Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a joy- and peace-filled  New Year's Eve and an auspicious beginning of 2011!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weeping Skies

Weeping Skies
Mixed Media Acrylic Painting on 11 x 14 inch canvas

The creative process is still a mystery to me. I just have to say this again!

I started this painting by preparing the canvas with some fiber paste toward the bottom of the canvas and glass bead gel toward the top of the canvas. I then painted an abstract underpainting with white, black and gray tones. My intention was to paint over all of that with very thin and delicately pale washes.

But once I got going the painting took off in a totally different direction. I started out with pale washes but quickly graduated to more intense colors and in the end even added torn paper. I've used iridescent pearl, gold, and copper, plus some black mica flakes. Also, both papers have some gold in them so the painting changes with changing light.

Weeping Skies isn't pale or delicate, but it makes a statement and I really like it! It reminds me of waves and the sky...

P.S. Thanks so much to all of you who have entered my giveaway! If you haven't yet done so, just go to my previous post and leave a comment!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 333 Giveaway!!!

It's time for a giveaway, friends!! A big one! Why, you ask? Because the other day I discovered that my little blog had 333 followers (and some of you know I'm a nut for numbers like that...). And as I am also coming up on my 500th post - who ever thought I'd have this much to say?! - I decided it was time! 

So there are 3 different things to win for 3 lucky people and the giveaway will end 3 weeks from now at 11:59 p.m. EST on 1-18-11.

I am giving away this original painting (you can find out more about it here)! When I first painted her, I could not give her away or even sell her, but now I am ready for this painting to live with one of you.


Another lucky winner will get one of these scarves. I thought I'd have one that's a little more girly and another that would also work for a guy. Don't want to forget about the guys...

My third prize consists of a brand new box of 24 Prismacolor watercolor pencils AND a brand new set of 12 Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.

To participate I'll make it super simple: leave a comment. That's it.

Thank you for entering, thank you for reading, and thank you for making my blog experience so amazing!!

Ready, set, GO!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Let it Snow...

I know some of you are going to laugh at this, who have been buried in snow and who have to shovel daily just to get out of your driveways!
(You can click on the photos to see them bigger.)

But for us here in Savannah, yesterday something amazing happened - snow flurries! When a friend mentioned on facebook that it was snowing where she lives (a little more inland), I was sure we wouldn't see any snowflakes so close to the coast.
But I was wrong! And because nothing accumulated where we were, I had to find a few perfect snowflakes to show you...
Now, the sun is shining again, but it's still bitterly cold. I hope all of you who live in areas hit hard by yesterday's (and today's) big snow storm here on the East Coast are doing well. Stay warm and safe!!

And to all of you a very Happy Monday!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roquefort Grapes

I don't know about you, but for us a big part of the Holidays revolves around food. We love to cook. We love to eat. Need I say more?!

By now, you could probably tip me over and roll me down the street without too much trouble, but it was all worth it! Incidentally, Daniel is reading the book The Tipping Point, but I don't think that's the kind of tipping the author had in mind...

But, I digress. One of the appetizers Daniel and I made was Roquefort Grapes from Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oevres Handbook cookbook. It's a miracle we had any left as an appetizer later on after we tasted the first ones we made. Deeeeeelicious!

Here's the recipe in case you want to try them:


10 oz. almonds, pecans or walnuts
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. Roquefort cheese, at room temperatures
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lb. (about 48) seedless grapes, red or green (or both!)


1. Toast nuts for about 8 to 12 minutes in a 300° oven, then chop coarsely in a food processor or by hand. Spread on a platter.
2. Combine cream cheese, Roquefort and cream in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Drop clean, dry grapes into the cheese mixture and gently stir with a rubber spatula to coat them. Then roll them in the toasted nuts and put on a tray lined with wax paper.
3. Chill until ready to serve.

We couldn't find Roquefort cheese, but used a strong blue cheese, which was excellent.

Here's to good eating!! Would you believe with our refrigerator still filled with yummy leftovers (we looooove leftovers; don't you?), we are already planning what we might cook for New Years Eve?!

What are some of the favorite foods you made during the Holidays?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Warm Wishes!

