Thursday, April 9, 2015

spring delights

oh me oh my I love April.  I have been enjoying a slower pace the past few weeks and it's been weird and delightful.  I was working like a mad woman to prepare for the art shows and I was feeling a little burned out.  I ran out of panels and made the decision to not order more for a few weeks.  I've been using my free time to catch up on house projects and read books and I've even been doing a little bit of crafting.  It's weird!  But nice!  

I made some new couch pillows!  Our new sofa came with some lovely down pillows and I promptly recovered them in cheerful fabric (it was for the best).

This is what my helper did while I made the pillows.

I am really loving two years old.  He wants to be having fun and playing all the time and will do absolutely anything for an m&m.

My family came to visit!  And my baby sister has really long hair.


My two puppies.

After years of thinking about it, I finally painted my little cupboard green.  I feel really good about this decision (there was much too much brown in the family room!).  Fun fact: I used the leftover paint from the family room walls phase 1.  I also re-painted the baseboards in almost every room, re-stained the bathroom vanities (it was worth all the dead brain cells.  I think.), and I'm currently in negotiations to paint the laundry room.  Pretty sure I'm driving Evan nuts with all my projects!  I updated our family blog with 9 (NINE!) posts and then I ordered our 2014 family year book (100 pages! eep! $!).  Check check check check.  Feels good to check stuff off my list!

Happy Spring to you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

the olive.

Almost three weeks ago I put a bunch of paintings at the Olive.  The next Sunday night was an artists reception.  There was all sorts of fancy cheese and grapes and a wine glass full of water for me.  Some of the cheese smelled like a damp basement.  But some of it was good! And I woke up with a cheese hangover the next morning (those happen in your stomach...ouch).  But I'm getting ahead of myself here.  

I invited almost every single person I knew to the open house and it was such a beautiful night.  It almost reminded me of a movie.  You know, girl moves to new town.  Girl is pregnant and sleepy and a little bit lonely.  Girl has baby, makes friends, remembers the importance of painting.  Girl CANNOT stop painting vegetables.  Girl puts them in restaurant and all her favorite people come together to eat stinky cheese and make her feel really special.  The end.  It wins an oscar.  Probably.

I totally cried on the way home.  Probably because I had been really stressed out, but also because it really meant a lot to me.

I went back the next week with my friend to snap some pictures and I told the people sitting at the tables to "just act natural....but also act like you are really really enjoying sitting by these paintings".

Six paintings have already found a new home (probably somewhere where they're not stored in a crowded closet!), and it makes me so glad.

So I guess that's it.  Below are a series of redundant shots taken at the Olive.  They have pretty good cake there, but their pizza is off the hook crazy amazing.


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
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!

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