Sunday, December 28, 2008

Almost 2009

The New Year is upon us and I am so grateful for the wonderful year I've had. Life is good! I'm praying for good things for everyone and great blessings for the next year!
Cheers to all!!! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Falling Flat on My Face

Did you ever hear the term "falling flat on your face"? Well, this actually happened to me this week. So I love being busy, and having a project. This year I decided to create a life size gingerbread family to represent all the members of our household. Last year I painted the snowman family, which we are hanging in the family room. With all I try to do during the holidays, I was a bit frazzled. I went outside to check out my finished gingerbread family, and not really paying attention to what I was doing - whoosh- down I went. As I was falling in my front yard, I was certain I would catch myself before actually falling on my face. But no, face down going straigh into the ground. Lucky for me, my face fell into the mulch and not our crown of thorns. Of course, the first thing I did was look around to make sure nobody saw! I've got a few bruises but my ego got it the worst.
Now I should have gone back to bed, and cancelled the rest of the weekend at this point. But no, I just kept chugging away. We were having our cookie party on Sunday, which most everyone bailed out of anyway. Good thing, since during the party our oven exploded. No, I'm not kidding, there was an actual explosion inside the oven while we were baking cookies. My mother, being who she is, was very concerned that we might loose a batch of cookies and opened the smoking oven to retrieve the cookie sheet. Everyone went crazy. People were running out the door, my daughter was dropping and rolling (even though she was in a different room). Thank God, my husband had the presence of mind to throw the electric switch. We finally got things under control and has to cancel the rest of the cookie swap.
My silver lining is, even though it is one week before Christmas, and we have 30 people coming for dinner on Christmas Eve, I'm getting a new oven!! A bright shiney LG oven to match my refrigerator! Oh, the cookies I'll be baking this weekend! I can't wait, and I'll be walking real carefully when I go outside.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Can you hear it? It is the tiny little voice telling you that Christmas is almost here. Something like 18 more days - OMG!!! I have so much to do, I'm not even sure where to start. Every year it seems like there is less time to prepare for the holidays, they just keep getting here faster and faster. Or is that just me getting old?
O.K., time to quit complaining, and time to get busy. My dirty little secret is I just love all the craziness! I love having a million things to do, I love being busy. My husband thinks I am insane, and after 10 wonderful years of marriage (our anniversary just passed), I have managed to get him involved with crafting. If I had a mustach, I would be twirling it right now. I am so proud!
This year for our anniversary I convinced my husband we should make gifts for each other. After all, what could show our love better than something from the heart. I can't believe he actually did it. He sent me out for the afternoon last week (major bonus!) and he stayed home with the kids and made me presents. He even baked me a cake! Poor thing tried to melt chocolates, but he scorced them and it seized:( But the kids were still so excited, they told us they really like crunchy chocolate.
In all fairness, I thought I should make him something that was out of my comfort zone. I did a scrapbook of our years together. I have to say I have an entirely new admiration for you scrapbookers. I never quite understood how hard it is, or how creative the process could be. Well, this has been an amazing weekend! And now I get to really focus on the holidays:)
I'm so excited about all the projects I have planned, including making a life size gingerbread family for my front yard. I found a craftperson on etsy to cut out the gingerbread pieces for me. I've already started painting them and can't wait to see how they turn out. Pics to come!
Enjoy getting into the holidays everyone!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lollishops Is Open At Last

Yummy cupcakes!
Lollipops, for lollishops.

Pretty cake plate

Cookies for Santa?

A few months ago, while playing on my computer, I came across a woman named Sadie Lou. How adorable, and even more adorable she was opening a new online store called Lollishops. It is called a frou frou friendly marketplace, and I am so excited to be a part of it!
Lollishops has just begun, but I am already loving this place. I feel right at home with my girly designs and my tendancy to believe more really is more. I love gold, glitter, swirly design, flowers and sweet treats. Here I can let is all go!!
The other vendors here are so talented, and many are familiar faces I have seen around etsy. Etsy is still a wonderful marketplace, and I am proud to show my work there as well!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

And the winner is.........

Congratulations...mommylion . Thank you all so much for your holiday inspirations. I know I am very inspired to get started on all the fun and amazing holiday celebrations I have planned.

First, I have some custom order ornaments to be working on, (so much fun). Then I plan on making oodles and oodles of homemade ornaments for my daughters Christmas tree. It is all pink and glittery, and we are planning on decorating it with yummy wooden ornaments like cupcakes, lollipops and slices of cake. I have some terrific etsy sellers helping me make some custom shapes.

Next, the kids and I are starting a gingerbread house of major frou frou proportions. It will be adorned with lots of sweet candy and pink flowers. Pictures to come.

And of course, the decorations. I'm looking forward to blog hopping and checking out everyone else's ideas.

Happy Holidays !!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's time for Christmas - Time for a give-a-way

Yummy!! Without the guilt.

Thanksgivings not even here yet, and I already have visions of plumdrops dancing in my head. This Christmas is going to be so fun filled, I have so many projects in the works. Here in sunny Florida, we are experiencing our most fabulous time of year. The weather is remarkable, and I always understand why so many people flock to this area every year. Plus we are in our growing season, so here comes the planting. I can't wait to bring the kids to pick their own veggies at our nearest u-pick (which is kinda far, but totally worth it).

My 8 year old daughter just told me this morning that this is a time for giving. I couldn't have said it better myself! So in the spirit of giving, I've decided to come up with a really cute give-away!! This will be my first one so I'm super excited. Please leave a comment on how you plan on getting into the holiday spirit, along with a way to contact you. I will be picking a winner this Friday, Novemeber 28 2008. I will announce the winner Friday afternoon.

The item one lucky winner will receive is this handpainted one of a kind yummy Christmas ornament!!! This comes from a new series of ornaments I have painted for the newest shop I will be a part of soon, lollishops!!hooray. This amazing new market place is going to be the next greatest shopping experience, especially for those of us in touch with our ultra girly side. Here I won't have to show restraint, but can let my frou frou self go hog wild!

Good luck and stay posted!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lets Paint a Child's Room

Little Girls Room

A Little Bit of France

The rest of these are one room, mural goes around entire perimeter of bedroom.

So, I've been at this painting thing for many, many years. I've learned a very few things along the way, like I always have tons of fun doing what I do. I'd like to give a few simple tips for making a childs room look fabulous.

First, always start with a fresh coat of water-based paint your walls. DON'T be cheap here, get the best quality you can afford. It will serve you well, and in the long run, the cheaper paints require more coats of paint - so you're not really saving any money. I prefer eggshell, but some mural artist like flat paint better. Eggshell or satin paint washes better, and when dealing with children's rooms, this quality goes a long way. (Trust me, I'm a mother of three children that rival some very well know graffiti artists.)

Second, when choosing the base color for your wall mural, try a bold color. When I paint on white, the result is never quite as dramatic. I say, get more bang for your buck, go bold with color. Since I very often paint outdoor scenes in children's murals, I prefer a sky blue to start with.
Third, paint the entire room. No, you don't have to paint everything in the room, but small accents painted around a room bring the entire theme together. For instance, I will sometimes paint a lovely arbor in a little girls room. Adding some flowers growing around the perimeter of the room and butterflies draws the viewers eye around the room.

Last, when painting a childs room, don't forget this is for the child. Add small details in your mural that will grab the interest of the child. Remember to put objects at your childs eye level, this becomes a great teaching tool as they grow. They will point out their favorite animal or butterfly (or whatever your theme is.) And don't forget to have FUN!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This is my super real life

Hmmm - are you having a super real life? I know I am - including trying to start a business to having a busy life raising three rowdy (I mean highly intelligent and always busy) kids.

When I was in my early twenties two of my nieces explained to me (as only a 5 year old could) that I was not leading a super real life. As a college student in the 90's, and having the time of my life, I begged to differ. I was happy, and excited about the prospects of my future. The girls explained to me, I had a real life, just not a super real life. Say what???

They went on to explain that even though I had a life, you had to get married and have children to have a super real life. I thought this was hysterical, I had no intention of ever getting married, I planned on pursuing my art career. Furthermore, my life couldn't have been any more super - life was amazing!

In the next year I met the love of my life, got married and promptly had children. Well, suddenly my life felt a whole lot less super, and a bunch more hectic! Wow, who knew one child could make so much noise? I thought, "this is my super real life?". Don't get me wrong, I loved my life, but not any more than the life I was leading before I was married and had children.

Three children later I realized something was missing. It wasn't with my marriage, which thank you God, is great. It wasn't with my kids, they are incredible! It was me, somehow I had lost myself. Somehow, my dreams had gone out the window when the burp clothes moved in. Well, why couldn't I still pursue my life as an artist and have the rest. I had messed up the idea of becoming a mother, I thought that was all I should do. I had missplaced myself, and in her place was supercharged mommy. My entire identity was wrapped up in motherhood. Please don't misunderstand, I love being a mother, but I love being me as well. I decided it was time to fix this.

And so, I feel like for the first time I am having a super real life. Not because I'm a mom, or a wife and daughter (by the way I have the most awesome mother ever). No, my nieces were wrong, what you need to have a super real life is authencity. I am finally being the person I always wanted to be, a person who has family but also has herself. Now I will pursue my other interests and make myself a priority once in a while. If starting a business doesn't work out, thats O.K. too, because I am not any of these labels, I am simply me.

I hope while you are reading this that you feel happiness and fullfillness in your life. I am on a journey to be just me, and I love to hear your input on how you pursue your own super real life. I will stumble many many times along the way, but that's O.K. too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Murals

Murals by Christina a.k.a.
Details of Last Supper Painting
Painted Medallion
Family Crest

Last Supper in its entirety - this is painted on canvas and applied to ceiling. Is removable, this mural was removed from this site, and reinstalled in another house.

