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Monday, February 2, 2015

Parties, Puddles, and Painting







^^ Harvey is playing the harmonica here.  It was very soulful.













My baby turned two last month and my husband turned thirty two.  When did we start getting to be such old people?  They were both royally spoiled--I even made Evan this ice-cream-cake-roll and, dude, filled with mint cookie ice cream, it's pretty super duper.

We've spent a lot of time in our rain boots looking for puddles and my favorite part is that Harvey likes to walk with one of our trekking poles (collapsed so it's really small), and he looks like an old man.  There is a kitty in our neighborhood who is really friendly and she usually comes with us to look for puddles. 

My show goes up in two weeks and I'm really excited.  Tonight we are adding hanging hardware to the backs of all the paintings (it might take 80 hours, but I hope not).  I've appointed Evan to be my manager, and he made an excel chart to figure out all the prices (we charge by the square inch, how funny is that?), and I've got all the tags ready to go.  Gosh, it's been so fun.

I tried a new thing last month!  Instead of making a meal plan a week at a time, like I've been doing for 7.5 years, I tried doing a monthly meal plan.  It changed my life and I can't stop mentioning it to people!  I mean, I've never looked forward to planning our meals before, and it seemed like every week, I'd be left scratching my head, wondering what the heck we should eat.  BUT!  With this new system, you only have to do it once a month!  And because you have so many slots to fill, you start to get creative, and you try a bunch of new winner recipes.  And then, this is my favorite part, next January, I already have my meals planned!  I KNOW!  I'm going to do this all year long, trying to add lots of variety and seasonally appropriate menu items, and then for rest of my life I'll never have to plan a menu.  See?  I know.

On Saturday after a long (good long) day in the mountains, where, wait for it.......we saw THE SUNSHINE (!!!!!), we were very hungry. I was throwing together some chili, and I totally ditched the recipe and improvised and we ended up with the best pot of soup of our lives.  And I took some notes after I'd recovered from my soup-coma, and I'd like to share it here now:

Holly Rocks the Chili  (it's a working title)

olive oil
garlic salt
onion
zucchini
carrot
bell pepper
sweet potato
frozen corn
15 oz. black beans
15 oz. pinto beans
15 oz. diced tomatoes
1/2 box chicken/vegetable stock
salt, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, red pepper flakes
cilantro* (do not skip! this is the secret ingredient!)

As you can see, this is a very precise recipe, with very exact measurements.  I added some olive oil to my pot, and all the veggies, diced to uniform size.  I added the spices--we like it spicy, so I went heavy on all the hot stuff--and then dumped everything else in (oh! be sure to drain and rinse the beans).  I let if simmer for almost an hour and served with cheese, sour cream, crushed corn chips and freshly cooked tortillas.  Bonus points if you have avocado.  

*I found these frozen cilantro cubes at the grocery store and I add them to basically everything I cook and it makes everything taste at least 50 times better.  They are 1 tsp each of finely chopped cilantro in olive oil--for this recipe I added 4 cubes



Monday, December 22, 2014

Sleigh Bells Ring

....are ya listening?

 It's been terribly gloomy in Walla Walla the past month, and I've been trying really hard to embrace it.  Last week the sun came out one morning and I totally cried on the way to the park.  You guys. I can't help but be a total diva about the weather here.  whine whine whiiiiiiinnnnne. 



^^^ but sometimes I think the fog is really pretty.


It makes things seem q u i e t .


I have been painting like a crazy person this month, trying to get stocked up for the spring.  Wheeeeee!


Our Christmas card diorama this year!  I had a hard time photographing such tiny pictures of us (and even then, we're still a little big for that car!).  And for the first time ever, I chose to put this on the back of the Christmas card. And I put a regular person picture on the front.  I don't know.  I still feel weird about it.  


p.s. Merry Christmas!


I busted out the Pizelle Press this weekend and made some stroopwafels to deliver to the neighbors.  There's a homemade cinnamon-y caramel in the middle and oh man.  Oh man.  I still have a stomach ache from eating too many.  Here's the recipe I used (total winner!).


Don't you love the word Kohlrabi?  I even like how it's spelled.  



^^^ I love this blurry picture that Evan snapped of my multi-tasking (baby-holding-daniel-tiger-listening-painting-a-pineapple).  Mr. Harvey woke up early from his nap and I needed to finish my underpainting before it dried and got gloopy, so he came in to help me for a bit.  


My first tropical fruit!



This is maybe the biggest news of all:  I found another face mug!  At the thrift store!  A Christmas miracle!  I can't wait until Harvey is older and he has to write papers at school about his family's' Christmas traditions.  And that they include drinking cocoa out of face mugs on Christmas :)


Persimmons.  Still never tasted one.

^^^ I have to hide the chocolate advent calender every day, because baby doesn't understand the concept of patience.  (heck, neither do I!)


^^^ From my studio window!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Falling














So much good happening this autumn I can barely stand it.  I have been so inspired by the good colors and I still can't get over all the Larch Trees we've seen.  How come no one ever told me about those?  I'm a fan.


 Anyway, stay cool.



Monday, October 6, 2014

painterly things















Hello?  Hellllooooo?  Gosh, I have so much to say, and I don't even know where to begin.  I've been painting so much lately and it's been so so good for my soul.  I've been updating my website (most everything new is in the food section.  Yes, I really do love food that much.) if you want to see all the fruits of my labor.

I had my first show of sorts on my birthday.  It was a very festive way to end the day!  Amavi cellars was having a big open house to showcase their new production facility, so we just set paintings atop wine barrels and on stacks of cases of wine--you know, very professional like.  I was unnaturally nervous about it, but it ended up being fun and I even had the whole house sing me a slightly tipsy happy birthday tune!

I included a snap of the semi-truck glamour shot painting I did.  It was a commission for a trucking company, and it was actually kind of fun.  I almost gave myself an ulcer trying to get the truck just right, because while I might not care how many tires it has, someone else surely might.

And last week I spent a very late night hanging up cloud and vegetable paintings at the Patisserie (first rate gelatto and pastries, yumyum).  They'll be there all month, and it's nice to have a very valid excuse to stop in for a pastry :)

I also have two events coming up in the Spring at the Roastery and Northstar Winery.

There is so much I want to say about these things.  But I'm not sure how to quite express it.  I have been struggling with my relationship with Walla Walla for a while now.  It's complicated, but it really comes down to me being a brat and wanting to live somewhere spectacular.  And this place feels sort of ordinary sometimes.  I know I know, it's totally stupid.   But something I do like about where I live is all the opportunities I have to try and be an artist.  It really works to my advantage that I live in this weird wine tourism mecca, and that people who buy expensive drinks are also the type of people who impulse buy paintings.  So it's helping me change my attitude.  Which is good.  And now Evan thinks he's going to quit his job and buy some sweat pants and be a stay at home dad.  HA!  I don't think so mister.  But really, I'm so grateful for how it's working out.

p.s. I disabled my blog comments a couple of months ago. I wasn't posting very regularly, and I was feeling guilty about it.  So I wanted to make sure I was posting for me.  (and let's be honest, I wasn't sure anyone was reading this besides my grandma (hi grandma!), so I didn't want the lack of comments to discourage me).  But I've received some of the nicest emails from readers on my last few posts, full of really kind and encouraging words.  It was so nice and maybe I even cried a little bit?  I was so touched that perfect strangers would take the time to do that.  So anyway, thanks for reading and for being nice.  I like you.





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