Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Life is busy this time of year. My posts will probably be less for awhile. I'll share a couple of recipes with you that we made over the past weekend. Very delicious summer recipe! Sorry, I don't have a picture of the food to share.

from "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen

For the tapenade:
2 cups drained, pitted black olives (two 6-
ounce cans) or 1 ½ cups pitted kalamata
and/or oil-cured olives
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the pork:
1 pork loin roast (2 ½ to 3 pounds)
Coarse salt and black pepper
4 strips bacon or pancetta (Italian bacon),

Prepare the tapenade: Place the olives, garlic, capers, mustard, and oregano in a food processor and process to a smooth paste. Add pepper to taste and the oil and process until blended.
Roll-cut the pork roast. Season the top of the meat with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt – the olives are quite salty). Spread the tapendade on the meat and roll it back into a roast. Cut four 12-inch pieces of butcher’s string and lay them out on a cutting board. If using the bacon strips, place them on the string in the opposite direction. Place the roast on top and tie the string around the roast. Season the roast on the outside with salt (if not using bacon) and pepper.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium.
When ready to cook, place the roast in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Grill the roast until cooked through, about 1 hour. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the side of the roast: The internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees.
Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the strings. Using a sharp knife, cut the roast crosswise into ½-inch slices.

from "Taste of Home"

2 lbs. red potatoes (peeled)
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 T. horseradish
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 T. parsley flakes
2 green onions
4 hard boiled eggs
3 slices bacon

Boil potatoes 20 minutes or until done. Cool completely. Cut into chunks. In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add potatoes, onions, eggs, and bacon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Work in Progress

Here's a sneak peak at what I'm working on for a friend. Isn't she darling?
This is being done on blue Art Spectrum Colorfix paper. The size is 11X14. I've never worked on this paper before so I'm learning new things about blending!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Art and Stress

I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I haven't had anything newsworthy to write about.

Stress can cause our creativity to be squashed. Days that I am stressed, art just doesn’t happen. I found in the April 2008 edition of Body & Soul magazine some ways to beat stress.

- Exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This will help reduce anxiety and depression.
- Eat fewer carbs and drink less caffeine.
- Get out of your head. Practice meditation or yoga.
- Fine-tune your juggling act. Don’t answer emails while eating lunch, etc. Keep things uncluttered.
- Just say no.
- Know yourself. Know how you react in social settings. Do you get stressed or thrive? Know what refuels you.
- Take herbs and vitamins.
- Play “hide the laptop”. Start and end each day in stillness.
- Seek out sound therapy. Music helps a person unwind.
- Paint a picture or go bowling.

Hope some of these tips can help you reduce the stress in your life! I plan to use some of these myself!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Discovering a Sense of Dignity - Part 2 of 2

This is the final review from the book Walking in this World, by Julia Cameron.

Age and Time

Like Miles Davis once said, “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” This is something I need to engrave in my head. I fear mistakes all the time and it stifles my family life and my creative life. I just need to leap, and the net will appear.

Julia Cameron states in her book, “Yes, youth passes behind us, but we are blind so often to what we are gaining and to the beauty of what we become as artists. We gain in beauty. We gain in tenderness. We gain in our creative selves.

Anyone who is learning will feel this treacherous mix of vulnerability and frustration, of hope and discouragement. There is an exciting element of self-respect: You are trying.

Practice will make if not ‘perfect,’ then ‘better.’

Clearly, it is mind and muscle and heart that must be trained. All of them must learn patience, the virtue I hate, and repetition, the idea God had the sense to use daily.”

It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion. ~ Dame Rebecca West


“The dedication of our work to a higher cause than our won self-promotion frees the work from preciousness. It becomes not about how good we are but about how good we can be in selfless service to something larger than ourselves.

Asking to be of service, and to be open to the proper inspiration to serve through our work, we then become teachable, and when we are teachable, our work always improves.

When our work is made only in the service of our hope for fame or recognition, it is hampered by our self-consciousness as we wonder, How am I doing? When we are able to work without such self-consciousness, we are able to work more freely and more fully. Our ego steps aside and is no longer a constrictive valve narrowing our creative flow and focus. We think less about ‘us’ and more about ‘it,’ the work itself.”

