I have been enjoying an “employment hiatus” this summer. With a big move and lots of travel it has been a real gift to have so much time to not have any “real” responsibilities. I have been able to spend great time with family and friends and travel with the hubs.

I had a few projects on the docket that I knew I could tackle at my mom’s house that is complete with a workshop. I am so glad that dad taught me how to use (safely) power tools. I just really love firing up the table saw or the smell of stain that brings new life to old tired wood.

We found this table by the dumpster by our old apartment and I was determined to give refinishing it the old college try.

Here it is in it’s well-worn glory. I am behind the camera unaware of the chemical burns yet to come while removing the old varnish…I learned very quickly not to make any sudden movements while applying or removing the chemical.


My mom instructed each step and after sanding, washing, staining and varnishing- It was fit for coffee table use! It was so satisfying to see the finished product. Thanks to coach mom for all the tips, pointers and help!

Staining TableImage

It has been a great hiatus, but I am getting just a bit (a lot) stir crazy and cannot wait to have a schedule and a rhythm to the week again. Soon, very soon!


Apps and ‘Zerts

Ok, really I don’t have any apps to blog about, I just really love the episode of Parks and Rec where Tom Haverford goes through his list of what he calls everyday things.

But, I have been busy in the kitchen this fall making ‘Zerts (Desserts), yet totally delinquent in photographing the process. Or, if I started taking pictures, I got too wrapped up in the baking process and forgot take shots of the final product.

All that being said, here are some pictures of my latest baking conquests this fall:

I have also started a { recipe } section that I hope to keep stocked with my favorite carbo-buttery treats.

I really love finding a recipes that make good canvases. Scones, for instance, have SO MANY possibilities. I just love throwing new things in there and serving them to my friends to taste test. Recently, the following scones cranking out of my kitchen: Pumpkin, Toasted Walnut and Fig, Blueberry with Orange Zest and Double Chocolate…man, I wish I had all of those in front of me right now! I am getting hungry just thinking about them!

Let me know what combinations you come up with :)

Now, get out the flour and go to town!

For a friend

This is a little out of order since I completed this before I completed the portrait in the previous post.

This paining was done for a sweet friend who just came out with an amazing CD: Terese Fredenwall’s “Not About the Songs.” The painting is inspired by her whole album, really. But the lyric that was playing through my mind as I added layer upon layer to the canvas was: “I see beauty, everywhere you go.”

You can listen to a few of her songs here. Her songs tell the stories of the people she has meets through her tours and work with Wings of Protection. They are filled with truth, love and encouragement. In knowing the love that God has for us there is freedom and healing. The dancer represents that rising out of hardships, oppression and emotional pain and again finding joy and freedom that was taken away or lost.

Here are some photos of the process:


This past winter/spring I took a 6 week online workshop from a talented artist, Misty Mawn. Sadly, the materials had to be taken off the website eventually. But, She does have a book out, “Unfurling” which is basically the workshop in brief plus more!

Needless to say, the book was purchased and yadda, yadda, yadda, my desk areas is a hot mess.

I dove straight in with an attempt at portrait painting. Be kind, this is my very 1st portrait that I have attempted to paint. Usually I just sketch it and then walk away. It is not of a particular person, that is tough and I am just going one step at a time here.

Here is the process (warning, it gets a little creepy/ zombie looking at a few points…)

And off we go:

1. Sketch with Stabilo Marks-All Pencil, Brown & Black. Then used a wet brush to blend lines. Looks a little Amish here (bonnet look) but oh just wait!

2. Paint time. Putting in lights and darks to get a rough idea of the values.

3. OK, things got a little out of hand…Entering Zombie Zone!

4. Naturally from Zombie to Alien Zombie! Adding in the whites for the eyes and  trying to hone in on the lights and darks some more.

5. Continuing with layers and adding hair. (I decided the hair would be better down)

6. Toned down the blue that created the living dead look. Defined lips and eyes. Refining the Dark areas with a Black Stabilo Marks All pencil.

7. A final go at the skin tone, added a background and decided that blue would be a good shirt color. Also, more defining with the Marks All Pencil.

8. More hair definition.

9. Finally, with the Zombie gone, I added a torn paper boarder and used paint/Adirondack Inks to tint the edges.

Learned: keep pressing on- even if the painting starts to scare me, it can be fixed and made into something much better.

There will be more portraits to come- practice makes perfect!  Well off to tackle the beast that is my work space… Have a great week!

Moleskine Journal

Not too long ago, I invested in a 5X8 Moleskine watercolor journal. It was such a great addition to the cornucopia of media that is my work area.

This new journal plus the amazing and versatile Stabilo Marks All Pencils have really been fun to play with.

Exhibits A and B

A.The faces were sketched with the pencils with multiple colors. Then, all I used was a thin watercolor brush and water. I love how these blend together, although you have to be careful that that black doesn’t get out of hand.  To keep it at bay, I just frequently re-dipped the brush in water and use a paper towel to get off any access water or black color on the brush before working into the lighter areas.Yes, that one girl has huge-normous hair. If I can’t have voluminous hair, she might as well (aka, I got carried away and that is my justification).

B. The house is paper from an old Anthro Magazine torn and modge-podged together. The butterflies are from the same Magazine.

the inspiration: Music by Terese Fredenwall, “It’s Where You Go.” 

“Oh I know, it dosent make a difference where you’re from, Cause Jesus taught me the only thing that matters is where you go, It’s where you go”

Really, it was inspired by the whole album and it’s message that in Jesus there is a hope that can bring peace and freedom to anyone from anywhere from any walk of life.

Here is detail of the tree:

Crackle Medium: It might actually be impossible to only order 2 items off of a painting supply website. (yes, yes, I know it is not impossible, just let me justifying my lack of self-control for a minute).

I also purchased some crackling medium. It was alright. Truthful, I did not buy the 2 other products that are apparently supposed to yield the best results. (but I only found out they were suggested when I read the label before I was about to use it). Oh well. I gave it a shot anyway. It did crackle the paint, but only very subtly. I’ll have to give it another shot soon and see if I can get more dramatic results from it. Either that or I will have to get those other 2 recommended products…

I have found it harder to stay inside to paint/draw as the weather is so perfect lately. It is so much easier to hide away at my desk in the winter. Although, soon I imagine that the sweltering NJ heat (HUMIDITY) will have me back at my desk which is ever so conveniently right next to the air conditioning.

*PS: relationship update, Running and I have taken a break. It was mostly my fault, I said I wanted to see other people, like the couch and BBC masterpiece TV and dinner with friends. Keep rooting for us though, I think we will make it through this rough patch.

The Back Story in Brief

Here are some little projects that occurred before I merged into the wide world of blogging. Enjoy!

The back story:

I had a crazy idea to give Scott a painting as a wedding gift. I wanted to paint the landscape where we got engaged. With the enthusiasm and hope for what it could be I asked a dear friend of the family (lets be honest, a member of the family), Suzanne, to help me paint it. She opened her studio to me and for two full days, we listened to jazzy French music and painted. With her patient instruction and amazing eye for detail, I was able to create the painting!

Two years later, that was the only painting that I had done. The experience left me with the desire to do more.

As we moved to Princeton for Scott to get his Masters of Divinity, I watched Scott study with a passion for theology and I realized that I wanted to start pursing my own interests. At the end of the 3 years Scott would have a degree- I wanted to make sure that I pursued my goals as well.

While this was all mulling in my head, dear friends from Sweden visited. During a conversation with Tess, I realized that the only reason I had not delved into art yet was that I was afraid of the dreaded BAD PAINTING. I came to realize the truth that there of course will be bad paintings, sketches and failed projects but they will be the foundation on which great pieces can be built. I then went onto and bought the cheapest paints I could find (this is a mistake by the way) and embarked on my year of BAD PAINTINGS.

Ah the freedom of not having to make them perfect. They could just be whatever they become.

So, from that first step into painting those bad painting (not on the blog) I have ventured into many other mediums and outlets.

Scott found me a painting with acrylics class in the Princeton Adult Ed. School and the learning began!

Here’s to just giving it a try!

The sketches were done as exercises for an online art workshop that I took (thanks to Kim) this winter/spring. It was by Misty Mawn called Stretching Within.

Mary, Jesus’ Mom
For those of you that know my sister, she looks nothing like this (much prettier). But, here is my attempt at a sketch.
A drawing of a painting. Origin unknown.
Melissa and I took glass blowing. It was awesome- big fiery torches, molten glass- really added adventure to our Thursday night.
Rolled sheet music + ModgePodge + Paper Clips to hold it all together= Voila, a pen receptacle.
Paper Wreath that was a product of an awesome girl’s craft night.
Frame made from an old book.

Well- that’s all I have so far. I guess this means I actually have to come up with new material! I knew this blog would be high maintenance and not update itself.

Teaser: The next post will be about running. Yes. Running.