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Archive for December, 2010

Baby it’s cold outside!

This morning’s weather station results:

I went out with my pups this morning to make sure they didn’t turn into pugsicles and just breathing in caused my nostrils to freeze.  Our heater can’t keep up (as we have some energy efficiency issues with our logs) so we’re in wool today.  And drinking lots of hot drinks.

What are your plans for New Years Eve?  Be safe and have fun!

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Now THIS makes me happy

I love looking out our picture window and seeing nothing but a wall of white.

We’re really trying not to get our hopes up, but they’re saying we could get 5″-10.”   Still waaaay below where we should be at this time of year and we are on our way to break a winter drought record from 1888, so this is just not a pretty sight, it’s something we desperately need.  It’s hard to appreciate the importance of water conservation until you live in a drought-striken area.

We’ll continue to do our snow dance/snow chant out here; wish us lots of snow!  :)

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Speaking of cake…

So, in honor of my photo/sentiments yesterday and out of a need for something sweet in the house, I’ve decided to make cake.  Chocolate sheet cake.

There is nothing fancy or majestic about this cake…it’s just pure, simple joy.

I found the recipe from one of my latest favorite finds, The Pioneer Woman, who has a very popular blog and cookbook.  I loaned the cookbook from my library system (I was one of dozens of holds on about 8 copies, it’s that popular!).  The cookbook reads like a story, not just your typical cookbook, and is chock full of pictures of her life and family on their Oklahoma ranch.  She is extremely witty and she originally had plans to be a city girl, moving from LA to Chicago when she met her rancher husband and the rest, as they say, is history.

This cookbook has a ton of stick-to-your-bones recipes and, as she calls them, cowboy tested and approved.  Not for the vegetarians, sorry (though ironically, she used to be one!).  Her ingredients are full of butter, buttermilk and no-fuss ingredients.  Down home goodness.

Anyways, here’s the recipe for her cake which she graciously offers on her site (please note she provides step-by-step pics which can really be helpful for novice bakers or for those that need clarification…scroll all the way down to get the printable recipe).  Check out her entire recipe collection…this woman is talented!

Here’s her website (she has sections on cooking, photography, life, etc.).  She’s a rising star, she has another book coming out in Feb. and there are talks about a movie being made about her life.  Certainly one to watch and so fun to read; I get excited each time I get a new blog post in my inbox.

I made mine into cupcakes since my sheet pan was in use; here’s the plight of high-altitude baking…everything pits!  But in cupcake form, I like to think of them as “frosting reservoirs” ;)

My default setting is chocolate…always.  Though I do like other flavors, nothing tickles my fancy (or makes my skirt fly up as Pioneer Woman would say) quite like chocolate.  What’s your favorite kind of cake?

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Psst…My “you are loved” wooden cigar box was featured on one of my favorite websites – Crescendoh.com – on Christmas Day under the “OMG! the Best of Etsy” feature; Wee, I’m super excited!

 

 

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That is the state of our home.

What is that saying that a clean house is a sign of a wasted life??? Ha!  You’d think I’d be living this crazy social life.  And actually, I’ve barely left the house.  But life has certainly not been wasted here either.  But today I’m throwing down the gauntlet and duct taping my muse to the chair in the corner so I can get this place organized.

It had been a couple days since I created any art and though I expected to make some during the holidays, I didn’t expect the outcome I got on Christmas eve.

Truth be told, though I posted on Christmas eve that I was planning on having a quiet, peaceful Christmas (which it was), I didn’t expect the sadness/lonliness that kicked in on the 24th (I typically write my posts the day before).  Christmas day has never been big in my family but Christmas eve was when it all happened.  And though I’ve been away plenty of times from my family on the holidays and some holidays I’ve been completely alone, I found myself feeling melancholy knowing that David would be sleeping off his night shift all day and I would essentially be alone.  It would be too quiet.

So I turned to my new coping mechanism – painting.  And I went crazy like no other day completing 8 pieces in 10 hours!  It really helped soothe my soul, I no longer felt sad and actually felt thrilled with all the new pieces I made.

And so the house is a mess, there are a million little scraps of paper on the floor and lots of dishes to be done.  Big deal.  I will spend today getting it back in order and can get back to “work” tomorrow.

