Category: Nine Lives Studio News

Watercolor and words

I have been writing up a storm… I participated in April and July Camp NaNoWriMo… wrote three stories and have corrected my Nov 2015 NaNoWriMo…

Then it was summer classes at Olympia Parks, Arts and Rec – 10 of the 12 ran.

Finally posting some new art – Win 10 automatically updated and killed my scanner software. Found  the disk last night and stayed up to 2pm after writing to 12:30 to scan some art. Slowly correcting images from light leaks. My camera died a long time ago so its the iPAD or the scanner…

Here’s some recent art:

Evergreen Mandala

© 8/2016 Ellen Miffitt

Sacred Tree

© 8/2016 Ellen Miffitt

Tree Meditation

© 8/2016 Ellen Miffitt

These were created in my age 12-16 Watercolor Techniques and Textures class this summer. I had the best kids ever in the older students offerings – very focused and inspiring. I cut a stencil for the various trees. Spattered WC over two of them and the third I traced and painted using WC and watercolor pencils. When dry I used these beautiful stencils to ink the design on top.

Will post more later back to writing


A week ago Wed was the The Evergreen State College Spring Fair…

the paper bead earrings and other jewelry was just flat on the table so not displayed attractively…

Then Saturday was the POSSCA Annual Artists’ Garage Sale… forgot to take a photo of my set up. I was really not feeling well and crashed Sunday & Monday. Still coughing but feeling much better.

Tuesday & Wednesday I worked on more blank journals – 24 just need to be threaded with the ribbon. The ones in the plastic bag are the less expensive ones need images and tying… they have regular copy paper instead of the #65 weight paper.

I almost threw out some demo paintings from acrylic class that I taught… then it was chop time to make small sections for the blank books!

More paper bead earrings that I made today…

Now how to display them better… woke up yesterday morning with a aha! Finally found my mini cork board this afternoon and then…

I needed an easel or something…. Someone gave me two travel paint box easels! The drawer is perfect for storing the jewelry.

full drawer

practice display…

Saturday turned out to be Wooden Boat Day celebration so the attendance at the NOVA school Innovations sale was very low. Think my table display looked good. I did work more on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel when it was slow…

little fuzzy image –

there was plenty of room so I set my shelf unit in back of the table.

Below the paint box and mini bulletin board display for the jewelry…

I set the drawer out to display the extra pieces…

lastly the blank journals. the one on the right sold. It was a very delicate looking Zen Doodle design.

I made my table fee yesterday and a small amount more. I do have to say that many shows now are requesting this:      Reporting of sales: At the end of the day, we will pass out a reporting form. The primary purpose of this is to indicate the success of the event overall, as well as the different categories of products. While not required, we request vendors consider making a tax-deductible donation of 10-percent of sales (once covering the cost of the booth) to NOVA School to support the School’s programs and financial aid. NOVA School offers an unmatched comprehensive combination of creativity-building programs, such as visual arts, music, textiles, cooking, robotics, engineering, and more…and over one-third of our students only attend with the assistance of financial aid.

I did not participate in this – the main reason that I did not donate 10% – I grossed so little above the $40 table fee, I did not charge tax for my sales unless it went through the Square so I will have to pay tax at the end of the year and my prices are rock bottom so things will sell/be affordable.

I think its nervy to [after paying a table fee] be guilt-ed into paying 10% of your gross… this also happened at one holiday show I did… I mean really, most art/crafters are not making hundreds of dollars at these events.  Unless you bring lunch, you buy food and of course there is the gas to travel. It normally takes an hour or so to set up and break down. This means a normal 10 to 4pm event = 8 to 10 hours… if you figure that for an hourly wage, I make less than minimum for almost any event I’ve done.

This isn’t sour grapes, just a reality of selling handcrafted items… it is fun to talk to customers and other vendors.



I actually think it’s dratted allergies already that slowed me down the last couple days. Hence …. today is day two of a mega headache

Sitting quietly watching TV – I’m getting the hang of making paper beads.

This time I used Mod Podge although by the time I was done I was covered in the stuff. It gives the beads a glossy look and the edges attach better.

