Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sketchbook Challenge

I have joined the sketchbook challenge beginning on January 1, 2011. I’ve got the book, now I just need the discipline! Mind you I’m a drawing school dropout, so perhaps an online coach and community will help me stay focused.

I understand that drawing is a learned skill,  so if learning to draw is  practice and discipline then I should see improvement. Right? I’ll keep you posted. If you want to join the challenge too, just click on the badge on the right sidebar.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hail to the Chef!

Tom has become an expert with the gas grill and cedar planks. His crowing glory has been salmon cooked on a plank over a bed of herbs. Delicious!
hail to the chef
To duplicate, soak a cedar plank in water for several hours. Preheat the grill to 375 degrees. On the plank, prepare a bed of fresh rosemary, thyme and lemon slices. Lay the salmon slices on top and sprinkle with olive oil and an herb or fish rub. Take to the grill  and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until salmon flakes easily.  We find we can use our planks several times.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Around the World

Here are some images from the New York Public Library digital collection.
God Jul
Italy (leave it to the Italians to get romantic)italian

Monday, December 20, 2010

Let it Dough!

Found this on Ricë Freeman-Zachery blog. It made me smile
A New York artist’s version of the creation of the world. Click on the picture to take you to the New York Times website.
Christoph Niemann - Holidays
In the sidebar of the NY Times website, you will find other examples of this artist’s work. I especially enjoyed Red Eye and Cables.

Friday, December 17, 2010

what I'm reading

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This was a wonderful book. Even though I knew how it ended, I was spellbound for the last thirty pages. I may have to re-read Great Expectations. I was astonished to learn that Oprah had chosen those two books for her 2011 book list.

At Home by Bill Bryson could have been a lot shorter. It was interesting, but I've forgotten most of the interesting facts he wrote about. It was easy to pick up and put down.

Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasan, and Angels Flight by Michael Connely were audio books we listened to while traveling during Thanksgiving. It's easy to miss exits when you are in the midst of a mystery. Neither one memorable, but good travel companions.

Room by Emma Donoghue has the most unusual narrator of any book I've read recently. I don't want to give too much of it away, but the narrator is five year old Jack who has lived all his life with his mother in a single room. Very quick read that stays with you. I highly recommend this book.

Waiting for Snow in Havana and Waiting to Die in Miami by Carlos Eire are both fascinating books. I lived in Florida during the years leading up to and several years following the the Cuban revolution. Before he was deposed and went to live in Spain, the Cuban dictator Batista had a home in my community. For a few years I went to a private school which was also attended by Cuban children. I returned to public school in the winter of 1959 when armed bodyguards became a fixture at the school. Later in high school I became friends with two boys who were part of the Pedro Pan airlift. Between 1960 and 1962, 14,000 Cuban children left Cuba and their families for life in the United States.  Carlos Eire was one of those children and these two books tell his story of life in Cuba before the revolution and life in the United States after he left everything behind. Both are beautifully written books which I highly recommend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quick, inexpensive table decorations

I took responsibility for preparing the centerpieces for the children’s Christmas party this Wednesday night at our church. With a limited budget and even more limited time, I hemmed and hawed between the ready to plop on the table fake poinsettias and the gift bags to decorate and fill with tissue paper. I decided to go “arty” and decorated the gift bags with my motif for this season.  Each table will have three or four bags.
decorated bags
I never think about getting one of those Cricut products until I start cutting out 100 ornament shapes.

Monday, December 13, 2010


If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How amazing it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one! It is FREE and it only takes a second.Wouldn't it be wonderful if our service men and women received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know that someone cares that they are away from family and friends.

This takes just a few seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mixed Media Christmas Collage

The tree is up, the cards are done, the shopping is nearly completed. I have a fun shopping trip and dinner with a friend coming soon, but it’s been too long since I’ve made art.
Inspired by Jenn Mason’s post, here’s a quick Christmas collage.

mixed media to publish
I used Christmas carol music sheets for the trees and embellished them by tying on gold jump rings, sewing on a fiber garland and adding tiny metal paper fasteners. For the night sky, I covered the black gesso with Payne's grey acrylic, with just a dab each of interference blue and iridescent stainless steel. While the paint was still tacky, I stamped some swirls which gave a bit of dimension. It was a fun project, and my first collage on a canvas board.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In the Christmas Spirit

We were traveling during Thanksgiving and came home with nasty colds. I’m feeling much better now, and the outside and inside of the house are now decorated.  Now it’s on to wrapping the gifts that are arriving after my online shopping spree.
In the meantime, I have been having fun cutting these gorgeous 5 point paper snowflakes from scrap paper. Photo is from the blog, How about Orange

click here for directions