Character sketch

So, I google “how to write a character sketch” to kind of help me with this project. I liked the way that Staci set up her character and her story with a little opening rather than a point by point description, so I thought I would run with it! I did do an outline in my sketchbook before I created this opening. I know it’s short, but I didn’t want to focus on the story line as much as I wanted to create what my character was like. Like I said, I have been incredibly inspired by comics! Enjoy!

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As I waited, I thought about how this all got started. Maybe chasing down a purse snatcher, scaring away muggers, keeping the backs of my community. Eventually I got the mask, dulled my feminine features so people were thrown off, and didn’t think to trace these acts back to me. I hid in the shadows, and I waited.
I read the comics. of course I daydreamed of kicking some evil ass. But I used to also spend my days selling art and knitting. I’m quiet and shy, and goofy! Excersizing was just a thing i did to keep healthy. Now it’s literally a tool. If I don’t stay in shape, I lose.
I need a snack…ooh that local comic con is in a couple of weeks…focus!
There they are…

February art challenge

I’ve been seeing all of these monthly challenges everywhere. Ranging from photography and drawing, to cleaning and organizing. Well, I decided to create one myself, to get myself motivated to create more! So, I’m a little late on this post, and I now realize it’s a lot harder to create , what I can only relate to as a lesson plan (I feel your pain Staci!) but here it is! Any followers want to join in, please do! If you post anything on Instagram or Twitter please #februaryartchallenge! Maybe we could inspire each other to be more creative!
Without further ado, here’s the list:

1. Create a character sketch
2. Draw your favorite comic book character
3. Paint an object using water colors
4. Write a short poem
5. Take a picture outside of your home
6. Draw something from nature
7. Use mixed media to describe a feeling
8. Edit a picture in an interesting way
9. Draw your character from day 1
10. Write a short story
11. Create a painting using abstract shapes
12. Document your day with pictures
13. Knit/crochet an hour project
14. Create a self portrait using pin and ink
15. Share a memory/ story
16. Use color pencils to illustrate and object in your home
17. Sketch a body part
18. Take a picture of something that makes you happy
19. Write a haiku
20. Create a print using one of your sketches
21. Paint a small still life using acrylics
22. Make a collage using mixed media
23. Create a drawing, shading the negative space
24. Knit/crochet another small project
25. Write a short story
26. Take a picture of something that looks abstract
27. Create a cover for your character using sketchbook express (use whatever format that is comfortable to you, but this program comes highly recommended by Staci!)
28. Write about your favorite project

You can combine a lot of the projects if you’d like. I’ve been inspired a lot by comics lately, so a lot of the character building for me will be more comic based, but it’s completely up to you! Use this to develop your own thing!
Try to keep it simple, I’m thinking things that will take only a couple of hours to complete. If it doesn’t get completed, don’t stress over it! This is to get the creative juices flowing! It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Have fun! Leave us feed back on how you like it!

My sage advice after my first year as a parent

One year ago, I gave birth to the coolest baby I have ever known! Of course I’m biased! As I’m reflecting on the past year, I realize I’ve learned a lot! So, because I’m mom now to a 1 year old, I feel I should share what I’ve learned so far! Im no expert, and I have so much more to learn. So, you know, let me be proud of these few things!

1. It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve had so far.

I’ve had a lot of jobs, and they’ve all had their struggles, but being a mom can be tough, especially when you decide stay home. It’s non stop, and you feel the need to be perfect 24/7. Here’s the thing, you can’t. Your job is literally 24/7! It’s an emotional roller coaster! But, the rewards will outweigh those hard times.
One day when Lily was just a few months old, I had the hardest time getting her down for a nap. She was fussy, I was fussy, and she was still up throughout the night. Finally, I calmed down, found my happy place, and she fell asleep! I laid her down, danced a jig, and passed out myself! I’m sure that happened a hundred times! But what I remember most is how much I loved watching her sleep. For being the toughest, it’s the most rewarding.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

