My name is Erika. I'm in love with making art, collecting old things & chasing after my two kiddos. This blog is a peek into my happy accidents & plots of total world domination.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Count Down

Happy Holidays! We are in full swing of the Christmas holiday checklist. We went and got a tree, check. Made several batches of delicious Christmas cookies.. in fact too many that it's going to be on my new year resolutions to swear of sweets for at least 30 days, check! Completed Christmas shopping, check! Mailed out Christmas cards, even though more than half the people will receive them late, check!!

One of the last things on my list was taking Nora to go see Santa. What's sort of funny is that I didn't realize until I had a kid is the amount of children that really don't like Santa and I mean really don't like Santa.  I have seen children once placed on Santa's lap, turn red, dry heave, mad clapping, screaming for mama, and stomping their feet.. just complete melt downs.  I guess I never really thought of Santa as being scary but I guess he could be.  I love the idea of Santa, the imagination, the whimsy, and the dream but it makes me wonder if Nora will be a crier.. a screamer because I know she has the lungs.  This year we went to see Santa and she had the same expression as last year (here is the photo from last year.)... frozen and the look "What the hell am I doing on this guy lap." Double Check.  

Now we are off to visit my parents and both my sisters are making the trip out too! Christmas is the one time of year that we all make the pilgrimage to see each other.  We bake, make fun of each other, watch scary movies, and of course open our identical gifts from our parents and then swap.   

If I don't check back in by Christmas, I just want to wish you a very Happy Holiday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last Minute Gift Guide: Boxed Subscription Ideas

Now days you can have just about anything sent to your home or even someone else's home. Since this year I left a lot of my shopping to the last minute.. I could brave the mall. or do a gift card and then it dawned on me or I could do a subscription boxed service.  Because who doesn't love mail? and who doesn't love goodies in the mail? I do! I do! So here are my pics for this Christmas.

1.  Olympic Provision's Salami of the Month Club.  Olympic Provisions makes delicious salami, and I mean seriously delicious.  Tim will drive 15 minutes to go pick it up at the fancy grocery store just for a stick of it. It's the perfect gift for someone who loves charcuterie plates or loves eating good ol' salami while watching football.  At Christmas time they start the salami of the month club which this could be in somebody's stocking this year.  This is a monthly service for the year of handcrafted salami's right to your door.
2.  For the Makers. Don't you just love the name? This one is a monthly subscription box where you get to make 4-6 design projects per month like a leather chain bracelet or a geometric tea towel.  It comes with tips, tutorials and easy step by step instructions so that even a beginner can make something.  This is the perfect gift for people who love hand made or the avid DIYer.
3.  Papirmass.  Now for the art lover- this is a year long subscription that gives you one piece of art per month.  It's almost like having your own personal curator and it typically includes an archival print with some type of creative writing. This is a 12 month long subscription and I might have to buy this one for myself.  Who says I can't buy myself presents at Christmas time? :)
4.  Stumptown Coffee's Monthly Subscription.  One of my favorite gourmet coffee roasters in Portland and when people leave Portland they have a tendency to still have this coffee mailed to their home, it is that good.  If you don't know what to get somebody- this is a pretty awesome gift.
5. Ipsy.  4-5 beauty products in a fancy bag sent to your home every month.  I have seen photos floating around on Instagram about how much my friends love this special box and it's only a $10 a month subscription. What more could a girl want?
6.   Tota Press- Give a Card or Two.  I am a sucker for beautiful stationary especially letterpress! This gifted subscription offers 2 awesome cards per month. Letterpress is a way of printing using a printing press.  I always think this type of printing is especially gorgeous and I also think this is such a heart felt gift.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY: Golden Army Holiday Ornaments

Since it's the holiday season I am going to an mom's night out ornament exchange tonight.  I love making things especially when I can be a little bit obnoxious and especially a little bit gaudy.  So of course I chose to make my ornament and what gaudy craft project isn't complete with out using a hot glue gun.  
1.  Army Figurines- I found these guys at the dollar store. 
2.  Gold Spray Paint.
3.  Ribbon- I used glitter red ribbon but you can also use baker twine if you prefer.
4.  Cardboard Box
5.  Hot Glue Gun
6.  Scissors
7.  Chocolate Chip Cookies

