Thursday, August 29, 2013

Painted Hungarian Folk Art Flowers

By now you know that I am obsessed with Hungarian Folk Art.  Traditionally in Hungary this type of art is painted.  It is also embroidered onto cloth.  I use markers when I draw them.  I've tried watercolors but I don't get the bold, saturated colors I want.  I've tried acrylics but I had trouble getting the paint to behave.  Finally today I had an epiphany, not sure why it took me to long to figure this out...I painted with very watered down acrylics and I think it's a great first effort but there is definitely room for improvement....


There are 30 minutes between the time my daughter's school day ends and my son gets out. I spent that time drawing.

Ready for paint.

Painting in the flowers. I went over the pen lines one more time after the paint dried.

Detail of my wedding shawl which I pulled out for inspiration

Detail of my mom's tablecloth. Just a picture on my iPhone. I tried to "borrow" this but she wouldn't let me take it because most of the things I "borrow" never make it back to my mom's house. :)

Another picture of my mom's tablecloth.

Another little peak at my jewelry.
Hoping to have my etsy shop up and running soon!!

 I'm sharing this as DPP#14 Saturated.

Paint Party Friday 

Easy Does It (or the LESS I try to do, the MORE I get done)

Do you remember these bumper stickers?

You don't see them around as much anymore but I remember seeing them a lot when I was a teenager and young adult.  They really bugged me.  They offended that part of me that thought that hard work is the way to go.  I have always thought that anything that was worth something took great effort.  Of course to some extent that is true and it's a lesson I'm trying to teach my children now. 
 You DO need to study hard for a test if you want to do well. 
You DO need to practice a sport if you are eager to improve. 

But here's something that is also true. 

Sometimes the LESS I try to do, the MORE I get done. 

I always have a million things going on.  I have a job.  Two kids, a husband, pets, a house and large yard (in a town like mine I am in the minority on this but I don't have a housekeeper or a gardener!)  I have lunches to make and laundry and so on and so on.  You know the drill.  On top of that, I have my art and I love to read and I need to exercise every day.  And just because I'm kind of crazy, I've decided to start a new business, too!

This week my kids went back to school.  We had a mellow summer and my schedule really slowed down.  Partly because the kids were home with me and I couldn't run around as usual and partly because I sprained my ankle and had to take it easy.   As soon as that bell rang Monday morning I was off like a crazy woman.  Going for runs (as the ankle allows,) back to Bikram Yoga, making jewlery, working on an art project, groceries, dishes.  It's exhausting!  I don't necessarily feel great for all the hardcore exercise even though I was so looking forward to getting back to it.  Ironically my ankle feels OK but my other foot hurts and my knees twinge. 

Yesterday I thought back to my summer, the mellow days.  The evening walks with Obi.  I felt good during the summer, I didn't gain weight, I kept up a regular but mellow exercise routine.  Maybe I don't need to work so hard all the time at fitting things in or staying fit.

Today I was planning to go to Bikram again but Obi and I detoured to the beach after walking the kids to school.  The ocean was so pretty.  The breeze lovely.  I stopped to take this picture

I stood still looking at the ocean for a minute. 
I saw a woman on a stand up paddle board moving at a leisurely pace right over a giant kelp bed.  Some distance away a man lay flat on a surfboard, not paddling anywhere, just floating.

Suddenlty out of nowhere an image of that bumper sticker popped into my mind. 

Easy Does It.

So I remind myself of some things I already knew and some new lessons:
It doesn't always need to be heart pounding exercise to do you good. 
I don't have to count calories all the time. 
I just need to eat healthy and wholesome foods.
I don't have to do it all.

There is no rush.
When I slow down, I actually seem to have more time and I get more done.
Easy Does It.

By the way, I love to read your comments so if you read my blog posts and have something to say, please don't be shy. 
You will make my day. 

