About Me

My photo
I am a multifaceted woman, living with intention and passion. I always see the glass as half full (ok, almost always). Currently into: jewelry design, glass beadmaking (aka lampworking), visual journaling, cooking and web design everything. Things that bring me great joy: my family, friends, Scrabble, British period pieces, Shabby Chic, Austin, TX, mini art tiles, autographed cookbooks, chocolate, Chianti, pedicures and beach glass. I don't "do" and/or dig: dishonesty, guilt, intolerance, unkindness, drama and goat cheese (it's a long story, but I love all the other cheeses!) So you now have a teeny tiny little picture of me, with a few warts thrown in. Welcome to my world!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Under the (Winter) Weather and 2D Design Portfolio part IV

Winter from my front window.
     I took this winter photo a few weeks ago. We had a winter storm and it left our streets completely buried, no sign of the road at all! We were snuggled up inside with our fireplace on "high," eating comfort foods and watching movies. I love cocooning every so often, but once we are halfway through January, I'm ready to start getting out more and staying in less. But here in northern Michigan, that is really not an option, lol, the weather is what it is. But it sure does bring my family closer together.
     Speaking of the weather, I am under it today. Started with a scratchy sore throat  and is evolving into a scratchy throat with cough, sheesh. I really don't have time for this. I'm whining to be sure. My last weekend before school starts and "bam!" Of course, being under the weather also means I have to alter my plans to clean and organize my room. Instead, I can pull out my visual journal supplies and create! So maybe I'm supposed to be making more time for creating instead of cleaning, right? At least that is what I am choosing to get out of this whole being sick situation.

Analogous color collage

     Back to my 2D Design portfolio. This is another color collage exercise, this time using analogous colors from the color wheel. Red, red violet and violet. Once it was finished though, all I could think of was the Red Hat Society, not at all what I was going for, to say the least. Nothing against the RHS, but those colors have become so iconic, one they are together, that is all I can think about. A good lesson though. Again, I used my visual journal supplies and techniques to create this piece. It is actually 3 dimensional, with some raised birthday candle letters. There was a purple plastic frog on it too (yeah, I know, kooky), but it fell off, obviously something that really didn't belong. I am really going to miss not having this type of class this semester. So nice to break up the textbook learning and computer programs with hands on art. Maybe next fall I'll have another art class.

2D Design Portfolio, part III

Split Complimentary Color Collage
     When we moved into the color portion of 2D Design, I had a blast with the collages we had to create. This is the first one, which is an exercise using split complimentary colors, textures and movement. My good camera would not pick up the correct "blue green" color, so I had to adjust it in Photoshop to show the most accurate color. I'm still not happy, so I obviously have more to learn with Photoshop, since you can do everything with that program! We were allowed to use any mediums in any combination to create these collages, so I used my visual journal supplies.This was my instructor's favorite piece and probably mine as well. I hope to adjust the color and repost this at a later date. I'll post another piece or two tomorrow from the color portfolio.
     And we have winter back in full force here, lots of snow falling and more on the way all week. It is beautiful, but honestly, I've had enough already. Wonder if Calgon still takes you away?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2D Design Portfolio, part II

Figure ground exercise
     This was one of my favorite exercises, I loved playing with the figure ground concept. Creating an image that can be seen one of two ways, depending on whether you focus on the black or white components. Of course, that is not the technical definition, lol, but that is how I interpreted it. We spent several weeks on figure ground exercises, so I think my instructor likes them too. Within the next day or two, I will post some of the color pieces. Again, I just loved this class and learned so much!
This first image is my first "text" figure ground image. I was focusing on web design and just played around with lettering until I was happy. I hope to use this piece on my website someday, maybe as part of my online portfolio.
Figure Ground Personal Image
This second image is also an exercise in figure ground, but we had to create a personal image. I wanted something that represented web design and could be used on a business card or as a logo on my website. After numerous attempts using a "web," computer screen, spider and text, I finally came up with this one, which I am still very happy with and intend to use in the future as well.
     This final black and white piece was an exercise using texture. We had to go around the class room, building, inside and out, and create rubbings with graphite sticks. After we had collected a variety of rubbings, we had to create a still life by cutting them out in several assigned shapes and within a measured format. I am not good at drawing, so this was so much fun for me, more of a montage with the layering of texture and shapes. After we had the shapes rubber cemented down, we had to shade and highlight the whole thing. In case you can't tell, my still life is composed of two bottles, a pumpkin, a pear, an egg, a square block and a mushroom. I would love to do this again someday, collect some great rubbings from around town and then create a still life that represents this area. We'll see, I always want to do everything, but of course, there are not enough hours and days in my lifetime to do everything, sigh.
Texture Rubbing Still Life

Happy Birthday Sophie!

