About Emily Smith Pearce

I'm the author of _Isabel and_the_Miracle_Baby_, a middle grade novel, and _Slowpoke_, an early reader.

Paintings of St. Maarten and Anguilla

Hi everyone and happy New Year! Sorry to have been absent so long. In October I was unexpectedly recruited into a part-time job (nonprofit development, my old stomping grounds) and have been careful to preserve my writing time when I’m not at work.

In the meantime, I’ve still been cooking and crafting, though a little more slowly perhaps.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a family trip to St. Maarten and Anguilla and wanted to share some iPad paintings I created while there. I had more time to paint on St. Maarten, so most of them (except the first one) are from there.

Hope you enjoy!

Painting Title_010IMG_1710IMG_1712IMG_1713IMG_1711

 

iPad Art to Digital Prints

iPad Painting Print

I’m not sure what took me so long, but I finally bit the bullet and got some of my iPad art professionally printed with archival inks and artist-grade paper.

I used Picture Salon, and I am so thrilled with the results. The colors are so vibrant, so true to the originals. I used bright white paper and printed them as big as Picture Salon recommended (9 x 12 with a border). For more about the process of making these digital paintings, click here. For posts about my artwork in general, click here.

In other news, had a couple of recent critiques on a work in progress (novel) that really gave me a shot in the arm. So great to get some helpful feedback. This writing thing can be too solitary at times.

Currently reading Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck. What about you?

Mjeddrah: One Pot Lentil and Rice Supper

Mjeddrah

Lately, I seem to have lost my cooking mojo again. The peanut gallery is wearing me down. They want a rotation of about four meals (that we all agree on) and when I repeat one of those, there is complaining. We have instituted a new no complaints policy, but still, I’m at a loss as to what to cook. I’d rather not have to coax them to eat each bite. Not to mention that I’m sick of those four meals. Sometimes I just stare at the refrigerator as if inspiration will strike. Ever have those days?

Usually I think of my kids as being fairly adventurous, and maybe they are, on the whole. Maybe they’ve taken a break.

At any rate, the other night, I decided to take a break from worrying about what they wanted. I found this recipe in Crescent Dragonwagon’s Bean by Bean (yes, that’s her real name—look it up). I decided I’d make it for the hubs and me, and the kids could make themselves some eggs or PB&J.

Mjeddrah is a Middle Eastern rice and lentil dish with spices, carrots, and onions. It sounded so lovely and comfort-foody but also interesting and nutritious. It’s a definite repeat, though I have to say, I would  double the recipe for us. Ms. Dragonwagon recommends it will feed 4-6, but I could’ve eaten the whole pot myself, seeing as how we had no side dishes. Unless, maybe we had spinach salad. I may have cooked my spinach into the mjeddrah. Not sure. There were no leftovers, and only two of us ate it.

Anyhoo, what are your tricks for feeding the whole family peaceably (besides takeout, of course)? I’m looking into some various meal prep menus or services to get us out of our rut.

For other cooking posts, click here.

Child’s Drawing to T-shirt Design

Patriots

Hello everyone! I didn’t mean to disappear for so long. Hope to be here again more regularly.

Here’s a little something we made back in June for Father’s Day. Our son had been drawing his own version of the mascot for Daddy’s favorite football team. (Yes, it’s that team. No, I’m not going to weigh in on Deflategate). Anyway, I loved my son’s spin on the mascot and thought it would make a great T-shirt.

It was a little tricky because of the skinny details, so I definitely had to help my son, but I’m really pleased with how it worked out. I made a freezer paper stencil (google that and you’ll find plenty of tutorials). The paint is craft-grade acrylic mixed with textile medium to make it adhere to the fabric.Textile medium is available at most any craft store.

The T-shirt was a big hit with the hubs. If you’re trying your own, I’d just recommend something without lots of skinny details. A simple shape with just one color would be much easier.

Freezer Paper Stencil Image

Some new-to-me podcasts I’ve been enjoying: Again with This?, which is basically hate-watching Beverly Hills 90210. Somehow it hits the spot. Also, Gilmore Guys, discussing episodes of Gilmore Girls. They are two twenty-something guys definitely not hate-watching but having the most charming conversations about themes, characters, and fashion on the show. It’s my jam.

Summer shows we’ve enjoyed: Playing House, UnReal, Younger, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and we’re about to watch Mr. Robot. Sorry, I’m too lazy to link, but you can find them lots of places.

I’ve been reading a good bit but nothing that I feel you must also read. Somewhat related, super discouraged that my son’s public elementary school will have no librarian this year. And, no, do not tell me volunteers can fill that position. Hearing that only makes it worse because I know how wrong it is. I lived with a similar situation for a couple of years growing up, and it was not pretty. A bonafide school librarian makes an enormous amount of difference in the quality of a child’s education.

Bright spot: we have the day off today, and I took my little guy to the public library and let him get a stack of mysteries. He often gives me grief about his strict screen time limits, but today, he is hanging out in his bedroom hammock, reading away.

Tonight, I’m going to see the documentary Meet the Patels about a local Indian-American family looking for a bride for their son. Sounded so interesting on NPR.

What have you been up to? Read or watched or listened to anything good?

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

Attention, spice lovers! It has come to my attention (via a New Orleans bookwoman friend) that there is a better, cheaper way to supply yourself with unlimited pickled jalapenos.

Simply buy fresh jalapenos, slice, and jar in white vinegar. Store in fridge. Tada! That’s it. Hubs was afraid that leaving the seeds in was going to result in scorched tongues, but turns out the vinegar must dampen the burn factor, because they’re really not that hot—I would put them in the same category as your average “medium” salsa.

The best part about making these is that they retain an excellent crunch factor.

Here they are on my lunch from yesterday, also featuring roasted chickpeas using Penzey’s taco seasoning mix. Yum!

Roasted chickpea tacos

In other news, I’ve discovered some new-to-me podcasts lately: Mystery Show and Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, both wicked excellent. Also re-read Edward Eager’s classic Half Magic –so fun! And currently re-reading Pat Hutchins’ The Mona Lisa Mystery. It’s out of print but I found a library discard available online.

Hope you’re having a great summer. As usual, mine is a little busier than I’d anticipated, but it’s going well. Hope to see you here again before long.

Hot Air Balloons Painting

DSC_0088

This was a commissioned piece—-I thought you might like to see its evolution. The couple wanted a painting for their baby’s nursery that would grow with their daughter—i.e. not be too babyish when she grows older. They were totally open to me choosing the subject matter, but I wanted a little direction. The room is varying shades of aqua, so I started with color and asked them for photos of blue things from their recent trip to Turkey.

When I saw photos of the balloons in the blue sky over the mountains, I was hooked. The balloons were whimsical and colorful enough to be child-friendly and at the same time specific to a particular moment. I’m hoping the painting will remind them of a special day on their trip.

This is another of those projects that has been coming together for several months.

Here is the initial underpainting:

Painting

Next layers:

IMG_1473

IMG_1520

 

IMG_1620

And the final layer, which is the first image in this post.

In other news, really enjoyed Lake Bell’s film In a World, now available on Netflix. And currently reading The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Very fun read.

Dog Costume

Homemade Dog Costume

I meant to photograph the finished version of this, but I ended up being too distracted to do it. This was for the church spring play, and the final included a tail stiffened by a sliver of milk jug inside it.

The ears here are just pinned on, but I swear I did actually sew them to the headpiece.

The costume is made up of Goodwill items: leggings, T-shirt, with light brown T-shirt spots, plus a balaclava-type “hat” out of more T-shirt pieces. The headwear is very similar in concept to the knight helmets and ninja “hats” I’ve made in the past.

For the ears, I just made two tubes with rounded edges, then sewed them on the balaclava pointing up so that the stitching is tucked unseen just under the ears. This detail gave them just a little bit of oomph so they hung well, with a lot of personality.

My little model here was in the play but wasn’t actually the dog. Our friend who did play the dog totally rocked it out. Everyone worked so hard and did a wonderful job. I was proud to contribute and to have two young actors in the family, as both my kids were in it this year.

For more simple costumes, click here.