Sign, Sign – Everywhere a Sign

enjoy the little things sign

My daughter-in-law, Colleen, has been on a roll making fun signs for our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop!

just roll with it sign

We are also feathering the nest preparing for

our nest sign

the joy of our little one’s arrival in a few months.

joy

And who is ready for Fall?  With pumpkins and hayrides…

pumpkins and hayrides sign

and time in the kitchen…

fresh baked pies

fresh milk sign

fresh eggs sign

or end of summer ice cream cone treats…

ice cream

and long, lingering bubble baths.

hot baths

I love all these sweet signs and wanted to share with you.

Always stay humble and kind sign

If you or anyone you know would enjoy any of these in their home or find them a great gift, be sure to check out our shop:  McKinneyX2Designs.

I also have some original watercolor artwork, as well as prints

pink abstract watercolor

and greeting cards.

flamingo cards

Happy Sunday!

Do something you love, and cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Beautiful Hello

summer phlox

I smiled at you,
and I said “hello.”

You smiled back,
and we both continued on our way.

When we crossed paths again
in the next aisle of our local supermarket

you stopped me,
and you looked directly into my eyes,

and you told me
I was the most beautiful person you have ever seen.

I looked back at you
more than dumbfounded.

I am clearly not the most beautiful person
even in the supermarket that day

let alone being bestowed such an honor
as the most beautiful ever.

I told you
I am sure you are mistaken.

You said, “Oh no,”
I’ve seen many.

I’ve lived a lot of years,
and I have seen my fair share of people.

These days, I rarely encounter
anyone who even notices me passing by their way

let alone one who looks me in the eyes and smiles
and genuinely greets me.

You are the most beautiful person
I have ever seen.

I will never forget you
though many years have passed.

My skin is becoming more like I remember
thinking yours was.

You made my day.
You made my week.

Heck – let’s face it –
You made my year – maybe two.

I am still far from the most beautiful,
but you made me realize

beauty is so much more
than the physical appearance.

You – sweet, gentle man
may be the most beautiful person I have ever seen.

You impacted me so deeply
and so profoundly.

You taught me a lesson
I have carried with me through my life.

A lesson that has carried me through times
of darkness and doubt.

Beauty can take on many forms
and be seen through different lenses.

Sometimes beauty is a simple, sincere
“hello.”

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Friday Night is Pizza Night

pizza 2

Friday night is often pizza night at our house, and although we often order in, sometimes we make our own homemade pizza.  It really is a fun way to get the whole gang engaged in the kitchen, and allows everyone to make their pizza just they way they like it.

pizza 1

This is a great, quick and easy fool-proof recipe for dough that you can top with any toppings you like.  It can be made ahead or right when you are ready to eat.

pizza3

One of my favorites is to spread roasted garlic on the dough, top with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and fresh tomatoes.  Sometimes simple is the best.

Other times, we spread with tomato sauce and top with pepperoni, crispy crumbled bacon, sauteed onions and peppers, mushrooms, banana pepper rings, and/or black olives.

The only rule is the cheese MUST be fresh sliced mozzarella – no pre-packaged, shredded cheese allowed.  There simply is no comparison.

What is your favorite pizza topping?

Homemade Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

Ingredients:pizza 1

  • 1 (.25 oz) pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (approx. 110 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp corn meal

Directions:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand 10 min.

Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and oil.  Combine well by kneading until smooth.  Let set for at least 5 min., or up to several hours.

If you have let the dough rise, punch down.  Stretch and toss or roll dough out onto baking stone or pizza dish sprinkled with corn meal.

Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated 450 degree F oven over for 15 -20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Big Magic & Intracranial Jewelry-Making

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press

I have been so inspired lately by a book I am listening to on Audible during those precious 30 minutes a day I spend on the elliptical or treadmill early in the morning at the gym.  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) was recommended to me by Dawn, a blogging friend who shares her own beautiful creativity at Petals. Paper, Simple Thymes.  I am so glad I took her advice and got it!  And it is such a joy to listen to it read by author Elizabeth herself with all the passion and inflection she adds throughout.

I want to share an excerpt with you that hit a chord with me the other morning (and there are many of these!)  During this excerpt, Gilbert is sharing about a time she interviewed musician Tom Waits for GQ Magazine.  I loved everything he had to say to her and she wrote about him, but I want to share this little piece in particular:

“Over the years, Tom Waits finally found his sense of permission to deal with his creativity more lightly – without so much drama – without so much fear.  A lot of this lightness, Waits said, came from watching his children grow up and seeing their total freedom of creative expression.  He noticed that his children felt fully entitled to make up songs all the time, and when they were done with them, they would toss them out ‘like little origami things, or paper airplanes.’  Then they would sing the next song that came through the channel.  They never seemed to worry that the flow of ideas would dry up.   They never stressed about their creativity, and they never competed against themselves; they merely lived within their inspiration, comfortable and unquestioning.

