Earlier today I scanned an iris I’d sketched a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize the paper wasn’t perfectly flat until the first scan showed slight variations of light and shadow. The effect was unexpected and interesting. I re-scanned the sketch, using books to flatten the paper.
I titled the sketch “Abriendo,” which is Spanish for Opening, which seems fitting for spring. Soon, the sun will warm the earth and bright green shoots and buds will begin to emerge…
Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. ~ Picasso
It’s been too long since I wrote and doodled in my little leather, string-bound journal. It’s been so long that I forgot I had it until I came across it the other day while looking for a book in our office. Inside were hastily-written words and quick doodle-sketches…
Aug. 23, 2009
3:15 pm -> 9,000 ft. altitude
Sitting here by the stream…butterflies fluttering on the yellow wildflowers to the left…gentle breeze and the sound of the stream running over the rocks…intense pine scent on the air…coffee sipped in the late summer sunlight…a perfect Sunday afternoon. / The stream bottom glitters and shimmers with golden flecks of mica and fool’s gold in the sand…I’m the only one out here this afternoon!
Aug. 28, 2009
6:45 am -> patio
Walked out into the field and watched the sun rise over the eastern plains…clear sky saturated with the dawn. Songbirds and hummingbirds singing and chirping, golden light filling the patio, the flowers glowing in the fleeting moments between dark + light; precious minutes of magic. / Last night, while the adult hummingbirds fed at the feeder, tiny baby hummingbirds whirred and sipped at the petunias. I’ve never seen such tiny hummingbirds before… / The still morning air is flooding with light, warmth and wind. The coffee’s ready and the toast just about to pop up. The world out West is waking up.
I need to keep this little journal and an ink pen with me more often…
What better way to brighten up a mid-winter’s weekend than with homemade chicken and rice soup? Add a bit of sunshine — lemon — and you’ve taken a classic comfort food to cheery heights.
A couple of years ago, we cradled two steaming cups of avgolemeno at a local Greek restaurant. The server said some of the restaurant’s regular customers come in solely for avgolemeno: homemade chicken soup with lemon and egg* sauce. (The sauce is stirred into the soup — the eggs dissolve completely.)
The restaurant used orzo in their avgolemeno. Using Cat Cora’s recipe, I used arborio rice instead of orzo. I broiled thin lemon slices for garnish, but next time, I’m going to try grilling the lemon slices because under the broiler, the slices tended to dissolve. Though I didn’t end up with more than a couple of salvageable slices, the kitchen smelled delightfully sunshine-y.
Wishing you a warm and cozy winter’s night!
* For those who don’t eat eggs, you can substitute cream cheese, cooked potatoes or white beans as thickening agents. Simply put the egg/thickening alternative in the blender with 2 cups of broth and blend until smooth. Once smooth, pour into the soup and stir to blend. (Cream cheese is an especially nice substitute if you plan to freeze the soup in batches; it retains its creaminess beautifully.)
We like to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve at home where we stay warm as snow falls over the town. This year, I made a not-very-sweet Italian cake with dry red wine and finely grated dark chocolate from the January/February 2013 issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine.
I topped it off with fresh whipped cream and toasted almonds. I shared a piece with our neighbor who responded with a bottle of red wine from his family’s vineyard. I can’t think of a better way to ring in 2013 than with good friends, good wine and good food.
Wishing you a Happy New Year infused with your heart’s desire throughout 2013!
Imagine what it’s like to stir the liquid center of the sun and you’re pretty close to what it’s like to dip a steel rod into a crucible filled with glass bubbling at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (over 1,000 degrees Celsius). Molten glass is surprisingly heavy. Here’s a video of gathering molten glass.
Our first project was to make a paperweight. Molten glass has the consistency of honey. Making an even sphere was more difficult than I’d anticipated. I chose to use swirls of oranges.
Now that our class of three showed we could roll and shape glass into a solid form, we were allowed to try glass-blowing. If you’ve ever made balloon animals, you know how difficult it is to blow up long, thin balloons. Now imagine those balloons are at the end of a steel rod and they’re hot enough to set your clothes on fire if they touch your clothes. I made this deep pink vase. (There is real gold in pink glass.)
Several steps later, you use wet newspaper in one hand to shape the fiery glass’s sides smooth while turning the steel rod with your other hand. You then use a wet dowel to shape the inside. When you insert the dowel into the piece to smooth the insides, you can watch the flames and sparks fly.
I found the molten glass mesmerizing and nearly forgot about the heat. I’m glad I took the class!