Thursday, August 29, 2013


Hello Everyone! 

Here we are back in the studio again.  I apologize for falling off the blog-o-sphere last week with the studio post, just one of those weeks.

Well I’m back and ready to take you on another studio adventure …..this time we are venturing into the CLOSETS where there are semi-organizational skills at play. 

  That’s right, it might LOOK chaotic but believe me, there are LABELS!  Oh my, thanks to a Dymo labelmaker that is the coolest thing going….keeps me on track and able to FIND my stuff! 

A few years ago I took it upon myself to build shelves in the closets, note ladies: minimal skills required here thanks to the guys in Lowe’s that will make the big cuts of wood for you at a minimal price. Basically I measured the closet height and width and determined how many shelves I could get if I started with the large rubber tubs in the bottom of the closet. You can't see them but they are down below the canvas boxes. They contain large pieces of fabric and one is filled with fabric strips.  Crazy huh?  Also stored in the bottom of the closet are two sewing machines! 

 Taking into consideration the amount of projects to store, I found these cute canvasboxes and totes/baskets at Lowe’s.Love the canvas totes, they are so handy to pull out and put back! The heavy duty snaps allow a peek inside too! 

 The canvas boxes are great with lids to keep things neatly corralled and dust free. 

  I found these lovely graduated sizes of cardboard boxes at Tuesday Mornings to hold sewing projects.  The black and white checker pattern is really cute, right?

One of the best tips I know is to store sewing thread in a plastic Matchbox Car box! They are double-sided and clear enough to see the colored threads. Store your boxes on their sides to save space! You can find them HERE, they are now called Creative Options Thread Organizers.  

A variety of plastic shoe boxes also works well for storing threads and can be found at the Dollar Store. 

OK, let's venture over to the other side of the closet where the BEADS live! 
This is Bead-world. Don't ask. Another hobby.  The two gray storage units are actual found in the hardware section, used for nuts and bolts and whatnots in the realm of Hubby.  Mine are used for storing beads, all sorted by color and sizes. 

Recently I found these boxes at Hobby Lobby, called CraftMates Lockables, they stack and lock so beads can't escape. 

 And I found plastic bead storage with stacking jars at Joann's, they work great for smaller seed beads.
Trust me, there are beads in other places too, but for now, most of them live here.  The closet also has a filing cabinet which houses patterns.  There are bolts of fabric in here, and a collection of magazines and bags of stuffing and batting on the top shelf.  Yes, it is a mishmash of supplies just waiting their turn to come out and play! 

Please come back and join me as we continue to look around the studio, there's more to see....

Bee Creative

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Hey Everyone!

It is SKETCHBOOK Tuesday! 

There was a threat of rain in the overcast sky, my dear friend Rhoda and I sat outside under the umbrella along with an older man and woman sitting at a table nearby having coffee watching as people wandered in and out of the bagel shop. 

 The first thing that comes to mind is what a picture-perfect little place it is to sketch with a beautiful bubbling tiered fountain and quaint herringbone brick pattern patio, cafĂ© tables and market umbrellas, surrounded by lush green flowering bushes and trees.

 Arrrgh! Why didn’t I bring my sketchbook?!?! I was not prepared on Sunday after church for the spur of the moment plan to have a bagel with my friend, oh well, next time, right? I did have a camera phone handy, so  I shot a few photos to help recreate the scene in my sketchbook later. 

Being super shy about sketching in public so honestly speaking, even if the sketchbook were in my purse, I probably would not whip it out anyway.

Really, I keep telling myself that I MUST get over my fear of sketching in public. Anyone else out there that feels this way? Any suggestions would be welcomed. 

Grab some paper and pencil and go SKETCH! 

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Somewhere to Sketch-Vacaville, CA

Hi Everyone!

I've recently joined a group of artists at blog called Some Where to Sketch hosted by Lynn Cohen and Ann Hyde.  Each month via Google Earth we are invited to sketch in a location chosen by Lynn or Ann.  During the month of August we have been sketching in Lynn's hometown of Vacaville, CA.

  I sketched and painted 418 Main Street. Of course I took artist license to the original street location.

418 Main Street Vacaville, CA 
Please come and join us!  If you aren't familiar with 
Google Earth, it is a wonderful FREE program that let's you type in a location and gives a great overview and street level view of any city in the world! It's pretty fab! This is a great way to explore other cities and sketch without leaving home!

