Saturday, November 29, 2008

Piece of the Day

In all my lack of time, I'm trying to kick out some new paintings. This new series kind of merges the feeling between my TS gardens and chain garden paintings. Here is the first in the series- 30x40". (yes my vacation filler is posting new pieces)
1.swimming 2. lemon pie 3.cousins

Thursday, November 27, 2008

one year

One year ago I was in the hospital tucked under warm white blankets giving birth to my baby boy. My pregnancy was complicated at the end(well actually all the way through but really at the end). Every night I would wake up, waiting to feel him to kick, to know he was still alive. Every few days returning to the hospital for ultrasounds and test to be sure he was still well. Sitting at my computer at 2 am every night, reading articles, weighing out the risks. After ardous weeks of postponing delivery to allow more time for his lungs to mature, each day weighing life. His day arrived, a joyous birth and exultant relief to have a healthy baby boy only to discover to everyone's surprise that he had a very large blood clot occluding the portal vein in his liver. Tears, blessings, many prayers, weeks in the NICU, carefully mixing doses and injecting his little arms and legs day and night, all of my hopes for him hanging on a resolution.

He stands one year old today- a testament of God's miracles, my thanksgiving. Happy birthday baby!

thanksgiving dream

I wake up, full refreshed, and put on cozy clothes play a great morning game of flag (okay never mind tackle- I like to plow people down) football with my friends (kind of like they do in glossy magazine ads and preppy commercials). The air is crisp and cool and refreshing. Just enough of a fun game to work up a good appetite. We take turns on the sidelines looking ever so chicly casual in our colorful scarfs and muddied grass stained pants and vintage college shirts sipping hot chocolate heavy on the marshmallows. Then I shower and change into perfect jeans and a cozy sweater. My crowd of favorite friends and family feast on a delicious meal (which is made exactly the way I like it- a well seasoned bird, stuffing with mushrooms, hand mashed yukon gold potatoes, bruleed sweet potatoes, homemade dripping gravy, fresh baked rolls, black olives, peas with pearl onions, cranberry jello and my friend Jennifer's pies-- all this without my slaving or dish doing on my part) Then everyone snuggles up in front of a cozy fire on comfy couches in warm socks and talks and laughs late into the night and of course eats lots more pie. While children play quietly and peacefully.

Thanksgiving is never quite like my dream that but still I am thankful for all that I have!
1. family 2. security 3. blessings too numerous to count

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Piece of the Day- Diligence

A new painting 18x24", a cousin of the piece entitled compassion (the orange one). Playing with the branch, the patterns, colors, emotions.
1. internet access again 2. down comforters 3. good mexican food

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Painting of the Day- Burning Bush

Here is the lesson in "always have your sketchbook handy". A few weeks ago I went to the temple with some of my New England blogging lady friends. When we arrived my baby was asleep, so I stayed int he car with him. I didn't even think to bring a book to read (even though I have 3 unread on my nightstand) or my seminary lessons to plan (although I did read someons scriptures in the back of the lewis-mobile). I did however have my trusty sketchbook. This painting came to me as I looked at the bushes lining the sideway at the Boston Temple- it's not done yet, but I love the red leaves.
1. thoughts of resteraunts 2. getting corn on sale 3. helping neighbors

Monday, November 17, 2008

support your local gunfighter

I posted my first post on Segullah today. I have been thinking about it for a few weeks, mulling a couple ideas, but at the last minute got totally nervous and came down with a terrible case of writers block. (It's just a blog post for goodness sake- what a silly I am.) So if you feel inclined to bring me some blogging chicken soup, pop on over and show me your love today. Make the new girl feel special and not so nervous Nelly. Anyway, here's one of my new pieces I've been working on it's entitled compassion.
1. meaning from writing 2. a great husband 3. "earn a party" clean up game

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a delicious weekend in the city that never sleeps

So I returned from New York last night... the city still on my mind. I left still wanting to walk around the balmy 60 degree streets at all hours of the day and night, showtunes still echoing in my ears, my mouth still craving more meals of exotic foods, and lingering thoughts of the MoMA.
We drove down Friday morning, past the stunning Manhattan temple and checked into our Times Square hotel where my children promptly devoured the Godiva chocolates waiting for us. We then set out for Turkish food, feasting up kebabs, pita, and pilaf and my children's a favorite Gazoz soda and cherry juice in an outdoor courtyard. We walked on to the MoMA. It was fun to see my 7 yo old walk into a room and know a Chagall, a Picasso, a Mondrian, a Rousseau, on sight. My 3 year old was entranced with the sculptures and astounded patrons as he stood at the windows noticing every detail of color and design that passed in the city below. It was exciting to watch as he stood before pieces and traced the movement of the shapes and patterns in the air. My baby on the other hand was overtired and forced me to rush through the gorgeous Van Gogh exhibit. I have seen many Van Gogh's in person, but truly this show was breathtaking. The Boccioni and Klimt pieces also begged me as to stay but alas, my children's rambunctious feet beckoned us to leave. I begged off 5 covetous minutes in the museum store and then we walked back through the gently foggy evening air passing down and across so many landmark buildings and streets. We stopped for a wooden subway car to add to the train collection and jamba juice (my boys new love- we new englanders don't get much in the way of restaurants).
At the hotel, my boys tumbled into their jammies and crawled on the pillowy hotel beds as I got ready for my gala event. All glammed up I walked the few blocks through time square to the theater where it was held. Nothing like being all dressed up and walking through the NY city crowds.
The fundraiser was fabulous. Delectable food and I love a great open bar even if it means I just have variations of every juice soda known to man and garnished with a variety of drink accessories: sprite with a cherry, fresh grapefruit juice, half gingerale half cranberry with a lime twist. Fabulous performances by a couple who have performed in numerous Broadway shows. Great presentations and awards from the VBF. Always a treat to meet up with such a great team of people I have worked with over the last 4 years. Did I say great auction items. I only left 550$ lighter than I arrived? (good deals I promise) ohh and I ran into Daniel Radcliffe exiting the theater as I passed by on my way to the hotel (celebrity sightings always add to the NY experience)
Saturday I taxied off to Beth Israel for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Conference. (I am the developmental expert for the VBF) A morning of great presentations, by the world experts, if only all medical professionals had this important knowledge. I did 4 hours of psycho-social support counseling with families. These families have often been through so much whether it be trying to find the right diagnosis and treatment for their child or trying to cope with the stares and comments they are constantly bombarding with when having a child with a visible difference. I love being able to use my professional skills in this way. I gain and learn so much from these families and individuals. Truly a reminder of all that is precious and good and where our beauty and strength truly lies. After the conference, I then raced back to the hotel to greet my boys. Smart daddy-o had taken them out for breakfast and a day at the Natural History Museum. We all walked down to Hell's Kitchen to sit upon pillows and feast upon Moroccan tagines, before leaving the city. Finally we retrieved the car and drove 3 very tired boys home. There's the weekend update!

1. NYC 2. VBF 3. beauty in so many forms

Thursday, November 13, 2008

so it was like one of those dreams...

where you show up and realize school is starting and you don't know where to go. But this time it is real life and it goes something like this... T-20 hours to big New York Gala and I look around and realize.
1. My skin is pasty- late New England fall to be precise- "ages since I've seen the sun" white
2. My toes need to be painted - they will be seen but NY society peeking out from under my dress.
3. I still haven't decided which jewelry to wear.
4. I still haven't decided what to do with my hair.
5. My nails need to be filed.
6. My eyebrows could really stand some attention.
7. My legs need to make peace with a razor.

Then there is the matter of the yet-to-be-packed suitcase.
Today started badly...actually I can't really remember when today started in between the many croupy night wakings of my baby, then I rolled out of bed to teach, then it was getting the world in motion, I literally begged for Heavenly Mercy (multiple times throughout the morning) in the form of a nap. After hours of unsuccessfully trying to get my tired baby to sleep- I went for the last resort- a car ride. We drove for 25 min -- no luck- so after McD's oj and hashbrowns and a car ride home. I kept feeling like my body was going to into screen saver mode I finally got him down. I conned SS#2 into sitting by me on my bed. Finally- sleep. Well for 15 minutes until ss#1 pounded on the door- half day today- and our every loving and concerned bus driver will not drive off till I show my face at the door. Then the fussy one awoke again and I was on homework patrol and making dinner for myself (one handed- baby in other arm trying to grab the water chestnuts I was slicing) and my neighbors (o the spirit prompts to often crazy actions).

maybe this is all just a bad dream too- we'll see in the morning...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cupcake Class: Sea Creatures

Tutorial: How to Make Sea Creature Cupcakes (jellyfish, octopus, goldfish, starfish).

1. Frost cupcakes with blue frosting.
2. Sprinkle with confetti sprinkles

for octopus: Roll out pink laffy taffy and shape into head. Place 8 pink sour spaghetti pieces on for tentacles. Add frosting eyes.

for starfish: Roll out yellow laffy taffy. Cut into a star shape. Add eyes. Add sour spaghetti for seaweed.

for goldfish: Use gummy crabby patty pieces cut notches to make into fish shape. add icing eyes.

for jellyfish: roll out purple laffy taffy shape into head and cut tentacles. add icing eyes.

Use blue sour spaghetti pieces for decoration.

Monday, November 10, 2008

on the death to my gorgeous mid century red plate

My husband a phone call the other day first reminding to open enrollment benefits at work and secondly to remind him that beautiful glass objects that your wife adores should not be put on a shelf 18 inches from the floor where your toddler son can huck it like a frisbee across the dining room shattering your design visions in a single shattering crack and 2 trillion tiny pieces.

daddy owes me...

(Update: Debt repaid with the purchase of one 40x60"- 1960's MCM mirror-saved by craiglist)

1. hair fun 2. napping kids 3. a lesson with help

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Andy Warhol spoke to me in my dream...

and told me I don't look like a real artist. My hair is not asymmetrical, funky colored, or especially textury. My clothing and accessories pretty simple, straight forward. Usually dressing up means a clean black skirt (I am talking about cut, not fabric because there is usually something smeared on me). Dressing down jeans and sweater (I will here profess my detestation of tennis shoes if that counts for anything-- uglier than sin-- and unless I am running distance or playing a hard core sport I will not wear them- but I digress) Suffice it to say I am not exotic. Smart mama is not bangly, wild, eccentric. I look too...I don't know... normal.
Then Andy got on my case about my personality. He took me on a journey through dreamland to view the lives of artists. You know those who exude interesting artiness, to the point that you kind of consider them a special subspecies because they think and act very differently than you or I. It became obvious to me that I lack the artist "weirdness", okay PC that, the "passionate flair and flamboyance." I don't go by a mono name, nor am I named after anything organic, and no, no obscure literary figure either. I don't live in a uber-chic loft, and hang with an crowd of "interesting characters" (no slight to you my peeps). You know what I am talking about: scarf wearing poets, bald tortured playwrights, a hippie women getting PhDs studying tribes and funky anthropological stuff, struggling actors, soulful gig playing musicians, and others tortured by arts and passions.

Truth be told I am more of a weird artist than I like to admit-- I think constantly in a stream of images I try to mentally "tune them in"-- think like a radio station with static only in picture form. I scribble them in sketchbooks and hope at the end of the day when the laundry is done I'll remember enough and have some shred of energy remaining to recreate them in paint. If you ever wonder why artists seem spacey and distractable- this is why...

Maybe I am failing to nurture my artist mystique? If I seem more like an artist will people respect my art more? Or the better question...will they pay more?? (smart mama laughing). Is this an expectation is it part of artist PR and spin? For now I guess I am stuck playing up the enigma angle-- she looks like just a normal mom but is really a crazy artist.

Cupcake Class: Sock Monkeys

How to make sock monkey cupcakes:

1. Frost cupcake with chocolate frosting.

2. Place a chocolate covered graham cracker on top

3. Twist open a golden Oreo open one, snap in half.

4. Attach the frosted open half, for mouth region, with a bit of frosting.

5. Place red mike and ike or hot tamale on for mouth.

6. Attach half of on frosted Golden Oreo for the top of the head with a bit of frosting.

7. Cut to Harbio black licorice wheels. In half, use chocolate frosting to attach as ears.

6. Use mini Junior mints or M&Ms as eyes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cupcake Class:Space Edition

If you are looking for Outer Space themed Cakes. Here are tutorials for constellation, alien, planet, and UFO cupcakes. You can also see my rocket and earth cakes and rocket cupcakes.

How to Make Constellation Cupcakes:
1. Frost cupcake in Blue frosting.
2. Roll out yellow laffy taffy.
3. Cut out with tiny star cutters (Wilton)
4. Add sprinkles.

Aliens Cupcakes (idea from Hello, Cupcake)
modified due to my jumbo donut holes...

How to make UFO Cupcakes
1. Frost cupcake in Blue.
2. Sprinkle edge with confetti sprinkles.
3. Place zebra cake on top.
4. slice donut hole in half.
5. frost 1/2 in blur frosting fro UFO dome.
6. Roll out green laffy taffy or air head, cut into strip for band.
7. Place dome on top of the UFO.

How to Make planet cupcakes (Not Shown)
1. Frost cupcake in blue.
2. Sprinkle edge with confetti sprinkles.
3. A small slice from each cut side.
4. Separate an oreo (golden or regular) place a bit of frosting on the top and bottom.
5. Place cookie sandwich style between cut donut hole to make a ring.

Disclaimer: We were going to make these planet cupcakes at cupcake class. I had tried it out a few weeks previous. I knew I needed a lot of donut holes so I special ordered them from a grocery store bakery. Well, when the holes were picked up they were huge- Super Jumbo Size. While I appreciate the generosity it adversely affected the aesthetic and balance of this weeks designs and I had to scrap the planet design completely due to the bad proportioning.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I just finished teaching seminary and looked out my window to see this. The sun rising through the fog. Light rolling forward to fill in the spaces through dead barren trees.

1. beauty in my backyard 2. resurrection 3. truth

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why I need a bikini

I was getting ready to step into the shower and looked in the mirror. Certainly there is work to be done here. I have passed the 9 month post baby grace period. Last week, I had to take measurements for a new dress for my little upcoming gala event in NYC. The tape measure brought to my attention that my waist is a full 5 inches greater in circumference than it was when my husband married me. In case you were wondering no, it's not muscle... it's winter storage (some thing I can live off of if a really bad Nor'Easter hits).
Why can't I seem to get the motivation to exercise? Is it because I like painting or blogging more? Is it because I am weak and lazy? Is it because I can't find the time when someone isn't crawling on me? Or is it I am so dead tired I can hardly form sentences or walk a sobriety line some days? The answer is... all of the above.
The problem is I need a stronger motivator. Surely the motivator of "good health" is so vague and ambiguous. I see it like this... if I work out today does that mean I will like to be 93, 7 months, and 4 days versus 93, 4 months, and 27 days if I don't? See that is just way to far out to matter much. At that point I might be wanting to give up a few extra days. Not enough inspiration to make me break a sweat.
I need something stronger. Hence the bikini, see if I was forced to walk around in public like that, that would be a motivator. Shame, humiliation, public mocking, now there is motivation. Luckily, I though I have the strong religious standard of modesty. So I am left to continue my course, hiding it all under a covering black tankini, sparing the world my six packless abs and still wanting for motivation!
For the record I really don't stress about size and weight, and I really do want to work out- for "my health's sake"
1. a great grandma 2. real dinner 3. joy of voting

What? I've been walking around in 7's?

My husband gave me a few hours of solo shopping time and a stack of Am Ex gift cards for my birthday 6 months ago and today I finally cashed in. I started at Marshall's because I am indeed shamelessly shoportunistic. I piled a cart high with items. The dress room patrol lady's eyes widened as I approached. I explained to her a few sentences at a times as I returned every 10 minutes for a new stack of 8 garments. That I really wasn't sure what size I was or what styles looked good on me any more. After whittling down the cubic yard, I checked out with 2 bags. I proceeded on to express (my $30 off 75$ coupon in hand) with the design of getting a new white shirt. possibly some jeans and some cute sweater vests on sale. After relying on the advice on the 20 something old salesgirl eyeing my backside in various pants, I left with another bag.

I proceeded to fashion show for smart daddy-o. A while back we switched form the "looks nice" "kind of cute" " I guess it 's okay" subjective ambiguity to a strict 1 to 10 rating scale. Engaged in a game of chess I was not getting full attention. We did a preliminary round and then the strong competitors went on for a second round of numerical judging. green shirt ...6... really?... (ok return), chunky grey sweater...8...(keep), new jeans #1...8... (keep), new jeans #2...9...(keep), then just to get a reference of the new clothes to my current closet. I put on the jeans I wore shopping knowing he wouldn't recognize they weren't new...7... (seven is the fence between keep and return)
"What I have been walking around in 7's! Well then I guess it's a good thing I went shopping today isn't it. You told me when i bought these 2 1/2 years ago they looked really good!"
We worked through the rest of the pile.
"humph, So what is a 10?"
"I don't know, I guess I'll tell you if I see it," my husband laughed.
"So this isn't fair, this elusive ten, nothing is a ten then, really is there no ten?" comically jesting my husband that perhaps this ten was elusive due to the body wearing the clothes and not to the actual items themselves??
Really I have only received a 3 a few times for something he thought beastly ugly. A 5 is his way of saying-- NOT GOOD! So I guess next time I'll say on a scale of 3-9.
1. birthday presents redeemed 2. silent shopping 3. bargain candy