Into Plein Air


I signed up for a plein-air painting class…it was an all-day workshop by a local artist named Diane McClary. I’ve always wanted to paint out “in the open air”….. I figured if I signed up for the class it would make me get out there because it was on the calendar.

Plein Air Painting Palm Desert

@lilblueboo on Instagram

There were six of us in the class. Most of the other students are regulars.  The workshop starts at 9am at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitors Center. First there is a demonstration by Diane, she does a value study in black and white first:

Diane McClary Painter Plein Air


Then she does a version in color:

Diane McClary Painter Plein Air


I think I should start an ongoing What I Wore series. I wonder if anyone would take it seriously:


What I Wore
Free red umbrella

99 cent sunglasses to match
Camouflage hat (brandless)
Apron left over from Boo’s beauty salon party
Red Converse
White t-shirt and jeans

Ashley Hackshaw / Lil Blue Boo


It was fascinating to watch Diane paint. I think I learned more from her in just a few hours than I think I ever learned in my studio art classes in college. She talked us through every step and how she chose her colors for mixing etc.

Plein Air Painting at the Santa Rosa Visitors Center


The color recipes were very helpful, like mixing black and yellow to get green? That is just not intuitive unless you see someone do it:


I love the plain air easel and palette.  It folds up and the paints will stay workable for a while. That makes things so much easier.  Diane has a guide to placing your paint (on the supply list) on her website here.

Plein Air Field Easel


Diane’s finished painting:

@lilblueboo on Instagram


We were positioned right at the trail head so we saw lots of hikers:


After lunch it was our turn to paint. Everyone else did a black and white version first.  I like to get straight to the good stuff…I skipped that part.  As Diane approached my painting I warned her that I was breaking the rules. She said it didn’t matter as long as I was having fun.



Here I am about halfway through: [Read more…]

10 DIY Painting Activities for Kids

10 DIY Painting Activities for Kids via

Here are 10 cool painting activities for kids! Have fun and don’t be afraid of the mess!

[Read more…]

Glue Gun Cabochons

How to make glue gun cabochons using silicon molds via #diy #jewelry #gift #accessories


Do you have any of these little silicon molds that you use with resin and clay? The one below is one of my favorites…. [Read more…]

Make A Wine Barrel Inspired Tray

DIY Wine Barrel Inspired Tray or Table via #wedding #gift #crafts #diy

I wanted to make something handmade and personal for my friends’ wedding recently and I decided on an oversized wine barrel inspired tray.  I used a precut wood table top from the hardward store. They actually come in several sizes. This was the medium size: [Read more…]

Christmas Nativity Peg Dolls and Download

DIY Christmas Nativity Peg Dolls with Download via #pegdolls #christmas #handmade #tutorial #printable #gift


Boo’s Box o’ Princesses and BOYville dolls were such a big hit last Christmas that I decided to commission my friend Stephanie Corfee to make a Christmas Nativity version!  I spent the last few days painting Baby Jesus, Jo-Fess (as Boo calls him), Mary and the rest of the Christmas peeps: [Read more…]

DIY Reclaimed Wood American Flag

DIY American Flag Home Decor from Reclaimed Wood Pallet via


Here’s another painting I did last weekend from reclaimed wood….a rustic American Flag for our outdoor living area. It took under 45 minutes to paint:

Flag Home Decor from Reclaimed Wood Pallet via


The only labor intensive part was making the canvas from a reclaimed wood pallet. First, the pallet was dismantled and then the pieces were attached to two boards: [Read more…]

Easy Outdoor and Indoor Games

Outdoor and indoor games for kids DIY tutorial via

It’s hot here today…..over 100 degrees. Here are few options for indoor and outdoor games you can switch around throughout the year depending on the weather!

[Read more…]

How To Spraypaint Graffiti Furniture

Spraypaint graffiti furniture tutorial via


Boo’s graffiti-themed desk is finally finished and in use….it’s like a piece of whimsical artwork in her playroom:

Graffiti Spraypaint desk tutorial1 via

This is a super easy tutorial because if you mess up you just go with it! I started out with a $49 desk I found at the thrift store:

[Read more…]

Painting TOMS (A Tutorial)

DIY spray painted TOMS via


My TOMS were looking a little dingy so I decided to spruce them up with a little spray paint!

[Read more…]

Hand Stamped Leather Bracelets (A Tutorial)

Stamped Leather Bracelets - DIY Tutorial via

I made some cute hand stamped leather bracelets today. Boo wanted some friendship bracelets:

Stamped Leather Bracelets - small - DIY Tutorial via
And I thought with Mother’s day coming up…..what about some mix and match leather bangles as a gift for a special loved one? Or these would make great party favors:

Stamped Leather Bracelets - all - DIY Tutorial via

I bought the bracelets and alphabet stamp set from the local craft store. You can find larger cuffs here.

Stamped Leather Bracelets - bands and stamps - DIY Tutorial via


The other supplies I needed were a sponge and a mallet:

Stamped Leather Bracelets - step1 - DIY Tutorial via


The first step is to wipe the leather bracelet with a damp sponge (do not soak it):

Stamped Leather Bracelets - wet leather - DIY Tutorial via

Place the bracelet on a hard surface (I do it on my brick patio) and use the mallet to bit the end of the stamp one or two times with force:

Stamped Leather Bracelets - mallet - DIY Tutorial via

The stamp will leave the letter impression behind:

Stamped Leather Bracelets - H - DIY Tutorial via

Carefully space out all of the letters. Then let the bracelet dry out if it is still damp:

Stamped Leather Bracelets - HOPE - DIY Tutorial via

I use Angelus Leather Paints and Dyes to decorate the bracelets:

Leather Paints - DIY Tutorial via

Just apply a coat of paint with a soft brush:

Painting Hand Stamped Band - DIY Tutorial via

Or apply some dye with a dauber:

Leather Stain - DIY Tutorial via

To get a distressed look you can wipe some paint off using a damp rag:

Leather Stain Distressed - DIY Tutorial via

Once the paint or dye is dry I use some Kiwi shoe polish to seal and shine the bracelets….or you can use beeswax and then buff the leather to a shine:

Leather Stain Distressed Polish - DIY Tutorial via

For Boo’s smaller friendship bracelets I cut off both ends of one of the leather bracelets using a box cutter:

Mini Hand Stamped Leather Bracelets - DIY Tutorial via

I don’t have leather tools so I improvised and drilled holes in either end of the bracelet using a household drill:

Adding Hole to Leather Bracelets - DIY Tutorial via

I bought this colorful sued lace from the craft store for the ties:

Leather Lacing -  DIY Tutorial via

A small piece of lace threaded through both sides of the cuff ties it closed:

Leather Lacing with Leather Bracelet -  DIY Tutorial via

Easy gift ideas for anyone!

Stacked Leather Bracelet -  DIY Tutorial via

So many different messages you could stamp onto these:

Stacked Leather Bracelets with Stamped Words -  DIY Tutorial via

Click here to see more leather accessory tutorials!




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