Sunday, July 29, 2012

Art Quilt 2...

Let the Games Begin!!

Got batting...check.

Got backing...check.

Cut fabric...check.

Complete sandwich...check.

Set up the Viking...try to rmember needle size, presser foot, etc...check.

See if you can remember how to work the quilt through the machine...check.


Adjust your light source, find your tools....check.

Freak out, turn everything off and go to the Mall.

Laurel.  I'll start tomorrow.

A dog's life...

Magpie Tales

Mag 128

image by Zelko Nedic

"Here's how it works, Thor. I take you to the park and you get to play with the ball. And in return, you bark at strangers who knock at the front door.  I feed you a big bowl of kibble with gravy every day and you keep me company when I'm alone.  I scratch your ears and keep the fleas off your back and you stay off the sofa. I don't leave you in the car with the windows rolled up and you don't chew on my boots. If we are going to be a team here, then you can't keep lifting your leg on my ficus tree.  Do we understand one another??"

Laurel. Just give me a cat.

Sharing today with my friends at Magpie Tales, who probably have less literal interpretations of this artwork prompt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Photo shoot...

My granddaughter is going to be a senior this year, and with that excitement comes Senior portraits. A grandmother's bias not withstanding, she is a beautiful and photogenic young woman, so I have always wanted to have a photo session with her as the star. Though she will have a studio take her official portrait, I thought it might be fun to experiment.

In addition, I had an ulterior motive - I wanted a photo of the red necklace that I just finished a week or so ago, and I have always envisioned my jewelry on a pretty model. And lastly, I have had so much fun using PicMonkey lately to add special effects and "high drama" to my photos.  Put all three factors together and voila!, you have a photo shoot.

My artistic stylings...don't even THINK about using them without my permission!!

A couple of these takes (minus the necklace) might even be a great Senior portrait.  I did do some retouching and editing just to play with PicMonkey, but she really is a beauty without my help...not too prejudiced, do ya think???!!!

Unretouched, and with her little brother.
We may try it again later on, sans necklace and perhaps a little less makeup!

Laurel.  Genes are everything! LOL!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Can she bake a "berry" pie, Billy Boy...

Friends who have country property are like heart songs to a girl who lives on a cul-de-sac. Don't get me wrong, I love my little hacienda more than I have loved any place I've ever lived...except for the country. What can be better than an afternoon visit to a rural countryside, just waiting for it's owners to lay claim and put up stakes? 

In the meantime...a short hop down the dirt road and picnic by the creek made my heart sing...

It's like...going home.

Who can resist?

When I was a kid, my Mom paid us $.50 to pick a gallon of blackberries, and though I did not come ready to pick yesterday, I dove into the bushes anyway. To do berry picking justice, you need a large plank or a 4 X 8 foot sheet of plywood to throw out onto the bushes so that you can get to the "big" ones at the very top of the bushes..they see the sun all day.

But alas, I got enough to make a pie...

"Can she bake a "berry" pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she bake a "berry" pie, Charming Billy,
She can bake a "berry" pie, quick as a cat can wink an eye,
She's a young thing that cannot leave her mother..."

Laurel. I better go walk if I'm gonna eat this thing tonight.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rough night...

Magpie Tales

Mag 127

Figure Eight, 1952, by Franz Kline

dark chocolate languishing
crisp redness of plump berries
dancing in the white cream

lip smacking ribs
drawn from the heat
napkin filth on the floor

fermented grapes calling
dead corks in a pile
another glass,why not?

predictable disturbance
on the appointed hour
wakens sound reverie

churning and twisted
like a figure eight
gut revolution over my excess

Laurel. But it was sure good going down!

Its Sunday and time for my weekly poetic genius ( she said, tongue in cheek) on Magpie Tales.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Colette and the art quilt

My mini-me Colette has been languishing in the craft room waiting for some attention. I had picked up some nice fabrics in Dallas and Santa Fe to make her some nice frocks, but they remain in a pile in the guest room. Last night, Project Runway Season 10 started and after watching the designer contestants roll out some pretty bizarre pieces, I heard an audible sigh from Colette.

She has good cause to be frustrated. My brain and fingers have been centered on my sewing machine, but alas not for outfits for her.The lure of the new art quilt relegated her to second fiddle again this week, as I worked to finish the applique portion. Despite her quiet glare behind me, I trudged onward. I am pleased that it is completed.

