There’s something special about time spent at the lake. It’s where great memories start, and where families come together. It’s about relaxing and unplugging - something we all need more of these days!
There are a lot of lakes that hold a special place in my heart.
💙 The lake near my hometown where my family spent summers camping with great friends.
💙 The lake my Grandpa would take me fishing on, just me and him.
💙 The lake where my husband proposed to me; where we had spent so much time together, and where he spent his summers growing up.
💙 The little lake we lived on right after we got married.
💙 Now, our kids get to start making their own special memories at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the lake.
I wanted to create a way to tangibly celebrate those special memories for our family. The lake painting design idea came to me years ago, when I was just starting to explore watercolor. Countless paintings later, through trial and error, I came up with the design I work with today.
The result is a layered, die cut design, featuring the lake’s outline cut into a smooth art paper. The bottom layer is painted on a textured 100% cotton watercolor paper. These two papers are carefully attached together to create a unique dimensional effect.
A hand painted heart can be added to honor a place on the lake that’s special to you.
It’s my hope that in some small way, a lake painting will take you back to a time and place that you hold dear. It’s something you can share with a loved one to celebrate a special memory. It’s a way to welcome a new lake into your lives, in anticipation of all the great times you’ll enjoy there.
What's your family's special lake, and what's your favorite memory there? Comment below to share your lake love - I love to hear those stories!
Does Valentine's Day sneak up on you like it does me? It seems like as soon as the Christmas decor goes on clearance, the hearts start showing up in stores. Then before you know it, Valentine's Day is just a few days away and I'm scrambling to have the kids pick out cards for their classroom parties and I'm left getting my own cards last minute.
This year I wanted to go a little easier on myself, so I made my own from home. I painted this watercolor design and made it into a card template to share with you!
This cute Valentine's card is easy to print and fold yourself! It comes with handy guidelines, so you know just where to cut and fold.
To make this card at home it's best to use a cardstock, which will give it a more sturdy feel. Always check to make sure that your printer can handle the weight of paper you've chosen though! I use 100 lb cardstock for the printed cards I offer in my Great Oaks Art Etsy Shop, but most at home printers have a hard time accepting a paper that thick.
I've found that you can get pretty good results with cardstock from your local store in the craft or paper department. I've been using this cardstock for printing at home with my basic ink jet printer. So far it has worked out well, and I've been happy with the results. The paper is not as thick as the cards in my shop, but it is just sturdy enough to feel like a nice card when I want to test out a design and print from home.
The finished card will measure 5 x 7 inches (folded) after you've trimmed along the guidelines. In card-speak, that means it will fit in an A7 size envelope. You can find these in the stationery section of the craft department at your local store.
I love the brown kraft paper feel, but get creative! Use any color you want and make it your own!!
Ready to print this card and send some Valentine's?!
Click the link below to join the Great Oaks Art email list to get this card!
In the spirit of reflection that comes along with the new year, I've spent the past few weeks looking back on 2018 and planning for the coming year. Last January, I opened Great Oaks Art with the hope of sharing what I love about watercolor and hometown love with more people. It was a year of trying new things, meeting new people, and growing beyond what I thought I could accomplish in a year's time!
Here are a few of my favorite highlights from 2018:
30 Lakes in 30 Days
In July 2018, I created a collection of 30 paintings celebrating Michigan summer memories. A new Michigan lake was featured in a painting each day. Each unique piece was created from original watercolor paintings, which were then layered with die cut paper showcasing the lake's outline. Add a little paper heart to a place that special to you, and what a great way that is to remember a favorite vacation spot or family memory!
If you are interested in seeing the whole collection, head on over to my Instagram page and take a look!
Holiday Craft Shows
At the start of the year, I didn't intend to participate in any arts and craft shows in 2018. But, when a friend suggested that we enter one together, I thought, why not?! Thankfully, my Mom (bless her heart), had foreseen this potential desire a few years ago and had picked up a set of display racks from a local retiring artist. What makes this special is that I remember admiring this artist's work growing up, and I feel honored to use something that served her so well.
My first show (ever!!) was with my friend here locally in the Kalamazoo area. What an amazing experience! From meeting so many friendly and helpful artisans and makers, to seeing the joy and excitement on my kid's faces as they helped me prepare and set up my booth. My husband was so helpful and supportive as well, truly a family affair! I finished up the year with one more show near my hometown in Ludington, Michigan. I'm so thankful for that gentle nudge from my friend to give craft shows a try.
I'm starting to plan for shows in 2019, so stay tuned for more info to come! If you want to be the first to know what shows I'll be at, head on over and sign up for my email list by clicking the link below.
Designing greeting cards was a favorite challenge this year. Back when I started playing with watercolor, I would hand paint and assemble greeting cards for family and friends. When I opened my shop last year, I wanted to include a stationery line of some sort, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep up with hand painting each one. After some research, I found a great family-owned print shop here locally. I'm so impressed with the quality of their printing. The paper is thick and sturdy, just like you'd expect from a quality card.
The Michigan themed cards were a hit at the craft shows this year. One of the things I love about them is that they aren't just a card, you can frame them too! They easily fit in a 5 x 7 inch frame (or in a 8 x 10 inch frame that has a mat as shown in the picture above). So not only can you send someone a card, they can pop it up on their wall too! These cards are blank inside too, perfect for any occasion.
I'll be expanding the shop's stationery line in 2019, with more frame-able cards and occasion cards to come!
So that's a wrap on 2018!
I can't wait to bring some new ideas and experiences to life in 2019! I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy new year too. Fill it with things that bring you joy and great memories!