Sunday Music Videos

I like listening to a lot of music while I paint. I mean really, who doesn’t love music?

Sunday morning is a great time to bookmark some new videos and run a playlist. Usually its a lot of movie or video game soundtracks unless I’m having some creative blocks then I have to change it up. My dirty little secret is I’m a COVER BAND fan! I hate listening to the originals once I’m bored of them and would rather listen to a new version of it. And it opens up this whole world of creative people on the internets.

So this post is dedicated to a sampling of some of the sweet videos I’ve found to get some creativity flowing! These musicians rock!

Enjoy!

1. Amazing Cover: This lady is GENIUS: Nirvana Heart Shaped Box

2. Katy Perry Dark Horse in 20 Different Styles (My youngest LOVES Dark Horse)

3. Pentatonix – Happy!

4. And since I love Pentatonix so much, here is Lorde’s Royals as well…

5. Barbershop Girls – Something Tells Me

6. Ukulele Bohemian Rhapsody (I have a Ukulele that I can’t play very well, but I’m learning!)

7. Guitar Cover of Skrillex – seriously fantastic.

8. Rimba Tubes – Daft Punk Medley… I love this guy!

So there you go, a small sampling of super creative people doing awesome things with music!

Now go be creative!

Honorable Mention for Nate: JIMMY FALLON BOB SEGER COVER

LEGO Movie : Princess Unikitty Cake

For those of you that took  your kids (or yourself) to the LEGO Movie, BEHOLD, the “Everything is Awesome” Princess Unikitty Birthday cake.

Unikitty Cake

Uni-Kitty

So here’s the story, my girls have played with LEGOs on and off over the years, but once the “LEGO Movie” came out, it has ramped our LEGO-shipping up a notch. Especially for my youngest daughter who will NOT STOP talking about Unikitty and Cloud Cuckoo Land. That part of the movie really stuck with her as well as the “Everything is Awesome” song… Well it stuck with me too.

So over the course of the last month or so, I’ve been adding to our collection of LEGO merchandise. We have the playsets, we have the video game, we have the pajamas, we’ve seen the movie, 3 times, and now (…because of the constant begging and since I love a challenge) we now have a Unikitty Birthday cake.

(Haven’t seen the LEGO Movie yet? It’s fantastic. Stop reading this and watch the trailer!)

Let it be known, I’m NOT a professional cake decorator. I actually don’t remember the last cake I tried to decorate. In fact, I’m not even a huge fan of cake. BUT I AM a champion Playdoh sculptor, so if I just tell my brain that fondant is Playdoh, it all works out.

Clara with her Unikitty Cake. Happy Birthday my sweet little girl!

Clara with her Unikitty Cake. Happy 4th Birthday my sweet little girl!

I did alot of searching online for Unikitty cakes to get some ideas and was highly disappointed. There really isn’t very many out there, maybe Unikitty isn’t as popular as Emmet or Wildstyle, but WE think so. Do not fear Unikitty worshipers, I have posted the “progress shots” to my blog so you can see me struggle, rejoice and beat my head trying to figure out how to make this thing.  Enjoy!

10_Final

Yes, she is AWESOME!

First things first, I've never made fondant, so I found a recipe online and got to work.

First things first, I’ve never made fondant, so I found a recipe online and got to work. I used a dough hook and my Kitchenaid Mixer. I LOVE MY KITCHENAID MIXER.

2_FigureOutSize

Then I scaled up a photo of Unikitty and did a quick outline of how much cake I would need and what I would cut apart. We went to the store… uh two times since estimating isn’t my forte.

3_CakeBody

We used the Funfetti cake, BECAUSE IT’S A BIRTHDAY DUH. I started with the legs and tail. At this point I’m already getting a little nervous.

4_Fondant

Here I am struggling with the fondant. It’s breaking, it’s pinching, it’s not even whatsoever. And look in the back how much cake I’m wasting! Honestly at this point I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn out.

5_Pieces

BUT I WILL NOT GIVE UP! Now I’m using food coloring and dying the fondant the different colors to get the LEGO legs, neck and outline of the tail. Yes, I’m messy, I’m just a mom. THERE ARE NO INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS! THIS IS WHAT YOU DO FOR YOUR FOUR YEAR OLD!

6_Head

Now I had to bake two more cakes to start the head. I’m all about proportion. I’ve seen enough cake shows that it’s much easier to cut if the cake is cold/frozen. Worked out perfect.

7_Covered

Covered the head in fondant, now I know I have seams everywhere, but honestly, nobody really cares!  Unless of course you are a professional cake decorator.

8_Details

Now onto the details, some ears and face. At this point I’m actually having fun, it’s more like molding and rolling and using cookie cutters to get shapes.

9_Face

More fondant fun, I have permanently dyed my hands black by using black food coloring on the eyes. Made the horn and some stars to cover up flaws.

10_Final

Then I piped white icing around some of the seams just to smooth everything out and cover up the major flaws.  All in all I’m super happy with it. And my daughter thinks I’m “Totally Awesome.” Can’t get much better than that! We love you Clara! Happy Birthday!

The only downside to this is that my OTHER daughter wants a WildStyle cake for her birthday. I have until July to try to figure that one out!

Thanks for reading! ~April

Book: Quentin McFury The Last Defender now available for purchase

Quentin McFury - The Last Defender Cover

Quentin McFury – The Last Defender Cover

I’m so excited to announce that Patrick T. Gorman’s book “Quentin McFury – The Last Defender” is now live on Amazon!

I have been collaboratively working with Patrick these last 6 months, designing the book cover and become a fan. Now it’s your turn. I don’t usually push too many things on my friends, but this is a book that I can get behind. A little sci fi Star Wars adventure, with a little love crush and alien worlds. What more do you want!? Great for kids to read as well.

You can find it here on Amazon:

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Quentin-McFury-Defender-Series-Volume/dp/0615891004/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382380929&sr=8-1&keywords=quentin+mcfury

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Quentin-McFury-Last-Defender-Series-ebook/dp/B00FY0NMQA/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382380961&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=quentin+mcfury

Nook Version: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/quentin-mcfury-the-last-defender-patrick-t-gorman/1117165794?ean=2940148405085

iTunes Version: Search for “Quentin McFury” in iTunes on you iPads, iPods or iPhones!

Congrats to my good friend Patrick. May the downloads be many and the ratings five stars. Now start writing the next book!!

Researching Rosemaling

The last time I was home, my grandmother had set aside some artwork, fabric and other random things that she thought I might enjoy. One of these things was Rosemåling artwork that she had learned to do back in the 70’s.  Now I didn’t know alot about rosemåling other than I know it when I see it!

Rosemåling is a very distinct Norwegian style of decorative painting that originated in the 1700s with florals and flourishes usually painted on plates or other wooden objects. It consists of C and S curves and many of the brush strokes remind me of calligraphy. It is quite folksy and beautiful.  Some modern day rosemåling is produced with stencils and double loaded brushes while others still do freehand designs with layers of paint creating depth and outline.

My grandmother's Rosemaling artwork.

My grandmother’s Rosemaling artwork.

So this morning I did some research on rosemåling. There is a very talented lady by the name of Jean Honl from Roseau, Minnesota that creates some BEAUTIFUL rosemåling pieces. Plates, clocks, even a full hutch; it’s wonderful to see how much beauty and detail she has in her designs. She has a video below that shows how she creates these highly detailed pieces. You can learn more about her on her website.

Then I found a video of Sigmund Aarseth that freehands rosemåling on a huge canvas. It is worth it to watch the full 9 minutes! Amazing strokes.

Here are some more examples of rosemåling that I’ve found while researching the styles.

rosemaling hutch 3

This piece was restored and refinished by Honl.

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Turned wooden plate with Rosemaling

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Rosemaling 1974. The scroll work is beautiful.

rosemaling budstikke

A Rosemaling Budstikke. If you are not at least a 1/2 Norwegian you have no idea what I just wrote.

1225

There are many types of Rosemaling. Telemark, Hallingdal, Valdres, Rogaland, Os, Gudbrandsdal, Vest Agder.

7 Things I Found Surfing the Internet

Back when I was working full time, I would take a few hours and surf for cool stuff during my breaks. It was a great way to wind down, get inspired, or just laugh a little with my partners in crime. So I’m bringing it back. My Sunday mornings are becoming my “Surf Time” while the girls are sleeping in and my husband is doing rounds. So here are 7 cool things I found surfing the Interwebs. Beware, I’ve very geeky and nerdy at times and my posts will reflect that, I blame pop culture, movies and comic books.  And alot of Doctor Who.

1. BATDAD

His wife Jen is going to kill him. But I can’t stop laughing.

2. THE DOCTOR’S NAME WALL DECAL

TheDoctorsName

It’s a ginormous vinyl wall decal of my (second) favorite DOCTOR in the world. You can buy it on ETSY here for me.

