The Magic of Moonlight

Full Moon over Scottsdale, Arizona - July, 2017

Full Moon over Scottsdale, Arizona – July, 2017

The Magic of Moonlight.

The full moon’s smoldering glow
illuminates the evening desert sky

Peeking and hiding amidst billowy clouds
in shades of creamy coral and milky opal.

Palm trees elegantly pirouette
with delicate fronds fluttering fluidly

While the wind whispers a soft lullaby
in hushed tones of serene tranquility.

Good night sweet summer day…
sleep peacefully in contented slumber.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Snail’s Tale

Snail Tale Gail Watercolor 8x10 140lb Arches Cold Press

Snail Tale Gail Watercolor 8×10 140lb Arches Cold Press

A Snail’s Tale.

Slithering along the rust-colored earth and shale,
a beautifully bright snail
whose name was Gail
set sail.

Gail was on her way to a sale –
she hoped she would make it without fail,
but it really was to no avail…
Do you know how slow a snail does travail?

But who needs to fight tooth and nail
when you already blaze a trail
that is off the scale…?
Look at you Gail  – you will prevail!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This is one of a series of fun animal watercolor paintings and rhymes I am pursuing.
See the others:
A Rare Hare with Flare
A Duck Named Chuck
A Fawn at Dawn
Rooty the Rooster
A Precocious Pink Pig  
Hal the Colorful Cow
A Mouse named Klaus

Pam the Lamb
An Otterly Awesome Otter
Earl the Squirrel
Adele the Gazelle

PS – This one is for you Dena! ūüôā

Painting inspired by the beautiful work of Tilen Ti

Funny Kitchen Towels – A Wedding Shower Gift Idea

Funny Kitchen Dish Towels – A Wedding Shower Gift Idea.

This past weekend, I went to a bridal shower for a sweet young lady who I wanted to get something special for.

Becky has been out on her own for a while, so she has most of the “basics” some brides need when starting out.

One thing she is known for is her an amazing sense of humor, so when I saw these adorable funny kitchen towels on ETSY at WorksOfHeartDesignCo., I just knew I had to get them for her.

In case you can’t read on the photo, they are each personalized with her name and have the following sayings:

  • I Like Big Bundts and I Cannot Lie (Bundt Pan)
  • This is How I Roll (Rolling Pin)
  • Don’t Go Baking My Heart (Pie)
  • Chop it Like its Hot (Knives)
  • Shake it Up Baby (Salt & Pepper Shakers)
  • I Say Whip It, and Whip it Good (Whisk)
  • You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round (Electric Mixer)

I added a few kitchen tools and gadgets, put it all in a fun basket and wrapped with clear cellophane tied with a big bow.

If you are looking for a cute and unique idea for a bridal shower, wedding gift, or someone who loves (or hates) the kitchen, I think these are so cute!  (and FYI РI have no relationship to Jess at WorksofHeartDesign Co., nor did I receive any compensation for promoting РI simply just love her products!)

Wishing Becky and Michael a lifetime of happiness and love!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Splashing in Quinacridone Rose & Gold

Quinacridone Rose Abstract Floral Watercolor - 8x10 on 140lb Arches Cold Press

Quinacridone Rose Abstract Floral Watercolor – 8×10 on 140lb Arches Cold Press

Splashing in Quinacridone Rose and Gold.

A little diversion from my recent watercolor animal rhyme series back to one of my favorite things to paint – loose, abstract, impressionistic florals!

I broke out my brand new 20ml tube of Royal Talens Rembrandt Artist Quality Watercolor Quinacridone Rose that I won for FREE from Charlie at Doodlewash for #WorldWatercolorMonth.  It was just one of 15 amazingly huge, juicy, luscious 20ml tubes, along with 3 beautiful bottles of Ecoline Liquid Watercolor Paint and 4 markers that I will have hours of fun playing with.

Quinacridones are a favorite of mine.  For this painting, I used three colors, Quin Rose, Quin Gold, and Olive Green (DS) in some big and some small layers and bubbles and strokes.

Oh what fun it was, and I kinda love how it turned out. ¬†This one is going into our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop, where I sell original paintings, prints, and cards, and my daughter-in-law, Colleen, makes fun and beautiful rustic signs and decor for the home from reclaimed pallet wood. ¬†(Feel free to check it out and help us spread the word! ¬†And as a thank you from us – if you refer a friend who places an order and lets us know they were referred from your name via the blog, we’ll send you a free box of cards – your choice! ¬†AND if you place an order and let us know you saw it here, we’ll also send you a free box of cards along with your order!)

