Sponsored Pages from Fine Art America

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Fine Art America, the website where I’ve posted my paintings to sell as prints, has come up with a free, mutually beneficial way for artists to promote their work. We post links to browse categories that are relevant to our own art, and they make sure our work comes up in the third row of results.

So here are a few links. If you like what I paint, check out these related categories. There’s some pretty awesome stuff to choose from, and lots of print and framing options as well.

landscape prints

haiti prints

military prints

If you’re an art collector, maybe you’ll find something you like. Or if you’re simply an art enthusiast, please share to help get some publicity for these talented artists (and me!).

Thanks!

Delicious Paleo/Gluten Free Banana Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I love muffins. They’re sweet, buttery, fluffy, delicious – and so not paleo. Unless they are.

I’m sure there are lots of great paleo muffin recipes out there, but I liked the simplicity of this regular one, so I did my own modifications, and I was impressed with the results.

You can find the recipe {here} at Designed Decor, and I will explain the substitutions below.

But first, disclaimer, since I’m kinda making stuff up here. I am not any kind of expert on gluten allergies, hardcore paleo dieting, or nutrition in general. I’m just pretty good at making tasty healthy-ish food, and I like to experiment and share what works for me & my husband (he, on the other hand, has spent considerable time studying nutrition & fitness).

If you just want gluten-free, all you have to do is substitute a gluten-free flour blend for the regular flour (assuming there’s no secret hidden gluten in any other ingredients?) and you can barely tell the difference. Mine even had those beautiful muffin tops that bakery muffins have, which I’ve always had trouble with, even in regular baking (hint: fill the muffin cups all the way full).

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For paleo, you can use any combination of grain-free flours: almond meal, flax seed meal, coconut flour,* tapioca starch, etc. You can also substitute almond/coconut milk for the sour cream (or just leave it out), olive oil for the butter, and palm crystals, honey, etc for sugar (though we still think regular sugar, in moderation, is the best bet).

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In my paleo baking experience in general, bananas and other fruits (or veggies: pumpkin, zucchini, etc) work really well with the alternative flours. It makes for some great flavor combinations too! Feel free to add nuts, raisins, or coconut flakes.

The muffins I made yesterday were pretty much a hodge podge of what we had left until I go to the store, but they still turned out amazing (although not fluffy, because I was too hungry to remember to use baking soda). If anyone’s interested I can write out a more specific recipe once I “perfect” it.

So there you have it! Let me know how they turn out, and if you like this post, please social share!

*read the bag cause apparently you can only substitute this for 20% of the flour. But it does seem to help balance the texture, and, in my opinion, tastes wonderful.

Crossfit & Paleo Themed Jewelry Giveaway

My husband and I are very different people. I’m an introvert, he’s an extrovert. I’m a worrier, he’s a “hakuna matata” kinda guy. I like to make art, he likes to lift weights.

These differences make for some pretty epic fights. Like “why did we ever think this was going to work” kind of fights. But, for the most part, we put it all on the table and figure it out. Because there are a few things we agree on, one of which is that giving up on each other is not an option.

And our differences also make us a great team. I show him how to slow down, think things through, consider other people’s feelings. He shows me how to make decisions, take risks, stand up for myself.

On a practical level, I can lend my artistic talents to projects like the new Crossfit gym he’s opening. Somebody has to paint it, so it might as well have an awesome fitness-themed mural, right? (If you live near downtown Fayetteville, it will have great coaches for all levels of fitness, plus child care).
And he can help me think outside the box in my handmade sales endeavors.

Hence this new line of fitness-themed jewelry. Okay, it’s not all new, the Kettlebell earrings are already quite popular in my Etsy shop. But I have now made bumper plate earrings, bracelet, and necklace,* and finally, some Paleo food. I couldn’t think of anything more iconic than the classic hamburger, wrapped in lettuce.

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I think what makes these items special is that they bring together two completely different interests. I also think it’s time for another giveaway! As usual, I’ll send one free item of choice to the first commenter.

See more designs in my Etsy shop {here}

So leave a comment, let me know me which one you like for yourself or a friend, and if you could, tell me what other themed items you would like to see that are not really out there in the handmade marketplace. It can be anything – hobbies, nature, sports, geekery – whatever comes to mind.

Okay go!

*btw I’m still working out some kinks with some of the bumper plate items, but you can pick those if you don’t mind being somewhat of a guinea pig 😉

Adorable Amigurumis: Finished Projects & Free Patterns

I’ve been having a lot of fun with amigurumi since I branched out from my go-to hat & booties baby shower gift. The little animals are so cute, pretty quick to work up, and it gives me more options for summer babies. In fact, friends keep telling me I should sell my knits and crochets, so I’ve listed a couple in my Etsy shop to see how it goes.

And I keep thinking will blog about this new set of projects just as soon as I finish a couple more, but I don’t think I’ll ever finish as many as I want to, so I might as well share a few!

I bought a $5 Vanna’s Choice pattern book, which I think was a great deal for the 10 patterns inside, and I’ve found a lot of free patterns online. There are also some really nice ones for sale on Etsy that I would love to buy eventually (I try not to spend much on patterns unless it’s for a paid project, but I do have a couple commissions for kids & baby items).

Anyway, here are some of my finished items and favorite pattern resources (all free except the last link)!

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Mini Animal Crochet Patterns From Craftster

Migi the Whale from Cre8tion Crochet

Ladybug Baby Toys on Hubpages

Favorite Disney Crochet Patterns on Etsy

Have fun with the patterns, and find me on Pinterest for more!

I Can Paint in the Dark

You could say I’ve been having a rough time lately. My husband is super busy with Army stuff while my Etsy sales are slow, our friends are dealing with some really heavy situations (I am a very sympathetic person), and I can’t seem to find a solution for my ovarian cysts without making my depression worse, so I’m pretty much always in pain or exhausted or moody, or all of the above.

So when I have a good day where I actually get stuff done, it’s a big victory. And when something messes me up like the power going out AGAIN (seriously what is going on?) it feels like an equally big defeat. Caveat: I try to keep things in perspective ever since that one time my frustration with interrupted activities turned out to be caused by a tornado that destroyed other people’s homes. But so many power outages later in perfectly safe weather, a girl gets fed up.

Anyway, today was one of those days. I’d worked my way down my to-do list and was finally going to paint. Not for my Etsy shop or a commission, but just for me. Call it a hobby, call it therapy,but I feel better when I do it. Except for when my painting sucks and then I pretty much question my whole entire identity, but that’s another topic for another day.

But it was getting dark, and before I could get started, I went outside to find my cat and came back to a house without power. Not only could I not paint, I couldn’t even watch Netflix instead. Or bake, or blog, or anything that I wanted to do. Maybe I just have too much anxiety to handle boredom.

As much as I hate to admit it, I may have a tendency to play the victim. I mean we all need help sometimes, and that’s fine. But I’m the kind of girl who feels like every setback is a personal attack, and wonders what’s the point of trying. That said, I can be pretty resourceful when I’m not too busy being Debbie Downer, and sometimes my husband is kind of a genius.

He said I could use his headlamp, so I found the batteries, and put it on, along with Joe’s super-ugly-but-super-comfortable old basic training sweats that he gave me for painting. Which seemed kind of appropriate, since my latest work in progress is from a photo he took in Afghanistan.

My favorite of those photos, besides the ones with my husband in them, is the one he took of the sunset over the mountains, which I also painted. But this one, in its simplicity, also caught my eye.

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After playing red-light laser tag with my restless aforementioned cat, I got to work. It’s slightly more challenging to mix colors in limited light, but I’m actually pretty happy with the progress I made. I’d done the base colors already, so I mostly just detailed the foreground, and I still have to paint the flower/weed things on the side, which are kind of my favorite part.

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The power came back on before I even finished working. But now I know for next time, as silly as it might sound, I have one less limitation.

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Zentangle Art Book . . . FREE!

Check out this (temporarily) free zentangle drawing book! So fun!

PILLOWS A-LA-MODE

Our friend Mahe of Altered Upcycling is offering her newest Kindle book, Zentangle Inspired Art: A Beginners Guide to Zentangle Art and Zentangle Inspired Art and Craft Projects, to all of us for FREE from Monday, May 19 through Friday, May 23! The book is full of projects and worksheets to facilitate both the beginner and experienced artist. Mahe says, “Even if you have never tried doodling before, this guide will walk you through the entire process of Zentangle art in a step-by-step manner supported by numerous pictures and examples.” Thank you, Mahe! ♥  P.S. Remember . . . if you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a free app for your phone, tablet, or computer to read Kindle books!

Zentangle

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Mokume Gane Polymer Clay Technique

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I keep seeing this “mokume gane” stuff all over Pinterest and wondering what the heck it is. You know how a song starts to annoy you when you hear it over and over but you still don’t understand the words? It was kinda like that.

Then I finally watched a Sculpey tutorial video from Blick. She was like, “you will love it. It will be your new favorite thing.” And, having a bit of a complex about being told how to feel, I was like, “how do you know?” And then I started doing it. Alright lady, you win.

Watch the YouTube video here

She explains in the video where this technique came from, and a few different ways to do it. The first part that covers the basics is kinda cool, but what really interested me was when she started drawing designs and using texture sheets. I have the animal printy one in the video and some stamps I bought, meant for texturing soap, that are perfect for this (including the damask one that’s used in a lot of my designs).

So I grabbed my supplies and tried a bunch of stuff. Not all of it turned out how I wanted, but the stuff that did, I love. Like the blue & red & purple hoop earrings that are already in my Etsy shop and that I sort of wish I could make in every color combination. And the yellow & tan & rust pendant that will look fabulous if I ever figure out what beads go with it.

These photos are mostly of my favorites. I will have to try again with some of the other ones. Or just make more of everything. The possibilities are endless!

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Have you tried the mokume gane technique? What did you think?