Thursday, April 29, 2010

Road Trip!!

I LOVE road trips!!!!
I could easily be a trucker, if it wasn't for the heavy lifting, and the fact that I'm lazy.
But the driving - ohhh, yeah!!

This time I'll be sharing the driving with my youngest son.
Actually, he'll probably do most of it, since he loves to drive too.
I'll just sit and take pictures - and eat! That's half the fun of a road trip, isn't it?
But first he's got my mile long "to-do" list, that he's working his way through!
(Thank you!!)

My feisty little buddy, Mel-Mel, will be going along for the ride.
I've never taken her with me before, so we'll see how she behaves.

We're driving from California aaaall the way to Georgia!
My husband and I gave our son my favorite van (ever!)
which I've had for 15 years and which never gave me a moment of grief!

I was SO sad that I had to part with her, but knowing she's going to a family member,
and that I'll have visitation rights, makes it a little easier. (A little!)

We'll be cranking up the music of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.
Especially Willie's "On The Road Again"! And anything by Merle!!
Oh! Merle's got a new CD out! "I Am What I Am"- and we love it!!
My youngest daughter and I had the privilege of meeting both of these entertainers.
What an exciting moment for a couple of huge fans!!

And no road trip is complete without the rockin' sound of Los Lobos!!

OK - I leave you now with the words of The Terminator -
"I'll be back". (In time for Mother's Day!)

Signing off for now,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mac, Bo Bo And The Sanitation Man

This is Mac, my family's pet.
He was a rescued dog - found on the freeway and publicized on TV!

He's a hyper little dog, and truth be told, kind of a pain in the neck!
My son-in-law has a much lower opinion of him, but we love him nonetheless.
(The dog too.)

Mac's favorite spot in the house is on his pillow, or beanbag, by a low window -
Where he sits and barks at anything that drives by, runs by, walks by,
or flies by.
(He has to be chained when someone comes to visit, or he'll lick them to death.)

If someone is in the kitchen, he's always under-foot!
Step right, he's there. Step left, he's there. Step back... well, you get the picture.
I can't count the times I've tripped over him and I can't repeat the words that have come out of my mouth.

Several years ago, one of my daughters gave him a doggie-toy for Christmas,
which she named "Bo Bo".
It's a puppet.
Which, now that I think about it, is kind of a weird item to make for a dog.
Or do some people actually put on puppet-shows for their dogs?!
If so, where are these people and please hide me from them.

Mac loves, loves, LOVES his Bo Bo!
Whenever a family member comes home, he grabs it with his teeth and runs to greet them!
For every "happy-Mac-moment" Bo Bo has been given a slobbery run around the house.
And no matter where he's sleeping, that toy is nearby.

My daughter's been buying that same doggie-toy for three or four years,
but suddenly, they're no longer being sold!
Every time either one of us goes into a store that sells dog-toys, we rummage through them, hoping to find another Bo Bo!
But, so far, no such luck.

I can almost hear him now -
"WHAT?! This is the last Bo Bo?!! I'm never looking at you again!!
I hate you!!
But you'll still feed me, right?"

The last time I went looking in a store, I came across "The Sanitation Man" dog-toy.
You know how some things "speak to you", or "call your name"?
Well, this guy "reached for me".

See! Not kidding.

I was so excited to give him to Mac, but he wanted nothing to do with it!
He gave him a sniff and walked away.
Hey, Mac?! Don't you bark at the sanitation guys when they wake you at six in the morning?!
Don't you want a piece of him?!
Maybe he would have liked a mailman instead.

What will happen when Bo Bo is down to a few fibers?! Doggie dental floss?

If anyone comes across this toy somewhere, would you please let me know?!!
Mac would sure be a happy mutt!

In case you're wondering what happened to "The Sanitation Man" -
He lives at MY house now!

I always did like a guy with a hairy chest. And he's always there with a hug!

In Loving Memory of Buddy -

And Nina.

We miss you and will love you forever.

Signing off for now,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Silk Painting - Going With The Flow

I love painting flowers!! This is a detail of a piece called "Blue Poppies".
I love vibrant colors!!

And brushes!!

And dyes!! And art supplies of all shapes and sizes!!

Two weeks ago, I took a few pictures of my neighbor's beautiful Tulips, wanting to use them as reference for a silk scarf I was going to paint.

When I tried to upload them to my computer, the camera's battery was dead!
After charging it and uploading the pictures, the printer wouldn't work!!

Trying not to lose it, I took a deep breath, went into my storage area and grabbed an armful of silk Tulips! (Going with the flow.)

