Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas presents: paintings

Now that pretty much everyone has opened their presents from me, I can reveal the (not-so) secret: I made paintings for presents! I was so excited this year about gifts. Even though, like years past, I was on a tight budget, this year I was happy to share my newest passion for painting and make personalized gifts. I think everyone seemed to like them! And, of course, I am excited to share the photos of my creations.

First off, lavender and sage for my mom...

Turquoise and gray music them for dad Chad...

Red and orange outdoor theme for dad Steve...

Turquoise, green, and gray cooking theme for November's dad and his girlfriend...

Purple "all you need is love...and a puppy" for coworker Taylor (the puppy is meant to look like her dog!)...
Gray and green with initials A and C with a heart for coworker Abi and husband Chris...

Green and gold with Jane Austen quote "if a book is well written, I always find it too short" with Jane Austen silhouette for coworker Sharon and husband Kevin...
There's a sneak peak! I'll probably be uploading some of these to my etsy store shortly. I'm excited to start using my new camera I got for Christmas to take higher quality pictures and cut out the annoying process of transferring photos one at a time from my phone via email! Hooray for technology!

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!
I'm so grateful for another awesome holiday spent with my family. I always feel incredibly blessed, but I am especially grateful for everything and everyone in my life right now. I am so excited about where I am and where I am going. I'm living in a beautiful season of abundance; I feel like I always am provided with more than enough, my work life is enjoyable, my hobbies are fulfilling, I'm overflowing with creativity, my spiritual life is flourishing, there is joy everywhere I look. But, of course, people are what matter, and what (who) make life great. I have so many wonderful family members, friends, and co-workers, and I'm wishing all of you a joyful holiday. 
November wasn't thrilled about Santa this year...but is she ever thrilled about strangers?
November snuggled up with her caterpillar she got from grandpa Steve after we opened presents.
Then we went for a bike ride and I got to play with my new digital camera!
She loves giving the stink-eye these days, but don't be offended, she thinks you're cool.

What an awesome day!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New painting: funny bathroom art

Painting available for sale here

My newest painting on my etsy store! This one is a fun pop of color with a funny saying (that I made up, as far as I know) that says European Imapoopin. Say it out loud if you don't get it! I love making art for my apartment, in turn creating art to potentially sell. I'm also busy making paintings for Christmas presents this year. It's quite a creative time for me right now!
I also have new striped initials paintings on my etsy store! I made one for a co-worker and her boyfriend. The other I made for my friend Robin and her fiancé Brett in their wedding colors! And now both paintings are immortalized as sell-able art.
Both paintings available for sale here

I can't wait to finish all my Christmas present paintings! I'll have to take pictures when they are done, but keep them a secret until they have been opened after Christmas!

My etsy store:

Sugar Free, No-Cook Eggnog

After trying homemade egg nog at Thanksgiving dinner this year, I was determined to make my own as well. I had very specific ideas of how it would taste and what I wanted to use: I wanted it to be rich, creamy and traditional tasting, I wanted to use pasteurized egg product instead of raw eggs, I wanted it to be sugar free and alcohol free. 

I was really nervous about making it for the first time so I searched for the perfect recipe. But nothing seemed good enough! Some recipes were too complicated with raw eggs, cooking, and straining. Some recipes didn't include the seasonings I wanted to use. I realized I should just make my own recipe!

I adapted my recipe from here. The result was pure heaven! Thick, creamy, and full of that traditional holiday flavor but without the excessive sweetness of store bought brands. I don't feel like pasteurized egg product is as healthy as whole eggs, but I didn't want to deal with cooking and straining them, so the egg product worked just fine! When it comes to sweetener, I used a powdered stevia that tends to be sweeter than some brands. 1/4-1/3 cup of my stevia is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar. So if you decide to go with stevia, be sure to check the ratio, or start with less, and add more to taste.

Sugar Free, No-Cook Eggnog
1 cup pasteurized egg product (like Reddi Egg)
2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp stevia (or to taste, depending on brand and form) or 1/2 cup sweetener of choice
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
I cup heavy whipping cream

Place all ingredients, except for the heavy cream, into a blender and blend until smooth. Next, whip the heavy whipping cream by hand (the way I do it!) or in a mixer until it gets thick, airy and fluffy. Combine the whipped cream with the other ingredients and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg!

November absolutely loved this egg nog! She calls it ice cream milk. I hope you enjoy it too, and wish you all a merry start to the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New music profile!

I have finally created a public profile for my demos I made in garage band on my iPad! They are very bare bones, no drum loops, just me and my guitar. The quality isn't great, but I love having my songs sketched out. Check out my SoundCloud profile!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kitchen art!

Little by little I've been building up the inventory on my etsy store! My latest is this set of three paintings that I made as art for our kitchen and dining room. I'm selling them as custom, made to order set of three paintings here. In my own home, however, I have decorated with them separately.
I have a tiny, narrow kitchen, so this picture collage fills the wall between our cabinets and fridge perfectly!
And the skillet painting is in another picture collage over our dining room table, which is right outside our mini kitchen. As you can see, I use picture frames to make lists! I just put colored paper in a frame and write on the glass with a dry-erase marker! It's a great way to eliminate messy cork boards, while also creating art.
I'm having so much fun making art for my kitchen AND etsy store! 
So there you have it, my artwork in my tiny kitchen. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dance Party

Tonight I was on the phone while I was hanging out with November. She was being so sweet, quiet and patient for such a long time, but let me know when she was needing my attention by gracefully throwing her toy boxes on the floor. I ended my conversation and turned all my attention to her. She was in an adorably playful mood, so we decided to have a dance party. 

We put on an iTunes Radio station, I started dancing like a creepy weirdo, and November started spinning in circles shouting, "Dance! Party!" She spun round and round until she got so dizzy that she couldn't walk, after which I picked her up and danced with her all over the living room. We were both laughing like crazy while she mimicked my 'raise the roof' and techno beat 'oonts, oonts' noise (you know the one I mean.) Her face was so filled with joy as we played together, danced together, and laughed together. 

It's moments like that where I am so grateful for my blessed life.

I never thought I would be able to handle being a single mom, not emotionally, physically, or financially. I never thought I could do this on my own. I never thought I could give November a satisfactory life parenting alone. But our lives are more than satisfactory, they are abundant.

Our lives are overflowing with love.

Our lives are overflowing with special moments, living room dance parties, hide-and-seek, and loving cuddles. We have our little routines, our special way of enjoying things. Being a single mom may be hard, but it has given me this amazing opportunity to focus so much of my attention on her, and enjoy these beautiful, personal moments.

It's just a reminder that God's plan for my life is great. Endings turn into new opportunities, new blessings, new lessons. I trust the road ahead, it is sure to be great. And I am so amazed and grateful.

Halloween 2013

Ok, so I'm slowly catching up! This Halloween was I big one: it was the first time I got to take November trick or treating and...I turned 30! I put an exclamation point on the end of the last sentence, but honestly, I was not excited about my birthday this year. 

I was just not in the mood to celebrate this year. I wasn't too pleased that I was turning 30, for one, and for another, I just didn't have the energy to make a big deal out of it. Instead, I kept it simple. First off, I got my hair done...
My hair is now auburn! First big color change in years! My awesome friend Mackenzie did a great job, I love it. Then I went out to a cabaret version of Tim Burton's 'nightmare before Christmas' (a couple days before my birthday) with my friend Robin and her fiancé Brett...
then the next day I had a small party at a bar next to my work where my mom was hosting karaoke...
Then on actual Halloween (which is my actual birthday) I took November to Robin's house to go trick or treating with Mila!
She was really nervous and confused at first...can you tell?! But she eventually got into it, and even started walking up to the houses with Mila. I think it helped when she finally had her very first piece of candy (reluctantly given by me) and realized just what the whole point of trick or treating was!
She's in a phase where she doesn't like having her picture taken, and when she does, she won't sit still. So lots of our recent pictures look like this; the vacant stare of a child distracted by a movie.
Isn't my lil Seahawks cheerleader just adorable! Despite my reluctance to turn 30, this was a great Halloween. I'm so grateful for all the friends and family I got to share it with!

November's 2nd birthday party

I know it's a month overdue, but here is November's 2nd birthday post! We had a nice little, casual party at my mom's house. A few friends came, my family, and spencer and his family joined to celebrate this awesome child entering her terrible, I mean, adorable twos!
She got this awesome new tent, some adorable clothes, fun toys, and her first bike!
November had a great time opening her presents and eating mini cupcakes. And at the end of the night, November and her BFF Mila put on a concert for us!
Happy birthday little monster! You are the "luboo my life" and my "bess fwen"!