Time Flies

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I posted here! I swear it’s only been a couple months tops. But then I’ve never been good with time management.

This blog has morphed a little since I started it. Originally, it was to showcase my art with only a small personal aspect. But since pretty much my only readers are relatives, and I don’t do art 24 hours a day, I started sharing more personal things on it. I recently promised a cousin I would write here with some life updates- so here goes:

I am now about 5 months pregnant. That feels weird to say. I always thought I would have kids, but like lots of things in life I guess I just thought it would happen “someday”, not on an actual day in reality. I’m due at the end of February. I never knew a pregnancy lasts 10 months- not 9. Oh, and it’s a boy. I think we have a name pretty much settled on. It’s not Remington Steele like I wanted, but it’s a good name I think.

We got a second dog last year. His name is Frank and he’s some kind of mix of basset, catahoula hound, and who knows what. He’s kind of long with stubby legs, floppy ears and brown on brown splotches. One blue eye, one brown. He’s not a very smart dog, but he is a complete lover and loves to snuggle. He’s become my bathroom buddy- he always accompanies me there. I think it’s because sometimes I turn on the space heater and that’s his favorite.

He has no idea how to fetch or play tug of war. If you take a toy he’s playing with and throw it, he just looks at you like “why would you do that, buddy?”. He eats anything cardboard that is on the floor. He snores and runs and barks in his sleep. He stares into the glass doors of the fireplace for hours, growling at the phantom dog who lives in there. He and Louie like to play together which is why we wanted a second dog in the first place.

Little grey kitty, Zelda, is still kicking around. She spends her days on the back porch and her evenings kneading my stomach and getting brushed or being yelled at to stop puncturing my skin so much.

EDIT: I started writing this post months ago (10/2/2013) and never finished it.. but here it is now. I always wished I wrote more but its so easy for me to just go on and on. Instead of adding to this one, ill begin again.

 

What do you think?

I made some paper cutouts of shells to see how they might look on the painting. Flowers (blue hydrangeas) were requested too, but I didn’t really know how to incorporate those- unless they were just hanging down into the picture from the top right corner, or maybe peaking up into the bottom left corner.

This is the picture I was to use as inspiration.

I guess she has her kitchen decorated in this theme. I think a painting that fits the color scheme is probably better than me trying to copy the design so blatantly. BUT- I will absolutely do whatever the commissioner desires! (As long as I can figure out how!)

So what do you think? Shells? Hydrangeas? Nothing?

 

I’ve been staring at the thing so long now I can’t tell what looks good or not. It is always a great thing to have a fresh perspective, especially from someone who has nothing invested in the piece.

Happy July!

Hello old friends! Wow I really let time get away from me here. But good news- I am back in the studio.

I have a friend who requested some seasonal decor pieces a LOONG time ago. I am still working on those. But more recently, she asked for some bible verse art for her mom who is visiting. I finally finished one last night and I am working on another one, although I’m having a hard time getting it past the first coat, or rough outline stage. I sent her a picture of the finished piece this morning, and she asked if I could add some shells or flowers or something else to the corners. I had already spent some time sliding shells around it and decided it looked better the way it was. But since she asked, I will go and try again.

In other news- we switched our bedroom and office. As in, we put our bed, nightstands and bookshelves (we don’t have a dresser or chest) into the room formerly used as our office and moved our desks, chairs, filing cabinet and other storage into the master bedroom. We did it so we could have more room in our office/studio space. It’s a little weird but so far it is working pretty nicely. The only drawback is also an advantage. The master bedroom is very dark which is bad for painting. However, the (former) office receives direct sunrise, so that is great for waking up in the morning.

I’ve been having a little trouble with my eye- it’s either an overactive tear duct or a blocked drainage duct. A couple days I woke up with one eye glued completely shut which I think it pretty hilarious. A hot compress applied a few times a day has alleviated it almost completely. Oh, also I have pink hair. :)

I just had our third annual Christmas in July party. Unfortunately it was a bit of a flop. Even though the food all turned out perfect and right on time, I was exhausted by the time the guests arrived. It was a smaller group than usual and very mismatched. A lot of people didn’t know each other which severely stunted the conversation and merry-making. I didn’t do a great job introducing people and most of the guests left quite early due to kids, early mornings or most likely, boredom. I decided to not do the pin the nose on the Rudolph game I usually do, and I wish I had. So it was pretty depressing. I put a LOT of effort into the Christmas parties and I was sad that a lot of people weren’t able to make it. To my guests who came: Thank you for coming, I apologize, and please come next year I promise it will be better! (I also forgot to take any pictures! Agh!)

 

Happy new year

I know it’s been a while. If you could see my desk, you’d know why. Amid the Christmas and New Years festivities, it got sort of… buried. And boxed in.

A few days ago I went in there with a tattered old map and managed to uncover the dusty trail leading to the desk chair. I endured many a peril on the way and my arm is weak from machete use; but there lies a clear sight to the desk now.

I got a new computer, so I have to begin the arduous task of deciding what to keep and toss and moving everything to the new one. I have an extensive font library to transfer, and I hope that will be easy. I’m not sure how easy it is to transfer font files.

I’ve been spending a good amount of time playing computer games because it is so much more fun with the new computer. I can actually play a game without the computer freezing up and crashing every 10 seconds. I used to be able to go and get breakfast while waiting for certain things to load- but I don’t have that “luxury” anymore.

A good chunk of time lately has been devoted to “poop detail”, which is a nice way of saying Louie is having digestive issues. Which is a nice way of saying I’ve been up to my elbows in dog diarrhea. One day was especially bad- he had an accident and I didn’t see it and I stepped in it (with shoes) and tracked poop ALL over the house before I realized what was happening. I spent the rest of the day scrubbing the floor, sanitizing the floor, inspecting the floor, cleaning my shoes and yelling. I did take some time to appreciate that we have hard floors and that I did not get any on the huge shag rug in the living room.

Aside from my office, the rest of the house is nice and clean. The exterior paint job is getting close to being complete. I volunteered to paint all the door and window trim and Gordon has to finish the soffits, roof trim and gutters. The front door needs a new coat too, and I think I might go ahead and do that. It’s looking pretty ratty right now.

I’ve also begun to repaint some of the interior doors and trim. Whoever painted them last did a horrible, sloppy job.

On top of that is the chalkboard project (still in the priming stage), the cabinet bead-board project, and there is one more set of blinds to be hung. (We are waiting on some missing hardware to come in the mail.)

So- lots to do. I got an email yesterday asking me to possibly do something with art at our church. I am not sure exactly of the age group, but it involved making art with recycled materials.

Lastly- a recipe. So I had 6 pounds of pork roast and a big bag of turnip greens and I happened upon a recipe that uses both! (not all six pounds of pork, though!) And It was really good!!  Here it is: Stir-fried pork with noodles.

Cookies: Part deux

I am trying to type this out kind of quick and Zelda keeps flopping violently into my hands and rubbing her wet nose and mouth on my arms. She usually ends up laying across the front of my laptop and I kind of have to reach over/around her while she kneads whatever body part she can reach (boobs).

Anyway! Today I made another apple cake, (I plan to make one more- I have just enough chopped apples) oatmeal scotchies, peanut butter cookies, flourless peanut butter cookies and… I guess that’s it. Feels like I’m forgetting something. Oh well. Pictures later. I’m tired. ‘Night!

UPDATE: The oatmeal scotchies are amazing!! We sat here and ate most of them last night! I had to force myself to stop- and even after eating like 10 of them, I didn’t feel sick at all. They are a delicious, soft, chewy oatmeal cookie (not all cakey) and the butterscotch chips are awesome. They would be great with traditional chocolate chips or raisins, too.

The flourless peanut butter cookies came out very nice. I did not have any peanuts to put in them so I used a combination of chopped walnuts, pecans and cashews- yum! When they first came out of the oven, they were very fragile and broke asily. After a couple days, they softened up and acquired a slight chewiness.

Regular peanut butter cookies also good! (I ate one and gave the rest of the batch to my dad for Christmas. He suggested I halve the amount of sugar as he has been eating my mom’s cookies for years and that is what she does.)

What got made today

This blog was meant to be about my art- but cooking is an art right? I was supposed to have a friend over today so we could bake together, but I found out late last night that she wasn’t able to make it. I was a little depressed over this because I had been planning on it for a while and had gotten all ready for our day together. As such, I didn’t get started baking until about 2pm.

NOTE: When I say “today” in this post, I am actually talking about Thursday, the 22nd. I know it’s technically Friday now, but I haven’t been to bed yet, so it’s still Thursday to me. So there.

Here’s is what got made today: (I plan to finish my list tomorrow.)

Apple Cake: SOOO Good! Would be GREAT for breakfast! It has 3 cups of apples, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon and is soaked in a buttermilk caramel sauce. Yeah.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: The big one in the middle was the last cookie. :)

Sugar Cookies: The first picture is of the cookies made right. The second picture are the ones I made before I remembered how I’m supposed to make them. (Flatten before baking, don’t leave in mounds! The edges cook too fast for the middles.)

Coconut Chews: These are my favorite thing. It’s a pastry crust with a gooey filling full of coconut and walnuts and then a glaze of powdered sugar, butter, and orange and lemon juice. I usually use butter for the crust but this time I tried palm oil- which is what non-hydrogenated shortening is. It tastes good, but it seemed to cook faster and get brown. It had an interesting nutty aroma when it came out of the oven. I know they don’t look it, but these things are gooey, sticky, crispy, flaky and addicting.

Butterscotch Blondies: These were the very last thing to come out of the oven tonight (around 2am). I haven’t tried them yet, so I’ll let you know tomorrow.

I also made up a DELICIOUS sausage meatloaf using jimmy dean hot sausage. Here is the recipe: Sausage Meatloaf. We like Bob Evan’s sausage meatloaf and this was just as good! It has you use half a can of cream of mushroom soup with some milk to make a gravy. I added to that some of the drippings from the meatloaf and some beef bouillon powder. It was good stuff.

I missed it

Well- I had a whole bunch of Christmas crafts planned. Several are sitting here part-way complete. But I kind of got a slow start and also kind of never finished any of them. Now it’s less than a week to Christmas, so I doubt anyone wants to purchase last-minute Christmas gifts or decorations online. So I missed that boat- but it’s okay. I have a whole year now to work out my ideas a little better and have lots of things done.

Apart from a couple projects I am working on for specific people, I have slowed down the workshop probably for the year. Last night I spent the whole evening making a spreadsheet of all the cookies I want to bake this week. I needed to know how much eggs, butter, walnuts, and “other” I would need to pick up at the store. Since there are 14 cookies on my list, I had to make the chart to keep track of it all. After I made the chart, I crossed out a few things since I’m only devoting one full day to the baking.

Here is the run down:
Grandgirl’s Fresh Apple Cake
The Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (My favorite!)
Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Coconut Chews (My other favorite!)
Sugar Cookies (I don’t roll them out, just make little circles)
Chocolate Praline Cookies (Gordon’s Favorite)
Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Flourless Peanut Butter Blossoms
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie
Aunt Becky’s Peanut Butter Balls (secret recipe)
Oatmeal Scotchies
Butterscotch Blondies
Apple Crisp Crumble
Mini Quiches (can’t find the recipe online, so I’ll copy it below)

Mini Quiches:
1 egg
3/4 C. evaporated milk (I use regular milk, rice milk, cream, or whatever is in the fridge)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. worcestershire sauce
3/4 C. grated cheese
6-8 strips of bacon
1 can crescent rolls (plain)

Roll out crescent dough and cut into 24 squares. Press into greased mini muffin pan. Beat egg, milk and seasonings. Pout into cups with a tablespoon measuring spoon. Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top of each. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.

So- I just looked at that list and realized I either need more baking days or less baking. I’ll let you know what actually gets made later. :)

UPDATE: I’ve just been informed that the Peanut Butter Blossoms (I’ve not made them before) aren’t all that great. I actually remember getting a couple of them on a plate of cookies someone gave me last year. I ate one and it was pretty good. I love sugar cookies so the lack of peanut explosion taste didn’t bother me. However, I do remember that the second cookie was stale by the next day; and I like my cookies to last! So good- I don’t have to buy two bags of kisses now. :)

An old school project

I was reminiscing tonight about a really fun and challenging project I did in my senior year at UNF. At the beginning of the semester we had to choose a tool which we would then work with the whole semester. People chose things like mixer, axe, handcuffs, syringe, credit card, etc.  We had to complete three projects with the tool. 1) make two unique paintings of the tool. 2) Paint a depiction of the inner workings of the tool. 3) Use the tool to make a painting.

