Watercolor Sketches – Anyone Can Paint

With the exception of finger painting as a child, I always found working with paints intimating. I always expected my work to look like Van Gogh, and when it didn’t, I’d get frustrated and discouraged. It was until I hit my early 20s that I started to realize that art is whatever you make of it. Look at the joy a child gets in showing off their paper with some crayon scribbles on it. They love it!

With that thought it mind, I began exploring different mediums to occupy my time. I taught myself to draw cartoons, I learned to do basic sketches(even though I still can’t do people) & most recently, I’ve been breaking out the paintbrushes and giving it a whirl.

The thing you need to remember is that ANYONE can do art. Yes, even you. The biggest things I can tell you, is #1. Don’t be critical & #2. Even if you make mistakes…KEEP GOING!

To show you what I mean I decided to put together a watercolor sketch of a barn. Go ahead and give this a shot, no matter what it looks like, I bet you’ll still have fun trying it out.

Water Color Sketch

Supplies Needed:

  • Watercolor paints(I literally bought mine for $3 at Alco in the kids department. They don’t have to be anything fancy)
  • Paintbrush
  • Gel Pen
  • Paper
  • Water(obviously)

First find a photo that you would like to use as a starting point. Remember that this picture(unless you are a phenomenal painter) is just a very basic guide of what you want to see on the paper. I chose a photo of a barn with flowers.

Next begin using your paints to get your picture started. With these sketches, I always use just big shapes of color and plan on filling in the “detail” later with the pen. I find it best to work in different parts of the paper because watercolors run so much. If your water colors DO end up running together(mine do ALL THE TIME), don’t get frazzled, just pretend you did it on purpose and keep going! Feel free to take “creative liberty”(aka, do what you want) when choosing color (such as changing the flowers from white to purple or adding/omitting objects – it’s your painting!

Remember that not everything needs to be painted, for example in this painting I didn’t worry about painting every single piece of the barn red or the sky blue. All you need is some of it there to get the point across.

Once you have the basic design painted, it’s time to move onto the sketch. This part is actually my favorite. There are no rules and its all very general. Think of when you plan dictionary. It doesn’t take much to get the point across. I prefer the black gel/glide pens, I just feel that they are easier to work with. Work throughout the painting adding as much or as little detail as you prefer.

So the final product doesn’t look a whole lot like the original picture, but most people could probably guess that this was a barn and you know what, I had fun making it. If you don’t take anything else away from today’s post, I hope you at least understand that it doesn’t have to be perfect or art gallery worth…it just needs to be FUN!

Here is another watercolor sketch that I made…this one was done entirely one handed because I was nursing Maverick at the time.

There is no right or wrong in art. It is simply what you feel at any given moment.

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My big furry stress relievers…

Have you ever had those days when everything just goes wrong? Yeah, today has been one of those days. I attempted to go grocery shopping alone with Maverick for the first time since he was born. I’m not sure what his problem was, but he cried the entire time. I’m not even quite sure what I even bought because I was in such a hurry to get out of there. People were staring at me like I was the worst mother in the world. By the time all the groceries were in the car, Maverick was sitting in the backseat in his car seat crying & I was sitting in the drivers seat crying.

Once I got home and everything was starting to get better again, I got a call from my doctor with the results of the sonogram I had done on Friday. They want me to go in as soon as I can to have my gallbladder removed. While I know this is not a major surgery, I’ve never had any surgery before and am very concerned. It’s just been an overwhelming day.

I am so thankful though for my horses. More than anything else, they are my biggest stress relievers(don’t tell my chiropractor though!) After I got off the phone with the doctors, thankfully Maverick was asleep so I was able to go outside and say hi to my ponies. Just going out to see them and being able to bury my face in their mane and cry without being judged is worth all the time & energy they consume.

Yankee, my dear Yankee is always so sweet to me. I started crying as soon as I put my arms around his neck and he wrapped his head around to give me a hug. It was a trick I taught him to do when I first got him and for him to do it without being asked or given any cues just made my day.

Rusty was so clingy it was boarder line annoying. I am still sitting on the fence about keeping him but if he keeps being so loveable he might just squeeze his way into staying as my permenant western horse. He didn’t want to let anyone else near me and just wanted to rest his head on my shoulder. He also thought the camera strap was the coolest new toy as he tried to rip my camera out of my hands by biting it and pulling. He’s one of those horses that could be easily taught to fetch.

I took a couple pictures because I haven’t gotten around to taking any recently. I’m sorry today’s post is a little boring, but sometimes for my own sanity I need a place to write things down. Thank you guys for reading so often. It means a lot to me that I have those of you who think what I have to say is actually worth reading!

Pictures from today:

My baby <3

Blu(She is for sale if anyone is interested)

Tequila(also for sale)

Do they look like sisters? They sure act like it!

This is a video of Yankee giving hug right after he learned to do it two years ago…

Jolly Rancher Lollypops

Yesterday I FINALLY got around to trying to unpack my bag from the hospital(can you tell it’s been crazy with a newborn!?) and found half a bag of jolly ranchers that I had brought. (Side note for any of you ladies that may be having kids or want kids in the future, I HIGHLY recommend bringing hard candy with you. If you have an epidural you can’t eat anything but you can have hard candies. The jolly ranchers really helped me from getting queasy from not eating anything for so long.) Any way, I was trying to think of something creative to do with them and remembered seeing somewhere online awhile ago about making lollypops out of them. I decided to give it a try. They turned out so well I am pretty sure I am going to make these for everyone for Valentines Day!

Jolly Rancher Lollypops

  • jolly ranchers
  • lollypop sticks
  • aluminum foil
  • nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 275*

To start with, shape the aluminum foil into whichever shaped mold you would like your lollypops to be. I just made mine plain rectangles but you can make circles, heart, stars, etc depending on how ambitious you feel. Spray the molds that you have made with non-stick spray. Unwrap 1-3 jolly ranchers depending on what size lollypop you are making and set in your mold.

Place into the preheated oven for 6 minutes. Immediately remove from the oven & place your lollypop sticks in them. I laid the stick on top of the melted jolly ranchers and rolled the stick which pulled the candy up & around the stick.

Allow to fully cool & harden then remove from the aluminum foil. Wipe off any leftover cooking spray with a paper towel and you are done!

The one thing I do love about these is they are so pretty! Kind of stupid, I admit but I think they look awesome! Next time I think I might experiment with swirling the colors, maybe chopping them up and mixing colors. We’ll have to see :-) One things for sure, I think I need to go buy more Jolly Ranchers!

I hope you all enjoy your weekends & I will see you all on Monday!

A little bit of summer…

Today has been a long cold day. I had the sonogram this morning and I have to wait until next week to find out the results. Maverick & I didn’t get home from town until almost 1 and since then it has gotten incredibly windy & cold. Ryan was supposed to be grilling steaks for dinner tonight but I think it’s going to be to windy. This breaks my heart because we just got our beef back from the processor!

I figured with all the gloomy weather, everyone could use a little bit of summer in their day! I went through and choose a few pictures that made me smile and made me NOT feel like its blowing 40mph and freezing! Enjoy my little bit of shared summer!

What are you doing to get through the winter?

Amazing Baked Parm Zucchini Sticks

First off, I want to apologize for not getting a post up yesterday. I went in yesterday for my 6 week postpartum checkup and found out that I need to go back tomorrow for a sonogram to find out the cause of some pretty bad chest/back pain I’ve been having since about my 3rd trimester. Hopefully it’s nothing serious but with that news I was more than a little distracted & didn’t get the chance to get this typed up. I’m sure no one missed me or anything :-P

Today’s post, that was actually supposed to be yesterday’s post is one of those recipes that I had seen but never thought I would like. I’ve never been a huge squash fan but have been trying to eat more of it(and other vegetables) & less of the not-so-healthy foods. This recipe though turned out great! It is defiantly one that will be sticking around my household for a long time to come…

Original recipe here

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

  • 1 large zucchini, quartered & cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs(I didn’t have seasoned so I added garlic powder, onion powder, basil & oregano)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice up your zucchini if you haven’t already.

In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.

Dip zucchini strips into egg and then into bread crumb mixture. Fully coat each zucchini strip.

Place the strips on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.


Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and tender. SERVE WARM! They get kind of nasty once they get cold.

We served these with just ranch or blu cheese dressing, but on the original recipe’s website they had a parm dip to go along with it if you’d like to try that too.

Granola Bar Freezer Pops

When I am looking for recipes to share with you guys, I end up going through a LOT of them. I try out many but often times the final results are something that wasn’t nearly as good as what I expected and certainly not what I would want to share with everyone here. Today’s recipe took a few days to grow on me before I really liked it.

(Side note: Everything on this blog is personal preference…if you don’t like it, don’t make it!)

These are something I plan on making all summer long as a good frozen treat to eat in place of ice cream & popsicles that I don’t really like in the first place. Next time I make them I will put them in Popsicle trays with Popsicle sticks versus the silicone muffin tray that I used because I wasn’t sure how hard they would be to get out.

Original Recipe found here

Granola Bar Freezer Pops

  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup crunchy cereal
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
  • 2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries or other fruit
  • 2 – 4 tsp cocoa powder

Note: I added wheat germ because I add it to everything(only a slight exaggeration). The nice thing about these is you can literally add ANYTHING you want. M&Ms, peanuts, etc. all work great in these!

Mash bananas well with a fork. Add in maple syrup or honey & coco powder(I used 2 tsp).

Add in all other ingredients

Press mixture into the muffin tins or trays

Place in freezer for at least an hour before serving. Store in freezer to prevent having a mushy mess.

For the birds…literally!

In my opinion, watching birds at a bird feeder is probably one of the most relaxing things you can do. Growing up there was a place just outside town called 5 Rivers Environmental Center. Inside their building they had a wall that was half glass & outside of that they had multiple bird feeders, corn cob holders, bird baths, etc. You could go(and I often did) just spend hours sitting inside watching the birds. I always took photos when I went too but I can’t find any good ones now, go figure. These two were from back when I was in high school.

Blue Jays

Squirrels

I found a recipe(here) not to long ago on how to make your own bird seed ornaments. I thought it was a great idea and couldn’t wait to try it out! I apologize for the lack of step by step photos, I started this project while Maverick was napping and of course as soon as I got started he woke up and started fussing so I had to rush through trying to get everything done.

Bird Seed Ornaments

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tbs corn syrup
  • 4 cups birdseed

Other supplies needed:

  • cookie cutters
  • non-stick cooking spray(Pam)
  • wax paper
  • straws
  • ribbon, twine or wire

To start off, mix the flour, water & gelatin together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the birdseed and stir until well coated.

Spray your cookie cutters with the non-stick cooking spray & set on the wax paper. Drop the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutters by the spoonful & push down flat.

Once you have all your cookie cutters filled, use the straws to poke holes in each ornament for the ribbon or twine to go through.

Allow to sit for two or three hours. Gently remove the ornaments from the cookie cutters & pull the straws out. Let these sit over night. Once dry, carefully string the twine or ribbon through the holes & tie a knot.

Hang outside & watch the feathered friends enjoy their treats!

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