My husband and I both enjoy soup especially as the weather starts to get cooler. When I had originally found this recipe it was to have been as good as Olive Gardens Pasta E Fagioli soup. I love Olive Gardens pasta fagioli soup so I had to try this one. I have made a lot of tweeks to the recipe and it still does not taste like Olive Gardens, but I think it is a good hearty soup and easy to make. I hope you enjoy it.
This flower canvas can be painted to suit any season or décor. I had painted it before in pinks (you know me) and since I am showing you how to create it now I thought it would be fun to paint it in fall colors.
It is hard to believe this is the last official weekend of summer. If you are looking for a yummy dessert to take to that last picnic try my recipe for Peanut-Butter Silk Pie. The Chocolate Mocha topping balances the sweetness of the peanut butter filling. Not only is it delicious but it is easy to whip up.
This was the last week of our living with art classes. For this class we would be painting a canvas using tube acrylics.
This is the first time in probably 10 years that I have not worked in a booth at Heart of Ohio Tole Painting convention (HOOT). For most of those years my husband and I helped Della and Company, AKA Della and Bill Wetterman and last year I shared a booth with my creative friends Amy Mogish and Wendy Young.
I was not going to come, but at the last minute decided to come and spent the day on the trade show floor. I thought you might enjoy seeing pictures of what was happening there:
I want to share with you today how to make those sweet earrings that my one student Sara made out of Shrinky Dinks. Many of the techniques are the same that we used in making other Shrinky Dink projects (See previous post here)…..but the secret to making these earring is using a Shrinket cone tool to make the dimensional floret beads. The tool is available from Julie Haymaker Thompson.
What happens when you get a bunch of amazing artists together who like to paint Christmas Ornaments? That’s right, you have an ornament exchange and share all the wonderful new designs with your painting friends in a book.
This week we painted on wood and I wanted to do something that would be fun for the kids to paint. I bought these fish from St Lawrence River Decoys. The fish are sanded and ready to paint. They also come with the glass eyes. My husband drilled a hole in the bottom of the fish and added the dowel and base.
Take your taste buds on a tropical vacation with these delicious cookies made of white chocolate, macadamia nuts and coconut. The recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I tried all of the cookie recipes in the book and these are my favorite.
This week for our living with art class we painted on fabric (find out more here about living with art). As we have been doing the projects I tried to find things that my students can use. For the fabric painting I found this messenger bag from Darice. I thought it would be great for them to carry their art journal and painting supplies in along with the paper mache pencil case.
Just a few years ago I started making fruit pies with fresh fruit when it is in season. For me, what an amazing difference – the pies just seem to turn out perfect. I am sure having the fruit at its peak is one factor. Also frozen fruit always seems to have so much liquid and it is hard to know how much to keep and how much thickener to add.
As I shared previously about my summer art class with my kids I wanted to show them different surfaces and mediums that they could use to create. (See more here – “Living with Art” Classes). This week we created a necklace using Shrinky Dinks and colored pencils.
This is one of my favorite go-to desserts because it is quick and delicious. It is equally good with any seasonal fresh fruit or berries as well as frozen and canned fruit. Today I am making it with fresh sour cherries, but also love it with canned peaches.
Not too long ago I shared with you that my art class was making lanterns out of wide mouth quart canning jars. (See post here Living with Art – Painting on Glass) Today I would like to share a pattern with you so that you can make your own lanterns and more.
For our third week of living with art we painted paper mache. Our first project was a pencil box for them to keep their pencils and other small supplies in. I let them paint whatever they would like using DecoArt Americana acrylics.
Our class is 2 hours and they had a half an hour left so I gave them a second project – a small paper Mache jewelry box.
If you have been following along, you know that I have been teaching some kid classes this summer where we are painting on different surfaces and using different mediums. (find out more here). The first week we created an art journal with watercolors that they will be able to work on all summer. (find out more here).
Previously I shared that I would be doing art classes over the summer with some young ladies (find out more here) and also my regular older students. For the first week I planned to started with watercolors and created an art journal that they will be able to draw and paint in all summer.
