Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pretty and Delicious!

Just a quick post today. I'm feeling inspired to decorate for fall and I want to take advantage of that! Of course, decorating always brings with it a good bit of dusting and rearranging. It's going to be a busy day...

However, I wanted to share with you this zucchini cake I made the other day. My friend Rachel shared the recipe (click here) and it is delicious!! I modified it a little as I had no self-rising flour in the house, so I made my own, adding leavening. Plus, I used half whole wheat, half white flower. And I used demerara sugar, which I made a little finer in the food processor, instead of white sugar. Excellent!! I have much of it sliced in the freezer for a quick snack if needed...
The picture below I snapped one day when I had gotten a few blackberries out to thaw. I did a few other things and when I turned around again, I was stopped in my tracks. Sometimes ordinary things can be so beautiful!
Hopefully you are having a great week so far. We had a rainy day yesterday and today it's sunny and cooler and the humidity level is dropping fast. Makes me a happy woman! 

I leave for you today with sunny wishes and much love,

P.S. No time for a proper postscript today....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Recently in Atlanta

A few weeks ago Daniel and I went to Atlanta for a couple of days. To be honest, downtown Atlanta isn't my favorite place, but I do love the High Museum and a few of the restaurants close by. We usually stay somewhere close to the museum to be within walking distance.
This time we happened to arrive right at the tail end of the Dream Cars exhibit and are so glad we got to see it!
I'm not usually a car enthusiast, but with these I definitely wanted to take them for a spin.
They were all very advanced designs for their times and none of them (I think) were produced in large numbers. Don't quote me, I could be wrong knowing next to nothing about cars...
Can you spy Daniel reading about the Tasco in the photo below? He took lots of pictures to send to some of his family members in Michigan who work in the car industry.
Just look at some of those designs! Beautiful!
And so shiny! It was good they put up ropes to keep us at a safe distance as I am sure I wasn't the only one wanting to touch them. There were a few guys there practically drooling over some of these beauties...
One thing I wondered - this exhibit was on the second floor of the museum. How in the world did they get all of those cars up there?!

The car below reminded me of a platypus. :)
And this next one is just adorable - sort of like you could fold it up and stick it into your fancy French purse!

Some of the cars were incredibly advanced. This one had a camera in the rear and a monitor next to the steering wheel. They didn't need a rearview mirror! And look at that glass roof!!
There's the camera!

After all that museum going, Daniel felt in need of a rest. Isn't that a fun installation? Later on the hammocks were all filled with school kids.
As much as I don't really like downtown Atlanta, I love some of the more funky neighborhoods with their bookstores, restaurants and boutiques. For breakfast on our way back to Savannah, we stopped in the Candler Park area at the Flying Biscuit Cafe - excellent food and a fun atmosphere!
After that the long(ish) and rather boring drive back to Savannah. We did listen to a great audio book on the way there and back: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, who actually narrated the book excellently. Love his books!!

In other news, we are still having fantastic fall weather and can hardly believe our luck. It's overcast and cool and always threatening to rain. And storms and rain we shall have for the next three days or so. Perfect for all kinds of projects I may or may not work on...

Wishing you the perfect fall day, however that might look to you!! We are off to our local farmers market for some organic produce!

P.S. Remember how yesterday I had no plan and was just going to do what makes me happy? Well, I ended up making a little list just to help me focus. It seems I need that. Otherwise I just end up wasting a lot of time trying to decide what to do and that doesn't make me feel good at all!

P.P.S. Remember the painting I'm working on? Yesterday I painted for a good while and it just didn't flow. There are days like that. In the end I was grateful that I work in acrylics and that I had gesso to cover it up and start over with parts of it. I really had to remind myself that the joy is in the process and not in the final product. I felt slightly (well, more like a lot) grumbly about that!

P.P.P.S. Today is a new day!! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Around the Garden (and my Mind)

