Monday, July 30, 2012

BYOB - Bring Your Own Bottle Nursery Print

It feels as though everyone I know is pregnant, just had a baby, or at least knows someone that I know that's having a baby. It's like our heat wave, except babies! With all that being said, I decided to get my paint juices flowing by painting some canvases for nurseries inspired by media prints/baby onesies that I've recently stumbled upon.

This onesie and this media print inspired my first canvas. I had already seen Elizabeth Caldwell's rock and roll print and loved the child-like feel of it, so I sketched my BYOB canvas with her print in mind.

Canvas Prints

Things You'll Need
  • Canvas (size is up to you - I chose 11 x 14 from Michaels for a steal of $6, but just got the regular 'ol canvas, not gallery wrapped since this project wasn't going to be too large)
  • Paint (decided on Martha Stewart Satin Finish Paints because my others had dried up from lack of use and I had never used hers before and wanted to try 'em out)
  • Brushes
  • Design of your choice
  • Carbon Paper (for transferring your image - you could free-hand yours if you prefer)
  • Pen for making fine outlines (I used a black, fine-size Faber-Castell PITT artist pen)
  • Ribbon for hanging your canvas
  • Quick-Grip (or something like it for attaching your ribbon)
  • Sealer (glossy, satin - your preference)

How To Make It
  • Start with your fresh canvas. I chose to paint mine a lighter grey color, rather than just leave it white.
  • Transfer design to your canvas using carbon paper.
  • Get painting!
  • If you hate it, don't stop! You'll be surprised how you might feel after completing it. That and you're always your own worst critic. Always good to remember - it's just paint, you can always paint over it.
  • Gift or keep for your self, hang, and enjoy!

Here's what I started with. I have this transfer paper shown because I want you to make a mental note - do NOT purchase this kind. I am a lover of all things Marth, but this just ain't cutting it. And by ain't cutting it, I mean it doesn't work. I had to purchase it though because I searched Michael's and Hobby Lobby high and low for carbon paper with no luck. I had never had such a difficult time tracking down carbon paper, so I purchased this "transfer paper" that I found. Didn't work. This means use carbon paper instead.

Start with your fresh canvas, squirt some paint on it, then smooth out. I used a foam brush because they are easy, cheap, disposable (in my book), and they work well when covering larger areas. You don't have to paint your background a color, I chose to because the nursery I was painting for had white walls. Let dry, then use carbon paper to transfer your image to your canvas (or free-hand if you prefer).

Then get ta' paintin'! After a while, I had this.

I really loved that brown. Like really, really loved it. The only problem was it showing up well on the grey background in non-natural light (i.e. Bed-time diaper changes) and it not looking like some mystery poo made it to the wall if you get my drift. So I threw the idea around in my head about painting over the brown with this dark slate color that I had. I threw this idea around for days! No clue why I was so back and forth about it. I finally took the plunge and had something that was starting to look like this.

I finished my Y, made some touch ups, outlined my small clouds, big clouds, parts of the bottle, and added some accents on the bottle with my fine-sized black out-line pen, and grabbed my sealer, ribbon, and Quick-Grip bonding glue. Lastly, I sprayed my canvas with a satin finish sealer and let dry, then attached my ribbon for hanging.

The best way to attach your ribbon is not the way I chose to do mine, so I'll share my way and the easier way. My way: tie a bow in your ribbon, then attach long strands to back of canvas with Quick-Grip. Easier way: attach ends to canvas with Quick-Grip and join together in a bow. I cut notches in my ribbon to make it look a little cuter on the back (not that anyone sees it).

Just tie the ends together in a bow.

Here she is!

This little project I'm linking up over at Farmgirl Paints. Head on over and get creative with us!
me artsy at farmgirl



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prevenient Grace

Prevenient Grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future. I'll be honest. I'd never heard this term before. I searched a little on the internet and depending on your beliefs/religious upbringing it could mean something different to you than it does to me. (I went to a Christian, private school K-11th grade, so jumping on board with everything I read isn't first instinct.) Take what you will from it's meaning.

I'm certain that as time goes on, we will have heard various touching, survivor stories due to the events in Aurora. You may have already seen this one even, but I feel the need to share it with those who may not.

Being a healthcare professional, I shared this with my co-workers this morning after seeing it posted by many friends on Facebook. This pastor has a wonderful way of making you feel as though you are there with he and Kim, sitting on the edge of your seat, awaiting the news they received. He also makes me feel as though I am the healthcare professional sharing words of wisdom, encouragement, and knowledge with Petra's mother.

I was stopped in my tracks by this one woman's story and will always think to myself as things happen in the future, "Is this an act of prevenient grace that will reveal itself at a later time? Should I be questioning you God?" The obvious answer is no. In this particular situation Petra had no way of knowing about the prevenient grace that God was affording her, but as time passed He did. He showed her. He showed her mother. He showed me.

