My Random Week?

I need to come up with better titles.  LOL

Well I do not know about you guys, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that it is spring in Virginia too!  It was snowing on and off all day yesterday and it is about 35 degrees as of 11:00 a.m. today.  People here are optimistic though, when I went out yesterday.  I saw plenty of capris, sandals and flip-flops.  Can you say CRAZY!

My week went like most others…a little something like:

photo (3) I am still working on the colored pencil book but I decided to take a break from that and start a drawing project.  I only started last night so there is not much to show as of yet.

 I have been trying to read The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkbookness.  The key word here is trying.   This book has had rave reviews like, “A page turner!”  “I couldn’t put it down!”  “Exciting!”  blah blah blah!  Me?  I’m having a hard time picking it up.  Is there something I am missing?  When I’m reading this book I have to make myself press on and it  is not pulling me in to the story line.  I’m still kind of early on, so I am going to make my self read more in hopes that it is just a slow start.

And in the Ottaway household, the youngest Ottaway got her  Driver’s license this week and Saturday she gets her class ring. I think she’s excited, but I’m never sure.   Good times ahead for Alana… scary and sad times for us.  Oh Joy! ~cue Sunrise, Sunset

Well Gosh, I guess that is about it.  I hope your week went well and weekend is better!

HAPPY NATIONAL GOOF OFF DAY!!!!

Randomness ;)

photo 2  Remember this portrait? This is Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman.  He was one of my favorite characters from my still favorite show Once Upon a Time.  THEY KILLED HIM OFF!  I was so upset. But they left a glimmer of hope in me when the last scene was of a wolf running through the woods…I said to myself,  Self?  At least they left an opening for him to come back.  And they are!  I am so excited!  I know it is lame, but there ya go…

I went home last weekend and was finally able to give my nephew Evan DSC03314this Tiger  portrait. He loved it and was rendered speechless.  He actually kept saying over and over, ” I don’t know what to say?”  So, I guess he was not that speechless.  It made me so happy, to be able to make him happy and all it took was a little time out of my days.

colored pencil  I have also, been working on this exercise from the book Masterful Color by Arlene Steinberg.  I will not say too much as  I plan on doing more of these exercises so I can give you a newbie review.

patty nailsI’m ready for St. Patrick’s Day nails and all!  This color is Miami Spirit from the Wet ‘n Wild Fergie collection. I really like the Fergie Polishes from Wet ‘n Wild.  And man, they are dirt cheap at $3.49 a bottle.  In the bottle the color has blue micro glitter that is absolutely beautiful on the nail (especially outside).  Alana and I both love funky nail polishes.  The brighter the better!  but my favorite…favorite color has to be and hands down Navy Blue!  LOVE LOVE

And lastly, yesterday my glasses finally came in.  I had to get bifocals. And it is so very lovely to be able to see and read using the same glasses.  I got the progressive lens so, I feel like  I am in a fun house for now, LOL But I really think I will enjoy them.

Welp, those were the highlights of my week.  Yes, I even find nail painting exciting.  You guys have a wonderful and creative weekend!

Be Well and Happy!

A VERY VERY Belated….

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In January 2008 I began posting on Word press.  The reason I started my blog was that I grew tired of lugging my art back home for my family to see and also to minimize the risk of damage in transit.  And with the blog,  my kin can pop over and see what I am up to.  Well, it’s been 5 years with 101,174 visitors and 41 followers to date,  so it is a bit more to me now than storage space.  Which has been the best surprise ever!

I can not speak for everyone, but for me blogging and social media is more than “Hey, Look at me, Look at this!”    Blogging is a place where:

~Like minded people get together.  I have developed some wonderful relationships over the years.  After you read a blog for a certain about of time you do get emotionally invested in their lives.  Births, deaths, marriages, and divorce. I rejoice with them.  I have cried for them.  And I have had quite a few laughs!

