Minutiae...live it, learn it, love it

by Flora Bowley...Brave, Intuitive Painting

I woke up this morning with a few things on my mind...nothing too heavy, but they are weighing me down nonetheless. The year began with my word for 2013...optimism. Trying to look on the sunny side; not so much the glass half full thing, nor the finding the silver lining thing. Just trying to hold out hope for the best...in life, activities, friends and relationships--both professionally and personally.

Some days I tend to get caught up in the minutiae...those little pesky things that can throw you over the cliff or under the bus {{both phrases I am sick-to-death hearing}}. Lately I seem to be fighting the minutiae on a daily basis...either through interpreting things for others, or trying to read too much into things--"overthinking" has been my strong suit of late. Maybe I should just stop thinking...as one of my co-workers says (constantly) "I am not paid to think"...that surely can't be the answer.

 Referring back to previous posts---I must have been previewing this feeling back in the summer of 2008---my "mini-rant" in July and my "something to think about" in June of the same year. Maybe I need a real vacation...away from the cold and frozen car doors. Away from demanding and unappreciative people...away from thoughtless and careless people. Heck...maybe just away from people. What a concept!

File this one under "pity party"...


Dear Jane

This quilt picture hung around my sidebar for at least a year and a half...the Dear Jane quilt.  I started constructing blocks in 1999...and stopped in 1999.  A couple of years ago, I bought the software that will let you print out the patterns--and still didn't work on the quilt top.  This year marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the original Dear Jane...so I decided to create a library program around this theme (it's EVPL's Centennial this year) so we could have a support group of sorts...we had our first program this morning and there were ten of us in attendance.  Some novices, some dabblers, and some quilters...this is going to be fun {{if it doesn't kill us first!}}.  We will all have our own quilt tops by years' end.


Sunny Monday

Rumor has it that all of the snow and ice hanging around these parts will be melted by weeks' end.  That's exciting news!  The sky is ultra blue today...and the sun is shining brightly.  I really couldn't ask for more.  The day started out with a painting session in the basement of the library.  I was joined by two other people, and we had a great time.  I'm working on two canvases, and I really have no idea of how they'll end up.  Ronda finished her painting, and Sandy worked on three canvases.  Ambitious.

Our work is on display at Central Library, beginning today.  Click the link, and you'll be transported to the online version.  So exciting!

New stuff...not finished.

Where I left it today...1.7.13


Ten weeks until Spring

Unknown Source

Sunday morning, as usual, finds me watching CBS Sunday Morning. The first thing to catch my ear this morning was the statement by Charles Osgood saying that it's ten weeks until Spring. That's manageable...days and weeks tend to fly by...ten weeks. Time to check the floral department of Schnuck's to see if the primrose, cyclamen, and the other late winter-early spring specimens are available.

Plenty of time to think about starting seeds, too. This year, for certain, lots of Black-eyed Susans, both the plant and the vine...love the yellows twining around blue bottles on my soon to be constructed bottle tree.

by Teresa


Weekend Plans...post number 555

It's going to be a typical weekend here along the river...puttering around the house {{trying to keep warm!!}}, reading, listening to music (and looking for my mis-placed iPod), movie watching, soup-making, and bread baking.  This weekend's reading list includes:

My other "read" is for book discussion...The Shoemaker's Wife.  The books are so very different it won't be too much of a stretch for my brain.  One is a want-to, the other a got-to.  Makes a difference!

As for movies...it's going to be a Joseph Gordon-Levitt film fest...Premium Rush and Loopers.

My soup for the weekend--Ina Garten's Italian Wedding Soup:

Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs:

3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock  (cheating...using prepared stock)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.



The beat goes on...

Via Pinterest

I don't think there has been a Friday in the past year or so that I haven't had the words from that YouTube sensation Rebecca Black go through my head..."It's Friday, Friday, got to get down on Friday..."  Kind of starts the day on an "up" note, regardless of how annoying most (probably all) people feel about this so-called song.

Facebook was filled with a pay-it-forward creativity post yesterday.  I reposted the comment on my "status"...I think it's kind of cool, and definitely reminiscent of the blog pay-it-forward deal from a few years ago.
2013 Creative Pay It Forward: the first five people who comment on this will receive a gift from me in the next calendar year-- baked goods, jewelry, book craft, or art. I will send it to you whenever I "feel" it is the right time to do so. The catch? You have to post this on your wall and pay it forward! Message me your address after you comment here and repost! Who's in?
I'm going to open this up to blog readers...just repost the above message on your blog, with appropriate edits regarding the nature of your gift.  First five commenters to play...send me your address via email (hit the button on the side bar).


It's back to work I go...

People who know me (and read my blog) will be sighing and thinking "why is she dragging a picture of that painting out again??"...but I thought I'd share anyway.  If you've been reading my blog for any length of time--and have hung in there through the posting droughts--I seem to be a crafty person...sometimes the MacGyver of crafty people, by using odds and ends and trying to make something out of nothing.  "Artsy", I'm not...but I aspire.  Late last spring, one of the people who attends classes and programs at my library told me about an artist and a book.
 Flora Bowley and Brave, Intuitive Painting.  Truly...it changed my world.

Truly, a life-changing book...click here to be led to Amazon.com

Here's my first attempt at "being brave, and painting intuitively"...this is a 48" x 48" piece...pretty huge, and full of color.  My friend Ronda (see past posts to look at her work), and I bought a sheet of Masonite, and the fine folks at Home Depot cut in in half for us.  We both primed the surface with Kilz, and then began painting late last fall.  Layer, upon layer, using acrylics and mark-making tools (bubble wrap, pallet knives, bottle caps), bottles full of runny paint to dribble...and here's the end result.  I'm proud of my first effort, and have since progressed to using canvas to paint on...much easier!  I'll get permission from Ronda to post her painting here later today.

Edited to add:  "Solace" by Ronda H.

Now it seems I have a new hobby...painting--and I love it.  The bright colors of paint will get me through this gloomy winter.  Optimism...day 2.


New starts...2013

I loved this quote from the moment I first read it.  The words truly speak to me...it is all so optimistic, and that is what I hope 2013 is filled with...optimism.