Monday, December 30, 2013

Hand Painted signs of December 2013

Have you all thought that I had forsaken you?
Never fear, I am still here.  Just buried in work at the resort.
Despite our pitiful amount of snow, skiers, snowboarders and plain ol’ snow lovers have flocked to the mountain to enjoy what minuscule amounts of the white stuff we do have.
The weather has been exceptionally fine and enjoyable to work in, at least to me,  50 degrees at the 7000 foot elevation this time of year is unheard of but I do like that I have not had to snowmobile into the houses to access them.

Before resort work had ramped up I had quite a busy month in the studio. 
Special orders for gifts came pouring in and I endeavored to meet the deadlines.

God is Great700
With the freezing cold of the first week or so of December, I ended up with a broken pipe. 
Of course, it is the pipe that runs to my studio. 
You don’t realize how convenient something is until you no longer have it.

Despite having to haul jugs of water out to my studio daily, I managed to get quite all of the painting done.   
Only Repeat Perfection
I do enjoy special orders, even if they challenge me.
cozy little house700
Or maybe I enjoy them because they challenge me.
When they are a challenge, it is when they are finished that I receive the joy.
During is definitely frustrating and tedious work and corrections, but it pays off in new skills learned.

Some customers wanted bright and colorful.
Others merely words of special meaning to them.

I waited until after Christmas to share most of these with you.   
Being they were gifts I did not want to inadvertently spoil a surprise if any of the recipients just happened to be part of my readers.

sit down sign700

Painting lettering is always a challenge for me, my hand is not that steady and getting the words to look neat and tidy is difficult.

So that is some of what kept my nose to the grindstone the first part of December. 
The projected weather for N. California continues to look dry.
As soon as work on the mountain wanes I will be sure to start working on my painting videos, and I have a couple of recipes to share.

Enjoy your last couple of days of December! 



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rainbow Granny Cowl or Rainbow Around my Neck


I am still working on how to get self photos so bear with me on this and look at the scarf and not me!

Back in February I shared a project I was working on.
Being the dead of winter I needed some cheery color to brighten the frigid winter days and keep my neck warm when I have to snow mobile into work. 
So I found a quick and easy pattern that caught my eye and made my version of it.

Easy Peasy Granny Cowl

I used Caron Simply Soft in a rainbow of hues and crocheted away.
It worked up fast and easy so it would make a great quick gift. 


And it certainly does the trick of bringing some color into a drab winters day as well as keep me warmer.  


It also hides your turkey neck, if you have one.

Plus, plus, plus!
So whip out your yarn and hooks and whip up some winter cheer today. 
Don’t know how to crochet?
Try Craftsy.
They have classes for all sorts of things, knitting, sewing, cooking, photography and crochet, plus many, many more and right now they are offering a deal for gift giving too.
Click on link below to check it all out.


Right now you can Gift Any Craftsy Class and save big while you're doing it! Want to give someone a Craftsy class, but not sure which one to pick? With our "Gift Any Class" cards, you can buy a loved one any Craftsy class of their choosing for $30! It has never been easier to give the gift of crafting fun!
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• Gifted classes never expire
• Give one, two, or three Craftsy classes
• Deliver on any date (up to three months in advance)

Happy Crafting!



craftsy is an affiliate link of mine, if you purchase I will receive a small bit of compensation for sending you their way.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A House Painting

Just a quick note.  It has been a very exciting week!
A broken water pipe which started to flood the basement. (from the inordinately cold weather the beginning of the week)
And of course, it is the pipe to my studio.
So I have had to haul gallon jugs out with me instead of having the convenience of a working sink.

Ah well, such is life.
My little cottage/studio is where I have spent most of the week and here is one item of many I completed.

cozy little house700 

This house painting gave me fits over and over. 
Many times I wanted to contact the kind lady that ordered it and tell her it was beyond my capabilities.
But I pressed on, always reminding myself that I go through that on many things I paint before it all comes together.
Then I end up loving it. 
Now I want one of my own house.

