betty/seuss: (noun) a combination of the 1920's cultural icon, all-American baker Betty Crocker and the American writer-poet-cartoonist, known for his children's books and creative genius, Dr. Seuss!


merry christmas darling :)

MERRY HAPPY JOLLY CHRISTMAS WORLD! it's been another magical holiday in the twin cities, full of stories, gifts and of course, food food FOOD (i'm going to have to hit the gym hard core when i get home... yesss!) this year i decided to get creative and surprised my husband with the twelve days of christmas! each day he was greeted with a green and red packaged candy or movie or something of that sort! TODAY is the last day of christmas :( until next year anyways :) 

on the twelfth day of christmas my husband got from ME.... a painting! HA so it's not something that he will get much use of, but it's something that i MADE so it means more! because it's from the heart! right!? that's what they say anyways! 

my husband, dillon mariano winspear, is one of the greatest blessing in my life :) i am a lucky woman to have a man like him to come home to after a long day, to fall asleep with at night, and to wake up to in the morning! 

i met dillon when i was eighteen years old, SO full of dreams and excitement for life! he shared that same excitement and we hit it off INSTANTLY! we were best friends right from the get go and after a month of being "just friends", i won him over and talked him into being my BOYFRIEND! AH! :) what a saint! a couple of months later we were two crazy kids in love and went home to talk to our parents about getting MARRIED! OBVIOUSLY the parentals approved and dillon and i were married in august of 2010! 

this year has been the BEST of my entire life! everyday i learn something new and i grow that much closer to being the woman i pray to be someday! god placed dillon in my life for a reason! we are TRULY whole together! he's my other half in every way! he is my very BEST friend! he's honest and kind and DASHINGLY handsome and thoughtful and in-tune with the spirit and ambitious and determined and UNBELIEVABLY funny and he makes each day i'm with him the best day of my life! 

i love you babe :) MERRY MERRY christmas darling! you're the best gift i could have received! 

:) this is dillon and i living the dream with our homeboy santa HA


those that mean the most

a couple of weeks ago i received news from my father dear that my aunt margie had passed away. i was shocked! i had known that my aunt was a frail and feeble little woman that wasn't healthy in the least bit. everyone knew that her time was running short. but then all of a sudden she was actually gone! it was unreal, like a dream. 

my mother and aunt margie had a different kind of relationship. their friendship was like a roller coaster ride! one day they were best friends and the next they weren't speaking. typical of any sister-relationship i would guess! margie had been through troubled times, she'd endured pains that would have sent me running in the other direction. she was strong and had become somewhat hardened by her experiences. my heart breaks for the story of that woman. 

so, when i heard that she'd passed away, after a moment of mourning i found myself overwhelmingly happy for her! she now has escaped the pains and temptations and sorrows of this world! she can find peace now! she can receive the good word of the gospel and find rest in our Savior, Jesus Christ. she can be reunited with her family and ancestors that have previously passed. my aunt margie finally has the chance to be the incredible woman that she is and to feel JOY. 

especially around this time of year, i find myself feeling so very blessed and grateful for the atonement of our Savior. we celebrate his birth because he makes it possible for us to be with our families for ever. because of Him we can be forgiven and find solace in the growing and learning process. because of the birth and atonement of Jesus i have a constant friend and comforter. i am so happy to be alive and to have a knowledge of the gospel! what a blessing truly! i am grateful for our Savior and for this WONDERFUL christmas season! :) merry, merry, JOYFUL, happy, peaceful, lovely christmas!

this is a piece that i did of my aunt and mother! i tried to capture them in a moment that portrayed who they really were, best friends! happy and BEAUTIFUL people! it's a blessing to have these kind of women to set an example for me :) 


HEYYY look what i can do!

WOW the semester is officially OVER!!! it feels like just yesterday i was going to my first day and now fall semester 2011 is done and the new year is on its way! the last couple of weeks have been absolutely INSANE... between getting ready for christmas and spending time with my husband, to getting every homework assignment or project done and studying for finals, to packing for out trip to minnesota and fulfilling my church calling, there has been ZERO time for relaxation!... until NOW :)

i've finally been reunited with my second home away from home, the BEAUTIFUL minnesota! although there's no snow yet, it finally feels like christmas :) i love sitting in the guest bedroom with the heater on, cozily sitting in a pile of blankets, reading a good book. it only gets better, when i can look out the window and see the frozen icy lake down the hill, surrounded by the gnarled winter trees. it is lovely and perfect in every way :) i love having this time with my in-laws.

