Iris I Could…

Blue Iris in Cascade Green Negative Watercolor 11x14

Blue Iris in Cascade Green Negative Watercolor 11×14

Iris I Could…

Iris I could make one unhappy person smile today.
Iris I could remember punch lines to jokes to make one person laugh today.

Iris I could wave a magic wand that sprinkled happiness and joy.
Iris life was easier.

Iris each one reading this
finds one small moment to cherish today.

Iris you found humor and a bit of light-heartedness
in my silly pun.

Life can be difficult,
and we must help each other get through.

———-

I painted this Iris this weekend.
It was my fifth try!
I was trying to use a negative watercolor painting technique,
and I just had to use this amazing new color a friend here at TheCreativeLifeinBetween told me about – Daniel Smith Cascade Green.

I struggle with this technique, but I so wanted to create a background with this green color that fades and granulates into the most amazing blue with more water.  The green (and light blue) all around the iris are from that one color.  I splashed in a little new gamboge and a drop or two of orange and ultramarine to tie the background colors into the flower, but the background is mostly this mesmerizing cascade green.

The technique involves painting the background first around the shape of the object – creating the negative white space, where you then paint the object.  This is where I kept getting thrown off.  I’m not good at having outside lines to stay within!

Thanks to my friend, Dena, who visits here often and leaves such lovely comments, for this color recommendation.  I love when other artists or photographers or bakers or writers share tips and tools of the trade.

Iris you a wonderful day.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

My original painting is for sale at our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop.  It is also available in prints and greeting cards.

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog: A Charlie Guest Post

Charlie celebrating The Year of The Dog 2/16/18 with a delicious bone

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog:  A Charlie Guest Post.

Hi Friends!  It’s your buddy Charlie here to wish you Happy New Year!
Chinese New Year that is.  And OH What a YEAR it is!

It is the YEAR of the DOG!
What could be better?!

Chinese New Year officially started on Friday, February 16th, but Mom and I were off on Friday.

Luckily Chinese New Year is typically celebrated for about two weeks, so it is not too late to join in on the party.

And this is a very special Year of the Dog.
It is the Year of the Earth Dog.
And it is the first one since 1958*.

Earth energy is all about getting grounded, creating security, and finding your balance as you move forward*.

People born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are also known as Dogs.

And guess what?!

Dad was born in 1958, so he is a Dog too!  WOOOHOOO!
(Mom is a Tiger – Roar!)

Mom and I did some internet research, and guess what else?
This story just keeps getting better and better.

Dogs are most compatible with rabbits, TIGERs, and horses.
Dogs are often pessimistic and need a Tiger’s reassurance.
Tigers also need a Dog’s loyalty.

(Sounds like Mom and Dad are a match made in “Chinese New Year” heaven!)

So Happy New Year from our family – two Dogs and one Tiger – to yours!

Woofs & Wags,
Charlie

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike the UPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link: thecreativelifeinbetween.com.   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.

I Need to at Least do Something

I Need to at Least do Something.

Like so many
of you
my heart
has been heavy.

Heavy with grief
for the families
who have
lost a child.

A child whose life
was stolen
from the devastating act of violence
that has so sadly become commonplace.

A life
taken away
in the blink of a moment…
in the shot of a gun.

An innocent young life
with a future stolen
in an event that has become
too commonplace.

A young person
robbed
of the privilege
of growing old.

A mother’s heart shattered,
A fathers’ soul shook,
A grandparent
left horrified.

What can we do?

We all ask the question.

So let’s make it our goal –
our contribution
to life…
our demonstration of love.

Let’s do
at least
one
small thing.

Maybe a hug
or maybe
a shared
story

of how
it felt
to be
that one.

I once was
that one –
alone
without a friend.

But I
made
it
through.

And there
is so much
more
to life

Once we
get through
those difficult
years

When
we think
it is all
that matters.

Let’s tell
our stories.
Let’s share
our anguish.

And then
let’s share our joy.
Let’s share
our happiness.

Life is
so much more
than a
teenager believes.

They just
don’t know it
at the
moment.

But we can tell  them
there is hope
and there
is a future

Where
more matters
than what
a friend thinks.

Let’s teach
our children
the value
of life.

Let’s teach
our children
they are worthy
of love.

Is it enough?
I really don’t know.
But it is something
I can do.

