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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5 Comments

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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Choose Kindness: First Collage/Painting

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I’ve really been loving the Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media Mantras e-course I’m taking. It is by Kelly Rae Roberts. There are loads of pictures and a video or two to watch in each section. We’re encouraged to choose an intention for each painting session. She makes suggestions in case you can’t come up with one. This one, “simply trust,” is from a song I sing with the Threshold Choir.

First we learned about and experimented with different paint techniques; ways to get paint on to the canvas (or for these practice pieces, I was using heavy watercolor paper) and to add texture and layers. I showed this in my last post.

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Then, surprise! We find out that these “practice” pieces are actually the ones we’re using for our finished paintings.  I didn’t get photos of the whole process – but I have taken a few more on other pieces I’ll share here soon.

Bits and pieces of paper are layered on the painted background with more paint going on the paper to blend it with the painted background. The final piece may not show all the stratified layers, but they are still a part of the finished piece.

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My background layer has the label from a delicious chocolate that was a gift from a friend, and part of a birthday card which adds lovely texture. Both add interest to the finished piece.

After the background is finished, our mantras are stamped onto the canvas. Finishing details are added with black and white ink. In this picture you can catch a glimpse of  a map on the right. Hearts are special symbols for me, so I included some.

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An old letter I picked up at a vintage store is visible above the lace.

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At one point, I collaged a page from a little calendar of birds but it wasn’t working. After I painted over it, I still wanted a bird, so choose to add one via a rubber stamp.

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Here is the whole piece. The paper has curled somewhat. I’ll either frame it or perhaps glue it to something a bit heavier.

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It was lots of fun to make. Most of the paint and collage work is done without brushes, so it is a messy, hands-on process. The scallops on the edges are created with painty fingertips.

Thanks for the visit. More mixed media mantra pieces soon!

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Getting Started: Hello Soul, Hello Mantra

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I played with paint and water last night. I let my 4-year-old self drip and splatter and it was wonderful!

Over the weekend I sorted through and bagged up some art supplies I’m not using to pass along to someone who will use them with an after school program. Some old paint got tossed out.

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I was going shopping for new art supplies and I wanted to have a place to put them..

These are the first baby-steps in an e-course I’m taking, Hello Soul, Hello Mixed-Media Mantras, which you are going to see more about as I go along. Actually, the very first steps are journaling. The artist, author, and creator of the course, Kelly Rae Roberts, gives the participants lots of prompts and guidance and it’s good stuff. But I was excited to get my fingers into paint last night.

My intention (and pardon the poor lighting – it was one little lamp over my craft desk):

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These are practice pieces, to just play with the paint and the different techniques. I’m using acrylic paint on watercolor paper (140 lb.).

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First drips of paint.

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Smearing, smooshing, spraying with water. Drips.

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I did three playground pieces.

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Here’s what I made:

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Thanks for the visit.

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Hidden Meadows Hike

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My sister Kathleen and I took a hike we haven’t been on for quite awhile – we call it Hidden Meadows. We start by looping part way around Phoenix  Lake than head up Shaver Grade Fire Road and take the Hidden Meadows trail. This connects to the Yolanda Trail and eventually comes back down to Phoenix Lake Road.

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Stella, Kathleen’s dachshund, is turning one. It wasn’t easy getting pictures of her standing still.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of Molly, but she had a good hike too.

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Mt. Tam was hidden in fog, but it was still a beautiful hike with the green hills and wildflowers.

Thanks for the visit.

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