Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Found Balsamic

I know the rest of the world already knows what this stuff is . . . but I just found it. Always heard the name. My recent readings on food and health point to the benefits of whole foods, and cooking from scratch. One author of a cook book mentions balsamic vinegar on her short list of base ingredients to have around the kitchen, so I bought some. Now that I have a bottle of good stuff I recognize the taste from foods at our Italian fare restaurants. It seems related to other things I like: malt vinegar for fish (thanks, Great Britain), brewed soy sauce (Kikkimon), and burgandy wine served at room temperature. All these are old foods that pre-date our industrialized food industry, too, which is something author Micheal Pollan advocates. Hmm, maybe there's something to this whole food thing.

BUT, I'm not turning veggie. Although I won't become a vegatarian, I'm beginning to think that vegatarians have more things right than wrong in their beliefs. Looks like we kinda screwed ourselves up with this diet most of us have that they call the Western Diet. Pursuit of profits have created a food industry that has mislead the way we've learned to eat, but it's not hopeless. I've got more to learn. Still not sure who I can believe and who I shouldn't.

As for my journaling, I am now using one of those tall green journals seen in my last post . . . one of my babies. My Moleskine had a few pages left, but I just can't bring myself to sideline my new journal until the Moleskine is finished. Journaling in the book I just made is like eating the crackers I just made . . . they're whole . . . they're me . . . they're basic. It just seems like a good way to go.

Note: Using the doggie biscuit cutter to make the crackers was my idea (yes, I have a recipe book and cutters to make pet food). My daughter was not humored.

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Batch

Well, I've been busy applying what I learned in one of Roz's book binding classes at the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts. The red journal is from class, and measures about 5"x6.5" landscape. I made a second one (green) at home to make sure I remembered the process. Then three small ones about 3"x5" (scraps) and three 5"x8". All these used Velin Arches light weight watercolor (printmaking) paper. Then I made two at 5.5"x7.5" using Strathmore Aquarius II, also a light weight watercolor paper. Some of these will be going to family, which will just give me a reason to make more. I've wanted to learn bookbinding for many years and I'm tickled to finally do it. When I finish my current Moleskine, I'll start using one of the green 5"x8" journals, and I'm not looking back. (p.s. two thumbs up for Roz and her artistic and teaching skills)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Way Too Much Snow

Well, the snow just won't quit here in eastern Kansas. We had our first big snow in a long time, 11 inches, on December 24/25. Then last Wednesday, less than two weeks later, we get pounded again. This time 5 inches but much more wind and much colder. Wind chills -10F to -20F. And I get to shovel in all of it. We've blown shut many times and I'm all sore. Borrowed my brother's Ford 8N (see post of April 22, 2008: Tribute to the Ford 8N) with a blade and bladed us out once and for all today. The winds have finally stopped pushing the snow. The neighbors and us have seen nothing like this in the 12+ years we've all been out here.

Note on process: The sketch of the mailbox is my coldest I've done to date, at a sunny 7F.
I did it lead free, which is my habit lately, but especially for the time savings. A pencil sketch would take too long. In a short 5-10 minutes my fingers were numb, so I had to add color back in the warm house. The waterbrush would have frozen up. A couple neighbors drove by as I was sketching, so they probably question my sanity.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Latte of 2010

Another year begins. Of course, that calls for a cup of joe. Since it's a snowy holiday, I made it at home, and decide on a latte, using some homemade marshmallows that my daughter and I made this week. They work Great. I've also been pondering what I did last year that I wanted to get done and what I might want to do next year. I don't get wrapped up in making a New Year's resolution but I do like to give it a think. Hope everyone gets a chance to spread their creative wings this year . . . without pulling a muscle.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Too Much Snow

We've been here for 13 years and this latest snow storm drifted the worst we've ever seen. The snow hit the day before Christmas. December snowfall for Topeka set a new local record. Most of the driveway was fine, but the start and ending of the driveway both had killer drifts that took quite a while to dig out. Makes me think about what to do when I'm all gray and not able to shovel. Some of the neighbors have nice REAL tractors with blade and/or front scoop, or little Bobcats to do the work. Seems overkill . . . until you have drifts like this. The workout felt good, though. I still ate too much but some of the guilt went away from this exercise.