Sunday, December 27, 2009

Don't try this at home!

I mean it. It will make you jiggle and wobble. It tastes like the stuff from See's candy store but much cheaper and easier on your teeth. You could find yourself eating the whole recipe -so if you make this you must have a plan in place for it's immediate removal. Like, take it to a friend you would like to see get fat. Like April. So here goes the recipe.

Toffee Butter Crunch with Almonds

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Sprinkle the coarsely chopped nuts on a greased 13x9x2- inch pan. Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart sauce pan. In it melt the 1 cup butter. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat to 290 degrees (soft crack stage), stirring frequently (mixture should boil gently over entire surface). Watch carefully after 280. Remove from heat. Immediately turn into prepared pan. Wait 2 to 3 minutes and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. When the chocolate is melted, spread over the toffee. Sprinkle 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds over the chocolate. Chill til firm and break into pieces. Wrap it in a cute bag and take it to my house. Your thighs will thank you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


It's over. Our perfect summer is over. The summer was absolutely wonderful. The weather was amazing. It averaged 74 degrees. The land was beautiful and peaceful. It looked and felt like we were in the English countryside. Now I know why I never run into people who have moved to Arizona from Iowa. The local Iowans would tell me that Arizona is a dry heat. Yeah, I guess it is, but dry comes with a no trees, grass, and ponds.

Goodbye, creek that ran through our farm.

Gone are the rolling hills with horses running freely through the meadows.

This was the view across the street from our church building. Just gorgeous.

No more fishing. Not like we ever caught anything, anyway.

Goodbye obscenely large front yard. Okay, it is really a field of soybeans - just beyond that row of trees, but it was still beautiful. And large.

Goodbye wonderful walks in the woods. Out in Iowa they don't call the woods "woods". They call it timber. I thought "timber" was what you yelled after you cut down a tree.

We will miss you, scenic park and pond. Is this not the most beautiful place you have ever seen? Unless, you have been to England ...then you saw it there.

This is the road home. Back to reality, dry dirt desert, hectic schedules, competition, money worries, and 112 degree HEAT! I love the country. We had the most wonderful, perfect summer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Painting angels

Painting angels is loads of fun. I know this because I painted my daughter as an angel four years ago and it was fun. I think it turned out okay.
I am currently working on another angel painting that I've had to restart twice. I don't know what is wrong with me and this painting, but I've really had a hard time with it. I think I'm making it too complicated.

So, to help me out of my "stuckness", I love to look at my little collection of angel paintings.
These first three are Nancy Noel. I have about six of her prints.
William Bourgereau is a champion of angel painting. I love his work. He is a genius.

I bet you have seen this one. Look at those delicate wings.
Everyone whose anyone paints angels. This is Leonardo da Vinci. Beautiful.

Rembrandt is well...Rembrandt. Look at the story that these angels are telling.

Fast forward to contemporary angels. I love them too. Those flowers look like Donna Dewberry "one stroke" flowers. But look at that baby's adorable face.

Love the freshness and emotion. Oh, I wish I could do this. It takes me FOREVER to do anything! Except eat chocolate. I do that rather quickly.

James C. Christensen is my idol. He can do it all. Rustic, natural, renaissance, science fiction, fantasy, comedy, and all with meaning. I met him two years ago and we talked while he drew little drawings from his imagination that were amazing! I can't talk and draw at the same time, or talk and drive, walk, do dishes...

He has a large body of work dedicated to angels. This one is the cover of his book, "Men and Angels". He even told me how to do a crackle finish like this one.

This one is so cool. Literally. My dream in life is to own an original Christensen painting. It is hard to find originals. When you do, they are reasonably priced - considering his prints sell in the thousands!

This is a renaissance style painting. I wish I could do that.
My all time favorite artist is Carl Bloch. Amazing.
Abbott Handerson Thayer is no slouch either. He invented camoflage uniforms for the army.

He pinned these wings to a wall and had his daughter stand up against them. This is probably my favorite.

Well, there are my inspiration paintings for you. Hopefully, I will get my angel painting done by the end of this year and show it to you. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Look out for the train

We just missed the train coming down the track behind us.
Cute pose that was totally unposed.

She was a pill to shoot. Right when we got on the tracks a deer showed up and all she wanted to do was chase the deer into the woods. Like she could catch a deer!

Some random house in the town with a beautiful garden. I thought this yard was so cute and we just jumped out and hurried and shot these pics. I call it Kamakazi shooting. If you don't get thrown out of your location you are just not trying hard enough.