my last assignment for digital illustration class (which was my final studio class ever... ah!!!) was to do a piece that was based on one of the MANY themes we had decided upon in class! i had wanted to do a holocaust-children piece themed around "it's not my fault". however, i left class after the critique feeling a bit discouraged by the idea. SO i decided to do something COMPLETELY different!

in high school i LOVED to doodle... it's the only thing that got me through history and english classes :) i loved line work and making marks simply for design's sake. this semester i have tried SO VERY HARD to do pieces in a more painterly style, but it feels like it's never COMPLETELY clicked. it's time to go back to what comes naturally!

this piece was themed around the phrase "look what i can do". i decided to use some fun colors and subject matter that i enjoy! i believe it was a success :) 


it's not my fault

for digital illustration class, we were given NUMEROUS different topics and could decide upon which one we would like to paint! the one i decided to paint on is "it's not my fault". i debated doing a humorous comical piece, but then chose to do something completely different! 

recently, i studied the art of Anselm Kiefer. he's a german painter, sculptor, and photographer that does a lot of WWII subject matter. i decided that i would follow suit and do a holocaust piece.

Anselm said that growing up, nobody wanted to talk about what had happened there. the holocaust was a taboo subject. i think that the people of germany didn't want to face what had happened there. many of the nazi leaders committed suicide so that they weren't held accountable for what they had done. they didn't want to take the blame. they said, "it's not my fault." another take could be the little boy in the piece saying, "it's not my fault." this innocent child didn't do anything wrong and yet he had to pay for the mistakes of others. 

i know it's kind of a solemn subject... it's not my usual thing! i wanted to try something else though! i'm extremely fascinated by WWII in all of it's complexities! hopefully i can convey those complexities through this piece.



during critique i was told to "feminize" my character a bit more, to add in some more little marks (for the sake of variation) and to give the on-looker just a little bit more to SEE! i COMPLETELY agreed with these thoughts! i was happy with the piece, but i wanted MORE! 

my teacher and i discussed that a piece of art is never really "finished", the artist simply decides one day that it's done! i couldn't call this piece done, but after a little bit more work i feel that i can now call it "complete." 

i'm finding myself at a crossroads! i've done some very stylized, abstracted pieces that are more conceptual and i've tried to go down the path of realistic and detailed work! i enjoy them both! so, how am i supposed to develop a "style" if i love to do two completely different types of art!? i suppose it'll take some more mileage and discovery!

as for now, i am "finished" with the sleeping disorder editorial :)


the pain of a sleeping disorder

this week's assignment is complete as far as i can tell! we were to design an editorial image for sleeping disorders! i chose to paint about insomnia.

typically, i choose to paint very "light" subject matter. i prefer to do happy, cheery pieces! this piece i decided to take a completely different spin than i typically do! i wanted to do a very stylized piece that showed the darker side of having a sleeping disorder that impairs one's ability to receive a full night's sleep!  you can read below, on the initial blog post, to get my thought process behind this painting. 


sleeping disorder

this week's project is to create an editorial illustration on a sleeping disorder. it could be anything from night terrors to insomnia to narcolepsy, anything goes! 

i recently have been somewhat frustrated with art... i just CAN'T seem to accomplish exactly what i'm going for! each piece is ALMOST there, but i just don't know how to pinpoint what's off! SO for this week i've decided to do something a little bit more... abstract!? 

i'm going to do a rough, raw illustration of an abstracted woman who has had NO sleep. she suffers from insomnia. life appears beastly to her because she can't focus or function due to her lack of rest! 

here are a couple of rough sketches!

i want her to appear grotesquely colored and twisted. there's a "frame" around her to represent a mirror. this isn't her TRUE appearance, this is just how she looks to herself. then i debated putting in a couple of other abstracted characters in the background


the HAPPIEST man in the world

brother burr, my dear digital illustration teacher, asked the class the other day, "who do you think is the happiest man in the world?" without hesitation, in unison, the class said, "SANTA CLAUS!" 

this week's assignment was to do a painting of Santa Claus being the happiest man in the world! we were to illustrate WHY he is so happy! after sketching out some rough thumbnails i decided that i wanted to paint a grandfather reading the Christmas story to his grandchildren, with Santa flying by in his sleigh through the snowy Christmas eve! 

