Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Look Back at Christmas 2016 in Photos


The Nativity 

Nativity in a Star given to us by a dear friend

One of four banners...Noel, Merry Christmas, Joy to the World and Peace to All.

Vintage style glass ornament

A Santa that has been in my husband's family for over 100 years!

The true meaning of Christmas...a Savior for the world.

Czechoslovakian glass bead garland with gold, red and white glass ornaments.

A glass Pinecone and glittery Snowflake...a little blurry...every tree should have some!

A pretty glass bird.


Come right in...

and stay awhile...

Our nativity set inscribed with Bible verses...

The tree and mantle...I never plan it but there is always a theme of Joy in my house
at Christmas...

The whole scene...please ignore the messy coffee table/trunk...thank you...

In the breakfast room looking out to the porch...kept it very simple here...JOY shows up again!

Well that pretty well sums up our Christmas decorations for 2016.  The dining room was very similar to last year which you can see here but without the tree.  I didn't really decorate the rest of the house. We were planning to be out of town this week so we kept things very simple this year. 

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!



Friday, November 4, 2016

Thanksgiving into Christmas Picks

I'm getting excited about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the Advent season and except for Christmas, my favorite holiday.  Maybe I get excited about Thanksgiving because it is very often the first real sign of fall in our neck of the woods or maybe it's just the food. Ha! Anyway, here in northwest Georgia, we might have some cool nights and a few cool days before the end of November but we very often have a continuation of summer warmth well into November. That's the way it is this year. We are still in the high 70s and  mid-80s during the day with 50s at night. So around this area, November is when it gets cozy and fall-like and heart strings start pulling and you know it is time to gather together.

I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year for a few family members and anyone else that might be alone and wants to hang out with our crew.  I have already done my fall decorating but will do some tweaking before the big feast to tone down the autumn brightness and move into the neutral zone. I usually decorate Thanksgiving with mostly neutrals such as pinecones, natural foliage from shrubs and white pumpkins because I like to have our Christmas trees up for Thanksgiving. I like to save the bright red touches until after.

Here are some of my Thanksgiving and Christmas picks I found while recently browsing in my favorite places. Some would lend themselves very well to the transition between the two holidays. Click on the photos for direct links to the items...website in the comments. 
Cushion Cover, Christmas Pillows, Christmas Pillow Covers, Couch Pillows, Throw Covers, Sofa Pillows, Made in USA, Burlap Pillows, #EHD0139

https://www.etsy.com/listing/255567246/christmas-pillow-vintage-burlap-pillow?ref=shop_home_active_17First up are these pillow covers from Elliott-Heath Designs  shop on Etsy,  which is one of my favorite go-to places for great pillow covers for any occasion or season.  These would work for fall or Christmas but perfect for that transitioning period.


These tarts from Dreams Factory look like the perfect finishing touch to a Thanksgiving feast. The recipe seems easy enough for a fairly experienced cook. There is that beautiful brown butter crust (I love brown butter) and the chocolate ganache and voila!  Diana also tells you where to find the lovely tartlet pans and ramekins she used for her dreamy tartlets. I bet these would be worthy of a repeat performance on Christmas Day!

Photo: Lucy Akins

These oh so beautifully painted sugar cookies are from Craftberry Bush.  Her recipe is actually found on eHow.  Sugar cookies are my husband's favorites but for some reason mine just never turn out. Not sure why.  I am so in love with these, it would surely be worth another try. These are so beautiful, it might be difficult to eat them! For Christmas, I see Christmas trees, holly, pine cones and a wreath!

burlap wreath

A wreath is good for any time of the year. This fun DIY paper wreath would be perfect for Thanksgiving! It would transition well into Christmas simply by removing the "Give Thanks" banner and adding an appropriate Christmas message.  DIY instructions available at Paper Source 


Is this not the yummiest, coziest bedroom corner, ever?  This one is from Love Grows Wild and is part of the Simple Farmhouse Christmas tour.  I just had to include this one here because it is perfect for the neutral Thanksgiving to neutral Christmas transition. You should visit her page and see the rest of the room which is just as lovely. While you are at it, you should do the whole tour. I have truly been inspired on this tour.


Signs are perfect for transition decor...This one from Between You and Me Signs on Etsy would be perfect.


Then there is the food...dessert anyone?  Isn't this pie the greatest?  Instructions for making this yummy pumpkin pie design are at Kudos Kitchen by Renee.  This is a must try just for the cuteness of it all!

That's all I have right now. Happy November!



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Just a Little Chalk Art and a Wee Fairy

It is finally cooler here in Georgia, so I have been trying to get the house more into the season. I decided to fill the seasonal 24x36 chalkboard frame with a few pumpkins and a favorite quote.

These photos are not the greatest. I took some early in the day with my phone camera. The others I took with my Pentax but it was after dark so they are dark as well. I'm still fighting the gold wall which always makes photographs difficult.

On a different note and from a different day, is a painting of a wee fairy. Moutain Laurel Spring Snow Fairy was a commissioned work for a very special person and her little daughter, "Tater." I hear that when "Tater" saw it, she said, "Mommy, she looks like us all mixed together." That is what I was going for so I'm glad it worked out.

Hope you are having a great fall, y'all!

Have a blessed day.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Falling Free - Official Trailer

Finally! Blogger, Shannan Martin's book about her journey from living her dream life to living God's purpose for her life is in print! I have laughed and cried with Shannan as she has shared her joy and despair during the process of falling free from the life she always wanted. I cannot wait to read the full story...available now in all of your favorite book places.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Days 13-17 Five-Minute Painting Self-Challenge and a Tomato Sandwich

The daily five minute paintings have continued. Unfortunately, time has not allowed me to get them posted here or on Facebook. I think this will be the last of the self-challenge posts as a few other projects need my attention. The photos are once again less than excellent quality  (phone camera.)

First up is "Fringe Lily."  This little lily is really tiny and grows low to the ground.  Isn't it a strange little flower?  Strange but very charming in person. The time here was 6 minutes...fringe takes time.

Next up is "Palmy Beach."  An afternoon of drawing flowers and palm trees inspired this painting.  This was a true five-minute effort. I like this piece. Something about it makes me happy. Probably the beach theme. It gave me inspiration for a future graphic version using Illustrator. I'll let you know how that goes.

Back to the fruit for this next one. "Apple" was about seven minutes. I had to do several layers and I could have cut it off at five but knew it would be much better with just a bit more work. I like its simplicity.

Next is another piece of fruit which we more often think of as a veggie. The lovely "Tomato."  This was a real rush job. The leaves appear to be an afterthought and it is true that I didn't plan properly for them. For all of its flaws, it is still good enough to make me want a tomato sandwich--a wonderful and delicious Southern delicacy. Recipe below.

Last and my favorite is "Blue Angel."  This has inspired a larger version on canvas which is one of the projects that needs my attention. Total time for this was 4 minutes. I wanted to spend longer but I'm glad that I stopped when I did. I might have ruined it.

Well, that's all of the paintings. Now for the tomato sandwich or more properly called "mater" sandwich in Georgia.
1. Start with the freshest, softest, white loaf bread you can find. 
2. Slice the biggest, juiciest, freshest, locally grown tomato available. 
3. Smear your favorite mayonnaise thickly on one slice of the bread.
Note: Mayonnaise is a Southern staple and each family has its own favorite brand. I will leave it up to you to decide the best for you because I do not want to start a feud.
4. Add the tomato slices. 
Note: Juice may spread into the mayo and down the edges of the bread in this step. This is perfectly okay and actually highly desirable.
5. Add salt and pepper and the other slice of bread.
6. Slightly press the sandwich with your hand -- not too hard, just enough to hold it all together so you can get it to your mouth without the tomato sliding out.
7. Eat with caution. You need to hold the sandwich over a plate, paper towel or even the sink or countertop as you eat it because it is likely that the juice will run down your chin and onto whatever is below. 
Mmmmmm....so very good...like a little piece of heaven in your mouth.  

Next time I will share my Uptown Tomato Sandwich which is healthier and very good but just not the same at all.

This made me hungry. I'm going to make a run to the local produce stand and get some tomatoes. Have a great day.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Days 10-12 Five-Minute Painting Self-Challenge

My last five-minute painting post was on Friday.  It is now Tuesday.  Yes, the painting is still going on and no, there have been no posts since Friday.  Just a little bit busy and a little bit lazy.  Trying to get back on track. I did skip Sunday because it is a day of rest at my house and that usually but not always excludes painting.

My Saturday painting is "Butternut Squash." Not a bad effort for the seven minutes that was spent on this one.

Yesterday, the subject was a "White Daisy."  Portraying white flowers with watercolor means leaving the white unpainted. Normally, when doing a white flower against a background, the outline of the flower would be drawn lightly in pencil, then covered with masking fluid to protect it while painting the background and then the mask would be removed and the flowers completed.  In a five-minute painting, it didn't seem worth the bother of using masking fluid since it is time-consuming and the whole idea is to paint something quickly every day.  So, I winged it by using gray to define some of the daisy petals and then using the blue of the background to outline others. It was mostly successful with only one really bad area in the upper right part of the daisy where the background color is too dark and pooled a bit at the edge of the petals and the petals are a bit misshapen. Not a perfect daisy but I'm not going for perfect here, which is a good thing because the photo is also less than perfect (oops!)

"Yellow Daisies" were the subject today and this is one where I didn't have an image in front of me to assist. Purely out of the imagination which resulted in a drooping daisy and some blunt ended petals.
This one also took the longest at 12 minutes. There is some variety of shape for interest and I like the leaves. Other than that, not too much to say about this one. Daisies have rarely been a good subject for me.  I do like the way the photo came out on this one because it looks like a vintage page due to both the bad lighting and using my phone camera. (Too lazy busy to get my good camera and tripod.)

My thought at the moment is to continue with these little paintings until the end of the month and re-evaluate this project at that time. Hopefully, I will be motivated to do a real painting at that time. We shall see.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you have a great week.