Tuesday, November 4, 2008

6:45 a.m. in Pennsylvania

The above was the scene this morning at the poll lines outside our township building (bottom: before polling began). I was so struck by the turnout I'm making this is is my obligatory election-related post. I hadn't intended to post anything, but I'm feeling especially eager to start moving forward with... the change we need. Regardless of views, the theme of the day seems to be hope as people eagerly stand in line for hours to cast their ballots. All there is to do now is wait. Nevertheless, I will be attached to some form of the news until the last vote is counted. Wow, what a truly remarkable day in history.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I've Been Schmapped!!

Washington Park, Denver, CO

If you happen to find yourself browsing the Denver, CO section of Schmap!!, you may come across the above picture listed in Denver's Neighborhood Guide under Washington Park (picture #6). The good people at Schmap!! found the obscure photo taken in August 2007 on my flickr site. Thanks Schmap!! I'm honored to be invited to participate.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back to basics... from the inside out

One egg fried with fresh heirloom green and yellow tomato, fresh shelled baby limas, rolled oats with butter, salt, pepper, milk, and walnuts

Mostly antique cobalt bottles with morning glories

Getting chilly

Light casting through knots in the fake/temporary door, reflecting an upside-down image of outside. Cool!

I realized I haven't "made" lunch in a couple of weeks. When I'm so busy I have to rely on things that aren't going to reward me with the stamina I need to keep going or the peace and creativity that comes along with putting together even the simplest ingredients, I'm not taking care good of myself. Then I took a look at the house, my life, my relationships. True, things from this point forward are going to be filled with that "one more thing," forever and always, but I'd rather enjoy life than be forever playing catch up. It may be time to inventory what's going on and perhaps what needs to be put on hold. This weekend I worked on some house projects, cleaned and organized, listened to some good music, called and emailed some friends and family, and made lunch. I also took some extra moments to take in my surroundings. I feel much better.

So Long Summertime... Welcome Fall!

So many things are going on around here. I'm currently walking the tight-rope of life... as so many of us are. What else is new? I had hoped to post so much more about the latest happenings, so perhaps I can attempt to sum it up in a couple of posts. Things around Red Barn Farm have been running their ever-inevitable course...

Apples are drop, drop, dropping and have started to release their sweet/sour aroma into the air. I revel in the sound of them hitting the ground and the scent really isn't bad; after all it's smorgasbord for the bugs.

Concord grapes are here and nearly gone. They are so sweet and yummy right now. The tomatoes and peppers are hanging on, as are the herbs, but the squash and zucchini have officially bit the dust!

We've thrown ourselves into the digital age! What they don't tell you is how complicated the antenna is... the best reception we've gotten with our digital converter box is with the indoor loop from an old black and white television hanging off the pyracantha bush outside the family room. Apparently it's a known problem that they don't work as well with roof antennas. Go figure. The outcome: FOX still has the best reception (I could do without), we gained a couple of networks and the weather channel, but lost PBS. Overall, a turn for the worse. Good thing there's no time for watching TV.

Post-worthy on its own, meet my new-sed Hoosier cabinet! I know, I know! Like I need another project. Well, this is from some wonderful friends/neighbors who decided they didn't have a use for it. It's got all the original details including the flour sifter, egg timer, and enamel counter top. The plan is to use it as an organizer for my art/craft supplies. There are so many great storage options for this guy! I can't wait to paint it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Giant Puffballs!

As a response to Annie of Imogene's post (her photo above) about this little known autumnal mystery giganto-fungus, I report that I have limited "field" experience due to our giant puffballs (Calvatia gigantea) meeting their untimely demise in a freak lawnmower accident. I did come across another few on a camping trip with a bunch of seventh graders last week, and thought they would play an ideal role in a s'mores related prank, but sadly, I wimped out. Nevertheless, I will be plucking the next giant puffball I see (that has not gone to spore yet) for some serious research... dinner! Whether this year or next, I will report my findings.

Annie, it looks like someone's been nibbling your puffball!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Love

So it seems I'm a cat person after all. I am completely and utterly in love with Master P., our cat. I know it's not exactly fun hearing about other people's pets (like watching someone else's family vacation slide show or hearing about someones dreams; more about the telling than the hearing), but humor me for one sec while I break some blogging "rules"...

Master P. (a story for another time) responds mostly to the name "Peezer". If you have not already had the pleasure of meeting this cat, you absolutely must! He's a cat for the people. Really more of a dog than a feline, this little guy is all about whatever is going on at any given moment and placing himself in the middle in order to get some rubs.