i painted and painted through all thanksgiving break and i think i've come to a pleasing finished product! there are some things that i would still refine, but for the MOST part i'm content!
i'm really REALLY quite content just to be DOING christmas-themed work! because that means it is time for CELEBRATING! that means snowmen, hot chocolate, christmas trees, caroling, MISTLETOE, and that most WONDERFUL feeling in the world! it's time to spread the good word of the Savior's birth! time to bless and be blessed!


my mother my friend :)

today is my WONDERFUL, fantastic, lovely, beautiful mother's BIRTHDAY! :) i've been reflecting this last week on the relationship that i have with this incredible woman and the lessons that i've learned from her. what a BLESSING it is to have her in my life! 

my mom's one of those ladies that you feel an INSTANT friendship with. she is one of the warmest, most charitable people i know. she can strike up a conversation with just about anyone! she has found a way to overcome the "natural woman" within her and not pass judgment on those around her. she looks past appearances and people's downfalls and sees them for who they TRULY are. she loves people the way i aspire to love people. 

she's made me who i am! she's one of my very best friends! we've laughed and cried together! we've hurt and forgiven one another! we've truly grown together through my twenty years of life! she's established a firm testimony of our savior Jesus Christ in me. she's set an example of service that has become a part of my very being! i am indebted to this woman for everything that i am! 

:) what a woman! what a blessing to have her in my life! love you mother :) happy birthday!


wedding bells

OH MAN this piece has been an emotional one! faces are SO frustrating to paint! they're just so subtle, and being even very slightly off in a proportion can COMPLETELY change the look of the face! i eventually had to just settle and call it done though! painting the head will improve with practice and time is all! check out the work of THE one-and-only jessica schaack at! i used some of her INCREDIBLE photos as reference! thank you muchly schaack attack :) 


not much left!

all that's left now is the face, flower, bouquet, and RING-A-LING! :) doesn't sound like much, but that's the hardest part! oh BOY here we go


wedding painting is on it's way :)

this week's assignment was to create an ILLUSTRATION! AHHH our first story-telling, problem-solving art piece! all that we had to go off of is this saying... "nothing ventured, nothing gained". i wanted to do something that represents me, something that i relate to, but still has a story related. 
i did some sketches, pondered on the options, and FINALLY i came to something that i found interesting. i think that getting married is the most WONDERFUL, happy thing in the entire world! the joining of two people into one, creating a family from individuals! i ALSO think that getting married takes a HUGE leap of faith! the thought of devoting oneself ENTIRELY to another can be so scary! 

marrying my husband has left me SO completely blessed :) i would not change anything. i took that step into the unknown and can REALLY testify that if you don't venture out, you will gain nothing. 

this bride here (upon being finished) will be contemplating, nervous, and SO in love. it's a subtle illustration, but hopefully her face will portray the story. this came from photo reference taken by the BRILLIANT jessica schaack! view her incredible talent at



we had a fun little experiment in digital scratchboard for the holiday of HALLOWEEN! :) oh GOODY! i went with frankenstein.... scratchboard is NOT my forte, but this was a great little test to tackle! AH



this memoir to my mother is COMPLETE! all i needed to fix really was just a little more variation in the hair and curls, like different sized brushes, different slaps of color, that kind of thing! now that i've added that in, i think i'm satisfied! it's funny how those little final touches can bump up a painting to the next level! 

now my big-hair, bug-eyed, lip-stick's-best-friend painting is DONE! my mama's from texas and she KNOWS the true meaning of BIG, so i grew up seeing beautiful HUGE hair! sadly, i have extremely thin, fine hair to the max so i can't quite accomplish the big-texas-hair look in real life! but lo and behold dreams come true! i can see that look on me through ART!..... and now that i see it i realize how unattractive it would be! don't want it! THEREFORE, art has saved me from a fatal day of really bad hair! THANK YOU ART :) 


some sort of me :)

this weeks assignment was to create a painting of MYSELF! easy enough right!? i've looked at this face in the mirror everyday for the last twenty years, so i SHOULD... should be able to make a decent picture of me! the catch here was that the picture is supposed to be a caricature! you may have seen these zaney portraits walking the streets of disneyland or other theme parks! basically a caricature is a face that has been exaggerated in certain areas. i decided to exaggerate the features that i thought may be most attractive... the eyes and lips... AND HAIR OF COURSE! my mama's from texas, i know a little somethin about big hair so i absolutely HAD to include some great big exaggerated curls! i'm still not completely satisfied with the painting yet... but i can't put my finger on what needs to be fixed up! HELP ME BROTHER BURR!


