Tuesday, December 3, 2013
When I first saw this vegetable in our CSA bag I did a double-take. "What the heck is that?" I asked. It turns out it is called Romanesco, or Romanesque cauliflower or Romanesco broccoli and its scientific name is Brassica oleracea. But forget about the name...look at its shape! Its flower buds form a natural fractal and according to Wikipedia the number of spirals on the head is also a Fibonacci number.
I just finished reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and in the book they talk about the old theory that food that looks like a body part will help that body part (i.e. walnuts look like mini-brains and are therefore good for your brain). The scientist in me is not so sure of this idea, but if it's true imagine what this is going to do for my inner spirals! If ever there were a magical vegetable surely this is it.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I know I have been overloading you with gourds this month but I won't torture you much longer because the gourds are starting to rot. I figured Thanksgiving was the last day I could still reasonably post about them so here we are.
As I am sitting here looking at these photos I was trying to figure out why I love gourds so much. I think the reason I like the ribbed ones best is it appears that if it weren't for the ribs holding everything in they might very well burst open with joy. It also occurred to me how lucky I am to have the time to ponder such things and how grateful I am to share this with all of you. Hoping everyone has a very special day today - Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by Nessy at 12:14 PM
Thursday, November 21, 2013
I so enjoyed making my Halloween embroidered card I had to try it again for Thanksgiving. Some times I get an idea in my head and I have to enact it. That doesn't mean it always works out, but it feels good to come up with an idea and at least attempt to make it a reality.
I started out by making an illustration of corn in Illustrator and marking where I wanted to punch holes. I then taped my guide to the cardstock and started hammering.
About halfway through punching all the holes I started to lose faith and simultaneously started questioning my sanity. It was a lot of holes to punch.
But I usually pass the point where I have invested too much time to stop so I just keep plugging away. I did worry that my holes on the small kernels were too close together and they would break into each other and ruin the whole thing. So I wasn't surprised when it happened but luckily there must have been enough cardboard somewhere to hold the thread. Oh, the perils of crafting!
If the hours of pounding and peril do not deter you and you would like to make this card, fear not! I have made you a template with instructions that you can download here.
When I finally finished I really loved the multi-colored corn kernels but I don't know if the burlap was the best fabric choice for the husks. If I had to do it over again I might use a nice tan linen and would eliminate the smaller side husk. But thank goodness I don't have to do it over again! But feel free to download the pattern, alter it as you see fit, and make one yourself.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? - Pablo Picasso
One of my favorite color combinations is grey-blue and orange. So when I was playing around with various gourd arrangements I fell in love with this one. There is something about the neutral white and grey-blue that does indeed make the orange sing. I could spend hours looking at different color combinations and thinking about how one color affects another. If you haven't already visited Adobe's new color wheel site you can visit it here - https://kuler.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/. It allows you to choose various color rules to produce five color combinations. Enjoy and have a day filled with beautiful color!
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Because I had my dates wrong I ended up going to the Antiques Warehouse twice last month. And what good fortune that turned out to be! I can't get enough of it. Every time I go I see something new and it is so much fun to photograph the collections. Gary Neltner, the owner, is nice enough to indulge my habit and allows me to rummage around, oohing and aahing and making random arrangements.
As I look through these photos I am starting to realize there is something amazing to be found among these objects. Under the dust and deep in the shadows I am finding my passion. I am super-crazy-in-love with photographing rusty metal, peeling paint on wood and vintage curiosities. This trip was an eclectic mix of wagon wheels, a beautiful assortment of hammerheads, tramp art, plastic knobs, antique weights, old castors and wood baubles, and antique lighting. By the end of our tour I am usually covered in dust from laying on the floor but I couldn't be happier.
"Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Monday, November 4, 2013
Gourds are some of my favorite things in the world to photograph so I have decided to feature them throughout the month. I am crazy in love with them. Their shapes are so perfectly curvy and I especially love the kind with deep ridges. And don't get me started on the colors! In my next gourd post I will focus on color so check back soon. Happy November everyone!
