More Gingerbread Christmas Cookies!

Here is the second set of watercolor Christmas gingerbread cookies that I painted this past week:

All of the images were painted individually, then I scanned them, cleaned them up in Photoshop and combined them into a single image.

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Gingerbread Christmas Cookies – Watercolor Paintings

Fun Christmas cookies – Watercolor

I usually like to wait until after Thanksgiving before thinking about Christmas, but I was stuck on painting ideas and wanted to try something fun.  It is easy to over indulge on treats because of parties, stress, and the drop in temperature this time of year (if you live in the northern hemisphere).  These were baked in my imagination, so they are definitely calorie-free.  I have a few more of them on the way, so there will be more to share in the next few weeks.

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Blue and Gold Perfume Bottles

Watercolor painting based on photo of Jacob Petit, Paris Porcelain Perfume Bottles Ca. 1850’s

Now that all of the living room chairs are finally finished (see previous posts), I’ve gotten back to painting.  This illustration was started about a month ago, but I had put it aside to finish up some other projects.  The blue and gold patterns are not exact copies – I decided to modify them for the painting.  I thought it would be more interesting if there were some differences between the two vessels instead of the original matched pair.  Also, the gold on the base and top is now faded on the originals, which you can see here.

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One Down, Three to Go

The upholstery project is going well, all four bottom cushions are covered and two of the backs are finished.  One chair has been completely assembled:

At this rate, we’ll be eating in style and I’ll get back to painting by next weekend.

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Chair Upholstery – still in progress…

About 9 months ago, I decided to reupholster our dining room chairs.  The teak Danish modern set had been given to us by my parents.  They had purchased this back in the 80’s, and now the foam cushion was poking through worn spots in the retro fabric.  I have never done upholstery before, but I figured that since JoAnne fabrics had such a large section devoted to this craft, it was something I could handle.  After disassembling the chairs and removing the foam and fabric, it was time to use spray adhesive to attach the new foam.  The spray can advised that it be used outside or in a ventilated area.  However, at the time, it was still winter, so I put the project aside.  In the middle of summer, I finally got up the nerve to do the next step.  I had entered unfamiliar territory and was afraid of making the chairs ugly and/or wasting time and money ruining the supplies.  However, the foam attachment went very well.  Then I procrastinated on shaping and attaching the fabric, for the same reasons I procrastinated on attaching the foam.  This past week I became frustrated with how crowded my studio was feeling, even though I had rearranged furniture and added new shelves inside the closet several weeks ago.  Part of the problem has been that the upholstery project lives on the floor barely out of the walkway.  Friday night I decided that I needed to take back this space, which meant I would upholster instead of paint this weekend.  Even if it meant finding out that this had been a terrible idea and I needed to eventually purchase new adult chairs – yes, we’ve been using folding chairs at the dining table for nine months.  I decided that instead of worrying about the end result, I should just do the next step in the process to the best of my ability.  Then, do the next step after that as best as I could and keep going until the chairs are assempled.  The feeling of just doing the very next step was motivating.  I was able to iron and cut out all of the coverings and muslin under cover, and started on the first back.  So far, so good:

upholstry compressed

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Vacation in the Shenandoah Valley

tiger large compressed

Star, a tiger at the Luray Zoo (a rescue zoo)

This week Duane and I took a break to explore the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  Although the weather was overcast for most of the trip, we did get a good view from Mary’s Rock on our first foray onto Skyline Drive.  We saw a bear, deer, a walking stick bug, a snail with a shell that looked like a leaf, and many large millipedes.

Luray caverns was incredible.  The formations were amazing and they did a good job of making the path and handrails safe, despite the amount of moisture in the active parts of the cave.  If you have the opportunity to visit, the price of admission is worth it.

Skyline drive compressed

View from Skyline drive

 

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Christmas Art and a New Italian Inspired Recipe

This past week I finished cleaning up the below Christmas picture in Photoshop.  I’ve been thinking of getting cards and prints of it for my Etsy shop.  The shop has been empty for a while now because I wanted to focus on improving my technique.

Partridge in a Pear Tree – Watercolor

Last night, I was feeling creative in the kitchen and came up with an Italian inspired casserole.  This was mostly fueled by the need to use up tomatoes and zucchinis from our garden.  I also made some Parmesan roasted potatoes with Greek yogurt and chives spread.

Cheese and veggie Italian casserole

This dish cheese and veggie is vegetarian and grain-free.

Italian Bean Casserole

1 can mixed Italian beans
1 clove of garlic, chopped
sliced tomatoes (roma or other low-moisture tomato)
olive oil
black pepper
parsley
oregano
basil
ricotta cheese
sliced zucchini
mozzarella

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  I used a high-sided, glass bread loaf dish, but you could use any casserole dish, since this recipe scales well.  Drain the can of beans and pour into your dish.  Mix the garlic into the beans.  Add a layer of sliced tomatoes.  Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil.  Sprinkle the tomatoes with black pepper, parsley, oregano, and basil to your liking.  Smear a layer of ricotta cheese on top, covering the tomatoes completely.  Lay zucchini slices next.  Top with mozzarella cheese and more black pepper, parsley, oregano, and basil.  Bake for about 50 minutes.  This is not a solid casserole like lasagna, so it will be loose.

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