Friday, May 31, 2013

May Photos - Something I Adore

I adore my neighborhood... and that I see these guys on the way home! These were taken the same evening...just blocks / seconds apart!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Photos - Yummy with a Recipe

Geez... I don't think I've ever written about so much food in my life... and that includes writing a BOOK about cookies!

Memorial weekend, the bestie asked one our favorite Veteran's from the Vietnam War - her brother-in-law - to cook dinner for us. You would think it might be the other way around, but he likes to keep busy.

There's a burger and sausage. I made watermelon salsa (recipe below) and the bestie made Sam's cheesy potatoes. Since it was a late dinner, I was too hungry to wait to take a photo of the deslish cheesy garlic bread. Or the gorgeous red velvet cupcakes. My technique has greatly improved on those!

We all ate and watched some TED TALKS videos. This one about how mushrooms may be the key to saving the planet is AMAZING! Kinda long but makes you hopeful!

Watermelon Salsa
A local restaurant used to serve this with grilled meat in the summer and they stopped. It was so wonderful, light and screams summer! I've been craving it for years! It came out just as good as the restaurant version. 

1/2 a small watermelon or a whole Dulcinea melon
1 small pepper  - heat of your choice - diced
          (I used a yellow one between a bell and jalapeno, but would have preferred a serrano!)
3 green onions diced fine
1 handful of mint, chopped fine

Use a melon baller to cut small chunks of melon. Take about 3/4 of the balled melon and dice to small chunks and mix back into the larger pieces. Add the pepper and onions and mint and toss well. Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May Photos - New

When I hike near Dirty Creek this time of year... I feel like I'm Gulliver! There are so many baby frogs, I can see the grass moving!

Do you see him?


 Here, let me help:
As I walk along, they hop, frightened by my presence. I'm constantly afraid I'm going to step on one.  Everywhere I look, there is movement! I don't know where they are going or why they are 25 - 50 yards from the water... seems like a vast distance for such a small creature!

How small are they? I dared pick one up just for you, dear readers. Please forgive my filthy fingernails but I had just come from a Mulberry feast!

So sorry it's out of focus... but you get the idea. I'm not picking up another... I love you guys, but not THAT much!

I counted 35 of these little fellows in a 20 yard walk... and those were just the ones I could see!

I wrote this post and scheduled it over two weeks ago...but as I write this part, it is Memorial Day(night). We spent most of the day doing chores and waiting for my computer guy show and repair my dead-for-three-weeks laptop. Naturally, he showed around 4 and wasn't done until nearly 8... too late for a proper hike.

But there was a smidgeon of daylight left so we dashed to Dirty Creek...where these photos  were taken. OH the NOISE! Quite the cacophony! I'm now certain all these guys head to the water in the evening to create a symphony together! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May Photos - Naughty Habit

This is Mabel on the sofa. Some part of me regrets I ever let her do this. For one thing, the sofa is nearly broken. It's starting to take on her "old dog" odor. But as a pup, every single time I went down the hall to the office, within minutes, she'd be up there. In spite of having NUMEROUS dog beds. I would drag her down and scold her over and over...and over.

Somehow this transitioned into her only getting up there when I was there. That's usually late at night when I give myself an hour or so of television / ipad time. Even if I stop working at midnight, Mabel will not go to bed without sofa cuddles!

On the other hand, I myself have become so accustomed to sofa cuddle time, the thought of not allowing her (or, dare I say it, any future dogs) on the sofa feels...wrong! It's like people who get a dog and leave them outside! Dogs are pack animals...they need to pack up to feel safe in the world. And isn't cuddling pack behavior? And seriously, I'm getting a little too old for floor cuddles!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May Photos - Judegment

This one really stumped me until I realized that making a decision wisely is another meaning of the word... and so I present Mabel judging Otto:

She yelled and screamed at him a lot in the beginning. But now, he uses his judgement to stay in the good graces of the eldest pack member. And she makes an effort to play without barking at him too much.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May Photos - Early Morning

Early Morning in Dirty Creek

Sun Rise over Mt. Lukens

It's already close to to enjoy it from the creek:

Friday, May 24, 2013

May Photos - Necklace

This is one of my all time faves. It's called "Tree of Life" and is made of bead crochet and a huge glass focal. I made it to be interchangeable but I like this bead so much, I've never made another for the necklace!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May Photos - Art

Art is so subjective... and I know all to well, art is what your soul is drawn to DO and can take many forms throughout a lifetime. My practical mother and father didn't know what to make of an odd child who just HAD to keep her hands busy. Luckily they humored me...and bought me supplies!

