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New Painting: Home from Pascha

    When we're little, it's easy to see the fairy tale aspects of every day life. Its so easy to fall into the magic of a starry night, candles in the darkness, and the adventure in things that are, to grown ups, just part of routine and easily overlooked.
   Being a mama, especially to such a teeny tiny little one again, I like to think that I can channel that wonder and imagination for myself sometimes, although not as easily as I could as a little girl. But I still remember it, and that's half the battle, isn't it?
   Over the last few months I've had time to think more about my art and what I'd like to convey and contribute to the world with it. The themes I keep coming back to are family themes, faith themes, themes of the joys of the seasons and relationships between people and the traditions they share together that bring them peace and happiness. And the ultimate goal for me, is to trigger in those who see my art a feeling of childhood wonder and familiarness, an invitation to fall back into wonder and magic and that inner place that is the best of childhood. To bring that fairytale quality to the every day moments-- be it working in the garden or coming home from a church service.
  With those things in mind, I set out to created "Home from Pascha" which I had envisioned for quite a while before it came to be in paint.
   I did not grow up in a liturgical tradition, but have found that as an adult that these old traditions speak to my childhood heart. There is just something so special about taking part in things that have been done for centuries, with reverence and mystery, but with the people you know and love in the every day.
  Be it Easter Vigil, Midnight Mass or Pascha, these ancient traditions are so moving, no matter your faith.
  And Pascha will forever be special to me, since it was while attending my first last year that I began to suspect and hope that we would have a new little one in our family. And you know how that turned out.... he's in my lap right now trying to eat my fingers while I try to type :)

   And so, with those special memories in mind, I created "Home from Pascha" and although I am a bit late this year with getting it done in a timely manner (Pascha baby, remember?) I am so happy with how it turned out, and I hope you like it too! For me its about family, tradition, faith, and the beauty of it all in nature. I hope it speaks to you no matter what your background or faith. It's a message from my childhood imagination to yours. 

Thank you for your visit and I will chat with you soon! Let me get this piece varnished and then I'll list it in the shop!~

EDIT: Painting is now on ETSY!

Good Intentions for Easter

       This Holy Week could be called 'the week of good intentions' although some intentions came to pass a little better than others. I did try to blow out Easter eggs for pysanky....I found out that: I have NO TALENT at doing this! I got an awl, used tape to steady the shell, but still....tap tap tap, I'd crack the shell on each side. I kept thinking that practice would make perfect, but well....we did end up with good scrambled eggs! So all wasn't lost!
    Then I got it into my head that we would dye eggs with natural dye--- I decided to use red cabbage to make blue eggs and instant coffee to make red eggs. Before we colored the eggs, we drew and wrote on them with Crayon because it was supposed to leave images after the eggs were done...which worked out ok, but not spectacular.
     And....after letting the eggs steep in the natural dye over night, we ended up with pretty blue eggs and...brown eggs. Brown like, you know...brown eggs that you can just buy brown. Ha! But ah well, we'll know better next Easter, wont we? They still turned out pretty though I think!

    And Easter project that we took on that at least went smoothly was our Easter nest on the dinning room table. I used a wooden bowl I have for decoration as the base, put a grape vine wreath on top, and cut up a sprig of silk forsythia and lined it with spanish mosh and--- voila! An adorable spring wreath! We put our dyed eggs and a sweet little papier-mache egg that used to be my husband's when he was little inside. I think it would be cute too add little craft feathers in the mix as well, and perhaps flower petals. Ideas for next year!
   Anyhow, I do hope that you have a Blessed Easter Weekend. It doesn't matter how many project work out right, its the intention after all.
   Until next time, wishing you well!~

FEAST!: A book review

         A few weeks ago I came across the most fabulous book, Feast! by Daniel and Haley Stewart, and I thought that this would be a great time to share it with you all since we are in the midst of Holy Week. Feast! is such a unique and much-needed book for families who'd like to celebrate the Liturgical Christian year in their homes--- and more precisely on their kitchen tables.
    While most feast days or holiday celebrations bring to mind things like cakes and cookies (and buns! Oh, the buns! Hot Cross, St. Lucia....I digress ;) ) the Stewarts have gone a step beyond and created a wonderfully thought out book that uses hearty and healthy meals to celebrate the special days that fall in the liturgical calendar.
   Getting to know Haley through her wonderful blog Carrots for Michaelmas, I've come to appreciate how the Stewarts don't just celebrate the seasons with vegetables, soups, and meat dishes, they also grow a good deal of their own produce and involve their young children in the process. Very inspiring indeed, especially since planting season is fast approaching for many of us!

  Some of the recipes in the book include shepherd’s Pie, Tahini Tilapia, Simple Black Beans and Rice, African Chicken Stew, Christmas Stuffed Apples, Three Kings Cocktail, Baked Tilapia with Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce, Lomo Saltado, Grilled Pork Chops Lazio Style, Rajas con Crema, Vietnamese Peanut Sauce, Simplified Pasta Pescatore, Fried Rice, Catalan Chicken Picada, Garden Fresh Curry, Michaelmas Roast Chicken, Simple Spanish Tapas, Mujaddara, Hummus, and Stuffed Butternut Squash.
   They sound so good, I'm thinking I'll be using the recipes on regular days as well! 
   The book is for sale not just in paper form, but also in digital format for your eReader (I've got mine on the iPad, which is handy to have on the counter when I'm cooking!)
   So if you'd like to add a few mindful meals that are delicious as well as great conversation starters with your family, I'd definitely give this one a try! And Holy Week is the perfect time to start!
   For more information on the book and on the Stewarts, visit Haley's blog Carrots For Michaelmas.


Snapshots of Springtime

     Although its cold and gray today, springtime has come to our corner, and I'm glad. It's good to see green again, and flowers. The warming weather has me cleaning out the house and making plans--- I even cleaned up the art room! And wish me luck--- tonight I'm going to attempt to blow out some eggs and dye them (or maybe I should dye them first???) but just in case all doesn't go well with that, we're having 'breakfast for dinner' so it cant be a total bust!

   Even though its warming up, I'm still knitting. Not too long ago I got a drop spindle, and my next goal is to learn to spin my own yarn. I'd like to work up to dying it too. I received this beautiful art yarn (sow above) the other day from my friend Dani's etsy shop, Pumpkinhaus. It is so pretty and I'm planning on making Robbie a little hat (I know, I know, another one??) for next fall and winter. He keeps getting bigger every day, and I know the hats he has now wont fit when the chill comes round again.

   And, of course, we are now in the midst of Holy Week with Palm Sunday taking place yesterday. Palm Sunday is such a sweet day for children, and its one of the days that stick out in my mind as a child when I'd visit my grandmother's church. I loved the pageantry and feeling like you were part of something special.

   Robbie is now 3 months old now (can you believe it?!) and I'm hoping we start settling into a nice routine with some naps and I can get back to a bit of painting. I've got so many ideas! I just need to get back into the swing of things. And this cold gray day seems like a good day to get started.

   I'll talk with you all later!~ Hope you are well!

    On Friday I had the opportunity to visit a sweet little church in Claremore, Oklahoma--- St. Brigit's Orthodox Church -- and see a beautiful old icon that was briefly on display there. The icon was the Kursk-Root Icon from Kursk, Russia. It was one of the most beautiful, and oldest, icons I've ever seen-- and when do you get a chance to see something like that in Oklahoma? Not often! So some friends and I trekked up to see it and I'm so glad we did!
 I had Robbie with me on the visit, and it was so special to have him with me. We were able to touch and photograph the icon (the icon was there to be venerated after all!) and Robbie was able to put his little hand on it, as centuries of babies before him have. 

   The people there were so friendly to us, which was nice since we were visitors, and there was only about 20 of us there--- which is amazing when you know that this famous piece can draw throngs of the devoted to just catch a glimpse of it.

   One of the lovely ladies there gently told me that Robbie would be blessed for the rest of his life by the icon, which you know warmed this little mama's heart!

   And as a history lover, the story of the Kursk-Root icon is very interesting! Found by hunters in an abandoned destroyed village in Russia in 1295, a spring of water was said to spout from where the icon was found and a chapel was built on the site. The chapel was destroyed several times (always with the icon not being destroyed) and the icon itself was stolen several times, only to mysteriously return. If you'd like, you can read more about the icon HERE.
  All in all, I'd say our visit to see the icon was very lovely and inspiring! And of course, thoughts of paintings are already starting to blossom. 

  Well, baby calls! Talk with you soon---

A new print-- and a giveaway!

  Hi there!~
    Just popping in to let you know that prints of my painting "The Easter Egg Tree" are now available to purchase in my etsy shop! Perfect for celebrating Easter, i think it is also sweet enough to leave on display all year long!

   Some other big news around here--- you can find a sweet post about my literary art over at the blog Carrots for Michaelmas and enter to win a print of your choice! Thanks so much for Haley for her kind words, and the chance to meet so many other kindred spirits.

   Hope all is well with you and yours!~
Til next time,