Even today I've made some minor changes since these photos were taken. I will be starting on the "sandwich stage" next, probably using a light cotton batting and a solid backing...then listen for my little Viking purring long into the night doing the machine quilting portion!

So back to Colette...because I felt so bad for her today, being naked and all, I made a little knit top this afternoon out of one of my Dallas fabrics.  This silk knit is feather light and was a little difficult to manage, but the result was good.

love the color...looks so great with turquoise... 

Smile Colette, you're a STAR!!! And because Mommie started walking this week, she may end up ratcheting your boobs down a notch or two in a few months!

Laurel. At least you can actually wear my stuff, Project Runway!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh Snap, Gordon!!!

I am addicted to Masterchef. Supposedly (I say supposedly because reality TV is never real) the competitors are just plain ole home cooks who have never cheffed in a restaurant or been a commercial caterer. Supposedly. The shows sometimes airs on two consecutive evenings as it did this week. And as is their custom, the losers of the nightly challenge must face Gordon's dreaded "Pressure Test".

Monday's pressure test? Six fresh eggs cooked 4 ways: a three egg omelet, a soft boiled egg, a poached egg and one cooked "sunny side up".  The three contestants who participated in the test frantically fried, boiled and poached their way to varying degrees of success.  What surprised me was the lackluster attention given to the fried egg.

I am the self proclaimed "Over-easy fried egg Queen". But I haven't had a sunny side up egg since my Dad passed away sixteen years ago. Flipping an egg over in hot bacon grease was not his forte...if you wanted an egg, you're getting it Sunny Side Up on the farm.  After seeing the crispy sickly looking eggs, a.k.a hockey pucks, the contestants offered up to Gordon, Graham and Joe, I accepted the challenge.

Eggs for Dummies

Use farm fresh eggs...the yolks are prettier and DUH, they are better for you!

2.)  Put a little olive oil and butter into the frying pan

3.) Turn the GAS heat onto the lowest setting. (everyone knows you can't cook an egg on an electric stove) Let the pan heat up a little. Be an egg takes time.

4.)  Carefully "unleash" the egg into the oil, ever so slowly.

5.)  As the white slowly starts to cook, spoon the fat carefully over the white of the egg. The whites ONLY!

6.)  Stand over the egg for what seems like hours, spooning oil, watching, waiting.  If you hear one tiny sizzle at any time, you must toss the egg in the disposal and start over.  Any sizzle or spatter denotes "crispies" which is verboten in my fried egg world.

7.)  When your egg whites are fully cooked and a little bubbly, turn your Sunny-side up masterpiece onto a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Oh Snap! I would have creamed the contestants on Monday. Home cooks? Hogwash!

In accordance with the ever so artistic style of Gordon and his boys, I slowly cut into my masterpiece with a knife to ensure that the yolk was cooked properly...PERFECTION!!

And what about the underbelly??? No crispies here...

LOW AND SLOW...rules to live by.

Another egg meets his match!

Laurel. Low and slow.

Sharing with Delicious Dishes today.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Seeing Red...

I love finishing stuff. This past weekend I worked furiously on my new art quilt (another post for another day:) and I completed the applique portion - a huge accomplishment, since it took me over a year to do the California Harvest art quilt, and I've only been at this one for a month or so.

As you may know, I haven't put the same zeal into making jewelry of late. Call it burn out or "the end of an era" - whatever- but I haven't been selling my jewelry these days. The last of my normal cache of 80 to 100 necklaces was sold to my friends/customers last Spring and I have only made a few custom pieces since. I have reverted to my old "I-need-something-to-wear-with-that-I-better-whip-something-up" style of jewelry making...not thinking about selling so much...more about the pure joy of creating beauty and style.

I don't think that I am much different from other artists who one day find markets for their wares, then get caught up in making a buck off their talents. It doesn't take much success to spurn us on and before we know it, we have begun to adulterate our art to appeal to the masses. Everything has a price tag. It's sad in a way, as there is little else more satisfying then creating a masterpiece just for the pure joy of finishing it, knowing it may never grace a wall, or in my case, any neck but my own.