Grab your pad and pencil and come out and play sketch us! Join in before the end of the month to sketch in Vacaville!

Happy Sketching! 

Linked to: Somewhere to Sketch

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WOYWW #220

Hi Everyone! 

It's What's On Your WorkDesk, Wednesday!  Last week I snuck in at the last minute to join this fabulous group of ladies in their week posts!  What is WOYWW?  It is a weekly link up hosted by Julia Dunnit over at Stamping Ground  that links up with photos of artist work spaces and projects.  It is so much fun to have a look-see at others crafting areas and what they are up to on a weekly basis! 

I've been painting patterns in my sketchbook, using different color combinations and using watered down acrylics.  What will I do with these papers?  Eventually they will end up cut up and reassembled into collage or perhaps in a journal. 

I don't know yet but that is part of the fun of making patterned paper, isn't it? 

Come join us!


Linking to: WOYWW#220

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Hi Everyone!

It's SKETCHBOOK TUESDAY!  Something new happened this week! I've been sketching on my computer using a Windows based program called PAINT.  My best friend Bonnie and I have been collaborating on a new project (more news later) and I remembered that she liked to draw on the computer, little cartoon like drawings and she is pretty good at it too! Recently I purchased a new laptop with Windows 8 so I wasn't sure I even had the Paint program....I Googled "paint programs for Windows 8" and found out indeed there is a Paint program on Windows 8 and all I needed to do was type in the letter P and the program should open....tada! YES!! So that's what I've been up to this week, computer is SO MUCH FUN!! Seriously, if you haven't tried, do it! FUN FUN FUN.

Here's one of my first sketches and there will
be more to come.....

Happy Sketching! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Brees Mimi Design Studio! Come on in! So happy you are joining me today for a quick peek inside the place I call "studio".  Today I'll reveal my worktable.  It's my "go to" place, my favorite spot to be, where I feel completely at home and were the ideas flow freely. 
Work table in studio

You will find me here most afternoons (if I'm not working or taking care of the grand-kids) and sometimes very late at night when I'm able to sneak in a few minutes before bedtime.  

The worktable is approximately 5-6 feet long and 3 feet wide, a standard folding table from Office Depot. In order to protect (lol) the lovely brown laminate finish, the work surface is covered with several sheets of watercolor paper. This idea comes from Jennibellie Studio, to use watercolor paper and wipe the excess paint from brushes here and later use this paper for other art projects. Since the watercolor paper surface is a recent addition to my table (previously used brown craft paper), I'll have to let you know how it works out. 
Work surface protected by water color paper.

To tell the truth, I couldn't stand looking at all that white I painted a few ideas on one side and use the other to wipe excess paint on. 

 On top of the w/c paper is a non-stick craft sheet, in my immediate working area. It is perfect for a dab of acrylic paint or spray inks when a palette isn't needed and wipes off easily! Even acrylics can be peeled off the surface if left too long.  I LOVE the craft sheet
Non stick craft sheet in immediate work space.

On the worktable I have my essential tools which are: acrylic paints, glue & gesso, pens, brushes, ink, paper towels & baby wipes. 

The pink metal tub holds bottles of glue, glue sticks, gesso, mini paint palettes and water containers (recycled fruit cups or yogurt containers). A revolving rack (repurposed spice caddy) houses artist acrylics and my favorite handmade basket holds fave acrylic craft paints.
Current fave acrylic colors include Poodleskirt Pink, Whispering Turquoise, Citron Green, Slate Grey and Black. 
A mason jar and silver topped glass containers hold Washi tapes. 

Above in thrift store finds of ceramic, stone and metal cups my collection of pens, markers and scissors are corraled. It looks like the mini stapler has "attached" itself (sorry, couldn't resist) to the metal cup and awl is buried in the ceramic holder. Small metal dishes hold miscellaneous items that stray across the surface from time to time. 

Paint brushes, plastic utensils, ink and credit cards
The lovely metal box is another thrift store find! The lid of the box remains open at all times for quick access to brushes and various utensils used for spreading or applying paint and gesso. All are contained in recycled glass jars (salsa-yum!) within the box. Ooops, I see the pink stapler has also attached itself to the metal box!  Another glass jar contains old credit/gift cards (to spread glue, paint or gesso), water brushes, bone folder, and sponges.  The metal box resides on top of a mini wooden slat table (repurposed from a picnic basket), underneath the wooden mini table is a divided glass pickle dish (thrift store find) holding black ink pads, India ink bottles and date stamp, the dish can be slid out when needed.   A spray bottle of water, paper towel holder, package of wet wipes and a bottle of water are near by.  

