Mushrooms and Fairies

It must be all the rain, but I’ve seen more wild mushrooms in the past few weeks than I’ve seen, maybe, in my entire life! Wild mushrooms make me think of fairies, especially when they look like little umbrellas.

 

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. C.S. Lewis

Since I’m always drawn to children, I was curious where a bunch of little kids were running. They’d piled out of a car and were headed to the Fairy Trail.

Related Posts:  Fairy Furniture, Part 1, Fairy Furniture, Part 2, Fairy Trail Finale

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Book Review, Eleanor & Park

I just finished reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and it was so beautiful, heartbreaking, real, and raw that I wanted to cry. It was also laugh-out-loud funny which, since I listened to it while walking Lucy, must have made me seem deranged! Have you read it, hon?  What did you think of it? How did it make you feel? My youngest daughter is a huge Rainbow Rowell fan and now I know why!

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013: While Eleanor & Park is technically classified as YA lit and has a cutesy cover, don’t let the stigma of “books for teens” fool or deter you. It is written about teens, sure, but the themes are so universal that anyone who survived high school will relate to the lives of the two protagonists. Eleanor is the new girl in town and her wild red hair and patchwork outfits are not helping her blend in. She ends up sitting next to Park on the bus, whose tendencies towards comic books don’t jibe with the rest of his family’s love of sports. They sit in awkward silence every day until Park notices that Eleanor is reading his comics over his shoulder; he begins to slide them closer to her side of the seat and thus begins their love story. Their relationship grows gradually–making each other mixed tapes (it is 1986 after all) and discussing X-Men characters–until they both find themselves looking forward to the bus ride more than any other part of the day. Things aren’t easy: Eleanor is bullied at school and then goes home to a threatening family situation; Park’s parents do not approve of Eleanor’s awkward ways. Ultimately, though, this is a book about two people who just really, really like each other and who believe that they can overcome any obstacle standing in the way of their happiness. It’s a gem of a book. –Caley Anderson

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.  Goodreads.

Quotes from Eleanor and Park:

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“I miss you, Eleanor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being …‘But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft … and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake”

“You saved me life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.”

 

 

Raku Intensive

As promised in my post Show and Tell:  Doing Dishes–ta da–here are my finished Raku pics. I’m happy with the wiggle wire circular boxes and Japanese lantern boxes. Either shells or stones will be attached to the top of the lantern boxes. Some jewelry dishes turned out bright, but some weren’t as pretty as I’d hoped. Those will get a coat of acrylic paint and varnish.

A shout out goes to Peter Syak, Uber-Instructor, Intensive-Scheduler, Person-With-the-Most-Patience, and Master-of-Fire (it feels like mwahaha should follow Master-of-Fire.) The Raku firing process is so exciting!

Check out the show-stopping, 1750 degree F clay as the kiln top is lifted.

Sawdust burst into flames as soon as the pieces came in contact with it.

At the end of the day, we smelled like chimneys!

Related posts: Playing With Fire, Raku 2015

Red Hot Raku (Raku Workshop Part 1)

Raku Reaction (Raku Workshop Part 2)

Cool Results from Hot Pots (Raku Workshop Part 3)

Flower Photography

One of the many things I love about summer are the hot colors.

Every morning when I walk Lucy, I never know what I’ll see. I might come across wild turkeys strutting, tiny chipmunks scurrying, squawking bluejays chasing, circling hawks diving, hungry bunnies nibbling, or busy bees buzzing. All of these alive things are framed by greenery and gardens. The vivid purple coneflowers below, also known as Echinacea, attract butterflies, songbirds, and busy bees buzzing. Lovely!

DIY Chocolate and Sprinkle Covered Pretzels

Not-Very-Pretty-Pretzels

This was supposed to be an easy project. I’d seen camouflage chocolate pretzels online and I’ve made chocolate-covered pretzels before. Although the semi-sweet chips melted beautifully, the white chocolate chips didn’t melt–they just got stiff. In the past, the same thing happened when I tried to melt white chocolate disks. So frustrating. Mental note to self–don’t try to melt white chocolate again! I was about to scrap the project when I had a brainstorm. I put the chocolate-covered pretzels in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Then I rolled them in blue sprinkles. Voila! The pretzels weren’t pretty but, hon, they were sweet (and salty).

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

pretzel logs

chocolate chips

vegetable oil

sprinkles

wax or parchment paper

Prep:

Line baking dishes with wax or parchment paper so finished pretzels can dry. Pour sprinkles into a dish with sides.

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate chips over double boiler. Add vegetable oil to melting chips, approximately a teaspoon at a time as needed, to help make the chocolate creamy in consistency.
  2. Spoon melted chocolate pretzel logs.
  3. Let chocolate cool a minute or so, but while still warm roll pretzels in sprinkles or spoon the sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Rolling is more efficient, but the melted chocolate drips into the sprinkles and makes the sprinkles globby.
  4. Line pretzels on baking dish to dry.

After all the pretzels are decorated, refrigerate them until the chocolate has hardened. Store pretzels in an airtight container. I made these about a week ahead of time and kept them in the fridge until needed.

Related Post: https://wordpress.com/post/bmoreenergy.wordpress.com/7325

Show and Tell: Something’s Fishy

IMG_6548

 

Remember the book What Color is Your Parachute? 

Back when I was wondering what the heck I was doing as a department store manager that included a) a divisional marketing manager who gleefully chose one of us to humiliate daily, b) being in charge of two multi-million dollar departments on two floors with two buyers and two staffs without an assistant, c) no time to eat, and d) hair falling out in clumps, I decided to re-look at my priorities. Not only did I read What Color is Your Parachute?, I took a career-assessment test at New York University. There was one glaring characteristic missing in my life–creativity! Hon, I should have known.

I recently came across one of my very first picture books complete with illustrations and an author photo in which I’m missing my front teeth. I wrapped some of my books in plastic wrap so they’d look like they came from the library. Cute!

I also came across songs I wrote. I’d play around on the piano and then plot the notes in a music book.

When my parents said they wouldn’t buy me a dollhouse, I made my own out of cardboard. (It actually had a couple of floors!) When I wanted a summer dress, Pappagallo handbags with changeable covers, and an Esprit drawstring bag, I sewed my own.

I learned how to needlepoint, embroider, and knit when I was elementary-school-age. Another creative outlet opened up, and I designed my own canvases and wrote my own patterns.

My first jobs, aside from babysitting and being a camp counselor, were working in stores. I liked retail, but especially merchandising the selling floor and doing the windows.

So, when I left that miserable, weight-loss-inducing department store job, I started my own business. A couple of years later, I became pregnant with triplets. That was the end of the business and time to re-assessment priorities again.

Back to the magic of children’s books, which I was trying to create as a ten year-old. Guess what? I’m still trying.

Needlepoint pillows I made for two sweet sisters. I added the coral to the fishy scenes. Real life fishy scenes from the Mystic Aquarium.

 

 

Show and Tell: Doing Dishes

Wheel-thrown dessert plates.

Woohoo! I made my first set of wheel-thrown dishes.

So what if the plates shrunk in the kiln more than I anticipated? So what if I made eight, but one was too thin and had to be scrapped? So what if the earth-tone glaze applied along with blue doesn’t show at all? And so what if I need to sand the bottoms more? These are the first plates I’ve made that look and feel like plates as opposed to, say, hockey pucks! I also made a set of four handle-less mugs, and am working on several Raku projects, which are in the beginning stages. Updates to follow when my pieces are fired.

Happy creating, hon!

Want to know what a wiggle-wire is? Click here to read more about this cool pottery tool.