Even though our garden starts looking tired right around the end of August into September, there is still plenty of flowering going on.
Yesterday, in an ongoing effort to notice what's beautiful around me, I grabbed the camera in search of flowers and pretty color.
I was not disappointed. Not only was it fun, but relaxing as well.
Lately, I have noticed something interesting. It has probably been there for a long time, but I'm now aware of it, which means there's the potential for change.
Every night when I get ready to go to bed, I feel as though I have not done my homework. You know that feeling from when you were in school? That important project you suddenly remember?!?
That feeling is still with me and it gives me an insight into how I approach my days. Sort of like I'm in college and working and studying toward some fictitious final exam.
Only I have no syllabus and I don't know exactly what to study or when that dreaded exam is scheduled for. I have no idea where that comes from.
No wonder I always feel I'm not doing enough, that I've fallen behind, that I've somehow missed an important assignment and that the final exam could be any minute now and I'm not prepared. (I actually have had dreams like that - where I suddenly have to take an exam in a class I didn't even know I was taking.)
Talk about creating stress in my own life. And why? I have no clue. Somehow at some point I picked up the message that I needed to measure up to some mysterious standard.  And in my mind - probably because I have no clue what this standard is - I never do measure up.
Last night, while doing the dishes (such great time for big thinking), I thought about this. And here's what occurred to me. Life is not a college class. It's just life. Every day is meant to be lived the best way we know how.  Some days are better than others, but any day we live to completion is a good one! And if we are able to find a little sacredness in everyday stuff, even better!
The goal is not someone else's idea of what we should achieve or how we should live our lives, how much money we should or should not have, the career path we should follow, etc. The goal is the happiness we feel. And I'm talking deep happiness here. The kind that isn't swayed by day-to-day occurrences and little aggravations.
And that happiness is deeply personal to each of us. Nobody else can determine what makes us happy. For some people that's art or music or books, for others it's having a large family, skydiving, traveling the world, staying close to home, knitting a sweater, or being a farmer. The possibilities are endless!
And me trying to measure up to some unseen outside standard is just silly and self-defeating.  My days are not about my to-do-lists or how much I've got to show for my efforts of the day. They are about how much I love every minute, every hour, the other beings around me, and (gulp!) myself, the messiness of life, and every darn thing I get to do every day. It's about messing up and laughing about it. It's about forgiving myself for my shortcomings. It's about being kind, always kind to others and self.
So, right now it's 9 a.m. and I'm feeling an inner worry that I haven't gotten enough done yet and it's "already" 9 o'clock. This is deep-seated in me through years of practice (good girl that I am...), but that's not important. Awareness is! And now that I am aware, I can already feel the pattern shifting.
So, Friday, here I come. I have no agenda, no list, no plan. I have one goal: to do what brings me joy. And then to spread that joy around wherever I go! And to have a good giggle or two... And to be kind to myself when I mess up that one goal. Which I most certainly will.

In that spirit may you feel loved and cherished, and may the universe tickle your funny bone today!

P.S. I foresee a little art, some sewing, some reading, playing with Winslow, spending time with Daniel when he gets home from work and cooking some excellent food. I think today (another glorious, overcast, almost rainy fall day) calls for comfort food.

P.P.S. I've always loved the postscripts. Way back when, when I was much younger and still writing real letters (ah, the dark ages before the internet!), they always had one or two or three P.S.

P.P.P.S. Just because... 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I can't deny it. I'm a glutton for color. I crave color.
I tried once to join the white/off white elegant crowd, but it was no good.
I soon found myself in color withdrawal. Brightly colored - that's how I like my little world.  
As you can well see on this latest painting in progress. Quite colorful! And it's not even done yet...
Same with my sewing yesterday. My studio upstairs has dropped below sauna temperatures (let's hear a big cheer for Fall!) and it's possible again to sit at my sewing machine without sweating profusely onto my projects in progress. That's a good thing!
I'm making placemats in fabrics that just make me want to jump up and down with happiness!
And just in time for Dia de los Muertos! I'm not the huge fan of Halloween that most others seem to be, but I LOVE anything to do with Dia de los Muertos.
Give me a smiling skull anytime over a scary pumpkin.
I have four more to finish and all with different fabrics! Just you wait and see - it's going to be a color explosion!!
I'm sure they will make our food taste even better than it already does! How could they not?!

Sending you brightly-colored wishes for a happy day and lots lot love!

P.S. One thing I found out while sewing these (not that it's really a big surprise to me) is that I cannot sew a a perfectly straight line for the life of me. Another thing I found out: it doesn't really matter! Isn't that nice to know?

P.P.S. Perfect is highly overrated! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Granola Bars - well, sort of...

I have made quite a few recipes from this cookbook and all of them have been excellent! Most excellent! If we ever make it back to London, I want to eat at one of his restaurants. For sure!! 
Ok, so yesterday with the weather nice and cool I felt like baking. Oh, whom am I kidding? I always feel like baking! I had decided to make the granola bars from this book. Hm. It started out fine, but I got somewhat hung up on the cooking the caramel part. The instructions weren't precise and I am not patient. At all!
It looked fine and it dumped out of the baking form fine after it was done, but then when I tried to cut it after it cooled down, this happened:
Granola bars? I think not! More like granola crumble. But most delicious granola crumble. Did I care that I had to eat it with a spoon? What do you think? ;-) In fact, I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing in one sitting!
So this morning, instead of packing a nice granola bar in Daniel's lunch bag, I gave him a little tub of the good stuff with a spoon. I have a feeling he won't mind either.

Of course I'll give this another try. I don't like to be defeated by recipes. Next time I'll try to be more patient and cook the caramel longer so that it hardens more and glues all the good bits together.

Sending you love and gooey goodness!

P.S. How do you like my chicken mug? My sister-in-law gave to it me a couple of years back and it's still my favorite "good morning, have a fun day" mug.

P.P.S. The weather is still blustery and cool and I LOVE it!! I know it'll get warmer again tomorrow and the rest of the week, but for today I'm enjoying feeling chilled... I might have to bake something else. Who know?!