My favorite jewelry pieces are those that only the most brave fashionista would wear...go BIG, go BOLD and for Heaven's sake, if you're going to wear jewelery, MAKE A STATEMENT!!! The 7 Eleven, Bounce Town or a favorite Mexican Food restaurant would not normally see the likes of anyone walking in adorned with one of these little creations. 

I start with thin wire and a few beads and just start twisting and weaving, adding beads as I go. And since I adore sparkle, I picked the beads and baubles with the brightest colors and shine for this one. I didn't choose red, it chose me. I spyed ONE RED BEAD in a shop a few months ago and it became the inspiration for this necklace:

The beginning of a masterpiece 
Add more beads, more wire, more twisting, more weaving and....

So I'm thinking I'll wear it to Walmart today when I go pick up detergent...
with a crisp white sundress and some red flip flops.

Laurel. I need a party!

Linking up with

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dinner Ode to Pearl

Magpie Tales

Mag 126

artwork by Jack Vettriano
She even dreamed about it last she would say it.  She wouldn't be cruel, even though he deserved words that ladies aren't accustomed to using. He certainly didn't have any trouble reeking havoc on the ordered life she carefully maintained, so why should she concern herself with his feelings? She waited, watching to see if he'd show. The ash of her third cigarette fell silently to the polished floor. Forty minutes past the hour and her anger bubbled beneath the surface. She heard the door of his precious Bugatti slam shut, leaving nothing but the rhythmical hum of the engine to break the silence.  She waited for the knock. She mustered her courage as he burst into the tiny apartment.

"Ready?" a Richard Gere lookalike mouthed sheepishly.

She swept passed him, curdling the air as all sense of decorum followed. She turned to face him, noting his chiseled chin quivering ever so slightly.

"I can promise you, Big Boy, it WILL be our last date if you take me to Round Table again."

Laurel. Not single and ever so grateful.

Doing today's with Magpie Tales , that fancilful place where writers visit every Sunday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A flower speaks ...

"I can't do a thing with it!" she groaned.

(Chrysanthemum plagued with unruly petals)

King's Mums, formerly located in Central California, left our fine state to go to Washington...or was it Oregon? It doesn't matter, except that it was a photographer's dreamland.  Dave and I visited before they blew Dodge to snap a few flowers...

Laurel. Having a bad hair day myself.

Linking up today with Flower Art Friday and Floral Friday Foto and Fabulous Fridays


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Fine Art of Bee Keeping...

I applaud our kids who like to give their kids every opportunity to learn, grow, and experience all that life has to offer.  Our son decided that learning about bees and how they make honey might be a fun family project for two of our grandchildren. They live down the street a few blocks on a large parcel, so having a beehive is a doable outdoor activity/learning experience for the kids.

He invited his Dad to come down last Sunday and "work" the bees, something that the hubby had never done.  I grew up on a farm and my Dad had some hives, and though I never worked them, I was at least semi-familiar with some aspects of the process. I don't think Dad ever really did anything to tend to his bees either...perhaps that's why my siblings and I were all amazed when he actually brought home honey.

In the heat of the Sunday sun, my hubby donned his bee outfit to prevent the little "workers" from "working" on him while I just sat nearby to swatter in hand. (just kidding!)

I must admit it was fascinating...after you drugged the hive with smoke, the bees are rather docile...

Evidently when they smell the smoke they panic and think "FIRE!" so they jump on the comb and start working furiously to preserve the hive...

The start of something yummy...

Remember that I mentioned that this beekeeping activity was a learning experience for the grandkids?  Despite all the little bees flying around the Sunday hive check, here stands my youngest grandchild...watching the process with Dad and Grandpa (all suited up)...

He needed a closer look...those of us on the sidelines laughed our heads off...brave little man.

Like I said, fascinating.  My son tells me that bees have a four mile radius from their hive, so his bees occasionally drop in to visit our flower gardens and even though I hate bees (wasps in particular), we let them buzz around, knowing they are keeping the hive down the street in working order.

Coincidentally, the grandkids came down the other night for a swim, and the brave little man above and his sister, both got stung from the honey bees taking drinks from our pool.  Evidently they lose their stingers and die, so two less bees for the honey factory down the road.

I wonder if sweet little Owen will get so close next time after having been stung?

Laurel. I'm thinkin' some rich goat cheese with honey comb on the side:)

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