January 27, 2023

 

Easy ides for making your own valentine's day cards.

I’ve mentioned in the past that my future goals for watercolor painting are wide open and I can hardly wait to expand. 

For now, while we continue to finish our home, I’ve limited my creativity to painting watercolor cards.

Since Valentines is right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to pop in on a few friends next week with these cards.  I might be a little old fashioned but receiving a letter or a card in the mail is simply the best.

Once again there was no plan, just a few minutes for me to sit and unwind and let the paint brush lead the way.


Adding speckles is pretty simple, first wet the brush with paint and lightly bend the bristles using your fingers

Adding Watercolor Paint Speckles

This painting time felt good and I incorporated some speckle highlights to bring out the colors and remove the white space.

Adding speckles is pretty simple, first wet the brush with paint and lightly bend the bristles using your fingers so the paint bounces onto the paper.

I would recommend practicing this technique on scratch paper first.

Creating with watercolors to make my favorite valentine.

My Favorite Valentine

This card ended up being speckle free because I was using a new watercolor paper.  A paper that at first, I didn’t really like until my husband pointed out I might be able to add some details.

He was spot on because this paper did offer a look that surprised me.  I plan to expand on watercolor paper next time I write in "Good Art."

Until then Happy Valentines and maybe send a card to one of your friends.

-Carole


January 22, 2023

 

Herbs For Sale by Lee Sturdivant Book Review.  An excellent book for anyone seeking to start their own herb business on their farm or homestead.

For the past few months, I’ve been doing my own research on flower farming and recently growing herbs for sale.  Which is interesting because I have my own book on how to grow herbs.

Let me tell you up front, growing herbs for personal use and then growing to sell are two different things.

This book, Herbs for Sale was an absolute gem. Up front it helped me realize that I liked the idea but didn’t really have the desire to grow herbs on a large scale for wholesale or retail. 

A few months ago, I uncovered the same was true towards flower farming.  Sometimes when you read about the business side of a niche you will figure out instantly if that is what you really want to pursue before diving in. 

This author, Lee Sturdivant has an amazing way of putting it all together and she included many interviews with other herb farmers across the country. This book was written in the 90’s and many of those businesses are still active today.

She includes a variety of resources that will take you to the internet to see if not only they are still in business but how they evolved over the years to meet the needs of their customers and the changing times.

Many herb farmers do a variety of things and some only open their farms one day a week.  This book was such an interesting read and I chuckled when they referenced “Kinkos” during her sit down with Jim Long in Missouri.

Where some might look at this book as out of date, I found it to be right on target with where we are today and it was written beautifully.

This book is an essential read for anyone interested in owning an herb business. Even if you already have an established location the ideas on how you can expand are endless. 

Lee Sturdivant was upfront; I would recommend Herbs for Sale as the perfect beginners guide. Growing and marketing herbs where you live is truly achievable. 

-Carole

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January 19, 2023

 

What it takes to stand up against fear.

Fear is everywhere and there have been many times when I had to face situations and decide, does fear win?

I think the bigger question is, “what are we actually afraid of?”   Maybe you can answer that better than I because I’m not foolish to think every person reading might have a different response.

For me one of my biggest fears is heights. The fear of falling might be a better term which is interesting because I have fallen more times with my feet on the ground. 

As I have been helping work on this house project, it occurred to me that moving forward at a quicker pace was a possibility if I was doing more than just prep and clean up. 

But this meant I had to get out of my comfort zone and stand up against my fear of heights. In my heart I knew this was possible because I've done it before.  

Years ago, I painted our two-story house by standing on a ladder to reach the second-floor ceilings. There was also a time when rock climbing was my thing. 

I was a lot younger then and my resilience may not be what it once was.  I knew this going and thought I can improve on that as well.

Standing tall to face my fear of heights thought pouring aircrete.

To speed things up, I decided I would do the rest of the aircrete pouring.  Let me first say, this is really good exercise.

The most important security step was to make sure I didn’t forget to lock the scaffold and the second was to not hit my head on the beams.  That second one took some time to master.

By the end of each day my nerves were shot because it’s all sort of a balancing act. But now, when I look around the house, there is a sense of pride and growth that is present.

I'm proud because I didn’t allow my fear to keep me from helping and succeeding.  Too many times we keep ourselves from improving who we are based on, “the fear of the unknown.”

I’m here to say, nobody can predict the present or the future and if you hold yourself back based on fear you will never experience your true potential.

 Stand up against your fears and be smart about it while you step forward.

-Carole

January 16, 2023

Take your own photography and create a color palette that represents your personality from home decor or web design.

