Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last day of February

It may be the wee hours of the morning, but I can't call it a day just yet. An apple streusel coffee cake just came out of the oven (Oh... it smells so good!) and it needs to cool before I can cover it and put it away.

My brave taste-tester has pronounced it good enough to serve to his Sunday school class tomorrow, so my final task for this week is finished.

February is almost history. The one big project on my February to-do list is complete - yay! - so I'm ready to face March. (Anyone ever made a paper mache fish tail?)

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Step 1: Backgrounds

I am working on it.... I am!

OK, so I let pizza making take a day... and then, ummm, well, I do have to clean once in a while... But really, I have been working on this postcard challenge.

Naturally, the background has to come first. So, I have been splashing paints of all types, colors and consistencies on everything. Mmmmm, not so many good things have come of that. At which point a very wise woman said to me, Remember, it is background. It does not have to do anything but look pretty and enhance what you're going to layer on it.

With that in mind, I went back to the worktable yesterday. The results were a bit better.

I showed my dearly beloved the table full of color and he started pointing out his favorites. A couple of his choices were surprising...

All of this to say - who knows what is beautiful?

So - I keep in mind Who I do this for, and why I'm doing it.

...How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:15

Friday, February 19, 2010


Is there anything better than homemade pizza?

In this house that concept has evolved over many years. My kids used to inhale pan after pan of homemade pizza (white flour crust, mostly tomato paste sauce, and whatever cheese was in the house). It was my first attempt at making pizza from scratch and we all loved it.

Change #1 - I found a recipe for “any-grain crust.” This recipe quickly replaced the original white version. Pizza was now healthier (and tastier) than ever before.

Change #2 – In the midst of a bumper crop of tomatoes, I discovered a recipe for pizza sauce. It wasn’t a slap-dash thing like doctored tomato paste. There was an hour or so of chopping, measuring and simmering. It was worth every minute. “Yummo” does not begin to describe it.

Change #3 – I discovered asiago cheese. I really don’t need to say anything else. If you still eat pizza with mozzarella cheese – what’s the matter with you? You have not lived until you make your pizza with asiago. Occasionally, I mix asiago with other cheeses, but that would only be because a) we have company, or b) we don’t have enough asiago in the house. (Besides, asiago is such a fun word to say.)

Want to join me in pizza heaven? Here's the recipe for a whole grain crust.

Choose your grain pizza crust
1-1/2 to 2 cups white flour - divided
3/4 cup whole wheat, rye or oat flour (I like the WW best)
1/4 cup cornmeal or toasted wheat germ (ditto - cornmeal)
1 pkg yeast (1 generous tsp if you buy bulk)
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp cooking oil

In a mixer bowl combine 3/4 cup white flour, [whole wheat, rye or oat] flour and [cornmeal or wheat germ], yeast, and salt. Stir in water and oil.

Beat at low speed for 1/2 minute. Scrape the bowl and beat at high speed for 3 minutes. With a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining white flour as you can.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and Knead in enough remaining white flour to make a moderately stiff dough. (approx. 5 minutes)

Divide the dough in half. Cover and let dough rest for 10 minutes.

On lightly floured surface roll each dough half into a 13" circle (or whatever shape you want), transfer to greased pans. Pinch the edges to make a rim. Pierce all over with a fork. Bake in 425 degree oven for about 12 minutes. (At this point the crusts can be cooled, wrapped and frozen to use later. Thaw and continue recipe when ready to use.)

Top the crust with desired ingredients. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes. Makes 2 pizzas.

Although my dearly beloved would wish for meat of some kind, I'm content with adding some caramelized onions and a few chopped kalamata olives. Best pizza ever.

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content. I Timothy 6:7,8

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lists and reality

I had big plans for today.

1) Develop postcard designs
2) Prep canvas for image transfers for #1
3) Work on an article that is half finished
4) Prep photos for #3
5) Use completed #4 to perfect image transfer technique
6) Make an interesting dinner

The day is now almost over - 8 minutes left - and #'s 1,3,4, didn't happen. #'s 2 & 5 got off the ground... 2 is drying, 5 was a complete flop.

