Friday, December 30, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
As you may or may not know I am a huge fan of the Chicago band Wilco and this week they are playing five shows at five different venues in the city (each one smaller and more intimate than the one before it...love that). Chuck and I went to the opening night at the Civic Opera House (with Theo) and it was a gorgeous and inspired show. They unexpectedly opened the show with this song which is the kind of long rambling song that you can drop yourself into and wander around. The evening ended with Wilco, Nick Lowe and Mavis Staples on stage and it was truly magical. We went to the 2nd show last night (with friends) and will go to the 3rd show on Thursday(just me and C). That is a lot of late nights but I'm loving the vibe at the shows (and all of the energy, joy and dancing). During the days I've been busy wrapping and shipping art work (thanks to all who have visited my shop lately!) and packaging up gifts to far away family. I have one painting so close to being done that I look at it every day and think... today I will finish you and then for one reason or another I just don't get to it. But today after a trip to the post office with an armload of packages I will head in to the studio to finish that little piece and start on three others. So, I'll be back here tomorrow with a good night's sleep under my belt and a new painting to share.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
This morning when I went out to give the girls fresh water something caught my eye in the sand of their run. And there it was...the 1st egg. Followed this afternoon by the 2nd egg casually laid in the center of the back lawn. This is a very exciting development and I can't wait for the kids get home from school to share the news!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Contradiction, I so get it. While the days are nearing their darkest, I am loving the warm glow of holiday lights inside and festive white lights strung in the yard near the chicken coop (over what will soon be our 1st ever skating rink!). And, I am happily preparing to say goodbye to 2011 (such a difficult year) and opening my arms wide to what 2012 has to offer. Over the past week I've been away from the blog, the camera and the studio. My parents were back in town for my 13 year olds performance in a local production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which was so, so good) and my in-laws arrive on Thursday to see next weekend's performances. We hosted an unexpectedly large sleep over for five 15 year old girls and still managed to get the tree up and the pantry restocked for the week on Sunday. The time away is filling up my creative bucket and I am and doodling ideas in my notebook and clipping bits of this and that to use soon. And while I may find a bit of time here between house guests, baking, making and wrapping I expect that most of my ideas will patiently wait for the quiet of January to make their way into the world. I love everything about this time of the year, don't you?
Monday, November 21, 2011
I love Thanksgiving. I love the traditional dishes, the family gathering, the moment of reflection on the good parts of very tough year and the smells which fill the house and take me back to all the other Thanksgivings I've ever celebrated. We spent a busy weekend cleaning and reorganizing parts of the house for our six house guests who will be arriving Wednesday. We also spent a little more time cleaning things up outside and going through tubs of winter gear to see who needs what this year. The house is in good shape and I'm turning my attention to the basics of the Thanksgiving Feast starting early this morning with the gravy base. I find gravy to be the lynch pin of the meal and the one thing that can throw off the rhythm in a kitchen full of people. I was so happy to find this make ahead gravy recipe in the NY Times a couple years ago and have used it every year since. That gravy base and this method for cooking in just the turkey (in just 50 minutes!) have turned my holiday into a pretty stress free event with delicious results. Our guests are bringing homemade rolls, pies and snacks and lots of love and laughter and I'm looking forward to their arrival. But right now there is work to be done so I'll see you back here next week and no matter how you celebrate or what's on your table I hope that it is fabulous...Happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Hard to believe it's been two weeks since I've been in this space. The days have fluttered by with many good things for which I needed to be fully present. There were two birthdays to celebrate in ways big and small, visits from family and an emerging writer's work to see performed live on stage, bulb planting with oh-so-many first graders, days way to warm to let go and days much to short to seem real. So after an unanticipated absence I'm back here and in the studio giving voice to the images and ideas that have been finding there way onto to post it notes, the backs of receipts and scraps of paper. I am in love with this time of the year and the sense of gathering and that it brings. Looking back, looking forward and remembering to enjoy the in between is what has been on my mind as I've been away. Last night, when the house was finally quiet I found my way back into the studio and started on the 6" x 22" panel shown above which had been patiently waiting for me. Once I started working it was hard to stop so I took some advice from Earnest Hemmingway who was known for saying he never stopped writing until he knew what came next. That makes perfect sense to me. Having somewhere to start is a good thing and though it doesn't necessarily mean you know where a thing will end it opens the door to finding out. See you soon...
