Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Source for Delicious and Healthy Recipes!!

Katie's Delicious Bread Recipies this Way!!

The other day I was really excited to discover that my friend Katie had a recipe for Pita Pockets. I first had homemade pocket bread when my friend Menell's mother brought it to a grade school class. Being recent immigrants to my hometown they were sharing a part of their Eqyptian heritage through food. The bread was hot, fresh, and heavenly!! Since that day, I've longed for that delicate yeasty flavor and the magic way they puff up while cooking. My mother did make the recipe once if I remember correctly. Oh, they make the best sandwich holders!!! So, when I asked Katie about the reference to the pita pockets on Facebook, she said, "The recipe is on my Cooking Blog!" Well, I didn't know she had a cooking blog. I hope she doesn't mind if I share it here!

Katie also has delicious dips and spreads and very wonderful bean soups. Katie gets excited about her wonderful creations and sometimes we are lucky enough to share in the delights of wonderful flavors and smells. She generously keeps the Emerald Marine Carpentry workers fueled up on her sweet treats. I know they are greatly appreciated!!

I also like that she made me think of my favorite movie, "Julie and Julia" on discovering her blog!! This is a great way to share the things in life that give you satisfaction! Be sure to check out Bayandem for more delicious recipes!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Enamel on copper, my new adventure!!!

I have an overwhelming amount of inspiration for where I would like to take the enameling medium.  So currently, I am working on paring down that list and getting realistic ! Right now I am working on the basics, learning how to use my kiln and the various ways to use the enamel powders.  It is an art that requires an open mind to variations and unexpected results.   It's just another way to make use of colored glass, which I realize gives many beads their appeal!

I have put the first 3 pairs of earrings together with beads and made some lovely earrings.  There are more finished enamels waiting for their final touches, either in the kiln, or mingling with the beads and chains, waiting to see what is the prefect match.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mishaps, Experiments, and Semi Failures

Last weekend I did not have the kiln set up but I was anxious to play with fire and see how my leaves would turn out.  While getting ready and setting up my torch tripod, I knocked one of my leaves off and it shattered.  So, instead of trying to repair it's delicate form I decided to use the small pieces later, for embellishments.  Nothing goes to waste with silver clay!  The other leaf turned out fine!  I need to repair some cracks and bolster it up with some paste but I think it will do just fine after some tumbling.  I plan to melt down the bits of the broken leaf with a torch on a charcoal block.

The leaf looks pretty good!  It's scented geranium as I mentioned earlier.  It has a lot of detail!  You can see the hairline cracks that I will fix with some slip and refire.  It's a little over a half inch wide.

<--Pieces before sanding and finishing greenware.

Later that week, I decided to boldly go ahead with the kiln firing once it was installed in my studio and  I had 4 hours plus of undivided time to give it.  I monitored the heat with its dial. I didn't have a pyrometer to measure if the heat was accurate.  The results allowed me to conclude that the thermocouple on the borrowed kiln is faulty because the copprclay pieces turned to tiny little molten blobs.  Sure maybe a couple of them were too small, there is 20% shrinkage.  But they were ridiculously small and misshapen.  My reasoning is that the stuff is not too expensive to experiment with.  My bronze clay pieces are awaiting a trip to pouncing rain or a kiln with a digital timer.  I have also bought a package of art clay copper which is less risky but still has it idiosyncrasies.  I will also be using these for accent pieces!

Look at those sad little deformed creatures!!  I cleaned off a piece of the copper and a piece of the bronze.  Well, I'll say one thing, they sintered!!  There isn't any resemblance at all to their unfired selves!

The good news is that in the meantime I invested in a small programable Evenheat kiln.  A Studio Pro STP, I have made 4 pairs of copper disks for earrings.  I'll get those pictures posted in the next few days. I am very excited!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hey (Wo)man, Loosen up!!!!!

(I found this post in my draft folder.  Why not publish it!!??)

"The elemental universe expands while we waste life contracting into ever tighter spirals. Comb your mind for ways to live an expansive vision that enhances intelligence and exemplifies the practical simplicity of what can be..."

One of my oldest artist friends posted this on Facebook some time ago.  While I am trying to find a typical office job, I am trying to reconcile the pull I have toward making my living being creative and the security of a conventional job.  While in this current job market it is easier to take the high road and put my energy into tthe jewelry because the jobs are so hard to find.  I know the jobs are out there, my search has not waned.  Yet, there are all kinds of contracting ideas floating around in my head as I balance the urge to make things with my hands, heart and soul and the urge to save enough money to have the once every couple of years vacation to a place that is warm in the winter with beaches, and surf, and delicious food.  Contracting ideas like the artist and creative friends who have moved on from the artist lifestyle toward more education and careers. Who makes it as an artist and why?  I am discovering the hard work required and it not longer seems like a selfish pursuit.  
As I look at the near prospect of our daughter nearly graduating from college and a son who will be entering college in less than two years I imagine my future life.  At this cross roads it is time to do the wish-crafting.  The most powerful tool we have had in creating the current life we have is inspired dedication.

My response is:

Fighting the tightening, and unrolling the winding! Trying to not go 'round cinched up so wound! 

Bull Kelp on the Beach, New Year's Day