I immediately saw the chance to do a painting I had always wanted to try. I won’t spoil it by giving you the details, but I will say I had to get permission to use a gun as my tool of choice.

Happiness is a warm gun

Christmas is WHEN!?

I like to imagine that little goblins put magic potions into my food that cause me to fall into deep sleep for days on end. How else am I to explain the swift passage of time and the minuscule amount of checkmarks on my to-do lists?

I am a procrastinator. I have made peace with it mostly. But I can’t expect everyone around me to feel the same way. I need rules and guidelines to use as a platform. Without it’s tethers, I am an astronaut floating out in space. Spinning wildly and hopelessly lost. It is amazing what I can get done in a day when I am supposed to be doing something else. A few weeks ago I had a sign to paint that needed to be done and shipped the next day. That day I moved furniture, cleaned out cupboards, organized dishes, did laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, washed windows, changed the sheets, went for a walk, worked in the garden, moved more furniture, made three dinners, and asked Gordon if he needed anything about 20 times. ANYTHING to not do what I was supposed to be doing!!

The good news is I cleaned off my desk a few days ago and have been back at work. I reorganized most of my shelves and donated a bunch of stuff I don’t use anymore to a local girls organization. It’s nice to actually be able to open my drawers and put my feet all the way under the desk.

I am a messy worker, but I like to have my workspace clear. It’s a constant fight. Sometimes I have to stop in the middle of a project just to clear away from stuff so my elbows can have room. I also have many ideas at once and they often merge into one another. For example, I will place a wooden cut out on a sign and think “the word blah blah blah would go nice with that.” Then I think- “but it might look great on a picture frame.” So I go get the frame. When I have the frame, I think- “you know that other cutout might look good on this frame. Or what about that poem or what if I wrote blah-blah-blah on THAT other piece of wood over there! And also there’s that birdhouse- I could paint it for Christmas. It could be red and green or blue and silver. Oh man, I also need to work on those two pieces over there. OH! I could knit a….” Then the cat comes and lays on top of everything.

By the time I am done, there are 27 completely unfinished, cat-hair-covered projects stacked on my workspace, it’s 4am and I go to bed. When I get up, I put all those frames, cutouts, ribbons and pieces of wood away, and close 500 tabs on google chrome from where I looked up poems, lyrics, clip-art, etc. Then I do it all over again.

Making lists doesn’t help. I fill up pages with ideas. As soon as I begin on one, (that’s assuming I can pick a starting point!!) I have 50 more to write down. I also loose lists. It’s kind of a ritual for me to spend several hours carefully planning a menu, looking at the sale ads, and making a grocery list- only to not be able to find it when I am ready to go to the store.

Hey... you forgot us...

It is getting better though! I am slowly improving in all these areas. I have to keep reminding myself that I am still young. I shouldn’t expect to be perfect and successful at everything on the first attempt. I am still finding my style, building my cookbook, familiarizing myself with my font library and learning countless other things by experience. I mean, geez- I’m not even loyal to a brand of shampoo yet, how am I supposed to know what color to paint the house?? (We are painting the siding on our house.)

I am certainly not one of those young go-getters with several successful businesses, who seem to never rest. I am a slow-moving person. I like to sit and think. A lot. I like to lay in the grass and stare out the window. I like to sit in front of my space heater and listen to my cat snore. I like to take my time and meander a bit. I don’t mind slow restaurant service- it just means I get to sit in that comfy booth across from whoever I am with all the longer. I don’t mind heavy traffic- it’s just more time to listen to the radio or talk to your passenger. The point is, I am extremely content. Maybe a little too content. :)

Also- If I am supposed to be working on stuff for you- I promise I’ll get to it someday. Haha.

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