Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Magnetic North

Last week my parents celebrated an anniversary.  It's always fun – not only is it nice to commemorate the beginning of our nuclear family, but it is also an occasion to honor the two people who have so faithfully served as "magnetic north" on the compass that is my life.

In our little clan food is love.
And so we eat. Mangia!

Pork, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest.

Ready, set... should have ironed the table cloth.

Black forest ham and Havarti crepes

The not-nearly as good as Noni's pork roast

Pecan sandwich cookies

The Menu:
Pimm's Cup cocktails
Classic deviled eggs*
Ham and cheese crepes**

Mixed greens with roasted beets and blue cheese*

Pork roast
White lasagna with mushrooms and proscuitto*
Sauted summer squash

Pecan cookies***

Recipes from *Good food to share; **Adapted from the Silver Spoon and *** The Sweet Life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Various levels of un-success"

The title of this post is a quote written by my new and amazing friend Kate.  She coined this term in an email a few weeks ago and I thought it was so fitting and clever, that I jotted it down in hopes to have a chance to use it. (She's brilliant, and she's online too.  You should see for yourself... here.)  August has been - and will likely continue to be - yielding various levels of un-success on the creative front.  It's good, these interruptions, in the sense that we had/have planned weekend visits to see family, house guests and work travel; but it's putting a serious dent in my ability to  generate good blog fodder.

My smaller and less creative victory of late included making it home from the East cost after two cancelled flights, one additional, unplanned night away, and three failed attempts at catching standby flights.  (Nothing makes home more appealing than a total inability to get back to it.)  My long awaited flight landed me at home a mere 45 minutes before the house guests arrived.  So the normal tidying and cleaning went on in parallel to their first couple days in residence. Thankfully my better half did all the essential stuff...

I did manage to finish two books while I was on the road.  (These were our book club picks for this month and last.)  The first was the "Tiger's Wife".  It was different but good; I found it to be thought provoking.  It was an interesting look at how community history morphs into epic lore over the passage of years and generations. I recommend it. The second book called "Look Again" was also good, but more in a quick and satisfying mystery-mind-candy kind of way.  It was the perfect fast paced read for trying to kill those slow minutes between my standby times.

Since I've been home, I've been working on turning that swatch idea into the first pass at the prototype for that child's sweater.  More Quince and Co. Chicadee in Lupine... isn't it lovely? It's working, I think... and I'm loving the charting... (sharp pencils and graph paper what could be better?)

Prototype in "Lupine"

So in the next week or two I hope to share with you more knitting, and maybe week four of Pages and Paint.  I haven't totally dropped the ball on that, but it's been abandoned momentarily.  More soon...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Swatching with Quince & Co.

I spent a night house sitting for my parents a few weekends ago and entertained the idea of lugging all my Pages and Paint workshop materials up and then thought better of it.  I decided instead to start a swatch for a child's knit sweater.

I had a hank of Quince and Co. Chickadee on hand and started working up my swatch and re-remembered how much I absolutely love this yarn.  This color way is called "Honey" and it reminds me of the color of the duck cloth jackets that are the perennial favorite of farmers and ranchers and the like.  The yarn itself is very consistent; good twist, good color consistency, great wear.  And it is really affordable.

Quince and Co. Chicadee in "Honey" swatch

Also if you are inspired by the opportunities to shop "locally" or help the businesses that are attempting to re-invigorate in the American fiber/textile industry, you need to go and read about Quince & Co.  They operate a mill in New England and are careful about their fiber sources and generate a fantastic product at a very reasonable price.  I've had nothing but positive experiences.

This little garment has yet to pass the gamut that is the transition from concept to viable thing.  But in my mind it will become a little half cabled bodice with a peplum of ribbing either a cardigan or pull over... haven't worked out those details yet.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pages and Paint – Week Three

Week Three of Pages and Paint was a total blur.  I had another business trip smack in the middle of the week, and I couldn't seem to get my act together before or after that.  So I did cram in a little time over the weekend and came up with one sort of cutesy tiny canvas.  This is it (no drumroll necessary); this baby is a mere 4- by 4-inches in size.  I'm thinking that it might make a good wall hanging in the doll house that the Small Fry is going to inherit.  (She hasn't actually inherited it yet, because I'm not sure she wouldn't just dismantle it entirely... so we're waiting on that one.)
Buttons - Tiny Buttons

The fun thing is that I started with the paint and after it dried I was planning to add some of the details in pen.  My mind saw three moons.  And I was headed off in a direction totally different than what you see above.  But my girl took one look and said "Buttons".  And so we went with it.

I think she was right.  All these round shapes are buttons.  Shirt buttons, yellow buttons, and tiny blue baby buttons.  What a fun surprise.

The other exercise we did was a Two-Minute-Prompt game.  Sarah designed it to help launch us into the painting territory.  It was a little painful, but a success in the sense that I am now a little more comfortable with the acrylic paints.

Sarah had sent to us about a dozen prompts or directions and we were asked to start with a fresh board and a palette of color and a timer.  Then at each two minute mark we had to draw a new prompt and follow the directions.  The prompts were things like "paint with white paint", "use a stencil", "add a collage element" or "paint with your eyes closed".  It was a little hard for me to loosen up and just go with the flow and I found out that two minutes isn't a whole lot of time.

This is what I came up with. It's messy and devoid of a theme or any compelling composition, but it was a fun exercise and was a good way to relieve some of the angst that comes with using new media.

Painting prompts game

So, we're currently in Week Four and I'm desperately trying to generate something nice that looks finished before this workshop comes to a close. So stay tuned for more acrylic experimentation and hopefully some new knitting.