#6 - the interesting dinner... yes! Yes! It was, in fact, interesting. A new soup recipe with ham, dry lima beans, leeks, and kale. I used my pressure cooker so that I could encourage other family members with pressure cookers, "try this recipe!"

Ugh. Maybe it needs overnight hours to let the flavors develop. Maybe it will thicken as it stands. Maybe it's just a bad recipe.

However, there were four bright spots in this day. Things that were not on my list, completely random and unexpected. I will share one with you, because I'm sure it will make you smile too.

He got a new tie for church.

Tomorrow has another list of things... but I'm sure I'll pull this picture into the day for just a bit more pleasure.

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. Psalm 119:135

Friday, February 12, 2010

You, me and the deadline

I have a job for you. In about 4 weeks, ask me how the postcard challenge is going.

You're probably assuming that I'm getting involved in a chain letter, but I'm not. (I always break the chain. argh.) This is what's happening... there is an art gallery in a nearby city that is having a "Postcard Exhibit". The entries must be postcard size, 4"x6", so it's a small project. There are no stipulations regarding materials or style, no entry fee... just that size limit - 4"x6".

It was late last night... re-e-e-ally late last night... when I discovered this opportunity. I printed off the entry form and started dreaming about the possibilities. When my head finlly hit the pillow, bubbling with 4"x6" dreams, the sandman started pelting me with mud balls.

You won't do this. You say you will, but you won't.

What could you possibly do?

You? In an art gallery? What a funny person you are.

I've been listening to this all day. Although I'm tired of hearing it, I know it will be true unless I put some great pressure on myself. So, here I am, telling all of you this plan that I have. And you must - must! - hold me to it. Please?

I'm not sure what they will be doing, but in the next few weeks, these adorable little people are going to help me out. Who could resist them?

My deadline is March 27. Yours is March 12.

Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A winter get-away

My dear husband has been wistfully talking about a get-away.

Sounds wonderful to me.... just the two of us... warm sunshine... some luxury accommodations, perhaps?

He has brought this up many times over the past several months, so I'm sure he has something in mind.

Sure enough, he found the perfect destination three weeks ago. He took pictures and planned to surprise me at just the right moment - Valentine's Day? - but he couldn't keep it a secret any longer.

Aaaah... gourmet restaurants... amenities... did I mention warm?

Want to see the "brochure" photos of our (ccckkk-cccckkkk) dream get-away?

Oh, and those luxury ammenities?

Oh my... I almost forgot the nearby shopping!

Fortunately, he laughed when he showed me the pictures.

...he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Proverbs 15:15,16

Friday, February 5, 2010

Not just another stamp

I suppose that there are people who are creative and neat. It is not a concept that I am familiar with. In this location, papers, paints, ink pads, brushes, more paper, fibers, glues and tapes cover every open surface in my workroom.

Yesterday, it reached the point of organize-or-self-destruct, so I got busy trying to restore some order. I picked up a mystery stack of paper - as in, who put this here? - and discovered a paper covered with drawings...

...with one puffy little bird begging to be immortalized. Seeing an opportunity to create another stamp (a very addictive pastime, by the way), I pulled out my light box, copied the scribbly red bird, and applied the pencil tracing to a rubber block.

After the transfer was ready, and trying to remember leave the dark, remove the white, I started the process of cutting the shape into the buttery smooth rubber block.

There is something magical about watching the knife turn the smooth surface into a series of curvy valleys - from the first narrow outline cut to the broad, scoopy cuts in the open areas around the edges.

Then, the moment of truth. Will it stamp? Will it look like the original image? A first impression tells the story... and reveals high points that need to be removed.

Of course it's not "Old Master" art. It's deep-down personal... a cooperative effort with a yet-to-be-named-grandchild. Fine art indeed.

A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. Proverbs 17:8

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy day!

I find it hard to believe that today is birthday #2 for my blog. And yet, here it is... 730 days later. I'm still blah-blah-blogging and this "platform" remembers everything I say.

Everyone should have a friend like this.

So, good friend, here's to us, and to all that we hope to accomplish in this space.

Happy birthday!

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Psalm 119:130