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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Starting off 2010 with a new "toy"!

"Holga cameras are medium-format toy film cameras that are cheaply made and known for light leaks, overexposure, vignetting and vivid colors. [see photo above] The Holga would be considered by many people a cheap clunker. But the Holga has recently made a comeback with a cult following of those who feel its imperfections make the camera mysterious and every image unique."---from "How to Use a Holga Camera" on

I am not a photographer, yet. I am an artist. As an artist, I like direct results and total control. So this little camera, where anything may happen and I can't even see WHAT HAS HAPPENED until the film develops [and that film and processing is only available in limited places...that is NOT at Walmart or Walgreens (yeah!!!)] will be a step into unchartered territory for me! I am excited about the new direction, and will keep you posted!
BTW, it is all my daughter's fault that I find myself in this situation. A week ago, I didn't have a clue about the existence of this toy.
Laura told me that she is waiting for hers to arrive. It had been ordered as a Christmas gift.
Then she showed me photos on-line and blogs which featured the camera's output. Hmmm, a new toy and it can be used for blogging???? There was no way to resist placing that order! [and wonder what I was getting myself "into"!]
Today, I was browsing through shops in quaint, downtown Siloam Springs, AR with my friend, Sally. We had finished a fine lunch at the English Tea Room and went into an art gallery/retro/vintage shop. There on the shelf was a HOLGA! I could show her what I was talking about. [I visit Sally "once in a blue moon" which of course, is today, LOL!....the art gallery had a landscape entitled, "Once in a blue moon".]
On my way home, I phoned our house. "Dear Mr. Pear" told me that I had a package I confessed that I had ordered the Holga and told him I will share...[he has been a photographer for years....we'll see if he uses it.?]
Next year (next week) I will get some 120 film (a friend has some rolls he has offered to me) and get started...just point and shoot, right?
BUT, tomorrow, NEW YEARS DAY, I plan to have a day of working in the type of art I am used to, watercolor, collage and acrylic...that is my idea of a "Happy New Year".
How are you planning to spend the holiday????

Monday, December 28, 2009

Peaceful Christmas in Georgia

[Above, grandson "B3" takes a break from the work of unwrapping all the gifts!]

Using my new yoga mat (thank-you "secret santa") with my grandson, "downward facing dog" pose.

Dear Mr. Pear [Steve] and the grandchildren the morning we left.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our last morning in Georgia.....why not make a special breakfast?
Panetonne Bread Pudding! I have "googled" and read several recipes. I think this will be a wonderful last meal with our loved ones and will get us started onthe drive home through, Georgia, Tennesee and Arkansas!

Now down to put it together, ready to bake in the morning!
[Image and recipe available at "Wives with Knives" blog.]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Because I am on the road, and "out of Pocket", what I am referring you to is a beautiful holiday post from my friend, Macrina. She has a special gift for finding peace and hope in everyday life!

I am at my daughter's home and am having a wonderful Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful week, too!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Granny Square Mania...or a great project for a road trip!

I hesitate to use the word "mania" as this is very relaxing. For me, the "manic" excitement comes from seeing all the beautiful, scrappy yarn colors coming together! They are very much like the scrappy quilts I love, but more portable while they are being formed!
I love looking at these eclectic granny square creations![The photo with the crochet hook is of my squares.]

Where, besides leftovers and scraps to find small amounts of colorful yarn? Try visiting Pickup Sticks for their "small balls" of worsted weight wool. Yarn candy!

Good granny square directions can be found at and below are basic directions.
Basic Granny Square
1. Chain (ch) 4.2. Close into a ring with 1 slip stitch (sl st) in the first chain.
This is the center ring.
Then follow these instructions to complete the first round.
1. Chain (ch) 3 for your first double crochet (dc) and then work 2 more double crochet stitches into the ring. Chain 2.
This is your first corner
2. Work 3 more double crochets in the ring and chain 2.
3. Repeat step 2 two times.
You now have your four corners.
4. Join the round by working 1 slip stitch in the top of the turning chain. Don't turn your work.
To go on to the second round, follow these steps:
1. Slip stitch across to the first ch-2 space and then chain (ch) 3 for the first double crochet (dc).
2. Work 2 double crochets in the first ch-2 space, chain 2, then work 3 more double crochets in the same ch-2 space. Chain 1.
3. Work 3 double crochets, chain 2, work 3 more double crochets all in the next chain-2 space. Chain 1.
4. Repeat step 3 twice, which brings you to the last side of the motif. Work 1 slip stitch in the top of the turning chain to hold.
[You can change colors of yarn (usually when you finish a "round") as often as you like!]

We will be traveling to our daughter's for the week of Christmas. Making granny squares is a satisfying, and meditative way to add color to the miles of interstate highway! Maybe, some day, I'll have enough completed squares to make an afghan. The important thing for now is to relax and enjoy the journey!

Here is a recipe for a favorite Christmas cookie which, once we arrive, the grandchildren may help me to bake. It is from my friend Sally and I have enjoyed it for years!


