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For the Fairies. And Zombies.

Eleanor is really into fairies right now. They visit her at night and give her sweet dreams, and they help her grow. All kinds of things. We haven’t seen any in person, but that’s because they’re very shy, and also because they sleep during the day and only come out at night. Brandon bought a toy for E when she got her white belt in karate a few weeks ago, and he left it on top of her dresser as a surprise. Of course, she saw it when she woke up and immediately assumed it was a gift from the fairies, so they got all the credit.

We think they’ve been hanging out in the dollhouse, but we’ve talked about creating a fairy garden for them to live in outside, too. My friend recommended Wannemaker’s for supplies, so we went out there on Sunday.

Wannemaker's Fairy Garden Supplies

We already had plenty of planters to choose from and it’s too cold for outdoor plants yet, so we concentrated on finding the perfect decorations. If the design were up to me, it would be like an open terrarium with a cute house tucked away in one corner. Maybe a little patio too, complete with charming vintage-style furniture. The design was rightfully up to E though, so we have a giant! house, a couple of fairy figures, a bridge and blue glass pebbles (water), plus a beach chair and umbrella. August wasn’t that into it, but he did choose both of the fairies for Eleanor.

Starting on the Fairy Gardens
Adding Fairy Garden Decorations
Eleanor's Fairy Garden

That house took up so much room that we ended up creating two fairy gardens. One is for their home, and the other is a beachy scene in which I planted a pothos that we already had on hand (I’ll either harden it to the outdoors or swap it out for something else in a few weeks). I want variation in texture, with larger plants juxtaposed against tiny ones, and something with small flowers. The kids want dirt patches for their zombie toys, because the beachy scene is now a zombie garden. So, maybe we won’t be adding more plants? They really like everything as it is now, and this is for them after all.

Zombie/Fairy Garden
Zombie Yeti in the Fairy Garden

Eleanor was worried that the fairies might find their new home only to be frightened off by the zombie toys. But we discussed it and they’ll be fine, because zombies are not real. (Fairies are.)

Zombie/Fairy Garden

She goes to check on her fairy gardens each morning, first thing when she wakes up. She still hasn’t seen any, but she told me that she has been singing songs to the fairies in hopes of gaining their trust. Much like the rabbits in our yard that bound away immediately, but that she has leaves carrots for. So hopeful, that girl is.

Giveaway! A Watercolor Palette and Sketchbook

I’ve been enjoying my new watercolor hobby, since posting to that time-lapse video I found so inspiring. It’s only been about a month since I started, during which I’ve probably painted four times, but I’m proud of how I’m progressing. I’ve missed making art, even if I’m just painting what amount to cute spot illustrations.

Watercolors, Making it Lovely

I’ve been experimenting with different paints (tubes vs. pans, student grade versus professional quality), and I’m still finding what I like. You know what turned out to be great though? The inexpensive 36-color watercolor palette I had initially picked up on a whim at Michael’s. I’ve heard from more seasoned watercolor artists that they love it too!

Want to give it a go for yourself? I went back and bought five more palettes, along with some better quality paintbrushes (don’t bother with the one it comes with) to give away to five readers. I also bought five Moleskine Watercolor Notebooks to include as part of the prize for each winner.

Watercolor Palette and Sketchbook, Making it Lovely
(I painted this illustration of the prize using only watercolors from that 36-color palette.)

This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide. Just leave a comment below by midnight CST, Monday, January 27 to enter. After the giveaway ends, I’ll randomly draw five winners and ship off a palette, brush, and sketchbook to each. It’s a small way to share a little bit of what’s making me happy these days!

Watercolor Painting Inspiration

I went to Michael’s a few days ago to pick up some Christmas picks to spruce up a so-so garland on the stairs. (I was going for simple and tasteful, but pro tip: what’s left of the 70% off Christmas decorations, a week or so before the holiday, is probably not going to be simple and tasteful.) While I was there, I picked up a pad of watercolor paper and a $5 palette of paint.

I used to paint and draw throughout high school, and I liked doing architectural renderings in college. And of course I had my whole stationery business, which was a combination of my illustrations and graphic design. I haven’t done much drawing or painting lately though, aside from the tote bag illustrations and layout that I did for West Elm a couple of months ago. I miss making art for its own sake! I figured that having some paint and paper on hand was a good start, at least.

Then Patricia Zapata posted this inspiring video yesterday, on Facebook.


• Fawn and Flora ~ work in progress from Oana Befort on Vimeo.

I watched it, and then I started sketching. I’m not concerning myself with original compositions at this point; I’m drawing flowers and floral arrangements that I’ve pinned. I’m not making anything to sell, or creating free desktop wallpaper downloads. I’m doing this because I miss it, and drawing, coloring, and painting (whether with crayons, pencils, markers, or paint) is fun.

Even when I fancied myself an artist as a teenager, I didn’t work with watercolors much. Thankfully, Oana Befort, the artist from the video above, wrote last year about her favorite art supplies.

Oana Befort's Favorite Art Supplies
• Oana Befort’s Art Supplies

I’m going to play around with my cheapie watercolor set as a beginner/hobbyist, but that Schmincke set looks intriguing, doesn’t it? I found myself rewatching and pausing the beginning of that video to see what brand she was using, and it looks like that’s the one.

Little tubes of watercolor always catch my eye too. The colors are so beautiful.

Eva Juliet's Watercolor Palette
• Eva Juliet’s Watercolor Palette

* Update * Here’s my first attempt. Not a bad way to spend a little time this morning! The one on the left was first, and it got a bit muddied up. The one on the right, I like better. And once I got started, I kept on going.

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