Thursday, December 6, 2012

St. Nicholas Day

Happy St. Nicholas Day to all!  This is a special request pendant I painted to celebrate this special day. 

It's been getting all Christmasy around here lately.We've been putting the fall decorations safely back in their boxes until next year, and slowly, one by one we bring out our Christmas items.  Happily remembering past years and looking forward to this year as our house transforms into a holiday home.

Enjoy your holiday baking, Christmas shopping and decorating as you prepare your homes for this beautiful season!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beautiful Autumn Gardens

The St. Louis Botanical Gardens is the perfect place for a Fall day (or any day, as far as that goes!).  I didn't expect to see many flowers in bloom, but thankfully I was wrong.  It's amazing to me how they can get these mums to hang over that stone wall. 

The Japanese garden area is gorgeous in every season.
My daughter can never seem to keep her fingers (hands, arms) out of the water, no matter what the temperature is.

One lonely, happy iris still in bloom. 
I don't know what it is about this photo (my husband took this one!) but I love it.  Maybe it's the colors, or that it looks like it's both spinning and sitting still at the same time.  It just looks so peaceful.

And, on this beautiful Autumn day, I want to wish everyone a yummyfriend and family-filled
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yummy (and easy!) Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins are so yummy and so easy! I believe this is a Weight Watchers recipe, but it was passed on to me by a friend. I just had to share...

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 box spice cake mix
1/8 cup water

**option... 2/3 bag of mini chocolate chips for the chocolate lovers! Yum!

Mix together with mixer and fill muffin cups half full, or bake in muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray. Bake approx. 12 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Bake at temperature according to directions on the box.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Butterfly House

 IT WAS A nice first trip to the Butterfly House with my daughter.  They were so beautiful...and there were oh so many!  I loved the butterfly on this leaf, I just had to paint him.
These are just a few of the many (many!) chrysalises hanging around.  We waited for butterflies to emerge.  
I'm not sure what he's eating, but it must be yummy.  He stayed there for quite some time.  None of the butterflies landed on us that day, but I was hoping!


What a nice (and huge!) statue outside the Butterfly House.  The gardens were just as beautiful and inspiring outside as they were inside.


I love how the "eyes"on this butterfly scare away those pesky predators.
It was such a fun day, I wasn't quite ready to leave.  But that's okay, because now I have my photos, and my pendant, and my great memories.  And we'll be back.  Maybe this winter, when it's so cold out that I just can't stand it any longer.  We can go inside, find the butterflies and feel like we're back in summer once again. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Make Your Own Chalkboard

I loved making this chalkboard and it was oh so easy, too!  (This article was also featured in the Spring and Summer 2011 issue of the Shabby Lane Shops magazine.)

I found this cabinet door at a yard sale and noticed right away it was the perfect size for a chalkboard.  The surface was great too...nice and smooth for writing lists, menus, doodling.  Whatever makes you happy!  The edges also had the look of a built-in frame which I really liked.  I was able to finish off the sides with a different color to give it the look of a frame without having to actually frame it.

These are the supplies I used...
-          Cabinet door (or you could use another smooth, flat surface)
-          Chalkboard paint
-          Acrylic paint color(s) of your choice
-          Paint brushes
-          Primer
-          Varnish

Since I worked with a wooden surface, I lightly sanded the work area so the paint would adhere easily.  After wiping it clean I primed the entire surface.  Now on to the blackboard paint, applying a few coats and allowing each coat to dry in between.

 I trimmed the edges of my cabinet door with a red and brown acrylic paint mix.  When dry, I used a dry brush and lightly painted red to add highlights.
I thought it would be a little more fun to add some wording at the top.  "Menu" fit the kitchen theme I was going for.  (I found a font on WORD I liked.)  Other wording examples could be “To Do”, “Notes”, "Dream" or you can even personalize with children’s names. 
When all paints were completely dry I applied a couple of coats of varnish to the edges where I added the acrylic paint.
You can ever create chalkboards on tiny surfaces, like this chalkboard tag I made from wooden circles I found at Michael's craft store.  So easy!  Then I added an extra touch by painting tiny roses.
But I made the mistake of hanging it by Lucy.  Our fierce kitty doesn't let anything get by her!
Yep, she loves it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time for Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This is my favorite cookie recipe and the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I use anymore.  I like them so much I painted a picture of them!   (And see, I took a little bite out of the one at the end!)