Whether you celebrate Christmas today or you don't, I send you the warmest wishes for an exceptional day and weekend!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Best Cookies

Daniel found the recipe for these cookies a few years ago and they have quickly become one of our favorite cookies to make and, of course, to eat!

You can find the basic recipe (and the story behind them) by clicking here. But then come back here so I can tell you about the changes we made to the recipe.

  • Instead of walnuts, we use hazelnuts (filberts) and roast them for 10 minutes at 350 F before grinding them;
  • we don't grind chocolate or hazelnuts to a super fine powder, but grind them fairly fine - gives it a little more texture that way;
  • we mix the whole thing in our kitchen stand mixer and the cookies are wonderful even though we don't "carefully fold under" the stiff egg whites or the flour;
  • I've used that amount of icing for two batches of cookies and they were plenty sweet, so feel free to cut down on the icing;
  • also, with regard to the icing, we use Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) as the liquid and it adds a little extra hazelnut flavor;
  • and last but not least, we simply cut the cookies in diamond shapes and don't cut them out in half moon shapes - it's less labor intensive.
We made them once with walnuts, but like them much better with hazelnuts. My dad liked them so much, he and Ingrid already made one batch were thinking of making some more. He also gave us the idea of trying them once with almonds as the nuts and Amaretto in the icing. Sounds good, don't you think? I hope you'll try them as well - they are delicious!! 

To all who celebrate Christmas Eve (Daniel and me included), I wish you a magical, festive and cozy evening! We are planning a delicious meal and are looking forward to a beautiful day and evening! May your day be wonderful! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kindnesses - Joni

Before my dad came to visit and we went on our cruise, I had entered this amazing giveaway from the very talented Joni Nickrent. I first heard of Joni when I joined the arts and crafts community The Hive, a wonderful community, where Joni is very active.

I entered her giveaway with no hope of winning - just look at all of this!! And then I won - and the package arrived while we were on our travels! Joni, thank you so much!!! I had to steal this photo from her blog because I'm already using so many of her goodies that I couldn't get a proper photo of all of it together. My favorite is her little original illustration. It's already in my studio inspiring me.

So, pop on over to her blog, Pop Art Minis, and there you will find links to her amazing eBay candle shop, her Zazzle art shop, her Facebook page and much more! Click here. I promise her creativity will inspire you!

And just this morning I found out that I also won Elena's giveaway at her wonderful blog My Quest. I am so thrilled and feel extremely lucky and grateful. I'll write more about that giveaway when I can show you what she sent me...

Wishing you a relaxed and cozy day! Tomorrow, I'll have a cookie recipe to share with you. Yum!!

P.S. I have a couple of links to great giveaways at the top of my right side bar...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Child is This?

The other day, Daniel bought us Sarah McLachlan's Christmas album, Wintersong, and we both think that her rendition of Greensleeves (What Child is This?) is one of the prettiest we have heard. I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Thank you so much for all your sweet comments on my latest painting. It feels so good to make art again. I hope I'll have something else to show you soon!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Moment of Joy

A Moment Of Joy
Acrylic on 18 x 24 inch wrapped canvas

My latest painting started out as an abstract color play with a very limited palette of Zinc White, Paynes Gray, Turquoise (Pthalo), Pyrrole Red, Pryrrole Orange, Hansa Yellow Medium, Iridescent Pearl, and Iridescent Gold. And underneath the paint is probably every medium I have in my possession and some beautiful handmade papers. It gives the whole piece incredible texture! 
After sitting with the above abstract piece for a while, I kept seeing an ocean sunset with a dolphin jumping, not a subject matter I usually paint.
However, I enjoyed myself immensely and still now, as I have it sitting on my easel, I just love it when I steal a glance.
In the above photo you can see some of the iridescent color in it, which makes it look slightly different when the light changes.
I am not sure if it's finished yet. I'll sit with it for a while longer and will probably refine a few areas.
If I change it, I'll show it to you again.

And in the meantime, I wish you many, many moments of joy!!

Happy Solstice!

We set the alarm for three in the morning to see the moon in full eclipse. Even with our streetlights way too bright, it was a beautiful sight! We also got to see a shooting star. And Daniel had made hot chocolate for us. Now, we are off to bed again...

Wishing you all a Happy Solstice.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kindnesses - Treasuries

Some time ago, a couple of my art prints were included in two treasuries, which I wanted to share with you! 
The first one was curated so beautifully by Theresa and you can see it (and leave a comment) here. She was so kind to include my preening egret print. Thank you, Theresa!! If you haven't yet visited Theresa's blog, Fairie Moon Creations, make sure you do so by clicking here
Don't you love her sweet pendant made from her own artwork and this snow flake necklace? You can find those and much more of her gorgeous jewelry and artwork in her Etsy shop! I have to tell you that I have never met anyone who promotes other people's art and creations like Theresa does. I have found more new blogs and Etsy shops through her than any other way. And on many occasions I have been the lucky recipient of her kindness! Thank you, Theresa!!!
My "Fear Not" print was included in this beautiful butterfly treasury. I was thrilled - you all probably know by now that I love butterflies... Please click here to see the treasury and leave a comment if you wish!
Make sure you visit Lolailo's Etsy shop.
She is a winemaker in California and makes her creations from materials she finds around herself. Click here to see more. Just beautiful!! Thank you so much!!

I hope you are all doing well and are taking a few moments between busy moments to truly enjoy this special season. We are doing well here. Daniel was dealing with a pesky stomach bug yesterday but is feeling good as new today.

I've actually been painting again! I can hardly believe it and will show you my latest creation tomorrow. It's rather different for me and I love it! See you then...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

...for a word from my foreign blog correspondent in Siberia.
Ok, so maybe not Siberia, but my dad sent these photos this afternoon from Germany and I just can't believe it!
Such amounts of snow and so early in the season! I think they are getting ready for a true White Christmas.
I've seen similar photos from some you, my German blog friends. Just amazing...
...a Winter Wonderland!
 And I think there is more on the way.
Not here. We've had rain today and cold again tomorrow, but with sunshine.
I have to call my sister tomorrow. Her boys must LOVE all this snow!
As does my dad and Ingrid's dog!
Hope you are all staying warm!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kindnesses - Awards

Quite some time ago, I was honored with awards by two of my blogging friends, one of whom also happens to be my  amazing sister-in-law, and I have been so remiss in thanking them! 
The first award came from my German friend, Elisabeth, whom I met through my dear high school friend, Verena. Danke, Elisabeth!! Since meeting through e-mail, Elisabeth has also started a blog and did she ever take off with it! I have never met anyone who posts as often as Elisabeth does. Every day there are little tidbits and thoughts from her and her sister, Angela, and it is always quite interesting! So, if you read German, head on over to her blog (click here) and have a look. You won't be disappointed!
The Beautiful Blogger award came from my sister-in-law, Patti, who has created a most inspiring blog and website called Lightspirited Being (click here to visit). her site is filled with inspiration and intriguing thoughts and even exercises that are extremely helpful. And if you need some extra insight, her readings are amazing (I speak from experience)!!

As part of the award from Patti, I am supposed to tell you seven things you may not know about me, and I've decided to keep it light tonight. So, here it goes:

1. I ate six cookies this afternoon and they were quite wonderful.
2. Winslow is sitting next to me right now and I am trying to avoid having him drool on the keyboard.
3. Daniel has a roaring fire going in the fireplace.
4. I am watching Rough Diamond, a British series I am quite enjoying.
5. Daniel just asked if I wanted more cookies, and I said YES! (When Christmas is over, I'll be ready to eat healthy again...)
6. I am wearing a scarf over my sweater right now that is making me feel quite bohemian.
7. Winslow just abandoned me for a Kong toy filled with peanut butter... ok, I spoke too soon, he's next to me again and drooling for cookies!

Thank you, both!! I feel quite honored.

Now, I know that I never quite participate in these awards as I am supposed to. I know I'm supposed to pass them on to specific people, but I just can't do that. I don't like the feeling that I leave anyone out.

