About Me

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I LOVE to design and to paint whimsical items that will put a smile on your face. Each day I share my simple life with you as I try to encourage, to inspire and sometimes JUST to make you smile as I recount my life growing up on a dairy farm! I've never had many material items in my life, BUT I have been blessed beyond words with love and encouragement from WONDERFUL Parents who instilled in me WHAT was important. I have had EVERYTHING that I needed and WAY too much of what I wanted. I am slowly learning to be a better person each day through my interactions with my friends on Facebook. Some day I hope to be as good as people seem to THINK I am! I am BLESSED! Welcome to my little corner of the world...Please stop by and visit often!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Books, Friday, October 24, 2014

This is my latest Special Order.  I had a tough time trying to decide WHAT to do with this.

My FIRST thought was to put the saying in the middle and then surround it with BOOKS with the names of the customer's favorite books written on the painted books, BUT it just wasn't clicking with me.

I KNEW that I wanted the background to be Green...I could EVEN see the color in my mind...

I searched on the internet looking for ideas, but nothing came, UNTIL I saw a bookend that had a girl curled up on it reading a book...THAT was the moment I had FOCUS!

I chatted with a friend and told her my idea and then she suggested a window seat, so I thought I would give it a try, and I think it worked out pretty well!!

I decided the window needed to be TWO windows...I didn't want to add too many details to the outside...I wanted the focus to be on BOOKS...

I added LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of books to the shelves...WHEW...that was a LOT of BOOKS!

This is the girl that inspired me...she was only a silhouette, so I added some COLOR to her!

I think she is DREAMING of being inside her book!

NOW, I have to wait to see IF the customer likes it and if she wants any changes, BUT I am happy with it, so the WAITING GAME BEGINS...

Have the most AWESOME of days...Blessings to YOU...~charlotte♥

Sunday, October 19, 2014

MY NEW Adventure, Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breaking bread is an age old tradition.  The first thing that comes to my mind is the symbolism that I learned at a young age from Communion (The Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist) that the bread is a symbol of Christ’s Body that was broken for us…

We are told that MAN CANNOT live by bread alone, and there are hundreds of other sayings, BUT I have to tell you, WHEN you find someone that can MAKE GOOD BREAD, it would ALMOST be worth trying to live on it ALONE!  =)

My mother was a WONDERFUL cook, baker, artist of so many forms, and I was blessed to learn at the feet of a master craftsman.  We were encouraged from a young age to be creative and yes, she was tough on me as I got older because she told me “anything WORTH doing, is worth doing WELL.”  That could be why I tend to stay away from the things I KNOW I can’t do!  Making bread was one of them…cutting a chicken the PROPER way was the other…the cracking of those bones was TOO much for me to handle…sigh…

I was making the grocery list the other day and I wanted to make a recipe, so I opened this cookbook and was INSTANTLY intrigued by the note at the bottom of the page.

I quickly turned to that page and saw that Mother had made the changes to the recipe, as she often did.  She had mentioned that it was a good reference for the future and yes, I am so GLAD she did make the changes.  I have no clue WHY the changes were made, but as a lady who made DOZENS upon DOZENS loaves of bread, I trusted her instructions.

I quickly added the ingredients to my grocery list and thought…WHY NOT!!  Friday was the DAY that I awakened and KNEW it was the perfect day for a new adventure, so I got to measuring.  In the past, I had tried to make rolls ONCE with a boyfriend when I lived in Arkansas…after talking to Mother, we discovered that we KILLED the YEAST…WHO KNEW…SO, I started the adventure being VERY CAREFUL not to use water that was too hot!

The first step went well…and it was ACTUALLY bubbling, telling me that it was ALIVE!

The next step looked like an ultrasound of a baby…WELLLLL...it is MY BABY... ;)

YIKES…I should have worked JUST a bit to make it a little smoother…I didn’t know…

AND after rising, it didn’t look TOO BAD…

I must say, it wasn’t the UGLIEST that I ever saw…it looked edible…

Oh, but it cut so nicely and the texture was JUST like I remembered it…

WHY do we FIGHT over the end piece of homemade bread and NOBODY touches it when we buy it?  (Karalee????!!!!)