1.  Take your hot glue gun and glue all the little army guys together.  Give them a glue hug. :) Now this is where your artistic flair comes into play but they want to be in the shape of a ball.
2.  Once the glue dries put them in the card board box and spray the crap out of them with the gold spray paint.  Once a side is dry flip them over and spray again.  I think I did 3 flips before I got them completely covered.
3.  Cut your ribbon at the desired length and to make them extra fancy I clipped the ends of the ribbon like shown in the picture.  Tie the ribbon in a knot and then you are ready to hang your ornament.
4.  Once your ornament is hung take those chocolate chip cookies and sit yourself on the couch and enjoy all your very hard work you did today.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Free What Did the Fox Say? Gift Tag Printables

Hey Fox lovers! ;) One of Tim's favorite activities to do with Nora is to have a dance party and one of their favorite tracks is What Did the Fox Say? by Ylvis.  Nora gets so excited to hear this song that she immediately starts swinging her arms around and doing her booty shake dance. Since it's Nora's favorite song this holiday season I thought it would make terrific gift tags.  Now it's time to wrap and I have a mountain of gifts to work on.

Have you started your holiday wrapping?

Download here :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Toddler: A Gift Guide


Happy Monday! Did you have a nice weekend? This weekend was so jammed packed with holiday goodness that it felt like I didn't even have a weekend.  As I mentioned before the Big 400 art opening was this weekend and it was so completely jammed packed and the line wrapped around the whole entire floor of the building in order to get inside.  I plan on going back over the weekend so I can actually look at the art. If you are in the area, it is truly such a great show because it has all different types of art and all different types of artists in different stages of their careers. The show is up until mid January- click here for more details.

The one thing I love about having a little toddler is finding her the perfect little presents.  Before I had my daughter, I was totally and I mean completely clueless about children.  I think I might have held a friends baby once but never was really around young children.  If I needed a gift for one I would go straight to Amazon or a big boxed store and wonder around the kids section aimlessly.  So having my own little nugget I have discovered so many beautiful little and big online shops.  I also feel like Nora has such a growing amount of wonder and imagination at this age that I just want to find her things that are extra special and unique.. not necessarily one of kind but something a little different.   One thing I love about all these gifts is that they aren't too girly or boyish.  I really love all these picks and can't wait until Christmas comes!.

Now I am off to bake some chocolate chip cookies because Nora new favorite word is cookie and runs around and stomps her feet until she gets one.  I know I'm in trouble.:) 

What are you up to today?


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Big 400

Tonight is THE night! The 6th annual Big 400 opens today.  I have been sharing all 10 of my art pieces as I have been making them but if you are in the Portland area- this is Portland's largest art show. There are over 400 artists participating in the show and there is generally a really long line to get into the art show. I have been participating in this art show since the beginning and it started out with 30 of us and now 400.  Tim and I got a sitter for tonight so that we can swing by the art show and go out for a bite.

What are you up to this weekend?

PS More details about the show are listed below.

Want to see previous work for this show? Big400/Big 300/Big 200/Big 100
Details About the Art Show:
Date: December 14th- 2 p.m. and runs until January 21st.
Location:  Peoples Art of Portland Gallery
700 SW Fifth (3rd floor) People's is Suite 4005, Portland, Oregon
There are over 400 artists participating in the 6th Annual Big 400 Show and all art is $40.   It is a pretty wild and crazy show and if you decide to go get there early because people wait in line to get into this amazing show. It is a cash a carry show- which means you purchase the painting right then and there and you go home with the work.!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Art Love: Kristy Mitchell

Aren't these photos breath taking? Kristy Mitchell is a UK fine art fantasy photographer and this is from her latest series "Wonderland".  This series has been ongoing for over 4 years.  Her mother passed away from a brain tumor and she channeled her grieving process into her passion for photography.  I love how mythical and magical it is and takes you to a new place, and feels so authentic.  All of the costumes and set is all constructed by hand and takes months to create- but what's amazing is the amount of detail and care.  She also keeps an online diary while she is making and creating.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY: Christmas Garland

This Christmas I can't seem to get enough sparkle and of course glitter.. I think the glamour of Christmas has sort of taken over my house.  Every year, the more decorations that I make or buy I always want to add more and then dump more on... pretty soon I am going to have a gaudy Christmas. All I did was cut out the word "Christmas" with felt and then cut out 3 inch width strips of glitter paper.  I glued the letters on the paper.  Then punched holes on the top on each side and ran bakers twine through it... and magic its instant Christmas all over the fire place.  So easy and love it.

