Friday, May 31, 2013

Foodie- Focus on Life Week 22

“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.”
― Julia Child

Well, I don't have a lot to say about the Focus on Life prompt this week- foodie. I started this journey with the blackberries in my back yard, made my favorite tahini- oat cookies, took a little unplanned walk by a food pantry, found a foodie mural and even had a bit of pizza and pepperoncini.Want to see more fun food? Start at Sally's blog!

I don't have a real recipe for those cookies, but here's the list of ingredients. These cookies really remind me of halva. We used to make something very similar when I worked at a natural foods bakery. I always made these and ruggelah. You could tell who the baker of the day was by looking to see what was available! None of this- tahini-oat cookies on Mondays business, it was pretty well catch as catch can!  One day I will try these with 1/2 tahini and 1/2 almond butter. I can practically taste them already!
 Here's the list of ingredients for about 12-15 cookies: 
1/3 cup tahini 
1/2 cup honey, 
1 t. salt, 
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts or sunflower seeds
1 1/3 cups oats
Mix up the wet stuff, add the dry stuff.
Add an extra T. or so of tahini if it seems too dry.
Put on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees (or a little less) until the bottom gets a little bit brown 
( I didn't pay attention to how long- 12-18 minutes????)
Let cool. Put in the freezer for 5 minutes if they're stuck to the pan and they should come right off. Eat!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Reminisce- Focus on Life Week 21

Myself, my daughter's bowl,  my mother's eggs
 This week's prompt was a bit of a challenge for me- reminisce. This is something I don't do an awful lot, though I do think wistfully of other place I have lives and people I have known.

"Poetry should.... strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance."
~John Keats 

Prayer beads and wheel, my daughter's work
I am going to use some photos I actually took a few years ago. All of these pictures are of things that are imbued with memories- lots of little things my daughter made over the years, including a very large acorn that she painted and gave to my mother for her egg collection.
Right now, most of my old interesting stuff is in storage, and I couldn't think of anything to photograph that really made me think back. I have moved way too many times, and have gotten rid of a lot of things with memories attached to them. But there are a few that I just can't seem to shake! A couple of old beat up dolls are among those. They are in a box right now, wondering if they are going to stay with me or go off on a journey elsewhere.
Things from my mother, aunt and daughter

I've kissed them goodbye time and
again, and still they manage to hang on. So I did take one picture of them, lying on the top of the box which, now that I think about it, they will never actually end up in.

Want to see what others are reminiscing about? Start at Sally's Blog !

Craft Show Tent Advice

So today's story is about buying a tent. Well, it is not so much a story as some sage advice. For the last two weekends, I have listened to the same person ranting about the new tent she purchased. And then buying another tent and making exactly the same mistake! I wish I had photos of all of this to show y'all.

So here's the deal- if a tent says it's 10x10 feet, what does that mean? Well, as it turns out it can mean a couple of different things. You've GOT to read the fine print- the part where they tell you how large the shaded area is. You see, while the bottom of the tent may be 10x10, the top could very well be 8x8. What's that, you say- how can this be? It is the difference between a 'slant legged' and a 'straight legged' tent. So when you read the package, if it says it is 10x10 and it also says it has 64 feet of shade, it is a slant legged tent. Why would anyone want one of these, you ask? Well, because they are cheaper than the straight legged variety, which have 100 feet of shade. And, in case you're thinking- well, two feet isn't all that much, and I can save $40, remember you are actually losing 36 square feet- more than 1/3 of the area.

Got a small setup? The extra room is still nice because you can pull your stuff in to the middle for extra shade and to keep yourself out of a little rain. But these babies are NOT waterproof- they are shade canopies, that's all. They may keep a bit of light rain at bay, but in a rainstorm, they are only marginally useful. Better than nothing, but you are still going to want to have some extra covering for your tables.
Also remember to think of the color of the tent. Some shows only allow particular colors (white is popular), so be aware of that too. White is also nice because it doesn't affect the color of your goods.

And weights are very important! Wind can wreak havoc with a tent. Folks can get pretty inventive with tent weights- tubes filled with sand, concrete weights and bottles full of water are all popular, or you can purchase weights.

