October 31, 2013

The Only Failure in Art is Not Trying

At the beginning of this year I began to contemplate learning to draw and paint. I was captivated by it.  I had watched so many around me create and craft by hand that I was inspired to do the same. I decided I would start with sketching... I thought I should maybe know how to sketch out my ideas before trying to paint them. In order to begin the process I attended a couple Life Drawing classes with Tyler. I had no idea what I was doing and it was so hard. 
Exhibit A: Drawings from my third class. My main goal was to see the shapes and capture the shapes. I felt way in over my head. But Tyler was really encouraging. I was also extremely intimidated because I was sitting in a room full of artist's that Tyler worked with. As I drew I would cover my drawings with my other hand.
Each class was hard. Each class made me feel a little bit like a failure. There were a couple months when Tyler constantly reminded me... "the only failure in art is not trying." Artist are really encouraging, they know how painstaking it can be to get to that one good drawing. And I think there is a saying... it takes 10,000 drawings to get to that one good one...
These are some of Tyler's drawings from class. Do you see what I added in the left picture? I really like including Tyler's drawings because I like to give you guys an idea of how art and drawing are a process.  So... all that to say, I'm trying to get back on track with my sketching and painting. I'll probably be doing a little bit of everything; sketching, canvas painting, and painting in Photoshop.  Painting in Photoshop is probably the least intimidating because I practice by painting over images in order to learn shape, texture, color.

I would love love love for you to join me! What do you think? I'm hopefully going to post progress and such once a week. I'll do my best to devote one post a week to art.

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October 28, 2013

A little Style, a little Tea, and Some Shortbread Cookies

The smallest sign of cool weather has made me want hot tea. I wait and hope patiently for cool weather to grace us with its presence.

When Autumn began to shower the rest of the U.S. with cooler weather I saw so many fun Fall to-do lists. What great ideas they had! It got me thinking... It would be lovely to compile a Fall to-do list, but living where we live makes it kind of difficult. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided I would attempt making some Fall inspired desserts that I had never tried before.

One thing I can always count on is cool mornings. It may be 80º in the afternoon but the mornings are perfect weather for curling up with a blanket and hot tea. I decided my first Fall weather dessert would be Shortbread cookies; they would be perfect with hot tea.  I was inspired by this pin, but if you know me you know I can't just stick to the recipe. I've got to pull it apart, figure out if I can make it different, change it up a little. And that is what I did.

Shortbread Cookies - adapted from here and here

1/2 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
2 Cups of Flour
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla. Add flour and mix together until mixture becomes dough like. If needed add 1 or 2 tbs of water... I had to do that to help make it more dough like. (As suggested by Dine & Dish) On a floured surfaced roll dough out and cut into desired shape. I used mason jar lids to cut my dough. Place on cookie sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

For my first shortbread cookies I thought they turned out pretty well. I'm still in experimental mode with these cookies, so hopefully I'll keep tweeking the recipe until I get it exactly the way I want it.

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October 25, 2013

A Taste of Tony's

Let's just talk about food, because I love food, all kinds of food. I think out of everything I pin, I pin food the most. There is this place in Burbank called Tony's Italian Deli and it has the best deli sandwiches and potato salad I have ever had.

Their sandwiches are so huge that Tyler and I always share and he loves me so he always gets mayo on the side. It's family owned so we get to see the same friendly faces every time we stop in and we've gone there so many time that we have a "usual." It's fantastic. 
They do this fancy thing with the bread... where they put a slice of bread in the middle of all the yummy goodness. The veggies are all chopped and their meat and cheese is cut fresh on site. You can even just purchase meat by the pound. It's so good!

So now that I have probably made you officially hungry... what are your plans for lunch?

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October 24, 2013

Creative Planters

Last week I shared about my mini indoor garden and how I wanted to plant in nearly everything but a regular planter. In my efforts to come up with creative planters Husband and I came up with this planter.

I have to tell you I never thought I would be making a planter out of an old peanut butter jar, but that is what that is. I was washing it for recycling and thought it might make a half way decent planter. Two reasons, it was plastic and we could drill holes in the button. It was pretty simple. We gathered twigs from outside, I grabbed my glue gun and went to town. This is a project you definitely want to do while watching a movie or something, because it takes a while to glue those twigs on. After all the twigs were glued on Husband clipped the bottoms off with fancy hedge clippers or something and then I polyurethaned the wood.

This has by far been the coolest planter I have ever made and probably the only one that actually works.  I would love to hear your ideas for creative planters. Share them with us!

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October 22, 2013

Wear // California Fall

California in the Fall. If you've been hanging out here for a while I'm sure you know that I currently reside in Southern California. I slightly feel like a broken record because I feel like I mention it all the time. I'm assuming my need to mention it is because of the lack of seasons. And I can't just say California because the southern, central and northern regions are so different. I'll refrain from discussing Los Angeles...

So back to Fall. As you can probably tell it's not quit cold here, not even a little. A couple of weeks ago there were a few days in the 60º but other then that it hangs out around 80º. It does however get pretty cool in the evening which is lovely. So in order for me to make it feel like Fall I wear boots all the time... with everything. Sun dress with boots. Check.

And for your amusement... I still haven't figure out how not to turn into a huge nerd in front of the camera. So, lets break these down, shall we? Me dancing?... with fists...twice. Do normal people do that? Am I preparing for someone to attack me? Did I just make up a new dance move? Oh, look, me attempting a yoga move of some kind, in which I perform extremely poorly. Awesome. And last, bottom left... I'm not quit sure words could explain that one.  

And we couldn't end the post without chatting about how cute this zip pouch looks with the dress, right? Super cute.

How is Fall treating you? 

The details: Dress // TJ Max, Jacket // Old Navy, Boots // UrbanOG (I think)

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October 17, 2013

Creativity + Marriage = Superheroes?

I had this idea... it went like this. "It would be fun to do a post about creative tips for marriage." That's about as far as it went. I wanted to write it and I wanted it to be really unique. You know, come up with really creative stuff. There are lots of great marriage tips out there, and more then likely we have all read them, right? And after thinking about a lot of them, I thought to myself, "what makes our marriage creative is US and the silliness that we bring to the madness." First I want to list two fundamental tips that are great for our marriage, 1) WE PRAY TOGETHER and FOR EACH OTHER 2.) COMMUNICATE.

Communicating is huge, right? Well, this is how we communicate... like superheroes. Okay, not all the time, but sometimes. During our first year of marriage during "important discussions" we found that it was easier to keep the mood light if we wore super hero masks, so that's what we did.
As you can see I am Thor and Husband is Captain America. Which is actually perfect for our personalities. Husband embodies the "good ol' boy," "all American," "do what is right," "honor and nobility." And I'm Thor, which basically means I'm a little dramatic about things and liked yelling for my hammer during our conversations.
I would highly recommend getting super hero masks for your marriage, because it's awesome! A couple of other things that make our marriage uniquely creative for us is this... We dream together. His dreams are my dreams and my dreams are his dreams. We are always running each other's race. We also love making creative decisions together. He is always helping with the blog, with design, with products, EVERYTHING, no joke. And when he is doing art or animation I'm always brought in for consult.

Last, we do everything together. We are really that couple that goes grocery shopping together and run every errand together. I go to everything art and animation related thing and he goes to whatever I've got going on. And we love every minute of it. He watches chick-flicks with me because he knows I like them. I watch man movies with him, because he knows I like them... wait. I really do like man movies. He even helps me pick out clothes, because let's be honest... he's better at it then I am sometimes.
What makes your marriage creatively unique?

P.S. I'm linking up with Mal today for The Boys Behind the Blog. Questions for Husband...
1. Describe yourself in 5 words. I try to be thoughtful, trustworthy, positive, obedient, and kind.
2. What is your biggest fear? Jaws (the movie not the Bond villain) actually sharks and also not doing enough.
3. What is your favorite candy? Gummy Savers, worms, bears, snack packs... also fruit.
4. What was the best Halloween costume you've ever worn? Blue Man Group guy. Actually shaved head and got blue paint in my eyes and ears. But it was fun!
5. Who is your favorite football team? Let's ask Ditka... DA BEARS!

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October 14, 2013

Movie Under the Stars! Goonies never say die!

Last weekend was my first "Movie Under the Stars" at Nick. Last year, they had "date night" which was apparently lame because we didn't go... they picked a not so great movie so we skipped out on that one. But this year they brought back "Movie Under the Stars" and I was so excited!

