July 16, 2014

The Stinky Albatross and Writing Something New

practice lines and shapes
Limited to 20 shapes
Pencil drawing, New End Studio 

(Pencil drawing- Lines, Shapes, Space, and Directions.  Sorry it's upside down, a little like how I am.)

The situation here is still in flux.  One day it's up and the other day it's down, and around ...

To help pass the time and distract me from the myriad of worries I need a little creative outlet.  The heat and humidity stops me from gardening.  Bless you who can enjoy the sun and the bugs, but give me a screened in breezy porch and I'm happy.

Leaving things unfinished is like bad karma, the albatross on the neck. Stinky and uncomfortable. So, I'm giving myself permission to finish before I start something new. (Update: Two done, a few more to do!)




In the meantime, I started writing a couple of stories.  (No boxes to unpack, only my brain.  lol )  Last week with the first story, I got about 1,900 words in and I thought this one might need a pen name so I put the story aside for now.  With the second one, I was zipping along but my blood sugar was drooping, so I got to about 2,400 words and had to stop.  While I was writing it, I realized that it was going to be longer than a short story, so I named the chapters and scenes and pretty much know what's going to happen to the characters.

Writing with new to me software  (I long for an old typewriter) it's highly rated, but still an unopened book to me, a puzzle book, pun intended.  The software has more features than I have played with- I just want to get the words down and worry about the formatting later.

I don't know if I'll let these stories see the light of day.  How do you feel about pen names?   Don't care one way or the other?  Use initials or be gender neutral?  Or, use real name if at all possible?   (Something to ponder in case I finish these stories.)

If you've published something leave a link in the comments, too.      

July 11, 2014

Must Finish What I Started, Jewelry Supplies

Last month I got some supplies when I went looking for a soft cord to finish this no clasp necklace. 

Down in the lower right corner there is some ombre cord in two color combos.  I wanted a blue tone, but this was what I found.  I think it will work and I may knot a few of those beads in the middle of the image, if not, I have other beads stored away.

I have a little affection for umbrellas, so when I saw brass Vintaj umbrellas and toadstools, I had to buy them.

The owl earrings are going to become charms or rings, haven't decided on those yet.


The coral, blue, and brass beads were so pretty I couldn't leave them on the rack.    Sparkling round buckles, little birds, and assorted chains jumped into my basket and came home with the others.

We're all such good friends, my supplies, they have ideas of their own and since most have been packed up for moving (since last summer) I decided to look for some new to me items.

chain and ribbon necklaceI will get the necklace finished this week or next at the latest.  I used to always push myself to finish what I started, but with things changing at home and so many things to deal with, I have let things slide.

Sitting on my desk is a present for a blogger, I have not been able to decide how to fix and complete it and this has gone on for more than a year.  The other parts of the gift are ready to go, so maybe I should bite the bullet and send it on.

Tomorrow I am packing up presents for two little ones a 4 year old and 2 year old siblings.  They don't have a birthday, I just feel like sending them something- teddy bears, activity books, crayons, pencils, etc.  Lastly, a birthday card was finally purchased and will be on its way, too.



I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but a decision on moving is still in flux, most of my belongings are packed or donated, and sooner or later I have to either stay or go.  I'll let you know which it is.

I know what I want to do, it's the next step that's the hardest.  Do you close your eyes and jump or stretch out the decision making?


July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America

Happy July 4th!!!!
Hoping you have a pleasant and safe day with your loved ones and memories of those you hold dear.
All the best!

July 4th

June 24, 2014

Time to Decide; Nature is Giving Me a Nudge

How hard is it for you to make decisions?  From choosing a pair of shoes to where to go on vacation; from "What's for dinner?" to a new pocketbook- the choices from big to small are just part of everyday living.  Thank goodness most decisions aren't the earth shattering, "Will I regret this?" ones.

I grew up having most of my path laid out in front of me.  I can tell you this is not the way to live and learn.  So I procrastinate and put off decisions even when my "gut instinct" tells me the right one to choose.  Sometimes backtracking is obtainable, but mostly a decision is a decision that can't be reversed.  From a bad choice comes life lessons and a new decision is made, but 20/20 rear view living is not smart or satisfying.

abstract acrylic canes and leaves
Abstract Acrylic
New End Studio 
If you're still with me, I have come to the conclusion that it's time "I made a Decision to Make a Decision!"  Can't get clearer than mud there.  Trying to go with my gut, checking out the experts, getting good advice and then stepping off into the mostly unknown.  Sort of like sky diving or bungee jumping might feel, all the anticipation and excitement wipes out the worry once you can't retract yourself from letting yourself go into the wide unsupported spaces, where only a rope and a parachute are your bosom companions.  Step out and then laugh, scream, and enjoy yourself.

