Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Little Summer Break From Posting

  As summer is going so quickly I have decided to make this my last post for a bit while I take in summer fun and festivities with my family and friends. After this week I am going to limit computer time and even art time. There is art and music and food to share here right now though so let's get to it shall we?

 It is "T Stands for Tuesday" with Bleubeard and Elizabeth once again. Last week I mentioned celebrating Bastille Day a bit. It didn't end there. Soon after I posted I got a call from my Mom who put together a little impromtu fête to celebrate in total French style! Being it was a work day it was just she and I and her friend Elizabeth and son Geza. Elizabeth lived in Paris some years ago and always said it was the best times in her life. Yes, I indulged and enjoyed every  sip and bite of our celebration:

  French music was playing whilst we enjoyed baguette slices, croissants, French cheeses and crackers, paté, fruits and bien sur le vin français  -tchin! tchin! (My Mom's in the middle in the bottom right photo).

 I made two more newer summer foods this past week that I'd like to share:

 Black Bean Cakes . These were very easy to make and have great flavor (think cumin and coriander)! I make a batch and freeze some to make for myself when hubby is having meat.

    Tuscan Bean Salad-I could live on this!! Another vegetarian meal and hearty enough to be the main dish. This recipe makes a lot so you may want to halve the ingredients.

  I couldn't get this song out of my head lately so I thought I should get it on paper-in my journal. Of course I'm sharing the song along with the art :)

   I started on a page that already had yellow green paint on  along with some spattered green ink spray. I scraped yellow, pink and orange acrylic paints across the top to create the sunset sky. In keeping with using my gelli printed papers as in last week's pg. I tore strips and glued them at the bottom then loosely drew some waves with a crayon. Boat and sails also cut from printed papers. Words and boat outlined with a charcoal pencil and smudged a bit. Linking to Mix It Monthly for the theme of "boat/sailboat", the Simon Monday Challenge blog (theme is "hot fun in the summertime"), Art Journal Every Day and Paint Party Friday. A bientôt mes amis!

" We should not forget to enjoy the experience of daily creativity, whatever that may entail."   Diane Carter

                                                         Black Bean Cakes (makes 4)

 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance Butter ;divided        1/2 c. finely chopped onion   1 Tbsp. minced garlic

 3/4 tsp. ground cumin       1/2 tsp. salt      1/2 tsp. ground coriander    1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper     1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs      2 lg. eggs, slightly beaten

 1 14.5 oz can unsalted black beans,rinsed and drained     1 Tbsp. lime juice

  Heat a med. skillet over med. heat. Swirl in 1 Tbsp. butter and when melted add onion and garlic. Cook 4 min. Stir in the cumin, salt, coriander, red pepper and black pepper;cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in the panko and lime juice. Place beans in a bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir in eggs. Stir in onion mixture. Divide into 4 portions and gently shape into patties. Heat a pan over med/high heat and add remaining Tbsp. butter. Add patties to pan and cook 3 min. each side until browned. Tip- do not try to flip them before browning as they are a bit delicate at first and may fall apart a bit.

                                                    Tuscan Bean Salad (makes 10 cups)

 1 c. barley      2 cans great northern beans, 1 can garbanzo beans, and canellini beans(approx. 15.5 oz ea.)

 1/2 green, 1/2 red pepper-1/4 inch diced            1/2 bunch green onions,thinly sliced

 1/2 c.  sundried tomatoes,chopped       1/3 c. prepared basil pesto    1/3 c. white wine vinegar

 3 Tbsp. Italian parsley ,chopped    2 Tbsp. olive oil        salt and pepper

  Bring barley and 2 1/2 c. salted water to a boil on high in lg. saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cook,stirring occasionally, about 25 min. Drain, rinse with cold water. Rinse and drain beans then put in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Sailing Thru Summer

   Still managing to get art and blogging done but that will wind down awhile as I get into a few weeks of beach time/planning and art deadlines. First up is another journal page I created using gelli plate prints (determined to lower that pile so I can make more:):)

  This was created with the Mix It Monthly theme in mind which for this month is "Sailboat/Boat". The one sail is a recycled postage stamp but the rest is gelli print papers. The UM stamp (source unknown) reads "no hour with the ocean is ever wasted...ever".

 The challenge at The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge Blog is to use household items for mark making in your art. Here's what I grabbed to use on my page:

Clockwise from top- corrugated cardboard scrap, a wine cork with string tied around it, mesh from the top of a crate of Clementines, bottle cap, the ripped spiral bound edge of watercolor paper, cardboard tube, prescription bottle(the top is round and the bottom squared-double duty!), and makeup sponges.

 This is the background after the painting and mark making:

 And here's what I ended up with:

                          I flipped the page to use horizontally after spying this stencil on my table. 

