"The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world..." Lin Yu-T'ang

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Everyone Needs A Partner

I've been working hard to finish my first commissioned piece. It's quite large and doesn't fit on my work table, so I've been hunching over it on the floor of my small studio. My sweet assistant, Mystery, loves to keep me company. I'm not sure if he likes the smell of Mod Podge and paint or if he just loves me, but I'll take whatever I can get. I love having him around!

Here's a tiny peek at what I'm working on:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude

"Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."
~Brian Tracy 

Gratitude is a practice. Tony Robbins says, "When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears." When we practice gratitude and when we share our gratitude with others, it changes our perspective. It releases energy to bring more good things into our lives. Maybe it's just that we notice it more because that's what we're focusing on. Or maybe the diminishing of fear allows us to do that which we really want to do and that causes the abundance to really come rolling in. Or maybe, practicing gratitude in tough situations that are just a part of life is what keep us strong and gets us through it. The bottom line is that what we give our attention to is what we get more of. I want to be a bit picky about what I give my attention to. I don't want my mind to be lazy and get caught up in the dramas that come and go and can take me off track. I want to be focused on the things I appreciate in my life, whether they are big or small, no matter how long I've waited for them, no matter how hard I've worked for them.

This week I'm grateful for:

*Pumpkin, spice scented candles, the smells of fall
*Breakthroughs that happen just when you can't take anymore
*Warm, cozy evenings by the fire
*Quiet, early mornings before anyone else is up

I'd love to hear what you are grateful for this week!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Street Team Challenge - Back to Back

Whew! It's been a busy month, but I didn't want to miss this month's Street Team challenge, Back to Back. The idea is to finish a background three different ways and see what emerges. I scanned in a canvas that I scraped different colors of paint on to create a background and then I made three copies.

Here is the first:

I sprayed on a walnut paint over a stencil and then stamped the dragonfly and swirls over the top of it. I smeared walnut distress ink on the side.

Next, I sprayed candy apple red Glimmer Mist over the top of a butterfly stencil and when it was dry I stamped a butterfly stamp over the top of the stencil. I then added the flourish stamp and the In Flight stamp. I like using Glimmer mist as it gives a sheen but it can be a little difficult to control the spray. I also like how it interacts with the paint colors. 

This one wouldn't be a finished product but I think the background is more interesting. I took a stencil and sponged white paint over the top of it. I usually like and use dark colors to make my backgrounds so it was fun to experiment with white. Then I took some walnut distress ink and smeared it around the stencil to give more definition to the white. I like the texture this created. I shows up better in person than in my scan. It would also work better and give more texture on my canvas than on the paper copy. 

This was an interesting challenge! I found that the idea of doing something three different ways was a little scary to me. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough ideas, but I found that the more I worked with them, the more the ideas flowed and the more variances I thought of. Interesting to see what I can do when I have the chance to "do it again." Thanks, Michelle!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Best Pumpkin Muffins Ever

I am somewhat of a pumpkin muffin connoisseur. Every fall I taste the perfect pumpkin muffin or bread in a cafe somewhere, and every fall I try to find the perfect recipe or tweak my old one so I can make them at home. I have finally succeeded! I now have the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe. The muffins are the perfect balance between moist and dry, and they are the perfect taste of autumn spice, not too bland and not too bold. Just right. And I want to share them with you!

Here's the recipe:
Start by mixing together, 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Then in another bowl, beat together 3/4 cup softened butter, 3 cups sugar and 3 eggs, one at a time. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture. Stir in 2 cans of pumpkin and 1 tsp vanilla. Fold in 3/4 cup raisins. *Optional: You could fold in some chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds along with or instead of the raisins. Line a muffin tin with papers and spoon in the batter. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

While the muffins are baking, mix up the glaze by stirring together 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 1-2 tsp of milk. Once the muffins have cooled, drizzle with glaze.

Enjoy with a cup of tea!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome To My New Diggs!

Welcome to Art and Life by Kari Desi!

I'd been thinking of changing the name and URL of my blog for a while. If only I would have known to choose my URL based on my name when I first started...but, we learn as we go, don't we! Fortunately, I found some great advice and the transition went so smoothly! And thankfully, my followers are finding me. Whew! I feel good about the change!

Anyway, I decided to share what I did, since it worked so well, just in case anyone else wants to make a similar change. So, here goes:
  1. The first step is to save your blog by going to the Settings tab and clicking on Basic. Then click on Export and choose where to save your blog. Everything stays the same on your current blog.
  2. Next while your still signed in to your blog, go to your Dashboard and click on "create a blog". Enter the title and URL you want your blog associated with. If you choose your name, then you can change the title any time you want without if affecting the whole blog. If you choose a catchy phrase or other kind of name and you want to change your blog, that can be trickier. After you find out if the URL you want is available and you type in the security letters/numbers, you'll be directed to choose a template. (You can design it later).
  3. Now it's time to import your blog. Go to the Settings tab and click on Basic and then on Import Blog. You will be importing the blog that you just saved. You should get all of your posts and comments no problem, however, you may have to reinstall some of your widgets. You may also have to redo some or all of your design. 
  4. Enter a post on your old blog directing your followers to your new blog so that they can find you. This is the most important part because along with changing the URL you will lose all your followers. It's a good idea to leave the post there for 30 days or so and then delete the old blog.
  5. And you're all set!
I hope that's helpful and if you have any other advice or tips, feel free to share!

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    A Halloween Party

    Hosted by

    Darkness falls across the land
    The midnight hour is close at hand.

    Mystery knows the way
    As the night steals light from the day
    Have courage and be brave
    as you pass by each grave

    A ghost we see along the way
    but do not fear, do not stray.
    A quick jaunt through the park
    hurry now, it's getting dark.

    Then through the cemetery we do tread;
    the place, filled with spirits of the dead.
    You must hurry;
    catch up with Mystery,
    he is waiting not far ahead.

    Ah, we have arrived on this howling night
    The distant screams, they do give such a fright
    Come let us cross the street
    Inside awaits a treat

    "We have been waiting for you
    Do come in.
    The other ghosts and ghouls
    are in the den.

    A couple from the Great Beyond
    Of Halloween they are quite fond
    They join to dance every year
    So come and join in, do not fear.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Wednesday Gratitude

    This week I have had gratitude for:
    • warm apple crisp and a cup of tea
    • the sweater that keeps me warm on chilly mornings
    • the beautiful sunlight that reflects off of the bright yellow leaves of fall
    • all of the stunning creativity I see on the blogs that I follow (you are all so amazing!!)
    I would love to hear what you have gratitude for today.
    Have a wonderful week!

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Passport to Here

     Another art piece from my series of "9 Pieces". 
    You can find it also in my Etsy Shop (see the link in the sidebar).
    Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Journey of the Soul

     I have definitely been on a journey during the past year. A journey to finding my voice through art. I find I can say what want to better with color, form, composition, and symbolic elements than I can with words. These are my stories, my poems, my songs. These are what I experience along the journey of my soul.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Wednesday Gratitude

    Can you believe it's Wednesday already? The days just click by don't they?

    We all go through times of uncertainty and stress. It's just part of life. I'm in one of mine and have been for a while. Every time I hit that place, I ask myself two questions: Do I need to kick it in gear and get a little more motivated? Do I need to just chill and wait and be patient? Sometimes they are not easy questions to answer. The Unknown doesn't come with a flashlight and a map. I most often feel like I'm walking through a cave in the pitch black. But as long as I can take a step forward, I keep going. So, with that in mind, here's what I have gratitude for this week:

    • I'm grateful that my daughter and I can work out our differences and while sometimes it's difficult to reach that point of understanding, we can celebrate at the end of the day.
    • I'm grateful for the roof over my head. I appreciate my home and the peaceful environment that I can create.
    • I'm grateful for friends who stay in touch with me even though distance prevents us from grabbing a cup of tea or catching a movie together.
    • I'm grateful for all of the new friends I'm meeting through the art and blog communities I'm venturing into.

     What do you do to keep going in times of uncertainty? What do you especially have gratitude for today?

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    A Brand New Look

    Ah...Finally! I've been wanting to change the look of my blog for so long but was afraid to try the new template designer in Blogger. I just couldn't stand my old banner anymore either. It was the first banner I created several months ago, and thankfully, I've grown a little bit since then! I needed an update.

    So, I spent the whole morning redesigning my blog, creating a new banner, and giving my blog its much needed makeover. It was quiet in the house this morning as my family slept in late and the rain fell softly outside. The gift of time. I got to just learn and plan and create. I faced my fears of messing everything up took a deep breath and jumped right in. Do you know that feeling that you have after cleaning out the closet you've been avoiding? That's how I feel. I realized that I was avoiding my blog because I didn't like looking at it anymore. Now I feel good looking at it and I feel good that I overcame some obstacles and learned some new things. And being creative always energizes me. And you know what? The new template designer was not as hard as I thought it was. There are literally hundreds of options and it's totally customizable and easy to use for any level. So, if you've been putting it off, go dive into the deep end! You'll be glad you did.

    And now...about that closet...

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    The Colors of Fall

    It's so beautiful to see the trees all adorned in their finery at this time of the year.

    The bright red and gold colors of the leaves are absolutely spectacular. 

    My drive to work is more pleasant than usual with the sparkling light of the sun catching all those colors and creating a kaleidoscope of wonder.

    It's fascinating, isn't it, how the seasons come and go, each with their own personalities and colors. 

    Fall is definitely a colorful fanfare, calling in the upcoming holidays and urging us to celebrate, prepare and renew.

     "Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."
    ~Emily Bronte