Monday, November 8, 2010

Percival the Owl


A new print is up in the shop!  
Allow me to introduce you to Percival the Owl, a friendly feathered little fowl!  He is a very virtuous and watchful little guy who will take good care of you :)

He's looking very dapper in his bow tie and he's ready for the cooler weather.  This print will look adorable in any child's room or baby's nursery.  Percival is ready to keep a protective eye on your little ones.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DIY Skirt


Getting our craft on again :)  My sister Ann and I always like to do a crafty project when we get together, so this time is was a simple homemade skirt.  We used this tutorial and it was really straightforward.  One helpful hint:  when it says to stretch the elastic while you are sewing the fabric on, do it!  It will allow the skirt to fit better and more comfortably.  


You can also make one for a smaller cutie pie in your life or make some great baby shower gifts!  It's a fun project that doesn't require mad sewing skills.  So many fabric choices out there...I'm definitely going to make another one soon :)  Have fun sewing!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Under the rainy weather...

Whew, I caught a feisty little bug this weekend that has stopped me in my tracks!  My very patient husband has let me get all the rest I need while he's entertained our bitsy boy, but I can't wait until this cold is on his way out of town!  I miss feeling healthy and having energy :)  With all my downtime, I've had a few moments to make a new little illustration...one that's very appropriate with the constant rain we've been having these past few days.  I've always loved the rain.  It makes everything look greener, feel fresher, and I love the way the street lamps glow on dark, damp nights.  It feels so cozy and quiet.  



So let me introduce you to Patrick and Lucille.  They are snuggled underground with their warm cups of cocoa (melted marshmallows included), busy chatting in hushed tones about their days and their excitement for the upcoming holiday season.

What do you love to do most on rainy, soggy days?


Reader's Creation

A big thank you to Jill who sent me a fun email this past week!  She shared her PSE creation with me that she made for her friend using my tutorial.

Isn't it darling?  Great job, Jill!  I love the contrast of the dark blue on white and he has such a cute profile!  Thank you for sharing!!  I'm sure your friend will love it :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Charity Auction

About a month ago, I was asked to donate some of my art to a local charity auction for the Northwest Infant Survival and SIDS Alliance.  I personally know too many parents who have lost their little ones far too early, some due to SIDS or other complications.  I was honored to be a part of this!  Being a mother myself, I know that the love a parent has for their child is indescribable, no matter how long or short their life is here on earth.  I also know that we will be able to live together again someday as families.  I wanted to create a couple of new pieces that would be appropriate for this fundraiser.  Here they are!  
'You Give My Heart Wings'

'Daddy Loves You'

This is how they look framed.  

The middle section is for a child's photo.  

I'm thinking of listing these as a limited edition print in my Etsy shop (that isn't currently open).  What do you guys think?  Would they sell?  Why am I so darn apprehensive?  How much do you think is reasonable for an 8x10?  I'd love to hear your thoughts...even if I don't know you!  Thanks for all the love :)  I hope you have a very Happy Monday!  Go play in the sunshine and if it's cloudy, make yourself an ice cream cone anyway :)  Doctor's orders!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Easy, Affordable, and Personalized Children's Art


Do you ever wish you had cute, modern art for your child's room that doesn't cost a ton?  I know that it can be difficult to find exactly what you're looking for, so why not make it yourself? And as an added bonus...it can be meaningful and personal!  

I made this piece of art in Photoshop Elements for my son's 1st birthday.  

1) I opened up a photo that I took for his 1st birthday in PSE.

2) I chose my foreground color and my background color (orange and white)

3) I went to the Filter tab at the top menu bar.
Under the filter tab, I went to sketch and chose stamp effect.

4) I played around with the light/dark balance and smoothness until I found a happy medium.

5) I added one more gold/yellow color for the sky.

6) I added the first letter of his name in the foreground color and decreased the opacity just a tad. 

And voila!!  There you have it!  SO SIMPLE!

I found that it works best when you have some strong graphic prints in the photo like stripes or when the subject is against a simple background.  My photo worked well because it's a bit more artistic in the sense that his face is away from the camera.  Also, you could add numbers, a fancier monogram or an initial in a fresh, modern font, etc.  Be creative!  That's the fun of it!   