Maybe it's the weather with all the wildlife in my neighborhood, you know, the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, bees, and other bugs all doing their thing- getting on with life and preparing to make some new lives, too, which are influencing me.  They live moment by moment, prepare a nest, gather the food, and do the best that they can.  So why shouldn't we all?  All, being me and you and any other worriers or procrastinators who may be reading this.    

I thought winter was the optimum time to draw within, observe, and think long on making choices, but the warm weather is nagging me with all the scents and noises saying it's, "Now or Never" to get on with IT.  We never know how short or long our lives will be.  

Thanks for reading this far.  Enjoy the summer (Northern Hemisphere people) and I hope the cooler weather people are having a beautiful change of seasons.

June 20, 2014

This is mostly about Faux Danish, and You can eat it, too

lemon danish crescent roll cakeWho's up for a quick Faux Danish recipe?

Ingredients:

  • One can of refrigerated Crescent rolls.
  • Cream Cheese or Neuchaftel (Low Fat Cream Cheese)  8 ounce package
  • Table Sugar and/or 10X Powdered Sugar
  • Fresh Lemon Wedge 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Chopped Walnuts or other topping you desire



Get to work:

Preheat the oven to the temp stated on the can label.

Have the Cheese at room temperature (in this summer heat it varies) but cheese should be pliable and not stiff. You could soften it in the microwave, just don't heat it up.

For one can of Crescent rolls I used 1/4 to 1/3 of the package of cheese.  Save the rest for something else or use more cheese if you want them to be heavy and gooey.  Your preference.

In a bowl:  Combine the Cheese, Juice of the Lemon wedge, and about 4 heaping tabletop (cutlery flatware) Tablespoons. I did not use a measuring spoon.  If you want to be more precise, use a little less than 1/4 cup of Table Sugar (granulated).

Blend well.

quick and easy home made danishOn a baking sheet, no need to grease it, place two crescent rolls long sides together, so they form a rectangle.  Squish the dough together where the two rolls are aligned.   Repeat until you have 4 rectangles of dough.  A package of 8 crescent rolls will make 4 Faux Danish.

Lightly sprinkle Cinnamon on the dough.   If you want to add nuts to the dough do this now or just sprinkle them on top once the crescents are shaped.

Start at the short side of the dough rectangle and roll it like a log.  Once you get to the end of the dough, bring the two sides together and squish them so they meet and hold their shape.  Stretch the little Faux Danish shape a bit and make a crater in the center with your palm or fingers.  The dough might shrink back so show it you're in charge and make it stay the way you want it to.  Down boy!

Take a spoonful of the cheese mixture and place it into the crater you just made.  Sprinkle some nuts onto the cheese if you like.

Bake according to the label, about 14 minutes.  Once cool add a drizzle of icing, or if you want a glazed danish, drizzle on the icing while they are still warm as it will melt and cover the roll.

I experimented with these a few times.  Sometimes I used 10X Sugar which made the filling very light and fluffy which made them taste better the day after because the filling firmed up in the fridge.  I also went part table sugar and part 10X, I thought this had the best flavor.

Another variation was to make the Danish with some fruit spread (sugar-free jam) and the cheese.  I also used fruit. Finally, I used refrigerated non-flaky round biscuits in the tube.   I thought dough in a tube would have the same flavor, but the tastes were not exactly the same.  For the round biscuits I made more filling as there were 8 biscuits.  I just baked them the same way, stretching the dough a bit and made a crater for the filling.

refrigerated crescents turned into home made danish treatsIf you have extra cheese mixture left over, you can keep it in the fridge and use another time or in other ways. Probably be safe to keep for 3-5 days?
  
For the drizzled icing I just used about 4 heaping tabletop Tablespoons of 10X and added a teensy bit of room temperature milk.

Cold milk makes the 10X lumpy and it's easier to not battle the little lumps.  Sometimes along with the milk I add clear color Vanilla Extract.  10X needs a small amount of liquid in case you aren't familiar with it.

