Friday, August 13, 2010

New Post Just Because!

One of the ongoing problems I seem to have with the "Blog" is the very time consuming and frustrating way in which pictures and images were handled.
There for, I had pretty much given up blogging. It was just a nightmare laboriously moving the uploaded pictures to where I wanted them on the page.
Well, this evening I got some information about the new improved global editor with better function and control for adding images... we shall see!

   This is a picture of the little rascal that drove us Flipping Bananas this spring.
A pregnant female who chewed several holes in the side of our house and caused several hundred dollars in damage. My husband did finally manage to block her  access and she found another abode in which to have her demon spawn.  

They are adorable, and comical.. Natures extremely adaptable TreeRat.  
Adios little mother adios.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fresh Baked Bread

I don't blog a lot, although I would probably *never* run out of things to write about or say. I just have so many other things to do, and typing and I don't get along so very well. It takes me quite awhile to type the things that I have scurrying about in the dark and deep recesses of my slightly wandering mind.. But today, for some reason I decided to bake bread. And write about it.
Yesterday I spied a tri fold envelope of yeast way up high on the shelf of the pantry, just the scant corner of it... grabbing it I saw it was slightly out of date and always being a frugal and waste not want not kind of person I mulled the possibilities of something to bake.
Ahhhh! My dear husband last summer stopped on his way home at a yard sale and for 1 tiny dollar bill, procured for me a wondrous tome of baking delight. A copy of Bernard Clayton's, New Complete Book Of Breads! Wow!
All fall and winter I was mesmerized and perused through and marked MANY interesting bread recipes that I stored in the back of my mind for future use.. But as sometimes happens with me, in my scattered and chaotic fashion the book was moved about the kitchen and eventually stored atop my dish and Pyrex pan shelves. Not forgotten, just resting and waiting for me to succumb to its allure again... and every so often my eyes would travel up to where it was and I would chide myself for not utilizing this treasure trove of Bread Gold.

Today was the day! Ripe and ready ... Bread was to be baked! I thumbed through the book and then decided to let it fall open and if I had the ingredients on hand, that would be the bread I would bake.. I knew there were 2 recipes that I had visited more than others and I bet myself that the book would fall open at one or the other, and I was not disappointed. It would either be Challah or Braided Peasant bread... I set the book on its spine and pulled my hands away.. the book opened like a lovely flower and,... YES!!! Braided Peasant Loaf on page 268.
A basic peasant type bread, it was flour, salt, dry yeast, a small amount of sugar, water vegetable shortening and 1 egg for an egg wash.
I am on a sodium restricted diet so I only used half the salt, and I had 3 small egg yolks in the fridge, begging to be used so I added 2 of them to the batter, I knew this might affect the texture, guessing that would make the bread finer grained and soft. I kneaded it for 10 minutes or slightly more in bowl, which is something I do rather then turning out and kneading on a table.
The interesting part of this bread is that after it's kneaded and put in an oiled bowl, every 10 minutes it's punched down and deflated, balled and turned and then allowed to rise again. After 5 deflations it is rested until doubled in volume, about one half hour in a warm spot.
Following the recipe I turned out the mass after it was Fluffy and Huge, and kneaded down again and divided the dough in half, then each half was cut into 3 pieces and rolled into 16" ropes. The recipe called for a baking sheet with a liberal coating of cornmeal, uhh oh. Out of cornmeal... But I did have a box of Matzah meal ... I would use that.

I turned my oven up to 400 degrees and on my baking sheet I braided my ropes. Lovely. But they looked so very naked! I would figure something out.
I covered the braids with a large loose sheet of plastic wrap and left the sheet on top of the warming oven, after 30 minutes I checked and the loafs were very large and puffy! I peeled back the plastic wrap and gently used my egg yolk wash to coat the dough. That looked decidedly better, but the pale dough still looked "naked" to me, Ahhh... Black sesame seeds. I scattered a liberal amount of them over the egg washed braids and felt content that this was the missing eye appeal. And into the oven they went.

35 minutes later, the smell of bread and toasted sesame, filled my house. I was happy. A slightly modified recipe of Braided Peasant Loaf. And Very tasty.

Next time, I will use bread flour and follow the recipe to the letter, I want to get a more artisan loaf with a more open and chewy texture... But this bread came out wonderfully, soft soft fluffy interior with a very crisp and almost flaky crust. I can't wait for my husband to see what I did today!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Five day Project on ABC

I belong to an Altered Art group on Yahoo, the ABC...Altered Book Club.
It does not center on just Altered Books, but in pretty much all aspects of art.
I have really enjoyed the group in that it gives a wanna be artist like myself a place to study and gain some education in this new area of art.
Recently we had a challenge project that piqued my interest as it was five days long, with the instructions being issused in the morning by our challenge host Elizabeth. The interesting point for me was we did not have much of an idea going forth as to what we would end up with... it was a blind challenge. We were to follow the instructions and spend approximately twenty minutes a day working on the project. All the materials that were used were items most would have on hand and inexpensive. It was a blast, I really enjoyed this challenge and even though my project theme morphed and changed as I worked on it, I was pleased with the outcome. And working on this forced me to utilize some techniques and materials I had not used before.
The project was a 9 flag banner that we constructed out of lightweight card board, paint and whatever accouterments we decided to use, here is mine.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blogging Again

It's been over a year since I have even visited my blog, but life sometimes gets weird. I have had a bent toward getting back into more art and altered art things recently so I, in the Bloom of a New Year and the Resolutions mode will try and get back to blogging.

Anyway I have a new camera which I absolutely DETest, but will try and work with it. First picture will be of a RUNE picture, wall plaque that I did. I love Runes and all the variations that this ancient form of writing has gone through.

I in particular like the Elder Futhark the best.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Almost Yule!!

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... I've had that song as an earbug for the last few days.. As we have had some really record breaking weather here!! Here in Portland OR we normally have rain in the winter and lots of it, but for the last week we have had SNOW!! And today into tomorrow we will be getting a huge surge of a moisture laden storm right form the Hawaiian Islands on what is called the Pineapple Express.. and it will slam into a frigid flow of heavy cold air streaming in from Eastern OR , Snow and wind and freezing rain is in the works!!
We have most of our Holiday things ready so not going to worry about it. Here are a couple of pictures from this morning that I took out my back yard, now at almost 8 in the evening we have a lot more snow and the temperature has dipped here in my neighborhood to 17 degrees... Yi Yi Yi that is cold.. for us that is END OF THE WORLD cold.. hehehe

I spent the day making soup and working on some Viking Knit for a chain and pendant I am doing, and trying to stay warm!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Yes I know it has been awhile since I "blogged" (one of these days I am going to set my ongoing spell checker to accept the word Blog, without beeping at me!) and, well I get busy, and actually typing is not the easiest thing in the world for me to I tend to look at a LARGE blank screen with misgivings, but I endure, I endure. The other day though I was going thru my pretty darn large cache of completed jewelry pieces and I spied some tumbled gemstone material and got totally inspired to create, though I *had* sat down at my workbench on the pretense of Cleaning it up!! I have often told people that even on a good day my bench area looks like a bomb went off and then a troop of rabid drunken squirrels had an impromptu orgy amidst the rubble. So, the need to create was probably more of a procrastinatory gambit on my part, and it certainly worked because said area still looks uhhhm, well lived in! I will get back to straightening and rearranging .. hopefully :) What I saw that interested me was a tumble stone of Rhodonite that I had picked up probably in a little bagged collection parcel. Looking at it I saw a tiny little gnat or bug perched on it.. it was one of the very small house plant gnats that a lot of people call "Fairy Flies" as I brushed my hand quickly near it, trying to drive it away, it just sat there on the stone.. calmly cleaning his antenna. I blew on him ( just a guess here on it's gender) and he decided the winds of change had come and he was gone.
Picking up my wire and stone, falling into the zone of creating for a few minutes I became aware that the little Fairy Fly was back, running back and forth across my overhead adjustable light shade. In little zig zaggy patterns he seemed to be watching what I was doing. So I stopped and watched him.. all of a sudden he flies and then lands back on the Rhodonite stone that was partially set in the wires.. Little Bugger! Be Off with ya! For the next hour he showed up and flitted off several times, even landing on my finger and dancing his way down to the stone and back up and then away. I have no idea why this little thing was attracted to this particular stone, it looked clean, there was nothing I could smell or see on it.. Eventually I just ignored him and finished the initial wire sculpted wrap and wove the bail. Cleaning and tumbling it to work harden and polish, then antiquing it and the last step wiring in the one small pearl in the top swirl. At last, the photography. I set up my light box and lights, tripod and got ready.. set my stage and,, there he was again!! Sitting in the middle of the stone as it lay on the White Board. I NOW wanted to get this little critters Picture!! He had been dogging me for at least 4 hours.. zoooming in the viewfinder ... and poof he was gone. I waited and waited and after 1/2 hour just took the picures.. and I have not seen him since. Very strange. And here is what he was so obsessed with. Rhodonite free form flatish tumble stone, antiqued and darkened copper wire and a pearl. Listed at my Etsy store

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My First ATC Art Card

I have to say, I have a lot of interests in life.. and I love to learn about new things.. in some ways I wish I was *not* like this, because life can get pretty chaotic when you have many projects and interests going all at the same time. But Art has always been at the top, drawing, painting and other artistic expressions. Unfortunately I have always felt very intimidated by that old Nemesis of many artists. The BLANK canvas. But, I have found a new area that is interesting and quite wonderful, Altered art and altered books, Mixed media, and collage. Especially the format of ATC cards, or artist trading cards. The only stipulation for an ATC is that it be 2.5 by 3.5 inches. Other than that it can be made in any medium.

I have seen so many very very beautiful and inspired cards and art in the last few months.. I am absolutely blown away by the diversity and how wonderfully varied these little pieces of art can be made. So I finished my first card the other day, and it's very simple.. but it made me giggle... I incorpereated a hand drawn little robot that I found on Etsy.. There is a shop by a lady who goes by Spidercamp, who makes the most Hilarious "bunnies that swear" very cute soft fleece little stuffed bunny ornaments, some of which have naughty words embroidered on their tummies! She also makes some "Bunnies of purity" and great cat toys. Her wonderful creations can be found at She also has another shop in which she stocks odd and ends of various items, sewing things, fabrics (I found some nice fabric for my quilting ) and bits and bobs good for art and Collage and mixed media, in her own words some "weird things" I love to peruse her shop as I never know what neat or strange odd little item I might see. Last month she had a listing for some of her hand drawn little robots on kraft paper, various sizes, I had to get them , they just made me laugh. And when I received them I had to fight for my little treasures as my daughter spied them and she thought they were grand! She has this thing about Robots.. they kind of scare her and fascinate her at the same time. She has Down Syndrome and is borderline mild autistic so she gets fixated on certain things. So With that I post for your consideration my Very First (albeit quite simple) ATC! Which deals with MY very ** real terror** of Flying Stingy things! I am going to be creating a series using Jessicas Robots that I will list in my shop but the first one I am keeping forever!