December 2008 Archives
Went caroling in the neighborhood, as a group of us like to do on the last Monday before Christmas. A very cold night, but what fun to bundle up and walk around singing old songs. I think I know the most of the words, so keep my hands in my pockets, instead of carrying music. Unfortunately, I also have a tendency to skip right from the first to the third verse... but our surprised audiences are cheerful and gracious, cookies are offered and accepted, and we stay longer in the cold than we planned. Hot cider and conversation follow at a friend's house, then out into the weather again for the short walk home. One last small helping of beef stew was just the thing to finish warming up again - just in time to turn down the heat and head for bed.
Gerard, the science room lizard, is visiting us for the first part of winter break. He has a supercilious expression, elegant feet, and the posture of a dandy. He's also a natural model, knowing how to hold a pose.
Last night I was sleepy, so after watching him for a while, I settled for drawing a corner of his tank. Tonight marks the beginning of winter vacation for me, so I made a figure study...
If you follow the links I run in my sidebar, you may already know this...
A book I co-wrote and co-edited (with Mark Stroup, Greg Langel, and Jennifer Baron) has just been published by Carnegie Mellon University Press - Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. The book grew out of our Pittsburgh Signs Project blog, where we've been posting photographs of signs for the past 5 years. It's not on the CMU Press site yet, as it's part of their 2009 list, but we've got copies for sale around Pittsburgh for this season's holiday shoppers. We have a Facebook group for it, if you are so inclined, and if you're eager to buy a copy from a distance, Carnegie Mellon's bookstore will sell it online. (Amazon listing still to come...)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
6 T. cocoa
3 cups quick oatmeal
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Mix sugar, milk, and butter in a pan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add the other ingredients. Mix together and drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
This is a great recipe to make with small helpers.
Two summers ago, the children were planning a carnival for cousins on their grandparents' porch. I made six of these for a beanbag game, using different material scraps my mother had. (Sewn by hand, because I was on vacation and had no need to hurry.) This one is pink raw silk. I keep them on my desk and move them from hand to hand when I want to think.
On Saturday morning, I went to the dentist, and drew the view from the window while I was waiting for my daughter to be finished. Saturday afternoon saw us at a school fair, where I learned more about needle-felting. In the evening, I was supposed to go to the symphony, but the weather didn't co-operate. (So I drew at home, instead.)
Improvised garland-making for a snowy evening: materials were dental floss and colored office-supply dot stickers. (You put a pair of the stickers together, with the floss in the middle.) Minty-smelling and surprisingly festive.
Students studying ceramics and clay went on a field trip to see a museum exhibit: Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. I sketched in pencil there, and added color at home.