Barns, Birds, and a Bumblebee

“The bad news is that time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.”

Michael Altschuler

Once again, I feel that time has gotten the best of me. While I feel that this year I am doing much better in my time management, and I have been really good at taking time to do things for myself, there are times when I still feel that I am one of those donkeys at the carnival rides who are walking in circles and chasing that carrot on the string that I will never catch.

I think that part of the issue is that art and creating are not only my work but my lifestyle. When I am not making something for ‘work’ I am spending time creating something for myself or learning how to work with a new medium or taking a class or just making something in general. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to just make things. The more I learn the more I want to learn. It is a wonderful and fulfilling cycle and while I love what I do every day, I sometimes find it hard to keep up with myself in documenting what I am doing to you all here in my posts. Once I fall behind, things begin to snowball in that direction and as the pile of projects in queue grows larger, so does my anxiety regarding blogging and I wind up writing a post that is much too long or abandoning the idea of posting altogether. I think this is the one area that I need to work on most as far as being consistent and posting regularly. I really am trying.

With that said, I will just pull up my bootstraps and start writing and see where that will take me. I am going to try to get back to the ‘one post a week’ schedule, but I may sneak an extra one or two in as I try to catch up on all that I have been working on in the past few weeks. (Aren’t I the optimist?!?) Since we can’t go back in time, all we can do is move forward from here and hope for a better result. I hope you stick with me, as I have lots of exciting things to share. So let’s get to it!

Today’s post will focus on some new patterns that I have created for my painting followers. Last year (2021) I was so busy cutting wood that I really only had time to develop and create a few new designs of my own. I love working with other designers and offering wood for their customers and their designs, but it seems that I was so busy doing things for others that I had very little time left to do stuff for myself. That was one of the goals that I wanted to accomplish this year: to create more of my own patterns. It seemed like the reasonable thing to do, as my head was practically exploding with ideas. I wanted to find a balance between working for other designers, which I love to do, and working on my own designs. I made some changes and I think that so far it is working out pretty good. Here we are only in the middle of April and I already have more new things than I had practically all year last year. So YAY to that!

The first thing I want to share is the new building that I added to my North Star Village Christmas series – The Tree Barn:

As with the other village pieces, the Tree Barn is filled with fun details to make a delightful addition to your own village scene.

The 40-page painting pattern is full of color photos and I give simple, step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow so that even a newer painter can successfully complete the project. There is also a coordinating ornament set for those who like the concept of the barn, but may not have the room for a full vignette.

While the barn is proportional to the previous pieces, it is a bit larger than the other buildings as it is, after all – a barn:

But it will probably be the largest piece in the series and the following buildings will be somewhat smaller, as they will be storefronts.

I have kits in both the smaller size and larger size available on my website, and also a wood kit for the ornament set. You can find everything you need to make your own village series on my website here: The kits include the wood building, the stand pieces, and all the overlay pieces cut and sanded smooth so you are ready to paint them right away, with no additional preparation. They are all painted using DecoArt Americana acrylic paint.

I am already working on the next building – The Book Store – and I promise you it will be filled with fun details as well. I have lots of buildings in mind for this series and I can see it continuing for a long time to come. So far, it has been really popular and I have quite a following with it. I am very thrilled and grateful to you all!

The next ‘series’ that I began working on is something a little bit different.

As you can see by looking at my previous posts, I love painting realistic animals and wildlife. As I was decorating my ‘All-Season Tree” for the spring, I was hanging some cute scroll saw ornaments of songbirds on it that I created several years back. I had always wanted to do a painted version of these pretty birds, and I thought it was time to stop procrastinating about it and just DO IT!

With that said, I am introducing my NEW Songbird Ornament Painting Pattern Series for you to enjoy!

What I decided to do with this series was to make each pattern include ONE of the pretty songbird designs. That way everyone can choose their favorites and I can create them quickly and not overwhelm myself with trying to put several into a pattern packet at once. I find that it will be easier to build on this series one at a time, and so far that has been working well for me. The first two patterns (The Eastern Bluebird and the American Robin) are complete and up on the front page of my website. Like all of my patterns, they are available as PDF emailed files or as paper mailed patterns. Just choose from the drop-down menu when ordering.

Each pattern contains full, step-by-step instructions that walk you through the process of painting these pretty little songbirds. I also include linework in four sizes, so that you can use the designs as ornaments, lapel pins, or paint them on just about any surface you have available. They are detailed enough to look great on just about anything.

