Love In Art, Lovin’ Art

Spray paint cans.

Spray paint cans.

Spray It. Say It.

In a previous post, Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov, I visited the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where colorful book sculptures drew me in. Walking further into the gallery, I discovered a room covered in work by Queens-born graffiti artist Hoacs. It was a blast of immersive, colorful collages, concepts and tags. Click here to read an interview with Hoacs where he dishes about No Days Off, his First Solo Exhibit.

Calling all writers! You know how “voice” is a magic word in Kidlit? Click here to hear Hoacs’ distinctive voice. On the website Neighborhood.com he says,” I started doing graffiti in the mid to late 90s. Back then NYC graffiti was on smash, from highways to track spots to street spots, all crushed.”  He’s got voice covered!

I’ve included pics of two more pieces displayed at the gallery. Love in Art.

How true.

Hoacs says he has no days off. Neither do writers.

Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.

Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.

Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.

Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.

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Challah Recipe

Challah topped with white and milk chocolate chips.

Challah topped with white and milk chocolate chips.

Unbaked challah.

Unbaked challah.

Braided, unbaked challah.

Braided, unbaked challah.

 

 

 

 

Me and two of my daughters.

Me and two of my daughters.

 

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braids You Can Eat

Considering I love to bake, you’d think I had made challah before. Maybe I did once or twice as a child, but that was it. Now that I baked challah with two of my daughters, I’m ready to do it again. It was easy, fun and delicious! Seriously, it was outrageously yummy. It didn’t need butter, cream cheese or anything! Just rip off chunks (or cut slices to be oh-so-proper) and enjoy!

 

Thanks to Rivka Greenberg of Chabad Serving Muhlenberg for the recipe and a fun morning.

Happy baking, hon.

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DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

Flower Power

Middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson generously offered to share tips on visiting classrooms via Skype. Since we were talking about school, it wasn’t a stretch for me to Show and Tell. When I held up my latest creation, she invited me to post How-To instructions on her blog. Click here to check out my guest post on her blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life, where you will find photos and instructions on how to create your own DIY silk flower arrangement.

Darlene is the author of Wheels of Change, a middle grade historical novel. Click here to learn more about her book.

Thanks Darlene, have fun crafting, and happy Mother’s Day!

Pretty peonies!

Pretty peonies.

Chocolate Meringues

Chocolate Meringues

Chocolate Meringues

1. Gather ingredients.

1. Gather ingredients.

2. Beat egg whites until they peak softly.

2. Beat egg whites until they peak softly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. After adding sugar and beating until stiff, fold in chopped chocolate.

3. After adding sugar and beating until stiff, fold in chopped chocolate.

Drop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto cookie sheets.

4. Drop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto cookie sheets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to eat. Sweet!

Ready to eat. Sweet!

Satisfy your sweet tooth!

I should make meringues more often because they are quick and easy, not to mention light and sweet. Even though I chose this recipe as a complement to other Kosher-for-Passover Seder desserts, meringues would work any time of year. At a recent fundraiser Hubby and I attended, gourmet-flavored meringues wrapped and ribboned were handed out as favors. Hmm, I think I’ll file that under party ideas.

Happy baking, hon!

Chocolate Meringues

Ingredients:

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I chopped semisweet parve chocolate chips in a food processor.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Coat lightly with nonstick vegetable spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until they peak softly.
  3. Add sugar gradually, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  4. Drop tablespoons of meringue onto prepared cookie sheets or press through a pastry bag with a large star nozzle.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave meringues inside without opening door for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight, to dry completely.
  6. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.

Yield: 25 – 30 meringues

Source:  Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home by Ethel G. Hofman

Related Post: Lemon Meringues

Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov

Book of Love

“Book of Love”

Concept + Steel + Paint = Amazing Books

One of the things I love about New York City is the abundance of art. There are world renowned museums to visit, outdoor art to experience, and galleries to explore. You never know what you’ll discover.

Hon, you know I love bright colors, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn into the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where David Kracov’s steel sculptures are on display. Aren’t they super cool?

Eden Fine Art’s website sheds light on these one-of-a-kind book-lover’s books:

Kracov’s vibrant color palette shows up again in his unique steel wall sculptures. Each in a limited edition of only 55 works that begin with hundreds of small sketches that are then hand-cut from a single sheet of steel and then finished with detailed hand-painting in a high-grade, water-based, acrylic polymer paint. Each edition is finished individually so that no two are alike. The meticulous steel work along with his scrutinizing attention to detail allow these sculptures to take on a life of their own. These playful and creative works are each a testament to the genius of Kracov as well as his steady hand and wonderfully unique artistic ideas.