This week I don't want to use the oven too often due to the summer temps.  Luckily I had a Lemon Ginger Honey Tea Cake already baked.  I've also used the slow cooker a few times.  Slow cooked chicken falls right off the bones and made many meals- chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice, chicken with fresh spinach and noodles, chicken sandwiches, and oh, all those tidbits for Lucy.

Have a great weekend and try to stay cool, use sunscreen!
 


June 13, 2014

It Hasn't Just Been All Tea and Chocolate Around Here

Tea!  Chocolate!  No, there have been Green Smoothies full of healthy veg and fruit, too.  Ah, well.
It's been about a month since I showed myself here on the blog and it was busy times with sickness, to boot. Feeling better now and so is the other party who had me a little worried.

I was hoping that the kidnapped Nigerian girls would have been rescued and reunited with their families by now, but it hasn't happened.  All the hashtags and blogging haven't made any difference, at least not yet. With a hopeful heart, I will continue to keep good thoughts and prayers for the girls.  May their suffering soon be over.

Three am this morning I was busy making a birthday cake, my icing skills not the best, but the taste made up for the lack of curly swirlings.

Friday the 13th has turned out to be quite a nice day so far.  The weather is gorgeous after the humidity of the morning and the birds are so loud I wanted to tell them to Button Up about 5am. Sometimes it feels a privilege to listen to their songs.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend.  Get up to something fun!  

May 3, 2014

#bringbackourgirls The Kidnapped Schoolgirls of Nigeria


kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls April 2014
Were you aware of this?

One of the saddest things to hear from tv news came at me early this Saturday morning.  CNN said that about two weeks ago in Nigeria, the powerful Islamist regime, "Boko Haram" kidnapped young girls from their homes.  CNN reported a total of 276 kidnapped girls.

The CNN reader said that no one is giving it any attention. CNN, you are supposed to put focus on it and tell us.        DO YOUR JOB.  (Maybe tv news is not the best place to get up to date information.)

Twitter and Facebook.  These are sources with links and contacts to put pressure on the governments to rescue the girls.
 

To read about the kidnappings, click on the links listed below.  (Not an exhaustive list, just a few.) What they show is heartbreaking and alarming.

kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls april 2014
Nigeria's Stolen Girls , The New Yorker

Hundred of Nigerian School Girls Sold as Brides to Militants, The Washington Post

Nigerian Kidnapped Schoolgirls Forced Into Islam, Businessweek

Is Anyone Really Trying to Save Nigeria's Kidnapped Schoolgirls?, The Telegraph





kidnapped nigerian schoolgirls april 2014
Boko Haram has been murdering children for
going to school.  They do not want girls educated.
They slaughtered youngsters inside schools and disrupt with bombs and bullets.  A complete takeover of the country to instigate and control through Sharia law is their ultimate goal.

The following is quoted from, All Africa, Voice of America.

While no one has claimed responsibility for last month's kidnapping, it is being blamed on the Boko Haram militants, a group known to kidnap young women for use as servants, spies and so-called "wives." It is believed the militants, whose five-year insurgency has killed thousands, have divided their female hostages among several camps in the Sambisa forest near the borders of Cameroon and Chad...

Despite a yearlong military campaign against Boko Haram, Nigerian security forces have been unable to stop the near-daily violence in the country's restive and predominantly Muslim northeast. Now the plight of the Chibok girls has become a national cause for a population frustrated by Abuja's inability to stop the crimes of an elusive enemy."


An unidentified mother cries out during a demonstration with others who have daughters among the kidnapped school girls of government secondary school Chibok, Tuesday April 29, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria.  Two weeks after Islamic extremists stormed a remote boarding school in northeast Nigeria, more than 200 girls and young women remain missing despite a “hot pursuit” by security forces and desperate parents heading into a dangerous forest in search of their daughters. Some dozens have managed to escape their captors, jumping from the back of an open truck or escaping into the bush from a forest hideout, although the exact number of escapees is unclear. (AP Photo/ Gbemiga Olamikan)
An unidentified mother cries out during a demonstration
on Tuesday April 29, 2014,
 in Abuja, Nigeria. (AP Photo/ Gbemiga Olamikan)


If you connect with the images I made with the hashtag, #bringbackourgirls, feel free to borrow.

What a world this is.   Beautiful and Dangerous at once.   I'm going to look for some peace and try to pass it on...  

kidnapped nigerian schoolgirls april 2014

kidnapped nigerian schoolgirls april 2014



Get a FREE Trial to Amazon Prime