Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Since I really liked the oval piece I decided not to scrap the whole project but rather to "improvise, adapt and overcome" as Clint Eastwood would say. Thus, the spirals did the trick, keeping the dangles from plunging through the too-large holes.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The photo is from 1928. Interesting, exactly 80 years ago. Maybe it's a cycle. Doesn't really matter, though, does it?
I have to start by saying that never in my life have I considered myself to be "affluent." There were difficult times as a single parent but no time in which I needed to resort to welfare or charity beyond my own family. And I've been very spoiled for a number of years now. My husband started the spoiling and I quickly learned to participate in it myself. And let's face it, the meaning of "poor" is so very relative.
Lately I've been obsessing about, of all things, my toenails. I had my last pedicure before we moved to Illinois at the beginning of October. Of course it's the french pedi so it's not all that evident to the casual observer that I'm beginning to grow talons. Costs a little more but it's SO worth it! I've been avoiding getting a pedicure because, frankly, I just don't want to spend the money. I know, I know, it's only $30 or so. But we've been having to "tighten the belt" following four months of unemployment earlier this year. And the transfer to Illinois for two years has required us to rent -- for everyone knows one can't sell a house in Florida right now without a loss. So here we are with rent on top of the FL mortgage and double the utilitie bills. The FL house still has to be heated or cooled, right? The irrigation system still has to run in order to maintain the landscaping. And since we're not there we have the additional expenses of pool and landscape maintenance, things we used to take care of for ourselves. Boo hoo. I hear 'ya.
Today I was at the grocery store filling up the cart with the normal food items, the deli sliced ham, the Dove chocolates, the Christian Brothers brandy and eggnog combo. It was in the bread aisle that I encountered two women, seemingly strangers, talking about the high price of bread, of all things. As I passed them one said to the other "Oh, well, I guess we'll have to wait on that." Imagine going to the grocery store and one of the items on your list, bread, has to wait because it is too expensive. I wanted to buy the bread for her and perhaps I should have offered but at the time I thought she would be embarassed.
It's something to think about for most of us, I'm sure. Yeah, I know you believe you deserve that daily beverage from Starbuck's. There are/were 262 working days in 2008 for those of you who have to make a living (just kidding). Let's say you didn't go for the $14, 13 shot venti soy hazelnut vanilla cinnamon white mocha with extra white mocha and caramel. Still, are you really sure you deserved that daily Venti Mocha for, maybe, $5? Or do you more deserve the $1,300 and change you would have still had at the end of the year? Yes, of course I realize you cut back to going out to dinner only once a week and you just get the quick car wash instead of the full detailing. As I said, "poor" is all relative.
All of this thinking about the economy and our personal expenses has led me to a lightbulb moment. When did I forget how to use a nail clipper? When did I become unable to paint my own toes? What a revelation!
Monday, December 1, 2008
After the pie and eggnog settled we all gathered back around the table to make our glass bottle snow people. Various containers had been gathered by Joy and I from thrift shops and other supplies purchased at various stores. We had "snowflakes," glitter, stickers and rub-ons, air-drying clay, beads, bulbs, bells and wire and so on.
Friday, November 28, 2008
This year, in order to lessen the stress on our gracious hostess, we all agreed to help out with the cooking. The turkey was, without doubt, the finest and most moist and delicious I've ever had thanks to Steve's magic. Denise, Tom and Jess pitched in to make super cheesy potatoes, parmesan pull-apart bread and fresh cranberry sauce. Heather stuffed the celery, Joy made the dressing and I provided the marinated veggies. We finished off the meal with French Silk Pie by Chef Jimmy. Okay, not the most traditional menu but definitely one we all enjoyed.
Does it seem like we find more to be thankful for in these difficult economic times than when all is rolling along smoothly? Just having the family all together was ALL I could have ever asked for; an amazing meal was a wonderful extra. Gratitude to the universe!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It is often said in self-help circles that one is only as sick as one's secrets. A few years back, a man named Frank Warren had an idea for an art exhibit. He distributed 3000 post cards, leaving them in books, on park benches and in other public places inviting strangers to share a secret; something that was true and something they'd never told anyone else before. He got about 100 cards back and used them for his art exhibit.
Surprisingly to Frank the cards kept arriving, often at the rate of about 200 per week. In 2005 Frank created a blog to showcase his 20 picks for the week, posting the new batch each Sunday. I learned of this only last week; perhaps many of you have already visited http://postsecret.blogspot.com/. If you haven't, stop by. The cards are an amazing insight into the secrets people keep. And many of them are quite artsy which I personally love to see. Some are amusing, some will cause you to laugh out loud and some are downright tragic. Here's one I kind of like:
Theoretically it is supposed that if one writes down one's secret on a card and sends it off in the mail it is no longer a secret and the writer is released of its burden. Maybe we all have some flotsam and jetsam to unload before we go into yet another new year.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
To make a long story short, we watched HUNDREDS of huge crows roosting in the trees behind the house across the street. At seemingly scheduled intervals all of them would take off together, virtually recreating a scene from "The Birds." This went on all afternoon with us not realizing that when they left the neighbor's trees they were landing in the ones in OUR BACKYARD. Other than being somewhat annoyed by all the noise and the terror they struck in my tiny dog, we didn't think anymore of it. Until Sunday morning when we opened the blinds and saw CROW POOP everywhere. EVERYWHERE! The cars are covered with the nasty blobs. If you watch closely in my little video you'll see blobs on the sidewalk and blobs on the porch. And you'll see crows! Turn up the audio, enjoy the cawing and the church bells!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
In an effort to further broaden my artistic horizons I've been taking an encaustic art class. Simplified, it's about making art with wax. My first piece is a collage which is so far unfinished. The jury is still out re: this process -- I'm wondering why one wouldn't just want to make a collage with the many processes and materials available that don't include wax. So far it just seems to add an unnecesary layer which, by the way, makes the piece all the more fragile and prone to damage.
Just for the heck of it, though, I threw together a 6x6 piece earlier in the week. Although I have mixed feelings about posting it, I'm trying to keep an open mind and remember what my son says -- "everything is art to someone." Here it is, and please be kind in your comments.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
No more excuses!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
White Bean & Chicken Chili
This recipe calls for cooked chicken making it a good way to use up leftovers. Just toss the chicken with fresh vegetables and a few other pantry items and you've got yourself a perfect autumn meal.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos from jar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 15-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained
1 pound cooked chicken breast, chopped
1/2 cup half and half
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, bell pepper and jalapeno; saute until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin; saute 1 minute. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add beans, chicken and half and half. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.
*** I would imagine you could use the already-chopped jalapenos that come in a small can. Also I purchase boneless chicken breasts to make this, just cut them up brown in a frying pan before adding them to the chili.
Monday, November 10, 2008
People who know me best realize a certain odd conflict about me. I've been making jewelry for years, selling it at art shows and online, and yet I'm not much of a jewelry wearer. When it comes time for my birthday or Christmas (or any other holiday that I can get a gift for!) I always seem to choose tools or some art-related materials gift certificates. When I wear jewelry it is almost always something that was a gift. Odd. Yes.
Well this was different. We were going out to dinner and to do some shopping Friday evening so I thought I'd just throw on those newly created earrings. Later that evening after returning home I was snuggling on the couch with my muse when I noticed I WAS WEARING ONLY ONE EARRING! My loving and supportive husband immediately ran out to the car and searched inside and out. Ever try to find a copper earring in the fallen autumn leaves? Nada.
On Saturday I was up bright and early (for me) and we set out to retrace our steps. We searched the restaurant and Lowe's, their lost-and-founds, and all but crawled around the parking lots. Again, nada.
Nevertheless I am submitting my link for this project and I'm happy to say I still have ONE of the earrings. That counts, right? Only now it's going to have to be a pendant.
And many thanks for featuring my stacked necklace on your blog, Deryn!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
NOTE: Not a mom-sanctioned activity and don't try this at home, we are professionals. And we took hot showers immediately after!
Our victorious survivors!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So, although this was meant to be a summer project, summer of 2008 that is, here's my entry for project number 1. Check out the details of the challenge and the entries at Deryn Mentock's blog:
I listed this necklace for sale tonight on my Etsy shop. Will I continue on through the rest of the book? Stay tuned.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I love, love, love Halloween! It is absolutely my favorite holiday ever. We have only recently relocated to Illinois and we are living in a house built in the 1800s; I was hoping to encounter some friendly spirits here but other than the neighbors, no such luck. We found some VERY friendly spirits last weekend in the Chicago area and held an impromptu pumpkin carving class. It was quite a mixed group of gender and age and it is safe to say a good time was had by all. Worth mentioning -- these are all first-time pumpkin carvers and their results were magnificent!
Thanks to my sister, Joy, for the wonderful treats, great decorations and a fire to take the chill off!