Saturday, January 12, 2019

Putting thoughts and ideas on paper

In anticipation of a slower work schedule I ordered some art supplies so that I can try some new mediums to work in. It looks like there won't be much down time this winter (a good thing) but I can do some exploring in the evenings. The alcohol inks are something I have been thinking about for more than a year. Over the holidays I spent some time watching youtube instructional videos and they inspired me to take the plunge. Another site that I find inspiring is Cloth Paper Scissors. Lots of mixed media ideas there. I bought the gesso to re-purpose an art auction catalog into an art journal.

I am experimenting with coating the pages with a couple coats of gesso, covering them entirely, or applying it thin to others, letting some images show through, or leaving them un-coated. The pages are quite wrinkly when wet, but sort of smooth out as they dry. The gesso will give me a good surface to use a variety of mediums. 

It takes quite awhile for gesso to dry. I can only coat two pages a day... it might be 2020 before I am done!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Handmade Puzzle Cards

In the past I have written about sending handmade cards to my Dad, since he loves to get mail. Another thing he enjoys is making jigsaw puzzles. My sister and I try to keep him well stocked with puzzles. At 91 years old, they are a good activity to keep his brain active. Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about creating a card for him that is a simple puzzle. I finally figured out how to execute it!

I started by creating a simple drawing with permanent marker on a 4" x 6" sheet of photo paper. I have a lot of this paper that came with color ink for my old printer. I rarely print photos. I can get better quality ordering prints online, which are also relatively inexpensive. I thought this was a good use for it.

I also have a whole bunch of foam sheets that were donated to our local potters group, from a cosmetics company. We use them as packing materials but I thought they would make a good backing for my puzzle, since they are flat and lightweight. I glued the drawing to the foam and when it was dry I trimmed around it.

Next was cutting it into puzzle shapes. Scissor did not work well. A box knife was much easier. 

The next one I make will have more "locking" pieces. I have a few that just slide into place. I still consider it a success and the next one will be better. I am already planning out some Valentine puzzle cards to create. I think my great-niece would love one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Welcome to 2019

The holidays were a whirlwind of cooking and entertaining guests this year. Typically Jeff and I cook something special for the two of us on Christmas eve. This year we decided to make a Cantonese style roasted braised duck. Neither of us had ever cooked a duck before! It was rather time consuming and was quite tasty. There isn't a lot of meat on duck, so there wasn't much leftover. The braising left us with a really great sauce that we used in a veggie stir fry with tapioca noodles on another night. And then there is the tasty duck fat that we rendered and can use later for roasting veggies and other yummy things.

We typically spend Christmas day with Jeff's family. Everyone brings something but Jeff's sister cooks the main dish at her mother-in-laws house. Unfortunately, her husband was hospitalized after a serious accident and they were unable to make the trip to Ellerbe. At the last minute we shifted our plans and hosted Christmas dinner. I ran out to the store and bought a ham... I had four to pick from. All them huge! There were nine of us for dinner, and I must say, Jeff and I pulled of a pretty good last minute Christmas dinner. Even though everyone took some food home, we ate ham for a week. 

The last of the ham, along with the bone, went into the freezer for a pea soup later this winter. It was then time to think about New Years eve!

Our good friends from Greensboro always come and spend the night. Often we have a few other people stop in. This year I decided to cook Mexican, but didn't want it to be an "Old El Paso" style meal. I settled on making carnitas (easy peasy) and went to my go to site, "Pati's Mexican Table" for some new ideas. I settled on making sopas for the appetizer. They were easy to make and the roasted tomatillo salsita, that went with them, is awesome! I didn't get any photos of the sopas but you can see them, and the reipe, here:

I had all the fixin's for taco making, as well as beans and rice. Everyone ate well!
As per my usual, I spent New Years day lounging in my pajamas (after washing lots of dishes). I would now love to hibernate until Spring, but that's not going to happen.
I have piggy banks and mugs to make. It's back into the studio today.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!