Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Fall Treat. Homemade Ham and Cheese Bread

The delectable scent of baking bread wafts on a cool autumn breeze. . .

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Travel Tuesdays. Pike Place, Seattle.

My sister Lisa took me on  an adventure while I was visiting her this summer.
I got to her place early and we headed for the American border, destination Seattle.

Have you ever been to Pike Place? I had been several years ago while on a three day cruise with Lisa and I was mighty excited to be going back.

I can not take a trip to the U.S. with Lisa and not sneak in a bit of clothes shopping. I don't know what it is but that girl can scent a bargain from miles away. She knows all the best places.

 Give her a shopping assignment and then stand back.

Her eyes gleam while her mind races, ticking off one store after another, discarding anything that won't fit the shopping parameters of the assignment at hand.

Many of you may  already know how I feel about shopping. I don't like it. I never find anything I'm looking for, stuff is always way out of my budget and given a choice I'd rather be doing pretty much anything else. (Except housework. . . I'd never rather be doing housework.)

However. I love pretty clothes and, as I have yet to have the perfect dress find it's own way to my closet, shopping has to happen every once in a while.

Enter. Lisa.

While on our way to Seattle we stopped in one store after another. By the time I was done I had four new dresses, a sweater, two pairs of shoes and some very pretty underwear. All on sale. Most of it very, very on sale.

Henry loves my new dresses. So do I. Thanks Lisa.

Of course. . . that was just the beginning of the trip. We hadn't even made it to Pike Place yet. . .

So we stopped for a little lunch.

and then enjoyed some serious adventure on the waterfront.

While I wasn't surprised to find music inside. . .

I was very surprised to see a piano on the street corner!

Of course it wouldn't be a market without veggies. . .

And flowers. . .

Seafood of course. . .

There's some pretty fabulous stuff going on outside the market too. . .

A quick stop for a late supper and it's time to head home. . .

Is there anything nicer than an adventure with your sister?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Concrete Pumpkins . . . I mean Apples . . .

I thought it would be fun to branch out a bit and see what else could be done with concrete.

With the arrival of fall my thoughts turned to pumpkins.

Hmmm. . . concrete . . . Pumpkins???

How would I go about that? Time to google.

I found a few concrete pumpkins tutorials but they all used the plastic trick or treat pails. Which works rather well, if you don't mind the face and the fact that there is only one size.

Since I do mind, I made a trip to my local art store to quiz them on what I might use to make my own mold.

I left with a jar of latex mold maker and a mind filled with possibilities.

I decided to act sensibly for a change and start small. The fact that there were no pumpkins in the store to try this out on had nothing to do with it. . .


My niece Clara had dropped by with her Grandma and left me a tiny apple. I was supposed to eat it but, well, it was just the right size.

I had a granny smith left in the kitchen so it was the perfect opportunity to try two different sizes.

Ten layers of latex later I brought them to the outdoor workshop for a test run.

concrete apple

concrete apple and latex mold

concrete apple and latex mold

concrete apple

concrete apple

Hmmmm. . . not quite what I had in mind. Back to the drawing board.

I found these Styrofoam pumpkins and squash at the dollar store. I'm on layer four of fifteen. Now all I have to figure out is how to support the mold so the top doesn't get all squishy and flattened out. I don't think they'll be done in time for my upcoming sale at the Ladies Night Out. . . .

Oh well, maybe next year. 

This year they'll enhance my fall display in the front garden.. At least, that's the plan.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Using Animoto to make a short video. Painlessly.

The past few weeks I've been fighting off a pretty nasty virus that my daughter Holly brought home. Thankfully I haven't gotten it as badly as she did but it sure has slowed me down.

 Which is one of the reasons I was so excited to discover Creative Live's  Photo Week. It gave me an excuse to hang out in my chair with a cup of tea for nearly an entire week.

The instructors didn't just teach, they inspired

 In one of the workshops the instructors talked about using Animoto to make videos for their client's weddings.

The minute the workshop was over I headed straight to Ainimoto to give it a try. I have always had making videos on my 'Learn how To Do' list so I was quite excited with the idea that I could possibly make one quickly and painlessly.

Here's what I put together at the spur of the moment:

It really was quick and painless.

I can hardly wait to make something using film and photos. Now all I need to do is learn how to make movies with my new Canon T3i  . . .

Don't you love creating something new?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Travel Tuesdays. Vancouver Art Gallery

While I enjoy many artsy things I don't know much at all about 'Art'.

Lisa, Tamara and I once visited the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and found walls covered in art. We didn't quite know what kind of art it was but it seemed to have something to do with transportation corridors in Vancouver. Perhaps they were interpreting what that meant to them?? We really couldn't figure it out. It did not look like Art to us at all.

A few blocks away in a tiny shop on Granville Island we came across a stunning piece of handmade fabric that mesmerized me. This was art I could understand.

While in B.C. last month Tamara and I decided as part of my bohemian, artsy fartsy journey, a trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery was in order. Only, how to make it something more than just sauntering through the galleries saying I like this, I don't like that, that makes no sense at all!

Our cousin Ruth, a teacher and artist gave me an assignment. Find something that speaks to you and then write a short essay it.What is it? Why does it appeal to you. What is unusual about it?

Off we went into Vancouver.

Oh look! How cool is this? An exhibit of Dutch Masters! Perfect.

The gallery was beautiful.

We started at the top and began working our way down. I must admit as we wandered through the various galleries I began to hope that the Dutch Masters would have something special because most of what we were looking at wasn't art to me at all.

 The first exhibit had to do with travel and hotels through history. It was interesting, certainly. I love history, so much of what we learned I found fascinating but I didn't see the Art in it.

 Although there was this one display . . . I could see how that might fit into the contemporary art scene as it was obviously meant to either shock or titillate the viewers. I found it tawdry and sad.

The next floor down seemed to hold more promise even though it felt quite empty. I know you need white space to allow a piece to shine but this was a lot of white space!

Until I saw them. Martin Honert's 'Riesen'.

Oh my.

Martin is inspired by memories of his childhood and a feeling of being afraid in a huge and empty exhibition space inspired him to make these two over sized figures. He based the size of these men on the actual size of the tallest man in the 20th century, Robert Wadlow.

I stood next to these sculptures looking up, up into their faces and it was  the oddest feeling.  Was this how the kids on my bus saw me when they first started going to school?

 It gave me the shivers. They are so very big.

The detail of the sculptures fascinated me. I am all about the details in my own life but to see the level of detail that went into these giants astounded me. Every hair on the backs of their hands were individually inserted into the 'skin. Backpacks were frayed and worn where backpacks should be frayed and worn. Boots had wear and tear from hiking the country side. (riesen translates into trek or journey) Fingernails were encrusted with dirt. And how in the world did they make clothes that big?!

I would love to have taken pictures but the minute I raised my camera someone rushed over in a bit of a panic to tell me it was absolutely forbidden, so any pictures I've posted here of "Riesen' came from the web. (It kind of freaked me out a bit. I felt like both a criminal and an 'art loving' impostor)

We did eventually make it to the Dutch Masters. My favorites tended to be paintings that featured the countryside or activities in the village. Two particular portraits caught my eye. Somehow as I looked at the Lieutenant - Admiral Aert Van Nes and his wife they came alive right in front of me, even though they'd been gone for hundreds of years.

That too gave me the shivers.

Visit your local art gallery. Look for something that speaks to you and write an essay even if the only one to see it is you. You won't regret it.

I do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks Ruth!

© A Life of Whimsey