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Hi there. I think I've mentioned before that I'm helping out with Sage's elementary school garden and now it's harvest time. Over the past week when I wasn't in the studio or getting little people (and not so little people) where they need to be (or finishing up knitting projects and reading this book) I've been busy helping parents and children harvest what's growing in the school garden. I am in charge of coordinating the dishes to be served at the "taste of the garden table" at tomorrow's Harvest Festival. Things were a bit stressful earlier in the week but everything is falling into place with lots of volunteers and helping hands now. I chose to pick lots of tomatillos for my dish and am also busy cooking other things and cleaning for my parent's visit this weekend. However, for dinner on this chilly and rainy Thursday, I'm planning to make a quick pot of tomato bisque to serve alongside it's bff grilled cheese. I couldn't resist the super lovely watermelon radishes (pictured above) at the farmer's market last weekend and am wanting to use them in some type of salad tonight...any suggestions?
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Art takes many forms around here and this week I'm loving art in the form of the-oh-so-perfectly-me handmade shoes from the Aurora Shoe Company. I spotted their shoes on Soulemama's blog and was smitten with their product, their story and their commitment to craft (love.love.love them). The other everyday art I'm celebrating is the first home baked bread of the season. My starter died over the long hot summer and so last week when the skies darkened and the weather cooled down I created new starter and yesterday I used it to bake my first two loaves of Tartine's Country Bread. Grilled in a bit of olive oil and topped with an amazing pesto from the farmers' market (basil, greens, spinach, garlic & asiago) it was nothing short of food as art. As I was enjoying my meal I read a detailed NY Times article about Steve Jobs. Having already composed this post in my head I was really struck by his amazing and inspiring gift for putting art into everyday objects. He had the ability to create something we needed and make it something we wanted. I love both the art and science of my Mac and my iphone.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Hi there. It's been a while, right? I can tell you that had I not embraced almost it would have been a lot longer. I thought I would have the above knitting projects finished up over a week ago and ready to share but as it turns out knitting 15" of a sweater bottom is an endless task and so i'm showing the almost done sweater in all it's knit-from-the-top-down glory and moving forward. The fingerless gloves are a must have item now that the chill in the air is here to stay (i'm wearing them as i type...see how handy they are?). And the hat was inspired by some lush yarn I had in my stash. The knitting has been keeping my hands busy at soccer games, doctor's offices and pick up lines at school. After setting the needles aside for a while it's a great feeling to pick them up and turn out some wooly goodness. Since I was here last we've had a fox visit the henhouse (early one morning) and raccoons two nights in a row (picture me in my yard. broomstick in hand. 3am. scolding a raccoon for bothering my girls. seriously.) Needless to say, I haven't been getting much shut eye (the coop is super secure, still I worry). Over the weekend we attended the The Hideout Block Party and saw the inspiring and legendary Mavis Staples and the uber talented Andrew Bird perform. And then on Sunday we were part of the Windy City Chicken Coop Tour. We were only expecting 2 or 3 people since we were the only location this far north of the city and it was pretty rainy and cold. So.Very.Wrong. We had 50-60 people show up over a three hour period! It was crazy fun talking about chickens all afternoon with so many kind and curious people. Well, that pretty much gets you up to speed on the happenings around here. What in the world have you been up to lately?
