Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I{HEART}ART: Inspiration: Spring!

"Rabbit in Lilies" by Tina C. Wells, acrylic on canvas
I painted this a number of years ago, and always take it out in the spring. The weather is warming up a bit. Brightest, verdant green is popping out everywhere. My roses are starting to bloom. The birds have returned to their little nest tucked away under my balcony, and I hear their babies chirping. Every few days I catch a glimpse of a bunny scampering under a bush when he sees me coming. It is a beautiful, hopeful time of year. Warm spring wishes.

Cross Collection

A beautiful collection of crosses
Easter is less than a week away and Good Friday, just days away. I always have thought Good Friday was a strange name for remembering such a somber event, the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. The cross has become the universal symbol for the Christian church. It has been portrayed in so many ways, from 2 sticks nailed together to the ornate gold leaf crosses of the high church, and everything in between. A few years back, my sister began a cross collection that hangs on the wall of her living room (pictured above). Here is what she has to say about her collection:

"I think there is a lot of power in symbols and once I was married and lived in my own home, I have always had at least one cross displayed.  It's usually in the main room of the house, and that is what I like about the location for the collection now, is that it's an entry point into the main space of our home.  For whatever reason, this matters to me.  The cross says to me - God lives here.  It says, Friday happened, but Sunday is coming.  Knowing the end of the story is everything.  Lots of days feel like "Friday" to me, but knowing Sunday is coming...knowing that Jesus is coming again and redeeming this world, is everything." 
Happy Easter!

RECIPE: Baked Carmel French Toast

At our annual Easter Brunch, this dish has become a ‘must-have’ tradition. There is really only one word for it...DECADENT! The great thing about baked french toast is that you can make it ahead, which always makes things easier the day of the event.

Baked Carmel French Toast


1-2 loaves challah bread (depending on the size) or 1 loaf Hawaiian bread
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBS white corn syrup
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (I have substituted with brandy)
1/4 tsp salt

Spray cooking spray around sides of a 9x13. In a sauce pan on medium-low heat, melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup, stirring until smooth. Pour into 9x13, covering the bottom of the pan. Layer approximately 1” slices of square cut pieces of bread about 2” high in the pan. Squeeze to fit. Whisk eggs, half and half, vanilla, liqueur, and salt. Pour liquid evenly over bread. This can be made the night before and refrigerated, or an hour before baking. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then use a knife to loosen edges. Place a large platter upside down on top of the pan and turn both over. The carmel base is now on top. Cut into squares and serve. Enjoy!

*Please note that in the pictures, I made a 1/2 recipe- pieces of bread shown are about 2"x3"

Friday, March 15, 2013

I{HEART}ART: Inspiration: St. Patrick's Day
"St. Patrick's Day Breakfast" Mixed Medium on Canvas by Tina C. Wells
Rainbow (sprinkles), check. Gold coins, check. Green shamrock, check. Irish blessings, check. Ready for St. Patrick's day! 
I started this piece by collaging several traditional Irish blessings onto the canvas for my backdrop, then glazed over it with a translucent celadon green...then onto the best part, doughnuts and coffee! Below, I have included the words of these sweet, old poems. Enjoy.

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Bless this house, o Lord, we pray.
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimney tall,
Let thy peace lie over all.
Bless the doors that they may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless the windows shining bright,
Letting in God's heavenly light.
Bless the hearth a-blazing there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within...
Keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all, that one day, we
May be fit, O lord, to dwell with Thee.

SIMPLY CREATIVE: Green Eggs and Ham
St. Patrick's Day Breakfast

Green Eggs and Ham, our St. Patrick's Day Tradition
 I've never been one to really celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  I'm not Irish, or Catholic, and San Diego is not one of those cities that makes a big fuss over all things green. That was until I had kids. Now, St. Patrick's Day is great fun and celebrated with enthusiasm at our house. My kids and husband do have Irish roots and so we have gone crazy with green. Back when my son was about four years old and a big fan of Dr. Seuss, we started the green eggs and ham tradition. We make green scrambled eggs by adding a drop of food coloring, and then build a breakfast sandwich with english muffins, white irish cheddar, green eggs, and ham. A few chocolate gold coins left behind by the leprechauns  is always fun too.  Then I read the story...it doesn't matter how old you are, it brings a smile to your face. This year, I'm sure rainbow sprinkled doughnuts will be added to the feast as well!

Green Eggs and Ham Sandwich!

These two make me feel the Luck of the Irish everyday!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


"Plumeria" Original art by Tina C. Wells, acrylic on canvas
Spring is a just two weeks away, and these oversized tropical flowers fill me with warm thoughts. This piece was commissioned by a dear friend from college. It hangs brightly in her inviting dining room. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3/5/13 Body Salt Scrub Cubes

SIMPLY CREATIVE: Body Salt Scrub Cubes with Coconut Oil
Individual size salt scrub cubes with coconut oil

As I am sure you have been hearing, coconut oil is all the rage. I am a fan. I have been experimenting with making a body salt scrub for the shower. I started by haphazardly mixing together some warm coconut oil with salt and using it in the shower as an exfoliant and moisturizer. I was surprised at how much I liked it. The coconut oil then solidified, leaving me with a bowl full of the hardened mixture... but this gave me an idea. If I made up a batch and put it in an ice cube tray, I would have individual size portions ready for the bath/shower. One idea led to another, and before I knew it, these cute heart shaped salt scrub cubes were born. Did I mention that this is ridiculously easy? Keep it as simple as 2 ingredients in an ice tray, or go the extra step to add color and herbs. Either way, you will love these, I promise!

1 part coconut oil, liquified, barely warm
2 parts salt (I used plain table salt...but other salts or sugar could be used too)
(not too crumbly, not too soupy)

drop of food coloring
crushed herbs
(I used a drop of purple and finely chopped fresh lavender)

Spoon your mixture into an ice cube tray. (I picked up the heart shaped ice tray at IKEA a while back, but a regular tray works fine). Allow oil to solidify in the refrigerator for a few minutes, then remove from the tray and keep in a jar. The oil will remain solid as long as it is kept in a cool spot. 
Fun gift idea too!

3/5/13 Cucumber Salad

RECIPE: Cool Cucumber Salad

My friend Connie is a wonderful cook. She is also generous with sharing her recipes...no secrets. I like that. As part of my wedding gift almost 15 years ago, she hand wrote an entire box of her favorite recipes for me; the gift that keeps on going. She recently shared with me this fantastic cucumber salad. I hope you will enjoy it too.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad
1 large English cucumber, or several smaller ones (shown above are the small, sweet and crunchy, Persian cucumbers), chopped 
Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt
Let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tsp vinegar
2 TBS snipped chives
1-2 drops of hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp dried dill
dash of pepper
Pour over cucumbers. Chill 30 minutes.