Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Our big “weather event” is coming to a close, and we are very thankful to have not lost power. (Over 182,000 Oklahomans did.) And we’re also thankful to be able to just stay in and enjoy the winter wonderland. The snow is just beautiful.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Well, this really is a first. I’ve never seen a raccoon in any of our trees taking a nap. We’ve often wondered where they are during the day, and assumed they were somewhere up in a tree, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen it.
And yes, I am shopping for a new camera. Obviously, I am going to need one in the super-zoom class, don’tcha think? J
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I must have Hostess Hangover... I’m so LE (low-energy) today! Last night I hosted our local calligraphy guild’s party, and while I did not “imbibe”, I got all wound up and couldn’t get to bed at a decent hour. Thus, this feeling of sludge all day.
Besides, I have long-maintained a theory of “After Every Up, There Must Be a Down”.
Today was my Down, and I sure didn’t feel like cooking tonight. If I had been thinking straight (which is hard to do with sludge brain), I’da begged Mr. Man to bring something home. But I didn’t, and not wanting a frozen entrée, I did the next easiest thing: I got out my can opener. J
I guess it’s the lack of sleep and subsequent low serotonin levels that made me crave carbs, or the fact that we are anticipating another snowstorm on Thursday, cuz it’s got me thinking Hearty Dishes, not salads.
And other than take-out or frozen, you can hardly get much easier than good ol’ Chili-Mac. Oh, my 7-Can Soup might be easier. (You literally open 7 cans, dump ‘em in a pot, and heat.) But tonight’s carb craving dictated a different tack, and my pantry said Chili Mac. Cook a pound of macaroni, drain it, and add 2 cans of chili and 2 cans of chili beans. Heat thoroughly. Easy peasy. Simple pimple.
I add some water, too, so that it doesn’t dry out, like a cup or so. If you get it too wet, you can boil it off--if it starts drying out on ya, you can always add some more. You can put some chopped onions or grated cheese on top, if you want.
Sounds like good eats for a snowstorm to me.
I guess I’m just a little early.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Yesterday I re-discovered my love for making Versal-like caps with colored pencils. How had I forgotten this??This changes everything! J
I was inspired by Graham McArthur’s incredible work on his website to try combining my Versals with one of my abstract pastels. (Thanks, Graham!)
Coincidentally (or it that Serendipitiously?), the day before I received a note from Peter Thornton regarding his available workshops, and he wrote the whole thing out in his wonderful caps and Italic handwriting using a humble pencil.
These two things apparently collided in my brain without my realizing it.
I was ready to letter in gouache, as usual, and had even already mixed up some white to use for my Versals. But after I did my rough layout in pencil, I somehow thought to just go ahead and use a pencil for the final, too. (!)
After the first few letters, I was hooked!! J
I used a PrismaColor white colored pencil on Ingres Antique paper for the letters and PanPastels for the artwork.
What else can I tell you? The letters are about ½ inch tall, I guess, and the sheet of paper is 9 ½ x 12 inches big.
I haven’t played around with how I would crop it in a mat, because I probably won’t bother to mat or frame this. It was just an experiment.
And the photographs I took are crummy, as usual. The piece looks a lot different in person than in the photo. Don't they always? Sigh. (Insert whining about my point-and-shoot camera here.) J
And to make the letters, I drew the skeleton form of the letter, and using pressure and release, I weighted them accordingly.
Ha-ha! Didn’t that sound sooooo simple?! “I weighted them accordingly.” I wish!!
Anyway, that was what I did in the studio yesterday.
To new and old discoveries…
Friday, January 22, 2010
So I’m still reading in Exodus, and am just about to where the Israelites “exit”
And in today’s chapter God tells them, oh, and BTW, you won’t go out empty-handed. I will send you off with all the riches of
And He proceeds to tell them to go to their Egyptian neighbors and ask them for their silver and gold.
Excuse me, how would that go again??
“I need to borrow a cup of sugar, and oh yeah, while you're at it, how about all your silver and gold?”
That’s a yikes!!! J
(I bet my neighbors are glad I’m not a fleeing Israelite.)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I have the best husband! He was swinging by the store on the way home from work to get some provisions for us, and I asked him to see if they had any Bonne Bell LipSmackers in Strawberry.
You see, I had gotten hooked on Chapstick Naturals, cuz I like a slippery lip balm, and of course, that means I can’t find any at the stores around us now. Aarrgghh! J And nothing else has been the right consistency, until I remembered good ol’ LipSmackers.
And why Strawberry? Well, the one I tried last week was Cotton Candy and that was wonderful, but I needed another one, and remembered that I used to have the Strawberry flavor back in high school.
And what does he bring home?? A plethora of flavors!! I’m kinda embarrassed that I am so easily excited over something as simple as lip gloss, but c’mon, how much *fun* is this?? Vanilla, Mango, Wild Raspberry, Watermelon, Tropical Punch, Cotton Candy, Kiwi, and Strawberry... a veritable cornucopia of lip balm delights!
I immediately opened up the package, pulled out the Strawberry flavor and put in on. OMG, I was suddenly back in 10th grade again! Amazing!!!!!!!!!
To feeling 16 again… J
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
This is a photo of our little female cat, whose name is currently Mud. (see post about missing memory card)
Doesn’t she have the calmest, most relaxed expression? She just oozes contentment and sugar-y sweetness, doesn’t she? No?? That’s cuz she’s a *CrAzY* cat!
She’s a Ragdoll cat, which should mean that she’s so laid back, she’d flop when you pick her up. But not this one. She’s a feisty girl! But we love her anyway.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Okay, so I'm reading the Old Testament outloud, one chapter at a time, and I finished Genesis and am now into Exodus. I’m in the part with all the plagues. You know, Moses says to the Pharoah over Egypt, let us go into the wilderness to worship God, and Pharoah (not wanting to lose his free slave labor, I guess) says no way.
Thus the plagues. Let My people go or else, kind of a thing.
What I don’t get is, Pharoah says no and Moses causes a plague of, say, frogs, and what happens next? Pharoah’s magicians say, big deal, we can do that too, and they cause a ton of frogs to invade absolutely everywhere.
So I’m just wondering, why cause more frogs? Why make more of a bad thing? Why not use your powers to get rid of the stinkin’ frogs? Helloooo! No, let’s make more bloody water, more frogs. Oy.
And get this, later, when Moses asks Pharoah, okay, when do you want the frogs to be gone? Pharaoh says, tomorrow. Really? Tomorrow? How about right now?! Aarrgghh!
These are just some of the many questions I have.
It’s a long list. J
Thursday, January 14, 2010
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
-- Philo of
Some days I have the worst back pain, although I bet if you ran into me at Walgreen’s, you’d never know it. I don’t know what you’re dealing with, I just hope that you are winning. J
Some days I have the worst back pain, although I bet if you ran into me at Walgreen’s, you’d never know it. I don’t know what you’re dealing with, I just hope that you are winning. J
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Well, today was way too exciting, and not the good kind. I lost my memory card from my camera that was full of all my photos. Full, I tell you! I looked and looked and looked again. I searched the obvious places and the obscure. I ransacked all my drawers and even stripped the sheets off the bed. I looked for hours upon hours.
Thank heavens, Mr. Man finally found it. Even then, it was after I had gone through two bags of trash and after he searched the whole downstairs. He was swinging the flashlight around the carpet and “happened” to see a corner of it peeking from behind the pedestal sink in the powder room. The powder room! Exactly where I would expect to find a memory card that I had been using in the master suite. (Not.)
I suspect a feline had too much fun in the night, if you ask me. A feline whose name is Mud at the moment. Actually, I’m just glad I can finally quit stressing and put the trash out. (This would happen on Trash Day.)
Whew. Yes, way too much excitement.
Look who came by for a late breakfast! A buck. A boy deer, as evidenced by those antlers. We don’t see antlers much. The boys tend to stay outa sight.
I wish it were a better photo for you, but I just have a little point-and-shoot camera. I zoomed up on him as best I could, and then also had to crop the photo, so it’s not the best. It’s more of a documenting photo than an artistic one. But at least he looked up and posed for me. J
And really, I’d swear that he could sense the focusing beam, because right after I took this photo, I focused on him again, and while the camera was doing its focusing gyrations, he spooked and took off into the woods. So while I really wish this photo were better, I may have been lucky to have gotten it at all.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Psalm 23 verse 6
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
[I have heard Goodness defined as :
God giving us that which we don't deserve
God withholding from us that which we do deserve.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Our outdoor thermometer recorded a low of -1.5º! That’s something new for us transplanted Texans! (I don’t even want to *think* about our next natural gas bill! Yikes!)
½ c. carrots, finely chopped
2½ ribs celery, finely chopped
½ small bell pepper, finely chopped
S&P to taste
4 T. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated (I use more!)
Friday, January 8, 2010
For my one week anniversary of having a blog, I am just now getting around to posting some of my calligraphy.
I painted the background, lettered in Uncial using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White, and then “whapped” it with various colors of nail polish. J
Don’t get me started on DM’s BP White, because I think they changed the formula and I’m not happy at all about it. I used to mix it and Pro White for an unbelievable hybrid white that was simply *magic*, and now it doesn’t work.
To more magic in 2010…
Here’s my new paint set from Mr. Man! I mean, Santy Claus! J Isn’t it just gorgeous? I don’t know how I’ll let myself open and use them, because I just *love* virgin paint sets!! OTOH, I am excited to see how the velvet-y matte paint looks on a sheet of Arches Text Wove or Rives BFK. Yummy!!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I first saw the idea of a Rice Buddy on the old Home & Family show several years ago. The idea is, you take a new tube sock, fill it with dry uncooked rice, and sew up the top.
To use it, you zap it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until it’s warm enough for you. Then hug it, and enjoy the portable warmth. No batteries, no cords, no electro magnetic fields.
I have been using mine like crazy this winter! I zap it to toasty warm and carry it with me when I go to put deer corn out or get in the mail. I have another one warmed up for Mr. Man when he comes in from the cold. They just feel heavenly against a frozen face or *nose*.
I keep it in my lap sometimes, carry it around the house like a little baby, or even put it under the covers with me. It’s like having a faux pet in your lap while you watch TV! J And it is especially good at keeping my fingers from turning into icicles.
So, having made these out of tube socks in the past, I decided to go whole hog this time and make one out of fabric.
I wasn’t sure I had any cotton or linen fabric. Not that I don’t have an embarrassingly large fabric stash, for someone who doesn’t sew anymore. But I’m an old Stretch-and-Sewer, so most all of my fabric is knit. Thankfully, I found some woven in there after all, so made this cute little guy. Ooh, pretty! Maybe I will use knit fabric next time. Wouldn’t one made outa fleece be delicious?
Now if you’re making it out of fabric, of course, the size is up to you. The tube sock isn’t the most attractive thing in the world, but it works really well. In fact, after awhile it gets kinda floppy, which is perfect for tucking around your shoulders or neck for some extra TLC. So really, it has its place, too. I like to knead mine.
Now, I have also used flaxseed instead of rice, and have found that the rice gets and stays hotter. But I guess it’s just which you want to smell. I’ve never wanted one with lavender added, but you may. Me, I just use cheap rice. Maybe next time I will try tucking a fabric softener sheet in with the rice. Hmmmm... (Oh, great. Now I think of that!) J
And I have truly used mine so much lately that I don’t know how one manages without one! And even for one who doesn’t want to ever sew again (who, me?), it really is easy.
Just use a funnel and fill up a new tube sock with cheap rice, secure with pins, and sew across the end. In fact, I sew 3 seams across the end, just because the thought of a busted seam and rice going everywhere is just too crazy for me to cope with. So why not 3 seams for a little peace of mind. J
So, I hope you try making your own little bit of warmth and comfort. With the temperatures headed for single digits this week, you may be really happy you did.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
It’s like a lot of our bills. Mr. Man can’t stand the fact that so many of our bills are things that you never finish paying for. Like cable or cell phones or insurance. It’s not like a set of towels that you pay for and that’s it. No, you keep paying for these things month after month after month. It seriously never ever ends.
Well, a lot of my To Do List is like that, too. I don’t ever do my final load of laundry, cook my last meal, or finish practicing my calligraphy.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Wow, they were like little clouds of puffy deliciousness. I begged her for the recipe, and she said she couldn’t give it to me, that I needed some of her aunt’s “starter” to bake them with. What? Well, then, can’t I have the recipe for that? No, she said, she would bring me back some starter the next time they visited home. That was at New Year’s. I got the starter after Spring Break.
"Starter” is a gloppy concoction that you keep in your refrigerator and use instead of yeast from the store. Different starters have different strains of yeast and thus taste differently, resulting in different tasting bread. (The most famous being the sour twang of
Trouble is, I can’t get any more if I needed to. My neighbor moved back home, so if for any reason my little bread dough starter died, I’m doomed. Game over. I don’t know how my friend’s aunt got it or made it, or how many decades it goes back, but it’s a good Southern starter, and I have felt privileged to have it. So you can begin to imagine how precious my little pitcher of liquid gold is to me.
Then the unthinkable happened. A little over a week ago, I nearly accidentally killed him. You see, normally I would turn my oven light on, let it get a little warm and cozy, and put my starter in there to wake up and eat all day long. Well, I was cooking something else that day, and went to pre-heat my oven, and I forgot that my starter was in there. Yikes! Thankfully, it survived, or at least enough of it did to multiply itself back to health.
So, I am very excited about today’s bread experiment. On the one hand, it would be nice to not have to feed and maintain a starter, or worry about keeping it alive (AKA not killing it). Also, making bread with my starter is a 2-day process. I have to feed him and make dough one day, shape and bake the dough the next. I can’t just wake up and decide to have fresh bread that night. I have to plan ahead. Plus, I can’t just e-mail someone some starter. It’s difficult to pass along to someone who wants it, whereas I could give anyone a recipe.
But on the other hand, anything else would have to be really, really, really incredible bread for me to burn my bridges and throw my starter completely away. It makes seriously good white bread. In fact, Mr. Man won’t eat store-bought bread anymore. It will be very hard to beat. I sorta hope PW’s recipe wins, because it would be easier on many levels, but it would be a bit sad to throw my little starter out.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Happy New Year! This is my favorite time of the year!
Putting up all the Christmas stuff and getting the house back in order always gets me in the mood to re-organize for the New Year! I love, love, love that! I love things nice & orderly, and always wish I were more organized.
So... I made The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls over the holidays. If you haven’t gotten hooked on her blog yet, check it out at www.thepioneerwoman.com Romance, recipes, ranching… she’s got it all. And her cinnamon roll recipe. Oh my, her cinnamon roll recipe. She promised they would be wonderful and they really, really were.
And they were pretty easy to make too, if, if you don’t mind melted butter, dirty dishes and flour all over the place. Maybe I’m messy and don’t know it, so it may be just me. At one point I think I would’ve freaked, except I knew that Mr. Man always cleans up the kitchen for me after I do any cooking or baking. Isn’t he wonderful?? He says (to paraphrase the ending of the movie, An Affair to Remember), “If you can cook, I can clean.” Thank heavens, too, because I did have a bit of a mess.
But it really was a pretty easy recipe, and of course, the rolls were so worth it. Yummy! It makes several pans full, and you can freeze them, so how perfect is that? (I opted to give mine away and make some neighbors and friends happy, but having some in the freezer sounds divine!)
And now that I’ve tried the recipe, I would offer 2 suggestions. I’m big on passing along the kind of I-learned-this-the-hard-way-so-now-you-don’t-have-to stuff. And the first one is, use a candy thermometer to make sure your scalded milk mixture is around 115ºF. before adding your yeast. Just to make sure. You don’t want to kill the yeast with too much heat at this point!
And the second one is, I got much nicer slices when I used dental floss to cut the rolls with instead of a knife. (You slide the floss underneath the roll and bring the two pieces of floss together to cross over the top, pull taut, and voilà, really beautiful slices.) When I used my knife, they smushed. Now, your mileage may vary, but I’m just passin’ that along for what it’s worth. Dental floss.
And the dough was so dreamy soft, and handled so beautifully. I just love the feel of a good bread dough. It just has a quality that’s hard to describe. Very tactile and satisfying. Springy. And of course that maple icing was delicious. (Let’s just eat that by the spoonful, shall we?) I think you could put that maple icing on pig slop and it would be heaven! :)
Yes, I will definitely need to make both recipes and see which we prefer. But it will have to be a real comparision. Limit the variables. It’d have to be a true hot-out-of-the-oven taste test. Side by side. Freshly baked with lots and lots of real butter. Okay, I’d better get started. I have to feed my starter a day in advance.
Let the games begin.