Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Inspired by the Beatles

Creative Tuesdays theme this week was the Beatles.  I have been a lifelong fan of the Beatles.  My mother credits the Beatles with helping her learn English.  I have many childhood memories if listening to the Beatles in front of a crackling fire with my mom and older brother.  When I was a teenager in the 80's I'm sure I was the only one I knew who actually listened to Beatles songs on cassette in my car!

I had lots and lots of great ideas but in the end...I think everyone one be disappointed if I didn't choose "Lovely Rita."  It's not even close to being my favorite Beatles song, in fact I have a love/hate relationship with this song.  Growing up I always felt a bit vain when people would mention the song and called me lovely.  As an adult I hear references to it less and less, I suppose there are fewer and fewer who are familiar with it but it does pop up once in a while as the ringtone on my cell phone...here's a little sketch.

We are not the only bunch inspired by the Beatles, take a look at these...all found on Pinterest:

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Midsummer Night's Dream, Hungarian folk art style

Trying a new link up today. Although I love Illustration Fridays, it pushes me to try new things in coming up with art that matches the prompt every week...and I have loved participating in Creative Tuesdays these last two weeks for the same reason, I find myself spending all my time making art to share at those sights and not for my own pleasure. I decided to participate in Sunday Sketches today so that I could link up anything. No themes or topics...yay!

This is colored pencil on an old book page.  Please excuse the wrinkles, I took the page outside to photograph in the bright sun and the morning breeze tried to take it away!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brave Girls Club

I'm so excited to be the featured artist on a little bird told me, wonderful daily affirmation emails from Brave Girls Club.  If you are not familiar with Brave Girls Club I highly recomment you check them out, you will be glad you did!


Prepare, mixed media, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas in July

I had so much fun posting last week on Creative Tuesdays.  Everyone was so welcoming and kind and I really, really wanted to do something this week but the theme "Christmas in July," stumped me. 

The first time I heard the term "Christmas in July" was when I was in New Zealand, it was 1992 and I was dating a Kiwi guy.  I spent (my) summer visiting him but of course it was winter there, so my first Christmas in July experience was freezing.   You can see my dilemma...Christmas in July reminds me of the coldest July I ever had and being from Southern California, Christmas is often warm and balmy.  In the end I did this little colored pencil drawing of a palm tree decorated for Christmas.  This is something you would actually see in my neighborhood in December...maybe not the best for Christmas in July...I'm going to link it up before I change my mind!

My Favorite (not green) Smoothie

Coffee Banana Smoothie

I have been experimenting with making myself the perfect green smoothie in an effort to get more veggie nutrients and honestly, to help keep off the pounds.  I try to replace some of my daily calories with a low calorie smoothie.  So far I have not found a really great green smoothie so while I experiment I have been going back to my old standby...the Coffee Banana.  It fills me up, gives me a little jolt of caffeine and is about 200 calories.

 In a blender combine these ingredients:

1/2 cup cold coffee (or use instant)
1/2 cup milk of choice - I used Unsweetened Chocolate flavor almond milk**
1 medium banana sliced - I often use frozen sliced bananas I keep in the freezer
1 Tablespoon each ground flax seed and chia seeds
a few ice cubes

**also yummy with vanilla flavor, or if you use plain milk and want some more flavor add a dash of vanilla extract or spoonful of chocolate milk powder or chocolate syrup.


And if you have a great green smoothie recipe I'd love to try it.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Hello Monday

It's Monday after a great weekend. 

Friday night I finally checked out some wine tasting rooms on the Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara. Saturday we spent all day at the pool with a bunch of friends, it finally felt like summer around here! Sunday was lazier but we managed to be productive (some of us more than others!)

Hello to this Hungarian folk art design I've been wanting to draw on an old book page for a long time and finally sat down to do it yesterday.  Inspired by this felt version on Pinterest.

Hello Oberon who is 11 weeks old today and got his next round of shots.  One step closer to the beach!  I can't wait.
Hello Io, mischief maker.
Hello to burning onions. 
No it's not a mistake, it's the first step to making the best beans EVER which will be our meatless Monday meal tonight.  
Try the recipe yourself and let me know what you think.
Hello beautiful orchids
Hello new fence husband was working on all weekend.  New dog, new fence.
I'm linking up with Lisa Leonard again, if you are visting me via Lisa's blog please say hello!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I haven't been bursting with creativity lately...when I have found the time to pick up my sketchbook I've been disappointed by what's been showing up on paper.  Today I was determined to do something, ANYTHING and I've been wanting to draw on old book pages for a while.

This little bird can carry a tune.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paradise Island

Paradise Island for Creative Tuesdays.  I'm happy to participate in a new link up for the first time!  I did this painting after my first visit to the paradise island of Kauai.  Kauai is the only Hawaiian island with rivers you can kayak. 

Hanalei River, acrylic on canvas

It was really fun to look for this spot when we went back to Kauai this year...although I used some creative license to change it up for a more pleasing composition.

Monday, July 16, 2012


She knew...with quiet certainty...that all was lost.


Kauai Journal Pages Round Up

I finally scanned more of the pages from my Kauai journal pages, my first attempt at keeping an artsy travel journal from my vacation last month...I'm also linking up with Lisa Leonard.  Hello Monday.  I'm ready for a new week of puppy adventures, creativity and positive attitudes!
My first ever drawing on an airplane.
View at the pool
Sunset, see better view here
Hanalei Bay #1 - watercolor & watercolor pencils
Hanalei Bay #2 - colored pencils this time
Lighthouse at Kilauea
See more pages here, here and here

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Homemade Marinara Sauce

When faced with a bumper crop of tomatoes why not make your own marinara sauce?  I found this basic recipe, tweaked it a little and it turned out quite easy and delicious.  Keep in mind that this recipe can be easily modified to fit your needs and tastes.  When I was done peeling and seeding I found that I had 7 cups of tomatoes and not the 12 the original recipe calls for so I adjusted all the other ingredients accordingly. 


7 cups peeled and seeded ripe tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon mixed dried herbs (I used Italian blend)
1/3 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large pot heat olive oil.  Add onions and saute over medium heat stirring frequently.  When onions are starting to become translucent and golden brown (about 5 minutes) add garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 another minutes.
Add red wine (I didn't really add the wine from my glass, I just thought it was funny to photograph it that way!)  Stir well, scraping the herbs, onion and garlic from bottom of pan.  Cook for 2 minutes. 
Add tomatoes and bay leaf bring to gentle simmer then lower heat and cook slowly for 2 hours.  Stir frequently.  Add more salt & pepper to taste if needed.
When it was done I took out about a cup to freeze and use another day for pizza sauce. 

For now I decided to brown some ground beef to make a bolognese sauce to serve over (gluten free corn) spaghetti. So good and so proud of myself. I made this from scratch!
And the tomatoes keep coming...

I'm linking this post to Must Try Mondays on My Favorite Finds...because you must try this recipe!  :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Birdies


Above - some new colored pencil drawings of birdies from the past few days.
Below - a page from my travel journal, birds of Kauai.

 These were photographed but I hate how you can see the shadows from the light in the room...obviously need to work on my photos.

Friday, July 13, 2012

How To Peel, Seed & Freeze Tomatoes

My garden runneth over with tomatoes.  I've been hit & miss (mostly miss) with tomatoes in the past, because I have a coastal Southern California garden I don't always have the heat needed to grow great summer vegetables.  Since I don't have to worry about frost, a few years ago I started planting tomatoes in the winter, as soon as they show up in stores.  Having the longer growing season seemed to help but I still was lucky to get a dozen good tomatoes every summer.  This year, I spent extra time getting the vegetable beds ready and it has sure paid off!

After eating many, many tomatoes and giving away a bunch to friends and family I am still left with a huge amount so I decided to prepare some for freezing.  I am a big fan of freezing foods but have never tried tomatoes.  It was surprisingly fun, easy and kid friendly.

First peel and seed your tomatoes.
Bring a pot of water to boil and while waiting for water to boil core out the stem and cut an X in the bottom of each tomato.  If you have a child who is old enough to handle a knife, the cutting of the X's was such a fun task that my children fought over who could do it (they took turns.)
Place tomatoes, a few at a time, in rapidly boiling water.  Watch them carefully, most of our tomatoes started to peel themselves after only 20-30 seconds in the water.  Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as you see the peels curling back, you don't want to cook the tomatoes, just get the skin loose.  Immediately place in ice water bath to stop them from cooking and to further loosen the skin.  Leave them in the ice water until well chilled, just a minute or so and then remove with slotted spoon and place in another bowl.
 The tomatoes should now peel very easily, you should only need to give them a gentle squeeze and the peels should just slide right off.  A few of my tomatoes were stubborn so I repeated the boiling water and ice bath.
When all the tomatoes have been peeled, cut them in half and use your fingers to gently dig out the seeds as best you can, you don't have to get them all.  Do this with a strainer over a bowl to catch the seeds and reserve the juice. When I was all done I pushed the seeds around the strainer a bit to really squeeze out all the juice.  Add the juice back to the peeled and seeded tomatoes.
I sometimes freeze in glass storage containers but they do take up a lot of space in the freezer and since there is air in the container I feel the food inside doesn't last as long once frozen.
To save space in the freezer, place desired amount of tomatoes in plastic zip bags, leaving at least an inch at the top.  Squeeze out excess air and zip closed.  I use Natural Value bags which are PVC and BPA free.  Freeze while laying flat.  Once frozen you can stand them up and keep them well organized. Don't forget to label your bags or glass containers so you know what you've got and when it needs to be used up.  Tomatoes should last up to a year.
I'm linking up with Shabby Nest. and At the Picket Fence.  Both great websites with lots of inspiration and great Friday link ups.  Check them out!