Granny Chic - More Instagram Love

This is what adorns the top of the piano in my living room - completely unstyled, I give you my word.  This is how it looks every day, this is how it looks right now.

  And I love it. 

Art For Sale

I'm excited to tell you that two of my three canvases have sold  all three of my 9x9 and 10x10 canvases have sold!  Here is another look at the last available  (just sold) mixed media canvas:

$45, postage paid
This canvas was done in acrylics, inks, gessos, stamps and a page from the Old English Catechism

I've also sold four photos!  Of course, the photos can be printed on demand, unlike the original mixed media paintings, so order as many as you like. 

After hours of post processing, I have some new offerings!  Half of everything sold will go to our teens for their mission trip this summer(My son-in-law Jonathan and daughter Sarah are leading our young people on a street evangelism trip to California in June), the other half will go to replenish my art supplies and printer ink.

Prices are the same, $10 for a 4x6 and $12 for a 5x7, postage paid. For now, until I can get my Paypal up, please email me to order anything you like:

"You Are Loved"

"He Is Risen"

"Hope In Sepia"

"Clear Blue Joy"

"Floral Joy"

"Hope Maketh Not Ashamed"

"Beautiful Day"

"A Bright Hope"

"Joy Cometh In the Morning"

Again, prices are $10 for a 4x6, or $12 for a 5x7. 

My daughter Hannah thinks I need to offer larger prints...which of course would cost more.  If anyone is interested, please email me, and I'll get back with you with a fair price for larger prints - perhaps matted for you. 

I'm so pleased with the money raised for missions and art supplies thus far!  Thank you so very much, for all the orders...and keep them coming!

Heart Stopping Cuteness

Doesn't my homeboy look big in this instagram photo?  Can you even stand it?   Because I can't.  This kid is cute enough to die for, a thousand times.  He's so "all that", I am tempted to become jealous of myself, because he's mine.  (My grandson!)  He makes coffee with his PopPop on most mornings.  He has tried to spank our teacup poodle, after being spanked himself for some major infraction.  His momma does the spanking - I haven't had to yet, and I loathe the day when I finally have to break down and pop that little leg.  For one thing, he gets furious.  For another thing, homeboy can hold himself a grudge, and I feel the need to hide the poodle.

Doesn't he just look like he could kick something's behind?  That manly little swagger of his. 

And he's not even a year and a half yet.

Grandmothering is, by far, the sweetest time in all of life.  You should hear this baby say, "Mimi...Mimi..."

...and biscuit...and bad dog....and mail...and bye bye...and PopPop...and bottle...and no no...and "Heeeeeey!"...and coffee (that one's a little hard - you have to know what he's saying to know what he's saying)...and turtle...and George (the monkey)...and basketball...and Aunt RahRah...

I'll stop now.

A Day of Art - My Art Is For Sale

Today has been...

::happy sigh::


Perfect sunshine.  Perfect time of prayer on my back porch with a perfect friend.  (All my friends are perfect.  A God-given gift and grace I have not earned and do not deserve.)  Perfect time with my Preacher, enjoying the flowers of spring on our city's Dogwood Trails.  The Preacher grilled me a ribeye for dinner.  And I got to spend hours and hours shooting pictures and making art!

And since our church is raising money for a missions trip, I am going to fling caution to the wind and let you know that anything you see is up for sale - half of all proceeds (because I need to reinvest half to replenish my supplies) will go to fund our youth group's mission trip to the streets of California - where they will do street evangelism, hard core, with our good friend Mike Giordano and his LifeQuest ministry!  (Friend Mike on Facebook...check him out, he's the real deal!)

Please email me if you are interested in anything you see below!  Remember - half of all proceeds go directly to my church to fund our youth's mission trip, the other half will be spent at Jerry's Art-O-Rama, replenishing my supplies so I can paint/shoot even more, hopefully raising more much needed funds!

Feel free to share this blog post on your Facebook or any other social media - I'd love to raise some serious cash for our Harvest kids, several of whom are from a single parent family!

(Click on any image below, for a larger view)

"Amazing Grace"
 A color print of this can be yours, your choice of 4x6 ($10, postage paid) or 5x7 ($12 postage paid)
 1 "Amazing Grace" has SOLD - but more are available - just let me know

 Again, your choice of 4x6 ($10 shipping included).....or 5x7 ($12, shipping included)

 ...same price as above...


If you want any of the following florals, same thing applies - $10 for a 4x6, shipping included, or $12 for a 5x7, shipping included.  These are all from my gardens, shot on my porch.  If you want a larger size, email me and I'll see what I can do:

I heart the texture in this photo - the crackled antique wooden toolbox with the violets, the bright orange glass, the dwarf iris...beautiful!  Or, you might love this version:

"Grow In Grace"
1 "Grow in Grace" has SOLD - but I can print more...please continue to order this one if you want it.

"Bottled Sunshine"

Again, I love this photo's texture.  I am reluctant to re-stain our deck, because the crackled patina makes for some beautiful pictures.

"Spring Iris"

 ::happy sigh::  This photo was a joy to shoot.

"Colorwashed Spring Iris"
The canvas I completed last week is for sale.  Here are pictures of the end of the process:

This is inks and acrylics, with a part of a page of the Catechism.  It's my favorite of the few canvases I've completed.  It was done in gesso, guache, acrylics, stamps, pages, and it was all hand lettered.  Here is a better shot of it:

 $45, shipping included (still available - last one!)

Next, here is the first canvas I ever completed, done in acrylic, gesso, ink, and watercolor, a bit of General's Sketch and Wash pencil, layered onto the pages of an antique book:

very "folk art", very graphic... 

 This one is $45, shipping included


Lastly, this is the 10x10 canvas I completed today, in acrylics and guache, antique hymnal papers and vintage print papers, modeling paste, stencil, inks, crackling medium, and even some watercolor:

$45, shipping included.  SOLD

This would look beautiful against any neutral wall, white, candlelight, ivory, or soft gray.  The camera doesn't do it justice - there is lots of texture that the camera isn't picking up on.

Please click on this link for more available prints

For now, please email me if you want any of the above pieces.  (You'll find my email link at the upper to middle right of my blog page, below my picture.)  I am throwing caution to the wind and diving straight into this, as I said, so I don't have my Paypal button up on my blog just yet, but I will figure out how to do it, and get it up ASAP.

Oh, That Scandalous Martin Luther!

"If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world...pray boldly - you too are a mighty sinner." (Weimar ed. vol. 2, p. 371; Letters I, "Luther's Works," American Ed., Vol 48. p. 281- 282)

"If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.  ...Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner." (same original source document, as cited above)

Luther, Luther, and the Apostle Paul were so scandalous.  You were so unapologetic with the Gospel.  You preached grace straight up - no fruity mixed concoctions in your preaching.  Reading your words is much like throwing back a shot of 100 proof whiskey...or getting slapped in the face.  We either decide we hate it, or we thank you because we need it.


I Now Have a Studio

Well, there's something to be said for using what you have.  And I now have an art studio.

And guess what?  I love it.

It's my dining room.  I have been enjoying working in mixed media more and more - and getting better at it, with each project.  So, on a whim, I emptied one of my china cabinets of all its china, and filled it with (some of) my art supplies.

(Click on any picture to see a larger view of it...)

 This is what it looks like when things are all in their place, and the door shut...

 ...a little bit of a clearer view... shelf...with its brushes, watercolor pencils, micron ink pens, and General's Sketch and Wash pencils.  Were you to peek in that oak antique drawer, you'd find an unbelievable amount of watercolor cards, even snippets of fabric and antique papers, gesso's, matte medium, washi tapes, various glues... and middle shelves.  That middle shelf has my small canvases, my handmade watercolor paper journal, a stack of large stamps, my acrylics, and a small chest of glitters, beads, and antique buttons, all in glass jars, inside the trunk.

...the bottom shelf has a few of my art books, and miscellaneous stuff.

I haven't even taken any pictures of the drawers I emptied of their cloth napkins.  They are now full of gauche paints, watercolor tube paints, acrylic tube paints, and inks in various colors.  I also keep my heat gun, protractors, rulers, and some of my decorative papers in those drawers.

The plan is, once we graduate our youngest from our home school, I will get two whole shelves in our dining room closet back!  Those I will stockpile with the rest of my stuff...the stuff that still waits for a home.

Until I have a whole room I can dedicate to my writing/photography/blogging/Photoshop/painting/sewing/and all my books, I am happy with my dining room table, which is religiously protected with waxed paper every time I sit down to paint.  I also have a plastic tablecloth I am going to begin to use, in order that the entire table is protected...since it is oak.  Ahem.

And friends...creativity is a messy state of being.  My penchant for mis-en-place and my drive to create can seem to be at odds, but I know me.  Until I have an art studio in a separate room, my mis-en-place will win out every time.

If for no other reason than I love how all those art supplies look when they are nicely put away...

 Yes...please do take note of the adorable baby to the right...sigh...I adore that child (my grandson).

Messy, messy.  And this is after I cleaned up half of the mess.  I cleaned up half of it before I thought to snap a picture of the chaos.  I almost put the mess all back out, just to get a true picture of it...but...yeah...mis-en-place.  It is ingrained in me, and it wins almost every battle.  Unless I'm very, very ill or my back is out.  Then I (nicely) ask everyone else to mis-en-place for me.

   I almost mixed up my coffee cup with my paint-water...twice.  Twice, I nearly drunk paint water.  Thankfully those brushes sticking up were a huge deterrent.  My hand would sort of go, "Oops..." and move to the coffee cup.

 This is a little mixed-media tag book I've been working on.  The tiny sketch is by my son-in-law, Jonathan Howe, who sells thousand-dollar pieces of art.  But I am not ashamed of my little mixed media labors of love...

 ...Jonathan sketched some mercury glass balls I have hanging from my dining room chandelier, and Hannah did the hand-coloring...

...and I put it all together, to make a tag-sized page in a book I've made for a friend.

There's a peek into my "art studio".  I've learned something else in my old age (I am a grandmother, remember!  I'm so stinking proud of that fact...) and it is this:  when a woman tries to be "prophetic", she messes up every time.  Trying to be a prophetic person will make you strange.  God has gifted me with a prophetic inclination...I simply live my life...and it turns out to be prophetic, many times.

Right now, God has me cultivating an arts skill set.

So I chase down joy, I follow the delights of my heart, and there ends up being something of destiny in it, even if that destiny is simply to inspire others to do what I do and then they do it much better.

I love it when that happens.  In fact, I'm all about that.

So go make something.

Definition: Mis-en-place

I learned a new term awhile back.  It is a cooking term, but I find it applies to all of life - at least for me, it does.  Genius is a feat of association.  ::big Barney Fife sniff::

The term is mis-en-place.  It's French, and pronounced MEEZ-ahn-plahs.  It means "everything in its place beforehand".  Before you cook - you first shop, gather your ingredients, chop and dice and measure and sift and make sure you have all tools you need...

...all before beginning to cook.  It's the work before the work. 

See, if there is one thing I have learned in my life, one idea, other than the fathomless grace of God, that has given me profound insight, it is this:  there's the work before the work, then there's the work, then there's the work after the work.  Every single job you do, large or small, involves these three phases.  In order to truly attain excellence, you have to take all three into consideration and planning.  And if you want to rock  this thing called "life"...learn to love (or at least have a platonic relationship with) all three phases of the work.  Each part of a project, big or small - the before, the during, and the after - has its charm, if you have a vivid imagination.

So many people I know will, for example, wash clothes, but the clothes don't get put away, or don't get ironed.  In other words, they may be clean, but they are not "wear ready".  (I've done it.  When I point a finger, three more are pointing back at me.  I accept this.)  Or folks may wash their clothes, but don't go in beforehand and sort them properly.  (Ahem.  Yeah.  Me, too.)

