Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vicarious Pleasures

Last Friday, I finally made it to the State Fair, and what fun I had with my daughter, Brittany and my favorite sister, Rosalind.  (I can say that since she is my only sister!) 

We had visited my entry in the Creative Arts Building, looked at the entries of my competition which were very good, looked a a few more Lego creations, visited the quilts, enjoyed the handmade dolls, and then headed out to the rest of the Fair.  As you might expect, there were horses.  Horses at the rodeo grounds, horses at the racetrack, and the police were on horses as well.  Even the little half-pints were competing on stick horses in a barrel racing event.

Hoping to see a "Frizzle" chicken we headed to the chicken barn.  The chickens were just arriving for the competition.  Brittany raises chickens, so she kept correcting me when I called a "she" a "he"!  

Not a frizzle in sight.  Frizzles are not a breed of chicken, but rather "frizzled" feathers are a result of a mutant chicken gene, which can occur in many breeds. A frizzle's feathers curve outward instead of laying flat against the body, thus creating the furry, frizzled appearance. Many frizzles end up being show or exhibition birds because of their unique look. The most popular frizzled chicken is the Cochin, a variety of which is bred for its frizzled look, though roughly one in four chicks from frizzled parents will develop normal feathers.  

But there were lots of other wonderful looking creatures.
A sound asleep little baby goat.

A Jackalope
A "he" chicken (I think!)
I would call this one "Elvis" because of his pompadour.

I understand if you are not as enamored of chickens as I have become after eating wonderful eggs from my sister-in-laws "girls" and Brittany's, so I will stop with these few photos of chickens.
If you do not live in the west, you may not be aware that the little Jackalope is a fictional creature.  Only those with taxidermy skills can raise jackalopes!

No state fair experience is complete without junk food and this year we let Brittany chose what variety of grease we would consume.  It was mini donuts dipped in cinnamon sugar.  Just right with fresh squeezed lemonade.  We shared them with the volunteers at the quilt show being put on that day by the New Mexico Quilt Association.  Watch for photos in an upcoming post. 

And after an extended visit to the Native Arts Building, we finally made it to the Fine Arts building only to rush through it because it was getting late.  And twelve folks were coming to my house for dinner!  Rosalind bought a painting.  Which delayed us even more, but the painting is the "vicarious pleasure" of this post.  I get to look at it every time I visit her!

 Isn't it gorgeous.  Forgot to ask her the name of the artist, but I imagine she will let us know in the comments below. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Flowers and Foliage in the House

I have tried to grow Dahlias for years.  They always struggled and died in our harsh, dry, climate until this year when I planted them in pots and grew them on the deck that is shaded in the afternoons.  Finally!  These are arranged in a brass pot that I feel sure my parents bought in Morocco and sent to one of my uncles.  I placed it on my fall tablecloth with brass candlesticks that belonged to my godfather and uncle, Ben.

 Because my table is so long, it looked a little lonesome, so I added magenta Coleus and yellow Soldago in little crystal vases.  Thought those of you on the East coast might like to see the magenta colored fruits from the cactus that grow around our house, which I will turn into syrup to add to lemonade.

I am linking today with Jane's "Flowers in the House" Party at her Small but Charming blog.

Head on over there to see some gorgeous posts by her followers and her own cuttings from her lovely garden.  Click on the word "blog" above.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cool on the Mountain-Time to Bake

Crown roast of beef with grapes and mandarin oranges. 
All summer I have avoided the oven like the plague, but with the cooler weather my thoughts have returned to cooking.  Cheesecakes, chocolate layer cakes, fudge, a whole roasted pig, some roasted turkeys, mashed potatoes, green beans, molded gelatin's and a crown roast!  You see, I have to feed a school full of hungry young witches and wizards and the house elves are frolicking at the State Fair.  They are in charge of guarding my miniature Dumbledore's office and my third place ribbon...

One of the tables for the Great Hall of Hogwarts

Since I had never made any miniature food before, I turned to the Internet to find out how to go about it. Wow! there are lots of artists out there creating mini masterpieces! I will soon be creating a new page where you can find some of my favorite miniature artists, so check back if you are interested.

