Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Put a Pin In It

It has been a very busy weekend. Honestly, I had not planned for my weekend to be so chock full of obligations, and I grossly underestimated the time certain projects I wanted to accomplish would take. For future reference: just because you decide on a project to do and carve out time to work on it, that decision doesn't take into account the need to actually find and purchase the items necessary to even start. Lesson learned.

Last week I made a public promise to tackle at least one thing on my Pinterest page. There were quite a few actual craft DIY projects (pendant lamps! wine corks!) that I hoped to complete, but because of my busy schedule, I wasn't able to get out of town to grab the supplies I needed.

Maybe next week?

Considering my lack of time management skills, though, I did pretty well. Not great, nothing to sing from the mountaintops about, but of the "to-do" items I've pinned over the last many-a months I was able to cross three things off my list last weekend: 2 recipes, and 1 art project.

Let's start with my "art project," which turned out to be more of a lesson in recognizing my own personal strengths and weaknesses.

Some background first: I've always been a big fan of watercolors, but I admit to having novice-level knowledge and skills. When I discovered fashion artist Cate Parr (Silver Ridge Studio) via my friend, Erin's Pinterest, I fell madly in love. The portraits were so vibrant, engrossing and beautiful. Way beyond my skill level (woman clearly knows how to actually draw), but then I noticed this piece called "String of Pearls" (available for purchase here):

I thought, Hmm. That doesn't look too difficult. With the intention of tackling this particular pin for practice rather for re-creating something frame-worthy, I went down the street to Blick and bought $20 worth of beginner's watercolor supplies and began experimenting with Cate Parr's artwork as a guide.

Wop wop wop. Well, I promised I'd share my pin challenges with you, even if they turned out like crap and I'm here to tell you that I'm a woman of my word.

Turns out, watercolors are really hard. It became apparent very quickly that making the color and texture exactly how I want is going to take practice and patience. It also takes time to get used to the various brush sizes, gain an understanding about what water does to the color and how it affects how easily the brush glides down the paper and at what consistency. While I eventually found a brush I really liked (and got a feel for what's needed for precision), I never quite got the hang of creating pale, soft colors and brush strokes.

And just so you all don't think I'm simply terrible at re-creating art, I have proof to the contrary. Though I'm certainly not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, I've had some experience with acrylics and totally stealing art ideas from beautiful photos:

Painting: Unknown artist, Interior by Julia Doyle via New England Home

Re-created painting I did for my friend Cassie's birthday (the yellow rather than white background was intentional)

See? Not perfect, but not bad either. Clearly this means that me and watercolors are going to need to get to know each other better. Even though it didn't produce something I'm proud to show off, it's still a big step for me to finally buy the supplies. I'm stoked about learning more and experimenting. (Obviously you'll be the first to know if something absolutely brilliant comes out of it, but don't hold your breath.)

Now for the recipes. The first was something decadent in the form of Roasted Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies—a creation by my absolute favorite baking blogger, The Pastry Affair. You'll have to visit her site for more beautiful photos of these brownies, but let me just tell you that these were the best brownies I've ever had. They were moist and rich and extremely chocolatey. Milk is a required accompaniment.

Given the season, baking something with cherries was the best idea. I've never roasted fresh cherries before, but it's something I'll definitely be doing in the future. Maybe even by themselves. Yum. If you're a fan of dark chocolate and cherries, this is a must.

My only recommendation is to make your own judgement on the cooking time. She recommends 15-20 minutes, but my batch took an extra 10-12 minutes. Either way, they turned out perfect.

Lastly, I made these Petite Lasagnas from Can You Stay For Dinner? on Sunday night, and they are now a new go-to recipe for me. Delicious, and very easy. They turned out so well, but Jon and I both agreed they needed some red pepper flakes for extra heat. Otherwise, they were perfect! I honestly can't praise them enough, they are so creative and would be easy to double for a large group. I ate 4 lasagna cups easily on my own, so I'd guesstimate that's probably a good serving size to aim for.

And that's it. Simple really, but I only gave myself the weekend to tackle these things. I certainly wish I had a new lamp or fancy, homemade decorations to show you, but that'll have to wait 'til next time. Getting into the groove of finding "pins" to make helped me get a lot of things done on my to-do list—like re-hanging framed pictures on my wall and giving attention to all of my plants. More on my plants later this week...

How about you all? Anyone make any recipes they care to share? Did you try something new that you've been wanting to try for a while? Did it go well, or will you need to put some more practice in, like me with my water-coloring? For the next month or so, I plan to be back every Tuesday with something to share.

Until then—


1 comment:


    Also, my painting is pretty. Please bring it here to me. Also, yourself. Kisses.