Monday, December 21, 2009

No school until next year!! Thank you snow :)

Hmm it is 11:21 on a Monday morning..I am still in my pjs, drinking coffee and perusing the internet. With up to 2 feet of snow, they canceled school today, tomorrow, and our half day Wednesday. ..Not that the students would be missing out too too much! This close to holiday break, it is best to take advantage when the librarian runs "Polar Express" 3 times a day on the school TV circuit, not to mention having endless amounts of holiday themed "arts" and crafts to further occupy the children. They are probably having a blast in the snow--hopefully they all have warm coats, hats, and gloves-- and missing school only because they couldn't get their ceramic projects to take home from their fabulous art teacher!! I love living in an area that can't handle any weather worse than rain! Makes a winter storm that much more exciting....

As far as the holiday hubbub...I sent Christmas cards last week and have so far shipped any presents that need shipping and only have a few painting projects to finish as gifts (which is what I SHOULD be doing right now!) Pictures coming soon! I do believe then I only have ONE painting that I will be working on for someone else. Time to get creative--more pencil/ink drawings, more spontaneous paintings, more random still-life drawings/paintings. I have an entire stack of photos that I have been saving to paint and so many blank canvases (I tend to buy them whenever they are on sale) begging for attention..

And tonight---shall I make a Thai stir fry? PW and I found this great little Thai cookbook at Marhsalls a few months ago. We discovered that you need some very interesting ingredients to make Thai. For example PW was very hesitant to buy an entire $5 jar of "sesame oil" when the recipe only needed 1/2 teaspoon. I keep telling him--hey soon we'll have ALL these weird ingredients--but every new recipe calls for some random sauce or paste that we don't have yet that involves 10 laps around the grocery store to find :P oh well. Maybe I'll do something simpler --pork chops and mashed potatoes?!

Stay warm!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just sold!

And the Christmas season prompts another sale!

You Can Almost Hear The Ocean
photo print
8 X 10

YES! Check out my Etsy shop where more beautiful artwork is available for purchase!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet Lucy!

Right after school today I am heading to the UPS store to ship this commissioned pet portrait! This lovely yellow lab is named Lucy. I started with these sketches in charcoal and watercolor to decide the better "pose." Lucy certainly has a lot of personality!
Now I remember how much fun it was to just play with the watercolor and charcoal together--very neat effect. I need to "play"with materials more often...I did so many interesting collage, ink, water color, oil pastel projects in high school and college! Maybe after the Christmas projects I'll do more experimenting with different media...

Below is the final portrait!! I think it is quite a success! Although for some reason it has some glare and does not look AS clear as it should on my camera---Guess that is what I get for photographing it at 10:30 pm when there is no daylight available.... I hope to get more pet portrait commissions soon--they are a challenge with lighting, texture, and personality, but nonetheless relaxing to work on!

Creamy Parmesan Artichoke Dip--- YUM

Let's just say eating this with a spoon is perfectly acceptable! I made this crockpot recipe this past weekend for a holiday dinner with friends and it was a huge hit!

2 14 oz cans artichokes (If you buy the hearts, you'll have to dice them up!)
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 and 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
1 and 1/2 cups mayo
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic

Cook on Low for 2 hrs or until everything is melty and cooked through... I would recommend stirring every so often! I did not because we ventured into DC's Eastern Market for the afternoon and some of it started sticking but no catastrophe there. Dip with veggies, pita chips, or regular chips!

yum yum. Now I am quite hungry!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Custom framing: Expensive but WORTH IT!

First and foremost, I would like to thanks Michaels for having the 60% off custom framing deals often! That lovely deal knocked $300 off the $200 total ( no new shoes for awhile I guess...)

I finally broke down and got my favorite painting custom framed....I knew I would never want to sell this one AND I have been back and forth deciding whether or not to custom frame for 2 years. The standard 18 X 24 frame that it was in for the teacher art exhibition just did not do it justice! They did such a great job helping me decide on the linen matte, dark violet matte, classic black frame, and even the museum quality non-glare glass($$). I can't believe how fancy and classy it looks. Custom framing could become an expensive guilty pleasure!

Anyhow life has been moving QUICKLY these days. The Christmas season is definitely busy. I have two paintings commissioned for Christmas gifts to finish by the 17th and two painting projects for family that need to be finished just in time for Christmas....Whew!!! I'm trying to cram holiday-related lessons in at school and realized this morning that I only have a week and a half left. oops. Oh well! To ease the holiday stress--may I recommend some homemade chili and Fa-La-La Lifetime movies?!!

I've been reading "Quit your day-job" blogs on Etsy and wonder while reading each one, if I would really like just staying home and being in business for myself. Eek! It would be absolutely wonderful to not worry about being late for work or traffic or whatnot....At the same time, I'd have to remind myself that sleeping until 10am and lounging in pjs with coffee and pancakes all morning would still be unacceptable. And I'd need some business education--Hmm. I also fear I'd become a weird reclusive artist and resort to singing and talking to myself all day/night. But I do love coming to school and seeing the crazy projects my kiddies make, not to mention being social with the fellow teachers. Teaching also allows me to "quit my day job" in the summer months--however hindered by visits to the pool/beach/and other outdoor hotspots. What a dilemma. I think the answer here is to somehow--and without doing anything illegal--become independently wealthy The blogs are inspiring though!!!!!

Looking forward to Friday! My sisters and I have this Christmas tradition where we take one day off every December and have a Leesburg outlet shopping blowout!! Pray that the heating maintenance man comes as early as possible in the 8-10 slot... I've already called the place twice to make sure they know we have "an important appointment" at 10:15!

Ok have a great day :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Friday with some Pumpkin Scones!

Normally when asked to contribute to a faculty/staff breakfast, I offer to bring juice or paper goods....But I am getting brave with my baking! These pumpkin scones turned out to be delicious and not too difficult to make. (However, make sure you have all the ingredients so you don't have to dash over to your neighbor's house at 9:30 pm to borrow two eggs) I doubled the recipe and made rather large scones..I think it made around 16-20 big scones!!

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup margarine/butter
Chocolate chips
Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
3/4 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp plain yogurt

Combine wet and dry separately....Combine both and mix well--dough will be sticky!
If you want...flour the cupboard and spread it out to 3/4 in thick...Use a biscuit cutter and place scones on greased cookie sheet! (I just used spoonfuls which made them slightly less pretty but no less delicious) Cook for 10-15 minutes at 350.

Yum Yum

Have a great weekend and enjoy the last of the fall colors--Wow!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Oh Wednesdays...Right smack dab in the mid-week chaos. Despite still being incredibly sleepy, my mind is going a mile a minute making me quite stressy...lesson plans, Sub plans for next week, whether or not the Comcast guy will actually fix our wireless internet box, whether or not the Comcast guy will come too early when none of us our home.....Silly Comcast..

Sidenote on Comcast: Our Internet stopped working two weeks ago and we unplugged and replugged a thousand times only to call Comcast and find out that our wireless box is "EOL" which is the acronym they use that literally means "End of Life"..Shouldnt they have some kind of automatic system where they send you a new wireless box if they have it in their records that yours is literally "circling the drain?!

Ooooooooooooh I really wish I was home in my little art "nook" working on these projects!!

They are all in-progress and surprisingly I am not tired of them yet! The double portrait is a commission for good friend of mine--Christmas present for the brother and girlfriend in the painting. The landscape is a winery in California, also a commission that I kind of want to keep for myself :)

And the last is a quite unusual painting. If you look closely, you'll notice that the painting itself is on unstretched, unprimed canvas taped to my desk. Fall is quickly becoming my favorite season specifically because of color. I've been adding to this painting little by little because the paint really soaks into the canvas and stays a bright pure color, even when you add another color on top. I just hope the paint is not creating a permanent bond with my desk and I'll be able to peel it off when I'm done!

Monday, November 16, 2009

MMM Wings in the Crockpot :)

First here are some pictures of "Three Satin Dresses" and some fellow teachers' works on display at the FCPS Artist Teacher Exhibition! What talented art teachers we have!!! It was so funny how they put the masculine stapled-wood "sculpture" in between my painting and my friend's paintings.. Nice contrast I guess! My least favorite part of the exhibition was the hanging and then take-down at 8am on a Sunday... who scheduled that time slot? PW decided that if /WHEN I enter any more shows, I better check out the set-up/take-down times first :P.
I am very excited to have my painting home safe and sound.

Yesterday was a fabulous relaxing Sunday! I am not sure what we do on Sundays during the football off season....There is nothing I like more than having people over for a casual dinner party and watching the games. My old roommate came over with her pug, Ellie (snort snort snort) and her new BF (PW had another MAN to hang out with!) . She brought chips and guacamole and a veggie tray+ dip and cookies AND wine! sheesh!

To complete the buffet, I made wings in the crockpot--YUM. It is my latest crockpot endeavor. I have followed recipes in the past courtesy of two fabulous crockpot cookbooks, but created my own simple concoction this time.... First I browned the wings in the broiler--about 5-10 min on each side... Then I put them in the crockpot and dumped a mixture of buffalo wing sauce, bbq sauce, and garlic (of course!). I also but jalapenos in the bottom to add some spice. Onions would have been yummy too but I was lazy... .

