Week Four #PatternJanuary (+ a few days)

During week four I was suddenly hit by a few things.

First of all, before I even realized it I had gotten over the halfway hump and had successfully posted a pattern everyday (champion hand swing over the shoulder emoji).

Secondly, I was suddenly overcome with a mile long to-do list of things I want to do after the month was complete. I had been so productive and had a TON of forward moving momentum and couldn’t wait until the month was over and I could work on this and work on that and everything else under the sun and moon. As much fun as I was having, I was also excited to start on some new projects.

Lastly, it’s funny how as the month went along, what I thought would be a typical pattern for the day at the beginning of the month (quick and small in a little art book, easy-peasy, no stress) ended up being no longer acceptable in my mind. As I did pieces that were more time consuming and I became more and more pleased with them, the standard elevated and I felt guilt if I only had time to do a quick piece.

Case in point:

Day 22 Letter
Little art book

The theme of letter should have been an amazing pattern! I obviously went with a mail theme and I LOVE MAIL. Instead, this was one of those days where after I got off work, got in my daily steps and all the other things that had to be done, it got so late that I ended up just grabbing an old gelatin print, slapping it in a little art book and scribbling out some envelopes and postcards in white gel pen with a touch of pencil shading and called it a night. The letter pattern should have been a passion piece, where I spent all day thinking of ideas, a good amount of time playing with ideas in my sketchbook and then a few hours executing the pattern.

On top of everything else I had going on in January, I was also sick for 3 weeks. Now that the month is over I am astounded that I got through it and made a pattern every day. I am immensely proud of myself.

Day 23 Everyday

This is the closest I've come to the midnight deadline. It took me forrrreverrrrr to think of an idea for "everyday" but then it hit me, black and white stripes! That is my everyday.

This was a day that I was kinda  stressing out about what I was going to do for “Everyday”. I don’t think I had a single idea until I finally sat down to try and get to business and it finally hit me. Black and white stripes. That really is part of my everyday. I’ve had a love affair with stripes since high school and I remember being crushed hearing “horizontal stripes are not flattering” but I decided I didn’t care. They made me happy. I’ve kinda transitioned to preferring a black and off white or cream. For this piece I created some new black and white stripes and opened other little art books to pages that were already black and white stripes. The one page that says “ERRYDAY” was an already made page, but the center box was empty, so I was able to add that.

Day 24 Supplies

Day 24 #patternjanuary, #supplies. This is the first time I've made a pattern that I'm actually excited to make into a fabric. It would need some work because I literally just did a rough paint bucket background so the edges are wonky when you blow it up.

I immediately thought of art supplies, and then when I was thinking of specific art supplies I thought of my love for tiny pencils. I love tiny pencils. I feel like if you use a pencil all the way down to a nub, you did the pencil great justice. Meanwhile I have a coworker that was throwing away pencils after she sharpened them a few times and it broke my heart, so she started passing them off onto me, hurrah! I love, love, love this pattern. Originally I was just going to do one yellow #2 pencil and create stripes, but after one I had to do another and the next thing I knew I was searching my drawing table and art bins for other small pencils to paint.

And the #tinypencils I used as reference for the "supplies" pattern today

There’s the eraser, which would have come from my coworker Fred that passed away last fall, the chewed pencil, the blue drawing pencil left over from college, the “natural” wood colored pncil and for one more touch of variety, a red mini pencil. I plan on making this pattern into a fabric and hopefully a skirt.

Day 25 Put a Bird On It

Put a bird on it, papercut over gelatin print collage #patternjanuary

I saw this theme ahead of time and thought “That’s gonna be a fun one!” but when the day came I got stumped. Finally I decided to watch the original skit and was reminded that most of the birds they used were silhouettes of birds. Boom! I drew out birds on black construction paper and then pasted them over a gelatin print collage and I ended up really liking it.

Day 26 Argyle

#PatternJanuary #argyle - Vintage papers (Browns) and gelatin prints (pink) with digital linework (dots) - off to bed 😴💤

This piece’s color palette and materials were inspired by this piece by Suzanna Scott. I went into my studio and grabbed a bunch of vintage papers, and then went through my gelatin prints for pinks with patterns. I cut the papers into squares and alternated the vintage with the prints, assembled them on paper, scanned them and then repeated the pattern and added the white dot line digitally.