Inspiration board
Inspiration comes from many sources and I keep mine right in front of my worktable!  On this board is a background of BH&G paint color swatches, you know the pages that the newest colors are on? Here's a fun page at BH&G to test your color personality!  Each season, my board is changed out and the background colors with the season. Then I add my favorite poems, quotes, color palettes, and various items that catch my attention. Strings of glass beads, pieces of jewelry I like, cards with string or threads, cutout paper dolls, crochet flowers, it is here for inspiration.

My current project: hand painted paper and sewn covers for watercolor journals. Both journals have hand sewn watercolor signatures inside and flaps on the cover which secure the papers within. My inspiration came from Mary Ann Moss SEWN. Go check it out! 

I hope you have enjoyed the Work Table tour and that you will come back next week as we continue A Peek Inside The Studio!  

I'd love it if you would leave a comment so that I know you were here! I love hearing from you! 

See you next week, until then....



PSS.....BREAKING NEWS! A day late to the party on WOYWW (that's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday)but I thought I would post this anyway. Let you know more of the details in next post! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hi Everyone!

It's Sketchbook Tuesday again and as promised last week, there are more sketches from last weekend spend with my BFF in town. 

After our experiment with Rice paper on the patio during the rain (read about it here), we were optimistic that the rain would stop and we'd be able to take a mini road trip to the Farmer's Market the next day.     Saturday we awoke to heavy darken skies but determined not to let a little rain (heavy humidity and heat) bother us, we packed up our art bags and took the 30 mile scenic route up the river to the Farmer's Market.  

Since neither of us had ever been to the market we weren't exactly sure what we would encounter. The Farmer's Market is held each Saturday along the river.

Even with threatening skies there was a buzz of activity as people gathered fruits, veggies and bakery goods from vendors displaying their farm fresh wares.  And though bakery items were a feast for the eyes, the smell of grilled seafood and specialty dishes was even more tempting. 

Our plan was to sketch at the Farmer's Market but we soon realized the storm was approaching rapidly, so, instead, I opted to take photos we could draw from later. Drawing in crowded, public areas is not for me, so I was just as happy snapping a few photos.  Yes, really it freaks me out to have people look over my shoulder....I'm working on getting over that fear. 

I leave you with a couple of sketches:

There is more to this adventure, but you'll have to come back next week to find out what happens.

Until then, grab a sketch pad, pencil and go have fun sketching! 


Thursday, August 8, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Brees Mimi Design Studio! So happy you are joining me today as we take a peek into the room where I create.  

Remember last week the WARNING about the messiness and chaos that abides in my studio? Enter at your own risk!

There was tremendous temptation to clean up beforehand and admittedly I did tidy up (vacumned) a wee bit before my friend's visit, but it is still very messy indeed. Ok, I am going to stop apologizing for my messiness. 


As you enter the studio (aka spare bedroom) you will see in the far corner a little table known as "sewing world", to the left is "art cart", to the right is small rolling cart with scissors, glue, and sewing supplies.   I'll explain these sections in more detail in later posts, for now we will just see the perimeter spaces. 

To the right of "sewing world" is where you will find me in my favorite the "work table" where most of the creativeness goes on.

The Work Table at the moment is piled with hand painted pattern paper and journals I've been making. Oh there are the usual suspects that "live" in this area: paints, glues, brushes, etc. and the "bulletin boards" or as some people like to call them "idea or inspiration" boards. 

 To the right of the work table is a "drawer stack" housing more paint, spray, stencils, pencils, watercolor crayons and glitter.  The boxes stacked on top are gelli prints and stencils. The picnic basket underneath holds miscellaneous items such as a mini crock pot, applique iron, bubble wrap and paper towels, etc. Under the basket that holds up the whole shebang are two plastic bins, one filled with minky fabric (don't ask) and the other with old cross-stitch and craft magazines that belonged to my mother. 

The lime green double closet with hot pink trim is home to neatly organized projects in progress, knitting, cross-stitch, quilting, thread, large bins of fabric and watercolor supplies. The right side of the closet is "bead world". Also in that side of the closet is extra quilt batting,  projects to finish, and a filing cabinet with patterns. It is pretty organized in there.  

