Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Howl-o-ween!

cloud and jack
I tried to get Cloud to pose next to the Jack-o-lantern I carved today, but as you can see he was too scared of it, Lol! The look on his face cracks me up! This is the closest he will get to it. I guess it speaks volumes for my mad pumpkin carving skills, that my creation is so frightening that even Cloud the Wonder Dog is too scared to go near it... hee hee!

Happy Halloween everyone! Have fun and be safe. :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tastes of the season

acorn squash

Last night I made the best acorn squash I've ever had. I halved, seeded and sliced the squash, then tossed with a glug (about 2 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil and a mixture of about a half teaspoon of cinnamon and quarter teaspoon each of nutmeg, cumin and salt. Then I spread it out in a glass baking dish and baked at 350 until it was tender, about 35 minutes. It was caramelized and sweet as candy, with no added sweeteners! This will grace our table often this Fall and Winter for sure!

fried green tomatoes
To round out the menu of comfort foods last night (meatloaf and the above squash) were fried green tomates. If you haven't tried these you are missing out! Slice them thick, then dip in egg and breading and fry until golden. Darn good eating. And movie, by the way... :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frost is coming

house 143

The wind is blowing so hard today, we're supposed to have gusts over 50mph. We also get our first frost tonight - low of 28 (24 tomorrow night!) I picked these roses yesterday because they're the only thing left blooming and I don't know how well they'll make it through the next couple days.

I snapped this Cardinal holding on for dear life while riding out the wind on the feeder this morning.
house 138

The "Tree of Life" in our front yard lost this good sized limb. It's kind of hard to make out in the photo, but the limb is as long as the rose bed - all the way to the left edge of the photo. Hope that's the extent of the damage. I do love to hear the wind through the trees though, especially the pines. This weather makes me want to curl up with some tea and a book.
house 142

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More progress on Cloud

Got some more work done on the big guy, he's coming along nicely I think. The darks are getting darker and he's got a sparkle in his eye now. I don't know about you, but I just love all the little intricacies of dogs ears - they're so much fun to paint. Not much longer and he'll be finished. Still needs more work on the neck and collar.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cute overload: baby meerkats!

zoo 489

My mom was in town for a couple days and we went to the zoo this afternoon. There were baby meerkats born in September, this was the first time I've seen them. They were just about the cutest little things ever. The adults kept a close watch on them as they scampered and dug and sat up to look around.

zoo 493
Size comparison to adult.

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Concentrating hard on sitting up. Wait for it...

zoo 518
Oh, Hai!

What did I tell you? Cuteness abounds at the Desert Dome. A few more pictures from today:

zoo 275

zoo 398

zoo 248

zoo 460

zoo 608
I just love this big 'ole jackrabbit. He seems so otherworldly to me...

Mom split a grass-fed beef with my aunt and part of the reason for her visit was to bring me some of the meat (how nice!). The reason I'm mentioning this is because the name of the locker that processed it is "Cloud's Meats," so it's on every package. Haha, he thinks it's all for him!
cloud's meats company

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wonderful surprise!

Cloud's necklace
I got home from work today to find a surprise package for Cloud from the "mom" of one of his online dog friends. Yes, my dog has online friends. Probably more than I do, lol. Look at this beautiful necklace she made him. It's so cute and it fits him perfectly. Thank you so much Nikki, I think you could go into business selling these on Etsy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chili Pumpkin Seeds

Chili pumpkin seeds

I've been craving pumpkin seeds lately and made this batch of chili seeds yesterday. It was so easy, first I soaked fresh pumpkin seeds in a brine of 1 tablespoon of salt to about a cup and a half of water overnight. The brine soak makes them 'just right' salty, and softens the hulls so after you bake them they are easy to eat - no peeling! Then I drained and patted them dry and tossed them with a mixture of melted butter and chili powder. Then spread out in a glass baking pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Oh, they are so good! I've been buying pie pumpkins like crazy for the seeds and to make pumpkin puree for stews and Thai curries.

Speaking of curry, last week I made Curried Pumpkin Seeds - Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a skillet and add some finely minced garlic and a tablespoon of curry powder. Saute for a minute or so, then toss with your brine-soaked and towel dried pumpkin seeds. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for half hour. So good! I'll be making these again for sure!

Monday, October 13, 2008

More work on Cloud

I got a little more work done on Clouds portrait, enough to do an update. It's still in a pretty raw stage yet, but with a few more layers of paint he should come alive.

I've been listening to this song a lot while working on this painting, can't go wrong with Loreena McKennitt and William Blake. I think it's affecting my brushstrokes, ha! O, for a voice like thunder...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cloud underpainting

Putting in the first layers of the background here, just getting a feel for what I'm going to do with it. I'm really liking how the matte medium sealed the drawing, and the way the paint is "gripping" it.

The underpainting is pretty much done now, I know it doesn't look like much at this point, but all will be well. Patience grasshoppa...
That's all for tonight, it's almost time for The Office! :-)

Best election shirt

My friend Kristal over at aksarbenlove created the funniest election shirt I've seen yet. Of course, one can never go wrong with a Ghostbusters reference. :-) She has some really great designs, you can check out her etsy page here. Nice job, girl!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cloud portrait

I have a few projects going on at the moment, but I've been wanting to paint this picture of Cloud for a promotional piece and couldn't help starting it tonight. It's small, 8 x 10, on Ampersand Gessoboard. I've got it sketched out here and am going to try using a matte medium to seal it instead of the workable fixative that I usually use. Reason - less smell and no sticky aerosol. Reason for sealing the drawing in the first place - I paint by building up light washes and glazes and the first wash would smear the graphite all over!

This is my reference photo, taken by hubby. It's a good example of how the camera can throw a dogs posture off - the way he's standing here doesn't really look possible, or at least the mind has a hard time making sense of it. However, it's a beautiful profile shot of his little face. So we paint what we like and lose the rest. In the sketch I raised his head just a little so he is looking up more. I'm changing his back to make it look like he's sitting down. Stay tuned...