Throughout my childhood, I was obsessed with: coloring, Mardi Gras bead crafts, macrame (jewelry and wall hangings), jewelry making,  cross stitch (often giant framed wall pieces), crochet, rug hooking, needlepoint, sewing, fabric applique, cake decorating... and on and on.

Can you understand why it seemed like destiny to work for The Queen of Crafts, Carol Duvall?? In my twenties and thirties, when there was a predictable lull in my career (April - June most years), I would teach.  Somewhere along the way, I bought a house with a really ugly bathroom (I've never had a nice bathroom since moving to California! Still don't!) and I bought a set of rubber stamps to get some little flowers around the mirrors I had installed to make it feel bigger in there. I used paint to get the images on the wall and colored in the little designs with bright acrylics. I cleaned those stamps and put them in a drawer for YEARS.

And then came the first HUGE career setback. Three different directors I was producing for got out of the business / moved away / stopped hiring me because I wouldn't put out. I was in a deep funk and couldn't seem to make anything happen. I started watching Carol... twice a day, every day. Before long, I knew all the guests and their respective schticks. I loved Mary O'Neil and her rubber stamped velvet. I bought  a bunch of her stamps and started making scarves and blankets. And soon I was fascinated with rubber stamping.

I went to a stamp convention at the Queen Mary. My brain was on mental overload...didn't buy a thing but when I left, there was a flier on my car for a new stamp store...1/2 mile from my house! I started teaching there and my students told me that Carol was produced a few towns over. And I sent in my resume and worked my longest gig in production! 3 years straight!

But it was rubber stamping that made me accept myself as an artist. I'm sure you're laughing...but as a kid who grew up with a teacher that made me feel worthless because I couldn't draw like Stevie ( amazing artist from grade school), I was so insecure of my drawing ability.  I refused to even try for decades!

By stamping the image, I was suddenly free to play with other art materials: colored pencil, watercolor, acrylics, oils, chalks. And all kinds of techniques: resists, embossing, debossing, layered papers, reverse imagery, gels and on and on. Suddenly, I had a proper art studio and I was no longer afraid. When I finally took drawing as a grownup, I knew it was a skill that could be honed.

Now I own a stamp line and rep a few others. And I draw my own stamps too! Sometimes on paper, often on computer...but I do it. 

And all those other skills lend well to other artistic love. By just doing and not giving up because of some weakness I perceived, I still found my way!  If there's something you love, are drawn to do...keep doing it. It is the work of the soul!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May Photos - Junk Food

This is a cookie bouquet made with food safe rubber stamps. I make a lot of cookies for the classes I teach and for demos and such. And since this is the only craft where you get to eat your mistakes... I eat a lot of cookies and so do my friends!Good thing we all love shortbread!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May Photos - Hairdo

I cheated on this one... My long curly locks are either down, freshly coiffed to impress or, more likely, up in double knot pony tail bun in order to not irritate the crap out of me. My hair IS my air conditioner and heater! I've been known to tie the ends under my neck like a scarf to keep warm when a sudden winter wind appears at the creek. And at the studio, I work with fire or a hot vulcanizer and the hair MUST be out of the way. Not exactly the epitome of glamor!

But I stole these pics from my glass bead blog. They were taken when I first became enthralled with making glass bellflowers.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May Photos - Abnormal

Bart - imploring us to throw rocks at him.
And... our not so typical "May Gray" temperatures:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May Photos - Nutritious

My favorite breakfast of the year is always the 2nd week of May when the Mulberries are ripe. There is nothing in world like standing before a tree or bush and partaking of her bounty! Enjoying her shade on a hot day and eating until your belly is full feels like such a simple, yet extravagant luxury!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May Photos - Nearby

The creek may not be nearby according to some definitions. It's just over a mile away. But in Los Angeles, that's nearby! Mabel is always nearby, often choosing to be right beside me throughout my day. Only wind or extreme heat will send her to the safety of a corner bed in the middle of the house. And if we are hiking, Bart is always near Mabel.

This is our favorite swimming hole. You may be able to tell that it's nearly dry by the fact that I'm standing in the middle of the river. It's gonna be a long summer without water! 

