Wearin’ O the Green

The celebration of St. Patrick’s day is just a few days away! Today’s blog post has lots of fun ideas and edibles for you and your celebration!

Crafts and Games:

Catch a leprechaun

St. Patrick’s Day treasure hunt

Pot-o-gold toss

Clay pot leprechaun

Homemade care freshener

Shamrock boutonnieres

2 St. Patrick’s Day cards

Shamrock wall hanging

Love shamrock t-shirt

4 leaf clover magnets

St. Patrick’s Day coasters

Lucky day card

Luck of the Irish door hanging

Cooking:

Breads:

Irish brown bread

Irish bread American style

Sage potato rolls

Soda bread biscuits

Dinner:

Irish beef and stout stew

Irish beef hand pies

Irish lamb stew

Potato frittata

Braised greens

Smokey cheese potato soup

Corned beef and cabbage pizza

Black and tan pork with spicy ale slaw

Spinach pesto ravioli

Desserts:

Pistachio shortbread

Lime squares with pistachio graham cracker crust

Key lime cheesecake bars

Rum raisin rice pudding

Pistachio cookies

Clover cookies

Shamrock cookies

Pistachio cupcakes

Irish coffee cupcakes

Grasshopper cupcakes

Shamrock milkshake cupcakes

Black and white Irish cream cupcakes

Chocolate stout cake

Rainbow cake

Drinks:

Hot nutty irishman

Ginger and mint lime floats

Guinness float

Dublin eggnog

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Share your ideas in the comments.

Spooky Skeletons and Mummies

Today we’re beginning our Halloween journey with some creative and edible haunted mummy and scary skeleton ideas!

Crafts:

Craft stick mummy

Mummy pumpkins

Mummy greeter

Yummy mummies

Sock skeleton

Skull potato stamp

Skeleton treat bags

Mummy lantern

Dancing skeleton glasses

Skull candles

Food:

Hot dog mummy

Pizza mummies

Breadstick bones

Mickey mouse mummy cupcakes

Funny bones

Gingerbread skeleton cookies

Skull pops

Skull madelines

Scary pear heads

Mummy cupcake

Screaming spice cookies

Skeleton cupcakes

Mummy cupcake

Skeleton bones cupcake

Handy pretzels

Wrapped cupcake

What are your favorite mummy and skeleton ideas? 

FF: Piper Stone

Happy Friday!  Today for Feature Friday we have a very special guest, a dog!  Our guest, Piper Stone is an adorable English bulldog who has been painting for charity.

What do you enjoy besides painting?
I enjoy eating, snoring, grunting, licking, high fives, and wagon and car rides.  My wagon and car rides give me great inspiration!  I like to watch Mother Nature’s beauties go by, like birds and leaves blowing in the wind.  Sometimes, I even stop to smell the roses.

What got you started with painting?
I  was fascinated by Mom painting.  I ran into the studio and watched with excitement every time she painted.  All Mom had to do was shake up a can of paint and I’d instantly appear to study her techniques.  Keep in mind I limp and have bad hips, so the only thing I usually run (wobble) for is food!  After expressing my interest in painting for about six weeks, Mom finally got the hint and stuck a paintbrush in my mouth.  Mom was so impressed with my first painting that she realized I might be able to raise money for San Antonio Bulldog Rescue and other rescue organizations through my natural talent.

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve designed?
The three pieces I created with Bob from the TV show Texas Country Reporter!  Hearts Beat Faster, In The Limelight and Lights Camera Action.  Bob and the film crew were amazing and wonderful to work with!  My Texas friends will be able to see me paint these pieces with Bob on April 28th and 29th.  For my out-of-state  friends, there will be an international YouTube video too!.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?
Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I have some really great things happening this year!  Not only will Texas Country Reporter air a segment about my artwork and my Mom’s artwork, but a talented dog portrait painter named Peggy Box is painting a portrait of me for the show!  I have paintings in The Arthouse at the Jones Center’s 5×7 exhibit with a bunch of talented human artist.  I’m the only dog painter in the show!  Niza Knoll Gallery in Denver will feature my work in the August Gone to the Dogs exhibit! And the new issue of The American Dog Magazine included a photo of me in their famous dogs on Facebook section!

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?
Dream impossible dreams and explore all of your talents!

You can connect with Piper on Facebook, the website, Etsy and the official Piper blog.

