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!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DecoArt Winter Challenge--Happy Birthday, Momma

I picked up the phone before I went to bed and my heart grew heavy....it was Mother's birthday...one more year has gone by without her.
The twins-- Mary and Martha

I went to sleep trying to figure out what I would do to CELEBRATE her day. I  had wanted to enter the DecoArt Winter Challenge. I  had some ideas, but I started thinking about doing something to honor Mother's memory...so I slept on it.

When I awakened, I gathered my supplies. My Mother was one of the most creative people, so this seemed like the perfect way to spend my day.

5x7 wrapped canvas
Mini Mister by rangerink.com
Flutterbies Stencil, Tracy Moreau, Americana
Whirlpool Stencil, Andy Skinner, DecoArt
Americana Decou Page Paper, Victorian Romance, the music sheet

DecoArt Media:
Crackle Paste
Modeling Paste
Matte Medium
Tinting Base
Shimmer Mister--White
Liquid Glass

Fluid Acrylics:
Quinacridone Violet
Cobolt Teal Hue
Cobolt Turquoise Hue
Blue Green Light
Paynes Grey
Phthalo Turquoise
Dioxazine Purple
Turquoise Interference
Violet Interference
Blue Interference

DecoArt Snow-Tex
Ice Crystal Glamour Dust
DecoArt Pallet Knife

#10 Flat
#4 Round
10/0 Liner
1/4 Angular

I had a 5x7 canvas I had put Crackle paste on a few months ago...yep it got kinda dirty!

I knew this was to be a winter scene, but I wanted to have items in this that were special to Mother.

A butterfly was most always worn on Mother's  left shoulder when she left the house, so butterflies would be in the background!

 I  used Tracy Moreau's stencil, Flutterbies, to add them with Modeling Paste...I like it!

I started adding color to my dried canvas. I started with Q. Violet, spritzing one squirt of water onto my paint on the pallet so it would be thinner and not so dark.

The colors we are to use are Purple and Blue-- very appropriate since Mother's twin wore pinks (light shades of purple) and Mother wore blues!

Cobolt Teal Hue was added next--no rhyme or reason, just put it around. ..be sure to put some on the edges of the canvas.  I spritzed water on the paint, again.

You can see that I use very little paint.

I continued to cover my canvas with Cobolt Turquoise Hue...more water spritzed on top of my paint on the pallet to keep it light and airy.

Color building continues with Phthalo Turquoise...this is a strong color, so be careful.

I added the whirlpool stencil with Tinting Base to resemble snow...now we are getting to Winter!

It wasn't exactly how I wanted it to look, so I brushed Tinting Base all over--perfect! It gave it a foggy, snowy, cold look! Yes!

I drew my heart-shaped flower next...it had to be something to do with love!

Mother told most everyone she spoke to that she loved them. She spoke at dozens of churches in my childhood denomination  (Cumberland Presbyterian) and spread the message of John 3:16, being certain to always include verse 17, because she said THAT was just as important!  That woman loved and was loved!

I used gesso to base my flower.

The heart was painted Q. Violet. The stems were based Blue Green Light and highlights/shading done with Cobolt Turquoises and Tinting Base.

I outlined the design with Paynes Grey.
I  added Phthalo Turquoise to resemble snow melting from the flowers, because I wanted it to symbolize that LOVE KEEPS US WARM.  I added Liquid Glass on top of the drops of water and on the base of the flower and then I placed a puddle of water splashing...this was surrounded by Snow-Tex.

LOVE was cut from Americana Decou Page Paper. I used the music from the Victorian Romance package.

Music was very important in my house. Mother had a beautiful alto voice and she would sing with her twin sister when they were teenagers.

Mother sang most all day as she worked around the house. I would get frustrated listening to her singing the same things over and over, but now, I understand it was her way to pray and to help ease her heart...what a silly brat I was!

Most of what I did to finish the canvas will not show up on camera.

I attached the music with Matte Medium.

The letters L,V,E were painted with P. Turquoise. The O was Q. Violet. I painted the Turquoise letters with Blue Interference and the Violet with Violet Interference. The leaves were painted with Turquoise Interference.

I painted BLOOM, my word for 2016, with P. Turquoise.

All letters were outlined with Paynes Grey.

Ice Crystal Glamour Dust was painted over the dried Snow-Tex.

I  shaded around the design and the edges of the canvas with P. Turquoise   and then with Dioxazine Purple.

I  used a stiff toothbrush to splatter the White Shimmer Mister on top of the design to look like snow.

The canvas was sealed with Matte Medium.

Happy birthday, Momma....I miss you...I wish I could have been a better daughter. You taught me so much and I am working on doing better! Hug Daddy for me and my Aunts/Uncles! I was a lucky girl!

Notice the butterfly on her shoulder  And the button necklace that she crocheted! 

Thanks for stoping by...I wish Blessings to YOU...~charlotte♡

Quote by Thoreau

Sunday, January 24, 2016

FANCY Potato Soup

Brrrrrrr...we got snow! Again...lol
Pretty snow!!
It seems all I want to do is cook and eat comfort food...and nap...

I'm really lucky that mother taught me to cook. We were "scratch" cookers, but now, I tend to use short cuts more than ever, but some things still remain as foods that are treats!

Thank You, God, for Eyes to see!
Potato Soup is one of those things. I have shared before that my favorite potato soup is simply water, potatoes and onions. It soothes my soul--isn't that the definition of comfort food?
With the forecast of the snow--and really, what were the chances the weather people would get it right--I decided that one of my treats, as I hunkered down, would be FANCY Potato soup. After all was said and done, I would need milk to make the anticipated snow cream, so why not make some potato soup!
I  went grocery shopping and bought potatoes, sweet onions, cheese, bread, eggs, buttermilk, cornmeal and I was ready for whatever happened!

As you saw in the last post, I  got to make Snow cream and it was so filled with memories!
Soup does the same for me...well, let's be honest, most everything causes memories to flood my heart, these days. I bet people think, "oh crap...does she have a story for EVERYTHING".  Sorry, yes I do!
My FIRST Snow Cream...smack smack
As I watched Daddy's health declining, buying presents for him sometimes made me sad, because I feared that he wouldn't be around to enjoy what I gave him.
I have an empty bowl...
A friend of Mothers once told her that at her age, she didn't need clothes and she didn't need things to sit around that needed dusting, but she sure did like getting food! Mother and I kept that close to memory each time a holiday came about. We would MAKE something for our neighbors...one year, I  came home from work and made 8 cakes for us to deliver the next day to our elderly neighbors...I made 8 Banana puddings one year! It brought Momma such Joy and I was glad that I could do that for her....it was the little things...
With that knowledge, one of Daddy's last Christmases, Santa put gift certificates in his stocking for 8 meals of tomato soup--his favorite.  He was so cute. He would put that certificate on the table before he left for dialysis, so I would be sure to get milk to make it!  I think it was one of his favorite gifts. I felt honored to make it for him.
In life, we get so involved with trying to make things perfect...giving the best that money can buy, and the truth is, at the end of the day, it is often the small things that we remember.
Cornbread still in the hot skillet...get it out before it sweats and gets soggy!!
Joy can be found in such simplicity. I see parents working so hard to give their children THINGS....and I can't blame anyone for wanting someone they love to have the best there is, but, when all is said and done, what have we taught those we love?
cornbread dipped into my soup!  Oh me oh my!!
I look back at my life and nothing I remember is about money or things, but about the time we shared--often around a round oak table that wabbled and creaked! I remember the laughter...the tears...the cheers...the food...and all I wish is that there was more time!
My FIRST Fancy Potato Soup...
So, Charcoal got Fancy Potato Soup with cornbread for the first time and it was LAB tested and Approved!
I  smiled as I remember sitting with my family for a simple meal, made from scratch, and Mother saying it was "the BEST she ever had" and we laughed as I said she said that the last time!
Served in the cups I bought for Daddy to go with his gift certificates!

Then, Mother would say that she believed that Queen Elizabeth didn't have a better supper...and that led to our conversations and wondering if Queen Elizabeth ever had potato soup!

Oh, how I miss them...how blessed that they loved me enough to not just give us things, but time, love and laughter!
I am grateful tonight for all who have worked during this storm...those who had to leave the warmth and safety of their homes...all to make sure we could be comfortable and safe.
My heart is burdened for those who don't have a safe, warm place to rest...who don't have healthy meals...who can't pay their bills...I pray for those who are helping and I pray that all of us who can, will put hands and feet to our prayers!
Stay safe and warm as you count your blessings instead of wants and complaints...I send the hope of Blessings to You as you BLOOM where you are...~~charlotte♡

FANCY Potato Soup
6 med potatoes, peeled and diced
1 ½ tsp salt (I often leave off the salt and instead add a couple cubes of chicken bouillon)           
½ cup butter (I don’t add the butter, myself)
¼ c. finely chopped onion (I use a medium sweet onion)
½ c evaporated milk or milk or ½ and  ½ ( I have used all, but I prefer MILK)
½ c. cubes Monterey Jack cheese (I use whatever I have on hand—cheddar, velveeta, Colby jack)
Pepper to taste
Bacon crumbs or chives, optional…I like BACON!!

Put potatoes and onions in pot-cover with water.  Put top on pan on HIGH, when it starts to simmer, turn to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Do NOT drain.
Lightly mash potatoes—LEAVE big chucks!
On LOW, add the rest of the ingredients…Simmer until all cheese and butter is melted.
If too thin, cook longer…
If too thick, add more milk or water
Top with bacon, chives, cheese—ANY or all!! 
ENJOY!!!  (you can cook the potatoes in chicken broth also—adds another layer of YUMMY!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snow Cream Memories

We got snow at my house!

Ok, mind you, it was only about an inch, but we got snow!

I  forgot to take a picture, so I stole, YES, I stole 2 pictures from Miss Ann to share.
She lives in Barren Plains, which is where my Momma was born!
Really, there isn't much difference,  except we don't have pine trees on our property. Daddy said that pine trees will only grow in poor soil...lol...I think that was his way of joking with his fellow farmers.

Mother's brothers were great friends with Miss Ann's father and every time that Uncle Harold or Uncle Jimmy would come to visit, making a prank call to the Heatherly's was a top priority.  It didn't matter if her mother or her father answered, it was fair game. Oh, how they loved each other and as families did on the farm, they were always ready to lend a hand.

I am thankful to facebook for getting the honor to love Miss Ann. ..who knows, maybe a pank will have to be started in honor of my funny uncles.

Mother made a great long move when she married to live on the outskirts of Youngville...about 8 miles away.

I  love being raised in a small farming community. Back then, the families rallied to support each other and to support their communities. Schools were small and the communities worked to get what they needed. The North Robertson Men's Club would sponsor events when there was a community need...

NOW, most of us have no clue who our neighbors are...no longer is a hand thrown up in a wave of "howdy" but instead to a finger of disguist...what are we doing, folks?! Why are we so angry?!

Oh, well, did I mention we had SNOW!

GUESS what I made--yep, snow cream!

I am amazed at how many people have never had it! Yep, it probably isn't good for you any more because of pollution, but I enjoy taking a walk on the wild side, every now and then to feel alive!

A friend asked for a recipe, but are you kidding me??  What you need is: SNOW, (a wet snow is best),  sugar, milk, vanilla.

Fill your bowl as full as you can, because it will stir down to less than half. I used the same stainless steel bowl that has made at least 53 years of snow cream. I am so happy that I was able to make Mother a bowl the last year of her life.
Pour milk over the top and gently stir-- this will cause the snow to melt some. How much milk? I used about 1 pint or a bit more to make this...just add as you need it.
Add sugar next, probably a half cup to start with and stir...add more milk to make it come together, if you need it.
No...it is NOT dirty snow...it is the best quality vanilla that I could buy! Mix until you get the smooth consistency.
It should look like homemade ice cream...adjust sugar to taste...and yes, you can add chocolate or mint, but I promise, it is so good as is!
Two bowls were LAB tested and approved!
Words cannot express the memories that are in that bowl. I  am so thankful that my parents CHOSE to do without material things in order to teach us about REAL LIFE and all the good it has to offer in people and adventures.

Thank you Mother and Daddy...I will never understand why I was so blessed. I wish these same BLESSINGS to YOU...~charlotte♡

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Gift of Love Continues...

I have a few more gifts to show that I got from my friends around the world!

I do not show these things to boast, but to share how generous people are and what can happened if you take just a few moments to say HI to someone.

The first thing I want to share is the dip mix I got from the dip, shoot, I mean, from Ramona...
I  love dips...again, apologies, I  meant to say that I love DIP.  I was already thinking that Charcoal and I would enjoy it watching the Super Bowl this year....YUM!!

The next awesome gift, that made me cry, came from Jolanda who lives in the Netherlands...
Isn't it beautiful!! She "fussed" at me because I didn't have a good picture of Charcoal for her to use, but it looks like him, anyway!

Usually, I  grab my camera in the dark to take a picture of Charcoal being silly. He does NOT sit still for long,  but I will make it a goal to get ONE good picture of Charcoal before the year ends! We will see how that works out...

You know, thinking back to Ramona, she left the price tag on the gift! hmmmmm...
Back to Jo...she and I met in a painting group when she shared a picture of a rolling pin she had painted and I commented...she had no idea what I was talking about because they called it something different...we laughed about it and became friends who joked, which, by the way, is what I like in a friend! 

Mother said that if I teased someone, it was a sure sign that I liked them! 

(Wonder why Ramona sent me dip but sent our other mutual friends something she painted...I thought she liked me just as much...sigh...)

The other gift came from my scroll saw buddy in Canada...she is a mis-placed Chicago girl...Sesame Street Smart, she is! LOL  I will use her picture to show what she sent me.
She designed and cut them! She is amazingly talented!

(Don't get me wrong about Ramona...I appreciate that she sent me the dip because she sent it out of love...I think it was out of love...it is hard to tell with Ramona...she is a stinker! )

Sheila also gave me several little sheepies with yarn wrapped around them...so pretty and colorful! I love colors!
Oh my goodness...they are the sweetest little things EVER!
We had a close call with Charcoal thinking this sheepie was for him...ugh...

Look at the detail!

I  just can't stop thinking about that dip...I guess I need to see what I need to make it because I only shop about once a month for groceries and the Super Bowl will be here soon!

The dip reminds me of a Christmas present that my brother got one year. He had just moved in with a bunch of his college buddies and so he got this gift that was in a box that said: Avocado Green Chip and Dip Set.

He sarcastically said: "just what I ALWAYS wanted--an avocado green chip and dip set!"

He opened it to find: (say it with me) An Avocado Green Chip and Dip set!!

Boy, was he embarrassed! We kidded him mercilessly! The next year, he got a cross-stitched sign that said: Just what I ALWAYS wanted!

In my house, we take gifts to be what the box says they are!!

Back to the dip...I got the ingredients listed in my smart phone grocery shopping list....I wonder what the mix looks like...
Wait....that isn't any dip!!!
She DOES love me (ok...we are sticking with this)! ! I  got 2 of her hand painted Nickelettes! I'm so excited!!

But now....I have no dip for me and Charcoal to make for Super Bowl Sunday...heavy sigh...ROFL

I have shed true tears this Christmas with each gift I have received. I am amazed at the generosity of friendships.

I  have wasted far too much time protecting my heart from any more hurt, but yet, these friends have taught me and reminded me more about friendship and how vital they are to living a complete life.

Once again, I have reaped far better than I have sown! Blessings drop like rain as I am reminded that we are NEW EVERY MORNING!

Thank you, my friends for helping me to see the MAGIC of the season...of the generosity of people...of unconditional love and of the JOY in encouraging others!

I am humbly blessed...Let's keep Christmas alive all year!~~charlotte♡