Belted Kingfisher and Red Squirrel Watercolor Paintings

I have been slow to post lately but at least I have been painting. Small watercolor paintings of little critters bring me joy. They give me a place to run away to as I bring them to life.

Two of my most recent favorites are both 5×7 inches and have matting that is custom painted to coordinate perfectly.

The Belted Kingfisher sold right away but the Red Squirrel is available in my Etsy Store.

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White chocolate macadamia coconut cookies

Somedays I want to run away. Unplug from everything and live off grid. Maybe on a macadamia farm some where doing a work exchange for room and board. But I am just a bit too rooted in everything and my cats would protest if the didn’t have their house and my lap. So instead I bake cookies. This makes everyone around me happy since one of my favorite things about baking is sharing to goodies.

One if my standbys and highly requested treats are my white chocolate macadamia coconut cookies. I have included the gluten free conversion at the bottom for those that are interested.

White chocolate macadamia coconut cookies

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Ingredients.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup salted butter, softened
1cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:

1
Preheat oven to 350°F.
2
In medium bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well, set aside.
3
In a large bowl with a mixer blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to until it forms a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until fully combined.
4
Add the coconut and mix until incorporated.
5
Add the flour mixture and blend on low speed until just combined.
6
Fold in nuts and white chocolate chips
7
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Move immediately to cooling rack.

Yield aprox 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Want it Gluten Free.

My GF all purpose mis is 6 parts rice flour, 2 parts potato starch and one part tapioca starch. I keep this mixed up on a container and measure out as needed.

For this recipe substitute the all purpose flour for 2 1/4 cups of your GF mix and add 3/4 tsp xantham gum. Be sure that you sift your xantham gum into the dry ingredients before combining with anything wet.

Thoughts on fan art

I sell my art at a several science fiction and fantasy conventions around Florida. These type of events are very fan centric and fan art is a major component of them. I have always been resistant to fan art for many reasons. I felt like it was selling out and I was not being true to my own art. I felt like I would be ripping off another artist or just repeating someone else’s idea. Mostly it for the most part didn’t interest me. I have so much of my own stuff in my head why should I redo others ideas.

Then I put some more thought into it. How can I make fan art work for me in a way that will help me grow my own art? Well what are some of my own artistic goals? One of my recent focus areas has been to improve accuracy in drawing and be able to better execute my faces and figures. Then it hit me. Rather than looking at the huge world of animated fandom (comic con had me thinking about cartooned characters), I would focus on movie and screenplay characters. Using movie stills as reference and try to be as accurate as possible. Viewing it as an opportunity to refine my skills and increase my accuracy. Emotion and facial expressions are characteristics that I want to master.

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Currently I am watching and reading Game of Thrones, so I decided to start there. I have just finished the first in the series with Cersei Lannister. I am very pleased with how she turned out. Yes there are things I am not happy with. But if I were ever truly happy would I ever finish anything.

Now who should I draw next?

Cargo Backpack.

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Here is a project I did a few weeks ago using a pair of old men’s cargo pants and making a back pack. I used some leather scraps from around the house and a contrasting fabric for the straps and trim. But this afforded me to reserve the other leg for a future project.

First cut up the leg and pocket.

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I used the back pocket as in inside pocket.

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Sew up the bottom and run a bias of contrast across the top.

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Moving madness.

For the last several months I have been happily sharing my living space with my love. But it has not been with out its challenges. My place was perfect for an artist, or a couple. But not for a couple of artists. One artist has a lot of art stuff but too artist live in the madness of creation.

Soon I am looking forward to once again having a dedicated space to paint and a home to properly store my jewelry supplies. But for now I have to put creativity aside in lieu of packing.

On the up side my cats are ready to go.

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Circuit Board Business Card Holder

Wandering around Skycraft one day we found a few pieces of circuit board that was just the copper core that the green plastic stuff is built up on. So we grabbed um up and added them to our stash of awesome.

Getting ready for a show a few weeks ago and going down my checklist of things that I needed to pack I realized I couldn’t find my business card holders, and was tired of leaving cards just lying on the table. So with a pair of metal snips and the edge of the work bench as a means to get a nice straight bend I turned these…

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Into these…

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I just kind of eyeballed the length I needed when I made this. You will want to make the back fold first since it is the sharpest and work you was ending in the front. Any thin substance that will crease and hold it shape firmly will work.

Happy UpCycling.

Circle B Bar Reserve

There is a gem of a place located off Winter Lake Road in Lakeland Florida that I had the pleasure to visiting recently. If you enjoy birding, the outdoors and Florida nature than this is the place for you. Named after a cattle ranch that once occupied the property. The Polk County Environmental Lands program acquired the property and completed several restoration projects in 2005 and 2006 to restore the land back to its historical hydrologic function. The result is an oasis of wildlife. We spent a day wandering through the oak hammock, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp and along the shore of Lake Hancock, and still didn’t walk all of the trails. Osprey, Bald Eagle, wading birds, water fowl, and alligators were in abundance.

There is no entrance fee at the park. So, pack a lunch and don’t forget your sunscreen and camera because the opportunities to capture great photos are endless. Here are just a few that we got during our little adventure.

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I can’t wait for spring. We plan on going back throughout the year to experience the changes in the flora and fauna that the different seasons bring.