This is a good sized painting, around 36 inches across.
And now that I see the results of my continued efforts (though I do have a few bald spots from yanking my hair out in frustration) I am so happy I made myself see it through.
I will share more of my creations I have been busy on later, right now I have to head up the mountain and trudge thru snow to finish cleaning a vacation home. 
The busy time is here and skiers and snow bunnies will be flocking to the mountain to enjoy all this snow and that means I will be extremely busy the next few weeks keeping things neat and tidy for them. 

The plus side is it burns off all the calories I have been consuming lately.
That is always a good thing!



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Yummy Quick and Easy Cheese Danish

The predicted snow storm produced a good 16 inches or more of fluffy white stuff.  
It snowed off and on all day yesterday. 
I painted a good portion of the day away in my cozy studio.
After I defrosted the chicken’s water and spreading a good thick layer of straw over the snow that had drifted into their pen.
They do not like walking on that cold white stuff and were all huddled in their chicken house not daring to stick a toe out, even to get to their food.
It is a tiny chicken house meant only for sleeping in and the pen has a roof but the snow blew in the side and covered the ground.
Normally I have a big sheet of clear plastic covering one side to prevent the snow coming in but I am slow about getting to that this year.
They were content with the fresh straw to walk on and laid 6 eggs.
I collected 4 eggs right after getting the straw situation sorted out and forgot to check for anymore later. 
They laid 2 more eggs but with the low overnight temps they froze solid.
I will be more diligent about collecting the eggs before dark today.

Yesterdays post on waffles was a big hit and was pinned like crazy.  I guess a lot of people want to know how to make waffles.

This morning I wanted to try something new.
When I came across the recipe at one of my favorite cooking blogs, Country Cleaver, I had to print it out and have it ready to roll, just for such a day as this.
A stay at home day.
cheese danish17label

Quick and Easy Cheese Danish Recipe

When she says Quick and Easy, it really is.  I had to adjust the recipe cooking time for our higher elevation but that was all. 
I scattered fresh blueberries on mine and it added just the right touch.
My husband thoroughly approved as he wolfed down a couple….
after a morning of shoveling out our vehicles.
They are as tasty as they look.

cheese danish 27

In the recipe ingredients it calls for an egg and water for an egg wash but the directions did not say where or when to use it so I just skipped that part.
I don’t miss it a bit.
  cheese danish 37

It is a good thing I will have tons of vacation cabins to clean after this coming week.
I will need the workout after this spell of baking. 
I think my studio has probably heated up enough to work in, time to head out and get some more signs done.
I am getting close to finishing up the special order signs people wanted as gifts. 

Happy Baking everyone! 


Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Best Homemade Waffles from Scratch!

Good Snowy Saturday everyone!
We woke to a fluffy 14 inches of snow and the big fat flakes fall as we speak. 
As soon as it was light enough I trotted outside to take a photo of our house.

Because it is just fun.  That’s why.
Even though the snow came over my snow boots and clung to my yoga pants. 
Being that there is so much to shovel, my main snow remover (AKA: dear hubby) requested one of his favorite breakfasts to maintain his energy. 

I figured some out there may wish the recipe so I tried to snap a few quick photos before sitting down to feast. 
I know these are my nephew, AJ’s favorite breakfast when he is here too.

Being that we live at the 4000 foot level I have to make adjustment in recipes for the elevation.
So I will  post the original recipe, which comes from my now vintage Betty Crocker cook book and my adjustments will be in parenthesis.


Waffle Recipe

2 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter melted
2 cups all purpose flour (I use 1 C unbleached flour and 1 C whole wheat, I like King Arthurs White Whole Wheat, it is milder)
4 tsps baking  powder (I cut it down to 1 TB)
1 TB Sugar  (I use 2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. Salt

Heat waffle iron (I have a Waring Pro Belgian waffle maker, I got it at Costco).  Beat eggs until fluffy; beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. Pour batter onto center of hot waffle iron.  Bake until steaming stops, about 5 minutes.  (the Waring Pro Waffle maker has an automatic timer that beeps for you when they are done, the heat setting is 4)
And that is it. 

To keep them hot and crispy when you have a bunch to make to feed a crowd all at once, place the waffles on a baking sheet individually, not stacked, and keep in oven at 250 degrees. 

Enjoy your waffles! 

Here is a link to more about making adjustments in baking at higher elevations  Betty Crocker-Baking at High Altitudes

My husband insisted I take a photo of his waffle after he decorated it. 
He’s just a funny guy.

daves waffle7

Now to go out and burn off those calories!  Snow shovel here we come.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Giving DecorArt Chalky Finish Paint a Try

How is everyone today?
We are enduring a bit of chilly weather but compared to many places in the country we are rather mild at lows in the 20’s and highs in the 30’s. 
Snow is on its way though and enough to make it pretty around these parts. 
Even though it is pretty, it gets in my way so I am not a big fan of it. 

I have been extremely busy with orders for signs and I have spent most of my time painting in the studio. 
That is good and bad. 
Good because orders means sales which means income.
Bad because I have things I wanted to do before now and have not had enough time to do them.
Like reorganize and redecorate the inside of the studio.  (I have plans, big plans)
It will look like this after this weekend.
Don’t you think I need to spruce it up with some outside decoration?
In summer I have roses climbing on it, but in winter it looks a bit bare and forlorn. 
The neighbor is having a big fir tree taken down, I could use fronds that are being cut off it now. 
What do you think??? 

I also have tons of pine cones I can use. 

I also need to make a winter sign/banner to go hang from the top lateral porch beam.
Add it to my ‘to do’ list.

My dining room I have started on but then with all this work that got stalled too. I do have one thing I am getting completed. 
My pedestal table.

I actually started on it this past summer. (yep, I am slow as molasses)
I painted it with MMS Milk Paint in Eulalie’s Sky and Ironstone. We both loved it….but then disaster struck…or to clarify, a rainstorm.
  I tried to protect it but it was a dilly of a storm and moisture was able to get on the table.
I had not had time to wax it.
  And this is the result.

rain on Miss Mustard seed sky
I am not sure what this is but it would not wash off and when I tried to repaint with more of the Milk paint it just seep back thru it again.
So I had to regroup and try another paint.
I resorted to DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint and one coat did the trick. 
To be truthful I have never been a fan of grey. 
It seems so bleak to me.  But I thought I would give it a try.
And I have to say that the neutral shade seems to fit in even better than the blue inside my house.
It does have a hint of blue to it.
I am not sure if that is the blue coming from beneath showing up or if this truly is a bluish grey.
I guess I will have to paint something else with it to see.
I tried to get some dining area shots of it but the light was not the best.

The lighter colors to brighten the area nicely.

Especially compared to the other table and chairs.

dining area 27

The pedestal table is not what I am going to use here but it was a good test run for the grey paint color for another table I have been considering using in the dining area. 
Next I will share a bright and warm crochet cowl I made.
Get your sunglasses, you made need them.

Until next time…enjoy yourselves and stay WARM!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to Paint an Easy Simple Daisy

How to Paint a Pretty Daisy
This week I have been crazy busy…
                                                                         …..and it is only TUESDAY!!!
The only thing keeping me sane is I found a way to watch Season 2 of The Paradise online.
(it is only being shown in the UK right now)
I am crazy addicted.I even created a ringtone for my iPhone from the theme song.
Between my cleaning work,(vacationers are checking in)keeping up with custom signs orders(people are buying gifts, ya know)and trying to be supportive of my harried husband who is also trying to fulfill an order whose timeline was just shortened by 2 weeks……
well, lets just say the days are over packed and a bit nerve wracking!
But I still do have a new painting tutorial for you. 
You can even make your own custom wrapping paper.I showed how it could look on plain brown paper.
paint a daisy on gift
And if you want a bit more shimmer, try metallic paints.
(I did the 5 petal easy flowers on this one, I showed you how to do them in this post  CLICK HERE)
shimmery blue flowers
To view the rest of this post CLICK HERE

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.

"Lemons" in this expression is used in the informal sense of the word, to indicate an unfortunate or inadequate situation, a meaning which probably stems from the sour and acidic taste of unsweetened lemon. "Lemonade" on the other hand, is a sweetened form of this same acerbic fruit, and so in the context of this expression, conveys the potential for pleasure and opportunity in seemingly bad situations.

That thought came to mind when I first spotted this on Hometalk.
What great use of what some may consider “ruined” pottery or trash.

I have wanted to make myself something similar ever since but I just could not bring myself to break my terra cotta pots.
Knowing how clumsy I am I figured it was just a matter of time before I had the perfect broken pot.
Funny enough, it was not me that knocked a plant off the table.
My hubby had the honor of that.
He was so apologetic then confused as he watched my face light up at the sight of terra cotta shards mixed with plant debris and potting soil on the floor.
(no plants were harmed, it was potted up into a larger pot and is quite happy despite the tumble)

broken pot
Just look at that pot. 
Isn’t it just perfect!

I have various Hens N Chicks in my greenhouse just waiting for a new home.
Actually, the chicks are what I plan on using. 


I mix lots of perlite with potting soil for good drainage.
Fill the pot as I hold the shard in place, trying all the while to keep some space out front to tuck the chicks.
(I had pulled the chicks off a couple days ahead of time to let them harden off a bit, this supposedly helps them not to rot before rooting)
It took a few tries to get it how I wanted.
The mix is very loose so it was hard to get it to stay in place.
Ta Da!
potted chicks1
I still need to get some pebbles to add.
They will help to keep the soil mix in place when I water.
Which is infrequently but the mix does tend to want to fall out still.
potted chicks2
This is a small 4 or 5 inch pot but it was fun to practice with, I am sure these will quickly outgrow this but they do not mind being transplanted.
For now it is the perfect size to sit in my windowsill.

A party in a pot.

Did you know that Hens and Chicks are of the plant genus Sempervivum which means Live Forever?
The name live-forever was given to the plant because of its “hardiness and durability.”

What makes this durable plant remarkable is that it grows in the most inhospitable places.
It can be found high up on windswept mountain slopes, where temperatures can plummet as much as 60° F  in just 24 hours.
It can take root in a rocky crevice with a smattering of soil.
What are some of the secrets of its endurance in such harsh conditions?

potted chicks2

The live-forever has succulent leaves, which carefully hoard water.
This enables it to take full advantage of all the moisture available from rain or melting snow.
Also, it grows in clusters that unite their strength to get a firm grip on their rocky support.
By taking root in crevices, it has some protection against the elements, even though there may be little soil.
In other words, it thrives by making the most of difficult circumstances.
potted chicks3

An example to us all. 
Despite its harsh environment or unfavorable circumstances it blooms beautifully.
Displaying that it does not just survive hardships but is determined to thrive with grace and beauty.

potted chicks4

So, in a nutshell, the Sempervivum makes Lemonade!!!

Now lets see if it will survive my tender loving care.  I will have trouble not overwatering, that is for sure.
I am on the hunt for different containers to make more living sculptures, any suggestions would be appreciated. 

I am also on the hunt for cold hardy varieties so I can plant more outside. 

This is my inspiration
(I could not find the original source for the photo so if you know where it came from please let me know)

I was thinking the path leading to my studio/crafting cottage would look gorgeous planted like this.

I was not always a fan of Sempervivums, I am not sure what changed my mind.
Do you have a good source for Hens N Chicks?  Just leave a comment and let me know. 

I am on the hunt.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Don’t Look Back

Don’t Look Back Inspirational Printable for Download.


Happy Monday everyone! 
I hope everyone is fine and dandy on this lovely day.
Off I go to work then back to my studio for some painting.

I wish you a productive and fun day.

CLICK HERE for a high resolution jpg of this photo for personal use only please.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Dining Room Before

Good morning everyone.

What a beautiful California day.  This is the last of a warmish days here in the mountains as it is to cool down again.