Husband reminded me a couple times that day, "don't eat before we go, there will be tons of food there." And boy was he right; pizza, salad, burgers, dogs, quesadillas, grilled peaches, asparagus, Baby Ruth Mac-n-cheese, Tri-tip... I'm hungry now.

And let's not forget to mention the candy bar! O'man the candy bar! Let's just say I ate so much food that night.

Husband and I were walking around taking pictures and checking everything out and I totally had one of those "This is so crazy cool!" moments. Husband asked me that night if I ever that I would be at Nickelodeon watching the Goonies and of course my answer was no. I often think about how amazing our Lord is and I am reminded that everything that we experience and everything we have is ALL because of the grace of Jesus. He has placed us in this industry for a reason. The experiences we have and the people we build relationships with are all based around seeking Christ's will for our lives.

O'wait, I haven't yet mentioned the ice cream bar. There was an ice cream bar too! I think I may have eaten may weight in food that night.

We spent the first 30 minutes just walking around, then we got in line for food, lots and lots of food. Then we got cozy on our blanket which was next to our friends and spent the evening under the stars watching The Goonies and stuffing our faces.

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October 9, 2013

Live Hope: Christina of Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe

Hello, hello! Welcome back to Live Hope! Today we get to sit down with Christina. I've thought a lot about introducing you to Christina. I wanted to be able to shine a light on what an encouragement she has been to me. She is so genuine, transparent, kind, inspiring, and encouraging. During times when my blog journey is rough, I think of her. For me she has been someone who... let's her Jesus light shine... super super bright!

Tell us a little bit about you and your shop?
Hi there everyone! My name is Christina Main and I like to talk! Haha (no seriously)! I am the creator of Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe, but more importantly, I'm a sinner who has been graciously and mercifully saved from death, through the life and selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. My story is a story of true redemption. Secondly, I am a Pastry Chef- I've always been in love with anything and everything involving food since I was a little girl. From watching Food Network everyday after school (what 12 year old does that??) to sneaking raw eggs into my room so I could try and whip egg whites like they did on t.v., I couldn't get enough. So naturally, after a few years of college I decided to pursue that love and ended up enrolling and then graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts, in Pasadena, CA back in 2005 with a Le Cordon Bleu degree in all things food. Yay for French cooking!

For the next few years I spent countless LONG hours working in various kitchens as anything from cold food cooking to sauté cook to (of course) pastry work. This is where I really found myself- I couldn't get enough of the pastry work and desserts! I have a lot of burns, scars, and "battle wounds" from those days- and I love them all! I eventually landed the role of Pastry Chef after discovering how much I absolutely loved working with sweets and I have since acquired an even more extreme obsession with all desserts, especially cupcakes and pie!

Thirdly, I am a wife. Now that I'm married, things have changed from heavy fatty cooking and eating to a more healthy route. My husband and I tend to eat at home, almost every night of the week. Now don't get me wrong- WE LOVE TO GO OUT and experience everything the L.A. restaurant scene has to offer- but our health (and wallets) just cannot support that all the time. So I make it my job to provide us with healthy AND DELICIOUS meals that will not only nourish us both, but leave our palate satisfied. Eating healthy tends to want to go down the boring road, but I choose to challenge myself everyday with new and exciting recipes that both he and I will enjoy.

That's exactly what inspired this blog. I wanted a place to be able to come (even if virtually) and sit and chat with you all (my friends) about life, faith, hobbies, loves, and of course food. I wanted to share with you all recipes that we enjoyed, love and adore.

What inspired you to start your blog?
My husband, by far! He knew what blogs were FAR, FAR before I had even ever heard the word! Being an artist himself, he is constantly hearing about "what's hot right now" and is always challenging himself to grow, while filtering those spurts through Jesus. So when blogging started to become a thing, he knew about it and wanted me to try! To say I was skeptical is an understatement. I literally wanted nothing to do with the "blogging" thing….whatever that was. BUT as persistent as he is (which is VERY) I eventually understood the pros of starting a blog up, understood his points, and gave it a whirl. As a hobby of course…. Something I'd do, "whenever I had free time".

Who and what has encouraged you along your journey.
As silly as it may sound, my husband is my number one fan and source of encouragement. He is by far the one person I can go to when days are hard, feelings were hurt, or discouragement has set in and I need a little boost.

Being a blogger is definitely a vulnerable thing and a hard business to be a part of. If you're not bombarded with immense competitive and "way better than me" blogs and ideas constantly, then you're probably struggling with openness- How open do I become? For me, I struggle with both. In order to be personable, one must be real. A few months after I started Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe, the Lord showed me that I was to be as personable as possible- to talk openly about my faith and life, throughout. That sort of realness opens you up for the possibility to be ridiculed and even hurt, along the way. There have been plenty of days where "followers" have commented or emailed me things that…well maybe didn't need to be said- or at least could have been said in a nicer way. Those are the days I say to him, "I'm done. That's it. I can't do this anymore." Those are the days I really need my husband's counsel, wisdom, prayers, and encouragement.
How has your faith shaped this journey?
It's funny because when I first started Sweet Lavender, I had no intention of it becoming what it is today. I envisioned my blog to simply become a place where I would bake or create something, write about it, and be done (and tried hard to continue as such). God had other plans though, and pretty quickly put upon my heart to open my blog up to becoming more. Over time, Sweet Lavender has evolved into a place where I bake and share recipes (of course), but also is a safe place to share about life experiences, hardships, blessings, and prayer requests! Not only that, but this lovely blog has opened up such an amazing sort of blogging community where I have met other Christian blogging women, have found fellowship with, and know I can now lean upon, if need be. I want Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe to be a safe place- a space for us all. I want readers to be able to come, collect as a family, and fellowship with one another. Even if just virtually.

This blog is because of His grace. Honestly. Without it, Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe would never have been. Everything I do, write, post, say…everything is done through His mercy and blessings. I am just thankful that He has given me the ability, strength, and courage to be a part of this crazy journey.

Blogs are like our little virtual homes. If you're wondering what your friend is doing, you head to their "place", read up on what's going on, comment with encouragement and prayers (or in my case, jokes) and stay connected. I've had many many lovely women read certain blogs I've posted and comment saying they're praying for me! I mean…these are women I've never met! It's the craziest but most amazing thing. God has used Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe as an avenue to build Christian fellowship. He has shown me personally that He is bigger than physical distance or crazy conflicting time zones- that He is in control and even if I never "meet" some of my friends face-to-face, we are connected and a family in Christ…and for that I am forever grateful.
What are ways that you live out/share your faith through your blog?
How do your creations reflect that?
God has really been working in my heart this past year. Hard stuff! But gosh, I am so thankful. The changes and fruit that He has produced through me during this process has been seriously life changing. I'm just in awe.

One of the biggest truths I have learned (and am trying hard to do) lately is to make sure that in everything I do, I do for Him. Do nothing for myself. Duh, right? Totally. But also, the hardest thing ever. This means, that in every blog post, Facebook post, Instagram picture, tweet- whatever….I need to make sure my heart is pure and that I am not looking to serve myself but rather I am serving others (you guys) or Him. I need to check my motives and make sure I am posting those things in Him and through Him. For Him even.

Sure I post pictures of dates my husband and I go on, yummy treats we've eaten, places we're visiting, recipes up on the blog- but why did I post those things? Was it to say to my followers, "Look how awesome we are? Look how fun we are? Look how good of a cook I am!" ?? Or am I posting it to stay connected with you guys, be real about what's going on with me (which often includes dates with the hubbie and/or eating fatty treats!), be open, keep that Christian community flowing, and serve others than myself? I am human though, and definitely have failed (and WILL fail)…but I try to really take the focus off of making myself look good and redirect that focus onto Him. There have been plenty of things I've posted and within a few minutes gone, "What was the point of that? You're totally tooting your own horn there! OFF. DELETE!"

Also, I always always always make sure I never post anything that goes against the grain of the Gospel. This one's a little more easy because it's a little more black and white. No cussing, nothing sexual, nothing consisting of anything that could cause harm to someone or cause a follower to stumble. "Live above reproach." --1 Timothy 3:2
What is one of your favorite things about your relationship with Jesus?
I love the amazing freedom and forgiveness I have in Him. What I mean is, because of His death on the cross I am forgiven of my sins. I am given freedom in Christ. Well, because I am a fallen sinner, I sometimes (ok more than sometimes) misuse that freedom and…fall into sin. But because of God's Grace, I'm able to come back into fellowship with Him, through repentance. It's like an astounding loving cycle. How crazy it would be if we lived in those pre-Christ days where there were certain rules and things we had to abide by in order to please Him. I'd fail even more miserably than I already do! I am just so incredibly grateful and relieved…in awe at what Jesus did- what He paid for, in dying on that cross. He died so that I have a chance to live in eternal worship in Heaven with Him! I mean, what????

