Rose Petal Fairy in Watercolor

Rose fairy in watercolor

This rose fairy painting proved to be quite time consuming. I worked on it off and on over the last two weeks, putting the painting aside when I became frustrated (mostly with the color scheme), and picking it up again later so I could approach it with fresh eyes.  I nearly gave up on this painting early on in the process but stuck with it because my daughter encouraged me to press on. Now that it’s complete I think the color scheme is fine. I particularly like the little mouse and the colorful sky that depicts an early morning sunrise.

This painting is based on a tutorial in Linda Ravenscroft’s book, “The Fairy Artist’s Figure Drawing Bible.”

Rainbow Dragon

Greta's Rainbow Dragon1

I couldn’t wait to share this rainbow dragon that my daughter painted today. I love the colorful scales paired with the neutral gray tones; it creates a wonderful balance of cool and warm colors that helps guide viewers’ eyes around the painting. This painting is an interesting play of contrasts: its whimsical and sophisticated, colorful and subdued, patterned and random. What’s not to love?

Weekend Chef: Meatball Gyros

Meatball Gyros

I love gyros so when I found this recipe for meatballs with cucumber sauce on flatbreads in the August 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine I just had to try it. The recipe calls for frozen meatballs, which are a real time saver for busy cooks like me. I served these Greek-style sandwiches with a tossed green salad and had dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. Delicious, easy, and quick–that’s a winning combination in my book. Get the recipe at bhg.com.

Abbott in Action

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Here is a video of my daughter’s horse, Abbott, free lunging. Free lunging is when you put the horse through its paces around the arena without a lunge line. Abbott is trained to respond to clucking noises. So in this video when you see him stopping and then resuming his paces, my daughter is off camera clucking to encourage him to keep going. Free lunging is less stressful on the horse’s joints because you’re not constraining him to a small circle when he’s moving. Abbott is a 2005 quarter horse/paint gelding. His shire was a western pleasure champion, which is apparent in his movement. My daughter enjoys showing him in huntseat equitation. Abbott is the apple of her eye.

And here is a picture of me riding Abbott. I enjoyed horseback riding at a place called Patty’s Riding Stable in Fairfax, Virginia in the early 1970s. Back then it cost $3.00 per hour to ride the horses. I diligently saved my weekly allowance (.50 cents per week), and when I had accumulated enough money, I’d go for a ride. I had no idea what I was doing but I didn’t care, I had fun anyway. Apparently the horses knew I was clueless because one Chestnut mare named “Chessie” would slam me into the corner of a barn filled with grain every time I rode by it in an effort to knock me out of my saddle. I had to take my foot out of my stirrup and push off against the building with my foot to keep her from body slamming me against the side of the building. Somehow, I always managed to hang on. When this photo was taken, I hadn’t ridden a horse in over 30 years. It felt so much higher up there in the saddle than I remembered, and I was initially quite nervous. Abbott was very patient with me.

Me Riding Abbot2

Sometimes You Just Have to Stop and Smell the Flowers

Stevie and Flowers2

Stevie and Flowers1

Stevie and Flowers3

Stevie and Flowers

Little Stevie, our Yorkshire Terrier is such a curious boy. He just couldn’t wait to check out this bouquet of pink tulips–a Valentine’s gift from my sweet sister. Aren’t they lovely? Thank you, sissy. I snapped dozens of photos of Steve and my flowers in hopes of recreating them in a watercolor painting.

Bacon, Egg, and Potato Salad

Bacon Egg and Potato Salad1

This bacon, egg, and potato salad is one of my daughter’s favorite salads. It’s my variation of a spinach salad with a hot bacon dressing that my mother served years ago. This salad, however, is served cold and I’ve removed the bacon grease from the dressing. The end result is a sweet and sour, crunchy salad with a feather light dressing that’s truly a party in your mouth. This salad is a bit more time consuming to prepare than most salads since you’ll need to boil the eggs and potatoes and fry the bacon, but it’s well worth the extra effort. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make bacon, egg, and potato salad:

Bacon Egg and Potato Salad Ingredients

Ingredients:

1-2 heads Boston (or butterhead) lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
6 Yukon gold potatoes, boiled and sliced (I don’t peel them)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Combine the lettuce, onion, crumbled bacon, chopped eggs, and sliced potatoes in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cider vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar, and water. Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely and pour over the salad.

Doesn’t this look good?

Bacon Egg and Potato Salad2

The Love Note

Heart

I was searching through a box of artwork that my daughter created when she was young when I came across this note she gave me when she was 8 years old. It was so darn cute that I just had to save it. It’s the best love note I’ve ever received. I posted this last February when I first created my blog, but since Valentine’s Day is approaching and many of you haven’t seen this before, I thought I’d share it again. My answer is written on the bottom of her note. How precious is this?

Greta's Love Note