June 2013 archive

My Daughter’s Watercolor Tulips

Rainbow tulips in watercolor and micron pen

My daughter went wild with color and decided to paint each petal a different color. How fun is this? She added texture using micron pens in colors that closely matched the paint color and chose to keep the background white so as not to compete with all the vibrant colors and fun texture.

Coming up next: my niece’s painting. I still haven’t completed my painting. Looks like I’ll be having another late-night painting session or two.

My Sister’s Watercolor Tulips

Red tulips in watercolor

I’m so excited to show you my sister’s finished watercolor painting. The addition of the swirly texture–inspired by artist Cindy Dauer at TheSlumberingHerd.com–really made this painting come alive. My sister wasn’t thrilled with the dark green background–she felt it obscured the ink details–so I lightened it in Photoshop so she’d be more satisfied with the end result.

After I lightened the background I played with Photoshop’s Hue setting (Image>Adjust>Hue/Saturation) and came up with several variations of her painting in different colors. It looks amazing in the different color combinations and would make a great art grouping in her new house. Are you ready to see this? I’m so excited to share!

Orange tulips in watercolor

In orange and teal. Fabulous!

Pink watercolor tulips

In hot pink and lime. Be still my heart!

Purple tulips in watercolor

In purple and green. Delightful!

Yellow watercolor tulips

In yellow and aqua. What’s not to love? How do you like your painting now, sissy? It’s perfection.

Summer Family Watercolor Fest

Summer family watercolor fest

This past weekend I hosted a family summer watercolor fest. My sister, niece, daughter, and I had a great time painting, chatting, singing Taylor Swift’s annoying song, “we are never-ever-ever getting back together” over and over again, and snacking on caramel macchiatos and homemade brownie cupcakes. The cupcakes were amazing; I’ll be posting the recipe next.

Summer family watercolor fest

For this painting session we thought it would be fun to paint the same painting and compare our individual results. We took this challenge a step further and decided to add texture with pen and ink on top of the completed paintings. We were inspired by the work of artist Cindy Dauer and her Slumbering Herd. If you’re not familiar with Cindy’s work, check out her blog, The Slumbering Herd, and prepare to be delighted.

Summer family watercolor fest

Here, I applied liquid frisket to mask out the tulips, leaves, and stems while I painted the cloudy background.

Summer family watercolor fest

This is my niece, Karen’s painting in progress. It’s upside down in this view because I was sitting across from her when I snapped the photo.

Summer family watercolor fest

This is my sister’s work in progress. She chose colors that closely resembled those in the reference photo, but then went crazy with ink and texture. You won’t believe how many looks she was able to achieve with this painting. I’ll be showing photos of the completed paintings next.

Summer family watercolor fest

This Winsor Newton watercolor chart came in handy when we were choosing the color schemes for our paintings or trying to match a color in a reference photo. If you ever have an opportunity to host or join a painting party, I highly recommend them. They’re lots of fun and a great learning experience.

Decked Out for Summer Entertaining Part II

Colorful deck accessories

Now that my deck furniture has been freshened up with a new coat of stain, I couldn’t wait to bling out my deck with lots accessories in bright colors. Since the umbrella I bought last year is still in great shape, I chose a palette of green, orange, yellow, and red to complement the umbrella then added some fun stripes and polka dots.

Colorful deck accessories

The sea grass chargers and wooden napkin rings are from Pottery Barn.

Colorful desk accessories

The polka dotted pots from A. C. Moore came in handy for storing plastic knives, spoons, and forks.

Colorful deck accessories

I bought the green place mats, colorful candles, plastic plates, dip bowls, and napkins at Target. It’s a goldmine for affordable outdoor accessories.

Colorful deck accessories

The cute plastic pitcher was a gift from my mother. Thanks, mom!

Colorful deck accessories

What would I do without my two favorite stores, Target and Pottery Barn? What’s your go-to place for inexpensive outdoor accessories?

Decked Out for Summer Entertaining

Outdoor Dining Furniture Makeover

Remember this beautiful Faraday outdoor dining table and chairs that I bought last year from Pottery Barn? Well, they weren’t beautiful for long. After exposure to the sun and summer rains the finish faded, bubbled, and peeled off. So within a few short weeks after I purchased the set, it looked like it had been exposed to the elements for years.

I’m typically a big fan of Pottery Barn, but this purchase was a huge disappointment. Normally, I would have returned the item or asked for a replacement but I loved the style of this set so much I figured I’d just strip the finish off and refinish it in the spring. Well, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

deck furniture makeover

Just look at this beautiful finish. It not only looks as good as new, I think it looks better than new. First, I stripped off the old finish with Strip-X Paint Remover, then I gave it a really good sanding (that was the most time-consuming part), and followed that up with three coats of Minwax Wood Finish in red mahogany. I love the new stain, the color is deep and rich. The type of Minwax I chose also contained polyurethane which resulted in the beautiful glossy finish shown above. And I’m pleased to report that it rained like crazy today and the finish is A-OK.

I found the cute lime and white polka dot pots at AC Moore. I bought the pots of fake grass at Pottery Barn several years ago. I’ll be posting pictures of my decked-out deck next plus photos of this weekend’s family summer watercolor fest, so stay tuned.

