Fancy Sprinkles

Fancy Sprinkles.

I’ve mentioned before...  I kinda have a “thing” for sprinkles.

Well… what a SWEET surprise I came home to yesterday after an especially long day at the office to find a glittery, sparkly package in the mail pile with a sweet note from my bestie!

She has a knack for always knowing the right timing and just the right thing!

I’ve recently had a couple cookie fails in my attempts to try “something new” for Christmas cookies.

UGH!

Yep – happens to all of us I guess.

One was with a “best ever” sugar cookie recipe a baking blogger claimed to have refined after many attempts to create the absolute best.

Well…. NOT!  At least for me.  I knew when I made the dough, it wasn’t right….

Take it from someone who bakes cookies almost every week.  You get a “feel” for it.

I told hubby the dough felt dry, and I didn’t think they were going to turn out.

I baked a batch, and yep…. DRY!  (Though hubby didn’t seem to mind spreading jam on them like biscuits and enjoying them.

For some reason, I just can’t seem to make sugar cut-out cookies.  Anybody else have a “best ever” recipe I should try?

So even though it was late, I just couldn’t resist whipping up a batch of Sprinkle Cookies from a recipe I knew was yummy with these special Fancy Sprinkles.

I made one batch with the beautiful blue and white “Frostbite” sprinkles that had  hearts and stars and pearls and blue metallic balls and another batch with the adorable red, brown, and white “Peppermint Hot Chocolate” sprinkles – complete with tiny gingerbread men and mini marshmallows!

And, ironically, earlier in the day, a coworker and I laughed about the love her 6-year old son has for sprinkles and how he chose the “sprinkliest” cake he could find for his “second” birthday cake this year.

If you’d like my recipe for Sprinkle Cookies, just click here.  They are fun and festive and delicious!  I added just a smidge less flour to this batch and flattened the dough balls just a bit before baking to make this batch a little chewier.   I like how they turned out.  You can always adjust the amount of flour a bit to make your cookies flatter or thicker.

Thanks for sprinkling me with your friendship and love, Jill!

Happy holiday baking friends!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

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

Easy DIY Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar


Easy DIY “Christmas Countdown” Advent Calendar.

I’ve been dreaming of making this since summer….
and I finally got busy and did it this week.

Just in time!

I was looking for a fun way for my granddaughter to count down the days until Christmas with a little surprise each day, so when I found this inexpensive Over the Door Shoe Organizer this summer, I knew just what I was going to do.

I used fabric paint to paint the numbers on each “shoe pouch” – just the right number for an advent calendar!

And it was so much fun shopping for little toys and art projects and treats and hair bows and socks and mittens to fill all 24 compartments.

I think the anticipation of Christmas is almost more fun than the day itself.  I love the whole month leading up to it.

A friend shared this Advent Calendar of Kindness recently on Facebook, and I couldn’t resist sharing it too.

Don’t let the stress of the materialism of the holiday ruin this special time.  Small gifts of anticipation and everyday acts of kindness can make all the difference!  It’s what we need more of.

Happy Holidays!!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Reflections of Thanksgiving

Reflections of Thanksgiving.

Babies growing too quickly.
A loved one’s final day.
Family time together.
Thoughts of family apart.

Sons have become men
that make us gleam with pride.
Daughter in laws grow dearer
with each passing year.

Hubby’s smoked turkey
woos the crowd again.
Granddaughter’s first apple pie
sweetens meal’s end.

Pumpkin pie for breakfast
with a bestie and “our” mom.
Cocktails with our faves
to consummate a just-right day.

Waists growing thicker.
Hair becoming greyer.
Embracing the vulnerability.
Loving fiercely.

Reflections of Thanksgiving.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Getting Ready

Bunny’s First Woodland Christmas Watercolor – 11×14

Getting Ready.

My DIL and “biz partner,” Colleen, and I have been busy getting ready for an event this coming weekend for McKinneyX2Designs – the Mars Craft Show.

For those of you not from Mars :), it’s really a bigger event than you can imagine, and we are fortunate to be a part of it!

