Cascade Green Pumpkin Watercolor

Cascade Green Pumpkin Original Watercolor by Jodi McKinney – 11×14

Cascade Green Pumpkin Watercolor.

Who said pumpkins have to always be orange???!!!

And…  What watercolor artist doesn’t adore playing with
Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green?!

Mix it up with a little Quinacridone Gold and a bit of Sepia for contrast and Voila!

I love all the shades of green and blue and yellow and brown and black created with the granulation of these pigments in this combination!

It was a fun pumpkin to create!

I’m excited to be one of the artists featured at one of our local town’s Sip and Stroll events this Thursday evening in Zelienople, PA.

I have the great honor of  being invited by my friends at Boutique 16063 – an amazing women’s boutique with the sweetest owner and team that making shopping there so much fun and make you feel like a million bucks when you walk out!

I’ll have some prints of this painting there and some cards (as well as a great selection of some of my other watercolor originals and framed prints as well as copies of the two children’s books I wrote and illustrated, Klaus the Mouse and Lucas the Lucky Lion).

The original of this painting is available through our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop or at Berry Vine Gifts in Bradford Woods, PA.

If you are local, I hope you will sip and stroll by on Thursday, September 19th between 6-9pm!

There will be lots of great beers and wine to choose from, food to eat, artists to explore, and great shoppes open to browse and shop in.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Opening Up- Being True to Me

My everblooming yellow rose bush of friendship from bestie JRH – 08/19

Opening Up.

I need to open up about something.
I have recently been struggling with blogging on a regular basis.

I want to keep this space true to me.
I want to be positive and encouraging and inspiring
(even though we all have bad days – right?).

Many times the things I write about (like my recent post, “Confidence“),
are not only to inspire you, but they are because I need to tell myself.

I’m working on being confident.
I’m working on being fine with just who I am.
But those that know me best,
know I often struggle with that.

I want to be liked – well – really…
I want to be loved (LOL!) by everyone.

I know it is impossible,
but it is something I struggle with….
a people pleaser?
part of my DNA?
identified in personality assessments!
my crutch!

But I’m working on it.

Something about getting older
allows us to be truer to ourselves.
(One of the great perks!)

As a 56 year-old, post-menopausal woman – mother – grandmother…
I am basically invisible to most strangers.

That 20 or 30-something year-old girl that every once in a while
got a whistle or a honk or a drink offer…
or any of those silly things that made me feel validated as a woman…
is ancient history.

And I do kinda like it.
It let’s me be okay with being me.

The me I am in my heart and soul
and mind.

Don’t get me wrong – I still want to look and be my best
(and I wouldn’t mind a drink offer!),
but I know I will never be that “attractive” the world defines for women anymore…
(if I ever was!).

It is fun to wear clothes I wouldn’t have before
and experiment with things I was afraid to be judged on – like art and poetry.

But I digress…
Oh how I digress…  GAH!
Ramble Ramble…
Me being me!

The struggle I want to share with you today is that I am feeling obligated lately to post blog posts at least three times a week on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays like I have been.

When I started blogging almost five and a half years ago in May of 2014,
I blogged every single day.
I kept that up for the better part of five years!
I scheduled posts ahead even when on vacation,
and I obsessively replied to every comment
and followed back most of the bloggers that followed me.

Most of the time I enjoyed it.
I shared things about me.
I shared recipes I loved.
I shared art I created.
I shared photographs I took.
I shared thoughts and words I wrote.

I love(d) the interaction –
and to be honest – the affirmation.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through this process,
and I’ve met some amazing people, many of whom I consider friends.

But the job of blog posting is becoming a bit of a chore….
a bit of an obligation.
And I don’t want to do it that way!

I hate when I have to come up with something for a Tuesday or Sunday or Thursday,
when I feel like I have nothing, and I create something just to have something.

So here is the deal…
I’m not quitting.
I really don’t want to.

But I do want to post just when I want to.

It might be once a week sometimes.
It might be once a month sometimes.
It might be every day some weeks.

If I feel I have relevant material,
and/or if I WANT to post,
I’m going to.

Heck with stats, number of followers,
getting somehow “famous” or recognized or whatever
my original intention might have been.

Going forward, I’m doing this for me…
for the enjoyment I get from it –
not from what I hope to get back.

