Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork – You can do this!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

Remember that chocolate themed birthday party I threw for my mom? The one I painted the Chocolate Frosted Cupcake for? Yes, the one I haven’t shown you yet. That’s the one! Good memory!

Well, I painted these cute little truffles for that party too. (Pinspiration here.) Again, part gift-part decoration! She actually hung them up already on the wall in her bathroom in little white frames! Yes… it’s adorable!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

I painted them with watercolor and added the white with Sharpie Paint Pens. Then I added a touch of black with my Faber Castel thin pen to add shadow and make the white pop. It really helped! Super easy!

You could do this with markers too! Just color in the chocolate with brown marker and then use the white paint pen (a couple coats would help!) and add the black lines at the end. (Keep the black on the same side of the white on all the lines so it has a realistic “shadow” look.) I think they would make adorable greeting cards! Let me know if you try!

Easy Chocolate Truffle Artwork - You can do this!

Looking at them now (I always notice details like this when I look at the picture of whatever I painted, not before) I think I would put the swirl one in the middle to make it seem more balanced, but that’s because I have issues with symmetry. What do you think? Would you switch them out to put the swirl in the middle? Or do you like them as is? Let me know in the comments!

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Custom Chocolate Wrappers
Some February Painting
Custom Conversation Hearts

Grandma – Watercolor memories of licorice

Today is my grandma’s birthday (Happy Birthday Grandma!)

Like the donut I painted for my grandpa’s birthday last summer, I wanted to do something special. A memory from my childhood. Of her.

It could have been of shopping. Or the cocoa she made when we went for donuts with grandpa. Or half a dozen others. But this time, for this birthday, it was the licorice.

Grandma always had licorice in the drawer of her night stand. Usually chocolate licorice and black licorice. Yum! I can remember asking grandma for some when we were back in her room getting dressed for something, or when we spent the night. Or even just because we knew it was there.

Happy birthday grandma! Thanks for the memories!

Gathering here.

A New Way to Frame My Watercolor – Calipso Watercolor Illustration

Last year we enjoyed a family membership to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. It was a drive from our Pennsylvania home, but they have these member nights when there are only a limited number of people there at a time. We literally had entire exhibits to ourselves sometimes!

And with our membership, we were able to bring guests with us, so a number of times, we invited a friend of ours and her daughter to join us. So when Christmas gift giving time came around, I thought it would be fun to make them an ornament to remember our trips to the aquarium together.

So this is Calypso. For those of you who don’t know, he’s kind of a star at the National Aquarium.

And I’m just loving this new framing method. It doe attach it permanently, so I may have to tweak things if I want it not to someday, but for ornaments or other permanent things, it works great!

I blogged about the other ornaments I framed this way here. And I learned how to make these here.

Gathering here.

Hand Lettered and Illustrated Olive Oil Labels

In October, my husband and I enjoyed our first weekend away in eight and a half years. For the first time in that long, the baby was old enough that my mom thought she could do it alone. (Remember, I have 6 children 12 years and younger. We’ve had a baby in the house for 12 years!) He turned three in September, as a joint birthday present for my husband and I (turning 40), she gifted us an all expense trip away and child care. It was amazing!

Long story short, there was this little olive oil and vinegar shop and tasting room almost right beside our inn. It was so yummy! So yummy, in fact, that we, who weren’t going to buy anything, ended up spending $50 on some to take home. Then we decided that we just had to try it ourselves.

Now we don’t exchange gifts with too many people outside our immediate family, but there are some people at my husband’s office and at church that we want to gift to each Christmas.

To some, we gift a platter of cookies and candies we make. Pastors, family friends, neighbors.

To others, including some of the family, we decided to gift some infused olive oils.

My husband found and ordered the bottles (complete with heat shrinking tops and a pack of labels). We infused the oils together using a bunch of recipes we found online. And I designed the labels. If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll notice a blocked out area under “olive oil”. That is where our last name was. The illustration and large hand lettered parts were done by me and scanned into the computer. The other fonts were straight out of Photoshop. It was a fun gift to put together because it used both of us to put together. And while it did take some work (3 evenings after the kids were in bed), it really wasn’t hard.

Have you ever infused olive oil? Do you have any recipes you could share with us? We’re still on the hunt for the perfect ones. 🙂

Gathering here.

“Cookie’s in the Oven” Gingerbread Ornament for Pregnant Moms

I could have sworn I’d shared this last year, but I guess I decided I could share it this year as part of actual Christmas. Well, I missed my chance again. But since I’m planning to reference this project in my next post, I think I’ll share it now anyway. 🙂

I made this last year for my brother-in-law and his wife as they were expecting their first baby. This baby.

It’s a pregnant gingerbread lady!

With an adorable tag. I think anything is made infinitely more special when you hand letter and draw a special tag to go along with it. In fact, this Christmas, one of our gifts (not yet blogged… sorry.) got at least as much attention for the hand drawn tag as for the homemade gift inside. But more on that in coming days.

This post is about gingerbread.

Pregnant, hand sewn gingerbread.

I just love gingerbread people. 🙂 One of these days I’m going to paint a gingerbread nativity a lot like the one at the end of this post… but it wasn’t this year.

Christmas isn’t over my friends… stay tuned!

Gathering here.

Every Baby Needs a Party!

A “Snowbaby” sprinkling table at our church that is up right now.

As our family grew larger, we occasionally got the feeling that there were those around us who were not so excited we were having another baby… again.  Perhaps it was hormones on my part, perhaps it was insensitivity on the part of others (probably some of both), but I didn’t always feel like everyone was celebrating with us when we announced the birth of a new baby.

With six kids and only one baby shower, I’ve developed a firm belief that every baby needs a party!  The presents aren’t important either (though who doesn’t need diapers wrapped in pretty paper?)  It’s the thought… the celebrating with the family.  The feeling that someone else is excited about the new life God has blessed your family with!  Well I am that person.  I am excited!  Every time!

I do this in two ways.  First off, one of my ministries at church is “party planner”.  I get the beautiful joy of planning most of the bridal and baby showers for the people in our church (I try not to get too disappointed when someone close to the family has aspirations of doing it themselves.)

A diaper “cake” for a “Daddy’s Little Hunting Buddy” baby sprinkling at church last summer.

This is all well and good, but, unfortunately, the church policy is to throw a baby shower for the first baby of the family.  This bothered me for a long while before I figured out a solution.  I wanted to throw a party for every baby, but the church didn’t have the budget for it and neither did we.

A baby sprinkling table set up at church to collect gifts for a new baby last fall.  The paintings are mine.

Years later, we came up with the idea of baby sprinklings.  So now, when a new baby is born, I design an “invitation” that is emailed to everyone at church.  It includes a new family picture and the birth information with an explanation of what the sprinkling is, all decorated up with whatever theme I’ve chosen.  I’ve done half a dozen or more in the last couple years and they have been a blessing to the families, the church family and to me.

Just yesterday I put up a “Snowbaby” themed sprinkling table at church.  It will be up to gather gifts for the next few Sundays.  This time I included a “snowbaby” diaper cake and an original illustration that shows us all just where snow babies come from.

The other thing we do as a church when a baby is born is to take meals to the family.  I try to sign up in one of the first slots so I can be sure they don’t get missed (I’ve been the recipient of a lot of meals in my time, especially since we got meals for a full month while working through some feeding struggles after my last baby was born, so I always enjoy paying it forward!)  I also try to step it up a bit.  I don’t just bring a meal… I bring a party.  🙂

Labels I made to adorn the party food I delivered for a family last summer.

It’s not that much more work, and the impact is fabulous!  First, I pick a theme.  Sometimes I use inspiration from the family, other times I pick on my own.  The pic above shows the labels I made (with sharpie on card stock — yes, you can do this too!) for one such “party” I delivered last summer.  Baby was born the last days of June, so I figured a 4th of July party was due!  I even included some sparklers we had laying around for the older sisters.


These are some pics of the party I delivered last month.  I picked a gingerbread baby theme, sketched the labels and illustrated a card and painted them in quickly on card stock.  Colored pencils, crayons or markers would have worked too!  (clip art and printed labels are just as cute)

I found a recipe on Pinterest for gingerbread playdoh, so I made some up, enough for their little girl and my little ones.

Put it in a recycled jar, sketch and color in a label and tie on a cookie cutter with some scrap fabric and it was the cutest touch to the party.  I called it a party favor. 🙂

Families are always overwhelmed by the little bit extra!  🙂  And that always makes it worth it to me!

Yesterday morning as I was leaving church, a mama of three boys handed me a thank you note.  I read it while waiting for the car to warm up.  Inside she thanked me for “making each new baby feel so important and welcomed.”  That is exactly why I do what I do!

Do you do something special to celebrate the birth of a new baby in your circle?

Note: please don’t skip taking a meal to families who have just had a baby because you don’t have time or resources to dress them up.  They will be just as appreciative that you took the time to bring them a meal!


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A Special Touch to Gifts

One of my favorite things to do with hand lettering and illustration is to add a special touch with gift tags… especially when the gift was homemade in the first place. These are some scrubs we gifted to the pastor’s wives in our church last Christmas.  I think it made them extra special.


Original artwork and hand lettering with Ultra Thin Sharpie Markers on card stock.

In Memory of Grandma


Growing up, every Christmas morning was the same.  After we’d opened presents and snacked on Christmas Eve goodies from the night before, we’d get bundled up in our jammies, mom would gather our fancy Christmas clothes and accessories to be put on later, and we’d pile into the car.

Thirty minutes down the road, we’d arrive at my grandparent’s home (on my dad’s side).  There we’d find red stockings full to the brim for everyone.  We could open those before breakfast!  Presents were under the tree, all signed from Santa.  But those had to wait until after.

Breakfast.  The memory of Christmas breakfast still makes me smile.  That is why I painted this for my dad last Christmas.  Breakfast was always the same.  Beautiful Dutch Babies, two of them, in cast iron skillets.  Fruit salad with kiwi slices over the top.  Avocados filled with cocktail sauce and shrimp.  And blood orange juice, fresh squeezed from her tree in their Southern California back yard.

That is what this piece is all about.  Each element represents something from Grandma’s Christmas morning.  Even the gold glass ball ornaments were patterned after the ones that hung on her tree each year.

One of these day’s I’ll make myself one that says “Grandma’s”, because for me, that’s who she was.

Original artwork created with watercolor and ink on 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper.