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Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

My front door with snowman greeter

It's beginning to look like Christmas around my house. The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days to start decorating for the holidays. This year I painted snowmen greeters to hang on my front door as well as to give to my friends as gifts. These happy snowmen will bring holiday cheer to my front porch and to all who see them.

Take a little break, pour yourself a cup of tea and let's take a little tour of Debra's Cottage for some holiday inspiration for painting a happy little "snowman greeter" for your holiday door. I will give you a quick how to lesson on painting your very own snowman greeter.

Finding Inspiration at Debra's Cottage . . . . .

Here . . . . . . . .

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Everywhere . . . .

How to paint a snowman door greeter.

The snowmen door greeters are so easy to make and will take you about one hour to complete. I like to use a square canvas - 5 X 5 is the best size for the door greeter. You can also use a 5X5 square of plywood. Michael's Craft store is a great place to buy art supplies. They also have pre cut wood boards in all sizes.

Pick a color to use as your background - I paint with acrylic paints as they are not toxic and water based (means easy to clean up ) and used FolkArt #922 -Bayberry. Draw a circle for the head and add a top hat - or any kind of hat you want on your snowman. Then draw a carrot for the nose and a mouth and eyes.

Now you can start painting - you will need several coats of white for the snow - note that I used some lavender on the sides of the face since snow is not pure white. This will give him a more "painterly" look, however; he will look just as cute with pure white. Paint the top hat black and the scarf any color you want. Paint the area under the scarf white for the body.

Now for the fun part - putting the finishing touches on your snowman. Put a little white with your black to add high lights to the hat. Paint two black circles for the eyes and a happy mouth. Mix a little red and white to make pink and paint the round cheeks to complete the happy look. Paint your scarf any color - I used red and green to match my front door and added a little red ribbon and holly on the hat. The last step is to add the snow flakes. Thoroughly wet your paint brush and dip it into the white paint - make sure your brush has lots of water - then splatter the paint onto your canvas by hitting the handle of your brush - this will fling the paint all over your canvas to create the look of snow. CAUTION - this is very messy - I put the painting in the bottom of my kitchen sink to do this or better yet - take it outside. The last step is to add screw eyes on the back of the canvas and tie with a bow.

This is what the screw eyes on back look like. They are very simple to screw in and then thread your ribbon through and tie a bow.
Completed snowman greeter.

Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions about making your snowman greeter. Next time we will paint a pink "shabby chic" snowlady greeter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I have been busy in my kitchen this weekend baking pumpkin bread and cookies for my family and friends. My kitchen smells yummy and I am reminded of how thankful I am for family traditions and how much I treasure my family and friends.

As I look around my kitchen, sipping a cup of tea while waiting for cookies to bake, I am reminded of how much the simple, every day objects in my life serve as inspirations for my paintings. My kitchen is a happy place ;filled with southern light all throughout the day with blue and white check curtains blowing in the breeze and filled with my treasured collections of roosters.

Finding Inspiration . . . . . . Here . . . . . .

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If you look close, you can see roosters on my chandlier and on plates in the plate rack.

Everywhere . . . . . . .

Bentley, my Studio Assistant, waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven!

With all of the roosters for inspiration, I decided to paint roosters while waiting for the cookies to bake.

I painted two small roosters and added eye hooks so they can be hung with a ribbon on a door nob in my kitchen.

Next I sketched out a "welcome rooster" painting that I will hang outside the French door to my kitchen. I like to sketch with a fabric marker instead of a pencil (pencils tend to smear and I prefer the marker). Next I started filling in the dark feathers on the rooster. I paint the darks first and then paint the lights and finish with highlights.

The cookies are done and I am off to deliver pumpkin bread to friends. I will show you Mr. welcome rooster completed on a later post.

Wishing you and your family blessings during this season of Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Pansies

I am still planting my late fall and early winter pansies and can't seem to get enough of their happy little faces. I found these darling Victorian seed holders at a garden store last year and thought the Pansy seed packets looked adorable in them (I think that they would make a cute little painting).

Finding Inspiration


There . . .and . . .everywhere

Pansy painting inspired by my newly planted pansies.

The garden cloche with bird on top was a little treasure I found in a vintage garden shop. I really like it and have used it over and over in my garden paintings. This time I put a little pot of lavender pansies in the cloche. I like to arrange items together to get an idea of how they will look in the painting. I call this my "set up for inspiration".

"Garden Day" painting with pansies and roses.

Cooking with edible flowers

My Grandmother was an avid gardener and loved to use edible flowers, especially pansies, to decorate cakes and cookies. This year I planted pansies from seeds so I would have organically grown pansies to use in my baking.

Pansy Flower Cookies

To make pansy flower cookies: use any standard recipe for sugar cookies - wash and dry culinary or organically grown pansy flowers and set aside - bake cookies for 5 minutes and remove from oven - lightly press pansy flower on top of cookies - sprinkle with sugar and bake until lightly browned. Flowers will come out lighter and have the subtle look of the pansy petal.

Lightly press flower into sugar cookie after baking for 5 minutes

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Mini cupcakes decorated with pansy flowers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pansies-Happy Faces

Pansies - Finding Inspiration




The Pansy is named for the French word pensee, which means thought. As a child I always called them "Happy Faces" and recently read that some feel the French probably named the Pansy that because the flower petals often resemble a human face when the flowers nod forward as if thinking.
Pansies are easy to grow and in Southern California, where our fall and winters are mild and the sun shines almost every day, they bloom all winter. They come in a wide range of colors, ranging from gold, white, violet and blue. Pansies make me smile and the ones with bi-colored petals are my favorite to paint since they remind me of happy faces.

All of those "happy faces" were the inspiration for my painting of pansies.

Painting almost complete - needs a little touching up!

Completed painting displayed on a garden bench at Debra's Cottage

Pansies are a member of the genus Viola, and they are closely related to violets. Did you know that you can eat organically grown or culinary pansies? The blossoms are beautiful sprinkled on a garden salad and you can also cook with them? Only eat flowers that are organically grown without chemical pesticides. It is best to plant pansies yourself if you plan to eat them or order from an edible flower source.

My organically grown pansies are ready to harvest and today I am experimenting using Pansy blooms to decorate sugar cookies. I will let you know how they turn out in my next post.

Have a lovely creative week.