bean quesadillas with salsa

I made bean quesadillas with mango, peach and pineapple salsa tonight! I found the mango, peach and pineapple salsa on allrecipes.com. This was so good I could eat it as a fruit salad just by itself. The bean quesadillas recipe is from my friend Carrie.

For the quesadillas you need:
  • tortillas
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto or refried beans
  • rice of your choice
  • shredded monetary jack
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • corn
  • onion
  • fresh cilantro
Lightly oil skillet, place 1 tortilla in pan, and layer with rice, beans, corn, onion, cilantro, and cheese. Place a second tortilla on top and lightly press together. Cook over medium high heat for a minute or two, flip over the quesadilla and cook on the other side for a minute of two. Top with toppings of your choice; avocado, sour cream, salsa, picante.

This was really yummy, thanks Carrie! I forgot the rice and replaced the pinto beans with refried beans and it still came out great. We love making quesadillas, they are easy and you can put just about anything in them!

design: vector ribbon

While working on a logo design this weekend for a local charity event, I managed to get in a quick tutorial for drawing a ribbon.

This video showed me how to create a smooth silver ribbon with multiple folds in Illustrator. Ribbons are used all over the place but, really they are challenging to make. I applaud tutvid.com for such a great tutorial, it is really easy to follow. They made a complicated image very easy for me to recreate.

Check this video out at Hi-Res here: http://www.tutvid.com/tutorials/illustrator/tutorials/vectorRibbons.php


weekly reflection

Ethan with his still life setup of some new school stuff

Ethan starts kindergarten on Aug 12. He will be saying goodbye to his preschool family in a few short weeks. He is super excited and ready to see what this kindergarten thing he has heard so much of is all about.

This week Bert & I picked up his teacher, Mrs. Baker's supply donation list (and I totally cried)! It was so unexpected. I think I may have a tougher time on his 1st day of school then I realized. Nannie bought him a shirt, some school supplies, a thermos cup & Mario Kart lunchbox. He received a Mario Kart backpack as a gift from Miss Laura.

Ms Laura is Ethan's daycare provider / preschool teacher. He has been going to Laura's Daycare for over 2 years. I know he will miss her and all his buddies lots. He made her a super sweet card (which I totally should have taken a picture of. d'oh!). He dictated this message for me to write: Ms Laura, I will miss you when I go to kindergarten. I love you. Then he signed these words himself: Love Ethan. So cute. We are so lucky that our children are happy and loved when they are away from home while us parents head off to work. I am so very grateful for Ms Laura and her family.


heady necklaces debut

This is my debut line of heady pendant necklaces. The necklaces are handcrafted with antique brass chain and round pendants created from my original acrylic paintings. These sweet little pendants are eye catching as I like to work in vibrant colors. The image of my painting is printed on a high quality, glossy paper and then sealed onto the brass pendant with lacquer. Necklaces range from 16-18" in length.

Here are the different styles up close:

I created these heady necklaces to sell at Phish Red Rocks next weekend. Let me know what you think!


kids art: ready for take off!

Ready for take off!

Ethan tagged along with me on another trip to Michael's. Again, he found lots of things he wanted to make but, decided on a wooden model airplane kit. The boys enjoyed building their own airplanes with dad's help. Then the planes sat around for a week or 2, waiting for the right time to be decorated. It has been HOT here in the desert and we are in hibernation mode so, this weekend was the perfect time to bring out the art supplies and get painting.

We reused an egg carton as a paint palette, it is sturdy and holds lots of colors

Ethan working with his favorite colors: blue and green

Hudson working with his favorite color: red

new and improved "paint bucket"

I have to admit I need to work on getting the art supplies out in a particular order. I seem to start backwards - planes then paint then tablecloth then smocks - that is all wrong! They boys are already trying to dip into the paints before the table is set up and their shirts put on. So, I packed all the needed supplies: paints, brushes, cup, egg cartons, smock shirts and a tablecloth into the new and improved "paint bucket". Hopefully this makes our next painting adventure setup run a bit more smoothly.

Once again for only a buck, this little kit proved to be a lot of fun, it let them become the pilot and the designer!


easy pesto spaghetti

Tonight I'm making Easy Pesto Spaghetti. Pesto is an aromatic herb paste that has its origins in Italy, where people have been making it for hundreds of years with the brilliant green basil that grows wild on the hillsides. I found a super easy recipe online. It's not exactly traditional since it doesn't use Parmesan cheese or pine nuts but, you could certainly add those ingredients if you wanted.

See Easy Pesto Recipe.


east valley art guild

I went to the East Valley Art Guild July meeting last night and I brought a painting along for the critique! I had them look at my fireflies painting in progress. Overall it received a nice reaction. Everyone liked the colors and the consciousness was that it needed a more yellow in the fireflies and more depth in the sky & grass. However, a few people liked it just as it is and voiced concerns of overworking it. So, I plan to give the piece one more working session and see where I end up. Almost there ... I can't wait to hang this painting on the big yellow wall in my kitchen!


beautiful music video

Above is a beautiful music video I stumbled upon today for Iron & Wine's Boy With a Coin, directed by Lauri Faggioni. I love this song and the choreography is amazing!


eggplant parmesan

photo found at foodnetwork.com

This is what I have planned for tonight: Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan). I love eggplant. It is one of my most favorite foods and I have been making this dish for years. All the breading, oil and cheese make this dish quite high calorie so I've decided to try and lighten it up with a recipe courtesy of Eating Well. They reduced fat by coating the eggplant with egg whites instead of whole eggs and baking, rather than frying, the slices for a lighter version of this classic.

See Eggplant Parmesan Recipe.


scorpion sting!

Logo for Scorpion Tequila ... I couldn't bring myself to post a picture of a real one!

We live in an area of Arizona that is surrounded by a gorgeous natural desert landscape. We regularly see jackrabbits, prairie dogs, lizards and lots of birds; all of which are wonderful. Not so wonderful is that mountain lions, snakes and "eeek!" scorpions are also known to roam nearby.

This week I was stung by a scorpion at 4:30 am in my bed. Freak out time!!! I have an unhealthy fear of scorpions, which began after we had kids; children under the age of 5 are the most at risk and that really scares me. I am grateful that it stung me since both Ethan & Hudson were asleep in my bed at the time.

So you wanna know what happened? I awoke to the a sharp pain in my calf. I thought maybe I pulled a muscle earlier that night at yoga. I stretched my leg out and then bent my knee to stretch the other direction proceeding to squish the scorpion in my leg! eeeww. I stood up, checked my leg and found 2 small sting marks which quickly started swelling. After checking the bed I found a small (less than an inch) smooshed scorpion. I got really nervous and Googled scorpion sting (what would we do without the Internet in times like these?)

About.com suggests that if you are stung by any scorpion, including the venomous Arizona Bark Scorpion, here are some immediate actions you should take:
  1. Wash the area of the scorpion sting with soap and water.
  2. Apply a cool compress on the area of the scorpion sting. Ice (wrapped in a washcloth or other suitable covering) may be applied to the sting location for 10 minutes. Remove compress for 10 minutes and repeat as necessary.
  3. If stung on a limb (arm or leg) elevate the limb to heart level.
  4. Call the Banner Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. If you develop symptoms such as numbness or tingling of extremities or face, blurry vision, or muscle twitching, roving eye movements, go to the nearest emergency room. Young children and older people who are stung by a scorpion should be taken to the emergency room immediately.
  5. Keep your tetanus shots and boosters current.
Luckily, I did not experience any symptoms worthy of a trip to the emergency room. After about 6-8 hours of applying an ice pack the pain finally subsided and the swelled areas were gone.

In the western U.S. only one species of scorpion venom is considered very dangerous to humans. Yep, we have it here in Arizona. It is called the Arizona Bark Scorpion. It is straw colored or opaque and usually less than 2 inches long and is the only one that prefers to climb walls. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is most dangerous if the person stung has an allergic reaction.


painting in progress, fireflies

painting in progress, fireflies

painting in progress, dandelion

This is not quite right yet. It is overworked. I need to step away, then come back and loosen it all up. The grass is too even, the dandelion too perfect, not to mention tone down the aqua sky back to a more suitable blue. It'll be great once I get all the details right.


tomatoes stuffed with rice

This is what I have planned for tonight: Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice. Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis from her Everyday Italian Cookbook and found online at FoodNetwork.com.

See Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice recipe.

meatless monday

I think I first heard about Meatless Mondays at Ecorazzi when they posted about Paul McCartney and his family helping to promote the idea. We already eat some meatless meals each week (pasta & pizza night for example) but, I wanted to improve on it and use Meatless Mondays as a way for us to think "out of the box" and create more fresh meals rich in vegetables. For a healthy well-rounded diet I think having our family eat meatless meals a few times a week is essential.

From the Meatless Mondays website:
Why Meatless?

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Read about these benefits in more detail here.

Today, I joined the movement and pledge to go meatless on Monday. I also signed up to receive weekly recipes via Eater’s Digest to help me start each week with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives. Check out the Meatless Monday website for articles, recipes, seasonal picks and more.


i heart hydra heart

These custom order ballet flats made by Hydra Heart are adorable! They are 100% vegan and made with organic cotton. I hope to have some of my very own someday. Check out Hydra Heart's Etsy store.

avantegarden gallery public installation

I am awe of things done on such a large scale. I have to say, public installation art is one of things I miss no longer living in an urban area.

Posted by SprayBlog:

Avantgarden Gallery presents a video from the street intervention by Bo130 and Microbo . The performance is linked to the exhibition “Cut’N'Past and Dirty Fingers” at Avantgarden Gallery, via Cadolini 29, Milano.

The wall is visible at Via Palermo , Milano Italy.

east valley art guild

Last month, I joined the East Valley Art Guild Meetup Group. This group is free to join and is open to any and all artists, fine crafts people, art lovers and collectors.

I went to their June monthly meeting. It was a great example of bringing artists together to network and discuss art in general. It was really neat to be involved with a critique, I haven't been in a group critique since college. I personally didn't bring anything to my first meeting but, I do plan to bring something to the July meeting. For me, this is a first step in getting active in the arts community. It is an important step to gain resources, opportunities, and a path to being a better artist. Thank you Bert and Carla for encouraging me to get more active!

The meetup group is sponsored by The East Valley Art Guild which has over 200 juried members from 20 valley cities. The Guild organizes - 4th Friday ArtWalks, 2nd Friday Night Out events, participates in MACFest Saturday Arts Festival, and operates the Guild Gallery at 101, where they have exhibits and monthly meetings with speakers, critiques, and workshops.

If you are an artist located in Arizona, think about joining and get involved ...