When things are going our way, we don't miss a beat. Life moves on, sometimes it even passes us by, and we fall into a groove. Everyday life. It happens. Then sometimes things aren't going our way. We get annoyed, bothered, aggravated with the fact that life isn't happening the way we want it, when we want it. Petra's grace will serve as just another reminder to take things in stride and to never question it - maybe this is prevenient grace happening and I don't even know it. Yet.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Brussel Sprouts and Lemon Bars

Kind of a weird combo right? It sort of is, but who cares because it's delicious?! Yesterday was my day off and in normal fashion I pinned 10,234,768 recipes on Pinterest and decided on which three to make for the day.

Last Night's Menu:



Couldn't have envisioned an easier sauce to make or an easier veg dish to make! Brussel sprouts get a bad rap for smelling good stinking up your house. I really think that's only if you boil them to mush which often happens. Just cooking these in oil for about eight minutes keeps them tender and the smell at bay. Give 'em a try. O! And those Lemon Squares - delish, melt in your mouth goodness.

What easy dishes have you cooked recently?


Monday, July 16, 2012

Brown Suga' Baked Brie

Last Sunday night I came home from work and decided all that I wanted for dinner was brie and wine. So that's what I had! Gotta indulge every once in a while. I've only every consumed brie, I haven't actually ever made it myself. Guess I can check that one off now! Making brie is actually quite easy and the combinations are endless. However, I will be investing in a dish for baking brie for the future. I'm leaning more towards this one (not specifically for baking brie, but the size is perfect), but here are a few other cuties:

Alright, let me get to it already!

Brown Suga' Baked Brie

What Ya' Need
  • 1 wheel of Brie
  • Brown Sugar
  • Walnuts
  • Craisins
  • Honey
  • Water crackers or bland crackers for munching (I used the plain Carr's brand). You could always serve with apples, pears, or pita bites too.

How To Make It
  • Remove wrapping from brie.
  • May feel like there is still some stuff on your brie. Shave that off with a knife, making sure not to shave off any of your yummy cheese. You can leave that rind like stuff on to keep your cheese uniform/prevent it from spreading/oozing, you'll just have to eat around it.
  • Place in baking dish.
  • Pack brown sugar on top of your cheese.
  • Drizzle a little lots of honey over the brown sugar.
  • Pack walnuts on top of the brown sugar/honey.
  • Then pack craisins on top of that.
  • Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy with wine! I enjoyed mine with a yummy Sauvignon Blanc.

Here are a few other tasty brie recipes. Like I said, the possibilities are endless!

Have some brie and wine this Monday. What's gonna be your excuse? It's Monday for crying out loud! You could make a sweet/savory one similar to mine, or go completely crazy with garlic and herbs.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Tree Cleanup, Fireworks, and Concerts

Here's a little tree cleanup update. For the most part, the tree is gone and all that's left is sawdust, sweat, and sadness. Sadness because that tree provided shade for the majority of the backside of our home. O well, what can you do? Better than a tree sitting in the kitchen right? 

Just a heads up, if you're looking for a highly stimulating, photo heavy post, this ain't it. I promise a craft/DIY print post next to get your craft juices flowing.

The morning after the storm around 6AM.

From the two pictures below, you can see all the trees that surround our property that are apart of our property. I wasn't joking in that text message about being a tad freaked out!

From the inside of the house looking out.

Couple days after when cleanup arrived.

The gentleman helping us here - there are no words to explain him other than . . . crazy. It was pure entertainment with a chain saw to say the least.

Brush pile #1 - just limbs and leaves.

These pictures show ya' just how much ground was uprooted and how wide it was - a toothpick really. O wait, it was 85 inches around!

Whew! We certainly had an exciting and tiring start to the fourth of the July holiday. Speaking of which, on the 3rd I went downtown with friends, had a few brews and fried pickles at Station 2, then watched fireworks over the city like usual.

On the 4th, I put on my most patriotic dress, cooked out on the grill, then went with a friend from WVU/hometown to Fort Lee to watch Justin Moore perform and watch their fireworks show. I must say, the concert and fireworks at Fort Lee were spectacular! Totally worth the wait trying to leave base after all the festivities had died down. No matter how old you are, I don't think I'll ever get too old for fireworks.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Flower Tips and Paying It Forward

While we did not lose power because of the storms, many of my friends, co-workers, and Nannie did, and some are still without power. Lucky us because my Nannie has been staying with us for a few days until her power is restored.

Tonight after my mom fixed dinner, she went outside to help my dad with some tree related things before eating, so my Nannie and I waited for them enjoyed dinner together. She has been reading my blog and from the post seen here she let me in on the identity of those flowers. The ones that I termed as "fuzzy" are actually Mimosa Trees, and the "peaceful, white ones" are Queen's Anne's Lace

Initially these just struck my fancy as I made my drive to and from work everyday. Little did I know that they would tug on a different heart string for someone else. After explaining to me what each one was, my Nannie told me that as a child she laid underneath a Mimosa Tree that was on my Grandparent's (her parent's) farm on those hot summer days. Now whenever I see them, I will always think of my Nannie laying under them as a kid. 