Happy Birthday Sophie!
     My youngest turned 11 years old today. She is my millennium baby, born right after the new year in Texas. Bright, energetic, sensitive, creative and affectionate, she is a bringer of joy. I watched "Toy Story 3," last night for the first time and sobbed uncontrollably at the end. My kids thought I was over reacting, even though I almost always cry at movies. But this was different. The movie showed the end of an era, the end of Andy's childhood and since these movies began when I had a 5, 3 and 1 year old, it represented the end of their childhoods for me as well. I'm getting all choked up just thinking about it again. Not sappy, just the heavy thud of reality. Heartstrings tightening up in response to a particular loss of sweetness that can never be recovered. I miss those days, when they were young, innocent, full of open affection and curiosity. My birthday girl was not around for the first movie, and I long to keep her in that "baby" mode at times, but I don't want to keep her from developing into a healthy teenager, so I have to let go, be less mothery at times, and just hang onto all my sweet memories. I know everyone tells you that it is going to fly by so fast, but while you are living it, you don't pay attention to the time, you can't, or you will forever fret that you are not doing enough, being enough, spending enough time, all of that. We do our best, we enjoy as many moments as possible and make a million little memories. Thank goodness for cameras and recorders. So Happy Birthday Sophie, my tween-ager extraordinaire, you are so loved and wished a wonderful life full of love, learning, art, adventure and kindness! Someone pass me the tissues...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2D Design Portfolio, part I

Irregular width straight lines

     Part of my 2D Design class last semester involved creating a portfolio with all our assignments. I will add a few of the pieces with each blog post for the next several days, since I don't want to overload anyone. The class was taught using the "Bauhaus" method, which apparently is a old and well respected way to teach 2D Design. We started with simple dots, then straight lines of the same width and kept expanding from there. I am not going to show the very early pieces, they are nothing special. But some of my later pieces I really enjoyed and received good feedback from my instructor. I learned so much in this class, I would recommend a "Bauhaus" method 2D Design class to anyone interested in design, no matter the medium. I absolutely loved this class and was very fortunate to have an excellent instructor.
Irregular curved lines and straignt lines

I struggled to learn to use the exacto knife properly in the beginning, but eventually got the hang of it, only cutting myself once, and just a little nick. I am not a photographer and I struggled to take good photos of my work, but some of the images came out "crooked," even though the actual pieces are very straight with even borders. We were graded on craftsmanship, so I did work very hard to make sure everything was straight, even and clean. I have always been a "messy" artist, so the effort it took to create "clean" work was nothing short of super human for me, lol, but I have to admit, I learned how to create clean work and how to use a metal ruler to my advantage. I'd never spent a lot of time with a ruler until I took this class, what a revelation! So now I love my metal ruler and exacto knife and plan to use them whenever I need to create straight lines and cuts, beats a pair of scissors any day!
5 assigned shapes, overlapping allowed, seen as a cutout
     Tomorrow I have three more black and white images from my portfolio to share and then I'll move onto some of the color images I created. I am only selecting the most interesting pieces, and again, I am a beginner, beginner, beginner! I can make glass beads, jewelry, visual journal pages and I can cook. However, before I took this class, I could not draw a straight line or create any images with paper, ruler and exacto knife, not to save my life. Seriously. Ask my mom.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blueberry Muffins, Take Two and My Big Fat Greek Feast

