As some of you may have noticed, it has been quite a while since I posted a blog here. After moving into our new home last June, it took us some time to really get settled. Add to that the holidays and all the busy times that go along with that and – well – it didn’t come about.
Being busy is good. Especially when one is self-employed. But sometimes it is quite a balancing act to accomplish everything we set out to do on any given day. I have been so fortunate to have been working with some terrific designers that have helped me push the pile of work when I may have been not feeling my most creative. It has kept things moving and my business growing even as I settle into my new environment. I am so grateful to not only them but also to my customers – many who have become friends.
But as we flipped the calendar and began a new year last month, I felt for the first time in a long while that I was back on top of things. We absolutely love our new place here, and while I wasn’t thrilled about having to move so suddenly, we feel that it is for the better and we are in a MUCH nicer and more suitable place. We love our landlords and the peace of mind we have being here allows me to stop worrying and be far more creative than I was where we were before. It is all good.
With that said, I made the decision to implement an idea that has been ‘cooking’ in my head for a couple of years now. I have decided to dedicate the next year or years to creating and developing a series of related projects that I hope will become “heirlooms” for all who make them and receive them as gifts. I want them to be the kind of projects that are taken out year after year and are the subject of fond memories and enjoyed for generations to come. I have thought long and hard as to how I want to introduce this line of projects to you, and the time has come to begin our journey. I am introducing to you all:
North Star Village – “Christmas in the Village”
So what is North Star Village?
It is a series of delightful storefronts that are hand-painted and can be displayed throughout the holidays. As the name implies, as new pieces are added, an entire little ‘village’ scene will be created.
In creating these pieces, I am using my favorite high-quality acrylic paints and mediums from DecoArt. Not only are they economical, but they are easy to find and use. You can get them at most craft suppliers or at the DecoArt web store on their site (http://www.decoart.com)
I am also using many of the lines of paintbrushes from Silver Brush Company for creating these pieces. (You can get the brushes at wonderful prices from The Brush Guys: http://www.thebrushguys.com) I found that Silver brushes have quickly become my ‘go-to’ brushes and I now use them almost exclusively for my painting.
(Full disclosure: I am in DecoArt’s Helping Artist Program, and have been for over 25 years. I do receive samples of their products. But I use them because I truly love them. I do not get compensated from either Silver Brush Company or The Brush Guys.)
The North Star Village pieces will be available in two sizes. For the Toys in the Attic toy store, the small piece measures approximately 5″ tall and the larger store measures approximately 7″ tall. Both pieces have several overlay pieces (the rocking horse, pram and solders for the toy store) as well as a three-piece, easy to assemble, slotted stand.
You can either glue the storefront to the stand or choose not to so you can disassemble it for easy storage.
Not only will I be offering full-color patterns for each building with my usual step-by-step instructions and photos (the toy store pattern is 30 pages long and has over 50 color photographs), but I also will be adding some short videos to my YouTube channel which will show some of the fun techniques used to create each piece. These techniques can be applied to just about any other project or aspect of your painting.
For the toy store, I have already posted three videos.
An introduction to the entire series: https://youtu.be/UecRwU4b-kA
A video showing how I painted the tree: https://youtu.be/H1jwja_v8F0
And a video showing how I painted the teddy bear: https://youtu.be/-0gGgqkqDQM
I am also going to be developing some ornament-size patterns and kits which will highlight each of the special elements for each of the buildings. That way if you choose not to do the whole building, you can still paint the elements and hang them on your tree, wreaths, garlands, or use them as gifts or even gift tags. For the toy store project, I am creating an ornament pack which will include two soldiers, the rocking horse, and the teddy bear. I am still working on that and it should be available on my website soon.
As a final ‘special touch’, each store wood kit will contain a beautiful little crystal ‘star’.
Those of you who know me and have ordered from me know that I like to add ‘treats’ to your order. I thought that this would be a nice little collectible that you can use as you wish to decorate. It would make a beautiful pendant or bracelet charm, too. 🙂
The pattern for the “Toys in the Attic” toy store is now available at my Tole Painting Designs website here: http://www.tolepaintingdesigns.com/product/NSVC1
The full wood kits are also available at this time. Each kit contains the storefront, four overlay pieces (the rocking horse, the pram and the two soldiers) as well as the three-piece stand assembly. The two sizes are sold separately, with the large store kit here: http://www.tolepaintingdesigns.com/product/NSVCK1A and the small store here: http://www.tolepaintingdesigns.com/product/NSVCK1B
I am still working on the ornament set this week, as well as filling out orders. I am also beginning work on the next store – “The Enchanted Florist” and I promise you, it will be just as detailed and fun as the first piece! It is going to be hard for me not to ‘leak’ pictures of it as I am creating!
If you would like to see some sneak peeks of what I am working on, you can join me on my private Facebook group, “Let’s Paint (and CREATE!) with Sheila Landry”. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/paintwithsheila/) In the two years since I began it, it has grown to over 2000 members. It is a wonderful, positive, and creative place to share any type of creative endeavor that you are working on, or you can just observe. I have figured out how to use the Facebook Group platform very efficiently using “Units” and all the posts, videos and information are easy to find and get to. I think you will enjoy it.
So that is about it for now. I could go on and on and catch up for the past several months, but I prefer to move ahead from this point on.
Thank you for your continued support. You have helped me wake up happy every day doing what I love. I really feel that I will be posting more regularly here and I hope you subscribe to my blog here as well as my YouTube channel so you can share your creativity with us all.
I hope you join me in the village!