Thursday, March 31, 2005

oeuf avec le crayon Posted by Hello

What's your canvas?

so we were all sitting around the table on Easter after brunch and my Mom reminded me that i'd said we were dyeing eggs after we ate. Normally our tradition is to dye eggs on Saturday afternoon of Easter weekend. This year, we had things to do on Saturday (to insure we had plenty of lazy time on Sunday). I realized there was no need to cram one of my favorite activities into that busy Saturday afternoon just to satisfy tradition. (everyone's older in this household so no egg hunt was required. We knew the Easter B would appreciate this). So, on Sunday we brought out the Paas, the vinegar, and probably 30 years of saved egg dippers (those wire things) and got to work.
Did I say this is one of my favorite activities? Dyeing eggs. I have loved dyeing eggs since I can remember. I guess there are a couple of reasons for this: first, everyone joined in and second, everyone was making beautiful things.
Every Easter we'd gather round the kitchen table and set about creating our little masterpieces. We always used the PAAS kit. Every once in a while someone would find a fun or silly addition to the Paas kit - one year it was a make your egg an animal kit -feathers and pipecleaners included; another year we dipped a lot of eggs into those plastic melt on sleeves. But the PAAS kit was the basis for all that is and was wonderful in egg decorating. One year i tracked down tools and dyes to do pysansky. (note to self: find that stuff and give it another go). Everyone decorated as i said. Each person had to make an egg with their name on it (someone always made an egg with the current pets name on it) and then it was a free for all. Meanwhile, back in NYC my grandmother would dye her own eggs and bring them with her on Easter Sunday. We always wondered how Mom-Mom (my paternal grandmother) made such amazingly creative eggs with just food coloring. But she did. Her eggs were beautiful.
I could never get enough of egg decorating. I'd love to decorate dozens and dozens but the reality of that would be a lot of egg salad or sliced egg sandwiches, right? I came up with a solution to the problem one year. when we were living in Bowie and the kids were little i went to the local community center and asked if they needed eggs dyed for the annual Easter egg hunt. Strangely enough they said yes! I don't even remember how many eggs I dyed(close to 100) but it was a dream come true. Dozens of little canvases for me to create on.
This year it was just the two kids, husband and my mom. As much as I'd liked to have dyed a hundred eggs we decided on just a dozen this year. Here's a picture of one of my eggs.

Which brings me to the question - what's your canvas? i love eggs but i've tried many a canvas in my lifetime. I've painted on many surfaces, sewn paper and fabric, painted my heart out with oils, acrylics and watercolor. I probably have tried it all. When i was in school i did a lot of printmaking (silk screening and etching) and that process will always be close to my heart. (probably why i adore rubber stamping.. it has many similarities to serigraphy in my mind). But i always return to paper and pencil (an HB will do; my prismacolors when i'm likin some color) or pen (ink jars and nibbed pens are most wonderous but i also enjoy my Kohinoor or my Pitt pen). throw in a crayon or marker for good measure. Yes i love to draw. And maybe i'll share some drawings here soon.
So what's your canvas?

oh really Posted by Hello

Oh really

yes oh really.
we got busy over the easter weekend - what with the usual weekend errands and important things like brunch and egg dyeing. well you have little time for blogs. Holly here agrees.

Holly is my mostly companion. a phrase right out of Eloise. She's not quite Nanny but she is always with me. She's more like Weenie or Skipperdee. If you are totally lost about Eloise and friends i guess I would suggest you read the book. (please don't see the movie. I know i haven't and the book should not be missed!)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

this is my favorite Posted by Hello

Cards Aplenty - Cards Galore

i've been working on some Easter cards for family members. I try to send cards for occasions - my brother was a huge card sender. He NEVER missed a holiday, birthday or anniversary. He should have had stock in Hallmark. Me - i like to make cards. And while i often have good intentions i often miss an occasion (this year these recipients did not receive Valentines for instance). I never miss their birthdays but a holiday here and there - well - they understand. Last year i managed St. Patrick's Day cards. This year it's Easter. If only i could just MAKE the silly cards without obsessing about them. But its a character flaw - i understand this. I'm workin on it! There is a favorite customer who comes into the store where i work and she is a mad cardmaker. The woman not only has a fabulous personality (Mary simply rocks) she is organized and makes cardsaplenty - cardsgalore. She sees an idea and she makes it - she makes multiples of the same card. A great idea right? She has a card file where she keeps the initial card and then duplicates of the card - with envelopes - all ready to go when she needs it. It is such a fabulous idea. I want to do this as well i just have to get over my obsession with the idea that i have to make the card for the individual. I know recipients of my cards appreciate and actually notice i have made the card with them in mind. (they notice i incorporate their favorite color for example). But making cards like this can make you a bit mento.
So while making my Easter cards (you knew i was getting back there didn't you?) i said to myself - Tracy - you can make the same card. It's ok. I had an inner battle with myself but i did fairly well (insert insane smile here) If you look below the card with the easter eggs in blue - i made that same card with lavender eggs and coral colored eggs. The basket card with hidden eggs - well that one i made specially for my young nephews. But my favorite is the basket card with the blue polka dot/green background.
All the cards were made using Quickutz
more on that later....

cute but fun Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An Umbrella Opportunity

i'm not complaining. not really. we've had some amazingly beautiful weather here in Northern Virginia- beautiful hope-filled- spring-is-coming weather. it's making my bulbs pop up everywhere and i know that means daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and irises blooming everywhere can't be long off. But all this beauteous weather has been something i've witnessed mostly from a window - looking out at it from work.
So today i have a day off. It's spring break here so i took today and Friday off to spend some time with my daughter. We plan to hit the mall today to look for an outfit for her Confirmation and Easter. I get up this morning to find it is on & off pouring rain. Good for the bulbs - yes. Good for me - not really. I'm one of those people who seems genuinely effected by sun- shining days and by dark, rainy days. I can take a day of dark & crummy but day after day - no. It really has an effect on my overall well-being. Sunny days - ah. Totally different story. I'm a happy girl (no allusion to that Martina McBride song). I really feel deep down happy - like I can do most anything on a sunny day.
Oh well - we're just gonna make the best of it. I have a friend who ALWAYS finds the bright side of a situation. She's an amazing person - i aspire to adapting her sunny attitude about life. She would say today is an opportunity to use my umbrella. i love that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ketchup... I mean catch up

Okay okay. I promised to add the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread so here it is:

4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 tblsp caraway seeds
1- 1½ cups raisins
½ cup margarine
1½ cups buttermilk
1 unbeaten egg
Beaten egg for egg wash

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done
Sift flour, salt, cream of tartar, sugar and stir in seeds.
Cut in margarine until mixture is coarse.
Stir in raisins.
Break egg into buttermilk
Add baking soda to milk
Stir milk/egg into flour mixture until moist
Place dough on well floured board
Knead at least 12 times.
Grease and flour pyrex dish. Form dough into 2 balls and place in pyrex dish OR form 2 balls of dough and place on greased flour on cookie sheet.
Run sharp knife across the top of dough. Brush beaten egg over dough. The egg wash will give the baked bread a beautiful golden brown color.
If baking in pyrex dish cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack.
If baking on cookie sheet cool on wire rack.

If you want to get the full experience, take a slice and add some butter (or buther as my grandmother would have said). You will be in heaven.

Now go bake some!

Monday, March 21, 2005

ok so i should be committed

i thought i'd get back here over the weekend but then i thought again.
i taught a card class where i work, then the rest of the weekend just flew by. I love teaching the classes but the saturday ones kinda blow what is left of my time off.
So now its Monday, Monday. Practically Tuesday. I worked, took Eliz to the dentist for a checkup (hey mom, no cavities) then she and I ran a quick errand and we were back home. One nap, one dinner later, I'm back here trying to finish one project, so i can begin 2 others.
I'll be back with something more substantial soon

Friday, March 18, 2005

and speaking of committment

a friend (i know you're reading this) told me now it seems i'm committed to make entries in this blog. I'm not sure if that's the case - perhaps i should just be committed.
i'd been thinking of doing a blog for a long time. and, indeed i believe it was making a committment to do it that prevented me from getting started in the first place. You know how it is: you already have a lot of stuff on your plate and deciding to add one more thing might just give you indigestion. But i think, as Martha would say (and we know I love Martha) "it's a good thing". It is one of the things I want to do - putting things here: thoughts, creations, soda bread recipes (i need to put that recipe on here - can't let that picture be such a tease).
I'm off now to finish a little birthday gift for a friend then to work.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

this just in..........

it tastes as good as it looks HA!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

tasty smackerel Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Scratch and sniff

Too bad you can't smell this Irish Soda Bread. The smell is absolutely incredible. I make this bread every year for St. Patrick's Day. The recipe is my mother's and was her mother's and that makes it authentic (insert Irish smile here). My mom is first generation Irish-American. Her parents came over from Ireland, through Ellis Island, in the early 1900's. After having done some research on the website a few years back I was able to find the documentation showing my grandfather's entry into the U.S. I still haven't been able to find the records on my grandmother but I haven't given up quite yet. Why bother? Well, it matters to me. Family history interests me.
A few years back I made a scrapbook for my mother for her birthday. Part of the book included a family tree. The scrapbook was to be a surprise for my mother so I had enlisted her sisters to help me with the family tree part of the book. I was very surprisd to learn they could not provide me with a lot of the information. I had asked my aunts to give me what I thought was basic information: dates of their parents arrival into the U.S. One of my aunts told me that my grandparents didn't talk much about the "getting here" part of their lives. She said they were just so happy to be here they spoke little about how, or exactly when, they got here. They were proud of their heritage but were happy to be Americans.