Day 27 Snowflake

Day 27 #PatternJanuary #snowflake

Continuing on with my grass and prairie theme, I thought how as much as I’ve photographed winter prairie, I’ve never tried to paint or draw it. I looked up some pictures I had taken and there was a lot of them with dead queen anne’s lace. I was pleasantly surprised how this one came out. I put down a layer of gesso to add texture to the paper and then built layers upon that. I originally thought I was going to try and accent with white gel pen for snow or frost on the queen anne’s lace, but after adding a few lines I could tell it wasn’t going to work and I was happy with how it came out, without any additional snow on it.

Day 28 Snowflake

Work in progress, #PatternJanuary

When I read log cabin I immediately thought of nothing else other than the quilt pattern. Instead of pulling from already patterned papers, I took it upon myself to decorate papers for this pattern.#PatternJanuary #logcabin #letsmakepatterns #robayrepatterns

It definitely didn’t come out as I had hoped. You win some (snowflake, above) and you lose some (log cabin)

Day 29 Diamond

#Diamond immediately made me think of the mailart series I did with these random geometric shapes. I painted this in color but I actually like it better in black and white. 2 more days to go! #PatternJanuary #robayrepatterns #letsmakepatterns

This piece was inspired by a bunch of mailart pieces I’ve made in the past with made up geometric shapes. I made it in color, but liked it a whole lot more when I de-saturated the color dramatically. De-saturate Dramatically, that has to be an oxymoron. This piece and the next piece were created in a hotel room downtown Chicago, that was gifted to us by Matt’s family. I love making artwork in hotels. Change of scenery.

Day 30 Stipple

#PatternJanuary #stipple Inspired by the way @aisforanika discharges her brush onto another sheet of paper with the intentions of building upon it to make a new pattern, I created this piece. I added the stipple polka dots with a 40% gray prisms color mar

I was inspired by Anika’s periscopes where she shares how she discharges the paint or ink from her brush on a consecutive page in her sketchbook to create new patterns. Normally I’ll just use a rinse jar and try to drop any excess paint back in the well on my palette. I was using one of my water brush pens, so sometimes I’ll turn to a scrap paper and drag long lines to discharge. But this time I started leaving different marks on a new page, which led me to liking that new page better than the original, but then I started a third pattern when I was discharging from the second piece and I liked that even more. This is that third piece. It’s is so not a Robyn color palette (no bright reds or yellow greens) but I think I got a few comments on how people really liked the colors.

Day 31 Symmetry

Here is a little thumbnail of my final piece for #patternjanuary (symmetry), see the full piece on the @littleartbook page. Last week I was so excited to reach the home stretch and welcome February and start working on a list of other projects. Now here i

For this piece I did a technique that I’ve done several times in the past. I use the neocolor II watercolor crayons and color a pattern thick and heavy and then spray down the page and close the book. Leave it for a few minutes and when you return you get something like this.

#patternjanuary day 31 symmetry

Depending on how much you spray and how long you leave it before closing the book and if you spray the blank page as well, or keep it dry, and how long you leave the book closed, will give you different effects.

That’s it! a whole month of pattern making. I had a blast and I’m so thrilled to know I still have it in me to do a month long daily challenge. It felt SO GOOD! I’ll be back in a few with a recap.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Three #PatternJanuary

This week was a good one for patterns. I think I got over the hump of “oh great, what am I going to do today” and kind of dreading the work, to realizing this is actually fun and I can be very proud of these pieces. I had an “Aha! moment”. It seems so simple yet it’s one of those things I need to learn and relearn over and over in my life. You really get out of this what you put into it. When you devote a large amount of time to something, most likely it’s gonna reflect that. Despite my best efforts to come up with an idea that is quick and simple, the pieces I have liked the most are the ones that I spent hours working on.

I have one of those 642 Things to Draw Books and when I got it I was really excited, until I started REALLY looking at the prompts and then I was done. I think I drew one or two things before I threw my hands up in the air. Sailboat? Really? It’s asking me to draw a sailboat? I had no commitment to push through the discomfort. I will be honest. I didn’t really look at Anika’s list too much before committing to this project. If I had, I probably would have talked myself out of it. Finally during this third week I hit some real (to-me) “clunkers”. I had zero inspiration and had no idea how I was going to approach these themes. Mackerel?! I had gotten this far in the month and I wasn’t going to throw the towel in so I just kept thinking, thinking, thinking, until something would hit me. Sometimes those difficult themes led to even more developed ideas, which took longer, but that extra time really paid off. It took me until this third week to stop pushing back, trying to come up with a quick idea and the “get it over with” attitude, and instead embrace it and really enjoy digging into the hard work. It pays off!

