Thursday, June 24, 2010


Oh my, this evening I am exhausted. Today I worked from home in the morning and then spent the afternoon doing too many kitchen activities. One thing just seems to lead to another and before I know it I'm attempting bagels, strawberry jam, and butternut squash gnocchi all at once.

Bagels rising
Delicious! But somewhat tiring, especially (and strangely) on the feet.

The bagel recipe was from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking and they are absolutely yummy - chewy and light and disappearing ridiculously fast.

Fresh bagel and strawberry jam
The jam was made with fresh berries I picked on Tuesday at the Charlotte Berry Farm. Its a good crop this year; juicy and sweet and without too many unwanted wormy guests. I used this recipe because it was the first one that came up when I googled "Strawberry Jam" and it looked tasty enough. It is. It is also super duper sweet. I didn't have quite 4 cups of strawberries so I used not quite 4 cups of sugar (it was frightening nonetheless, that is a lot of little white granules). I added juice and as much pulp as I could squish out of one lime, in addition to the full amount of lemon juice.

Fresh strawberry jam
I hesitated to actually can the jam since it was such a small batch. But really, how fast can two people eat that much sugar? So now we have three little jars to stick in the pantry. Too bad we don't have a pantry.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi
I am not entirely sure what the thinking was behind the gnocchi. I seem to recall a few days ago seeing someone else's batch of gnocchi with pesto... And then there was this butternut squash that has been on the counter for way too long. And maybe the torrential rain coming down outside had something to do with it. Whatever the case, once the squash was in the oven there was no turning back. They look really pretty on the counter, all cut up and orange. Not quite so tasty as I had imagined, but I think that is often my response to gnocchi. Or perhaps it was due to eating all those bagels.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Two New Paper Dolls - Freebies!

I have been enjoying looking at Liana's Paper Doll Blog lately. She is a wizard with those prismacolors, and really creative at coming up with lovely dresses and outfits. So I was inspired in two ways - one, to put up some dolls here for whom I can continue to add clothing (fun!); and two, to do some colored pencil coloring.

Two New Paper Dolls

Colored pencils really are wonderful, with the shading and the different effects depending on how the point is turned. I haven't used any really since high school when we made a lot of maps and illustrated pages. I think I had forgotten how much patience it takes to color properly with pencils - it is time consuming! But so satisfying in a way I don't think digital can ever really match. So, add a few more levels to my admiration of Liana's drawing skills!

Free Paper Dolls

Here are the dolls (or click on the photo for JPG version, lower res, same goes for the clothes below). They have the same bodies so they can share clothes, but two different face and hair options so they can be friends! Their first clothing options are a few little summer dresses, with accessories because purses are fun. You get them in black and white so you can spend some quality time with the colored pencils yourself (or paints, crayons, markers...). I will keep the dolls and their clothing collections over on the right hand side in a new section.

summer dresses


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Friday, June 11, 2010


We just came home from Arizona, stepping off the plane into drizzly rainy 55º Vermont.

Burnt trees and new growth

The desert was alive with intense color; flowering cacti, overflowing oleander, amazing delicate fairydusters.

We took a hike further up in the Catalina Mountains, attempting somewhat successfully to escape the heat. The forests had burned several years ago and the evidence remains - charred trunks and witchy looking blackened branches reaching into the crazy blue sky. The new growth is coming, ferns uncurling across the forest floor. Those colors are real, no enhancement necessary. Just looking at it makes me a little warmer.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Two days ago, when the sun was shining and the mosquitoes had not yet been born, I took my little traveling watercolor set and my brand-new-on-sale prismacolor set and a recycled paper watercolor pad out to the backyard and spent a lovely little while with some watercoloring sketching.

Sleeping Green Lady with Roses
I didn't stay out too long, since my skin doesn't last long sitting in the sun, and there are always so many other things to be done. But for a little while it was bliss and I fully intend to make more watercolor time soon and often. Hold me to that, will you?

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