Silk flowers come in handy, if you don't have the real-deal! Aren't they gorgeous?!

I was all set to go! I hand-washed the white silk and hung it to dry.

Then I attached it to the stretcher-bars.

I figured out my color scheme using my silk 'color-chart'.

I made a drawing of what I had in mind.

These were the colors I decided on.

Then I chose my dyes and...


After cleaning up the mess, I outlined the design with a water-soluble resist.

When it dried, I painted the flowers and leaves.

Later, when I painted the background, I realized that the resist was too thin and the colors bled. Seriously?!!

I had to outline the design with resist again, and when it was dry, paint over the areas that bled.
Then the scarf was rolled in steaming paper and placed in a steamer.

It steamed on the stove for three hours.
I usually have five or six scarves steaming at the same time, but I needed this one for this post. :)

After the steaming process, the scarf was hand-washed and rinsed until the water was clear, hung to dry and ironed. (The colors are then permanent.)

Since I'd decided to paint a pink background instead of the darker one, like in my drawing, the colors just didn't 'pop' enough for me.

I hung it back on the stretcher-bars and outlined the entire design in black, giving it a more graphic look.
Now it had to go back in the steamer for another three hours and be washed and ironed again!

And finally, on the third day -

It's finished! (Oh happy day!!)

Not wanting to waste the left-over dyes, I decided to paint a Poppy.
No muss! No fuss! Just for fun.

Why a Poppy?

Because, in that armful of Tulips, was this single, flattened-out, faded Poppy!
There was just something about it.

So, like before, I hand-washed, dried and attached the new scarf to the stretcher-bars.
But this time, I didn't do any of the sketching and thinking about it, I just dove right in.
(But I made sure to use a thicker resist!)

(I LOVE my studio!!)

Like the other scarf, this one went into the steamer for three hours, was hand-washed, ironed and...

Not one problem!! And I'm really happy with it.

Sometimes "going with the flow" doesn't suck!

Signing off for now,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nori Rolls And The Chopstick-Challenged.

Several weeks ago, I attended Chef Rod Rotondi's
"Fundamentals of Raw Food Preparation and Lifestyle Course".
The appetizers he created were absolutely delicious!
AND he taught us how to open a young coconut with a big ol' honkin' knife!

Knives freak me out! I'm sure my toes were curled under!
(Notice my left hand held tightly behind me, so as not to chop it off!)

And because I was such a wimp, Rod had to give me a helping-hand. I was still a little apprehensive,
as you can tell by my body-language and the look on my face.
(I mean, check out the size of that cleaver!)

I took that coconut home, gutted it (with a spoon) and threw some ingredients together
for a quick, chocolate and strawberry pudding kind-of-a-thing. Ohhh, yeahhh!

Here is the coconut flesh. I drank the coconut water in class.

Coconut, chocolate and strawberry pudding. What's not to love about THAT?
This was almost three servings! Raw food fills me up much more than the Standard American Diet. (S.A.D.) If this was a regular pudding, I'd be able to eat the entire thing -
and pay for it later with a migraine!!

The next day, I decided to make Rod's "Nori Rolls with Atlantis Pate".
I didn't have all of the ingredients, but was too lazy to go to the store.
I just used what I had on-hand (another great benefit of raw food recipes)
and they turned out super tasty and kind of cool looking.

Here are the ingredients I used. The actual recipe is in Rod's wonderful book:
"Raw Food For Real People".
Check out his blog for his awesome DVD series, course schedules, book,
restaurant-opening information, etc.

Here's the finished dish. Not bad for my first time, huh?

Come to Mama!!
I don't do chopsticks. I'm klutzy enough with a fork. (But they sure are pretty.)

The following day, I used that delicious left-over pate and veggies,
put them on top of a large lettuce leaf - and lunch was served!

I added a few more things to freshen it up a bit - and overloaded it!
(I don't mind a few brown spots on avocados, as long as they don't taste funky.)

I didn't even bother using the fork. I just smushed it together and ate it like a Taco.
(Better eaten in the privacy of your own home, than in public.
Kind of like the "Reuben" was, in my previous life.)

And now...

Say hello to my little friend -

This is Melanie.
She's going to teach me how to use chopsticks. (Or ridicule and taunt me!)
She may be little, but she's got a mouth on her!

(The 'real' Melanie is actually my best friend, but she doesn't live close-by.
Therefore, I'll be using her 'stand-in' from time-to-time.)

I WILL conquer the chopsticks!! (Maybe.)

Signing off for now,