Day 15 Mackerel.
Not a mackerel, but #wip for my #patternjanuary all the same #rainbowtrout #watercolor

The prospect of this theme was less than inspiring to me. Mackerel. I could think of NO personal ties I have to this fish. Nothing excited me or evoked any inspiration at the word mackerel. Even, holy mackerel. No nothing. Then all of a sudden I remembered a fabric I bought, probably as a 15 or 16 year old, after I had just started my first quilt. Most of my yoyo quilt was made from scraps of my mom’s left over quilting, but occasionally I would buy little bits of new fabrics that caught my eye.

Rainbow trout plaid fabric

I found this blue and white plaid fabric with “rainbow trout” in it and my teenage self thought that it was SO HILARIOUS that I bought tons of it in hopes to make a skirt or something from it. I can’t tell you how many yards and yards of fabric I’ve bought over the years in hopes of making skirts and probably only have made two or three. Anyway, remembering this fish fabric pattern was the spark I needed to inspire me. I had the vision of painting a variety of fish and then incorporating them into the center of a pattern.

fish scribble pattern

I envisioned a scribbly pattern. I painted the fish in watercolor, and scanned and photographed them before adding the scribble. I was glad I did that, not that it ruined the fish, but I might have been so disheartened my vision did not work, that I would have quit. I had the scans and made made a repeating pattern and I ended up LOVING it! I actually did the digital pattern before returning to add the scribbles. I was wanting a very loose, scribbled and textured circle. I wonder if I tried it again with a thicker line?

#robayrepatterns This is what happens when you have a whole day to devote to your #patternjanuary. I painted the fish in watercolors and the background was digital. I'm kinda in love with it.

One thing I’ve remembered while doing this daily project was something I picked up from my one illustration class in college. The teacher highly recommended we scan our work, and then print copies and build upon those, rather than possibly destroying a piece and having to start over from scratch. It really makes sense, and from a designer’s viewpoint, one knows you have to “SAVE OFTEN” because you never know when you will have done tons of work and the program crashes or the power goes out. And I definitely have saved variations with layers in case I want to go back a few steps.

One last note on this piece. To paint these fish I had to look up pictures of the various fish. I referenced a collection of each to find parts I liked and find out what elements were true to the fish as a whole species and not a specific fish image that was shared. I obviously had to include mackerel because that the day’s topic, but then in addition I chose rainbow trout, blue gill, large mouth bass and yellow perch. Did you know that Mackerel do not have scales?

Day 16 Layers.
Little art book

When I first started this challenge I thought about how sticking with one theme might be a good idea. I love this little art book I made and filled with abstract compositions, made almost entirely from gelatin print collage, and thought about doing that all month long. In the end I decided to keep it open and breezy, so if I want to work in watercolor one day I can and if I want to work in collage and mixed media another day I can too. The theme of layers was perfect for collage so I did just that. I really do want to revisit this more and can see filling lots of books this way.

Day 17 Pods

Work in progress on my pod #patternjanuary earlier today

And the finished pattern for today.

This is another pattern that took a long time, but was worth it. The theme was pod and I was once again searching and searching for inspiration. Funny enough, the inspiration came from the stained glass windows at church that morning. The finished pattern looks nothing like the colorful abstract shapes in the windows, but I love-love-loved the results of this piece. I could see this one printed as a fabric. The pods are supposed to be poppy seed pods, which is that elusive plant I have always want to try and grow in our yard, but it just won’t ever take.

Day 18 Free.

#patternjanuary for "Free" is this cloud piece in a #littleartbook. It was my first idea, but then I tried other things, but I ended up coming back to it anyway.

When thinking of “Free” my first idea was a cloud pattern, but it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and so I couldn’t resist a “freedom” themed pattern. I tried doing a hand lettered pattern with the word Freedom repeated, but halfway through I HATED it. It was getting late and with an early wake up call the next day I decided to quickly revisit my first idea in a little art book, and I ended up liking it. I still ended up getting to use some of those same loopy, almost calligraphy like shapes inside each cloud.