Book of Life

“Book of Life”

Notebook

“Notebook”

Eden Fine Art

Eden Fine Art’s window filled with angles and color.

Mousse Mouse

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This was one of my kids’ favorite books.

Lucy's toy bucket.

Lucy’s toy bucket.

There is a mouse in my house!

Even if I weren’t living in a historic Victorian built in 1882, I might have a mouse in my house. But an old house has lots of great places for a mouse to come and go at will: fissures in the foundation, chinks in the brick, fireplaces, wood beams and an attic. Cute little field mice have made their presence known for years, mostly in the winter. When Polar Vortexes plus long winters equals long-term stays, I set friendly traps baited with typical mouse fare. Say cheese. Our visitors usually high-tail it outside in warmer months.

One year, my cat cornered a cute, little field mouse in the bathroom. Kimba announced her prize and the mouse sat in stunned silence. It was squeak-less.

Another year, my cat discovered a tail trailing back and forth under a kitchen cabinet toe-kick. Note to mouse: pull in your tail!

Hon, if you think my ambivalence towards cute, little field mice is due to my love of children’s literature, you would be mistaken. I’ve always loved animals, even–gasp–rodents. Just ask Hubby or my kids. They think I’m crazy when I say I bond with wild animals, but I actually do! We make eye contact. We “speak.” Either I’m Dr. Dolittle or I was a Cute Little Animal in a past life!

Do you think I should add “Bonds with Animals” to my cover letter bios? Maybe if I do, agents and editors will know that when I write from an animal’s perspective,  I am being authentic. But, I digress!

This year, our cute, little visitor seems to have moved in permanently. I heard ch, ch, ch, ch under the fridge and shone a flashlight so I could see him. I placed the open end of a friendly trap adjacent to the fridge with a bit of bait. No luck.

The next night, he moved to the linen closet.

I repeated my flashlight shining and friendly trap setting routine, switching out cheese for peanut butter. No luck.

When he moved to the laundry room, I tried to entice him with dog food. Still no luck!

Not only was this mouse disinterested in ordinary mouse fare, he was brave. My daughter ascended our creaky stairs to find the cute, little field mouse sitting in the hallway, perky as a bunny at dusk.

About a week later, Hubby was hanging out in the kitchen when you-know-who scurried out from underneath the fridge. The mouse looked at Hubby with his small, dark eyes and twitched his nose and whiskers. Hubby asked, “Who invited YOU into my kitchen?”

If creaky stairs and encounters with people couldn’t scare him away, could our dog Lucy?

When we’re in the yard and Lucy sees chipmunks, squirrels, and groundhogs (see Lucy versus Groundhogs), she either wants to make friends with them or eat them. There was evidence that the mouse had played in Lucy’s toy bucket, which sits right next to the dog bed. Lucy is also known as The-Dog-With-Bionic-Hearing-If-Deli-Meat-Is-Being-Unwrapped. Since the mouse had evidently roamed freely unscathed, I can only assume this rodent is not only a gourmand, but a hypnotist as well!

We finally called in the big guns (a pest control person) who put out more friendly traps. Still, I heard ch, ch, ch, ch under the fridge.

Since the cute, little field mouse hasn’t been interested in cheese, peanut butter or dog food, I wonder if he might like mousse. Chocolate mousse. I like chocolate mousse. I bet we would bond!

 

Sisterhood of the Traveling Bracelet

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I have a bad habit. I put things down in odd why-would-I-ever-look-there-again places and then promptly forget where I put them. I’ve devised many strategies to overcome this habit. Baking supplies are in a designated “baking section,” my phone is, generally, in the kitchen, and my keys hang on a key hook (genius, right?). But, when I travel, strategies go out the window, and I waste a lot of time looking for misplaced items.

Hon, you know the expression, “you are your own worst critic”? It’s true. I am. Maybe I should give myself a small break. The latest thing I lost was a bracelet. I was wearing it and then I wasn’t. This happened while visiting my mom in a hospice facility in Baltimore. Talk about distracted! I was that, and agitated and sad and many other emotions. But, still!

The bracelet was a birthday gift from a friend. It was made in Mexico, sold in New Jersey, traveled back to Mexico, returned to New Jersey and then lost in Baltimore. The bracelet was initially too small, but the artisan made me a really nice offer! He said he was visiting family in Mexico and would take it with him, add a couple of links, and then bring it back to New Jersey. He did, and then I lost it!

In Baltimore, I dug through my bags, re-traced my steps, left my name and number at the places I’d been, and then had a thought. To keep the environment sterile, I had to wear a gown while at the hospice facility. Maybe the bracelet had gotten caught on the cuff of the gown? Maybe it was in the garbage?

I called the facility and, when I visited my mom again, searched for the bracelet to no avail. I was annoyed with myself! When did it fall off? Why hadn’t I noticed earlier? Where could it be? I even considered ordering another one but didn’t want to ask for another bracelet to take another trip.

A few weeks later, while emptying a knitting bag, guess what fell out. My bracelet! I couldn’t believe it! Yay!

Either it fell off and into the bag without my realizing it OR is it possible I took it off before gowning up? And if I did, why-oh-why would I drop it in the bottom of a knitting bag and not put it somewhere I might remember? Oh yeah, I know why…because I have a bad habit!

I’d love to hear your lost-and-found stories!

Related Post: Losing things may be genetic. Click Found In a Fishing Boot to another lost-and-found story.

Shout out to Lucy who lent me her tail for the photo. (“Woof!”)

 

 

Breathtaking Beauty (a Short Video)

Twirl!

Breathtaking Beauty

In my last post Movement and Music, I shared my daughter Morgan’s rotoscoped video. She showed me another rotoscoped video called Disco. It’s stunning!

On his web-site Colossal, Christopher Jobson featured some of the sketches and paintings that were created for the video.

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detail-4

This new music video for composer Ralf Hildenbeutel’s track Disco was created from over 1,200 individually hand-painted frames. Directed by Boris Seewald, the clip uses an animation technique called rotoscoping to turn the real-life movements of dancers Althea Corlett and Simone Schmidt into a series of drawings and paintings to make each scene. Despite the wild variety of mediums and techniques used in the hundreds of sketches, the frame to frame continuity almost serves to enhance and accentuate the motions of the dancers.

Rotoscoping is a form of animation where live video is translated into hand-drawn animation stills with the help of a projector or transparencies. Some more notable examples from pop culture include several scenes from both of Disney’s Snow White and Peter Pan, or the 1984 music video for Ah Ha’s Take On Me.

Disco was animated by Boris, Mina, and Mihwa Seewald, and filmed by Georg Simbeni. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

I’m dedicating this post to my mom. She’s terribly ill. The beauty of this video makes me think of her.

Click here or on the title “Disco” above to link to the video.

Happy viewing, Hon!

Sources:  Christopher Jobson on  his site Colossal, http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/03/rotoscoped-music-video-boris-seewald-disco/ and Vimeo.

Movement and Music (a Short Video)

Morgan Gruer--artist at work.

Morgan Gruer–artist at work.

Movement and Music

My daughter Morgan, a student at Pratt Institute, created a beautiful, animated video, setting her work to music from Psymon Spine, a band made up from friends from Skidmore College.

Rotoscoping is the technique in which “animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films.” In Morgan’s video, each frame of the video is a different painting and, when compiled digitally, the paintings became animated. Morgan said it was a ton of work!

Click here to link to Vimeo and watch her 1 minute video, or you can connect to the video via her web-site.

Happy viewing, hon! 

Coq au Vin Blanc (Chicken in White Wine)

Coq au Vin Blanc

Coq au Vin Blanc

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Whenever I receive a William-Sonoma catalog, I study the dishes displayed in the dishes! Coq au Vin is “typically cooked with red wine, traditionally a bottle of Burgundy.” Williams-Sonoma changed this French recipe by calling for a dry white wine. Here’s my take on it:

Ingredients:
1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg) whole chicken legs (I used chicken breasts.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. (500 g) small white button mushrooms (I didn’t add mushrooms.)
3/4 lb. (375 g) shallots, peeled and quartered
3 Tbs. unsalted butter (I used margarine.)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry sherry
1 3/4 cups (14 fl. oz./430 ml) chicken broth
3/4 lb. (375 g) small baby carrots, peeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. In a large saucepan over high heat, boil the wine until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make a bouquet garni: Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie together the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Set aside.

4. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the chicken, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

5. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms and shallots to a bowl and set aside.

6. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the sherry and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Whisk in the reduced wine and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots and bouquet garni. Cover, transfer to the oven and braise until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

7. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Using a large spoon, skim the fat from the surface of the liquid. Set the pan over medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pan. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4 to