Archive by Author

Polymer Clay Creations

18 Apr

I have been getting into making polymer clay jewelry and I was hoping to share some of the things I have made with everyone!  I have just been playing around, trying to get the hang of it and I have made some pieces that I love!  I’m thinking I might make an etsy store soon and I am looking to get some feedback on some of my creations.

I recently went to my first craft show, and realized  I was NOT as prepared as many of the artisans selling their works.  I have to say that I learned a lot looking at the set ups.  I need to find a great way to display my jewelry and I am looking into some crafty ways to make displays and I will probably by posting some tutorials for some interesting hangers etc.

Below is what  I call my “Naturals” because they are made either from or to like like parts of nature!

These are my helicopter earrings, made from the seeds of a maple tree.  We have a couple large maple trees in my back yard and my sister and I would throw them in the air and watch as they danced to the ground!  I love that I can now wear them on my ears :)

Here is a picture of some of my leaf imprint necklaces (also with my braid which is obviously not part of my naturals).  Below are some up close pictures of those necklaces.

The above is on black clay with an olive green metallic shimmer finished with a glossy glaze.

Here is on with a blue shimmer.  I also have ones in silver and gold.  I just love these!

These are made just like the helicopter earrings and leaf necklaces, with a leaf imprint and a metallic shimmer.  These actually look pink in the light, but the camera didn’t capture that :( .

This is my orchid!  If you know me well then you know that my favorite flowers are orchids, every kind!  This I sculpted by hand and it took forever because it is so small and delicate.  It was almost impossible to place the veins, and I had to use a needle to place them on the petals since my fingers were too big (and I wear child-size gloves!)  It was all worth it because I love the end result.

Below are my bows!  The light pink was my first attempt, but you can see I’ve gotten better!  The hot pink is my favorite and I plan to make many more and possibly post a tutorial for you guys!

Below are just some pictures of random pendants I have made.

This is an old-school William and Mary symbol!  The first craft show I went to was the Second Sundays event in colonial Williamsburg and I decided to pay homage to my mom’s school!

This is just a creative pendant I made from pinks, black and silver.  I was just having fun, but I like the result!

This is my squiggle!  I really like it even though it looks like a snake with no face, haha!

This is just a pendant I made from a stamp, but I loved the pattern!  I prefer to make my own designs though.

This is Cartman!  I also am a big fan of South Park, although I usually don’t like cartoons.  But I knew my guy friends would get a kick out of seeing the cartoon cast, after seeing all my bows and girly things :) .

Well that is it for my creations, but many more are on their way!  I hope you like them and please send me some feedback if you have any!  Also, if there is anything you would like to see me do, give me the challenge, bring it on!

Too-de-loo!

Leslie

Some Sweet Things for Your Ears!

16 Apr

Sorry for the late post, everyone!  Life has gotten a little hectic lately, and I have had some last minute emergencies that took priority :( Boo! But here is a nice mid-morning treat for you all with some music videos that I hope everyone likes!  I love music and when I get stressed and overwhelmed I find myself taking a few moments of relief in the beautiful sounds that others make for us all to enjoy!

Kaoru  Ishibashi is an incredibly talented singer and musician who grew up in Norfolk, VA (A real Hampton Roads guy!)  He studied the violin classically and has so much talent and skill the share with us!  He has worked with Regina Spektor, of Montreal, and even The Last Bison (also of Hampton Roads, VA.)  I proud to be from the area when I hear him play :) .  He uses looping, beatboxing, singing, classical violin, and some amazing plucking to bring happy tears to our eyes!  He will be playing on June 14 at the 2013 Friday Cheers event on Brown’s Island produced by Venture Richmond and you can see him for $5!  Definitely worth it.

This is “Heartaches and Pain” by Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band.  They a funk/jazz group formed in 2008, and with the help of Charles Bradley, they take us back to the 60′s and 70′s with their music.  Love this!  Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires are playing June 7th at the Friday Cheers Festival in Richmond.

This is a band called Local Natives and they are one of my favorite bands!  I particularly love this “Take Away Show” where they walk through a shopping plaza for some amazing acoustic effects and a really bare sound.  Just lovely, and it is great to hear the percussion so purely.  And anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with good harmonies – these guys just have it.

Another one of my favorite band (and a favorite of many others I know!) is Iron & Wine.  Folksy, twangy, soothing sounds with great harmonies from this guy, I just can’t get enough of it.  He will be playing May 16th at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, a fitting setting for his lovely sounds!  I will definitely be there.

Okay that is it for my little musical post, and I hope you all enjoyed it.