inspiration from alexa

HOLY COW THIS WOMAN'S INCREDIBLE!!! what a creative idea! she does these beautiful paintings of people!... there's a catch though! 

instead of painting a picture of a person on a canvas, she actually paints a WALL, and a FLOOR, and she literally puts PAINT ON A PERSON'S FACE and then photographs that person in the painted background! 

when i saw her work i thought it was a lie! my husband came upon her on the internet and called me over to look at these pieces and he was trying to explain to me her process and i just wasn't understanding! after THREE tries, it finally clicked that she's painting ONTO real life objects! and it looks incredible! 

check it out, but prepare for your brain to go into OVERDRIVE for a moment!


i became so entranced with my ballerinas that i overlooked all the many flaws that it had! (which OFTEN happens, i'll fall so in love with a piece's beautiful moments and I'll just forget about the downfalls of these projects). 

a couple of things came out in the critique from my class--- the pink ballerina's hair is too specific against all these general marks, her tutu needs some more interesting marks just for the sake of variety, there should be some more line work in the background to keep it consistent, and the background needs SOMETHING! this orange-ish plain background just wasn't cuttin it! 

so, i went back to work :) and tried to adjust what needed to be adjusted! 
HOPEFULLY it's doing work!... HARD CORE



this week's digital illustration assignment was to create an arbitrary color piece, meaning an image in which the colors are completely random! like a blue pumpkin, or a green sky, or ETC! i decided to use subject matter that i LOVE! 

when i was five years old my mother signed me up for piano lessons! then came the theater practices and the choir concerts and the report cards and the student government and all that jazz! in the mix of all those wonderfully fun activities, i never got to play sports and i never got to DANCE! 

i watch dance performances and just LONG for that talent! i would LOVE to be able to leap and fly through the air! or to lift my leg into an effortless extension! it would be SO cool to be able to stand in a point shoe and look like a natural born dancer! 
sadly, i can't dance to save my life, but i DEEPLY respect those that can! so i chose to do an arbitrary painting of dancers for this week's assignment!



cake :) again

ANOTHER yumo chocolate cake recipe! had this for FHE last night and people wanted seconds! definitely full of choco-goodness that can't go wrong! :)

Black and White Cake (makes sixteen servings-520 calories)
½ cup butter or margarine
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup water
1 ¼ cup white vanilla baking chips
1 package cream cheese, softened (3 oz.)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 bag miniature semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups, 12 oz.)
3 tbsp. half-and-half
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with shortening (do not use cooking spray); coat lightly with flour. In a small microwaveable bowl, place butter, unsweetened chocolate and water. Microwave uncovered on High for 1 minute; stir. Continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until butter is melted and chocolate is smooth.
2. In another small microwaveable bowl, microwave 1 cup of the vanilla baking chips uncovered on High for 1 minute; stir until chips are smooth. In small bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in melted vanilla chips on medium speed.
3. In a large bowl, mix butter-chocolate mixture, remaining 2 eggs, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, sour cream, vanilla, and 1 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips on low speed just until mixed. Spoon 2 cups of the chocolate batter into cake pan. Drop cream cheese filling by teaspoonfuls onto batter in pan, being careful not to let filling touch sides of pan. Spoon remaining chocolate batter on top.
4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted into chocolate cake comes out clean (while filling may cling). Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
5. In small microwaveable bowl, microwave remaining 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips uncovered on High for 1 minute; stir until smooth. Stir in half-and-half until smooth. Spoon over cake, allowing some to drizzle down sides. In small plastic food-storage bag, microwave remaining ¼ cup vanilla baking chips on High for 30 seconds or until melted. Squeeze bag until chips are smooth. Cut small tip from one corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle melted chips over cake.


memories in the making

dillon and i have really been trying to make a bigger and better effort to get to know people lately. i believe that everyone has a story to share and i have something to learn from every person i pass, every person i encounter, and every friend i have!... it's just a matter of getting to know that person well enough to learn their story! so, we've been seeking out new friends and been making some good memories! not going to lie, i get nervous going out on a limb at times, but it's ALWAYS worth it. i see things in people that i love, things that i want to emulate and bring into my character! it feels good to look for the good in people and to FIND it! it's a blessing to be surrounded by INCREDIBLE people! truly a BLESSING! i feel overwhelming love for my neighbors and friends and family. i am who i am because of them. thank you for sharing your personalities with me and my husband and for creating some FOND, to say the least, memories :) we are blessed.