The past week or so of mid to upper 60’s has been oh so lovely, but reality must prevail. 

It is November, and we need rain and snow (the snow would stay higher up on the mountain if I had my way) so if it must be cold anyways…

come on rain and snow!

My garden is parched and in need of some moisture. 

Even dormant.

My morning has been quiet. 

Instead of my morning reading I sat and crocheted another row on my mystery dining room accessory. 

Letting my brain be quiet for half an hour felt so refreshing.

My mind leisurely wandered over what I need to accomplish today and how best to organize it all.

So now instead of my brain running at a frenetic pace and making me crazy I feel serenely focused and able to tackle the long ‘to do’ list. 

Why I have gotten out of the habit of taking the time each morning to just be, I don’t know.

I had started the habit when my kids were in school.  I rose half an hour before they needed to and had ‘me’ time.

Sometimes I sat with my freshly brewed coffee and reveled in the quiet.

Sometimes I cross stitched or crocheted and in the summer I would walk the garden with clippers in hand to dead head.

Mindless tasks that let my mind ramble.

It seemed to make my life less crazy.

And now I am rambling on here, so sorry…

back to my crochet….

crochet table1

One more row of red and I will switch back to white.

Since I am winging this creation there was no way to determine how much I would need and I am running low on the white yarn. 

Time for a trip to the yarn store….what a tribulation! 

I mentioned  previously that I was working on redoing my dining area.

Just so you get an idea of what I am working with I took some photos for you.

This view is taken from the living room.

dining area 17

Our house runs on the petite side at barely 1300 square feet.

For the two of us, it is more than plenty.  

Here we are a little further back.

I am going to remove this cabinet and make something to put here. 

I am not telling what yet.

dining area 27

Here in the photo above you can get a better perspective of how small this space actually is. 

We made the dining room table about 3 years ago, it is square Farm Table made just for this space.

To see that post CLICK HERE.  (it is one of my very first blog posts and it looks it but it does show the table in progress)

I am toying with the idea of putting a rectangular table in here. 

I have one stashed that just needs a bit of paint and a rustic top made for it.

I am not sure what I can do with the chandelier to make it what I wish. 

Paint it?

New shades?

I know what you are thinking.

Just replace it.

And I may in the future but this redo is being done, for the most part,  with what I have or can make with supplies I have on hand.

Very little will be purchased.

dining area 37

Now the dining room chair slipcovers are only in place until the white ones get washed.  (they do look better pressed but we grabbed them from the closet when the others had to be stripped off and washed)

I prefer to white ones, well, they are really cream but I am thinking of switching out a couple of these chairs for some arrow back ones I have.

They match the table I am working on too.

They are getting painted as we speak. 

In doing this I am realizing I don’t enjoy painting furniture, it seems extremely tedious to me. 

I have to admire those that paint furniture day after day. 

Then there is the floor. 

I am thinking a painted floor cloth in a lighter color, this dark brown just sucks up the light. 

Curtains on the slider?? 

I do think so but I am debating on remaking over a favorite duvet cover into them or using the Ikea panels I bought last Spring. 

They are plain white so, in my mind, they need something to make them less bland. 

The flower photos on the wall beside the window will be replaced.

Several ideas have presented themselves but I have not settled on any one of them yet. 

This all will take time, probably so much time that I will be wanting to switch out the red accents for cooler colors…

meaning it will most likely be Spring or Summer before I get to it all. 

But what fun I shall have chipping away at it!

Now that I have bored you to tears I am off to the studio to paint. 

Lots of orders to fulfill.

I am trying to think of what painting tutorial to start next. 

Painting Hydrangeas was a hit and will be a hard act to follow.

Paint Hydrangeas logo

Want to learn to paint flowers and who knows what else I might try???

Just sign up for updates and give it a whirl. 

Have a great day! 




Tutorials and TidbitsInspiration Gallery, Be InspiredFeathered Nest Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Funky Junk,

Craft Frenzy Friday, Crafts ala Mode

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