I am going to dedicate part of my post today to remembering the 32 lives lost at Virginia Tech 6 years ago today.  I became a freshman at the school in Fall of ’07, and  I am truly blessed to have been a part of such a strong community of students and teachers.  Through this tragedy, the community of Blacksburg came together with a new respect for life.  Each of the souls that moved on on this day 6 years past left an imprint on the world even in their short time.  They are a testament to the great things that our generation can do with motivation and dedication, and we need to remember them, appreciate life, and honor their work by continuing to influence the world as each of them did.  I know that for many, remembering is painful, but I find remembering their lives to be an inspiration for me, every day.

Also, my heart goes out to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.  It may seem as though tragedy is sweeping the nation over and over again, but we must all recognize that there are acts of kindness and love every day that are not reported on the news.  And each  one of us has the power to contribute to that every day.

Repair your soul with music,

Leslie

Mushroom Ravioli with Salmon Tomato-Cream Sauce

9 Apr

Mushroom Ravioli with Salmon Tomato-Cream Sauce

When I went out to eat at an amazing Italian restaurant in town, I tried a cheese ravioli in a lovely tomato-cream sauce with chunks of delicious salmon in it.  I finished my last bite after about a half an hour of creamy silence, losing myself in the taste.  When I realized it was all gone, I realized I HAD to learn how to make more.  Guess what guys?  I did!  And I am going to share the richness with you.

I found a tomato-cream sauce on a website with a pretty hefty recipe for hand-made lobster ravioli.   I decided to make things a bit easier and chose to buy the Buitoni pre-made mushroom ravioli.  Yay for easy!  I knew I was far too hungry to spend that many hours in the kitchen and I knew I wanted to adapt the recipe for salmon as opposed to lobster.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 of one yellow medium onion, chopped finely

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 shredded cup parmesan cheese

oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to taste

Some slices of havarti (I added this on the fly for some extra cheesy goodness)

As much salmon as you want in the sauce!

1 pkg. Buitoni Ravioli or pasta of your choice

Instructions:

Saute your salmon in a pan in some olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook to your desired wellness. Mine only took about 8-10 minutes on medium heat.

Nice and fresh…

Getting golden…

All ready!

Melt the butter and olive oil in a new sauce pan set to medium then add the onions and let them sauté until they become soft and begin to caramelize.  Then add your minced garlic and sauté for about a minute.

Now you will add your tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, adding salt, pepper, oregano, parsley and basil.  Get the water boiling in another pot to get your pasta going.  Allow the tomato sauce to simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat to low for 5 minutes to cool down. Then add your heavy cream, salmon, havarti and parmesan cheese.

Tomatoes and spices added…

Boil that pasta!  Ravioli dancing in the pot soooo yummy!

Salmon added…

IMG_0840

Cream and cheese added and yum!  A lovely sauce results.

After draining your pasta, give yourself a giant million spoonfuls of sauce and dig in.  I promise, even if you don’t use a fancy ravioli and just have spaghetti in the cabinet, this is still going to be irresistible!

My sister, her roommate, Nadia, and I had a fantastic dinner and there was sauce to spare for leftovers :)

I hope you enjoyed this adaptation!

Leslie


I have never been one for outrageous eyeshadow.  I go for the neutral colors, minimal liner, and occasional mascara (I HATE when the stuff smudges!)  However, I have recently become an owner of a large palate of eyeshadow colors.  I figure, it is time to learn out how to put them to good use.  I guess one of the reasons I have never experimented with my make-up is because I didn’t have the know-how, just got into a comfort zone where I had favorite colors (ahem: purple & brown shades) and repeated the same steps any time make-up was necessary.  I have very sensitive and blemish prone skin, so I really avoid foundation when possible, and so I usually overlook the effects that a little bit of make-up can have on my overall look.  I suppose it is time to explore some eyeshadow tactics!

First, let’s start off with some beginning tips:

1. USE PRIMER!  This is not as necessary unless you are trying to get some bold colors to hold onto the lid, but in general, using it will make your shadow stand out and last longer.  I actually found a recipe for some easy, inexpensive, homemade  primer using your own foundation.  This is great because if you are using foundation, then the primer is going to blend with it and keep your lids from looking unnaturally light or dark when beginning to apply color.  The only two ingredients are your foundation and some avocado body butter at a 1:4 ratio. Click the pic for a link to a more in-depth tutorial!

2.  Don’t underestimate brushes!  They all do something different, and with each one you use, you are adding a new effect.  Eyeshadow is more like painting than I had originally thought!  There are brushes for smudging, shading contouring, the works.  Learning how to use them correctly can make a huge impact on how sophisticated your eye shadow look appears.  Here is a short, simple list of the brushes that are out there for your use.

