👑 Mermaid Embroidery

Art

The inspiration behind this piece is entirely clear and one that I can easily direct you to: “Imagine a Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art” by Dinara Mirtalipova. This book is simply lovely and an absolute must-browse for anyone that has an interest in Eastern European design.

Having worked in a public library for 6+ years, I’m very much inspired by books and this one drew me in the moment I saw the cover.

Taking in Mirtalipova’s illustrative style, I was inspired to get out of my comfort zone and create a piece based on the instructions in her book. While her recommended media is paint, I decided to try her style in the form of embroidery.

I was especially attracted to her take on mermaids, and thought that this sea queen would be a perfect summer project!

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While I was working on this piece I also developed a sketch to get a better grasp of the character. This can be a useful tactic when your subject matter is human or humanoid, and you’re looking to capture a specific persona.

Although tedious, embroidering the scales for the mermaid’s top was also fun and I’m in love with the end result.

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I would definitely recommend Mirtalipova’s book to anyone interested in design, illustration and folklore! I know that for me it definitely proved to be a successful source of inspiration.

ANNOUNCING OUR ENGAGEMENT!

Festivity, Inspiration

So ecstatic, excited and proud to be announcing my engagement!

You may or may not have noticed a lull following my last post but, as you can imagine, the past week and a half has been a complete whirlwind!

Andy totally surprised me with this one (as is the ultimate goal), treating me to a romantic dinner at the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia, NY. Little did I know that our post-dinner stroll down to the lake would end in him getting down on one knee and breaking out the perfect ring from his suit jacket!

The restaurant staff did an amazing job as well, going the extra mile to make the evening special and (just as importantly) helping to keep me totally oblivious!

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It was perfectly romantic and elegant (both the evening and the ring) and was everything I could have ever asked for. I’m a lucky woman!

Needless to say, the last 10 days or so have been full of celebrating with friends and family. We are truly blessed to have those of you in our life that have gone above and beyond to make our engagement a special time in our life and have gone the extra mile to make us feel loved and supported – we can’t wait to have you at our wedding!

Aside from celebrating though, there’s also been a lot of work getting done vis a vis  WEDDING PLANNING! And may I just say, I never had any idea just how much planning went into a wedding? I’m tired already! But in the best of ways.

✅ First wedding venue tour 💍😻#lettheweddingplanningbegin #fairytalelocation

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Stay tuned for more wedding-inspired writings, artwork and DIY. This occasion has helped me realize now more than ever just how inspirational love can be!

Fantasticly Beastly Niffler Embroidery

Art

It’s been a little while since I’ve shown some Potter love, so today, in celebration of the first book’s 20th anniversary, I’m bringing the love back with one of my latest embroidery pieces.

A while back, I gave you a preview of this little guy and the painstakingly slow process I was undergoing to get him stitched up to completion.

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At this point, I am VERY happy to announce that this embroidery has reached completion and the niffler’s belly and feet are no longer devoid of thread! Despite the amount of time it took to get it done, it was well worth the effort. (It’s pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself).

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I mean, c’mon just look at that face…

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Aside from representing outstanding cuteness, the niffler also stands as a reminder to the future of the Potter universe. Those of you who, like me, grew up with this story know that it is so much more than just a book series; it’s an artifact of our childhood. For me, it’s also been a constant source of inspiration – showing me that magic is real in friendship, love and story.

It’s also amazing to see the love so strong after 20 years, with young fans all over the world now enjoying these books and films the same way that we did, as if they were just now being released for the first time all over again.

Here’s to the last 20 years and the future that Fantastic Beasts will bring us!

Fruit Kabobs!

Food

It’s that time of year again: barbecue season! And while we all love a good burger, bratwurst, and heaping serving of potato & macaroni salad, sometimes we find ourselves in the mood for something a wee bit healthier.

Fruit kabobs are a simple way to fill that health-craving void. All you need for these simple kabobs are wooden skewers, strawberries and a fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple chunks if you’re in a rush).

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash strawberries and cut them in half.
  2. Cut your pineapple by first cutting off the outside skin. Proceed to cut the meat of the pineapple into chunks.
  3. Spear your kabobs, rotating between pineapple and strawberry.
  4. Enjoy!

Wildlife Inspiration: Wolf Mountain Nature Center

Inspiration, Travel

IMG_3478Anyone who follows this site knows that I am inspired by nature and, more specifically, wildlife. I love animals.

This weekend I decided to go out with Andy and members of his family to find some wildlife inspiration, spending time exploring one of Central New York’s wildlife gems: the Wolf Mountain Nature Center.

Currently home to 13 wolves (plus two new pups!), four coyotes and handful of arctic foxes, I can’t say enough great things about this organization. The grounds are beautiful, hidden atop a picturesque hill in CNY, the staff is overwhelmingly friendly and their mission is honorable and strong, focused on protecting wolves and teaching visitors the beauty of wildlife and the importance of conserving it.

Our group spent a solid two hours exploring the grounds, walking to each enclosure where we were introduced to residents and given new tidbits of information by the awaiting staff members. Aside from learning a lot about the organization, its residents and the wild canine species, the best (although admittedly surprising) part of the visit was how friendly the wildlife was.

With most of the animals being born at the Center, they are all used to human contact, a trait that is critical in regard to medical treatment. Although you won’t get to pet a wolf on your visit, you will definitely get to see them up close and personal as they come up to the fences to check you out.

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Inspired by these encounters, I’m already in the midst of planning my next visit to the Mountain! There’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty of a wild animal, content in a humane and conservation-focused environment to warm your heart and inspire you in the best of ways.

If you’re an animal-lover such as myself, then Wolf Mountain is a resounding must-visit. To learn more about the Center and its residents click here.

Protein-Packed Spinach + Kale Smoothie

Food

smoothieThis Thursday I had the grand pleasure of having all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. Many of you out there can commiserate with the pain, odd looks from people who are staring at your enlarged “chipmunk cheeks” and your inability to eat just about everything.

None the less, while the past five days have been trying in their own regard, they have made me much more adventurous in the smoothie realm!

Following an oral surgery such as a wisdom tooth extraction, it’s vital that you don’t allow your inability to chew get in the way of your nutrition. As I discovered, smoothies are an easy, delicious and pain-alleviating way to get the nutrients you need when you are unable to chew or, seriously, even open your mouth.

While I tried several veggie smoothies over the past week, this Spinach + Kale smoothie has by far been my favorite. Check out the simple recipe below:

Ingredients:

2 cups spinach

1 cup kale

1 tablespoon peanut butter

3/4 cup milk or almond milk

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use a vegetable-based powder)

1 frozen banana

Directions:

Blend spinach, kale, peanut butter, milk and protein powder until smooth. Add in banana and blend again.

Enjoy immediately or store in a mason jar for later!

Drawing a Real Live Fairy: The Luna Moth

Art

Animal imagery is by far my favorite subject matter for drawing, especially that which can inspire a sense of magic. One particular species that has captured my attention over the years is the luna moth.

If you’ve ever seen one #IRL then you will understand my fascination. For those of you who haven’t, then what you have to understand is that seeing a luna moth is like seeing a real live fairy. Even in the pitch black of night, they positively glow, emitting a soft light as they fly through the air. Truly, you’ve never seen anything like it.

🦋Saturday #sketching. #theperpetualcreator

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My comparing luna moths to fairies stretches back to my undergraduate years, during which I time I created a piece that commented on the role science has played in the demise of myth. The piece (seen below) features a repeat silkscreen pattern of a luna moth, meant to mimic a butterfly board, with a 3D soft-sculpture fairy pinned to the center. The fairy, which symbolizes the death of myth and magic in the modern world, is adorned with a luna moth printed on his chest.

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I recently revisited the luna moth, in a cheerier, simpler piece, and was excited to tackle the variety of greens found in their wings with my Prismacolor pencils. I surprised myself, finishing this drawing rather quickly, all the while immensely enjoying blending the colors together with the blending tool. Although wing symmetry proved to be a bit daunting at first, the beautiful things about nature is that it’s rarely ever perfect!

Check out the finished drawing below:

In Search of Flowers 🌸

Inspiration

Memorial Day weekend is fast-approaching and Andy and I are on a mission to dress up our home for the (un)official start to summer.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to dress up your home? Flowers! Bright, beautiful and festive, I absolutely adore flowers. They look great, they smell great, and sometimes, are downright magical.

I want all the #flowers!…But mostly the sea #dragon 😁🐉🌸

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And what’s more fun than enjoying flowers and plants from the comfort of your home? Shopping for them!

🌹Flower shopping = my favorite kind of shopping #springhassprung

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Check out some of the photos I snapped this week on our quest for the perfect floral decor:

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Greek Yogurt and Walnut Dip

Food

Working at Chobani, I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate Greek Yogurt into my cooking. Aside from being a great snack or mini-meal, the yogurt’s thick and creamy texture make it a healthy, versatile ingredient to cook with, and can be used as a substitute for butter, oil, cream cheese, mayo and, most commonly, sour cream.

While I’ve used Chobani yogurt in Swedish meatballs, tuna fish salad, shrimp tacos, bean dip, cheesecake and salad dressing, my simplest rendition was created using the recipe I’m featuring today: Yogurt, Dill and Walnut Dip. 

I originally found the recipe on Real Simple and love how few ingredients it takes to make a filling and healthy snack. Because – let’s be honest – dip is addicting, so the healthier the better!

INGREDIENTS

  • cups Plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, walnuts, dill and kosher salt.
  2. Top with additional chopped dill and walnuts.
  3. Serve with carrots or pita chips.
  4. Enjoy!