Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Sculpture Series

Indian Rice Grass, sculpted by artist Kevin Shaffer is part of Lafayette's Art on the Street Sculpture Walk.  This large sculpture is located on Chester Street at the back of Festival Plaza in Old Town Lafayette. 

This sculpture is from a series of oversize abstracted steel sculptures of native plants.  The inspiration for this piece comes from the native grasses that can be found in the grasslands around Lafayette and in eastern Colorado. 

This piece is 10 feet wide at the top and 16 feet tall, constructed of steel.  As with all the Art on the Street sculpture, this artwork is for sale; this one is $15,000.  For more information, or to purchase this art, contact the Public Art Committee
To view additional sculpture, look at the city webpage; and to vote for your favorite, go to the poll on this page.  The favorite artist will win the Jean Melblom People's Choice Award of $1000. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Recipe Duo - Grilled Figs and Asparagus

I love grilling in the summer.  Well, I love grilling all year long.  Looking for a grilled appetizer to make, I found fresh figs and beautiful asparagus.  I couldn't decide, so I bought both.  This duo doesn't have to go together, but the sweet and salty components sure did complement each other nicely. This is what I came up with:

Everything ready to go.
Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese

Fresh figs
Olive Oil
Cracked pepper
Kosher salt
Goat Cheese

Coat the outside of the figs lightly with olive oil.  Quarter the figs and place on a grill pan (easier to get onto and off of the hot grill).  Heat your grill.  Place the figs on the hot grill for about 10 minutes, or until the figs appear to wilt, or become juicy. 
Spoon a scant teaspoon of goat cheese onto each fig while hot. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and salt to taste.
Serve with Balsamic Syrup.  Delicious!
Ready to go on the grill.

Prosciutto Wrapped Grilled Asparagus

Fresh, plump asparagus spears
Cracked pepper
Olive Oil

Cut your prosciutto slices in half.  Wrap each spear of asparagus with 1/2 slice prosciutto.  (You can use a whole slice of prosciutto, if you want a meatier appetizer) Brush the exposed tips and ends of the asparagus with olive oil.  Place on a grill tray.  Grill until the asparagus are bright green and tender and the prosciutto is crispy. 
Sprinkle with cracked pepper.
Serve with Balsamic Syrup.  Enjoy!
After they've been grilled, the Prosciutto is crispy, the figs are juicy.

Balsamic Syrup

Balsamic Vinegar
(that's it)

Place about 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil.  Simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened.  I reduced by about one third.  I wanted my syrup thick but not gluey.
Let cool.  Serve with grilled vegetables.
The finished appetizer - ready to eat!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tic Tac Hearts

This is one of my summer collages - a Hearts Tic Tac Toe.  The words are on the outside edges of the piece. 
"ENJOY" runs up the left side of the frame.
Made with a flat canvas board, painted black.
"LOVE" is printed across the top of the collage.
Hearts from foam core, painted and covered with a variety of papers.
"EMBRACE" runs down the right side of the collage.
Scrap wood make the frame behind; then painted and lettered.
"LIFE" is printed on the bottom of the collage.
 This one is very different from my other work.  A sort of experiment, but I am pleased with how it turned out.  I like the simplicity and the patterns.  I like its hidden sentiment.  This collage and more are available at The Purple Poppy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The good and the bat

The good
Yesterday, as I was taking my girls to school, we saw two hot air balloons.  This is not an unusual occurrence in our area, but these were especially close to our house.  One was descending behind a house across the street. 

The second was right overhead.  You can even see the people waving.

Seeing hot air balloons on a regular basis is one of the many reasons I love living in my small town!

The bat
Today, my small town experience wasn't so charming.  I returned home from dropping one daughter off at school, and my older daughter said, I think something is in the wood stove.  Now, we have had creatures come down the chimney and into the wood stove before, and I am not talking about the red suit type.   We do have a cap on the chimney, and we haven't had an unwanted visitor in several years.  There is a little scritch, scritch noise.  Thankfully there is a door on our wood stove, and whatever has crawled in is contained.  But, we can't see in to know if it is bird or beast.

Upon closer investigation, I see that a wing has managed to slide through the crack of the door.  It is a BAT wing.  The poor, unhappy bat then thrust his wing further out and started waving at me.  That's when I lost my cool!  My daughter and I were completely creeped out (to use her terminology)!!  I am sure the bat doesn't feel any better than we do.

Today's small town experience reminds me that we don't live too far from nature.  We are happy to have open fields and lakes and parks nearby.  Hopefully the small town animal control will be able to help me out.  I guess even the bat is a good reminder of why I like living where we live.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No Apology

So, it has been almost a month since I have posted on either blog.  Without apology.  The end of summer vacation was a stronger draw than the uncomfortable office chair in our warm and stuffy office.  Plus, I have found that if I blog with the sense of obligation, it will feel like a job, a duty, a chore, a chore worse than doing laundry.  So, I blog without obligation, without apology. 
The end of summer was filled with bike rides, a trip to Elitch Gardens Amusement Park, trips to the farmers market, back to school shopping, afternoons at the local pool and making s'mores.  No regrets.
But, I am back.  To share more art, more recipes, more about my little town.
I found this little man of an eggplant at the Isabelle Farm Stand at Thomas Open Space in Lafayette, Colorado.
I asked the farmer who grew the eggplant, how he got "arms" to grow.  He told us he talks to them.  That made me smile, thinking of this young man stooping over to cajole the eggplant into growing appendages.  I am going to have a hard time cutting this one up.  I think he's so cute with his two arms and little hat. 