He lives outside most the time, except to sneak in to curl up on a bed or my lap. He comes galloping (the greatest run) when I call him, follows us around the yard, greets me when I come home (and sends me off in the morning), lets Toonces (our other cat) steel his treats without an extra flick of his tail, and introduces himself to everyone, including the chimney sweep.

I'd like to think that he's got a special place in his heart for me (because I most certainly do for him), but I think he simply has no prejudices. He's one cool cat. So much so that I endure the pain of his nails when he tucks his little nose under my arm and kneads himself to slumber.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Despite Me...

The apples and pears in our orchard are thriving and I've discovered I've made no plans for them! We've got (I think): Golden Delicious (gone), Granny Smith (nearly gone), and Jonathan(?) apples, in addition to Bosc and Sickle pears in abundance. The Bosc pears are the best I've ever had and all are available to anyone willing to make the trip!

Also flourishing are the cherry hot peppers and various tomatoes in the garden: Brandywine Heirlooms, Orange Mr. Stripey Heirlooms, Yellow Cherries, and Pumpkin tomatoes. I haven't felt much like cooking them so I've been existing on a diet heavy in tomato sandwiches, tomato-cucumber salad, tomato-basil salad, sliced tomatoes with salt & pepper, and most importantly, tomatoes right off the vine and into my mouth! Oh yeah, and omelets with tomato, basil, and sheep Romano. Mmmm.

NEEDED: great tomato recipes! Anyone?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Peacock Girl & All Her Plumage

I know, the male peacock's are the pretty one's, but lets just pretend...

I recently worked on a necklace for a very kind, thoughtful, talented, beautiful girl named Maria. As seen in the preceding pictures, Maria is also a belly dancer. Her guy did a very sweet thing and commissioned a jeweler to create a necklace for her birthday. I was very proud to be the selected jeweler and took the challenge on of designing and fabricating a piece of jewelry that would be well suited for Maria. The requirements were that it be India inspired, formal for use with costumes, easy to wear while dancing, have movement, a bold centerpiece, and some color. The following was my interpretation...

I hope to get a better photo soon, perhaps even one with Maria. It's always fun making something for someone I know. The process of designing and fabricating with a specific person in mind is a delight.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Folk Fest Highlights

This past weekend at the Philadelphia Folk Fest was amazing! For those of you who don't know or remember, I started my little side job as a camera operator last year, which has enabled me to dabble in TV production (note: lightly dabbling side job) when the opportunity has presented itself over the past year. This has consisted of college sports shows, corporate meetings, a commercial, a live parade, etc. It all may seem a little random as compared to my interest in jewelry and metalsmithing, but I've accepted that life is more fun with many balls up in the air (more about other balls later)! Truly though, this work is yet one more outlet to be creative and frankly, it's a bit of a rush! So back to the Folk Fest for 2008 we went to spend some time with an amazing crew surrounded by great music. Below are some of my highlights...

The TV truck in the backstage area with one of the big screens

View of the main stage from the truck at night

In the truck, my first go at being a Technical Director

In the truck, shading the cameras

Doing handheld camera on stage (I Heart Gene Shay!)

Arms getting all wiggly!

Some musical highlights (some new, some old) from Folk Fest 2008:
I could do a post on the music alone, but in lieu of not having more posting time, check out the links! These people are GRRR-ATE! I can't wait until 2009!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Process

I'm working on a really fun commission, but it's a secret so here are a couple of nondescript pics from the bench to confuse the recipient. What could the second one be??

Did you see the meteor shower early this morning? Very cool!

I'm off to the Philadelphia Folk Festival later this week for more fun and I can't wait! Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Out of Necessity

Where I find myself...
When I really need and want to be here...
And here...
Where did this summer go?!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Blogging Gem...

For those of you who also get perturbed by the misuse of punctuation, especially quotes (and even worse, "air quotes," to which I have been ashamedly guilty of), here's a little gem for you... The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks has been "misinterpreting bad punctuation since 2005." On a side note, it also seems I need to update my color scheme on this little ol' blog here. Anyhow, one good laugh after the last, I found it after linking from Juliet's "Cake Wrecks" post, which is yet one more tasty tidbit. One tip though, if you visit Cake Wrecks, overt your eyes at the foot cake post. Not good.

Editors Note: Although I get perturbed by bad punctuation, this doesn't mean I'm not "guilty" of it. :P

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Anniversary Ring Commission

I've been working on this little anniversary ring (size 5.5!) that was a joint design effort between a husband and myself; he provided the inspiration and I came up with this design. He wanted to combine his country of origin - Latvia - and hers - Greece - into a ring to be presented on their fifth anniversary. The husband wanted to include amber, a resource of Latvia and a blue stone to represent Greece's blue and white flag. I selected aquamarine to compliment the translucency of the amber and then decided smaller faceted stones would add some visual interest, but with similar settings so the design was cohesive. Several sketches were sent to the husband, most featuring a fluid wave shape inspired by Greece's most ample resource, the sea. I was delighted when he selected my favorite design! So off to the drawing board I went to create a rendering that would insure neither of us would be surprised with the end product. Finally, I was hard at work in the studio for the fun part, which presented no complications except for a couple slight adjustments due to the non-symmetrical nature of the ring. Overall, I think the inspiration and feel of the original design were achieved. I really enjoyed this project, especially being presented with a challenge that needed a solution that met certain criteria... like being back in school! The collaboration was great too. I love seeing the results of what comes from combining minds. I look forward to more projects like this.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Broken Plate @ Crafty Bastard's in Silver Spring, MD this Saturday!

Crafty Bastard's Arts & Crafts Fair is this Saturday and I'll be there standing in for the illustrious Juliet of The Broken Plate Company at Booth #47. Check it out:

Saturday, June 28 from 10am-5pm
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center

This weekend will be sure to please with many great crafters including some other notable Towson jewelry ladies: Imogene, Liz Mathews, and Beth Pohlman. Stop by, say hi, and cross your fingers for no rain!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Red Barn Vineyard??

Photos by Maria & Boris

As the seasons pass, I'm slowly discovering all the secrets Red Barn Farm, our home, has to reveal. Last year I was delighted to discover our grape arbor amidst a massive pile of weeds. I cleared everything out leaving the vines exposed where I had found them and was able to salvage a few bowls of concord grapes before the end of the season. Nevertheless, other projects prevailed and the weeds were back with vengeance this year. I readily accepted my denial of the mess due to more immediate chores until this weekend when we were very fortunate to have our friends Maria and Boris up to help tackle the task of properly setting up the grape arbor, sans weeds. Right now the vines are recovering from a major overhaul and look a little frumpy, but I know we'll see the improvement in grape yield for seasons to come. This land is truly ripe with inspiration.

We also discovered some wild blackberries and mulberries today. I'm very excited about the blackberries and couldn't resist staining my fingers and snacking on them right off the vine, but haven't the foggiest idea what to do with the mulberries... they taste like cotton balls!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Darn Good.

Today was beautiful:

  • Just the right combination of sunny and breezy,
  • The first ripe blueberries straight off the bush are here (I'm working on turning into Violet Beauregarde),
  • Great music all day,
  • And I got paid to smell flowers... literally.
The smelling flowers thing isn't a regular gig and I got a little sneezy at points (and stung by two wasps!), but it was well worth it. To be honest, I've felt a little frustration over not being able to get everything done recently (or ever!), but a day like today makes all the difference. I'm a truly lucky girl; doing exactly what I want to be doing, surrounded by great people, living the life I want to live. Who could ask for anything more? Wait... I can!! I need my order to arrive from Albuquerque!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Salad of the Week: Garlic Scapes with Apple, Artichoke, and Sheep Brebis

Today's lunch turned into a blog-caliber treat. I started with garlic scapes, an ingredient whose name and appearance I felt was worth my bewilderment, but once I cooked up and tried these tasty tendrils, the rest came together...

Bed of red and green baby lettuce topped with:
Garlic scapes sauteed in extra virgin olive oil
Marinated and quartered artichoke hearts
Chopped Pink Lady apples
Chopped walnuts
Sheep brebis crumbles from Highland Farm
Julienned purple and yellow sage from the garden
A drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar

This was my first time preparing and eating garlic scapes. I followed the recommended cooking method of sauteing in olive oil and checking for done-ness and found them to have a delicate garlic flavor that was very complimentary to the other ingredients. The texture was nice, not unlike thin asparagus spears, but I found the tips a bit tough so I will be cutting them off before cooking next time. Overall, this salad was wonderful and filling (Elaine Benes would be proud); a great success!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

To all the great dad's out there... especially mine!

Some of what I learned from my dad:
  1. While a guest at someone's house, always offer to help in the kitchen
  2. Never take life too seriously (regardless of age)
  3. It's all about teamwork
  4. How to draw
  5. To lie is one of the worst things
  6. How to plant flowers, scramble eggs, and swim
  7. Straight men can decorate
  8. Anything can be achieved with enough hard work
  9. Family is #1
  10. Don't forget to say, "I love you."

Thanks for everything Dad, I love you.