Day 19 Groceries

I originally planned on coloring it, possibly using watercolor, or colored pencil, or watercolor colored pencils 😉 but I ran out of time. I have less than 6 hours before I have to be up for work in the morning. Maybe I'll post a color version tomorro

The inspiration for this piece started with some tote bags I’ve been obsessively sewing this winter. As soon as I had the bag idea down I thought of my trip to my last trip to the grocery store. I made this DELICIOUS recipe (vegetarian version of the knock-off, Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli, which I’ve never had at Olive Garden, but my SIL made recently).  After I was done with this pattern I immediately wanted to add color, but it was once again getting late. I printed out a couple copies to add color (once again, remembering advice from my illustration teacher) and those copies have been kicking around the living room ever since. I want to record a time lapse while coloring it in and don’t have a tripod, so I’m pretty much stuck with propping up the camera or pulling Matt in for the extra hands.

Day 20 emoji.

#patternjanuary #emoji #🌾 how is it already the 20th?!

I love my emoji’s, like any card carrying member of the iphone-disciples. Which emoji should I choose? The Mushroom? The Balloon? Fingers crossed? As I was looking through all of the emojis I noticed (what I call) the tall grass prairie emoji (but suspect it is probably wheat or rice plant). As soon as I saw that I looked up and saw a watercolor washed background I had started for another piece, but ended up not using. Perfect! It’s funny how tall grass prairies have been part of my visual language in my artwork, since I was probably in high school. And yet, as often as grass is in my work, I felt like I had to do it in a more abstract way, but lately I’m finally finding a more representative way that I think works.

Day 21 Cactus.

#patternjanuary day 21: #cactus My Christmas cactus (which I just found out is probably actually a Thanksgiving cactus) is in bloom, so I decided to make it into a pattern. I might revisit it later and add color

When I read cactus I immediately thought of my Christmas cactus because it was in bloom. When doing research on the Christmas cactus (because I was questioning if it was even really a cactus) I found that it is probably actually a “Thanksgiving Cactus” which looks very much like a Christmas cactus, but has more pointy tips on it’s leaves, where the Christmas cactus is more rounded edges. I thought of making my pattern as stripes with the long arms of leaves with occasional flowers. I wanted to color this one as well, but ran out of time. I’ll have a few patterns after this month is over, that I can revisit.

There are just a few days left of #patternjanuary so I will be back shortly with the last week plus a few days.

Week One

Week Two

Week Two #PatternJanuary

It took me until in this second week of #PatternJanuary to realize this was a month long, daily project and that I hadn’t done one of those for several years. I used to do a daily project once or twice a year and have been wanting to do one again for a long time. Anytime I’d see one I’d think about it, but then I would think of all the other things I want to focus on and decide against it. This time the project is in line with my goals and things I want to be working on.

Day 8 Fast.

I knew I wanted to make a video, which would illustrate the time it took to do this piece. As I said when I posted it to instagram, it took 2 minutes to make the piece, but it took 4 hours of procrastinating, so how is that for fast?

And the finished piece.

Day 9 Monoschrome.


This piece is entirely watercolor. I made it while I was at an all day craft event.

Day 10 Time.

Time is a spot on theme today, as I've been acutely aware of how much time I spend worrying, anticipating, trying to think of ideas, procrastinating and then finally (feeling like I'm last minute-ly) throwing together my daily pattern. #patternjanuary #ti
This piece is a watercolor background with white pastel infinity symbols on top with a bit of pencil shading to make the symbols pop.

Day 11 Geometric.

It's not finished but here is my #patternjanuary for geometric. Lily of the valley, four leaf clover, poppy and chicory. Time for bed! #robayrepatterns #letsmakepatterns #watercolor

I wanted to create a pattern that had a geometric pattern with a contrasting organic pattern. I still want to try adding some more linework patterns to the background geometric shapes.

Day 12 Mug.

