Thursday, November 25, 2010

A new painting and really cheapy casserole

Well, folks, da-ta-ta-da, it's finished...
My first experiment with the painting style known as "trompe l'oeil", the French phrase for "fool the eye." Really fantastic, seasoned trompe l'oeil artists can create works that give the viewer such a convincing sense of reality that one feels as if the objects can just be pulled off the shelves. I'm not at that level yet, but I am fascinated by the pursuit of making things come alive in a very different reality through paint.

The first baby quilt for Twin A (we thought about calling them Twin 1 and Twin 2, but it just sounded somehow wrong) is finished, and I will be displaying it just as soon as I can. I have this REALLY annoying character flaw (among many) and this is that I don't ever remember to bring a camera to ANYTHING! So, here I am at the baby shower for my first granddaughters, and of course, no camera. My daughter-in-law has promised me pictures though, thank God one of us has a practical head on her shoulders...I figure that I put well over 100 hours into it, but it was well worth the time.

I am the casserole queen, perhaps not the prestigious title in the world, but at least I'm the queen of somethin'! Tonight's offering is one of my of those "throw whatever's in the fridge and hope for the best" recipes. Tonight I sauteed some onions, some diced celery, and a chicken breast together. I added a can of cream of mushroom soup, and about a half cup of my homemade refrigerator salsa, which I admit is heavy on the cilantro. I added some chili powder to taste, some pepper, some parsley, and some powdered garlic, as well as some leftover rice. Popped it into the oven at 325, and I'll top it with some leftover cheddar cheese as it begins to bake.

Nothing else much to report, except that I'm still in the midst of my homemade Women's Studies plan. The book I'm reading right now is not the most stimulating one I've read, but it is a basic, nuts and bolts view of the history of women's rights. It's entitled "Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement". The thing that strikes me as I read about Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among many others is that so few of these women were ever working class housewives. They appeared to have come mostly from privileged families. I find it interesting that they were so passionately against a lifestyle for women that in many ways they really didn't live. And I also think that in an age before the washing machine and the electric range...well, somebody had to do these tasks for them, and most likely it was a poor servant class of women. But I'm only partly through the book, so perhaps this observation will change.

I'm also reading "The American Woman's Home" by Catherine Beecher. Her sister was the famed Harriet Beecher Stowe of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" fame. Catherine Beecher was the Martha Stewart of her age. She wrote many books on how to effectively manage a home of the time, and was instrumental in developing further education for women and training teachers to move to the West. She was an anti-feminist, believing strongly that the most important job for women was to create stable, productive, loving homes in our country as a springboard to create good citizens. Despite this arguably antiquated stance, much of her advice is strangely pertinent even today. Just goes to show that women are women-- whether they're in hoop skirts or blue jeans. I'm looking forward to putting together a review of her book in the near future.

(Image: "Aunt Ethel's Shelf" Acrylic on Canvas, Cory Jaeger-Kenat, 2010.)