Thursday, January 31, 2008

Single Sheet of Paper

I received these images in a forward from a former co-worker today. It was written that these are entries for an art contest at the Hirshhorn Modern Art Gallery in Washington DC. Each artist could use only a single sheet of paper. I went to the Gallery’s website and couldn’t find anything, but I did find another blog that posted about this contest, Why Internet. The forward included a bunch more pictures, but these were my favorite.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Quiz: Art or Ape?

I came across a link to for Reverent Entertainment quizzes on the How About Orange Blog (that I love so much.) This site has really fun quizzes about visual art, literature, music and humor. I prefer the visual art quizzes because I like looking at pictures. In particular I like the quiz “An artist or Ape?” This one is pretty tricky. I came out with 83% correct. Try it here.

Avant Garde Toons

After every episode of Project Runway (PR) I get online to see what the bloggers have to say about the show. My brother, Christian, has warned me not to read the blogs because some bloggers say not-so-nice things about the contestants, but I can’t resist. I just can’t get enough Project Runway and all the gossip that goes along with it. Last week, two blogs posted similar cartoon interpretations of the Avant Garde Challenge, (that my brother won!) I wish that they would do them for every challenge. The blog that Christian warns against most, Project RunGay, had two cartoons about this challenge, one of Jillian and Victorya and the other of Christian and Chris. Even though these guys are snotty, I love this blog. Most of the time, they are right on the money and have very insightful statements about the designs, challenges and contestants. Other times, they are ruthless and make fun of everyone, but I like that, too. (Don’t tell Christian.) The other blog with cartoons of PR is Project 365: Drawing the Line. He has a similar interpretation of the Team Fierce Avant Garde Challenge. I just love it. It is getting closer to the PR finals everyday. I don’t know what I will do with myself when it’s over. :(

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Dress

I am going to NYC for some exciting events the first weekend in February. One event in particular requires fashion forward attire. My brother had offered to loan me one of his creations, but he takes fashion forward to a level I’m not exactly comfortable with. I don’t want to look like I’m in a costume, but I want to look (as Chris would say) FIERCE. I found this lovely black number at a boutique here in Arkansas, believe it or not. I didn’t plan to find “my dress” at the first place I looked, but there it was at Mason’s next to Subway where I was going to lunch. This isn't a great picture, but you get the general idea. I still have to work on my accessories, tights, jewelry and a shrug. I want to be fabulous, but it’s going to be mighty cold in New York in February. I found a pair of black patterned tights that are a possibility. Definitely the black suede shoes I bought on my last trip to the city. I’m not sure what to do about arm cover. I like the idea of a shrug, and I found a red one that is cute, but I need to have it altered so that it doesn’t negatively impact the silhouette of the dress. I don’t have a tailor here in Arkansas, so that is a big thing on my to-do list. The other issue with the shrug is that the razor back of the dress is one of my favorite elements. I’d hate to cover that up. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for fashion. I might just accept that I will be cold and lose the shrug. Fortunately, I still have a few weeks to plan out the rest of my outfit, but the clock is ticking...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I have a 30-45 minute commute to work everyday, but I don’t mind the drive. I need that time to become a functioning person in the morning and to unwind after a day at work. On my drive I used listen to NPR (National Public Radio) or switch between classic rock and pop music stations. A few months ago, Evan’s mother gave me a bunch of books-on-tape after I told her that I had enjoyed listening to the DaVinci Code. I just finished the first book of many books she sent, Monster by Jonathan Kellerman. It was a suspenseful murder mystery involving a psychiatrist, a tough guy police investigator and a hospitalized psycho killer. The story begins with the brutal murder of a doctor who works at an asylum for convicted psychotic criminals. The only person in contact with the doctor was an inmate of the asylum that had not communicated with anyone in 16 years. From the very first tape the suspense was thick. The total listening time was 13 hours. It took me several weeks to finish. Every morning I would want to stay in the car after I had reached my office. I would get so involved in the story that when I got home from work I would sit in the car for an extra 10 minutes to make it to the end of a chapter. Yesterday afternoon, I reached the climax of the story, the part where the killer was revealed. I probably should have pulled the car over. I was so filled with suspense that I was practically hugging the steering wheel. I was surprised how enraptured I became with the book on tape, but when I think about it now, I probably finished listening much quicker than if I had read it myself.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Delicious Leftovers

I do not eat leftovers. I don’t know why I find re-heated food so unappetizing, but it is almost impossible for me to get excited about the same menu two nights in a row. It might have something to do with my childhood. When I was growing up we always used to joke that my mother killed an animal every Sunday. She would cook a ham or a roast or a whole chicken and then we’d have it in some fashion for the rest of the week. It would be served hot on Sunday, cold on Monday, sandwiches on Tuesday, Wednesday, and a casserole on Thursday and Friday. By the end of the week, we were finished with whatever animal had died the week before. Now that I cook for myself, (if you can call it that) I rely on Evan to clean out the refrigerator.