It is a little tricky to wrap them so they come out same size. I need to try lighter weight paper.

I also ordered these prepared pendants [20 CleverDelights Round Pendant Trays – Antique Bronze Color – 25mm 1″ Diameter – Pendant Blanks Cameo Bezel Cabochon Settings – 25 mm 1 Inch]. They are 1 inch in diameter which is a bit small & I forgot to order the glass cabochons that fit. I could use resin but the pendants aren’t that deep. I plan to print my Ensos, cut to size and put the glass cab to seal it. Although… the Mod Podge might do. hmmmm think the glass cab would look better.

cut up one of my older biz cards to show how the Enso would look… these pendants are very sturdy.

Thinking about etching – wonder if I can use the seal I sign my Sumi-e work with to stamp onto the copper. hmmm might be too hard = worth a shot. Still need to purchase a fresh Sharpie to draw directly onto the copper.

I’m making forward progress on my jewelry goals – Keep Arting!

My etching kit came yesterday… it included the ferric chloride, sample copper, Penny Brite copper cleaner, StazOn stamp pad and Novacan black patina. You know I’m now going to fine that bottle of Ferric C that I have somewhere….

All the copper washed with Penny Brite… I used a file yesterday on the burr from drilling the holes for the jump rings.

Searching through my rubber stamps, I only had two small enough to use. The StazOn is permanent ink to use as a resist. After etching you have to use baking soda to stop the etching process and rinse in water. The StazOn ink needs to be sanded off wearing a good face mask.The small brass piece I etched many years ago…

simple tools to make a float – Styrofoam or plastic foam, duct tape… plastic container for the etching solution. Latex gloves, eye protection & apron recommended for safety.

Copper pieces are adhered to the duct tape wrapped sticky side up around the foam block and then floated with stamped design facing down into the Ferric Chloride. I checked after fifteen minutes and reset timer for an additional 20 minutes.

washed them off and set them down somewhere… ahahhaha found them, the upper two are with the permanent ink stamp.

The two on the bottom. I drew a design on them with Bic permanent marker… a failure , did not really do much of anything after 90 minutes. I will try with a Sharpie next time…

I started some paper beads… First I made the designs by using graph paper. I cut out the pattern shapes and traced onto scrapbook paper. the chart you see was made by cutting the shapes and putting a piece of graph paper over them & then I scanned . I might be teaching a paper bead class so I’m working on my skills & handouts. You just roll the paper tightly around a bamboo skewer, toothpick or plastic coffee straw/stirrer. I need to figure out a better paste. The ends would not stay down. Also for the more interesting shapes you need longer paper. the beads I made were 6 inches long. I’m going to try some 9 or 10 inch strips of paper & also experiment with different weight papers. They need to be sealed with mod podge or other sealant. They’re fun to make and I’m going to include them with PMC pendants.

next I tackle the micro macrame cord for necklaces for my PMC pendants and continue working with the etching. I received a small dragonfly rubber stamp today that I’ll try tomorrow.
so that’s the news here…

keep arting

Long time since I posted. New Year’s ruminations…

I’ve been spending time researching on Pinterest and making inspiration and a how to file for jewelry… I have had all sorts of equipment in that enclosed deck/remodeled studio Finally I have picked a direction. Jewelry making was always my first love so this year I’ve made a personal commitment to follow through and regain skills. To that end, I have made a list of themes, technique, subject and needed supplies. I ordered a few supplies yesterday because… you won’t believe what has been sitting waiting for me to pick a direction since I moved out here. For awhile I taught PMC [Precious Metal Clay] and enameling but gave that up with the downturn around 2008. I will keep working in the other media as I like other artists tend to have Artist ADD and hop around from one technique/media to another.