Thank you Piper (and Mom, Jessica)!  I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Crafted with Love

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!  I’ve been seeing some great love-themed creations by my Feature Friday friends and will be sharing some of them this Friday.  But today I’ve got a collection of some fun crafts and activities for your Valentine fun!

Caped cute sader

Adoily-able t-shirt

Warm hearts

Love beads

Stained glass hearts

Heart pins and magnets

Critter cards

Marbelized valentine

More fun with marbles

Valentine treat cups

Hearts and blocks valentines

Heart shaped soap

Scratch off valentine cards

Hearts and quilts

Valentine’s card carrier ideas

What will you be creating this Valentine’s Day with love?

FF: Dale Anne Potter

Happy Friday!  Today we’re talking with Dale Anne who is a textile mixed media artist.  She creates works of art with words, quilting, painting, fabric, and nature.

Why are you passionate about mixed media, textiles and being creative?

ART brings me JOY everyday.  13 year ago, I came to realize ART is part of my daily life and my life is ART.  I call myself a Textile Mixed Media artist because I usually start an artwork using a textile of some kind and then add non-textile items to it.

What got you started with mixed media as a hobby/business?

I started quilting 29 years ago. In 2001, I wanted something more from quilting & started playing with my own designs plus exploring ideas with paper, collage, altered books, stamps, etc. I started calling myself an Artist and exhibiting my work.

Do you have a few favorite items you’ve made?

I’ve had many favourites over the years…. My first exhibited pieced was a favourite – still is: Sedna, Inuit Goddess of the Sea.   My first hand painted piece was “Wildflowers“, and my latest favourite is my “O Canada” piece.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

I find myself always evolving and this past June, I had the good future to visit Madrid, Spain – not only see AWESOME architecture but to view some Masters artwork in one of the art museums.  I see my work going from pictorial to more contemporary/abstract  The colours and lines are calling me!

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

I always tell my students to “OPEN YOUR EYES”, inspiration is all around us, we just have to learn to SEE.  The trees show us lines and many shades of green.  The sky shows us many shades of blue, but also the amazing colours of a storm brewing, the movement of the clouds – in fact, just the other day, I was pointing out that the clouds were like someone had done cross hatching with a huge paint brush.  The landscape shows us many colours, and lines.  The architecture gives us endless possibilities of design.  Our homes – look at the profile of a lamp, that design could be the start of something big.

You can connect with Dale Anne at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Zazzle, Red Bubble, Cafe Press, YouTube, and Talk Fusion.

Thank you Dale Anne!  I love your reminder to open our eyes!  Opening mine today meant seeing a beautiful sunset!

Inspiration from America

August is American Artist appreciation month.  I love all things creative, but it’s fun to remember and appreciate those who do American art.  What inspiration did they, and can you find around America?

Nature
This is the first and foremost thing that I think of for so many American artists.  Whether you think of John James Audubon,Thomas Moran, or TC Steele, nature has inspired countless artists, and will continue to.

Red, white and blue
It’s so simple, but so American.  The inspiration of these 3 colors have made their way into countless paintings and other artworks around America.

Lines, lots of lines
We may be an inspirational country, but we still can appreciate the simple things.  Some of the most creative and unique artworks have been inspired and based on the simple line.

Growth and change
Throughout America’s history there has been a lot of growth and change.  It seems as though we’ve never stopped growing and changing. If you’re in the mood for some dramatic and changing art work, check out the inspiration of Jackson Pollock.  Georgia O’Keefe also captured some growth and change from nature to people and culture.

People
What better way to represent America than by depicting some of her people?  One of the American artists who included people in their artwork was Grandma Moses.  Her work brings people and nature together.

Mixed media
America has long been called the “Melting Pot” and art has followed suit.  With all the different artistic inspirations and tools available, it’s not surprising that mixed media art has really taken off and found a home in America.

Of course, I should mention some of the up and coming American artists: Julia Forsyth, Theresa MacNaughton, Laurie Anderson, and Michelle Bernard.

What about you?  What American artists, styles and artwork inspire you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and inspirations below.

FF: Jane Small Fine Art

Happy Friday!  Today’s guest is Jane Small.  I love the beautiful things she does with color!  Jane has shared some thoughts about techniques and her unique perspective on art.

Why are you passionate about art?

