April 2013 archive

Sneak Peek: Spring Family Room Makeover

Spring Family Room Makeover

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Here’s a sneak peek at my upcoming spring family room makeover. I can’t wait for the furniture to be delivered. I’m still looking for a new coffee table and end tables. I’ve already picked out a new area rug, but couldn’t find a picture of it online. This update is long overdue. My family room has been looking a bit shabby lately–and not in a shabby chic sort of way.

Pink Miltonia Orchids in Watercolor

Pink Miltonia Orchids Closeup Small

Pink Miltonia Orchids Small

It was a dreary day today–cloudy, cool, and drizzly–not the best day to be outside but a perfect day to stay inside and paint. The soft lighting allowed me to sit by the kitchen windows and paint for hours without interruption from the late afternoon sun. These pink miltonia orchids were a pleasure to paint. The variegated leaves were easy to paint and the brightly colored petals really pop against the dark green background.

This painting was based on a tutorial in the book, “Orchids in Watercolor” by Ann Mortimer.

Canine Gardening Assistants

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Yard work is always more pleasant when you have canine garden helpers. Marty (aka “Piggy” because of his curly pig tail) likes to dig holes, graze on the grass, sit in the phlox, and identify shady spots in the yard. He also likes to inspect my work. Mary, who is a more refined and dignified dog, prefers to oversee the yard work from the comfort of the deck.

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Piggy Close Up Small

Colorful Spring Garden

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I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. I spent my weekend doing yard work–mowing, edging, weeding, mulching, trimming shrubs, and removing plants that didn’t survive the winter. It was a lot of work clearing away winter’s neglect and readying my garden for the arrival of spring blooms like this creeping phlox, but it was well worth the effort. Just look at this spectacular show. What’s growing in your garden this spring?

Work in Progress–Pink Miltonia Orchids

Pink Miltonia Orchids in Watercolor by afternoonartist.wordpress.com

Here’s a peek at my latest painting. I hope to finish it this evening. I’ve been so busy with spring cleaning and home improvement projects that I’ve had little time to paint. I have several interior decorating projects underway, porch and deck makeovers in progress, a massive yard cleanup, custom curtains to sew, and a few painting tasks to complete–some involving plenty of spray paint (you know how much I love spray paint). Oh, and lots of fun shopping with my mom. I can’t wait to finish all these projects and share the results with you.

I hope you’re enjoying the warm spring weather as much as I am.

Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage and Sweet Peppers

Bow Tie Pasta with Sausage

If you like sausage, you’re going to love this savory pasta. This dish is packed full of flavor–with two types of sausage, tons of fresh mushrooms, green and red peppers, onions, garlic, and beef broth, it’s a party in your mouth. I’ve been serving this dish for years and it always receives rave reviews. I found the original recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine but I’ve changed it significantly over the years. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make bow-tie pasta with sausage and sweet peppers:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bow tie pasta
  • 3/4 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. bulk sausage
  • 1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 packages fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to the  saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the casings from the Italian sausage and cut it into bite-sized pieces. In a very  large skillet (or wok) cook the Italian sausage, ground sausage, red and green peppers, onions, garlic, and mushrooms over medium-high heat until the sausage and mushrooms are browned. Drain well.
  3.  Stir the beef broth and black pepper into the skillet, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour over the pasta. Toss gently to coat. Top with freshly grated parmigiana reggiano cheese.
  4. Enjoy!

Rose Petal Fairy iPad Case

Rose Petal Fairy iPad Case

Rose Petal Fairy iPad Case4

My daughter surprised me with this lovely iPad case featuring my rose petal fairy yesterday. She ordered it from CafePress. I like that the image is a full bleed and that it’s printed on both sides of the case. If you’re not familiar with CafePress, hop on over there and check it out. You can have your artwork produced on hundreds of items like business cards, thank you notes, coffee mugs, household goods, apparel, computer accessories, jewelry, and lots more.

You can create a private shop and purchase items for yourself or open a public shop (similar to an Etsy shop) and sell products featuring your artwork to anyone wishing to purchase them. I spent the evening creating a shop, now I have to get busy and fill it full of goodies.

Baby Fairy in Watercolor

Purple Baby Fairy in Watercolor2 Small

I painted this baby fairy during our last mother-daughter painting session. She was a quick study on darker skin tones . I’m particularly pleased with her curly hair, which I painted with quick strokes and in a much looser style than I normally paint. This painting is based on a tutorial in Barbara Lanza’s book, “Enchanting Fairies: How to Paint Charming Fairies and Flowers.”