Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day-Lily Niche, Slovenia's Grad Predjama

Day-Lily Niche, Slovenia's Grad Predjama, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. For Nadine over at In Blue Ink.

For Creative Every Day. This was a multi-day project. It is a crop from the larger piece. See the whole piece here.

I am on the road in Syracuse, NY at a hotel, and do not always have internet access, so I may be slow responding or commenting.

Friday, December 26, 2008

my new toy (A wolf in sheep's clothing)

I have a new toy that I got for Christmas--a Wacom tablet and pen for my Mac computer and Photoshop CS4. I have a LOT to learn about using it!! This is my first attempt at using the tablet. I have not yet read the instructions, but I sure need to do so! A bit of silliness for sure. But I am tired and it's late. (Creative Every Day!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy NEw Year. Have a Great Day!

Made this with my new CS4 on the mac with just the mouse.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

continuing saga

I was just warming up from my last bout of shoveling when BB called and said he was on his way home--so I dashed back out without a coat to move my car and shovel shovel some more.  Brrr.

The angle of repose

I've been studying the angle of repose.

That's the angle at which it becomes too steep for the snow to stay piled. We have an issue of lack of space. Between the street and the sidewalk and between the edge of the driveway and the house next door, no more snow can be piled. The angle of repose is now to steep and we have to find somewhere else to put the snow.

Meanwhile, BB just called and I have to find yet another place to put my car. :-(

He's on his way home and needs to get into the driveway.  My car is blocking it.  :-(

The man next door and the man down the street

I heard the plow coming on the far side of the street and dashed down to move my car into the driveway before he came back our side, but it was snowing so hard I paused to put on a coat and hat and gloves and boots and I was TOO LATE.  The plow came back up our side and buried my car which was parked in the street.  I was dismayed, but before I even started to dig it out, I dug out the end of the driveway of the man next door.  He complained that my car was causing the plow to leave more snow in his driveway (don't ask me to explain how).  So I went over and dug out the end of the neighbor's driveway.  After I finished that, I began digging out my car on the street. 

A man I don't know came down the sidewalk and offered to help.  He said, "You need to move your car into the driveway, you are causing a problem for this guy," and he indicates the house of the man next door.  He plowed along the side of my car, throwing the snow into the street, which is illegal, immoral and otherwise wrong.  He told me to move my car into the driveway.  I stood there staring at the driveway which was still full of snow, so he ran his snowblower up and down a car-sized portion of the end of the driveway and I said thank you and put my car into that section.  I then proceeded to shovel open my space.  I'd like to put my car back into it.  I do NOT know when BB will be coming home from work, but my guess is that he'll be pissed to see my car in the driveway blocking it so he can't get in.

The man down the street told me his name was Hank and that he lived at 425, 3 houses away from me.  I have been parking my car in that space on the street since 2002 (and all up and down this street and all the others, lots of other people have their cars in the street) and I do not understand why six years later, it is suddenly this huge neighborhood issue.  It makes me want to move back to NY or out into the boonies with a howitzer.  Apparently, I have to choose between angering my husband or angering my next door neighbor and the man down the street.  I'm in the middle taking $#!^ from everyone.  Happy Holidays, y'all--glad yr in the Holiday spirit. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Johnny Norms made this cool picture for our Moleskine exchange.  I made it big and copied it and made it bigger and BOY do I have some of the same issues!  I am working on a novel (actually more than one of them), and on a poetry manuscript about a brain-damaged girl named Geraldine, and on a children's picture book, and on the sketch project, and on photography, and on Christmas gifts, cards, ornaments etc, plus I am a wife and mother and have often wished I could clone myself so I could follow various threads of interest.  I would also like a clone to learn music, something I gave up after school.  And one to do sports.

I figured that's where all the people on earth came from, because God kept cloning herself so she could try all the things she wanted to try, LOL!

Friday, December 19, 2008


I myself shoveled for well over two hours, but didn't get any pictures
of myself, becase I was concentrating on shoveling. These pictures
really don't do justice to the scene at all. There was a lull in
storm and it doesn't look as bad as it was.

Creative Soup cooking with Soup "Recipe"

This is a soup recipe Nadine could maybe use, as the basic recipe has only a few ingredients.

I spent the entire morning shoveling and am going to have to go out and resume momentarily. Hope to get some pictures, too!

I came in tired and hungry and I hadn't been able to go to the store because of the weather, so I didn't have what I wanted for lunch. I like to challenge myself to make something both healthy and tasty from what I have on hand. And since I was cold from shoveling, I made a simple soup. I had made another different one earlier in the week I'd intended to write about but never had time. So today I thought I'd rest before resuming shoveling by writing this down. The soup came out great.

Basic 4-ingredient soup (with additions later)

  1. water
  2. vegetable (s)
  3. protein (s)
  4. salt (and spices, opt)
OK, those are your basic ingredients for soup.

Now, how to do it:

  1. measure about a cup of water per person, more if you're very hungry. (No that water won't make you satisfied by itself, but will provide space for the other ingredients.) Use a pan that is somewhat larger than the amount you want, but not a lot larger. (More energy efficient, quicker, more environmental, more economical). Bring to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating, choose one or more vegetables. If more than one, choose some you like that go well together. Cut them into bite-size pieces (any size you like--smaller ones cook faster.) Today I used spinach and zucchini. I often use broccoli. For each person, as 1/2-3/4 c vegetables (You can use more or less depending on whether you like your soup chunky or brothy), finely cut--or however you want them. Put them in the boiling water.
  3. Choose a protein. Tofu works. Beans. Fish, shrimp, chicken, or any combination you like together. I had chicken today. Cut into bite-size pieces (or any size you like). Add 2-4 oz about the amount that the palm of your hand would make if cut up. add to soup pot. Cook briefly, about 5 minutes.
  4. salt to taste. Pepper, garlic powder opt. (Sprinkle salt over the pan).
Presto, a simple soup. Tasty and nutritious.

OK, for the additions.
  1. you can add a little wine or balsamic vinegar--I added vinegar to mine today, just a little--careful, not too much. 1 1/2 t vinegar or 2 T wine. Or you can add both. I like both, but BB does not.
  2. fresh onion and garlic--saute in butter or olive oil. add 1 rounded tablespoon flour. Add a little of the broth in, mix it in, then add the onion and garlic to the soup--presto--a thicker, spicier soup. Use one small to medium clover of garlic and or a few slices of onion. I did not use these today.
  3. Milk or cream--mmmm--cream soup. Use less water to start with and add the equivalent amount of milk or cream--near the end. If you put the cream or milk in a jar with a rounded T flour and shake, and then pour it into the soup, it will thicken the soup--or you can saute flour in butter or olive oil as above--don't do both. One or the other. I can have dairy, so I didn't do this, but I often do it for BB.
  4. starch: add any kind of pasta in small quantities, or rice--cook it first unless it's quick cooking, or use left-overs, or potato, or oatmeal--yes oatmeal--it's good in soup--or barley, or cous cous. I love little pastinas. I have many varieties, but used none today. Also beans, peas, garbanzos etc. (making pea soup or lentil soup is a little different).* But you can add some to your soup--best if they are already leftovers or if you precook them--otherwise they take too long to cook for this recipe
  5. aromatic herbs and spices--experiment. Start out with just a little. I like to add jerk spices or hot spices or basil, etc. Today I added none of those. I made a simple but yummy soup.
  6. gumbo: use chicken or fish, or tofu, add shrimp, and sausage. Be sure also to add Okra if you can get it. Just a few for authenticity, slices crosswise fairly thin.
  7. Leftovers--soup is a good way to use up small portions of leftovers! You can make a yummy kitchen sink soup with various things from the fridge--everything but the kitchen sink. A good stirfry or even a good salad can make a good soup later.
  8. au jus, broth--save your meat and veggie dripping and broth to add to your soup--mmmm!
  9. eggs: egg drop and egg flower soups are yummy, just drop an egg into the hot soup and cook till it's done for egg drop, or stir for egg flower.
  10. tomatoes, V8 juice, tomato juice. For a really quick tomato-based soup, if you're in a hurry, use V8 juice, or tomato juice. Other wise, dip tomatoes in boiling water and pull off the skins. This is easier than it sounds--use a slotted spoon for dipping them.
  11. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Start simple, and when you're confident, experiment. It's tasty, nutritious, and warming on cold days!
*To make pea soup or lentil soup, follow the simple directions on the dry peas/lentils package--they don't have to be soaked--but cook them longer than it says too for better flavor. If you want help with that, let me know. It takes about 45-hour to make good pea or lentil soup, with onions and garlic and carrots. You can do something else while it's cooking, just stir occasionally--and the leftovers are even better than when it's fresh.

And be "Creative Every Day " in everything you do!

Snow (bullets of)

Various Bullets, Friday, December 19, 2008; 11:42 AM

* the weather IS pretty bad, pretty snowy! I shoveled an hour and a half and got the drive done, and side walk and porch etc, but of course while I'm shoveling on one end, it's filling up on the other.

* After I had shoveled about an hour, Matthew Lovely (?) from a couple houses down came over with the snow-blower to help—did the “wall at the end of the driveway (I’d made two paths through it) and up through between the two houses (I’d made one path through to feed the birds (and YES, in spite of the heavy snow, there have been birds), and he did the back part of the driveway (I'd made a path to the garage and to the garbage cans and a couple other paths to mark the width of the driveway.) I had done the lower part of the driveway, the public sidewalk, our sidewalk, the porch, and a bit around my car in the street--but then the plow went by yet again and filled it all in again. After Matthew snow-blowed (snow-blew?) the driveway, it took me 40 more minutes to get it finished and shovel some more around my car.
* Should we send the Lovelies a Christmas card and or Thank you note? If it was in fact a Lovely; I think it was.

* The man next door on the other side came out after I'd already been shoveling at least 45 minutes and started blowing his driveway. As usual, he began blowing snow behind my car so I went over and stood behind the car and started shoveling it out--he went up the driveway and stopped blowing there. I went away and he came back and blew a little more behind my car but seemed to be being more careful. I was shoveling in front of the car and he walked over and said, "When it is going to snow, could you park your car in the driveway so there won't be a wall in front of my driveway." He was polite but sounded annoyed and said he was going to be late for work because he didn't expect to have to shovel a 4-foot wall of snow (instead, he expected to snowblow it all behind my car, like he usually does--he didn't say that, but that's what I was thinking.). The problem for me is, if I want to get out, I also have to get back in. I told him that you have to leave at 5:30 in the AM and would have to dig out two cars instead of one, but that I would talk to you. I suppose if we were expecting a blizzard, we could park my car between the buildings and yours behind it, just in front of the sidewalk. I told him I would talk to you about it. I wonder if we're going to have a harder winter after two easier ones. I forgot to mention that after that man next door said that he was going to be late to work, I went over and helped him shovel the 4 foot wall in front of his driveway--probably for at least 15 minutes during which time and for some time afterward while I was shoveling, I did not have the timer running. So I may have shoveled significantly more. He did say thank you for helping him, if a bit sullenly. I'm not sure moving my car will solve his problem, but I guess we could try.

* I did not sleep very well last night or the night before (to say nothing of the night before that when I was up all night.) I'm pretty tired now from all that shoveling and I expect to shovel more before you get home. I have done nothing else at all other than eat breakfast, do my exercises, and write this note.

* And talk to Piano Boy. He had no school and came out while I was shoveling and asked if he could go to Jay's. I said I guessed so, IF he had eaten and if his room was clean. He said he had and it was and he left. When I cam in quite a long time later, I looked at his room and of course it was NOT clean. He probably did NOT eat, either.

* My packages have not come yet. They gave me a nice narrow window--8 AM until 7 PM--last time they said that they came at 7:45 PM--and with the weather like this . . . But I cannot leave, say to walk to the store and get milk etc, for fear they will actually come.

*It has snowed a LOT more--I need to go out and take more pictures!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Medusa Detail for Creative Every Day

Medusa Detail for Creative Every Day, by Mary Stebbins Taitt, for
Creative Every Day. Click here for the whole picture.

I've been doing a bunch of other stuff too: Sketch of woman and
, gift card paintings NOTE Mrs. Claus and the elves request
you NOT click here if you may be a recipient of gift cards.

I also created two meatloaf recipes last night for dinner for
different health needs. AND . . . made bunches more cards than I can
ever post here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two Detail shots from Pointsettia sketch

For my "CED" challenge (Creative Every Day). See the entire skecth here.

A Private Tea Party

I just had a cup of tea in commemoration of the 235th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. :-)

(PS--if you haven't yet seen the videos of BB playing with the crane sculptures, view them here.)

Crossing the Fractal Moon

Crossing the Fractal Moon, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. This is my
Creative Every Day post #1. I joined last night, and I did this piece
last night, but was unable to post it. SO it is actually for
yesterday. This is a DETAIL or crop from the full picture, which you
can see here, along with a description of how I made it.

Often my creativity is sparked by an outside influence, in this case,
the original fractal flame, made on Apophysis. I liked it and wanted
to use it but had no idea what I wanted to do with it until I was
fooling around and added the circle. I had been thinking "abstract"
but the circle became a moon so I added the goose and the reeds. It
may be a tired or clicheed idea, but I think the execution of it is
fresh and creative.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Creative Every Day

I just joined a challenge for 2009 called Creative Every Day over at Leah's blog. I will NOT be posting about it every day, but I committed to BEING creative every day and writing about it sometimes. I didn't feel too worried about joining the challenge because I already AM creative every day. I write poems and stories, I do art and I am a creative cook and problem solver. So expect to see soem creative every day posts, some of which may link to some of my other blogs/sites.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A card for Laura Lindow

Laura Lindow is PB's piano teacher. I have been making cards to give her Tuesday when he has his last lesson of 2008. This is one of them.

"Almost buried"

A gift for leaf Lady. Did not scan well. it's a painting
(watercolor) of a leaf almsot buried inthe snow). The original is
very delicate. In this, some is lost and some is too dark.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A bit of silliness

Biker Buddy, playing with "Bean Boppers" (honey locust pods) and listening to their sound.

more skiing

OK, I admit it, there wasn't really enough snow, and now there is
less, because we had freezing rain. It's snowing now, though.
Lightly, lightly. This is at Balduck park.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Supernatural experience, 1982

Oh to Sprout Wings and Fly

"One exciting day last summer, a group of Campfire kids found a dragonfly nymph climbing up a branch along the Bog Trail. Suddenly it began to look strange. The back enlarged and it appeared to have what the kids called 'eyes' under its skin. The back of the thorax (shoulders) burst open and the adult dragonfly began to slowly emerge. All of us watched transfixed as the dragonfly crawled out of its nymphal skin and ever-so-slowly pumped a fluid from special reservoirs (the 'eye-like' structures) under its skin d into the abdomen. It gradually elongated and became exquisitely thin. Finally, after beating its wings several times, the dragonfly suddenly flew rapidly away. The children and I were thrilled!" 1982 (Photo from Stoney Creek

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cute, but you can't tell here!

Today Piano Boy borrowed a suit and tie from K (I tied the tie for him) because he's going to be a weatherman for science--he was very excited about it and made a big weather map--did a good job, too.  I drove him to school because he had the suit jacket in the Louis bag and the big map.  He looked SO CUTE I would have loved to take a picture, but I didn't even bother asking as he is very anti-picture at the moment.  So imagine the boy, tall and slender, with dark curly hair and braces, bright blue eyes, quite cute, carrying a huge back pack, a Louis wardrobe bag and a big weather map.  It is in the twenties, cold, windy and icy, and he's wearing no hat or coat and no undershirt under his pink Oxford.  I let him out across from school in the dark at 7:30 AM and he's shivering and wants to dash in to where it's warm, but the traffic is heavy enough that he has to stand in his shirtsleeves in the wind and wait (I thought the car who had pulled in behind us was going to hit him.)  I hope it goes well.  He was practicing various weird weather-man voices.  His own voice would probably work best.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

My new Mantra: "Use Less!" (Weird Green)

Of course, I've never been a person who was terribly wasteful, and I've heard and tried to follow the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra in the past, but I am really concentrating more on using less of anything I can use less of. Less shampoo, less conditioner, less soap, less dish and laundry detergent. I've been able to cut my usage substantially without suffering any apparent ill effects.

First, I cut my shampoo by a third, then by another third, and so on, I'm now using between an 8th and a quarter of what I used to use. Then, I went from a daily showerer to skipping two days a week to skipping three days a week, and now I am skipping 4 days a week and only showering three days a week. Thus, I have cut my consumption of shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc yet again. I repeat to myself (really): use less use less use less to help remember. I paste the old soap onto the new one so none of it is wasted.

a little bushwhacking

There were a couple trees down across the trail, so we had to do a little bushwhacking.

what I made for lunch

For Keith, not me. He likes pea soup. (So do I, but I'm allergic to it.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Preparations/Stealing my own Thunder

Making Christmas cards (block prints) and one water color painting card as a gift. The Christmas cards have three block prints, so there are three different opportunities on each card for something to go wrong.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Turkey in my Backpack (Weird Green) and a recipe for Nadine

Yesterday, I walked to the store and bought a 15-plus pound turkey and carried it home in my backpack, which I also stuffed with a half gallon of milk, rice milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, vanilla, 3 packages of raspberries, and a bunch of other stuff I'm now forgetting. Then I went back for a second trip for another half gallon of milk, two six-packs of beer, one six-pack of soda, and a bunch of other stuff, which I also carried home in the backpack.)

For Thanksgiving, we had a crown roast of pork, and I missed my turkey, felt very sad and deprived. So we had a whole second Thanksgiving yesterday with all the fixings so that I could have a turkey--and turkey soup, turkey croquettes, turkey spring rolls etc. My small contribution to the environment was to walk to the store (not drive, as everyone else around here does) and to use reusable carrying equipment (backpack) (rather than disposable bags that are bad for the environment).

Nadine over at In Blue Ink mentioned in a comment on one of my posts that she likes recipes with only a few ingredients, so here's a

3-ingredient pie recipe [with cheats]:


  1. 3-5 packages of fresh berries (I used raspberries and blueberries for this pie)--use whatever berries you like that look good--or apples, peaches, other fruit.
  2. a package of Pillsbury pie crust in the refrigerator section
  3. 3/4 c sugar, and . . .
  • a pie tin or dish if you don't have one. I used a small disposable one that I didn't dispose of from a previous pie. I wanted to make only a small pie--we still have leftovers from Thanksgiving.

Read all the way to the bottom before beginning! Set out pie crusts in their plastic sacks to warm. Preset oven to 425 (I used 325 because I was roasting the turkey at the same time--it worked fine). Carefully unroll the pie crusts and lay one across the pie tin, pressing it gently into the shape of the tin. Dump in enough berries to fill tin. I needed three packages for this pie (and a few more from a fourth, but the bigger pies I made last Wednesday required more.) [OR slice apples, pears or peaches etc) into the pie crust.] Add 3/4 c of sugar (that's an average amount, you can add more or less if you want a sweeter or tarter pie--mine came out PERFECT!). OK, here' a "cheat" To make the juices thicken some, add a heaping tablespoon of flour to the sugar (on top, or better yet, mix it in). (You can also use cornstarch, tapioca, etc., or some combination). Add the top crust and seal it to the bottom crust by rolling or fluting. Add a little water between the edges if they don't seal. Make a slit or two or a design on top with a knife to allow for the escape of steam. Bake 25-35 minutes until crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out slightly. If the crust is browning too quickly around the edges, cover them with foil. (or you can do it prophylactically at the beginning.) (My pie got overdone slightly but still tasted great--I was playing a game with PB at the crucial moment.) Cool on a rack for at least ten minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream (or plain).

OK, cheat #2: I had used one of my crusts for a lemon meringue pie so I made a crumb topping: 1 c rolled oats, 1/2 c flour, 1/4 c brown or white sugar (I used half and half), 1/4 c butter or canola oil. Mix well, spread over top of pie.

Cheat #3: to keep the ingredient list down to three ingredients, I did not mention cinnamon. It's not necessary to the pie. However, I prefer it with cinnamon and used cinnamon and some nutmeg--A BIG sprinkle of cinnamon, about a teaspoon full, probably, and a small sprinkle of nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon), added right before you add the top or mixed into the sugar.

Pies are fairly forgiving of certain things, you can be very flexible with ingredients and temperature and still get a good pie.

If you want to make your own pie crust, you need to be aware that that's the hardest part of making a pie. You will need flour, water or milk, oil, lard, butter or vegetable fat. There are many recipes. I use an oil recipe because I am allergic to butter and Crisco. And lard tastes greasy to me. You will also need a rolling pin or wine or beer bottle with the label removed [or you can use your hands, but it won't work as well. Here's one recipe, you can find lots more on-line or in a cookbook.

* 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup milk


1. Mix flour and salt together. Pour milk and oil into one
measuring cup, do not stir, and add all at once to flour. Stir until
mixed, and shape into 2 flat balls. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate
for 15 minutes or more.
2. Roll out on lightly floured surface. (I use wax paper with
flour on both the top and bottom).

Making your own is more economical and more environmental, so you can get brave and try this after you try my simple three ingredient pie a few times. It is more environmental not to us waxed paper, but it makes it easier, helps keep it from sticking to the counter or tabletop, and cleanup us easier too.