Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

close up of my Johnson Bros. turkey platter

To all my family and friends in these United States, I wish you a most happy and delicious Thanksgiving 2014.

I am, truly, thankful for each of you.  Family and Friends....such simple words, so fraught with emotion.  I am blessed.  I have wonderful people in my life, both blood relatives and those I have chosen as family because they live in my heart.   I have love and happiness and health and fun.  I get to create with paint and paper, needle and thread, and I am always thrilled to cook and bake and preserve.  

I am grateful.  And I am awed by the bounty in my life.  Thank you, everyone, for these precious and bountiful blessings.

 Grace  by Mary Oliver

I don't want you to just sit down at the table.
I don't want you to just eat and be content.
I want you to walk out into the fields
Where the water is shining and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there far from this white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with mud, like a blessing.

last jar of last year's stash of spice cranberries....I have made the 2014 batches!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Candied Kumquats Anyone?

While I was shopping this afternoon for turkey parts to make stock ahead of cooking my turkey this upcoming weekend, I ran into the first of the fresh kumquats.  I love candied kumquats.  They are a surprising addition to pound cake and the syrup can beused to make an icing.  Kumquats are citrus-y and quite different from oranges and tangerines and add a delicious and  unexpected taste to winter baking.

It's an easy process to candy them and one I enjoy.  A nice way to spend a rainy and windy late November afternoon.

I got four half pints from a little over a pound of kumquats.  I'll take a jar to my daughter-in-law on Thursday when we celebrate Thanksgiving with our son and his family.  On Friday I'll buy a sale turkey and roast it up at the cabin, for sandwiches and soup for the freezer.  I really love Thanksgiving week.  It's full of good smells, anticipation and turkey!

I hope your Thanksgiving, if indeed you celebrate that special day, is full of family and friends, good feasting and most of all, thanks for all our blessings.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Visual Journal Pages In Progress

This spread was done in class and was created with a series of prompts that John gave us.
 I have been taking a mixed media class from my friend John Arbuckle.  I've been working on multiple spreads in a couple of different visual journals, and having so much fun!  John makes each week's class exciting and interesting, and he has shared so many techniques that I find I just have to experiment with different ideas.

I think the above spread is done.  But maybe not?  Not sure.

This one, below, is in my Like a Nomad journal that I started in a class I took from Orly Avineri last summer.  I thought it was done.  And then I kept working on it and adding little bits and pieces.  Never say never, I guess!

The spread below is not done.  It's a good start, but that's it.  Just a start.  It incorporates several techniques John had us don in our class.

This spread (above) keeps evolving.  I have no idea where it might end up.  Or if this is the end.  I am just letting the pages pull me along---no big plans, just letting things evolve.  It's very freeing to work this way and I am really enjoying myself.

I started this spread quite a while ago but just finished it (I think!) the other day.  It has actual "weaving" done with sari ribbon, cotton pearl thread, velvet ribbon and bias tape.  This is in my Like a Nomad journal.

I have just started on this spread, but so far I like the colors and the patterns.  I seem to be on a circle cycle, I have noticed.

And finally, this is a sign I spotted at a favorite local restaurant, FIVE.  I love it!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Having Fun with Visual Journaling and Collage

Cats have credit Jeanne McLam
 I took a one night, really fun class at the Schack with my friend Susan the other  night.  The class was called Playful Acrylics and Collage and was taught by Jean McLam.  This was not an evening of serious art creation but rather one of recharging the batteries and just playing....throwing some paint around, cutting/tearing out images from magazines and gluing them down.  I had a great time.

"work" in progress---photo credit Jeanne McLam

There were no beginners in this class, just a like-minded group of women who were looking for an evening of making art and playing with art supplies.  Jean was a most encouraging, supportive and very well organized instructor.  She provided ALL the supplies and gave us just enough instruction for us to go off and do our own thing.  A perfect evening.  There was even wine for those that wanted it!

class photo!---photo credit Jeanne McLam

Meanwhile, in another on-going mixed media class I am taking, brilliantly taught by John Arbuckle, I've been doing a little work in one of the visual journals I'm working in right now.  Nothing here is completed, just works in progress.  I am having such fun in this class, too.  I really needed to have this artistic outlet to balance the struggle I am having in my beginning Spanish class.  The old brain is slow and it's hard to learn a new language.   Trying to learn a little Spanish is very rewarding, but it's work.  Art is play.  Together they create a nice balance to my week.