Love is the spirit that motivates the artist’s journey…it’s a powerful motive in the artist’s life. ~ Eric Maisel

“Our ‘best’ to others may internally feel our worst. Our perceptions must not be allowed to capsize our professionalism.

In a sense, the reception of our work by ourselves as well as others is none of our business. Our job is to do it. We work, and the work works through us.

No matter how accomplished and acclaimed we may become as artists, there is always, at core, this essential anonymity: We are in service of something larger than ourselves.

One music teacher decided to set aside all ego and snobbery, set aside how music ‘should’ be taught, and teach from a spirit of love and service. Is it any wonder that his students develop a love of music that serves them well?

Contemplating a piece of work, we do better to think Whom is this work for? Whom will it serve? rather than How will it serve me?

Art moves through us. It is colored by our individuality, but we are not precisely its origin. There is a divine spark animating each of us, and that divine spark also animated our art. When we ask to be of service in our art, we fling open a window in our creative studio. Through that opening, the greater world of inspiration can enter us.”

The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up. ~ May Sarton

“We are all part of a larger whole and, in acknowledging that truthfully, we move a notch closer to humility, to a simple and sheer plainness that allows the beauty of the grand design to be seen through us.”

Only the heart knows how to find what is precious. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In closing, Julia Cameron reminds us, “Art is a spiritual practice. We may not, and need not, do it perfectly. But we need to do it.”

As I began writing the review of Walking in this World, I did it for myself so I would remember what the book said. As I end this review, it has become a service to my readers. I would read for them and then write for them. Oh, I still wrote for myself as well, because I have so much to learn. One thing I have learned to do through this journey is to be more myself and not always try to live life as it “should” be or how others want me to live life. I have gotten to the drawing board more instead of thinking other things needed to be done first. That’s a hard habit to break but one I’m slowly striving to conquer through baby steps. I hope you were able to make some changes in your own life while reading these reviews.

Discovering a Sense of Dignity - Part 1 of 2

Week 12 - The final week from Walking in this World, by Julia Cameron.

I liked what the author has to say about difficult times. “Our graceful ability to encompass difficulty rests in our ability to be faithful.”

The Glass Mountain

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The book says, “Trained as we are to be mommies and daddies, and teachers and bankers, lawyers and judges, and so many responsible things, sickened as we are by the woeful tales of artists as irresponsible monsters, we may have difficulty mustering sufficient responsibility to our art and our artists, to protect them during the occasional, necessary times of hard climbing as a large project finally lurches into form – or does not. This delicate and treacherous stage, the glass mountain of creative doubt, is a slippery slope we face alone. It is on its icy flank that we must find small footholds, edging our way upward from concept to actual conception – a difficult birth, as pivotal as conquering our creative Everest – or nearly.


“In the heat of the creative moment, our thought – or flow – is hot, thick, dense, fast, and light, like good ink.

Our creative size has a tidal aspect – we ebb and we flow. When we are at the height of a creative flight and trying to land, we, too, resemble a beautiful, full-bellied parachute trying to touch earth. Lovely? Yes. But safe? Not necessarily. Completed a draft of a novel may spark thoughts of suicide rather than celebration. Creative post partum can be unexpected and deep.

Parachutes often land with a lurch. Our creative flights may land the same way. Our chute collapses around us and we stumble around blindly. Or the chute stays somewhat open and we tumble across the field, dragged along by our leftover velocity. In other words, a creative landing may leave us a little bruised, battered, and suddenly claustrophobic as our creative chute collapses and our normal life threatens to smother us.

When we are making things, we sometimes get very, very big. Or simply very, very free. In the height of the creative moment, we are not constricted and downsized by our daily rigamarole – our age, our family tensions, our feelings of being a cog in the wheel. It is hard to come back to our normal size after such a heady expansion – and often, we don’t, at first.

As we try to land back in our own life, we may shoot past our real size and feel like someone very small. It’s not so much that our head is too big but that it’s still full of very big ideas.

Above all, we can remind ourselves: The ground does exist, and we find our feet again.

While we may ‘live for our work,’ our life is, and must be, larger than our work. By allowing the dailiness of life to step forward again, we become, in a sense, our own parents, saying ‘Welcome home’ after each of our creative flights.”