I have to be very honest here and say that it isn’t actually “art” that I’m passionate about. What I am passionate about is the mystery that makes art possible. Many years ago, I suffered from acute anxiety and depression.  I had felt that way for 16 years.  Without going into too much detail, one day, I had an experience of healing that affected my perception so instantly and profoundly that my life totally changed. I still experienced to some degree, some of the original anxiety, but it was no longer a problem!  It just felt like a small thing in a much greater perspective. The greater perspective showed me that life was in fact an awesome mystery, full of hope and beauty. I started to really “see”. I noticed everything in much more detail; spiders webs, ants, a drop of rain water, shadows cast by the light on a plain wall. All these things now seemed beautiful and the stiller I became and the more I looked, the more I noticed. Colours in particular now had a particular impact. I was especially in awe of the colour “mauve”. When I was very young, I had worn a mauve dress once and my mother had told me I looked very sickly in it!  She didn’t like that colour and it was one of those little things that get lodged in the mind. I had disliked mauve ever since. Now, it was like I was making up for having missed out on “seeing” that colour, and wherever I saw it, whether as a flower, or lampshade, or whatever, it would stop me in my tracks and I would look and look. My life now became focused on exploring the mystery behind what had happened. My husband Simon had been so astonished by the transformation, that he too was drawn to seek with me.  It became a wonderful journey of discovery and ever more questions. For him, the journey came together in a creative sense, via the beautiful and mysterious mystical novel that he wrote, “Star Pilgrim.”

What got you started with art and being creative as a hobby/business?

As a bi product of this quest, I found myself drawn to express the enchantment and beauty that I was noticing, through art. For years I painted in soft pastel and sold my work as originals, prints and cards. My pictures always had a meditative or mystical quality to them.  I also worked in water colour, sometimes on silk, and in acrylic. I also experimented with batik. Then, I found a book one day about encaustic art. I was interested to try it. This involves painting in coloured beeswax and using a variety of heated tools for melting and working with the wax. The American way and the European way of encaustic are different. In America it is popular to use heat guns and more powerful tools,and to paint on absorbant panels. In Europe,it is more common to use a small iron, heated stylus, hot plate and hog hair brushes, and to paint on a clay coated encaustic non absorbant card. This is a big generalization as of course individuals everywhere are using different approaches. For some years now I have focused on painting with beeswax, because it makes an interesting change. I love the way the colours merge and blend and its slightly quirky, unpredictable nature.

Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?

I noticed on the internet that the European way is often derided as “not the real thing”! This might be in part because a lot of people who do encaustic over here, make no claim to be artists. They just love messing around with beeswax and enjoy the special effects you can make.They paint numerous fairy castles, dragons, fox gloves and dragonflies! And I think thats great. However, I felt from the beginning that a lot more could be achieved with these simple tools for anyone who was a natural artist and who wanted to do more specific and detailed work. So really, I just went ahead and did my own thing!  And basically that involves an enormous amount of practise and experimentation to find your own style. Maybe a class for beginners could be useful but then just experiment! You can use other media with the wax too such as oil pastels and its common to add wax to photographs. A word of caution about oil pastel. It never completely dries so the finished work would have to be framed behind glass. This is not necessary if you stick to pure beeswax. Quite a lot of detail can be achieved in wax by using an encaustic stylus. And the finished work can be buffed up so it really shines.

Do you have a favourite piece you have created?

My favorite piece is always my current one! Because it is such a joy in the moment to produce something totally unique and new. However people who like my work do have favorites. This varies enormously, but without doubt, my top, best selling print and card is “Inner Peace.”  This was painted years ago, shortly after my healing experience. It is executed in acrylic, using a water colour method.

What exciting future plans do you have for your work?

Well, the exciting thing is that I don’t plan! And that’s when the best things seem to happen. I’m an absolute menace with any kind of technology which of course includes computers. I have never had much to do with them. I had an offer of help to set up my enchantment fine art blog. And it has been amazing, the interest I have had from people all over the world who are interested in encaustic art. Or people who just like meditative, calming images, something a bit mystical. This is already opening new doors. And I have started writing Haiku to resonate with the images as they seem to really suit that style of verse. I can’t write them “cold”. They come to mind when I look into each painting after it is completed.

You can connect with Jane on her website, Twitter and her flickr gallery.

Thank you Jane!  I would love to try working with beeswax someday, I think it would be a lot of fun.  You do beautiful and inspirational work!