I suggest buying the brushes you want to use, and actually investing in a good one!  I have bought some brushes in my life for using stage make-up for my dance recitals.  Buying the cheapest thing usually lands you with loose brush-hairs in your face and eyes!  Take my word for it: it is not ignorable and completely annoying to deal with this.

3.  Use concealer for puffy eyes or under-eye darkness.  I have had so many friends complain, after finishing all of their make-up, that they still had dark under eye circles.  Right before you walk out of the door, this is a difficult thing to correct quickly.  If you are having one of those days, take the extra minute to focus on the under-eye so you will be completely satisfied with your eye make-up.  I have never really used concealer, but have definitely felt that dark-under-eye-gloom and decided to see if there is a method specifically for dark under eyes.  Well, I found one!  I really love this blog (click the pic to link to the site) and will definitely be using it for some more make-up advice in the future.

4.  Learn about your eye shape.  There is no denying that each of us has a different eye shape and so different things are going to work better for each person.  It is good to get an idea about your eye shape and learn which looks are going to best complement your eyes, open them up, and accentuate their specific qualities.  I found some sites with great explanations!  This was really great for me, because I have slightly-hooded eyes (I found out!) and I always wondered why I couldn’t make my eyeshadow and eyeliner look like the models.  Well, I guess it is for the same reason clothes don’t fit me like they fit on models!  I have a naturally different shape to work with.  But I can still work it!

Here are some eyeshadow tips.  Sorry the print is so small!

And here are some eyeliner tips!

5.  Learn about the different contours of the eye and get a general idea about where each layer or color of shadow will have the greatest effect.  Here is a very clear diagram.  Now I’m sure there are variations and feel free to explore: make-up is art and it has no real parameters.  But this is something that can help you start out  with some basic shadow combinations.

6.  Learn which colors accentuate your eye color!

This site has some quick tips for matching eyeshadow with eye color: 

If in doubt, look at a color wheel!  The color directly opposite of your eye color should bring out your eye color because they will be contrasting colors.  Of course, there are other things to consider, such as skin tone and hair color and possibly the colors in your outfit.

7. Learn how to BLEND your shadows.  It seems easy, but sometimes it takes some time and a little technique.  I found this site with some great beauty tips and a picture tutorial for how to blend!  Click on the pic to get to the site!

Also, here is a video that goes into blending a little more.

Okay, now I am done with the tips so lets get to some of the different eyeshadow tutorials to try out at home!

I can’t wait to dip into my colors!

Glitter & Glam

So I am going to start us off with a look at something VERY outrageous :)  This colorful-glitter eye is great for a club night out when you want to look funky and fun, but very girly.  Grab your favorite color and go glam!

Smoky Liner

Here is a great way to use your eye lining as the main focus of your look!  Great for something dramatic without a lot of color! Wear your red dress out tonight! ;)

The Movie Star

Here is another more bold and smoky night look!  This is red carpet intense, but quite beautiful!  You won’t need a bold lip color with this, your eyes will have all of the attention!

Cool & Collected

I fell in love with this tutorial!  I am always a fan of a gold or bronze on the top lid (the neutral-color-lover in me) but I love how just a little splash of color on the bottom lid makes the look completely different – the eyes are accentuated and the look has become fun with a bit of personality.  To me, this look just says: BEACH GIRL!  Use your favorite color (or one that will bring out your eye color) and get cute!

Everyday Natural

This is much more my usual style: neutral, safe, casual.  This is great for accenting your eyes’ natural beauty and I just love it for everyday.  A soft brown or a light, neutral pink is a great little bit of color that is not so noticeable and makes your make-up look effortless :)

Smoky & Colorful

Because my eyes are a hazel with some green, brown, and grey, I often go for purple when I do occasionally decide to go all out with the color.  This is a playful, bright look good for going out, or for lunch with the ladies!

The Bronze & The Beautiful

I love this bronzy, coppery look!  It mixes my love for the neutral with a little bit of glitz and boldness!  You can change this up with a different palette of colors, but this is the one I would go with!  Love it.

Green Goddess

This is a beautiful eye!  I love the smoky green look with the copper lower lashline that looks sleek and adventuresome.  I love that the colors aren’t neutral, but they come from nature!  A perfect look for a classy St. Patty’s, as well!  Too bad I am late with this selection.  But next year we will all look smokin’!

If you don’t feel like making your eyes the center of attention, it is a good idea to amp up your lip wear!  This is a great tutorial for making lips that look plump and bright! I love the idea of the shimmer in the center of the lip for some oomph.

So this is the end of my beauty post!  I wish I could keep going, but life is calling me and I would like to free up some time for trying out some of these tutorials!

Bat those eyes, Ladies!

