Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wyoming Art Party

Good morning. It is early here in Wyoming and we are about to hit the road, headed home after a night away for  the first opening of Wyoming Art Party. Eric and I were both involved with this great art project that paired two creatives from around the state to each contribute to two works for this show. I was paired with a writer and Eric was paired with a lighting designer. Check out www.wyomingartparty.com for more info

Here are Eric and I on the ends with Art Party founders Meg and June.

I wi share more when we are back home.

Hope you are having a great  Saturday.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Phone Photo Friday

Time to unload the phone!

We visited Green River last weekend. Had a lovely trip!


Cordelia has been taking a lot of photos this week. I am thinking future blog post.


Waiting for Eric to finish up as judge at the art festival.

 
Did a little sketching from the hotel room view.


On our way back from Green River we stopped at Independence Rock.


The girls at Independence Rock.


Wyoming skies


Lucy likes to any Betty Sprinkles.


Elise also took up photography this week.


Sisters reading on a summer afternoon.


My painting on display in a museum.


Hope you have had a lovely week!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer


I didn't think I was a summer person. I had it in my head that spring is where it's at with regard to my seasonal favorites. Now though, I am not so sure. Summer here in Wyoming is the best. The not too hot days are followed by perfect evenings spent on the back porch. Windows are open to let fresh air blow through the house. I spend much of my day watching the girls play in the back yard. We watch the birds and other animal regulars that share our space with us. The girls pick strawberries before they are ready to be eaten and I have completely given up the fight at this point in the season.


The sun ripens the tomatoes and each day the girls inspect the garden and give me status updates. I sip pink lemonade and work on the yard while the girls run around like feral children. They are covered in layers of sticky funk and dirty grime. The blue chalk on their cheeks seems like a permanent feature, no longer do I double-take, thinking they've developed a freakish bruise. Nope, it is summer and that is how it goes. We are all covered in tiny bruises and insect bites from time spent outside. Actually, the insect bites are all me. For some reason I am like a blood decoy for mosquitoes, no need for citronella candles, just invite me to you next outdoor party.


We paint on the back patio most days. We eat our two out of three meals on the porch. The sparrow's late summer babies are just learning the ropes and often test out their new skills where we can watch them as we eat. The cooing of the doves, the screeching of the jays, the occasional whizz of an invisible hummingbird are our music and entertainment.

Summer is starting its grand wind down. The leaves are losing their color, the apples on our tree are ripe. The grass is still green, but you can tell its about redy to give up the ghost. The morning air is crisp and the night air has just a bit of cool to it now. A few more weeks and it will be done. We will move on to our six days of fall and then, before we know it there will be snow (and wind). The windows will be closed and we will gaze out our back window, onto the patio, and dream of summer days while we sip our hot tea and eat our winter stews. We will relearn how to drive in the winter and remind ourselves that it takes twenty extra minutes to get everyone in their winter gear. That will be good too, but I will most certainly be dreaming of summer.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To My Girls


Dear Girls,

I am writing you now, sitting in the rocking chair in your room as the two of you are on the floor pretending to camp. You sisters love each other so very much, it is just as your father and I hoped it would be---two sisters. Yesterday you each chose the other's clothes. Cordelia, you actually dressed Elise. Later the two of you laid in the grass out back, laughing and talking about whatever two and four (almost 5) year olds talk about. I sat back and watched. Seems that your father and I are doing that a lot more lately, watching  your friendship develop.

You are both such unique individuals. Cordelia you are emotional, compassionate and so very loving. Elise you are independent, loving and seem to know your own mind. You both share so many of the same traits, but I suspect that your strengths will each help the other to grow. I hope that together you will aide each other as you become the best version of yourselves. It has been our honor and joy to bear witness to this relationship.

I know you are both too young to read this, but I hope someday that you may stumble upon this letter and know that you are so very loved; always have been and always will be loved. I also want you to know that your friendship is one of your great gifts in this life. I do hope you will continue to foster it as you grow.