I hope you will stay with me.
I understand if you won’t.

I want to open myself up to any glorious opportunities
that I may be blessed with that come my way.
I am allowing myself space to grow and expand my horizons.

I will continue to cherish all the moments!
And I will share them when I desire
for those who desire to read about them.

Thanks for listening.
Thanks for being here!
It really does mean so very much to me!

Cheers & Hugs until next time,
Jodi

Puppy-Sitting Trevor: A Charlie Guest Post

Puppy-Sitting Trevor:  A Charlie Guest Post.

Last weekend, we had a guest stay over.
He is my younger nephew, Trevor.

Though he is taller…..
and heavier….
and stronger than me…
He is DEFINITELY still
a PUPPY!

Mom and Dad think it is so much fun
to have him over.

And I like him…. don’t get me wrong.
I get along with all dogs and cats and deer and turkey
and people, and well – you know – everybody!

But when we puppy-sit,
it is also a lot of work for me!

Trevor wants to play play play…
ALL
THE
TIME.

I like to play, but this kid!!!!!
Gee Whiz!

He is constantly antagonizing me
with barks and jumps and little nips at the neck
to go go go!

He strews my bones and toys out all over the house…  and outside!
(but he does bring some of his own to share with me too, so that is really nice!)

If I have one of my bones out of my special bucket, that’s the one that he wants.
So I have to take turns and share.  I have to teach him you know.

Then there is the doggie door.
He loves to run in and outside like I do,
but he doesn’t know the boundaries of our yard.

So…..
when he is here, Mom puts a gate up on the porch so he doesn’t wander off.
And guess what that means??
I’m trapped in too!
NO FAIR – right??!!

But I’m a good boy and put up with it
since I know it is all part of being a good Uncle Charlie when we puppy-sit.

When we go for walks, it is pretty fun to show him my “stomping grounds”
and show him where all the juiciest grasses are to snack on and sample along the way.

At night, though, he does get a little jealous.
You see – I get to jump into bed between Mom and Dad when I’m ready to snuggle.

But this is where I draw the line (and so does Dad – PHEW!).
Trevor sleeps on the floor next to the bed… in his bed.
(na-na na-na boo-boo!)

It’s all part of being an Uncle and good boy,
so I do it.

After all,
we were both rescued and saved to a better life…

A dog’s life!
And it’s a great one!

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.

Peaches & Cream Pretzel Pie

Peaches & Cream Pretzel Pie.

Oh My Goodness Friends!  This Pie!!!

I think it might be my favorite thing I’ve made in a long time!

As many of you know, I love to bake.  It brings me such joy to see the people I share with enjoying the “fruits” of my labor of love.  But, I can usually pass on dessert.  I am more of a salty, savory girl than a sweet one.

But this pie!!!!!!!  I cut a piece to photograph and was only going to take a bite to taste it.  Thirty seconds later, it was somehow all gone as I literally moaned and squealed with delight eating it!

The cream filling is lusciously light and fluffy and so perfect…..  especially on top of the salty, crunchy, buttery pretzel crust with a hint of cinnamon………. and then the glorious topping of sweet juicy honeyed peaches….   It’s just so divine!

I couldn’t wait to share it!  Hubby loved it, and I shared it with a sweet friend and her family for the recent holiday.

I originally saw this recipe at Half Baked Harvest and tweaked it up ever so slightly.

I cannot wait for you all to try this!  Please do while peaches are so perfect right now and let me know what you think.

Thank you Tieghan for such a great recipe!

Peaches & Cream Pretzel Pie

Ingredients:

Pretzel Crust:

  • 2 cups finely ground salted pretzel crumbs
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) + 3 Tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Filling/Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. raspberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 ripe, but firm peaches, sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make pretzel crumbs using food processor.  Add crumbs to medium bowl and combine with melted butter, honey, and cinnamon.  Reserve 2-3 Tbsp. of crumb mixture (for topping) and place in small baking dish.  Press remaining into 8-9 inch pie plate.  Put both in oven for 8 minutes and bake until toasted.  Cool completely before filling.