Posted by Nessy at 2:44 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
At 11 o'clock Monday night I got a bee in my bonnet that I was going to make my mom an embroidered Halloween card. I did a quick sketch, drew lines where I wanted the thread to be and marked where I should poke holes through my paper. By 11:45 I was hammering a gazillion holes. Luckily George is a night owl like myself, although I think Sunshine (our cat) was annoyed. I stayed up until one sewing that night and woke up early the next morning and started up again.
I had a big printmaking project due on Wednesday but I just couldn't stop myself. And to make it worse I kept coming up with more ideas to make it harder. Originally I was going to glue matching paper to the back, but then I realized I could sew a card to the back - and while I was at it, why not sew a "Happy Halloween" in there? Aaaargh! Sometimes I drive myself crazy! But my mom always sends the best Halloween cards and I wanted her to enjoy opening a super fun card too. I put it in the mail yesterday so hopefully she will get it today or tomorrow. Happy Halloween everyone!
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Sometimes when I visit Gary at the Antiques Warehouse I find it hard to focus on one thing. But when I spied a basket of vintage light cages I knew exactly what I wanted to photograph. I am madly, crazy in love with these light cages. Just look at the detail in them! I have already spent way too much time dreaming about taking down the chandelier over my dining room table and creating a beautiful light centerpiece made of hanging vintage light cages. It would be so lovely.
OK, I know that isn't a vintage light cage above, but I was so mesmerized by all the swirling metal that I couldn't resist taking a picture of this half-rusted egg strainer. It was in the basket with the light cages and was just begging to have its photo taken with the others.
I'm headed over to Gary's again today so check back again soon for more vintage treats!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Gary Neltner and Al at the Antiques Warehouse. It is always so much fun to walk through the warehouse and see what catches your eye. I think you could walk through it a thousand times and each time you would see something different. The amazing thing is I think Gary knows where everything is...from doorknobs and faucet handles down to the smallest cabinet hinges and buttons. I guess you could call it organized chaos.
At first I was randomly collecting a few things to photograph (above), but then my friend John found a box of old flush mount light fixtures that had gorgeous details (below). And the way the light was falling on them was really wonderful.
And there was something so simple and lovely about the light socket above. Although it is the most mundane of objects if you take time with it you start to realize it really is quite beautiful. I know, I know...I always say the same thing. But it's true! So on that note I will leave you with a wonderful quote by Leonard Koren:
"... beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.”
Posted by Nessy at 12:20 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013
I finally got around to finishing my alpaca sketches from my trip with Christina to Eagle Bend Alpaca Farm in Burlington, KY. We stopped for lunch at a cute outdoor eatery in Burlington and then headed over to the farm where they were celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days.
It was a pretty day but we were getting burnt sketching in the sun. I have to admit I did the black and white sketches while we were there and sketched the colorful alpaca from a photo later. I then dropped the black and white sketches into the color sketch for a little more alpaca fun. Check out Christina's sketches here.
It was also really neat to see the products they made with their fur. They have a little store where you can buy wool and clothing made with the wool. But my favorite thing that day was seeing how the alpacas tuck their legs up behind them when they sit down. I never thought I would say this but alpaca bums are so friggin cute! I included a photo so you won't think I am crazy (but don't you agree?)
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I've been a little obsessed lately with these acorns in my neighbors' yard. I love the crazy hats these guys wear. At first I thought it was a bur oak, but when I looked that up the leaf is wrong and the acorn is not quite right either. If anyone out there knows what kind it is please leave a comment. Regardless of what kind it is I think it is amazing and will hopefully be incorporating it into some kind of printmaking project in the coming weeks. Happy fall everyone!
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
As you may or may not know my husband is obsessed with locally harvested unusual flavors. He has always loved finding things in the woods to eat and it is an extra bonus if it is rare or out-of-the-ordinary. So you can imagine his excitement when we found these pawpaw fruits near our house. And I was excited because I love their soft, beautifully scarred and speckled green bodies.
As is our usual custom, I get to photograph first and then he can have his way with whatever edibles he has collected. I wasn't sure what he was going to do with them until he called me in and told me he had made butternut squash cookies which I love and are a common occurrence in our house in the fall. But this time he had that special smile on his face that immediately says to me, "I put something weird in these cookies...hope you like them!" That smile always makes me nervous because I am not an adventurous eater. Lucky for me this time it was pawpaw and the flavor added an extra sweetness to the cookies. I can't say that I prefer the cookies with pawpaw because I don't like to mess with perfection (and the butternut squash cookies are really good just as they are). But it was a good cookie, especially with a little vanilla ice cream.
So if you happen to have access to pawpaw fruits, making cookies is an excellent way to use them. I also love the butternut squash cookies without the pawpaw so you should try it either way. If you would like a printable pdf of this recipe click here (it prints landscape on 8.5 x 11 paper) or you can view it larger by clicking on the image below.
After George made the cookies I wanted to photograph them with pawpaw in the background but he used all the ones we had. So this morning we went foraging again to see if we could still find any hanging around. I was super excited to find the "triple" pawpaw below. I had only seen singles or doubles when I was out before. I like to think of it as good luck... like finding a four leaf clover, but instead we found the rare and beautiful tri-lobed pawpaw!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
"It has been a few years since I fell hard for a beautifully perfect and tragically expensive chandelier — Ochre's Arctic Pear. " - Leah Moss from Apartment Therapy
I was soooooooooo disappointed! So when I found Leah Moss's comment above on Apartment Therapy I knew someone else out there felt the same way I did. In her post she goes on to list some alternatives and that is how I found the Robert Abbey Bling Chandelier. I did a ton of research and this was the only one I could find that had an oil-rubbed bronze metal ring. We ended up buying it from Candelabra Lighting and Home Decor and were very happy with our choice.
The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it was a bit of a challenge to put up. It took three of us and many shaky arms to hang it, not to mention the hours it took to individually hand each glass orb. Lucky for me I have an awesome hubby who figured out his needle-nose plier technique for fitting two tiny metal arms into an even tinier hole. When we finally finished hanging it that day and turned the lights on I think the neighbors could hear me squeal with glee. I love it! It goes to show that with patience and perseverance you can accomplish your goals even if it takes ten years. Goodbye octopus, hello bling!
Steps to hang Robert Abbey Bling Chandelier1) Take down Octopus
2) Extract hundreds of glass orbs from tiny boxes while wearing fancy white gloves.
3) Meticulously hang precious glass orbs by squeezing two tiny metal wires into small holes.
4) Do not fall!
5) Clean floor of hundreds of little orange baggies decorating floor like fall leaves.
6) Collapse with happiness that all orbs are hung.
7) Turn light on and dance and squeal with glee!
Friday, September 27, 2013
Next month I (along with the above talented artists) am participating in a Children's Book Illustration Art Show at the Sharonville Fine Arts Center. Next Friday, Oct. 4 from 6-8 pm is the Opening Reception so if you are in the area you should stop by for a gander and some refreshments. The show is up from Oct. 4th to the 27th and each weekend during the show there will be special events with the illustrators as follows:
October 5th, 11 am: Tammie Lyon and Jeffrey Ebbeler will do a Live Drawing and Painting event, plus Story-time!
October 12th, 11 am: Christina Wald will do a Live Drawing and Story-time event!
October 19th, 11 am: Viki Woodworth and Vanessa Sorensen will do a Jokes, Mazes and Story-time event!
Hope to see you there!
Posted by Nessy at 11:24 AM
Monday, September 23, 2013
I've been getting behind on posting my sketching with Christina. We sketched the old Westwood Library Annex almost a month ago now. It is a very interesting building covered in cherubs and other odd figures that made sense after we discovered it was the old Cincinnati Bell Telephone Building. You can see Christina sketched some more of the details here. Apparently the building is considered an "architectural gem in the Italian Romanesque revival style" and is hopefully going to be renovated by a local puppet group (full story here).
Posted by Nessy at 3:00 PM