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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Taco Casserole

Happy Sunday all! I wanted to share a easy, yet very yummy recipe that my family has loved for years. My kids requested this a lot and still do when they visit.


Who wouldn't want to eat that? It is a lovely feast to the eyes.  Here is the recipe and a tutorial on making it.

Easy Taco Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 Cups Chopped Onion
1 pepper (green, red or yellow)
1 (14 oz.) pkg. taco seasoning
3/4 Cups water
1 16 oz. can refried beans
1 (8 oz. ) jar taco sauce
2 1/2 Cups crushed tortilla chips (crush in zip loc bag)
1 3/4 Cups shredded cheese (sharp)
chopped jalepeno (optional)
lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and avocado

Heat oven to 400. In medium skillet over medium hight heat, combine beef, onion, pepper; cook until beef is browned. Drain off fat. Stir in taco seasoning and water; simmer 10 minutes.

in another bowl combine refried beans and taco sauce. I also chopped a few jalepeno pieces and added to this. In an ungreased 8 inch square  pan, layer half of the bean mixture, half of the beef mixutre, 2 cups crushed tortilla chips and 1 cup of cheese. Top with remaining bean mixture and beef mixture.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; top with remaining tortilla chips and cheese. Return to oven; bak an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve on a bed of romaine and topped with tomatoes, sour cream and avocado. YUMMY!

Here is what you'll need to make this! All that's missing is the beef and I forgot to add the pepper!
Here I have my beef, onion and pepper ready to cook and brown.

In the mean time I have my beans, taco sauce and a few jalepeno slices mixed together.
I have my beef cooked, water and taco seasoning cooking and simmering for 10 minutes.

In my glass dish I have half my bean mixture spread out in my pan.

And half of my beef mixture.

Cheese and crushed tortilla chips!
Now the rest of the bean and beef mixtures go on top of that. It goes in your pre heated oven for 25 minutes. layer more cheese and chips on that and heat the cheese until melted.
And here it is out of the oven and ready to eat. Delicious!!

Enjoy this very easy yet super tasty dinner.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Clover A Prim Dust Bunny

Who says Dust Bunnies aren't cute anyway? My little dust bunny kindly disagrees. :-) I would like to introduce to you **Clover** A Prim Dust Bunny. Her pattern will be available in a few short days.

She is free standing and measures 12" tall. Her feet are dirty from playing in the garden!

Here's a closer look at her grubby little feet! Such cute bunny feet if I do say so myself. :-)

Her little tag is surely stating the truth here. :-) Can you see why I don't dust often? With bunnies this cute running around my house, who wants to dust them? Perhaps Spring cleaning isn't all it's cracked up to be...

Here is a better look at her cheese cloth waitband.


Instructions for making the feather duster are included in the pattern. She is so much fun to make! I am reluctantly going to say that this dust bunny doll will be for sale soon too. I would like to keep her, but will most likely adopt her out anyway. I am thinking that I may do a few extra's of these dolls to have for sale.

Thanks for taking a look at Clover.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blogger Award

I was honored to receive the versatile blogger award from Donna of country side cottage. Check out Donna's blog and handmade items.

With this award I was to tell you 7 random things you don't know about me, or maybe some of you do.

1) I have a few more creative interests besides what you see here. I love messing around with photography and have won several photo contests much to my surprise. I also love to make Cold Process soap from scratch.

2) I love to be creative with cooking and just like my crafts, I tend to not know when to quit fussing and be done. I have to add just one more spice or ingredient until I sometimes end up with some very tasty meals. I also have to be in the mood and do not cook like this every day.

3) My house is very neat and tidy, never really dirty BUT you may not want to look at the cofusion going on in drawers and closets.

4) I know how to make every kind of coffee, latte, blended and frothy drink around. Why? because I work three days a week in a coffee bar.

5) I am a homebody and unlike most, I find getting ready for vacations, work and an inconvenience. I never like being that far away from my craft room! I do enjoy it once I am off, but you might as well tie me down to get me to get ready to go. When I get back I am more tired than before I left.

6) I like to have a quiet life and keep my commitments down to a minimum. I am not a group function person or joiner if you know what I mean. Don't ask me to go to this or that function and fill my schedule up, I will probably say no. Love my small group of friends and one on one time with them. I can completely entertain myself and not require company. Don't get me wrong, I love people and doing things, just in doses.

7) I can spend 4 hours in Hobby Lobby no problem. I can spend all day at craft bazaars and antique stores, but ask me to go to the mall and go shopping and I break out in hives.

These are pretty random! I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday. Thanks again Donna for adding my blog to your list of favorites.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bunny Face Painting Tutorial # 2 (Clover)

Happy Sunday all! I started my next pattern recently, I figure since Spring is coming it should be another bunny. I am absolutely loving how this one is coming out! I will not show her in her entirety until she is done. For now I thought I would do a progression of pictures again on the face painting. I think everyone enjoyed  my last one so I will bring it to you again. My technique here is still pretty much the same.
Here is how Clover's face looks finished!


Here is how she started out, quite different don't you think?
I have  Mrs. Potato Head  Clover the bunny's head all ready to be painted. Yes, I realize that her head looks like a potato on a stick. :-) I usually do not go quite as crazy as this with the prim, but I went crazy with the coffee here. I started out my drawing in the nose, I usually just eye this. From there I can tell pretty easily where I want the first eye.

So I could see what I was doing, I filled in the eye and nose so I could measure from there. All my painting on fabric is done with the help of 70% textile medium and 30% water mix. I use this to dress my brush and add a touch to the paint so it all won't run into the fabric and cause a mess!

To get the eyes the same size and to make sure the features are in the right place I always use my caliper. I can eye ball the nose and first eye, but from there it gets hard to just freehand the second eye the same size as the first. First thing I do is measure the distance from the nose to the inner corner of the eye. I take a pencil and make a dot on the other side where the second eye's corner will go. Next I measure the width of the first eye on the lower edge. I now make dots on the other side with this measurement. I draw the bottom line as you see here in the picture. Now it is easy enough to measure the height of the first eye to the tippy top. Use your caliper and make a dot at the top with this measurement. I then draw my eye between the dots. Sometimes this does not come out right. I will take a white eraser and just erase my lines and do it again until I have it right.

I go ahead now and fill in my eyes, nose, mouth area with the basecoat colors I have chosen. I usually will pick nose and mouth lip colors that have a similar hue to the clothing. If my dress fabric has a rusty look, I will not go crazy with a pink nose. You get the idea.
I am starting to define the areas with some linework. Here I have lined the mouth, lower edge of the nose and under the eyes. Linework is done with thinned down paint and a liner brush. Be careful that you are using your textile mix with black, once it starts to run it is a disaster. You can initially water down thicker paint with some water, but also add some textile mix to your paint puddle, also dress your brush in it instead of water as you are painting.  

I will start my shading  now. I will post at the end of this tutorial what my shading technique is. You can see that I have added some shading uner the mouth, inside the mouth along the lip, lower edge of the nose, outer edges of the eyes and above the nose. This really starts to make the face pop and adds much needed dimension.

I have added some shading in the eyes by adding a float of black on the insides edges toward the nose. I did not think my brown line work was dark enough so I made my lines black.

She is looking a lot less like a Mrs Potato Head here. I have added some highlights in white in the eyes, lip and upper nose area. I also took my white and added some much needed bunny teeth! Now Clover can eat her veggies. She now has pretty eyelashes!

She does not want to be pale and anemic, so she is happy when I add a healthy glow to her little bunny cheeks. I did this by coating the cheek area in my textile mix. I then take a dry scruffy brush and dip in my cheek color. I swirl off the excess onto a paper towel until almost none comes off. From there I lightly brush color where I want it until it is the depth I like.

Here's her finished picture again. You can see that I also added a highlight of white on the muzzle area, a tad under the eyes and some white comma strokes on the upper cheeks. I made sure all my linework was good and touched that up if needed. Her teeth needed a line down the middle, almost forgot that! With a stylus I added dots on her muzzle area. Her ears were blushed the same way as the cheeks. I took sisal and added whiskers.
Isn't she cute!!! I am anxious to unveil the rest of her. She will be ready soon. I may just do a few of the finished dolls as well and put them up for sale. This is a very fun doll to make.

Here is how I to add shading to all my projects. This is the one painting technique I use the most and the most valuable to me for making my dolls become what they are.

HOW TO SIDE LOAD A BRUSH FOR FLOATING YOUR SHADED AREAS: Choose a flat brush that is the largest you are comfortable with. The larger your brush is the more room for paint to fade off into nothing. You want to accomplish a nice soft color that starts off dark and fades off into nothing. This is used for shading and highlighting. Dip your brush into water and blot off lightly onto a paper towel, leaving enough water to allow the paint to move. Dip one corner of your brush into your paint puddle. I like to use a foam plate for loading since it is non porous and leaves the paint in the brush. Putting enough pressure to move the paint into your brush, move the brush stroking it back and forth on your foam plate. Stay in a small area. Turn the brush over and push the paint into your brush. You will see when the paint looks like it is fading off into nothing. You don’t want harsh lines, so you will need to have enough water and paint in your brush to accomplish this. Practice on a scrap piece of muslin. Tape your muslin onto a clean foam plate with masking tape, or lay it on several layers of paper towels. If the paint is dragging, there is not enough water in your brush. If it is barely visible, there is not enough paint. If there is a line and no graduation of color, you did not work the paint into the brush good enough and you may need more water. Just practice until you get it. I suggest buying a good book on properly loading your brushes and how to do the brushstrokes. I really like Donna Dewberry’s brushstroke books. Some paints depending on brand are thicker than others, if the paint seems overly thick; thin it down with water before side loading your brush. Clean your brush often and reload as needed. With fabric, always coat the area to be shaded in textile mix first, this will really make your floated color come off smoothly. When paining on fabric or other surfaces that have been basecoated, you will use a sheen of straight water and textile medium is not necessary.

For more pictures and information see my other tutorials on painting and the paint room tools. Go to my pages on the side bar of this blog.

I hope you enjoyed watching Clover come to life! Stay tuned for a tutorial soon on my easy but delicious taco casserole!!

Blessings Jody

Saturday, February 18, 2012

AND THE WINNER IS!!

Well it's time to announce the winner of my bunny giveaway! My friend Christine came over today for a visit so I had her draw the name for me.
First I had her stir it up... just look at all those entries.
Then she stirred it up again with her hand, dug deep...

She pulled out the entry and this is what it said....

Congratulations Kim of Old Road Primitives!!

Thanks to all who entered this giveaway! Another thank you to my new followers. :-)
 Keep watching for the next giveaway here, you never know when one will pop up!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

A snowy Thursday and a bunny pattern!

I thought Spring was almost here, BUT the ground is quickly covering over with a blanket of white! I guess the weather is proving again to be unpredictable.

Two days left untili the giveaway drawing! I will post the winner sometime Saturday morning. Good luck to all who entered and thank you!!

My bunny is done, she can be purchased here from my side bar. I am also a new member of Patternmart. I am excited about being part of such a talented group of designers! I only have two patterns, but hey you have to start somewhere right? As soon as I can figure it out, I'll post the my link to patternmart here.

Well, have you ever had the bad fortune of being out of a most crucial crafting supply? I am thinking my stuffing order of two weeks ago now has gone WRONG. I cannot get a hold of anyone either to help me. I am very very frustrated, here I sit and have no way of sewing up my next project without this. I live out of town and have become so spoiled using Airtex Premium stuffing that I refuse to use anything else! My dolls would pout... :-) So I am stranded and in hopes of help soon.