I love you.
-Mom

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vegan Recipe: Blueberry Bread

Today I am posting another recipe from Rooted Vegan. Blueberry bread is a great occasional treat.

vegan blueberry bread by rooted-vegan.blogspot.com
I love bread. I am just being honest here. A no carb diet seems like hell to me. So, if that's your thing then perhaps you might want to skip today's recipe. If you too are a carb lover and also happen to be a blueberry fan, then put your hands together and cheer. Brunch is served!

1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (combine and set aside to curdle for a few minutes)
1 1/2 tsp EnerG Egg Replacer + 2 T warm water (combine and set aside)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 c margarine
1 1/2 c fresh blueberries (cleaned and stems removed)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a bread pan and set aside.
2.  In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl cream the margarine and sugar. Add the milk/vinegar combo, the EnerG Egg Replacer, and the  vanilla and almond extracts.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix together. Fold in the blueberries.
5. Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean.
vegan blueberry bread by rooted-vegan.blogspot.com Enjoy!
~Maria Rose

Monday, August 18, 2014

Green River

We took a quick weekend trip to the western portion of our state. Eric was judging in an art competition in the small town of Green River. He did this last year while I stayed home with the girls as we weren't sure Elise was ready for a long car trip. Now she is an old pro and we were ready to take the whole family on the quick weekend trip.

Green River is a small and gorgeous little community. We were there while they were having a festival so we got to really enjoy their community vibe. There is a beautiful river that runs through town and there are well maintained paths along the river. The girls looooved the swing benches that were scattered along the river trail.  The whole region has stunning rock formations that made Eric and I feel as though we were living in a Thomas Moran painting. Our trip was really fast, but we'd love to go back and explore the area a bit more thoroughly in the future.

Green River

Green River

Girls at Green River

Green River

Green River

Green River

Green River

Girls at Green River

Green River

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Quote: Possible

Elise

Anything is possible. Anything can be.
~Shel Silverstein

Saturday, August 16, 2014

About Tattoos

tattoooooo

Have I told you that I was something of a rebel as a teen? I was somewhere in between horrible and pretty challenging. I wasn't a bad person, just not my best self. Really the trouble only lasted about two years, but in that period of time I got a tattoo. Let's call it my last gasp at rebellion, because I think that was about the end of my shenanigans. I was 16 at the time.  My parents did not know about it at all and they didn't find out for several years, until I had the courage to admit the permanent reminder of my adolescent misbehavior. How, you may wonder, did I keep an arm tattoo covered in New Mexico through hot summers? Let's just say that was a high price I paid for being a teen liar, that and a heavy guilt that rested on my heart for a couple of years.

While I regret the youthful deception I have never really regretted the tattoo. In case you are wondering, the tattoo was the Japanese symbol for love. My 16 year old self thought it was totally unique. My adult self, pretty much from 18 onward was a little embarrassed. Not about the word love, that is a great word. It's just---well I am not fluent in Japanese and I have never visited Japan. There wasn't a real value to the tattoo, it felt a bit canned. While it was kind of embarrassing it was also kind of a bittersweet reminder of the girl that I once was. I was trying to show my independence and lay claim to my own body and those are great things. However, I might have made a different choice had I waited until I was mature enough to know myself and own my decisions. We'll never know.

Now before I go forward I know that people have a wide array of feelings about tattoos and I respect that completely. Some people think that any body modification is wrong, others think that permanent body modification (with the exception of earrings or surgical procedures like wisdom tooth removal and appendectomies) are wrong. Still others think a few discreet tattoos are acceptable, the kind that can be easily hidden. I think many, certainly not all, in my generation are a bit more comfortable with the whole thing.  I don't know where you lay on the spectrum, but I have chosen to be a tattooed person. Also, I am in a career field, the arts, that won't see a tattoo as a negative. I made the first choice before I knew my mind, but earlier this year I began work on a rather large tattoo on my arm and now I know my own mind.

I actually went back and forth for a few years, trying to decide whether or not I wanted to cover the original tattoo. If you are at all aware of the tattoo culture it is kind of sort of taboo to cover a tattoo, kind of like hiding a part of your past. And that is exactly what I was doing. Finally, I just realized that it was time to give myself a tattoo with a bit more meaning a lasting significance that I could proudly carry forth through the remainder of my life, which by my math is about 97 more years. Plus, I am an artist! I live for beauty and art and decoration, why not reflect that with my own self.

