My dog, Marty, enjoys a good sniff-fest and rolling in the grass on warm summer days. Mary, who is a more dignified gal, prefers to quietly soak in the the sun and catch warm breezes. They are my constant companions and will happily keep me company as I work or relax in the garden.
I am grateful for quiet days with my canine companions.
Hi everyone, how is your weekend going? My summer garden is in full bloom this week, so I grabbed my camera–and two of my pups–and headed outside to enjoy the show. I snapped some pictures to share here while the pups enjoyed a sniff-a-thon and then settled down to catch a few rays. My crepe myrtle trees are in full bloom this week. Aren’t they beautiful?
These hardy hibiscus will continue to bloom daily until early fall. I planted them outside my kitchen window so I can enjoy the show from inside the house and watch the hummingbirds drinking their nectar. Hummingbirds can’t resists these huge, red blooms. I saw one this morning while I was drinking my coffee and two others this afternoon, including one little fellow with amazing blue feathers.
I planted these calla lilies three years ago, and they get bigger and fuller each year. And the best thing about crepe myrtle, hardy hibiscus, and calla lilies–besides the fact that they bloom in tandem–is that they require almost no care. Just add water during extreme dry spells. That’s it! Easy peasy. Here are a few more pictures of my garden.
How pretty are these purple blooms and aqua bench? It’s a good thing I have a large stock of aqua spray paint. I see more aqua garden furniture in my future. What’s growing in your garden this week?
Good morning, everyone. How was your weekend? Mine was busy. I spent time visiting with relatives from Ohio, went to the D.C. Big Flea antique show, visited a local farmer’s market, and did some housework, laundry, and yard work. And I managed to squeeze in one quick watercolor painting. This purple fairy is based on a tutorial in Linda Ravenscroft’s book, “How to Draw and Paint Fairies.” It’s an indispensable source of information for new watercolorists.
Normally, I paint fairy wings quite pale, so I thought I’d change things up a bit and use a more intense color. What do you think, are the wings too dark? Here’s a close up view of the fairy’s face. Thanks for visiting. Have a great day!
Redemption cupcakes. Cupcakes you bake to redeem yourself after the cupcakes you brought to work last week (made from a recipe you’d never tried before) were an epic fail. That’s what my sister calls the cupcakes she brought to our family watercolor fest. Made with just five ingredients, you can whip up a batch of these decadent brownie cupcakes any time–whether you need to redeem yourself or not. These cupcakes are so moist that icing is not necessary, but if you’re an icing lover this fluffy white icing made with marshmallow cream is the perfect topping. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make my sister’s redemption cupcakes:
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 4 squares semisweet baking chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the melted butter and chocolate until the chocolate is melted. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a cupcake pan prepared with cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- 1 jar marshmallow cream
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.
So the next time you serve a dessert that flops to friends or coworkers and you want to restore their faith in your cooking skills, redeem yourself with these babies.
After several starts and stops–and a holiday in between–I finally finished the painting that I started during my family watercolor fest. As per our challenge, I plan on adding ink details, but I like this painting so much as is that I wanted to share it with my readers–and save a copy for myself. Here’s a close-up view:
My niece, Karen, also painted rainbow tulips then tried her hand at stippling with a micron pen, choosing colors to match each flower. She painted the cloudy background without the use of masking fluid, which can be tricky, but she did a fabulous job.
I’m still completing my painting since I spent more time as a host, helper, photographer, and instructor during our family paint-a-thon than I actually did painting. I’ll be posting my painting next.
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.
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!
In orange and teal. Fabulous!
In hot pink and lime. Be still my heart!
In purple and green. Delightful!
In yellow and aqua. What’s not to love? How do you like your painting now, sissy? It’s perfection.
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.
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.
Here, I applied liquid frisket to mask out the tulips, leaves, and stems while I painted the cloudy background.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The sea grass chargers and wooden napkin rings are from Pottery Barn.
The polka dotted pots from A. C. Moore came in handy for storing plastic knives, spoons, and forks.
I bought the green place mats, colorful candles, plastic plates, dip bowls, and napkins at Target. It’s a goldmine for affordable outdoor accessories.
The cute plastic pitcher was a gift from my mother. Thanks, mom!
What would I do without my two favorite stores, Target and Pottery Barn? What’s your go-to place for inexpensive outdoor accessories?