Roast suckling pig with pineapple and mushrooms.
Triple layered mocha cake with whipped cream and cherries on a silver cake stand made from a hexagonal button, silver bead, and a base made from a washer.  Lime cheesecake with whipped cream on a wooden button platter.  Roast turkey and cranberries on a button platter.  Tutorial here.
Miniature pumpkin pasties on an antique bone button platter.  Pewter plates make of sculpy and painted silver.  Goblets made of earring backs and beads.
Green beans with butter on a shell shaped charm.
Asparagus with lemon slices and a lemon meringue pie.
  Totally forgetting food for the professor's table (maybe because I have not yet built the table!) next I think I will try making some whole grilled salmon, a baked ham, artichokes, roasted red potatoes, and maybe chocolate mousse in miniature glass goblets or a trifle if I can find a straight sided miniature glass bowl.  I found three darling little chairs for some of the professor's places in the Great Hall when I was out and about vintage store browsing...
Professor's chairs pictured here with Dumbledore's podium and the little gargoyles that will eventually be hung on the walls of the Great Hall to be torch bearers.
Hufflepuff Gargoyle

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chamisa on the Chama-Georgia O'Keeffe's adopted landscapes

This week Norm and I took a quick trip up to northern New Mexico to the Chama river.  It is one of our favorite spots to camp and catch some tiny waves.  This easy to navigate river is perfect to take small children rafting or canoeing because it is not too challenging.  It is the first place I ever canoed a riverI am not canoeing these days because of bad knees, so I "ran the shuttle" which means I dropped off our friends Jim and JoAnn and Norm at the put in and then drove back down to meet them at the bottom.  What a glorious day it was to take photographs, to paint, and to enjoy some much needed solitude after several hectic weeks.

 The "man-van," our getting-to-be-elderly Sportsmobile, cheerfully powered the pump to blow up JoAnn's craft, and then never failed to start again as I made multiple stops to take photographs of this glorious country that was the inspiration for many of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings.  If you are a fan of hers, does anything in these photos look familiar?

The chamisa was in full bloom...

 Rabbitbrush, Guadalupe Goldenweed, Chamisa, Rubber Rabbit-brush
Ericameria nauseosa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)
Asteraceae (Compositae)
A medium shrub about 6 to 9 feet high, rabbitbrush has blue-green linear leaves and woolly white stems on a woody base, and bursts forth with masses of yellow flowers from September to November. It grows in the western part of North America from Canada to Mexico.  It is found in dry, well-drained soil. It is cold hardy to below 0 degrees F, but goes semi-dormant in hot summers; in Southern New Mexico  it benefits from shade from the west sun. It could serve as an informal hedge along drives, and makes a nice contrast with evergreens. In order to keep it full and stimulate blooming, prune it severely in the winter.
Chamisa is growing exuberantly on our property, but is only beginning to show a little yellow, most likely because our dry summer.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Grand Canyon Art Show

"Looking In" by Joshua Been   Image Via
Thanks to my friend Celia Southwick, a fellow rafter and an artist in her own right...(see her photographs here), for sending me a link to this benefit art show for the Grand Canyon Association.  

4th Annual
Grand Canyon Celebration of Art
September 8 - November 25, 2012

This week is the annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art at the South Rim. About thirty of the best painters of the Canyon from across the US are invited to do plein air painting at the Canyon, including former AZRA boatman Elizabeth Black, who won the Best of Show last year! The artists are painting along the South rim through Thursday. Elizabeth is painting in the Canyon, working from Indian Gardens. (She had to get closer to the River.) Friday morning is the Quick Draw, where the artists have to paint a view in two hours, immediately followed by a lively auction of the wet paintings on the lawn of the El Tovar. Saturday morning the show of all the work opens at the Kolb Studio-Gallery. It is an amazing, wonderful experience to behold. Look for Elizabeth's painting of Blacktail Canyon in the show. This is all open to the public. It is fascinating to watch the paintings magically emerge from the canvas, with the Canyon behind them. Artists are happy to answer questions as they work. The show at Kolb's will be open to November 25. There is more information at: http://www.grandcanyon.org/celebration.asp

As many of you know, the Colorado river is the subject of many of my watercolor paintings as well, since my husband and I have rafted through the Grand Canyon almost every year for many years.  Perhaps, I will try to enter this juried show next year.  In the meantime, enjoy these other artist's work...

"The Great Unconformity, Blacktail Canyon" by Elizabeth Black
"Out of the Depths" by John D. Cogan
Lapping Waves of the Colorado by Cody DeLong
To see the rest of the show click here

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Best of Times

If you enjoyed the post "Road Trips", or if you were a teenager in the 50's or 60's, you might get a kick out of this YouTube post my friend Molly forwarded to me.
click below:
The Best of Times 

As Molly pointed out, it goes on and on, but I would at least hang in there until the clip of Elvis performing "Jailhouse Rock.  Lots of great old cars as well as the music my youth. 

And speaking of youth, I delivered my "Dumbledore's Office" miniature creation to the New Mexico State Fair on Saturday.  For all of you living in New Mexico, if you go to the State Fair over the next two weeks, I would love to hear about your experiences.  And be sure to look for my entry in the "Creative Arts" Building.  If you see lots of Lego creations, you are getting close.

It was fun to watch all the hopeful young boys and girls entering their Lego
creations and they were pretty amazing.  Here are some images from last years competition
Image via
Image via
Since this is my first entry, I had no idea what to expect.  I certainly did not expect to have my carefully constructed exhibit shake itself to pieces on the dirt road from my house down the mountain!

Fortunately, I had brought double sided tape to attach the last piece of plexiglass after putting the miniature Dumbledore's office in its place, and some superglue (which I ended up needing to repair the chandelier that swung wildly, hitting the walls with every rut in the road), and my sister (who went with me for moral support) had some sticky wax.  So all repairs were made once we unloaded the office and carried into the building.  All the folks running the check-in were so nice, even if a little confused about which was the best category for my exhibit.  

 Photo very early in the construction stages
Finely, one was decided upon and I nervously left it in the hands of the volunteer fair crew, hoping nothing else would fall off of the bookshelves and it would be safely transferred to its final location.  
Many more books were added to this bookshelf.
Another picture of the early stages of construction...a portrait of Dumbledore replaced the painting over the table.
On Wednesday when the Fair opens, I will go and take more photographs of the completed projects.  Cannot believe I neglected to do so before dropping it off.
Now if this desk chair was still at my house, I would shrink myself and collapse into it!  Which is exactly what I was told when arriving at the Creative Arts Building.  One of the volunteers exclaimed, "Wow, wish I was small enough to live there!"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Out and About in Albuquerque- An Art Show & Fine Dining in a Bowling Alley?

Last Friday, I invited my sister and my friend Molly to an art show that opened at the Gallery at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal church.  We decided to have dinner first.  What would be close to the Gallery?  An unlikely choice was Ezra's Place which is housed in a bowling alley.  Despite its humble abode, Ezra's Place, owned and operated by chef Dennis Apodaca has garnered raves among the food critics in Albuquerque.  I have eaten there many times and always thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  You can sit along the windows that overlook the bowling alley if you think the conversations in your group might lag. Or at the tables covered with white cloths and enjoy the artwork lining the walls which is where we should have sat on Friday, as our conversation was really lively, and our laughter much too loud or the folks sitting in the booth behind us!

I have to confess that Friday night at Ezra's was a bit of a disappointment. The current artwork was not too inspiring and my sister's free range chicken in mushroom risotto was much too salty.  

However, my salmon special was outstanding,

and Molly enjoyed her duck enchiladas.

 The service was very attentive and friendly.  Since I have often enjoyed wonderful meals here, I am still recommending Ezra's Place and it's sister restaurant, Sophia's Place (housed, if we are honest, pretty much in a shack down the street.) 

  • Sophia's Place, 6313 Fourth NW, Los Ranchos, NM; (505)345-3935. Breakfast and lunch only, seven days a week.
  • Ezra's Place, 6132 Fourth NW, Albuquerque, NM, in the Lucky 66 bowling alley; (505)344-1917. Lunch and dinner, seven days. 
The second half of the evening was a treat as we really enjoyed the photographs by Steve Shelley and Lincoln Draper.

 My sister and I have known Steve for many years, although we did not find out that the other knew him, each of us from a different context.  Rosalind and her husband, met Steve and his wife at a yoga retreat in Mexico.  I know Steve through work in the church.  Steve's son, Luther, worked for me as one of my favorite counselors at Camp Stoney.  Steve is a multi-talented person.  Besides being a photographer, he owns and operates a landscaping firm, Steve Shelley Landscapes which you can see here.

Here are a couple of images which I copied from his website just to encourage you to go and see the show.  Remember that these images are copyrighted and may not be used without his permission.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Patil twins rushed to Infirmary

Trewlaney's Divination Classroom via

Headmaster Dumbledore has announced that Padma and Parvati Patil's recent asthma attack has prompted Mr. and Mrs. Patil to donate new table coverings and draperies to their twin daughter's favorite divination classroom.  Professor Trewlaney is overjoyed because she "predicted" long ago that she would be surrounded by a green and aqua aura.  She was, however, very unhappy when the house elves threw out all of her dusty feathers.  Madam Pomfrey insisted they were contributing to the Patil's problems.  The lingering smell of incense is all that remains of the old atmosphere.

 Here is a look at the newly decorated classroom...
Down in the old dungeons of the castle, the expanded potions lab is almost finished. Stone masons have been imported to finish the walls, new Bunsen burners are being manufactured and Snape has moved back into his office.  He is especially delighted with his newly upholstered chair, although not amused when he almost sat on his demonstration skeleton which the Weasley twins had left in it.
Notice the dime on the table to establish scale.

Toothpicks, washers and balsa wood will soon be tiny Bunsen Burners.
A little paint touch-up and they will be ready for the cauldrons.