Prepped some leftover copper blanks for drilling holes:

Drilled the holes – I so dislike the cheap fasteners that are often glued on back:

I just need to file the burr and I’m waiting for etching supplies which of course, I swear I had a bottle of Ferric Chloride somewhere…

I bought a new mold to use with the PMC – it has dragonflies… very tiny ones:

I did try to etch with white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and salt with the drawing done with sharpies but it didn’t do too much or I didn’t wait long enough. more research needed. I did purchase a STAZEN permanent ink stamp and Ferric Chloride. The technique is simple: clean your copper, stamp the design with a rubber stamp with the STAZEN ink pad or draw with a sharpie, cover the back of the piece with tape and tape piece to a piece of foam. Let it float face down in the Ferric Chloride and agitate occasionally. Simple etching!

I put liver of sulpfur on some PMC and copper pieces to enhance patina. Those pieces just need buffing. I have stones ready to set on a few older pieces as well. I bought some micro macrame cord and plan to make some of the PMC pendants hand from a simple macrame necklace. I also purchased some ribbon, leather and chain necklaces. I felt my PMC which is 99.9% pure silver needed to have better looking necklaces than simple rolled leather.

The above work, yes a slow start but moving forward, was almost 2 weeks ago when we had a week of sunny days. Today the sun is bright after a week of rain so I hope it will be warm enough out there to do some work today. Slowly getting my mind in order to make jewelry again.

Beside etching and enameling on PMC or copper, I plan to make paper beads [I am offering a class later this spring], small ceramic diffuser pendant with a metal back for essential oils, reduce my Enso images & print to be placed into pendant base with a glass piece on top. Plus work on my various necklace ideas: making chain, macrame, etc… I feel better that I now have goals in mind. I was drifting in a whirlwind of doubt and low art sales for many years.

My classes are not running so I hope this commitment to jewelry pulls me out of a creative slump although I have been working hard on the 2014 NaNoWriMo and am satisfied with that. I have started putting ideas down for a third novel and am ready to start working again on the 2015 novel. I have Spring Art Walk, the Artist Garage Sale and the NOVA school fair comming up in a month in a half…

sun is out, studio is warm, Keep Arting even if you need time to ruminate, keep arting!

Despite loading in during the pouring rain at the Olympia Waldorf School, 8126 Normandy Street SE, Olympia, WA….. normal for the Pacific Northwest, I sold some of my collage boxes, chopstick journals, and some note cards. Thanks to all who purchased from me today… I don’t do that many holiday/fairs in general and it was nice to be able share my work. Here is my set up…

and a little blurry…

I bought bed risers to make the tables higher and I also now have a tall director’s chair which brings you up higher than a regular chair. [of course during the lulls I typed like crazy but only added a rough 798 words for my NaNoWriMo novel. which brings the word count to 70,998 ]

Tomorrow I’ll bring the cards, chopstick journals and boxes to the Gallery Boom pop-up Capital Mall store. In just the first three days the pop-up sold $500 worth of local art. Thanks to all who support this venture.

Please check my art class list on my website and pass the info along – give the gift of creativity.…rt_instruction

my son and I picked out a tall tree for all the times we were treeless during the winter holidays over the past five years. Next time I lift the tree before purchase. Amazingly, I was able to cram it into the Honda Fit but I did have to tie the hatch down .  Yikes, I barely got it into the stand and it lists!

it’s big,,,

with the lights that look like candles and the cranberry wood beads… I ordered another 2 strings of candle lights.

Buddy my Elf on a Shelf TP papered the tree two nights ago. Guess he was impatient for the lights and ornaments!
Have you noticed – my holiday cheer is back and my sense of humor [both long missing…]


Keep arting,


Trying to get things done for 5th Annual Lincoln Winter Market which is scheduled for Saturday November 28th 11am to 5pm.

location: 213 21st Ave SE, Olympia, WA

but… time is slipping partly because I put so much work into NaNoWriMo novel = 62,147 words to date.

I finished the tops of ten boxes last night as well- heres a few samples…


and the ones below need a little more work… sorry for the fuzzy photo I’m in a rush but realized I needed to post!

I’m getting 15 lighter weight chopstick books readythat will have block prints adhered to the covers – These will go for $5.00. Single layer cardstock cover and 15 sheets of regular copy paper for the pages. My other chopstick books have double cardstock cover and 65# weight paper 20 pages [ 10 folded in half].

and I must get to making bubble wands… whoops another fuzzy image!

and of course… I need to get to those wooden boxes and ornaments – I need a few more 24 hour days this week.