Monday, August 26, 2013


Just a little update teaser to show you what I've been up to lately. 
It was time to turn some of my creative energy back to the three dimensional.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lemon Olive Oil Yogurt Cake with Lemon "Cream", Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Lemon Olive Oil Yogurt Cake

It's been ages since I posted a recipe so I'm excited to share this one. My family has been loving this cake so much that I have made it three days in a row! It's that easy and that good!
You would never, ever know this cake is both gluten and dairy free. It is hands down, the most moist and fluffy baked item I have come across since I went gluten free (and if you are familiar with GF baked goods you know this is a big deal!)
Fully loaded

With just a sprinkle of confectioners sugar

Lemon Olive Oil Yogurt Cake

  • 1 cup gluten free flour of choice.  I used Bob's Red Mill Biscuit and Baking Mix.  Any flour mix will do, even regular flour or a combination.  I've used corn and coconut flour with good results.
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar OR do what I did and substitute a little SweetLeaf Stevia with the  granulated sugar to cut down on the sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plain non dairy yogurt of choice.  I used So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon.  You should end up with about a teaspoon of zest and 2 Tablespoons of juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix all and pour into greased 8 inch round cake pan, spread cake batter to edges of pan. Batter will be tick.  Bake in 350 degree oven.  Start testing the cake at 20 minutes, top should be lightly golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  22 minutes is perfect in my oven.

Makes about 8 slices.  Prepared my way each slice is about 210 calories (without the cream.)  The cream is nice if you are making a fancy dessert but the cake doesn't need it to be delicious.  The first day I made this cake I also made the cream which lasted through the second cake. Refrigerate the cream in between uses. 

Lemon "Cream" from Go Dairy Free. 
See original source here, I've just reprinted for your convenience:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of medium lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon dairy-free margarine

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan. Gradually add water and whisk until well blended. Whisk in egg yolks, lemon peel and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick and bubbly. Boil one minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter. Cool to room temperature, without stirring

Saturday, August 3, 2013

DPP#1 Rainbow

For the first prompt of "rainbow" I tried something totally new. Rainbow acrylic paints applied to the paper with a string of yarn, watercolor rainbow on top of that, then white acrylic "raindrops" with bubble wrap. I wish the yarn rainbow was more visible but the over all look is fun

DPP # 2 Window

There are things that charm me every time I see them and near the top of that list (along with kittens and laughing babies) has to be red geraniums in window boxes. 
Started sketching in bed this morning.

I started with very pale gray watercolor all over the bricks and let that dry, that's the mortar.  Then I shaded in the dark windows and I added the bricks little by little making sure I varied the colors and how much water I added.

The bricks are finally done.

Adding the flowers and more color.

Adding some details. 
Despite the careful sketching and plotting at the beginning my window panes are uneven!

After all the watercolor painting was done I added shading and details with pencil, watercolor pencils and marker.

And from yesterday, DPP#1 Rainbow.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Art Makes Me Happy!

The continuing influence of index card a day. 
Creating art every day makes you happy!
Day 42.
If you know me outside of blogland or have followed this blog then you know that I am the kind of person who doesn't wake up in a cheerful mood every day.  All my life I have fought with my moods, melancholy and even a few times, full on depression.  I have also written in the past year that I am probably the happiest now than I have ever been but I still battle with feeling down for no reason or letting little things send me spiraling into bad moods that can last for hours or even days. 

Yesterday was the last day of creating an index card a day for 61 days.  Now I confess I didn't do art EVERY day.  I did art almost every day, sometimes doing many cards on one day and then skipping a day when I was very busy (or caught up in a great book!)  If I didn't pick up a pen or brush one day, I certainly looked at art, commented on it and thought about art, so for the sake of this discussion, though, lets say I did art every day.  I knew a few days into it that creating index cards I was in a great mood every day...maybe creating art was making me happy.

Now back to yesterday when I was thinking about my 2 months of ICAD's.  I was answering Tammy's questions on Daisy Yellow so I was really thinking about the impact of creating all these cards.  The overwhelming feeling about my ICAD experience was not just how fun and rewarding it was but it really made me happy. 

As I was scrolling through my blog reading list yesterday I happened upon this cute post from Heather at Rose Hills Design called "the Secret to a Happy Life."  Check out her blog, her are is to cute!  Heather said she never stops dreaming, learning, loving, believing and living...and then she invites the reader to add their own secret.  Without hesitation I said "creating art." 

By afternoon I had finished my last card and ICAD Roundup post.  It wasn't long before I got a comment from the very talented Cindy at The Slumbering Herd.  If you haven't checked out her blog, go now!  She is amazing.  She told me that my post was "the happiest and most upbeat blog post I have seen in ages!" 

And that was it.  What had been floating around my head for days and weeks culminated in that's true! 
It's true! 
Art makes me happy!