A Beautiful Ending

Foggy, Beautiful Ending to the Day – February, 2019 – Mars, PA

A Beautiful Ending.

We may not be able to control or change
ugly things that happened to us –
especially in our childhood.

We can’t choose our beginning.

But we can decide to not be
defined or deflated or diminished by them,
and create our own beautiful life.

We can determine the ending.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Mason the Pickle-Loving Monkey

Mason the Monkey 11×14 Watercolor

Mason the Pickle-Loving Monkey.

Mason was a monkey that many considered fickle.
Instead of eating bananas, Mason loved a sour dill pickle.

He would often pay a nickel,
and sometimes even triple

for that tart, tangy prickle
of a pickle on pumpernickel.

On tasting leaves and seeds, he was truly noncommittal,
for his taste buds and his palate, they simply did not tickle.

He loved the pleasant pucker, and he would often stickle
over anything that was even remotely artificial.

Dilled cucumbers he claimed to be the official
absolute favorite and most nutritional.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Mason the Pickle-Loving Monkey is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be special because it is going to feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Mason is the grandson of Joyce, son of Nikole, and brother of Ella.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you. 

Other fun products, like pillows, canvas prints, tote bags and much more are also available at our Mx2D Society6 Shop.

I will begin putting my book together soon and let you all know about it!  If you are interested in my first children’s book of watercolor animals and silly poems, you can find it here:  Klaus the Mouse and Other Silly Animal Tales.

Cherish the Moments

Cherish the Moments.

When the day is done,
take some time to reflect on the things
that made it special.

Remember the moments
that brought you joy
or made you smile or laugh.

Close your eyes
and savor those thoughts,
knowing tomorrow will surely bring challenges,

but also realizing there will be
new moments to cherish –
even if you have to search really hard.

And tomorrow will bring another sunset
and more opportunity to reflect,
and the hope of getting to do it all again.

Cherish the moments…
for the moments
are what make up a life.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Ella the Elephant

Ella the Elephant.

Even as a baby, Ella was an exceptional elephant.
Her charm and her wisdom were immediately evident.

Not only was she stunning and delightfully elegant,
she was also most exceedingly well-spoken and eloquent.

As Ella grew she organized an annual innovator’s event
where she spoke about the things she was going to invent.

Carrying a book wherever she traveled and went,
Ella could easily recite the most informative content.

She understood the principles of what democracy meant,
and she cared very deeply about the environment.

Ella had a backbone that simply couldn’t be bent.
She clearly was destined to be the President.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ella the Elephant is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be special because it is going to feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Ella is the granddaughter of Joyce and daughter of Nikole, and they are three very special ladies in my life, as are their guys.

I have one more special character to create before I begin putting this book together.  The poem for Mason the Monkey is already written, and I can’t wait to paint him.  Mason is Ella’s brother, and I’m looking forward to sharing him with you.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Homemade Apple Fritters.

Last Sunday, Hubby had to get up very early – really the middle of the night – to work during a winter weather event in our area.

Missing Sunday breakfast, I wanted to make him a special treat for when he returned home.

With some wonderful Misfits Market apples in the crisper, I thought I’d try my hand at homemade apple fritters.

Who can resist a fresh apple fritter??!!

A couple tips from a first-time apple fritter maker:

  • Don’t heat the oil too hot.  Be patient and use a medium heat.  Better to fry them a little longer and get a golden brown than to overcook the outside and undercook the inside with high heat.  (Which, by the way, is what I did with the first batch of three, resulting in us only having three total!)
  • Spread them a little flatter than I did so you get more icing in each bite as the dough itself only contains a small amount of sugar. (This was hubby’s suggestion!)
  • Use a sweeter, less firm apple for best results.  I would not recommend Granny Smith.  The recipe calls for 3 medium apples, but you could really add another apple, which I will do next time.

Let me know if you try and/or if you have made and have any of your own tips.  We sure enjoyed these on a cold, snowy, comfort food, stay-in kind of day.

Here is the recipe I very slightly adapted from I am Baker‘s blog.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil  for frying
  • Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 4 tsp. water (or enough for best consistency)

Directions:

In a small bowl, drizzle lemon juice over diced apples.  Stir to coat.  Set aside.

In electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Add milk, and mix until incorporated.  Fold in apples with spatula.

Fill a frying pan halfway full with oil.  Heat over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

Drop three 1/4-1/3 cup portions of batter into the oil.  Let fry for a few minutes until golden brown.  Flip and fry until other side is golden brown.  Test for doneness by inserting a small knife in center.  If uncooked batter remains, fry longer.