How was your holiday?

 

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Sun Dogs

Like most, our pups love to be outside and are pretty hardy for the cold weather.  But even if it’s cold, we are blessed with nearly daily sun and the dogs really enjoy hanging out on the deck.  Peanut, our fawn pug, is a sun worshiper and she likes to go out in the late mornings and lean up against the railing to soak in the sun.  Sierra, being a husky mix, just loves being out in the cold.  Zoe just likes to visit with the others and often goes in/out, in/out all day long.

Most people post lots of pics of their kids.  The rest of us share our fur babies.  Enjoy :)

And last but not least is a pic I lovingly refer to as Canine Gothic…kinda looks like American Gothic, just need to photoshop some pitchforks in there :D

All the crazy dog folks, please raise your hands!

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A quiet Christmas

Trees made with scraps of used wrapping paper and Christmas cards I asked my girlfriends/sister to save for me last year

Our Christmas isn’t the way most people spend it.  We don’t have family nearby (or within several thousand miles) and David always works Christmas eve and Christmas night (part of working at a 24/7, 365 operation and he offers to work it so the two other guys he works with who have  young kids can take it off) so we’ll just spend it together quietly before he works.

Although it may sound sad/lonely and while I’d love to be with my family, there’s a certain peace that goes along with just being at home, just the two of us.  It’s quiet and relaxing, in a romantic-winter-solstice-imagery kind of way.  It’s what you make of it right?

So there will be painting, movies, snuggling on the couch and a big spiral ham (a tradition we like to keep).  Christmas way simplified.

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish for you a wonderful holiday filled with whatever makes you happy. ♥

 

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Hi everyone, I’m donating 100% of the proceeds of this original piece of artwork to a friend of a friend whose baby was just diagnosed with a severe brain cancer.

Click on the picture to go to the artwork in the shop!

Please share with anyone who might be interested. The price is as it was before, but I’ll donate the entire purchase to this family. His FB page is here.

I appreciate you spreading the word to help this little boy!

 

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When I first left my last job in the natural foods/products industry, Lora, a rep that I worked with gave me a bunch of makeup cases made out of bamboo that her company was changing out.  Because they were versatile and boxy, she couldn’t bear to throw them out (a girl after my own heart) and knew that she would either find a use for it one day or find someone who could use it.

Upon learning that I was leaving to pursue eco art, she asked if I’d be interested in taking them.  Thinking in terms of storage I jumped to the opportunity and now have 3 of them on my desk.  They definitely work great for storing small items, allowing for 12 small compartment on sliding shelves.  I noticed that the bottom row had these shelves, which also slid out for customers to pull stock on certain makeup powders, but they aren’t necessary for me now.

Enter lightbulb idea.  I’m always looking for “canvases” to paint on and I mean canvas in the figurative sense.  If I removed these sliding shelves on the bottom rows, I noticed that they created neat little bamboo plaques on which to paint.  Not only is the board eco-friendly/sustainable in nature, now it’s also being reused and getting a 2nd life as eco-art.  Here’s what I came up with:

A little paint, a little wire and a little imagination.  Being able to use items deemed as junk and turning them into art is immensely gratifying.  Now to dig through my house a lil’ more to see what else I can use…

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Did you happen to catch the lunar eclipse the other night?  Wow…just  breathtaking.

*Warning, this is a photo heavy post, so apologies if it’s loading slow for you!

We went outside around 11pm, and the sky was clear and the moon bright.

It was cold, though not as bad as it can get out here.  It was about 36 degrees but the wind was howling which made it feel much colder.  Although we hopped back and forth between the deck and the house to warm up, my fingers were still burning and close to frostbite after an hour.

The stars grew increasingly brighter as the moon was shadowed and I saw 7 shooting stars in all during my 2 hours total photographing the event.  Here’s Orion’s belt:

And then once the moon was completely covered by the Earth’s shadow, it turned an orange/red color and looked like an entirely different planet.

Amazing, right?  Mother Nature never ceases to amaze.  So glad we braved the cold and late night to experience this.  Hope you were able to get a view as well!

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