Canvas Floral Painting

Decorative wall Niche

Elegant Bathroom
View of Tuscany

Italian Landscape

In Formal Dining Room

Painting directly on wall inspired by rococo period. Two views of same mural.

Ladies at Bath
Inspired by Francois Boucher

This is the beginning of my way to share my portfolio with the world. I am a mural artist, as well as creator of fine gifts and doll maker. I pretty much try everything that interests me, and I try to do them all well. However, murals are my first baby. I attended Florida State University, and received my degree in visual arts and art history. I went on to paint in the South Florida areas, covering private homes, businesses, and model homes. Currently, I am working more from home and have started a gift shop on etsy, called All the paintings you see are completely painted by me and me alone. I do not use projectors or stencils, so everything is painted freehand. Acrylic paint is my medium of choice, however, I am able to use other mediums such as watercolor, pencil, etc. etc. Much of my work is inspired by artists throughout history, such a Francois Boucher, Michelangelo, rococo artists, and renaissance art. My history background helps me in my research and knowledge of the past and present, which is reflected by my work.
If you are interested in contacting regarding murals, you can e-mail me at . Thank you for taking the time to view my portfolio. I will be adding products from my gift shop, as well as the children section of my portfolio soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Adventures in Cake Making

My mom's tupperware mat and rolling pin circa 1960!
Among my many adventures in crafting and all things artsy, I have decided to try my hand at cake decorating. Understand, I am a complete amatuer, but I would like to share what I have learned. Also, I love to save money and I spent about $10.00 on this cake versus the $75.00 the bakery wanted for a similiar cake.

Here goes, first assemble cake layers. Last year I made a vanilla bean genoise cake, with layers of swiss buttercream, interlayered with a chocolate ganache. My kids hated it, this year betty crocker boxed mix was my friend, and my children ate it with relish. Whatever, at least I saved hours of time even if my ego is a bit bruised.

I used three different size pans, a 9 inch, 8 inch, and 6 inch pan. After baking I trimmed the top off the domed top, so that each layer will sit even. I used ready made frosting and used two and half cans of frosting, and two boxes of cake mix for this cake. Wilton also sells a special pan for doll cakes, but I think this is just as easy plus I saved money. Let cakes cool well before decorating.

After layering the cake, I trimmed the sides to give a more rounded appearance, then I frosted the cake, first a crumb coat. Don't worry if it looks messy, fondant will cover everything up. Then I let the cake rest for a while in the fridge. After about 30 minutes, I refrosted her, to give her a smoother layer. Any dents or grooves should be filled with frosting.

Carve a hole in the center of the layered cake. I did this by inserting a knife into the center and making a circle, then using a long spoon to eat the inside of the cake -YuMmmm. My daughter wanted Barbie and the Diamond Castle to be her theme. After buying the doll, I realized the gown doesn't come off so I used an inexpensive Barbie and made the bodice of her gown out of fondant. Wrap the Barbie doll in plastic wrap to keep her legs from getting too dirty, or simply buy one the Wilton doll picks, but their faces aren't as pretty as the Barbie. Insert her into the cake.

Next, for the fondant. I purchase the premixed fondant, but there are recipes for it on the web. They intimidate me, so I go to Walmart and buy the white fondant. If you want to add color, I suggest the gel food color, liquid would change the consistentsy of the fondant. Use a small amount of gel color ( you can always add, but can't take away), and start neading it like dough. You can use cornstarch or powdered sugar to dust the rolling pin and board. I like cornstarch better, sugar gets too sticky. After the fondant is well kneaded and color is exactly the way you like it, begin rolling it, to about 1/8 inch. Usually, cakes are covered entirely with fondant, smoothed out, and trimmed. This time I wanted the gown to be layered so I sectioned the fondant the same way you would piece together a dress. The fondant sticks to the frosting, and smooth is down with her fingers and palm of your hand.

I also cut out small flower shapes to add as decoration which I attatched with the frosting. Royal icing would work best, but I didn't feel like making it, so frosting it is. I colored more frosting to fill in any gaps and hide any mistakes in the fondant. I used a small star tip on my icing bag, but a baggie works just as well. I then used a sparkle gel tube, ready made, to make the designs on her gown. This took about 3 hours from beginning to end. The birthday girl was very happy, just look at her face.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I have no idea what I'm doing

So, I clearly have no idea what I am doing, but I am trying to start a blog. I understand it is a good way to share my work with the world, but I'm pretty sure this is going into cyberspace heaven.
Well, I am Christina a.k.a. purplesmurple, and I love everything artsy. I have been painting murals in South Florida for the last fourteen years in businesses and homes. I have also been creating household goods and stuff for kids for the last 8 years, since my first child was born. I need to stay creative to keep my sanity and happy mom is good mom! Thank God, I have a very supportive husband and family!