Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Candy Fun!

There are so many great non-food treats for Halloween.
Halloween is supposed to be fun for kids, right?  What's not to like?  You get to dress up your child in crazy costumes, go out and meet your neighbors and the kids come home with a full sack of goodies.  Except it isn't always fun for everyone and often candy is the culprit.  I haven't given out Halloween candy for quite a few years for several reasons.  I used to be a fourth grade teacher and it was fun to plan the Halloween parties with the kids and parents !!!BUT!!!!  the week after Halloween was crazy town.  The kids were working down their piles of candy and would come to school all sugared up only to crash and be grumpy a few hours later.  It was nearly impossible to get anything really accomplished.  If you've experienced one child going crazy from sugar, well, multiply it by 20.  Eeeeeek! That set me on the path to thinking about other sorts of treats.

Now, add into this mix the children that have allergies to peanuts, wheat, dairy, soy or corn, the five most common food allergens.  It is pretty hard to find a candy that doesn't include one or more of these foods so those kids probably have a pretty hard time enjoying the revelry. Another added benefit to skipping the candy is I don't eat half a bag before the big night.

So, what do I do instead?  I've never had any trouble finding Halloween pencils, erasers, bouncy balls or other little give-aways.  My parents haven't given out candy for many years and instead give nickels, that's easy and probably a lot cheaper!  This year, because I knew I was going to write about this I went to three stores, Target, Shopko and the Dollar Store to see what I could find.  I came up with all sorts of things as you can see in the photo. Everything I already mentioned as well as temporary tattoos, drinking straws, bubbles, little notepads, whistles and my favorite, glow-in-the-dark rubber duckies!  I spent about 20% more, but in my mind, well worth it.

Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) has developed a campaign to help kids with food allergies have a safer Halloween called the Teal Pumpkin Project.  FARE is encouraging treat givers to offer non-food treats and let trick-or-treaters know by placing a pumpkin that has been painted teal and/or a sign, that is provided on their website, outside of the house.  Please go check out their site and think about having some no candy fun!

If you are worried about disappointing the kids, don't be!  They are pleasantly surprised to get something different.
Downloadable poster from FARE

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Wonderfulness

For the last few weeks I've had the blahs.  Some of that is the long winter (which, happily seems to finally be at an end) but also lack of sleep has contributed.  So today I decided to do something to get cheery.  There is a recipe that I found in one of my new favorite cookbooks that I've wanted to make for some time.  The cookbook is Isa Does It by Isa Chanda Moskowitz creator of Post Punk Kitchen and Vegan chef Extraordainaire and the recipe is for Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies.  If you have read my blog you might remember that I brought in six rosemary plants to winter in my dining room and I'm happy to say they are flourishing, so a very interesting way to use some of it.  Now you may think this is an odd combination but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how good they are. Chocolate chip cookies for grown ups, I say!  
 Isa also has a video showing how to make the cookies if you dont have the cookbook and you can find it here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Design in Vegas

Last month we took a warm weather vacation to Las Vegas.  If you know me you would think Las Vegas is the last place you would find me but we met some friends and it was extremely entertaining ... a true escape.  I was the only one that did any gambling and that was for about 10 minutes because I'd nearly doubled the $20 my dad gave me.  I was leaving there a winner!!

We took a day trip to the Grand Canyon which scared the crap out of me, although it was beautiful.  One of the highlights of the trip for me (besides the amazing sangria we had at the Wynn) was the Neon Museum.  It is an open space filled with the cast off signage from hotels that either upgraded or went out of business.  It was an artist's dream filled with beautiful rust and flaked paint.  There were so many interesting things to photograph that I didn't really hear much of the tour guide's information.
If you ever find yourself in Vegas and want to see something other than casinos check this out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dreaming of Spring

On the eve of the next big winter storm I worked on a little pencil drawing.  I can't wait for this to be a reality.  Enough said.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

To New Beginnings

Happy New Year everyone!  I'm glad to welcome the new year because the old one ended in a technology tangle!  About a month ago our printer died (I tend to have perpetual issues with hp printers) and then a week before Christmas I dropped my laptop and kaboom!!!!  I lost everything.  I was limping along with an old laptop that about 8 years ago was my husbands, then it was mine, then his, and then back to me.  Sort of a hot potato laptop.  It could do the basics but I was leery of it being able to go for the long haul.  Enter a suggestion from an old friend.  Why not get an Ipad?  I've never worked with Apple products except for my Ipod, which I love.  I started asking other Ipad users, reading and researching and decided that it would probably work pretty well.  So, on Tuesday I made the leap (read that as investment) and purchased one, along with various accessories.  So, on this first day of the year I am writing the first blog post in awhile on my new Ipad. I have to say, I really am enjoying it.  So here's to a new year, new learning and new technology!  Happy 2014!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Work and Art Torture

Falling Leaves detail

 I think all artists go through periods where they are driven crazy by the work they are doing and that is certainly true of me.  I have been working on several pieces, or actually they have been working on me, on my psyche that is, and I have finally been able to get clear about them.  There are times when I don't know that a piece is complete and I mentally make and remake them.  But enough about the angst.  Here is my new work, two wall pieces, which are very different from the sculptural figures I had been making.
I think living in Wisconsin and its shades of white winters has had an impact on the kind of work and material choices I have been making.  I'm using all natural colored cotton, linen and silk and enjoying the subtle beauty of the fabrics.
Falling Leaves, detail
Falling Leaves is about 10 feet long and only 8 inches wide.  It can hang vertically or horizontally and has hemstitching, couching, applique and embroidery on linen.  The leaves travel gently downward and a shiny thread helps trace their way.  To break up the space I have inserted small darker pieces of linen all along the path.
100 Squares
The second piece, which I haven't titled as yet, is made up of 100 squares in a 10x10 grid.  Each square has an opening that allows light and shadow play on the wall behind.  While I am showing you this piece it isn't actually complete.  I need to put a backing on it and a small binding around the edge.  I got so excited when I decided it was finished I couldn't resist adding it to the post.
Falling Leaves

Monday, October 28, 2013


Ever since I have started gardening, herbs have been my favorite part of the garden.  They are beautiful, smell divine and there is nothing like cooking with fresh herbs.  Rosemary has always been one of my favorites (second to lavender).  When I lived in Virginia I could put a spindly little rosemary plant in the ground, ignore it and in a few months it would be three feet high.  When we moved to Wisconsin I pined for those aromatic, abundant plants.  I certainly could grow them here but they didn't get very large and died back in the harsh winters.  This past summer I decided I would not have a shortage of rosemary and bought six plants.  I could cut as much as I wanted, taking a little from each bush so they would never get hacked way back.  Well, it seemed they loved growing in a group and being cut back.  By this fall I had six lush, 18 inch high bushes.  I couldn't bring myself to let them die off so my sweetie helped me dig them up, pot them and bring them inside.  I have to say the house smells a bit strong but I am going to cut them back and offer up to friends rosemary sprigs.  
I was reading the lore about rosemary and it seems to cure every possible kind of ailment, keeps away evil spirits and brings good luck.  So, with my dining room filled with giant rosemary plants this should be a very good winter.