Tag Archives: special gifts

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

20 Jun

“Nothin says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven, especially if its hand-painted glassware.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Being an artist has its upsides and its challenges. I have trouble going out and buying gifts for friends because I always want to make them something special. Oh, don’t get me started on Christmas gift exchanges with my artist friends. Those are the best because you know all the time and love and thought that has gone into each personalized gift.

With that in mind, I was trying to think of something special to make for Mr. Jerry’s big 75th birthday bash yesterday. I’ve painted a couple of martini glasses in the past because he has a martini glass collection. Then, one year I painted a couple of wine glasses to match, with those vibrant African colors and silhouetted trees and a giraffe thrown in for good measure. I wanted to make a bold statement for his collection, so I painted a large glass vase in the same motif. He buys fresh flowers for his table every Friday, and I know he really appreciates my homemade and unique gifts. A one-of-a-kind vase would be perfect.

I started out with a large clear glass vase and Folk Art Enamel glass paints. I turned it upside down and started dabbing wine red with a makeup sponge to get a soft application. Then, while still wet, dab in orange, blending ever so gently to avoid lines. The last color was yellow. I flipped it right side up for the last color, blending and softening lines and edges. Usually, when I take on a new project, I paint several smaller prototypes first to get all the kinks out before I risk messing up the larger project. Also, I like to keep a few references for the future because once I paint something and give it away, “I’ll never have that recipe again.”

After the background is painted and dry, I use black for the trees and giraffe. I have to laugh because no two giraffes I paint ever look the same. Some have short necks, some way too long legs, or a big butt that goes around the corner, Ha!

I was happy with my smaller prototypes, so I proceeded with the large vase.

I bake the glassware in a regular oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and leave unopened to cool. This helps to heat set the glass paint. (Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.”

Voila! Mr. Jerry’s special birthday present. I think it will look cool with flowers or even one of those battery operated candles that flicker inside.

Here are the other prototypes. The small one was a gift for Brandi, Jerry’s lovely daughter who hosted the party. The other two will remain in my personal collection for a while. I hope you liked the step by step painting process of …Toni takes old glass and turns it into a new treasure.

I hope you liked your gift Mr. Jerry. Happy birthday.

Tuesday: Toni’s Tip of the Day: Use Your Pretty Broom

21 Jan

“The great art of giving consists in this the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.”
― Baltasar Gracián
Another beautiful day here in McKinney. After my one hour Zumba class this morning, I went for a long walk and soaked up the sunshine. When I came home, I remembered that the garage needed some sweeping. I have a regular broom, but I noticed the decorative broom that my mom had painted for me some fifteen or more years ago. So, I decided to use it to sweep. It was a broom, after all.

While I was sweeping, I thought, “I should use my pretty things instead of saving them for a rainy day.” Why do we save the fine china or the good silver for special occasions only? Life is short. We should enjoy our things now. So, I used my beautiful broom, and I smiled, thinking about my beautiful mom who can turn a plain old household broom into a work of art.

My gift cost very little, but is greatly coveted and highly appreciated.


Another tip: Mother’s are very special people, so don’t forget to tell them how much you love and appreciate them. I call my mother EVERY DAY and tell her.


Sunday Sermon and Special Gifts

29 Sep

“The great art of giving consists in this the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.”
― Baltasar Gracián
Today’s sermon was about the man who asked his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first refused, but then went later and worked. The second said yes, but did not go. So, which one did his father’s will?

Sometimes it takes some people a little longer to do what’s right. But then, they see that honor, faith and loyalty are the most important things in the world. Then, there are others who pretend or lie, with no intention of doing the right thing. In my opinion, even worse than lying to others is lying to yourself. You can’t do terrible things, lie, and cheat, and pretend you are good, when know in your heart that you are not. (Enough sermon.)

I want to share a much more uplifting story. I have been going to 9 o’clock Mass at St. Gabriel’s for quite a while now. I love seeing the families and children who share their faith every week. The past few months, I go out of my way to say hello and introduce myself to people around me. I see the same faces every week, why not learn their names?

I usually sit by the most adorable family, a mom, dad, little boy, and baby girl. So, about three or four months ago, I started bringing a little Matchbox car in my purse for Landon. (I ran across a big bag of little cars a while back when I was packing up the house.) Before Mass starts or on the way out, I give the young boy a little car, he gives me the biggest smile and thank you, puts the toy in his pocket, and returns to his serious church demeanor. This makes my day.

It’s just a small token, but when this little boy says, “Thank you, Miss Toni, ” with his dark bright eyes, it melts my heart. I have found that meeting new people, making friends, and making people smile is a gift. It’s a special gift I give myself.

Landon is adorable. Look at that smile,

PS. After church, I went for a long walk, found a lucky penny, and picked up 8 construction nails, saving the world from nails in their tires. Later on, I visited with my friend Lynne, went for another long walk, and procrastinated away another entire Sunday. Love it!