My family looks so big and I am missing 4 people! Love the country!

Monday, July 6, 2009

We just saw a bobcat!

No lie! THIS was in our backyard right outside our glass door. Art girl said, "look at that big cat" and I said, "That's a BOBCAT!"

Then I screamed (I mean SCREAMED!!!) for the only man in the house to come running and DO something and my screams scared it away. So I didn't get a picture of it in our backyard but it was there, man.

Okay, so far we have seen or heard, coyotes, deer, muskrats, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, snakes, turtles, raccoons, a groundhog, and now a bobcat! Not mention every insect known to man.

Did I say I loved the country? What is there left? Bears? Cougars? Javelinas?

Please remind me I love the country. I love the country, I love the country, I love the country.

Hammes Farms

Last week we went out to our new best friends' house, the Hammes. Pat has a big farm operation and he farms our land 'cuz I'm not getting a tractor and all the stuff you need to farm and he really loves it, anyway. He has some serious equipment, man!

Here is Fifi on the biggest tractor I've ever seen. That yellow thing on her arm is a floatie. She wears them all the time in the hopes someone will take her swimming.

BIG tractor. And Pat has three of them. Apparently he needs three so he and his two sons can all drive at the same time. He also has three or four smaller tractors that I didn't take pictures of because I was mesmerized by the BIGNESS of these bad boys.

Did I mention that the tractors are BIG? Did I ever mention that I used to ride on my Grandpa's tractor with him? Quality time, man...quality time. Maybe I secretly wish I was a farmer. But after seeing all the hard work that is involved in farming, maybe I secretly wish I was a rich supermodel that could eat chocolate and not get fat. Hey, it could happen...

I'm glad I don't have to drive these to farm my land. He sometimes has to plant or plow from 5 am to midnight. He has to beat the weather.

After he grows all the crops he can he has a couple of these to deliver the grains. Behind the truck are the biggest silos I have ever seen on private property. I couldn't even begin to get them in the picture frame. I think he has four or five of them, I can't remember.
So, the next time you eat something, think about our new best friends and be grateful that farmers like the Hammes love their job. I think I'll go and have me some chocolate.

Fourth of July Rodeo

Holy Cow! (pun intended) We had a blast on the Fourth of July! We went to our first Rodeo. Of course Rex didn't want to go but once we got there he couldn't keep his eyes off the arena. Bucking broncos, calf roping, trick riding, and bull riding. Then we saw awesome fireworks. I love the country.

After the rodeo we went home to light some more fireworks. We bought some big stuff in Oklahoma so we used some of it. I think I have created some pyros.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sugar and Sweets

Oh Man! I just read a post from an artist mom's blog and I can't stop laughing. You have to go here and read this. Seriously. Tears, man. Every now and then I go blog hopping. I don't know if that is the official term but I'll go to a blog and link to another blog from the first site and so on... you get the picture. I don't remember how I got to this woman's blog and I don't know this person but she is right up my alley.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A little rain never hurt anybody

In the Midwest in rains. June is usually the rainiest month from what my farmer tells me. As soon as it stops my little Bee goes out for some fun.

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Here comes the delightful rain dance of a six year old...

Splash, splash...

Kick, splash...

JUMP!!! Now you have seen the dance. Go and practice at home. I want to see it perfect at the next rain dance recital.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This originally was a painting blog

I did this new thing called "painting". You take a piece of wood and you slap this gooey paste all over it and then you put paint on it...or something like that. (Oooh, cute ear.)

I had Mini Me take an action shot so that you could tell it is really me. Exciting, I know!

Up close you can see the texture of the panel. Looks like linen, but it's not. It is really the gesso brushed on with a 3 inch foam brush. Pretty cool, huh? Aunt Joanna, you want to paint with me? I'll make you a panel just like this one. My Aunt Joanna doesn't paint like I do - she's actually very good. VERY good. She has 6 girls and 2 boys just like me... she doesn't paint anymore. I wonder why?

This is just the first layer or "block in". You are supposed to see the drawing as my paint is very thin and transparent. I love the texture of the panel. I have never made my own panel before. I kind of like it.

Now I wish I didn't have the ink lines all over. I think it looks pretty good for a first layer. Mini Me is so pretty. I hope the finished painting is just as pretty as she is. One thing about the midwest is that it is humid and it takes oil paint several days to dry. Not like AZ where your painting is dry the same day. I have three paintings in the works so I can paint every day.

I'll keep you posted. Or not.