I toasted it and added some butter and YUM…I think I did REALLY WELL for the first time!  Mother would be proud of me, and yes, I WOULD gladly have given her the end piece just to spend another HAPPY moment with her…

Try something NEW this week…I believe that we LEARN by stretching our safety zones…I HOPE this will NOT be the last time I make Homemade bread…Enjoy the POSSIBILITIES that life holds for YOU…Blessings to YOU…~charlotte♥

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Angels Watching Over Me, Thursday, October 16, 2014

I have been doodling and drawing in some form most of my life.  I am a self-taught artist, as much as any of us can be self-taught.  I studied the work of other artists and read their books and their directions and did my best to mimic them UNTIL I could develop my own style and what I liked.

I quit doing craft shows before the primitive style became popular in my area of the county.   I have to admit, it has been TOUGH for me to adapt my painting to this style...I joke with my friends that no matter HOW much I try to paint in the primitive style, it comes out with bright colors and happy images.  I kid my friend, Kathy, that I just CAN'T join her on the DARK SIDE, so I'm doing my best to just bring her over to my HAPPY SIDE.  

AND let's face it, It has been DIFFICULT for me to paint a  GIANT PEAR that is bigger than a house and trying to put windows into Saltbox houses DRIVES me crazy because I can't get them EVEN...BUT look at anyone's saltbox house and tell me THEIR windows are even or structurally correct...I KNOW, but it's MY uneven windows...sigh...HOW in the WORLD did an ounce of perfectionism get into MY life??  It must have not had GPS!!!

Since being on Facebook, I have been introduced to the New England Folk Artist, John Sliney, and I have searched high and low to buy as many of his out of print books that I can find.  When I saw THIS project in his book, I KNEW that it would be on my WISH LIST to paint one day, so I filed it in my brain for a future project.

I recently had a customer on etsy, whom I now consider a friend,  who contacted me recently about doing an order for her mother's birthday.  She explained to me a little about her mother and said that she trusted me to "work my magic"...I laughed, but INSTANTLY thought of this project with wings and I got out my John Sliney books and found these other projects that I liked and thought they would work PERFECTLY.  

My FIRST thought was to simply place the Angel Wings in the  middle of a 8x 24 x 1 piece of Poplar, much like they are on this stool, with ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME at the top and angels around the wings...it was going to be sweet...I got ready to start painting....WHEN...



 I WONDERED What would happen if I cut out WINGS and worked the sitting angel into the design...I really didn't like the idea of having the wings of the sitting angel sticking out of the wings BECAUSE little pieces tend to get BROKEN in shipping or through time...BUT ALL of a sudden, I thought about putting a boarder around them...SCORE!!

I am SO blessed to be able to cut my own wood...SO I drew off the wings first onto a piece of 11x17 paper folded in half and VERY QUICKLY sketched out the design...it came to life in NO TIME.

I painted the wings in DecoArt Americana.  I have used this brand of paint for YEARS and now am honored to be a Helping Artist with DecoArt.  The products are made in the USA!  They are ALWAYS the same with each bottle I open...they offer good coverage...and the colors available are current. 
I sketched the outline for the grass and the sky so I could paint them first.

I added the setting angel and transferred the next angel using Chalk.  At this point, I was already loving how this was turning out...

I finished the angel and quickly transferred the next Angel...I couldn't WAIT to get it finished...I just KNEW what was in my head was going to transfer to the surface...I added the church next...then the red house (the mother likes RED and I thought this was a great opportunity to put her favorite color into this project).  It was off balanced, so I added the trees to the right of the design...I LOVE the shading that happened just by chance because I had some brown in my green from painting over the tree trunk while it was still wet...I use a LOT of dirty-brush painting because that is how I got shading/highlights into my projects when I first started to paint!  I think SOMETIMES we PROUDLY take credit for those unexpected little HAPPIES that happen... ;)

This is the finished project and I LOVE it...I guess that sounds vain, but sometimes inspiration just hits and I am THANKFUL for that.

