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Sunday Sketches - Christmas Cards

>> Sunday, December 09, 2012

Watercolor on Strathmore heavyweight textured cards
I absolutely love Christmas, everything about it from the crazy running around buying gifts, to the days of cooking and baking.  This year I decided to make a few Christmas cards instead of just sending the commercial bought ones. I love giving personal gifts and what better way to say Merry Christmas than with a hand painted card.  They're not perfect and I need to practice more with my writing skills but I'm happy with these so far.  I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches so hop on over and check out the other great artists by clicking here.


PPF - Nightfall

>> Friday, December 07, 2012

'Nightfall' Acrylic on 12x12 stretched canvas
I painted this the other day and it is finally one that I absolutely love! After seeing so many holiday related paintings last week it put me in the mood to do a winter scene. Our weather has been unseasonably warm and I figured if I can't have real snow, I'd make my own!  My family is all fighting over who is getting it for Christmas but I'm going to have to keep this one for myself.  Again, sorry for the bad pics, but I have found a fairly reasonably priced new battery for my digital camera but it may have to wait until after Christmas. Linking up with Paint Party Friday, click here to see all of the other wonderful works of art.  Happy Friday!
Close up of the cabin.



Watercolor Wednesday

>> Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I've decided to do some Watercolor Wednesday posts in an effort to try to keep up with my blog. I had originally painted this to link up with Inspiration Avenue last week but time got away from me and I didn't make it in time so I'm sharing it now.  It has inspired me to do some watercolor Christmas cards which I hope to post later this week.  If you would like to share your watercolor posts for today, sign up with Mr Linky below.  Happy Wednesday!


New Beginnings and Sweet Saturdays

>> Saturday, December 01, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Squares
So it's not exactly artwork, but baking and cooking are a form of art for me anyway.  I love starting with an empty 'canvas' and creating something visually and tastefully appetizing.  I'm linking to Sweet Saturdays and will include the recipe at the end of this post.

New beginnings - some of you may already know that I lost my boyfriend of five years in February of 2011. It has been one heck of a year. I've gone through many transformations in that time, losing 75 lbs, moving, dating (ugh), luckily I have found a wonderful man and things have started to look up. I recently quit my job that I had been at for almost four years. While it was terrifying to quit without having a new job in place I just couldn't continue working at a company that had so little integrity and treated it's employees so poorly. With the help of my boyfriend, I have been able to take my time to find something that is perfect for me and although I have yet to find it, I'm still looking and optimistic that the right job will come along soon. In the mean time, I've had a lot of time to reflect, spend time with family and friends, and lots of cooking, baking and crafting!

My boyfriend comes from a large family, the youngest of nine.  Every Sunday they do family dinner and there can be anywhere from 14-18 people.  They welcomed me into their family with open arms and when they found out I could cook, they designated me as the official Sunday dinner chef.  I've even earned the nickname Betty Crocker.  A name I will gladly accept as cooking is one of my passions!

I have a lot to be thankful for and while losing someone so dear to me hurt, it has also made me a stronger person. I now cherish many things I took for granted.  Life is short, you should be able to have your cake and eat it too!!!!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9×13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
For the streusel topping:
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
For the Caramel sauce:
Mix the water and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan . Cover and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch it carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel  to burnt very quickly. Stand back to avoid splattering, and gradually add the cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean (or vanilla extract). Simmer  until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. 
Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Make 16 servings.

Happy Saturday!


PPF - Playing With Acrylics

>> Friday, November 30, 2012

My second attempt at acrylics
Wow!  It has been a veeerrry long time since I've been on my blog.  It's amazing how time can go by so quickly.  I was in the mood to paint tonight and decided to link up to the Paint Party Friday blog.  Am I the only one that freezes up when you stand in front of a blank canvas???  This painting was not inspired by anything in nature, just my imagination.  I have a lot more practice to do but I don't think it turned out too bad.  Sorry for the bad pic, my very nice digital camera is having a battery issue and won't hold a charge so I'm stuck with my camera phone and the lighting was not the best at night.  The painting is much darker in person, I was trying to shoot for a deep in the woods look.
Started with this underpainting which I absolutely loved
I think oils are much easier to work with but it is nice that acrylics dry so quickly.
I did this backwards, should have added in the grassy area before putting the trees in
I'm not sure that I love it yet but I think it's not a bad painting and my daughter loves it so it just may find it's way to her house.  To view more paint party Friday submissions, head over here.  Happy Friday!

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All artwork contained in this blog are original works by Deanna Millard unless otherwise stated.

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