The Blue Octopus- Sips-n-Canvas

Hi, my name is Monica. I am a craftaholic.

I certainly can’t decide which skills I would like to hone in on in the craft world, so I’ve decided to dabble in them all- and I mean ALL. This week’s adventure brought me to The Blue Octopus in Tacoma, Washington.  My dear friend over at Mary Jo Photography recommended this adventure thanks to a quick snag of a Living Social deal.  I am so glad she did. This is soley a blog about my super excitement about the entire experience. So. Much. Fun.

Walking into the studio space- The Saint Helens Ave Mercantile, you will find a creative co-op run by 4 fabulous and entrepreneurial women.   Located there is the OCD Candy Company, The Tea Works, Wolf Bear Treasures & Orcal Card Reader- Gail Scott, and of course The Blue Octopus. It is filled will all things lovely, creative, and a bit eclectic. Something for everyone really. The painting class is taught by Kerry Cole, who quit corporate job permanently a few years ago to get fully immersed in her art. Luckily for her students and the community, she did.  Her art covers the walls and can be felt in every speck of paint on the tables.  Every piece feels like it is personal and has a story.

The Sips-N-Canvas class is an opportunity for those interested in painting to dabble (stipple) their way into the paint media.  Kerry starts everyone off by having them choose an image that speaks to them.  She gets you all the supplies and techniques needed to create a masterpiece including cheese, crackers, and wine. of course wine. During the two hour class, she is patient, knowledgeable and SO encouraging.

This was one of the best guided art experiences I’ve had in a while, and would highly recommend Kerry’s classes to anyone interested in painting.  Her art is for sale on etsy, in her shop, and at exhibits. Her painting classes are open to everyone, and she even offers private parties. Who’s in?

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Calligraphy- a nearly lost art

I’m not sure about anyone else in my immediate generation, but I haven’t really written cursive since Mrs. Petrich’s 4th grade class. It’s slightly depressing to see my attempts at formal cursive- nothing seems to properly connect, and as for scale? Totally non-existent.

Enter Calligraphy, and a lovely local artist, trying her best to rekindle this dear pastime. Caitlin Dundon of One Heart Studio in Ballard, Washington is meticulously mastering her craft and willing to share with any wanting to learn.  I signed up for her Into to Calligraphy course with my favorite photog-friend, Mary of Mary Jo Photography.

After venturing around Fremont and Ballard to partake in deliciousness at The Other Coast Cafe, we wandered around Venue-the location of the class. It is an incredible local store with really great locally crafted goods. It took a lot of willpower to not buy every.single.thing. in that store. I did not leave empty handed- but could have enjoyed everything there.

The class had 8 openings, 7 of which were filled. Two long tables are set up with all necessary supplies in the middle of Venue. Paper, ink, and your own take-home Calligraphy pen are included. Caitlin is attentive to learning needs, and demonstrates her craft with ease. She gives a little bit of background for each type taught.  Students are encouraged to learn the basics and add their own flair. Needless to say, I struggled immensely with my “formal” calligraphy style, but the whimsy of my innate penmanship certainly took over with plenty of support of all around.

I have all intentions of signing up for Calligraphy II: Fun and Fancy Lettering offered.  Classes start at $40. Which is  a stellar deal for the art of a diminishing craft.

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Dance the Night Away

I was honored when I got the call to take photos for 6 fantastic High School students for Tumwater High School’s Homecoming Dance. This group was so much fun. They looked fabulous and were ready to have an incredible night on the town.  Laughter and shivers were the theme of the evening as it was a cold and cloudy day and they were all eager to start their fun.  Word is that they had a really great time at the dance. I had a really great time working with all of them!

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Fresh Faces

Some of the best clients I have are upcoming Seniors! I love Senior shoots because they are usually a bit spontaneous and always fun.  I spend the afternoon with Maya and Mily in downtown Olympia for their Senior Portraits. The Painted Plate is always a perfect stop for ice cream, so we couldn’t resist the opportunity for sweets and smiles.

These girls have been friends throughout their  High School years, and have personalities that are so complimentary of each other- Loved spending the afternoon with them. Wishing them only he best for their Senior year.

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Hometown Connections

There are times where I am able to reconnect with old friends. This is Liz and her adorable family…with another on the way.  She was my playmate and neighbor for years as a little girl, and I was so happy to share a moment of joy with her growing family during this photo session. We spent the day in Roslyn, a place where we spent alot of our time as kids together, selling lemonade and playing in the forest. Now her girls will get the chance to do the same.

Wishing her only the best with this new addition.

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Friends, Pottery, Wine- Painted Plate

I have a lovely group of gals in my circle. When I first moved to Olympia to take job and cohabitate with The Handsome, it took time to connect with other women who shared my love for the simple life. Enter these fabulous women; strong, witty, and compassionate. Love them! We try to get together for a drink every now and then just to catch up.  This time I thought we could throw a little art in the mix. The Painted Plate in Olympia was our choice, and boy did it deliver with three hours of wine, food, laughter (…dancing too), and painting.

The Painted Plate offers great little appetizer plates, a minimal but satisfying wine list, and all the white porcelain canvases you could ask for!  Projects range from $6-$60 although all of us found something great in the $20 range.  In the mix was a magnet, a few travel mugs, a soap dish, and a popcorn bowl. The food offering is simple and tasty. We were under the care of Molly, who was more than welcoming including great project suggestions, quick service, and even a change from the less than desirable pop/country Pandora station to something a little more our style.

Our projects were all finished in the evening and were kindly gathered for glaze and firing.  The turnaround for a finished project is about 5 days. I can’t wait to see the finished projects- of course, this was our first time, so there will be more gatherings like this in the future.

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Quick Getaway

We were all in desperate need of a night away and a certain friend was turning 29.  Not the one when you say you are “29”, but the real 29. She mentioned a few weeks back that she had never been gambling. Now being a native to the NW, I know of many Tribal casinos the within 30 minutes of Olympia but the Handsome was eavesdropping and mentioned Quinault Beach Resort & Casino.  “We can stay and PLAY!”  That right there sold us, and we booked rooms right away.  With a call to the dogsitter and quick roadtrip we were off.  Our rooms were nice, fireplace, beach view.  Although the fog was thick both days, we enjoyed the sounds more than the view.  The gambling was a success for most, food was excellent at the buffet- crab legs for the ladies, prime rib for the men.  (sorry no pictures from the casino due to gaming regulations…) We topped the weekend off with a wander down to the beach in the rain and the wind where no one lasted more than a 15 minutes, although I felt like I could have stayed all day with the wind, water, and waves.beach-1 beach-2 beach-5 beach-3