Believe in Yourself

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This blue mantra painting was created for my friend, Laura, as a birthday gift.  She has gone back to school and was feeling a little apprehensive about quitting her job.

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She is studying Chemistry so I wanted to include some things related to that and also to remind Laura that she really is amazing, marvelous, smart and funny. Especially funny. I love spending time with her because we usually find something to laugh about.

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I’m also continuing to love crafting these pieces. There are layers that don’t show in the finished painting but are still part of the process and the piece. I really enjoy getting my fingers into the paint and gel medium, smoothing pieces of paper, layering them over each other; scraps from a textbook pages, bits torn from inside of an envelope, and seeing what they will become.  It’s messy and I have to stop every so often to rub the dried goo off my fingers, but I love every minute of it.

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Believe in yourself. It’s a good mantra for me as I continue to play, explore and learn this combination of collage and painting. It’s a good mantra for Laura too.

Thank you for your visit.

 

 

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Our Little Vacation, Part 2

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We drove in and out of fog going up the coast from Cambria. By the time we got to Nepenthe in Big Sur, it was warm and sunny. We ate on the deck at Cafe Kevah. What a beautiful place! I have nice memories from a stop made years ago on a road trip with my friend Lisa.

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If you don’t want to stop for a meal or a snack, the Phoenix Shop is a nice place to stretch your legs on a road trip. Even the restrooms are beautiful – I snapped this picture in the ladies room!

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Next stop, Monterey. We’ve visited here on a previous trip and this time just took a stroll on Old Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Nearby Marina and the English Ales Brewery was where we had dinner that night.

The next morning at The Breakfast Club in Seaside, I was delighted with the beautiful fruit salad I got with my poached egg and chicken sausage. Rem had chicken fried steak with scrambled eggs and an English muffin.

Breakfast at the Breakfast Club

We meandered up Highway 1, stopping at several produce stands, included this one where Stella and her sisters posed for another picture.

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Another stop offered “U-Pick” strawberries (we didn’t) and jam tasting (we did).  Inside was self-serve with an honor system to pay for berries, jam, baked treats and soup. After tasting a few jams, we had our own picnic snack outside.

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Lunch at the Highway 1 Brewing Company was forgettable except for one beer that Rem thought was great, the McKees Chocolate Milk Stout. Their address has them in Pescadero but they’re before the turnoff of Hwy. 1 to the little town. We enjoyed strolling through a few cute shops and I bought some paper ephemera.

Pescadero is a nice destination for a day trip from the Bay Area. We’ve visited other times and enjoyed the artichoke bread for sale in one of the little gourmet grocery shops. Something new for us was Harley Farms Goat Dairy, a short drive from the tiny downtown. We tasted cheese, saw sweet little kids (of the caprine variety), a pretty flower garden and an upstairs dining room in the renovated barn where they hold farm dinners and other special events.

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Our last stop for the day was Barbara’s Fish Trap in Half Moon Bay where we shared this gorgeous platter of goodies: calamari, cod, prawns, scallops and zucchini.

Seafood Dinner

We had plenty of time on our final day to stop and have a Stella reunion.

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Then home relaxed and rested after a nice getaway.

Thanks for stopping by. And remember: spread love, spread joy, spread peace, and spread jam.

 

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Central Coast Vacation

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Here are pictures from our recent road trip. As it included Rem’s birthday, we visited a few breweries so he could sample some beer. We drove south on Highway 101 and our first stop was at El Toro Brewing Company.  Rem tried their Ghost Chili Golden Ale, a hot, spicy beer after enjoying one on our last birthday beer road trip.

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They claim it is the hottest beer in the world. Rem said it was “insane” but I think he was glad to have tried it.

Speaking of insane, with Rem at Big 5 picking up new sneakers since he left his at home, I wandered through the BIGGEST craft store I’ve ever seen: Hobby Lobby.  There were aisles and aisles of different kinds of letters: metal, cardboard, acrylic, paper, etc.

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A huge selection of cabinet knobs.

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This cool dresser:

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And this cute pillow and poster, not to mention a LOT more stuff. It was staggering to just try and get an idea of all the crafting supplies they carried.

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I’ve since learned that I don’t see eye-to-eye with this company and some of their practices, so it’s just as well there’s not a store near home.

Next stop: Monterey Coast Brewing in Salinas. This is where Rem met up with a cute blonde at the bar.

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Well, to be honest, we brought her with us. This is Stella, my sister Kathleen’s long-haired dachshund. We couldn’t really bring her, so we did the next best thing and brought some cut-out photos of her, and had a great time finding new places for her to visit.

At Paso Robles, which was a toasty 103 degrees, we headed to the cool, foggy coast and our destination for the next three nights: Cambria and the lovely Olallieberry Inn, recommended by friends. The inn had a birthday special for a three-night stay: Stay over your birthday and pay the regular rate for the first two nights, and the rate for the third night is the year you were born, which in Rem’s case meant we paid $19.67.

We arrived just in time for the late afternoon wine and snacks on the deck.  An abundance of flowers in the back garden added to the charm of the inn.

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After dinner out, we fell asleep in our “Room at the Top,” with a chorus of frogs outside for a lullaby.

Rem’s birthday started with decadent French Toast Brûlée, olallieberry yogurt, homemade granola and bran muffins. I left the French toast for him to enjoy and was very happy with the rest of it. It’s a good thing, because on our drive into the hills above Cambria, we stopped at Linn’s Fruit Bin and shared a mini-ollalieberry pie. We didn’t see any olallieberries and the blackberries weren’t ripe but it was still a pretty place to visit.

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Stella enjoyed the scenery.

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We hung out in Harmony.

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It’s a tiny town, really just a few shops, a glass blowing studio and shop, and a small chapel.

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Back to the Inn for our evening snacks than a change of clothes before going out to dinner.  Robin’s Restaurant had been recommended by the same friends that suggested the inn, and we had a special meal, befitting the occasion. Rem chose a curried lamb dish and I had short ribs. Even though it was his birthday, he let me choose dessert and it was not difficult to decide on the Sweet Trio: strawberry sorbet, dark, dense chocolate mousse and excellent creme brûlée. We were both surprised when they brought a chocolate sundae for Rem gratis. A sweet finish for a nice birthday.

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The next day we drove back to Paso Robles for lunch at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in their Taproom Restaurant. It is a huge complex, much bigger than other breweries we’ve visited and they’re expanding.

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We did a little meandering on our way back to Cambria, stopping at a few wineries, but it was pretty hot and I was looking forward to the foggy coast.

This is the ceiling in a winery that looks like a castle; Tooth & Nail.  I was able to get a few of their wine bottle labels to use in collage projects.

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Back in Cambria, a full 44 degrees cooler than Paso Robles, we went to Moonstone Beach, pictured here at the top of the post. This photo is looking south and the other one is looking north.

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After some geocaching and window shopping in town, we had our last evening wine (Rem) and snacks (me) at the Ollalieberry Inn before a low-key dinner out.  Each evening and over breakfast we enjoyed conversation with the owners, staff, and other guests at the inn. I was also delighted to be able to spend some time crafting in the dining room and finished a collage-painting.

The last morning at Cambria had arrived but we still had a few more days of vacation, which I will share in a future post.

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Thanks for sharing our trip and thanks for your visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi, Beautiful

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Hi, Beautiful. Yes, you.

When I saw a t-shirt with beautiful written out this way:

BE

YOU

TIFUL

it really caught my eye. “Be you. You are beautiful.” That’s how I read it. Just be yourself. You are enough. And you are beautiful.

This is another mixed-media mantra piece that I made after watching the wonderful Kelly Rae Roberts e-course, Hello Soul, Hello Mixed-Media Mantras. Here it is in stages.

The first layer: red and orange paint scraped in thin layers over a canvas board with a plastic card. Pink paint daubed onto bubble wrap then smooshed on the canvas to make pink dots. I love using my fingers and other tools besides brushes to get the paint onto the canvas. It takes me back to finger-painting. Playing with the textures, feeling the paint on my fingers.

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Then collaged bits and pieces: yellow flower from an old book, “you’re amazing” from a lovely, handcrafted birthday card, sheet music, scraps torn from an old Farmer’s Almanac. Then a little more paint on top.

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About that handcrafted card; I love using special cards and mementos in my artwork. It feels as if I’m giving new life to the item instead of sticking it in a drawer, and it adds meaning to my finished piece.

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This photo isn’t the best, but it shows another stage of the piece. I used some more paint on and around the collaged pieces to blend them into a more cohesive background, including some nice drips. I love the richness of the red background and some of the paper I picked out looks too bright-white.

