Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hot Chocolate

What does winter taste like?


Warm, milky, chocolaty... perfect...

Enjoy Etsy treasuries (collections of art pieces and handmade or vintage items) called Winter Warm Up or Warm and Toasty. They both celebrate all sorts of things that keep us warm when it's cold outside.  And visit Hot Cocoa or  Snuggle Up  for treasuries that focus on the lovely color of cocoa. Then there's Whipped Cream - Enjoy the Colors for a celebration of the stuff on top!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Past

Which Christmas traditions are unique to your family?

My family shares many traditions with the rest of the country - stockings on the fireplace, turkey and dressing, visiting grandparents, watching old family videos...
But we also have some others...
****Santa always brings socks (along with the fun stuff).
****Some sneaky person rearranges the N.O.E.L. stocking hangers to spell L.E.O.N. (I didn't realize this was a tradition until the year I just put them on the mantle like I knew they'd end up; the kids had a fit!)
****There's a sulky teenager on the couch while we decorate the tree. (We didn't realize this was a tradition until the kids outgrew it - so my husband volunteered to play the role!)
**** We relive each memory/vacation/event that goes with the Christmas ball purchased for each year (since 1985).
****There's a big bowl of Chex mix.
****The house is filled with a much bigger collection of nutcrackers than I ever meant to have. (One of the joys of being an elementary school teacher is getting presents - and lots of them have been nutcrackers!)
****All the silliness and fun stops after stockings are opened while someone reads the Christmas story from Luke 2.  What a special 5-10 minutes we share before the craziness of opening presents begins.

This chimney sits along the road that goes between my two brothers' houses  I've always loved imagining the families that sat in front of fires built there. What a surprise when stockings appeared on it before Christmas!!!

What an honor that this chimney has been  featured in an Etsy treasury (collections or art pieces and vintage items). Click
Twas the Night Before Christmas to enjoy the treasury.   

Original Oil Painting on 9"x 12" Wrapped Canvas

"Christmas Past" can be purchased in several forms.
Contact me if you'd like to purchase this image as a giclee, a print, or note cards.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pitcher & Vegetables

What one food makes Thanksgiving Thanksgving?

I'll be spending the day up to my elbows in mashed potatoes, grandma corn, pink fluff, deviled eggs, giblet gravy, and Chex mix.  And, all of those are vital to our family traditions on Thanksgiving, but...

In my family it's all about the dressing (pronounced dressin' ) - if you aren't from the South, you may call it stuffing.  Don't be fooled - it isn't the same thing. (The year my son was in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, we had turkey and stuffing in a lovely New York City hotel - definitely not the same thing.)  So, I thought I'd share:

Cornbread Dressing
1 pan crumbled cornbread  Every time I make it to go with soups, I crumble the leftover and freeze it.  By Thanksgiving, I have a big bag of it.  I know it's way more than 1 pan.
2-3 cups bread crumbs Just use 5-6 pieces of bread, heels, crusts and all.  Tear it up.
10-12 crumbled crackers Use whatever's left in the last sleeve of crackers.  Saltines are fine, or whatever you have on the shelf.
2 onions chopped Coarsely or finely chopped -your preference.  Use less if you don't care for as much onion flavor. You might want to saute them in butter first.
1/2 cup butter More is always better when it comes to butter.
4 cups chicken broth Have more ready just in case.  Your dressing must be runny when you put it in the oven
3 raw eggs, beaten Makes it fluffy!  I've even been known to put in a few sliced boiled eggs just for a different texture.
1 can pet milk This is the secret!  This is what we southerners don't tell people from other parts of the country.
1 cup chicken Chop it up and put it in.  You'll have it anyway since you're boiling it to make your own broth, right? (Just kidding - don't feel badly if you use canned broth.  You just won't have chicken bits to add.)
sage Use as much as you want.  This is the aroma that makes Thanksgiving special.
salt  Whatever amount seems right. Teaspoon, tablespoon...
pepper Whatever amount seems right. Teaspoon-ish,
Bake at 350-375 for 30-40 minutes. Cover with foil for the first part of cooking.

Have a little potato fun with this Etsy treasury (collection of vintage items and art pieces) celebrating the potato!  Click You Say Potato... I Say Potato... Then click Vegetables Are Good for You for a colorful, healthy, yummy treasury. And finally a celebration of all things Potato.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kiss on the Path

Where do you suppose that this path leads?

I loved this image from the first time I saw it.  I love the story it tells... kind of metaphorical, I suppose... A young couple in love and at the very beginning of their life together. They can see just a little way down the path, but the rest is... down the road...


Friday, November 12, 2010

Li'l Punkin'

Where do you look first, last, and the longest?

It's the eyes, right?  Why is that?  My husband and I have the privilege of taking care of the infants and toddlers in our church for an hour each week.   And I've noticed that even a baby of a few weeks old knows that it's all about the eyes!  They instinctively stare directly into their caregiver's eyes.

As I was scrutinizing each square inch of this painting, I realized I kept going back to the eyes.  Not fair that one square inch should demand so much attention!  I worked really hard those pumpkins and that hay and those stripes on his shirt! 

Once I decided that I'd done the best I could on my own, I took it to my painting mentor.  She admired it, complimented this and that, praised things that I'd done well... Then politely furrowed her brow and pursed her lips... I knew that I was about to learn what tiny (or huge) revision I needed to make if I wanted this painting to be "right."  Somehow, I knew it wouldn't have anything to do with the pumpkins, the hay, the little clothes... "Let's see if we can scoot that eye over a little bit."   Oh, how I love her for seeing what I miss and gently guiding me to get it right!  (But, that love arrives after a second or two of an internal scream of "Nooooooo!" that only comes out as a small sigh followed by, "Yeah, I see it now.  You're right."

And, in the end... look at those sweet little eyes.  Those are his momma's eyes.  Oh, how I loved those big brown eyes when I held, loved, and played with my first little neice!  I'm glad this "Li'l Punkin'" got his momma's eyes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Here's Looking at You

Why would anyone paint this?

Well, I'll tell you how it happened.  I had the opportunity to enter two paintings in a 5x5 showing and auction at Art Center of the Ozarks.  I was sitting at Sonic (yum!) with my teenaged son talking about what I should paint.  I said I wanted to do something different than a flower or piece of fruit like most people would do.  I said, "I don't want to shrink something down, I want to paint something small but make it bigger.  But, I want to paint something that's really beautiful and colorful.  What could that be?"  He flipped down the visor, looked in the mirror, and said, "My eyes.  They're small and beautiful and colorful."  That was it!

I suppose I shouldn't ruin it by telling how he whined and fussed at me having to take at least a dozen pictures to get a good one of each eye.....

I entered one of these little eye paintings in a challenge that encouraged artists to think about "Color" and what colors represent in different contexts.  Visit "In the Moment" to see the other "color" pieces.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Time

What colors are supposed to be calming and relaxing?

I'm pretty sure, they're blues, greens, purples - the cool colors.  I thought the warm colors were supposed to do just the opposite.  Right?  Reds, oranges, and yellows are supposed to stimulate or cause excitement.
So why do I want to go into this scene and simply relax, be still, let the time pass without accomplishing any tasks?

This imaginary place was just too wonderful not to visit twice.  (You'll see another version of this scene if you scroll down just a few entries.)