Illustration Friday - Exotic & NEW ATC Giveaway - ends 2/13

the psychic
Sharing a quickie Art Trading Card doodle for today's I.F. challenge, Exotic. If you'd like to see how other folks interpret the prompt (or want to add your own take) pop over to IllustrationFriday.com.

By the way, I'm holding another random drawing. The winner gets their choice of ACEO (Art Card Editions & Originals) from my Etsy shop. The prize is with or without a mat, also winner's choice. Here's the link to my shop  & then click on "ACEOs Free Shipping" to view the current selection & pick your favorite.

To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment on my blog before 1 am (EST) on Feb. 13. If you'd like a second entry, share this giveaway on your fave social media platform and come back here to tell me that you did. (If possible please leave an email address if it isn't in your profile. This is just so I can easily contact you if you win).

Good Luck! And have a wonderful weekend!


Winner of Peacock Masquerade ACEO & A New Giveaway

Peacock Masquerade ACEO

Welcome back to Thursday Giveaway! Today's lucky winner of this art card print is

Congratulations, Jina! 

Anyone up for another giveaway? Lets see... how about in two weeks, on Feb 13, one random winner will be selected to take home an ACEO (Art Card, Editions & Originals) of their choice from my etsy store Artsnark.etsy.com. Here is a direct link to the ACEO category of my shop.

To enter just leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. on 2/13. Please leave your email address if it isn't in your profile. 

Want a 2nd entry? Share this giveaway on your preferred social media venue & then pop back here to let me know. 

Gotta run. I'm up against an artsy deadline and my family actually wants to be fed. Makes me think of think of this cute quip that was floating around facebook:

And on that note, best wishes to all for a TGIF and fabulous weekend!


Illustration Friday - Disguise

Lots on my plate this weekend so sharing an older piece for the new Illustration Friday. Here is Peacock Masquerade for the thrilling prompt "Disguise."

Hmm... haven't held a giveaway in a few weeks...

How about I give an ACEO (a 2.5" x 3.5" print) of this painting to one lucky winner? To enter this random drawing simply leave a comment on my blog before Jan. 30 at 1 a.m. (EST). Please also leave your email if it is not in your profile, so that I can easily contact you if you win. I'll also post the winner here on 1/30.

In the meantime be sure to pop over to IllustrationFriday.com & check out some more disguises or add one of your own. 


New Year, New You: Trying Almased plus some random pics

Okay, I am running so random that RTT is happening on Wed. this week. Whoopsy! Bear with me...

Just before the New Year I received a free sample of Almased meal supplement powder, a cool blending bottle, misc. healthy eating paperwork and a fun photo-filled Southern Living outdoor cooking/lifestyle book from Almased and Southern Living Magazine.   I've seen Almased's ads in SL magazine for years and  have been curious (but skeptical) about the product, so when the opportunity to try it out arose, I jumped at it. Disclaimer: They sent these items to me at no cost, requested I try the product and share some photos on social media.

I have always had a bad habit of skipping meals when I'm busy. This was never a problem until 2012/2013 when I picked up a new bad habit of eating whatever I could grab for quick energy once the hunger pangs hit (usually around 3 pm). This tended to be something quick and carby, then when I'd crash again a couple of hours later I'd nibble on olives or cheese while preparing dinner. This & an increasingly sedentary ligestyle lead to a 20 lb weight gain - ugh.

So, I tried the suggested (minumim) 2 day "fast" where you replace 3 meals with Almased, drink lots of water, and supplement with vegetable broth. I've read about lots of folks losing double digits on the 14 day fast, but I'm more interested in being healthy (& realistic) than in quick weight loss. On day 3 I started substituting only one meal and an occasional snack with Almased. And making sure the other 2 meals are fairly healthy. I also started walking at least 30 minutes every day. I used to walk 1-2 hours a day foot trouble laid me up for a lot of 2013, which added to the weight gain.

After 9 days reaching for Almased when I know I don't have time for breakfast or lunch (and very light exercise), my energy level is much higher, I am sleeping better, and I'm not experiencing the crashing, binging and cravings that have been plaguing me the last six months.... and I've lost 5 lbs. If the weight loss continues that will be a huge plus. However, the "leveled out" feeling and higher energy levels are enough to keep Almased on my radar for a now. If anyone is curious, I'll add an update here from time to time.

Please Note: If you come around this blog for arts, crafts, DIY and random thoughts-  no worries! I'm just adding a bit more personal stuff into the random mix. 

