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!


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. 



:) today i went to my very first day of school.. again! i was blessed to start off my day with Brother Dann Burr's digital illustration class, and instantly my mind was blown by the incredibleness of this man's talent! he's works as an illustrator, creating BEAUTIFUL images for magazines and books and such, and get this... everything is done DIGITALLY! he creates unbelievably realistic and detailed images using nothing more than a computer screen and a tablet! it's AWE-STRIKING! if you have a moment, check his website out> <it's INCREDIBLE! i feel so honored to be in the presence of such a talented artist and be able to call him TEACHER! 


WOOOOOWEEEEE so i'm still in the process of figuring out this whole "blog" thing works and i've been trying to post a slideshow of some of my more-favorite-reasonably-good creativity experiments (a.k.a. art projects)! THREE DAYS of tinkering around on this thing has done me NO good, so i finally asked my dearest husband, whom just happens to be the golden-boy at LIFE, to help me!..... ONE MINUTE... that's how long it took him to post this slideshow! UNBELIEVABLE! :) just another example of how we complete one another! dillon is tech savy, and i'm not! i'm alright with that, because he's always SO wonderful to drop what he's doing and help little-old-me :) ANYWAY to your right is a taste of what i've been working on the last two years of school at BYU-IDAHO! i finally laid my hands on some acrylic paints, oil paints, graphites, charcoals, scratch boards, and adobe software! it's been the most frustrating thing at times, as well as the most fulfilling! i'm falling in love with art all over again :) to think it all started with my doodling away in history class freshman year! i've got a long way to come, but i've definitely progressed! IT IS POSSIBLE... here goes the final year of school! BRING IT ON BYU!