I tried so hard to breast feed. It was so important to me, and Lillian latched on so well, from the second they handed her to me! One problem; my milk never came in. By 6 months I maybe produced 4 ounces a day. A DAY! My baby drank 4 ounces at least every 2 hours. I pushed myself so hard, pumping and nursing, then still giving her formula. I was miserable, and I battled with the decision to stop. I finally decided that if by 6 months it wasn’t working, then I was going to quit. So, at 6 months, I stopped breast feeding. It was emotional, but I had so much time now! I could play more with the baby, I could take more time to care for myself, and, it was easier to travel when I didn’t have to carry all the equipment. I realized how much more fun raising a baby is once I stopped being so hard on myself.

Don’t compare your baby or parenting style to the family’s next door

Just don’t. I’ve heard too many stories of people making moms feel bad for the choices they make (such as breast VS bottle). I mean sure, it’s going to happen, you’re going to see a parent doing something you would never do with your little one, just keep it to yourself, don’t say anything to them.
Also, don’t feel like the things they are doing, is something you have to do! I made my own purées as well as bought jarred baby food. One is not better than the other. I just love to cook, and it was exciting to watch my baby enjoy food I cooked! Parents have to do what’s best for their situation.

Pick your battles

Our pediatrician says this to us all the time! Do we let her cry it out tonight, or just give her a bottle and go back to sleep? Do you keep wasting wipes cleaning that teething ring she keeps throwing on the floor (cause it’s fun!) or do you wipe it on your shirt and give it back! There are things you will try incredibly hard to teach your kids, then there are things you’re going to have to say “fuck it” and move on. Yes. You will literally say “aww fuck it” and move on!

Keep your sense of humor

Our OB told us at every visit after we had a good laugh at how miserable I felt “keep your sense of humor! You’re doing great!” Even after having a stomach bug when I was around 6 months prego, I laughed and said “well, I didn’t die, so I guess I’m okay!”
There have been so many moments that could have ended in a serious break down if I didn’t just let go and laughed! The same week Lillian started walking, she started climbing. She climbed better than she walked! There is nothing that can keep this kid contained! I have had days that I literally did not sit down until I put her down for naps! If I didn’t laugh…I would have pulled out my hair!

Appreciate your significant other

Both partners have to remember; this isn’t easy on either side. Me and my husband can admit that neither of us have it easier/harder than the other. Some days we would love to say, I need a break! I do so much more with the kid than you do! But truly, that’s not fair. My husband works all day, then comes home and takes over so I can get some alone time. Sometimes I’ll go stay with my parents and give him some time off. You have to take time for yourself! I will go for a walk, go to Target, take a bath and shave my legs, go to another room and read a book or magazine. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, do it! Don’t feel bad about it. It gives you the fuel to keep moving on.

My last bit of advice I got from my mother-in-law before she died, and it rings true every day. The best is yet to come. I already know from how fast the past year has gone, before I know it, Lillian will be packing up to go to college. Or preschool. (I will probably feel just as broken hearted for both occasions). Enjoy every moment, don’t let yourself look back and say “damn, I wish I had done more”. Just do it! Take that extra picture, spend a little more time cuddling, get in all the kisses you can! Life is too short not to.
Happy birthday my little Lily Bean!
You have broken us in well.

My buffalo chicken tacos

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For our 1 year wedding anniversary, my husband took us (me and the baby!) out to this new Mexican restaurant we have in town called Coba Cocina. It has this beautiful fish tank, and the food is delicious! It’s a very modern take on some Mexican dish favorites. We had nachos for an apetizer; they were individually made nachos. Amazing!
My inspiration for today’s recipe came from the delicious buffalo chicken tacos I had! At Coba Cocina, they lightly fried the chicken, then covered it with delicious buffalo sauce, and topped it with a coleslaw. Since, I couldn’t fry to save my life, and I’m a busy mom, I came up with a recipe that takes 5 minutes to put together, and you let the crock pot do the rest!

