Postcard Project Day 1

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I have a looming art deadline – a show with my dad in August (more on that later). However, before I can make any art, I need to clear a physical and mental space for it.  Just coming out of two years of work on my master’s degree has left me with scarcely any free time for artmaking.  My space and mind are both cluttered with too many unfinished projects, false starts, and painfully atrocious (to me) ideas.

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So, today, I tried to clear some of the physical clutter.  That was going well until I found a 3-inch thick stack of purchased and not yet sent postcards from all around the world.

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I sat down and wrote five of them to friends and family.  As I was doing this, I realized I might be on to something as a means to make something, work on some false starts, and hold myself accountable.

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Day 1 Postcard Project. Collage on paper, watercolor, pen and ink, washi tape.  2018.

My goal is to make these small artworks and send them off to friends and family, near and far, this summer.  They can be my warm-ups, thoughts of the day, use-it-up-scraps artwork and a way to keep myself moving onward, always.  I won’t tell you how I choose who to send one to next, or even who they are for.  However, if you want in on this, you might want to make sure I have your current address!

Egg Carton Wreath

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As I got out spring decor this year, I realized I did not have an egg carton wreath for my own front door, even though I was certain I had one somewhere in the basement.  Nope.  No luck, the wreath was absolutely, nowhere to be found.

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It was then that I realized I had assisted my students in making a few of these wreaths for a school fundraiser silent auction, and forgot to keep make one for myself.  As this was two years ago, I will chalk it up to post-baby-then-toddler mommy memory loss.

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So, what is a DIY mama to do?  Make a new one!  I set to work cutting up a paper egg carton, trimming them into semi-flower forms.  I used the ring of an extra large take and bake pizza box as the circular shape of my wreath.  I simply cut around the circle hole to make my wreath shape.  Otherwise, using a compass, large mixing bowls, or a pencil tied to a string are all great ways to make circles in your cardboard.  Then, I painted the cardboard ring blue.

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The kids needed an on-going project this week to work on.  March has been rough – sickness, snow, rain, freezing rain, more sickness, cold weather, mud, and time changes.  Ugh.  It’s enough to drive any teacher or parent mad right now.  So, we spread out newspaper and the egg carton eggs, divide up some different size brushes and started painting.  We always use liquid tempera paint for kid craft projects like this.  It is washable, bright, and easy to dispense and mix.  I personally like Crayola liquid tempera paint.  The 12 bottle set is a great array of colors and will last!  Actually, if it lasts too long, it will start to stink, FYI.  If you do not plan on doing a lot of painting, or are painting a smaller project, the 8 oz size bottles might be a better choice.

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After the flowers were dry, we simply glued them onto the blue wreath ring.  We just used liquid Elemer’s glue, so the kids could help.  If it falls apart, I will fix them with hot glue.  The leaves are made from green construction paper and origami paper squares.

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After attaching the leaves with liquid glue, I also decided to add some embellishments on the flowers with some of the printed origami paper.

Old Take on Banana Bread

Yup, that is delicious banana bread on a scratched up plate. Told ya long ago I don’t stage my food items. 😂  Although, soon those charming 50s countertops won’t be featured in this blog anymore – more on that later!

This recipe has been the most delicious normal-recipe I’ve experimented with – it’s classic banana bread with a wonderful twist. Normally, messing with something as tried and true as banana bread would be off limits, but I was too intrigued with this Joy of Cooking version from my 1975 edition.  I absolutely love older editions of this cookbook, as some of the more interesting baking and cooking methods and recipes get lost to newer editions.

What’s so different? Nothing earth-shattering: swapping butter for cooking oil, adding chopped dried apricots, and chopped pistachios.  These add-ins were a delightful surprise are sure to become a mainstay in this house.

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I used 2 eggs and 1-1/4 cups of banana pulp, for denseness and moisture.  The recipe gives a range, depending on how you like your banana bread.  Understanding the science behind your ingredients will make you a better baker, and this is one reason why I really enjoy using the Joy of Cooking, as it reads much like a cooking text-book.  I also really love the blog Kitchn, and this basic entry on eggs illustrates why this blog is great.

