Vacation in the Shenandoah Valley

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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.

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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
ricotta cheese
sliced zucchini

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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Three Peppers

I spent this week working on a new project for Christmas, which I’ll make a post of next Sunday.  In the meantime, here is another veggie painting:

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Cabbage – The Beginning of Autumn


Although I am not a huge fan of cabbage dishes, I have always liked the plant for its own beauty.  There are so many interesting colors in cabbage and many varieties are not represented at the grocery store.  But when people choose to put them in their gardens, the giant leaves and head make this plant stand out from the rest of the vegetables.



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3 Radishes


This is my latest veggie painting.  For this illustration, I wanted to paint with complimentary colors, which is why I chose radishes as the subject.


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Weekend project – Trash to Treasure

This new space gives an extra dimension to my studio which I can dedicate to calming and beautiful objects.

Saturday morning while flipping through the Merchandiser and sipping coffee, I saw an ad for a yard sale on the other side of town offering beads and art supplies, so I decided to check it out.  The weather was gorgeous – even though it is the beginning of September, I could smell autumn in the air.  The sort of weather that propels you outside.  The sale was at a city house up on the porch and along the sidewalk.  I first spotted two small, dirty, white milk glass vases.  They had a retro geometric pattern that I digged.  Then, I saw the unfinished shelf .  I’ve been wanting to add a shelf to my studio for some time, spending hours on Pinterest contemplating the design and what I wanted to spend.  Total asking price for the shelf and vases: $3.

The supports were removed with a screwdriver and then the base was given three coats with paint leftover from a previous home decor project.

I used a leveler to ensure that the shelf was straight while I marked the holes for the screws and later twisted them into place.

Lemon thyme from my garden resting in the freshly washed vase.

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Fresh Asparagus – Finished painting and pencil sketch







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