Enjoy celebrating Fall Harvest/Thanksgiving Day

TESC [the Evergreen State College] 3rd Annual Arts & Crafts Fair.

This event is held on Wednesday Dec 2 from 11 to 5pm and will have over 90 vendors…

The link below is for their Facebook page:



Enchanted Winter Faire – Olympia Waldorf School on Saturday Dec 5th, 2015 from 11am to 3pm – 8126 Normandy St SE, Olympia, WA

Chopstick Journals with my mini collages.

Gull Harbor Art and Craft Show – was a two day event last weekend – Nov 7-8. It was in the firehouse meeting room and had fourteen vendors. When I went in to set up Friday night, I thought wow… this is a small group. How’s this going to work? Well never judge a book by its cover because people came ready to purchase. I grossed $240 in handmade journals, cards and a couple of original 11X14″ sumi-e. A big thanks to all who purchased my work. My only complaint:  I had a 6 foot table in the middle and there, honestly, was only about 2 feet between the table in back of me. The first day the two people in back of me flanked me – I was in the middle of their conversation all day; on Sunday I moved their chairs to one side and I was at the end of my table. By the end of the day I was out into the aisle because they kept shifting their chairs a little. Had lots of good conversation both days – a fun experience. The booth fee was $40 which is very reasonable for a two day show! I will go again next year if I’m accepted.

Yesterday’s fair: DuPont Winter Wonderland Holiday Bazaar
Wow, the organizers were incredible! It was held in the gym at the Pioneer Middle School, 1750 Bobs Hollow Lane, DuPont. I didn’t realize how big a space. A normal out door pop-up tent fit so I think it was 10’X10′. Of course we had the strongest rain storm of the season on Saturday but at least setting up Friday night wasn’t too bad. The booth fee was $30 and you had to pay for a one day event business license of $5.00. My set up looked so small that the next morning I dragged more things to set up. Despite the rain squalls there was a steady stream of traffic for most of the day. The organizers/volunteers were incredible. Coffee and muffins ready for us in the morning; lunch [croissant sandwich, bag of chips, beverage, cookie for lunch! I think there were forty vendors but… the advert says “Many vendors selling handcrafted items. Admission is $1 for adults” The person next to me had essential oils/aromatherapy [which smelt incredible], the person to my left had men’s clothing, there were t-shirts and mixed in with “handmade” wreaths, beaded jewelry, etc. It was a real mixed bag of vendors. I made the booth fee of $35 and only sold an additional $34.50. I let a child by a box for $4.50. I did talk up my classes and  I added an astounding 3,490 to my NaNoWriMo word count = 40,162
I might do this on next year. Maybe make some items for kids – like bubble wands…. One of the vendors said there was less people than last year but then it was a horrid storm – you wouldn’t believe the rain squalls.

My advice is scope out the various fairs before entering to see the quality of the wares and get a feel for the amount of people veiwing the event which of course, can change from year to year.

Block print cards ready for sale….

My next event is: The 5th Annual Lincoln Winter Market is scheduled for Saturday November 28th 11am to 5pm.
Last year I just made my booth fee but its downtown in Olympia and not far to drive. I for sure will make those bubble wands that I’ve been thinking about and maybe stencil on small canvass bags, have the journals and cards. This booth fee is $50 and I’m determined to get better sales as it was packed with people last year.
I have been accepted as a vendor for the TESC [the Evergreen State College] 3rd Annual Arts & Crafts Fair. I did that show last year and sold: a card! This year, I’m going to make some of my chopstick journals and price at $5.00. it will be a single sheet of cardstock for the cover and adhere a block print. I may try to make bubble wands for this as the TESC students are a wonderful wacky bunch = many hippies! This event is held on Wednesday Dec 2 from 11 to 5pm and will have over 90 vendors

The link below is for their Facebook page:

I have been accepted for this show: Enchanted Winter Faire – Olympia Waldorf School on Saturday Dec 5th from 11am to 3pm – 8126 Normandy St SE, Olympia, WA. I heard this was a “good” show and again it’s wise to have a wide price point… aiming for allot of $5 items.

