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RIT Spring Art Festival

by abby on March 27, 2012 | Comment

easter cards birthday cards

Thank you to all of you who stopped by the AbbyDora Design table on Friday. It was a great day! I truly enjoyed meeting so many new people and the support for my artwork was wonderful. I hope to see you all again soon around RIT’s campus.

pok a dot garland easter cards

On Friday, we offered the chance to win this gift basket filled with adorable Spring inspired paper goods to anyone who joined our mailing list. Using the number generator at random.org, we are happy to announce the winner is: #4 CAROL REED! Congratulations to you Carol. Thank you again to all of you who participated in the Spring Raffle.

All of the paper goods and prints you saw at the festival are also available in our Etsy shop . Easter is next week—don’t forget to send an Easter smile with an AbbyDora Design card!

Happy Spring!

by abby on March 20, 2012 | Comment

easter decorations streamer

Happy first day of Spring!
Yesterday I saw bright green shoots of Crocus poking out of the ground and this morning I heard birds chirping outside my studio!  Ah Spring, it feels so good.

I am so inspired by Spring. I love that color comes back to the natural world and I think you can see this joy in my new spring products.

unique flower mom cards

For those of you in the Rochester, NY area, this FRIDAY MARCH 23 from 10am-4pm I’ll be participating at RIT’s Spring Art Festival. I hope you will stop by my booth to browse my unique handmade greeting cards and notecard box sets. I’ll be featuring Easter cards, Mother’s Day cards, and my cute Bug and Wild Flower note cards sets.  I’ll also have have my 3-demensional handmade party garlands in all sorts of spring colors and patterns.  And of course, there will be lots of digital prints of my children’s illustrations too. Support a local upstate New York artist and come visit the AbbyDora Design booth!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

by abby on March 16, 2012 | Comment

saint patricks day recipe

In my life Saint Patrick’s Day is quite special. For starters, my group of friends use this holiday weekend to reunite from far and wide. This would be amazing in itself, but the 17th also marks the day I met my boyfriend. Yep, he was a friend of a friend—the best recommendation you can find! All it took as that one introduction and we have been together ever since. Huge grin.

In honor of the 2-fold special weekend, I decided to create Chocolate Stout Cupcakes. Oooooooo….even the same starts your mouth watering. It’s a recipe from David Lieberman on the Food Network, but I of course added a few of my own twists. For starters, the original recipe calls for Guinness, however, I wanted to increase the chocolate, so I used Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.
homemade cupcakes

The chocolate stout enhanced the rich chocolate flavor without adding any more sweetness. These cupcakes are light in texture, but the stout keeps them soft and moist. To add a sweet high note, I paired the chocolate cake with my own rich cream cheese frosting. This simple cupcake recipe allow you to make a special Saint Patrick’s Day treat in about 40 minutes.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
(yields 24 cupcakes)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (Ghirardelli is wonderful)
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 bottle stout beer (recommended: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout)
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 to 1 cup butter, softened
1-2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup box confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 24 muffin tins with paper liners or grease. (Hint: take out the cream cheese and butter for the frosting and let it sit on the counter to warm to room temperature)

 In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 11-12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 11-12 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool 2 minutes before turning out.

Cream Cheese Frosting
While the cupcakes are baking you can create the frosting.

In a mixer, cream together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth.

Add the vanilla (I like 2 teaspoons)

Add the sugar a 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well after each cup. That’s it!

The frosting can be ahead of the time and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days until needed. I recommend pulling it out of the refrigerator for a few minutes to help the frosting spread more easily.

I’m so looking forward to celebrating this weekend and know these cupcakes will create additional smiles. I’d love to know how your own cupcakes turned out and how you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.


Easter Colors

by abby on March 13, 2012 | Comment

handmade paper party decorations

Here’s a little preview on a few Easter garlands I’m creating! Don’t you just love the pastel colors? They make me instantly happy. I can’t wait to pull them together and decorate my own mantle for Spring. These garlands will be available in my Etsy shop next week, so you, too, can celebrate the arrival of warmer days.

I have one more than to share with you. I recently had one of my animal fabric collage paintings framed…
baby animal art

Ta-da! I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. The yellows and greens pop against the white matte and frame. This framed piece of art would make a wonderful addition to a baby’s room. And it would work for either a boy or a girl! If you are interested in purchasing this original, please send me a note and I’ll provide you with all the details. I also have high quality digital prints of the mother and baby giraffe available for sale. They are printed on watercolor paper and have the look and feel of an actual painting. How ever you want to do it, here at AbbyDora Design, we want you to decorate your walls with art!

Happy Creative Month

by abby on March 9, 2012 | Comment

abbydora design illustration

March is Craft Month, so it’s time to get going on a creative project. Everyone could use a little help finding their daily creativity and with the warmer weather I’ve started to feel it’s time to explore the inspiration outside my studio.

daily art projects

Earlier this week I came across a great art how-to book, called One Drawing A Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity with Illustration and Mixed Media by illustrator Veronica Lawlor. Veronica is part of the New York City based group of illustrators called Studio 1482. One Drawing A Day shares techniques and projects from all 8 artists. It looks like a treasure trove of methods to get those creative juices flowing! I’ve ordered my own copy and cannot wait to start drawing and painting Rochester.

art outside

If you want to try out a project from the book, Etsy has featured Veronica in a How-to blog posting. This post shares with you two methods to create monoprints outside while you are on location. I love the spontaneous, slightly messy quality to this project. I cannot wait to begin my own!

Do you usually create your projects outside your home or studio?

Chicago Art Weekend

by abby on March 6, 2012 | Comment

abbydora design artwork
My boyfriend and I took a long weekend to visit friends in Chicago. It was our first visit to this mid-west city and our friends, Kirk and Tracie, were amazing tour guides. We hopped buses, “L” trains, and pounded the pavement to see the sights.

custom handmade stationery
It turned out to be a great art weekend. Chicago is home to one of my favorite paper stores, Paper Source, so of course, it was on our list to see. It was great fun to fill my shopping basket with brightly colored envelopes and not have to pay shipping!

Then later on, while waiting out a rain storm in a coffee shop, I casually looked out the back door to see a giant Dick Blick art supply store. Fate stepped in, I swear. I don’t have one of these stores in Rochester and as it turns out they are a wonderful supplier of art boards that are treated to either paint directly onto or you can mount prints to them. I took a few to experiment. My suite case was becoming heavier and heavier as the weekend continued.

The climax of this art weekend was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a museum that surprised me with its collection. They have several gems in their galleries. As an artist it’s always a thrill to stand in front of the original painting that you have studied for years and only seen as a 3″ x 5″ rectangle in a book. Seeing Edward Hopper’s Nighthawkes caused me to have such a moment.

Edward Hopper

The painting is so much larger than I imagined! I think I could stare at this painting for 15 minutes and not be board. Hopper has created a very compelling visual story. Who are these people and why are they at this diner?

Another favorite artist of mine is Toulouse-Lautrec. I’ve known him for painting cabaret girls and the night-life of Paris, but I didn’t know he also went through a circus phase.
chicago art museum
I love how the horse is painted and the perspective Lautrec created.

Finally, in the education center at the museum was a small exhibition of the children’s book paper illustrator, Steve Jenkins. He creates beautiful illustrations of animals and insects with cut paper collage. The detail of these creatures is amazing. Here are a couple of my favorites.
fish illustration

children's illustration

These illustrations are used in non-fiction picture books that share with young readers amazing animal facts.

Phew—what a weekend! My thanks to our hosts for their great hospitality and for trekking along to all the art stores and museums. D and I really did love seeing Chicago and I’m sure we will be back—next time in warmer weather!