Once again, an unfinished pattern for #patternjanuary : mugs. I immediately thought of my McCoy smiley face mug. It was slow at work today so I started "rendering" some of my favorite mugs in Photoshop. Digital illustration is SO not my thing, but I'm pre
In an attempt to possibly finish my daily pattern early in the day, I started working on digitally illustrating a few mugs while it was slow at work. I knew I wanted to paint my vintage McCoy smiley face mug, but then decided to branch out to include other favorite mugs in my collection. The diner mug was an homage to my father who collected diner mugs, so I designed a mug for him, Red Truck Diner. I was really excited that I had the idea and while I was designing it, but now that I type this it makes me so sad to realize that would have been an AMAZING gift to give him in real life… designing a diner mug specifically for him, especially since he was such a hard person to buy gifts for.

Day 13 Jelly.


This pattern was kind of a bust, and a last minute attempt to get it done, because I have been staying up way too late. My first attempt was to try and make jellyfish with tendrils that were in some sort of pattern, like a Celtic knot. When I was done it just looked like a mess and did not resemble jellyfish or even have a recognizable pattern in the knot. This little art book was what I came up with as a quick alternative to get something done.

Day 14 Dessert

It's been a while since I worked in this #littleartbook. All day I thought about the #patternjanuary theme of dessert, and the same thing kept popping into my head, sprinkles. So I went with it. I thought about self serve ice cream with my best friend and

I LOVE DESSERT! Ice Cream, Hawaiian Snow, Cotton Candy, Cookies, Cake, I can’t think of a sweet I didn’t like. Oh wait, lol, guess I’m not a fan of Chocolate, but you add enough sugar to it and I’ll eat it, for example fudge. When proposed with this pattern theme my mind went wild with the possibilities! I even asked people throughout the day “what’s your favorite dessert?” For some reason the same thing kept popping into my head all day long and that was Sprinkles. At the end of the day I just decided to stop fighting it and went with it.

Week One

Week One of #PatternJanuary

Let's Make Patterns"

Pattern Extraordinaire Anika Starmer (Aisforanika) has organized a project to kick off the new year. She has invited folks to create and share a new pattern every day inspired by her daily prompts and (fingers crossed) I have been able to keep up so far for the first week.

If you are looking for a fun and creative project to kick off the year, let me recommend @aisforanika's #patternjanuary project. Today's theme is happy, and color makes me HAPPY! It can be hard to find during the winter, here in northern Illinois so I was

Day 1 Happy. I thought about how much color makes me happy, especially during the long and dreary winter, so I made this simple but colorful watercolor pattern.

Tree pattern

Day 2 Forest. I decided to revisit a digital pattern I made, only in watercolors.


trees pattern


Here is the original digital pattern I made in 2008.
Day 3 #patternjanuary: #Olive. I'm not an olive fan, so I went into this thinking I'd focus on olive as a color but then this happened

Day 3 Olive. Despite everyone around me LOVING olives, I’m not a fan, so when I originally saw the theme I thought I was going to go with a olive color theme, rather than the food.


But then this happened, and so I just went with it. I wet the paper and then touched dots of green watercolor down and let it bleed out and then all they needed were pimientos.


For the facing page I just did a collection of green patterns.

Little art book

Day 4 Water. My holiday vacation was over and I was back to work so I made this water themed pattern while I was at work. I used prisma color markers and acrylic pens, in a stapled book made from office scratch paper.

Earlier in the week I had a couple of ideas for #patternjanuary #collection. I settled on a book I was going to work in and decided I'd go with the idea of making a pattern of gelli print scraps. Then I even found a bag full of tiny scraps is collected, t

Day 5 Collection. I actually had a few ideas for this prompt and I hope to go back and do that other idea soon, as well as rework this one, only a lot larger. I decided to make a pattern from scraps from my gelatin prints, and lo and behold I found a zip lock back filled with the tiniest of scraps. It was meant to be! Then when I reached into the bag of scraps the first thing I blindly pulled out was a tiny stapled book (also made from office scratch paper) and I knew that I had to use it.


Day 6 Marks. I originally had the idea of filling a whole book with mark making patterns, but I’ve been down and sick as a dog this week. I watched some creative Periscopes and filled some pages while I watched. I ended up only getting 10 pages done and made this flip through.

Today's #patternjanuary is a #tbt. Immediately when I saw the theme #favorite, I thought of this #handcarvedstamp from 2011, based on my grass-quote "you are my favorite" painting series. I assembled these prints into a pattern and voila! The black is the

Day 7 Favorite. After seeing the prompt I immediately thought of this stamp I made in 2011, based on my grass quote “You are my favorite” series of paintings. The stamp is just black ink and the green is individually hand water colored in later.