This summer I offered to have some art classes with some young ladies 8-9 years old. They all love art and love to create. Since they are younger, I did not want to weigh them down with drawing or painting classes. I wanted for them to just enjoy “art”, but I also wanted them to see how art is a part of everyday life.
So each week we will be doing art on a different surface and using different products.
The different surfaces we will be painting/creating on are:
- shrink dinks (plastic)
- paper Mache
And in the process we will be using these mediums:
- colored pencils
- craft acrylics
- tube acrylics
- glass paints
- fabric paints
- food dyes
And we will be making things that we live with, use and give as gifts.
Each week we will be doing a different project and I will be sharing with you what we are doing. I would love for you to be following along and creating with us and/or teaching someone else the joy of creating.
When I teach kids I have three rules:
- There are no rules – you can paint anything you want
- It is OK to copy – and learn from others
- Everyone’s work is good
I love teaching kids. They are always so happy with what they do, so each week they will be painting their own designs. I might give some suggestions but find that they have great ideas themselves.
I know not all of us feel that confident so I will also be creating some step by step projects throughout the summer that relate to the projects we are doing and I will do them as separate posts.
I do have another class of older student that I taught drawing and painting to last year. They will be doing the same projects, but I might be giving them a few extra things.
In this class I want my students to just enjoy creating. I hope that they will be able to see art in the things around them. But most of all I hope to give them a foundation and confidence to enjoy art for the rest of their lives.
I hope you will join us for this artful journey this summer.
Last week some of my art students brought me some fresh picked strawberries which made us hungry for strawberry pie.
Last post (Web Presence – Getting Started) we talked about how a good way to start marketing yourself is with a web site. Knowing what content you want on your site and how you want it to look is the first step. This time we are looking at some tools you can use to build a site.
Since Memorial Day is the official start of picnic season I thought I would share with you my favorite potato salad recipe which is from “The Perfect Recipe” by Pam Anderson. I would highly recommend this cookbook.
Do you want a web site and/or be able to sell your products without investing a lot of money in a website…but don’t know where to start?
At one time we could take our art to a craft show to sell, or our designs/patterns to a convention. Times are changing and we have to change also if we want to continue to reach our audience. I think that most of us would like to spend our time painting and creating and not thinking about marketing our art. It is hard to know where to start especially with so many options to choose from.
Over the last few years I have been researching and trying to figure out what would work best for me. On my blog I would like to share with you some of the things that I have learned.
There are so many things that we can do to market ourselves. We can have a blog, do a newsletter, have an Etsy store, use social media, have a website, etc. I think a website is a good place to start; it can be your control center with links to these other areas.
Before you begin you have to decide if you are going to hire someone to build your site, or if you are going to build it yourself. If someone else builds it for you are you going to be able to make updates to the site or are you going to have to pay for every change made to it by someone else. When you are just starting out it can be a big expense to get started, when you are not sure how much you will make from your site. For that reason and many others I encourage you to build your own site. It might seem a little overwhelming, but just do it in baby steps.
Before touching your computer you need to decide what you want on your site (the content) and how you want it to look (the layout). Take some time and look at other sites and note what you like about them, such as:
- What color combinations do you like? What type of fonts do you like?
- What type of layout would work for you? How do you want your navigation to work?
- What type of information do you want on your site?
I encourage you to keep it simple. You want to have a clean, easy to navigate site, where people can come and find what they are looking for quickly.
Another thing you will want to do is to have your branding consistent across platforms. If you are going to have a web site called JaneAllenCreates it would also be good to have the same name for your etsy store, facebook business page, Pinterest, and email account, if possible. I wanted to have JaneAllen.com as my business name, but that was already taken, believe it or not, by another artist so I came up with JaneAllenCreates. I like JaneAllenCreates because it is all encompassing where JaneAllenPaints would limit me to just my art.
Each platform will be a little different to find out if the name you want is available. For a domain name you can go to whois.net, type in the domain you would like and see if it is available or what other options might be available. For most of the others you can either go to the application and do a search on the name or set up an account to see if the name is available. I would wait and buy my domain name from the platform I am going to build my website on. Sometimes the platform will offer a free domain name.
If your business name does not contain your name in the title, you will be required to file your Fictitious Name with your state, or at least that is how it works in Pennsylvania. You will want to check with the guidelines in your state. I believe if just part of your name is in the title you are ok, such as Jane Creates or Allen’s Creation. Also in Pennsylvania it is by county, so the same business name could be in each county. Definitely something to think about when establishing a business name because it involves time and legal fees.
Before building a web site I think understanding the following basic terms will be helpful:
- Web Hosting – When you build your website you will need to have it on a web server (computer) that can be accessed by the internet. A company can provide this (hosting) service for you. The service can be free or there can be a monthly fee.
- Domain Name – Is a unique name that identifies a web site. It replaces a longer, not as easy-to-remember address that is the technical name and location of your web site.
- Responsive Design – At one time web sites were built as one size, usually a standard computer screen. Now web sites are built with responsive design so that they can automatically adjust their size to be viewed on our smartphone, tablet, and desktop.
In an upcoming post I will be talking about building your web site in a free product and some good training sources for that product. I will also share with you some other products that are available.
Happy Painting and Creating,
PS. I would love to hear about the tools and tips that are working for you. Feel free to add comments below this article.
I have always been a big fan of spaghetti and meatballs and for years I used a recipe from my uncle. A couple of years ago this recipe showed up in my Cook’s Country magazine and I thought I would give them a try…they are now my new favorite.
It is always fun to have a creative playdate with friends. Not too long ago I got together with my girlfriends Glenda and Deb. We had no plan…which I always love. We started playing with flowers which led us to talking about ideas for backgrounds. Soon we had the stencils out. Just using a few stencils in our projects brought them from pretty to gorgeous in a very short time.
A number of years ago I made these cookies for a family reunion and found out that they were one of my Aunt Louise’s favorite cookies….so every time I go to her house I bake them just for her…..and every one else also gets to enjoy them. This year my cousin Elaine said you need to put these on your blog….so I am feeling the pressure 🙂
“Isn’t it funny how you can start something and it just keeps growing. That is what happened for me with these frog pins.
One year my chapter was having a pin exchange and I came up with the idea to make these frog pins. I called them my Jump 4 Joy frogs, because my frogs were so happy that they wanted to jump for joy. As I thought about them I thought it would be fun to give them names. Fun names like “Cute Carol”, “Awesome Al”, “Sweet Sarah”, etc. Every one loved them and selected them because of their names. Continue reading “Froggy Pins Fun-raiser”
Earlier this year I spent some time in Palm Springs, CA. It was fun to ride around and check out the homes of some of the stars that were there when Palm Springs was in its heyday. One of the big entertainers was Liberace. He had four homes there and also bought one for his mother….good son.
I had seen this cake in the past and thought I would make it for my family for Easter. My family loves chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting so I thought that would be a good choice for this cake.
For those of you who are tired of seeing more glitter houses, forgive me….but I have been getting a number of requests for some spring houses and want to try to keep everyone happy… so here are three new designs for spring:
Each year I host the family egg hunt/Easter get together so I usually bake a ham. Over the years I have found a few tips from different cook books and articles that have helped to make the job easier and produced a tasty ham.
Last week I did a blog post on making glitter Easter eggs (Time to Paint Easter Eggs). I shared that I would show you another way to display them. After a little trial and error I created these stands using 2 different wooden pedestals and a round plaque from Michaels plus a few CD’s.
Today is my husbands birthday and I asked him what special desert he would like to celebrate his special day. I was thinking an orange cake or cherry pie would be at the top of the list, but he chose oatmeal raisin cookies.
When painting Easter eggs, the bigger the better.
Spring is my favorite season of the year. I love how the days get warmer and longer. There is something magical about seeing everything starting to bud and bloom. You can tell by my painting palette that these are also some of my favorite colors….the soft pastels, and vibrant clear colors of spring. I also love the smells of the season from the smell of the earth thawing and coming to life, to the sweet smell of the blossoms. And then there are the birds….I love seeing them make their nest, lay their eggs, and then their little families learning to fly.
When it is cold outside my husband and I enjoy making this hearty chili. It is made with a chuck roast that is trimmed and cut into cubes. This chili has a little heat, but not a lot and you can adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Many years ago I was in Key West sitting by a pool reading a magazine when I came across a recipe for French Rolls. When I got home I tried them a few times and then made them for our family Thanksgiving dinner. From that moment forward, by popular demand, I make them for every family event as well as many other occasions. They are a hit with family and friends.
