When we first bought our house two dozen years ago, I hated the kitchen. The whole house was a fixer upper from hell, with orange wall paper, green linoleum and iffy plumbing. Nothing worked, the fuses blew if you even thought about running more than one appliance at a time and it was cramped as a submarine.
Over the years, the hub has replaced ever bit of it, even the fuses, so I can run the microwave and the dishwasher at the same time.... and now I love our little kitchen.
We still have to walk sideways like crabs when we are all in there, and yell, "Hot behind you!"when we open the oven, but it works.
I'm still in the middle of breadbaking mania. After watching a TED talk on how to learn a skill in 20 hours, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MgBikgc
The goal is a crispy crunchy crust and a chewy airy crumb.
One loaf I made had a nice mix of seeds and grain.
Some loaves were prettier than others.
I baked #13 yesterday and it came out just fine. Each loaf is exciting in a small, humble way. I like finding out what happens if the recipe is tweaked a little. It's teaching me patience. The baked loaf has to sit for at least 20 minutes before you cut it or it will be gummy. Bread baking is teaching me planning, a loaf for Friday needs a starter feed on Monday, sponge making on Thursday and shaping and baking on Friday morning.
It's helped to have my mate, Celia, bread baker extraordinaire from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, patting my hand and giving me good advice along the way.
I've been getting a lot of good use out of my Le Creuset red brassier, I made a cassoulet for the first time.
And Chicken Spinach Rollups...
For Valentines, my man got me Orange Marmalade, Bergamot Jam, vanilla and a cool kitty cookie cutter.
The Farmer's Market had these beautiful red oranges, so I made a salad with feta and spiced pecans.
So, that's what's in my little kitchen. For my next 20 Hour challenge, I'm trying to get better at drawing hands. What skill would you like to learn?
Wishing you a creative week,
I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
~ Pablo Picasso
I've been trying to make a little something pretty every day, whether it's a doodle, a bead thing, a paper toy, a painting or a cake. Today was this page of stampy farm animals made with tiny foam stickers I bought at the Dollar Tree.
Here is a little pendant I made. I molded the bird and heart from baked clay then textured them with gold paint. I've put some of my "makings" up for sale in my etsy shop.
I have peaches to make a pie but it's too hot to cook. Maybe tomorrow. What have you been making this summer? What new things would you like to learn how to do?
“Whether or not you can never become great at something, you can always become better at it. Don’t ever forget that. And don’t say, “I’ll never be good.” You can become better, and one day you’ll wake up and you’ll find out how good you actually became." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
Many, many years ago I went on a trip to Egypt. It was a grand adventure, I rode a camel, saw the Valley of the Kings and toured the tomb of King Tutankhamen. I bought a beautiful alabaster bowl which sadly broke by the time I got to Greece and a little scarab made of faience that sat in a drawer, neglected.
Last night I made it into a necklace with some odd beads with a bracelet to match.
I haven't really thought much about that trip in years and it's all a jumble of fading memories, sounds and smells, eating watermelon, hot, dry winds, frentic taxi rides, the dusty mummy of a crocodile high on a shelf in a museum. I found this little sketchbook that had a few sketches.
Sometimes it's nice to remember things from a long time ago.
"I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move."
Ulysses ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I've been going through old sketchbooks and filling the blank pages with new versions of my old drawings.
The flowers on the right were from a beautiful day I spent sketching textiles in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London a very long time ago. The new doodle is on the left.
Here are some more bits and pieces...
I found this funny bird toy idea that I think is supposed to have articulated parts, where when you pull on the tail the head and feet move... What was I thinking? Note to past self, make notes about the back of the design.
Pen and ink practice
Old sketch on the right, new ornament on the left...
I like the soft colors on this page. Rather dreamlike, don't you think?
I would love to go back to London just to fill sketchbooks with little lines.
If you could go on a drawing tour anywhere in the world where would tickle your fancy?
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso
I had a superfun time yesterday at the Young Author Fair, sitting under an umbrella at the Tustin Library making toys and paper flowers with kids. The one thing I learned was that it is so important for parents to let their kids play with art.
We made flowers using two pieces of construction paper and tape, no scissors needed. So pretty, don't you think?
