Tag Archives: paint and sip

coup d’etat – Food & Paint


I haven’t posted all of the paintings I’ve done at paint-and-sip-style events. However, you will find a few of my least favorites on this blog. I’ve never really been creative nor artistic at all. Yet, I love these classes because we are given specific instructions and guidance. It’s a lot of fun. What I have learned is that I don’t like to paint buildings… and bridges. Either that or I have to learn how to paint straight lines. Steady hand? No, I couldn’t be a surgeon!

I did a few more paintings this summer! One of which was at coup d’etat in Uptown Minneapolis. My friend Jen and I met there for dinner beforehand. It was a beautiful summer day in July to dine outside. To start, I chose a cocktail.

When in Minneapolis, which cocktail should you order off of this menu?


That’s right…

Purple Rain - gin, blueberry lavender shrub, soda -

Purple Rain – gin, blueberry lavender shrub, soda 

Only, it didn’t look very… purple. I took another photo with a different filter.


A little better?

I was so glad it was Happy Hour because the HH food menu interested me more than the regular one. Jen ordered off that menu, too.

Hush Puppies - crawfish, creole remoulade, fennel

Hush Puppies – crawfish, creole remoulade, fennel

These are a different take on hush puppies because the bits of crawfish are inside. We both tend to like hush puppies with chunks of corn. Then there was my Happy Hour dish:

Shrimp & Grits - White Cheddar, etouffee - $7

Shrimp & Grits – white cheddar, étouffée – $7

These texture of the shrimp was the best I’ve ever had – cooked to perfection. The white cheddar grits were in the top three I’ve ever had and the contrasting flavors all came together perfectly. It was like one incredible meal for just $7. I can’t imagine getting anything else here!

We did opt to share dessert at the suggestion of our server:

Almond Cake - plum, apricot, rosemary, vanilla bean ice cream, bellini sorbet - $9

Almond Cake – plum, apricot, rosemary, vanilla bean ice cream, bellini sorbet – $9

There was a lot going on here! The juxtaposing flavors seemed to work together; but I wasn’t in love with the dish like our server was. It’s nothing I need to get again. After dining, we went into the private room where our painting class would take place.


No, that mural on the wall was not what we were painting! I really liked this room and could see it adding elegant ambiance to a private party. Yet, it was a little dark for painting, even with such beautiful lighting.


Furthermore, the acoustics were horrible, making it very difficult to hear the instructor. And truthfully, I wasn’t entirely excited about doing this painting because there was a lot pink going on. {Although I know you can paint any color you want on the canvas!}


There was also a lot of detail that made the original painting look very difficult to replicate. Nonetheless, the result was a lot better than I expected!

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What am I doing with all of these paintings you ask? Our most prized ones are hung in our living room, like portraits.

See them in the background?!

See them in the background?!

As for the others…

Well, in our basement, we have track lighting such that it makes a nice little gallery-like set-up around the main room. The only problem is that it’s not where we spend a lot of time. Rob jokes that we spend about eight times per year down there for our monthly poker tournaments. Oh. And to do laundry. And workout in the winter. And to get wine. 🙂

There is one painting I’d like to do again. Before this painting made it downstairs, my brother came to visit

“Can I have that one?” he asked.

I was floored. How could I turn him down? Somebody wants my art? Hell, yeah, you can have it. He might have asked, though, because he likes turtles, like this kid:


Have you ever given someone something that you created?


What Up? My world lately…


You’ve probably thought that I’ve turned this into a Dog-Mom Blog.

But really, there has been very much going on this summer!  Work has been busier than ever. When I get home, workout and cook dinner, there’s not much left of me wanting to get online. This little blog suffers.

But when I’m not doing that, I’ve been doing lots of fun stuff!

Here’s just a tidbit.

More painting!

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And now… wine-making!

I never, ever thought I’d be one to make my own wine. Back when I taught at in-home wine tastings, there was always a guest who would say, “My {insert relative here} makes wine!”

And just thought of it exhausted me. I don’t have that kind of patience. I’d rather just drink the stuff than put in such a huge amount of time, money and effort on something that may not even turn out. Yes, I’m a turn-key kind of girl. The house Rob and I chose to move into together had no renovations required.

But that is not the case with my friend Sally. She’s always been interested in home improvements. And her latest hobby is wine-making. After hanging out with her and her husband one night, they invited us to make wine at their place and let us know when their next fermenter would be available. They had all of the equipment. The only things we would need were:

  1. a wine kit
  2. about 30 wine bottles
  3. purified water


Here is what we chose for our first kit, based on the recommendations at Midwest Supply:



Sally and Ryan made it sooooo incredibly easy for us. The package instructions all sounded like jibberish to me. They had everything set up and ready to go for us, sanitizer and all. Then they led us every step of the way.

It was so much easier than I thought; but I know that I never could have done it without their help. Plus, we didn’t have to buy any equipment.

But that’s just the thing. We liked it so much – depending on how this batch turns out – we might end up becoming kit wine-makers ourselves. After the initial investment in the equipment, the result comes out to just a few dollars per bottle of wine.

We also had the opportunity to help them bottle a batch of Cab-Shiraz (I believe) using a Portuguese Floor Corker:

Portuguese Floor Corker

And after we left, they let us know when things started a bubblin’ or… I guess fermenting is the technical term:


They invited us back this past weekend for Step #2, which involved moving the wine from a primary fermenter into a carboy. But wait, there’s more! Because the primary fermenters were now available, they invited us to make another batch with them!

We chose this one on this go-round because of the online reviews:

Wine Expert Vintners Reserve Shiraz

There are a few other steps involved, but Sally and Ryan have graciously offered to take care of those for us because they take little time. See? No wonder it feels so easy {and fun!} to us.  They sure do spoil us. Thanks, Sally and Ryan!

We get to bottle both batches of wine at the end of August. Then, the waiting begins. This can be six months to one year until they will become drinkable! {See, I knew that would be the hardest part.}

Our friend Jeff makes incredible wine. For our wedding, he and his wife Penny gave us a case of twelve different bottles of his wine. It was one of the best gifts we received. When I used to think about home-made wine, I thought “nothing-special”; but that all changed the first time we tried Jeff’s wine! That guy can’t make a bad bottle. {Or at least he doesn’t share those!} That, combined with the fact that Sally and Ryan were going to help us, made me a lot less reluctant to give it a try.

Have you made your own wine before?

What were your thoughts? Results?

Any tips for us newbies?



I Want to Go Back to Art Class!


Do you remember when I talked about the gymnastics unit we had in grade school gym class? How I never really appreciated the fact that our public school district had {or rented?} a set of gymnastics equipment that rotated to different schools in the district throughout the year? It’s only now that I’m learning that most kids didn’t have this opportunity to try out all of the fun stuff you see during the summer Olympics. I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I should have at the time.

The same is true for art class.

Art class was hard for me. I was a girl that did pretty well in school, but mostly because I tried to learn the right answers. Art is so much more subjective! And back in those days, I thought art was a natural skill – either you were artistic or you weren’t. Because I always got Bs in art class, I just assumed I wasn’t. And it wasn’t really that fun for me.

Now I wish I could go back to those art classes.

I don’t remember much from art class, except for the fact that our art teacher, Mr. Cook, had a beard. I wish I could just think back on what I’d learned. But I really can’t remember much at all.

And now I’m loving all of these painting classes that I’ve been taking!

Last night, my friend Jen and I took another one of these painting classes that I’ve been obsessing with lately. This one was with Brushes & Brews over at the Cherokee Tavern in West St. Paul.

This painting was titled:

Two to the Moon

Our instructor was Jessica Barnd, who is a high school art teacher. And it shows. She was an excellent instructor! This photo is of the Original painting on the right and the canvas she was working on as we went along on the left:

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Her teaching style suited me well. One of the things I love about these classes is that each one is so much different from the others. Not only am I painting a different picture, but I’m also learning different techniques from different instructors. I don’t always remember the techniques, but I’m always open to whatever is being taught. I love learning something new!

At the beginning, as per the usual, I had to Trust the Process:

Jessica showed us how to make “GPS points” in order to know where our moon, birds and major branches would go. I loved this strategy! When we started using black, she moved her canvas to the right and continued to use white instead so that everyone in the room could see what she was doing.

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At first, as we started drawing the branches, it looked like my birds were in the sea and I was drawing seaweed! This was my first thought; but when Jessica voiced this out loud about what we might be thinking about our paintings, I laughed!

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But as Jen and I know we had to Trust the Process

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And our finished works:

There is more to learn in these classes than just painting. One of the most important things I’ve learned is not to be too harsh on myself. I’m new at this. I don’t have a steady hand yet. Maybe I never will. Whenever we go to these classes I hear things like:

What are we supposed to be doing?

I can’t get my X to do X!

Mine doesn’t look like that!

I used to {and sometimes still do!} say these things, too. Everyone is so critical of their own work. And when you are sitting up close to your painting, it’s really easy to critique and compare with the original. We find that when we take a step back from the painting and look at it from the distance from which most art is viewed, we get a new perspective. And while we are busy criticizing ourselves, we look over and compliment a friend or neighbor’s painting, thinking about how it looks SOOOOOOO much better. But what’s funny is that person is usually thinking the same thing!

Here is a link to a photo of our class paintings. So you can see, everyone turns out with a REAL piece of artwork, whether you are experienced or not.

And after all is said and done and I take that piece of art home, I completely forget about every little detail that was nagging me during the painting process and just relish in the fact that it is mine.

I made it.

Painting is a process – just like life, with its flaws and all.

Trust That Process.

By the way… Did you know that blue is my favorite color? Well, I actually like all of the colors of the rainbow because they make life so beautiful. But if I *had* to pick one, it would be blue, because it is so calm and serene.

What’s your favorite color and why?

In what parts of life are you unsure of the outcome, but you try to trust the process?


Painting our Pooches!


It’s time for the second installment of

Sophie and Shamrock Saturday!


Back in November, I received an email in my inbox for an offer to have a customized pet portrait painted. I thought, “How lovely would that be!?” But I couldn’t swing the $300 asking price.

After having done so many painting classes, I wondered if any of them offered those to paint your pet. I knew that my painting would not turn out as nice as one by that talented artist advertising on Etsy; but I did know that I liked the painting classes and it would be a very personal painting to me!

A little over a week later, I found a Groupon for Art and Elixir, a Paint & Sip company I had heard of, but had not yet tried. Before buying the Groupon, I browsed through their calendar to make sure that there was a painting that I wanted to do, on a date that I could do it, at a location that I could make on that given date.

This is what I found…

For this event you will get to paint your OWN pet!
Painting your pet is as easy as 1,2,3. You will supply us with a photo of your Fido, we will sketch him/her onto the canvas for you prior to class, and finally you will paint in your pet with our guidance during class to complete this custom pet portrait. For this event, you must email Terri a photo of your beloved family pet at least 7 days prior to class.

That Law of Attraction in action!


Seeing that there were only a few seats left, I purchased the $17 – YES, $17! – Groupon right away and signed up for the class. The class is considered a “premium” one since not everyone is doing the same photo, so I paid the extra $10 to upgrade. Then, I thought…

“Which dog would I choose to paint?”

So I told Rob about the class, thinking I could paint Sophie and he could paint Shamrock. By then, Groupons were sold out. I didn’t care. I signed him up for the class regardless!

Here are the photos we chose to paint:

The event took place at the Gold Nugget Tavern in Minnetonka. We arrived early to have some dinner before making our way to the event room. {Restaurant Impression to come next week!}

When we walked in, we were given our canvases that had sketches of our dogs based on the photos we emailed, as well as a print-out of the photo.

We were also given the paint that we each would need to paint our specific pets:

We looked at the sample finished pet portraits:

A&E Samples

We also decided on our background colors and were given some extra paint for that.

That’s when the canvas on the left became the canvas on the right:

It was then that I wondered if my Sophie’s portrait would make her look like she had only one leg! I inquired about this and one of the artists that was assisting everyone, put an outline of the leather jacket from her Sophie Fonzarelli photo on to my canvas. It was a very personalized class because we were all doing different paintings! However, there is no way that I was talented enough to make it look like a jacket, so I figured it could at least look like a blanket or something covering her other leg.

Sophie 1

And here is the rest of the Sophie Jean artwork process…

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And here’s Shamrock in progress:

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And our finished masterpieces!


I’ll be honest and say we weren’t happy with the work throughout the process, but when we took a step back from looking at our paintings up close, we have to give ourselves some credit. We only started painting a few months ago!

Next time, I want our dogs to do the painting… like this Jackson Paw-lock.

Have you ever had a professional portrait done of yourself, your family or your pet?

What about a self-portrait or self-painted portrait of someone you love?


A New Obsession…


I’ve never thought of myself as an artistic type.



So I don’t know what encouraged me to buy a Groupon to a Paint and Sip event. Maybe I was intrigued when I first learned about these from Lisa’s post. She lives in the Portland area and when I read/saw her post, I immediately thought, “I wish we had those here!” She said that she wasn’t an artist either. And her painting turned out beautifully!

