Friday, April 29, 2011

Recipe - Breakfast Parfait

Sometimes it is all in the presentation. 
This "recipe" really makes the morning for my girls on those blah days.

Breakfast Parfait
1 cup berries
1 cup diced mango or sliced banana
1 container fat free yogurt, any flavor

2 pedestal dessert dishes

Divide the fruit into the two dessert cups.  Top with yogurt.  Serve with a side of your favorite cereal, I prefer granola.  Top the parfait with the cereal.

Ok, so this recipe is really not a recipe.  But it's not all a loss, either.  Sometimes the details are all in the details.  Use a pretty dish, try a new presentation, serve with a unique glass.  The reaction to the meal can be totally different if it looks different from the everyday and ordinary.  And, really, it didn't that that much more time to create.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Collage - Flower

This collage was an experiment - it is one that sat, partially finished, for months.  I liked it, but wasn't sure how to finish it. It is feels so different from some of my other work.

I experimented with paint and color

With materials and technique

With words and composition
In the end, I like the overall effect.  I like the use of words, the overall theme, the brightness and color.  But this one seem more of a struggle for me.  I don't think it's really my "style." 
It was bugging me that it sat unfinished for so long, I couldn't totally abandon it.  So I added the back, used more brightly colored patterned paper on the sides and call it complete.
Now, I can move back to some of my other work.  Stay tuned for more collage...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Foodie Fieldtrip

Several weeks ago my friend, Shanon, and I ventured north to the city of Longmont, Colorado, for a fabulous foodie experience.
We arrived at the Willow River Cheese Importers.  Their red awnings and umbrellas mark a friendly welcome in this somewhat industrial neighborhood.
The shelves are filled with delightful treasures from Europe.  Dishes and pottery, glassware; cookies, crackers and candies; herbs, oils and seasonings, cookbooks, travel books, and cards; linens, napkins, and other kitchen and dining accessories. The rooms and shelves are overloaded with everything a foodie could desire.  Plus there are tons of nice treats for gift giving.
After looking all around the two rooms of the shop, we venture in to the coolers.  We aren't talking any wimpy cheese cooler; the Cheese Importers have warehouse sized refrigerated rooms.  In fact, you have to put on a parka to enter.  We put on the lovely blue and gold parkas, that look a little like what prisoners wear when working on the side of the road.  We ventured inside the massive cool room.
The cheese is displayed by type, with clear signs telling the country of origin and the taste qualities.  There are even samples placed throughout so that you can try something new.  Amongst the cheeses are speciality crackers, fruit pastes, tapanades, and other complimentary food items.  It is fun to look for the cheese that costs the most (up to $40 per pound) or the one that looks the most strange.  There are wonderful hand crafted cheeses from around the world.  And, if you take a look, many of them have small, inexpensive pieces you can purchase to try something new at home.
Then, you get to the olive bar.  "Les Olives de Provence" It is a glorious thing, for those who love olives.  there are olives of all types and colors, as well as capers, caperberries, and cornichons. 
We ended our lovely day by going out to lunch and looking in the few boutiques that are in downtown Longmont. What did we order? A gourmet cheese plate, of course. 
If you are ever in Longmont, take the time to find the Cheese Importers. You won't be sorry you did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Collage with a Cause

About a month ago I received a letter and a pendant from someone I don't even know.  It was a lovely, hand written letter, you know, the kind people don't send anymore.  The letter detailed the gratitude and pride that the sender had for a family member of mine who is serving in the military overseas.  The pendant was in the design of the Blue Star Banner.  An enclosure card detailed the history of the Blue Star Banner. The banner, designed in 1917, is seeing a resurgence in use among families of those deployed overseas.  This bit of nostalgia and history is bittersweet, yet  heartwarming.

I created these three collages in response to the gift I received from the Commander's wife.  I will send these to her, and she can use them to send to other families of servicemen and servicewomen who are serving overseas.
Whatever you may think of politics and war, the men and women overseas are deserving of gratitude and appreciation for their service and sacrifice.  May they all return safely home.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Collage - Dare

Since several of my collages have found a new home at The Purple Poppy, I have felt driven to complete some that have been left unfinished, or start new ones that had been brewing in my head.  Last week and this weekend, I was able to wrap up several collages.  I am really happy with the results.
I will share this one first.  It's a good Monday message.
Fortune befriends the bold.
Dare to be bold..., dare to be different..., dare to face the day... the choice is yours.

This collage is built on a flat canvas, with a wooden box behind it.  I used paint, handmade paper with Chinese character, reproduction advertisement and coins, and an old brass pull.  I am pleased with how this one turned out!  I love the sentiment: Fortune befriends the bold. 
Be bold today.

This collage now available at The Purple Poppy in Lafayette, Colorado.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rachel Hanson collage at The Purple Poppy

I am so excited - I am nearly bursting at the seams!
Rachel Hanson collage is now available at The Purple Poppy!

Rachel Hanson colleges, hung on the walls of The Purple Poppy.
 I have been making my collages with no real outlet, save the walls of my own studio.  While the creation is somewhat fulfilling on its own, when Angie, the proprietress of The Purple Poppy, asked to hang my work at her fabulous store, I was so excited!  (full disclosure, yes, Angie is my friend, but I have never pressured her to carry my work, in fact, I am not even sure I asked her to. I did write about the store last fall; you may remember this blog post.) 
So, I spent last week adding minor details to seven of my collages.  I put hangers on the back, and secret details, too.  She requested an artist statement.  That's a nerve wracking task, what to say about oneself.  Then I turned that into a collage, too.

On Friday, I delivered.  She hung the work.  I must say, it looks great!
So if you're local, stop by and take a look. Say hello to Angie or Kerry. Take a moment to shop; The Purple Poppy has fabulous things: art, furniture, home accessories, jewelry, gifts, and lots of unique items.  While you're there take a look at my work, too.  I hope you enjoy. 
(You can find The Purple Poppy at the SW corner of Arapaho Road and 95th St in Lafayette, CO)
And now, I can return to the studio and make some more collages.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Recipe - Grilled Artichokes & Horseradish Dill Dip

I love spring.  I love the flowers, the rain showers and fresh seasonal vegetables.  Artichokes are one of our favorites.  They are great because they are low calorie and low carb and fun to eat.  Paired with a low fat or no fat yogurt dip they become a great appetizer, side dish or lunch.  Steaming them or boiling them is an easy option.  If you grill them, they somehow become just a bit fancier.  We had these last week, and they were delicious.

Grilled Artichokes
1 whole lemon, cut in half
2-3 gloves garlic
2 T olive oil

Thoroughly wash artichokes under running water.  Trim stem end to about 1 inch.  Cut off pointy top of artichoke with serrated knife, about 1 inch from top.  Trim pointy tops of artichoke leaves with kitchen scissors.  (Or, I found Globe Artichokes this time, and needed no top trimming.)  Rub cut surfaces with lemon half to prevent browning.
Fill large pot with 2-3 inches of water.  Squeeze lemon juice into water, then drop the used rinds into the pot.  Smash garlic and drop into pot.  If using a steamer basket, place basket (I often do not)  Arrange artichokes in water or on basket.  Cover pot and turn on to boil.  Boil for 25-45 minutes.  Depending on size of artichoke, until a bottom leaf will pull out with some resistance.  Do not wait until the artichoke is too soft.
Cool artichokes.
When cool, quarter artichokes.  Scoop out the choke with a spoon or small paring knife.  Toss quarters in more lemon juice and olive oil. 
Grill artichoke quarters on hot grill for 5 minutes per side, or until you see nice char marks.
Serve warm or room temperature with dip.

Horseradish-Dill Dip

¼ cup plain fat-free yogurt
¼ cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (add more to make it extra spicy)
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3-4 drops hot sauce (optional, to taste)
1/ 8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through pepper). Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Serve with Grilled Artichokes, roasted or raw vegetables.
  • Dip can be made 2 days ahead of time.
  • Can be made without the cream cheese with similar results, I used fat free Greek yogurt for a thick texture when omitting the cream cheese
  • Dip is excellent served with cut veggies

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Best Heart Forward

An earlier collage - using an foam core heart covered in handmade paper and wrapped in wire.  Mounted on a painted canvas with a flash card and assorted words. I framed this one as I was looking for a solution to make the flat canvases more finished. 
I really don't think it's the best solution.  I am in the process of "building boxes" to mount all of my canvases on.  Boy, that sounds so impressive, really I am just cutting scrapwood to fit and gluing on the back to create an illusion of a true box.  Then, I finish the edges of the wood with paint or paper.  I will mount this one on a box soon and show you photos soon. Then you can be the judge.
Regardless, I like the sentiment on this one.  I like the use of lots of words.  This one is small, 5x7, so it didn't need much more.  When I re-work it, I will post a photo.
In the meantime I have been madly building boxes and finishing my canvases with extra special details.  I have a exciting news, but I don't want to jinx it by talking too soon.  I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quote of the Day-

I always like to look on the optimistic side of life,
but I am realistic enough to know
that life is a complex matter.

We had a fabulous time on our spring break trip to Florida.  Here's a shot of two very tired girls waiting for the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom castle.  Disney's empire in Orlando is quite amazing!  The scope and range of parks and themes has changed since I was their age.  The size and sprawl of it has grown immensely, I daresay, insanely.  I don't think that even ole Walt himself would have dreamed it could grow to such epic proportions.
I must say, we had a "magical" time.  It will be one that will go down in our personal memory books, as my daugher said, "The Best Vacation, EVER!"

And as everyone who works there says, " Have a magical day!"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Collage - Really

This collage seemed to develop fairly quickly.  The colors screamed of spring.
The orange and blue stripes are a printed tissue paper over a printed floral paper - I love how the flowers show through.  The quote and image of the two on the motorcycle seem to relate to each other - somehow. 

The key is a rub-on transfer, the text from a book of poetry, the ticket is one of those pesky ones that says "Keep this Coupon"  I never throw them away.
This one may be busier than some of my others - but I see the harmonious aspects, as well.  The lines of in the upper left mimic the lines of the sheet music.  The color palette is somewhat limited and focused.  Repetitive shapes and colors keep it grounded.  The image and variety of letters and elements keep it whimsical.  And the words, so true:

"It is not fair to ask of others
what you are not willing to do yourself."


This collage now available at The Purple Poppy in Lafayette, Colorado.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recipe - Baked Pancake

This recipe has been part of my family for as long as I can remember. I have it committed to memory. It is quick and easy, but also impressive for a Sunday Brunch. It is also one of my girls' favorite weekend breakfasts. I have heard it called many things. It is basically like a giant popover, served with syrup.

Baked Pancake
(aka Big Fluffy Pancake, German Pancake, Dutch Baby)

Preheat a 12 inch oven safe skillet in the oven with 3 T butter at 400 degrees. Watch the pan so the butter doesn't burn, remove the pan when all the butter melts and let the oven reach full temperature.

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. When the oven has reached temperature, pour the batter into the pan with the melted butter. Return to the oven; bake for 20 minutes, until golden and puffy
Serve with fruit, powdered sugar, or syrup.

The pancake will flatten as soon as you cut it, if you're looking for a fancy presentation, take it to the table before you cut into it, so your guests can see how beautiful it is.
(Variation: Using a 10 inch skillet, use 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour.)
 Take a look at Sweet Tooth Friday over @ Alli-n-son.