Friday, August 30, 2013

Leopold Racoon

I've been having an excessive amount of fun the last two days painting away on some more of my salvaged wood circles. I have tons of new woodland paintings ready for the upcoming (but still fairly far away) holiday season.

My new absolute favorite woodland critter painting is this cute little raccoon whom I have named Leopold. I normally think raccoons are pests, but this guy is adorable, and he's sorry about eating out of your trash can last night. I am never, ever selling him. However, I did paint Leopold 2 in his honor, and he (along with maybe Leopold 3 and 4?) will be hitting my Etsy shelves and some holiday craft shows in the near future. So look out world - I hope you can handle this gigantic amount of cute!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tomato Rainbow and the Ultimate BLT

Hooray! I finally have some garden fresh tomatoes. I used the three pictured here to make a very festive BLT.

Speaking of BLTs - I don't want to brag, but I think I've discovered the ultimate BLT recipe (it's pretty simple, but it makes THE best sandwich in the history of the universe. seriously.) Since I'm such a kind and generous individual, I've decided to share my BLT recipe.

Ultimate BLT Recipe (tips and tricks from the ultimate BLT lover)

  • Toast - the cheapest white sandwich bread you can find (it's lighter and fluffier that way, because the bread is NOT the star of the sandwich), toasted to a nice light brown
  • Mayo - real, fully-leaded (i.e. fattening) mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann's (I swear they're not paying me to type this, but they make the best mayo.) You're going to need to spread this medium thick on both pieces of toast (come on, you're eating a sandwich with bacon, don't pretend you're worried about a little extra fat.)
  • Bacon - light and crispy (not crunchy), after much experimentation I have found the best way to cook bacon is to bake it in the oven (warning: don't try to fool yourself into thinking that baking bacon makes it healthier.) Lay it out on a cookie drying rack, put the rack on top of a cookie sheet to catch the fat and then bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for somewhere around 20 minutes. To get perfect bacon you have to remove it from the oven at exactly the right moment. It's an art form, bacon art, the best art in the world. 
  • Tomato - preferably warm and fresh from the garden, I slice mine thin with a hand held Japanese mandoline
  • Onion - a few extra thin slices, use that mandoline again
  • Basil - use a few fresh basil leaves instead of lettuce, it adds the perfect flavor enhancement

Layer these ingredients up, and you've got the Ultimate BLT. I know they're fantastic, because I've already eaten 12 of them this week.

"BLTs for breakfast, lunch and dinner."  (My summer motto.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet the River Critters Part 3

These are my last two River Critters (for now). Petey the Pallid Sturgeon is my absolute favorite. I love how strange and dinosaur-like pallid sturgeons are. Is there a river fish or animal that you feel is missing from my collection? Let me know - I'm always up for making new characters! I just chose my favorite eight to start with.

As a recap my current eight River Critters include: Cynthia the White Crappie, Basil the Snapping Turtle, Barry the Bullfrog, Lance the Largemouth Bass, Ramone the Channel Catfish, Albert the Spotted Gar, and my two newest additions that are being introduced today.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The River Critters Visit Tangents

I've really been putting my paintbrushes to work lately to get a jump start on the holiday season. I'm planning a little bit of a crossover from Watercolor Submarine into Tangents. My River Critters are making a guest appearance on some salvaged wood home decor. Here is a sneak preview of the action:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Crickets This Time of Year

How long do crickets live? I've had this real creepy critter lurking on my front porch for at least three days now. It seems to be that time of year when they all start to think the inside of your house is more desirable than the outside of your house. These six legged fiends hide in the tiny crack near your door and your stoop, just waiting for you to unwittingly open the front door and let them in.

There he is, every time I leave my house, looking up at me with those sad and insanely creepy insect eyes. I'd step on him and end this turmoil, but, in true Kristi fashion, I have this completely irrational fear of how this action might turn on me. What if I just barely miss squishing him, and, out of extreme anxiety, he maniacally hops up onto my leg. Then he crawls up my pant leg, and, in my complete panic, I'm unable to locate him anywhere in my clothing. So then I spend the rest of the day just waiting for the icky insect to reappear. Just when I let my guard down I feel a small tickle on the back of my neck. I absentmindedly brush at it with my hand - and BAM - there he is, again, touching my skin and sending me into cardiac arrest. I don't want anything like that to occur, so I mostly just shoo him away from a distance until it's safe to exit my home.

In related news, I think I may need to start drawing the bugs in my comics a little less realistically. I'm doing a bang up job of giving myself the heebie-jeebies every time I make one of these!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our 'Toot' in Sioux Falls

Some years ago (but not that many), my mom, her sisters and my grandmother went on a river cruise that was comically called a 'toot'. They had a delightful time and decided to recreate the experience each year by taking a trip together. The name 'toot' stuck.

Eventually my sister and I began insisting upon taking a toot as well. So, this year we decided to take a little weekend trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In true 'tooting' fashion, no boys were allowed. Our traveling band consisted of myself, my sister, Katie, my cousin, Jennifer, and my mom, Mary. (FYI - we're not actually a band - but we'll definitely sing karaoke for you if the opportunity arises.)