Leslie

Wendi Michelle Goodwin

My friend Wendi is a fantastic painter and an outright imagination machine!  I met Wendi when I was a freshman in college and came home for Christmas break.  I ended up at a get-together with many people I went to high school with and walked into a garage that had been converted into a room of inspiration.  There was a table in the garage with paint and supplies so that when people came to visit they could put their mark on it!  There were layers of flaked paint as everyone loved to get creative and the layers of people had built up, revealing previous artwork beneath the new.  It was obvious that this was a place where the people appreciated art, imagination, and wanted everyone to join in.

While I was there, I only talked with Wendi once or twice but could tell she was a kind and thoughtful person, and was a wonderful hostess.  That was my first impression, but I was even more pleasantly surprised when I looked past the creation table in the garage and noticed the canvas, easels, brushes, and paints strewn across the rest of the garage.  There were a few paintings up that were in progress that grabbed my focus right away, even in the hustle and bustle of all the people milling around.  She used bright colors to create a new world right there in front of me, and I couldn’t believe how she used lines and curves and color to express what was in her mind. Her work was surreal, psychedelic, and ethereal all at once.  Her use of color was breathtaking and I must have known that someday I would have to share it with everyone else that I know!  Thank goodness we reconnected later and that have this blog so that I can do it right and give everyone a glimpse into her life, as well as her work.  I hope that through this post you all get to know Wendi and share her inspirational life and work with others you know!

A Bit About Wendi

Now I will share with you Wendi’s story!  It is full of both love and hardships.  Wendi is a 30 years young woman born and raised in good ole’ VA on the coast and loves it here.  Wendi has been drawing since she was a young child, and enjoyed portraying the rolling hills and trees of landscapes and experimenting with color, such as using the black-crayon-over-ranbow techniques that involves scratching off the wax to create a colorful picture (I think we all used to love that!).  She grew up being playful with her younger sister and being involved in the shenanigans that make being a big sis so fun!  Like daring your little sister to go through the doggy door during a house showing and having to explain to the realtor that your sis now a new amenity that has been installed free of charge!  Now, her sister (who is also an artist) and parents live and few hours away, but they are completely supportive of her painting and artwork and take her out on shopping sprees to help get her supplies for new creations, and they are otherwise very involved with Wendi and her super cute son.  Yes!  She is an artist and a mommy!  And a pretty good one at that.

Wendi’s parents definitely have good reason to be proud of their accomplished daughter.  Wendi had her son at 20 years of age, had to grow up very quickly, and learn how to take care of not only herself, but a little one.  She drew to cope with all of the intense emotions she was experiencing during the time, and developed a style of her own, which incorporated meaning and emotion into her art, graduating from the simple doodles of childhood and adolescence.  About 5 years ago, she was encouraged by some wonderful (and now vindicated) people to try out the paint and brushes.  She fell in love.  She still prefers pencil/markers (I mean hey, she had about 25 years of practice!) and painting is the medium next in line.  Now Wendi is a full-time art student looking forward to getting her degree and do what she loves for a living.  Wendi has had her fair share of struggles and battles that have brought her to where she is now.  This is a real woman with battle scars, but you would never know it from the smile on her face.  Life has been hard on her, and I think that is why she makes such an effort to be kind and make life easier for those around her.

“Over the past few years I have really discovered alot about myself.  Since age 20 I have given birth, lived in a nasty trailer park, gotten married, gotten divorced, became a full time nanny, full time teacher, quit work to go back to school, and moved to a different state, all while being a single mom. I think getting through all this has taught me that I NEED God in my life, and that has really influenced my artwork. I know that God is the true artist, creating our universe.  I have moved from drawing to drawing and painting, to being an art student, and I know for a fact that God has me just where he wants me to be.  Just knowing that has made it so much easier for me to relax and just do what I was born to do…art.  I used to make art for other people, now I make it for art’s sake. Straight from the crazy imagination God blessed me with!”

Through overcoming all of her hardships, Wendi realized the importance of God in her life, to lean on him, to let him work through her and to be thankful for the gifts he has given to her (like her lovely son, crazy imagination, and ability to create beautiful things!)  Her relationship with God has definitely influenced her artwork and, her spirituality comes out in her and ethereal works.  She hopes to get back to teaching art to children when she finishes her degree, and I think that is a wonderful idea.  She is a loving, dedicated, and involved mother who is also a wonderful role-model for any child.

Wendi’s Style

I find it hard to describe Wendi’s artwork, because it is definitely just hers!  She often creates worlds with many people and images, but for some reason, the chaos seems calming.  Her bright colors take the pandemonium and make it cheerful and forces the viewer to connect with the many different focuses and subjects in her work.

