Paint Play = New Leftover Discovery!

Sometimes taking the day off is the best way to refresh and get new ideas. “Well yeah,” you are saying. Like everything else in life, easier said than done.

Yesterday I came to the point where I had to decide between going to my painting class or writing a post. (The weekend was insane. As was yesterday morning, so it was go to class or write.) I don’t often do things that are just for me. I don’t often do things where I’m not the one hosting/teaching/facilitating/in charge/responsible. Well, no more.

I started taking a painting class at the local art center 4 weeks ago and it has been an absolute delight. I’m an oil painter by training, and it’s been forever since I’ve used acrylics. When I was given the chance to learn from a great artist who specializes in drawing (my favorite!) and acrylic painting I jumped all over it. I knew I was overloaded with obligations, but this was so important to me I just couldn’t say no. I figured, “Hey, once a week for a couple hours, for 5 weeks, I can swing that.” So I did!



(second one is a wip, yarn is so hard to paint, still working on)

I had two great discoveries. Here’s the first:

I decided that I need to do something just for me. Something I’m not planning on sharing with anyone, or making money from. Something that’s creative and challenging and interesting. Music. Cello.

Did you know I play the cello? Well, I do. I started in 2003 and took lessons for 2 years solid. I was getting pretty good. Then I moved to college and my cello got all out of tune. I couldn’t find a teacher or a violin shop in Dekalb, so it sat out of tune and neglected. I took it to a HoShaw violin shop here in Ames shortly after moving here (about this time last year actually) and it’s in pretty good shape. I’ve been playing around with it in the studio off and on, but you can only get so far on your own with a stringed beauty like this when you don’t know the basics.


I always thought I would start taking lessons again. I always wanted to. Intending and wanting and thinking are not doing. It’s so easy to let an instrument, or a loom for that matter, sit collecting dust for years and years. But before you know it, I’m old. I’m 70. And I’m still thinking “I’ll learn to play the cello someday.” Screw that.

It takes a long time to get good, so I better start working on it now. I’ll never have time to play the cello. There will always be crap in the way, keeping that “I should” an “I should” instead of a “I am.” Well heck. It’s official. I am taking cello lessons! Hooray! I just got off the phone with an instructor and starting March 22nd I will spend a half hour each Monday taking a lesson.

Here’s the second:

This is the leftovers that came from painting. So I’ve been using those little disposable palettes because I had some around from years ago. I ran out. What to use for my palette? I didn’t want to leave the studio because that would have taken time away from painting. I didn’t have anything proper to put my paint on. So what should I use?

Kind of like with the curling ribbon in the ebook, frustrated, I looked around my studio and said “show me your secrets.” There it was, a new source of palettes: the back sides of the mailing labels!


Check this out. This thing is the same exact material as disposable palettes! I’ve always wondered what to do with these things because you can’t recycle them. You can’t use them for most paper crafts because they are so shiny. You can’t even test print things on them because the toner doesn’t stick to the gloss.


And even better, I can save my palettes that the paint has dried on and use them to use in future collages or drawings or other crafty projects! It’s a full circle kind of thing. As I get more orders (thank you!) for Craft Leftovers Monthly, I use more shipping labels. I’m so excited these won’t be just tossed in the trash any more.

Happy crafting!


2 thoughts on “Paint Play = New Leftover Discovery!

  1. Congrats on doing something for yourself and taking the time out to play. Life seems so much better when you do.

  2. I use the mailing label backing sheets as a protective surface to work on when I’m doing something messy (painting, gluing, etc). The shiny surface is nice and clean to work on, and it’s water-resistant so it protects my desk. I just throw them away when they get dirty and grab another one!

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