~Learn from each other. If it were not for other bloggers I would not have learned to draw.  And I say this with absolute certainty.  I am sorry,  a lot of people will not agree with me but I am one of those people who believe anyone can learn to draw.  Anyone.  We may not all be Picasso’s or Monet’s but if you want it?  It is there. You just have to want it bad enough to practice; and practice a lot.  I use to believe it was all talent.  Not so, drawing and painting is more technical than gift and the talent is in the patience. (I do not have that much these days, LOL)  But I would have never known that and would not have bothered to learn at all if it were not for blogs.  And that is growing up with an artist living in the house!

There is so much information out there ripe for the picking, if you want to draw or paint or do anything creative.  And it is free!  Most of us want to help and are very eager to share what we know.  Giving back always weighs heavily on me.  I do feel an obligation to share what I have learned as well.  I have some ideas and I am still researching what I can do, but be assured I will do my part. And until then, I will an answer any question you may have.

~ Quite often it seems, the place you can get emotional support.  It is sad, really.  I read once and I am paraphrasing here,  A young lady was in a group, I guess in the middle of the conversation she called herself an Artist.  Her husband/boyfriend/Troll/dip-bleep called her down in front of the group and told her that she was not an artist and should not even call herself one.  Because his feelings were that to call yourself an artist you have to get paid!  The mortification that the poor girl felt, oh my goodness!  I still get mad when I think about it.  So please be careful and sensitive when you comment on someone’s blog.  Your words may be the one kind ones they receive.  And if you have to say something negative find something positive to say as well.

You can agree or disagree, but my definition of an artist is a person who creates.  period. end of story.  If you get paid for your work, then you become a professional artist.  Does being a “professional” artist make you a better artist?  No, absolutely not.  It only means that they have been able to market themselves better or had some very, very good luck.

~Self Confidence. It is very easy to post something awesome and flawless.  But when you are able to post things that you know suck?  Now, that’s confidence!  I tend to do that quite often and I will tell you that it sucks and point out everything that I do not like.  I do that because there are people out there who actually think that others have the Midas Touch and everything they do turns to gold. When actually 40 -60% of everything I do is poo.  Who Cares!  I do crank out a good one every now and again. But there are those stinkaroonies…And it is only fair that you see, the good, the bad and the ugly.

~Cons. The only con that I can think of is the hater.  Yes, I have been called names.  I have even been told off, as to why I still don’t know.   Not often, but it is there.   I remember  my first one.  It was at night, I grabbed my computer and took it in the living room crying to my husband.  Now, what he was going to do about it, I had no idea, I guess virtually beat them up ;).  I think I cried, because I did not want to approve that comment.  I read that it was wrong to cherry pick comments, but  it was mean and unkind and did not have anything to do with the post.

I just did not know what to do then I decided and I am going to be blunt here: My Blog. My Rules!   I have spent many hours of many years working my tail off learning to draw.  Yes, there are more artists better than me than not.  But this is my blog and I will not be disrespected in my own house.  I welcome constructive criticism but I will not approve comments or respond to a unhelpful,  mean-spirited  hater who’s only goal is to hurt me and put me in my place.  I hope you do not put up with such foolishness either.   Because you deserve better than to respond to someone who’s only goal is to watch (or read) just waiting for you to do a face plant!

Other than that Blogging is very rewarding and If you read my blog on a regular basis,  I just want  Thank you so very much and I appreciate your comments and support! I wish you knew how much it means to me.  And if you are visiting my blog, thank you for your time and I hope you drop by soon or you can click the sign me up box to follow me.  I guess that is it for now, and I really hope that I did not induce a nap.

To celebrate my blogaversary, I am going to  pull out a lovely square of 2013 Hershey chocolate from my sock drawer to munch on 😉  I hope you guys have a great weekend.

MUCH LOVE!

Well Hello, Sweet Potato ;)

sweet potato

I do not know about you but I was the kind of girl who was brought up on meat breaded and fried in a cast iron pan.  Our biscuits were made of lard and in pons (not in little discs).  The veggies were tasty and pressure cooked with fatback and a fist full of salt.  And our fruit cobblers had so much butter that it would bubble and spray like the blow-hole of a whale.  I do miss my southern style eating.  I guess if I had to name what I missed the most, it would have to be scrambled eggs, sausage gravy and biscuits. But no more! Now, it’s mostly egg whites, turkey sausage, no gravy and the occasional piece of whole wheat bread  😦

This healthy eating stuff blows about half the time.  I mean I’m daydreaming about biscuits and sausage gravy over here!  I don’t how  people do it honestly. How in the world can someone get excited about eating all that health food stuff. I know, I know…if you respect your body, you will put good things in it.     <insert whine here>    It is so hard!

I am not giving up and I will  find things that are good for me and my family to eat, no matter how much crap I make them eat, LOL   Thank Goodness, these sweet potatoes are really good.  And if you close your eyes, you could swear that you are eating sweet potato pie.  Not really, but it is pretty good. And here is how I make them:

Sweet Potato Medallions

Sweet potatoes

Olive oil spray

Honey

Cinnamon

Coconut

Wash sweet potatoes.  Pre Heat oven 350 degrees.  Leaving the peel, cut potatoes in half-inch medallions.  Spray pan with olive oil and lay potatoes flat on the pan.  (Do not layer potatoes on top of each other because it will make them stick).  Spray another light layer of olive oil on top of potatoes then sprinkle with cinnamon.  Every 15 minutes or so flip potatoes until they are cooked all the way through.  Then drizzle with honey and sprinkle 2 tbsp. of flaked dry coconut over the batch.

Enjoy!

Be Well and Happy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I thought it was a good time to post a quick and easy treat.  Since I can not give you the chocolate you so richly deserve, I’m giving you one of our favorite recipes.

I’m the kind of  girl who hides chocolate in my sock drawer.  It may be there a day, a week or month, but I know it  is waiting for me when I need a good fix.  My family is jealous of my stash, but I feel no guilt.  It’s mine! And if they want a stash?  They are able-bodied enough to get their own.

Sadly, sometimes my stash is gone.  So I keep the ingredients to this cake in my cupboards for emergencies.  It’s pretty easy to keep the supplies on hand since it does not require eggs.  And you may already have everything at home to make this tonight 🙂

Hot Fudge Cake

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Mix

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking powder

(I use 2 cups self rising flour so I skip the salt and baking powder)

6 tbsp. cocoa

2/3 cup melted butter

3 tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour ingredients in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

In a small bowl combine:

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

8 tbsp. cocoa

Blend and then sprinkle evenly over batter.

Pour 2 1/2 cups of hot water over cake.  DO NOT STIR.  Bake 40 minutes or until cake is almost set.  Let stand 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

DIG IN!

That’s my Valentine to you!

Free ebooks…

Tablet

“How do I love thee, let me count the ways…”   The above picture is my much-loved tablet that David and Alana gave me for Christmas.  I love it!!!  I had researched e readers and tablets for a couple of months, weighing pros and cons, price and features.  The Samsung Galaxy tablet has fulfilled all my expectations and more.  I have Photoshop and I can  even draw on it.  Other than my  Baby Tenderlove this has been my favorite toy EV-ERR!

Another reason that I  chose a tablet over an eReader is that IMO, with the wonderful invention of Apps. I have a plethora of options when downloading books, I am not to chained to one site or the other.

I have never read the same book twice.  There are too many wonderful books out there and I want to read as much and as many as I can.  I will buy art books and some religious material  (only if I need it for more than 3 weeks or so) but other than that I do not want to buy a book unless I have exhausted all of my resources in finding it for free or getting a book on loan.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to share some links you may find helpful.  Some of the links may seem redundant, but you may find that you prefer one site over the other:

Kindle – (Amazon)

1.) Amazon – Go to the website. Choose Kindle books, then pick low to high in price range, then choose your genre..

2.)  Inspired Reads – Free Christian and Discounted books.  Subscribe to the blog and  you will receive an email daily.  The site will take to directly to Amazon.