 Products: acrylic paints; Dylusion Ink Sprays (the splatters); Mini Silhouette Script 6" x 6" stencil (Balzer Designs); paper flowers (Recollections); rhinestones ( Nicole Crafts).

 I am also linking to  Art Journal Journey (Flower Power theme); Paint Party Friday; Art Journal Every Day; Creative Every Day; and the Simon Monday Challenge ( About A Face theme). Looking forward to see what you all have been up to this week!

                                         "What is art but a way of seeing?"  Thomas Berger

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tea Time

                       Je souhaite une bonne fête de la Bastille a mes amis at ma famille française!!

  On Sunday I made dinner and dessert to celebrate not only my Mom's birthday but Bastille Day- the French Independence Day which is today -Monday! I chose this dessert which represents the colors of the French flag. I also moments ago (while putting together this post) had the most lovely surprise in that my dear Aunt BiBi just called me from her home in the south of France - La Seyne Sur Mer. It took everything in me not to cry because I miss her so as she was always my favorite aunt. I haven't seen her in her new home town. The last time I saw her was in 2008 when she lived in Le Pouliguen on the west coast of France near Bretagne. She turned 80 last week and let me say you'd never know it. She stays very active and looks wonderful! She gets such a kick out of the fact that I watch Le Tour De France and map out the route and follow it on my atlas of France maps. A bit of an obsession of mine for years now:)

 And I can also share birthday wishes to Bleubeard and Elizabeth! It 's one year for T Stands for Tuesday and I am so glad to have found this wonderful community to share a cuppa with! Please do visit and see what  it's all about-and join us!

 This is the last week of Kristin's Summer of Color Challenge and I've had such a blast working with the colors each week and seeing all the fabulous projects everyone has been coming up with.I will miss it. Thank you dear Kristin for putting another year together along with the amazing prize packages offered each week!

 This week's colors:

Raspberry & Tangerine
with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Lemon
  My journal page began like this:
 A gelli print deli paper was glued to the page along with a strip of yellow mesh at the bottom for some texture. I also stamped a clock image and "Time" image using Distress Worn Lipstick on the page but it doesn't really show.

 The teacup was cut from a gelli print paper. Gold dresden was painted with  Golden Fluid Transparent Pyrole Orange before being glued to the cup. The image is from and ARTchix Studio collage sheet. Some oil pastels were used to outline the typed words and teacup.

 Besides the Summer of Color Challenge I am also joining Bleubeard and Elizabeth for T Stands For Tuesday and the Simon Monday Challenge for the theme of " About  A Face"-clock, cameo, silhouette, etc.

We've had so much bird action in our yard since Spring including cardinal nests, robin nests and catbird nests. Hubby trimmed our forsythia bushes and found one of the catbird nests last week. We have been able to peek in using a camera and holding it up over the nest to check in once in awhile. The parents aren't too happy when we do but they are not aggressive at all. Here's a pic of the parents to be and the eggs-which I had never seen before:

  I would not have thought they had such bright blue eggs! I think the bird on the left is the male. They were both very nearby and watching me very closely while I took the pic.

  Lastly, here's another yummy salad I made last week:

                                                       CousCous Salad  (recipe at end of post)

 You can also find this recipe and link  along with all my previous recipes by clicking on the "recipes" tab at the top for a list of all the recipes and links so far.

 Thanks so much for all your comments-it's been much harder for me to answer each one lately with all the summer activities, but know how much I do appreciate it-and thank you for the birthday wishes for my Mom last week too:)

 "Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering."
                                                                                                                            Steve Maraboli

                                                            Cous Cous Salad

  1 box Far East couscous-garlic and olive oil blend         handful of chopped scallions

  handful of fresh chopped parsley     one cucumber, peeled and diced

  1 can rinsed and drained black beans            balsamic vinegar

   Make couscous according to pkg. directions. Mix with the veggies and parsley. Dress with balsamic vinegar. Add a bit at a time. After it sets in the fridge awhile it will absorb the vinegar. You can then add a bit more to taste.

Monday, July 7, 2014

S.O.C. It To Me!

  It's week five (only one more week to go) of Kristin's Summer Of Color Challenge and these are the colors:

Red & Royal Blue
with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Light Blue
   This time I knew exactly what I wanted to do so I grabbed my watercolor journal, opened to a blank page and painted an undercoat:
Then I glued on a piece of a gelli print paper I had done on mulberry tissue paper:

  Here is the finished page:

  I love how the blue paint shows thru the transparent mulberry paper! The theme over at Mixed Media Mojo is "Patriotic" this month, the theme this week at the Simon Monday Challenge Blog is "Start From Scratch", and the theme this month at Art Journal Journey is "Flower Power" so I am also linking to these challenges. I am also linking to Paint Party Friday as this is a very busy week and weekend for me and I know I won't get much art done.
  Products : Americana Turquoise acrylic paint; gelli plate printed mulberry paper; variety of scrapbook papers with stars; lt. blue card stock; embroidery floss; circle, star punches;  blue dye ink; Stickles glitter glue; white uni-ball Signo pen.

