Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A little inspiration

image via

image via Amy Butler

image via Chris

image via

image via

Just some pretty pictures to share with you today. When I find photos/artwork that I love (for whatever reason), it helps to motivate me and seems to spark up some creativity!
Anyway, I am needing inspiration to get me going on some paintings that need finishing up. I'm ready to start a new series I'm excited about, but it would probably be a good idea to finish what I have started, huh?

Is anyone else out there like this... Starting projects and then having a hard time getting them completed...?

Well off I go, wish me luck!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Oh yum! You have to try this delicious salsa; it's SO good and easy to make! I found the recipe on Lynda's Recipe Box. The big pieces of avocado are what drew me in :) She has lots of great recipes so you should stop by her blog for sure.

I brought this dip to my boyfriend's parent's house for a cookout and they all had seconds, even thirds! (I thought you didn't want to eat black beans and corn, Christopher??)

Anyway, give this one a try, you'll love it!

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 1/2 cups fresh, frozen, grilled, or canned corn (drained)
4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced small
1 bunch green onions (scallions) sliced
some diced red onion, or vidallia onion
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced, or other pepper of choice
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 diced avocado (I used 2)
1 small can sliced, black olives, optional
about 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1Tbs. canola or olive oil (I omitted this)
1/2 cup diced cilantro, if desired

Dice up vegetables and combine in a large bowl. (I folded the avocado in last to keep it from getting too mushed). Add minced garlic, lime juice and oil and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. (Although I served mine right away!) You can make this salsa as hot or mild as you like. Serve with lots of tortilla or pita chips (bagel crisps would be good too)

Hope you like it as much as I did!

xox Ash

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cake Mix Cookies

I wanted to bake cookies yesterday but I had no flour or sugar on hand, (I know I know... who runs out of flour or sugar?) so anyway, I tried a recipe I had come across a while back: Betty Crocker's Cake Mix Cookies.
They are definitely different from your standard chocolate chip cookie, but they are really good! They have a soft, cakey texture and a buttery flavor. The idea on was to use these cookies for ice-cream sandwiches because they are soft and won't freeze rock solid. I'll have to try that next time!

Cake Mix Cookies:

1 yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's Super Moist)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick cookie sheets). In large bowl, beat cake mix, butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, or mix with spoon. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
2. Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by slightly less than tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart.
3. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set (centers will be soft). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

*You can substitute 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in place of the butter (if you happen to be running low on the basics like me :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cookie Update

I want to share with you the wedding photos taken by DeEdra at Something New that include the cookies I made! She made them look so good and the happy bride and groom look so cute holding them :)
It definitely made it worth all the hard work when the bride's mom left me the nicest comment on the original post! You can view it here: UT and A&M Cookies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dog Portraits






These portraits I drew last month are simply graphite sketches. Even so, they would be adorable as is after matting and framing! But for these dogs, my plan is to lightly draw them onto watercolor paper and add vibrant colors. (I'll show them finished in another post)

My goal is to capture the dog's character and enhance the most prominent features. There's nothing like a sweet reminder of your pet :)

Anyway, this is what I've got so far. I would love to know what you think!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Flowers...

image via Nathiya on flickr

Unknown source

...and radishes too! I found this picture of radishes some time ago and fell in love with it. I've been thinking of painting it actually. I can't remember where I found it, but isn't it lovely?

Hope all is well!
xoxo Ashley

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why I need (want) a new camera:

image via Chockylit on Flickr

Howard Shooter Photography

image via Chockylit on Flickr

image via Chockylit on Flickr

Howard Shooter Photography

Image via Smitten Kitchen

These mouthwatering photos make me dream of the day when I will have a nice camera of my own!
Aren't these pictures just great???
I do the best I can with my little Kodak digital camera, but I NEEEEED one that will help me take close-ups like these!!!! Any suggestions or do you have a camera you love? Let me know!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Flowers

Image - Sharnel Dollar 2009 My Life-My Loves

I have found that some of my favorite blogs post Friday Flowers: simple and pretty blooms to wish everyone a good weekend. I always look forward to these posts so I thought, why not do it myself & post the little things of beauty I come across?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I made cupcake pops for the first time, aren't they cute!? A little cupcake on a stick. . . of course it's cute :)
I got the idea from Bakerella, the only difference is, I used the peanut butter cup mold (like she uses for her cupcake bites) instead of molding the cake with little cookie cutters. I just put a hole in each candy cavity for the lollipop stick, filled it half way with chocolate, then secured my cake bite on top. Once dry, I pushed the stick with the cupcake bite on top out of the mold, and then dipped the top in candy melts. Finally, just top them off with sprinkles and your done!

And here they are all packaged up in cellophane bags and satin ribbon. They are off to a fourth of July BBQ!
Hope everyone has a good weekend :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cookie Monster Cupcakes!

I found a picture of cookie monster cupcakes online a few months back and saved it immediately! I knew the idea would be perfect for my sweet nephew Jake at his 2nd birthday party. He loves his "Cookie"...(that's what he calls his little cookie monster stuffed animal that he sleeps with :)

These are chocolate chip cupcakes with buttercream frosting. I used the piping tip # 233 (usually used to create "grass") and piped cookie monster's fur onto the cupcake. Then I used vanilla candy melts for the eyes, piping a little milk chocolate onto them for the center. And finally, I just crammed in a little cookie where his mouth goes!

And here's a candid shot of the birthday boy at his party! He was so excited to finally see his "blue cake" that he kept asking for. When I held him up to see them on the table he yelled, "COOKIE!" haha :)
I love you so much Jake, Happy 2nd Birthday!
love Aunt Ashy