□ 3 c. flour
□ 1 tsp. nutmeg
□ 2 sticks butter
□ 3/4 c. sugar
□ 1 egg
□ 2 tsp. vanilla
□ 1 tbsp. rum
□ 3 tbsp. butter, softened
□ 1/2 tsp. vanilla
□ 1 tsp. rum
□ 2 1/2 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
□ 2-3 tbsp. evaporated milk or cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 large cookie sheets. Sift flour and nutmeg together. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and rum. Gradually add flour, mixing with spoon until well blended. Roll dough into 1/2 inch logs on a floured surface. Place logs 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes until light brown. Cool on wire rack. Prepare icing by creaming butter, vanilla, and rum. Beat in sugar alternately with cream. Spread over cookies, use a fork to make "stripes" or ridges (bark) and sprinkle with nutmeg.
With work and travel, I am not on-line much these days.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Be safe and savor the little things!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tokyo Milk Products (something lovely!)

As you have probably noticed, birds are "in"....they are appearing everywhere and I love seeing them! This week, I discovered bath products by Tokyo Milk. The graphics of the labels are so beautiful (one is a sparrow), and the bar soaps even have fine glitter on the art work to add to the charm. I will save the labels for collage and enjoy the wonderful soaps and perfumes! Great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts!



Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread

I am feeling much better after a day of total rest and medications. Soon, I plan to make this shortbread cookie, recipe .

It is from the JOY of BAKING web page....I will have to read more of the recipes there!

One thing I have "enjoyed" while healing from this pinched nerve is my microwavable neck "pillow" or tube, which is filled with rice and lavender. BTW we had made these comforting neck pillows a few weeks back....I did NOT sew it while my neck was hurting! So warm and relaxing! Easy to sew too! ( The pattern is from , I tried and tried to put the direct link to these instructions, but ended up writing her directions below.)

Directions for the Original Rice Hot Pack: For those who would like to stick with the traditional rice pack project, which produces a 3' x 4.5" tube, divided into rice filled segments, here are the full directions:
Supplies: scrap of cotton fabric ( be sure to use 100% cotton!), 37"x 10"; thread; chalk; sewing machine; one cup measure; measuring tape; scissors; 6 cups of white rice (not instant).
Skills:This is an easy to make beginner's sewing project. Ability to measure, cut, and sew rectangles with half inch seams.
What You Do:Fold fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew along the bottom and length using half inch seams. Turn tube right side out. Measure and mark with chalk, from bottom seam, every 6" along the length, ending a half inch from end. Pour one cup of rice (mixed with dried lavender it you can find it, our local health food store stocks it) into tube and sew across width at the first 6" mark, enclosing rice in a 6" x 4.5" rectangle. Repeat for remaining 5 cups of rice. Turn in a half inch from end, and sew very near the edge to close tube.
Include these instructions with your gift: "Rice Buddy Hot Pack/Cold Pack. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, until hot, and use as you would a hot water bottle. Great for easing aches and pains. For cold pack, store in the freezer."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tree decorating tonight!

Our tree has lots of white lights and 2 ornaments at the moment. The bird ornament happened to stay on there from last year, the sparkly gold pear was a find this week at Pottery Barn.



I'm missing work today....we didn't get the tree decorated last night after all. I have come down with a pinched nerve (s) and muscle spasms which has affected my left arm, neck shoulder and upper back. I am typing with my right hand...taking pain meds and muscle relaxers. As soon as I post this, I will go lie down on my back and rest as much as possible.

I hope to come back later and tell you about Tokyo Milk bath products and a wonderful shortbread cookie with dried cranberries and and green in a cookie, you know!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A winter cake...

This delicious recipe is from December 1, 2010 Woman's Day .

The recipe makes two, 8 inch round cakes....I think one will be enough cake for me and Mom. [I am visiting her for a couple of days this week]. So, a half recipe perhaps with 1/3 of the original sugar amount will be what I bake!


This afternoon we made this recipe from Real Simple, "Quick Beef Bourguignonne". Tender and tasty....we let it "stew" a couple of hours. It works well in a slow cooker too! Even better the next day!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rosehips remaining.....on my mind.

The photo of these bouquets below is from Martha Stewart's latest e-mail newsletter.

Bouquets here in the pewter vessels are made with rose hips.

We have lots of rose hips around town this winter....unfortunately none are on my property! I am tempted constantly by a large rose bush in the parking lot of where I work. I see it everyday as the traffic whizzes by that corner....

I have a good friend with an abundant supply of rosehips in her garden. [Unfortunately, she doesn't live very close!]

After the beautiful roses fall, petal by petal, what remain are the rosehips. I feel that these are often overlooked but so full of possibility! I definitely will do a watercolor sketch which features them. [Even if I paint them from a photo rather than a real branch!]

Sometimes, I am able to look upon my dearth of rosehips as a hidden blessing....because if I had them, I'm sure I would be compelled to try rosehip jelly, rosehip tea and all kinds of "antique recipes" just to say that I did! [and I already have enough projects and delights everyday!]

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