 I KNOW from WHOM my talents come.  I am not a naturally-gifted artist who can paint realistic paintings JUST by picking up a brush.  I have gotten better BECAUSE I took the little bit of talent that I was GIFTED and I worked to develop it...I don't PRETEND to paint a style that everyone likes, but I paint WHAT I LIKE and I have been blessed to find encouragement from so many along my journey...

This painting is VERY meaningful to me.  While it is NOT my own design, it has my own personal twists to it!  I am so GLAD that I have discovered John Sliney's designs and I look forward to working on putting MY STYLE to more of HIS designs...

Thank you, Erica, for trusting me to do this project for you...I HOPE your Mother will continue to feel Angels around her, guiding her and protecting her.  You have been an ANGEL in my life for the encouragement you have given to me and I am THANKFUL!

I BELIEVE that WHEN we want to do something, we have the tools to find a way to accomplish the task...DON'T stop trying to do WHAT you wish to DO...Blessings to YOU...~charlotte♥

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quick and Easy~~That's ME! =) Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It seems that I like everything in my life to be quick and easy…I paint quick and easy…I cook quick and easy…hmmmm…I am seeing a pattern here!  ROFL (WHY do I think SOME of my friends have their minds in the gutter??!!)

Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW how to work hard and I understand that sometimes things take a while for them to come into their fullness, but let’s face it, sometimes it is SO nice to just throw something together that comes out WONDERFULLY!  =)

My first job out of college was as a Christian Education/Music Director at a church in Russellville, Arkansas.  I was in no way prepared for what I would experience and it was not good.  I witnessed humans at their worst and I was often the target of this horrible behavior.  I was far too young to KNOW how to handle it and it took me many years to process it.  While I understand that I was not blameless in some of the situations, I wish I had KNOWN how to respond better.

With all the heartache I experienced, this time in my life laid some wonderful foundations for my life.  It was then that I began my love for decorative painting.  I lived at the base of the Ozark Mountains that were filled with artisans.  The tole painting industry was bursting into existence and craft shows and shops were plentiful…OH how I miss those days!

There was a couple in the Church where I worked that owned an antique barn…I WISH I had developed my appreciation for these in my naïve youth, but Mother LOVED antiques, so she drug us to visit.  I all of a sudden had a flashback to Sunday afternoons when Daddy would bribe Brian and me with a SMALL COKE in a glass bottle from the coke machine at Mr. Tom’s Antiques.  As SOON as that coke was gone, I was BEGGING to be gone, ALSO!

Mother had a love for glass bowls and dishes and would be instantly drawn to them.  This day was no different.  She hunted and pecked in that old barn until she found 6 of these little sundae glasses to buy for my new home.  I STILL treasure them and I love to use them whenever I get a chance.

I believe when you put the simplest of foods into a beautiful dish, the finished product magically becomes the center of attraction.  In my house, food was ALWAYS placed into a bowl and served to the person on your right.  I am in awe that Mother was teaching us a lesson even with the simple, everyday task of eating.  No matter how simple the meal, it was treated with honor and presented beautifully on a table that was ALWAYS set with a tablecloth or placemats,  our silverware and dishes and served in glass bowls.  ALSO, we were taught the importance of SERVING each other as we passed the bowls. 

In the south, Banana pudding is a staple for dessert.  Of course, we have become lazy and seldom make the custard from scratch standing over a hot stove stirring until it reaches JUST the right consistency.  That is ok, because, as I said earlier, I LOVE quick and easy, so I thought I would share a QUICK and Easy Banana pudding recipe with you…Of COURSE, I had to stay TRUE to myself and refused to follow the recipe.  I will give you the CORRECT recipe and then tell you what I did to change it up…

Banana Crème Instant pudding, prepared with 3 cups of cold milk

Mix with a small container of Cool Whip

Can of Sweetened, Condensed Milk  (mix this with the pudding mixture)

Add Bananas and strawberries

1 package of Golden Oreos, crushed

Layer the cookies, fruit, pudding mixture and repeat ending with the pudding as the top layer.

The fruit I used was so flavorful, I decided NOT to add the sweetened, condensed milk.  I wanted the flavor of the fruit to shine through.  I ALSO used those CHEAP cookies that come in several flavors and decided to use PEANUT BUTTER cookies to add another layer of flavor.  (I think Lemon ones would be awesome, too!)  I used about 21 cookies.  Instead of layering my pudding, I added my fruit directly into the pudding mixture.  I used a quart of strawberries (reserving 5 for garnish) and 4 VERY ripe Bananas.  I let the dessert set overnight for the flavors to meld.  YUMMY!

I believe that rewards come to us WHEN we present the BEST we have to others…Pull out those pretty dishes that are sitting in the china cabinet and treat your family as ROYALTY!  Mother used to say after a delicious meal that she was sure that the QUEEN didn’t have a better meal that what we just had!! …Blessings to YOU…~charlotte♥

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Special Order~Gramma Loves you THIS much...Sunday, September 12, 2014

Hey Sweet People...I've been busy doing Special Orders and I am VERY thankful for them.  Since people live all over the country and don't get to see what I am doing, I THOUGHT it might be fun to show some of the steps in making a design come to life!

This is a design for a Grandmother's 4 year old Granddaughter.  She will be getting this for a Christmas present~~I LOVE people who plan AHEAD...I am taking note and MIGHT try that myself one day...(let's not hold our breath too long for THAT to happen!)

The customer didn't really know WHAT she wanted, but gave me an idea and it was pretty easy from there on.  I have this WONDERFUL surface that my friend, Mindy, cut for me at the Woodshop in WV (the link is on the right side of the blog under my Favorite Places).  The surface is 10 x 11 inches and I ABSOLUTELY love this design, so it is often the FIRST thing I think of When someone wants a sign that isn't too big!

Of course, I used DecoArt Americana Paints and I based it in one of my FAVORITE colors, Marigold, since the little girl's room is decorated in Brown, Pink and Yellow.  Marigold is a very nice neutral color that isn't too dark or too light, and, as Goldilocks said~~JUST RIGHT.  DecoArt products are made in the USA, and for me, that would be ENOUGH to try them, but I have to admit, I started using them LONG before I knew this and these paints are wonderful~~consistent and in a GREAT variety of Popular and modern colors.  (commercial over...do NOT change the station, please)

I used a stencil by Laurie Spletz, to add some subtle details in the background.  I used Moon yellow to make it lighter, but not TOO BUSY and distracting.  The stencil has little hearts in it and I thought that was very appropriate. 

I then used the little girl from a pattern that I designed, that is available in my etsy shop, as the little girl.  I had designed the original pattern in HONOR/memory of my mother who LOVED to tell her grandbabies that she loved them THIS MUCH...I am SO happy that I was able to put THIS DESIGN onto this project...Mother would be the FIRST to grin from ear-to-ear.

After everything was based and shaded, I added the details~~eyes, nose, mouth, hearts on the dress, hearts on the background, gold around the edge (because LOVE is PRICELESS) and then finished by adding shading/highlights to the heart...It all came together pretty easily SINCE I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do!

This is headed to a little girl in Georgia, from her Gramma in Florida...I PRAY this will be a meaningful reminder of JUST how MUCH she is loved and that she will be blessed to have a WONDERFULLY creative life FILLED with Faith, Hope and JOY...

I am honored that I was asked to do this and I hope they KNOW that every brush stroke was done in LOVE and with Pride...Blessings to YOU...~charlotte♥

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Spaghetti...Sunday, October 5, 2014

I KNOW when I say spaghetti that MANY of you will smile when you remember the ANDY GRIFFITH episode where Aunt Bea had left town for a bit and the small town friends invited Andy to have a meal with them, which he PROMPLTY forgot about until he had already eaten.  He went to the first invitation to be fed spaghetti with the SECRET ingredient of OREGANO...he went to another home to eat SPAGHETTI and again, the secret ingredient of oregano was shared and then, the same thing happened.  

Something similar happened when Mother broke her leg, but this time is was VEGETABLE SOUP!  I LOVE that stuff, but I do like to “mix it up” also…I do NOT want to seem ungrateful at all, but I am VERY glad that vegetable soup freezes VERY WELL!!  I would laugh when I got home and Mother would tell me that I needed to run and pick up some food from a friend, and well, you can ONLY imagine what it was…After that, I stopped sending vegetable soup to friends because, it had ALSO been my go-to meal for a friend!

The other night, I was hungry for something and spaghetti had always been my answer to the proverbial question of WHAT AM I GOING TO FIX…it was Mother’s favorite meal.

I LAUGH when I remember a young lady who moved to our community from Florida and how horrified she was that people made lasagna with HAMBURGER meat.  I kindly reminded her that she had moved to an area, although NOW it was extremely diverse, at one time, it was not and let’s be honest, NOT many TRUE ITALIAN descendants live in Springfield, Tennessee!  I explained that I had TRIED making lasagna on several occasions with Italian sausage, but I did NOT like it, and each of us makes things that we like, so IF you don’t like it, don’t eat, BUT BE CAREFUL how you criticize others…FOR ME, I am DISGUISTED to think that people use that HORRID jiffy mix to make cornbread (ick, ick, ick) or who DARE put sugar into the batter when making it in an iron skillet…TO ME, that is WRONG!  ROFL…Yes, there is a time and a place for Corn Light Bread (sweet cornbread), but NEVER in an iron skillet!  BUT then, I reserve the right to NOT eat what I don’t like~~just like everybody else!  ;)

I cheated the other night and used canned spaghetti sauce, AND I even added the sauce STRAIGHT to my noodles~~something that I normally DO NOT DO…Hey, Rachel Ray…I understand that SOMETIMES people think that those who live in the South are not very bright because of our accents, (and well, some are NOT), BUT we DO have enough SENSE to MIX our sauce with the noodles BEFORE we put it in our mouth…For ME, I think it makes a BEAUTIFUL serving to put those white noodles down first and then to place that GORGEOUS Red Spaghetti Sauce over the noodles…NEVER have I witnessed anyone who didn’t KNOW to mix them before eating them!  GEE WHIZ!!!...sigh…

I laughed over the years as I found a hand-written recipe for Spaghetti in Mother’s Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook that she got from her friend, Tubby, on July 7, 1951 (BECAUSE she wrote this in the front of the book), for a wedding gift.  I noticed there was NO OREGANO in it, but instead, Chili Powder…NOW that is interesting, but I think it just speaks to the short amount of time that Spaghetti has been cooked in my area of the country!

My favorite thing to eat with spaghetti is the slow cooked garlic bread that mother would make to go with spaghetti…she would add powered garlic to butter, melt it, spread it across white bread, cut it diagonally and place it in the oven at about 250 and cook it until it was crunchy!  I think I could eat a LOAF of bread this way, but alas, I don’t keep bread much anymore, so I went to my NEW FACEBOOK recipe that I found and have adapted to my taste.

I take a can of the LARGE canned biscuits, cut them into fourths.  I melt about ½ stick of butter with some garlic powder and dredge the pieces of biscuits in the butter and place in a bundt pan…At this point you can sprinkle some Italian seasoning over it and add Parmesan cheese, OR use whatever cheese you have on hand…this batch had fiesta blend and sharp cheddar cheese.  I cooked it for about 30 minutes at 350…just check the biscuits to make sure they are done…YUMMY!!!

While this was the LAZY MAN’S Spaghetti, it was really good and it brought back the memories and joy of making it for mother…I would come home from college on her birthday and cook spaghetti for her birthday meal and then go back home…This shows that she went back to School with me this time…I can’t imagine that I went over a week WITHOUT a car when she took it back home!!  ROFL…

I have been surprised to hear from several people about the dinnerware pattern that I OFTEN use to photograph food.  This is Desert Rose.  It was Mother's pattern that she received when she got married.  We used it EVERYDAY and I keep a bowl and this soup bowl out and use it most every day as a MEMORY of the wonderful household my parents raised...There was always enough LOVE for everybody and it was present in EVERY aspect of our lives!

I LOVE to be surprised and I loved to received unexpected blessings, BUT I also KNOW the joy of doing for others…No, it doesn’t have to be some GRAND gesture…just a small thought is usually enough to put a smile on someone’s face…so TAKE time TODAY and do something for someone else…SHOW someone just how special they are to you…Do it anonymously if you can…THAT is FUN to watch…Go through this day and ENJOY the miracles that are happening all around YOU…Blessings to YOU…~charlotte♥