Looking for Spring


On my daily walks with our dog, I saw some crocuses. Spring is just around the corner. So fun when all the color bursts out of the ground and from the trees! It made me want to do a loose, free painting.

I liked that one so much I did another!

I love just swinging the brush around!! Splash, swipe, sketch, sketch….voila!!

Illustrations for my book


I’ve been working on and off on this book for months. Maybe it’s been a year or more, I’ve lost track. In any case, I have the bulk of it done but can’t help but add and subtract pictures. My husband, desperately trying to learn In-design, cringes every time I want to make a change. I’m so sorry, really I am.

The book is an easy reader, for ages 7 to 9. Most of the time publishers don’t want illustrations for that age or if they do, drawings are simple. Since I haven’t found an agent or publisher, I’m doing this on my own and not paying attention to publishing guidelines (standard me behavior).

Here is the problem. I started with a picture like the one below. At first making a simple magnifying glass, then deciding I could make it a little more interesting. And so it goes…one picture after the other.

What that means is that, if nothing else I’m enjoying the process.

img_2712             img_2733

 

5 day – 5 Bl&Wh photos


I’ve been challenged (all my life). This time by a photo opportunity. It’s five days with one black and white photo a day. Day 1 and I had several choices I wanted to post but this one struck me. Shooting both inside and out (freezing out there) this is the one that felt like it created questions or had a story to go along with it.

P1020364

Rusting


Max was the consummate rust collector. For as long as I can remember my Uncle collected rusted objects from his island in Maine and brought some of  them to his stone courtyard in NYC. I’ve gotten the bug too, always looking down on city streets or in junk piles hoping to find the coolest rusted shape buried and thought of as trash. Thus the reason for some of my embroideries embellished with rusted bottle caps and other chunks of oxidized metal. Here is only one out of hundreds of pieces in the courtyard. Not only is the piece itself engaging but the rust running down the white makes for a complete story of texture, color and shape. I’ll post more one at a time….:

Coils Against Brick

Going With Purple


Couldn’t resit the purple denim for the background.

White Peacock

image size 8″x10″:

WhitePeacock

 Snow Day

Snow Day

Hearty Winter Soup – Mom’s Favorite


2 Leeks

1 Large Onion

1 Cup of Mung Beans (Dahl or split peas will work too)

1 Large sweet potato

1 large zucchini

4 scallions

1 Package of chicken sausage with herbs or with sun dried tomato

¼ Cabbage shredded, I had Bok Choy on hand that had to be used up and worked too

Olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy, large, stock pot

2 Tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon chicken base

2 Pints of water

Salt if needed

Ground Pepper before serving

a drop of Sherry or a dollop of sour cream a the end.

Cut leeks in half and wash under running water to get all the sand out. Trim bottom and cut thin moon shapes out of the whole thing including the green. Put in stock pot with olive oil add chopped onion and sauté until the onion caramelizes.

Add the four sausages also cut in half length wise and then into little moons. Sauté with the onions and leeks.

Add the chicken base and water

Peel and cut up the sweet potato and add that to stock pot along with the mung beans and cabbage.

cook until mung beans are soft and mushy. You can add water to this as needed to make it soupy or leave it thick and stew like.

15 minutes before you serve add the zucchini

Sea Living


At the edge of the ocean was life. Ya know, like everyday life, people and animals. It is where we live, what we see when we wake up in the morning, that kind of life. But we all, all of humanity lived right where the waves broke, right at the shore. Millions of people doing their thing, washing dishes, doing the laundry, writing checks and doing other business things that people do all the time. The waves would come and crash over us, our papers would float nearby, our dishes hovered just below the surface and we’d all brace ourselves for the under current. It keeps us from the shore, no one ever goes on dry land. The waves crash at us making us tumble onto stinging sand and scratchy pieces of coral and shell getting us close but never close enough to grab onto anything. Even if we got to the beach, I’m not sure we would know what to do with it. Stand up, Sit down? There was no information about it and we never saw onto the coast much beyond the highest tide. In any case, getting ashore didn’t seem to be anyone’s goal. Continue reading

Mascara Mercury Free


Did you know that most mascara has a ton of toxic chemicals in it, including mercury?! It does, except for the few companies that have signed with the campaign for safe cosmetics. If they sign, they make a pledge to keep it clean and green. That’s quite a pledge and commitment and I celebrate their undertaking and vow.

I have two favorite companies right now that have signed up with the campaign. Josie Moran, who makes great use of Argon oil in her lush creamy products. You can find her at Sophora. Jane Iredale is a little harder to find, sometimes at salons and sometimes in health food stores, but you can always go on-line.