  It will be my Mom's birthday this Wednesday so I'm taking her to Chicos and  Talbot's Outlet Shops (love these stores!) and then we'll have lunch. This is the card I made for her:
  This past weekend I made yet another delicious and healthy summer meal:

                                                                       Glazed Salmon

                                                      Stewed Green Beans With Tomatoes
                                                        (RECIPES AT END OF POST)
   Since I've been getting enough requests for the recipes I have added a "recipes" tab just below my banner at the top. If you click on it you will find links to all the pictures of the foods along with recipes. It took quite a bit of time to type everything in and proof read to be sure I got all the ingredients and measures correct before setting up the links. From here on in it will be much easier to just have one link to create at a time as I put something in a new post now that I've gotten all the previous ones completed. . You are welcome to copy and print the recipes-they are not my original dishes (although on occasion I do tweak things). They come from a variety of books including Cooking Light, Mediterranean Harvest, Wegman's (a local grocery store), and from my MANY French cookbooks.This is especially for my "T" friends over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Stands For Tuesday :) I'm sure dear Elizabeth will forgive me for linking up without a photo of a beverage this week. However I found a delicious crisp and fresh Rosé Bordeaux which is perfect for any of these dishes! Sat. night hubby and I sat under the stars with a bottle-a perfect summer night.
  " I love summertime more than anything else in the world . That is the only thing that gets one through the winter, knowing that summer is going to be there."         Jack McBrayer

                                                              Glazed Salmon

  2 tsp. olive oil      1 tsp. butter         3 Tbsp. chopped shallots           1/4 c. dry white wine

  2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard        1 Tbsp. brown sugar         3-4 6 oz. salmon fillets    

  1/4 tsp. salt         1/4 tsp. pepper      

 Preheat broiler. Heat a small saucepan over med. - high heat. Add olive oil and butter; swirl til butter melts. Add shallots; cook 2 min. Add wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 min; stir in mustard and brown sugar. Remove pan from heat. Arrange fillets in a jelly roll pan lined with foil coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle fillets with the salt and pepper. Spread half the mustard mixture evenly over fillets. Broil 6 min or until desired doneness. Spread remaining half of mustard mixture over fillets. Serve.
Note: I now use barely 2 tsp. brown sugar after finding the original amt. a bit sweet. Also, I placed my oven rack at the second level from the top so as not to burn the tops of the fillets before they were done.

                                                 Stewed Green Beans With Tomatoes

  3 Tbsp. EVOO      1 lg. onion, chopped        2 lg. garlic cloves, minced      salt and pepper

  1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed      1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped    1-2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

  about 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint, parsley, or dill (optional)       1/2 c. water

 Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a wide skillet over med. heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring until tender and translucent, about 8 min. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for another min. Stir in the green beans and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer, add salt and pepper, cover and simmer 30 min, until the beans are tender and the mixture is stew-like. Serve hot or room temp. Stir in the herb of choice and vinegar right before serving. This dish keeps well ( 5 days) and the flavors get brighter.
 Note: I have only made this with the parsley so far only cause hubby doesn't like the mint and I don't care for a lot of dill flavor.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Juicy (and HOT) July!

  This month has arrived with a heat wave! Yesterday the heat index was 105 F and the air was thick like soup. Not a good day to be out for very long. Even poor Annie who loves to lie in the sun a bit didn't want to be out more than a few minutes. There's been threats of thunderstorms-some damaging- but here we only got a light bit of rain last night. And today we're right back to where we were yesterday. So, I stayed in mostly and got my July calendar spread completed:)

  The theme JoAnne Sharpe chose for our calendar this month was to use fruits for the days. I chose apricots, blueberries and strawberries. A combination of Peerless watercolors and water-based brush markers were used. I'm linking to Kate Crane's Calendar Project.

  It's week 4 for the Summer of Color Challenge hosted by Kristin and these are the colors this week:

Pink & Apple Green
with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Dark Green
  Gorgeous combination of colors! I made two smaller projects. First is an ATC :

                               The faux poste is from ARTchix Studio as is the image in this project:
  She's just slightly larger than the ATC size. I have made others like this some time ago but I think I gave them away. Fun to make!

