Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Tree 2012

I thought I would take a few minutes to wish all of you a "Blessed Christmas".  So many of you have shared your Christmas decorations, memories, families and blessings that I thought it was time for me to do the same.

We have a new "Slim" Christmas Tree this year and my hubby didn't want to overly decorate it this season.  It is a rather simple tree but it still makes us happy when we turn it on and watch it slowly turn on its rotating stand.  This year the tree was so tall that we did not have room to adorn it with the Santa Tree Topper so I decided to try out full ribbons tied to the top, then (having much more ribbon left) I began randomly placing ribbons on the tree.  Followed by our collection of Native American Butterfly Dancers and glass icicles.

Over the years I have made beaded ornament covers for our children and grandchildren and I had a few left over to also hang on this tree.  My hubby really likes these ornaments and was a bit sad that we only had a few plus some that my dearest friend had made for us.  So, for his 2012 Christmas Gift I made 13 beaded ornaments just for him ... they are now all hanging on the tree as well.

Here is a picture of our tree with the lights off and then with the lights on ...

Next are some of the ornaments festooning our tree.....

The following is a special ACEO from Stacy aka Magic Love Crow

This miniature Santa is a cherished gift from Maddy Rose

The string ornament in the following picture was made by my dear niece, Emily June, the ornament along side is one of the one's made this year...
and next is a close up of one of Emily June's ornaments...

Next is one of the Native American Butterfly Dancer ornaments I have collected over a period of time.....

Next is a Kilted Santa with Bag Pipes that is one of my hubby's favs!  And a MaddyRose ornament attached to a fireplace adornment....

And lastly is a beaded ornament cover I made for my hubby many years ago in 
Irish colors .....

God bless us all,
Karen Anne

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

And the Colored Pencil Magazine Pro Winner of the October Challenge is .......

I just received an email that nearly knocked me off my chair!   And I just had to share it with all of you ....  here it is:

Gmail Karen Anne Brady

1 message

COLORED PENCIL Magazine Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Reply-To: COLORED PENCIL Magazine
I am so pleased to write to tell you that after much deliberation, we have selected you as the
Pro Winner of the October 2012 #1210 Kiiro Art Challenge!
You have also won a great prize from our friends and sponsors at UART to include 10 huge sheets of  18 x 24 sanded pastel 600 grade paper.
This is a great prize and you are going to be surprised when it arrives how unique a surface this is to draw on. I hope you share with us something you do on it.
Why you were selected by our staff:
We just couldn’t escape your charming colorful concept and brilliant execution of this gecko challenge. It is an exciting change of perspective AND mirror image that isn’t too perfect of a mirror so that each lizard has it’s own little personality. We also love how you didn’t give up when you weren’t quite satisfied with your first attempt and how you pushed yourself to take chances the second time around. I know this wonderfully illustrated piece is one that many people would love as a print of and I hope it serves you well, if you put prints up for sale, be sure to link to it on the flickr page. Of course you have full rights to your image and use of the photograph. We will be showing you off in the December 2012 issue and facebook page. Check back on our blog to see all the entries and other winner.
Please send your shipping address to us.
You are still eligible to win again so please continue to join this awesome group of artists at flickr.
Sally Ford

My Blog Friends, You can view all of the wonderful and creative submissions at where you'll find a wide range of artistic views of the monthly challenge photos!

Oh ... and here is the piece that won!  I titled it "Two Snow Leopard Geckos"

If you would like your own print, you can find them in my Etsy Shop
as an art print (in various sizes) or in ACEO format!

Holey Moley!  I am still shaking! And I have to tell you ... as I opened it, I was looking forward to seeing who had won ... and was totally stunned when I saw that it was me!

Happy Day to all!
Karen Anne

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Apples and Cones"

As you know from my previous posts, the Colored Pencil Magazine posts a colored pencil competition each month, the November challenge is a photo of a apples and cones, a still life. In this submission I tried out oil based colored pencils, Lyra Rembrandt Polychrome Pencils. To my delight, I found I really like them! I can achieve deeper colors that are brighter and more vivid, and I do not have to work as long or hard to achieve the results I want.

The biggest plus?  Elimination of "Wax Bloom" (a condition created by too many applied layers of wax based colored pencils) and no need to use a workable fixative between layers!  When I was researching the pros and cons of oil based pencils, I read that they smear more easily than wax based pencils ... this was not the case for me.   I also read that they could be used on smooth paper and used smooth paper on this rendering, I like the effect I was able to achieve.  I further learned they have a harder core than waxed based pencils and, since I prefer harder leads, this was a great plus to me. 

The following is my submission to the Colored Pencil Magazine November Contest ...

"Apples and Cones"

Below is the Colored Pencil Magazine challenge photograph

As you can see, I rearranged things a bit in my version. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CPM October Challenge - 2nd Entry.....

The Colored Pencil Magazine posts a colored pencil competition each month, this month's challenge was a photo of a snow leopard gecko.  I have already entered one drawing and came up with another variation on the same subject matter.

 With this version I challenged myself on vibrancy, intensity of color and shadowing. Every night when I have finished working on a piece for the day, I place it into a plastic sleeve and place it on an easel on our coffee table. Then I sit back, listen to the news and other entertaining shows, and I constantly look at and critique the current piece. A lot of times I find something I want to jump up and amend but I just leave it there, let it mull in my mind over night.

This morning I woke up and went "It is totally dull ... ". Something was missing. Finally realized the something that was missing was Me! I was so worried about using the right techniques, not ruining the paper, not ruining the drawing, that I was holding myself back. So I threw up my hands, said to myself .. "It's only a piece of paper ... go for it and be happy when you are doing it!".

I know I have made a lot of mistakes in this drawing (like too much pencil pressure, scratches from the pencil are showing, wasn't blended subtly) but I was sure happy at the end of the day when I sat back and relaxed enough to see what I had done. I think art is not so much about doing it right but putting your twist and yourself into what you are doing and being happy with what you have created. I win again! I am finding myself revealed in my art!

Prints of this piece are available in My Etsy Shop..... in ACEO format as well as various Art Print sizes.

Below is a copy of the CPM challenge photo....

Happy Day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Welcome Wendy!

Isn't it fun when you receive a surprise card in the mail?  Even more so when that card contains a loving gift from a dear friend.  Well, that happened to me this past week!

I received a large orange envelope with Halloween Greetings from my friend, MaddyRose, and tucked inside was the cutest little original ACEO of a little blond witch and her charmingly crooked little hat!  I have dubbed her "Wendy" and here she is....

Isn't she just the cutest little witch?  
Don't you just love her sweet little face?

THANK YOU MaddyRose!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Colored Pencil Magazine" October Art Challenge #1210 "Kiiro"

The Colored Pencil Magazine posts a colored pencil competition each month, this month's challenge is a photo of a snow leopard gecko, Art Challenge #1210 "Kiiro" (which means yellow in Japanese).

Well, I have been in a creative slump for about the past month and thought this challenge might be just the ticket to charge me back up. I have been working on it for about five days and today I decided it was finally complete. In addition to entering this piece in the October Art Challenge I am also offering prints in my Etsy Shop.

"Snow Leopard Gecko"

 ACEO link:

Art Print link:

Even if I do not win a prize in this contest, I have already won because I am drawing again!

Take care and be happy!
Karen Anne

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Etsy Listings, PLUS A Work In Progress Slideshow Video!

I recently completed a colored pencil illustration titled "The Frog and The Princess", it is available in my Etsy Shop in ACEO format as well as an 8" x 10" authorized print.

Authorized Art Print:
ACEO Open Edition Print:

Additionally, while I was working on this piece I photographed the progress and put together a slideshow video where you can observe the process from beginning to end.  
(you may need to cut and paste this link into your address bar in order to access it)

Wishing all of you happiness,
Karen Anne

Friday, October 5, 2012

THANK YOU STACY (Magic Love Crow)!

What a great day!  The weather is just beautiful and sunny today and the mail man just dropped off a package from Stacy aka Magic Love Crow!  September was Stacy's birthday month and Stacy had a blog birthday give-away party ... unlike most people, Stacy gives gifts to others on her birthday!

She had over eight gifts for those who wanted to participate in her birthday giveaway drawing and I was lucky enough to win the cotton dish clothes that were hand knitted by her Mom!  The dish clothes are beautifully knit in a gorgeous basket weave pattern and I am delighted to receive them ... as I said ... "Lucky Me!"!

Whoops!  Dilly Boy just came in and saw the knit dish clothes and was aghast that I could possibly think of using them for dishes and soiling and perhaps ruining them ... he has a much better use for these high quality pieces.  According to his thinking, they are the perfect size blankets for him and his friends to cuddle up in!  What can I say ... I had to agree with him ... they are way to pretty to use for dishes!  Ergo, Dilly Boy won my heart and Stacy's Mom's "blankets".

Aren't they just gorgeous!  Dilly Boy sends his heartfelt thanks to Stacy's Mom for presenting him with the softest, nicest, cuddliest blankets he has ever been given! XOXOXOXOX to Stacy and to Stacy's Mom from Dilly Boy!

Happy day all!
Karen Anne

PS  Thanks Stacy and Stacy's Mom for brightening up our day!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Got in some "End of the Year Camping"...

We've been home for several days now and I have nearly gotten "Rocinante" winterized ... gosh, it is harder to unload a mini motor home than it is to load one!   We spent 10 nights down at the coast and enjoyed stays in two campgrounds, Kilchis River and Barview Jetty. We have come to the conclusion that these are now two of our favorite places to kick back and relax.

Our little venture was relatively quiet ... not many people go camping in late September, at least not in county campgrounds.  Nehalem Bay State Campground was "packed" when we stopped by there ... but we did not care for that campground.  It has several modules of campsites, but the sites are so close to each other that there is NO illusion of any privacy; the sites are packed tighter than vacuum sealed hot dogs!

We did stop by Fort Stevens State camp ground (outside of Astoria, Oregon and on our way home), which was also at least 50% occupied on Sunday, and it was not bad, sites were close to each other but in some modules the illusion of privacy was evident.  We'll probably spend a couple of nights there in 2013. The rates at Fort Stevens were about $27 with RV hookup.

However, just across from Fort Stevens is a KOA Campground ... that actually delivers Pizza (and other foods from their restaurant) direct to your site!  Cost per night?  $67 - Ouch!  And ... it really didn't have that great of sites ... most kinda bare and out in the open.  Jim and I tend to like sites that are surrounded by foliage; gives off an aura of your own personal space.

I did get one little ACEO completed ... its a surprise for MaddyRose ... I put it in the mail so hopefully she has received it by now.  It was of Dilly Boy aka Dillywink showing off the walking stick he made for himself while we were camping ... Dilly Boy asked me to share it with you ...
He was quite excited about his finished piece.  He had found a stick with character, stripped off the bark, sanded and polished it all by himself!  He is turning out to be quite the little camper!

Earlier this past week, I finished a drawing I had begun at the onset of September ... it is from a photo of our second granddaughter with a fish ... I saw a frog and a princess ...
I scanned the illustration during the times I was working on it and am going to make a WIP (Work in progress) slide show video shortly.  When I have finished it, I'll share a link with you.

Hope you are all well and happy!
Karen Anne aka IrelandBrady

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Dragonfly Project

About a month or so ago I received an order from a party back East for 6 of my Dragonfly ACEO's.    I sent them in one of my handmade note cards with a nice little thank you message.  Shortly thereafter the party emailed me back stating they really liked the Dragonfly ACEO's but were really impressed with my handmade note card and wondered if I could make up about 30 sets of 6 cards each using the dragonfly designs.  They will be getting married and wanted to include a set of my cards in each of the gift tote bags they were assembling for out of town guests who would be staying at a nearby hotel.

Well, I came up with the idea of making ACEO Art Note Cards; each card would hold a signed, dated, titled ACEO in a plastic sleeve on the front of the card.  A gift of art and a card all in one!  They liked the idea and asked if I could send them a sample to be sure they fully understood what I was attempting to explain.  So, I assembled a prototype set with items I had on hand and sent it off.

Once they received the prototype set, they let me know they were delighted with the concept and thus began "The Dragonfly Project"!

I needed to find a nice package for each of the sets and scoured the internet in my search and could not locate something that was inexpensive but yet attractive.  Finally I decided, why not make my own boxes?  Again I turned to the internet, after several days of seeking I finally stumbled upon the right wordage and found some videos on YouTube that showed me how to make my own boxes!

I had plenty of heavy weight cardstock on hand and the couple had sent me ribbon for the packages that matches their wedding colors.  I began making up samples and in the evening my hubby and I sat and studied the samples I had made.  Finally my hubby said, "They look too plain...." and I had to agree.  So I was faced with another challenge ... first I attempted using color paper, but that just didn't work.  Finally I pulled out my "Martha Stewart" Score Board (you can find MS Score Boards at Michael's for around $19.99, I used a 40% coupon and got mine for $12) and scored designs into the white paper, folded it into the box shape and they looked great!  That scoring took the box top from plain to designer quality!