I hope you are all having a lovely Thursday! I think it is tea time and a cozy fire for me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beatrice Bunny and my purchase!

Hello and happy Sunday!! I hope you have all found some reason to smile today... :-) I want to thank everyone for the nice responses I have recieved on my painting tutorial. This has inspired me to plan more of them in the near future. Stay tuned....

So far I have had a lot of sign ups for my current giveaway! a big thank you... There is only a few days left so if you haven't entered be sure to get in on it while you can.

I have finished my tutorial bunny and prototype doll to my next pattern. I want to give you a peek at her today. Her pattern is not quite ready, but will be soon.

FIRST of all I want to share my latest purchase!
 I am probably like most of you who are creative, we LOVE to own other artists goodes. After all don't we see our own creations ALL THE TIME? I am now the proud owner of this artist original!! Carol Stuck of Buttermilk Creek Farms makes darling mice with attention to every detail as you can see in the pictures. She will be unveiling her Spring mice soon. She is also planning her next giveaway! Head on over to her blog and check out what fun things she has going on.
CLICK HERE TO SEE CAROL'S BLOG! As you can see Gert and Dilly are adorable and trust me, even better in person. Carol takes pride in her work and it shows! I am so glad to own one of her works of art!
Here are some pictures of my Beatrice Bunny.

I had a hard time finding just the right fabric to make Beatrice apron out of, so what's a person to do? The only logical thing.... PAINT IT! I took some heavy muslin,  mixed up the paints to match the dress and made the checker board pattern you see here. I stained the muslin and also finished the apron off in burnt umber speckles made with my splatter tool. I made her collar in the same fashion as the apron, painted the edges and aged it.

Here is a better shot of the apron.

Here you can see the collar detail and yep I added teeth to this little bunny!!


I really like Beatrice side profile and how the shape of her head looks!

Thanks as always for stopping by my blog!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Face Painting Tutorial (Bunny)

Hello friends! I decided on a whim to take snap shots as I was painting my bunny today. This will show you how it progresses picture by picture. This is my next pattern in the works, so this is also a sneak peek of the head. I will be doing two different looking faces for this pattern. This bunny is Beatrice. Clover is bunny # 2 and I may do a tutorial on her face as well.

Well here goes....
This particular head has only been stained with coffee, I will be painting on the straight muslin. Some heads I will go ahead and sponge on a base coat to start, in that case I omit the textile medium and use straight water. I have taken my mechanical pencil and lightly drawn in Beatrice's face. I start with the nose and position everything else from there.I get one of the eyes positioned correctly and draw it in. I then take my caliper tool and measure the width, height and distance from the nose. I take these measurements and make dots on the other side of the face. I then pencil in the lines connecting the dots for the other eye. I re check the measurements again and adjust if necessary.

 I am using my caliper tool to check my measurements as I go. I have filled in my eyes in a dark chocolate brown.

Picture 3 is looking a little scary!! I have finished filling in the nose and lips in a nice combo of reds. I have taken a flat brush and my textile medium mix of 30% water to 70% textile medium, and dampened the areas to be shaded. The reason using this mix is important on fabric is because it keeps your paint from bleeding off where you don't want it to. A dampened area also makes your float strokes come off nicer and makes the paint move better. If I would have base coated this face first, it makes a canvas that will not have the bleeding issues, so water is fine in those cases.

Here is a foam plate with a puddle of my textile mix and brown all ready for shading around the Bunny's eyes, bridge of the nose and under the mouth area.
I used white here just so you can see it on the brush! I have dipped my clean brush in water, blotted off the excess on a paper towel. Do not remove all the water or the paint will not work into your brush nicely. I have dipped just the corner of the brush into my paint. I am now ready to go to my foam plate and work the paint into my brush for floating my shading and highlight colors on.

