Tuesday, April 29

color palette inspiration

Breaking an inspiring image down to a handful of core colors
is an an amazingly fun and eye-opening exercise.
I have always searched for inspiring color combinations
in humble, everyday places,
but this takes it to a whole new level.
(Do you want to try it? This is a helpful tutorial.)

Thursday, April 24

three all-natural scents for your home

I tend to get terrible headaches
if I use scented candles or other melted wax products in my home,
so I avoid them like the plague.

Usually this works just fine
because between doing a bunch of baking and cooking
and keeping things relatively clean,
my house generally smells okay.

when plumbing problems (sewage in the basement--ick)
and a little one with the flu coincide,
your house's scent definitely needs a little help.

I rose to the challenge
and created three delightful, all natural scents for my home
using ingredients that I already had in my pantry and fridge.
You'll find the recipes below.

Citrus Herb

combine in a small pot or slow cooker:
peel from 2/3 lemon
5 whole cloves
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary
1 1/2-2 cups of water

Warm over very low heat until your house smells better
or the water evaporates.

Apple Spice

combine in a small pot or slow cooker:
2 slices of apple
5 whole cloves
3 slices of fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 1/2-2 cups of water
Warm over very low heat until your house smells better
or the water evaporates.

Tropical Delight

combine in a small pot or slow cooker:
1 fresh pineapple core
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2-2 cups of water
Warm over very low heat until your house smells better
or the water evaporates.
(By the end of the day
this one smelled like pineapple upside down cake!)

~Crock Pot doesn't know I exist, I'm just sharing links to what worked for me.
~Obviously you should always use caution when using heat-producing appliances, especially if you are leaving them on for long periods of time. Don't leave your house scents unattended!
~The scents produced by these recipes are not as strong as commercial scents. They are nuanced and subtle and work best in small areas.
~I wouldn't use these ingredients for more than a day or two. Since they are natural and fresh, they'll be prone to mold growth and decay if left indefinitely.

Wednesday, April 23

april happy mail--sent

I've been extremely fortunate
to find myself in a supportive, generous group
of artists who swap art and art related "happy mail."
Here are (most of) the things I sent out in April.

Color themed ATC's.

Color themed happy mail.

A little birthday surprise.

Tree themed mail for a fellow tree aficionado.

Happy mail is the perfect name for it.
I don't know what makes me happiest:
making or choosing and packaging pretties for others,
seeing their joy when they receive it,
or getting thrillingly pretty mail
in the middle of the bills and junk that usually fill my mailbox.

Thursday, April 17

blueprint art

My husband works at a hospital.
Last year he invested countless hours
into making sure that their move into a new facility
went as smoothly as possible.
Somehow he managed to score the new building's blueprints
as a souvenir.
Last month he gave them to me
and commissioned me to make art for his office
using the blueprint paper.
I was delighted!
I used watercolors, acrylics, and ink to make two options for him
--two options that actually ended up making a pretty cool set.
He's pleased, and I am too.

Tuesday, April 15


gallimaufry: noun
a confused jumble or medley of things

I don't usually make backgrounds
without having a solid plan of what the final piece will be,
but sometimes they're the only soothing thing to do.

doodles on one of the above watercolor backgrounds

These are the best blueberry pancakes ever
and are definitely worth the extra TLC required to make them.

Tumble bunnies (free printable!)
made a delightfully fun and easy weekend project
to make with the kids.

I guess I'm on a pancake kick.
These are wonderfully homey and rustic pancakes
made with almond flour and oatmeal.
I got the recipe from the spring 2014 issue of Where Women Cook,
a beautiful magazine gifted to me by my lovely aunt-in-law.

Tonight my evening relaxation looks like this:
tea (good earth sweet chai of mine)
and reading (Journal It! and Where Women Cook).

Monday, April 7

wedding vow calligraphy

Just when I was beginning to think
that I had raised my custom calligraphy prices a little too much
(pricing is so hard; I'm always second-guessing),
I received an order for my intertwined heart wedding vows.
(Available here, in my little shop.)

I loved working on this project,
and as always, I am so honored
that someone wants my art in their home.
Happy anniversary, Christian and Cynthia!

Tuesday, April 1

journal 52-March

This year I am enjoying
participating in Journal 52,
a friendly (and free!) art journaling group
with inspiring weekly prompts.

I've been keeping it simple and stress-free
by grabbing my favorite basic supplies
and not over thinking what I make.

These are my March pages.

Week 9: Color Swatch Inspiration
Just watercolors and one of my favorite gelly roll pens.

Week 10: Create for a Cause
I have a dream of making art for the blind
that is as interesting to view tactilely as visually.
This one used more supplies since I was trying to add some texture:
papers, acrylic paints, watercolors, gesso, and pen.

 Week 11: Stars
One of my first experiments with gouache.

Week 11: Stars (I loved this prompt)
Watercolors, gelly roll black and metallic pens,
and a paper city skyline I glued on top. 

Week 12: A Day in the Life of Me
Watercolors and gelly roll pen--again.

Week 13: How Does Your Garden Grow?
You guessed it! Watercolors and gelly roll pen.

Monday, March 31

banana frita (fried plantains)

Banana Frita--one of my favorite childhood snacks
and the first food I clearly remember eating
after my family moved to Brazil
when I was five.

Plantain bananas are not so slimy and sweet
as the smaller variety that is most common here in the U.S.
They are starchier and more substantial.
Fried and generously sprinkled with cinnamon sugar,
they are a treat I enjoy just as much now
as I did when I was small.

To make banana frita you need:
1 ripe plantain*
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
cinnamon sugar to taste

Peel and slice the plantain.
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add the banana slices to the oil and fry each side until golden.
Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to taste.

*if you only have green plantains,
simply slice them more thinly
and replace the cinnamon sugar with salt
for delicious plantain chips.

Tuesday, March 25


I am eating pink lady apples (my favorite!)
I have the door open because the sun is shining and the air is fresh.
I drank the first iced coffee of the year.
I sat down and played the piano for the first time in...um...years.

I am transforming a boring old cake into a race car for my son.

 I am blocking this freshly knitted hat
on a ball I borrowed from my kids perched on top of a bowl.
(Best and simplest way ever to block a hat, in my opinion.)

I am making watercolor cards.

I am brainstorming for the best way
to make manly art for my sweetie using these blueprints as a base.

I am also going to make Curried Pork Shoulder for dinner,
and (let's keep it real here) I'd better work on the less glamorous tasks
of laundry, dishes, and school-lunch-making too.

What are you doing today?

Friday, March 21

audacious hope

today I am inspired by tiny signs of new life
green, growing things
on my windowsill and in my yard.
and by the audacious hope
 poetically symbolized by Spring's renewal.

Thursday, March 20

Roasted Salmon (or Swai) and Brussels Sprouts

The culinary art
is as important as any of the other arts,
and a more consistent bringer
of pleasure.
~Source Unknown

Roasted Salmon and Brussels Sprouts
an instant favorite

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine in a small bowl:
1 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place in a roasting pan and toss
with 1 1/2 tablespoon of the seasoned oil mixture:
1 pound of brussels sprouts, halved
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

Roast in preheated oven 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add to the reserved seasoned oil:
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Remove brussels sprouts from oven and top with:
2 6-8 ounce salmon or swai fillets
(we actually preferred the swai)

Brush remaining seasoned oil on the fish.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes
until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Tuesday, March 18


a new studio
a new blog
(pretty spaces dedicated to me and my art)
both in a single month.

maybe it just happens
that I am coming out of post-baby fog
with a burst of creative energy,
so everything is happening at once.
maybe it's simply time to throw off winter's shackles
and pave the way for spring.
or maybe...
just maybe I am finding myself in a new personal era.
an era of courage,
of claiming the audacious titles
Artist and Studio.
embracing them with resolve and delight.
join me in my courageous adventuring?

my new Studio is in a tiny, odd nook
off of our master bedroom.
I love the flood of natural light
and the space to call my own.