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Thursday, February 23, 2012

My daughter's children......

.....sewing for those 7 month old twin girls is keeping me busy! They MUST have the proper wardrobe for an Easter trip to Jamaica....(including 2 "christening" dresses).

Here (above) is a chair full of little sundresses, a hat, and "bloomers" in various stages of being sewn....below a rick-rack trimmed sunsuit is ready for shipping to them!

[I have ordered white batiste for 2 little christening dresses and will post about those when I sew them!]

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to capture a moment.....(or "giving equal time to "pears", after my post on "indigo"...)

Step one, buy a handmade pottery pitcher from a local artisan.
Step two, roam the yard/garden searching for somethin lovely to fill the new container.
Step three, arrange everything on the new table runner.....and add a pear!

Step four, grab your camera to record this from a couple of different angles. Trying to hold the camera steady, but it is not too important as these photos are just for general reference when I (hopefully) start doing a watercolor based on this moment.

Step five, wait a day or two....the pear is getting ripe! Still no time to paint. Grab sketchbook and make a loose pencil drawing directly from the still life, not the photos....(go over this sketch with India ink pens when the pencil drawing will not scan properly for this post!)

Step six, eat the pear for breakfast.....perhaps pausing to sketch it after slicing,.... or NOT.

Hope for time to get out the watercolors while the arrangement is still on the table....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Attention! this is my post # 1,000!

This textile artist with permanently blue hands knows the

Power of INDIGO !

Aboubakar Fofana has worked for years in Africa, France, Japan and Great Britain to preserve the ancient dying techniques for these beautiful textiles.

I had first read about him in "Indigo in search of the Color which Seduced the World", a wonderful travel and adventure by Catherine McKinley.

Last week my friend Paula brought me a back issue of "Traditional Homes" magazine, April 2009, which featured an article about him.
This piqued my interest and I found a lot on the Internet.

Blogger Holli Zollinger writes about these textiles here .

You can read more about Catherine McKinley HERE .

All this thinking about indigo seems appropriate for this my 1,000th post!
When I impulsively started blogging, I named my blog by "pulling" two words "out of the air", hence "indigo" (a color I loved!) and "pears" so ordinary but still fascinating to an artist!

I am considering taking an on-line indigo dying class with Shibori Girl . I have enjoyed using her textiles in my art work recently!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two great Valentines for those of us who stitch!

These are a surprise from my friend Diane, of "Lavender Dreams" blog! Love them! [thank-you Diane!!!!]

Getting my home ready for Valentines (time to put away my pine tree "Christmas" table runner), I wanted something different and contemporary but still crafty and I was inspired by the blogger at "i heart linen" , Rashida Coleman-Hale, to create something in the "Zakka" style.....a new tablerunner with neutral linen and fun strips of color!

"Rashida Coleman-Hale has gathered talented designers from around the world to bring you 24 delightful Zakka projects. Zakka, a Japanese term meaning “many things,” is all about all the little things that improve your home and appearance."

Now, I'm set for a month or two!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Today, February 8th, is the Hari-Kuyo festival (see yesterday's post).

this was my sewing basket last night. I was determined to do some stitches to be ready for the festival.....then I found this old crochet piece (from my grandmother) which was just perfect for the back.

Now it is almost finished....a small Valentine stitchery. To hang or not, to keep or to give away...

it just needs my signature in red pigma pen, down in the corner!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

What is this woman doing with her old pins and needles?

Look here for a blog post explaining a festival celebrated annually on February 8th.

Known as the Festival of Broken Needles, it is a ritual of thanks and respect for tools of the sewing, tailoring and embroidery trades. It dates back 1500 years; women (and men) dress in fine kimono and gather together all of the needles they've used, broken and/or and worn out during the previous year. They proceed to the local temple or shrine, where a three-tiered altar is prepared. The lower level displays sewing accessories, such as scissors, thimbles, thread and so forth. The top tier offers seasonal fruit, and white mochi (ceremonial rice cake offerings). In the center section is a large slab of tofu, into which everyone plunges the pieces of their broken needles.

It is time to slow down and appreciate the small things we take for granted in our lives.

I remember being told that needles were very precious to the early pilgrims, they were treasured and shared as they were few in number!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Because my sister had given me some Ozark black walnuts, I HAD to bake this
"Blackberry Jam Cake" from P. Allen Smith's grandmother! [We watched him make this on his TV show yesterday.]...this one is baked in my grandmother's very antique graniteware tube pan!

Black walnuts, raisins, buttermilk, flour and eggs are assembled to begin making the cake.

Following his instructions, the eggs are separated and the whites beaten until frothy but not meringue!

Adding the buttermilk and blackberry jam gives the batter a wonderful deep color!

As it cooled on the plate, I made a syrup of the blackberry jam and some red wine, simmering until it thickened a bit....then used it to glaze the cake.

Here is the recipe from P. Allen Smith's website. [my pan was smaller so I made half of the recipe!]

1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 cup raisins
2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
6 eggs, room temperature
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup black walnuts, chopped
1 cup butter, salted, softened
2 cups blackberry jam, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 tube pan
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flower a large tube pan, or use a flour-based baking spray such as Baker's Joy. Set the pan aside.
Separate the eggs, putting the yolks and whites in different mixing bowls. I another large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of the flour mixture with the black walnuts and raisins.
Add the brown sugar, butter, and blackberry jam to the egg yolks, and stir together thoroughly. Stir in the buttermilk. Add the flour mixture.
Beat the egg whites until they turn white but are loose and runny, not too "airy." Fold the egg whites into the batter. Then mix the nuts and raisins, blending only enough so that they are equally distributed in the batter.
Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, it's done.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Then loosen the cake from the sides of the pan by running a knife around the edge. Invert a cake plate over the pan, and invert the tow together. Lift off the tube pan.
Slice and serve.

Friday, February 03, 2012

What I am reading this month.....

love the cover on this one! Great colors! You too can read along and join Cornflower's book group [see Cornflower in my blog links!]!

My favorite series..... about Maise Dobbs.....the latest, "A Lesson in Secrets". BTW, another in the series, "Elegy For Eddie" will be out soon.

YOu can read Jacqueline Winspear's blog (Google that) and learn SO much! [sorry for not putting the links in for you...I've just been called to go in to work!]

If you like to know more here is a review of "A Lesson in Secrets"!

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