Thursday, December 22, 2011

A little catching up

So three years ago, a girl moved down the street from me. It didn't take long for us to realize how much we had in common. Just about everything. We grew to be great friends and I was SO so sad when she moved away. (thankfully, we still keep in touch, which is a feat for me since I'm really bad at keeping in touch with long distance friends)

I promised her I would make her something as a going away gift, and sadly, it took much longer than anticipated. In the meantime, she had another baby, so I made something for her new little guy as well.

Acrylic on canvas

I made the little hat and apron out of canvas.... the other stuff is vinyl lettering and stickers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bookshelves: before/during/after

(technically this is not created by Rachel. but I was a big part of this so I had to put it in)

We usually have at least one large house project going on... this year we worked on our living room - specifically building built in bookshelves and our fireplace.

Now, when my husband proposed the project, it was only going to take a couple months. cough. 7 months later, we were finishing it up. Granted, he only has Saturdays to work on it (and some nights when he's up to it) so progress is slow. Plus, he's never done anything like this before so it's a learning process.

But I do have to brag about him a little because holy cow! He's never done anything like this before! and it turned out really really beautiful.... he's become quite the handyman. He put in new lights, changed outlets, put in the recessed lighting in the ceiling, installed all the wires for the TV, built the shelves, etc etc...

So the TRUE before (before we bought the house): (NOT my decor or furniture)

BUT note the hideous light fixture


So this is the best BEFORE I have of what we had for the past 4 years. It still had a couple Christmas decorations up (notice the nativity) but you get the idea

Ugly white painted brick, etc.


AND this is what I lived with for 7 months. Tarps, wood, dust, debris, tools, more tools, large saws, molding, more sawdust, drywall, concrete, etc etc
(don't step on that kids!)
(don't touch that kids!)
(stay out of dad's work station kids!)
(get out of there!)
(That is dangerous!)
You get the idea

Coming along



And I'm DONE with seeing these babies for a while...

A closer look at the mantle and molding

Here is a more updated picture with stuff on them

Yay for being done!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


So creative projects have been slow lately.

In June we heard news that my cousin (and my husband's best friend) had suddenly died, which was unexpected for a healthy 32 year old.

I was asked to sing at the funeral, and knowing that would be a difficult task, I looked for someone who plays a string instrument to accompany me (to help out if I managed to not make it through the song)

It just so happens that I got in touch with a very accomplished violist, who without knowing me or my family, volunteered her time to come and play.

I was so grateful for her help, especially last minute when she was in the midst of planning a huge music festival in Park City.

I didn't feel like a thank you card really expressed my thanks, so I decided to paint her a little picture.

It was a simple project, but I was shocked how it came together so fast (which never happens these days for me).

I only used a few colors (metallic bronze, copper, and gold). And I love how it came out!


Because I used metallic paint, it has a really cool sheen to it (which you can't tell in a picture. here is one with the flash to show)


Friday, June 17, 2011

End of the school year....

SUMMER? what?? Where did spring go??? It has escaped me.

Yesterday marked the last day of kindergarten for my little 5 year old. 1st grade! bah! I can't believe it.

Here is our end of the year teacher's gift we made together. I think the original idea came from the FamilyFun magazine.

We went to staples, found a double sided container box (for $3), filled it with office supplies and little treats.

Used my Silhouette to cut the vinyl for both the sides and voila! Really easy and fun.

1st side

2nd side

Little note from a grateful student

She was insistent on making her card out of her pink lined notebook paper, and I didn't protest. Especially when she came up with her little note without my help.

I loved how it all came out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dinosaur Jump

I painted this for a friend of mine who just had a baby recently. She wanted to base his room around this book: It's a really cute book - my kids loved flipping through it. What was really cute is that my daughter wanted to make one too... and what she did I thought was really creative - she traced the dinosaur, cut it out, traced it again on her own paper, colored it and called it "Dinosaur Jomp". I thought I had saved it but I can't find it anywhere. I loved it. Anyway.... This painting was loosely based on the story. It started off with just palm trees, but I added the mountains, and I'm so glad, it really makes the painting. (and yes, as my husband points out - they are BLUE). They remind me of Kauai.


And since we have quite a few colored walls in our house I figured I'd try out a couple options...

light blue wall: (though it looks a little like periwinkle)


orangy wall: (but kinda blurry)


It would be interesting to see what a green wall would look like, but we don't have one... yet...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Watercress Soup

Yes, it's been far too long since I posted. I've had some projects I'm working on that are taking me longer than anticipated... (even without all the interruptions)

But don't you love spring? I LOVE spring.

Spring has brought beautiful green bunches of WATERCRESS back to my local farmer's market.

I did some research of some health benefits to watercress (found at THIS website):

"Watercress is rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron, and is a good source of iodine as well. In fact, it has more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach."

When I first discovered watercress last year, I tried a few soup recipes, found one I liked and then tweaked it a bit - now I just love this recipe.

It takes about 30 minutes to make and it's delicious - especially with fresh and toasted honey whole wheat bread to dip.

As in the majority of my meals, my cuisinart minifood prep is essential for making this fast and easy. You don't have to use one, but it sure makes things go faster. (and it's very reasonable at costco)

It probably is even better if you have a large food processor as it is 4 times the size (but since it's also 4 times the price, I stick with my mini one)

Recipe: Watercress Soup

3 Tablespoons butter

3-4 potatoes (or a bag of fingerling potatoes- no chopping needed)

1-2 yellow sweet onions

4-5 stalks of celery

Sea salt to taste

2 1/2 cups chicken stock (my favorite being Trader Joe's organic low sodium or homemade)

2 1/2 cups creamy milk

2 bunches of chopped watercress (remove the course stems)

(just so you know - I don't add pepper to anything, but I'm sure it would be good to add for people who like pepper)

1) Melt the butter. Chop/puree the onions, celery, and potatoes into very small pieces in the mini-food prep (you don't even have to peel the potatoes - just toss em in the chopper).

2) Add the onions, celery and potatoes to the butter and toss with the butter. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

3) Add the stock and milk, bring to a boil and cook until the onions and potatoes are soft.

4) Chop the watercress in the mini-food prep and add to the soup - boil with the lid off for about 4-5 minutes until cooked. Do not overcook the watercress.

5) Puree the soup in a blender. Add more salt if necessary.

Even if green soup doesn't look so yummy, I can attest that it's OH so yummy. It tastes better every time I make it. We may have it once a week until watercress is out of season....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Art with preschoolers

Our preschool meets in large chunks - a month at a time. There are many pros and cons, but one of the pros is that you can do a full unit without interruption.

One of the units I did was on famous artists. This one I was really excited about - we learned about Degas, Monet, and Van Gough.

We didn't attempt to paint a Degas painting (a little beyond 4 year olds capability), but we DID attempt to learn the techniques of Monet and Van Gough.

I decided to use washable paint (for practicality reasons) but I wished I wouldn't have since the colors would have been better.

But the kids did an AWESOME job.

This is what it was based on:


(when I made the collages picasa moved the names to the middle. very annoying. oh well)



And then Monet's Water Lilies. Definitely a challenge.


They all did such a great job!

Now, when my kindergartner found out I had done this, she was so sad to miss out on the fun. So I had her and her friend (another sister of a boy in my group) do a little class with me too. And we pulled out the real paint this time and I loved what they came up with!!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

My new toy

So it's been a while since I posted. After the debacle of having my painting rejected at the art exhibition, I took a little break from creative endeavors. Not for long though - since I got a new SILHOUETTE machine for Christmas. It is the ultimate craft toy that does everything from cut paper, vinyl, (and just recently) fabric, heat transfer, glass etching. Yes, it was a big surprise from my frugal and practical husband who generally only buys me things I need (instead of want). This machine has been so much fun. There are SO MANY things you can do with it. I've barely tapped into what it can do. But needless to say, I whipped up these cards fairly fast (now if I can only get out those thank yous in a timely manner, that would be good!)

Look how intricate the snowflake is!




This was for my son's birthday party:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Finally finished



"...then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I'm still wondering where December went. It seems like a blur. But January here we come. (I hate January).

While I was in Utah, (did I mention the snow storms created some great snow on the ski slopes? it did) I couldn't help get out my camera.

I was in the car working on these babies:


yes 125 Christmas cards. signed, sealed, and delivered by yours truly... (ALL but a few got into the mail BEFORE Christmas I might add), but I kept getting distracted and i couldn't stop looking out the window. It was so beautiful and serene.

the fog and mists were incredible

This is one of my favorites:
It almost looks like the horse is fake.





Isn't it just gorgeous!? I thought so. I marvel at the mountains often. They are so majestic.

Anyway - before Christmas I've been working on my largest painting on canvas to date (it's still not huge, but large for me). My first real go at oil paints. It's been a big adventure for me. Pretty bad timing (as I'm staying up between 2 and 4am pretty much the whole week before we left for Christmas vacation). I'm really excited to turn it in later this week to be judged by a panel of judges.

It's not quite done yet (still making last minute adjustments). Here is a sneak peak of a part of it:


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Twas the season

to make KRING-LAH (Kringle)

Christmas is just not Christmas until I make Kringle. A Norwegian dessert that has been modified by my Norwegian grandmother (replacing raisins for chocolate chips, etc), this has become one of my holiday staples. It looks so beautiful and festive - shaped like a Christmas wreath with red-hots as holly berries. In reality it's like a thick chocolate chip cookie with frosting and red-hots.

This year I made about 50 (yes five zero) for the choir in my church congregation. I am the choir director and was in charge of the Christmas program this year and I made this treat for all the participants. The Christmas program had almost entirely music and turned out spectacular (a tad bit longer than anticipated, but really awesome.) I don't like to do things half way. And Yes it was crazy. Especially since we were flying out of town the day of the Christmas program. But I enjoyed doing it.