Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So long ... for a little while

Dear friends, we are heading south tomorrow to Florida and then even further south into the Caribbean.

So, I am signing off for a couple a couple of weeks and wish you all a wonderful few days. And to my friends and family here in the US, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

I will miss you all!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Ok, I know I am jumping from fall to Christmas to fall, but that's sort of how it is right now. Part of why we are putting up decorations so early this year is that my dad is coming here next week and then we'll be traveling quite a bit. So, we won't be here much during the holiday season and thought we could enjoy it a little ahead of time. Plus, it'll be cozy for our house sitter! 
In the meantime autumn has finally fully arrived here. I always feel cheated out of fall when everyone talks about the leaves changing and nothing is happening here.
We've lived here now for over five years and still I forget that fall doesn't arrive until mid-November. But then it is beautiful, usually sunny and cool and dry and many of the leaves change to spectacular colors.
Then we'll have a fairly mild winter for a month or two before spring begins sometime in February. By mid-March everything will be in full bloom again!

It is only the hot and humid and hot (did I mention hot?) summer that seems to last forever. But we won't talk about that again until next year...
Still, even in November it is mild here and an eggplant bush that had come up from seed this summer finally decided to produce several beautiful eggplant. We aren't complaining, but it will probably be our neighbors who get to harvest while we are gone...
Now, on to my daily gratitude list:


Right now, I am grateful for:
  1. A beautiful and sunny fall day that is cool, but warm enough to have the windows open
  2. My dad coming to visit
  3. Breakfast at my favorite cafe this morning
  4. The internet for allowing me to connect with all of you
  5. My family and friends! For sure!! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Can you guess...

... what we've been doing all morning?
I know it's a little early, but I'm so totally in the holiday spirit this year... Any of you as well?!

And you bet this is part of my gratitude list today...


Right now, I am grateful for:
  1. getting out our Christmas decorations and slowly starting to decorate around the house
  2. much cooler weather with plenty of sunshine
  3. colorful yarn ready to be made into something beautiful
  4. a surprise package that arrived yesterday
  5. Nutella (yum!!) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baking some more...

A couple of days ago, I made this Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake (also found on Pinterest) for one of Daniel's classes, but didn't get to taste any of it. And before I pass the recipe on to you, I have to know if it is really any good...

So, tonight we have the opening for another printmaking show and I decided to bring this cake. I made it this morning and just tasted a piece - decidedly delicious!

At first I was sceptical of the recipe as it uses a yellow cake mix and I like to make my cakes from scratch. But it got such rave reviews that I gave it a try and am I ever glad I did!! If you'd like a peek at the recipe, simply click here.

Now, what am I grateful for today?


Let's see....
  1. Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake :)
  2. connecting with a good friend today
  3. Mexican Chicken Lime Soup in the slow cooker (have you noticed how I love food?!)
  4. having the back door open in mild mid-November weather
  5. the cup of black tea I am about to make...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Remember me telling you about Pinterest yesterday? That's where I found the link to these delicious pumpkin muffins I made today. Click here for the quick and yummy recipe!
They truly were super fast to make and are quite healthy. Try them!!


Daily Gratitude List:

Right now, I am grateful for:
  1. freshly baked muffins
  2. my love for baking
  3. a foggy morning and sunny afternoon
  4. dinner with friends tonight
  5. getting my hair cut this afternoon

Monday, November 14, 2011

Have you heard of...


It's basically a website of virtual pin boards. At first I thought it was just pretty (like my color pin board), but I am actually finding it quite useful.  
On my food pin board I am collecting all kinds of recipes I want to try out. Each photo pin links back to the original website and gives credit as to where the photo came from.
I have to be careful to not spend too much time there, but the time I spend I find incredibly inspiring!
It makes me dream and think of what I might like to do and where I might like to go.
I think you have to be invited by someone to join Pinterest (it's free), but I'm not sure. If that's the case, just e-mail me and I'll invite you to join if you are interested. Ok, that sounds like I'm advertising for them, but I just like to let others know what inspires me...

Now on to my gratitude list.


Right now, I am grateful for:

  1. all of your comments on my last few blog posts
  2. the birds singing outside my window
  3. a warm and sunny autumn morning
  4. Ramses on my lap
  5. a hot cup of English Breakfast tea with a little milk

Sunday, November 13, 2011


The proud artist and some of her work... :-)
We went to the print studio open house on Friday and it was fun seeing everyone there with their print work. Some students were doing demos and we got to visit with people we hadn't seen in a while.

Lately, so much has happened in my circle of friends that has got me thinking about what is really important. It also had me realize how much I have in my life to be grateful for! So, I decided that my word for next year, what I really want to focus on, is gratitude.

And then I thought: "Why wait until next year?" So, starting immediately, I am going to add five things I am grateful for at the end of every blog post. And if I have nothing else to blog about that day, I will still post the gratitude list.

Connected with that I have decided to really focus on my blog and yours much more than I had this previous year. I have realized again these last few weeks just what a very special community we have here. We are kindred spirits who would (probably) not have found each other without the internet. It truly amazes me.

So, in the new year (I won't have time before then as we'll be traveling a bit and then visiting family) there will be some fun changes to my blog and you'll see me around much more visiting yours!


