Friday, December 14, 2012

glass half full

I have it in my head that I will have three stocking caps poking out of three stockings on Christmas morn. This is how far I am on cap numero uno. What are my chances? I'm not giving up yet! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My honest reality

 This is how I'm living these days. Seriously. My art room is symbolic of my whole life: personal, spiritual, literal.
I'm enjoying the online goodness about decorating, traditions, finished projects. But I haven't done one thing. Not one present bought, not one decoration hung, not one fruit cake baked. Ok, there won't really ever be fruitcake.
On a thankful note (gratitude still comes effortlessly to me - that must be a good sign), the Winter sun is so great in my art room. Considering how tall the ceilings are and how many windows I have up here, this space is dark-ish most months. But in these pre-holiday days, the sun shines extra brightly it seems, exactly when I need it. And that gives me hope. xo

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweets 2012

Last garden post of the year! Promise! We had an hour and raced out to dig up our sweet potato harvest, having no idea what we'd find after such a hot summer. 
For the first time ever, the potatoes were peeking out of the ground waiting to be picked. We didn't have to hunt at all (which is good and bad...bad if you're eight and enjoy the digging-for-treasure part of this tradition).
Our pile kept growing...
and growing...
and growing!
 Look at this big bunch - again, they just kind of came out of the earth effortlessly. It was fascinating.
 Here's a closeup, because I'm weird about this stuff and delighted to show you a closeup.
It was a great harvest and we are very thankful! Potatoes are now laid out single file on newspapers in our basement.
Questions for next year include: Can I save a few of these to plant in the Spring? and Is one supposed to rotate potato crops around their yard/garden space? We've had three years of growing here now, the dirt is like black gold, and I'm tempted to just keep planting them here. Opinions? Answers?
Happy Thanksgiving week! xo

Monday, November 12, 2012

....and exhale...

Well, what a difference two months make! I have missed being here and if anyone is still here with me, welcome back. I have a lot to share, but first I'm going to simply recap my time away...

I started and finished a new after school art class for preschoolers called Art Outside.
 Our beautiful girl turned 14.
 Halloween came and went.
Joey and his friend were One Direction - get it?
 I participated in Craft Out Loud and sold 29 journals - a record for me in one sale!
 I also took a break from reading art blogs (details about that soon) and came back to discover the arrival of Ms. Amelia. Talk about making your heart sing (and keeping things in perspective - it was also election season as I was away)! Hooray hooray! 

So much to tell, so much to share! Happy happy November! xo

Friday, September 14, 2012

deep breath...

I have been reflecting a lot lately on the parallels between making art and parenting. It started easy, thinking about how leaving lights on (for example) makes me feel frustrated (sometimes make-my-skin-itch frustrated), but finding baseballs in my plants makes me feel thankful. The same is true for having a creative business, parts of this life just drive me batty (no pun intended) and other things make me feel this intense sense of gratitude, balance, assurance. And then that parallel extends to deeper topics. Schools nationwide it seems are putting new focus on grit (I heard this speaker this week.) and while I believe in this newish conversation, I also believe that we the parents are really who need to develop more grit. I think authenticity is seriously absent in our society.We need to speak more honestly with each other without fear of ending friendships, we need to listen, really listen, when someone offers a view that conflicts with our own. But before any of that can happen, we need to put ourselves out there and be honest about our parenting, our partnering, our personal (strengths and weaknesses all). It's just so hard. And I don't need to tell you how this parallels with art - sharing art is terrifying in its own way. But if we're all keeping our cards close to our chest, are we growing as best we can? Are we learning? Are we honoring who we're supposed to be as individuals and as community? I don't know...and then I wonder some more...

Anywho, I'm starting my paintings for the Craft Out Loud art show - first week in November. I don't know where blogging will find me, but I'm feeling right now like I just want to paint and not document it, not share it, not put it "out there". If people told me they felt this way about putting their parenting selves out there, I would immediately encourage them to change their minds. But with painting I don't know (still wondering). It seems like a little retreat might be just the thing.

My blogging has dwindled as of late. I do not think this is indicative of anything - I think it is just a season. Hope you'll check in with me again because I have every intention of getting back here. But for now, I'm just going to take a deep breath, dip my brush and see what happens next. xo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Best baba ganoush recipe in the world? Agreed!

We have found ourselves with an abundance of eggplant this year. We have left it on the sidewalk in baskets with "free and organic" marked on them for passerbys, we have delivered them door-to-door, we have given them away in bag-fulls to people who swear they eat eggplant all the time. We have more growing, but this weekend, we finally picked a big bunch (two huge bowls) and make baba ganoush in bulk. The recipe below claims online to be the "best in the world" and I must say, we think this might be true. Remember all of the measurements are somewhat relative because eggplant come in all shapes and sizes, so mix it up as directed and then tweak as necessary. Happy Monday! xo
1 large eggplant
1/4 cup tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 pinch ground cumin
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup brine-cured black olives, such as kalamata


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire.

Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin.

Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl.

Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste.

Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.

Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed. Serve topped with extra olive oil if desired and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Shop update today!!

I have a small set of new, upcycled journals available for sale in my shop. Each less than $20 and if one speaks to you, grab it, because they are all one-of-a-kind! Wishing you a wonderful weekend! xo

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ok, ok...summer's over

I hate the end of summer. Even with all the great parts of it, I hate it. But I'm telling myself to look on the bright side and this week begins the season when I start looking forward to next summer. Seriously.

The kids are nestled back at school and very happy to be there. Sports and drama club and chess will get going again. And as for me, my creative biz will return to this space, more consistently most certainly.

If you've stuck with me through the summer of garden and kid photos, I wanted to let you know that I'll have a little shop update on Friday. I have some wonderful upcycled journals to sell. Each less than $20 and one-of-a-kind. It's never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts. (Can't believe I just typed that last sentence.) Oi. xo!

photos: Joey at Grand Lake, OK, Labor Day 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back at it

We're trying to re-claim our school year rhythm over here. I'm back to bookmaking - collaging, sorting, mess making! xo

Friday, August 24, 2012

Like mother, like...

Kyle and I attended the YMCA's book sale this week. We went specifically on $10/box day and it was bountiful and great fun (for me). Kyle enjoyed picking out some books and then he was ready to go.
I always have a tape measure with me, so I asked him to measure some books for potential journals. Then I asked him to arrange our books in the box so that we could fit as many in as possible. Finally and coincidentally I said, "See that book over there? It's more than 100 years old..."
"How can you tell?" Kyle asked, totally interested. And I explained how the binding is so different that once you look at a thousand or so discarded books (ahem), you can usually tell when they are really old.
Bingo! I mean Math! Kyle was in love with this very old book (169 years old) and figuring out how old books were occupied him until it was time to go.
Kyle insisted we bring this book home with us. It is very damaged, and he has it wrapped in fabric and stored on a shelf alone in his closet. When friends come over, he takes it out like it is a book made of Tiffany glass, wrapped in babies and tied with a string of kittens. His friends ooh and ahh...I think mostly because of the pageantry behind the unveiling, but so what? sweet. Happy weekend! xo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peach Salsa...yum

 We cut into our first mealy peaches of the season this week which means it is peach salsa time! I have had this recipe for years and make some rendition of it every summer. If you don't have an ingredient, either leave it out, or substitute freely with what you have. My kids love this recipe, although Faith said she wants me to sub out orange juice for the pineapple juice next time. Easy peasy.
Peach Salsa
from America's Test Kitchen, late 1990s

2 ripe but firm peaches
1 small red bell pepper
1 small red onion
1/4 cup parsley
1 medium clove garlic
1/4 cup pineapple juice
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (3 limes)
1 medium jalapeno chili
salt and pepper

Cut/chop/mince each ingredient to a size you like for salsa and mix together. Salt and pepper to taste. cover and refrigerate to blend flavors - at least one hour or up to four days.
See the heart in the parsley up there? Wishing you a wonderful day. xo

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thinking about mandalas

I have been thinking a lot about mandalas lately. My friend Maribeth makes them. My friend Jen makes them. There is a lovely woman in St. Louis who leads mandala workshops. If I can get her scheduled to teach in my Art Room, are you interested? xo

Thursday, August 2, 2012

And then sometimes we cheat...

We didn't grow them, we didn't pick them. We just pulled over on the side of a road and bought them.
And after a quick assembly line, we have four gallon-sized bags full of frozen peaches. We tell ourselves these will last through the winter, but who are we kidding?
 I think we'll have to buy another bushel before the season ends. xo