Friday, December 17, 2010

Watercolor and recipes

Well, 8 days until Christmas and I finally got my holiday card done...but zero of them are in the mail. And in all reality, they probably won't be till this weekend. So if the card misses you, here it is. And you can look forward to having it in your mailbox in January. Just cross off the Holidays part and write in New Year...or you could collage it with letters from a magazine. That would be very artsy of you!

Today was cold but not nearly as cold as it has been. Temps in the single digits has essentially paralyzed this southern city, so we were all joyous to wake up to a balmy 30 degrees this morning. But still my 545am walk chilled me to my bones and all I wanted when I got home from my tromp with the pup was a hot muffin and a delicious cup of coffee. The coffee was ready (I love you) but the muffin was no where to be found. Maybe this weekend we can make one of these happen for the drive north (9 hours in the car on Sunday)...

Muffins from Jessie the Chef!

Butternut Squash Muffins....

Yield: 24 Muffins
3.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
1.25 Cups Granulated Sugar
1.25 Cups Light Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
.5 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Butternut Squash Puree, ( I used one can Organic puree)
(if you can't find it, you can use pumpkin, or cook and puree a butternut squash)
.25 Cups Yogurt ( I used nonfat Vanilla, but you can use soy yogurt, or whatever you choose)
1 Cup Almond Milk ( I used Vanilla Almond Milk, but you can use Soymilk, or dairy milk)
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
.25 Cup Honey ( You can use molasses to make it vegan, but I like honey better)

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder and salt.
In a different bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.
Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well, until smooth, but do not over mix.

I added dried cranberries, about three quarters of a cup or so. You can add them when you add the wet ingredients.


Spiced Yogurt Muffins

Oh hell, maybe I'll just make both.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stolen with gratitude

There is this friend I have in Nashville and her birthday is tomorrow. (You'll notice that a lot of people in my life are December babies like me! What can I say...birds of a feather flock together.)

I could spend about two hours writing about how much she has changed my life since I moved here a year and a half ago. How much love she has given me and how much strength I have gained from watching her grow and change this past year. But that would be mushy, and who really wants to read mushy?

She has two birthdays really...December 14th and February1st. The first is the day of her actual birth (thanks Momma Lemon, you did good!) and the second is the day of her re-birth, a day in which she was able to start over. She's told me that she wants to hold off on the real celebration until February... but I couldn't let this week pass by without a note of love and gratitude for the day that made her exist in the first place.

So to honor her, I stole a poem from her blog. Us teachers have a snow day down here in Nashville. And, although there are about a million things I love about this woman, her ability to bring poems into my life may be at the top of that list. So here is one that I had hanging by my desk in graduate school, but forgot about until it showed up from her just the other day.

Love you A. Happy Birthday week.

Walking Home from Oak-Head
There is something
about the snow-laden sky
in winter
in the late afternoon
that brings to the heart elation
and the lovely meaninglessness
of time.
Whenever I get home - whenever -
somebody loves me there.
I stand in the same dark peace
as any pine tree,
or wander on slowly
like the still unhurried wind,
as for a gift,
for the snow to begin
which it does
at first casually,
then, irrepressibly.
Wherever else I live -
in music, in words,
in the fires of the heart,
I abide just as deeply
in this nameless, indivisible place,
this world,
which is falling apart now,
which is white and wild,
which is faithful beyond all our expressions of faith,
our deepest prayers.
Don't worry, sooner or later I'll be home.
Red-cheeked from the roused wind,
I'll stand in the doorway
stamping my boots and slapping my hands,
my shoulders
covered with stars.
~ Mary Oliver ~

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The perfect birthday dress...

I know there are people out there that are shy about their birthday. Turns out, I'm not one of them. In fact, I like to embrace the idea of the "birthday month", a term in which the boyfriend supported beautifully by leaving flowers at my doorstep on December 1st (yes, thank you- he's perfect).

However, even though I love my for the birthday dress is always a bit of a struggle Cold December nights don't offer a ton of thrilling options in Pittsburgh, PA. Thanks to ModCloth I found can click on the name to get more info.
Kick Back & Relax Dress
Kick Back and Relax
..colored tights and boots?
Too Nice of a Night Dress
Too Nice of Night
...sparkled earing and flats?
Geode to Joy Dress
Geode to Joy
...perhaps I am envisioning my January trip to Vegas in this frock but still, it's pretty good.

Send thoughts. I could use some help on this one. I hate internet shopping, I need to feel the fabric of something before I buy it. But it's fun to look and dream about all the exciting things I will smile about in the coming weeks....

Now, to tackle that to do list! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Procrastination productivity

8x10 IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT IS DONE (print in cream and black)
Found here

These days have seemed, well...impossible. I'm up to my ears in projects, report writing, kiln firings, and trying to stay warm in the suddenly cold Nashville winter (even though I am really loving the sub zero temps). But the work! Eh! I feel like my to do list is never ending. And if you know me (or live with me) you know my ability to procrastinate the life out of times like this is really what I am made of.

Last night the boyfriend and I had a perfect night of this "procrastination productivity". An impromptu date to the local burger joint was an expense that our wallets didn't love but our hearts really needed. Check out this menu and if your taste buds don't start up you are nuts. I had the was unbelievable.

So one more push is all I need. A week and a half until I am "home for the holidays". I've already started some resolution writing. Nothing like thinking about future goals to help you procrastinate the ones right in front of you. 


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow on Sunday

 It's Sunday and it's snowing...winter is here. Hooray! I've decided that winter was made for projects and I've got a couple things brewing that I want to accomplish. A couple of new art ventures (two of which I hope to start today), some musical (I guess that is art too), and a big correspondence push (watch your mailboxes people). I'm thrilled, my creative expression is about to explode.

I love how the gray, cold, slush of the season pushes poets and artists (and really everyone) to hibernate and perculate thoughts and artistic brainpower. I will never forget those countless freezing cold months of winter in New Hampshire during college. I would sit in my little studio, with the wood stove roaring and my hands freezing, making pot after pot on the wheel. Desperately trying to get it right and warm myself with the beauty of the art forming in front of me.

So here I go, off to the studio and taking with me two pieces of inspiration. One, this photograph from a lovely holiday store

Image of Winter Light 8x10 Photograph
Jennifer Causey Photograph

And two, some Robert Frost. Because who better to talk about winter with?

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

An opportunity

A gas leak at school has given me an unexpected 3 day weekend. There are a millions things I could do today...but a stuffy head is leaving me in bed for most of the morning. I'll just take this as an opportunity to not do anything exhausting. Yes, I think that sounds like a fine plan.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

She said...

She said: "The way I write, I have a novel in my head for a long time that I think about, and in those months it is so beautiful, so incredibly profound . ... The novel in my imagination travels with me like a small lavender moth making loopy circles around my head." She said: "As soon as I start to put it on the page I kill it. It always breaks my heart. For me, the greatest challenge is to stick with the book I'm writing when what I want to do is hit the delete button."
And she said: "I believe that my gift in this world is not that I'm smarter or more talented than anyone else: it's that I had a singular goal. I don't want other stuff: friends, kids, travel. What makes me happy is writing."
Happy birthday to a woman who has saved me more times than she will ever know.