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Pinterest Pin Review: crock pot cream cheese chicken chili

If you don’t know by now, I love crockpot meals! When the baby wakes up, I hit the ground running, so I try to fit a million things in before my husband leaves for work. At the end of the day, it’s nice to have a meal ready when you’re mentally, and physically pooped!
Today’s Pin comes from Rita’s Recipe! Her blog is about one of my favorite things: food!
This recipe is easy to put together, and it’s incredibly affordable, and easy to double. One night I made seasoned rice to go with it. Another night we had tortilla chips. I added lettuce some shredded cheese, and crunched up tortilla chips to make a salad. This recipe is delicious as is, but one thing I’m learning about crock pot meals is, you don’t taste individual flavors you may add to the mix. This is great for soups, dips, roast, BBQ, things that you want flavors to meld into one. This dish I really wanted the chicken to stand out a bit more. Seasoning the chicken with sea salt and pepper, then pan searing the chicken in olive oil gives the chicken a great flavor before adding it to the crock. The slow cooking will keep it moist. I also added onions, peppers, jalapeños and fresh garlic to it. Once I get my herb garden growing, I’d like to add maybe some fresh cilantro to give it that extra kick!
Give it a try, and check out Rita’s blog!

Pinterest Pin Review: knotted headbands

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I’ve been anxiously awaiting my baby girls hair to thicken up so I can play with it! In the mean time, I’ve been putting headbands on her head. Of course I have to make my own, so today’s pin review is a knotted headband.
I’ve been seeing these head bands all over Pinterest so I decided to give it a go! It’s incredibly easy, and I made mine without using a sewing machine. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sewing machine, but with such a tiny project, you save a lot of time and effort by using fabric glue. One tip I have about fabric glue, especially when making something that goes around your head. Use small dots, and try to spread them out like you painted them on. It will make the fabric less hard when it dries, there for avoiding an uncomfortable itchy spot.
There are hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest for this now, so I decided to pick one that I thought had a fun blog.
homemade mamas have a great blog. Another group of ladies trying to be creative amidst their crazy lives! They have a great step by step of this headband, and they used the fabric glue as well! Stop by and check them out!

Here are pictures of my process. Lillian offered herself up to be my model!

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My hubby and baby! They’re the best!

Pinterest Pin Review: German Chocolate Cake

We had a great weekend! Staci had a birthday recently, so the errant easel ladies got together to celebrate! Staci agreed to let me bake the cake. Since I’ve had Lillian, cooking and baking has been my source of relaxation. I give the baby to Adam, I turn up the music, and I lose myself in chopping, mincing, sauté-ing, mixing, creating. I take every opportunity to cook. It’s my renewed happy place.
Staci’s favorite cake: German chocolate! This is also my dad’s favorite, so it made me excited to find a good recipe so we could stop using the box.
Today’s Pin is from a blog duo The Sweet Spot. These two ladies are an inspiration! They’ve worked hard to be where they are, which seems to be a happy place, and they have an amazing blog!
So, there are quite a few recipes for German chocolate cake on Pinterest, but what attracted me to this particular recipe was the story. Her mother has used this recipe for years for her father’s birthday, and the recipe is old enough that originally it was written with stirring stroke instructions. I mean, that must mean this recipe has some back bone!
The recipe is incredibly easy, and the cake is delicious! (I’m actually eating a piece as I write this), but…I completely screwed up the icing! I’m really great at following directions, I can count on one hand when I have faulted on a recipe, and I like to think I’m a genuinely a good cook! What I did to this icing, I have no idea! The end results were more of a soup like substance I decided to pour over the cake, not thinking things through, and it all poured over the sides and off the plate (because I don’t have a cake stand, you crazy)! After much debate with myself, I don’t think I boiled it enough before turning off the heat. That’s okay, it was still delicious! It was a hot mess! But, it reminded us that the best cakes are the messy ones!
Short story, my father-in-law when talking about his mother’s baking always mentions how her cakes would be held together with tooth picks and still falling apart, but they were so good! So, maybe, if he liked coconut, he would have thoroughly enjoyed this cake! But I digress…
This recipe is going to stick around. My dad’s birthday is in August, so I’ll get another go at it!
Thank you ladies for sharing this recipe and your stories, and wisdom!