I think what makes them so good is the real butter, real vanilla extract and the milk chocolate Ghirardelli chocolate chips.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (unsalted)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( the real deal!)
2 large eggs
18 ounces (3 cups) milk chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli chocolate chips - yum!)

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter with sugars until light. Beat in vanilla and eggs until smooth. Beat dry ingredients into creamed mixture, a little at a time. Add chocolate chips and stir to mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets and bake at 325° F for approx. 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I KNOW what you're isn't fall yet.  But when I see the school buses driving by and smell the cool morning air (and with a little imagination mixed in...) in my mind, it becomes fall.  And in these colorful autumn dreams the leaves are falling, the mums are blooming and with my jacket on I'm walking through it all, dried leaves and acorns crunching under my feet.  Ahhh.  Autumn.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How it Started

SOMETIMES I'm asked how I started making painted jewelry.  I didn't always paint so small.  In fact, I've painted on walls from time to time.  Some are small-ish but a couple of times I've painted the entire wall.  This topiary is a sample I made on paper as a possibility for a friend's wall.  But now that I'm looking at it again, I'm thinking I might have to find a place on MY wall for it.  (yay!)

I typically painted on canvases like this 16" x 20" bike with the basket.  I haven't been able to part with this one, it hangs on the wall above my computer.  I can lean way back in the chair and see it up there.  Then I can imagine I visit there one day, and ride that bike with the flowers, and see the ivy hanging down over the beautiful windows.  (As you can tell, I get easily distracted!)

ONE day,I came across a pendant in a magazine that caught my eye.  The pendant had a picture of flowers on it and was somehow magically made from broken china.   It was beautiful.  Right then and there I had a sudden urge to paint one of my own.  It didn't happen quite as suddenly as I thought it would.  The long process of finding what to paint on and what to put it in began.  I learned lots of new jewelry terms, like bezel and cabochon, findings and jump rings.  Deciding what to paint was next.  But throughout this whole process I realized that hey, you know what?  I really like doing this.

This is the very first pendant I painted and it's the one at the top of my Etsy shop and on my business cards.  When one of my sisters first saw it, she bought it from me while I was wearing it -- right off of my neck.  That's been a good thing because I still get to see it!  I painted a few others for myself and people started noticing and asking about them.  Before I knew it I had an online Etsy shop.

But the thing I didn't expect is the fun I'm having with custom orders.  Sometimes people have a particular item in mind, or something personal they want painted.  Like this horse... the parents wanted a painting of the horse their daughter rides.  I had never painted a horse before but I was really excited about it! 

So now I'm continually learning what looks best on a pendant and what size.  I've learned I really need to take my camera everywhere I go (which I don't!).  And I've also learned I have so many ideas for new pendant designs I don't know that I'll ever catch up with myself!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scotland and England

Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.  Even the name sounds dreamy.  It was overcast with rain sprinkling from time to time, but it was a gorgeous day.

We toured the castle in town, dating back to the 1200's.  The view of Rothesay from the top wall was amazing.  Can you see the road winding down in the background?  And the palm trees?  I still can't understand how they have palm trees in Scotland!  (I couldn't resist including one of my wee little palm tree paintings!) 

The old, old castle is in ruins now, but still a sight to see.  All of that history, it was amazing.

When we entered Scotland we were greeted by a bagpiper at Gretna Green.  How awesome is that?

 The Wee Big Shop.  Love it!

When you visit Scotland, you have to include a photo of sheep.

 The beautiful, quiet hills in Scotland.  (Notice the one lane road?)

I took this photo from the car window.  Just to give an idea of the size of the hills, the little white dots are sheep.  Amazing, right?  The fences are made from stone and are so very beautiful.

You just can't visit England without stopping at a fish-n-chips restaurant! (Or two...or three...). 

It was a cool and (very) windy day in Blackpool, England.  But the sky was blue and the air was fresh so we took in all we could, knowing our time in Britain was short, but oh so sweet.