They were done in 2 hrs and made the house smell SO GOOD! If you want them crispy, I guess you could put them BACK in the oven to broil for a little time on each side.... I wish I had leftovers!

Ok time to grade stacks and stacks of projects from last week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

At a Cafe in Italy :)

This time of year I start getting a little restless....And some of the paintings I'm working on don't help the situation...I can honestly say I have extensively traveled around mostly the eastern United States, not to mention Canada! I have been to Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia (obviously), New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana and Delaware. To earn the title of "international" traveler I have indeed been to Niagra Falls (does that even count?...)and Toronto!

However I have decided that via my paintings for other people I can add a few more places to my list. Through some commissions, I have been to Ireland, Scotland, wineries in California, a ranch in Wyoming, and most recently, a cafe in Italy. It is a work in progress and is a wedding present for a co-worker and her husband who enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise for their honeymoon this past summer! WOW! More in-progress photos coming soon....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

School Mural and then some!

Perhaps I should stop teaching and become a school mural artist!! This is the biggest painting I have ever done by far, appropriately elementary! And I must say having to paint standing in that small bucket lift high above the gym floor is a little unnerving!!

Other recent projects include these two darling dog portraits for Etsy customer that commissioned the Ducati motorcycle painting pictured in a previous post. Check out Cujo, Lobo, and Sadie May :) Now I kind of want a Yorkie...Somebody stop me!

I have so many different painting projects going on at once--Hope to post images of them soon! The fall-Christmas season is rather busy for painting...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Teaching, Painting, and High Hopes!

Where did September go? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was posting only my second post about the beginning of summer and the excitement of the summer months ahead?!

So begins another school year and after the semi-lazy days of summer, I welcome the chaos of a daily routine, lesson plans, interesting child behaviors, and attempting to fit some creativity and painting somewhere between 4:30 and when I fall asleep at night.

This time of year always forces me to reflect on various topics...Maybe it is the lovely fall colors and the cool clear air that provide so much artistic inspiration....Or the way some of my students act that make me, heaven forbid, want to thank my parents for raising me the way I did...Or the beginning of another school year reinforcing the fact that I am indeed a successful, independent young adult already in my 3rd year of teaching (where did the first two years go?) paying my own bills....AND in an awesome and promising relationship, I'll call him PW!....AND even squeezing in enough time to sell artwork here and there......please excuse my lack of sentence structure!

Coming soon..... Some portraits and landscapes already being completed on commission for Christmas presents!!! And of course the daily antics of my creative and crazy young students. And maybe some book or movie recommendations and yummy recipes!

And now I am ready for the weekend, heading out to meet coworkers for an after-school "staff meeting" at an alternate location that serves yummy beverages and appetizers!
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer has begun= more ME time!

So, Ive been following blogs and reading blogs and have neglected to update mine since my first post in, oh, January. My last day of school was June 19th but I feel like I have been a whirlwind since then!
In a week and a half I have been up to Vermont for a wedding in a Cruise America RV with my BF, sisters and brothers-in-laws. Then to a cabin in PA with family and cousins for hiking, canoeing, and campfire sing-a-longs. Top that week off with a night out in Pittsburgh with my cousin, and end in Annapolis to relax with my handsome BF. These last few days in Alexandria have been welcome rest and relaxation. Time to go to the library, grill out on the deck, lounge at the pool, and even finish and ship this painting.

This painting features a Ducati bike "posed" in front of McKenzie Pass in Oregon. What a beautiful place it seems! I will have to go there some day. The fort-looking structure in the background is supposedly built entirely of lava rocks--wow!! It was an alchemy request on Etsy, an anniversary present for a husband who apparently wanted more "manly" decoration in the house! This is actually the second motorcycle painting I've done and I must say the balance between nature and machine makes for a great painting. Here's the other motorcycle painting--done for my sister and brother-in-law! (Prints are available on my Etsy shop.)

Well, I do beleive it is time to paint, or go to the pool, or read a good book--the possibilities are endless! Oh the perks of being a professional educator. Check out my Etsy shop to see more of my work. Updates coming soon!

Friday, January 16, 2009

First day on the blog......

Good Morning!
After being on Etsy for several months and being featured on Memories For Life Scrapbooks blog, I decided to explore this whole blogging experience. Being a teacher and an artist does not leave too much spare time but I'd love to network and give my paintings and drawings a bit more exposure! So bear with me and Happy Friday! More coming soon... Feel free to visit my Etsy shop!