That wraps up week one. Check out the hashtag #patternjanuary and #letsmakepatterns on instagram to see what others are creating!

Annual Kusadama Ornament

Kusadama collection

Happy New Year! Matt and I sat down and made our annual kusadama Christmas ornament this weekend, just in time to pack away all the decorations. Actually, we made two because last year we never got one done. We have quite the collection now. I’m so glad that Matt enjoys making them as well.

In 2008 we started an annual tradition of making one of these #kusadama ornaments. Last year was the first year we didn't do one, so we made two this year to catch up. This one was made from a mylar coated wrapping paper which made it difficult to assembl

We made this mylar coated wrapping paper one. It made folding and creasing the paper a chore, but it looks very pretty on the tree.

And then here is the make-up #kusadama from last year. I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but I cut down an old 365 Met art calendar to make this one. It's especially fitting this year as my friend Fred that passed away a few months ago alwa

And this one is my new favorite. After piling up years and years of the 365 Metropolitan Museum of Art calendars, I had the idea to cut down some pages to make an ornament. It was actually perfect, because my coworker/friend Fred would always get this calendar for us. Every single day, the first thing he’d do is come and look at the new piece of artwork and then go look it up on google. He passed away a couple of months ago, and I wish I had thought to make him an ornament from a calendar years ago.

Below are the previous years’ ornaments.

Our annual #kusudama ornament. We've made one every year, starting in 2008. Our first one was an oops and ended up being about 10" in diameter, too big and heavy for the tree. #robayrekusudama

2011 ornament

Kusadama from 2012 (but made in 2013)

2010 kusudama ornament

2009 Kusudama ornament

kusadama recycled ornament

Just some facts about the ornaments if you are interested in making one for yourself:

Paper squares (64 pieces) should be no bigger than 3″ square for a resulting 4.5″ ornament. Trust me, our first “ornament” is about 12 inches in diameter! Next year if I remember, I’m going to try 2-2.5″ sized paper, but I’m not holding my breath, as I accidentally cut 4″ on one ornament again this year.

The instructions (if I remember correctly) say to use glue. There is no way you’d ever get this done if you were waiting for each piece of paper to glue together. The first year or two we used an adhesive tape, but that started acting funky over the years, so we have switched to glue gun and it speeds up the whole process and the pieces hold together SOLIDLY!

We follow this 2 step tutorial each year.

Christmas Mantel 2015

I’ve been wanting to share my gold and silver themed mantel forever, so the evening of the last day of the year is as good a day as any I guess.
Mantel December 2015

After removing the letterpress shelf wall, I immediately put up the Stockholm mirror from Ikea. It has a ledge where you can place tchotchkes and we all know how much I love tchotchkes. After I take this mantel down, I think I’m going to the move the mirror to our foyer, so it is at a more focal height. Right now it’s high enough that you can’t really see yourself in it.

Mantelpiece Christmas 2015

The idea of having gold and silver mantel wasn’t really a holiday theme to begin with, I have been wanting to make a display with my gold and silver circle garlands for a long time. Normally when the season hits, I’m making garlands as fast as I’m selling them and I think to myself “if only I could hang some up” Well, this year I finally made it happen. Then, a couple of years ago I had the idea that I wanted a tassel garland in gold and silver as well, finally one day this fall I ran to the nearby dollar store and lo and behold they had gold and silver tissue paper and I made it all in one night. The two paired together  and then draped over the mirror are just as beautiful as I had envisioned.

The wool and mylar pom poms were a craft I designed and then made a set for myself last year and then never took down.

Mantelpiece Christmas 2015

The garlands weren’t enough though, so I had to add more gold and silver items to really drive home the theme. I saw this felt tree at Target and I liked how it had gold threaded accents. I have a lot of felt at home so I thought I might attempt making my own, but I wanted to change it up and make it my own. Then I saw this on pinterest, and that last little tree had a mini gold and silver bunting draped over it and boom, the plan was made. The Silver ball is a mercury garden ball I bought at a local nursery, and the Home Sweet Home sign is a piece I commissioned from Jessee at Art School Dropout a few years ago.

Matt’s mom gave all of us gifts in little tiny jewelry boxes with gold bows on the top and I paired them with larger gold and silver bows to put in the mirror base.

A gold and silver pinwheel painting for our mantel. I'm still working on holiday decorations, the boxes have just been sitting in our living room. You know that part in Elf where he tells his dad they'll make snow angels, go ice skating, eat Cookie dough

For the other side of the wall, I painted this gold and silver pinwheel painting and I really like it a lot. There are sections of gold and silver metallic, as well as gray and gold flat sections and then a couple of sections with texture where I used pencil and pens. The rest of the mantel is just filled with bobajillions of candles.

Mantel and chalkboard

Lastly, I have to document the fall chalkboard wall. I think I must have missed a lot of things because this is one of the shortest lists since I first started doing this.

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

Happy New Year!

Support Small Business

It’s official! The holiday shopping season is here. Are you looking for some unique gifts for your friends and family?


I’m kinda late to the party, but I got inspired and made this little collage and share a few of the items that are in my etsy shop and ready for purchase. You can find everything from Art to Zines, there’s really something for everyone. If you spy something you like, but don’t see it in a style or variety that you really want, please feel free to message me. I may have it in stock and just not listed, or can possibly put put together a custom piece just for you.

Giving Thanks

Altostratus undulatus

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I’ve been sharing the simple things I’m thankful for over on Instagram this week. The idea occurred to me as the holiday approached and I remembered Thanksgivings of my childhood. When I was growing up we usually spent Thanksgiving with my Grandma Wells and she always prompted us to go around the table and share what we were thankful for. As a kid I remember feeling anxiety as my turn approached. I don’t think I heard a single thing anyone else shared because my mind was racing for that BIG and MEANINGFUL thing I was thankful for. I felt it had to be important, impress, but also sound genuine. The love of my family, and the beautiful earth, peace and freedom, etc., which sounds totally 100% legit, right? Basically, the things that came to mind were those general things that I thought everyone is supposed to be grateful for. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that it would have been pertinent and preferable if I had just shared the little (and REAL) things of my small world, that I actually knew and cherished. One, it would be so much more adorable for a child to share how much she appreciated her cabbage patch doll, or trips to the pet store. And two, it’s HONEST. What did I know, as a little kid, about peace and freedom, having only lived in peace and freedom my entire life and never experienced (or probably even saw views of) the contrary?

So, in this vein of thought, I thought I’d come here tonight and share a short list of the small things that I am so-so honestly thankful for.

-Chewy/gummy fruit candy

-A relatively clean foyer and having tackled my junk mail/bill demons and finally started filing things properly

-This recipe for potato rolls that I’m going to be making for Thanksgiving dinners (it’s tried and true)

-A whole room full of art materials and tools

-Podcasts (I’ve been saying it for years, but I really do want to share a post of my favorites. In the meantime, HERE is an amazing list that Andrea organized of her favorite This American Life episodes)

-My Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify

-Ryan Adams


-Amazing skies and cloud formations

-Being able to still take walks outdoors, even as it approaches December

-My iphone (my precious)

-How OMGCUTE! my niece and nephews are, and their hugs, and their constant need for my attention when I’m around (I know it won’t last)

-It seems BIG, but believe me that it is 100% honest… I am SO THANKFUL for growing up in an environment that cherished and encouraged CREATIVITY and MAKING.

I’ll probably return to add things as they come to me.

I hope that if you are reading this you can also find plenty of things to be thankful for, are surrounded by loved ones, feel safe, healthy, happy and laugh a lot.

Autumn Leaves and New Jewelry

As typical for this time of year, I’ve been a little fall leaf obsessed. A few weeks back I was walking around my neighborhood when a mother, pushing a stroller turned onto the sidewalk headed towards me. Immediately I heard her say “honey, we can’t keep picking up every leaf” and I chuckled to myself because I’m sure she hadn’t yet seen me or the giant stack of colorful autumn leaves I had been picking up myself.

Anyone else having problems sharing from Instagram?

Naturally, I had the idea to use these beautiful leaves as props for some leaf jewelry for my shop.

robayre on etsy

Every fall I am so thankful for our neighbor's burning bush #fromwhereistand

Usually I feel Fall whips by so quickly 💨🍁🍂, but this year it's hanging on. Ive been able to ride my bike to work in November! I'm still adding new leaf jewelry to the shop, necklaces and rings (link in my profile)

Fall in northern Illinois

new pieces in the shop

Those teeny tiny bits of blue peeking through. In a couple days this tree will be naked 😔

robayre pendant peach leaf5

This one goes out to @bzedan and @atelier_mame. I went for a walk earlier today too and found this one red orange leaf on a pile of brown and yellow leaves. A week ago I was walking down my street when a mother pushing a stroller turned onto my sidewalk a

leaf green yellow front robayre

A favorite area in town to drive down during the fall

robayre necklace pink red leaf

Autumn Leaves

robayre green spots leaf pendant

It’s been a while since I’ve made any of these pieces, but I had a custom a little bit ago, so I made a whole batch. While there are elements of real leaves in each piece, the color you see is my own watercolor work. See more variety at robayre.etsy.com

Speed Rounds 23, 24, & 25

Art for Your Ears

Every week I look forward to the weekend and a new episode of Art for Ears, the Jealous Curator’s podcast. Danielle Krysa has an amazing blog called The Jealous Curator (subtitled: Damn. I wish I thought of that), where she shares the artwork of artists that she is jealous of. How many other artists out there can relate? (Raising my hand) If you haven’t checked out the blog or her podcast, I highly recommend it. The idea behind the podcast is that Danielle interviews a different artist each week, so that the listeners get a little look into the lives of all kinds of artists. Each episode has a speed round section where she asks the artist quick questions that they should answer without thinking too long or too deeply about them. Each week I try to imagine how I would answer these same questions if I were being interviewed by Danielle, so I had the idea to start this series where I will share my own answers to each week’s speed round on this here blog.

I haven’t had much chance to blog the last couple weeks, and I didn’t want my blog to turn into the Speed Round blog, so I’m grouping the last 3 episodes together.

Episode #23 was with art director of Land of Nod, Michelle Kohanzo. You can find the episode of Art For Your Ears here.

1. Color of your first prom dress
I never went to prom, no regrets.

Though this question immediately made me think of the scene in Pretty In Pink when Iona tells the story about her friend that didn’t go to prom.
2. Favorite cocktail?

I really don’t drink often, so when I do order a cocktail I’m usually taking tips from other people. I guess my fall back if I don’t have suggestions from other people would be an amaretto stone sour, because yeah, that’s probably the most safe and supremely sweet, disguising-the-taste-of-alcohol-drink that ever a kid in an adult body could order.
3. Floral or Camo

This is tough, and I’ve actually had weeks to think about it. I like floral but depending on the styling and presentation it can very often be dated, where as camo stays pretty much the same and is just timeless. As the weeks went by I realized I actually own 3 pieces in my wardrobe that are camo. A pair of old navy capris, an army t from the army surplus store in chicago, and a sweatshirt hoodie. I can’t think of any florals in my wardrobe. Do I get my woman-badge revoked? If it comes down to art, definitely FLORAL. I can think of tons of florals patterns I have created, or oooohed and aaaaahed over, but never once painted camouflage.
4. What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Live in a different place for 2 years, namely Juneau, AK, Chicago, IL, or Seattle, WA.

Episode #24 was with artist Jessica Bell. You can find the episode of Art For Your Ears here.

1. Vancouver or Ottowa?
Vancouver, although I’ve never been to either.
2. Painting or Sculpture?
Mixed media, I love both. How’s that for dodging the question.
3. True or False, you made me the most beautiful wall hanging ever?
Well, this episode’s speed round questions were oddly specific to the artist. Obviously I’ve never made a wall hanging for Danielle Krysa, but I have definitely made my fair share of wall decorations.
wall over my work table
Here’s a current picture of the wall over my work table. I think I’m going to take it down for the new year and start fresh.

Episode #25 was with artist Ashley Mistriel. You can find the episode of Art For Your Ears here.

1. Favorite TV show
Currently, Orphan Black
2. Gouache or Acrylic
Of the two I’d have to say Acrylic right now. I actually use watercolor more than either of those, and am very interested in using gouache, but do not have enough experience. I bought some but just haven’t given it enough time to learn it and feel comfortable with it yet.
3. Name a character from a movie/TV/book that you were in love with as a teenager.
How about one from each. Lloyd Dobbler, Say Anything, Brian Krakow, My So Called Life, George Emmerson from A Room With A View

Read previous Speed Round posts here