Monday, September 13, 2010


In the last couple of years, I've started to reframe my concept of home. I'm starting to think of it as a production center--rather than a consumption center. This is slow going, because I grew up like so many of us out there, in a suburban wonderland where milk and meat and cheese magically came into the world encased in cellophane. The ironic thing is this: my parents and extended family come from a strong farming background. My mom is an expert gardener and my dad the consummate repair man and carpenter, who by his own admission, "can fix anything but a broken heart." I think as kids, my brother and I were far more interested in Scooby Doo and riding banana-seat bikes than hoeing weeds, and our parents just didn't seem to be bothered by that. After all, we were children of the 60s and 70s. We watched movies about starships and figured the cars we would drive would look a lot like George Jetson's. And weren't they going to build us Rosie the Robot Maids, ready to serve at our beck and call? It hardly seemed like churning butter was very compatible with being part of the Brady Bunch. are some of my projects in action. Right now, I'm harvesting  tomatoes. Yes, those misshapen things ARE tomatoes, and tasty ones at that. But I have no idea, why they look like pears with these long peaked tails...I have been reading about ripening green tomatoes in the house. It sounds like one effective method is putting them in a single layer in a darker area of a room, covered with a couple of sheets of newspaper. Fingers crossed, I plan to do that in a week or so, once I gather all the green ones.

We are thrilled to announce that hubby and I are going to be grandparents for the first time!! I had my boys as a teenage mom, and although I wouldn't trade a moment, it was a rather bumpy road. Blessedly, my son and his lovely bride are not following my example. I've been working on this quilt, the image based on a childhood toy of my son's. Imagine my surprise when that same son called with the news that it isn't one grandbaby, but two! TWINS! So, needless to say, I'm hustling to get this puppy done and start right away on another one. There's just something so sweet about thinking about these lovely children and stitching, one stitch at a time.

It's not finished, not by a long shot. But this is my first adventure into trompe l'oeil, a form of painting that focuses on illusion and still life. You literally can create any fantasy environment on your walls, using some of these techniques. I hope to get this piece completed within the next couple of weeks. The little figures on the top shelf will be the little figures on a wedding cake, and a china cup and saucer will be added. I don't care for the salt and pepper shakers behind the apron, and will be changing them. Also there will be either some fresh flowers or some vegetables draping from the bottom level of the glass platter. The color balance will also be refined and changed. My paintings go through so much in process that I'm always hesitant to show them before they're finished--because this work will look very different once it's done. But it's been so fun--I just couldn't resist giving you a sneak peek. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Long time, no see

Well, finally I'm back to joining you in cyberspace. Jeez--a month since I've posted anything!! I wish I could show off new tan lines, shopping bags from French Rivera giftshops, and tales of my mimosa-inspired adventures...but my time away has been far from that chi-chi, dahling.

Today, I put away two containers of curried chicken for future freezer meals, along with two batches of Tex-Mex breaded chicken fingers--also for the freezer. I also froze three breasts plain for future use, probably cut up in casseroles. I figure that the package of chicken I bought for $9.00 will go for 6-8 meals. I'm sure that there are folks out there that can do even better than seem like such a bother to me, and I don't do the warehouse stores...but I thought it was pretty economical, just the same. Check out the book, "Fix, Freeze, Feast" by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. So far, every recipe has been a winner at our house...and my hubby can be picky.

I'm attempting another cut to the grocery budget. My goal is to spend an average of $30 a week for the two of us, including toiletries and extra non-perishables here and there to put in the cupboard for 'just in case'. We have a store in our town that sells dented cans and other slightly 'off' merchandise, and I have sticker shock every time I go in there--but in a good way, if you know what I mean! Last night, I made goulash (a quick skillet dish of tomato sauce, browned hamburger, onion, chili powder, and macaroni), a fresh zucchini and tomato salad, courtesy of our own garden, and crockpot tapioca pudding. I roughly, and generously, estimate that we spent under $2.00 a plate--if even that. Yeah...this frugality thing is really making us suffer...chuckle, chuckle.

We are still waiting for more of our tomatoes to ripen. Darn it, it's hard to garden in a northern climate! This year I've learned: how to make a compost container out of a garbage can, that tomatoes often have 'cracked shoulders' when they are left to vine-ripen too long, and that tomatoes and cucumbers really shouldn't be planted together. Our tomatoes turned into mutants this year and choked out every little trace of cucumber out there...

Last month, we received the stunning news that not only are we going to be grandparents, but that we are going to be grandparents of TWINS! I am embroidering a baby blanket for each of these shavers, and having a blast doing them. I was taught how to cross-stitch and such when I was about nine years old--and it's still just as fun as it was then. (But I do think that bi-focals might be just around the corner.) I'll post pictures of it when they are done. Along with the five or six paintings I've always got going on in the studio, it makes for enough projects to keep the days full. It's weird, maybe it's an age thing, but although my art is still such a part of me, it's becoming more of a companion now than a taskmaster. I'm not so driven to get the shows, the accolades, the attention any more. I just want to make good work, and live a good life. I know many artists that reach this point, of just being happy, healthy people--but unfortunately, the media loves to celebrate the Picassos, the Basquiats, and all the others who live and die with needles up their arms, a string of abusive love affairs, and their cars wrapped around trees. Makes me think I might be a bit boring, but I'll take it.

I ordered a book for my recent birthday called, "Never Done". It's a history of housework, that also includes many of the old advertisements for products and appliances used in the kitchens of long ago. I can't wait to get it...Lordy, Lordy, I'm such a wierdo....

(Image: "Sustenance #1" Acrylic on Canvas, Cory Jaeger-Kenat, 2010.)