Monthly Archives: September 2009

Lazy Day…


It hasn’t rained yet, but I am still in bed.  I know that I need to eat, and I will, sometime soon.  But I am sooooo tired.  It took me over an hour and a half to get home last night.  Next time, I just won’t listen to my GPS when she (her name is Garmina) tells me of alternate routes that involve two lane roads that are already known as alternates to others…

When I finally got back on track – back to I-285, about 3 or 4 miles past where I got off earlier – I had to stop at a restaurant for cheese dip, chips, and to write in my paper journal for a while.  I am seriously thinking of just staying at school until 6 or 7 PM – maybe walking the track, writing my novel, taking a nap in my classroom – until it is “safe” to go home.  Maybe this was just a bad week for traffic…

When I did try to get up around noon, I went downstairs and found out that someone had drunk my last Diet Coke.  That sent me back to bed pretty quickly.  When my husband got home from working out, he went and got me another 12-pack, so I have been up since.

I went down to check my e-mail and my FaceBook, and got this in my Daily OM Horoscope:

September 26, 2009
Staying Vital
Leo Daily Horoscope

You might feel tired today, especially if your work life and social activities have been hectic. You could feel a sense of burnout or weariness as a result, even if you have been enjoying yourself. Taking some time for yourself to rest and recharge could lift your mood and restore your energy again. Today would be a good day to engage in soothing or creative diversions like painting or crafts. You might also consider putting everything aside and doing nothing at all. While this may seem boring, allowing yourself a chance to sit in peaceful silence today so you can rest your mind and body could have incredible restorative power.

Engaging in relaxing activities can reduce stress, soothe our senses, and restore our energy so that we can enjoy our regular activities again. Stress and busyness tend to create a cumulative effect in our minds and bodies, so we might not initially notice that we are doing too much until we begin to lose our motivation. Once we become aware of our fatigue, we can simply choose to engage in restorative activities and regain our vitality. Even better, if we make these activities a regular part of our lives, we can avoid reaching the point of excessive fatigue. Giving yourself the gift of rest and relaxation today can help you release stress and stay energized.

Wow!  Permission to be a lazy person all day long… Just what I needed!  I may get up and go to see a movie – I haven’t seen the new Harry Potter yet…  But now, I am committed to doing as little as possible.  Maybe I’ll order a pizza.


House of the Scorpion Loteria Card 2

Property of the Alacran Estate

Property of the Alacran Estate

I just ambushed a fellow teacher – she said that she is teaching House of the Scorpion.  Okay, I didn’t jump her – I just eagerly offered my help.  I don’t know if I will be teaching HOTS this year.  Although it is written on a 6th grade level, I have usually used it for older students.  This is my first time teaching 6th grade ESOL, so I don’t want to push it.

I had already offered my services to one teacher, but she just said that most of her students had already read the book by 6th grade.  She must teach “enhanced” Lang. Arts classes.  So, I hope that there is someone that will benefit from my experience.

This card is from the deck I started designing last year.  When he is born, Matt Alacran is tattooed on his foot.  I actually imagine it as one of those round address label stamps, but I really liked this tribal scorpion tattoo that I found online, so I thought I’d use it.  I hope it was on his left foot…  I like this card – the feet, the “Property of” t-shirt design in the background and the scorpion tattoo look cool.

In the story, the tattoo is usually out of sight, but it give him away at the beginning when he cuts his feet and hands.  Then, someone at the orphanage sees it and rats him out.

Common Topics in Magic Tree House and Time Warp Trio


In a previous post, I wrote about chapter books.  In particular, I wrote about the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne and the Time Warp Trio Series by Jon Scieska.

Magic Tree House and Time Warp Trio common themes:

Knights and Castles:  The MTH series has kind of a connection with Camelot and Medieval England, because they communicate with Merlin the Magician, and – I think – Morgan La Fey.  Therefore, we have The Knight at Dawn and Christmas in Camelot to work with – I think that The Knight at Dawn is probably more relevant.  There is also a MTH Research Guide called Knights and Castles available.  The two activity sheets – here and here – are pretty basic.

As far as knights and castles are concerned, The Time Warp Trio has a book called The Knights of the Kitchen Table, but there are no lesson plans to go with it because the lesson plans are only for the TV series episodes.  There is, however, a book and episode about Medieval Scotland called Plaid to the Bone in graphic novel form.  So, if you feel like doing some activities about Medieval Scotland, check the lesson plan out.

Ancient Egypt:  MTH has a book called Mummies in the Morning, where Jack and Annie visit ancient Egypt.  There is a Research Guide called Mummies and Pyramids to go with the book.  An activity page to go with the book can be found here, and one to go with the Research Guide is here. If you scroll down, there are some possible activities described for each book, as well as a link to the worksheets.

The TWT counterpart is called Tut Tut – cute, huh? – where the guys go to (guess) ancient Egypt.  There is also an episode called Tut Tut in the TV series, which means that there are lesson plans to go with it.  The lesson plans on the Time Warp Trio website are much more involved that the Magic Tree House activities and lesson plans, but both offer other resources that are useful.

Arrrrgh! Pirates: In Pirates Past Noon, Jack and Annie run afoul of the mythical Cap’n Bones.  The Research Guide, called simply Pirates, goes into more detail and chronicles some of the more infamous pirates.  It has some great illustrations and a timeline with the history of piracy.  I don’t seem to have a link to the activities for Pirates Past Noon, but here is a link to the activities for the Research Guide.

In The Not-So-Jolly-Roger, the Time Warp Trio (Joe, Sam, and Fred) accidentally travel back to the early 18th century and meet Blackbeard.  It’s a little more exciting than MTH, but then, it’s supposed to be.  These books are written on a higher reading level, as well.  The series episode is also called The Not-So-Jolly-Roger and is available on the Passport to Adventure DVD – if you would like to show it.  The lesson plans are here.

Ninja and Samurai – 17th Century Japan: MTH’s Night of the Ninjas, Jack and Annie travel back to Ancient Japan, and find themselves in the cave of a ninja master This could be any time between the 14th and the 17th centuries, according to our ninja sources.  In Dragon of the Red Dawn, they travel to 17th century Japan, to the city of Edo.  There, they meet Basho – a (haiku) poet – there’s more information on page 107 of the book.  There is no Research Guide to go with this era, but is are activities for Ninja here, and Dragon here.

In TWT’s Sam Samurai, the boys also travel to 17th century Japan.  Keeping with the “haiku” theme, Joe, Sam, and Fred are writing haikus for English class.  When they take a break, they get transported and meet some surly samurai warriors.  Since an episode of the series was also based on Sam Samurai, there are nifty lesson plans that may fill in the gap left by no MTH Research Guide.

Neanderthals and the Ice Age:  In MTH’s Sunset of the Sabertooth, Jack and Annie are transported to the Ice Age – in their bathing suits!!!  This book comes with a Research Guide called Sabertooths and the Ice Age.  The book also covers Neanderthals and other animals of the Ice Age.  Here is a link to activities to go with the book and here is one that goes with the Research Guide.

The Time Warp Trio also has a book where they visit the Ice Age.  It is called Your Mother was a Neanderthal.  For some reason, they changed the name for the TV series episode.  It’s called The Caveman Catastrophe.  Here are the lesson plans that accompany the episode.

We have horchata!


Well, something I did not realize in my eagerness to write about horchata is that it is not an immediate gratification drink.  I went out and bought a coffee and/or spice grinder, white rice, almonds, and stick cinnamon.  I was ready!   I guess it would have been a good idea to read the INSTRUCTIONS…

All of the instructions I found said that the pulverized rice and cinnamon and almond mess needed to soak in water overnight.  I wanted my horchata NOW!  But, I did as I was told.  Then, I looked at the printout of the recipe for Smoked Horchata and noticed there was a cheat there.  They suggested using rice milk, almond milk and coconut water with cinnamon, brown sugar, toasted almonds and unsweetened coconut to make something that would be ready sooner.

I couldn’t find unsweetened coconut, and I fudged a bit on the almonds, using some roasted ones my husband had.  I also added white sugar and a tad of molasses to substitute for the missing brown sugar.  I strained it several times through my inadequate strainer, and it came out pretty good.  I could not find the ingredients for the Smoked Horchata, but I bought some rum and a tiny bottle of Frangelico to make something like the Squirrel Horchata.

I tasted my overnight horchata this evening, and it was good.  I think that I need to invest in some cheesecloth, though.  Paper towels are not good filters.  And, since we don’t drink coffee, there were no coffee filters hanging around.

Aguas Frescas: Horchata, Pt. 2 (Rated R…)

The Smoked Horchata

The Smoked Horchata

Now, let’s talk horchata and alcohol. I found a couple of interesting general articles on using horchata as a mixer.  Of course, there’s the great Squirrel Horchata recipe at Chowhound. But here are some excerpts from a Horchata Cocktails Article on

“Traditionally, forward-thinking citizens have spiked horchata with rum, Cointreau, Grand Marnier or brandy, but finding formalized cocktails has been rare (in California, some Latino bars apparently make a “Rice Rocket,” a potent mix of horchata, coconut-flavored rum and Goldschlager).”

Note:  I was just thinking about the “bling” factor of a liqueur with tiny pieces of gold floating in it, but I just read that Goldschlager has a cinnamon flavor.  That would make it more appropriate than I thought for a horchata drink.

and this (most intriguing):

“At the creative cocktail den Death & Company, you can pick up the very complicated “Smoked Horchata” crafted by bartender Joaquin Simo. The recipe involves reposado tequila, crema de mezcal, cinnamon bark syrup, house-made horchata (crafted with toasted coconut flakes and almond flour) and a dash of bitters. The resulting cocktail is dense but crisp. An unexpected summer drink, like the base liquid itself, it somehow manages to restore.”

Yay!!! I found a PDF of Smoked Horchata recipe, including the easy horchata (made with rice and almond milks with coconut water) and cinnamon bark syrup (added to other drinks as well) at Tasting  It looks fascinating! Here’s another cinnamon bark syrup recipe used in a non-horchata drink from Imbibe Magazine. highly recommends a horchata drink called The Spicy Brown Girl made at Stir Lounge in Las Vegas:

“While the Horchata gives the Spicy Brown Girl its creamy consistency, the drink’s zing comes from (mixologist Niles) Peacock’s homemade Ancho chile simple syrup, a spicy mixer that leaves the palate surprisingly hot. Other ingredients: Smirnoff Vanilla Twist Vodka, dark Crème de Cacao, and Peacock’s homemade Madagascar cello, which he makes with Madagascar vanilla beans.”

I could not find a recipe for the Spicy Brown Girl on the internet, so I looked for recipes for the components of the drink.  Here is an Ancho Chile Syrup Recipe to try (scroll to the middle of the page). I could not find a recipe for “Madagascar cello”, but I assume it is vodka infused with Madagascar vanilla bean pods.  Here is a link to Marie Brizard’s Vanilla Liqueur, which I think might be an acceptable substitute.

The Rosa’s Horchata Site had five cocktail recipes using their canned or bottled ready-made horchata. Click here for the page with the recipes and here for a PDF file to download.

On other random sites, I found some other drinks recipes:

  • Here’s one for Rum-Spiked Horchata, which uses condensed milk and then rum to replace some of the water.
  • Here is a Sarah Moulton recipe for a coconut rice cooler with optional rum added.
  • The Monte Alban on is similar to the Rice Rocket, but uses tequila instead of coconut-flavored rum.
  • had the Rojo Robles,which adds coffee liqueur and raspberry vodka to the horchata, and…
  • The Reggaton, made with horchata and Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.
  • In the middle of this article  is a recipe for Heavenly Horchata, made with tequila and Kahlua.
  • The La Palapa Horchata has vanilla vodka and amaretto added to it.
  • Horchata Macau uses just a bit of spiced almond horchata with Flor de Cana guava-infused white rum and fresh lemon.
  • the White Widow has tequila, melon liquor and horchata

I just found a fascinating article on orgeat syrups. The original orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water or orange-flower water. It was, however, originally made with a barley-almond blend. (from Wikipedia).  Here is a step by step recipe for French orgeat syrup with illustrations.

This article from RookieLibations at Blogspot seems to be playing around with derivatives based on rice-based drinks.  Check it out – there are recipes for three different types of syrup.  There is a syrup using a horchata de melon recipe, which is used in a drink called the Melon de Rosa.  There is a rice horchata syrup recipe with a pisco drink called a Fausto Cocktail.  Finally, there’s a wacky syrup based on thandai (a northern Indian concoction) with a cocktail called the Isodo Cocktail.  Very creative!

Aguas Frescas: Horchata, Part 1


I was doing some research into aguas frescas, after receiving a drink recipe ManekiNeko_horchata_jarfrom that incorporated horchata. After doing probably too much research, I felt like I needed to make two entries: one on horchata one on the other aguas frescas.

Even though I had visited Mexico before, and had even been served a hibiscus flower punch at a friend’s party, my first experience with “making” aguas frescas was while teaching Exploratory Spanish several years ago.

I came up with this idea of having my students sample Mexican sweets and candies as cultural enrichment.  I went to the Buford Highway Farmers Market and was amazed at the variety.  Along with sweet breads, cookies, cajeta and sticky chili tamarind treats, I thought I would serve some aguas frescas.  Instead of making them from scratch, I found some convenient Klass dried drink mix packets and decided to use those.

When I prepared the powdered horchata drink for my first group of students, I asked one of my Mexican students to taste it and tell me what she thought.  She took a sip and made a face.  Then, she said, “I think you are supposed to add sugar to it.” DUH! But even after adding sugar, I realized that the horchata powder would quickly sink to the bottom.  If you shook it up and took a sip, you got a mouthful of grit.

I think I tried a liquid concentrate after that, but after having tasted horchata at my local taqueria, I realized that mixes would always be a poor substitute.  There’s supposedly a bottled version made by Rose’s Horchata that is the real thing – if I find it, I may try it.  Also, I just read that the people who make Rice Dream have added a horchata flavor. I’m all about the quick fix.

But, today I received in my Chow mail a recipe for a drink called “Squirrel Horchata”.  Briefly, I wondered about the powdered squirrel, but I quickly found that it was a cocktail made with horchata, dark rum, and Frangelico liqueur (a hazelnut liqueur). From there I quickly found some other agua fresca based drinks and cocktails.  But, today, we will only talk about horchata.

Horchata or orxata is the name for several kinds of traditional beverages, made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley or tigernuts (chufas). Horchata, the Spanish way, using chufa is very different from Mexican horchata. Chufa, also called tigernuts can be ordered online. I remembered Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods trying it in Spain, and he did not like it at all.  Here is a video of his experience drinking Spanish Horchata.

Here is an article that features Salvadoran horchata, made with calabash, or morro, seeds.  It also talks about other horchatas.

First of all, here is a basic recipe for horchata (from the Food Network):

* 1 cup long grain white rice
* 2 cups skinless almonds
* 1-inch piece cinnamon bark
* 8 cups water
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Ice cubes


Wash and drain the rice. Using a spice grinder (an electric coffee grinder works well too), grind the rice until fine; combine with the almonds and cinnamon bark. Add 3 1/2 cups water and let sit overnight, covered. Blend rice mixture until smooth using a blender. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and continue blending. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Strain horchata into a bowl first using a metal strainer and then a double layer of cheesecloth; finish with up to an additional 2 cups of water until it achieves a milky consistency. Enjoy over ice.

There are all sorts of variations.  Here are some of the recipes I have found:

-From Imbibe magazine, this horchata adds lime zest.
-From, a variety of agua fresca recipes includes a horchata made with skim milk.
Almond Horchata – no rice, just almonds.
-From Ingrid Hoffman, this one adds almond extract.
Brown Jasmine Rice Horchata – someone’s trying to make it healthy!
Indian Horchata with brown basmati rice and cardamom pods.
Horchata de Lima (Peru).
Horchata with Chocolate and Pumpkin Seeds from Saveur magazine
Horchata Rosa– the “rosa” refers to food coloring, not the crushed roses I was hoping to find.
White and Wild Rice Horchata from Garrett’s Table. “To make it, simply substitute 1/4 c. white rice for wild rice in the original recipe.”
-From the L.A.Times, horchata with toasted pecans and cantaloupe.
Barley Horchata – hmmmm.  AKA Horchata de Cebada (Barley).
Horchata de Avena (oatmeal) – at the bottom of the page. A picture of it is at the top.
Horchata de Venezuela – made with sesame seeds.

For a few minutes, I decided to do a search on Bubble Tea (boba tea) made with horchata.  Why not?  This boba tea recipe calls for rice milk anyway, why not substitute that with horchata?  There is also a chocolate version.

Basic Bubble Tea:
1 cup brewed black or green tea or espresso
7 to 8 ice cubes
1 cup rice milk or almond milk
sugar to taste
1/2 cup tapioca pearls

Instructions: Pour everything into a Martini shaker and shake for a few seconds. Pour into a large glass. Use this as a base and add anything you want to it such as nondairy cream, ground almond, or fruit juice.

You can make a chocolate almond variation by omitting the tapioca pearls and adding 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons ground almonds.

Horchata Chai sounds good, too!

-Variations on horchata at this website include “plain”, chocolate, and strawberry.
Strawberry Horchata from the California Strawberry Commission.
Peach Horchata from the Food Network.
This recipe uses cartons of organic vanilla rice milk and organic almond milk.
Cantaloupe Horchata uses the seeds of the melon instead of rice and almonds.
Coconut Horchata – really just fresh coconut, milk and sugar.
Yerba Mate and Horchata – okay… I was actually looking for green tea and horchata.

While searching, I also found horchata used in various dessert recipes:
Horchata Cupcakes
Frozen Horchata dessert
Horchata ice cream
Horchata ice cream With Canela and Pecans
Horchata Pudding
Cinnamon Horchata Cookies – second recipe down
Tonka Bean and Cinnamon Horchata Sherbet

Peruvian Yellow Beans, Part 2


verdevallebeansperuanosI think this is my 3rd time cooking these beans.  I have found out a little bit about them, too.  Even though they are called peruanos, or Peruvian yellow beans, they are actually grown in Mexico and are also called Mayo Coba beans.

This time, I bought Verde Valle Brand beans, and pretty much stuck to the directions on the back of the bag.  It was pretty basic: 1 Cup beans + 9 Cups water = 4. But of course, being me, I cooked the whole bag (2 lbs.).  I soaked them overnight (the package suggested I keep them in the fridge.  When my husband came down to the kitchen, he said that the beans had soaked up all of the water, and he added a little more to cover them.

I had a lot of beef stock left over from making beef tongue the day before, which I reserved in a big bowl in the fridge.  I drained the beans and put them in my largest pot, then poured the stock on top of it.  I had bought some mild Mexican chorizo to use instead of the ham and turkey sausage I usually use, but I was a little surprised when it turned out that the “links” were plastic, and you had to squeeze the sausage out like toothpaste. So, it ended up looking like (very red) ground beef.  I added it to the pot with some sauteed onion and yellow bell pepper, then added a little more of my favorite new seasoning, Don Julio ground pepper and cumin.  I also added turmeric and garlic.

I brought the pot to a boil, then turned it down to simmer for 90 minutes. That was about right.  I siphoned off some of the stock – I like my beans thick.  I also added 2 Tablespoons of harina de masa to thicken it and took out a cup of beans and liquid and pureed it in the blender and added it back to the beans.  I just had some and they are great – maybe they need a little salt.  But they sure are yellow!

Mexican Green and Yellow Stew


This morning (okay, noon) I got up and worked on more food.  My original plan was to add the beef tongue to the stew below, but decided it might be better to keep them separate and mix them in a burrito or over rice.

Mexican Green and Yellow Stew

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 small poblano pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
6 nopal paddles, cleaned, de-spined and diced
2 medium yellow tomatoes, chopped
1 11 oz. can San Marcos Tomatillos, chopped
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 7 oz. can San Marcos Green Mexican Salsa
1 cube Dorot chopped garlic
1/2 cup Goya Recaito
juice of 1 lime
1 cup Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn
2 Tablespoons Maseca Harina de Masa
Don Julio Pepper and Cumin powder*, to taste
Cholula Chile and Lime Seasoning, to taste
Salt, to taste

1. Sautee onion, peppers and celery in a large pan or Dutch Oven.
2. Add other chopped vegetables and ingredients as they become ready: nopales, tomatoes, tomatillos, and cilantro and simmer until softer.
3. Add the can of Mexican salsa to the pan, along with the recaito, garlic, and lime and stir into the mixture.
4. Add other spices: Pepper and Cumin Powder, Chile and Lime Seasoning, and Salt to taste.
5. I add the Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn (which is frozen) last, because I don’t want it to lose its shape and “roasted” look.
5. I added the Masa Harina as a thickener.  It really added body to the mix.

I am eating this right now with brown rice and it is delicious – it may be a little tart for some, but I think that the addition of meat (tongue, for example) will balance that out.  I think that it would also be good in a soup, and I will try that later.

*I tried to find a link to the Don Julio products, but gave up.  I found this and some achiote powder in the Honduran section of my Mexican grocery.

Oh, I also found a recipe for Nopal Cactus Paddle Cake while searching – gotta try that!

Tongue in Slow Cooker, Part 1


I know that I have spoken of beef tongue in the past.  Today, I thought I would try and record measurements and ingredients for my recipe.  Today was just the beef tongue braising day.  Tomorrow, I will add more ingredients to make a stew.

Tongue in Slow Cooker, Part 1

Place the following in 6 quart slow cooker:

1 beef tongue, 3 1/2 lbs.
4 cups Progressorecaito_1 beef broth, 4 cups
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
8 – 10 baby carrots, chopped in half
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Then, in 2 cups of water, dissolve and mix the following, then pour into the slow cooker over the tongue (tongue should be completely covered with liquid, so add water if needed):

3 – 4 Tablespoons Goya recaito
1 cube Dorot chopped garlic
1 cube Dorot chopped cilantro
1 Knorr mini seasoning cube parsley
1 Maggi Seasoning Cube, Cumin-flavoredmaggi_cumin_cubes

You may put the mixture in the microwave 30 – 45 seconds to speed the dissolving of the cubes, but it doesn’t have to all be dissolved to pour over the tongue.

And, of course you may use fresh parsley, garlic, and cumin if you like.  I do have to tell those that are sensitive that the Knorr and Maggi cubes have MSG in them.

Top with a bit of extra virgin olive oil poured into the slow cooker.

Cook on High for 1 hour, then change to low for 7-8 hours or until fork tender.

Here is a link to a good-looking beef tongue recipe for taco filling.

While looking for Maggi Cumin cubes, I came across  Anyone interested in Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry?  I know I am!  As for a definitive link, Maggi doesn’t have one.  I have seen them in the Latino food section of Super WalMart and at the Buford Highway Farmers Market.

I always keep three trays of Dorot frozen garlic, basil, and cilantro in my freezer.  I wish that Trader Joe’s would expand into the other products, such as chopped ginger, dill, and parsley.  dorotcilantroThere is even a Tex Mex mix.  I just read here that they are available at Ingle’s.  I will have to see it to believe it.

One other little tip – I have bought jars of the Goya Recaito and Sofrito sauces, and one of them went bad in my fridge.  One thing I think I could have done was to top it off with oil or water.  This time, I bought some small cubical containers and divided the jars among them and froze them.  I added a bit of water to the jar to make it easier to pour.  One jar filled about four little containers.  I am going to see if I can pop them out and put them in plastic bags so I can re-use my containers.

I have also strained out all of the veggies from my beef/tongue stock and am going to preserve that as well.  It smells delicious.

Entry Number One for NCS Juried Show

oasis: collage with rice paper and magazine images

oasis: collage with rice paper and magazine images

Last night, I did a little last minute work on an entry for the National Collage Society’s Juried Show.  I removed the piece from its frame, because the glass on the frame got cracked in transport.  Then, I stood it up at eye level and used my husband’s digital camera and tripod to take my pictures.  Of course, I still could not use a flash, because it reflected off of the magazine paper.

Then, I downloaded it to my computer and adjusted the light and color with Picasa and then Adobe Photoshop.  I was able to send my entries digitally, along with the entry form, which I scanned.  Then, I paid my fee via PayPal.  It was a lot of work, but much less stressful than mailing it.

I started this piece a couple of years ago on white sketchpad paper.  I was experimenting with including geometric shapes in my collage designs.  I love Oriental carpets, and collect pictures of them – many of my collages incorporate at least one element from a rug.  I also love frames and framing elements.

When I was looking around for entries in the Blue Ridge Gallery Show this past summer, my mother suggested that I work with this piece.  Like I said, I started out with a white background – I don’t know why.  We decided it needed something in the background, so I chose this beautiful handmade paper I found at Sam Flax.

In order to incorporate the new background, I had to painstaking remove all of the elements and replace them on top of the paper.  Of course, I took a picture of the original before I took it apart. I was able to keep the framed elements together and only damaged a few of the Oriental rug “tiles”.  Fortunately, I was able to find more pictures of those patterns and to replace the torn pieces.

All in all, the piece is (I think) 16 inches by 20 inches – the largest I’ve made.  I had it framed (my talented mother did the matting) in a beautiful bright brushed gold frame.  It looked great hung at the Blue Ridge Show, and I hope that it will place in this show.

The National Collage Society show will be at Mason Murer Gallery in the Atlanta area.  It is supposed to be a really large space, and we are fortunate to have the show in our area.  I think that the decisions about placing will be made by mid-September and that the show will run from mid-October to December 31.