I would love to see your finished products if you try this out!  Email it to me at recipe4cute@gmail.com and I will try to post the results for all to see!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apricot Nutmeg Cookies



I made these cookies on Sunday night and they are a new favorite!  A delicious treat to end summer and roll into fall.  I experimented with an existing recipe and added a few twists that are scrumdiddlyumptious!.  My husband and I love the chewy pieces of dried apricot and the hint of nutmeg and cinnamon...they taste like a cobbler.  Mmmm  :)  Happy Baking!

Apricot Nutmeg Cookies


In a mixer, combine:

1 cup of salted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar

Cream together on medium speed.

Then add:
1 egg
1/4 cup of apricot or mango nectar (thick juice)
1/2 cup apricot, peach, or raspberry preserves
3/4 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped

Beat on medium speed until smooth.

Then add:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Blend on low just until combined.  Do not overmix (it will make your cookie have too much air in them and end up cakey).

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper 2 inches apart.  
Bake at 300 degrees F for 22-24 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave cookies on parchment to continue cooking for 5 minutes.  
Then gobble some up and share some with your neighbors :)  
YUM YUM YUM!




Monday, September 27, 2010

Winner! Winner!

I decided since it's my 1st drawing EVER, there should definitely be 2 winners!  
I used Random.com to help in the process.  Drumroll...  
The winners are:
3-John 11-Rita
Timestamp: 2010-09-27 07:06:54 UTC
Please email me at recipe4cute@gmail.com with your mailing address and I will get those in the mail to you :)  
Thank you to everyone for your very sweet comments and entering the giveaway!  Wow, I'm feeling the love!  I just have so much fun doing this so thanks for looking and cheering me on...that's what life is all about!  Encouraging each other and uplifting each other and I've felt that from all of you this week...even blog-land friends  :)  So thanks!!  There will be more crafty goodness to come and more giveaways in the future, so if ya didn't win this time, you'll have another chance!


State Fair 2010!


We headed to the State Fair this past weekend and had a blast!  It's a great way to kick off the Autumn season.  So many interesting things to see!  Our little boy had so much fun looking at all the animals...I did too :)  
This is a humongous pumpkin that someone carved!  Did you know that my grandpa grew the worlds largest pumpkin in 1984?  It was over 700lbs.  He won $10,000 and a trip to Hawaii!!  Now, the world's largest pumpkin over well over double that weight!  CRAZINESS!  Who knew large pumpkins were big $?!  

That's me :)

Baby goats...uh, soooo cute!

And Oliver the Cow.  I loved his hairdo :)
Hope you all had a fun weekend!  Happy Monday!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Children's Halloween Garland



I wanted to make a darling garland for Halloween this year.  My parents always made Halloween a fun, happy, candy-filled day rather than too spooky, and I want to keep that tradition alive.  I whipped up a few illustrations in my sketchbook, scanned them into my computer and colored them in digitally in PS. 


[right-click to save and then open the picture and print it]


Then I used a punch to cut out some scalloped circles that are slightly larger.  I made 2 for each illustrated circle.  You can print as many pages of the pictures as you like and make the garland repeat.  You can even cut out the pictures for both sides of the scalloped circles...get creative :)  You can also put cute shiny stars or other spacers in between each picture on your ribbon.

  
I glued the picture to the scalloped circle and then glued a washer/penny to the back of the scalloped circle.  Then I glued the second scalloped circle to the back to cover the washer/penny.

I measured the length that I wanted my garland to be and cut a ribbon about 3 inches longer.  I spaced out the pictures evenly and glued them on with a hot glue gun (not pictured).

I turned out cute and is fun to have hanging up for the little guy to see :)  If you make this project, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see your pictures!!

GIVEAWAY!
Scroll to the next post entitled "A new toy and a giveaway" and leave a comment to enter to win some cute Halloween postcards :)



A new toy and a GIVEAWAY!


I am learning how to use my new bamboo pen tablet (I got one Ashley  :)  and decided to make a 
Happy Halloween postcard to test out the painting capabilities.  Still learning, but having fun doing it :)

I love creating art that brings a smile to the heart and makes people laugh to themselves.  I was headed to bed the other night after working on this drawing and had this cute idea pop into my head...the fake ghost meets the real one  :)  I'm getting so excited for Halloween and dressing up together as a family.  I'm thinking of a swashbuckling pirate for my little one...he knows that pirates say "Arrrrgghh" so it would be perfect.  Do you know how you're celebrating Halloween yet?  Have you decorated or made any craft projects?  I have a fun craft project you can do with your kiddos coming up soon...stay tuned :)
GIVEAWAY:
If you comment on this post, I will enter your name into a drawing for a free set of my Halloween postcards which I will mail to you to use in time for Oct. 31st.  Entries must be in by Sunday, September 26th and I will post the winner next Monday, September 27th!  A very Happy Halloween indeed  :) 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Mobile


I found an online tutorial to make paper globes (her pattern is on the right-hand side of her blog as a link). They can be made into topiaries, Christmas tree decorations, etc...the options are endless.  I decided to make 3 and turn them into a mobile.  I bought a generic wire mobile at a local baby boutique (they make these wire mobiles so that you can hang anything you'd like on it) and attached a cute felted bird and little tree.



I also attach new letter flashcards on it for him to look at and learn every few weeks.
Such an easy and fun project that adds a lot of character and color/pattern to a child's room.  Baby Michael LOVES his  :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Something to Celebrate!

I am working on putting together a bunch of my illustrations for my Etsy shop.  I will be selling prints, original paintings, greeting cards and postcards SOON!  I also have a few other projects in the works that I hope to unveil in the next few months.  This is one of my favorites!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A dolly for Willow

I made this doll for a bitty baby named Willow from a pattern I found a while back.  This pattern is so simple and easy to customize!  You can make felt or fabric clothing, add embellishments like buttons, jewelry, bows, socks or shoes, and change the hair styles.  The pattern doesn't include the extras, so I just had fun being creative and made some cute pigtails :)  And there are SO MANY adorable fabrics out there!  In the past, I've made dolls for Halloween decorations, as well as for Christmas.  And you can make dolls for boys too (just don't tell them it's a doll and they'll play with it)...monsters, cowboys, whatever :)  

Some other changes that I added also include filling the arms and legs with rice instead of poly-fill.  It helps them to look more relaxed and not stick straight out.  On this doll, I painted the face with acrylics.  But I have also drawn the face on with non-bleed waterproof markers.  Craft/fabric stores carry them.    



Willow's mom sent me this photo...such a CUTIE PIE!!!!
I would love to see your custom dolls if you make some.  Feel free to leave me a comment with a link to your photos!



Sunday, August 29, 2010

He had fish for dinner tonight

Looks pretty tasty!  Love this little munchkin of mine!  He makes me laugh EVERY day!  He is my inspiration.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baby headbands are so popular right now!


I decided to try and make a few headbands for my friend's new baby girl.  I've seen these all over the blogging/photography world and thought it would be fun to whip out a few for my sweet friend.  I used some stretchy jersey fabric, as well as some wool felt.  I looked up average baby head circumferences for the different ages (since my newborn is now 18 months old!) and then made the headband part 2 inches shorter because the material stretches.  The you can add whatever embellishments you'd like...rosettes, yo-yo's, silk flowers, wool flowers.  It's a fun project that doesn't cost a lot and it would make a great baby shower gift (too bad little baby boys can't wear these ;)  I thought the top one would be perfect for a cute Halloween outfit and the bottom one matches an adorable summer outfit that she can wear when she turns a year old.  


They are coming to you in the mail, Jaimie!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair




A few weeks ago, one of my younger sisters, Ann, and I went on a sister's trip to San Francisco.  We had Thursday-Sunday to pack in as much fun as possible!!  John, being the sweetheart of a husband that he is, took 2 days off of work so that he could watch Michael for me while I went.  They had a great time playing soccer, visiting the zoo, eating Red Mill burgers (Michael just enjoyed the fries), going swimming, making smores, etc.  Although John says Michael would yell "MAMA" every morning while he waited for someone to come pick him up out of his crib, I know Michael had such a fun weekend with dad.