The only wood kits I will be offering are for the ornament-sized pieces, and the product page for all the bird wood kits is here: Just pick from the drop-down menu, which will be growing as I add more birds. I think that is the easiest way to do things.

I am working on the next songbird this week – the Goldfinch – and plan on adding more birds as time allows. Pretty soon there will be an entire flock to choose from. I am really excited about these so far and I think that they will make a lovely series.

The final thing that I want to show you all today is a project that I just completed from an online class that I am involved in. I have previously referred to Lindsay Weirich (who is also known as The Frugal Crafter) and I follow her both on YouTube and on her Teachable site here:

Lindsay explores so many types of mediums and I have learned a great deal from her over the years through her FREE YouTube videos. I wanted to support her through some of her classes and clubs. I have been a member of her “Critique Club” which is a great place to get some expert feedback from her as well as learn new techniques through the monthly lessons it offers. It is only $5 per month and not only do you get two of your projects critiqued by Lindsay, but you also get several new lessons AND access to ALL PREVIOUS LESSONS (three years worth!) as long as you are a member, AND a monthly prompt to get your creative juices flowing.

This month’s prompt was to paint anything you want, in any medium, using complementary colors. I chose to do a Blue Ginger and Bumblebee using Derwent Inktense pencils on Paul Rubens round watercolor paper block (140lb cotton cold press). I just finished it last night, and I was pretty happy with how it came out. (Reference photo from Pixabay)

I will be doing a separate blog on the process that I used to get this beautiful layering of color using the Derwent Inktense pencils. They are bright and beautiful and certainly one of my favorite mediums. I promise to post it soon.

I also wanted to mention that if you go to the link of Lindsay’s Teachable, you will see all the classes that she has to offer. They are all comprehensive and she thoroughly explores each particular medium with you. There is no time limit on taking them and she will always be there to answer your questions and help you with your concerns. It is a great learning experience that I highly recommend.

I just joined her newest class – Watercolor Crayon Workshop – and finished the first project from that. I will be showing more about that when I show the bee project above. I wanted to mention it though because for the month of APRIL, Lindsay is offering the Watercolor Crayon Workshop at HALF OFF the regular price! You can see more about the class and get the link for the discount here: I think you will really enjoy it.

Anyway – that is about all for this post. This ‘kind of’ catches you up at least on my new designs. I will be posting again soon with my other creative adventures – both for work and for play – and hopefully will get you all caught up with what I am creating. I love sharing what I learn and I love learning more about different ways to create. It is a wonderfully positive way to spend my days. We all need that.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these new patterns and I hope you give Lindsay a looksie. It really does wonders to focus on something positive through these trying times. Thanks for following and reading. I appreciate you all!

Until next time . . .

9 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the song birds Sheila. So pretty! The bumble bee painting is so beautiful. You are right about time passing so fast. I’m so far behind in my projects and my gardening. Our weather has been cold and wet and I haven’t been in the workshop yet 😳. Hopefully soon as the weather warms up πŸ€žπŸ€žβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Anna – We have had weird weather, too. About a week or so ago, it was snowing. Then lots of rain. Today – wind. Spring is certainly unstable as far as the weather goes. I hope you get some moderation soon and can get out to your shop soon. We went for a couple of trips to our beach here recently and it is beautiful. That was on the warmer days, of course. πŸ™‚ Have a great week.


  2. Those birds look great and I love the new building. Sometimes I find it difficult to keep up with the blogging schedule I have in my mind. That’s why I sometimes take the easy way out and write a post saying why I’m not posting. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Andrew. You do a really good job at keeping up. I worry about myself because I don’t always want to begin my posts with an apology as to why I haven’t posted in a while. Usually, it is because I get ahead of myself and get overwhelmed. I need to get in the habit of routinely posting and just showing what I am doing at that moment, instead of waiting ‘one more day’ or so to finish something. That seems to be when I get tripped up.

      The birds are based on the same ones that you recently cut and showed. I have been changing them a bit so they are best suited for painting, but for the most part, they are the same. I always loved them and after seeing yours and also putting my own scrolled ones on the tree, it really inspired me to make them into painting projects.

      Anyway – thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment. I appreciate it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the idea of those birds becoming a painting project!


  3. such beautiful pieces ~ I love all the creative ‘littles’ which each village piece! We appreciate you….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. πŸ™‚


  4. thefrugalcrafter Lindsay Weirich says:

    Thank you for the shout out! Your buildings are wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. πŸ™‚ The one I am working on now is the Art Shoppe (“The Golden Palette”) They are so much fun to do and people seem to really like them.


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