These are a crusty roll with a soft center.
Do you ever find that you have an idea in your head and when you start working on it you are just so disappointed you feel like giving up….throwing it in the trash, never to try to do something similar again. This can also happen when you are trying to paint someone else’s design.
To me nothing says “LOVE” like chocolate. This is a rich chocolate cup cake with a surprise cream cheese and chocolate chip center. Normally I like them without icing, but if you wanted to make them for an extra special occasion you can ice them.
Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make an occasion special….and we all appreciate when someone makes the effort for us. This design is super quick and can be put on wine glasses like I am showing you. Think about all the other valentine gifts you could make using this design… it could also be put on coffee mugs, an ornament, votive candle holder, a glass jar holding cookies or even on a card.
I hope that you are not getting tired of my glitter house posts. I have been teasing you with this Music Glitter House and feel that it could be nice for winter.
Now that all of the holiday decorations are down things can seem a little bare. Why not add a little sparkle to your home with these snowflake lanterns. They are easy, inexpensive, can be made quickly and can be used indoors and out. You can use the same technique on mugs, wineglasses or anything glass.
Many times I seem to get into creative slumps. This year I found two things that helped me be more creative.
On the first day of November a post that I shared to my timeline from the year before showed up as a memory in my Facebook news feed. It was a challenge to make time for art every day even if only for a few minutes. It tugged at my heart and I mentioned the challenge to my husband who encouraged me to do it. I reluctantly posted on Facebook the challenge and asked if anyone wanted to join me. To be accountable I then posted updates on my Jane Allen Creates Facebook page.
Merry Christmas my friends and family. This year I decided to simplify some of my decorating so that I could have a little more time to paint, bake and enjoy the season.
I have so many treasures that I enjoy putting out every year, but I do try to change things around a little.
As you come in the front door you will see some of my Byers Choice angles and an angel tree which is a Rosemary West design that I painted years ago. The tree is still one of my favorites.
When I got my first “real job” after school I worked with Evelyn – a lovely lady who also liked to bake and was sweet to share her recipes with me. That was over 40 years ago and I am still using some of those recipes.
Even though I never had an advent calendar as a child, I like the excitement of counting the days until Christmas. For children you think of the calendars where you get a piece of candy or a small toy each day. As an adult you know the true joy comes from giving to others. That is what really makes the Christmas season special.
Last year I did a post on creating glitter houses which turned out to be very popular. Many of my friends and family were inspired to create their own houses or have me teach them.
This year I am up to my eyeballs in glitter. 🙂 Our family made glitter houses after thanksgiving dinner, I am teaching two full classes at a local shop, and I have made houses to sell in the shop which after a week are almost sold out.
I love the colors of fall and how the season encourages us to reflect on our blessings. So today I want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope my sharing of ideas, both decorating, creating and recipes are a blessing and encouragement to you and your family and friends. Every time I get a comment or a new follower I am encouraged to keep sharing….and when someone tells me they tried a recipe or project and liked it I am over the moon. Thank you!
Today I thought I would share a few glimpses of my fall décor before I dive into decorating for Christmas.
These two decorate my patio and front door. The hose lady is a Shara Reiner design and the scarecrow is by Maxine Thomas.
A few weeks ago I took a 3 day seminar with Wendy Young, from Olde Moon Lane Primitives (http://www.oldemoonlane.com/). I learned so much from her and she got my creative juices going. I encourage you to take a class from her or buy a pattern from her (they are also loaded with so much good information).
A few years ago I was looking for something new to do with my grand niece Sheena when we went to visit her in San Francisco. I am not even sure where the idea came from but I decided to take some shrinky dinks along to play with. We made a lot of projects but mostly jewelry, and we made many trips to the craft store to get more supplies. 😊
On a chilly fall day I love to make soup and bake. Nothing warms you like yummy smells coming from the kitchen. One of my favorite fall cookies are Macadamia and White Chocolate Cookies. They are a delicious combination of pumpkin, spices, crunchy nuts, and sweet bits of white chocolate.