This is how the paint should look coming off your brush when it is loaded properly. It go from darker and fade off into nothing. To get this you work your brush back and forth pushing the paint into your brush. I flip the brush over and do it from the other side. If your paint is dragging, there is not enough water. If you have a soupy mess than there is too much. If it is too light, there was not enough paint added. There is a balance of enough water in your brush, enough paint, the right amount of working it in. Practice until you get it!! Clean your brush often in your brush basin during painting, never let the paint dry in your brush. I clean and side load over and over again during my painting. Sometimes I just dip in the paint puddle again and can do a quick work in and go again. I am now ready to shade in the dampened areas of my bunny.

I have applied some shading under the mouth, around outer eyes, bridge of nose, top of nose and lower edge of the nose.. I do my shading if various shades of browns. If you press hard, more paint comes off, if you have a lighter touch less will come off. With dark colors I am more conservative with how much I load into my brush and how hard I press. Sometimes I lightly walk the color out softly with a pitty pat motion and move the paint around. Do not over work your floats, they can end up looking bad. Just let it dry and float again over the same area. You can always add more but it is hard to take it away! It is hard to explain this step, practicing yourself is the most valuable thing to teach you there is. Tape a piece of muslin onto a foam plate and practice shading on scrap fabric before doing your finished piece. The face is looking a bit mottled here, that is okay, it is just the previous coffee staining moving around a bit from the textile mix. This doesn't show much in the end. My dolls are prim so I actually like the mottling.

Here I have floated some black in the left corners of the eyes and white on the right sides. I have also floated white highlights on the nose top and lips. I am way more generous with how much white I can load into my brush than browns. White takes more to show up. I usually end up re applying white until I am happy with it.

I do want to stress that drying your layers is important to keep the paint from bleeding. I sometimes speed dry my painting with a heat gun. Here you see I have started my line work. Line work is done with a fine liner and paint watered down to an inky consistency. If I need more moisture as I am painting, I will dip my brush in my textile mix. A common mistake here is not loading your liner with enough paint. Load your brush heavy enough so the lines come off nicely. I have lined around the eyes in black as well as the eyelashes. I used my brown for line work on the bridge of the nose, nose, mouth and eye brows.

I am now ready to add my cheeks and muzzle. I use a DRY Donna Dewberry scruffy brush dipped in my cheek color. First though I dampened my cheek and muzzle area in my textile mix.

I then take my brush and swirl it around on my foam plate to saturate the bristles with paint. I love using the plates because they are non porous and leave the paint in the brush.

Next step is to swirl off most of the paint onto a dry paper towel until most of it is off the brush. There should only be a light amount of color coming off onto your paper towel. You are ready to add the cheeks by lightly swirling the color onto your dampened cheek area. You can also do this on a dry cheek (no medium). The result is a lighter cheek. The medium makes for a more intense color and much smoother. The choice is yours, I like both looks and do use them both.

This bunny is starting to come to life now! not so scary anymore. I have softly added cheeks. I added a touch on the forehead as well. Next I took some white and added a float of white on the muzzle area, the top of the nose, right side of the eyes, upper cheeks, under the eyes, bridge of nose and under the eyebrows. I made eye dots and highlight comma strokes on the lips, eyes and nose.

I added blush to her ears by coating them in textile mix and shading in my cheek color. I softened the area with a dry mop brush to finish. You may also just dry brush this on in the same technique as I explained for the cheeks.

Here she is all painted and ready for me to finish her body up! I think she is shaping up to be pretty cute. I am thinking that this fabric might be nice on her too. Stay tuned for a peek at Clover's face. I am thinking a more cutesy face for her!

Beatrice and Clover's pattern will be available soon for purchase, so check back if you are interested! This tutorial will be permanently added to my painting tutorial page located on the right side bar here.

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