Of the two I actually prefer Jane Iredale’s. Why, you might ask? Believe it or not it’s because of the packaging. Honestly. She puts her mascara in a little squeezy tube instead of a stiff hard tube. With a hard tube you have to scrape and bend the wand to get to the last bits and you never know how much is actually still left in container. By putting it in the soft tube, kind of like a mini toothpaste tube, it’s easy to squeeze out the last drops of mascara, using all the contents you paid for….genius!

Cabin In The Woods


There’s a place I go to live some times, way deep in the woods. It’s easy enough to get to when the weathers good, but when it snows, there’s no way in but on foot or one of those atvs. Can’t afford no fancy buggy like that, so I just take the short cut. It takes maybe an hour or two walking, depending on the weather and who’s about. I carry a gun for just those occasions, for the bob cats and bears. I never did kill anything, just scared them to death. They take off running in one direction soon as they hear the shot while I tear off  in the other. I wonder if their heart is thumpin’ as loud as mine. One time I tripped over a rock only to come face to face with a fox. I thought he’d bite my nose off but he just growled ‘till I was out’ a there. Once again my heart was pounding so loud and I didn’t even think about using the gun that time, guess all I wanted to do was disappear.

Every time I go out though, something happens, that’s why I keep going. I had to go by this skinny part of the path where the creek comes right up to a steep bluff. I’ve tried pulling logs and rocks over to build it up, but it don’t work for very long. The minute the creek floods just a little, every thing washes away and I got to start all over again. This one day, the snow was up to my chin, I swear it seemed like, and everything was white and frosty lookin’. The air smelled like ice and the sun was just streaming through branches casting long, blue shadows. That however was the problem. I had started out way too late to make this walk alone. I had my gun but still when it gets dark out there, it’s damn dark and it comes on quick.

I was just getting to the skinny part of the creek as the sun was inches from the horizon and realized something or someone was following me. They must’ve smelled my knapsack full of food. Sunset is when everybody’s tummy starts to rumble, ‘specially raccoons, and those kinds. They’re all looking for dinner and it was either me or what was in my sack. Even so I stopped solid and listened. My feet were freezing up, there in the snow but nothing else moved and I heard only some chickadees.

Then, there I saw it, jumpin’ right at me at full speed only the fool thing didn’t realize there was a creek between me and it. She flew through the air like a jet, landing on one of the twigs from the mess a stuff I kept building up to make the side of the creek wider. The log was a good thick one but the twig attached was thin, dry and about to crack.

Her little feet were a scrambling to get up on the log and the harder she fought the weaker the stick became. It threw down my knapsack and hat and climbed out on the log to snatch her up before she fell into the creek. Just as I neared she plopped right into that freezing ice cold water. She swam towards me hard and fast and it took me two steps into that same icy water to catch up to her. I never did see a little bobcat kit up close but no sooner did I pick her up did she sink her little claws into my sweater and snuggle up deep under my down jacket. Sloppy wet and with the sun going down fast, we climbed our way out of that creek and headed towards home fast as we could before we both froze. I watched my back the whole time lookin’ for ‘mama’ but never saw her. I named the little kit Jet and she and I have been together ever since. Wild as she is, she won’t leave my side and I have to tell ya, that was the fastest I ever made it up that mountain.

Another time, it was late fall and only an inch or two or maybe three of snow lie on the ground. My road was still drivable so my friend Dave came to pick me up. He was a crazy man that Dave was. We eventually were married but back then he was a long tall drink ‘a water, smart and crazy like a loon. We went out on that snowy night, driving into town just for the fun of it. Dave had an old station wagon that might’ve been for a family wagon once upon a time but he used it to haul firewood, furniture or anything people would pay to have brought from one place to another. This time the back was dead empty, and so were our pockets. We didn’t have a stitch ‘a money, not for a beer or not even a cup of coffee. It didn’t make no difference, we were off to see what trouble we’d get into.

Coming into town there’s a straightaway before the road takes a dip downhill into the village. It was just on that part of the road that crazy Dave jumped out of the car while it was still moving and he was the driver! I screamed bloody murder, which didn’t help a lick but got me out of my seat fast as can be. I slid over to the driver’s side and wanted with all my heart to just stomp on that brake, only that’d send me spinnin’ in a hundred circles. Instead, I shifted down to first gear and decided I wouldn’t stop at all until I got to the village square.

Sure enough a minute or two later there comes Dave runnin’ alongside the car hangin’ on to a piece of stove pipe. “Turn around!” he hollered. “I know somebody that wants one of these.”