Today I finally finished assembly of all the sets and wrapping ribbon guards around each note card set.  Before I pack them for mailing I wanted to share the results with you.

Here is a photo of one set of ACEO Art Note Cards .....
Each card has a different color combination of cardstock paper, different dragonfly ACEOs, and are each lined with writing paper on the inside.  Each box has different color combinations so that no two sets are exactly alike.  With the card on the far right you can see how the ACEO slips into its plastic sleeve.

This is a close up of one of the boxes that shows off the scored design ... this was one of the prototype boxes ...
This box has a plaid design scored into the paper, but each box top was actually scored with a different design so each was unique.

Here is a photo showing all the boxes completed and neatly stacked in rows ...

I'm really pleased with the results and like the way the ribbon seems to emulate dragonfly wings.  I am even considering selling ACEO Art Note Cards in my Etsy Shop, but not sure ... what do you think about my offering them in my Etsy Shop?

Wonder where my next project will take me ... somewhere interesting for sure!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne  aka

Friday, August 24, 2012

Campsite Illustrations ....

During our latest camping excursion I managed to complete three campsite sketches with the aid of my portable art studio.   The first one was inspired by the Elder Berry bushes in our campsite at Hebo Lake.  Then little electric blue dragonflies began flitting all around and I thought "Why not include them too!".    With my campsite drawings I never really plan out anything, I just start drawing and see where my pen takes me ... here is the first illustration titled "Dragonflies Amid Elderberries" ...

The next two drawings were inspired by the Huckleberries and Salmon Berries we found while camped out at Kilchis River Campground ...

The first is titled "Dragonfly in Huckleberries"....

And the final drawing is titled "Dragonfly And Salmon Berries".....

It would seem that I have a "Dragonfly and Berry" theme going on with my latest illustrations!  Whatever ... they were loads of fun creating!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne aka

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kilchis River Campground, Tillamook County, Oregon

August 10th arrived and we headed over to Kilchis River Campground for our annual Family and Friends Camp Out!  But before doing that we stopped by Garibaldi and Jim picked up another dozen fresh oysters, that boy surely loves his campfire oysters!  A pit stop in Tillamook City for supplies and propane for Rocinante and we were off to our final destination!  This campground is located North of the City of Tillamook and is a family friendly site with showers, playground, horse shoes, grassy sites, and river access.  It has around 34 campsites, plus overflow sites when the demand for additional spots arises.

We were late in getting in our reservations at Kilchis River CG and about the only area available was a little overflow area just outside the Campground Proper.   The area had five tent spots in a circle and since everyone had tents, I figured it would work out just fine!  Well, about a month before the scheduled get together each of our three kids' families ended up with new camping rigs!  Our daughter and her hubby purchased a grand slip on camper for their pickup ... wow is that thing ever nice!  Tons of cupboard space and quite roomy.  Our eldest son and his wife picked up a super nice Tent Trailer and our youngest son and his wife got ahold of a 20' expanding trailer!

Well, I tell you I was really worried because the sites we had booked looked really small ... I was beginning to fret about whether we would have room for all these bigs rigs!   Not to worry however ... the area turned out to be quite large and each site was HUGE!  We ended up in our own little campground area with room to spare!  The main campground was packed in tighter than dill pickles in a jar and we were in the lap of luxury!  The only draw back?  We had to walk further to the restrooms and showers ... but that was well worth the spots we had!  And the kids had their own private access to the best swimming hole in the area!

Everyone showed up one after the other and we got our sites set up and spent the evening around the campfire visiting and enjoying each other's company.

Here is a photo of our site at Kilchis River ...
We were under a large spruce tree that provided plenty of shelter and shade.

In this photo we averted a small disaster waiting to happen ... a large loose branch hanging barely onto the tree was noticed right over where I had been sitting and my oldest son managed to lasso the bugger and pull it down.  Thank God for small blessings and handy sons!

This is another one of the sites, this one overlooks the river and one can even cast their fishing line over the edge.  None of the kids caught any keepers, but they had fun trying!

