My “Studio”, and the products thereof.

 

 

I have my own studio now. It’s strange how it came into being. Years ago, when my youngest sister turned 13, my dad looked at my mom and said “I had better build her a play house.”

You see, he always meant to build us kids a play house. Now that his baby was 13, he realized it was his last opportunity. So, he built a 12 x 12 room with a loft, a picture window (A discarded glass door turned on its side. Having a son in construction comes in handy now and again.) and a small deck off the front. My sister used it during the summer as a place of privacy to practice violin and study apologetic and calculus. I do not exaggerate. A year and a half ago, she got a job and moved states away, and the little house sat lone and lorn.

 

Until I moved in. It took a while, since I had to talk my mom into the idea of someone other than Sharyl using it. It’s hard for her, as a mother, to admit that the chances of Sharyl moving back home in a year or two are really quite slim, and that we shouldn’t just let this building rot while we wait. So, I got Sharyl’s O.K. and moved a good percentage of my art stuff in, and shoved most of her old toys and rock collection up in to the loft for safe keeping. I haven’t really had time to make it ‘my own’ by decorating or anything yet. It’s not much to look at, but it’s sooooo nice to have a place away from the distractions of the house where I can focus. When I work in my room, more time is spent on vacuuming the carpet and dealing with stacks of magazines and papers than actual work.

So anyway, here’s a wee little glimpse of my space… still cluttered with toys from my own childhood, in the process of being stored away.

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, this totally looks professional! 😉

About a week ago I finished this commissioned piece.

North Country Sugar-House. This sort of scene is such a part of my growing-up years, it made me happy to work on it. Even if it IS a winter scene.

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A touch of Color

 

Here in the valley where I live, we have yet to have a frost this fall. Last year it was similar, such beautiful warm weather well into October, and although I personally can’t complain about it, the trees never color up like we expect them to. Everything just turns drab yellow and brown. Every year that I can remember we’ve have flaming red and oranges, even purple, and the only brown is on the ground already dried up. It’s still early in the season, and we may yet get a nice stiff frost, but as this time you have to hunt for the color.

 

 

Virginia Creeper makes me smile… when it’s not in my garden or trying to strangle the life out of my trees.

Found some.

Of Egg Whites

 

Eggs in baking can sometimes be problematic. Angel food cake wants whites only, but you hate to waste the yolks. Occasionally, you may be cooking lemon curd or a custard that only wants the yolks. Many of us succumb to making too many baked products and puddings at once to use up everything and then have the delightful problem of too many sweets in the house. I haven’t found a solution for what to do when you have extra yolks, but with extra whites, I learned you can freeze them.

Line a drinking glass or jar with a freezer ziplock bag and crack the egg into it, capturing the yolk you need in the shell, of course.

Label with how many yolks there are and pop the bag into the freezer. To quickly thaw them, put the baggy in a bowl or very warm water, careful that it’s not so hot it will begin cooking them. They whip up perfectly into stiff peak, or whatever state you need them in. Several times I’ve found I had just the right number of whites in the freezer and didn’t have to crack any eggs or waste any yolks just to make waffles or my mom’s special tapioca pudding, etc.

 

Of Autumn Blooms

The nights are cool (and mosquito-free! Yay!) and the colors of my outdoor world are definitely changing. The leaves aren’t turning yet, but Autumn Joy sedum is no longer beautiful pale heads of broccoli, but a soft rose-pink. Aster, wild and cultivated, are everywhere, billowy and fragrant. And my Sweet Autumn Clematis, which has completely consumed the 12′ windmill in my garden is starting to pop the masses of tiny white stars open. It took a few years to get established, but it is now one of my favorite fall plants and I can’t imagine a flower garden without one!

This photo is not mine, I couldn’t find one on my computer and it’s too dark to take one now, so… yeah, I stole this picture. This one is growing in the same form as mine, it’s AMAZING. Just when the greens of summer become tired and everything starts to look dull and dying, the fresh, pure white beauty comes out to say hello. Along with the dusty pink sedum, pastel pink anemone and purple asters the yard perks up again.

 

Rosemary as an Ornimental Herb

I’ve tried several times to grow Rosemary in my herb garden. The problem is, in my climate, rosemary does much better in a clay pot so the roots are in warmer soil during the day, and my herb garden is far enough away from the house that I just don’t remember to water ANYTHING out there. So rosemary normally dies on me.

This year I decided to just mix it in with my other container plants. It is pretty, a nice textural contrast, and a great color contrast when combined with purple foliage. It’s right outside my patio door with my other highly needy containers and gets watered almost as regularly as everything else. Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant so it never needs to be soaking wet, either.

 

Another herb that I’m going to do even more with next year is Pistou basil. It’s teeny, adorable, and with the right amount of space and light, each plant forms a perfect little sphere, like an herbal topiary you didn’t have to work for.

This is several plants in one pot, so the shape is a little kooky. I did see perfectly round plants this spring in the greenhouse where I work. The flavor of this variety is wonderful, and since the leave are so tiny it’s a cinch to just strip them off and toss them into your salad or sauce or whatever you want, no chopping involved.

Let me sleep.

There’s this quote going around cyberspaces, especially etsy and pinterest, to be found on any number of home decor objects such as wall hangings, rugs, what have you.

I don’t know where this quote came from. I even googled it to see if anyone would claim it for their own. Whoever came up with it was obviously surrounded by women who were morning people. For myself, if I was to put this on my wall, it would need a significant alteration.

Let her sleep. For if you wake her, she will rip your head clean off.

I wish I could go back 10 years…

And tell myself this.

 

Those sleep-overs with friends in my early teens, when I tried trash-talking because the others were doing it and I thought they wanted me to be like them.

Those times when I tried to be the girl that boy might like, trying to get his attention. (pssst… it never worked.)

Sitting quietly at all those wedding receptions when I want so badly to get up and dance, simply because I know nobody expects it of me.

Just longing, longing to be part of things and spending hours on end trying to come up with ways to change myself so other people would like me better.

None of that works. No one is going to notice you, grab you by the arm and shout “You are SO MUCH like your sister, I LOVE it, let’s be friends!”,  or anything of the kind. If you are a quiet person, BE a quiet person. Just don’t be afraid to speak up when you have something to say. Don’t be afraid. If you are a bit of a nerd, BE A NERD. After people have a while to get used to you, they love nerds. And don’t freak out because it will take a while for it to happen! If you have quirks – and let’s admit it, we ALL think we are strange in our own ways, and because we all ARE none of us are as strange as we like to think – let those quirks shine. Those are what make you you. If friends don’t accept you with those quirks, chances are you really wouldn’t get along with them in the end anyway. So find some other weirdo (we abound) who grins when you blurt something completely off the wall, and live happily as yourself after.

Daddy-long-legs Dance and Caligraphy

Have you ever noticed Daddy-long-legs sitting in their webs, madly whirling in circles? I want to know what this means. I tried googling it and came up with nothing relevant. I did get to listen to a clip of a song by a group named after my jiggling friend, but it was definitely not my style of music.

In other news, today I am working on lesson #20 of my art class, which is lettering. I have always like calligraphy and at one time I was pretty comfortable with a pen, bottle of ink and Copperplate script which a beautiful 92-year-old lady who used to volunteer at out local library taught me years when I was roughly 10 years old. With it you can crate deliciousness such as this:

 

 

(And may I just say here that I’m very sad to hear how many schools no longer even bother to teach cursive writing? I have it on good authority that there was a day when everyone who went to school was expected to have ‘fine’ penmanship and slovenly writing was punishable by a wipping! I say we bring it back. *cough*)

However, this assignment of mine is quite different stuff, having to do with rulers and lines and comparative sizes and a great deal of accuracy.

“Every Feeling Revolts!”

I am so stinkin’ right-brained it isn’t funny. Consistency and perfectly straight lines make me cry. Or at least cause some degree of anxiety. I like swirls and roundness and free-style. I keep telling myself that I just need to get through this assignment, and then I get to move on to the next lesson, which is Composition. I’m pretty excited about that, it’s an area I definitely could use help in, and  it doesn’t demand harsh lines.