Liz the Lizard

Liz the Lizard Watercolor – 11×14

Liz the Lizard.

Have you heard of the lizard whose name is Liz.
Classiest lizard in the desert she is.

With pearls and diamonds and sparkly pink nails
She daydreams often of being in show biz.

She practices rhymes and humorous lines
as if she was preparing for an audition or pop quiz.

Nailing them every time – she surely is a wiz.
She’s a modern-day lizard, so be sure to call her Ms.

Yes indeed, Ms. Liz
that is.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Liz the Lizard was made especially for a friend’s grandaughter, who loves Klaus the Mouse – my very first published illustrated children’s book.  Granpap asked if I could make an Alex the Alligator and a Liz the Lizard for his two special little grandies.  I hope they all enjoy these two characters as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine.

Do you feel it?
Are you excited about all the possibilities the day may hold?

All the opportunites to make it special?
All the reasons to wake up?

Rise and shine
and cherish the moments!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Every time I hear or read or say the words, “Rise and Shine,” I think of Grandma

As a teenager, I loved to sleep in late – much like most teenagers – right?  I vividly remember hiding under the covers to keep from seeing the sun streaming in the bedroom and hearing Grandma  cheerfully holler from the bottom of the stairs on a weekend or summer morning, “Rise and Shine!”  She was always so excited and ready to start a new day.  I smile remembering that hope and excitement in her voice.  She didn’t work.  She didn’t even have a license to drive.  Her days were mostly spent at home working hard – inside and out – making it a haven for anyone who visited or lived there.  And yet she woke up so cheerfully each morning excited for what the day might hold. 

I have to admit – I love the early mornings these days – especially on  weekends and days I get to stay home.  I love thinking about having the whole day ahead of me. 

I baked Grandma’s Apricot Nut Bread yesterday.  It is a recipe I have shared here before.  And it truly really begins to feel like Christmas when I smell this bread come out of the oven.  The memories just come flooding back of Christmases past at Grandma’s house and the joy that radiated from her in everything she did.  

So rise and shine and cherish the possibilities this day will hold!

Alex the Alligator

Alex the Alligator Watercolor – 11×14

Alex the Alligator.

In a swamp near the equator,
lived an alligator named Alex.

Alex liked to jump and kick.
Doing fancy tricks
was part of his famous schtick.

Alex was often the very first pick
because he was so doggone slick
in the eyes and hearts of the alligator chicks.

For not many gators could be so quick
doing fancy acrobatics
and even arithmetic!

So if you ever find yourself near the equator
and see a slick jumping and kicking gator,
Say Hi to Alex…

Alex the Alligator.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Alex the Alligator was made especially for a friend’s grandson, who loves Klaus the Mouse – my very first published illustrated children’s book.  Granpap asked if I could make an Alex the Alligator and a Liz the Lizard for his two special little grandies.  This is going to be a surprise for him.  I can’t wait to create Liz next.

 

 

 

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies.

It’s December, and that means time to start Christmas cookie baking!

These cookies are a wonderful version of pecan pie in a cookie!

They are similar to Pecan Tassies, but a lot easier.

The cookie is buttery and shortbread-like, while the filling is nutty and sticky and sweet and AMAZING!

I had a little bit of extra filling left that I just couldn’t throw away, so I spread it on a sheet of crescent roll dough, rolled it up, and sliced it into 8 easier-than-pie pecan “sticky buns!”

So
worth
it!

Hope you will give these yummy cookies a try for something new on your Christmas cookie baking list.  I do believe these will become a regular in our home!

Here is the recipe I found at  Crazy for Crust, which I only slightly altered.  Thanks for a great recipe, Dorothy!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Batter:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse or flaked salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 Tbsp. Half and Half or Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Optional:  Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of cooled cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat brown sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in electric mixer until creamy.   Add in baking powder, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until well combined.

Shape dough, two tablespoons at a time, into balls, and place the balls two inches apart on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Indent a hole in center with your thumb.

Prepare filling by stirring pecans, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla with cream until it forms a thick mixture.  Spoon approximately one teaspoonful into thumb indentation of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on stone or cookie sheet before removing to rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookies freeze well for up to a month.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

All is Calm

All is Calm – Snowy Winter Watercolor in Blue – 11×14

All is Calm.

We have just begun experiencing frosty mornings
and the flurry and dusting of snowflakes here and there.

It is well past due in our little corner of the world,
and I always look forward to it.

I am dreaming of the beauty of snowy, moonlit winter evenings
curled up with a warm, fuzzy blanket and a crackling fire

When all is calm,
and all is bright.

So I painted this scene in watercolor,
and it takes me to that place and that feeling.

The gift of creating.
The joy of art.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S  This painting, like most all of my paintings, is available in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop as an original or in prints sized 11×14, 8×10, or 5×7 as well as boxed greeting cards.  It will also be going with me to the Mars Craft Show on Saturday, November 17th!

 

 

 

 

Golden Beauty

Our Neighbor’s Yard – Mars, PA – November 4, 2018

Golden Beauty.

Most all the trees are bare with
their leaves now carpeting the ground.

Except this golden beauty
who decides each Autumn to make a statement.

It’s a standout amidst the others
in their stripped bare dormant state.

It’s like the late bloomer
who was awkward as a child

But is now the greatest beauty
as its come into its own.

It’s like the last crop
of buttery golden sweet corn

that bursts with the most intense flavor
as if it knows it will be the taste that lingers until the next season comes.

It’s like the brightest sunshine
lighting up the Autumn day

that knows the days are growing shorter,
so it must glow brilliantly while it can.

It’s like the golden rings
worn by the elderly couple

that represent the long-lasting commitment
through richer and poorer, sickness and health, good times and bad.

Thank you golden beauty
for reminding me once more

that hanging on or being last
is sometimes worth the wait.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Bright Poinsettia

Bright Poinsettia 11×14 Original Watercolor

A Bright Poinsettia.

I so enjoyed painting this bright and happy poinsettia recently.
(And it’s nice to think bright and happy thoughts with all the dark and sad news of the past few days.)

Using my dagger brush (which I need to use more often),  it was fun to just let this painting evolve and happen on the paper.  The dagger brush is “floppy” and loose, yet also allows for wonderful control changing wide strokes to points.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out!  It actually makes me smile to look at.

I’m also thrilled that my new printer is able to produce gorgeous 11×14 prints that look so much like the original, so this option will be added to my paintings in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop.  I also added this design to the Society6 shop, so it can be made into pillows and mugs and other fun stuff.

Wishing you a bright and happy day!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Only 55 days until Christmas  😉   and only 2 1/2 weeks until the big Mars Craft Show  (Saturday, 11/17/18) AND Christmas in the Woods at Berry Vine Gifts (11/16-18/18)