Friday, July 31, 2009

Crafty Friday: Silhouette Opposites

I thought I was going to have to cancel Crafty Friday this week because with all of the madness trying to prepare my art for the show at Blues on the Green, I forgot to plan a craft for this week. But lo and behold, my daughter shows up with this little project that she made:


It doesn’t require a lot of supplies, the steps are easy, and the results are striking. So Crafty Friday’s back on!

Here’s what you need:

contrast1 [I apologize for the picture quality…it was a cloudy and much needed rainy day. Amen, Hallelujah!]

3 pieces of paper…2 of the same color [background] and 1 contrasting color [silhouette] This is a great opportunity to teach your child about complimentary colors [colors opposite each other on the color wheel].


tape or glue

a pencil

a stencil [optional]

Step 1: Choose a shape that you want to use for your silhouette and draw it on the 1 piece of paper of a different color [in our case it was yellow]. You can trace a shape if you like, but make sure that whatever shape you use will translate well as a silhouette.


Step 2: Cut out your shape. Begin by first folding the paper to snip a slit that will allow you to cut into the shape without cutting the edges of the paper, like so:

contrast3 Then continue to cut out the rest of the shape.

Step 3: Tape or glue the shape to one piece of the contrasting paper. Then tape or glue the paper you cut the shape out of to the other piece of contrasting paper.


And that’s it, you’re done! If you want, you can frame the silhouettes and hang them to create a beautiful and striking piece of wall art.


Happy Crafting!

nessa dee

Oh, and by the way, I didn’t do as well as I would have liked at Blues on the Green, which was kind of a bummer, but the good news is that there is more art to put in my shop! So, keep checking back for original art, plus prints that will appear in the shop soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Paintings

Clever title, huh? Well, as promised, here’s some of my newest additions to my collection of paintings. As I mentioned yesterday, I will be selling these paintings at Blues on the Green, a summer concert series here in Austin, TX. I will be joining a group of other talented crafters that are part of the Etsy Austin team [if you’re in the area…come out and see us!] Any paintings I don’t sell will join the other paintings in my shop. If you read yesterday’s post, I probably sound like a broken record, so I’ll shut up now and just get to the pictures.

Here they are, my new babies:


3pinkbirds cake2

tealdothouse1 plaidhouse1



toillebirds1 pea1

goldenbird1 paisleybird1

abstract1 redchair1

AND, to repeat myself again [because I know you want to hear it], I have some new prints of my illustrations. They’ll be making their way to the shop, as well!


nessa dee

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

IF: Idle


With new and improved helper robots hitting the market, this Dot Bot model # 67 was quickly replaced.  And because he was idle, this little robot rusted.


This little guy is part of my effort to create enough inventory to sell tomorrow at Blues on the Green with other talented Etsy Austin members.   He is a combination of book pages, scrapbook paper, acrylic paint, buttons and hand stitching.  I’ve been in a mad dash here at the end to get a lot of paintings finished before the big day tomorrow.  I’ll be posting pictures of more of the new stuff soon, so check back!  And anything that doesn’t sell at Blues on the Green will go into my little shop.  Plus, I’ve got some new prints of some of my illustrations that will be making their way to the shop as well!


Nessa Dee

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Manly Chores

Sword ironing. It’s housework for the man’s man.




Nessa Dee

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crafty Friday: Cardboard Castle

Finn had been begging his sister to build him a castle for weeks, so in order to appease him, we made it this week’s craft project.

Here’s what you need:


a small cardboard box or shoebox
several paper towel or toilet paper tubes
construction paper in a variety of colors
glue and tape
paperclips or string

We started this project by arranging the box and tubes to determine the placement of each item, where the drawbridge would go and such. Once an arrangement was agreed upon [we went with a simple symmetrical setup] we began decorating the cardboard elements.

Step 1: Paint the tubes or cover them with construction paper in the color of your choice. We chose a traditional stone look by drawing the pattern on construction paper and then wrapping the tubes with the paper, securing it with tape.

castle2 castle4

Step 2: Determine the size and placement of the drawbridge, and cut out the sides and top of the bridge, leaving the bottom attached [job for Mom or Dad]. This will allow the drawbridge to open and close.


Step 3: Paint the box and drawbridge in the color of your choice.


Step 4: For the spire roofs, cut out four circles each about 4” in diameter. Cut a single line to the center of the circle and form a cone by overlapping and gluing or taping the cut edges together. Then attach each roof to the top of a tube with glue.


Step 5: Cut notches out of a strip of paper the same color as the castle and attach it to the top of the box portion with glue.

Step 6: Add chains to the drawbridge. If you’re using paperclips, make two chains and clip them to the sides of the drawbridge and doorway. If you have string, punch holes in either side of the doorway and either side of the drawbridge, and tie two pieces of string through the holes, one on each side.


Step 7: Attach each spire to the side of the castle. We used a combination of tape for a quick hold and glue for long term durability.

Step 8: Gather up your brave knights, noble steeds and fair maidens, and let the imagination flow.


Happy Crafting!

Nessa Dee

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ranger Cookies


These are some of my favorite cookies [I have many] and just about the only cookie recipe that I don’t screw up… even when I experiment with them.  They’re my go to recipe when I need to provide snacks, or contribute to holiday eats, or when I’m hungry.  I got the recipe out of my Texas Ranger Cookbook which is a collection of recipes contributed by Texas Rangers [not the baseball players, but the real deal law enforcement] and their wives.  It’s a book near and dear to my heart not only because my PaPa was a Texas Ranger, but because several recipes in the book were contributed by his wife, my MaMaw, a wonderful cook.

Here’s the recipe as it appears in the book:

Texas Ranger Cookies

1 stick butter                      

½ cup of shortening

1 cup sugar                    

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs                                

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour     

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt                  

2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

2 cups rice crisp cereal        

1 cup pecans

1 cup coconut.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oatmeal, cereal, pecans, and coconut. With a large spoon, portion out the dough. Roll into small balls and flatten on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.


Here’s how I change them:

I omit the coconut and pecans.  I add either peanut butter or chocolate chips or both [yum!].  I add a fourth a cup of flaxseed meal [because it’s healthy].  If I really want a healthier cookie, I omit the shortening and just add a little more butter.  I substitute brown rice crisp cereal for the regular stuff.  I cut the sugar in half and add some honey.  I can’t tell you how much honey or how much butter because I was experimenting.  It would have been smart to write things down, but since I didn’t even measure, recording it would have been futile.  Thankfully, this cookie  is forgiving, or maybe it just has pity on me because it knows how many times I’ve messed up a perfectly good cookie recipe.  Either way, the end results have been deliciously satisfying, even to the smallest of critics.



Nessa Dee

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

IF: Tango


It takes two to tango…will you accept his offer to dance?


Nessa Dee

Monday, July 20, 2009



smarshmallows = marshmallows         

mushtard = mustard            

monsterella = mozzarella                    

sunscream = sunscreen


Finn : “Here’s your burger!” bringing me a sock and a dog toy sandwiched between two pillows.

Me:  “How am I going to eat all of that?”

Finn: “Well, you just eat and eat and eat and eat and eat!”


Jonathan: “What are you going to dream about?”

Finn: “Watching Monsters Vs. Aliens and Blowing Up House (Up)”


Me: “Finn, did you just eat a marshmallow?”

Finn “Yeah, I just caught it in my mouth like this [miming the action], and then I chewed it, and it all the way down my tummy [showing me the path the marshmallow took] and I said mmmmmmmmm!”


“Mom, I actually live in Star Wars”


“Mom, I can actually fly.”


“Mom, I actually broke that.”


Finn: “I’m going to have a rocketship with a green top and a red bottom and I’m going to blast off into space! [sound effects].

