Monthly Archives: July 2008

The Figs are in!

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Just off Main Street in the historic district of my town is a HUGE fig tree.  Let me just say that I have this thing for free fruit.  I love blackberries, and used to pick them religiously every summer (until I contracted a staph infection from a scratch or insect bite allegedly sustained while picking them in a neighboring vacant lot near my old apartment.)  Still, I remain vigilant and can spot a blackberry bush from the highway.

This fig tree may one day be leveled for development, but I hope that doesn’t happen.  I was driving by the other day when I noticed that there were some figs with the blush of ripeness on them.  Lucky for me, I had the plastic container we used for our dog’s watering bowl on a road trip handy.  Being careful to watch for wasps (I got a mean sting a couple of years ago), I filled the container – they are small, but I must have gotten about 50 of them.

I have this recipe that I whipped up in my slow cooker – I just happened to have blueberries handy, so it was serendipitous.

Fig and Blueberry Compote with Lime

2 pints fresh Brown Turkey Figs – about 50 small ones
1 pint of fresh blueberries
1 Persian lime
2 or 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

1.  Wash and drain figs and slice each in half.  If you are using store-bought figs, they may be larger, you may want to cut them in quarters.  Put the chopped figs in a medium-sized slow cooker.
2.  Wash and drain blueberries.  Pour them over the figs and toss.
3.  Slice lime in quarters and then slice the quarters into smaller slices.  Toss with figs and blueberries.
4.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon and toss one more time.
5.  Turn slow cooker on “high” for 1/2 hour or so, then lower the temperature to low.
6.  Allow mixture to simmer for 3-4 hours or more.  Mixture should look well cooked, and lime should be translucent when done.
7.  I like to leave the lime slices in – they should be cooked down enough not to be too strong.  Store it in the refrigerator.

I like serving this compote with slices of gingerbread, topped with a dollop of Cool Whip or whipped cream. Here are a couple of gingerbread recipe links, but I will probably use a boxed mix!


Home-Style Gingerbread

Old Fashioned Gingerbread
Betty Crocker Mix
Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Mix

There are also a couple of recipes on the Weight Watchers website I might try.  With any luck, I can keep it down to 4 WW Pts. for a slice and compote.

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Atlanta Collage Society Annual Show

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Hi there!  Today, I got my crown finally on my tooth, and I dropped 3 of my collages off for the show.  To the left is the front of the postcard (I am guessing) for the event invite.  I sent it to many of my friends, then realized that the other part of the information – namely, the place, time, and duration of the show!  Thank goodness I read over the items I sent on a regular basis.

The opening party is Thursday night, and the pieces will be up until the beginning of August.  On the one hand, I don’t really expect anyone else to care – but I thought I would send it out anyway!  It was a total pain in the you-know-what to try and frame my own stuff.  For my last show, my mother matted and framed the two pieces I entered.  She is a watercolor artist (among many other things) and has been cutting her own mats and framing her own pictures for years.  Alas, she is out of town this week, and I procrastinated, so I had to try and step up.

Of course, I am re-submitting my pieces from last year, and they look awesome.  Yesterday, I went to Garden Ridge with my folder of unframed pieces, and looked at mats and frames.  I managed to find a decent, substantial looking frame for my Hail Mary collage, which is only 5″ by 5″.  Then, I picked out little double mats and smaller frames for two of my 4″ by 6″ collages.  Last night, I fought with the stickers on the frames, cleaned the glass, and taped the pieces into place – it was a pain!  After all that, I decided that Hail Mary could go, but not the other two.

Then, according to the show submittal rules, I had to remove all of the hangers, etc. from the backs of the pictures – apparently, this  gallery had its own method of hanging.  The screws and wire on the first two frames were easy.  The two saw tooth hangers on the Garden Ridge frame were a pain – I had to use two different Phillips’ head screwdrivers to get them off!  But, they are submitted – Yay!

After that, I went by the Buford Highway Farmers’ Market to buy some noodles.  They only had the fettucine kind, so I got brave and picked up one of the more “ethnically” packaged yam noodles.  We’ll see how it goes.  They are a lot whiter than the House Foods brand.  I also picked up blackberries for $1.99, and bunches of tarragon, basil, oregano, and mint for 99 cents each.  Then, I picked up a small brisket and some chicken thighs.  In the new Korean take out section, I bought a tray of sashimi for lunch.  It was very good, but I like rice with my fish.  They also had a very interesting looking sashimi salad – raw fish and masago fish roe on greens and sprouts.  I might get that next time – I just wanted to pick up some ginger-sesame dressing to eat with it.

Then, I took a long nap.  I need to do some shipping to my e-Bay customers – I will do that tomorrow.

Just Ordinary “Folk”

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I just got my postcard announcing the coming Slotin Arts Folk Fest.  It’s touted as the “World’s Greatest Self-Taught Art Show & Sale” and it takes place right across I-85 every year at the North Atlanta Trade Center.  I have been to it several times, and it is fabulous.  I love it – and, one day, I would love to show there.

The problem is this:  I don’t ever think ahead a year and and say, “Next year, I will exhibit,” and plan accordingly.  I usually get the flyer and think “Oh, Folk Fest!  I wonder if I should exhibit this year!”  I go then to the Exhibitor Information page to find that price of booths are VERY high.  Last year, I think it was $800 for a 10′ by 10′ booth – this year, it’s $900.  I don’t think I have that much in inventory!!  I know for sure that I don’t have that much stuff made.  So, next year… maybe.

Another idea is to find two other artist and go in together.  That might be do-able, but 10′ by 10′ is not a lot of room.  This year, what I might do is put together a brochure and hand it out to folk art galleries with which I think that my art would be a good fit.  Then, I need to visit some places in Atlanta and do the same.

My “problem” is that my work is very diverse.  I have my collage art, which I know my mother would like to see me do more of.  It’s from magazine images, and I love doing them, but I need to make a specific area to do so in my studio.  The images need to lay out, so I can see what “goes” before I commit to a setting.

I also have what I consider my “bread and butter” – my various shrines.  These are made with purchased note cards and post cards and have 3 basic subjects:  the Blue Dog, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and Frida Kahlo.  I have several styles, including mini shrines, made from wooden maze puzzles, to sheer shrines made from boxes I bought at Pier One to house incense and potpourri.  Oh, and I have a LOT of incense… and potpourri.  My Virgin of Guadalupe crosses also sell well.

Those items above, I consider “folk art”.  I have some formal training in art from high school and college, but mostly, I see materials and think:  “Boy, wouldn’t it be neat to do something with that!”  That’s how I came up with my Loteria Story Boxes.   And I have all manner of inventions, including the Pour Deux Baker – which is a set of baking dishes with recipes (I don’t have that up yet, and need to do so).  Oh, there’s more, believe me.  I haven’t even mentioned my CafePress shop

I will stop my rambling for a while and go for a walk.  I was up late the other night, brainstorming other projects and this morning we got up at 4AM to take my mother to the airport, so my body is very confused.

Jealousy

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Today, I went out to lunch at Taqueria del Sol.  Afterward, I stopped by Star Provisions to pick up dessert and to browse.  I got some of their cornmeal cookies with lime icing and two of their S’mores cupcakes.  While I was there, I came across the greatest line of cards and journals called PaPaYa! and made a mental note to look at their website when I got home.

The art on the PaPaYa! site is awesome.  It is the brainchild of an artist named Anahata Katkin.  There is a link to her site, also, so I went there.  I spent some time browsing through her art and drooling over the workshops scheduled in Bali and Cortona, Italy.  I WISH I could go to one of them.  I found a Flickr page with pictures from a cool workshop she did where it looked like people did a huge art piece on a 6 ft. piece of wallpaper.  Neat!  Here’s the link.

All of this has made me want so many things.  I want to go to an art workshop.  I want to give art workshops.  I want to learn new techniques, but not to completely copy the style of other artists.  I am making plenty of art right now.  I have had several orders for shrines as a result of my EBay auctions.  But I want to do more!  I am a huge hoarder of paper and tchotchkes, as I have mentioned before.  I am trying really hard to get organized and to do something with them.

Last night, I went through all of the frames I had ordered from China a couple of years ago.  Many of them arrived with shattered glass.  Next time – if there is a next time – I will order the glass on the side.  I opened the last two boxes, shook the frames (which are encased in plastic) and if they rattled, I set them aside.  Then, I took the panes of glass I had specially cut at Lowe’s, sorted through the ones that did not fit the frames (about half…) and replaced the shattered glass in the frames.  I managed not to hurt myself, but on of my cuticles is inflamed.

So that’s a start.  I also found a link there to Teesha Moore’s website, which has a tutorial on art journaling.  That sounds like fun, too.

Worthless lump of…

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Well, for the past week, I have been quite lazy.  I have been sleeping a lot and have all but forgotten about my organizing and tidying up goals for the summer.  I have spent some time on Facebook, looking for friends from random parts of my personal galaxy.  So far, I have unearthed 1 from middle school (he contacted me!), one from high school, a couple that I taught ESOL to a couple of years ago, and a few that I taught French to in Monticello (ages ago!).  My niece graciously accepted my husband and I as friends on her vast network, and I just heard from the baby sister of my college sweetheart (he has, unfortunately, passed away).

It’s all kind of surreal.  Actually, I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to do with this growing network of friends.  I don’t really want to play any of the many games that are available on Facebook.  I don’t necessarily want to be “poked” – although I should not refuse a hug or a tiara!  It’s just nice to hear that those people are doing well and that they are still in the universe.  I think that’s the main appeal to this kind of random networking.  You say to yourself, “I wonder what happened to (insert name)?”  And sometimes you find out.

I am concentrating a lot of my energy on being good and following my Weight Watchers program.  I did much better last week, but it really does take a lot of research and planning ahead – most of which involves consulting the computer.  That, as opposed to saying “Aw, what the heck!” when confronted with lemon meringue pie or queso dip and chips.  Or movie popcorn with butter.

I do have a large bag of clothes in my back seat to deposit at the nearest Goodwill Store.  I have sold some things on E-Bay, including my last Zarela Casa Loteria shower curtain, which sold for $132.50 last week!  So, summer’s going as it should, I guess!