Colleen is been busy making these adorable little trees and festive holiday signs.

While I’ve been busy painting

Dancing Penguin Watercolor 11×14

and printing

and folding

and boxing.

We are excited to share our joy!  The Mars Craft Show features hundreds of local artisans spread out between the Mars Middle School and Mars High School (where you can find us – in the Auxilliary Gym).  A shuttle bus runs all day between the two buildings between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018.

In addition to this event, we have two special birthdays coming up for a Pap Pap and granddaughter who share the same birthday.  I also have a short overnight business trip this week, so a lot going on.

I’m going to take a few days off from blogging, so if you don’t hear from me, know I am just busy and having fun and will be back soon.

If you like what you see here and are local, we hope you will visit us at the Mars Craft Show or Christmas in the Woods at Berry Vine Gifts this weekend.  If you are not local, please visit our Etsy shop or our website for more information.

Back to getting ready!

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)

Believe


Believe.

Believe in yourself.
Believe in your purpose.
Don’t be afraid – just believe.

Believe you can do it.
Believe you deserve it.
Don’t be afraid – just believe.

Believe you are strong.
Believe you are brave.
Don’t be afraid – just believe.

And when you believe,
you just may be
the reason someone else believes.

Don’t be afraid – just believe.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

I am so excited my DIL is back to making beautiful signs for our ETSY shop!  This little gem is one of my new faves.  It will be sweet for Christmas, but I “believe” I would like this out year round.  It’s a tiny reminder, which I often need… to not be afraid, and just believe.

Tedrick the Teddy Bear

Tedrick the Teddy Bear Christmas Watercolor -11×14

Tedrick the Teddy Bear.

Loosely splashing,
I set out to create.

A brown bear, I thought,
was what I would make.

But, as so often happens,
my heart took over

And decided to speak
through my hands.

Looking me in the eyes,
what appeared instead,

and begging me to
bring him to life,

was a teddy bear.

So I named him Tedrick.

I looked at him
and smiled.

And I thanked him
for showing himself to me.

From my heart to yours….

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Red Lantern in Snowy Woodland

Red Lantern in Snowy Woodland Watercolor 11×14

Red Lantern  in Snowy Woodland Watercolor.

When it is 109 days until Christmas….  (woohoo!)
and  105  days until the first day of Winter….  (while I paint in shorts in air conditioning)
and 72 days until the Mars Fall/Holiday Craft Show…. (the biggest, greatest craft show in our area!)

I can’t help but get a teensy bit excited for snow…
and Christmas…
and holiday decorating.

And I had so much fun painting this wintery scene
while early September temperature hovered in the 90s,
but Autumn sunsets and breezes tantalized and teased.

And I dreamed of the warm glow
and frosty blanketed beauty
of a White Christmas.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

McKinneyX2Designs

MarsFallCraft Show

Christmas in July

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree in My Little Red Wagon – 11×14 Watercolor

Christmas in July.

Today is July 31, 2018, and it is the last day of #WorldWatercolorMonth 2018.

And even though I’m wearing shorts and the air conditioning is on, I’m starting to think about Christmas.

Just a teensy bit.

Christmas is such a fun time to create art.

I chose to use my little girl character created for this painting (inspired by my first granddaughter) to feature in this first Christmas watercolor for 2018.

My oldest daughter-in-law and I are starting to think about what we are going to create for fall and the holidays for our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop and Berry Vine Gifts and the big Mars Fall Craft Show this year.

I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with and sharing it here.

I’m looking forward to another Christmas, but with TWO granddaughters in our family this year!!

I’m looking forward to finding time for art.

I’m grateful to Charlie O at Doodlewash for hosting #WorldWaterColorMonth again this year and for honoring me wth the privilege of being a World Watercolor Month Artist Ambassador.  (Today is your last chance to purchase the souvenier pouch that supports the Dreaming Zebra Foundation in giving art supplies to underprivileged children throughout the world!)

I’m grateful for your visit here today.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi