Tag Archives: hobby

A New Obsession…

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I’ve never thought of myself as an artistic type.

Never.

Ever.

So I don’t know what encouraged me to buy a Groupon to a Paint and Sip event. Maybe I was intrigued when I first learned about these from Lisa’s post. She lives in the Portland area and when I read/saw her post, I immediately thought, “I wish we had those here!” She said that she wasn’t an artist either. And her painting turned out beautifully!

And every website indicates that there is “no painting experience necessary!” I figured that they wouldn’t say that if they wanted happy customers. And it sounded like a lot of fun. So I bought two different deals to different events led by two different companies without ever having done much more than a paint-by-number as a child.

And now I am obsessed!

Generally, at these events, the cost includes your canvas, the use of brushes and paint and the instruction. Everyone is painting the same thing and you are given step-by-step instructions from an artist, although you can feel free to make your painting your own in any way that you want. The event lasts about three hours.

It’s called a Paint and Sip event because you can also buy beverages (alcoholic or non) to sip on (and/or relax yourself!) while you are painting. Sometimes food is offered, too.

In the Twin Cities metro area, I’ve been to classes run by:

  • Cheers Pablo – Studio in Woodbury
  • Brushes and Brews – Paint & Sip events at restaurants throughout the Twin Cities (generally the south metro)
  • Art and Elixir – Paint & Sip events at restaurants throughout the Twin Cities (generally the north metro)

Here’s what I’ve painted so far…

Table in the Rain

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury, MN

I attended my first event with my husband, not knowing what to expect. We decided to do a Couple’s Painting because why would we need two of the same painting in our house? What this meant is that while every one else was doing their own painting, we’d each be doing one-half of a painting on two separate canvases!

Sample of one canvas painting versus a Couple’s Painting on two canvases:

It’s amazing to think that we started with these canvases with a simple sketch…

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And of course a glass of wine…

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You might be wondering how a painting could look cohesive if you have two different people painting it. The instructor told us that we’d be swapping canvases throughout the night, so the work would be a combination of the two of us!

The process…

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But then Rob went rogue!

He decided that he didn’t want to “conform” and put windy rain on his side and refused to paint his side of the table the same color. At this point, we completely forgot all about swapping!

Here is our finished work:

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It was a ton of fun! It’s a unique piece of work that represents the two of us.

I was hooked.

~

Wine & Song

Brushes and Brews – painted at Casper’s in Eagan

My friend and I chose this painting mainly because of location and timing. In the banquet room, the artist had a sample of the work we’d be doing and another canvas he’d be working on himself as he guided us along through the project.

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This time, we started with a blank canvas. Jen and I discussed how relaxing it was to make brushstrokes into these circles to form our background.

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The process:

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And our finished paintings to bring home…

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Owl Always Love You

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury

My friend Kim said she wanted to do this painting for her daughter:

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I agreed, but wasn’t sure those colors would go in my house. {But, duh, you can make the painting any color you want.} Then Rob had the great idea to give the painting to his parents for Christmas! It would be a one-of-a-kind piece of art especially from me.

But there is a little pressure for an inexperienced artist when you know you are giving it as a gift. Plus, I didn’t want them to feel like they’d have to hang up a(n adult) child’s artwork in their home. But I went with it.

When we arrived, they gave us all sorts of options:

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I decided to stick to the winter theme because I loved how the owls were snuggling and wearing scarves and earmuffs! Kim decided to go with the spring version.

This time, we started with a blank canvas. We got to do a swirly circle background again! Here’s how we started out…

Don’t they look creepy without the eyes!?

And the rest of my process…

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And here’s our finished work… success!

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When Kim’s daughter saw the painting, she pointed out that the little owl was her and that the bigger owl was Kim. How cute is that?!

I didn’t like how dark I made the circles around my red owl’s eyes. So I turned them into glasses! I think he looks like a professor. My mother-in-law said that she is going to name them!

~

Stone Arch Bridge

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury

I told the girls that I really wanted to paint the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis because it kind of holds a special place in my heart because Rob and I have had some of my favorite dates walking that area of town like this time and this time.

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We all felt like this was the most difficult one we had done yet. We had a hard time looking past the painting itself and looking at it in terms of shapes instead. As usual, we started with the background.

I was having a hard time creating the colors I wanted to. In the photo below, where we began to sketch in the buildings, you can see the bridge that we are trying to paint on the screen on the wall. Those are the colors I wanted.

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We were all confused on how this could possibly turn out like that painting. But then I realized we needed to relax and just have fun. That’s when, out of nowhere, I said,

“Just Trust the Process.”

Kim just about fell over laughing. And it became our quote of the afternoon. And it was fun. Here are some photos of what I painted while I was trusting the process…

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And our final masterpieces!

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Jen and I are signed up for another class with Brushes and Brews in February. Let me know if you want to join us!

Come back tomorrow to see what Rob and I painted at Art and Elixir – our pooches!!!

What is the most artistic thing you’ve made?

Cheers~
Carrie

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Top 5 Gifts for that Hard to Buy for Person Who Has Everything

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Yes, we all have at least one of them on our gift lists. That person that you rack your brains over every year to find them a gift that they’ll actually like and use. If you’re lucky, you might find one that they’ll adore.

Gifts for that Hard to Buy for Person Who Has Everything

Believe it or not, my husband is hard to shop for when it comes to gifts. He thanks me politely and then the gift ends up on the shelf in a closet or in a drawer for an indeterminate amount of time before it disappears. That is so frustrating! The problem is that {as Racheal mentioned here}, when men want something, they tend to just buy it for themselves. It turns out, my attempt to be creative usually backfires on me.

A couple of years ago, I finally found the perfect gift – one that he loves and that keeps on giving:

an iPhone

It worked out perfectly because I am the one that handles our cell phone account. Plus, it was something he never knew he wanted. To this day, he still thanks me for this gift.

However, unless you are buying for your spouse or adult child, you probably aren’t going to buy anyone else an iPhone.

Instead, I’m thinking of those people that you may not know as well or those people who seem to have everything, or people like grandparents who are older and don’t want/need more stuff. With this list, I sincerely hope you find that aha! gift for that seemingly impossible person to buy for on your holiday list. If nothing else, maybe this list will spark an idea for something perfect!

Here are some items I’ve come up with over the years and are in no particular order:

1) Gift Card

  • I know some people who hate giving these. They feel that they are impersonal.
  • However, I love receiving them! I often wait to use them as weight loss or NSV rewards!
  • They are perfect for teenagers!
  • Think iTunes, sporting good stores for athletes, craft stores for the crafty, a unique store online that you found, an electronics store for the techie. Or just think about where your gift recipient often goes.
  • I know teachers who say they love getting $5 Caribou Coffee and Target gift cards that they can actually use.
  • And you’d know I’d accept a gift certificate to any restaurant just to try it out. {The first time we went to Sul Lago, there had to be over a dozen people who came in to get gift certificates. And this was before Thanksgiving!}
  • Not sure which gift card to get?
    • Many grocery and other stores have stands with all different types of gift cards in many denominations. Check out the stand to be inspired with ideas.
    • Do a search on line. Just Google: X {Gift Recipient hobby} + gift card.
  • This is what makes the gift certificates personal:
    • “I know you love to do this/these types of things! So pick out something you really want!” or
    • “I know you love this place and will use this!” or
    • “I thought of you because I love this place and thought you’d like to try it out.”

2) A Photo Canvas {or other photo gift}

  • My friend Stacy swears by the photo canvas deals on Groupon and other daily deal sites. You send in or upload a photo and they convert your photo to canvas. Your favorite photograph becomes a work of art you can hang on the wall. With all the traveling I love to do, I plan to pick out favorite from a trip to canvas-ize.
  • Grandparents love photo memories. A photo book or calendar you either create yourself or online will do the trick. {Note: I am NOT a scrapbooker, so I love using websites like Snapfish.}
  • If you are in to giving ornaments, consider a photo ornament.  I know people who give their children an ornament each year with the year printed on it so that by the time they leave home, they’ve got not only their own collection of ornaments, but also memories. A photo that depicts that year for someone or a memory of the two of you is a great idea.

3) Subscription boxes

  • I know, I’m addicted to these right now. But, really, but who wouldn’t want one?
  • If you love or want to learn more about wine, would you turn down a Wine Club gift subscription? I didn’t think so.
  • Two of my current favorite subscription boxes are:
    • Birchbox – Beauty, grooming and lifestyle products for women and men! Check out my latest box and review here.
    • Love with Food – Gourmet Food Samples. Each month your box ships, a meal is donated to a hungry child. Check out my latest box and review here.
  • Need a gift for a pet or pet parent? Check out BarkBox – my pooches LOVE IT! Latest box and review here.
  • Or how about a magazine subscription? There are so many unique ones out there now. Do a search online. Just Google: X {Gift Recipient hobby} + magazine.
  • There are also gift subscriptions for olive oil. We’ve done this before and have found exceptional quality!
  • And this Wisconsin girl would never turn down the gift of a Cheese of the Month Club!

4) Experiences

  • This is my favorite category! I’m talking things like:
    • Plays or concert tickets.
    • Cooking Classes – Twin Cities peeps: I’d recommend Saga Hill, Kitchen Window and Local D’Lish.
    • Spa Day – I don’t think I know of one woman who wouldn’t want this.
    • Or any experience that makes you think of your recipient! Like the Beer Trolley Tour I’m taking my husband on this weekend as part of his birthday box!

5) Your Time

  • This is one of the best and most cherished gifts you can give.
  • People who love you, but don’t really don’t need more stuff would love to spend more time with you!
  • Get tickets to a play or concert that you both love.
  • Take them to a movie, a trip to their favorite restaurant or do something together that you know they love to do, but don’t get to do that often.
  • Buy tickets for the event, or just create your own coupon that states something like: “Coupon good for: A Trip to Izzy’s Ice Cream”. I suggest putting an expiration date on it so that they will redeem it ASAP. (Although you don’t have to adhere to that expiration, of course.)

What’s the most unique gift you’ve given?

What ways have you given experiences or times to loved ones?

Happy Holidays~
Carrie