For example, in this work of hers, there is nature and there is home where we spend our days. There is loneliness and a threat that both fetal figures may fall into the depths of the unknown.  Yet, there is potential, with a man defying physics and floating to the heavens.  These are images and feelings we all find familiar, whether comforting or foreboding, in our lives.  The ribbon running through the sky seems to be a reminder that when we look up and realize our own potential, that we may find something beautiful waiting for us.  Don’t take my word for it though!  Everyone can get something different for a work of art!

Wendi’s favorite Artists:

Sandro Botticelli

Wendi’s favorite artist is Sandro Botticelli, creator of early renaissance works such as the famous Birth of Venus and Primavera.

“The expression in the eyes of the women he paints, it is like how my soul feels all the time…that is why I love his work. I really feel connected to his artworks.”

Boticelli has made many works with depicting the bare woman, both literally and figuratively this time!  Often depicting the holiness of the mother and female strength.

Peter Max

She was once told her that her artwork is reminiscent of Peter Max, and I really agree!  I had never heard of him and it was great to discover him through my interest in Wendi’s work.  They are similar in their use of bright colors and psychedelic themes.  It is interesting how their styles are very similar, yet they have formed their own ways of expressing that style.  And neither had ever met or known of the other!  It is so interesting that she learned of another artist in this world with a similar way of viewing the world from a random occurrence.

Peter Max is a German-born American illustrator and graphic artist, known for the use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes as well as spectra in his work. Max’s interest in astronomy contributed to his self described “Cosmic ’60s” period which featured what became identified as psychedelic, counter culture imagery (taken from , if you want to take a quick look on your own.)

peter_max

“After I started painting, about 5 years ago now, some older folks (in their fifties/sixties) told me I reminded them of a painter named Peter Max. I had no idea who he was, so I looked him up and WHOA! We paint a lot alike! Maybe our minds hang out somewhere in space and collaborate, haha.”

Wendi’s Favorite Subjects and Themes

I have seen almost all of Wendi’s works, at least the ones available for all to see on the net.  I have seen her landscapes, psychedelic worlds and designs, but her depiction of the bare woman is one theme that can captivate me.  Don’t take my use of the word “bare” as literal.  It is not that she draws a significant amount of nudes (although her most recent Professor Marvel poster is brilliant!), but she is able to capture the essence of a woman with her deepest fears, worries, and insecurities so well that you feel you are inside the mind of the women in her works at their most vulnerable.  ”Bare” is the only word I can think of to describe the feeling I get from the experience.  Wendi has suffered from an eating disorder in her life, and I think this has really influenced her ability to get in touch with the weight of the world that every woman carries.  I believe that how deeply she feels,  overcoming her own fears, and her ability to see this in all women is a testament to her strength and ability to empathize like no other.

 ”My favorite things to paint/draw are women’s faces and hair, especially the eyes. I try to convey how I am feeling through them.   If I am feeling hurt or scared, then that is how her eyes will turn out, and most of the time it is subconscious for me.  I don’t even realize how I am feeling until the work of art is all done, then I get what I must have been feeling.  All the girls I paint are not representing me, but I think all girls.  It is so hard to be a woman these days: pressure to have a perfect body, to not stray from the norm, to be a perfect girlfriend/friend/mom/employee/housekeeper, etc!  It’s all so much.  I think that is why when I sit down to make art, usually a female is what comes out, looking deep in thought…I also love to paint eyes. Sometimes I just sit and draw eyes with no form attached.”

Above is the first paining Wendi ever sold.  Of all her works, this is my personal favorite.  I see color, texture, simplicity, emotion – just so many layers.  I love how there are scratches in the colors, revealing what is underneath the surface of the painting, and find within this work an analogy for seeing what is more than skin deep:  emotions, thoughts, the past, a recognition of the multiple dimensions of a person.

Wendi has also been working with some 3-Dimensional materials in her art classes.  I’m not certain, but it looks as though she used paper, on which she drew with Permacolor markers and framed with buttons onto a background.  I believe the original work she took this from was called “Alicey,” her personal depiction of an Alice in Wonderland theme, one of my favorite stories! And another story deeply rooted in a female searching for herself and delving into her imagination, looking for sense in this crazy, yet interesting, world.

girlwbirdwm

I actually have a print of this beautiful image (I believe she used Prismacolor & sharpie markers) named “Girl with Bird.”  She brought some prints of her work to the latest show she painted at and I left with this one and a huge smile on my face.  It is very special to me so maybe I will dedicate a post to making a custom frame for it :) . Once again, an inspiring depiction of vulnerability. You can get a print of your own for $10.00 US by clicking the picture, which will take you directly to this print on her etsy page (link at the end of post). And this brings me to one of the most interesting things about some of Wendi’s artwork…

Live Painting

One of the things Wendi loves to do is paint LIVE!  Wendi is connected with the local music community (especially since her boyfriend is the drummer of the local band Professor Marvel)  and she works live to the music.  The improvisation allows her work to create itself and flow straight from her experience onto the canvas.  I have had the pleasure of seeing her paint live on several occasions and even got a chance to snap some shots of her in action.  It is a wonderful thing to see an artist in the midst of creation, and Wendi is fearless and confident with her brushes, in a state removed from the hustle and bustle, her mind in the same world that captured my full attention when I first saw her work.