During the process of building our home I have taken an inventory of all the decisions that need to be made.  They are endless and during this process I realized that having to pinpoint my answers can be frustrating.

This is basically because I really have no idea what I want.  We haven’t lived in a traditional home for 5 years and the idea that we can create something we want to live in has really been an alien concept.

Well, that was true until recently when I decided to focus my answers on color.  I have always been drawn to unique color palettes and I also love to take outdoor photos. 

So, to get over this slump of not having the answers, I decided to look through my photos and seek colors that might inspire the finish look of our new home.

This brought me to creating my own color palette and I’m going to share how you can do the same.  

Begin with a Photo

For me it was all about beginning with one of my photos and I have many.  Most are in files, so it was easy enough to sort through as I traveled back.

I took this picture almost a year ago towards the end of winter, it’s a favorite because it's a time we often miss, the early transition into spring.  The sun was beginning to set, and the colors spoke to me.

I honestly never thought that when I captured this image, I would later use it to create a color palette.

Color palettes can be used for so many things and I bet you have a large inventory of your own photography.  You might be surprised but when you go back and look through them, you will probably see what's important or what sort of makes you tick.

For me it’s a combination of the two because I have a creative spirit that never sleeps.

You may have also noticed that I recently made some changes to my blog and I’m still seeking one more color for my link highlights.  So, I’m using this color palette to possibly help me select that third color.

Palettes can be used for so many things, creating a piece of art, outdoor spaces, designing a room or an entire home in my case.  

But who would have thought they could also be used for creating a website or blog.

Begin with a photo to create a color palette in canva.

Creating that Palette

Once you have chosen a photo, let’s walk through how I came up with the following colors.  Now, I could have played around with my paints, but I didn’t want to do that.

Instead, I uploaded this photo to Canva, which is one of the easiest graphic programs and its user friendly. If you don’t have access to Canva they do offer a free trial. 

    • Simply open a “new project” which is like a file.
    • Next upload the photo of your choice.
    • Tweak the colors if you want the image to be brighter or saturated.
    • Add a shape graphic, click color and you will see your palette options.

It’s that easy and you can highlight the color #hex to dive in deeper for further use.

Other ways to Create a Color Palette

If you don’t like the idea of making your own color palette, then I do have a few other ideas. The simplest would be to visit a paint store and walk through the swatch aisle and mix and match.

Browsing through Pinterest could be helpful, if you’re after what’s in season or trendy because they will always be on target. 

I’ve actually started adding color palettes to my Watercolor board because I plan to expand on this concept at a later time.

Another place I found is Paper Heart Design.  This is a fun dive in where you just browse and everything is done for you, here’s my favorite.

So, there you have it, I hope you found creating your own color palette to be a good idea for your next project.  

-Carole

January 13, 2023

Getting started on how to raise quail in your backyard or on the ground from author Carole West.

Winter in Texas is like a twisted tornado, one day it's warm and the next is cold again.  I don’t mind this because I love these warm January breaks where I can go outside and enjoy some sunshine.

This is also the time of year when many homesteaders are planning their spring garden or deciding what new additions might be a good idea.  

Which means it is also a great time to begin preparing to raise quail on the ground if that is on your radar.

Getting Started Raising Quail

There is a definite course of action that takes place when it comes to raising quail and many times these birds are frowned upon due to their size.

Yes, quail are small; they have strong flocking instincts and are best raised on the ground in a natural environment.

When I decided to add quail on our family farm and later further in the Texas countryside I didn’t know where to begin.  Even worse everybody told me what I wanted to do was impossible.

Since it was winter when I was doing my planning, I realized there was plenty of time to research the obstacles and figure it out before diving in.  So that’s what I did, and the journey was amazing.

This led me to write my story and share everything I learned in my recent book, Ground Raised Quail.

Raising quail for Eggs and Meat

My focus has always been to raise quail on the ground for the purpose of eggs and meat; I have to tell you I really miss it.

I had to take a little break due to relocating but like you I’m anxious to begin planning my new quail habitat on the homestead. 

I have my plans written down and will be implementing them after we finish building our new home.  It looks like that could be in the spring of this year.

Some Great News

If raising quail in your backyard or homestead is of interest and you would like to learn more than I have some great news. 

I will be speaking February 4 in Cooper Texas at TR Nubians Ranch. This is a great opportunity to meet and hear my story firsthand.

If you can’t make it but would like to schedule me to come and speak for your group, then please reach out here. Prepping to raise quail on the ground is one of the best things I taught myself…

-Carole

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