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Somewhere in this process, I decided to use this mantra for the painting and as soon as I did, I thought of my friend, Maria.

She is smart, funny and pretty much awesome. She is also raising two smart, funny, awesome daughters.  Oh, and did I mention beautiful? Yes, I believe that being smart and funny and awesome are all characteristics of being beautiful but Maria is also tall with a huge smile and pretty dark eyes. So, the whole enchilada.

I started to add things that made me think of her.

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She loves elephants. She is fabulous.

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She wears polka dots.

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Hey, beautiful. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, you.

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Overnight Oatmeal

 

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Getting out the door in the morning shouldn’t be such a challenge for me. I don’t have kids, I don’t have pets and Rem helps me make my lunch for work. But the pull of just one more page of a book, or all too often Facebook, means I’m usually short on time.

Putting together no-cook oatmeal in the evening means breakfast is ready and waiting in the morning. For people who like grab-and-go recipes, you can assemble it in a mason jar to eat it at work. As the weather warms up, hot oatmeal is less appealing to me. I like the cool, creaminess of this version, but if you like a hot breakfast, this can be warmed in the microwave.

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The basics for the dish are rolled oats, Greek yogurt, fruit and milk. I like to include something sweet in it too, usually honey. Recently I’ve started adding ground flaxseed and some Trader Joe’s Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend to boost the nutrition content. I’ve seen chia seeds in some recipes and I’m planning on trying a version which replaces half of the oats with quinoa.  Toasted nuts and coconut are both welcome toppings to add  just before eating.

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I saw the recipe on several sites and in magazine articles, but I think it was after reading The Yummy Life post with different flavors that I finally tried it myself, and I love it. Going back to get the link I realized I need to try some of Monica’s suggested recipes: Cocoa Banana sounds delicious. She also writes about the many variations she and her readers have tried, such as gluten free oats, almond milk, coconut milk, agave syrup, and maple syrup, as well as yummy additions like peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut or toasted nuts, which are easy to sprinkle on just before eating.

When I make it, I don’t usually measure the ingredients, just grabbing handfuls and eyeballing as I go and each time it comes out a little different. But I took a few more minutes to measure it out so I could share it with you.  I will also include some notes at the end for making it using steel cut oats.

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Overnight Oat
Adapted from The Yummy Life and Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients (1 serving)

1/3 cup rolled or quick cook oats

1 tablespoon Ancient Grains Cereal Blend or Chia seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon ground flax seeds (optional)

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I love Fage brand and the whole milk yogurt is delicious in this dish)
(I use 1/2 of a single serving tub. Different brands of yogurt are different sizes, so don’t sweat it if you have a little less or a little more than 1/3 cup. It should be fine.)

drizzle of honey (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 cup fruit, such as frozen blueberries

1/3 cup milk (I use 2%, but use what you like)

2-3 tablespoons toasted pecans or almonds, or shredded coconut (optional, added just before eating)

Directions:
In a bowl or pint-sized jar, layer the ingredients in order: oats on the bottom, any other grains or seeds you are using, yogurt, honey if using, fruit and milk. Some recipes direct you to stir or shake all the ingredients into a homogenized mixture, but I prefer having the variation of ingredients in each bite. I do poke a spoon or chopstick down through the frozen fruit, yogurt and into the oatmeal a few times to make sure the milk finds it’s way to the oats.

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I use the frozen fruit right from the freezer without defrosting it first. It hasn’t make a difference.

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Cover dish or jar and put in the fridge overnight.

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The next morning, the oatmeal is ready to eat!

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The first two times I tried this with steel cut oats, it was much too chewy for me to enjoy. A little online research and two trail runs later and I’m happy with it.

Overnight Oatmeal with Steel Cut Oats

Ingredients:

Same as in first version with these changes:

1/3 cup steel cut oats to replace rolled oats

1/2 cup of milk to replace 1/3 cup milk

Directions:

Combine oats and 1/3 cup of the milk in a microwave safe bowl or jar and heat in microwave for 1 minute. (If you use the full amount of milk, it may spill over in microwave.)

Remove bowl or jar from microwave and stir, than let cool on counter for 30 to 60 minutes. Add yogurt, honey if desired, fruit and remaining milk. Cover and refrigerate as in original recipe.