Remove fritters from oil with slotted spoon to wire rack layered with paper towels or napkins to drain.  Allow to cool.

Repeat with remaining three portions of batter.

Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Drizzle over cooled fritters on cooling rack.  When glaze has set, turn to coat other side with glaze that dripped through, if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ben the Brave Little Beetle Bug

Ben the Brave Little Beetle Bug.

Nestled in a rare and exotic Persian rug,
lived Ben, the very bravest little beetle bug.

Many of his friends preferred to stay snug,
but Ben liked to go out and dance the jitterbug.

To get to the club, that was named Jolly Jug,
Ben had to sneak past a tough, ferocious thug.

Doug was the meanest bug north of the wall plug.
He was known to pinch and swing and punch and slug.

Doug lived in a filthy, fur-covered shag rug
beneath slumbering Brutus, the beloved family pug.

Ben would wait patiently each night for a tiny little tug
from his dance partner and best friend – Lucy the lady bug.

He would carefully inspect Doug’s grumpy ole mug
to assure he was sleeping as snug as a bug.

Then he bravely would venture, without even a shrug,
to go dancing with Lucy and give her a hug.

You may not think dancing is such a brave chug,
but consider the diminutive size of a little beetle bug

and how far it would ultimately be just to lug
your teensy-weensy body out of that safe and snug rug.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ben the Beetle Bug is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be kind of special because it will feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Ben is the first grandson of my bestie, Jill, and the first son of Jackie, my McHendy daughter, who first inspired me to start this blog.

 Ben also brings to mind and heart a dear boy and his grandma (Gem) who are regular visitors here at TheCreativeLifeInBetween.com blog who were huge encouragers for my first book, Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop as well, where you can also order a customized painting and poem.

Abstract Love

Abstract Love – 30×48 on Gallery Canvas


Abstract Love.

Instead of trying to explain the muse that drew me to recently create this huge abstract piece  – the largest, most “abstract” painting I’ve done to date – 4 foot wide (48 inches) x 30 inches tall – I will share this quote from one of my absolute all time favorite books….

A book I have read and listened to the author read several times – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

The first stroke on a huge canvas can be so scary, yet so exciting and liberating at the same time.

The brushes and pallet knives and paints are art themselves!

The finished piece…

which is – for now – hanging above our bed.

Its temporary home?   Or its forever home?  Either way is fine, because I kinda love it!

If it speaks to you, it is available here.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Lily the Llama

Lily the Llama.

Lily the lovely La La Llama
lived in a posh resort down south in the Bahamas.

There were not many llamas
that lived in the Bahamas.

But Lily, the queen of drama,
never did see the prob-llama.

She lounged in her pajamas
that were purple with polka-dottas,

and liked to sing sonatas
like Hakuna Matata.

With a floral headband she wore all the time-a
she quickly became part of the local fauna.

It sure was fun for a lovely llama
to live in the Bahamas.

It made a nice vacation for her Dad and for her Momma,
and even for her Grandpa and her beloved, silly Grandmomma.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing

Front Porch Swing – January, 2019

Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing.

It’s not about what you look like on the outside…
even if you are rusty, weathered, and worn.

It is about what you are made of…
and what you do with it.

It is about how you connect.
It is about the purpose you serve.

It is about the joy you create.
It is the comfort you provide.

It is about the support you give.
It is the sacred secrets you protect.

It is about feeling the breeze.
It is embracing the squeaks.

It is about the experiences you create.
It is in the memories you cherish.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Harper the Happy Hippo

Harper the Happy Hippo.

In a lazy, shallow river just outside of Ethiopia
lived Harper the happy hippo in a heavenly utopia.

The sun was always shining
while Harper was oft reclining.

Flamingos and pelicans and even a rare crane
shared and reveled in the balmy tropical terrain.

Harper loved to sing and play.
She smiled and chuckled and snorted all day.

She started a band
since her voice was in such demand.

She was surely the star of the show,
for who wouldn’t go

to see a purple singing hippo with pink painted toes
smiling and singing to the most beautiful prose.

A zebra was on the drums
while a cheetah’s guitar strings strummed.

Cymbals were clanged and clashed by a lively red-throated gazelle.
She was Harper’s closest girlfriend, and her name was Adele.

There wasn’t a happier hippo across the sea or land
than Harper the happy hippo and her Ethiopian wildlife band.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Harper the Hippo is the second painting for my dear friend Pam (namesake, by the way, for Klaus’ friend Pam the Lamb).  Harper is the baby sister of Lucas – Pam’s two grandchildren.   If you’d like to learn more about my process or sales of paintings, poems, cards, pillows, and books, visit Sunday’s post here.

Harper the Happy Hippo Pillow