Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THIS is why I never get accepted

So, I got this letter from the Church Art Competition people saying "thank you for entering...blah blah ... lots of entrants....we regret to inform you..." I don't remember what else because my sister in law was reading it to me over the phone. I actually didn't receive the letter as all my mail that has my maiden name on it goes to my brother in Cali. It's just as well, I was so busy with my son coming home and Christmas I just couldn't be bothered with packing up a painting and shipping it anywhere, anyways.

AND I never can get a good photo as you can see here. I wouldn't accept this painting if I were on the committee, either.

I swore last time I would get Sarah, the best art teacher ever, to do a scan for me but as usual I painted at the last minute and had wet paint and excuses, excuses. But in reality it wasn't a very good painting. It was painted well but it doesn't mean anything to anyone. I even showed this to some relatives of Louisa Sheen and they were unimpressed. There are two things to great art.

1. How to paint
2. What to paint

I got the first part, I just can't seem to get the last part. Maybe if I took a college illustration class I might learn something. I am open to ideas. If any of you have an idea of something meaningful to paint then I would love to hear it - I might even paint it.

Here is a link to Emily Mc Phie who knows "what to paint" even though some of her stuff creeps me out just a teeny bit, (like tree branches growing out of heads) you cannot deny her work definately has meaning. The link will take you to her Church art competition painting and I'm the one who told her she should enter! The painting is really good and has loads of meaning. It could be that she is a professional artist and knows what she is doing , or something. She really is good. I love her work. Enjoy her site.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Perfect landscape

It isn't hard to take a good photograph when you have a great place to shoot. I don't want to make you all jealous, but the midwest is full of inspiring locations and beautiful light. Okay, I'm jealous too, because I don't live in the midwest. But I went there. And I took these.
This is a hill in Iowa. Is that the cutest thing ever? Art Girl thought she couldn't be photographed in a field without a piece of grass in her mouth.

Married kids found a cute little barn and some golden sunset light. Aren't they sweet?

This is a little creek on the farm. It doesn't look like it but it is about 7 feet deep. All this cool atmosphere makes monkeys pose all artsy. I think they should be Ralph Lauren models or something, don't you think? I actually took some pictures even better than these but I deleted them on accident. Of course, they were the best ones I took the whole trip. Isn't that the rule?

Even fallen leaves make a great backdrop. My kids went crazy in the leaves after this shot. We don't have deciduous trees where we live. The heartland is where it's at, baby.

He's Home!

Well, my first born man-child has come home at last! We were so excited to see him that we made these adorable posters. One arriving passenger said, " thanks for the sign but my name is not Howard."
I think he looks the same but with more whiskers. Everyone else says he is a little skinny. I think he is perfect.

This is one happy Papa. I got hugged first, but since I was holding the camera at the time there is no picture of me getting a big ol' bear hug.

He hugged everyone and then he picked up Bee and twirled her around. She was the only one he missed. Look how happy he is to see her. She is so big he almost couldn't pick her up. I know I can't.
Here we are in front of the house. It was pouring rain when we left and we didn't get a sign made, so my amazing friend Julie made this sign and put it up after the rain stopped and before we got back from the airport. I think I saw a tear from Homeboy's eyes. That was totally sweet of her. Thank you, Julie. Pay no attention to the weeds or the hose. Please.

Here he is. My College Boy. My life is complete. I love him with all my heart.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Romantic Living

There is a new online magazine called Romantic Living. Here is their website. I think it is cool that we can use the web to get out ideas and have some fun. They will enter you in a drawing for a beautiful Christie Repasy print if you mention their website on your blog. So I'm mentioning it. I actually met Christie in the summer of 2007. She is sooooooo talented and so very nice. Her originals are amazing and she just cranks them out. She even painted on the walls of her little shop in Laguna Beach. She gave me advice (basically to stick to portraits) and gave me tickets to an art fair and was very generous with her time. I would love to get a free Repasy print even though I already have like 5 or 6. My girls love them, too. So go check out Romantic Living online.

Nauvoo in a Nutshell

Here we are at the Nauvoo Temple. I thought I would be clever and bring a tripod and shoot ourselves with the timer button. But, what I didn't know was my new camera doesn't have a timer button so My Man got a temple worker to come out and take our family pictures. No lie. He's a smart one, he is. Since I am in bed with a bad cold I am too tired to go into the kitchen where my PS is to edit these. Sorry for the bad pics.

This is one of the reasons I call my offspring monkeys. She did this in our house, too.

While the older people went into the temple I watched the little ones and took some lovely shots. This is a replica log home where you wait for your carriage ride. So sweet.
We went into this place called the family living center where they show you how the settlers lived and made stuff. Here is a demo on how they made candles. I know, you are thinking they are just wax but they are really made from animal fat. EEWwwww, gross. Think how their houses would have smelled.

After we went to dinner at a little local diner, we saw a darling play put on by the senior missionaries. It was so cute and funny. Rex didn't want to go see it, being a 16 year old boy and all but I think he laughed the most. Here we are with some of the actors/missionaries. (Yeah, it was cold- like 27 degrees.)

Sorry this photo is unedited but I thought it would be cute to see our little married couple by an old stable. I believe this is an original structure.

We don't have leaves on the ground where we live. This is quite a phenomenon to my monkeys and they proceeded to do the natural thing when one sees leaves on the ground... scoop them up and throw them at each other. Even cute little Fifi is getting in on the action. Where is Mini Me? She is doing what I would be doing and she is video taping the scene off to the side. How very smart of her.

Here we are at a real oxen ride. The wagon is a replica of the wagons they used to cross the plains in. You can tell how narrow the wagon is compared to the Holstein oxen. These oxen were HUGE, about 2500 pounds. The pioneer's oxen were only about 1200 pounds. Which is about how much I weigh. Shhh... don't tell anyone I said that.

After the oxen ride we went over to old Brigham Young's barn and took some more pictures. That is his original house behind us. It was really small. Low ceilings and about 900 square feet. I absolutely love Nauvoo. It was so romantic and picturesque. The missionaries told us that a lot of couples travel to get married here. I can see why.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Iowa for Thanksgiving

We are going to Iowa! Yippee! This is the place we are staying at in Iowa. I know, pretty fancy, but property values in the middle of farmland are not as high as say, Phoenix or even Show Low. This place is about an hour and 15 minutes from Nauvoo, Illinois. We will be going to the Nauvoo temple while we are there and seeing old Nauvoo.

This is my bath tub. It's just wrong, all wrong. Now get out, I'm going to take a bath.

Iowa for Thanksgiving. I know, some of you are saying "Iowa? Why are you going to Iowa? Do you have family there? Are you crazy? Are you going to eat your tots?" Well, I know what you are thinking as I have had those same questions myself. BUT, take a look at this house! It is in the middle of nowhere (as much of Iowa is) and there is nothing to do but kick back and relax, go fishing, go swimming, or bowling. This is the conservatory, filled with plants I see every day in Arizona. Oh so very, very wrong.

Unfortunately, we haven't been there in a while and the furnaces are broken. All except one, the conservatory. I am not sleeping next to the pool. I am going to see if the fireplaces will work so we can have some heat. We might all be sleeping in this room. I call "dibs" on the big sofa.

Here is the "pond". That is what the locals call it but it is 9 acres and stocked with Large Mouth Bass. I like to call it a lake. The bass is yummy. There is a boat and turtles, frogs, snakes and little otter type creatures. But I think they will be in hiding because it is 40 degrees out there right now. I just hope there is no ice on the pond.
I didn't show you the wooded part but there are wild turkeys and pheasant running around. I wanted to catch one and eat it for Thanksgiving but the owner said "no hunting". Is it officially hunting if you catch it live and then accidentally take it to the butcher and then eat it for dinner? I'll let you know how that turns out. See you next week.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Little Education

I hate it when people, decorators, furniture stores, builders, and magazines try to tell us what Tuscan style is. I have never been to Tuscany but I have seen pictures of the buildings and the decor and it is not what Ashley Furniture is pushing. Case in point, Emanuela Marchesini. She has a few shops in Tuscany and they all look like this.

You need to go to her website and check out her style. I love it. Mini me and I drool over her stuff and it makes us want to go to Italy real bad. When I was in London I was asked if I decorated in the Southwest Style. When I asked him what that was he said, "Log pole beds and rustic mexican stuff with bright orange and red." I told him I didn't know anyone who decorated their homes like that but I have seen a few trailer parks with some painted coyotes in their yards. I guess that is what Tuscans feel like when we think they all decorate their homes like fallen down barns. They do have venetian plaster and lime washed walls, that part we got right.

My Christmas tree looks just like this one only BIGGER. I swear. I would love to have a dining room set like this one. I would even consider taking the piano out of the dining room to put that in there. I think my sister in law is getting me a set just like this for Christmas.

Look at the buttons on the sofa... they are bows! I could replace every cabinet in my kitchen with the big display cabinet here. Counter space just gets junk on it.

I love this room. I love the old scraped paint on the doors and the added on built in closets. There is gold writing on the wall in Italian. Mini Me loves the sofa because it is her favorite color.

I love the bed - but the curtains are what I'm going to copy. Peeka and Art Girl are due for some curtains and I love how the sheer fabric has a silk panel on the bottom. I'm giving myself until the end of the month to complete them. I just got all the fabric in and the only thing holding me back is...ME! I would love it if you would encourage me to meet my deadline.

Oh, the colors!

I showed this to my builder hubby and he said we could do this in our next house. (I think he is just thinking is would be cheaper than a cabinet.) I love how there are beautiful things to see underneath the sink. Bidets are big in Europe. Ew. Check out that mirror. Maybe I can find one on Craigslist- hey, it could happen!

This is my new family room. I wish. Have fun on her website. I know I do.

Friday, October 10, 2008


In case you don't have breadstick recipe, this is how I make mine.
2 cups warm water
1 T yeast
2 t. sugar
2 T oil
1 t. salt
4 to 5 cups bread flour

Place into a mixer in the order listed. Mix in the flour one cup at a time until a soft, almost sticky dough forms. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover and let rise for about an hour. Roll out onto a floured surface about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut with a pizza cutter into 1 inch strips and place onto a greased cookie sheet. You need to make sure they will touch when they rise or else they will dry out. Like my skin in the winter. Cover with plastic and let rise about 45 minutes or until double. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

When they come out of the oven, brush with butter or a mixture of olive oil and butter, or just olive oil. Whatever floats your boat.
Generously sprinkle with garlic salt. I like this Lawry's brand because it has flakes of garlic and some cute little green specks in it. I'm not exactly sure what they are but they make it look pretty and I'm all about looking pretty. Like my friends.
Some of my monkeys like me to sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top of the garlic salt. That is really yummy, too. I have seen my monkeys just eat the breadsticks for dinner and nothing else. They are such monkeys.

I finished it!

Louisa Sheen, 1856

Well, I made the deadline. Just barely. What a stressful day I had yesterday. I must have called my friend Ora 20 times. I really owe her big time, (tamales to be exact) she wrote my artists bio and my art descriptions. I was just too freaked out to get it out of my head. I also have to thank Sarah (the best art teacher ever!) for helping me with ideas for my bio and for teaching me how to paint in the first place. She's a genius. And she is kind.
Here is a closeup of her face. I put in a litle curl on her forehead like so many of you suggested. I had a hard time getting a good photo. That canvas is more textured than I thought and it wouldn't let me get a sharp picture. It really looks better in real life. I just hope I can get a good scan for my family. I plan on making prints for them to have in their houses. Oh CRAP! I have to go and clean my house! I am probably not going to paint for awhile. I think I'll take a shower, too.

Pasta e Fagioli

MMmmmm... Hot soup with breadsticks. Are you hungry? I have been begged to post this recipe about my favorite soup- Pasta e Fagioli. It is like the one you get at Olive Garden only you can make it at home for you whole family and their friends. When I make this my monkeys will call their friends over and it is gone in about an hour. This is a good way to get your kids (or yourself) to eat their vegetables. (I really think they just like the breadsticks)
Let's get started. You will need a large pot, and all the stuff you see here. I don't feel like typing it all... just look, okay?

Sorry, I guess you need the list of ingredients.

1/2 to 3/4 pound hamburger
2 cups chopped celery with leafy tops
1 cup onions
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 cups chopped carrots
Place in a pot and cook on high until the meat is browned. The veggies should be undercooked. Add:
6 cups boiling water
1 t. chicken bouillion
1 t. garlic salt
3 cups spaghetti sauce (I like Prego the best)
Wait until this boils and then add:
1/2 box of you favorite pasta = 1 3/4 cups or 2 cups ( I used mini penne- so cute)

Cook until pasta is just a little too firm and add:

1 can of drained and rinsed lima beans (or one cup frozen)

1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans

1 can of drained and rinsed northern beans (or garbanzo or navy...just some white beans)

See how pretty the beans look next to each other?

Here is what it should look like. Mmmm smell that? Go ahead get closer, now doesn't that smell great? I like to put it in a bowl with some parmesan cheese on top. And of course, you have to add some kind of bread to dip in it. I used homemade breadsticks. I think that is the best part.

Now go forth and multiply. And then go jogging to burn off all the calories you consumed from eating the extra breadsticks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've been lurking

Hello. I have been gone awhile. I haven't been posting because I have been lurking on this lady's blog. She is amazing. She has furniture painting instructions if you want to get something used and make it shabby chic. On her blog she taught me about Craigslist. Now, I knew about Craigslist but I didn't know that you can get stuff for free. Free I tell ya. Here is a picture of a chair she got for $35. When I saw this I thought, "I should look for some shelves" since not only do we not have grass but I don't have any shelves in my closet. I found these shelves for $40. Aren't they cute? They are originally from IKEA and I put them in Art Girl's closet. Hopefully, she will be able to put her art messes in there and keep her room a little neater.
These are some shelves I got for FREE! It is actually a table and shelves and they are solid pine and quite large. You can't tell in the picture but they are about 7 feet tall. They used to be a candle display at a Hallmark store. I'm going to load 'em up with my art messes. Maybe then I can see the floor.
This, this piece is a miracle. A miracle that it was under $200 and that this seller was not interested in her hand me down froo froo stuff from her mother. I on the other hand LOVE froo froo stuff. This thing was HEAVY. I mean, I think it is made out of iron and then painted to look like wood. Rex and Ian and I could barely lift it. It is so nice and pretty. Like my friends. Mini Me is going to use it to store her scrapbook stuff. I'm telling ya, art is messy.
Look at these handles. On the inside it says Century. That is a high quality furniture manufacturer I can't afford. The woman I bought it from said it was $2600 brand new. I had to sneek out of the house to go get it. When my husband called me and asked me what I was doing I said I was getting some storage for the house. When I got home he was shocked and thought I blew a wad of dough. I love it. Now, go on Craigslist and buy washers or laptops for $5 or look at the free section. You might just find some huge shelves or a pretty armoire like I did.