Beat heavy cream and vanilla on medium high with electric mixer until soft peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).  Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar and beat until incorporated (about another minute).  Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

Bring 1/2 cup honey to a low boil in a medium saucepan, and simmer for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in sliced peaches (I did not remove skin).  Let sit for at least 10 minutes to cool.

Spread red raspberry preserves into bottom and up sides of cooled pretzel crust.  Fill crust with cream.  Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, top with honeyed peaches and sprinkle with additional pretzel crumb mixture.  You could also top with fresh red raspberries for an extra treat!

This pie can also be frozen for up to two weeks.

ENJOY!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Reflections of Serenity

Reflections of Serenity 8×10 Watercolor

Reflections of Serenity.

Listening to Simon & Garfunkel
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” on repeat.

Feeling blessed with peace.
Feeling sad for those suffering.

Thinking of a sweet little girl, Eva Love,
in a coma with a traumatic brain injury from a freak fall from a golf cart.

Thinking of a blogging friend who left this world
two years ago Sunday – way too soon.

Realizing how precious life is.

Feeling blessed by a random phone call
from my 2-1/2 year old grandie girl.

Relaxing at home with the man
who saved me so many years ago.

Ramblings from a happy, imperfect, content
girl/woman/wife/mom/grandma/friend/lover of life.

Reflections of Serenity
painted with love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Written Sunday evening.

Peek a Boo Giraffe

Peek a Boo Giraffe.

A fun monochromatic painting I recently did using all Sepia watercolor for this “peek-a-booing” giraffe.

Did it make you tilt your head?

Peek a Boo!

P.S.  I am pretty excited to be the “Artist of the Month” at a sweet, fun and delicious coffee shop near me – Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes.

Wunderbar serves Italian inspired coffees, French crepes and American grilled cheese sandwiches in a historic German town north of Pittsburgh named Harmony, PA.

If you are anywhere nearby, I hope you will check it out and  experience the wonder of Wunderbar.  It is not  your run of the mill cafe. Their focus is “to provide a fun and unique space where everyone is welcome to gather, connect and create relationships, for a moment or a lifetime. Where the collision of senses and caffeine fueled inspiration explode and splatter. An open minded destination where transcending concepts and ideas are explored in depth and shared with everyone to experience together and by themselves. A refuge from empty promises and meaningless stories. An escape from a suffocating environment full of pre-existing notions that condition us to be the soul-less product of our over commercialized world. A breathing, living, self sustaining space that is an embracing work of art in itself. A place you can’t wait to return to!”

Here I am Saturday after hanging up my art.  Thanks Wunderbar!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

McKinneyX2Designs
BerryVineGifts

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Marinara

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Marinara.

It’s Zucchini time of year!

Though this is one vegetable folks usually get an abundance of when they plant it, we have had a little “challenge” in our garden this year…

His name starts with a “C” and ends with an “E.”   He has stubby eyebrows, floppy ears, and a white-tipped brown tail….

Have you guessed yet?

None other than the infamous Charlie, who has figured out a way to wiggle through the locked gate of our fenced-in garden during the day while we are at work!

We have barely been able to harvest a handful of cucumbers and tomatoes from our tiny little garden this year.  As soon as I see a blossom, then the fruit/vegetable begins to ripen, and I anticipate a few more days until it is ready to pick, it is gone!

Charlie sure has been enjoying some healthy treats this summer!

I did manage to grab two zucchini so far, so was very excited to be able to enjoy one the other evening for dinner.

I simply cut it into spears, drizzled with some olive oil, sprinkled with some Parmesan cheese, seasonings, and my new go-to secret ingredient – Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning.  I baked them until tender-crisp, then dunked/smothered them in marinara sauce.

Not the prettiest dish to photograph, but it was a super simple, delicious, healthy, light, filling vegetarian dinner for a hot, summer evening.  I loved it!

Here is how I made it.

How do you like to prepare your zucchini?

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Marinara

  • Servings: 1 as main course, 2-4 as side
  • Print

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine Parmesan and seasonings in a small bowl.

Cut zucchini in half, then each half into 6-8 wedges, depending on size of zucchini.  Place on stoneware baking sheet or cookie sheet.  (I always using baking stones!)  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and seasoning blend.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until tender.

Raise heat in oven to 450 and bake for 5-10 more minutes until crisp and brown.

Dunk or smother in marinara sauce.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi