Friday, January 29, 2010


                                                               :: cinnamon swirl bread::
                                 the skirt::a new scarf::something a little bigger::the sweater

This week was full of moments to catch up, to experiment and to just be.  It was a good week.  I cut the cinnamon swirl bread recipe in half and just made one loaf...big mistake.  It was so amazingly delicious out of the oven that it disappeared in the blink of an eye.  Needless to say, I'll be making a full recipe over the weekend. Maybe you should give it a try (you won't be disappointed).

Monday, January 25, 2010

And they're off....

She realized she needed to lose some of her baggage::A curious encounter::Mistaken identity  2::Her thoughts fell at her feet like a lovely garden::She dreamt of houses past, present and future::Mistaken identity 3::Mistaken identity 1::Her past was never far behind

Here is a peek at the eight paintings I just sent off to Nachotta.  It was right down to the wire but I am really pleased with this small body of work.  As I painted I was very conscious of the fact that these pieces were going to be hung together and I wanted them to make sense.  I'm not sure exactly why that had to be....  maybe it's because I see these paintings as  a tiny family and I wanted them to support one another at their coming out party (even though in time they will all go their own separate ways).  Anyways, now that they are done I need to take a few days to decompress, get started on a few larger pieces and be more present here at home.  Thank you for all of your encouragement and support as I worked toward this deadline.  I hope the week brings creativity and closure to a few of your projects...what are you working on this week?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Inching closer... pushing these little birdies from the nest.  Right now the  main elements of each piece are set (or at least i think they are) and the details can be etched in as each idea comes to fruition.  This is the part of the process I love and I can't wait to get back to work later this afternoon.  I stumbled across this video last night and  I love that it is in Chicago. As much as I am enjoying my time here in Northern California I am truly looking forward to getting back to The Windy City, The City of Big Shoulders, Chi-town, Home.  So enjoy the video and check out the project "The Beckoning of Lovely"...what a beautiful concept.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mother Nature...

seems to be a bit indecisive today.  My studio is set up in the one car garage and I need to have the door completely rolled up for proper ventilation when I paint.  Since I woke up this morning we've had torrential downpours, strong winds, thunder and lightening, sunshine and rainbows and a wee bit of hail (yes, that's right, all of this in the past 10 hours).  So I've gotten in a few bits of painting today but not as much as I had planned.  I'm still working on the list from Friday and am happy to report that the two new paintings I listed sold  (I made a donation to the Red Cross but it just doesn't seem like enough in the face of all the suffering and this type of situation does anything seem like enough?). 
It definitely feels like a Monday.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Add it to the list...

                                   between them they had lived many places
                                    (but none as right as next to each other)
                                                in her head she counted
                                            (but in her heart she listened)

:: two new paintings to add to the shop**
:: 6 paintings nearly completed for the "enormous tiny art show"
:: a custom order
:: 2 panels of "the skirt" pinned and partially stitched
:: a last minute birthday gift for saturday 1/2 done
:: broken scanner about to be returned (argg...)
:: date night with C
:: muir woods with friends 
:: and a friend's birthday celebration here's a good thing this is a long weekend.  I was barely able to scrape together lunches today and am off to find goodies to fill the fridge.  I'm definitely planning to make Ina's lentil soup this weekend (a friend made this recipe for me  a few weeks ago (with brown french lentils) and it was fabulous) and have added this to the list of new family favorites (made it twice this week).  The other day when I signed off to enjoy lunch and Mark Bittman I happened to have the radio on for the dog (another story) and "This American Life" came whose idea was it to put that on in the middle of a Wednesday?  Of course once Ira started talking I was glued to the radio (who isn't?) as I ate my salad and then a program on Martin Luther King Jr. came on and I listened as I stitched (the skirt) and was so moved by the snippets of his powerful and humble words that I left for kindergarten pick up with tears in my eyes.  I didn't get to hear the entire program but it is being replayed Monday sometime and I'm planning to listen to it with the kiddos.  They have asked in the past about MLK and what he did and my words always seem to fall short of the mark.  "King's Last March" should remedy that....I love NPR.  

** 30% of the sale from these two pieces will be donated to the red crosses effort in Haiti

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the art of procrastination...

Have I mentioned that I am a procrastinator?  I am.  It's true. And I've gotten good at it.   So good in fact that it is now second nature (when I cooked all those great meals last week, ending with the Chicken Dumpling Soup Extravaganza, I didn't even realize I was doing it).  You see, I have this looming deadline for the "Enormous Tiny Art Show" and while I patted myself on the back for getting off to a great start with the eight little paintings for the show I then started  to stray.  First it was the cooking (after all I got a new cookbook, right?)  Then I picked up the knitting I had set aside for too long and decided I needed to finish the "Solace" sweater (so I could justify purchasing a new skein of Malabrigo to start Annri's hat).  And then while spending way too much time wandering in the blogosphere I came across "The Alabama Stitch Book" and became a little obsessed with tracking down the book and starting the "Bloomers Skirt"....yeah, it's a bit of a problem.  To make up for all of the side projects I spent a good deal of time in the studio yesterday morning and I'm heading in there now (although Wednesday's New York Times has the food section...hmmm).  Well it's homemade mac and cheese with panko breadcrumbs (which i could make in my sleep) and a simple salad for dinner that leaves plenty of time for a bit of lunch and a quick fix of "The Minimalist", right?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hold that thought...

These three ladies all feel very strongly about the need to fly.  They value the  ability to float above the idea that we are in a box and they recognize that to be strong, brave and true they must hold onto that thought every day.  More tomorrow...thanks for reading.

p.s.: these 3 wee blocks are headed to my shop later today...

Friday, January 8, 2010

On the border of crazy good....

...and just plain crazy.  The chicken soup with dumplings from Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc at Home" Cookbook was absolutely delicious last night but there were a lot of steps involved.  I received the cookbook for Christmas and while it is much more accessible than the French Laundry Cookbook it's still has a few roll your eye steps like "bake a homemade loaf of brioche to make croutons".  That said, there are many great tips and techniques and some really amazing food combinations and recipes.  So far I have prepared the chicken soup(above), the oven roasted tomato sauce( a keeper) and potato pave( loved it, but again I had to start it at 8am to have it ready for dinner).  I think it's important to try a recipe the way it's supposed to be prepared before you start in with any shortcuts and while I'm certain I will make this velvety, rich and soul warming soup again I found a few places to streamline the recipe without changing the yumminess of the end product.  While I'm on the subject of food (and not painting which I will be getting to as soon as I get off the computer....) I also prepared this for dinner this week and it was both delicious and quick.  Have a great weekend, thanks for reading and Bon Appétit!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's perfect painting weather....

...but life has other plans.  I've got the beginnings of Thomas Keller's recipe for Chicken Soup with Dumplings on the stove.  Yes,  I know it's before noon but there are lots of steps (more on that tomorrow).  The dog and the laundry need a wee bit of attention before I head over to school with my sewing machine to help Theo's 5th grade class with a quilting/heritage project. Then it will be back to the recipe that I hope will be as yummy as it sounds (did i mention the Pâte à choux dumplings?).  If all goes well today there should be plenty of time in the studio tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I almost forgot to share...

...this amazing 6x6 encaustic piece I received as part of the Bee Team holiday exchange.  "Sheep Patterns" was created by the amazingly talented Kari J. Young. I love the color and texture in her work but most of all I love the subject of this piece (you know how I feel about wool...).  So a big warm thank you Kari, I love it!  

Monday, January 4, 2010

when anything is possible....

I love this first stage of creating, the moment when anything is possible.  That moment when the colors are all whispering, the slight texture on the prepped wood nudges your thoughts in one direction or another and an idea starts to take shape in your mind.  It can be a challenge at this point to take the leap and commit to an idea, lay that first shape, apply the first color but once you do a very organic process begins in which ideas change ever so slightly as you continue to layer and create based on what the painting wants to become rather than what you want it to become.  I've started on four of the eight pieces I will be sending to Nahcotta and a few mini block paintings to add to my shop as well. 
 This first weekend of 2010 turned out to be very interesting in that "oh, so your going to be that kind of year way".  Chuck and I went into the city to a dinner party at his boss's apartment.  Once we parked and started walking to the address I realized that our old and dear friends D & M used to live on the same street.  As we entered the building we realized they had actually lived in the same building, and as we entered the apartment at the back of the building we thought for sure it was the same apartment. It turns out they were in the apartment directly above this one but that and a few other incidents over the weekend have me thinking that 2010 has a few tricks up it's sleeves....bring it on!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

...and the winner is Elizabeth!  
To say that 2009 was a busy year would be a bit of an understatement.  My work appeared in 4 publications, I participated in two gallery shows, moved my family from Illinois to Northern California and shared lots of the in between stuff here on this blog.  Having a place to share my ideas , prattle on about food and ask questions has become such an invaluable part of my creative process that I'm not sure I could do it without you. So here in no particular order are a few of the things on the list for 2010:

1.  keep the knitting needles clacking 
     *project #1 annri's hat

2.  read one book a month
     *book #1  "the elegance of the hedgehog"

3.  apply and participate in more gallery shows (one lined up already!)
     * show #1  "the enormous tiny art show" at nahcotta

     * in reverse and a bit to the north

5.  go home (shown above)
     * to this beautiful old house by the lake

6.  tone down the room(shown above) with a cool blue grey paint by farrow and ball
     * i am in love (ok, obsessed) with thinking about color 

7.  try bikram yoga
     * but i hate being hot...hmmm. 
     * has anyone tried this? liked it?

8. see a real live whale during migration
    * whales are cool

So that's the list.  In addition I plan to continue to explore Northern California, cook lots of good local food and spend quality time with my kiddos and husband. So I'll see you later in the week to share progress on the  8 paintings I need to get ready for Nahcotta show....