Red Rocks of Sedona in Watercolor

Red Rocks of Sedona Arizona from Chapel of the Holy Cross 8x10 Watercolor 140lb Arches Cold Press

Red Rocks of Sedona Arizona from Chapel of the Holy Cross 8×10 Watercolor 140lb Arches Cold Press

Red Rocks of Sedona in Watercolor.

In trying to keep up with practicing and posting a watercolor painting every other day for #WorldWatercolorMonth in July, I had a little bit of time last evening to give my first go at painting a very loose and quick landscape of a photo I took on our recent trip to Sedona, Arizona.

The photo was taken from a high spot right outside the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a beautiful Roman Catholic Chapel built into the buttes of Sedona.

Many have tried to capture the beauty of the red rocks of Sedona.  Many have succeeded FAR better than me!  But I truly don’t know that any photo or painting can do the extraordinary scenery of this majestic landscape justice.  It was fun trying.  It was fun remembering the day and our time with Jayme and Ryan.  It was fun simply splashing paint.

That’s what life in between is about…. having fun with that time doing what you love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Colors Used:  Daniel Smith Raw Sienna, Indian Red, Permanent Red Deep, Olive Green, Sap Green, Perylene Green, Cerulean Blue

 

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale.

This past weekend, a group of girls and I went on our annual “girlfriend camp vacation.”
We’ve gone to various places over the past few years including a beach week at Ocean Isle and having various “camp staycations” at each other’s homes.

One of my BFF’s (who I affectionately named Bubby about 20 years ago when Hubby and I met her and her Hubby on an airplane heading to the same cruise) and I created Girlfriend Camp (or GFC as we have coined it) quite a few years ago for just the two of us to get together.  We would meet up a couple times a year at one or the other’s house or at a destination in between since we live about two hours apart.

Since then, GFC has expanded to some of her friends and some of my friends at different times.  We are now all friends and share a very special GFC bond!

This year, Bubby wanted to visit Lily Dale, NY as part of our vacation.  I had never heard of it, but am always up for an adventure and new experiences.

And that it was!

Lily Dale is a small community  located in southwestern New York.  It has a population of 275, but welcomes approximately 22,000 visitors each year.  The purpose of Lily Dale is to further the science, philosophy, and religion of Spiritualism.

It is a place of pilgrimage for many Spiritualists and others interested in Spiritualism, the paranormal, and New Age topics.  Many medium and Spiritualist healers reside in Lily Dale.

I can’t say that I’ve been convinced to believe that Mediums can communicate with spirits (even though a Medium provided me with the name and spelling of my recently-passed brother), but what I can say is that it is a lovely and loving place.

No matter who we encountered during our visit to Lily Dale – whether they be other guests or Lily Dale residents,  every person was kind and loving.  There is a true sense of peace in this little place on earth.

There are small trails through the woods to walk –  one of which is a “Fairy Trail…”


where lovely little fairy houses and communities are on display,

and room is made for fairies (and visitors) to dance with nature.

Gathering places have been created….

for people to gather, pray, meditate,

and possibly connect with the spirits of their loved ones.

Healing services are held, and ribbons of healing and prayer are tied on a prayer tree in chains to offer continuous remembrances for loved ones.  Guests are offered the opportunity to write a prayer intention or a name on a ribbon.  By the end of each summer, hundreds of ribbons are tied to the prayer tree and sing gently in the breeze. At the end of each summer, healers gather in prayer and respectfully take the ribbons from the tree. They are brought to the closing ceremony, where a final blessing is said over the ribbons for healing and for the world.

Here we are in Lily Dale.  Full of love.  Full of life.  Feeling the peace.  Open to the experience.

And the next day……. in true GFC fashion – we spent the day visiting winerys and breweries and celebrating life and freedom and peace and friendship.


Cheers to girlfriends!  Cheers to friendship!  Cheers to kindness!  Cheers to acceptance!  Cheers to open minds!  Cheers to peace!  Cheers to love!

And finally,

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Chippy the Chipmunk

Chippy the Chipmunk Watercolor 8x10 140 lb Artistico Cold Press

Chippy the Chipmunk Watercolor 8×10 140 lb Artistico Cold Press

Chippy the Chipmunk

Down south in the state of Mississippi
lived a chipmunk whose name was Chippy.

Chippy was sometimes a bit lippy
especially when the air was nippy.

But his mom knew Chippy was not really drippy,
although he could be a little flippy.

Chippy was usually very zippy,
which made him mom say, “Yippee!”

“Chippy is the best zippy chippy
of all the zippy chippies in Mississippi!”

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi


This is just 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
A Snail’s Tale

#WorldWatercolorMonth

 

Difficult Paths

Scottsdale, AZ - July, 2017

Scottsdale, AZ – July, 2017

Difficult Paths.

Difficult paths
often lead to
beautiful destinations.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

On a recent trip to Arizona, I loved snapping shots of the beautiful desert scenery.  Little did I know how sharp and painful beautiful cactus plants are when you rub up against them too close………. In Steve Erkel voice….. “Did I do that????”  Yep!  Yep I did!

Beauty in the Desert

Pink Flowering Cactus Watercolor - Beauty in the Desert - 5x7 140lb Arches Cold Press

Pink Flowering Cactus Watercolor – Beauty in the Desert – 5×7 140lb Arches Cold Press

Pink Flowering Cactus Watercolor – Beauty in the Desert.

On our recent trip to Arizona, I was really blown away by the beauty in the desert.

I’ve heard some say it is brown and dry and “ugly.”  I disagree.

Though it is so very different from the lush green that people who live in the Eastern U.S. are accustomed to, there is so much beauty in the foliage and the terrain.

Many of the cacti were blooming when we were there, and I was so drawn to the pink flowering ones.

Here is my version of Beauty in the Desert – a pink flowering cactus.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#WorldWatercolorMonth

#McKinneyX2Designs ETSY Shop

Paints used:  Rembrandt Quinacridone Rose, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold, Olive Green, and Perylene Green.

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! 🙂

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 – I have no relationship to Jess at WorksofHeartDesign Co., nor did I receive any compensation for promoting – I 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 – that you can take half a cake to – LOL!)

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 – am 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