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.

Christmas Surprises

Photo of the branding iron (right) and a little sample of how it looks when imprinted (left)

One of the surprises I was most looking forward to being revealed, was a custom branding iron that I got for my husband. I collaborated with my oldest daughter who created the art I wanted for the logo. We decided that an osprey was a good choice, since he loves seeing ospreys fly over our yard, especially the time when we saw one catch a fish. So, we captured that in a logo and added “Wood Crafted by …..” his name. We worked with a Russian craftsman online to get this to come together. It was a very fun experience and special. I couldn’t wait for him to see this!

Husband realizing what his Christmas present is
Husband showing off his custom wood working branding iron

He does beautiful projects, like original musical instruments. See this dragon shaped violin he made for our youngest daughter.

Custom dragon shaped violin, wood carved and hand crafted by my husband

I will show you more of his work in future blog posts. But this is enough to show you that he really needs to stamp his work with his own logo and name, as these pieces will be heirlooms and are very special to us, as he is special to us!

I hope that you too had Christmas surprises that are meaningful and joyful. I will share a few other things later. Enjoy your holiday break and make many wonderful memories!


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My Turn!

Yesterday was my son’s turn for our Secret Santa game. And today was my turn. Both of us managed to pull off a surprise that no one guessed. First, the reveal of what my son served yesterday: He made ratatouille, inspired by the movie. 🙂 I really enjoyed this dish. It was the first time any of us had tried ratatouille and it was fun to sample something different.

My son’s ratatouille
He put so much time into this! He was proud of how the rows of vegetables turned out.

OK, now for my turn… I made chicken cordon blue and a side dish of egg noodles over buttered pea sprouts from my garden. First, the cordon blue: I used black forest ham and provolone cheese inside the butterfly cut chicken. The breading has an egg wash, Parmesan cheese, paprika, salt, and bread crumbs. Everyone loved it, said the chicken was moist and tender and gave me 5 stars. 🙂 My kids had never had chicken cordon blue before and it had been years since my husband and I had this dish, so this was very welcome and we enjoyed our dinner!

My chicken cordon blue!
My side dish: buttery pea sprouts cut from my garden over salted egg noodles

I was proud of my garden contribution. My son asked if I had fresh basil and parsley. Why, yes, I do! I was able to walk a few feet outside and cut the amount of herbs he needed for his recipe. The above picture is of my buttered pea sprouts mixed in salted egg noodles. It was very good! It’s fun to see my gardening starting to pay off. It makes me feel motivated to plant heavily this spring.

Tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s turn in the kitchen. I’ll tell you what happens. I have no idea what she’s planning. So far, all but my husband did a great job of keeping their meals secret. She has the last day, and our Secret Santa chef game will end for this Christmas. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Secret Santa!

Watch oil painting “I Believe in Santa” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

You might remember when I talked about my family’s Secret Santa game in blog post “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“? Our Christmas fun involves FOOD! I said this: “My family started a Secret Santa tradition that is a bit different from the usual. Instead of exchanging presents, the “secret” is a home-cooked meal. We don’t know what each other is planning to cook for us until it’s dinner time on their scheduled day to be the secret (chef) Santa.”

Yesterday it was my husband’s turn to be Chef Santa. He made from-scratch (even the dough!) Calzones.

Homemade calzone by my husband
some ingredients include: ricotta cheese, mushrooms, peppers
My plate

Today is our oldest daughter’s turn to be Secret Santa. Husband is on his way home from a late shift at work. I’ll report on the food surprise tomorrow.

Christmas Star and Curry

Watch oil painting “Christmas Star” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This art of Mary and baby Jesus features the Christmas Star, which was visible in some parts of the world the year I painted this for the Christmas Show 2020. The star will sadly not make another appearance for 2021. And neither will my dinner gift from last year’s Secret Santa exchange.

Yesterday I mentioned the Secret Santa homemade dinner exchange that my family does (the five of us- husband, our three kids and I). I told you that there’s a funny story about this, but I was too tired to tell it and I promised I would talk about it tomorrow. And now it’s tomorrow. So, here goes:

Last year instead of cooking for the whole family (which we are doing this time), we drew names and cooked for only one person. I drew my husband’s name. Since I’ve been cooking for him for many years, I wanted to make things very different by making something that he likes, but I’ve never made because I have an aversion to the main featured spice- chicken curry. It seemed to be some sort of allergy to curry, that I only discovered after repeated ingestion of it.