I have found the perfect remedy for this problem, The Chicken Broccoli Wreath. This recipe was in one of my new Pampered Chef cookbooks. The first time I planned to try the recipe I was amazed that I had everything I needed to make it without a special trip to the store. Evan had grilled some chicken two days before and we always have Pillsbury crescent rolls in the fridge. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, but not only does it taste great, it looks beautiful, too.

1 package refrigerated crescent rolls (we used Pillsbury Big and Flaky)
1 cup coarsely chopped cooked chicken (seasoned) ¾ cup coarsely chopped broccoli
½ cup (2oz) shredded cheddar cheese (we used Italian blend)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon spice of your choice (we used citrus basil)
¼ cup diced red bell pepper (we left these out)
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Unroll crescent rolls, separate into eight triangles. Arrange triangles, slightly overlapping, in a circle on a round baking stone (or pan) with wide ends 3 inches from edge (points will extend off the edge). Leave a three inch opening in the center.
3. Combine chicken, broccoli, cheese, mayonnaise, seasoning, garlic, salt and red peppers in a bowl. Mix well.
4. Scoop filling evenly over dough in a continuous circle. Bring point of triangles over the filling and tuck under dough at the center to form a ring.
5. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with almonds.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bluebird of Happiness

Last week when Evan’s sister, Jessica, was visiting, they went for a drive and came upon this hidden treasure, Terra Studios, in Durham Arkansas. Terra Studios is home of the world famous Bluebird of Happiness, handmade collectible bluebird figurines. Evan insisted I would love this shop, so we went back this weekend. As we pulled in the parking lot, there were glass bluebirds lining the driveway and the patio of the shop. I knew I was going to love it. The shop featured bluebirds, pinkbirds, vases, pottery and other glass sculpture. I picked up some bluebirds for myself and some for gifts along with two small vases. We stood and watched a video of how the glass birds are made. When we turned around to be checked out, the artist in the video totaled our purchase. All of this glass and pottery was being made at the shop by the same people running the cash register. It is a local family owned and operated business, which makes the whole place ever more of a gem. We ventured past the bluebird shop to find an amazing art filled property. In the center of the park were giant mosaic murals, statues and a house of bluebirds. There was and art garden with mosaics, glass statues, pottery and a walking trail lined with art pieces ranging from abstract mixed media to ceramic frogs. Fortunately for us, it was a beautiful sunny day, so we could stroll and admire. I only wish I would have know this place was here when we had visitors from out of town as this is the kind of Arkansas I would want to share with the Yankees.

2008 Week One Update

I have started working towards my goals set for 2008 and wanted to report I am off to a great start! Evan has really jumped on board with most of my goals, so it makes it easier when I have a partner.

I claimed Thursday as my day to start #1, Help Evan and #2, Be Active, go without TV. I did a pretty good job. I got myself on track by listing things that I wanted to accomplish for the evening the same way I list all of my work tasks in the morning. My list included:

20 Minutes of Yoga (from a new yoga video. I don’t count this as TV watching)
Load pictures on the computer from my December trips, New Years party and my craft projects
Give myself a mini-manicure
Do two loads of laundry
Read one chapter of my book.

This doesn’t sound like anything special, but this is a big deal for me. I didn’t fall in to my usual routine: eat dinner, turn on the TV and then drag myself up to bed. I accomplished all of these except for reading one chapter of my book. I fell asleep after 3 pages. I was exhausted.

On Friday, I booked our flight to NYC, so I am already making progress on #11, Travel. I also found a destination to strive to make one of our 3 trips for the year, Glasgow. I’d love to get out of the country and I was really inspired by an article I read in the Sunday paper. (#2, Read More) The article was about the great music scene, shopping and galleries that make Glasgow a must-see city

As you know, I posted a craft project on Friday. My paper project was actually completed before I made my resolutions, but I’m still going to count it towards #3, Find My Creativity. I said I wanted to post 3 projects a month and this will be my first one.

Not a bad start if I do say so myself. One week down, 51 to go!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Paper Project

Last weekend I got motivated to make something. This is a feeling that has eluded me through the holiday season. I was really inspired by the recycle project on one of my favorite blogs,
A Little Hut. She made a great bowl out of magazine pages a few months ago. Since I read her blog, I have seen similar vases and bowls in stores like Antrhopologie and on other websites. I was excited to use this concept to make something fun for decoration at our New Years party. I used exactly her concept folding magazine pages in half lengthwise until I had a small folded strip and using a hot glue gun to connect the strips together (Tip: cut each magazine page in half, lengthwise, and then fold twice for a strip that is more easy to bend without coming unfolded). The hot glue gun is the way to go because it dries so quickly, but beware of your fingers. Mine are pretty burned up. I layered all the strips to make a cone shape and used about 1/3 of my November Vouge for 2 bowls. I started using a magazine with more articles, but the Vouge (or other fashion magazine) worked better because all of the ads are a full color page which makes the bowl really colorful. I got really obsessed and spent all day Sunday making 4 small bowls. I hung them up-side-down from a dowel to make a nice hanging art piece. Evan thinks they look like flying saucers and I kind of agree. Maybe I need to find a new material to hang them instead of fishing line. I really want to get a large floor vase to set next to our television and use the same method to cover the vase. I have enough magazines to cover the entire exterior of our house, so I think I will be wrapping everything in magazine pages until I find a new project. I know I made this project before I made my New Year Goals, but I’m going to count this as one of my projects for the month. I’m off to a good start.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Resolutions

I was reading the blog Decor8 this mornig when I realized that I really needed to make some resolutions this year. I do not usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I am not sure why. I always outline goals for myself in my business life, so why haven’t I felt the same in the personal life? That is going to change this year and I’d like to set some goals for myself to accomplish in 2008.

My list of resolutions is long, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The year 2008 is 365 days. That is plenty of time to do everything on my list. Because I am putting this information out there for all to see, I hope to have extra motivation to accomplish all of these things.

1. Help Evan around the house so that he knows how much I appreciate all the things he does for me (and so he has more double checking to do – Love you, Ev) I plan to do more laundry and help more with meals.

2. Read more news and fiction so that I can expand my knowledge of the world and give my brain stimulation other than staring at the computer and the television. I’d like to read the newspaper once a week and read one book a month.

3. Find my creativity and make more things for myself and for others. Having a blog has motivated me to do more crafts, so I’d like to post 2-3 craft projects a month.

4. Learn a new skill like sewing, knitting, cooking or playing guitar. I’d love to do all of these things, but most likely I can do one or two this year. I need to sign up for a class somewhere.

5. Be more active. Not necessarily exercise more, but get myself off the couch. I’ll pick one day during the week that I don’t watch TV after work. (This is a lot harder than it sounds)

6. Stay in touch with friends and family. I’m doing better with birthday cards and calling on important dates, but I need to go a step further to make time to catch up with the people I care about that are far away.

7. Volunteer at least 2 times this year. This is the least I can do to give back for all the wonderfulness I have in my life.

8. Save Money to do the things that make us happy. We are off to an amazing start for our New York trip. I want to keep that momentum going.

9. Move back to the East Coast. (This is phase two of #8.) We need to get back to civilization and we need money and motivation to do it. I’d love to accomplish this goal by April 2008.

10. Get a new job that challenges me.

11. Travel to at least three places that Evan or I (or both) have never been. We have our New York trip planned, so that is one down. I have really long list of places that I want to go, so it will just be a matter of making that happen.

12. Pay off Debt. If I spend less, this will happen. That would be a great accomplishment.

This is my long list of resolutions. Luckily some of these things overlap eachother, so its not such a big feat. I hope to start checking things off very soon. I would like to wish everyone luck with their resolutions this year!

New Year's Desserts

For our New Year’s party we asked our guests to bring appetizers and side dishes so that we didn’t have to drive ourselves crazy doing everything (like we usually do). Evan’s sister, Jessica, came to visit from Michigan and we spent the weekend making some pretty decadent mini-desserts. (Actually, Evan and Jessica made desserts while I was obsessing over my paper project.) Last week in Florida we had this amazing mousse that my Dad sells in his bakery. He gave us a little demonstration and the recipe so we could make little mousse treats for the party. We did a peppermint mousse (my favorite) and a raspberry mousse (Evan’s favorite). We used our Pampered Chef Easy Decorator, so they really turned out beautiful. I think I squeezed out about 4 mousses, and that was my contribution to that dessert. Evan and Jessica made Chocolate Covered Cherry Chocolate cookies from a recipe their mom sent before Christmas. These were a big hit. I watched one of our guests stand over the table and eat five cookies before he noticed I was standing there. I attempted to make mini brownies in my mini-muffin tin. It took me a few tries to get the batter and the bake time correct given the mini size of them, but they turned out really cute in the end. We also supplied a Honey Baked Ham that Evan got as a Christmas gift from his work, a shrimp cheese ball and a veggie tray and the rest the guests brought. (I have really great friends.)

We had about 12 people attend the New Year’s gathering. Our plan was to keep it casual. We ate tons of food, played some pool, played some “Catch Phrase” and celebrated the New Year with a Champagne toast. It was another great party with great friends.