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
This week has been full and good for me and I hope the same is true for you. I have a few things in the works, a few things completed and a few things I need to start (i should be ready to share photos of the knitting, painting and dyeing projects on monday). As you can see from the photo above the hens are almost full grown. They are expected to start laying eggs sometime in October (at 4-5 months of age) and we are all very excited about that. We have started letting them out into the yard at least twice during the day and they are loving it. Someone is always outside to keep an eye on them and with everyone back at school and work that someone is usually me during the day. I'm finding the time I spend out there with them knitting, reading or working in the garden slows me down in such a very good way.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I'm back. Actually I've been back from Northern Michigan since Monday evening (later than expected) but can't seem to catch up with the week so far. We are into week two of school but there are still some issues being ironed out, lots of meetings going on and team stuff and clubs starting up for the kids. In addition to all that I have this overwhelming need to stock up on groceries, plan meals and make sure everyone has enough socks, jeans etc. (i think all of the 9/11 anniversary talk is subconsciously kicking my nesting instinct into high gear). But today, all of that is done and I'm heading into the studio to continue work on a piece I started last week (which I promise to share tomorrow). When I saw the picture of myself swinging in the tree (up north this past weekend) it so hit home as a visual image of what I'm experiencing as a parent with kids ranging from 7-15. There is the overwhelming joy of swinging, the stomach turning feeling of spinning and the need to hold on tightly. But there is also the need to recognize that you are only 2 feet off the ground and it is ok to let go. The letting go is the tricky part. Sometime you fall off clumsily and stumble other times you just step off with very little drama. And actually, I'm learning, the stumbles end up being the moments you remember, the special times, the laugh out loud funny times, the extra hug times. It's all good here and I hope the same is true for you...see you here tomorrow : )
Friday, September 2, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
We sent summer off with some good old fashion fun at the Chelsea Fair. We attended the figure 8 demolition derby and tractor pull, saw a baby cow being born and visited lots of other farm animals in the five barns at the fairground, went on a few rides with the kids (yep, i went on that one), drank $1.00 lemonades and had many bags of fresh popcorn. We enjoyed time and meals with cousins and grandparents and got ourselves settled back in and ready for a new school year. Today the house is quiet and I am busy in the studio and out of the studio. It's only the 1st day but I welcome the routine, the quiet and the time. That, and I know we have a long weekend in Northern Michigan just around the corner : )
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hi there. This is the commissioned piece I mentioned a few posts back. It is finally complete (except for a little paint around the edges) and it makes me really happy. It took me so very long time to complete this 16x20 inch piece but it found it's voice and taught me a few things along the way. The title is "Make room for beauty" and while it's hard to see the detail, the top is covered in silver leaf and the phrase "make room for..." is repeated many, many times with many different words (tears, joy, yourself, magic, etc...). It is for a special young woman and I hope she loves it : )
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
As the last two weeks of summer begin to play out here they promise to be full of work time, play time, nothing time and everything time. I woke up today thinking about food (which is often the case around here) and realized we had not made use of the oh-so-gorgeous sun gold tomatoes we picked up at the farmer's market saturday so I set aside a handful for lunch today and then quickly tossed the rest in the oven with some olive oil, thyme and salt so they can be used in omelettes, pasta or on pizza later in the week. They smell divine and should be ready within the hour so I thought I would pop in here to say hello. We had visitors over the weekend who are now safely back home and yesterday as the weather took a autumnal turn I caught up on laundry, cleaning, marketing and still found time for knitting and sipping wine with friends. So this Monday I feel industrious and well rested and plan to get busy finishing up my pieces for ETA 10 as well as finishing up a last detail on a larger commisioned piece I created for the friend that visited. The self imposed pressure of creating something for a friend had tied me in a creative knot for some time but I worked through it and I'm happy to say that she loved the piece the minute she saw it. My soon to be high schooler has track practice twice every day, there are dentist and orthodontist appointments and school supplies to shop for as well as trip to my parents to enjoy a small town fair and a trip to Northern Michigan to Canoe, swim and fish and eek out one final hurrah as we kiss summer goodbye. I am looking forward to all of these things and am looking forward to sharing new work here as well as I get my creative mojo back in full swing. Sometimes I can get pulled under by the energy shifts that occur with the seasons and sometimes they wash over me and I feel renewed. So what's on your plate as summer winds down?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
After weeks of filling my days with summer follies I made time to get into my studio and get to work on my pieces for ETA 10. I've had the boards for quite some time but had put off getting started while I slowly accumulated snippets of newsprint and bits of color that inspire and scribbled titles and ideas in my notebook. Yesterday (when rain cancelled our plans for the beach) I went to work putting together the pieces of the puzzle I had gathered and I'm so happy with the way things are coming together. For me the real work is in the gathering and getting started, after that it's just working the pieces until they sing and that's the part I love. My parents were in last weekend to see my 13 year old perform shakespeare in the park (an adaptation of twelfth night which was fabulous) and a dear friend and her son are coming to visit and explore Chicago this weekend so I may not be back here until early next but these pieces should be ready to share as my 8/21 deadline is just around the corner!
