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Christmas Tree Ornaments

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, just into my Gift Shop are Pewter Snowflake shaped tree ornaments! These sweet little ornaments measure 3″x3″ and are created from my Christmas collection of oil paintings. They arrive gift boxed and ready to hang or give to that someone special.


Teddy Bears Tree Ornament

Christmas Teddy Bears Tree ornament is so cute! Who doesn’t love Teddy Bears? A boy Teddy and a girl Teddy send their message of Christmas love and friendship!


Bell Christmas Ornament

Christmas Bell Tree Ornament says, “Merry Christmas!” and is sure to be a favorite family keepsake.


Christmas Teddy-Bears decor

Do I sound like a commercial? I apologize, but I’m so excited to bring new merch to my site! My Christmas oil paintings are part of my private collection, and I’m happy to be able to share them with you in this way. Check out the Gift Shop for more ornaments.

Stay tuned, new merch coming soon!

Until we meet again, much love ~ Rhonda

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Enter to win a Gift Basket!

Enter to Win a Gift Badket

Enter to win a gift basket filled with all sorts of little goodies including a mini original oil painting! Become a TMS member and your name is automatically entered into the drawing.

Drawing is held every year on Dec. 1. The winner will be notified via email.

Click the TMS members tab above for more info. * Restrictions apply.

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How to make candied Butternut Squash

How to make candied Butternut Squash

Who doesn’t love candy? Add that sweet goodness to a vegetable and yumminess is born! How does one make Candied Butternut Squash? Read on and grab the recipe. Your family will love this delicious side dish. It’s almost a meal in itself.


Butternut Squash

This summer I grew Butternut Squash and although the yield wasn’t as high as I’d hoped, there was still enough squash to have a small stash for winter.


Here’s your grocery list for the recipe:

  • Butternut or Acorn Squash – (one squash makes two servings)
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves or Allspice
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Bacon

How to make Candied Butternut Squash;

Wash the squash then cut in half. You will need one half per person depending on the size of the squash. Place in a shallow baking dish lined with foil. The foil makes for easy cleanup.

Butternut Squash cut in half
Seeds removed from squash

Scoop out all the seeds and membranes using a spoon and discard.

Add butter to squash

Next, you will add some pats of butter then sprinkle cinnamon generously over the butter and squash.


Continue on with the rest of your spices, sprinkling nutmeg, cloves or allspice, and a bit of salt. I don’t use measuring spoons for this recipe, so I can’t give exact measurements. Use your eyes and your senses to decide how much to use of each ingredient. A hint of caution here, cloves and allspice are very powerful so don’t go overboard.


Add bacon and brown sugar to squash

Now you are ready for the best part of the entire dish; the bacon and brown sugar!


Assemblage:

Lay as many strips of bacon over the squash as you desire. We like two pieces per slice of squash because we Love bacon! Make sure the bacon doesn’t fall down into the squash or it won’t crisp in the oven, because it will be lying in bacon and butter juices.

Lastly, sprinkle brown sugar liberally atop the bacon. It’s the brown sugar that makes the bacon and the squash taste like candy. If you prefer, you can use maple syrup instead of brown sugar.

Place the dish in a preheated 375-degree oven and bake, uncovered, for one hour. If you have a convection oven, keep an eye on your squash towards the last 15 minutes of baking, as this is the time when the bacon can become a bit too crispy because of the sugar. If your squash isn’t quite fork tender 45 minutes into baking but your bacon is overdone, simply cover with foil and lower the oven to 350 degrees.


Prepare for a feast;

Candied Butternut Squash

When your squash is finished cooking you can discard the fat built up in the hole of the squash, or if you like, you can mix it all in. I prefer to dump mine out so I don’t have all that fat in my diet. My husband loves butter and bacon grease, so he mixes his in with the squash. I know!


Final Thoughts:

Your family will love this dish because of the sweetness of the brown sugar, and the natural sweetness of the squash. It’s almost like eating warmed pumpkin pie or eating candy for dinner! I serve this dish with beef, such as Ribeye, or Tri-Tip. Candied Butternut Squash is almost a meal in itself so you don’t really need any more food to complete your dinner except maybe a nice glass of red wine.

Candied Butternut Squash is a perfect side dish for these wonderful Fall days. It would also make a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving dinner. I hope you give this recipe a try!

Until we meet again, much Love! ~Rhonda

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FALL FLASH SALE!

Fall Flash Sale

In celebration of Fall, please enjoy 35% off all oil paintings*. Use coupon code FALL at checkout. Sale begins Friday, October 18, 2019 and ends Monday, October 21, 2019.

Get a head start on your holiday shopping and give a gift of art. Art is an investment that will last a lifetime!

*Restrictions apply. Does not apply to Gift Baskets.

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How to Decorate for Fall using Art

As promised in the last blog post, here are a few favorite fall paintings and tips on how to decorate for Fall using art. For those who are the DIY types, you can easily purchase art supplies and create your own Fall decor. Acrylic paints are the easiest to use for a quick Fall creation.

In conjunction with fall elements, such as garlands of autumn colored leaves, using art as part of your decor enhances your space. Candles, nuts, dried flowers, satin floral arrangements, and many other Fall-themed items, will enliven any room. Your guests will feel welcomed and cozy with the addition of these decor ideas.

Decorating with Art ~

Pumpkins oil painting

“Pumpkins” oil on canvas is a favorite little painting I created just for use in my Fall decor. At 4″x4″, this small painting is a perfect addition to any tablescape.

How to decorate for Fall using art

Surrounded by a candle, dried corncobs, and chestnuts atop a fall-themed table runner, the “Pumpkins” oil painting makes a bold statement.

Decor Ideas ~

You can see how using small Fall-themed paintings in your decor creates a unique feeling since art can help set the mood for this beautiful season. Mixing store-bought items with original paintings in your decor brings about a quality of richness to your environment because it’s all about texture and color.

One of my favorite decor ideas is to display small paintings with a garland of fall leaves as a backdrop. “Abstract Leaves 2″ is a 4″x4” oil painting on gallery wrapped box canvas. The painting sits on a shelf in the entryway and adds a pop of vibrant color.

Abstract Leaves 2 oil painting
“Abstract Leaves 2”

Here you can see the companion piece to this oil painting sitting to the left on the same shelf:

Abstract Leaves oil painting
“Abstract Leaves”

Fall is all about explosions of color and is my absolute favorite time of the year! I am inspired each season to paint new art works of vibrant color to celebrate the season like this painting:

Autumn Leaves
“Autumn Leaves”
Decorating for fall using art

“Autumn Leaves” 4″x4″ oil painting adorns a dining room side table.

How to decorate for Fall using art

You can see how easily I changed the design of my side table simply by moving the “Autumn Leaves” painting to the opposite side.

Celebrating Nature ~

A colorful celebration of leaves reminds us of the beauty of nature. In this next painting, cool hues of purple and blue are juxtaposed with warm tones. “Colorful Fall Leaves”, a 4″x4″ oil on gallery wrapped box canvas, shares the space of the entry way shelf.

Colorful Fall Leaves oil painting

Hanging Artwork on a wall adds to a Fall-themed decor, as well. “Lil’ Pumpkins” oil painting can be seen on the gallery wall and is painted in oil on a 6″x6″ panel. The painting is framed in black with a gold liner which makes the pumpkins vibrate with excitement. Click HERE if you’d like “Lil’ Pumpkins to be yours!

Mini pumpkins framed
“Lil Pumpkins”

Aspen trees are the subject of the painting below. The painting is on 8″x10″ canvas and is titled “Aspen Trees in Fall”.

Aspen Trees oil painting
“Aspen Trees in Fall”

How do you decorate for Fall using art? Do you paint your own paintings? Leave a comment below, and let’s chat! Much Love ~ Rhonda

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Fall is my favorite time of the year.

Plein Air painting at Whiskey Rock
Welcome Fall:

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  Each year brings different weather patterns and fall can last well into November. Often times though Fall is over by mid-October. Last weekend we had snow down to the valley floor and a lot of plants shriveled in the below-freezing temps. It was the first time in 93 years we had snowfall in September!

We had to run a heater in our greenhouse to keep our tomato plants safe since we still have quite a bit of green tomatoes. The plants outside the greenhouse had to be covered. We hoped for the best and I’m happy to say that no plants were lost. The temperatures have been slowly rising and we are now out of frost danger. It looks like we won’t have an Indian Summer with fall lasting to November this year because of the mild summer we had and now with early snow.

Foggy Mornings:

During Fall there will often be fog after it rains. I think the landscape is so beautiful when fog is rolling in. I don’t care for driving in the soupy stuff, but watching it float around over the lake and through the forest is awesome. Here’s a little video I captured of the fog building up in the morning. An hour later we were totally engulfed in white.

 

Fall inspired oil paintings:

The Fall colors during foggy conditions seem more vibrant. It may be due to there not being bright sunlight to wash out the hues. I was inspired to paint this scene of our street during one, particularly foggy day. “Fog in the Forest” is an 11″x14″ oil on canvas and is a part of my personal collection:

Fall is my favorite time of the year

 

This next oil painting, “Leaves on the Driveway”, was inspired by the leaves in our driveway during Fall. It was painted entirely with a palette knife on 4″x4″ gallery wrapped box canvas. I bring this painting out every year as part of my favorite fall decor.

 

Decorating with artwork:

The best thing about small works of art is they can be easily moved. Each year the decor is a little different and this year, “Leaves on the Driveway” is being showcased in the entry on a shelf. Sometimes small art pieces are displayed on the dining room table as a centerpiece along with a vase of flowers. Other times fall-themed paintings are showcased on the fireplace mantle, with a garland of autumn leaves.

 

fall decor ideas


Painting Plein Air:

 

Bridge at Buttonhook

The Bridge at Buttonhook is a 6″x6″ oil on panel. This painting was done in Plein Air last year in October. It was still warm enough to go boating so we packed lunch and enjoyed the warm sunshine and peacefulness of the lake.  The very next day, the temps dropped 20 degrees, the wind arrived, clouds rolled in and snow blanketed the mountain tops. Fall was promptly over!

 

I hope to be able to do some more Fall Plein air work this year before its all said and done, like this one:

Plein air painting during Fall, my favorite time of the year.

Plein Air at Whiskey Rock” is painted in oils on a 5″x7″ canvas.  Whiskey Rock is a point on the lake which has several boat docks and a small campground. Whiskey Rock campground is tucked into a small cove, and is a favorite spot for weekend boat camping. I painted this one from our boat and absolutely loved how it turned out, with the backlit trees and the reflections in the water. The day was calm, and warm but the air was filled with smoke that year from all the surrounding wildfires when “Plein Air at Whiskey Rock” was created.

One day, during the framing of “Plein Air at Whiskey Rock”, I accidentally drilled too deep and poked a hole in the painting. Now I have to repaint “Plein Air at Whiskey Rock“. Geesh!

Is Fall your favorite time of the year or are you more of a summer lover? Do you decorate your space with Fall themes during this time of the year? What is your favorite time of the year? Leave a comment below and lets chat!

I’ll share some more of my favorite fall paintings in the next post. Until we meet again, much love! ~Rhonda

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End of the Year Camping and Painting

Camping on the St. Joe River:

Last weekend we enjoyed our end of the year camping and painting adventure on the St. Joe River in Northern Idaho. We stayed at the Telichpah Campground, which is next to the river, on the south end of the Hiawatha Trail system. The campground is tucked away at the end of the road and at this time of the year is typically empty, which is why we go at this time.

The Hiawatha Trail system is an old train route, that was once used by the Milwaukee Railroad, and is now a spectacular mountain bike trail. The trail follows the north fork of the St. Joe river, where it ends at a small town called Avery.  The campground is at the end of the trail, and you travel through the three train tunnels to get to the campground. This is our favorite area to have our camping and painting adventure on the St. Joe River.

We arrived mid-week, and the campground was empty except for one other camper. By the time we left on Sunday, the upper section was completely full. I was very surprised to see so many folks camping this late in the season!  The lower section of the campground, where we stayed did not fill up. Besides us, there was only one other campsite in use, so it was very quiet.

Relaxing by the fire:

We had a fabulous time even though it was cool and threatened rain every day.  It rained a few times during each night and only one day. The brief showers helped to keep the dust down. At the end of each day, it was nice to warm up by the fire and sip hot cocoa.

 

Sitting by the campfire during our end of the year camping.

 


 

Cutting firewood for the campfire

 


 

 

 

Photographing forest flora and fauna:

The forest flora and fauna are favorite subjects of mine to create paintings from, so I’m always on the lookout for unique items, like pinecones and mushrooms, to photograph.

Pine Cone

 


 

Mushrooms

There were large mushrooms like these pushing up from the forest floor, everywhere! It’s amazing to see the strength of a mushroom pushing through the hard ground! The mushrooms were exceptionally large due to all the rain and mild temperatures.

Plein air painting the St. Joe River:

On Friday, the weather broke and it was only partly cloudy, so we decided to make it a painting and fishing day. We packed lunch and all our gear and hit the trail to our favorite location on the river. Upon arriving, I discovered that someone forgot to bring my tripod! I had to improvise my pleinair painting set up by using the back of the wheeler as a table. Luckily the tailgate is the right height and all was good.

 

Plein air painting the river

The scene I painted is a large calm pool just before a bend in the river. I love the emerald green reflections in the water and the large rocks in the middle of the river. The trees were just beginning to turn yellow so no feeling of fall to the scene yet.

End of the year camping and painting on the St. Joe River

Since I didn’t have my tripod I was at the mercy of the sun and had to call it a day when I could no longer see my canvas due to glare. I will finish in the studio using my reference photos and share the painting when it’s finished.

Plein air painting in progress

 

Success catching a fish:

My husband had a successful day fishing and caught a nice sized Cutthroat Trout!  After getting his portrait taken, the fish was set free. My husband was a happy camper, indeed! What a great day!

end of the year camping, painting and fishing

 

Dessert:

We arrived back at camp in time for me to bake a peach cobbler from scratch! I used a billy can as an oven by putting charcoal on top of the can, and forgot to take a photo of the set up; But I did take a pic of the final results:

Peach Cobbler

The peach cobbler was delicious and I can’t believe it actually worked using this method of cooking. I think its fun to experiment with cooking different foods other than typical camp food. Earlier this year I made a pizza from scratch while camping. You can read about it HERE.

All in all, our end of the year camping and painting  adventure was a great end to a wonderful summer! Fall has barely begun and we are expecting  snow down to the valley floor this weekend, so I’m glad we made the trip when we did.  I hope we don’t have too much accumulation and that this is just a little anomaly and not a sign of things to come!

Thanks for stopping by. Until we meet again, Much Love ~ Rhonda

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Learning new techniques

Learning new techniques, whether it be art or anything else, is something I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve had an app on my Ipad called Procreate for about a year, and have never delved into using it. Last month I came across a blog post in which the author made a little animation, and I wondered if he had created it in Procreate. Sure enough, his next blog post was to advertise his class on how to use Procreate.

What is Procreate?

Procreate is a powerful illustration program in which one can create animations and vibrant illustrations. I decided it was high time I learn how to use the program since I paid for it. I clicked on the help button in the program and it took me to YouTube, where I found a lot of instructional videos. So for the past few months in my spare time, I’ve been learning new techniques in how to create animations and illustrations.

Learning new techniques in illustration Happy Sheep

 


Happy Sheep is one animation I’ve created using Procreate. I know sheep can’t wag the tails they don’t have, but a little humor is a good thing! This sheep is happy she found some green grass to eat.

Animations are my favorite to draw, but I’ve also been delving into just plain illustrations. I joined Lisa Bardot in her Make Art Everday community and created a few drawings during her buildings week. If you join, she sends out weekly drawing prompts and has a Facebook group to post work. I’m not on Facebook and just draw for my own purposes.

 


Here are a few of my illustrations:

 

Produce Stand Illustration The Produce Stand


 

 

Learning new techniques

Chicken Noodle Soup House


 

 

Cafe Illustration The Corner Cafe

 


The above illustration of the Corner Cafe was done before I learned how to add text. As I was drawing it, I thought, “Geez, it sure would be nice to be able to add text to a drawing!” A few days later I watched a video on how to add text. Typical me, always a day late and a dollar short. Oh well.

Lastly, here is a drawing of a strawberry donut I may turn into some kind of animation. I’m thinking sprinkles falling onto the donut would be fun!

Donut with strawberry icing illustration


I have a lot of learning to do and quite a bit of practice using Procreate, but I’m enjoying the journey! It’s another set of tools in my toolkit to express my creativity! Until next time, much love ~ Rhonda

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Duckworth Boat Oil Painting

Plein air painting at the lake update:

A few weeks ago I shared on a previous post, my Plein air painting of our Duckworth boat oil painting, that I started at the lake.  By the time we were ready to leave for home, my painting wasn’t finished, as far as details go. But that’s okay, as I rarely bring a painting to completion in the field.

I paint slowly and enjoy a certain level of realism.  I can’t paint fast nor impressionistically.  Don’t misunderstand me, I love impressionism and would enjoy painting in that style, but my brain won’t let me. I have no idea how to paint loosely.  So I have stopped fighting with the art monkey and given in to the fact that this is how I paint.

Here is the completed painting, to which, I’m quite pleased with the results. The Duckworth Boat oil painting is 6″x6″ on gessoed panel. It will be framed in black with a silver liner and become part of my personal collection, as a memory of our day at the lake.

Duckworth boat oil painting

Final thoughts:

Even though there weren’t many boats out on the lake that day, I added one in the distance for composition’s sake. The birds were added to the painting for the same reason as the distant boat. I always like to add birds to my landscapes. It not only gives life to a painting but adds movement to the eye flow.

Painting the letters and numbers on the side of the boat was a bit of a challenge.  This particular painting panel has no tooth and so it can be difficult to paint fine detail. All is good though because it adds an air of painterly quality to the piece. I’m happy with it.

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any thoughts I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time;

much Love,

~ Rhonda

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Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe ~

With Fall around the corner, the garden is winding down. All veggies are in ripen mode and I am harvesting tomatoes like crazy.  I thought I’d share my Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe if you are looking for something new to do with all those fresh-picked tomatoes you have from your garden! One can only eat so much salad, right?

tomatoes from the garden

You can use fresh tomatoes from your local farmer’s market if you aren’t growing your own. I prefer Roma tomatoes because they have fewer seeds and a little more pulp. But as you can see, I also use regular tomatoes for their juice.

Here are the ingredients for the roasted tomato sauce recipe:
  1. 1 lb. Fresh Tomatoes (or more, depending on how much sauce you want to make)
  2. 1 or 2 large onions (2 if you’re going big)
  3. 1 to 2 heads of garlic  (separate cloves and use all)
  4. 4 to 6 tblsp. of Virgin Olive oil
  5. 1 tsp. Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  7. 1 tsp. crushed dry Basil
  8. 1 to 2 tsp. sugar
Here’s what you do:

Slice all tomatoes into halves and place them in a roasting pan with the skin sides up in one layer. Cut the onion into quarters and add to the pan. Next, separate your garlic into cloves and slightly mash, then add to the roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over all ingredients then add the salt, pepper, basil, and sugar. (Adjust oil and seasonings accordingly if you are making a bigger batch than mine.)

Now get your hands in there and mix up all the tomatoes, onion, garlic, etc. so that everything is nicely coated in the olive oil and spices. What a mess, but so much fun! Your pan will look like this:

Tomatoes for sauce

Now you are ready to roast the tomatoes:

Pop your pan into a preheated 350-degree oven and roast for 45 minutes or until the skins begin to blacken. Be careful when you open the oven door at the end of roasting because a bit of smoke may come out. Your kitchen will smell like heaven! This is what the roasted tomatoes look like when finished roasting:

 

roasted tomatoes ready to make sauce

 

Allow the pan of tomatoes to cool a bit until able to safely handle. You can then pour all the ingredients into a pot and use an immersion blender to blend everything into a sauce. Or if you don’t have an immersion blender, place the roasted ingredients into a high capacity upright blender to make your sauce. I use my Vitamix because it makes quick work of the blending process, chopping all the tomato seeds, onions, and garlic into a thick sauce.

 

roasted tomato sauce

 

Use the roasted tomato sauce immediately or save for later:

If you are planning on using your sauce immediately, adjust seasonings to taste and if it’s too thick, add a bit of water or your favorite red wine. At this point, you can also add in other spices like oregano, allspice and more basil. Cook the sauce on the stovetop for 20 minutes to incorporate your additions, then pour over your favorite cooked pasta.  For pizza sauce, do not add any other liquid.

You can also pour the sauce into prepared canning jars and can according to your favorite method. Or if you don’t like to can, like me, allow the sauce jars to come to room temperature and then freeze. Just remember to leave enough headroom in the jar, so the jars won’t crack in the freezer. The roasted tomato sauce freezes very well, in fact, I still have jars of frozen sauce from last year’s harvest.

“Canned Tomatoes” oil painting:

Last year, as an homage to my tomato harvest I painted this painting of canned whole tomatoes. The painting hangs in my kitchen.

The “Canned Tomatoes” oil painting was inspired by the hot jars sitting on the counter after I had used a water bath canning method, which I no longer use. I don’t care for the added acidity that citric acid creates when canning. So now I just freeze my jars and all is good!

A few blog posts ago I shared a recipe for tomato salsa. Did you make salsa? If you did, let me know how it turned out in the comments below.

I’m looking forward to Fall and doing some Plein air paintings of the beautiful trees in all their glory. In the meantime, I’ve been working on some previous paintings and trying to wrap things up so I can paint something new!

Until we meet again ~ Much Love

Rhonda

 


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