My six-year-old daughter told me to leave out the ‘stachios next time, though.  Funny, she loves pistachios on their own, but mixing foods together is still a no-no to her.

In other news, the light snow we got yesterday is nearly gone, and I have found green grass in some corners of my yard!  I am someone who loves snow, and appreciated yesterday’s beautiful snow fall through my windows, but am also understanding that most of my peers are just simply done with winter at this point in March.

I’m off to ready Easter things for next weekend and finish up some of the last of my grad homework.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel now!

Quick Banana Bread – from Joy of Cooking, 1975 edition.

Have all ingredients at about 70˚.
Heat oven to 350˚.
Combine:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
Blend until creamy:
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Beat in:
1 to 2 beaten eggs
1 to 1-1/4 cups ripe banana pulp
Add the dry ingredients in about 3 parts to the sugar mixture.  Beat the batter after each addition until smooth.
Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped pistachios 
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
Place the batter in a greased loaf pan.  Bake the bread at about 1 hour or until done.  Cool before slicing.

Updated Baby Shower Game

It’s wild to think that the last baby shower I threw was almost 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with my youngest!  Now, we are showering the friend who helped throw this last shower.  Today, I updated the baby shower game, What’s in Your Purse?, and thought I would share the new and improved version.  The font is a 1,000 times better thanks to my current favorite design site – Canva.

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I don’t have much else to share right now, except I am on spring break and plan to power through the last of my homework and hopefully make some artwork of my own.  I have just two more weekends of classes and then I am done with grad work.  Maybe this blog will spring back to life…stranger things have happened.

 

Best Bean Dip

Christmas 2017 is over, and while I’m usually feeling blue about this fact, this year I’m staying positive. My kids have been delightful, and I’m savoring every holiday moment with them. They helped decorate the tree, decorate cookies, helped shop for family members, helped wrap gifts, helped clean, and generally helped by being loving and in the holiday spirit. So, now that we are all sugared out, I had to break out something else for bowl game season. Go Hawks! Bean dip has always been one of my favorite snacks, and it’s no secret that I can finish off an entire bag of tortilla chips on my own, so this was a no-brainer.

My cooking has never been very precise, instead it’s based on what I have, what sounds good, and what people in my house will eat. With that in mind, I have images with ingredients and the steps. Swap out whatever sounds good and change proportions/sizes as needed!

In a bowl, mix together 1 can refried black beans, 1 can whole black beans (rinsed), and 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes. Spread smoothly into pan. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning on top, to taste. By the way, I just found three of these cheery Dansk baking pans, in yellow, at a thrift shop today for under $20!

Spread corn and choppedblackolives on top, next. I used about ¾ of each can.

Next, chop 2 avocados and sprinkle with lime juice. Layer on top.

Smooth sourcream over the top and sprinkle with shreddedcheddar cheese. I used most of a 1 lb. container of sour cream and an entire bag of shredded cheese.

Then, I sliced 4 small jalapeños and spread them out festively. These are the not-too-hot variety. I brought in my jalapeño and habanero plants before the first frost and they are thriving in the southern sunshine of my art room/office.

Best Bean Dip

1. In a bowl, mix together 1 can refried black beans, 1 can whole black beans (rinsed), and 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes. Spread smoothly into pan. Sprinkle Mexicanseasoning on top, to taste.

2. Spread corn and choppedblackolives on top.

3. Chop 2 avocados and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons lime juice.

4. Smooth about 1 lb. container of sourcream over the top and sprinkle with 1 bag of shreddedcheddar cheese.

5. Optional, thinly slice 4 small jalapeños and spread over the top.

Just Stress or Something More?

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research brief trauma hayes

This is my summer grad research brief, I have spent the last few weeks reading, highlighting, discussing, pondering, and writing my heart out on this topic.  Now that it is done, I needed somewhere to host it, hence the blog post.

 

Share this.

Read it.

Think on it.

Implement it.

 

This is the most pressing issue our schools have to deal with, in my opinion.

 

Questions?  I am all ears.

Passionate about this topic?  Let’s talk!

 

Happy end of July,

Chelsea