And I need
to do something.
I need to at least
do something.

Hugs,

Jodi

Orange – again and again and again

Loose Orange Floral Watercolor in Bowl – 11×14

Orange – again and again and again.

So it turns out orange is the favorite color of two favorite people I know who are getting married this summer.

So I’ve been playing around with painting some orange flowers that could or maybe not be backgrounds or parts of a wedding invitation.

The first painting was a super fun tutorial by another favorite of mine:  Andrew Geeson.  He did his in pinks and reds, but I did oranges.

This middle one was just pure fun and joy.  Something that could be covered up partially with a piece of paper square in the middle or on a diagonal with wedding detail/information on.

Bright Orange Abstract Tulip Background Watercolor 7 x 11

This last one is kind of my favorite.  I feel like I just got lucky with how it turned out, and it is actually on the back of another practice piece, but I thought it might be beautiful with words written on it as an invitation.

Soft Abstract Orange Flower Watercolor 7 x 10.5

Just some fun experiments with the joyful color of ORANGE!

Have a great day!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

The Misty Morning Fog

The Misty Morning Fog.

Arising to the misty morning fog
that beautifully softened what could have been a bleak view
caused me pause and made me think.

It made me think how a bit of fog
might help the way we critically look
at different people and different situations.

Ones we think are clear,
and we think are bitter,
but we really don’t understand.

Maybe a little spritz of magic mist
is what we need
to spray on our hearts

to prevent us from
so harshly judging
the things we believe.

A magic mist
of understanding
to soften our views,

to soothe our souls,
to unlock the love
that lives

in the
misty
morning
fog.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
May your day be filled with peace and love.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza.

We went out to dinner with friends a few weeks ago to an amazing local Italian restaurant  near us (Della Terra) that served a too-die-for 5-course dinner with wine pairings that included appetizers, salad, pizza, pasta, and dessert.

One of the things we all went nuts over was a pizza that had apples, prosciutto and  Gorgonzola cheese.

Well – who am I kidding?!  We loved EVERY single course we had, but this pizza was something I thought I might be able to recreate at home.

And O. M. G!!  This turned out so delicious!

It really went together pretty quickly and easily, and it so satisfied my pizza craving!

We often order in pizza on Friday nights at our house.  Just one of our routine guilty pleasures.

But this pizza is worth going to the trouble of making.

Be flexible with it, and make it with ingredients you love.  Add some spinach.  Switch out the apples for pears.  Throw on a few roasted pine nuts.  Add some rosemary and garlic to the pizza dough.

Have fun and be creative!

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Hope you’ll give it a try.

Prosciutto Apple Gorgonzola Pizza

  • Servings: 1 large pizza
  • Print

Ingredients:

Pizza Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Pizza Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 8 oz ball fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 large apple, thinly sliced (I used Gala)
  • 1 large sweet onion, caramelized with 2 Tbsp butter
  • 6 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced and fried
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Other:

  • 1-2 Tbsp corn meal

Directions:

Prepare crust by mixing 1 cup flour with yeast, salt, sugar, and water.  Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until a ball is formed.  Knead dough for 2 minutes.  Let rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with dish towel.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and prepare toppings while dough is resting.

Whisk mustard and honey to form sauce, slice Mozzarella and apple, caramelize onions, fry prosciutto, and crumble Gorgonzola.

Sprinkle corn meal on a large round baking stone, press dough on top until thin, using fingers and/or rolling pin.

Spread mustard/honey sauce on dough.  Top with Mozzarella, apple, caramelized onions, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Bake approximately 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and brown.

Remove from oven, and let rest 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Take Flight

Take Flight.

Take flight
above
the turquoise sea,

amidst
the pink and golden
sky.

Stretch
your wings
and soar so high,

let
freedom
guide your heart.

Embrace
the feelings
that you get

when you are
creating
art.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Just some words and feelings that came to mind when looking at this 5-minute practice painting I did one day experimenting with techniques.

What did I do?  I dropped in some granulating colors – lunar black and quinacridone gold to a wash of alizarin crimson.  I then splashed in some creamy white gouache to create a soft, but dramatic sunset sky.  I scraped in some flying sea gulls with a couple simple scrapes of a palette knife.  I blended cobalt teal with a dab of prussian blue and splashed in some more creamy white gouache.  I then splashed some drops of water from a mister bottle and dropped in just a couple flakes of sea salt.    I then walked away and waited for the magic to happen…. (the hardest part of all).

 

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles (Cookie Balls)

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles  (or Cookie Balls if we’re being less “fancy!”).

If you are looking for a simple, sweet, but festive little treat to share with friends or neighbors or with those you love, these little Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles might be just the ticket.

They are so simple to make, but turn out so elegant and delish!

You simply crush red velvet (or your favorite flavor) Oreo cookies in the food processor, mix with a block of cream cheese, and make into balls that you dip into chocolate.

Easy Peasy!

Sprinkles make them even more fun! (always!)

I gave little bags to neighbors with silly notes like “You are a SWEET neighbor” and “We LOVE having you for our neighbors.”  I shared others with friends and family.  They were a big hit!

Here is the recipe:

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles (Cookie Balls)

Ingredients:

Directions:

Crush oreo cookies in food processor to fine crumbs.  Add softened cream cheese and combine until “dough” forms.

Roll dough mixture into approximately 30 one-inch balls.  Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate.  I put mine in a tall, microwave-safe cup for one minute, stir, and then microwave for 30 more seconds.

Dip balls into melted chocolate with a fork, allowing excess to drip.  Place on parchment paper.  Decorate with sprinkles if desired.  Allow to set approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Kathy’s Bluebird in Watercolor

Kathy's Bluebird in Watercolor - 11x14 140 lb cold press

Kathy’s Bluebird in Watercolor – 11×14 140 lb cold press

Kathy’s Bluebird in Watercolor.

I finally remembered to post a bird painting on the right day for Draw a Bird Day which a gang of friendly, artistic bloggers celebrates of the 8th of every month (when we remember!).

Kathy, who blogs at Backyard Bird Nerd, always supplies us with plenty of great inspiration with her bird photography.  She recently captured a photo of an Eastern Bluebird that caught my eye and inspired this very loose interpretation.  I used her bird as a model, but had fun splashing it up in the loose style I love to do.  I took some artistic license in changing the piece of wood to a twig, adding the tail feathers that were hidden in her photo, making it a bit more of a summery, green scene instead of winter, and having some fun with color.  Awww – the beauty and freedom of art!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This bluebird painting is dedicated to the memory of my brother, Johnny, whose birthday would have been today.  RIP John P. Towle – February 8, 1964 – December 27, 2016.  You remain in my heart always.

This painting (original, prints, and cards) is available at McKinneyX2Designs as well as Berry Vine Gifts.

Daniel Smith watercolors used:  Cerulean Blue, Indigo, New Gamboge, Cadmium Orange, Olive Green, Perylene Green, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber.

Finger-Lickin’ Baby Back Ribs

Finger-Lickin’ Baby Back Ribs.

Any rib lovers out there?

We decided on ribs for our Super Bowl Sunday meal this past Sunday.  They are great football feasting food!

Hubby learned a great way to make them.

The secret to making them tender and fall-off-the-bone wonderful is in boiling them first in Coca-Cola.

After boiling them for a couple hours, you drain them, put them in a container, drench with your favorite barbecue sauce, cover tightly, and marinade overnight.

When you are ready to eat them, you simply throw them on the grill, or in our case, Hubby likes to throw them in our Pit Barrel Cooker and smoke them a bit.  In a half hour, you have the most amazing tender, fall-off-the bone, juicy pork ribs you’ve ever eaten.

I like to add a little more sauce on when I eat mine.  (I’m a little saucier than Hubby!)

I know many folks have their own way of making ribs with varying techniques – dry rubs, wet sauces, marinades, etc., but I have not found a way I like better than this simple full-proof recipe.

Hope you’ll give it a try and let me know.

Finger-Lickin' Baby Back Ribs

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cut ribs into 4 pieces.  Put in large pot.  Pour Coca-Cola over ribs until they are completely covered.  Put lid on pot, and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer about an hour or so until they are fully cooked.

Remove ribs from pot, and discard Coca-Cola.  Place ribs in airtight container.  Cover with barbecue sauce and lid.  Marinade overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.

A half hour before ready to serve, place on grill or in Pit Barrel Cooker and grill/heat through.

Serve with additional barbecue sauce if desired. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi