Friday, December 30, 2011

Feature Art Friday: Holly the chocolate lab

This is Holly, a chocolate lab whose pet portrait was commissioned as a Christmas gift by a human claiming to be her sister. I love a person who knows where the family pet really stands in the hierarchy. Trust me, my mother refers to my Maisy as her grandpuppy. True story.

I donate 20% of all of my pet portrait commission fees to Out of the Woods pet rescue in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Lessons Learned

Just a short list of things I believe in at the end of 2011...

I believe that everything you give, you will get back. (I don't mean that the ugly vase you re-gifted will come back to you, although that might also be true.) I'm talking about the things we "give" without thinking... whether it is love & encouragement or a nasty attitude & a bad cold, it's all coming back- sometimes sooner than we think.

I believe a good night of sleep can't be replaced with the consumption of copious amounts of caffeine, although I also believe in coffee. Just not as a replacement for sleep.

I believe I can actually trust my inner voice. Now that we are on speaking terms.

I believe you should always remember where you came from, even if it is only so you can see how far you've come.

Finally, I believe that there is always "enough" in my life. Maybe just barely, but there is enough. Enough time, enough patience, enough cream for that coffee, enough tears, enough money, enough laughter & most important of all, enough love.

And that last one make me feel more than enough gratitude. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Inspiration: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Love that little house perched on the hill overlooking town...

This restaurant makes my mouth water- even just seeing a photo of it.

The Basin Park Hotel has a cave you can access through the lobby.

Didn't believe me, did you? Told you so...

A park bench too pretty to sit on... a park too pretty to skip.

Check out those teal posts on the second floor balcony- I have to find something I can paint that color. It feels a bit like an emergency situation to me.

This quirky little town is in the mountains in northern Arkansas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cat burglar caught in the act!

I finally caught him in the act...

Ron Burgundy stole this gift ( before becoming distracted by a rubberband). 

I was sitting at the table painting when I heard him sliding it across the floor, heading toward the back door.

I also found a roll of toilet paper from the downstairs bathroom in the middle of the living room floor. 

Maybe he was going to replace the gift with the toilet paper & hope nobody noticed.  I told you he was a cat burglar... remember?

Monday, December 19, 2011

37 things list: Homemade Cookies

Here's just a bit more holiday goodness inspired by a childhood tradition my sister & I shared with our Aunt Melba, who raised the bar for all aunts everywhere. 
 We made these cookies with her every Christmas. 
My favorite part was smashing the M & M in the top of the cookie while it was still warm from the oven. 
Deb & I made bags of them & took them around to our friends this year, "ding, dong ditching" them at each place. I would hang the bag on the door, ring the bell & flee to the getaway car as if I was being chased. So much fun.
 I'm going to give you the recipe the exact way my Aunt Melba wrote it for me... 

M & M Cookies (the ones Laura & Sherry just LOVE)

1 15 oz. bag of M & M's
1 cup margarine
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cup of M & M's.
Beat margarine & sugars until light.
Blend in eggs & vanilla.
Add combined flour, soda & salt, mix well.
Stir in chopped M & M's.
Drop rounded spoonfuls of mixture on cookie sheet.
Bake for 9 - 11 minutes.
Remove from oven & press M & M's into the top of each cookie.

Makes about 5 dozen... enough to make you sick!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feature Art Friday: Art outside my comfort zone

Here it is... from beginning to (allegedly) the end... art outside my comfort zone. I am naturally drawn to brighter colors, so you may notice that a few steps into the process I had to remind myself of what I was doing. :) Trying to add texture to the canvas was new for me.  I'm also relatively unfamiliar with abstract painting & learned that the upside is that it doesn't necessarily have to look like anything in particular, while the downside is that means you never know when it is actually finished!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DIY: How to make a homemade bow

My Aunt Melba taught me to make homemade bows when I was a teen & I still enjoy making them for my holiday packages each year... especially when I find a big sale on ribbon at Michael's. :) 

To make a bow with wire-edged ribbon, all you need is the ribbon, scissors & a little wire. This ribbon in 1 1/2" wide.

Step # 1: Make a loop with the end of the ribbon, about 3" from your thumb to the outside edge of the loop. (Notice there is a small end of ribbon sticking out past the center.)

Step # 2: Make another loop of the same size in the other direction.

Step # 3: Continue wrapping the ribbon over the original loops, making a total of 4 on each side. Cut the end of the ribbon leaving a little extra (1") past the middle. Squeeze the middle of the ribbon together.

Step # 4: Cut a 5" bit of wire & wrap it tightly around the center of the bow. Squeeze the wire tightly to make sure it is holding the center together.

Step # 5: Holding the bow by one end, pull the center loop out to the right. 

Step # 6: Still working on the same end of loops, pull the innermost loop out to the left while trying to protect your bow from the cat (Ron Burgundy). 

Step # 7: Pull the remaining inner loop out to the right.

Step # 8: Repeat # 5 - # 7 on other side. If your cat has stolen the roll of wire from the table, chase the cat down & retrieve it. You will need it if you want to make any additional bows. :) 

Happy Holidays!