Me: “Where are you going to go in space.”

Finn, almost put out by the question: “Star Wars.”


Visiting the great-grandparents, Finn found a toy that made a high pitched, ear piercing sound when he blew through it.  It was annoying all of us, especially Audrie, who voiced her extreme disdain for Finn’s actions.

Me: “Finn, why don’t you go into another room when you play with that toy because it’s very loud.”

Finn: “Well, if someone would leave the room, I can stay in here and play.”


“I have two eyes and eight noses!”


Whenever he gets in trouble:  “I think I need a hug.”


Instead of calling Mommy or Daddy, when he needs assistance in the bathroom, he howls like a wolf.


Audrie, spelling so Finn wouldn’t understand: “Mom, can we have a P-O-P-S-I-C-L-E?”

Me: “Sure.”

Finn: “Mom, can we eat our T-Y-O-X-3-J-2 popsicles outside?”



Nessa Dee

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crafty Friday: Paper Bowls

I found this craft project on Disney Family here and it looked fun, so I thought we’d try it. It does require a bit of patience while waiting for the bowls to dry (48 hours, eek!), so we actually started this project on Wednesday to have the finished bowl ready for its close-up on Friday.

Here’s what you need:


Construction paper (Two sheets of the same color and several sheets in varying colors)
1 Sheet of newspaper
Warm water
Colander and pan
Paper towels
Vegetable oil
Round kitchen sieve (ours wonky jawed, but it worked fine)
Large bowl

Step 1.Tear the two sheets of same-colored construction paper and the newspaper into 1-inch squares.


Put all the pieces in a blender, then fill it three quarters full with warm water. Blend the ingredients on medium speed for a few minutes or until it forms a pulpy mixture, or "slurry."

Step 2. Set the colander over the pan, then pour in the slurry. Let it drain for about 10 minutes. It’s enthralling to watch…the whole time…really…ok, maybe it is if you’re 3.

paperbowls3 paperbowls4

Meanwhile, use a paper towel to apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the inside of a round kitchen sieve. paperbowls5

(oily paper towels = disgusting, apparently)


This will help the finished paper bowl come off the screen more easily.

Step 3.Tear the remaining construction paper into small pieces for decorating the outside of the bowl. Dip each piece in water, then place it along the inside of the sieve.


Step 4. Take a picture of the dog napping under the island. (This step is essential!)


Step 5.With your fingers, scoop and mold a thick, even layer of slurry along the inside of the sieve, covering the decorative paper pattern. Gently press the slurry against the sieve to squeeze out any excess water. (mushy, goopy, sloppy slurry = loads of fun)

paperbowls8 paperbowls9

If you like, place a few more decorative pieces of construction paper along the inside of the bowl. Set the sieve over a large bowl to dry completely (about 48 hours,), then carefully remove the paper bowl from the sieve.

Step 6. Fill your bowl with chips, take a picture of it, and then eat the chips!


I wasn’t sure how the kids would fair with this project as it required less creative freedom. But the rigidity of following steps did not subtract at all from the fun. The kids really enjoyed following the steps and getting their hands in the mush, and the idea of making a bowl from paper was fascinating to Audrie. Finn loves the bowl so much that he wants to eat everything out of it…to which I had to explain that it was more decorative than anything else. That doesn’t translate too well to a 3 year old. So, only dry things can go into the bowl, and we’ll use it as long as it lasts.

Happy Crafting!

Nessa Dee

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Front Yard Circus

I volunteered to host a Backyard Bible Club at our house this week, which is actually held in our front yard. My job as a host is to provide snacks and a yard, while a team of very talented youth from our church does the rest. I’ve enjoyed having a front row seat to all of the fun and games. I love that teenagers lead the club. The kids really respond to them so much more than to, well, older folk like me because they’re so much cooler than I’d ever be. :) Here are some pictures from the circus that is our front yard this week:









bybc-2 bybc-4



bybc10 bybc11



Nessa Dee