I may have one other art class run but this fall was dismal!!!! One 6 week drawing class, one WC pencil Sat workshop, and a three week make simple books. I rewrote many of my descriptions and offered a few new classes for Winter schedule.

Zazzle: A reminder to everyone to always check Zazzle for their promos… Today’s steal: 50% off wrapping paper & tissue paper | USE CODE: ZSUNSTEAL109

the link below is to one of my Sumi-e on wrapping paper:…80867270211236

In checking my Christmas shop to find a sample of wrapping paper, this propmo is across the top of the Zazzle pages:

20% Off All Orders | Up to 50% Off Gifts – Make Their Christmas Morning! Ends Tuesday Use Code: SANTASCOMING

Keep arting folks!

Finally corrected three of my new digital images and loaded them to Zazzle, Redbubble and Fine Art America. I’m way behind on correcting and/or loading images to these POD [print on demand] sites. I have created 283 of these drawings since mid December 2014 when I bought the app for the iPad. As far as POD – Zazzle and Redbuble have changed they way the add image to products is done and I was very cranky because it just doesn’t make sense.   It seemed easier before to find where to create new products.

Still enjoying Art Set Pro Edition….

Hide and Seek with Mouse

© 10/2015 Ellen Miffitt -NLS

Orange Tiger Kitten and Mouse wear their Witch Hats

© 10/2015 Ellen Miffitt – NLS

Not a Very Scary Carved Pumpkin

© 10/2015 Ellen Miffitt- NLS

I hand printed 40 more prints today from four holiday blocks that I carved last year… tomorrow will adhere to blank note cards.

Time for ZZZZZZZzzz – more arting tomorrow.

After recovering from all that summer teaching, September was full of canning [salsa, pickles, relish, etc.] and freezing veggies….

As far as art classes this fall – unfortunately only one 6 week class and one Saturday workshop ran!

I’ve signed up for three holiday fairs and maybe a forth so now I’m finally after a long hiatus in full production most days.

Hand printed close to 200 prints from my various blocks[ 30] that I’ve carved over the last few years… adhered to blank note cards. Sent some to Confluence Gallery in Twisp, WA [Rainy Day Crow] and a variety to Bainbridge Arts & Crafts on Bainbridge Is., WA.

the little boxes below are paper mache that you can buy in craft stores/amazon, etc. I painted them with acrylic, sprayed the inside with glitter [horrid smell ], glued on trim around the bottom part. Just need to collage on the tops…

I have been making chopstick bound mini journals [almost 50 are finished]. They’re the size of a folded piece of copy paper. I glue two sheets of cardstock to make the covers a little sturdier. Next fold ten pages of trimmed 65# paper for the pages [equals 20]. After paper punching holes, thread with ribbon and tie the chopsticks in place. Adhere art on cover [Sumi-e, watercolor pencil drawings, collages, or block prints] and bag…

Sumi-e below – waiting for chopsticks to dry from staining:

collages below:

I will also have small art [ those 4X4″ mixed media on canvas, matted Sumi-e, & maybe the PMC jewelry] as well as little wooden boxes that I intend to woodburn. I have two weeks to get them done having various thoughts about designs – like make up your mind… Also have small wooden ornaments to either paint of woodburn.

Keep Arting…

Gull Harbor Art and Craft Show

Time and date: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Nov. 7; and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 8.

Location: 5046 Boston Harbor Road, Olympia.

DuPont Winter Wonderland Holiday Bazaar

Time and date: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 14.

Location: Pioneer Middle School, 1750 Bobs Hollow Lane, DuPont.

Description: Many vendors selling handcrafted items. Admission is $1 for adults

Enchanted Winter Faire – Olympia Waldorf School

Saturday Dec 5th, 2015 from 11am to 3pm – 8126 Normandy St SE, Olympia, WA


waiting to hear from:

The 5th Annual Lincoln Winter Market is scheduled for Saturday November 28th 11am to 5pm.

location: 213 21st Ave SE, Olympia, WA