Wednesday, April 23, 2014

another collaboration

Once in a while my husband Andy and I like to collaborate on a project together (see here and here). And as many of you know, we are creative opposites. He has a serious gift for drawing realism and portraits. I am an expressive and colorful artist who loves pattern and making a mess. Somehow our creative strengths work really well together and when we collaborate on a project all of our differences fall away and we make magic! Here is a peek into our latest work:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

baked and glazed doughnuts

I am obsessed with doughnuts and few years ago I shared a yummy baked doughnut recipe. Since then I have been experimenting and playing around with different doughnut recipes and I think I've got one that I'm happy with. I tried it out over Easter weekend to my delight the doughnuts were a hit!

While I love anything fried, I really like using a doughnut pan because baked doughnuts are a little bit  healthier than fried (and they make me feel less guilty about splurging on toppings).

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a doughnut pan.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.
Whisk the wet ingredients together and pour into the dry.
Stir until combined.
Fill doughnut cups with batter.

Bake for 10 min or until the edges are lightly browned.

I decided to have a little fun creating a few different glazes:

plain glaze:
1/4 cup of milk
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

orange glaze:
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons orange juice

strawberry glaze:
handful of strawberries- pureed
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups of powdered sugar

Combine the glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Whisk until the glaze is smooth.

chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon milk
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Monday, April 21, 2014

watercolor blooms

My latest online class Sketch Into Spring is well underway and while I can't give away everything away from the class I thought it would be fun to share a little peek into one of my favorite lessons on watercolor blooms-

Watercolor blooms result when pigment spreads on a wet surface, creating a bleed effect or "bloom". While many traditional and technical watercolor painters don't like the "bloom" effect, I LOVE it! In fact I use this technique most often when I am creating loose, abstract and messy watercolor backgrounds that I sketch over the top of. The technique is super easy and really fun for artists of all ages.
Start by wetting down the surface of your paper with water. 

Next, dip your brush into pigment.

Drop the pigment onto the wet surface and watch that color BLOOM!

Add different colors and have fun letting everything run and bleed into each other.

Take it a step further and use rubbing alcohol to make those blooms change. Simply dip your brush (or any tool) in the alcohol and drop it into the wet pigment. Alcohol repels water and will push the pigment away creating circular shapes.
The result is very loose and expressive way to apply color to your surface!

Sketch Into Spring is a "mini class" online class, it is structured in 30 small but inspiring posts. The concept is that that you have one simple idea, prompt, inspiration or technique to work throughout each day for 30 days. All of my online classes have unlimited access which means you can register at any time!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

the backyard project

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we have been hard at work for the last couple on months on a backyard project. Now that we have been in our home for almost two years we are starting to make time to tackle bigger projects. The project that has been topping our list is turning our backyard into a place for all of us to play! We have lots more work but we are happy that stage one is complete! Here is a little peek-

We live on a lot around the corner from the beach and our yard is WET because we back up against acres of wetlands. And while these wetlands are beautiful, they also provide some tricky obstacles for landscaping. The ground is wet and very full of clay and our yard also slopes into the wetlands so we had to figure out what would work best with these challenges. The plan we came up with was to split up the space into different sections- a grassy play area and then a fenced in garden.

The project started with clearing TONS of berry bushes, beach grass and small trees. This was a HUGE job that Andy tackled all by himself!

When everything was cleared, it was time to level things out. It was at this stage that we discovered the back of our lot was MUCH MORE wet than expected which meant we had to rethink a couple of our plans but it was only a minor set back.
Once the ground was leveled (as much as possible) and the soil turned, it was time to start the garden. Last year we built raised bed planters  for our front yard and now that the backyard is clear (and the dirt way too full of clay for planting vegis) we moved our planters to the back yard.

Last, Andy built a picket fence around the garden. We still have some decoration to add to the fence posts, a pathway to the garden and LOTS of planting in and around the garden but we are so thrilled with the results and even more thrilled that our back yard project is moving along. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

bird nest eggs

My favorite projects always include materials that I can collect from the yard and transform into something new. With Easter right around the corner I couldn't resist creating some cute eggs topped with a bird nest and eggs. The best part...I simply had to walk a couple steps the front door for my supplies!

I gathered up a handful of dried flower stems, a little bit of moss and some pea gravel

Using hot glue I built a bird nest on top of my eggs. I always use eggs that have the yolk blown out.

Last, I painted my rocks blue and added them to nest.

Looking for more egg decorating inspiration? 
Have a look at all the tutorials I've shared over the years!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

coil basket DIY

Making coil baskets has been on my do list for a couple of years and recently I finally took some time to have a little fun putting own twist on this process!

You can make a coil basket out any thick rope or twine, you can even use scraps of fabric wrapped around the rope for something really colorful. But I decide to keep it simple and use rope (out of everything I tried I liked using cloth line the best). 

To begin, coil the rope. Using a machine, zig zag stitch the coil together and keep coiling and stitching.

I spend lots of time sewing heavy duty and non-traditional materials on my machine- I typically use a denim needle for these kinds of projects.

Once you have the base of the basket you can create the sides by tilting the coiled rope as up as you sew. 

Continue sewing until the basket is desired size...SO EASY!!

I used colorful thread to add color in my baskets, I also painted my rope. I used both spray ink and acrylic paint to cover sections of the rope (time consuming but totally worth it)!

I also painted the entire basket with acrylic paint (it took two coats) and then used my white paint pen to add pattern over the top.
I create and experiment with all kinds of simple materials and DIY projects but this by far is one of my favorites! The entire process was really addicting and I know I will be making more. 


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