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Some beautiful action shots taken by my dear husband!

Pinterest Pin Review: Colorful Wood Frames

Me and my husband have lived in our house for almost two years now, and I hardly have anything on the walls! I finally hung a few prints, but no family pictures. Seriously, I had a wall full of family photos in the apartment we occupied prior to buying our home. Pitiful, I know! Part of my reasoning for not hanging anything is, the frames I have are cheap, and are falling apart, and I haven’t brought myself to replacing them all. The other reason: pure laziness!

This week I’m going to use Pinterest to motivate me to finally put pictures on the wall! Today’s pin is from Chic Shindigs. She has a few DIY home things to enjoy, and recently she blogged about her new house, and I hope she has more to share! The chosen pin: colorful wood picture frames.

I have to admit, I almost didn’t do this pin. When I walked into Hobby Lobby, a few steps into the store, there they were! Already painted and (some) ready to be hung wood plaque frames! So, I decide to check them out. They are really nice, and would save time, but there was a few things I didn’t like. Only some of the frames were ready to hang, and the ones that were, only came in one size. The larger sizes were basically wood plaques with a square cut out of them. No backs, no hanging wire on them, and no glass. My biggest hang up was the price. Prices ranged from $15-$30. I would not mind to pay that if I didn’t know I could make it cheaper! If you’re like me, you prolly have half the things you need for this project; mod podge (and if you don’t have that, you can make some), paint (I’ll be using spray paint), you may even already have some pictures you want to use. All I had to buy were the wooden plaques which were 2.99 for the size I picked. I didn’t make time to check other stores, but, you may be able to find them cheaper. By the way, one of my favorite places to get pictures, especially if I want them fast and cheap: Walgreens. I only paid $.80 for 4 4×6, and they always have great deals!

This project hardly took a day to make. Like I said, I used spray paint, and I would do a quick coat in between taking orders from my baby (sometimes that would mean I would only have a 10 minute window of time!). One thing I love about this project is how creative you can get. I decided to center a smaller picture, making the plaque frame the work. The blog took the picture to the edge, which. My next set I think I might experiment with texture like lace. I also like how fast the turn over is. Waiting for things to dry is the longest/hardest part! The one down side to this project is figuring out how to mount it. The blog shows you one way, by using a stand. I have a picture hanging kit that I will be using. I’m sure you more creative people out there could fashion some kind of hanging system…channel your inner MacGyver.

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Our favorite spray paint is Valspar paint and primer in one. It takes less coats to cover your object, and it has such a beautiful finish!
You’ll notice that the pictures look white from the mod podge, don’t worry! It dries clear! Make sure to do light coats of it though, and with each coat, finish in a different direction. It’ll give it a beautiful, hatch mark finish, like a canvas and, if you bought the glossy mod podge, there won’t be such a glare in the finish. One of my pictures I thought I did hatched, but didn’t, and you will see in my final pictures, it looks a little more glared, and it looks like I painted it VS a more canvas finish. Also, on my blue picture you’ll notice I used too much hod podge, and you can tell. It’s still a nice product, but, it’ll be something I will notice forever!

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Here’s a picture of my final product! I let them dry over night. Another boo boo I made last night was, I didn’t wait long enough between coats, and the previous coat tried to come off. So, be patient, and allow ample time between coats.

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I love this way of framing pictures! I love bright, bold colors, and my color choice on my walls can attest to that! The best part though, when people come over and ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ ‘where did you get those done?!’ You get to tell them ‘I made it!’ And please, give your best super hero/heroine pose when you say it! You’ll be beaming, I promise!