Animal Menagerie in Watercolor

animal menagerie in watercolor

My daughter painted this sweet animal menagerie as a baby shower gift for her childhood friend, Samantha. I still remember Sam as a pink-cheeked, chubby little girl with snow-white blonde hair and the sweetest personality ever. Today she’s grown into a beautiful young woman who’s expecting her first child in a few short weeks. My, how time flies. I still feel like a new mom myself.  I can’t believe how fast the years have flown by. I hope Sam enjoys her child and motherhood as much as I have. Children are such a blessing.

Hydrangea Fairy in Watercolor

Hydrangea Fairy in Watercolor

I really enjoyed painting this hydrangea fairy, although it was time consuming to paint all those petals. This is my first attempt at painting a red head. I was a skeptical that I could pull it off without ending up with a garish orange instead of lovely shades of red, but I think I pulled it off splendidly. For the fairy’s hair I used a combination of Indian red, Chinese orange, burnt umber, and caput mortuum violet, then added a light wash of Chinese orange on top, which really made her lovely red locks come alive. For the shading on the stem and dress, I used indigo and then added a wash of sap green. I’ll be using that combination of colors again–love it.

This painting is based on a tutorial in Barbara Lanza’s book, “Enchanting Fairies: How to Paint Charming Fairies and Flowers.”  Here’s a close-up view:

Hydrangea Fairy in Watercolor Closeup

A Visit to the Bealeton Farmer’s Market

Fresh veggies from my local farmer's market

I stopped by the Bealeton, Virginia, farmer’s market this weekend to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables and other goodies for my family. Just look at these freshly picked red onions; they still have their stalks attached. It doesn’t get any fresher than this. If you like to cook as much as I do, then you’ll definitely want to check out your local farmer’s market; it’s one of the pleasures of summer.

In addition to the Boston lettuce and gorgeous red onions pictured above, I bought some pulled pork, barbecued beef brisket, individual-sized servings of monkey bread, and a variety of home-made sausage (sweet Italian links, kielbasa, bratwurst, and several packs of bulk sausage).

Later that evening, I threw together this quick dinner featuring Italian sausage sandwiches with caramelized onions and peppers, Amish potato salad, and fresh fruit.

Italian sausage sandwiches with caramelized onions and peppers

The Bealeton farmer’s market is a seasonal open air market made up of farmers offering organic honey and meats, locally grown fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, baked goods, and hand-crafted items.

Jerry Headley and Theresa Shiflett from Andralynn Farm founded the market three years ago and it has drawn a steady stream of customers. The market is small and intimate but there is plenty of room for growth and additional vendors are welcome. Vendors pay $80.00 a piece to join the market for the season or $10.00 per week.  The vendor fees pay for signs and advertising, and this year vendor insurance is being offered free of charge.

Fresh fruits and vegetables from the Bealeton farmer's market

The market is located off of US Route 17 at Liberty Station Center (in front of Children of America) and runs from April 23rd through October 29th. Hours of operation are Saturdays from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm, although you can often find Jerry and Theresa there later in the afternoon selling their fabulous Honey Hog barbecue. For more information on the Bealeton farmer’s market email southernmarket@comcast.net or call 540-905-5663.

Honey Hog Barbecue Stand in Bealeton, Virginia

Come on out, ya’ll.

Gorgeous Light in My Garden Yesterday

Beautiful light in my garden

After two days of torrential rain, the sun finally made an appearance and filled my garden with gorgeous light. Everything looks so green and lush.

Enormous cloud formation

After the dark skies cleared, this huge sun-lit cloud formation took my breath away. How gorgeous are these clouds?

Huge cloud formation

In other news, after a two-week hiatus to focus on yard clean-up and home remodeling tasks, I finally started a new painting this evening. Check back later this week to see the finished painting. What’s new in your neck of the woods?

Mojitos and Tapas in Warrenton, Virginia

Mojitos and Tappas Bar, Warrenton, Virginia

Hi everyone, how was your weekend? My weekend was super busy–I did tons of laundry and housework, some much-needed decluttering, rearranged my family room furniture, installed several ceiling fans, and snuck in some yard work just before the torrential rain started–it poured. After all that work I didn’t feel like cooking, so my mother, daughter, and I treated ourselves to dinner at the Mojitos and Tapas restaurant in Warrenton, Virginia. This is a photo of the bar area, isn’t it charming?

Coconut mojito

My mother and I ordered coconut mojitos which featured coconut rum and sparkling soda over muddled mint leaves and lime juice and included bits of fresh coconut. It was so refreshing and light and seriously fizzy. I loved it and must go on a recipe search so I can make these at home.

Mixed berry mojito

My daughter ordered a mixed-berry mojito dubbed the “beach mojito.” It was seriously fruity, fizzy, and delicious. There were at least a dozen varieties of mojitos on the menu. We’re already planning future girls night out dates to sample more.

Loaded chips

My mother ordered Caribbean egg rolls (not pictured) and loaded chips over a bed of black beans. They were messy but delicious. My daughter ordered a traditional Cuban chicken sandwich. It was enormous and definitely enough to serve two people.

Zang-Zang chicken

I ordered the Zang-Zang chicken, which is deep fried bites of chicken coated in a spicy sauce–not the healthiest choice, but boy was it good. The Mojitos and Tapas restaurant is small and cozy, the service was great, the atmosphere was charming, the food was delish, and the mojitos were a real treat. It was a fun and affordable choice for a girls night out. For more information on the Mojitos and Tapas restaurant visit their website.


Till next time!

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