So, I pass them on to all of you: you, who follow; you, who leave comments; you, who just visit quietly; you, who visit every day; you, who visit once in a while; you, who visit only this once. To all of you, who make my blogging experience as wonderful as it is... Thank you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kindnesses - Vicki

Over the past few weeks, several bloggers have presented me with awards, included some of my creations in their treasuries and blogged about me. I was going to do one post about all of those, but they all deserve separate mention. So this is the first in a series I call "kindnesses."
In late October I had the great pleasure and privilege to meet one of my blogging friends, the beautiful, generous and talented Vicki of 2 Bags Full. If you haven't visited her blog, you MUST. She creates the most gorgeous nests out of yarn, ribbons and all sorts of embellishments. This one has found it's home in our living room and I adore it every day. I think the glamour bird really loves it as well...
And for Christmas, another surprise is waiting for me. Daniel (with my help...) got me one of her limited edition shorebird nests and I cannot wait to open it!! It's amazing that I've been able to restrain myself - I think when I was younger I would have sneaked a peek... But soon!!!
Isn't this a fun picture of Daniel, Vicki, me and Vicki's lovely friend Marsha?! Oh, we could have talked for hours and hours had they not needed to get back on the road. They still had a lot of driving to do. But I am sure we'll meet again... And, thank you, Vicki, for the beautiful yarn you gave to me. It is still waiting for the perfect knitting project for myself!

To read more about our meeting and their trip to Florida, click here. You'll love it!! And while you are on her blog, make sure you enter her latest giveaway - a Vera Bradley purse!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Sweet Moment

Things have been busy around here, but this morning, I caught this little moment. Aren't they sweet?

So, I thought I'd come back and jump right back into all the things I was doing before we traveled, but not so. I thought I'd be blogging every day, but instead I found myself decorating for Christmas with Daniel, baking cookies, being out and about with my honey and knitting up scarves that are still selling. Somehow blogging has taken a back seat, but I know I'll get back into my groove...

Also, I am sure many of you have had very cold weather and lots of snow - as have we here in the South. It's been FREEZING!! And these houses are not built for cold weather. Thank goodness we have a fireplace to make our evenings warm and cozy.

I hope you all are staying warm and are enjoying the season!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

We Are Back!!!

Dear friends, we are back from our travels and had a most amazing, fun, exciting and relaxing time! It was hard to choose just a few of the many, many photos we took, but I just wanted to give you a short impression of where we were and what we did...
We spent some time in Tampa before boarding a most lovely cruise ship to sail off into the sunny and warm Caribbean!
The sky was spectacular as we took off on our journey!
Our first stop was in Key West, somewhere we had not visited before. Such a pretty place!

In the evening we ate in the ship's restaurant with the best view ever as we sailed away from Key West toward Jamaica.
Jamaica awaited us with beautiful waterfalls,

colorful birds,
and lush, tropical foliage! Every house plant we have, I found there - only much bigger!
From Jamaica we arrived in Grand Cayman Island and had a most amazing adventure swimming with - and petting - the giant stingrays!
We had never seen water this clear,
nor had we known that these giant fish are so gentle and love to interact with humans. We could have stayed forever...
In Cozumel, we finally experienced the highlight of our trip - meeting up with my cousin, who had moved to Playa del Carmen just a few months earlier. It was sheer coincidence that the trip we had booked much before then would actually make a stop where we could see her! (For those of you who speak German, you may enjoy visiting her blog. Click here!)
It was wonderful!!
And today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Britta!!!
On board of the ship, we did lots of lounging and reading - I read four books in six days,
much admiring of the view,
a bit of knitting while listening to an audio book,
more lounging and reading,
ooohing and aaahing over sunsets and sunrises, 
and, of course, much, much good eating!! Cheers!
Back home, we did some more sight seeing,
playing with Winslow and Ramses,
walking around the neighborhood (and sampling the kumquats which are starting to get ripe),
and, of course, more eating before my dad is making his way back to Germany! It was wonderful!!
But I have missed you all and my blog! I didn't realize how much I like to stay connected to what's going on in blogland. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying this busy and magical time of the year. I'll try to check in with you all during the next few days!!

It sure feels good to be back!