And every website indicates that there is “no painting experience necessary!” I figured that they wouldn’t say that if they wanted happy customers. And it sounded like a lot of fun. So I bought two different deals to different events led by two different companies without ever having done much more than a paint-by-number as a child.

And now I am obsessed!

Generally, at these events, the cost includes your canvas, the use of brushes and paint and the instruction. Everyone is painting the same thing and you are given step-by-step instructions from an artist, although you can feel free to make your painting your own in any way that you want. The event lasts about three hours.

It’s called a Paint and Sip event because you can also buy beverages (alcoholic or non) to sip on (and/or relax yourself!) while you are painting. Sometimes food is offered, too.

In the Twin Cities metro area, I’ve been to classes run by:

  • Cheers Pablo – Studio in Woodbury
  • Brushes and Brews – Paint & Sip events at restaurants throughout the Twin Cities (generally the south metro)
  • Art and Elixir – Paint & Sip events at restaurants throughout the Twin Cities (generally the north metro)

Here’s what I’ve painted so far…

Table in the Rain

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury, MN

I attended my first event with my husband, not knowing what to expect. We decided to do a Couple’s Painting because why would we need two of the same painting in our house? What this meant is that while every one else was doing their own painting, we’d each be doing one-half of a painting on two separate canvases!

Sample of one canvas painting versus a Couple’s Painting on two canvases:

It’s amazing to think that we started with these canvases with a simple sketch…


And of course a glass of wine…


You might be wondering how a painting could look cohesive if you have two different people painting it. The instructor told us that we’d be swapping canvases throughout the night, so the work would be a combination of the two of us!

The process…

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But then Rob went rogue!

He decided that he didn’t want to “conform” and put windy rain on his side and refused to paint his side of the table the same color. At this point, we completely forgot all about swapping!

Here is our finished work:


It was a ton of fun! It’s a unique piece of work that represents the two of us.

I was hooked.


Wine & Song

Brushes and Brews – painted at Casper’s in Eagan

My friend and I chose this painting mainly because of location and timing. In the banquet room, the artist had a sample of the work we’d be doing and another canvas he’d be working on himself as he guided us along through the project.


This time, we started with a blank canvas. Jen and I discussed how relaxing it was to make brushstrokes into these circles to form our background.


The process:

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And our finished paintings to bring home…


Owl Always Love You

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury

My friend Kim said she wanted to do this painting for her daughter:

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I agreed, but wasn’t sure those colors would go in my house. {But, duh, you can make the painting any color you want.} Then Rob had the great idea to give the painting to his parents for Christmas! It would be a one-of-a-kind piece of art especially from me.

But there is a little pressure for an inexperienced artist when you know you are giving it as a gift. Plus, I didn’t want them to feel like they’d have to hang up a(n adult) child’s artwork in their home. But I went with it.

When we arrived, they gave us all sorts of options:

photo 5(2)

I decided to stick to the winter theme because I loved how the owls were snuggling and wearing scarves and earmuffs! Kim decided to go with the spring version.

This time, we started with a blank canvas. We got to do a swirly circle background again! Here’s how we started out…

Don’t they look creepy without the eyes!?

And the rest of my process…

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And here’s our finished work… success!

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When Kim’s daughter saw the painting, she pointed out that the little owl was her and that the bigger owl was Kim. How cute is that?!

I didn’t like how dark I made the circles around my red owl’s eyes. So I turned them into glasses! I think he looks like a professor. My mother-in-law said that she is going to name them!


Stone Arch Bridge

Cheers Pablo – Woodbury

I told the girls that I really wanted to paint the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis because it kind of holds a special place in my heart because Rob and I have had some of my favorite dates walking that area of town like this time and this time.


We all felt like this was the most difficult one we had done yet. We had a hard time looking past the painting itself and looking at it in terms of shapes instead. As usual, we started with the background.

I was having a hard time creating the colors I wanted to. In the photo below, where we began to sketch in the buildings, you can see the bridge that we are trying to paint on the screen on the wall. Those are the colors I wanted.

photo 2(1)

We were all confused on how this could possibly turn out like that painting. But then I realized we needed to relax and just have fun. That’s when, out of nowhere, I said,

“Just Trust the Process.”

Kim just about fell over laughing. And it became our quote of the afternoon. And it was fun. Here are some photos of what I painted while I was trusting the process…

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And our final masterpieces!


Jen and I are signed up for another class with Brushes and Brews in February. Let me know if you want to join us!

Come back tomorrow to see what Rob and I painted at Art and Elixir – our pooches!!!

What is the most artistic thing you’ve made?