On another note, I forgot to mention something pretty crazy that happened to me this weekend. On Saturday night I went to the movies with my cousin and decided to swing through the Chik-Fil-A drive thru and grab a sandwich first. I proceeded to the payment window where the employee told me that the woman in front of me wanted to do something nice for someone today, so she paid for the person's meal behind her. Which was me. I was shocked and completely humbled by this woman's actions. I noticed she had pulled into a parking spot just beside the stop sign that I would come to before leaving the parking lot. I got my sandwich and drink and pulled up to the stop sign before going to the movie theater. I looked over her way and mouthed thank you with a huge smile, in which she returned a thumbs up and a huge smile. 

I think this affected me the way that it did because working with the public, no matter the setting (fast-food, restaurants, customer service, cashier at Kohl's or the grocery store, or your legal drug dispenser, a pharmacist) can be extremely trying and exhausting. I'll even go so far as to say that it can sometimes make you bitter - not better. People never cease to amaze me by their actions and the words that leave their mouths - and I DO NOT mean amaze me in a positive way. More of a Icantbelievetheyjustsaidordidthat kind of way. 

I immediately posted on Facebook what had happened to me and was almost just as surprised that so many of my friends liked it on Facebook.
The next morning upon waking, I began to think some more about what the woman had done. In a psychology course that I took in undergrad it was mentioned a few times that various studies have been (and I'm sure still are) done to see people's reactions/responses to different situations - like if someone were lying "injured" on the street or if an "elderly" person needed help crossing a busy intersection, what would you do? This made me think that maybe this woman was doing something similar - let me do something totally random and kind for someone and see if they even acknowledge it. Perhaps she was doing one of those let me do something to better mankind things for 365 days - an attempt at bettering the world with hopes that each person/thing that she does gets noticed and transcends. Or maybe she was just doing something nice, and expected nothing at all. 

Either way, we should all live with this mentality. Maybe she will see this and realize that she affected someone more profoundly than she had planned. Maybe she won't. At the end of the day, we are responsible and will be held accountable for our actions no matter what.

What will you do to pay it forward?


Storm Warning

Hope everyone's weekend was a bit quieter than mine. The East Coast got turned upside down due to a line of wind storms that originated in the Midwest early on Friday. Honestly I had no idea storms were headed our way, but did have a bit of a storm warning from friends via Facebook. Many of my friends from college still live in West Virginia and they were posting pictures of the damage in their areas. Little did I know it was approaching Virginia. The next storm warning came from a friend that I work with, warning me of a wind storm with a history of winds at 100mph. 

Then it hit.

My family lives in a long rancher style house on about six acres, and we have trees surrounding our house. We have truly been blessed to have never had a tree fall on our house, given that we have been through many hurricanes over the years. We have had plenty in the yard, across the driveway, etc., but never on the house. Like I said. So blessed. 

As you can see, I was beginning to get a little worried that my house would become a tree-house in a matter of minutes. Earlier in the week, my dad had been working on something on the front of our house and needed ladders to do so. I got out of bed, walked to the living room, and stood in front our bay windows to see the storm howl. I heard something on my way into the living room and assumed that it was the ladders being blown over (they had). I walked over to another window to look out at our garage and all I could see were leaves. Blowing. Leaves blowing in front of a window that doesn't have a tree close by. I proceeded to the kitchen, flipped on the back light to see our deck, and there she was.

The next morning.

That afternoon.

Some progress.

Thankfully, the deck took a majority of the hit. I say thankfully because a deck is far easier to replace than brick, sheetrock, etc. We did have two large holes in the roof, but again. Much easier to fix. My parents' insurance will cover tree removal, deck repairs, and the home repairs.

I'm shocked that we never lost power. I guess it was God's way of saying, "Ya' know, you've lost power for two weeks too many times, how about I give you a new learning experience? How about a tree instead? I'll keep your power on." Such a funny sense of humor He has. We are SO fortunate to have power though because in addition to the storms, there's been a heat melting wave that's also hit the East Coast. It's not the heat that kills us, it's the dang humidity. Virginia summers. DREAD them. 

Aside from the storm/tree/heat drama, I have three days off including the fourth. Woop-woop! I had planned to go to the beach and hang with my roommate and friend, but would have felt bad bailing on my family. Ya know because there's a large monstrous tree on their house? With that being said, let the crafting, baking, and cookouts begin.

Here's some sketches I've been working on for a nursery wall art painting sesh.

I'll be back soon with storm picture progress, and hopefully yummy and pretty creations.