3. FLAT. SO FLAT.

I love dumb movies. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’M GOING TO SAVE IT WITH A SOLO!

4.  DRUMMING LIKE AN AUCTIONEER

Jazz drumming. Fantastic!

5. HARRY AND LLOYD, ON REPEAT

BU8CGSWCYAEPS-8

My oldest brother and I spent 2 summers on a remote “island” in the wilderness of 1996 & 97 with twin beds, a VCR and a single crappy VHS tape of “Dumb and Dumber” on repeat. I’m not even kidding…. AND NOW THIS IS HAPPENING AND TOTALLY REDEEMED ITSELF!

6. WHAT IS THIS WORTH?

BobaFett

Boba Fett finds out the value of carbonite on the next Antique’s Roadshow.

7. Rainbow Bookshelves

rainbow

A secret wish for my studio.

Sneak Peek of Quentin McFury Bookcover

Quentin McFury - The Last Defender Cover

Quentin McFury – The Last Defender Cover

For the past few months, I’ve been secretly designing a book cover for the wonderfully talented Patrick T. Gorman. If you are a Star Wars fan or have been to the Star Wars Celebrations, you probably have heard of the “Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes” or the “Star Wars Saga in 60 minutes.” Patrick is the creative genius behind these wonderful productions. He wrote and directed them. So he’s kind of a big deal in my book.

Star Wars Saga in 60 Minutes Cast

Star Wars Saga in 60 Minutes Cast

I was lucky enough to be introduced “digitally” to Patrick through our crazy mutual friend Nick Simon. (I have never actually met Patrick in person, or even talked to him on the phone! Cray!) But in this digital age of awesomeness we collaboratively created this book cover for his first novel “QUENTIN MCFURY – THE LAST DEFENDER”. And I could not be more pleased!

We started back in May of 2013 and over the course of hundreds of sketches, digital illustrations, type layout, color choices, font choices, synopsis writing and rewriting, we have finally come down the final stretch of artwork!

So here it is in all it’s glory! I can’t wait to get copies for all the readers in my family!

Quentin McFury - The Last Defender

Front and Back cover

SYNOPSIS FOR QUENTIN MCFURY – THE LAST DEFENDER

One September day, everyone disappeared…

Everyone except gawky, geeky Quentin McFury. When he fell asleep in English class, Quentin never thought he’d wake up with drool on his desk and no one else on Earth.

In search of answers, the teen will steal a spaceship, fall for a snarky purple girl, and make friends with a strange robot who denies he’s a robot. Together, they will fight through a universe Quentin never knew existed to rescue his people. But will he find his fellow humans before a group of mysterious pursuers catch him first?

“The best and only way to describe Quentin McFury: He’s sort of like if Douglas Adams and Nick Hornby had a love child and it was up to that kid to save the universe. I fell in love with Quentin as he bumbled his way through the galaxy.  And I’ll be honest, he broke my heart a little along the way.”

— SARAH WATSON, writer for PARENTHOOD and THE MIDDLEMAN

About Patrick T. Gorman

An expat Nebraskan with multiple useless degrees from USC, Patrick T. Gorman has made a name for himself out of letters from the alphabet. A Playwright-in-Residence for the esteemed stage company Festival Theatre USA at the young age of 23, Patrick T. Gorman stormed the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as the writer of three plays that yielded sellout crowds and glowing reviews. Since then, Patrick continues to furiously write screenplays, plays, and anything else that his dainty little hands will scribble out, always moving forward like a chunky bearded shark.

You will be able to purchase Patrick’s book from Amazon in the next few weeks as he finalizes the interior chapters.

UPDATE!!!! It’s now available for PURCHASE!! Congrats to Patrick!!

You can find it here on Amazon:

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Quentin-McFury-Defender-Series-Volume/dp/0615891004/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382380929&sr=8-1&keywords=quentin+mcfury

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Quentin-McFury-Last-Defender-Series-ebook/dp/B00FY0NMQA/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382380961&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=quentin+mcfury

Nook Version: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/quentin-mcfury-the-last-defender-patrick-t-gorman/1117165794?ean=2940148405085

iTunes Version: Search for “Quentin McFury” in iTunes on you iPads, iPods or iPhones!

I can’t wait for you all to fall in love with Quentin, Trinta and Roddy as they make their way across the galaxy! Believe me when I say, you are going to LOVE this book.

Here is my daughter holding the original canvas artwork for Quentin McFury - The Last Defender!

Here is my daughter holding the original canvas artwork for Quentin McFury – The Last Defender!