“I would have to say my favorite pieces are the ones I paint/draw with no plan in mind at all. Where I just sit and don’t think, I just feel and create at the same time.” 

This is a painting Wendi created 4 years ago during a rowdy party.  She really got into the flow and I love her description of the experience!

“There was random chaos going on all around me: drinking, loud music, people yelling and singing, all the regular party stuff.  And there I was, alone in my imagination sitting in a corner painting this picture of fish. It was so simple to make those fish outlines with my paintbrush, almost like God had put that picture in my mind and He was moving my hand for me! I like to think of the fish as my son and I.”

This is one of the paintings I was lucky enough to see from beginning to the end.  While at Hoss’s Deli for a concert with Former Champions.  It was amazing to see the work progress from a dark, endless universe of a background into something that stares back at you with human emotion.

One of my favorite parts of this painting are the tree antlers, and the roots that intertwine around her neck.  From this work, I imagined a woman creating life and working to grow, yet feeling trapped and strangled by the deep-rooted emotions that are necessary to feel depth in one’s life.  The roots may have a hold on you, but they are necessary to feed the growth, and you can use them to make wonderful things in this world.

“I am also super inspired by music when I make art. Bands like Professor Marvel, Explosions in the Sky, and STS9 are some of my favorite to paint to. I also LOVE painting LIVE for local bands in the area. Painting LIVE at a venue while a band plays is a crazy feeling, and has really been a positive and happy experience! The other night I was at a bar and painted a picture for a man who had lost a son.  It made me want to cry.  My painting made him so happy and i can’t even describe that feeling in words.”

Wendi’s Words of Advice 

“The best thing about being an artist is the freedom! I can create whatever I want…no limits. It makes me so happy to buy new paints and a canvas, go sit in my art room at home, blast some music, and just create something new, something never created before, something that tells the world what I am feeling and thinking without using any words….To any aspiring artists I would say this: GO MAKE SOMETHING!  Don’t be afraid to do something new, something no one has ever done, because that is what draws people in and gives them something to relate to, when they may have had nothing to relate to before. Art can touch people in such deep ways. “

Please go and support this imaginative, passionate, and dedicated artist by visiting one of her many pages!  You can just check out her facebook page for her creations, take a look at her pinterest board for her artwork, buy original paintings or prints on her easy page, or come see her paint live at some of the local venues in the area!  If you can’t find the dates, contact her via facebook or contact me on the blog and I’ll let you know if there is anything coming up.  The best thing?  If you come, you can ask her to paint you something live to take home!

Etsy: 

Facebook page:

Artwork Pinterest Board: 

Now listen to Wendi, and GO MAKE SOMETHING!

Leslie

Leslie Life Update

28 Mar

So I was planning on doing a profile on my friend and local artist Wendi Goodwin, but she gave me so much material (which is awesome!) that I am going to take the time to get everything perfect.

So I’m going to give everyone an update on what has been happening in my life!

As usual, I have been keeping up with local music and art, but I have had a couple of exciting things happen.

I have applied to graduate school for social work and I am waiting till May to find out if I have been accepted into any programs. I have been doing the usual, my nanny job with three girls who are AMAZING and I love spending my days with them.  But since I moved back to the area, I have been trying to get an internship or volunteer position at many of the local social services departments and non-profit organizations, in order to get some experience and to learn about how these departments are run.  After months of calling around and running around on a wild goose-chase, I have gotten a volunteer position at the social services department in my area!  Woo hoo!  The assistant director talked to me and was so helpful, and she will be assigning a social worker to teach and oversee my work.  I am so excited to put my skills to work and to get back to LEARNING!  Since leaving school, I have been reading, blogging, crafting, and doing anything to keep my sponge of a mind content.  It feels great to know I can finally get back to the grindstone and to be contributing a necessary service to my community!

I am also taking a trip to Blacksburg to spend Easter with my sister, who is a student at Virginia Tech.  I have missed Hokie House, the beautiful campus, and Thai cuisine from Cafe De Bankok, yum!   I’ll probably be having some good food this week, mostly some pad thai, falafel, and some calzones from my old job at D. P. Dough.  I can’t wait to see my old co-workers and visit some of my professors that supported me and wrote letters of recommendation for my graduate school applications.

An even bigger plus?  It has been snowing the past few days in the mountains there!  The last time I visited Blacksburg, a snow plow destroyed my driver-side side view mirror, so it is great that I get to see the new snow AFTER all of the mess has been cleaned up.  My poor car gets a break!  I can’t wait to spend some time with my sister and to get to spend the holiday with her.

This is a picture of my lovely sister, her wonderful roommate, and me (plus the pier store guy!) this past summer on family vacation in Oak Island, NC.

I love getting to hang out with them and it has been way too long.  Plus I love long road trips where I get to play music and sing as loud as I want to with no judgment!  Hopefully, some innocent driver will pass me and get a glimpse of my rock concert face :)

Wish me luck on the drive and Happy Easter to everyone!

Happy Holidays, All!

Leslie

All Natural Easter Eggs

26 Mar

All Natural Easter Eggs

I’m sure many of you looked forward to Easter as children: easter egg hunts, candy, picnics, and especially dyeing easter eggs!  When I was growing up, we did the usual food-color with vinegar dye.  I was trying to figure out some ways to make some more grown-up Easter eggs that my mom might like, and I came across some suggestions using tea leaves, beets, spices, and even yellow onion peels for dyes.  I just loved the brown, natural looking eggs I found on pinterest that suggested the use of dark yellow onion peels in the water for boiling and an idea to cover the eggs with leaves and other flora from around the yard.  I have plenty of foliage outside, but I had none of these other ingredients that were suggested for coloring the eggs.  Then I thought, of course!  We always have coffee in the house, and decided to try out boiling the eggs in coffee.

Materials you will need:

4 Cups of DARK coffee

some small sprigs of clover, leaves or flowers

some panty hose you don’t mind destroying

some rubber bands or small hair elastics

1 tsp vinegar (to help keep the eggs from cracking)

Instructions

1. Make some undrinkably strong coffee, put in a pot, and let cool

2.  cut up your panty hose so that each section is big enough to cover an egg

3. cover your eggs in your chosen greenery and cover with a section of panty hose, pulling tightly and fastening with an elastic

3. Add the vinegar to the pot

4. Add your eggs to the pot and bring to a rolling boil

5. Cover the pot, remove from the stove, and allow to cool for 12 minutes

6. Place the eggs in a bowl of cold water to keep them from cooking further

7.  Remove your eggs and unwrap from their stocking casings

The end result are some beautiful and classy, grown up Easter eggs you can eat!  Obviously, mine need a little tweaking so I will be working on making them perfect :)

Happy Egg Hunting!

Leslie

Cool New Urban Art

21 Mar

Recently, I have had some spare time, browsing the internet to find inspiration and anything interesting or funny that is out there in the digital outer space.  Yes, I found some funny memes, cute cat pictures, and even a video of an adorable pug that, for some reason, is completely unable to learn how to run, but does skips and flails to get around (it is very adorable and hilarious so I will post this at the end).  But amongst all this useless humor I found some profoundly interesting art forms that I fell in love with!  Unfortunately, most of them are illegal (at least on public property), so I won’t get to go out and create my own masterpiece.  Or maybe I’ll just get brave for the sake of giving the public something awesome to see on their way to their jobs, just to spice up a monday!

Reverse Graffiti

This art form is one that I find very educating: it reveals to the public just how dirty the city can get, shows the city that they need to do something about it, and demonstrates how beautiful the city can be if we all chip in to clean up!

These artists go out and, instead of painting on a clean wall, clean a dirty wall (or car!  you could be next) in a design or image that they want portrayed.  The end result is fantastic!

Girl With A Pearl Earring…in dust on a car! Spectacular.

In the caption (which is quite small), it says that this was created in San Francisco and is still visible now, a year later.

Really cool car :)

The British five pound note.  Hello, Queen Elizabeth!

Awareness for emotional and psychological crisis, a great message for those who read it!

A dirty tunnel gets cleaned up, and we see how white the perforated walls used to be!  I love how detailed this one is.

Urban Knitting

This one is really interesting.  I have been learning how to crochet, and in the first five seconds I learned that IT TAKES FOREVER!  I’m sure for these tasks, huge teams of knitters run out and get this done before they get arrested!  Yes, this is illegal, and gets taken down immediately and investigated.  It may annoy the authorities, but it makes me smile :) .

Haha!  Car hat!  I’m betting someone did this to their own vehicle, so that makes this one I could try out!  I just have to get human-size down first and I’ll work up to it.

Who knew? Sweaters look good on trees!

I love this one!  I want that bus, and I can’t even drive one.

Now, I don’t know how this was managed and I’m surprised it lasted long enough to get a pic!  New York must have liked it.

This is just a really cool picture :)

Moss Graffiti

Another find was moss graffiti!  You use moss and some other extra things to make a mixture and put it in a spray bottle for a green eye-catcher.  This form of art takes some time and maintenance, since you have to trim the moss, but it turns out a most beautiful green.

Some wall art.

Carefully sculpted gator!

A testament to the need for oxygen in our air, and the ability of plant life to provide it.

And best of all, you can make moss graffiti at home, on your own!  Decorate your plain brick walls with moss in any design that strikes your fancy!  This whole thing kind of reminds me of a chia pet.

And here is the random video of Loca, the adorable dog that cannot walk!  Just watch it.

I hope you enjoyed these interesting finds!

Get Inspired!

Leslie

Spring Into Fashion!

19 Mar

Spring Into Fashion!

Okay, so the weather is changing, there is Spring cleaning going on, and you are trying to figure out what to put away until next year.  I’m going to give everyone a little boost of inspiration for your Springtime wardrobe with some interesting and breezy outfits I found.

Patterns & Prints

A great way to get excited about Spring is to put a little pep in your step with some interesting patterns that draw the eye!

I love these polka-dot pants!  If you love the girly look, these are a great find!  You can find patterned pants at the mall this time of year.  Find a solid color top for a bold look.

I have always been a fan of stripes, regardless of vertical or horizontal.  With a pair of chic, solid shorts, you can look professional even in a casual stripe.

Feel free to experiment with an open back for a little glimpse of Springtime skin ;)

A floral pattern is a classic look for Spring!  Never shy away from some rose buds or daisies!

The White Pant

Wearing a white pant can take some of your winter blouses and lighten them up for the springtime.  Using a solid white pant accentuates an interesting pattern or bright color and looks very sleek.  Just make sure you throw in a little bleach in the wash with them occasionally to keep them looking fresh and new!

Green is one of my favorite colors to wear and also a great color to wear in spring as all the plants are getting their greenery back!

Wearing a white pant can also create a color-blocking effect, to accentuate a bright color even if you aren’t wearing a pattern, and can also help your springtime accessories stand out.

If you aren’t a fan of the white pant, you can always switch it up with a colored pant!  I love this casual, yet colorful outfit.

Blazers

Blazers are great because they are light weight, look professional, and can keep you warm in the spring breeze.  They are all over the place and thanks to H&M and Forever21, black and grey are not the only colors available and the prices are affordable.

I love the idea of taking a white jean and dressing it up with a BLAZER! A beautiful pink with a nice mint flat make this a comfy, casual, and put-together look.

It is also easy to pair a blazer with a dress, if you are going on an afternoon date, or want to get a bit girly!

I love this neutral spring time look that pairs a beige blazer with a pair of patterned shorts!  Super chic.

Skirts & Dresses

Don’t pack up your sweater dresses just yet!  You can pair your winter wear with a strappy sandal or heel to make this a warm-weather fit.  What you once wore with hose or leggings and boots can now be fun for Spring!

I love this refreshing chevron pattern!  This dress is light and airy, but definitely a bold eye-catcher.

Another great outfit, with pattern, color, and interesting ideas for accessories!

I have always been a big fan of long, flowing skirts in the spring, but I had never seen one with these multi-pleats!   Even if you like darker colors (like me!) you can look like a Spring goddess.

If you don’t like dark colors, find something bright and colorful and spread the joy!

Slip into a short skirt if you want!  It is Spring and the weather is fine :)

That is it for my Spring fashion suggestions!  I hope everyone is getting ready for some warm weather and feel inspired to dress for yourself everyday this Spring!

Happy Spring :)

Leslie

Balsamic Marinated Chicken

I just love an easy recipe that looks fancy but takes no work!

This is one of my favorite eats, with lots of flavor and pizzaz but almost no kitchen time.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 tsp Oregano

5 leaves Fresh Basil

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Honey

1 tsp Lemon Juice

1 lb. of Chicken breasts

7 cherry tomatoes, whole

3 White Mushrooms, sliced

Instructions:

Mix everything EXCEPT for the chicken, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a bowl.

Put the chicken into a big ziplock bag.

Take the mixture, pour it into the bag, shake around, and refrigerate for 1-12 hours.

After the marinade is set, put the chicken into a baking dish, Add chopped mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, and cover with remaining marinade.

Pre-heat oven to 350 and bake for about 30 minutes.

Voila!

Yummy, scrumptious, healthy, simple :)

Bon Apetite,

Leslie


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