Monday, November 21, 2011

Wholesome and Economical Groceries

This is what our shopping cart looks like these days.  The cashier thought it must be some sort of project or experiment; she said people don't usually buy that much produce.  Laughing, I told her this is just what we are eatting.  The boys picked out lots of fruit, but buried in the back are potatoes, lettuce, spinach, radishes, onion, etc.  

Does it cost more?  We're still trying to decide.  Organic does raise the price, but all in all for the same amount of money we would have paid for a case of Mountain Dew we can now buy a fresh pineapple. This particular trip was under $100 at Price Chopper and my shopping cart was overflowing with a variety of tasty foods.  

Want to include more produce for your family?  Lay it out with a variety of colors like the fruit bowl below and you'll entice people to munch healthy things before they even know it. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Black, Black, Black

Black is not my favorite color of glass, but once I started working with it I became intrigued with subtle differences in the glass. Here's five kinds of black glass made into crosses.  My intent was to make one or two black glass crosses (bottom left is already sold), yet it was interesting to see the difference the glass can make in how the cross turns out: elegant, modern, funky, or classic. 

I don't wear too much black, but the black crosses go really nice with my fall sweaters and jackets.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Creative Play

My youngest son loves his stuffed animal birds that make the same bird call as their live counterparts.  (Now if only we could remember the names of the birds we could then identify birds when they come chirping in our yard...) 

One day, he asked to borrow a camera so he could take photos of his beloved birds in a tree out back.  He and his brother spent quite a bit of time positioning them in a tree and photographing them from different angles.  I love it!

During the dog days of summer the boys took a bunch of thick black paper clips and made their own creations.  They would clip them together in different ways to make monsters, men, vehicles, get the idea.  They keep surprising me with all the new things they come with to use the clips.  

Finally, the best form of play of all, running around in the rain.  Priceless.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zeal Mandala

Zeal Mandala

Several years ago I created a series of circular designs, or mandalas, as a part of a healing-creative-prayerful time.  During the week I was working on each mandala the books I would read, the people I talked to, and the shows I watched all reinforced the theme of that particular mandala.  It was really uncanny.  That's why each mandala is like a powerful nonverbal prayer to me.  In my heart, I know creating each of the designs was part of my healing, and I still treasure them.  

One of the odder mandala names was "Zeal" not a word we normally use.  The dictionary defines it as: great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

Last month, as we were scheduling my husband for chemo, this particular mandala popped up on my computer screen.  Now, to be fair, I have thousands of photos that occasionally pop up because I can't figure out how to make them go away.  Regardless, when I saw that bright little mandala icon it warmed me heart.  So much so, that I printed off a copy to put on the fridge.  I thought "Zeal" was kinda a funny prayer for chemotherapy, but since I wasn't really looking forward to the love-of-my-life going through it, I guessed I could use some enthusiasm.

Wow, what changes a month can bring!  Within days of putting up that mandala my husband, Shawn, decided he was NOT going to go the chemo or radiation route, instead he was going on a 100% Plant Based Diet.  Suddenly "Zeal" was an excellent affirmative prayer to have on my fridge.  Every time I have to plan a meal, make a lunch, or find something to feed the kids from our new diet, there it is to cheer me on.
Release Mandala
Several weeks later, my youngest son brought me another mandala print-out.  He doesn't know how he did it - he was really doing his Spanish, but somehow it printed.  This had never happened before, and I looked on it almost as a gift from above. The name of the freeform mandala is "Release".  Which I, unknowingly at the time when I created it, gave to a woman whose husband had cancer.  This comes full circle to me.  Zeal and enthusiasm for what we can do, and then release the rest.  We can do this.

I'll be happy to share my process for making mandalas in a future post if there's any interest so let me know if you want a tutorial...or if you just want to color one in, you can print them for free for personal use off my website  I have 30 different prayer mandalas I created in the series available there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Building Raised Beds

The best time to build a raised bed is Autumn if you want to layer materials that will need to decompose over the winter.  I know August is a little early...but we had the time and nice weather so the boys went to work on our raised beds.  Now I'll have time to work on them this fall!
7 yo loved watching how Papa was cutting

The raised beds are 4'x10' (the recommended width so it can be weeded easily).  We decided for beds to be 10 feet long with a walkway in-between.  This allows for a sitting spot during weeding, and the crosswalk provides a way to get to the other side without walking all the way around.  

Each boy took turns holding boards and drilling some, too.

It's made of untreated wood because you don't want to use treated wood for food you are eating.  It's 12" lumber because you want your raised bed to be deep enough to really work.   This will also make it easier to weed.  My least favorite gardening job.
First box almost done; it just needs corner reinforcements
Here they are in place 
Now that the frames are built I can lay down a layer of cardboard, and then start the "Lasagna Gardening": layers of compost, manure, soil, and shredded newspaper. Ideally, we want those things heaped up out of the frame 18-24" in a few months so that when it settles we'll have a nice 12" of growing medium for next year.  We'll see.  
Of course they have to use them as a balance beam...for now

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome to my Studio

Soldering Station
Welcome to my art/glass studio...feel free to take a look around.  On the left, I have lots of art books on the shelves, with baskets to hold supplies.  The bulletin board holds inspirations and ideas.  The file cabinets hold more books and supplies, while the wood creates on top hold some glass and finished pieces.  (Notice the lovely yellowed foam picked up at a garage sale for the cushioning...)

I'm left handed, so I really wanted the soldering iron to be on my left and away from any potential visits from the boys.
My long table with light box on the end
This rocking chair has since moved upstairs, but I really miss it for my muses.  On the left is my wonderful, best garage-sale-find-ever, old wooden table.  It's something like 10 feet long...I love it.  On the right, is my cutting station, in the middle is a bare work area, and on the left (closest to the door) is the light box I built into it.  Well, I really had my husband cut it out for me, but you get the idea.

The grinder (the red machine by the window) has a splash guard around it I created to keep down on the glass dust it sprays in a radius around it. 

All in all, I love going into my own creative space - whether I'm puttering around, developing new ideas, or working frantically to get something done by a deadline.  This sunny yellow room always brings me joy.  In fact, I think I'll head there now...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blackberry Smoothie Recipes

Did you know blackberries cover up the green of kale or spinach in a smoothie?  It tinges the whole smoothie a dark purple.  Pretty handy as we try to increase veggies in the boys' diet.

Blackberry Yogurt Smoothie (lighter color)
1 c. blackberries
1-2 bananas
1 c. any yogurt
1/2 c. rice milk
2 small pieces of kale with stems removed

Dairy Free Blackberry Smoothie (darker color)
1 c. blackberries
1 banana
1 c. rice milk
1 small piece of kale with stem removed

Put in a high powered blender and blend.  If you don't have a high powered blender you can use a regular one, it just may not be as smooth.