matisse OHHH matisse

remember that one painting that i said i was going to have to recreate? the FANTASTIC still life by henri matisse? WELP i went at it today and have decided to call it good! upon beginning my matisse-experience, i started to notice ALL the colors... and i mean ALL of them! areas of the piece that seemed to be ONE color, upon closer examination, revealed themselves to be HUNDREDS OF COLORS! this guy truly believed in making a masterpiece SING with colors! in order to do this painting justice, to the best of my abilities, i decided i was going to have to crop it down to my FAVORITE square. i wanted to put down every color i could see and trying to do that with the entire painting would take weeks! so i've cropped it down and tried to simplify as much as possible! VERY HELPFUL :) 

here's matisse's original

here's my attempt at copying the genius of matisse


mission impossible

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! COME ONE COME ALL! i am in the process of attempting to do the near impossible! my skills will be put to the test as i whirl through paint strokes and textures seen in the traditional work of.... HENRI MATISSE!
i've been assigned to recreate a classic masterful painting by an artist of my choosing. sounds easier then done right?! i am a fan of modern art (MINUS all that dada NONSENSE work) so i chose to recreate a fauve artist's work, namely henri matisse! he was a WONDERFUL painter that focused on color. he had the mind set of art being "visual music". i LOVE that concept! it's just YUMO! :) 
so wish me luck as i embark on recreating this fantastic artist's painting, stroke for stroke, line for line, hopefully you can tell what it is by the end! AHH!



my teacher seemed to like my textured layered piece and i've decided that i like it too! it's a different look than what i'm used to but the technique produces some SUPER interesting things to look at, so i guess i'm a fan you could say! i was ULTRA impressed with all the pieces that the rest of my classmates made! this field is so competitive it's scary sometimes, but it's beautiful to see other people creating such LOVELY work! it's inspiring more than it is intimidating! and MOTIVATING definitely! so i went back and fixed up a couple of things that had been critiqued and i like it much better now! got rid of the distracting text and embellished a few more textures! VWAH-LA! :)


layered textures

this week's digital illustration assignment was to create an image that has multiple layers and LOTS of texture with some cool "layer modes". this was a particularly difficult assignment for me, because i am a SUPER structured artist! i have a hard time making spontaneous, zaney marks and that's what this assignment was ENTIRELY! it's good for me to experiment and get out of my box! so lesson learned! even if the image isn't so hot, i got my "texture jitters" out and tried something new! this piece was all in the name of experimenting!


hello goodbye autumn

a week ago I attended the general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as I was standing around in Salt Lake City, waiting to get into the building, I thought to myself, "MAN OH MAN it's hot out here!" It was BLAZING like a furnace/oven/cocoa/FLAMBE! I was literally sweating (ew... that's kind of gross... don't judge!) ANYWAY i was hot, but i was also admiring all the LOVELY, BEAUTIFUL, GLORIOUS orange and red and golden leaves. i was so pleased to see color that is only around at this time of year! 

a week later, here i am back in rexburg idaho and we've had LOVELY, BEAUTIFUL, GLORIOUS rain! i am in love with the smell and the sight and the sound of rain. it is ULTRA relaxing and comforting to me! needless to say, i've enjoyed the last couple of days1 it's just begun to feel like my favorite time of year, autumn! :)

here it is, TODAY, not even a week since i was melting in salt lake city and WHAT?! we just had our first snow fall!!!! SNOW! IN OCTOBER! SAY WHAAAAT!? welcome to my life! i saw snow and literally thought i was in a nightmare! i love the snow, don't get me wrong, but i do NOT love the snow in early october! i suppose it will have to grow on me though! i'll just start singing "it's beginning to look a lot like christmas" a little bit earlier this year :) 
i'm grateful for weather, i'm thankful for hot and cold, i love the summer, i love the fall, and i... love the winter! OPTIMISM WILL GET ME THROUGH :) bring it on sky! let it fall! turn my nightmare into a winter-wonderland dream come true!  


thanks a lot sister whiting :)

once upon a time, my dear friend lauren whiting suggested that i check out this website that apparently has ALL things wonderful and good in this world! but this website is loved by just about every woman, girl, and child on the planet! 

i'm the kind of person that hates to fall in love with anything that EVERYONE else loves! when gauchos were a big deal, i was EXTREMELY hesitant to get involved with those parachute pants. as comfortable as everyone ranted and raved that they were, i couldn't bring myself to wear them! -until of course my mother brought me some home... and then i was OBLIGATED to wear them :)- when twilight was all the rage, i could not STAND twilight! everything about it! i thought that the storyline was over rated and the characters were LAME! i read one book and called it quits because i couldn't stand to be a "go-er with the flow-er"! 

now here i was, faced with this dilemma, do i become a so-called "pinner" or not. i was told that i'd love it, i was told that there was a plethora of incredible crafts, recipes and so on! AHH what to do!?!?...

i did it.... i joined pinterest.... HAPPY WORLD?! :) because I am! it was all that it was cracked up to be! this may be the first time that i feel happy about following the crowd! PINTEREST RULES :) 


this is halloween, HALLOWEEN, halloween

this week's project was to paint a pumpkin... but not just ANY pumpkin! that would be too simple! we were asked to create a TEXTURED pumpkin! this is surprisingly difficult for me! most of my work is either really flat and graphic or smooth and has minimal texture! i was struggling to think of how to apply a texture to this pumpkin! here was my best effort at throwing in some cool textures! i must say that i think i am most excited about painting pumpkins, not because of textures, but because that means it's HALLOWEEN! :) :) :) good times of frights and scares are on the way! let the heart racing and screaming begin!!! AAAHHHHH


home again, home again JIGGITY JIG

growing up, my mom and i spent a LOT of time in the library. mother implanted within my little heart a deep LOVE of literature and picture books. at a very young age i remember wandering through the tall aisles of books, snatching story after story off the shelf and running off to a corner where my mom would read to me, and eventually where i could read myself! i loved the fantastic stories and the beautiful pictures, i loved reading of the impossible and the dream-worthy, the characters that seem to conquer all trouble! i fell in LOVE with books! i think my parents planned it that way though, because when i was LITTLE little little, maybe three, my parents helped me memorize the nursery rhymes! they'd say, "jane, how about humpty dumpty?" and i'd get that grin on my face, the one that says, "watch me! i'm about to impress you!" and i'd ramble off the nursery rhymes! sadly, now i can't remember which nursery rhyme "home again, home again, jiggity jig" comes from, but it's a statement that's stuck with me! i'm going to DANCE my way, back to my home! :) it's a lovely thought, don't you think?
:) see you soon family  


new and improved FRUIT

in all of my huffing and puffing about color and using my fun new tool, i forgot to use GOOD principles of design in my last fruit project! my teacher guided me back in the right direction by reminding me that just because i'm not painting traditionally doesn't mean that design is off the hook! i have to learn to keep in mind that an object in the middle of a huge page isn't interesting! so i cropped it down and added a bit more background texture to create a little bit more intrigue! hopefully that solved the problem a bit! 


happy accident :)

GET THIS: i've been trying to prove to my husband that i can make a better brownie than betty crocker since we got married a year ago! i've made countless brownie recipe and never has it come up to par with betty's. dillon finally... FINALLY... gave me the seal of "betty-crocker-ness" last night after trying this brownie! YESSSSS :) :) :) dreams come true!!! only problem is... i hadn't intended to make brownies! AHAHA i was trying to make a warm fudge pudding and SOMEWHERE in the cooking process it decided to turn into a brownie! GO FIGURE! i really can't complain though! that's just the way life is! sometimes life seems to go astray and things don't go according to how i would have planned them, but in the end they work out! and MOST of the time, they work out better than i ever could have wished for in the first place! the little mistakes turn into happy accidents :) 

Happy Accident Brownies (makes six servings)
½ cup butter, melted
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 well-beaten eggs
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. vanilla
Whipped cream
Fresh raspberries and shaved chocolate or chocolate curls (optional)
1.     Grease six 6-oz. custard cups or ramekins; set aside.
2.     In a medium mixing bowl, stir together butter and cocoa powder till well combined. Stir in sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla. 
3.     Place custard cups in a large baking or roasting pan. Divide brownie mixture evenly among the prepared dishes. 
4.     Bake in a 325 degree oven for 50 minutes or till pudding is crusty on top and soft inside. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with raspberries and shaved chocolate or chocolate curls, if desired.


one difficult fruit

my next photoshop challenge was to paint a piece an APPLE in Photoshop! sounds simple enough right? FALSE! anyone that has studied art knows that there is so much more to color than meets the eye. when painting colors one has to consider the light source and the color of the actual object. then you have to think about the shadow color and the reflective lights cast by the objects environment! on top of ALL that complication, you then have to try to get the right shape and value or the object. this is all especially difficult when oil painting because not only do you have to think about all these little details, but you have to think about MIXING the correct color and matching it perfectly! THAT is one of the wonderful things that i love about Photoshop! i don't have to mix paint anymore! i don't have to put on an apron and dry out my hands from washing and rubbing them clean everyday! FANTASTIC NEWS! it is difficult to still keep all the basic painting principles in mind when i feel like i'm just playing around on my computer! i was given the task to paint an apple so i tackled it to the best of my abilities and here is the "fruit" of my labor.... AHA get it?! :) i crack myself UP sometimes! WOW


heaven in a BITE :)

I've been thinking a lot about what heaven will be like. I imagine there will be HUGE, tall, green trees ALL over the place and there will be waterfalls and it will be sunny with a light breeze every day, except for an occasional warm rainfall. There will be music playing twenty four-seven and I will be best friends with Frank Sinatra. Painting supplies will grow out of the ground like flowers and there will be no such thing as money. And everyone will live on CAKE! and we won't gain any weight at all! In fact, we'll LOSE weight! One of the cakes that will be in heaven is this one, it's peanut buttery-chocolatey-caramely-GOODNESS in a bite! 

Marbleous Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 recipe Salted Caramel Glaze:
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup whipping cream
½-3/4 tsp. sea salt
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10-inch fluted tube pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
2.     In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low to medium speed for 1 minute after each addition and scraping bowl frequently. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
3.     Divide batter into two bowls. Stir melted chocolate into half the batter until well combined. Stir peanut butter into remaining half until well combined.
4.     Alternately drop spoonfuls of batter into prepared pan. Use a small metal spatula or butter knife to gently swirl the batters together (do not over-mix).
5.     Bake in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes on wire rack. Remove cake from pan; cool thoroughly on wire rack. Drizzle cake with half of the Salted Caramel Glaze. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Pass remaining sauce. Makes twelve servings.
6.     To make Salted Caramel Glaze: In a heavy small saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in whipping cream and return to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in sea salt. Cool completely. Makes about 1 cup. 

give me a warm slice of this stuff and we're best friends :) 



after turning in a first draft of my Da Vinci master copy, my BRILLIANT teacher gave me a few pointers and told me to, after the critique, fix it up and turn it in FOR REALS a few days later! THANK GOODNESS that he made me do it again because the second time around everything seemed to go SO MUCH SMOOTHER! photoshop and i are actually developing a relationship! i used a different "brush" and put a couple more hours into this baby and i think it looks leaps and bounds better than my first try!


my first try at copying his greatness:

my SECOND try at copying his genius:



do you ever have those moments of life when you feel completely content with where you're at and who you are and what you've made of yourself? tonight is going to be one of those nights that i go to bed and fall asleep feeling just, at peace. 
sunday's are so one hundred percent PLEASANT in my book! it's the day i wake up easy and slow, lay in my husband's arms for a few sweet moments and THEN after all of that beautiful relaxation i take a breath, and step off the "right-side" of the bed. then we go about making/ eating breakfast together (which is always a messy adventure) and get ready for church. FINALLY after a crazy hectic week, the world slows down for three glorious hours when i get to spend some time with my "excess" family. we have the most incredible ward. i, along with many other warm and welcoming people, belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. my rexburg married student ward consists of some of the MOST warm and welcoming people i've ever met. it truly is an HONOR to learn from these individuals and to see their examples and struggles and victories. my husband and i, in our short nine months of living here, have come to form relationships that will last the rest of our lives, AND BEYOND! i am so blessed to feel the charity that resides in this church, and in it's members. 

i don't live a glamorous life! i live a teeny tiny town, in a one bedroom apartment, wearing clothes that i bought in high school, studying art! the world might say that i haven't made much of my life or that i don't have much going for me, but i beg to differ. 
i feel strong! i feel like i can conquer anything that i put my mind to! i feel BLESSED. i have an  amazing family, i've been given friendships that have changed my life, i have a husband that loves me whole heartedly for who i am, including every imperfection and mistake that i make. i have the opportunity to grow and learn and become the woman that i dream of being!

yep... it's been a good day :) i'll sleep soundly tonight on GRATITUDE 


da vinci- what a BRILLIANT man

my digital illustration teacher at BYU-Idaho, brother Dan Burr, assigned my class to do a master copy. we were to find a master artist's sketch and try to recreate it using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet! can you say INTIMIDATING?! i instantly broke out into a cold sweat at the thought of butchering an incredible artist's work as i take my first shot at using a digital tablet! i searched online and decided that i would take on a Da Vinci sketch. He is one of the most brilliant artists that has ever lived in my opinion and i have a go-big-or-go-home mentality so i figured i'd just dive RIGHT in! it was a challenge, needless to say. a "bamboo" pen doesn't quite  have the same feel as a brush in my hand, but it'll get there! here's the example of Da Vinci's original BEAUTIFUL sketch...

and here's MY attempt at recreating this little piece of genius...

this is the beginning of a very eye-opening semester as i experience this world of digital art! it'll come, it'll click, it's just going to take some practice! AS YOU CAN SEE! :) 
let the good times roll!

:) fire hazard

guess who set the fire alarm off again?!..... :) 
the fire alarm and i have a love-hate relationship. love it cause i spend so much time with it and highly dislike it because it likes to tattle-tell to the entire WORLD when i'm busting a move in the kitchen! why can't we just get along!? we could really be the BEST of friends if it wasn't so naggy and on my case all the time! and the best thing is that yesterday, i didn't set that thing off ONCE, but TWICE!!! 
oh well... it gives me something to shoot for, someday i'll cook in a smoke-free, 75 degree kitchen! AND it helps me to learn how to deal with less-than-appealing-things that will surely happen in this thing called life! gotta learn to deal!

SHOUT OUT TO MY NEIGHBORS AND HUSBAND: thank you muchly for putting up with me :) to all the napping parents and sleeping babies that i may have awakened with the horrible beeping noise, i apologize! to all those dealing with bits of paranoia, sorry for setting your nerves on edge momentarily! to anyone that was enjoying a moment of peace and quiet in your busy days... please forgive :) to the man that has to deal with that beeping DAILY: YOU'RE A SAINT :) you will be blessed in the next life with many MANY days of beep-free days i pray, in return for your life of alarms :) i love you dillon


feeling american?

WARNING: i am NOT trying to toot my own horn by any means whatsoever, but when i discover something wonderful i feel that it is my duty to share it! :) last night i was craving apple pie and came across this recipe, so i gave it a shot and it was DELISH! HIGHLY recommend it! especially if you're into warm-appley-goodness and crunchy (p.s. have i mentioned that the word CRUST is one of my least favorite words in the english language) crust! i know that a dish is good when i get a high-five from my husband and this pie got a like, TRIPLE high five! JUST SAYIN :) it was a good end to a great day

Cheesy Apple Pie (makes eight servings)
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
½ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
3-4 tbsp. cold water
5 cups thinly sliced, peeled tart cooking apples (such as Granny Smith or Rome Beauty)
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
Cheddar Crunch Topping:
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the 1 cup flour and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size.
2.     Stir in cheese. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cold water over part of the cheese mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the cold water at a time, until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Form dough into a ball.
3.     On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough ball into a disk. Roll dish from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry circle. Trim to ½-inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry and flute or crimp edge. Do not prick pastry. Set aside.
4.     In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, the 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Spoon into dough-lined pie plate.
5.     Sprinkle cheddar crunch topping over filling. To prevent overbrowning, cover pie edge with foil. Bake pie for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 20 minutes more or until top is golden brown and fruit is tender. Cool on a wire rack.
6.     Cheddar Crunch Topping: In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Gently stir in cheddar cheese.

i agree that cheese and apples and pies don't sound like a grand combination, but sometimes the oddest of things can make the greatest teams! :)


how embawassing.... :)

i took my very VERY first oil painting class winter semester of 2011, so about... NINE months ago! i had never touched a canvas or a brush covered in that glorious oil in my life and that first day of class my teacher assigned us to go home and paint a still life of more than two different pieces of fruit! so i bought a canvas, went home, laid my materials out on the table and went to "work"... if you can call it that! haha i started shoveling paint across this canvas like a rhino-ballerina... JUST WRONG! my colors were off, i couldn't seem to nail down a shadow and there was ZERO texture on this thing! it was SO frustrating, because i could see in my head what i wanted to do, but my hands weren't on my team! but i gave it my best shot and turned in my heart-felt-TRY of a painting. later in the semester I learned the proper techniques and my hands and i became friends again. :) i feel that improvement has DEFINITELY happened and i have MUCH more work to do, but i can't bring myself to paint over that first fruit basket canvas. it continues to inspire me by showing me where i began and pushing me to become better and to see with a painter's eyes.