Waits had once been the opposite of that as a creator.  He told me that he’d struggled deeply with his creativity in his youth because – like many serious young men – he wanted his work to be better than other people’s work.  He wanted to be complex and intense.  There was anguish, there was torment, there was drinking, there were dark nights of the soul.  He was lost in the cult of artistic suffering, but he called that suffering by another name: dedication.

But through watching his children create so freely, Waits had an epiphany: it wasn’t actually that big a deal.  He told me, ‘I realized as a songwriter, the only thing I really do is make jewelry for the inside of other people’s minds.’  Music is nothing more than decoration for the imagination.  That’s all it is.  That realization, Waits said, seemed to open things up for him.  Songwriting became less painful after that.

Intracranial jewelry-making!  What a cool job!”

Does that strike you like it does me?  So with this newfound creative freedom floating through my cranium, I splashed some paint around this weekend that resulted in this.  Here is some of my “intracranial jewelry” to share.

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press matted and framed

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press matted and framed to 19 x 23

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Peach and Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake 1

Sunday was a rather rainy, oppressively humid, relaxing, fabulous, lazy, stay-in-the-house kinda day.  What better kind of day to bake a beautiful treat like this Greek yogurt cake with fresh, juicy, ripe peaches…

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake fresh peaches

and tart, tangy, locally-grown blueberries…

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake fresh blueberries

for a lovely dessert!

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake slice

OH How Yummy…

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

and OH How Beautiful!

Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake 2

Moist and sweet – but not too sweet, bursting with fresh summer fruit flavor, delicious warm or cold, amazing alone – and possibly even more amazing with a dollop of whipped cream or melting vanilla ice cream.

Hope you’ll give this a try.

Here is the recipe slightly adapted from JuliasAlbum.

Fresh Peach and Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake

Ingredients:Peach Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake 1

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 fresh, ripe peaches, sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp raw or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the side and bottom of a 9″ springform pan with Pam cooking spray.  Line bottom with parchment paper, and spray it too.

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy for approx. 2-3 minutes on high speed of an electric mixer.  Add vanilla and Greek yogurt, and continue beating for another minute.

With the mixer on low, add baking powder, baking soda, and then flour, and mix just until combined.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Top with two of the peaches, sliced, and two-thirds of the blueberries in any design you like.  Sprinkle the fruit with sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Pull cake out and add the third peach, sliced, and the remaining blueberries.  Return to oven, and continue baking for 15-20 more minutes until cake is golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for about 40 minutes, and then release cake from the springform pan.   Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Rocket Pear to Ground Control: “Ready for Take Off”

rocket pear taking off

Are you ready for this adventure called “Today?”

Make it magical…
Make it creative…

Be imaginative…
Be silly…

Gain inspiration from whatever comes your way.
Have Fun!

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

I could have been bummed about that blurry leaf in the bottom left of this photo I took the other day on a walk getting in the way of allowing this to be a “perfect” pear photo, but instead, I had to laugh.  What I somehow crazily saw was silly – a pear rocket ship firing up for take off with a big puff of steam behind it.  Now isn’t that a more FUN way to look at it?!  

 

A Giant Blue Feather

Blue Feather Large 16 x 20 Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 300 lb Cold Press

    Giant Blue Feather 17 x 22″ Watercolor – Fabriano Artistico 300 lb Cold Press

Some of my sweet “regulars” here at LifeinBetween.me might remember a very similar painting I shared last month of a Blue Feather….

And even though this one looks about the same size as that first one here…..
in real life, it is hugely different!

The first one was 5 x 7″…

This one…. is 17 x 22″!

To try to give you a feel for the size, I took a photo of my son, Nick, holding it.  Nick is 6’3″ tall.

Nick holding Watercolor Blue Feather 17x22

Why?  You might be asking…. Did I paint such a large blue feather?!

It was actually a requested piece.

Someone who saw the blue feather cards on our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY page asked if she could have it in a large painting.

So I tore a full sheet of Fabriano Artistico 300 lb Cold Press in half and started splashing water and paint with abandon!

I am thrilled to report she loved it.

I am also thrilled to report what a joy it was to create.

What a joyous journey it is discovering my passion for creativity.

Are you finding joy in your journey?

Happy Friday my friends!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi