Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hamentaschen

This is the Jewish holiday of Purim...when the story of Queen Esther is read and children dress in costumes (like Halloween except it's all about beautiful Queen Esther for the girls and, hmmm, something biblical looking for the boys.) Evil-doer Hamen supposedly wore a three corner shaped hat, thus the shape of these delicious annual treats. I can't give you the recipe because no matter which one I try, lots of them open up, loosing their 3 sided shape. I've tried cream cheese dough, buttery dough, cake mix dough, same results. I've used the traditional poppy seed mix, but today I used Bonne Maman preserves: raspberry and apricot. So they taste good no matter the shape, in the end, it doesn't matter, contents, not looks, wins. Look here and here to see where the best hamentaschen can be found in the U.S.A.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Typewriters







I have two typewriters. The Smith-Corona is from my college days. The Remington was bequeathed to me by a friend who moved to Europe. She had it in her yard sale for $25, including another ribbon, but no one wanted it. I plan to one day do an art project using them. In the meantime, they collect dust. They are very good at that. I don't know how good they'll be at typing a letter (yet!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writing postcards.


When my niece's mother-in-law died, my niece presented me with a smallish cardboard box covered in gold paper. Maybe stationery had come in it, maybe candy, there was no indication of it's original usage, but inside it was an assortment of old postcards. Some were those linen surface ones, some were hand tinted, many were quite boring and left me wondering "who would want a postcard of a parking lot in rural North Carolina?" Some were in multiples, like the apartment complex in Tidewater, Virginia, or the Observatory in Chesapeake, Virginia. I'm so happy to have these cards. Tonight, I wrote 8 of them to service people on support mission in Haiti, one to PostMuse, and one to my daughter (which showed a photo of the place she went to school.) I like thinking of what to write on each card that relates to the image. In most cases, the cards are from locations I've never been to, or ever will be, like Luray Caverns. No cavern for me, thank you. One visit to the catacombs in Paris was enough subterranean for me for a lifetime.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Birds...

After completing a postcard for my own Mail Call "Beauty is....." I got on a roll with the theme. Here are three more in the series. You can see #1 here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Old Mail found

I was cleaning out an old tin biscuit box where we kept odds and ends and found these letters that I'd saved. Two were still with their envelopes and were from a man in North Carolina. Two were written by my husband's father and were probably tucked into a package or a greeting card as there were no envelopes. Both men were quite old at the time of writing these.

Here is the Mr. Owens story: we traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for vacations in the summer, when our children were young. As we neared the banks, we would pass a house located close to the road, that had wooden objects lined along the front. They were wind mills, whirly-gigs, and other items, all hand carved. They were truly folk art. One day, we decided that we'd stop and learn more about these items. We met the artist, Mr. Owen. He took us to his little workshop next to his house, and chatted with the children. On the way back home, we stopped and Mr. Owen allowed us to buy one of his objects. He was very cautious because he said that he'd had dealers from New York City come and buy his work then sell it for a lot. But he trusted that we wouldn't do that. I think the first item might have been a duck, later on other visits, we bought an airplane and a gull. Sometimes, we just stopped to chat. We'd take photos of him and the kids, he'd mark their heights on his door frame and marvel at how tall they'd grown. The letters are about a year apart, each one after summer visits with him. The 1986 letter refers to his having been ill. The next year, we stopped and spoke with his family. He was in hospital at the time, but his family was happy that we stopped and said they'd pass along to him that we'd been by. I wrote later on but received no reply. I assumed that he'd "passed" as they say down here. We all have fond memories of Mr. Owen.
I cherish these little notes from my father-in-law to our children. He didn't write often. We usually spoke to them on the phone, and we drove to visit them once or twice a year, usually in the summer and then again at the children's winter school break. Everyone thought we were totally crazy driving north to Chicago in winter. We were, but it was an adventure, and the kids loved seeing the snow. At that time, we didn't get it often or for very long. (Oh how different this winter has been!) I think I'll attach Mr. Owen's letters to the bottoms of two of his pieces of art work. Look for photos of his work on the blog in a bit.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Apple Sauce time

I decided that I needed to make something better for health, so I put away my lovely new baking pan for awhile, and started peeling apples. I had a few to start with, and added some others, an assortment of Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, and Empire. I add nothing. It's just apples, all apples, and so good tasting.



The snow has melted from the front area of the house, the back yard is starting to clear out, too. Still too much white stuff out there but another day or two of higher temperatures (44F-6c predicted today) and I should be able to see the ground out there. I look forward to spring.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mail Art

Here are a couple of pieces of Mail Art that I sent out into the world today. I remembered to scan them before I sent them. It's good for me to have a record to refer to when people mention they got the card. Card? What card? I hope the recipients are happily surprised. Happy Good Mail Day! Write a letter to someone, send some mail, make some mail art, send a postcard to a soldier who gets no mail (join Books For Soldiers,) it's so satisfying.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mail Art reminder and a new call


Just a reminder that my mail art call "Beauty is....." is still open for entries.

