Photography ~ Cooking ~ Life

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Follow your bliss....

Do you do that? Follow your hearts desire and do what truly makes you happy?

This is a plaque that my husband gave me as a gift a couple of years ago. I've had a fondness for the pieces from Carruth Studio since I first saw them years ago. Most of the pieces are so whimsical that you can't help but smile.

Which is exactly what I did when I opened the box that "Bliss' was in - I smiled. Actually to be honest I laughed. The face is so silly and it never fails to evoke a reaction. I decided to make a small table top collage so I'd see its grinning face every time I sit down. I placed the plaque on top of a miniature wooden chair (which I used to collect), added some smooth pebbles found at the beach, and a dried flower head. Simple but effective.

Being that it was another cold rainy day I spent some time pawing through art papers, deciding on future projects I might want to do. I spent a lot of time arranging things together. Notice I said "arranging". There wasn't a whole lot of gluing going on but I still feel like I accomplished something.

And actually I did accomplish one thing. I tried my hand at making an Inchie. That's exactly what I said when I first heard about them...What on earth is an Inchie? lol

Inchies are the latest craze to hit the paper arts world. From what I understand they started in the quilting world and spread like wildfire. Leave it to us paper artists. lol Inchies are basically a 1" square of collaged art decorated in a variety of mediums. Let me tell you, though fun to do, difficult to work on that scale. I've worked small scale before, but only 2" square and 1" x 3". This is a completely different animal. lol

I think my first one turned out well. Now that I've got the hang of it I plan to make another one for an online challenge. I laughed at something I read while researching Inchies...

Inchies have paper artists all over the world reaching for their bifocals.


No kidding. I've always had a precision with scissors but cutting out that itty-bitty flower and making that tiny crown was painful. lol This however was the result...


I also spent some time in the kitchen. Big surprise huh? ;-) I made a batch of peanut butter cookies. I've been using the same recipe for years and don't honestly remember where it came from. The magazine clipping is glued to a recipe card and filed in my old wooden recipe box close at hand.

I've played around with the recipe over the years to suit our tastes (cutting down on the sugar and butter). I'm partial to homemade cookies. I've had my share of bakery cookies and they taste like, well, bakery cookies. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I simply prefer homemade.

Here's the original recipe with my alterations in parenthesis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter (I use 1/2 cup)
1 cup peanut butter - creamy or crunchy (I use Adams)
1 cup white sugar (believe it or not I omit the white sugar completely)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (in place of 1 cup of the unbleached white, 10 Grain, White Whole Wheat or Whole Wheat Pastry flour may be used)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a mixing bowl cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until combined.

Using a tsp. shape the dough into 1" balls and place on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

*Sometimes I omit 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the flour and add in that much Scottish Oats.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Art related blogs...

Yesterday afternoon I wandered into a pretty cool collection of blogs...One path led me to another until it became almost overwhelming. What is so cool about these blogs to me is that they offer weekly challenges, which is just the thing I need to jump start my creativity again.

As I browsed around, the challenge at Mixed Media Monday caught my eye. I decided to give it a try and am pretty happy with the results. The challange for this week was to do a project with a hat theme.

This is what I came up with....A 5" x 5" canvas layered with two different tissue papers and other embellishments. I've had the Vogue magazine image forever so it's nice to finally use it.


Other than playing around with some artwork I didn't do much of anything today. It was too stormy to be outside, and the wind blew gangbusters. So much for spring! lol

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I went to grab my camera...

to take a picture this afternoon and it wouldn't work. The battery was dead!! How did that happen? Well, I know how it happened...I obviously didn't pay any attention when the battery warning light blinked..but really, I was too busy taking pictures.....

So I grabbed my trusty Kodak EasyShare and took the picture I wanted to take. The Canon is on temporary hiatus - till tomorrow I guess. I really need a back-up battery with the amount of pictures I take.

This is the island that I mentioned in the post yesterday. It's a long way from finished, but it's a start. And see those spheres? Those are solar LED lights. They are so cool!! They can be used as path lights (with a white light), or decoratively, set to change colors in rotation, from blue, to green, to red. Maybe I can get a better picture tomorrow.

As you can see it's another rainy day here in the PNW, though the sunshine did peek out for about ten minutes this afternoon. Just enough to let us know it's still up there and thinks of us from time to time.

I spent a little time dabbling with my art work. Yesterday I decided that I spend way too much time looking at other people's work and not enough time creating my own. So this afternoon I sat down. Though I didn't accomplish much, I did prove to myself that I can still sit and do something if I set my mind to it. Not one thing is completely assembled, but I do have three things ready to go. No doubt I'll tweak them several times, probably more than several times. That's what I do. I set things out and then mess with them for hours, days, sometimes even a week or two before I put them together. I have to think these things through carefully. lol Problem is I keep finding other things to do around the house. I really need to stop that!

One really fun thing I did was to play around with a couple of my photos. This is what happened to the floral that I posted yesterday. Manipulating photos is artistic too right? lol

And this....


Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays....

Is this what I see when I look outside today?

Unfortunately no. That is a picture that I took a couple of years ago during the heat of summer. All I can do is dream of color like that at this point in time. What I actually see today is this.....

Cloudy, wet, cold. It's been a very stormy day today, though unlike yesterday we didn't see any sleet or snow flurries. The rest of the week is due to be about the same - ten degrees below normal, chilly and wet. Certainly more like February than late April.

The weekend was a fight between major sleet storms and desperately wanting to get a load of bark dust unloaded. We bought the load on Saturday, but only managed to unload part of it between the downpours. And because it was too wet (and cold!) we didn't finish up until Sunday afternoon. What we've done looks nice - finished. Part of the load was added to a few of the raised flower beds on the north side of the house. The remaining beds are in need of some sprucing up, transplanting, replanting, before bark can be placed on them.

The rest of the laod was added to the island that we created last year. The island is a work in progress, but it, and the two or three others that we hope to design, will do a great deal to break up the yard visually and also alleviate some mowing. If there's one thing we need a whole lot less of here it's grass.

With five acres of property it's easy to become all consumed, to want to go in several directions at once. This year I'm desperately trying to stay focused. I want to do it right, and I want to accomplish some good things. I want the yard to be a place that we'll enjoy, but that will also add beauty and value to the property itself.

Focus, focus, focus....

After we came inside yesterday afternoon hubby made cheddar crackers. Homemade crackers are so good and relatively easy. Not to mention much less expensive than store bought. The crackers were cut out with a small flower cookie cutter that I bought a year ago with other intentions, but I have to say it makes for a cute cracker! lol


For dinner we had Rueben sandwiches with hubby's homemade rye bread, tomato soup, and the crackers....

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