Crochet Coasters

Crochet Coasters Photo by Jessica TorresI needed something fun to hold my drinks on my desk – something prettier than the paper towel that I’ve been using – so I whipped up these fun crochet coasters last week.  They are quick and easy to make, just a solid granny square, which I edged in a border of single crochet.  You can find patterns for solid granny squares all over the internets … here’s one, here’s another, and one more.  I picked some fun, springy colors for my coasters, and stitched them up while watching TV the other night.  The yarn on these is 100% cotton, to absorb those cold drips running down the side of my glass on warm spring days.  I love quickie projects like this – very simple and quick, but adds a bit of color and cheer to my desk.

Here they are in action:

Crochet Coaster Stock Photo

And a side note, you all know how I take pictures of all the things – so these pictures are available to license on Creative Market – here and here.

Art I Heart – Barbra Ignatiev

I’m loving the work of watercolor artist Barbra Ignatiev, artist behind the Barbarian brand.  I love her bright, fun colors and playful patterns.  Take a look at a few of my favorites from her Society6 shop below:

Red Anemone by Barbra Ignatiev

Bird of Hey - Indigo by Barbra Ignatiev

This tribal pattern is so fun!

Dash Aztec by Barbra Ignatiev

And how cute is this bright diamond pattern as a fun throw blanket?

Bright Like a Diamond Blanket by Barbra Ignatiev

Also, if you go to her website and subscribe to her newsletter, she sends you a new, lovely phone background each week.  I have mine set to one of my favorite florals:

Barbra Ignatiev Phone Wallpaper

Watercolors are one of my favorite mediums lately, and I find so many lovely, inspiring watercolor art.  You can be assured that there will be more watercolor artists making an appearance in my little ongoing Art I Heart series.

Easy Winter Dinner – Taco Soup in the Slow Cooker

Quick and Easy Slow Cooker Taco Soup RecipeWe make this taco soup recipe all the time, it’s huge family favorite.  And it’s super easy to throw together, with lots of variations.  It’s delicious and quick slow cooker recipe for cold winter evenings!

For the Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 14 oz can black beans, undrained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • taco seasoning to taste
  • water, to taste

For Serving

  • grated cheddar cheese
  • tortilla chips

Brown ground beef or turkey with onions, drain if needed.  Combine all soup ingredients in slow cooker, cook on low 6 hours.  Serve with grated cheese on top and tortilla chips.

Again, lots of options with this soup – plus it’s so easy, and basically impossible to mess up, which is probably why it’s a favorite in our house.  We like quick, easy, and hard to mess up.

These recipe is easily substituted based on what you have in the pantry.  Omit the meat to make it vegetarian.  Or use chicken, or really any leftover meat you have on hand.  I’ve thrown in leftover rotisserie chicken, leftover taco meat, shredded chicken, ground turkey, and all have turned out great. Use diced tomatoes with green chiles or mexican seasoning for added flavor.  My husband loves cumin, so he adds extra cumin and garlic (on top of the taco seasoning) when he makes it.  If we don’t have tomato sauce, I’ll throw in some tomato paste instead, or even just another small can of diced tomatoes.  If we are out of onion, I’ll add minced dried onion or just skip it completely.

This is a good recipe to sneak in extra veggies for your family.  We add an undrained can of corn occasionally, or chopped bell peppers, and I’ve even thrown in some chopped spinach to sneak extra vitamins into my kids diet.

No need to drain any of the cans of beans/corn, just dump them all into the slow cooker, juice and all.  Then just eyeball the amount of water, to make it more or less soupy.  Top with cheese, cilantro, sour cream, salsa …I personally prefer a heaping mound of cheddar cheese and then I eat it with tortilla chips.

**And of course, since I take pictures of everything, this soup photo is available to license from Creative Market.

Art I Heart – Charlotte Winter

Lately I’ve been finding tons and tons of fabulous artists to admire while browsing one of my favorite art spots on the internet, Society6.  I think I’ll start a regular feature of favorite artists so that I can share the love!

My first artist to share is Charlotte Winter, discovered through her Society6 profile, of course.  My favorite works of hers are the abstracts – I would love to have some of these hanging on my walls or on pillows for my living room.  They would also be great for a stylish teen bedroom or dorm room!

Sloane Abstract Painting by Charlotte Winter

Michel Abstract Art by Charlotte Winter

Eisley Abstract Painting by Charlotte Winter

I also love some of her fun repeat patterns too … these ice cream cones would make a super adorbs beach bag!

Ice Cream Tote Bag by Charlotte Winter

and this peach/navy/gold tribal pattern would be great on your walls or on your phone case!

Jacs Print by Charlotte Winter

I did a little internet stalking and found that Charlotte sells many of her patterns on Spoonflower, so you can buy her designs on fabric for all of your crafting needs!

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark

Looking for a fun, easy Valentine’s project to whip up in the next few weeks?  Here’s a super simple heart origami bookmark to make for your sweetie.  Tuck a few in a valentine for your book-loving significant other.  There are lots of tutorials online for these (and they are a pretty darn easy origami project), but I took some step-by-step photos to help you see how I made these.

Cut a piece of origami or scrapbook paper in half to make a rectangle.  I used a piece of origami paper for the ones here that was about 5 x 5 – so cut in half it was about 5 x 2.5 inches.

Fold it in half lengthwise.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 1

Fold it in half width-wise, then unfold, leaving a crease to mark the center.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 2

Turn the folded paper so the crease is at the bottom.  Fold one side up so that the edge of the paper lines up with the center crease.  Repeat on the other half.  You’ll have a little folded arrow shaped thingy.  (“thingy” – very professional, technical crafting terminology) I used my crochet hook to roll over and really flatten all the folds.  I’m pretty sure there are fancy official origami folding tools for this kind of stuff, but I just used what was handy in my craft room.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 3

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 4

Turn the folded arrow thingy over, so you can see a little triangle pocket on the bottom of the arrow.  Fold the top edges down about a third of the way.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 5

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 6

Last, fold the top corners down to make the heart shape.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 7

When you turn it over, you see a cute little heart.  Slip it over the corner of a book to mark your place.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 8

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 9

You can make these in more masculine colors if you’re sweetheart is not a lover of pink and purple.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - Black Stars

Or you can string them together to make a cute little Valentine’s Day banner.

Simple Heart Origami Banner

ps:  I added some of these origami stock photos to my Arts & Crafts collection on creative market, in case you are interested in licensing these images.

Crochet Blanket in Progress

Purple Ripple Crochet Blanket with Hook

I’ve been cozied up inside, working on this lovely, purple-y striped ripple crochet blanket for my new baby niece who is due to be born any day now.  Well, technically she’s a bit overdue now, I suppose, as her due date was Thursday.  Either way, she’s going to arrive into the world in the next few days, and one of the best ways to spend a cold winter weekend is a crochet marathon snuggled under a blanket.  I’m hoping to get it finished before she gets here (my family laughed hysterically when I told them this goal, as I have a bit of a reputation for unfinished crochet projects).

The pattern is the sharp chevron pattern from this book.  Yarn is Sheep-ish in plum(ish) and white, and wool-ease in blush heather.

Completed blanket pictures (hopefully wrapped around a new, tiny baby!) to come in the next couple of days!

Purple Lavender Crochet Blanket

ps:  I added some of these crochet stock photos to my Arts & Crafts collection on creative market, for those that might be interested in licensing.  

Simple 4th of July Decor Idea

Simple 4th of July Decor with Washi Tape

Here is a fun idea for 4th of July decor for your party or barbecue … washi tape cookie cutter star ornaments!  I found this idea for Christmas ornaments on Pinterest, which led me here … (Sidebar:  Have I mentioned lately how much I adore Pinterest?  Seriously, how did I live without it?  I love it with all the heart and kissey face emoji in the world.) Anyways, I saw these star ornaments at my local party store on sale and thought they’d be perfect to decorate for a festive Independence Day buffet table or cocktail station.

You simply take washi tape and wrap the ornament as neatly as you can, and then hang with fun baker’s twine!  I chose red, white, and blue washi tape to keep to the 4th of July theme, and it took about five minutes!  Super cute and super simple 4th of July decor.

You can also see the washi tape bunting I made in the top photo.  I love washi tape almost as much as I love Pinterest.  In fact, I follow the washi tape topic on Pinterest.

If you make any of these cute ornaments, be sure and share your project!  I love seeing other’s craftiness.

Have a cool and fun holiday weekend, friends!

Shameless plug:  You can purchase these 4th of July decor photos to use on your own blog, website, or creative project here on Creative Market.