Hmmm... what else? Well I never leave my product at an outdoor show, but folks who do often lower their tents overnight- better for both wind and unwanted browsers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Looking Up! Focus on Life Week 20

My backyard
Well it's time to look skyward! I really wanted to see a hot air balloon, or get a shot of one of the multitudes of helicopters that fly over my house, or maybe just some of those mammatus clouds we saw a couple of weeks ago. And then I thought perhaps there would be some animal shaped clouds flying over. I did see a lot of birds, for sure! We spend a lot of time looking down and around. Looking up was a bit of fun!

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

Ghost plane

A very vocal starling

A gingko tree- so lovely!
See what everyone else was looking up at here!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chrysalis Lampwork Bead Pendants

Oh my, sometimes I just get into something, whether it makes sense or not! Right now it's what I call 'chrysalis' beads. I'm going to say that these are representational beads. They are not meant to be perfect reproductions of any type of chrysalis, but rather the idea of a chrysalis. I don't like to attribute any special meanings or powers to my work. I'll leave that up to you!.

So here goes- what are these beads all about? Well, the first one was really an accident. I made this wild bead and decided it looked pretty cocoon-y. Months later I decided to try something like it again. And then there was a competition I wanted to enter that I decided would be perfect for a chrysalis of some kind.

I worked on a lot of different styles- some of them actually pretty accurate, and finally settled on the style of the red one on the left as being what I wanted. Of course I was not chosen, but I had a lot of fun working on these.

There is something about these pendants that really appeals to me. I have kind of a mental list of attributes that I like to include- twirly bits, raised bumps here and there, a bit of wing on one side to give an idea of what's inside, lines around one end, raked colors. All of these things are to give that bumpy, odd chrysalis idea and a feeling that there is something just about ready to burst forth.

I know not everyone will 'get' these, but I have been really happy with feedback I've gotten from folks. When people purchase them for family members who are going through a period of renewal, I am truly honored. So here is a pile of my most recent chrysalis beads...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hope- Focus on Life Week 19

Lord save us all from... a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.  ~Mark Twain

Well, I am very late to the game this week- I hope not too late! I've been thinking about hope this week thanks to Sally's prompt. Seems like I'm always hoping for something as folks everywhere are all the time. I'm going to show y'all a bottle tree this week- a kind of hopeful symbol in this neck of the woods.They are meant to trap evil spirits- and the moaning sound they can make in the wind is those trapped spirits. Why do I call this a hopeful symbol? Well, I think it's pretty hopeful to believe you can capture bad spirits, thereby making your life better and happier!

People are always coming up with creative ideas to make their lives more hopeful- amulets, talismans, dreamcatchers, all the little things we like to use to give us a feeling that we can make the world around us a wee bit better! So cross your fingers and let's get this game we call life rolling!
See more signs of hope at Sally's Blog.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Abstract Photos- Focus on Life Week 18

'You like it, that's all, whether it's a landscape or abstract. You like it. It hits you. You don't have to read it. The work of art-sculpture or painting-forces your eye.Clement Greenberg 

 Sally's prompt for the focus on life challenge this week is Abstract! Woohoo! I had no clue when I read that word what I would be doing. Sally had some suggestions and told us about making a light trail in our photos. Fun stuff, so that is the first thing I tried. But then she suggested that we distort our photos for more abstract designs- I think I could play around in photoshop all day trying out different things!. So this first photo is a distorted light trail taken right off my front porch.

But my own epiphany came when I took my camera out on my weekly Focus on Life Walk- I took a LOT of pictures, and when I was almost home I stopped to shoot into the window of the local bike shop. Ummm... have you ever tried to shoot a picture through a window? Well, there is a little something called a reflection. The window is right on a busy street, so there were cars going by and folks walking by too. These pictures seem pretty abstract to me! Even though I know what these are photos of, I have a hard time figuring them out. Yes, it's been photoshopped...

The local hair salon was even cooler! 

Another abstract trick?  Simply laying a photo on its side can do wonders to make it all quite confusing! Start here for more abstract fun.