We both flew down from separate cities and met at the airport...can you believe our flights landed at the exact same minute?  Can't time it any better than that :)  We took the BART into the city and got to our hotel room (I had always wanted to stay at this hotel ever since I saw it with John a few years ago...I bid on a downtown hotel room in SF and this is the one that I won...LUCKY ME :)  The architecture itself was beautiful...lots of chandeliers, crown molding and beams.  We didn't have much time to relax before we headed off to see The Birth of Impressionism art exhibit that was in town.  I was SUPER excited because it was a traveling exhibit from the Musee d'Orsay that I've always wanted to visit.  
The photos above are of some advertising outside the deYoung Museum where the exhibit was displayed...we had fun goofing around and snapping some photos :)  
The art was stunning and there was an almost reverent atmosphere in the museum...not a lot of talking...just pondering the paintings.  I loved how huge some of the paintings were and learning more about the stories behind the art was interesting as well.  Ann and I shared an audio tour which explained so much more than the wall plaques.
Two of my favorite paintings that we saw are below:


The Ballet Master by Edgar Degas
I've always loved Degas' paintings ever since I was a young ballerina and my dad gave me a print of one of his paintings.  But in learning about this painting, I was reminded that these master artists weren't just perfect at painting from scratch.  They did many, many, many studies and drawings of their painting and the final masterpiece didn't just arrive without being meticulously planned out.  In fact, this painting above wasn't supposed to be the final product...it was a study in itself.  It reminds me to enjoy the process of creating, to not give up when it may not turn out how I envisioned it the first time and to remember that quality is better than a quick finish. I get so excited about the finished product when I'm painting or creating sometimes because I can't wait to see it all done :)  I'm still perfecting my patience...

The Cradle by Berthe Morisot
I also loved this painting by the French Impressionist painter Morisot.  She was one of the only women impressionist painters who was successful.  Another one is Mary Cassatt whose work is full of beautiful images of mothers and children.  In the above painting, it is said that Morisot is dreaming of two things...her beautiful baby and motherhood and becoming a famous artist.  It just struck a chord with me.  I love the look and feel of the Impressionist movement.







We walked around Golden Gate Park admiring the architecture (SF has some beautiful old buildings).  We enjoyed many French bakeries during the 4 days.  And I think we lived on Italian food for dinner...mmm!  We shopped, WALKED AND WALKED AND WALKED everywhere, took public transportation to every part of the city (we explored a bunch of the different neighborhoods), discovered that we aren't really into 60's and 70's vintage so next time we'll go antiquing.  



One of the main reasons we went to SF was to attend the Renegade Craft Fair.  One of the biggest craft parties in the country!  So much fun :)  It was down at Fort Mason near Fisherman's Wharf in a huge pavilion.  Over 200 different craft vendors were there...whew!  That's a lot of crafting!  There was so many talented and creative people.  I hope to one day be able to do a fair like this (but start out smaller first).



Photo of the crazy fun-filled pavilion.  

They had this free photo booth with props...it was way too much fun!!

Ann enjoying our falafel wraps for lunch outside the craft fair...my sister is such a lovely soul inside and out!  Love you!


We also had a couple of very important items on our agenda...seek out the best candy stores SF has to offer!
Ironic since I can't eat too much candy,  but still...candy stores are just too cute and I splurge every now and again for the good stuff  :)  We took a bus and walked awhile to find Miette...worth the trip for its cuteness and goodies :)  My favorites there were the peanut butter taffies filled with PB...and their wallpaper  :)  


Isn't that wall amazing?!  So many colorful candies...and those arches?!  LOVE THEM!


I love how they display their candy...it makes me want to run out and buy some cute jars and fill them up with colorful treats...hmmm, might have to do that!  We also visited Fiona's Sweetshoppe which was a tiny little place with the best European candy.  My favorites were Midget Gems, a British gummy candy.  


My sis Ann trying our raspberry macaroon.  I've always wanted to try macaroons...and honestly, after trying them, I realized I don't care for them...funny!  They are beautiful though!


I snapped a quick photo of this shop...my sister Ann has always wanted to own her own flower shop...she said hers would be a lot cuter than this one though :)


We stopped by Ghirardelli Square and the beach.  It was a beautiful day but breezy (apparently July and August are SF's cold months and October is their warmest month).


We both got some goods at the craft fair.  Ann bought some hand-made hammered stacking rings, and I bought a ring, some wool felt and some postcards from an artist whose blog I've followed for a while.  And we both bought some yummy organic toffee for the hubbies back at home.

The best parts were the simple things:  I was with one of my sisters who is a best friend (we missed you A LOT Evey...next year for SURE), we got to sleep in every day, we were mistaken for Italians by a man and his wife...funny story(they may or may not have been sober), we talked and laughed lots!  I loved our adventures together.  Thanks for the wonderful weekend!  I can't wait until next year!!