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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tea Cup Painting

I've always been drawn to painting the things that I own. I think it started back in college when I would pick items up at flea markets, bring them back to the dorm, and either draw or photograph them. Objects that have a family history are especially meaningful for me. This tea cup is part of a set of china that I inherited from my grandmother. I generally only use them at holidays as they are delicate and the dinner plates are quite small. It seems that people ate smaller portions than they do today. Another drawback is that I was warned as a child that they should not be placed in the dishwasher. I am not really convinced that it would damage them, but I'm not going to give it a try. A neice on my husband's side was married last month and when we drove out to the wedding we delivered to her a set of china handed down from her aunt, but originally from her grandmother. I hope that she enjoys them!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Backyard

This is a small 5x7" landscape done on the easel right in my backyard. It's always nice to work close to home! The scene has special meaning as the Adirondack chairs were more for us by my father-in-law. I think my husband has the pattern for them down in the basement. The scene conjures pleasant memories of sitting on the patio in the summertime enjoying a gin and tonic. It is always easier to start in on a piece that holds personal meaning.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Rag Dolls

During the early days of this horrible pandemic I started to find comfort in hand sewing. I was inititially inspired by the embroidery craft of Kantha that originated in areas of the Indian subcontinent. Old saris are stacked and hand sewn to form cushions. The stitching which is not "perfect"is part of the decoration and appeal. It reminds be of hand sewn early American quilts. A mass produced or machine sewn quilt is not imbued with the same peronal touch as one that is hand sewn, in my opinion. So, I started small by making an eyeglass case and a change purse from scraps of fabric. Unfortuneately, I didn't have any saris. My results were satisfactory, but I realized that I would probably never use either item. Somehow though, this experiment led to me making rag dolls. I blog about the process on my website. All experimentation is useful and adds to our knowledge.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Save Energy

There's a hashtag trending on social media promoting the limitation of single use plastic. I am totally on board with that concept, although the goal has been a bit harder to achieve during the pandemic. Plastic bottles of hand sanitizer and tubs of wipes to disinfect surfaces are everywhere and I understand their importance. One tiny change that I have made is to switch from plastic bottles of laundry detergent back to the boxes of powdered detergent that I remember from childhood. In the good weather I also try and hang my clothers outside instead of wasting energy using the dryer. I must admit that the clothes, towels in particular, can be a bit stiff, but it is worth it for the smell of fresh air especially when your sheets have been dried outdoors. Heavenly.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Lily of the Valley Essential Oil

We are both blessed and cursed with having an abundance of lily of the valley in two different gardens in our yard. We are blessed to have a plant that grows so easily with so little care, makes a beautiful bouquet, and smells delightful. The flowers in the front yard garden bloom first, the ones in the back about two weeks later which is perfect for extending the length of time that our house can be imbued with their fragrance. On the negative side, it is very difficul to contain their weed-like spread. They have partially pushed out the irises in both front and back yards that were transplanted from my grandmother's house, and I can barely find my chive plant any longer.

 

In the spirit of DIY projects this spring I decided to try turning the flowers into an essential oil. Every day for twelve days running I picked the blossoms and placed them in a jar that contained almond oil. Each day I strained the oil and added new blossoms leaving the jar out of direct sunlight. Naturally, some of the oil was lost each time I strained the mixture. Instead of the oil becoming infused with the delightful scent of lily of the valley, I was left with a rather rancid smelling oil. Oh well! I enjoyed painting them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

French Onion Soup

French onion soup was a favorite of my mother's. She ordered it if it was on the menu when she and my dad went out to eat and she also made it at home. She had these cute little earthenware bowls that she ladled the homemade soup into and topped the bowls with Swiss cheese that she melted under the broiler. Even though it is June, today is chilly and in my current DIY mode, I plan on making some French onion soup.

 

Ingredients

 

1/4 cup unsalted butter

 

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

4 cups slivered onions

 

4 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth

 

2 tablespoons dry sherry

 

1 teaspoon dried thyme

 

salt and pepper to taste

 

4 slices crusty bread

 

8 slices Swiss cheese

 

Directions

 

Melt butter with olive oil in a stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and continually stir until translucent. Do not brown the onions. Add beef broth, sherry and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes. Heat the oven broiler. Ladle soup into oven safe serving bowls and place one slice of bread on top of each. Layer each slice of bread with a slice of Swiss cheese. Place bowls on cookie sheet and place under broiler until cheese browns slightly.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Stocking Up

Canned goods and dried beans flew off the shelves of supermarkets at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown. At one point I had put together a list of items for my husband to pick up. He texted me pictures of empty meat displays and barren shelves that had once stored paper napkins and paper towels. One item on my list was "couple of large cans of tuna". Little did I know that my husband would interpert that as the 66 oz size, the size that looks as is it should be in the kitchen of the school cafeteria. I realize now that he was not left with any more reasonable size options and amid the chaos and long lines he simply took what was available. We made it work though. I used almost half of it in a pretty tastey tuna noodle casserole with peas and gruyere cheese. I froze the rest!