This is an awesome project, it didn’t take up a lot of time, space, or money! Have fun, and post any ideas for this project in the comments. Also, I recommend giving any blog I link a read! These are some awesome people, with some kickass ideas!

Pinterest Pin Review

I’m an artist, crafter, I love to cook, I DIY everything, and now I’m a mom. Of course I’m addicted to Pinterest! It does what me and my friends have been doing for years; sharing tips and tricks to life! Pinterest has just taken it to a whole new, awesome level!
So, if you’re like me, you pin everything like a maniac, and don’t check the links, and/or you flood your boards, and don’t know what to try first, or it’s overwhelming, and you never get around to trying anything. Well, I’m going to share with you some things I’ve tried, and loved, along with the link (if there’s a good one available!) and anything I’ve added to make it different for my liking! I’ll do some of the experimenting for you!

Today, I’m going to share a recipe that I have literally made a hundred times this winter, and it can easily be made in the crock pot without sacrificing flavor, which is awesome when you want a good meal when you walk through the door!!
Recipe: creamy white chili

This recipe comes from the blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and I have to say, she’s become one of my favorite blogs! She’s a busy mom that loves to cook and share delicious recipes (a lady after my own heart!) and they are all busy woman friendly!

I don’t do much to this recipe, it’s pretty well perfect! I do add mushrooms, it adds a little more volume, and it’s nice to make more product without having to use more chicken, and, I love mushrooms! Also, I’ve been on a big coconut oil kick, and that’s what I use to sauté everything when I cook it on the stove top. By the way, the stove top version of this recipe may take 15 minutes to put together, if you already have your chicken thawed of course. If I don’t get up early enough to put together the crock pot, I don’t stress too much about exhausting myself over the stove after a long day!

I hope everyone tries this recipe, and look forward to more of my pin reviews in the future. I’m going to do a little of everything, not just recipes! Get ready!

Babies and Banana bread

My baby girl made her debut January 13 (via c-section after being in labor all night and day!) and life has been a whirlwind ever since! You think you’re a professional multi tasker, then your husband goes back to work, and you’re trying to make lunch and do dishes like an idiot, and baby starts to cry, because even though she dosed off for a moment, she wasn’t finished eating or burping! After about a week of torturing yourself by trying to clean and cook (I tried baking one day, big mistake!) you realize there’s no point! One day after having one of my first break downs because the dogs got my lunch after a day of not eating all day because the baby kept me busy, my mom called. This is what she had to say: sleep when the baby sleeps, and the chores will still be there when you’re ready!
So, once I started listening to my mother, life started to get a lot easier!
There was another half to my misery though; trying to produce enough milk to breast feed. Fortunately for me, I love to eat, and eating is key, and in particular, eating the right foods. So, because I don’t always have time to cook when the husband is away, I decided I would make something that would last all week, I could eat for a quick snack, and for breakfast, and would use up some spotty bananas no one wants to eat…banana bread! I couldn’t come up with a clever name, but Adam thinks lactation loaf was pretty good, but I was worried no one would want to eat it thinking it was made with some crazy voodoo!

and here it is…

Ingredients
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1/2 C yogurt
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs cinnamon
1/4 C ground flax seed
1/2 C oatmeal
1/2 C almonds
1/2 C chocolate chips

preheat oven 350
mix sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, bananas, and yogurt together.
mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and oats with wet ingredients
stir almonds and chocolate chips with your rubber spatula.

I use a bunt pan. My mother-in-law always did, so I started to, and I like it so much better than making a loaf. seems to last longer, and she would show hers off on the cake stand. I don’t have a cake stand…other wise I would as well!
DON’T FORGET TO SPRAY THE PAN!
Bake for an hour. The bread will pull away from the sides, and of course when you insert a knife, it will come out clean!

So, enjoy my “lactation loaf”, and, as always, if you know what I could add to make this recipe that much better, let me know!
gotta go, baby is hungry…or is she gassy…sleepy?

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