~ links that will be directed to Amazon sites :

Hundred Zeros   /  ebooks Habit  /   Fiction Steals  /   Kindle buffet  /   Shelf buzz  /  World Library  /  The ereader Café   /

Many Books   /   Free books Hub

3.)  Overdrive –  Check to see if your local library partners with this site.  With this App, you choose your library, put in your card number and password then browse their selection of books.  I use this app quite a bit.  With my library policy, I can check out 2 library books at a time with a 14 day lending period.  No driving to the library and no late fees!!!

****Barnes and Noble does not participate with overdrive…And I don’t see them  participating within the foreseeable future …bummer!

4 .) Pixels of Ink – Free books of different subjects for a limited time from Amazon. What’s great about this site is that they have young editions section.

5.) Daily Cheap Reads – Daily post of free kindle books that also have a junior section.

6. ) Digilibraries – gathers free books from independent authors and publishers directly from their website.

7.) Book Lending – After you register with this site, you can borrow or lend books from other individuals for a period of 14 days.  You lend a book, you get a book.

8.) Power Reads – Non fiction books.

9.) Open Library – downloading and  lending books, specializing in classic literature.

Nook (Barnes and Noble)

1.) Barnes and Noble – Go to the website. Choose Nook books, then pick low to high in price range, then choose your genre..

2.)  Nook Free Fridays –  Each Friday Barnes and Noble offers a free ebook.  The weekly book offered is one that you would normally be charged for, but they offer it free to you for only one day.  Sooo, if you snooze you lose.

3.) ManyBooks, Open Library (you find the links above.)

4.) Ebook Fling – Works the same as Book Lending (#7 in Amazon)

5.) Google Books – download millions of books in both PDF and EPUB. Both of the formats should work for the nook.

6.) Scribed – website to help you find the last , most popular free ebooks.

7.)Free Ebook – not only can you download free ebooks, you can join their book club.

I guess that’s about it for me today.  If you happen upon this site and can think of another ebook site, place it my comment box and I will added it right along.  You guys have a good day!

Be Well and Happy!

Disclaimer:   I am not affiliated with any site or product featured in this post, nor am I responsible for parental ratings of the material or negative experiences incurred from visiting the above sites.  My opinions are my own.

Randomness:)

Happy Friday!!

My week has been pretty calm, which is life speak for a little boring but stress free 🙂 But I do have some pictures to give you some idea of how my time passed:

p cWe finally installed our counter tops!  YAY!!!!!  I think David did a great job and we are so close to having our kitchen completed!!!!  I wanted black counters, but I was afraid that since our cabinetry is white that if we put in a solid black top it would make the kitchen look a little sterile.  I was hoping the silver gray would soften it some and I think it did.  Thank Goodness.  It really worried me that it would not work out…It would be an awfully costly mistake on my part.

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Also, we have been trying to eat a little healthier.  We are not going crazy, but I need more grains and cut out the fried food. And  ever since I watch an episode of “How it’s Made” featuring Couscous and Quinoa, I’ve been more than a little intrigued as to what they would taste like…..and now I do.  The Couscous tastes okay and kind of reminds me of rice.  The texture is mushy and it’s the mushiness that gets me.  The Quinoa reminds me of the pellets that is in a stuffed teddy bear.  It’s kind of gritty and has a funny after taste.  Needless to say, these were not a favorite at my house and I don’t they will ever be on our plates again, lol…

beadsContainers copy      Also, I have everything ready to sort and organize my beads.  I bought the black boxes from Ikea and I can’t even begin to tell you how well these are made.  Although Ikea has many sizes, these are CD/DVD storage cases.  I think they sell them 2/3.99.  I like them so much, that when we redo our living room I am going to use these to sort out our movies and music.

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See I have been drawing;)  This one is going to take a long time…But I do have an ear partially done…

Well I guess that’s about it for me, for now.  Exciting stuff, huh?

Be Well and Happy!