aww

See this oil painting of a living sand dollar come to life in 1 minute (time lapse)

My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it was fragile, and she was concerned about other boxes crushing it. I assumed that she had wrapped up her special knickknacks but when I picked up the box it was nearly weightless. It turns out that she had saved sand dollars she’d found at the beach and those were the fragile treasures she cared about. Not something from the store, but a memory of a beautiful day and a special gift from nature. Aww, times like these make me feel as if everything I wanted for her has come true.

BTW: The pumpkin vine we plan to take with us is even bigger! We are really going to look silly carrying that into our new yard.


EASTER SHOW LAUNCHED!

Easter Show 2022

HERE IT IS! Launching my new Easter Painting Show now, to give you time to share this special video with your family, friends, and social media. If you feel this show has value, please consider making a donation toward my future work. Every little bit helps, as I am self funded. Thank you, and I hope that you feel hopeful and encouraged after watching this.

Special Dinner Invite

Yesterday’s anniversary dinner update: It turned out so wonderfully, that I’d love to invite you to your own special dinner. It’s so worth the effort to go all out with candlelight, “fancy” (beyond your usual routine) details, and a dressy tablecloth. Do it! Make a night of it. And don’t forget the music. Make a playlist, formerly known as a mix tape, of songs that mean something to the people you’re cooking for. Maybe you already do this sort of thing but haven’t in a while? If so, it’s time to do it again!

Above photo is of my plate with the gyro meat (my masterpiece!) made with ground lamb mixed with ground chicken, spices/seasoning (onion powder, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and heavy on the garlic), then pressed onto a skillet in one giant patty that fills the entire surface of the skillet. Browned until firm, then cut with a silicon spatula into strips, flip the strips over and brown on the other side. Husband made the pita bread and it turned out perfectly.

Natalie and husband, anniversary dinner at home February 2022
The kids were making us laugh
Anniversary Cake

I didn’t bake this cake- it was a spontaneous purchase from the bakery, but I thought it was perfect! It reminds me of an infinity loop. It had cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake, and little accents of chocolate as a topping. MMMM!

It doesn’t have to be an anniversary to plan a special dinner. It was amazing how much fun we had just by dressing up our from-home eating experience to be an event worthy of a fine restaurant. Dining out has not been pleasant in years and we’ve stopped doing it. We cook and eat at home routinely, but this felt very different. We genuinely had a wonderful time, and I encourage you to do this, even if it feels silly at first. It’s worth it.

Well, our special weekend is over and finally I should be back on track with new paintings and my show. Quick update: Last week’s inspection popped up without much notice and our schedule was derailed by it. I also had some other things come up, and a delay with the green screen (needed a second piece to fill the space). All of this is behind me now. Playtime over, let the work week begin. Happy Sunday, everyone. Let us have a good week ahead.


Photographs and Memories

Watch this Savannah, Georgia fountain and park landscape come alive in 5 minutes (time lapse)

This oil painting features a cameo of me- it’s an unexpected self-portrait. That’s me in the red dress with my camera, taking a picture of this fountain to paint later. I took pictures from this faraway perspective and also up close. What I didn’t know is that while I was doing this, my husband took a picture of me at the fountain that he shared with me later. This made what I thought was just a task for work into a sweet memory. So I added myself into the scene, as seen through the eyes of my husband.

I hadn’t intended on adding any people, especially not myself! But now when I see this art, I think of how my husband does spontaneous things on occasion that surprise me. This art, for me, has become more about that memory (a real life action) than the fountain (a tourist attraction that thousands of people have photographed and hundreds of artists- especially students- have painted).

I’ve been sorting through photos to choose some to frame. Photographs can be an important influence on mental health, as the careful selection of which memories to focus on can be healing, empowering, and motivating. When we have few photos or only photos from the past, it can be easy to believe that our best days are behind us, gone. And if our photographs are nearly exclusively of times when we are on vacation, at a photo studio, or at special events, we see only our social or public selves, not our “everyday” authentic selves. The message we may inadvertently send ourselves it that our true selves are not valuable, as this side of us doesn’t make the cut for displaying in our space.

It’s important to occasionally re-assess the photos we display, and update our space with current, real memories that encourage us to live in gratitude for the present and hope for the future. Our chosen photographs can be part of a private selection, displayed only in our bedrooms or other non-public areas of our homes. It’s not important to share our favorite memories with others. But it can be significant to display these photos to ourselves and those who live with us.

Who we are in our real lives is enough. Although the best-of-times photos are important to celebrate (and will likely compose the majority of our framed collections), we do not need to be our vacation selves, our special event selves, or our social selves to feel alive. Just be. Honor real, ordinary, everyday moments as highly as the days we’re “supposed” to commemorate.

More important to me than the iconic fountain and famous landscape is knowing that my husband thought the lady in the red dress was worthy of photographing. May we still be surprised by those who love us, and live in wonder that we are so blessed to live another day. While special moments are perhaps few in comparison to everyday actions, it is the average day that is uniquely ours alone, and extraordinarily special. May we create lives worthy of remembering.

God bless and keep you, this day and always.


Homemade Christmas!

Pink polka dot scrunchie for my daughter made by yours truly!

This year I wanted to step things up and create a personal and special Christmas that includes things that I made myself. I’ll share those projects with you. Maybe these ideas would work for you sometime (not necessarily for Christmas, but whenever you need a more personal touch to your gift giving).

First, the hair accessories! I got a sewing machine recently and taught myself how to make scrunchies. First I made Christmas themed ones that they could wear to class before Christmas, but I was secretly practicing to make everyday fashion ones in their favorite colors as stocking stuffers.

More of the scrunchies I made
My oldest daughter wearing one of her new scrunchies
Not sure if you can tell from this particular view, but half of it is floral, the other half gingham

They liked the ones when I combined two coordinating fabrics into one scrunchie. I was rather proud of that idea! The other handmade gifts are food related.

I used a mortar and pestle to crush candy canes. I rolled large marshmallows over them. This is a fun topping for warm beverages.

See the bag of peppermint marshmallow topping on the right, and scrunchies in the stocking
Also in their stockings: sugary coffee drink mixes in a jar (Cappuccino and Snickerdoodle)
The most delicious Christmas treat!

These are streusel coffee cake loaves, set on top of their presents. Can you see the Christmas tree imprint on the loaf on your right? There are different designs on each loaf.

I made one for myself as well, as I LOVE coffee cake. Mine had a bell imprint. I enjoyed this personal sized cake very, very much! It was a wonderful treat on Christmas afternoon when I was sleepy from a happy morning and ready for a break in the festivities.

You might be able to see that the loaf in the bottom of this photo has a candy cane imprint.

The homemade Christmas gifts were well received and were such a joyful surprise that I will do more of this in the future. I’m happy that I pushed myself to learn new things and to work harder to live richer. I started baking my coffee cake loaves at 5:30AM on Christmas morning. It was worth it! I then made Christmas doughnuts and a big breakfast. And they want to make Christmas breakfast a tradition.

It is my wish for myself and for you, to push ourselves to give more of who we are. Learn new ways to share and love those around you. Believe that you can do special things, and you are a special soul. Be loved, be of love, and be free. Enjoy the rest of your holiday season. God bless you and keep you, this day and always.


O Holy Night

Singing “O Holy Night” with my daughters (I am the one in the middle)

This song is part of the 45 minute Christmas variety show featuring 2 oil paintings, singing, and dancing: 2021 CHRISTMAS SHOW. Please share with anyone who would enjoy a free joyful event to watch over these special days. It’s Christmas Eve, dear friends. I hope that you are tucked away with people you love and are ready to celebrate Christmas.

God bless you and your family, this day and always.


New Painting, Nativity Scene

See oil painting “Nativity Scene” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This is the short time lapse version of one of the featured paintings in Christmas Show 2021 (the full 45 minute variety show with painting, singing and dancing is available on this site, YouTube, and BitChute). This nativity scene is larger than the one I’ve done in the past, as this one includes more than the central figures of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. Added are the wise men, shepherds, animals (cow, donkey, sheep) and angel. The Christmas star is included in both paintings.

“Nativity Scene” oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

I hope that you are enjoying a peaceful time with your loved ones, as we reflect on what Christmas means to us as individuals, and as we participate in our family traditions. Speaking of traditions, old and new: Tonight was the last surprise meal for our Secret Santa game. I said yesterday that I’d talk with you about that, so here it is: our youngest daughter made chicken gnocchi, and it was DELICIOUS!

Our youngest daughter’s chicken gnocchi
She took a lot of care to slow cook the chicken, grate the carrots, finely chop the celery, and chop the fresh spinach and onion. She spent two hours preparing and cooking this dish.
Here it is, served up and ready for me to light the candles before we pray together and eat.

We had a wonderful Secret Santa exchange this year and now we have gourmet leftovers to help us through the busy day tomorrow. I hope our family has inspired you to give this idea a try sometime. The week leading up to Christmas is a good time for families to share the cooking and try new special dishes.

Tomorrow is already Christmas Eve! I wish all of you peace, love, and joy. God bless you and your families.


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Go Tell it on the Mountain

Singing with my daughters during the Christmas Show 2021

Christmas is now so very near! I hope you are all feeling happy about a special time with your loved ones. God bless you, this day and always!


New Painting

Watch oil painting “The Christmas Dance” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This is one of the new paintings I finished last week for the taping of my 2021 Christmas Show, which features a longer version of this art, as well as a second new painting that I’ll share here soon, and variety show entertainment (singing and dancing). I told the story of this painting during the show. It was inspired by last year’s (Christmas Show 2020) show, when I was dancing with my husband in the final act.

 

There are moments in our lives that feel as if we’re marking something important, and we might not be able to fully name what that is, nor do we recognize what it means, but we know it is important, maybe special, or something that will be significant in the future. This was one of those defining moments, of sensing that life was changing. It was poignant and sadly beautiful. I believe, to some extent, we all share this feeling during these complicated days. May we see the joy through the pain and confusion. May we choose to dance.

 

God bless you and keep you, this day and always. As it is now the week before Christmas, please keep a candle lit inside your soul. Let it shine before others.

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Christmas Cheer!

I added the Christmas show to several platforms, besides directly from this site. YouTube (embedded above), and also BitChute and Rumble. I hope this makes my special painting, singing, and dancing variety show easier to share with your friends and family. Thank you for your help with sharing, and I hope you enjoy the show!