Today, I am grateful for:

  1. being able to sit on our back porch in the sunshine
  2. being able to enjoy the day with Daniel
  3. having talked with my sister this morning
  4. being connected to all of you
  5. my cold feeling much better this morning

Friday, November 11, 2011

Evolution of a print

Ramses, my art critic (I'm not sure if him sitting on my art means he likes it or exactly the opposite), thought I should show you my final three prints and some of the before and after photos. 
So, here is the first one, which you had already seen after the first printing. It was a process of white ground on an aquatint. I then wanted to tone down some of the highlights, but the ground I used to stop out the areas I wanted to keep light, failed and the whole image ended up dark.

That's when I thought it was ruined. But my teacher said that as long as there is copper, it can be fixed.
So after burnishing and burnishing some more and then a sugar lift and aquatint to bring back some darks, here is the final print of this. So much more beautiful than it would have been had I not "ruined" it.
The same happened with this next print. Here, you can see the white ground painted onto the copper plate. The areas that are white will etch less than the areas that are left uncovered.
After the first printing, I again wanted to do some more work on it - there were several areas that I wanted to tone down and define some more. 
And again, the ground I put on to stop out areas I wanted to keep the same, failed and everything was dark and looked totally ruined to me.
And again, it wasn't. I burnished and did another sugar lift and aquatint and love the final print. All those different layers were so necessary for the end result.
And then there is my third print, my serious self-portrait that you have already seen. I wanted to show you the white ground on the copper plate though because I worked it reductively.

I first applied a layer of white ground to the whole plate and then drew on it (and thereby removing the white ground to allow the copper to be etched) with a blending stump. And then I used a paper towel to work in the larger shadow areas.
After the first printing, I cropped the image, which simply means I cut off part of the copper plate, to make it more interesting to me. I didn't need to do any other work on it. This one was finished after the first couple of processes.
This morning I pulled editions of three prints for each of these images and all went beautifully. I have really grown to love this class and process. I have learned so much not only about etching, but about myself. It was so challenging at times and at the same time so rewarding.

Today, as I inked my plates nine times, wiped the ink off nine times, printed nine times, I found it relaxing and quite meditative, something I had not believed possible at the beginning of the class.

And while I am writing this about the copper plates I thought were ruined and how the end result was so much better than the initial print I had planned, I am reminded of our lives and how we often wish we could only have the good times and not the rest.

But isn't it the totality of our experiences that adds depth and beauty to our lives? At least that's what I find in my life. I love the person I am becoming and this person would not be possible without every single experience I have had in my life. And for all of those experiences - truly all of them - I am eternally grateful!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This community of ours...

Some of you saw this post yesterday, but then I took it down. I wasn't sure if I should post this already, just being sensitive to Anne's privacy. But, as Elena pointed out, Anne is a huge believer in power of community, and asked for prayers, so I decided to post it again today.

Yesterday I learned from my sweet friend, Elena, that our dear friend, Anne of El Milagro, is facing a very difficult health issue. 
A beautiful mixed-media shrine made by Anne (back)
Anne and I met here in blogland when I first started blogging and there was an instant connection. I cannot believe we have never met in person, because it feels like I've always known her. We were instant friends. As I know she has connected with many of you.
A beautiful mixed-media shrine made by Anne (front)
I know how wonderful this community is at surrounding people with love and support and I know we'll all do that for Anne! Be strong, dear friend!!

I am so grateful for all of you and for this community we have built here!!

P.S. I know many of you are concerned about Anne, but at this point, I don't want to give out any more details than this until I know it's ok with her.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This morning, still coughing and sniffling (but feeling a little better), I did something I haven't done in a long time. I covered a canvas with beautiful papers, later to be painted over, painted on and hopefully showing through a little at the end.

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy that process of preparing a canvas with papers and texture.

While I love the classes I am taking and am learning so much from the professors and the students, what I still love most of all is making my own art in my own little studio.

Right now I don't have the piece of mind to make much art nor will I have much time for it before the end of the year, but my head is filled with ideas and slowly and surely they will make their way onto canvas, paper or even copper plates...

I wish you a peaceful and creative day!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Friday I started coming down with a cold. I still went to the print studio in the morning and got a good bit done (including working on the two copper plates I thought ruined, which really weren't!!). Friday afternoon, I rested.

Then yesterday, I woke up with a good bit of energy which I put to good use. When I have a cold I want to eat. And I really craved baked goods. So I made two loaves of my favorite grainy German no-knead, five-minute bread. My good friend, Verena, introduced me to this recipe a couple of years ago and since then we have never been without this bread. The recipe makes two loaves and it freezes beautifully! You can find the recipe link in this post
And then I made a batch of these interesting little almond biscotti.
I was a little suspicious of the recipe at first because they are made with whole wheat flour, almond meal, chopped almonds, olive oil and honey. Particularly the olive oil sounded a little strange.
But I've now made them four times already. They are simply delicious and are quickly becoming a favorite cookie!! You can find the recipe here if you are interested.
And then, for good measure, I also made some Memphis Chopped Cole Slaw to go with some yummy BBQ last night. It's my favorite cole slaw recipe and I've shared the recipe with you before in this post.

Today, I will simply rest and allow the cold to take it's course. If it is the same bug Daniel had last week (which I am assuming it is), I should be feeling much better by tomorrow.

In the meantime I wish you a beautiful Sunday and hope that all is well in your world....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Garden

It is hard to believe that it is November! Didn't we just start the new year?!? It's even harder to believe when walking through our yard. Here a sampling of what is still happening in our garden:
Mexican Petunia

Confederate Rose, day 2 (on the first day they bloom bright white)



Forgot the name...




Gerbera Daisy

One lone small hydrangea flower
I hope your November is off to a good start!

And to all of you who were affected by the recent snow storm, I hope that your power is back on and your lives are returning to normal.