When the kids started to stress that "It wasn't right." I told them that flowers aren't made in a factory. They grow in a all sizes and kinds.
This brave young lady had written a book on bullying. There were lots of other young authors reading their work. It was a great day!
Thanks to Barnes and Noble, I got to hang out with lots of wonderful folks and finally got meet awesome writer and artist, Salina Yoon. We've been online friends for years and finally got to meet for reals. :-)
I also got a peek at her new picture book, "Found". It is a winner!
I also got to meet the adorable Sheri Fink and read her books. Her positive energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
~ Nora Ephron
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
Last Sunday I painted this. It was Easter Sunday Afternoon and all the parks were packed with picnickers. I finally found a spot to set up and got to work. I'm getting more comfortable with setting up my portable easel, also called a pochade, with all it's knobs and leavers.
I bought a palette knife and want to get better at mixing color. It's like I can see the shade I want in my head but I haven't figured out how to make it yet. Time to pull out one of my old color theory books.
Next stop, a beach painting, or perhaps the back bay. I have six little canvases left.
Happy Weekend! What's on your plate?
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso
“Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.” ~ John Olsen
We are all about the manias here at Casa Del Aguas. It's good to try new things. Sometimes we get sucked in before we know it.
My plein air painting mania started a week ago when I went to Michael's with my mom. I picked up a box of oil paints. It was only five bucks. I wondered what it would be like to be one of those artists that goes out to beautiful places and paints nature. Outside. In the Big, Blue Room.
It's been a long time since I've worked with oils and painting outside seemed like a challenge. Somehow the box found its way into the cart, as well as a pack of cheap canvases. Ten canvases, that's a lot of little paintings.
My friend Bob had mentioned at our last studio group meeting that he had a portable easel that he didn't use anymore. (He prefers to draw with a board on his lap) He sold me this gorgeous beechwood easel for $35. It collapses into a compact suitcase. The brass knobs are very steampunk and I had to practice setting it up and taking it down for an hour before I was comfortable with it.
It was great fun outfitting the easel with paper towels, paints, some brushes and a pair of scissors. The inside is like a Japanese bento box, with nice, little compartments to keep everything tidy. I dug out my old brush wash container and filled it with turpentine. My palettes were all gunky so I used a paper plate instead.
After procrastinating for a whole morning, I finally got out the door. What if it didn't turn out? What if the painting was awful? What if the colors didn't go right? What if a million things? My adventure didn't start out well. The park where I'd planned to go was packed. Some big event was going on and every parking place was taken. I drove around for a half an hour before driving to another mesa.
Once I finally got set up the time flew by.
There are a few bits that need tweaking but all in all I'm not disappointed with it. I need to work on a lot of techniques, composition, foreground, middle and distance. Still, it was a delight to try something new and I can't wait to get out and try again.
Wishing you a happy Easter and a beautiful Spring,
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
~ Robert Lewis Stevenson
Last night at midnight there was a full lunar eclipse so we sat outside and watched it change color....
The Crimson Moon...
There's an app for everything. The Wonderhub was able to find the names of constellations with his iPad. It even showed space satellites skittering by like waterbugs.
Around midnight, a possum took a stroll through the garden. Possums usually look like they are bothered by their bad teeth, all grumpy, on the edge of a hissy fit. This guy was kind of derpy, walking around jaunty like, as if the world was his snack bar on a fine evening. I imagine that he was humming this song to himself.
The world is filled with beautiful things, don't you think? Like The Tiny Overlord thinking about this paper bird I'm working on...
And Cheddar Cheese Puffs...
What's beautiful in your world?
The world abounds with many delights
Magical sights, fanciful flights
And those who dream on beautiful nights
Dream of beautiful things
by Ann Iverson
To find such glory in a dehydrated pea
on the tile between the stove and fridge.
To toss the needs of others aside
when you simply aren't in the mood for affection.
To find yourselves so irresistible.
And always in a small spot of sun,
you sprawl and spread out the pleasure of yourselves
never fretting, never wanting to go back
to erase your few decisions.
To find yourself so remarkable
all the day long.
"The Cats" by Ann Iverson from Come Now to the Window. © Laurel Poetry Collective, 2003.