Tips for Selling Your Artwork on Society6 – Getting Promotes and Followers

Hey friends! Today I’ve got some tips for selling your artwork on Society6.  In case you’ve never explored their website, Society6 is a really fun place to find beautiful and inspiring artwork and home decor.  It’s also a great venue to sell your work if you’re an artist.  I’ve been selling my photographs on Society6 for a couple of years now. It’s taken me a while, but I’m starting to build a small, consistent monthly income selling my photos on wall art, home decor, device cases, and even leggings (those are fun! Check them out!) over the years, I’ve learned a few techniques to gain followers and traction on Society 6.

After you post your artwork for sale on the website, you have to get a certain number of “promotes” before your art will be searchable on their storefront. In order to get the promotes, you need to have a bit of a following (of other artists, mostly).

Here are a few tips to help you get those promotes you need to get into the society6 shop.

1. Follow and promote other artists. A LOT of other artists and their work. When you’re new on society6, you should spend quite a bit of time browsing, promoting, and following other’s work.

2. Comment on others’ art that you like. Adding a comment is more visible than just clicking that heart icon, and I’ve found that artists are more likely to notice that you’ve visited and promoted their work if you leave a comment. I’ve had many artists come visit my work after seeing comments I’ve left on their work.

3. Join a facebook group or two for society6 artists. There are many active groups that have daily or monthly threads where you can post your own products for others to promote. You must follow the rules of the specific group, usually there are requirements to promote other products in the thread. I’m a member of this group and this group, and they are a good source of views and promotions.

4. Take note of who is promoting other artists, and view and promote their work. You can see who promoted your product or any other artist’s work by clicking on the number below the heart icon. Take a look at the comments and names of promoters and specifically visit their work. This helps you find people who are more recently active on the website (and actively promoting art), and will be more likely to visit your work in the near future.

tips for selling your artwork on society6 - view your promoters

5. Comment on your own artwork. Don’t spam people, but if others have made nice comments on your artwork, if you pop in with a “thank you” it can help in two ways: one- it shows you notice and appreciate those who come to view your work, and two- it gives your artwork a little bump up in the “my Society” feed of those who are following you. If they weren’t online when you first posted the artwork and it’s dropped down in their feed, a comment will bump it back up to the top increasing the number of people who might see it and comment on it.

6. View and promote artists who are online now. Your “My Society” feed is filled with new work by artists you follow, but also by work that is promoted by artists you follow. Often near the top of your feed, if you hover over some of the artwork, you’ll see a note that says “promoted by xxxx”. This artist is likely active on Society6 currently. If you go search for the artist that promoted the work, you can look view, promote, and comment on their recent work. This can help to get some quick views and promotes by people currently on the site. Make sure you select the “people” option on the right sidebar after you search for the artist’s name.

Searching Active Users on Society6

Hopefully these tips for selling your artwork on Society6 will help you build some momentum as you start to sell your art online. Let me know if you have any other great tips that you’ve learned, I’d love to hear about them!

New Blog and Website – Jessica Torres Photography

Jessica Torres Photography

Welcome to my newly re-designed blog and website!  It’s been a long time in the making, but I finally have a newly designed blog and portfolio/shop!  It’s still a work in progress, of course.  I’m working on moving some of my old blog content over from my old blog, a little at a time.  And there’s still tons of photography to add to the shop.  But we’re live, and I’m so happy you found your way here!  Check out my about page to find out more about me and find a big list of places you can find my work.  Get in touch via social media – lots of links on the right sidebar (or the bottom if you’re viewing this on your phone!).  Or send me a note on the contact page.  And I have an email newsletter, where I’ll send monthly updates about all things Jessica Torres Photography!  Sign up right here to get on the list.  Thanks for stopping by!


My First Book Cover Photograph

Book Cover Photograph - Jessica Torres Photography













Guess what?!? My butterfly photograph is on the cover of a book in Holland!  So exciting!  That’s a picture of it on the iTunes store.

There have been a few exciting milestones in this fledgling photography career of mine -my first sale of a photograph to someone other than my mom or my sister; my first international print order; my first large, custom print order … And now my first book cover photograph!

I still always get a little thrill of surprise and happiness when someone buys one of my photographs for any reason, but a book cover is a big project!

The photo was licensed through Arcangel Images, you can see all of my images available for licensing on their website here.

You can also buy prints of the same butterfly image in the shop or on Etsy.

Thanks for stopping by to share in my excitement!