Well, when I cooked with the curry, the allergy was so strongly felt that I had difficulty breathing! It was quite scary really. My throat was closing over and I had to actually leave the room, where my husband had to eat alone and then clean everything up by himself! LOL, well, that didn’t go as I’d intended it to! He enjoyed the chicken curry, so that’s a positive note. Most importantly, he was touched that I was willing to make something I’m allergic to, but he assures me that I should never attempt that again! 🙂

This year I’ll stay away from curry! I’ll share how this goes when it’s my turn to cook (as opposed to most days when I do the cooking, this will have the fun surprise factor). They never know what I’ll do. And neither do I! But it will be more interesting to see what the rest of the family comes up with, as they don’t usually cook for the family.

If you’ve not already tried a Secret Santa dinner exchange, it really is great fun. It makes for wonderful memories, and if your chefs do well, everything is delicious! You can make the surprise the dinner part only, and each person cooks for everyone on their turn (as we are doing this year), or you can exchange names and the surprise is both the person you’re cooking for and the dinner you’ll make (we did that last year, but now prefer to cook for the whole family). If you try this Secret Santa dinner idea, don’t forget to take pictures of everyone’s culinary creations!

Red Flower is REAL

See oil painting “Dancer in a Floral Forest” come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I painted this as an imaginary landscape, but it turns out that those red flowers are real, and I may soon have one in my possession! The flower looks remarkably like it to me, anyway. My daughter took a photo of a red flower that looks very similar to these red ones I painted and said that she always sees hummingbirds near those flowers on campus. Later, she texted that there will soon be a plant sale on campus. So we’re hoping that they’ll be selling those red flowers!

If not, we’ll track down where to buy them, and eventually we’ll have new red flowers for the hummingbirds. I love it when there’s a new surprise quest to find an elusive (elusive to me, the flower doesn’t seem uncommon for this area) new nature treasure. Sometimes my paintings seem to foreshadow future events in ways that are quite mysterious. In this case, it’s just a simple red flower that becomes a joyful treasure hunt and special memory with my daughter, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

When I one day have this red flower, I’ll take a picture of it- hopefully with a hummingbird near it at the same time. Small quests give us something to look forward to. The more quests we accept, the more we are given. When we expect to be surprised by serendipity and joyful connections, we are!

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BAD DAY

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

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Happy Day!

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Bandits!

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aww

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Missed it?

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Gator Tale

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What a Day!

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Another Delight!

Watch this hummingbird oil painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse)

This is another of my hummingbird paintings, that I painted for a children’s book, but my blog post today is about the same kind of hummingbird I shared with you yesterday. There’s another surprise video that I took today! You might remember that in the past I said that birds come to me when I sing? 

It was something I discovered by accident when we were raising guinea fowl and I couldn’t get them to come back to their shelter at night. I tried calling for them, but one day when I was outside singing just for the love of singing, I noticed that they responded to my voice and came nearer to me. In fact, they kept coming toward me as if in some sort of spell… it was wonderful! So, instead of yelling my fool head off and those birds ignoring me, in the evenings I’d sing a hymn and they’d come home from wherever they’d been hiding in the fields!

As I’ve previously shared, we used to have a hobby farm and had to sell it when the company my husband worked for left the country and ghosted our town, leaving everyone unemployed. We had to start over and it’s taking us a long time, but we focus on each step. Anyway, the guinea fowl days are gone, but I discovered that wild song birds and hummingbirds also respond to my singing! 

I’ve hoped to capture this experience for you, and I’m getting closer to doing that. I have a video to share… it’s not quite the same exhilarating experience I have when I don’t have a phone held up (they don’t like that). If I’m still and don’t have a phone held up, a hummingbird will come within INCHES of my face, hover, and stare with direct eye contact, his tiny eyes locking with mine. It’s kind of scary actually. I never know if he might actually fly directly into my nose one of these days! 

But so far they don’t do this when I have a camera/phone held up. I could try a tripod in the future, but that might spook them too. We’ll see. This time there were two hummingbirds, but they look identical so I don’t know if you’re seeing the same little guy or if one flew in/out and the other then flew in/out. But you’ll see that when I sing, they fly out from wherever they were hiding. Isn’t it amazing? Stay tuned after the video, I have an update!

So, while I was playing the video back, I could hear the chittering sounds that the hummingbirds make. I was confused because I didn’t recall that being in the video. It wasn’t! Since I could clearly hear HIM, just outside the patio windows, he must have heard me as well, via the video! He chittered all the way through my singing on the video and stopped when the video ended! 

Hopefully I can capture it on video when the hummingbirds come near my face and look directly into my eyes. So far this is as close I’ve been able to get to video taping this experience. I hope it was fun to see!

New Painting – Bear

Watch me paint this bear in about 2 minutes (time lapse)

Another painting done for the 2021 collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“. This brings me one painting closer to my lifetime goal of 1k finished paintings!

I’m also working on my next live taping variety show which will be hosted here on this website beginning July 2. I do four shows a year, each one involves painting, surprise acts and guests. I hope you will love the next show!

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