Thanks again, Charlie, and Royal Talens North America for the beautiful Rembrandt Paints!  I LOVE the Quinacridone Rose and find it to be as lovely as my Daniel Smith and Winsor Newton versions of the same color.

Can’t wait to experiment with more!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about Royal Talens North America, who was so extremely generous with this beautiful gift, join me in signing up for their newsletter HERE!

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake.

What is a girl to do when a bestie friend comes home after a long time away?!

Well…. run over and visit and hug as soon as possible! ¬†Right?!

But you can’t go empty handed!

So – what to bake to take? ¬†I needed something quick, but yummy, that my sweet friend Janet and her Mom and Dad would enjoy…

I had some amazing fresh blueberries in the fridge I had recently bought at a local farm market, so I decided to make a blueberry cake.

And OH was it yummy!  (I know because I kept half for hubby and me and took half to them.  She is that kind of friend!  The best kind Рthat you can take half a cake to РLOL!)

I arrived just in time to serve it to them for dessert!

Oh the joy of friendship!  Oh the joy of baking and sharing!

Make this for yourself!  Make this to give away!  But make this amazing Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake today!  (oh dear Рam I still rhyming?! )

Welcome home sweet Janet!  Looking forward to our time together.

Here is the recipe I made as I adapted from LifeLoveandSugar:

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (light sour cream works fine)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used Skim)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 8-9 inch cake pan by greasing bottom and sides with shortening and then placing a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.

Prepare streusel by combining ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork.  Set aside.

Prepare cake batter by beating sugar and butter in electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream and milk  until well incorporated.  Add egg and vanilla.  Finally, add baking powder, then flour just until thoroughly combined.

Spread half of the batter in prepared pan.  Top with half of the streusel mixture, then  3/4 cup blueberries.  Repeat batter, streusel, then 1 cup blueberries.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan.

Prepare glaze by  by combining powdered sugar and milk until a glaze consistency is achieved.  Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed.

Drizzle cooled cake with glaze, and top with remaining 1/4 cup fresh blueberries.

Serve warm or cold – plain or with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Adele the Gazelle

Adele the Gazelle Watercolor 8x10 140lb Arches Cold Press

Adele the Gazelle Watercolor 8×10 140lb Arches Cold Press

Adele the Gazelle
was quite the bombshell.

She had the most magnificent smell,
it was almost as if she cast a magic spell.

Though most gazelles are not permitted to fly,  Adele was one you could not tell.
She simply believed it a myth she must and would dispel.

So after her jet flight and arrival at the airport in Nevel,
she proceeded directly to slide down the luggage carousel.

She bid her traveling friends farewell,
and headed northwest towards her hotel.

And when she rang the desk’s silver bell,
you should have seen the personnel!

But then they smelled Adele so swell,
as the stories go that they do tell,

And just like magic, they knew full well,
they, too, were under her incredible spell.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This is one of a series of fun animal watercolor paintings and rhymes I am pursuing.
See the others:
A Rare Hare with Flare
A Duck Named Chuck
A Fawn at Dawn
Rooty the Rooster
A Precocious Pink Pig  
Hal the Colorful Cow
A Mouse named Klaus

Pam the Lamb
An Otterly Awesome Otter
Earl the Squirrel

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob.

It is Fresh Sweet Corn on the Cob Season in our part of the world!

Corn is a vegetable we rarely eat – except in the heat of summer when it is fresh and sweet and bought the same day it was picked from a local farm stand.

After being in Arizona for a week recently, where it seemed everything we ordered had grilled or roasted corn in it (even a delicious deconstructed Caesar Salad), I had corn on the brain.

We had always boiled our sweet corn on the cob, but I fell in love with the magically charred kernels we experienced on our Southwest trip, so we decided to grill it this time.

O.M.G!  We LOVED it!  Oh how easy!  Keep the heat outside by using the grill.  And save clean up time with no pots of boiling hot water.

When I buy corn on the cob, even though is only the two of us now, I buy a full dozen.  We usually only eat about half of it, so we cut the rest off the cob and either freeze it in Ziploc bags for a fresh corn treat in the winter or save it for using in other recipes or reheating another day that week.

Here is how we did it.  Quick, easy, and oh so delicious!

By the way – I think the mistake many people make with corn on the cob is OVERcooking it. ¬†Sweet corn on the cob truly tastes its best when you just cook it long enough to heat, but retain its wonderful sweetness, crunch and flavor. ¬†Also, don’t look for the biggest ears of corn. ¬†They could likely be tough. ¬†Look for smaller, young, tender ears, and buy them from the farm or farm market – not the grocery store, where it could be several days old. ¬†There is nothing like eating corn the day it is picked!