 Same spot, looking East...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May Photos - Hilarious

This is my DAILY bit of hilarity!

Hey Mabel! What did you do with Baby? 

Where's Baby, Mabel Lou???

She's Vey down dere.... (So wish you could see the "Rutt Roh" on her face!)

Mabel, what did you do???

I'm sorry Mommy!
Did you put Baby on the floor???
I didn't mean to.... She jumped!

 PET ME MOMMA! You KNOW I can't make it through the night without Baby! 

There there sweetie!

I suppose I'm going to have to go get her??

That would be nice Momma! 

Oh Baaaabeeeee? Where are you????

There you are!

Here ya go! Now don't be putting Baby on the floor! You KNOW she's doesn't like it down there!

Sorry Mom!
Now you girls settle down and go to sleep!

Night Mom.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May Photos - My Mother

 It's funny - the photos we like of ourselves and the photos others like of us. This is my mother's favorite photo of herself. It was taken in the fifties at a Mardi Gras Ball where her older brother was the king. She has a giant version of this on her mantel and had smaller prints made for my sister and I about 20 years ago.

This would be her second favorite.This was actually a black and white photo of her from the forties. As a gift for her, I had it colorized but the artist got a detail wrong. That dress was a V-neck. But I was impressed at the accuracy of the other details.
Maybe these are not my favorites because I wasn't around then. This is not the mother I know. This next one is my favorite:

It was taken in the early eighties in our home in McComb, MS. Mother was doing dishes... as always. 

And this was was taken in my kitchen in 2010, after she allowed my sister to talk her into going gray. (I've nearly talked her out of that and she's almost ready to be brunette again!) She's holding Twinkie's brother Predrito and I simply love the smile on her face.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

MayPhotos - Spice

This is Murray River Flake Salt from Australia. To me, it is the finest, most amazing salt on the planet! It's thin flakes melt on the tongue and make anything taste better! Because of the diversion of the Murray River, the removal of salt is necessary. It's good for the crops in Australia that rely on the river for irrigation and it's awesome for food lovers of the world!

Since I've started using this, I find a lot less need for all this:

The bestie, her sister and I buy a HUGE bag of the stuff and divide it's much cheaper that way.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May Photos - Flame

This one was easy... I look at a flame several days a week if I'm lucky. If I'm really lucky, I'm actually making a glass bead and not just staring into the flame and wondering what to make! I'm making a heart off mandrel here:

Thursday, May 09, 2013

May Photos - Younger You

This is hard as I hate posing for pictures. I have mouth that naturally turns down. And I'm usually lost inside my own head, deep in thought. I guess I just look unhappy to most people. Funny thing is, total strangers have ruined a perfectly fine day for me by saying, "Smile! It's not that bad!" Grrrr.

There is a photo (#3) of me in this post where I look SO angry... and I was angry with the photographer. His sin? He told me to smile!

But I like this photo. It was taken by my production secretary on some horrible tv movie. It was summer and we were wrapping a movie set in November, Halloween props and all. My production assistants we teasing me that I had mistakenly packed "my" hat.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

May Photos - Something I Made

Whatever glass beads I've made lately are always my current faves! This is a Memorial Bead I made last week for the parents of a dog name Wardena. It contains her cremains. The story of Wardena and the bead is on my Bead Blog.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May Photos - Sugar

With California adopting a new home baking law, I've been pondering selling cupcakes at our local Food Truck Night. The more I make cupcakes, the more I realize I need a real job. Sigh....

Monday, May 06, 2013

May Photos - Painting - Evidence of Sarah Jean

This is the painting that I wake up to every morning. I painted it. It's of the seven sacred pools in Hana, Hawaii one of the most spiritual, amazing places I've ever been lucky enough to visit.  But that's not what I love about this painting.
The day I painted it, I was so excited, I tossed it in the back of the jeep and drove to the bestie's to show to her. I put it back in the car and before I could shut the door, her dog, Sarah jumped in...and ON the painting. I consider Sarah one of the greatest friends I've ever had. She was one of THOSE dogs. I could have conversations with her. She was amazing and kind and funny.

And she was a good and patient teacher to Mabel.

Sarah simply thought I had popped by to take her for a hike and while I was upset about the painting, I wasn't upset with Sarah. I did my best to fix it...but, I can still see paw prints in the clouds. And now, all these years later, that's what I look for...evidence of Sarah friend. She's always the clouds.