Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Business Travel

This week I was traveling for meetings again. This isn't a big part of my job, but it is a part of it.The return trip was the challenge. Up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a plane from San Antonio to Denver, but not before landing in Dallas and then Amarillo. Denver weather held me up in Amarillo, which started my sketching time. I didn't have my sketch gear so I used my trusty ball point pen and a couple pieces of blank bond paper I happened to have. It did help pass the time, and was calming.

I also brought along "An Illustrated Life" to read. I've been looking at the pictures for many months and finally started reading the text. I find it insightful to read what professional artists do for their illustrated journals, but I wish he would have talked to regular people who don't have the college art degree and don't have the art career. These are the regular folks that this whole every day matters movement was directed toward. Danny Gregory can go in any direction he pleases, and I do admire professional artists, but I want to see how regular people like me use illustrated journals in their day-to-day lives. I don't think I'll ever view a journal like a professional artist does, though I was pleased that I could relate to what several of the artists describe as reasons for journaling. Now that Danny has 'gone pro' in his work and Dan Price is publishing his Moonlight Chronicles only half the year and given up gainful employment for surfing, I feel us regular people are loosing our champions of the every-day illustrated journaling movement. For that I'm sad.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sketch Crawl Feb/2012

Well, it's Sketch Crawl Feb/2012. This time we went to the Bass Pro Shop in Independence, Mo. My first time in this store, and I was impressed. Plenty of decor to sketch. Didn't get too many stares from customers, either. Everyone was too busy shopping to notice us. All the old equipment used for decoration seemed to have a story if only they could talk.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spork Vandal

For Christmas I received a bamboo spork, among other things. Cody thought it would make a nice backpacking accessory, and I agree with him. Light. Strong. Functional. Multi-use. That's the type of item just made for backpacking. I left the spork on the floor in the living room for the night. 

A little more plot development is needed here. Brian and Michelle brought their adorable beagle Moab to stay, too. He's as cute as can be. Doesn't say much. He is a real slave to his nose, being a pure bred hunting dog. He'll trail his masters through the yard or through a city block of concrete and asphalt. A true master of tracking. He's got a run of the house because he's behaved. At least that's the prevailing belief.

We all go to bed and in the morning I find the spork is eaten in half, with the tines nowhere to be found. We ask Moab if he saw anything and he just looks at us with that cute mug. Couldn't have been him. I guess we'll never know.

The spork is made by bambu and marketed as picnic ware. I found where they bought it (a kitchen supply store) and went back and bought two. We'll try them out.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Quilting Run

Had a chance to catch some more rural urban. The wife needed a quilting supply run. We have a choice of Topeka, Lawrence, Eudora, Manhattan, Kansas City, Overbrook and Burlingame. I don't know how she chooses but she has her favorites depending on what she needs at the time. Today it was Burlingame. It's drizzling out and it's cold, but a short road trip is always fun. I stayed in the car to sketch as she shopped. I liked the descending lines looking down the street and it needed to be sketched.

After sketching/shopping, we hit a local restaurant. Aunt B's. They had fresh scratch-made potato soup with a scratch-made dinner roll for me. Wilma had a fresh biorock. I love this place! I talked with the owner couple and they spend a lot of hours in that little shop. We'll need to come back on a Saturday morning for biscuits and gravy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Followup on Biscuits

In my last post, Jane Angell responded and was supportive of my quest to understand the English Biscuit. To help in the dialog, here is the recipe I found on, submitted by Rhonda Warhol, called Cinnamon Biscuits.

Mix these in a large bowl-
   All-purpose flour  2 cups (250 g)
   salt  1/2 tsp (3 g)
   ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons (5 g)
Cut in-
   butter, softened  1/2 cup (115 g)
Mix with a fork until crumbly.
   white sugar  1/2 cup (100 g)
   vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Mix to a stiff paste. Mix in one beaten egg. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll out dough thinly and cut into 24 rounds.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly gold in color. Let cool on wire rack.

Comments on the site for this recipe said they missed the milk. I found it too dry, too, so I added some. However, I'm American and the recipe isn't. Do the Brits use milk to form a tacky dough? The recipe said roll out thin. I did, and got closer to 50 biscuits so I went too thin. How thin is thin? And is this really "The basic English biscuit,with a dash of cinnamon." as specified on the recipe? Does anyone have a recipe they could hold up as a prime example to a classic English biscuit?

BTW: Sketching will continue. This blog has NOT been converted to a food network channel. This is a food compulsive tangent that must be satisfied, though.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tea & Biscuits (?)

I just don't know what an English Biscuit is. That's not something we run across in Kansas.We don't have fine china tea cups (Corelle works fine). I don't know what you do in a Tea Room. But I do know I like hot tea. In an effort to drop a few pounds I've tried to cut out late night snacks like cookies or ice cream, but I need something. Recently I've gone to hot tea, but that causes late night bathroom runs. Then I figured out that, in true American fashion, portion size was excessive. I was drinking too much tea with my 12-16 oz cup. Maybe the British have something with their 6 oz. serving. 

Also their biscuit idea may have merit. Low sugar and nice and bland. That would be good before bed. So, a quick Internet search yields a recipe that claims to be a traditional English biscuit. The results were fine by me but I still don't know if they are the "real deal". They'll work just fine.

So, one small cup of hot tea with a little milk, and a couple small biscuits. That beats down the craving for REAL calories. I will continue my quest to understand the Brits cuisine, and to question the American super-size and super-sweet approach.

If anyone has exposure to the British tea and biscuit cuisine, I'd value your observations. Also, what IS a retail tea room and its rituals, as Liz and others talk about? And with that I end my not-so-masculine post.

Process notes: I used my Noodler's Ahab flex nib on this post again, followed by watercolor pencils, waterbrush on Arches Velin text woven. The ink flow tends to be finicky at the start, after not using the pen for a few days, but it does wake up. I still like the responsiveness of the nib. The ink is Noodler's Lexington Gray.