I took along my camera and did my best to capture the magic, but toting around a camera gets old after awhile, and it seems like I always abandon it after the first day of a trip. I still got  few decent shots, though!

This is my favorite photo from the entire trip. I was trying to snap candid shots, but Katie kept making faces at me anyways.

Jennifer, Katie and Me posing by the falls.

Downtown Sioux Falls was looking fancy as always. I must have one of these spherical concrete planters. I love how the lime green sweet potato vine and vibrant pink petunias look spilling out from it!

Friday, August 9, 2013

River Critters Character Preview Part 2

Happy Friday! It's another meet and greet day on my blog - welcome these three new characters to my River Critters collection.

I have several made-to-order wooden pins now available in the River Critters section of my Watercolor Submarine Etsy shop. I hope to have coloring pages for most of the River Critters up in the "Free Stuff" section of this blog soon as well. Be on the lookout for more River Critters merchandise in my Etsy store for the 2013 holiday season!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Flowers Again

Just another quick post full of shameless bragging about my flowers - the alyssum in this pot is really workin' it right now! I love its firecracker-like appearance.

I used the "thriller, filler, spiller" rule for this container - and it turned out pretty darn good! Twisted arrow juncus, tuberous begonias and white alyssum. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beautiful Butterflies

It's that time of year again, late summer, which means butterfly season, cricket season, grasshopper season - essentially anything-with-six-legs-and-a-hopping-or-flying-habit season. I'm intensely curious about insects, unfortunately my curiosity level is matched by my fear level. Let's just say, I don't go around trying to find bugs, but if there's one in the room I'm in, I probably know where it is, what it is, and its typical habits. I like to continually assess my surrounding for possible threats, and I keep a mental data base of insects I might encounter and what to watch out for when they're around. 

Expanding upon that topic: most of my close friends and family members know that I have a particularly large and irrational issue with flying invertebrates, especially the moth and butterfly variety. In my opinion they are great to look at when they're behind glass, as in outside your window, but otherwise they are, to put it bluntly, gross. Now you're probably thinking, "But Kristi, how could you not be amazed and overjoyed by these majestic and wonderful creatures?!" To that I say - Sure, it's all fun and games until you look closely at what those wonderful and majestic wings are attached to. Every butterfly has a disgusting, squirmy, hairy segmented body, and I have a hard time looking past that flaw. To prove my point even further, I've created a short comic strip so that you can see the world through my eyes.

I'm glad they're around to pollinate my flowers and add ambiance to a summer evening, but please, I beg of all butterflies - DO NOT LAND ON ME!

Monday, August 5, 2013

River Critters Character Preview

I thought that today would be an excellent day for introducing some of my new River Critters. All of the characters from my River Critters collection are animals that you can find in the great state of Nebraska (my fantastic home state where you can officially enjoy The Good Life).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Freshwater Prototypes Take 2

I already shared (part of) this photo on facebook, but my new freshwater line is moving right along. I have color added to some of the pieces. Now, to put on the finishing touches. These little gems will be brooches.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Find Your Voice Week Six

This week's lesson was all about combining our story style and design style. The creative prompt encouraged us to create a story using all of the things we've learned in the past five weeks. I started this course with the idea that I might gain some insight into storytelling and scrapbooking and in turn feel more comfortable about finally recording the story of my wedding and honeymoon (which happened a little over a year and a half ago.) This week I finally decided to take a stab at telling part of that story. For this particular lesson I chose to tell only the story of my honeymoon, because I didn't want to get overwhelmed by too big of a project.

So, I finally decided to take the big jump and venture into the world of scrapbooking. I really haven't used this method of story telling much in the past, because it always seems so intimidating to go around permanently sticking my pictures into a book. However, this lesson reminded me that it's important to PLAN your story before jumping right in and creating a project. So I listed, designed, arranged and rearranged, and wrote and rewrote until I felt more than comfortable about permanently sticking down all of my photos, embellishments, and vacation relics. All I can say is HOLY COW, why did I not think about including a planning while scrapbooking before? It made the entire project so much less intimidating, and I'm very happy with the outcome.

I won't share all 20 pages of my honeymoon story here (because really, it's not going to be all that interesting to the average onlooker.) Instead I'll just brag up a couple of my favorite layouts.

We spent our honeymoon traveling to different spots of interest in New Mexico, each day we visited a new place, and I organized my scrapbook chronologically. This was by far my favorite page. It is simple, but I feel like it really captured the mood of our Sandia Peak Tram ride which was a dark, gorgeous and a little romantic (FYI - Jason will gag when he reads this mushy sounding sentence later.)

I also really enjoyed how this layout for White Sands National Monument turned out, because it's bright and fun and once again captured the mood of that portion of our trip.

Lastly, I want to mention that I used some fun embellishments and washi tape that I purchased at the rukristin papercrafts Shop (, and I wanted to thank Kristin for the super neat and free FYV swag that I received - thanks a bunch!

Are you ready to try the Find Your Voice storytelling workshop yet? If so go to for more information!