Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I am married, but not settled - more stirred up I think. Still rebellious, still searching for inner peace. I see.... how life has molded our partnership; how living with and loving this man has surprised me, has turned out to be something I never expected... [We] are a thousand times blessed. In the sun and in the darkness as well, we can be happy together. Married, I am happy. Married, I am free.* Happy Birthday (and Anniversary, earlier this month) to my Paul. *again, from Singing Lessons by Judy Collins.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Illustration Friday: Dream This weekend I had a tremendous experience that I don't know if I could do justice to here with a limited amount of space. Suffice it to say, I made a request of God and it was filled INSTANTLY, in a very personal and humbling and visual way. While writing down the experience and the dream that preceded it, ideas for paintings came POURING out onto the paper, images I'd carried with me for years but never seriously entertained putting down. I think all in all there were 11 of them and 7 or more were all on the same theme - it occurred to me I could have a showing of all of them, and tell the stories that went with them. All very uplifting and hopeful. I also felt the urge to write myself a permission slip - and again, the words came tumbling out onto the paper. Permission to paint whatever I wanted, for myself. Permission to paint the same picture as many times as I needed to - big, small, different mediums - maybe they'd be easier to let go of if I had more than one to give away or sell! I put a big dotted line around it and boxed it. I think I was giving myself permission but it was God's hand guiding the pen. illustration friday: dream I wish you inspiration and love and the power to give yourself permission to do whatever it is you're afraid to do. Doors are opening.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The other french toast recipe. 'Kay, this is how I make french toast when there's just us (the 5 of us) at home. I don't have measurements, I just kind of mix things together so they look right - so no fear of measurements or anything technical here. It's all look and feel (and taste)! This is my own recipe, totally made up out of my head, from the days when I was a kid and would wake up early on Saturday morning to make toast for the family and then, while it was cooking, run outside and grab strawberries out of the front garden to put on top. Alas, now the deer at my parent's house eat every growing thing in sight and renegade squirrels make off with the rest, but I continue the tradition by making this for my family now and with my own strawberry patch. Note: you can make this as healthy or unhealthy as you like. The point is to experiment and have fun with it. Just please don't copy this to your site and pass it off as your own, or the karma of the toast will come back by clogging your arteries and sending you to an early grave. Don't say I didn't warn you. Feel free to share it, though. You need: - bread (whole wheat, italian, whatever you want!), figure at least 2 slices per person - 1 or 2 eggs - milk - vanilla - cinnamon - butter/margarine - fun extras - berries, whipped cream, maple syrup, strawberry syrup, powdered sugar Get a low bowl - you're looking for something wide and low, like a soup dish. (You don't want to bend your bread!) If you're making it just for you, use one egg, (more people or you want more for later, use two) and then pour enough milk in there so that when you mix it up it's a nice buttery color. I throw in a splash of vanilla as well. I shoot for well-mixed batter with NO big strands of egg white. Whip it, whip it good. Get your pan ready with butter; melt it so that when you have your drippy slice of battery bread you're all set to pop it in there. Then generously sprinkle cinnamon on top of your batter and place a slice of bread in the bowl. I for one don't like soggy toast at all, so I plop the bread in and quickly turn it over to the other side. Put it in the pan with the melted butter, cinnamon side down. Do the same with other slices till you fill up your pan. I happen to hate french toast with pieces of fried egg hanging off it, but if you mixed it well enough, this won't be a problem. If you do like your toast that way, then mix less. While they're browning, sprinkle cinnamon on the sides facing up. Dot with tiny pats of butter; they'll melt on the top as the bottom browns. I like my toast on the crispy side, so I like to get them good and brown like grilled cheese. When you like the way the bottom looks, flip it. When the undersides get nice and brown, remove them from the pan and do the next batch. Pay attention to the toast - turn down the heat if they're getting to dark too fast; and don't be afraid to slide another teeny pat of butter in there if you think it needs it. ;) Ways to serve your toast like we do at our house: - Please, serve it on a nice plate. - Try lots of fun toppings! Some of our favorites are: berries of all sorts, powdered sugar, whipped cream, bananas, nutella... or a combination of any of the above - Please, please, please, don't use Wonder bread, artificial syrup, or other fake stuff. Try the real deal and you probably won't want to go back to that overprocessed stuff. (That being said, my husband the Nature Boy actually prefers Aunt Jemimah to maple syrup. To each his own.) - Allow yourself to eat it sitting down, put on some nice music, and enjoy your food instead of eating it off a paper plate, standing up at the counter while you sip your reheated coffee from the styrofoam container. (This goes for all your food, not just french toast!) Have fun! You can freeze the leftovers... not that we ever have a crazy thing like that in our house!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Angela speaks! Take a listen to the littlest muffin recite some of her favorite words, with a yee! or two thrown in for good measure. Click here to listen to Angela [mp3]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Illustration Friday: Reflection. As I did quite a bit of reflection of the soul-searching sort last week, I figured I'd be literal this week. This is from a large drawing I did almost entirely in teeny tiny crosshatchings many years ago. While the monotony got to me eventually and I stopped using this technique soon after, I still love this picture. Closeup.... whatever was I thinking?!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

French Toast Girl is 6, and we're celebrating with new stuff! In honor of the site's sixth anniversary, we're offering two exciting new products! A journal/sketchbook and glossy print, both featuring my blossom faerie watercolour painting. It's taken me a while to produce new stuff because I'm such a stickler for perfection, but these two really are something special! Wanna create? Carry around the journal/sketchbook and keep your dreams close by. Glossy cover and unlined pages. Our wire-bound with 160 unlined pages. 12pt glossy paper cover, coated for scratch resistance. Measures 5" x 8". Or bring some magic into your home with the glossy poster print. It has a wide border and looks great matted or hung plain. Measures 16" x 20" and fits standard frames. Printed on heavyweight 7 mil semi-gloss paper using superior dye inks. What are you waiting for? Go! Look!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Illustration Friday: Wise It's my birthday. I'm not sure if this past year has made me smarter, but it has made me a bit wiser. I've learned so much about finding joy and pleasure wherever I can find it, in the smallest things. I've learned that it's okay to be vulnerable, to be broken, to not be the superest, bestest, happiest supermom ever. That being human is perfectly acceptable. I've learned how vital art is to my well-being - that I am an artist, and that the act of creating and painting can save my very life. I've surprised myself by discovering that I love to work from home, that I can set up 33 things to do in a year and do most of them, that I am much stronger than I think. I've found out a lot about nutrition and the way food is grown and processed that will change the way my family and I eat for the rest of our lives. I've learned that many of the obstacles I think I face, I've created myself. And that I'm the one with the power to clear them away. I've let go of past hurts and misconceptions that made me scared to dream BIG. I've learned that prayer can take many forms, including singing, painting, and taking time to notice the simple beauty in a leaf. I've also learned to say thank you much more often. I've learned to accept whatever blessings come my way with open arms, instead of saying "I'm not worthy" or trying to think what I can give back in return. and... I've learned that treating myself as precious makes me strong.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Illustration Friday: Empty

Monday, August 08, 2005

A brand new look... done at last! See the latest collaboration between Paul and me.... his completely redone and beautified website! (You can see the old one here.) I would post screen caps, but as it's late and I've been flirting all evening with defenstration for this #$%@^&#!! computer (newer one's sitting on the floor next to me, ready to go), I'll have to pass for tonight. Trust me. It's pretty. And if you like it, tell Paul, he'll be thrilled! Oh, and defenestration is one of my favorite words. Ever. If I could, I'd have it on my business card, "Art Director and Defenestrator." Sounds impressive, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yeah, yeah, yeah! I have found possibly THE greatest internet radio station of all time - an all Paul McCartney (and Beatles, and Beatle-related) musical extravaganza. I actually heard songs on there that I not only didn't know, but had never heard of. (Yes! There is such a thing! Everyone who knows me is shocked, good and proper.) Go. Listen. Now. And sing along, loudly. ps ~ Does anyone know the song the quote at the top of my comments box comes from? You get bonus points. (You, dear, who already probably not only knows all the songs I don't, but quite possibly knows ones Paul himself hasn't even dreamed up yet - please hold off until others have had a chance.) pps ~ And did you know there's a new McCartney album out next month? Homemade, playing all the instruments himself (again). No sign of can't be worse than last time.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Illustration Friday: Aging I have been doing a lot of thinking about aging lately. For one thing, my birthday's in two weeks; for another, I'm on Week Eight in The Artist's Way and one of my tasks is to picture my life in 5 and 10 years' time. This has been the point where I usually quit (tried four times before) because I have a very hard time stating my dreams out loud and actually planning for them. It scares the pants off me, really. But this time I think I'm ready for it. (And there will be much more about all that later.) I have had a couple of wonderful "age mentors" in my life. They have taught me that you can be in your 60's (and your 90's!) and be vibrant, alert, ready for a party or to go biking through Costa Rica. They shake up my ideas about what grandmas can do, or be. So now, knowing that I get incredibly cranky when I'm not at my fullest strength (witness me after my surgery with three babies this year), I've decided to do all I can NOW while I'm still disgustingly healthy to stay that way; to form habits of good eating, clean living, and exercise that will stay with me all my life; to keep my mind and creativity alert and to always be open to learn something new. I plan to be active (probably with long white hair, to boot!) for an awful long time.