Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Sweets

Today, I rushed home after church to make cupcakes for our neighborhood children.  I always end up delivering them because our church has a really cool Halloween outreach that I usually photograph.  Hint: Stay tuned!

In advance, I must apologize for the photo quality.  Shelby needed to borrow my camera to take photos of the children's activities for her Interact Group (Youth Rotary) at the same Halloween event.  Without thinking, I gave her permission which left me with my camera phone to document the cute cupcakes....yup.  Not cool.

However, the cupcakes were very cool and amazingly tasty.  Homemade chocolate buttercream frosting can not be beat!  Tuck in a few forgotten autumn chipboard pieces from my scrapbook supplies and Voila! Custom cupcake cuties for the neighborhood kiddies.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Home Grown

Unbelievable!  It is October 29 and I still have a bushel and a half of pears to finish preserving!  The very end of the end of the tomatoes were turned into 3 quarts and 1 pint of spaghetti sauce this week.  I have to admit, I love making spaghetti sauce.  I love letting the newly strained tomatoes cook down over 24 hours until I have sauce thicker than than the Prego brand!  Even in the dead of winter, when you crack open a jar, the scents and flavors of summer are right back in the kitchen.

But I am truly amazed at how well the pears produced this year.  I have already put up dozens of sliced pears and pear-cherry chutney.  Tomorrow I think I will make spiced pears and more chutney, as Mike eats the chutney by the jar if I don't hide them first   And of course, we give quite a lot for gifts.  My apples nevey really provide anything more for us than a few treats for the horse...I'm certain this is because we don't spray enough.  Honestly, I wouldn't spray at all if I could get any fruit otherwise.  I am determined to expand my no-spray policy from the garden to the fruit trees, if I could only get my husband on board.

 After reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver I am convinced the more we spray, the more pests we end up with.  Don't buy that theory?  Read the book!  She can explain it far better than I, a novice can.  We've made some very good changes at home using sustainable methods of composting, recycling, raised bed gardening, rain water collection, etcetera, but I really need to research and actively try to control my fruit pests in a more natural and balanced way.  I think my biggest fear is that it is going to entail a lot more hands-on work for me.  I already am overwhelmed in the spring, summer, and fall with planting, hand picking pests, weeding, harvesting, preserving all the produce as well as the animals we keep.  Stay tuned we'll see what happens in the spring.

Oh, and hopefully after tomorrow I'll be posting about some artwork I'm working on! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Senior Pictures at Hidden Lake Gardens...Take 1

Saturday Shelby and I drove out to Hidden Lake Gardens with the back of the car filled with the most unimaginable props. Everything from an antique picnic basket, a globe of the world, her "hobbit" chair, and a slew of Vogue magazines. Truly accurate aspects of her personality. Let the photo shoot begin!

I think we'll have another go at it on another day.  I loved some of her poses, but the expressions on her face tell of her frustration on wanting to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Renaissance Reminiscence

When September days cool, and the smell of autumn cannot be ignored, you know it is time for the Renaissance Festival.  Mike and I have been taking the girls since they were 9 and 12.  Even the first visit was complete with costumes; one being half Goodwill with a homemade overlay and the other store bought.  Lauren was enchanted when on our first visit a knight kissed her hand and gave her a fleur de lis pin while asking for her support during the joust!  She was equally chagrined when the man selling pickles yelled at her for showing her ankles as she tied her boots! The following years presented  more complex, elaborate, and beautiful  gowns.  My girls even visit websites to add the necessary handcrafted corsettes, hoops, and crowns. 

The Renaissance Festival in Holly has become THE event for my daughters and their friends.  Shelby especially seems to enjoy initiating different friends each year to the sights and sounds of the Medieval gala.  With enough costumes to clothe at least four young ladies, Shelby has begun to tutor the girls to be prepared for avid fans who beg a picture of the well-garbed ladies.  Perhaps some of the other attendees think that these girls (who insist on speaking with plausible accents and grammar) are more of the paid actors that work throughout the properties. with the King of Spain

The girls call this the donut hat.  It was purchased the second year we attended the festival.

Micah joined us in 2006.  His costume had to be purchased online as there was no time to create one.

2007 with the queen.

Some of my favorite costumes have been the pointed ladies cap with billowing sheer finery with matching gown for Vanessa and the adorable satyr costume I made for my nephew Cameron complete with little hooves and horns for his cropped head of hair!  Even as I plea for retirement from the elaborate gown-making, I secretly sneak a peek each late summer to the new patterns for Renaissance garb in my local Joann fabric store!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Room With a View

A studio!!!! I finally have some space to work.  Granted, I had to lose a daughter to college for this to happen...but then there are the perks!  Needless to say, in the midst of scrubbing, sweeping, moving, sorting, and organizing, I have not been creating the art.  I have been creating the art space.  Can you say "HAPPY"!

I have taken a couple of weeks off from Illustration Friday.  As I viewed most of the other artwork submitted, mine just did not seem to fit.  The point of my participation has always been a jumping off point to create art; any kind of art.  I feel that the goal is being met. However, after getting the topic today for this week, I might go for it again...after all, I've always wanted to create a Dios de los Meurtos shrine/project.  The theme for this week is "Spooky".

If not, I'll be posting some of the Renaissance costumes I've made over the years for my daughters.  After all, it is fall and prime time Renaissance!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Refried Things

I got this idea from Greencraft Magazine - a magazine that I love!  Imagine starting out with a box of french fries - not so good for you...and upcycling the empty containers into cute little mini storage units - very good for you and the earth!!!  Making these little cuties can be quite addicting.  I planned on making three samples, small, medium, and large for a craft that I'm in charge of at our church's ladies night.  I ended up making 6!  And I wouldn't have stopped there if it hadn't been for the Homecoming Parade and football game at Dundee tonight! 

I made my fry boxes for a corkboard, but I will also have magnets available for the gals who would prefer to use them on magnetic boards.  I am so tickled by the results that I think I will make a whole slew of them for my new art studio (in progress) to store small odds and ends for easy accessibility.  I think this idea could also be used as a gift box with a little tweaking.  Maybe even filled with candy or other goodies and themed for Halloween or Christmas.  One more thing...I did not eat the 60 boxes of french fries that are represented here!

My samples on mini corkboards.
60 fry boxes, gessoed and ready for creation.

Detail of collage box.