 Oh and there is a colorful bar chair holding a three tier mesh office filing system (LOL) that is primarily a place to "file" sketch books, journals and other various papers that haven't made their way into a bin (trash or otherwise). More "filing" in the basket underneath and in the blue cloth bin that is behind the door. 

On the opposite side of the room are a system of cabinets which hosts my picnic basket collection on top (all labeled, organized storage). There is a row of cabinets along the top, a full length storage unit at one end, a pegboard and work (lol) surface (mainly a catch-all) and cabinets below. It takes up the whole wall and I would like to say it is pretty well organized with paper supplies, embellishments, cutting machines, crafting supplies, stamps, collage materials, more watercolor brushes, palettes and paints. 

That's it for today, I'll let your imagination fill in the rest!  

Although I do feel a bit embarrassed to share the untidiness I know that you creative people out there KNOW and appreciate the realness of a working space. 

Next week we'll dive in a bit deeper (promise it will not be cleaned up or neater than it actually is). 

Till then....BEE Happy. BEE Creative!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Hi Everyone!

I've spent the last several days enjoying the company of my BFF.  She arrived mid-day on Thursday. As always there are lots of art supplies to be unloaded from her trunk as well as art books and a ready supply of snack goodies and clothes of course.  We spend the afternoon in the pool chatting and catching up on our lives, the latest happenings, etc. Bonnie is finally officially "retired" and she is adjusting to what-ever that means. Making plans and figuring out what she will do with all of her free time now. 

We plan a zillion things to do when she is here but as always, time runs quickly away from us and we rarely get to everything we planned.  Oh and the rain...the interferes with our outdoor plans.  But we make do with it and stand under the shelter of my patio and paint anyway.
Bonnie working out her design
The curlicue design in purple ink
 We experimented with rice paper and it was Sooooo much fun! I really got into it!!

 Rice paper is rather thin and when it gets wet well.... the color just explodes on the paper making the most incredible spidery (is that a word?) designs, the colors run freely and there is little to no control.
I laid down purple waterproof ink on the wet paper (above)  making a few curlicues with a brush. 
Adding watercolor in the background

A dash of yellow in the background and a touch of red in a few spots and to sharpen it up a bit, then watch the colors spread across the paper. After adding the watercolors I came back into the drawing with black ink over the purples to define the final design. 
Final design 
 It is pretty exciting working this way, but maybe not so much for the faint of heart and definitely not for those who need more control in their work. I happen to love the unpredictability! Jumping up and down and clapping, oohing and aahhhing as each color spreads its way around the paper.

My friend on the other hand was not as pleased with the unpredictability and was ready to give up on her piece so I asked if it would be ok to "play" with it and see what would happen. With permission and a sense of wild abandon, I added blues and greens to the background and then used black ink to redefine some areas.  
Reworking Bonnie's design

I really liked that Bonnie followed the directions of wetting her paper and crumpling it before drawing; it gives the paper a batik look and once it is flattened it will look pretty cool.

The next in my curlicue series of paintings was this design.  It reminds me of an old fashioned garden fence or gate like my Granny had at her house.

Old fashioned garden fence or gate
 What better way to spend a rainy afternoon than to discover the joy of a new medium and color?  Oh, and Bonnie did another one too, this time using waterproof markers to outline her shapes for tighter design control. 

Using waterproof markers for tight design control.
I think it came out lovely, don't you? 

That's just the beginning of our little adventures, won't you come back next week and see what else we were up to? 

Grab you paper and pencils and go sketch/draw something this week! 

Bee Creative!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Thanks for stopping by and joining me for a new series of posts on Inside The Studio.  Maybe a little bit of background will help prepare you for The Studio.

I say, PREPARE because what you will see in the coming weeks may be a bit disturbing to some. The studio is NOT a very NEAT or TIDY area,  it is a place where I go to be creative and yes, messy. MESSY...that's right, I have my most used supplies out which enables me to work intuitively, but it does cause a great deal of mess and a bit of chaotic look to the space (and for an occasional visitor).  So, close your eyes to the chaos if you can't bear an untidy space and just focus on the other creative interests; there are many and they all live in this room called Brees Mimi Design Studio.

Here's a little sneak preview Inside The the Studio:

BMDS is where I work play with paint

work out designs



collage and journal

And, Oh yeah, there WILL be plenty to see in this room that we will explore each week.  

So looking forward to sharing my creatively (and messy) space with you each week! Hope you will stop by often and join me for Inside The Studio.

Till then BEE Creative!