Sunday, April 28, 2013

Melancholy Sundays

On Sundays, I want to give everything up for love. I want it all dyed red. I want the paint to peel, the floorboards to buckle.  I want to burn it down.

I want the crown of thorns.  I want dresses made of scraps of silk and lace.  I want everything whole and torn apart all at once.

How do we get through these Sundays, brightness shining on this clear, sensational imperfection?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Art Paralysis

I had some trouble figuring out what to do in my last studio session.  I got out a bunch of materials and made a big mess.

Although they made pretty pictures, these ideas just weren't working for me in the moment.  I confess: I despaired.  Some days I encounter a kind of creative block I call Art Paralysis.  It happens when I have too many images in my head.  I get all of these expectations and of course, everything falls short.

In this instance, I think I was making it all too complicated.  Time to simplify.

This piece is going to be a pillow, eventually.

I'm pretty happy with it so far.  I need to do a little more stitching over the layered portions to make them nice and solid.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Scenes from Sick Days

Ellis has a cold and has been home from school for two days.  I think everyone has a set of things they want close by when they feel crappy.  For Ellis, it's a stuffed animal, a special blanket, and one of my pillows.  These days, his favorite stuffed animal is Pita the Panda and his favorite blanket is this ripple afghan I made for him while I was pregnant.  And since this is a snotty kind of cold, a box of kleenex is required.

He's been watching Curious George all day.

I much prefer these non-lethal sick days to the Norovirus sick days.  The sun shining makes for lovely light inside and all we have to do all day is rest.

Even my laundry seems dreamy in the brightness.

And Josie, beautiful as always.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Do Doodle

Product placement: awesome new crayons for mama!

I wanted new colored pencils for sketching.  Alas, real artist colored pencils turned out to be far too expensive when I do already have some.  I mean, I have the ones that Ellis uses and so are Crayola and have also been dropped so many times that the lead is shattered in most of them.  So I settled on these pretty crayons, instead.

They did jumpstart my sketching this afternoon.

The rain has been falling steadily for going on two hours.  I do enjoy a good rainy afternoon from time to time, but I'm growing weary of this fickle Spring.  I want an explosion of life rather than this slow leaking of green into the world. I guess I'll take what I can get: an afternoon spent in the studio, thinking about the next thing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

First Regular Food Post in Forever: Chile Rellanos

I haven't been posting much about our regular food.  I've posted about holidays and such but not about the day-to-day.  Partially, I've just been busy busy and haven't taken any kitchen pictures.  I really admire food bloggers who can somehow stop the forward trajectory of dinner time to beautifully plate and display their food without their families totally losing their minds with hunger.  I am not that girl.

The other thing keeping me from blogging about food is that we have started to a grain-free, legume-free diet.  For us, that means I'm cooking more meat.  And frankly, pictures of cooking meat are just about the grossest pictures that exist.  It also means that in the kitchen, I don't know what I'm doing.  Here I am making gluten-free "pizza".

I wasn't sure how this diet change would work, but I wanted to give it a try because we were having so health issues.  Although I do feel better than ever, I haven't yet fully settled in to my new way of cooking and the cooking itself is messier and less photogenic.  That is more than made up for by my increased energy, lack of joint pain, and lack of chronic stuffy nose.  Still, a person's gotta blog.  So let's blog this.

The other night I made a grain-free version of one of my favorite comfort foods: Chile Rellenos.  Frankly, before we changed our eating habits, I never made this dish. I ordered it in restaurants and it came deliciously fried and with a side of beans and rice.  This version is baked without sides, but is still totally delicious.  The seasonings are vague.  Don't you just love a vague recipe?  See, I don't know what I'm doing yet.

Grain-Free Chile Rellenos

1 lb. chorizo, mild or hot depending on your preference
Rice or cauliflower "rice" (recipe follows)
cumin, chile powder, and/or other spices
hot sauce or salsa, to taste
6-8 poblanos, ends cut off and seeds and ribs removed
queso fresco

Preheat oven to 400F.

Remove chorizo from casings and prepare according to package instructions.  Drain the grease.  Add rice or cauliflower "rice" queso fresco and sautee.  Salt to taste.  You could also sautee and add any yummy veggies you like as long as they aren't too wet (or if they are too wet, drain them!)  Add hot sauce or salsa to taste.

Fill the peppers and place in baking pan.  Bake until heated through and the skins are bubbly, approximately

I'd also like to try a version of this recipe where I smother the peppers in melty cheese, but I haven't gone there yet.

Cauliflower Rice
1/2 head of cauliflower
1/8 cup red onion cut very teeny
1 TBS EVOO, coconut oil, bacon fat, lard, or other fat of your choice.
salt to taste

1.  Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and then pulse in food processor until the bits are rice-sized and uniform.
2.  Heat the fat in a pan and sautee onion until soft.
3.  Add cauliflower and sautee until entire mixture is warm.
4.  Salt to taste.

As a side note, grain-free, legume-free eating can get expensive in a hurry if you aren't careful.  This dish is nice because it uses inexpensive ingredients as its base and can easily be adapted for whatever you have on hand--even leftovers.


Last week, Sarah got me flowers.

Aren't they pretty? They were to celebrate the sale of this towel that's been in the shop since day one. It had been put on like a zillion favorite lists but no one would buy it. Always a bridesmaid. Anyway, it finally found a home.  Here it is getting all dressed up for its big day.

I was sad to see it go. It's been one of my favorite pieces, with some really unique appliqu├ęs. I hope the new owner enjoys it.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to increase my small shop inventory.

I have a few pieces in process.

And I have a few new pieces in the shop.

I'm still working on taking awesome pictures. My pieces are tricky to photograph. They require bright light to accent the colors, which in a Chicago Spring is not in high supply. It's also really tricky to capture the detail. But I'm working on it.

I do much better with the more casual pictures.