Sunday, July 24, 2011
We were supposed to be visiting my parents in Michigan this weekend but the excessive heat, violent storms and our recent travel led us to postpone our trip until later in August(thank you mom & dad) and it was a solid decision. This weekend was that unexpected one where you gain time and it magically unfolds in slow motion and you are able not only to do the hours of yard work that need to be done but also to visit the farmer's market, cook*, bake* and take time to enjoy it all. The past few days have been full of physical labor in my own garden and the elementary school's garden, time in the kitchen and time with board games, lots of time in the kitchen and time at the table, time in the studio and time reading the paper (and snipping bits here and there for new work) and at the end of each night a walk for the dog and a glass of wine in the chairs by the the coop with C as we watch the chicks enjoying their new digs.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Moments after I started this post yesterday morning I received a phone call about the darkening sky. Within 10 minutes I was on my belly in the coop gathering wet and scared chicks into their coop (see the area under the coop...it makes gathering them in a hurry a wee bit tricky) in the middle of an insanely powerful storm which lasted only minutes but brought down trees, crushed cars and skylights, and left us without power for the 3rd time in two weeks. I only have a few moments before the cab shows up to take C and I to the airport. We are off to The Outer Banks of North Carolina where the kids have been since Friday with their Grandparents, Aunts, Uncle and Cousins. But before I take off I wanted to take a minute here to share the finished coop and the fact that the girls have officially left my office/studio for good. We put the finishing touches, locks and claps on Sunday and the chicks spent their 1st night in the coop. The timing isn't great for our trip since they are not yet in the groove of going into the coop themselves but we are so, so grateful for a few friends and neighbors who enthusiastically offered to chicken sit. We realize it's a lot to ask but then again who doesn't want to hold a chicken? Have a lovely week!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Summer has been a bit tricky this year with many distractions involving summer school, a two day power outage and chilly temps (just to name a few). These happenings have left me a little late in getting my summer groove on. But a brief get away (on my own) this past weekend with very special friends and a beach town set things right an I'm moving into full time summer mode. Tara inspired me to fire up some homemade pizzas but I have a problem. I have so many great crust recipes I can't decide which I like best and which one consistently results in a beautiful blistery crust. So this week we are doing our own little pizza cookoff to determine which recipe will be our tried and true favorite. I'm also experimenting with toppings and am going to start with black olives, rosemary and roasted garlic, spinich, feta, slow roasted tomatoes and pine nuts and pesto, roasted red pepper and goat cheese. In other kitchen news I am addicted to sweet and spicy goodness of the caramelized cashews with cayenne pictured above. I've made peppered pecans and candies walnuts in the past, and while they are lovely, they've got nothing on the buttery cashew encrusted with crunchy maple syrup with the kick of cayenne and warmth of cumin (although i have been using 1 tsp ground cumin instead of the 1 1/2 whole cumin called for). In the studio I've been working on a block print which still needs a bit of tweaking. I've gotten the image where I want it to be but still have to fool around with the text for the dinner plate. This week I will surely find my way back to encaustics and hope to share some new works by the end of the week. I hope your summer is in full swing!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Over the past seven days I have celebrated a 16th wedding anniversary, Father's Day and a 44th birthday with this guy. There is so much I could say about Chuck here but once again I'm going to let Billy Collins do the talking for me:
You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.