Have you been doing an Holiday Projects this year?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sears Family Christmas Card

It's sort of funny that when you have kids- one gets motivated to do the traditional things.. cut down a Christmas tree.. put some holiday lights up and of course the family Christmas card. I'm always a fan of doing something extra special and here is our card this year. Tim thinks it's a little on the dark side but who doesn't love a bad Santa especially one with rainbow laser beam eyes with his side kicks killer dolphins and in outer space? I think it turned out pretty perfect:)

Holiday Photo Challenge

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Tree Hunting

I think my favorite of all Christmas time activities is picking out the perfect tree and decorating it.  One of the best things about living in Oregon is the beautiful trees and the smell.  If you have ever been here you know that crisp pine smell in the air and when it rains even in the city you can get whiffs of the forrest.  Looking at these photos it makes me feel lucky to be in such a green place. Every year we always go to the same Christmas tree farm but it was closed.. I know crazy isn't it a Christmas tree farm closed during December.

Now typically we are tree cheaters.. we go and look at the trees and walk around and look at all the cute stuff on the farm and then we pick out the tree, the the people on the farm cut it down, shake it, wrap it, and even put in our car. Tim I think was a little nervous about cutting down the tree by himself because when he saw that our regular Christmas tree farm was closed- he asked if we could just go pick one up grocery store. We live in Oregon there are and has to be a million farms selling trees.  So I convinced him to lets just see if we could find a different place.

Less then 1 minute away we see a sign that reads U-CUT.  We turn into the short gravel road that has a small parking lot surrounded by trees, there was a guy in a van handing out saws and had a white board with prices. It made me wonder a tiny bit if this was a legitimate tree place, but the guy handing out the saws did look a little like Santa. I asked Santa if he had any pointers of the actual cutting of the tree and he said just make sure we cut it close to the ground.  He pointed out all sorts of different types of trees and wished us luck. It didn't take us long to find our tree because we didn't want a huge tree but just like a 6 ft one. Thankfully Tim got over his fears and cut down that tree like a champ.  This is Nora's 2nd Christmas but I think it's her first real Christmas remembering and I think she liked the tree cutting but hated the cold because after the tree was loaded up in the car. She just cried with big fat tears for no reason at all.  I couldn't help but chuckle and give her a big hug.  Ohhh and if you watch the tv show Little People Big World-  a couple of the kids showed up right when we leaving and Tim asked me to stop staring.  

After getting the tree we indulged in hot chocolates with extra marsh mellows and listened to Christmas music while decorating the tree. We followed that with grilled cheese sammiches and tomato soup.. then we had a Christmas music dance off.  I love having Christmas in my house. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ode to Winston.

I think Winston is happiest when he is running and his ears are flapping back.  He is the watch dog of the house and the best cuddler around.  I can't believe he is going to be 8 years old this year and he doesn't look a day over 5 :).. well at least in his heart. His beard is starting to go white and snores a lot louder these days.  I'm already convinced he will live forever.  Nora loves Winston and Winston tries to sit in Nora's lap and when he tries they look to be about the same size. I can never get a good pictures of the two of them together.

This weekend Tim is out of town and I am finishing up some commissioned paintings :) I am doing commissioned portraits for the holidays and only have a couple of spots left open so if you are thinking about it for the holidays then now is the time. More details here.  We also got our first sprinkle of snow! 

Doing anything fun this weekend?


Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Christmas Wishlist


I have done so little Christmas shopping, and I can't believe I haven't even come close to finishing yet. The holidays have snuck up this year because of the late Thanksgiving but I feel like now I am in a rush to start shopping... like I really need a reason to shop. :) So here is my Christmas wishlist for myself and if Santa happens to bring me any of these items I would be extremely happy. I normally do all my shopping pretty early or at least have some sort of game plan but this year- I don't know I am trying to be the spontaneous shopper. You know that shopper that whats for the last minute and sees what she gets.

How's your holiday shopping going?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Big 400 #10- Lets go Bowling

This is the last and final painting for the Big 400.  I can't believe I have painted them all and I always think it's going to be easier every year but nope I'm work it's a challenge.  I have always loved this bowling alley's sign and now it's owned by a chain but I am so happy that they kept the big glowing retro sign and they have kept it in really good condition.  Back in college one Tim and I favorite things to do was go bowling! and Tim is the funniest bowler.  He sort of bowls like he pushes the ball with all of his might and falls over when he releases the ball.  Just thinking about it makes me laugh and it's almost as awesome as his dance skills.

Today is a Nora day- she has been up all night the last couple of nights with teething and has been chewing on her crib.  So we are off to her favorite place the library and then planning on baking some cookies. 

What are you up to today?

Oil Painting on 8X8 wood board.
Want to see previous work for this show? Big400/Big 300/Big 200/Big 100

Details About the Art Show:
Date: December 14th- 2 p.m. and runs until January 21st.
Location:  Peoples Art of Portland Gallery
700 SW Fifth (3rd floor) People's is Suite 4005, Portland, Oregon
There are over 400 artists participating in the 6th Annual Big 400 Show and all art is $40.   It is a pretty wild and crazy show and if you decide to go get there early because people wait in line to get into this amazing show. It is a cash a carry show- which means you purchase the painting right then and there and you go home with the work.!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DIY: Quick and Easy Advent Calendar

It's official the Christmas crafting has begun! It drives Tim a little crazy when I start Christmas crafting because I have a tendency to make a pretty large mess when I am making something I always tell him that he shouldn't mess with the creative process or I should say the creative genius. :) I am just getting my house in full holiday mode- I am always in awe of people who can just turn their house into instant Holiday Cheer but for me it takes a day or two to give my house it's holiday look. Tim always loves the outcome of my holiday decorating but sometimes I have to tell him to use his imagination before I start working on something when describing my vision.  He does enjoy his two christmas jobs which are helping decorate the tree and the official light hanger of the banister.. I know real tough jobs.

 I wanted to do something really simple for my advent calendar and something Nora could appreciate now.  Since she is only 17 months I didn't really want to toys or candy as the little prize. So, I got this little paper bags and drew the numbers and a doodle on the bag and then glued a glitter paper triangle.. you know to give them that special Christmas glamour.  Then I wrote little notes inside- like a hug or a walk to the park and there could be a special Santa note inside one of them. :)  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Swirling Birds

Happy December! I can't believe we are already in December and now it's time for full Christmas count down. Over the weekend we headed out to the coast to visit my parents and I swear it seems like such a small isolated place in the world, even though it's about a 2 hour drive from us.  There isn't a lot of people but theres lots of beach, an amazing bakery, and the best little antique stores. (and no I am not sharing which antique stores! I have my eye on this vintage 1950's Christmas deer that I have to go back in and haggle on and I don't want anyone to go in and get it!)  I can see why my parents love to live here even if it's a little far from the city.

We took Nora to the beach a lot and she has a love/hate relationship with the sand because she loves the texture but she is starting to not like getting dirty.  So she would dig her hands deep into the sand and then come over to me and wipe her hands off on me. lol. She did this over and over and over.  The birds are the best thing about coming to the beach.  I usually unleash Winston and he chases them and they do this swirling pattern formation.  I have never really seen anything quite like it, but it was pretty amazing because they swirled and looped around us.  After our traditional morning walk to the beach we head inside where my mom makes big breakfasts and steaming mugs of hot coco.  I couldn't not help but share the last photo- total mush-fest :)

This week is already shaping up to be a busy one with lots of painting and DIY projects! yay! Did you have a nice weekend?

© Erika Lee Sears