One-Year Anniversary

One-Year Anniversary

February 18th will mark the one-year anniversary of my blog. Since I began this blog to share my efforts on learning how to paint with watercolors, my daughter, Greta, thought it would be a good idea to repaint our first painting and share the results here. We’ve developed a lot of new skills in the past year–and I’ll share some lessons learned in an upcoming post–but we still have a lot to learn. Our plan is to repaint this little lion–which we intentionally kept simple since it was our first effort–each year on our anniversary to show our progression.

My blog has grown into much more than an art blog over the past year. I’ve also branched out and included posts about the things I love most–art, cooking, interior design, gardening, and spending time with my family and animal friends. Life is good, and I’m pleased to share the goodness with you. I’d like to thank my loyal followers and readers for all their encouragement and lovely comments over the past year and I hope to continue to share all the goodness life has to offer.

The Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia

Red Truck Bakery1

My mother and I visited the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia this morning.  I stopped in there a few weeks ago and bought some amazing rosemary focaccia topped with sea salt and other items and wanted to share the goodness with my mom.  Owner and baker-in-chief Brian Noyes has been churning out focaccia and other hearty loaves, seasonal pies, croissants and muffins, coffee cakes, savory quiches, and delicious soups and sandwiches in a renovated 1921 Esso filling station since 2009.

1954 Ford Truck from Tommy Hilfiger's Connecticut Farm1

The Red Truck Bakery was founded in a farmhouse in Orlean, Virginia, which is located approximately 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. Prior to opening his Warrenton shop, founder Brian Noyes delivered baked goods to local businesses in this 1954 red ford truck that originally came from designer Tommy Hilfiger’s Connecticut farm.

Citrus Cupcakes with Burnt Sugar Icing

Today I sampled one of these citrus cupcakes with burnt sugar icing, Alma Hackney’s rum cake, a meatloaf sandwich, and of course, the rosemary focaccia.

Red Truck Bakery Communal Table

The locals enjoy coffee, baked goods, and homemade sandwiches at this communal table which is made from beams from a local barn torched by General Philip Sheridan during his march through the Shenandoah Valley. What a charming spot to host a meeting.

Red Truck Bakery Counter

An antique toy truck decorated the counter.

Red Truck Bakery Radio Flyer

And red radio flyer wagons added additional charm.

Red Truck Bakery Sign

The Red Truck Bakery is located on 22 Waterloo Street in Old Town Warrenton, Virginia. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. The items sell out quickly, so if you’re planning a visit be sure to arrive early or call ahead and reserve the items you want.

Red Truck Bakery Cookie Jar

If you don’t live nearby you can still enjoy baked goods from the Red Truck Bakery; they ship nationwide. For information on online ordering visit the Red Truck Bakery website.

Three Women and a Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is a pineapple upside down cake fresh out of the oven. My mother made it as a treat today for me and my daughter.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Half Eaten

And this is the same cake 10 minutes later. Boy was it good; so good I have to share the recipe. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make old-fashioned pineapple upside down cake.


2 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
9 whole pineapple slices
12 maraschino cherries
12 pecan halves

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream shortening; gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat thoroughly. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk. Melt butter in the bottom of an oven-proof fry pan. Add brown sugar and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan; bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple slices with a cherry in the center of each slice and additional cherries and pecans between the pineapple slices. Pour cake batter on top of the pineapple mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Loosen sides of the cake from the pan with a knife. Invert onto a serving plate.

Daisy Chain Fairy

Daisy Chain Fairy

This little daisy chain fairy is a bit of a departure for me since I typically work with cool colors. I had to adjust the colors several times before I was satisfied with my color choices. I may rework her in pink tones instead of orange, but for now I’m calling her done. This painting is based on a tutorial in Linda Ravenscroft’s book, “How to Draw and Paint Fairies.”