Monday, April 30, 2012
Happy Monday to you! Wow! A post on Monday. You must think that I am confused today. But no, I am simply following through with a promise to myself.
You may recall some time back I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of some inks. And since their arrival I have been suspiciously quiet about them. That's because I am still learning how to use them. Funny how a product demonstration can be so misleadingly simple.
But this morning I created this card and was so pleased with it that I wanted to share it right away. It was just one of those moments. I am also posting it on the Octopode Pretty in Pink Challenge. It is not an Octopode image, but perhaps I will get all pinky with one of their images later this week.
This goth girl is one of my faves and is from Stampotique. I am planning on creating several cards with their images for my Etsy shop. If you are interested in some off-beat greeting cards before I get them loaded into Etsy- email me. I will be happy to oblige.
I hope you find joy in your day!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
|This card features a Bella image imposed over a painted background.|
Last evening I sat on my deck with a margarita in hand. On my left the sun was beginning its descent and I welcomed its warm glow. I thought of my children in the house. Somewhere they were hypnotized by a computer screen or cutting, coloring, and pasting the latest craft creation. It didn’t matter. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, the grill was heating up, and I was sipping a margarita. But it did matter. I resented the notion that I should go inside and hound them about their homework, their piano lessons, and their need to bathe.
I am ready for summer.
But am I?
There is always a list that forms around the arrival of summer. The list includes things like camp registration, swimming pool membership, and the insidious summer vacation. That’s right, I said INSIDIOUS. It’s not that I don’t like vacations. I do. But I abhor planning them. Starting with the question of where to go, the decisions snowball: when to go, how to get there, what to do, what to take, where to stay.
As for camp registration, I had hoped to host Camp Griffin this summer. We would explore the deepest reaches of our closets, hike to the top-most point in our attic, and create our own little Eden in our backyard. But, then I thought about the art lessons that school did not provide this year and the opportunities Scout camps offer and I realized that Camp Griffin might not be the answer.
So, last night I conceded that while another margarita might deaden the panic that vacation planning induces, the lack of a summer plan would still be there in the morning. I pledged to tackle summer head-on. Begrudgingly, I set my empty glass in the sink and called for my children. Homework, piano lessons, and showers awaited us all.
There is so much I would like to share with you this week. I am working on a new mixed-media canvas entitled "Home is where the heart sings." I still plan on showing off my bathroom tile job. And I am working on some greeting cards that I plan to put in my Etsy shop which has been empty since November, crazy. In the meantime, check out the birdhouse necklaces I made with my Girl Scout troop.
How CUTE are these?? I helped 14 fourth and fifth grade girls make these whimsical necklaces. I had hoped to photograph the whole flock of them, but we ran out of time. I got the project from an issue of Handmade Jewelery.
|We added dangles to ours and I included a polymer clay bird that I made some time ago.|
|Detail of our birdhouses. My daughter's creation is on the left and mine is on the right.|
Thanks for sharing a corner of your day with me! I love hearing from you, so drop me a comment. Have a great week
Thursday, April 19, 2012
|photograph by Renee Griffin; taken at Sanctuary Safari|
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
--- William Carlos Williams
Who needs a photograph when carefully chosen words can convey the same image? W.C. Williams saw the poetry in the object and sought to convey the art of the image rather than the art of language. His image of the wheel barrow is emblazoned in my memory in a way that a photograph could never attain.
It was Mr. Williams' image of a wheel barrow that kept me company this week as I cursed my own. Bill seemed to comprehend the importance of the wheel barrow. You know who did NOT fully appreciate the importance of the wheel barrow? Wheel Barrow Incorporated.
With each emphatic thud of earth I watched the red container wobble on its stilt-like legs. I waited for the awkward beast to topple over like the prom-king who has had one six -pack too many. The heavier the load, the further it listed. But like all good drunks, my wheel barrow humored me by leaning against the wall.
I understand that the wheel barrow is a tricky bit of engineering, which only seems to strengthen the need for substantial field testing- no pun intended. I also realize that we live in troubled economic times and that budgets are tight. Perhaps Wheel Barrow incorporated experienced a down-sizing which forced it to distribute pink-slips to their product testers, as a well as a complimentary wheel barrow.
Wheel barrow be damned, I now have a Hosta bed where I once had Oklahoma clay, sandstone, construction debris, a collection of grassy weeds and lawn-mower-crippling ruts. Well, okay, the Oklahoma clay is still there; and so, I hope it doesn’t turn my planting bed into a mass burial site. But just in case my plants succumb to Oklahoma clay, slugs, and triple digit drought, I took a picture - You know, proof that I don’t sit around penning blog posts all week.
I stripped away the top 4"-6". Anyone want any trash dirt??
Here is the finished bed. Thank you Mia, for taking the picture. After gardening all day I was in the kitchen making dinner and I sent her out with the camera. By the way, dinner was FABULOUS! Anyone interested in an easy satay recipe, just holler!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
|Detail from this week's experiment.|
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin
- Anais Nin
|Fuzzy picture of a warm and fuzzy moment!|
A childhood friend visited last week. Underneath my excitement I worried that our reunion might be awkward. We hadn’t seen each other in years and our lives had taken radically different paths. I ruminated over the validity of lifelong friends. Was a brief collection of shared memories and experiences sufficient to sustain a life-long relationship? I wondered if people clung to childhood friends as a way of preserving a more original identity- a self that existed before marriage, children, careers, and the baggage that accumulates through adulthood.
My anxieties dissipated when I saw Christine in the airport. There stood the same unassuming and forthright friend I knew in 8th grade. The next six days proved that a stay-at-home mom and a world-traveled archeologist can still be the best of friends. When she left, the house seemed too quiet and the intricacies of friendship began to gnaw at my insecurities. So, taking my own advice, I sat quietly with those insecurities. I gave them time to breathe.
It took a couple days to find peace, but it came. It came disguised as a drink with friend, a letter in the mail, the ring of the telephone. I realized that friendships do not always look alike, but they are all equally valid and important. How could I have forgotten such an elementary lesson? Friendships are as diverse in appearance as the flowers in the garden or the people in the street.
A mental catalogue of my friends revealed a vast array of religious beliefs, interests, talents, skills, and pastimes. This full spectrum of friends nurtures my soul and colors my life. It has given me a greater capacity to empathize with others and explore my full potential as an individual. Coming full circle, I realize that the individual is defined by community. How can I possibly understand myself within a vacuum?
Thank you, friends. Thank you for sharing your time, talents, wisdom, opinions, and beliefs. Thank you for sharing your wine, food, books, movies, and music. Thank you for sharing your tears, joys, homes and families. Thank you for sharing yourself.
|"Friends Come in All Sizes"|
|Simply had to share this one because I think she turned out beautifully. The image is from Dilly Beans, one of my new faves!|
I didn’t plan for this week’s art experiment to tie in so handily with my blog topic. (Truth be told, my blog topic usually fails to reveal itself until the last critical moment.) But this week I created a mixed media canvas entitled “Friends Come in All Sizes.” It is the largest canvas I have worked on to date, and it is only a meager 10”x14”. But you can’t imagine how vast 14” can feel until you are staring at it with a paint brush in hand. As I look at it here, I think it needs a couple subtle touches, so perhaps it is still a work in progress. (Feel free to share your opinion.) The canvas is based on Christy Tomlinson’s work and contains components from her line which she is distributing through Pink Paislee.
On a trip to CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) this past winter, my sister-in-law and I fell in love with this woman’s whimsical canvases and the ease with which she seemed to create them. We ordered the complete line of her products including decorative papers, rub-ons, die-cuts, and a stencil. We are working on plans to re-sell her products and/or our original artworks through a collaborative online storefront. In the meantime, if you are interested in any of these products for your own paper-crafting projects or would like to learn how to create your own mixed media works of art using pre-made elements, contact me through email or comments.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The clock read 4:15 and I was wearing whipped cream spatters. I had left a fine dusting of confectioner’s sugar across the countertops and the gears in my head had begun to screech with effort. How could I fix it before 5:00? The “it” was a lumpy excuse for cake topping. “It” was resting in the refrigerator. I had hoped that cooler temperatures could coax something edible, or SPREADABLE, out of it. And while frantic, horrified, and angry, I was not delusional. I knew that the damage was irreparable. But hope glimmers without reason- and so I began my resuscitation attempts.
What if I were to beat more cream and then fold in the curdled mixture? I got out my immersion blender, attached the whisk, and got the biggest metal bowl I own, that doesn’t belong to the stand-mixer, because that was in the fridge. I knew the risks. The bowl was small; the throwing range of the immersion whisk was great; and voila, whipped cream spattered everywhere! The dogs were dancing below my feet.
“Yea! Mom has gone crazy! She is throwing whipped topping for us.” It was like the sprinkler in summer, but inside and tasty.
The cream formed soft peaks so I folded in my curdled mixture of Mascarpone and cream. The cream softened further and the entire mixture took on the consistency of weeping cottage cheese. The puddle of liquid grew quickly. Now what? But I didn’t give up! Even though the topping had flat-lined, I grabbed the next life-saving device. “Don’t go to the light!” I dumped in powdered sugar, thinking it would absorb the liquid and the topping would take on the consistency of creamed cheese frosting- not far-fetched since it consisted of Mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla. “And a cup and a half of cream, you moron!” shouted the not-so-master chef in my head.
The addition of powdered sugar created a lovely fruit dip.
Now the clock read 4:20. Upstairs I heard my houseguest stirring. Christine has known me since I was 14 years old. I don’t need to impress her. In fact, I had no intentions of trying to impress her. But I had hoped to pass myself off as relatively intelligent, unlike the scatterbrained imbecile I found standing in my kitchen. I needed to go to the store to fix the cake. But, I have been to the grocery store everyday she has been here, which simply confirms my weak organizational and planning skills. Twice in one day seemed remarkably excessive.
I was also expecting my mother-in-law for dinner.
I grabbed my keys, let the kids know I was going to the grocery store, peeled out of my driveway right into 4:30 traffic. I made record time, returning home with two new cartons of Mascarpone and a pint of whipping cream. I was pretty sure I could use a pint of something else about this time, but I had to keep a clear head. The life of dessert was on the line.
I threw more hazelnuts in the oven to toast, prepped the sugar water for the brittle, put the cream in the freezer to chill thoroughly (I was not taking any chances, I threw the whisk attachment in the freezer too.) Before you knew it I was slinging Mascarpone through the air and scattering hazelnut brittle dust across the floor, and Carter and Django beat out happy prayers with their tails as they cleaned the cabinet doors and mopped the floor.
Shortly after 5:00 I heard the garage door go up; Matt was home. I was slopping on the last of the topping as he came through the door. I had done it. I saved dessert, never mind the grocery bill or the piles of dishes in the sink.
I hope your Easter meals don’t throw you any curve balls.
|While this is NOT the most beautiful cake anyone ever created, and definitely not the best photograph, it tastes great! I like the mixture on the top: chocolate, orange zest, and some sugar. Yum.|