What encouraging words do you want to share with today's readers about living out their faith. 
There's a quote out there by someone really smart- and I wish I remembered his name. But I'm lame and for the life of me I just can't. Anyway! He said something to the effect of (I'm notorious for butchering quotes, so bear with me)- You have two ways to go about this Christianity thing.  One- you believe with your whole heart and soul that Christ is Lord, that He is real, and that He indeed died upon that cross so that you can be saved. You live your entire life worshipping and praising Him. Then you die and let's say none of it was true. All of this Jesus stuff was a lie. Well, what did you lose in following this lie? Nothing. You lived a life that served others and always strived to put them above yourself. This lifestyle caused you to love, to have compassion, and to serve, serve, serve. Now if it IS true, what do you gain?? ETERNAL LIFE in heaven. Awesome. Ok, now lets say your whole life you just cannot believe it. You go all your days not accepting Him or trusting Him. You deny Him. Then you die. If it's a lie, ok you're dead but IF IT'S TRUE??? You friend, spend eternity in anguish and darkness. In a horrible, horrible, painful existence- forever separated from His presence. Not for the rest of your life, because you're already deceased…but for eternity. Eternity. That's a long time. So, what do you have to lose in just believing Him and trusting Him?

So my encouragement would be: For those that believe- never stop pursuing Him. Every single day worship Him and spend time in His presence and awesomeness. Strive more and more to know Him. You won't be sorry. Don't worry about what others think of you- as long as you're displaying the Gospel accurately, their opinions do not matter. For those that are on the fence- trust Him. Love Him. Let Him in. The time is now. He doesn't need you to fix yourself first, He doesn't care what you look like or what you've done (believe me). He just wants you. As you are. Time to make that first step and let Him in. Don't wait for tomorrow because as we've seen BIG time these last few weeks, tomorrow is NOT promised to anyone. Wouldn't it be the worst thing to keep sitting on the fence, waiting and wondering, and then lose that opportunity to believe?
Favorite Inspirational book or blog?
Easy- Tim Keller's The Meaning of Marriage. Hands down without a doubt.

Maybe this was an easy one because I just finished it earlier this year- but goodness gracious it was eye opening and life changing! So, so good. Not only for those of us that are trying to pursue a Godly marriage currently, but also for those that are single and are open to the possibility of being married in the future. It breaks down struggles and misconceptions of marriage so beautifully and supports everything with scripture! He writes so wonderfully too- kind of like a modern CS Lewis (if you're into him, you'll be so happy)!

What is your awesome factor?
Jesus. Boom.

Christina makes the most adorable edible decorations! Here are a couple of my favorite.
Hello! For someone like me who is crazy about creativity and art, these little edible paint palettes are right up my alley! And I know someone's birthday who will soon be approaching... hopefully Husband isn't reading this.
One word Christmas! Rock my socks off! These edible snowflakes make my heart happy!

Now stop by Christina's blog and shop and fill her day with encouragement!

Connect with Christina: Bloglovin // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram

{photos via Christina Main}
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October 8, 2013

Wear // Fall Threads

I LOVE fall apparel. I wait all year long for fall and winter. The layers, scarves, boots, warm colors, mixing and matching. And you know what else, all those different articles of clothing we put on is another form of creative inspiration. Let's make some art when we get dressed in the morning!

Let's not forget to talk about how awkward it can feel when we step in front of the camera, this post would be incomplete without sharing the awkward photos first.

To add some interesting facts... I'm a creature of comfort so whatever I decided to put on in the morning has to be comfortable... I only made it until after church and after the photo shoot before I changed into a t-shirt and shorts... I love, love, love boots... I already said that. But hey, these boots rank really high I my love meter, because they look like pirate boots.
The Details: 
Boots // Bamboo
Scarf // TJ Max
Dress // Target
Belt // Thrifted
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