In my world, a meal is not complete until the sinks are cleared.  And in my world, I do not like to begin to cook unless sinks and surfaces are clean and ready, and ingredients on hand.  This isn't to say I never have a cluttered kitchen or full sinks, I do.  Often enough.  But it never feels right or normal to me.  And it shouldn't.  Who wants to live that way?  Unless there are very mitigating circumstances?  Which brings me back to the first question:  who wants to live that way?

My husband has always called mis-en-place "approach to task".  I prefer mis-en-place because it's French.  Anything French has to be way better - even their superiority complex is better than ours.

"Going along to get along" rates lower and lower on my happiness scale, the older I get.  In fact, going along to get along brings a whole lot of unnecessary stress.  I love me some mis-en-place.  I love approaching each new day, or approaching my work, whatever that may be, with tranquility and a sense of having been prepared.  Which means whatever the last thing it was I worked on?  It needs to be completely finished and all tools put back in place for the next time I need to pull them out.   This pretty much implies that all of life is spent preparing for the work, then doing the work, then tying up the loose ends after the work.

Work is life. 

"Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy ________ "  (that blank gets filled with the word "WORK")

I just spent a couple of hours in my closet today, doing mis-en-place.  I can't consider myself done until the linen pants get their fastener sewed back on, and the cuffs of my brown trousers get cleaned (what is all that, in there?  I am shaking my head over do I manage it?) and the sleeves in a certain dress have to be altered.  Then, and only then, is the job done.  My wardrobe will be ready for what lies ahead of me this year - I will have done the mis-en-place.  Hopefully getting dressed, and dressed well, will be a no-brainer.

After I find me some white skinny jeans.  I shall tell The Preacher, "I'm not shopping.  I'm mis-en-place-ing."

Roasted Cauliflower Soup Recipe - Easy, Feeds a Crowd

If you, like me, are trying to eat more veggies, or if you, unlike me, want to cut back on carbs, you may want to check into cauliflower soup, as opposed to potato soup.  I made some today, it turned out well, and here's how it was done:

Ingredients:  two heads of cauliflower (I used 1 1/2), an onion, some carrots, a stalk of celery, 32 ounces of chicken broth (lower sodium), a stick of butter, some half and half, some flour (you could forego making the roux completely, if gluten is an issue) 

dice about a half cup of carrots, the celery stalk, and the onion.  Put it all in a colorful bowl for it's photo shoot, because you are a goober-blogger-geek.  Own it.  Nod your head with me and say, "I.  Am.  That.  Girl."

 Rough chop your cauliflower...

 sweat and simmer your diced stuff, in 1/2 a stick of butter, until it seems just right, or five minutes, whichever comes first

Add your cauliflower, turn the heat back to low, pop a lid on all of it, and heat through for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, while singing a country music song - preferably "Makes Me Wanna Take a Back Road".  Don't forget to dance, too.

 Use the other half of your one stick of butter for your roux.  Melt it and toss in the flour.  I usually do a "one for one" TB flour per one TB of butter, so in this case, 4 TB flour.  Whisk it into the melted butter, and then add about 2 cups of half and half.  Whisk until it becomes thick and dreamy.
Turn the heat back to low, and let it sit for a bit, because... gotta add your 24-32 ounces of chicken stock to your veggies.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes with the lid on.

 After you've simmered the veggies, add your roux and stir it in.  This smells heavenly.

 Take a (high powered) stick blender to the whole thing, and puree it to your liking.  If you don't have a stick blender that can do the job, you'll have to pour about forty batches (a little at a time) into your regular blender and puree it.

Season with coarse salt, fresh ground pepper, and finely chopped parsley. 

Serve with lots of bread and a big ol' salad, for a meatless meal.  Otherwise, use this as a first course soup for steak or roast - something beef, because chicken or fish would be too much "white" for dinner, in my world.

So, so good!