Category Archives: painting

Make It Your Own – Wall Art Do Over

I had some pictures on my kitchen wall that I didn’t care for anymore, and frankly, they’d been there way too long.

Make It Your Own Wall Art Revamp by Tamdoll Before Pic

I took matters into my own hands and painted, collaged, and layered them until I got something new.

Make It Your Own Wall Art Revamp by Tamdoll After Pic

I’m much happier now, and my kitchen is a lot more colorful. Maybe they’ll stay this way, maybe they won’t. My kids have already mentioned that the peaches look like butts, so I may have to re-work those.

Why not take something purchased and make it your own? I wasn’t really concerned that these would be ruined, they weren’t precious to me, and I knew if I failed at this remix, I’d find something new or put up a shelf for plants. I was so sick of them that the fear of failing didn’t stop me.

Would you call this a do-over, recycling, or upcycling?

Many of the steps in this mixed-media work were things I learned in online classes with Tamara Laporte. So, not only did I make the wall art “my own”, but I took things I learned and extrapolated to create something new.

Next project finished this week – a pair of slippers, reworked from a frogged pair of socks. Much improved and more useful. Here, too I didn’t exactly follow the rules.

make it your own 2017 february crochet slippers drops prima ballerina design

I tweaked the front of the foot to make it longer, stretchier, and skipped the last row of ruffles since my yarn was thicker than required. Original pattern by DROPS.

What will you make your own?


Postcard Swap

Who doesn’t love a colorful snail mail postcard?

Tamdoll's 10 Postcards for iHanna Postcard Swap Spring 2016

For the longest time I’ve followed iHanna’s Blog & always wanted to participate in one of her postcard swaps… so finally, this past month, I signed up at the last-minute, made 10 cards, and sent them out into the world.

Creating a Postcard

I started out by finger painting on top of a set of postcard-sized bike tour maps. I got mine at a yard sale, but you can find them on*, too. A base like this creates an instant layer of depth when the lines of the trails and geography can show through layers of paint. I built up the background by adding translucent paint washes, collaged bits of poetry from an old book, and spray stenciling with one of my favorite Finnabair Stencils – Dots and Stripes*.

Next, wanting a focal image, I drew and then painted on my birds. They were definitely inspired by Tamara Laporte’s Quirky Birds – particularly the outline and “scrubbing” style of paint that she teaches, along with the small format of the project. This style of birds are something that I’ve been drawing for a while (and I actually have a small collection of decorative birds that look similar).

Some of the finger painting and paint wash techniques were things I learned from my recent art classes at ArtFest Rising. While I was making these I definitely met my goal of having fun while not being too serious. The good thing about waiting until the last-minute with these was that I couldn’t obsess over them for too long, or worry about making them all perfect.

postage stamp for postcards usps 2016Sending the Postcards Into the World

I thought it was serendipitous when I got to the post office to mail them & found the postage stamps for domestic mail were bird images.

Where Are They Now?

I hope everyone who receives one of my postcards enjoys them – I had fun, and am adding “make more bird pictures” to my to-do list.

I scanned them all in (or so I thought), to have a memory of these… but it turns out that I only scanned 7 out of the 10, and I didn’t realize until they’d already been sent on their way. I decided to make them available at Society6, where anyone can order these images as prints, cards, or iPhone cases.

Have you ever done a mail art swap? If so, what did you think of the experience?



*Disclaimer: Some links provided are affiliate links, I may be compensated if you make any purchase. Thanks for your support.

Artfest Rising 2016

After years of wanting to attend an Artfest event, I finally had the opportunity this past week to go to Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA for Artfest Rising. I spent the time learning, experimenting, and having a great time with amazing teachers, and meeting new friends. The things I’ve learned have inspired me and will be carried into the work I do in the coming year.

I didn’t finish everything that I started here, am definitely looking at these pages as lessons in a workbook – not finished art – but instead something that I’m learning from.

Class with Teesha Moore:Tamdoll at ArtFest Rising with Teesha Moore and classwork

Class with Orly Avineri:Tamdoll at ArtFest Rising with Orly Avineri and classwork

Class with Michael deMeng & Andrea Matus deMeng:

But I didn’t get a photo with them 🙁 Tamdoll at ArtFest Rising with art from classes with Michael deMeng and Andrea Matus deMeng

Class with Jesse Reno:tamdoll at ArtFest Rising with Jesse Reno and classwork

Class with Tracy Moore:Tamdoll at ArtFest Rising with Tracy Moore and classwork


The dining table ladies:Tamdoll at ArtFest Rising Dining Room Ladies


With more friends eating out in Port Townsend (sorry about the big head picture, it was the best I could do):

ArtFest Rising lunch excursion to Hanazono Asian Noodle in Port Townsend, WA


New supplies:

  • We all came across supplies that had been previously unfamiliar, or used in a new way – one was using white transfer paper in Orly’s class for mark-making on a black painted surface. That’s something I’d only used before on fabric when sewing. Here’s another link for a transfer paper sampler pack at
  • Another item I’d never thought to use was a smoother/spreader like the one used in Andrea’s class when gluing down collage. It especially helped get large pieces down firmly, push out air bubbles, and squeeze out excess adhesive.


What I Learned (a very short summary):

  • Play. Practice. Take a journal with you and use it.
  • Think, or don’t think. There are no rules, only the ones you make for yourself.
  • Layer. Keep going. Add depth and work till you get what you want.
  • Be engaged with your technique, forget about other decisions like color, paper or brush choice.
  • “Little ideas are bigger than you think.” – Jesse Reno
  • Work & rework. Start – knowing it will need to be fixed – that’s Jesse Reno again.
  • Don’t be so serious.
  • Get some power words to remind you of purpose and focus – from Tracy Moore.
  • You don’t need to create “art”. Just create.


Next blog post I’ll share the trades that I came home with – swapping the wallets I folded with all the creative folks who attended. I have yet to unpack it all, will be doing that soon.

Have you ever attended an art retreat or group art classes?