My favorite way to prepare eggplant is to slice it and grill until soft.  I usually salt the slices and let them sit for a few hours before grilling, that will take out the bitterness.  Grilled eggplant is decadent served with a smear of goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  But, I like it plain, too.

I may just have to start with the two Japanese eggplant and save the little man another day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Sculpture Series

The City of Lafayette Public Art Committee installed its third year of the Art on the Street Sculpture Walk at the end of May.  Sixteen sculpture were installed as part of this art on loan outdoor gallery.  I want to share our latest installations with you - we have a wide variety of work.  I shared last year's selection in a series of Sunday blog posts starting last November.  I will do the same again this year.  They are really better in person.  If you're local, come to Old Town Lafayette and take a walk to see for yourself.

While I don't have an absolute favorite, the first piece I want to introduce you to is Bruce Campbell's Peacock Goddess.  Campbell is a great local artist, with national acclaim.  His work is "recycled" and repurposed farm and other metal pieces. 

Utilizing salvaged industrial objects, Colorado artist Bruce Campbell merges painting and sculpture to create ancient contemporary artworks. The unique shapes and surface patinas, sculpted by time and weather, become an integral part of his imagery, which seemingly emerges from the intricately weathered surfaces.  Peacock Goddess is Campbell’s second work in Art on the Street.

The back of the piece is interesting as well, with a large peacock.  This piece sits on the lawn at Festival Plaza in Old Town Lafayette.  The Plaza is on Public Road at Chester Street.  It's a great gathering place, with park benches, a fountain, 4 pieces of art and the best sandwich and ice cream shop called Eats and Sweets

This work, and all the 16 pieces in the Art on the Street, are available for purchase.  This piece costs $20,000.  You may view the other 15 sculptures on the City of Lafayette website. 

Each of these sculpture is competing for a cash prize of $1,000.  If one of these sculptures is your favorite you can vote.  The poll can be found on the lower right of that page.  You can vote to support your favorite artist.

For more information, or to purchase this sculpture check out the Cultural Arts web page.  I hope you will enjoy my tour of Old Town Lafayette over the coming months.  I sure enjoy having this much art in my little community.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What to Be?

I have spent some time in my studio recently, experimenting with new designs and styles.  This is one of my latest.  I almost always use words, so I decided to use lots of words.  I still used a variety of patterned papers (on the sides), some vintage hardware (on the top) and a few old buttons.  I like the conversation this one generates.
Inspired by words and repetition...Looking at simplicity and pattern...

Accessorized with brightly colored and patterned papers on each sides... and vintage buttons on the corners....

Even the back has advice for you...

This very bossy collage has something to say.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Recipe - Cucumber Basil Martini

Is it happy hour, yet?  Now, here's the perfect summer cocktail.  It is of my own creation, I hope you enjoy it!

Cucumber Basil Martini

2 oz. Gin
1.2 oz. Extra Dry Vermouth
splash olive juice (optional)
1 slices cucumber
2 leaves basil
crushed ice

Muddle the cucumber and basil leaves in the bottom of a shaker.  Add crushed ice.  Add all the liquids and shake.  Strain into a pre-chilled glass.  Garnish with olives or cucumber.  I like mine a bit chunky, so I opened the shaker and spooned a bit of crushed ice, and a few basil leaves and cucumber pieces into my glass.
(Note:  If you aren't a gin drinker, you could always use vodka.  But, it's a shame to not drink gin!)
Relax and Enjoy!

Recipe - Tomato Basil Salad (Two ways)

I have a garden.  I try my best to grow a few tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, leafy greens, strawberries and herbs.  This year I am failing miserably.  Quite sad. 
Perhaps it's Mother Nature who is not cooperating.  The early part of the season was too wet and cool for the tomatoes, now this heat wave has made it too hot and dry.  The rabbits have bit the bean plant off at the base, the birds stolen the strawberries, the squirrels have picked and eaten the few green tomatoes!
The only thing that has been growing well are the herbs.  Basil, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, mint, cilantro, chamomile, and sage.  I love using fresh herbs!
Today I will have two recipes using fresh herbs - one now and one for happy hour.  (Be sure to check back.)

Tomato Basil Salad (Two ways)

Salad #1 - Ingredients
Grape tomatoes
Fresh Basil (several small bunches)
Parmesan -Reggiano
Balsamic Vinegar (or White Balsamic Vinegar)
Cracked Pepper
Kosher Salt

Halve the grape tomatoes.  Chiffonade the basil (roll the leaves in a tight roll and slice finely to make strips of basil). Grate the cheese.  Toss the tomatoes, a generous amount of cheese and basil together.  Sprinkle with 1 - 2 teaspoons of vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Let the flavors marry for an hour before serving.

(Ok, I know, I don't have measurements for this recipe.  It would depend on how much you'd like.  As this dish doesn't save more than a day or so, because the basil will wilt, I would make just as much as you would like to serve.)

Salad #2 - Ingredients
Grape tomatoes
Fresh Basil (several small bunches)
Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
Balsamic Vinegar (or White Balsamic Vinegar)
Cracked Pepper
Kosher Salt

Halve the grape tomatoes. Chiffonade the basil (roll the leaves in a tight roll and slice finely to make strips of basil). Toss an equal amount of mozzarella pearls and tomatoes.  Add the basil.  Sprinkle with 1 - 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Let the flavors marry for an hour before serving.

We love these salads - my daughter can put one together in a jiffy while I make the rest of the dinner.  It's so nice to enjoy fresh herbs from the garden, even if everything else is pretty miserable this season.

(Check back later for a great happy hour recipe - you won't be disappointed!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hearts on a Hike

Last week the girls and I went on a hike.  We went to one of my favorite hiking places, Marshall Mesa Trail.  It's a fairly easy, scenic trail head about 20 minutes from our house.  When we're hiking, we look for things, flowers, birds, and animals.  Just for fun, I suggested we look for hearts.  (inspired by another blogger - who posts Random Hearts - I told my girls that we should take photos of all the hearts we see).  A fairly odd thing to look for, but you would be amazed... I am not sure if we see what we want to see or if they are always there.  Call me crazy if you want, but this is what we found that day. (Be prepared - this is a photo heavy post)

 We spent a few minutes making hearts - and then looking for them. I was surprised at how many hearts we actually found on our hike. We looked for hearts in the rock, leaves, shadows, flowers, and sky.

Petal hearts fallen from this wild rose.
Look at the top of this mal-formed flower.

The sightings didn't stop there.
Shadow heart.
Lots of hearts in the rocks.
Graffiti heart in the sandstone.

Lichen heart on a rock.
Look between the girls, a heart worn away in the sandstone.
Take a closer look at that heart.
Worn away in the sandstone.

We found too many rocks and pebbles on the trail - here is just a sampling:
And finally, a heart shaped pool or water as we end our hike.
So, we found some hearts on a hike.  A little cheesy, yes.  A little silly, yes.  But, the proof is in the pictures.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A new home

The bits and pieces of rust and springs and coils that I have stashed away in my collage collection, are beginning to find new homes...

I love this rusty square nut.  I wonder what it held together so long ago.

Two old square nails sprout up at flowers.  Another fastener acts as door.

A coil curves from the peak.

The words from a Danish proverb, "The road to a friend's house is never long" complete the canvas. 
The bits and pieces of a time gone by have found a new home. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bits of rust and other things...

Some bits and pieces from my studio...

I found this box of old springs and coils when I was helping my family clean out my Grandpa's "stuff."  It was several years ago - long before my itch to collage started.  I am not sure why, but I said, "I'll take that."  I got some funny looks from the family.  I am not sure why he saved them; maybe he had the same collecting gene that I have.

This tray of rusty bits came from my uncle. I KNOW he shares the same collecting gene that I have.  The little pieces of old hardware had been removed from their useful places, they may  have been discarded, perhaps replaced.  My uncle, tossed them all together - On my last visit, I commented on how useful they could be... and they were mine.  I don't think he had a predesignated home for these little bits of rust. 

All these pieces are finding new homes...look here for a good example of how I put this refuse to good use.  I am so glad to have these strange little treasures.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Recipe - Grandma's Cobbler

My mom and I loved to go shopping and out to lunch.  It was kind of a special treat to go to the mall and eat at Grandma's.  The mall, now defunct, was fun to walk around, but Grandma's Restaurant, was really our favorite.  It had that 80's "country charm" that was so popular then (and not so much now). The menu items were simple and homey, with a Southern bent.  We always ordered the cobbler; my favorite was peach. 

One day my mom asked the waitress if they would share the recipe.  She sent the cook out, who spouted off the recipe and my mom took notes.  The recipe came with quantities that would feed a mess hall, but we cut it down and I have been using the recipe for Grandma's Cobbler ever since.
This time I used mixed berries, but you can use whatever fresh fruit is in season.  In a pinch, I am sure frozen fruit would work well, too.

Grandma's Cobbler

3 cups mixed berries or sliced peaches
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar (divided)
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup dry tapioca (or less)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix berries, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 T tapioca (use 1/4 cup for juicier fruit), and 1/2 stick of melted butter.  Let sit while you mix the batter.
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 cup milk in a bowl, until smooth.  Add vanilla and cinnamon.

Pour 1/2 stick of melted butter in 8 x 8 baking dish (I used a round one with no difference).  Top with batter.  Top the batter with the berries. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

The result of this recipe is a warm baked fruit with a golden cakey topping.  You could certainly experiment with different combinations of fruit.  Next time I want to try adding an oat or granola topping to add extra crunch.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.