Last Sunday hubby and I went to a special exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum which is only about 5 miles from us. I was delightfully shocked that he wanted to go along! These very special paintings are on tour from the Glasgow Museums and this was the only stop in the Northeast. The best part- admission is free to the museum all summer long:) I only have the brochure and newspaper articles to share because photos were strictly prohibited and there were guards everywhere you turned.

   This was the brochure. You should be able to click for larger views. The paintings were absolutely stunning!! The details in these paintings , the gilded frames-wow-and many of them were about the size of a wall! We also went thru the Goya exhibit which was very different in contrast and a bit freakish/circus-like. It was OK-just not my thing. This was our local newspaper headline about the exhibit:

  If it comes anywhere near you DO NOT MISS IT!  I know now that hubby will go with me again-he's even sorry he missed the Toulouse L'Autrec exhibit I saw there awhile back. However, I am confident that he won't be doing anything in my art room anytime soon:):)

  Tonight we are going to see the movie "Jersey Boys" and tomorrow will be celebrating Independence Day in the US. I'm sure there will be lots of fireworks heard and seen throughout the day. Enjoy your weekend wherever you are and whatever you do. I'll try to get around to visit as many of you as I can. I so appreciate your visiting me too:)

    Edited in: LOVED Jersey Boys!!! Completely endorsed by Frankie Valli-fascinating story and wonderful music! It's the first time I've gone to a movie lately and not looked at my watch-once. Go see it!
   Ooh, I better not forget my favorite party place- linking this post to Paint Party Friday also!

" Summer is a great time to visit art museums which offer the refreshing rinse of swimming pools- only instead of cool water, you immerse yourself in art."    Jerry Saltz

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday Musings

  July has arrived. Really? Already? That means I must get my calendar spread up and ready -which is a WIP yet. Hopefully it will be finished in the next few days. It's an awful lot of drawing though ( going with the monthly prompts from one of Joanne Sharpe's classes).

                                                             6" x 6" book page-front

                                                          6" x 6" book page -back

   Products: background patterned papers (Stampington & Co.); image on front pg (Paper Whimsy); image on back pg ( Retro Cafe Art); lace and fabric flower trims (JoAnne Stores); Kaleidacolor Blue Breeze ink (Tsukineko); Diamond Stickles glitter glue (Ranger); aqua tissue paper; feathers (beach findings).

  A group of us were asked by a fellow artist on FB if we wanted to contribute to a book she was putting together for another artist who recently lost her beloved mother. I 've known many of these ladies for a number of years through art groups and swaps so of course I wanted to contribute. We were given some ideas-such as adding quotes, keeping it with mostly whites and using lighthouse images if we wanted and leaving space on the left for punching the holes. The book will be completed and sent to her in the next two weeks. The theme for the Simon Monday challenge blog is "w is for white". I was planning on linking this but not so sure it meets the criteria so well. So, I made this card which is going in the mail to my dear aunt BiBi in France who will be celebrating her 80th birthday.

   Products: lg white card and envelope (Canvas Corp); floral stamp (Close to My Heart-formerly DOTS-this may be a retired stamp by now); sentiment stamp (Magenta); indigo dye ink; dry chalks; Stickles glitter glue (Ranger).

 Of course, I 'm still very much into the summer salads and healthy food kick so here's another dish:

                                                       (RECIPE AT END OF POST)

 This is a red quinoa watercress salad. Yum! Since having requests for recipes of the foods I've been sharing here I am currently working on getting the recipes typed in along with links to the photos which I will list at the top of my blog in the "Recipes" category. Please bear with me :)

 Oh, it also happens to be "T Stands for Tuesday " with Elizabeth and Bleubeard and I have the perfect thing to share for it:

  When grocery shopping this past week I went down the kitchen/cooking supplies aisle and I found this mug. It had my name painted all over it!! And I probably shouldn't be using this word so much -but-isn't this just A-W-E-S-O-M-E??? This brings such a smile to my face first thing each morning! It was only $6 and is a generous size. That's why you can't see the coffee inside. I'm only allowed 1 1/2 to 2 cups of caffeine per day.

  Off to paint something...and visit along with my mug in between drying times:)

         "To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow."
                                                                                                                         Kurt Vonnegut

                                               Red Quinoa Watercress Salad

  Whisk together in lg. bowl: 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar   1/2 tsp. salt     1/4 tsp. pepper
                                               1 clove garlic, minced    3 Tbsp. EVOO

  Add: 1/2 minced shallot    3 tomatoes, cut into cubes   1/4 cucumber, seeded and cut into chunks
           1/3 c. yellow pepper, cut into small chunks

  Add: 2 c. cooked red quinoa    3 c. watercress cut into 3 " pieces    1 c. basil leaves
           8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 " cubes

  Toss all to combine. Note- I added a bit  more of the vinegar before serving.