Beauty is.......




My friend Meriel is at a new place of business and is soooo happy about it. In honor of her happiness, I'm calling all to submit Mail Art on the theme: Beauty is.....

The cards will be on display at SPA310
The month of April (and perhaps longer!)

As usual, no jury, no return, on-line documentation. Family friendly, please.

Works received will be posted here: http://beautyismailart.blogspot.com

Deadline: 1 April 2010
Medium: open
Size: Standard postcard

Mail entries to:
Beauty is.......
SPA310
3506B West Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23221
U.S.A.

Another call you might be interested in -
http://1people1planet.blogspot.com/
Theme: One People, One Planet.
Deadline: 3 April 2010 Size: standard postcard
Send to: One People, One Planet
P.O. Box 1183
Jacksonville, OR 97539 USA
Give your name & e-mail address


(images by Mim Golub)

Valentine's Day cakes

I decided to make Red Velvet cake for Valentine's day. I used my exciting new Bundt pan and miniature heart spring pans. I've decided that this is the last Red Velvet cake that I will make using red dye (a coal tar derivative.) I'll be switching to a cake using beets and cocoa after this. Anyway, the cakes looked gorgeous. I decided that I'd use whipped cream on top of the small hearts and in the center of the Bundt. The cakes were a visual success. The big cake turned out a bit dry, perhaps in the oven a tad too long. I'm glad I did it and now I have lots of cake in my freezer for future guests.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

My blotter and pencil




Many of you know how much I enjoy writing letters. You can see on the left that I'm a member of the Letter Writers Alliance, and I follow several letter writing blogs, like Missive Maven and Ang's impression project of a letter a day. Most of us letter writers are fond of pens, pencils and the acoutrements of writing like letter openers and in my case, my antique blotter. I found the blotter in a bunch of items that my husband had. The actual blotting paper in this case is cut from packaging for flour. I didn't know this until the day I took these photos. My husband found this pencil for me a number of years ago. It's silver, with a very long chain. The writing on it says patent pending. Who would wear a pencil like this? I'm so curious about who might have owned it. A librarian? A teacher? I use it and I do use the blotter with both pens and rubber stamps.




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Support Freedom for the Iranian people-AZADI-آزادی


Today is the day to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran. I've been fortunate in my life to meet wonderful artists from Iran, and to count Iranians among my friends here in the United States. I want for those living in Iran the same freedoms that I so often take for granted: the ability to speak freely about what goes in my government, to be able to hold a conversation on the telephone about protests and not be cut-off, to be able to march in protest marches without risk of being sent to prison or worse, to be able to create art freely that expresses my personal opinion, to able to blog about things I care about with out risk of censorship or worse. I want people in Iran to know that we think of them and support them in their desire for a free society. AZADI - آزادی

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More snow...reality.

Here are some views from inside. I took the view from the front window after the snow had stopped falling, though it was still being blown off of the trees and roofs. Here's the view of Jane's yard as the wind whipped up snow, like a white out, right after I spotted Jane walking out there. The views from the back upstairs window shows the snow clinging to each branch of the tree. This is just unbelievable to us. This is just so NOT Richmond, VA. Our new neighbors moved here from Denver. They're used to the snow but not the schools being closed. Yes, the schools are closed again. This is SO Richmond, VA - to close schools.

I think I'll knit today.





More snow....Ridiculous

Yesterday, we had a gray but okay day. Hard to believe that more snow was predicted. After Spanish class, I stopped by Lamplighter cafe and coffee roastery. It's owned by some folks that I'm related to by neighborhood and friendship (mom to mom.) They have a yummy looking menu, the dishes and cups were made by Zach's mom! The doughnuts are the home made ones from that east end place that's nostalgia provoking for my family. Because more snow was predicted, and it was sooo cold out, I decided to turn that cabbage in the refrigerator in to some soup. I put some potatoes in it, and diced tomatoes, a dash of lemon juice and a tad brown sugar and it kind of tasted like mom's soup.
I got a new cake pan. I'm crazy about shaped pans. You may remember my "cathedral" cakes with the powdered sugar snow on them. Here's my newest pan. I tried out a box mix in it yesterday, just to see if it worked! And it did! Wow, what a gorgeous cake. Today, I might make another cake just for the fun of it. Come on by and have a piece of cake! Call first to be sure I'm not outside taking more snow pictures. I can't stop myself!