Finally, eye candy time! The Year In A Garden (via iphone) project continues. Today I'm rolling into day 282. Here are a couple of close ups from last week. To see more visit http://Instagram.com/Artsnark.

Last bit of random today: I ordered some prints of my Instagram pics from Twenty20.com. These 8" sq images on 10" sq paper came out better than many prints I've received from others. I tested these pics specifically as I noticed many companies had trouble printing the bright purplish colors without them looking either washed out or over saturated. And the cat pic came back with too much green from a few companies but looks pretty dang close to what is on my screen from these guys. The only minus is the cost, which while very fair for retail is not so good for reselling on Etsy. 

We'll, I am calling it a night. Chores to do and the final chapters of a new thriller are calling. Thanks for popping by - hope you are having a fantastic week! 


Illustration Friday - Begining

A scrap of scribble for Illustration Friday's prompt: "Begining" 

Click here to visit the site, check out the pics & even add your own interpretation.


Some garden catch up

Finally at 4:00pm the sun comes out & the bees start collecting.

The brief chill lifts. The passionflower wakes.

Blossoms start to open

But then the crispy air returns. 
Looks like newly fallen bok choy for lunch tomorrow. 


DIY Monogrammed Champagne Flutes - an easy glass etching tutorial

Happy New Year!

Wow - I am already behind on blogging! There is so much going on, but I wanted to make sure to wish everyone a fantastic 2014! 

Let's pop back in time to Dec. 31st:  My house was busy preparing for New Years Day, when we always host a big luncheon followed by board/card/party games. This year we thought it would be fun to send everyone home with monogrammed souvenir champagne flutes. 

This is a super-easy project that makes a great impression. I totally recommend giving it a try. While there are instructions in the kit & online, let me walk you through it. 

Supplies (most are in the top photo) include:

*Etching cream (in kit)
*Small brush (in kit)
*Gloves (in kit)
*Adhesive stencils (The kit has butterflies but I wanted letters, so I bought those separately. You can make your own stencils. I have before, but I must say that these ready made adhesive backed ones were such a time saver. They are also reusable,) 
*Tape (I used painter's tape)
*Rubbing Alcohol (I was out & used nail polish remover, which worked.)
*Soap & Water
*Paper towels or dish towel

First wash and dry the glasses. Then wipe the area to be etched with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils that could block the etching cream. 

Measure where you want the stencil to go. The adhesive stencils were easy to use. Simply peel them off the backing paper and stick to the glass. Rub the edges of the stencil a bit with your fingernail to make sure there are no bubbles. Apply tape to the edges to give your glass a little protection in case things get messy. Once the cream is applied it will eat away at the glass it is touching, so you want to make sure you control where it lands. 

We decided to monogram each guest's glass with their first initial. 

In a few cases 2 glasses had the same letter, so I etched a tiny leaf on the base to tell them apart during the party.

Give the etching cream bottle a good shaking, put on the gloves, and use the brush to apply the cream to the stencil. If you get cream in the wrong place, wipe it off right away with a paper towel. At first I was a little freaked out as it was runnier than I expected. In the past I'd used a white pasty goo (armour etch, maybe). A trip to Google & a test glass eased my concerns.

Leave the cream on for 15 minutes. I found that a little longer was not a problem. 

While waiting I ducked into the dining room to see what the guys were up to. They were making cappelletti pasta (meat filled "little hats") for the next day's soup course. It is traditionally a northern Italian Christmas dish. We usually don't have enough visitors then, so we serve it New Years Day.

Times up! Put your gloves back on and rinse off the etching cream. Some running water and a wet paper towel will do the trick. Then remove the tape and stencil & wash glass thoroughly with soap and water. 

Set aside to dry. In the meantime, toss the tape but rinse off the stencils and set aside. Once dry they will still be sticky on the backside can be reapplied to the clear backing for storage.

Here are some of the bases with leaves.

And the etched lettering.

We decided to make a game with the extra flutes and etched some extra letters. The next day we set the table with the glasses all jumbled in the center.  The guests were told to find "their glass" and pour themselves some bubbly. They asked about the leftover glasses & we mumbled something about cancellations. 

As expected, when my husband and I popped into the kitchen some fidgety folks started rearranging the glasses to form words. One person spelled & shouted out "Lucky You"!  (our plan all along) & we had a winner! She took home a copy of R&R Games' pirate game, Plunder

and a lovely clove scented candle from Tampa company 7th Avenue Apothecary .

A grand time was had by all, the game was a really fun way to start the year and the etching was so easy to do. I totally recommend giving it a try.