Our daughter's family tossed in some crawdad (aka crayfish) traps into the river and the next morning pulled out a nice catch!
These fellas were not too happy about their predicament, but everyone else was delighted!

This was a first time experience for many of the kids and they were quite curious ... you sure have to watch out for the pinchers on those little guys!

Luckily I had brought along a large pot and we cooked up the prize catch in a mix of sea salt and pickling spices.  Oh boy, were they ever tastey!  Here they are piled on a nice little serving pan just waiting to be devoured!

This photo gives you a good idea of the size .... not bad!

 On Saturday nite, we all settled in around the campfire after enjoying a huge pot of clam chowder I had made up and celebrated all the summer birthdays!  There are quite a few of them!  In fact Jim's sister, our daughter, and our 2nd granddaughter were all born on the same date - August 18th!  Three different generations of Brady girls born the 18th of August!  Wonder if that is a record of some kind?

The different groups of families and friends departed on Sunday or Monday, but before anyone left we did manage to get our annual "Clan Of The Clam" photo ...
I'm the 2nd from the right with the straw hat (next to Jim) holding Danny Boy...

Jim and I stayed on until the following Thursday before we headed back into town.  We usually do that after a big family shindig just to calm down, after all the excitement and mayhem, and get in a little relaxation.    Before everyone had left, Dilly Boy and I had gone and picked three cups of huckleberries from bushes next to our camp spot.....
he was so delighted with his harvest that he immediately had me make up a double batch of Huckleberry Aebleskivers (round Danish pancakes) to share with everyone.

Once everyone had gone, Dilly Boy and I set up our little art studio and he decided my next drawing should definitely feature huckleberries, so here he is posing with a small branch of huckleberries ... (he ate the huckleberries off the branch before posing ... silly guy!)
And so I began my 2nd camping illustration .... "Dragonfly In Huckleberries" ....

As you can imagine, we had quite the adventure and I, for one, am ready to load up Rocinante and head out again!

Happy day to all!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BarView Jetty Campground, Tillamook County, Oregon

For the nites of 8/8 and 8/9 we decided to venture over to Barview Jetty Campground, its shown as being in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.   We have visited there in years gone by but have never camped there, so this seemed as good a time as any to try out its facilities

It is overseen by Tillamook County, here you’ll find about 293 campsites sitting on the edge of Tillamook Bay, overlooking both the bay and the ocean. Most of the full amenities pack this little gem in the rough, including restrooms, showers, RV hookups and much more. There are 219 tent sites and 69 RV sites.

We didn't like the RV sites, they were packed in like sardines in a tin.  Straight rows of trailers and motorhomes side by side.   No sense of privacy or even any attention to charm were given to this area.  You'd have more space in an RV show than was offered here. 

Now the tent sites were great!  Spacious and semi-secluded from one site to another, each site seemed to hold its own particular charm.  We were given Site #7 in Section T ... this campground is like a maze!  You need a map in order NOT to lose your campsite!  But we did have a nice site and enjoyed our two nights there.  Danny Boy wasn't too happy here ... too much dirt and large gravely roadways; not a lot of nice green grass on which to walk.

Here we have rolled in our spot and pulled out our chairs in readiness for a nice little campfire.   Jim had stopped by and picked up some fresh oysters for himself and some fresh prawns for me.  I stir fried my peeled, seasoned, butterflied prawns in butter in my cast iron fry pan while Jim was more adventurous and roasted his oysters on the fire pit grill ... he is really good at campfire oysters!

There are a lot of unusual trees here with unique branches and roots; I was really intrigued by them....I could just imagine little fairies and gnomes coming out at night to play mischief with the campers!

I was particularly intrigued with this tree ... looks like a hand reaching down from the heavens grabbing a clump of earth ...

During our visit in Barview, DannyBoy and I wandered over the beach, a short walk from the site we were in.  The following are some of the beautiful photos I captured just before dusk ...

I would have wandered down the beach but as soon as we hit the loose dry sand Danny Boy was jumping up wanting me to carry him!  I think the sand was too hot and loose and he panics when he starts to sink in .... I've noticed if I carry him through all the dry sand, he does well on the damp and packed sand.  I didn't feel like carrying him at that time so we just went back to our campsite.

On the 10th of August, we again pulled up stakes and headed over to Kilchis River Campground to meet up with our kids, grandkids, family, and friends for our annual family camping trip....

Will share our time there with all of you tomorrow!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne