It’s about Peggy

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Because my mom doesn’t do email I often am the one getting news from far-flung relatives to pass on to her. This is fine, except when it is an email like today’s that inform me my oldest cousin has weeks to live. I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, and I had to re read the email several times to make sure I understood it correctly even though it was very clear. It was just my mind that didn’t want to decode it as it was. Now it doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen this cousin in close to 6 years and hadn’t in several decades prior to that, she was after all an adult when I was just a little kid. It is the sudden feeling of the family contracting that tugs on the heartstrings. There is no family that hasn’t gone through it, that is the only solace that can be taken. And so I end the week on a melancholy note as I pick up the phone to call my mom, which I am glad I still can do.

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Streaming

sun falling

 

This morning the sunlight is streaming into my studio, warming me to action. When I first walked in about an hour ago it was overcast and the space felt sluggish, but a little slice of sun has changed all that. It is energizing me to get down to work, to paint, to collage, to organize and get ready for Saturday’s open studios. The space in this photo is all now split into separate studios, but the sun will still be stretching into the spaces, sweeping across the floors and up the walls.  I did some re-arranging of pieces and put up new ones for Saturday, plus at the free-cycle area there was a 3 tier stand I grabbed and put valentine cards in and placed by the buffet piece. All in all except for sweeping I am ready for Saturday. And now I am off to do some creating!

studio

A little square footage

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I can understand the enjoyment that would come from the solitude of an ice fishing shack, not so much so for the fishing though. I think we all hear the call for a space of our own regardless of our age. As children it is tree-houses, forts, or tents that are desired. I remember many, many forts built both with friends and on my own, they were magnificent to my child eyes. There was always plenty of scrap wood and cans of sundry nails awaiting use which made it that much easier to start construction. My brother was a fort builder from about age 4 when he turned an old wooden playpen into a space of his own. Yes, he was allowed to use a hammer at that age! Unheard of now in these über child safety days. I can see where as the oldest of 3 siblings he probably needed a space of his own. From there he went on to build wonderful 2 story forts complete with homemade wood stoves, another thing that would be frowned on today! I guess it is no surprise that he went on to expand the garage, and to later build his own house.

For some, the childhood drive to build never really goes away.

Serenity passing

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Virginia has a studio just around the corner from mine and I love to see her pieces as I come and go. They impart such a feeling of serenity. Most of them are large pieces, 4’x4′, but she has some prints and a few smaller pieces. As you can see, the colors are just gorgeous, and even though this image was taken with my old phone I think it captures a beautiful mood. Had a tough day and need even more serenity? Check out Virginia’s website http://www.virginiapeck.com and start your weekend with a calm mindset!

3 Soups

Last week I set aside an entire day for cooking meals. These were the results:

roasted yellow pepper soupRoasted Yellow Pepper soup

Just like it sounds, you drizzle olive oil over the peppers and roast the halved (or quartered) peppers, let rest in a plastic bag for 10 minutes for easier skin removal.

2TB olive oil

3 C chicken broth

1 onion finely chopped

1 red chile or strips from a poblano finely chopped

3 medium sized Yukon or red bliss potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes

garlic to taste

dash or sprig of oregano

garnish if wanted- croutons or grated parm cheese

Heat skillet and saute oil onion, garlic and chile until softened

After removing the skins chop peppers and dump the pieces and all juices into sauce pan with potatoes and stock, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and let cook for 1 hr. Let cool a bit and put small batches in blender to puree. Add back to pan to reheat.

Spicy poblano soupSpicy Poblano soup

1 large sweet potato

4 medium red bliss or yukon potatoes

1 small onion

several carrots cut to the same size as potatoes

1 poblano chile seeded and chopped

mashed garlic to taste

2TB olive oil

dash of cumin, chili powder, tumeric, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt pepper

1/2 C white wine

Broil all potatoes and onion until golden, tossing once (5 min each side, don’t let burn)

Transfer to big pot once broiled, stir in all spices, wine and 3 cups of water.

Bring to simmer over medium high heat, reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 45 minutes

squash-sweet potato soupThen I had a leftover sweet potato and half a butternut squash and decides to whip up a soup with what I had.

I roasted the cubed veg, put them in a sauce pan added stock, a bit of almond milk, garlic, and , salt and pepper.

I let it simmer, stirring it occasionally until it was pronounced “done”, and sent it through the blender until smooth.

To garnish I tossed shelled roasted pumpkin seeds in olive oil and red pepper, and chopped up a slice of wheat bread for croutons.

All in all a tasty stretch of days followed, the last bowl of soup will be today’s lunch! Check the internet for other versions of the first 2 recipes that suit your taste.