Sitting on the side of the road was an old fashioned pot bellied stove with all the scrolly edges and everything. “How we gonna get that thing into the car?” My hands were on my hips and my foot was tappin’. I knew he’d figure something out; he was an inventor after all. He invented all kinds of things only then they’d show up on TV a month or two later before he was done drawing them down on paper. That didn’t stop him though, he kept on with his creations just like he was gonna do tonight. He’d figure a way to get that one ton thing in the car, no problem.

Darn if that stove wasn’t into the back of that wagon in under an hour. I knew just where we were headed with that thing too. It had to be to Doc’s house. He was a doctor of antiques and knew everything there was to know on the subject.

Dave  jumped into the driver’s seat already planning on how we  would spend the money Doc would give us for that old stove. Only we never did spend the money, ‘cause we never did see any of it. Doc said the stove wasn’t worth the work it would take to haul the thing around even if Dave did all the haulin’ work. It wasn’t a total loss though; in fact Doc fell in love with Dave that night. Not real love but admiration love and from then on that boy found antiques hidden in the darnedest places. He learned how to restore them, guess their worth and how to sell them. It was a new beginning for my friend and made a whole life time of adventures for us.

All I remember from that night, was the next morning. Jet and I were all snuggled in between the sheets, deep under the great patchwork quilt. The sun was pourin’ in the bedroom window, all warm and buttery, and the rich, thick smell of coffee was coming from our new pot belly.

The Bull In The Sky Blue Moo Moo


A bull was dressed in a sky blue moo-moo and came charging angrily around my family – we were having a picnic by the pool. When the people ran and scattered, he caught sight of the swimming pool and decided he just had to go in.

As the people trembled behind trees and hid under tables, he stepped in the cool water, gingerly at first, getting just one hoof wet at a time. It was a slow process for a beast and with each step he took it was completed by a low, throaty rumble. When he got up to his tummy he flopped the rest of the way in and sat at the bottom of the shallow end, his sky blue moo-moo floated around him so that he looked like the center of a tropical flower.

Swimming Bull

I wondered how long he could stay down there, it seemed way too long. When he did finally come up, he was a changed bull. A smile spread across his full face and joy twinkled in his eye.

The children among us came out from hiding and slowly approached him. He smiled and allowed them to pet him and feed him crackers. He loved the crackers, especially the peanut butter ones in the little cellophane packages. He ate delicately, nibbling each cracker and savoring the salty coating.

The pool party resumed, everyone came out from behind their hiding places and had a merry time. The bull got out of the pool refreshed, well fed, and ready to go on his way. One of the children straightened out the sky blue moo-moo and off the bull trotted, cool, happy and content.

The Decadent Breakfast


I rarely eat dinner, maybe a light snack but never a full meal. By morning I’m starving and go all out. This morning though, my normal huge bowl of fruit, yogurt, granola, toast, egg white, turkey bacon thing just wasn’t enough. Searching the fridge the only thing that popped into sight were raisin bagels. I

Bagel and Chocolate

Chocolate for breakfast

still had some coffee and thought this could be a kind of soft biscotti and proceeded to toast the bagel and then smear it with an organic no fat chocolate sauce made out of pears and cocoa. The toasty warmth of the bagel helped melt the chocolate to a shiny glaze and the result was heavenly. A touch of peanut butter and it would have reminded me of the old candy bar called Chunky. Do they still have those? YUM!

Tomorrow perhaps we will try agave, chocolate and peanut butter.

Non-toxic Perfume


I belong to a group called campaign for safe cosmetics.org. In it I’ve read about many disturbing ingredients that are apart of everyday items, like mascara and perfumes that are carcinogenic. Having had cancer twice already and not wanting to experience it again, I decided to embark on my own perfume making. I’ve also made a spray on deodorant that uses tea tree oil and sage and other antibacterial oils like spruce. The smells are fresh, antiseptic and most importantly they are non-toxic.

Here’s the recipe for a perfume that gets a lot of compliments. The variations on this are endless and I will try my hardest to keep a recipe book of the really successful ones.

This one smells like a mix between the desert and jungle flowers, so lets just call this one…Oasis.

One half eye dropper full of essential oils:

Blood Orange, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Amber

Blown Glass

Half an eye dropper full of  Patchouli (depending on how strong your patchouli is).

About 4 ounces of witch hazel and a few drops of glycerin.

Shake it up and spray it on. Let me know how it goes!

This is all experimental so vary the oils to match your personality. It’s gotten a lot of compliments and comments. Friends have offered Shalimar, Chanel and “What is it?”