Anyway, I enlisted my husband for a little help in the design of the tattoo. I love nature, like a lot. So I always knew I wanted something beautiful and natural. I leaned toward a small bouquet of flowers from the start. I didn't just want any flowers though, I wanted meaning. So I chose a very personal bouquet. I chose a rose in the center (this covered the original tattoo). Rose is my Great Grandmother's name, my middle name. Then I chose a smaller rose to represent Cordelia, whose middle name is also Rose. For Elise I chose a violet, her middle name is Ione which means violet in Greek (incidentally this is a middle name she shares with her Great Grandmother). I have two stalks of wheat to represent my father, who grew up on a wheat farm and is still a wheat farmer in his heart. My mother is represented by morning glory, she loves the flower. Funny story, she suggested that I have the morning glory strangling the wheat (it's actually a weed unloved by farmers). I also have included two little buds off of the morning glory to represent the two children I miscarried, as I feel in my heart like I am a mother to four children. My amazing husband took all of that and my request for something that looked like a vintage botanic print and created a beautiful design.

I met with my tattoo artist in May and we set to work. It took three sessions (outline, tattoo, finishing touches), but now it is done. I love it, there is no way that I can regret a beautiful reminder of those that I hold dear---although both brothers have been bugging for representation so they may find their way in at some point---as bugs . I kid---or do I? Anyway, that's the story of the tattoo and how it came to be.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Week in Phone Photos

Friday, when I remember, means it is time for the week in phone photos.

Eric, working on a couple of paintings.

Did some outdoor painting with my friend and fellow artist, Gabby Reeves. Here is my initial sketch of the waterfall.

Cordelia

Elise with her grandparents.

Eric and Cordelia


My shadow

Elise, sticking her tongue out while painting.

Cordelia working with great intensity.

On a walk

Someone at VBS tried to reenvision the spelling of Cordelia's name. Also, the photo! Ha ha!

Sisters and a hound.

Cordelia and I 

Eric and Elise

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Project: Dia de los Muertos Banner DIY

dia de los muertos banner

Eric and I wanted to have an extra fun night last night. We decided to have a theme night and settled on Mexico. Let me start off straight here, we weren't exactly authentic in every sense of the word (vegans in Wyoming people), but we did use the opportunity to discuss Mexican culture, history and cuisine with the girls. We hope to make this the beginning of a semi-regular event, exploring other cultures through cuisine and crafts inspired by the chosen culture.

Obviously I had to make a vegan meal and tone the delicious traditional flavors down to something my kinda picky daughters would try.

Dinner
Dinner
Vegan tamales
Black beans
Homemade guacamole
Vegan sour cream
Tortilla chips
Margaritas for the adults
Mango juice for the girls

margarita 

Me

Cordelia

tamale

Eric

Cordelia and Elise

Music
Eric found a great Mariachi playlist on Spotify that we enjoyed all evening.

playlist

The Craft: Dia de Los Muertos Banner

Supplies
  • Balsa wood, I found sheets that were 1/32 of an inch thick, 4inches wide, 24 inches long. The wood was thin enough that I could cut it like paper. I used scissors to cut the strips into 4x6 inch pieces.
  • Paint and brushes or markers
  • Scissors
  • Paper Punch
  • String
  • A few reference images of sugar skulls

1) First you need to prep your wood and then paper punch the top corners of the 4x6 inch pieces of wood.

supplies

holes punched

2) Sketch out the sugar skulls onto the wood. If you aren't comfortable with free-handing it, just make a stencil from a print out. I outlined the skulls for the girls in marker as per their request.
drawing for skulls

3) Paint or draw away to your heart's content.
 Elise painting

me painting

Cordelia painting

Mexican Night: Crafting Eric

4) When you are done, look for a pretty arrangement and admire your work. Guess which ones belong to Cordelia and Elise.
sugar skulls

5)String up your pieces. I used a rough twine so that I could leave the wooden pieces free floating and make adjustments in arrangement as needed. The twine is textured enough that the wood won't slide around without my intervention. I used about 15 feet of twine to start and spaced the skulls evenly apart. I also left a few feet on each end for hanging. Done deal.

dia de los muertos banner

dia de los muertos banner


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