Roll it in some butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper for even more yumminess, but when you get fresh, sweet, seasonal corn, it barely needs anything else!

Here is how we made it.

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen fresh ears of corn on the cob

Directions:

Heat grill to approximately 450 degrees F.

Husk corn, and clean of the silks as best you can.  Rinse under cold water.

Place cleaned ears of corn directly on grill for 5 minutes.  Turn and grill for another 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with sweet butter, salt, and pepper.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Earl the Squirrel

Earl the Squirrel Watercolor 8×10 140lb Arches Cold Press

Earl the Squirrel. 

On the edge of the forest lived a squirrel named Earl.
He had a sister, whose name was Pearl.

The two of them loved to dance and twirl,
especially when visiting their cousin, Cheryl.

They sometimes ate ice cream cones of chocolate and vanilla swirl
that were tipped on the top with a frosty curl.

But more often they caught an acorn or berry that was hurled
on a branch or the trunk of a tree that was burled.

Their tails were fluffy but they kept them at a furl
in case they would have to run and scutter and whirl.

Which was often the case when a dog named Merle
chased them back to the edge of their world.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This is one of a series of fun animal watercolor paintings and rhymes I am pursuing.
See the others:
A Rare Hare with Flare
A Duck Named Chuck
A Fawn at Dawn
Rooty the Rooster
A Precocious Pink Pig  
Hal the Colorful Cow
A Mouse named Klaus

Pam the Lamb
An Otterly Awesome Otter

The background blue on this painting was done using my new Rembrandt Series 3 Artist Quality Cerulean Blue Watercolor Paint I WON for FREE from Charlie at Doodlewash for #WorldWatercolorMonth.  Thanks Charlie!  I’ll be trying more of the wonderful colors soon.

Earl the Squirrel was inspired by my loyal TheCreativeLifeinBetween.com blog-following friends, Ellen and Benjamin.

Red Rock Mountains of Sedona

Last week, Hubby and I had the great privilege of traveling approximately 2,000 miles across the U.S. to visit a beautiful area of our country far different from the area we live in – the desert Southwest of Scottsdale and Sedona, Arizona.

A highlight of our trip was sightseeing the beautiful Red Rock Mountains of Sedona. ¬†I took quite a few pics, but haven’t had much time to look at yet since we’ve just returned. ¬†Here is one I really like, but even it doesn’t compare to the enormity, the vastness, and the beauty of experiencing this beautiful corner of the world in person.

The rocks in Sedona are a deep, rich, orange-red like no others around. ¬†Apparently, they are comprised of sediment layers deposited over many millions of years*.¬†The shale foundation is the remainder of ancient swamp lands. Other layers are the remainder of an ancient beachfront, known as the ‚ÄúSchnebly Hill Formation,‚ÄĚ that deposited iron about 275 million years ago. The Coconino sandstone layer was formed at a time when Sahara-like dunes covered the majority of the Western US. ¬†The Kaibab limestone layer was deposited when a warm shallow sea covered the area about 250 million years ago.

The Red Rocks we see today were formed several million years ago when the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau that created the Grand Canyon also caused water to carve out Sedona’s red rock, cake-like layers. Currently, Sedona is considered to be a part of the Colorado Plateau and is in the process of making mountains, raising an average of one inch every 60-80 years!

The temperatures during our one-week visit ranged between a  low of 102 to a high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit!  Whoooowheee it was hot!  It was a different kind of hot than we are used to in the Eastern part of the U.S., however, as the humidity levels were only around 10% as compared to our typical 50-100%, so it was much more pleasant.  (Especially when in the pool with a frozen margarita!)

This is a place in the U.S. that anyone who can, should experience!

Thanks for the memories Sedona!
I look forward to creating some paintings from your beautiful inspiration!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S. Thanks Jayme and Ryan for being our gracious tour guides! ¬†‚̧

* https://redrockscenicbyway.com/

Distant Memories

A Distant Ship from Shore Watercolor

A Distant Ship from Shore Watercolor

Distant memories.

I’m not much of a landscape artist.
I try, and I struggle, but I’m going to keep on trying.

One day I was practicing skies and clouds as a warm-up,
and came up with this super quick, simple little study.

It just kind of turned into a beach scene
with sea and sand and tall grasses.

It reminds me of lazy summer family vacations spent
when the boys were young (and so were we!)

It reminds me of Nagshead and Corolla and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
It reminds me of Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head in South Carolina.

It reminds me of Ocean City, New Jersey and Maryland.
Of hot sand and cool breezes and refreshing, salty water.

Distant, joy-filled memories
like this distant ship from shore.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#WorldWatercolorMonth