelmed by the collection that I felt compelled to write a letter to the museum.  I think this accurately sums up my feelings about it:

To the Curator, collectors, and all those who contributed to the “Quilts and Color” exhibition:

I have visited the MFA many times since moving to Boston, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to write.

The new “Quilts and Color” exhibition was an absolute joy to experience. What a beautiful and unique collection! The quilts are truly masterpieces of hand stitching and color composition, and I spent a full two hours admiring the craftsmanship with my jaw hanging open in awe. It was a delight to stick my nose into every single quilt in the exhibit (as far as the guards would let me!) to inspect the stitching, and also to stand back and take in the entire piece as a whole. I left feeling exuberant and inspired.

My heartfelt thanks go to all those involved for a bold, unapologetic, and thoughtfully curated exhibit, and also for recognizing the work of these women as worthy of hanging on the MFA walls. You have brought so much joy to your visitors, as evidenced by the constant stream of “Wow!”, “Unbelievable!”, and “Breathtaking!” that I heard (and uttered!) during my visit.

With respect and gratitude,

Cambridge, MA

Trust me, this exhibit is a must-see.  : )

In other news, I am way behind on blogging but have been enjoying taking a little break from it.  I think I wore myself out with all those muslins!  Hopefully I’ll be back soon with updates on what I’ve been working on.  Hope you’re all doing well.  : )


Christmas cards, office clothes, and Yoda

Christmas cards

I finally got around to picking up (and filling out and mailing) some Christmas cards this past weekend, and look at the adorable cards I found at my local bookstore!  Oh, the cuteness and homey goodness!  I fell in love with them immediately, and to top it off, they were super affordable.  Done and done.  As I was carrying my new-found treasure around the store, I happened to stumble upon this book – Home-Made Christmas – from which the beautiful images on the cards were taken.  Ahhh, it was quite an effort not to scoop up this book and take it home with me.  If only I had a few extra bucks laying around!  Oh well, in another life perhaps.  Anyway, I was so delighted with these cheery cards, and the only down-side is that after I mailed them all out, I didn’t have any leftover for myself.  Ha!

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Hand-crafted inspiration at the MFA

Elizabeth Okie Paxton, The Open Window, 1922

Today I spent the day at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, arguably my favorite place to hang out in the city.  I’ve been there a few times since I moved here, and each time I focus on a different exhibit or collection.  The MFA is so big – who knows if I’ll ever see all of it!  As usual for me, my eye is drawn to pieces inspired by (or actually consisting of) hand-crafted workmanship.  Today’s highlight was the painting above – a woman, begrudgingly sewing at her desk, longs for a more exciting life beyond the window.  Ironically, I feel exactly the opposite – wishing my daily grind contained a little more time for creative endeavors.  Funny how times have changed.

I’ve included some other favorites below – some displaying brilliant craftsmanship, others simply gorgeous pieces that I’d love to hang in my living room one day.  : )  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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