     I had a ball cooking today. Started with an attempt to make the blueberry muffins from "Bubby's Brunch Cookbook," following the directions correctly this time, and they turned out great! With frozen blueberries, though, they have to go at least another 5 minutes in the oven. They have the lightest crumb, taste more like blueberry cupcakes than blueberry muffins. The recipe also makes 24, not 16 muffins, which is a bonus. An old friend of mine from elementary school sent me an autographed copy of this cookbook for Christmas and it is wonderful. I'm hoping to actually cook my way through this one since I love brunch but don't have much of a brunch repetoire. Tomorrow, I am making blueberry scones. They call for 2 cups of cream, so they should be amazing! I love a good scone, with a lovely cup of tea and a good book, a little bit of bliss in the afternoon.
My Big Fat Greek Feast!
     But after I made the muffins today, I started working on the my big fat Greek feast! I used three recipes from my favorite Greek cookbook to date, Jeff Smith's, "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks three Ancient Cuisines." Souvlaki (shish kebab), stuffed grape leaves (dolmas) and Greek tomato sauce are the three recipes I used from this book. I also made hummus, but I make it pretty often and wing it these days. But I do add a couple extra ingredients, a little tamari, cumin and paprika. The rice was just a simple white rice with olive oil and butter. The lovely pita bread came from the local food co-op, Oryana, it is the most authentic in town and I love it. We had company, so I made extra and I think my whole family was happy. Although it was hard for me to see my almost 11 year old "unwrap" the stuffed grape leaves after all the work my oldest daughter and I put into making them, lol. Oh well, at least she ate the filling. I had so much fun making this dinner, but it did require the washing of two loads of dishes (and we don't have a dishwasher), lol, I think I used every pot and dish in the kitchen. But it was worth it. Cooking is one of my favorite creative outlets. Although I do use recipes for many things, I am not above making changes when I have to or when I think something might be better with the addition of a certain spice, condiment or other ingredient. I love to feed people too. My family is the most convenient, but I also love to feed my friends whenever I get the chance. It brings me joy. I know when school starts up again next week, I won't have this kind of time for cooking, but I will have time to work on my journal, make beads and jewelry, so I'm just wallowing in the cooking medium right now, loving every minute and making messes all over the place!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Drive by posting

     My friend Andrea posted this on facebook this morning, and I love it! One of those things that inspires and can help give us a new place to start. Dream big, live with intention, don't waste time on negative thoughts, deeds or things you cannot change. Squeeze every drop out of your life and do what you love as often as you can. Be kind, be generous, be honest. Never stop learning, teaching and noticing details. Love and forgive yourself. Don't do guilt. Welcome change. Learn from your mistakes but don't live in the past. Celebrate something everyday.  Find joy and spread joy. Make time for you and art everyday, even just 5 minutes. Loving all the while you are living.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Purple Lotus Art: Giveaway!!

 Here is a link to a fun giveaway if you'd like to visit her blog. I love to win things, don't we all? Feeling lucky?
Purple Lotus Art: Giveaway!!

Fresh Eggs and Cooking

Fresh Eggs from 9 Bean Rows
     Yesterday morning found me at 9 Bean Rows bakery. I bought a loaf of our favorite bread, Fennel and Sea Salt, a couple of fabulous croissants, a baguette and for the first time, since I had not seen them before, a dozen of their farm fresh eggs. They were lovely in shades of cream, brown and one blue green Araucana. My cell phone camera, once again, failed to capture the beautiful blue green of the Araucana egg, but you can still tell which one it is. All the way home, I thought about what I would make with those gorgeous eggs. Egg Foo Yung for dinner, fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day and then what? I knew I would have three or four eggs left after breakfast today, and wanted to have a plan, since I wanted to prepare all the eggs within 48 hours.
Rice Pudding
After perusing cookbooks and asking for suggestions on facebook, I narrowed it down to three things. Vanilla custard, flan or rice pudding. The rice pudding won out. My sweet hubby had mentioned a hankering for it a few days ago, and as a welcome home treat, I decided it was just what the doctor ordered! The recipe is from a family cookbook my in-laws published just for the family one year, as Christmas gifts. It has lots of family recipes, many of them German, which I just love. Also, there are some family stories connected to some of the recipes, which makes it a fun read too.
     So now all the eggs are gone. They were a wonderful find on a cold morning, my treasure of the day, but I had a great time cooking them and eating them up, and my kids did too. I am hoping my hubby will love the rice pudding and then those eggs will have contributed to the happiness of five people. Five very lucky people...