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I tried this with both a bowl and a jar and found the mixture in the jar soaked up all the liquid and even after a second night in the fridge, the one in the bowl was still a little milky.  They are quite similar and I found both to be quite tasty; I would be happy with either. But I admit I prefer the more tender texture of the rolled oats to the steel cut oats.

Thanks for stopping by.

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May 1, 2016 · 9:11 pm

Believe in Love & Magic

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When I saw this sweet handmade card by Violet Annie on The Paper Wallflower, I knew I would be borrowing the phrase for one of my Hello Soul, Hello Mantras paintings.

My intention, when I started this one, was to play. So I did.

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First things first: get some color on the canvas board – canvas that is stretched over a hard backing.  A squirt of green acrylic paint and I was off.

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I smeared it around with a plastic card, added different shades of green, squirted on some water to create drips, dragged a plastic fork crisscross through the paint and use a bottle lids and a cork to stamp some circles.

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I smeared more paint and then stenciled some hexagons in different sizes. I painted over some of the stamped circles, but decided to re-stamp them.

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Once this verdant background paint was dry (with the help of my heat gun), I started collaging paper onto it.  A piece of map, some textured flowered paper, a bus transfer I found while walking earlier in the day, green tissue paper and a photo of a leaf  with raindrops from a birthday card.

Even though most of these things don’t show in the finished painting, I love how they are all part of it; the layers make the whole thing more interesting. I know what’s under the collage and paint.

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Now back to paint to start to blend the paint and paper layers into a more cohesive background.

I’ve done some painting, dripping, stenciling and a bit of rubber stamping. I’ve also added more collage elements including a fortune from a fortune cookie that says “You are a deep thinker with a knack for problem solving.”

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Several of the collage papers have orange-red on them which you can see peeking from under all the green. I decided to add more of that color to the piece along with more pattern; stamping a harlequin design in black ink.

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Here I’ve added some buff paint to help the letters of the mantra stand out. Once I’ve stamped the letters, I’ll go back in and put some richer color around the letters. A horizon of lace, fabric and paper has been added along the bottom edge.

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Finally – the mantra is stamped onto the background. I think it was a bit more to the right side than would have been ideal, but it just seems to be the best location.

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Last but not least: finishing details. I used the same harlequin pattern for a border, and brought the flower back into view with more of the red-orange color. I also added lots of little details with white and black pens.

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I love how these final details seem to bring the piece into focus (and I do mean more than my photos, which can be a little uneven).

Thank you for your visits and comments.

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Give Me Wings

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Last weekend I spent a glorious afternoon crafting with my friend Margaret. I brought all my new paints and some collage goodies and started on my second Hello Soul, Hello Mantras mixed media piece.

After a delicious lunch we got started. Margaret was working on a batch of greeting cards while I was painting and collaging.  The teacher of the e-course, Kelly Rae Roberts, said in one of the videos that working with a friend was a good way to be a little distracted from the the piece and to not overthink the process.  Crafting with friends is one of my favorite things to do.

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I’d been to the Farmer’s Market in the morning and picked up a bunch of spring flowers and wanted to use the colors from the bouquet in my painting.

Before starting on the piece, I wrote my intention down to keep in mind as I was working. I planned to just jump right in and start getting messy!

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After smooshing and dripping and scraping paint onto the canvas, I used gel medium to collage some scraps of paper onto this painted background. These included postage stamps, sheet music,  a parking slip from a fun shopping trip in Berkeley, a Christmas tag and a piece of a pretty liner from an envelope. Using a heat tool to dry the paint and gel medium between layers helped move the process along.

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Paint is layered over some of the collage pieces, integrating them into the painted background. Feathers are one of my special or  sacred images so I included one on this piece.

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After stamping the mantra, I embellished the letters with curlicues and dots. In this picture you can see other details:  the butterfly with halves from two different sources, the edge of a page torn from a calendar, a piece of corrugated cardboard with a heart in it, lace, and washi tape.

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The next day I painted over the stamped mantra. The added curls and dots weren’t working for me. Or more specifically, though I loved dots on the overall piece, I wanted the mantra to be clearer and more readable. Some lighter paint behind the words helped  them to stand out.

Other finishing details include a small dragonfly, another heart with more text, a small bird sticker, two small pieces of paper with a dictionary definition of the word “breathing,” and flower silhouettes stamped in black ink.

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope you’re enjoying these pieces because I sure am! I’ll be posting more soon.

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