Saturday, January 31, 2009

Serving Pieces

I painted lupins on this large 14" ceramic square, perfect for a few chunks of cheese, for my friend Chris's birthday. Happy birthday Chris!

This 13" round fish dish would be perfect for little fishy canapes.

And this dotty covered bowl will be perfect to serve asparagus in. It'll soon be spring and asparagus season will be upon us, right?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Andy and Me

Andy Warhol loved using the simple red and white graphic of a Campbell's soup can. And I guess so do I. This cartoon appeared in my book Famous People's Cats.

I did a similar thing in my friend Susan's round robin art journal which had the theme "red."

These artist trading cards are from a sheet of soup wrapping paper I bought from the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, after seeing a show on Andy there. I added the cats.

I made only 3 of these ATCs using Andy's own cat drawings. I called the series "Andy's Cats Play Cat's Cradle."

Inspired again by Andy's use of the classic soup label, in this case I used the Canadian version of the label which shows an actual bowl of soup.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Northern Shrike Update

The Shrike came back! But this time he didn't leave empty handed. I saw him out the living room window again and this time he flew very close to the house and caught a mole. He killed it, flew up into the bushes and then flew away carrying the critter in his beak. Amazing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Birds at my Feeder

A usual day at my feeder includes a pair of cardinals who feed at dawn and dusk, usually poking about on the ground for fallen seeds.

The chickadees are particularly friendly and fly around your head as you fill the feeder. If you're lucky (and very, very quiet), you can even get one to feed from your hand.

But today I caught a glimpse of a Northern Shrike, a fairly unusual sighting.

He was not there to feed on the seeds but as a predatory songbird, he was looking for fresh meat! All the little birds scrammed pretty quickly.

Luckily for the other birds (but not for him), he left empty handed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I found a great site that puts your image into an Obama-style poster.

What crazy fun, eh?

Try it yourself! Click here to get to pastemagazine's website

Monday, January 26, 2009

Polka Dots & Posies

I figured I should come up with a few new designs this year so folks don't get bored with my painted ceramics. How about a pattern called Polka Dots & Posies?

This 12 inch server looks good in that pattern.

So does this 7 inch-high canister.

What a strange thing...a square one-cup teapot.

Even stranger is the matching, square cup and saucer.

I just love this mini cup with its curvy plate perfect for an afternoon espresso and biscotti.

I especially love the shape of this 4-cup teapot and how the polka dots and posies look painted on it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Barney Zen and Now

I got a reminder from the vet that Barney needs his annual vaccines. So it's been a year since this poor, misbegotten character showed up in the barn.

Look at him now! He's a fabulous cat and he's well loved (and well fed)!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Difference Between Cats & Dogs

It's snowing. It's cold. If you're a dog, you say, "Let's get at her!"

And you jump into the car for a ride. Yippee!

It's snowing. It's cold. You're a cat. What to do? Visiting my friends Mac and Brenda, this is what some of their kitties did. How about a nap beside the wood stove on the washing machine?

Or better yet, get into the almost-too-small-for-me bread basket on the middle of the table. Stella is 19 so we all gave her a little leeway after we had eaten our dinner. It's her favourite spot so how could we argue with her?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow Bunny

Looks like this poor little bunny is up to his neck in snow. (So am I!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Road

I was inspired to do this colour pencil drawing while turning out of Richard's lane. His road was snow covered and the sun was low in the sky, casting shadows from the surrounding trees. And yes, it was cold.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cream of Morel Soup

I made this soup from the dehydrated morels that Richard and I picked fresh last spring. This recipe is from my book Wild in the Kitchen. It's a perfect warm-you-up soup after a day of being out in the snow.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 oz. dried wild mushrooms (morels, hen of the woods, chanterelles, etc.)(about 6 oz. reconstituted) in 3½-4 cups boiling water, for 20-30 minutes
4 tablespoons milk
grated nutmeg (to taste)
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
¼-½ cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 3 tablespoons butter with the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the reconstituted wild mushrooms (chopped) and sauté for 5 more minutes. (Reserve the broth for later.) Add nutmeg and milk, cook for a few more minutes and set aside.

In another saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Remove pan from heat and beat in the flour. Return pan to low heat and cook until mixture turns a darker color. Then remove pan again from heat and add mushroom broth gradually, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Return to low heat. (If necessary, to get rid of lumps, run the mixture through a sieve, scraping the underside of it to get all the flour mixture.) Then add the cooked mushroom mixture to the broth mixture. Bring soup to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then add milk to desired thickness (¼-½ cup). Heat through and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow Days

We've been finding dead trees further away from the house which means Richard has to build a bridge to traverse the mighty river that flows through the woods.

Once the building project was complete, Richard was able to secure his load of wood and get to his intended destination.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cheese Please

On the outskirts of Lancaster (about 20 minutes from here) is a fabulous new cheese factory called Glengarry Fine Cheese. It's just north of the village and pretty much at the edge of a farmer's field.

You can't miss the large sign on Highway 34 that beckons you to taste some fine cheese. And once you get through those doors, it's heaven! A pressed tin ceiling, lovely displays of all manner of fine foods from olive oil and syrups to artisanal bread.

Every cheese they have for sale can be tasted. (I tasted a wee bit of each!)

And each cheese has a little write up about it so you know exactly what you're getting.

I like how the names are based on local places: The Glengarry Fen, the Lankaasster, The Alexandrin.

In the end, I brought home the Celtic Blue and the Fleur-en-Lait.

Richard and I enjoyed these after a long weekend of lumber jacking and bringing in wood.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Old Bags

One of the things I love about artist trading cards is that it gives me an opportunity to recycle and (as my sister says) "re-purpose" different things that I might otherwise have thrown away. In this case I've used shopping bags. The one above is from the gift shop at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal. I loved the antique etchings of plants printed on brown, Kraft paper. I cut them out, mounted them on cardstock and tinted them with colour pencils.

These ATCs which are for January's trade are from a Saks Fifth Avenue shopping bag that my friend Carol gave me. The snowflakes were so lovely, I just cut them out and rubberstamped a few choice, winter-type words on top and added a bit of rick rack. Kind of fun...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Ceramics for 2009

I hadn't painted anything for a whole month so it seemed like it was time to get back to it. I figured I'd warm up with an olive-pepper-asparagus combo.

My friend Jennifer found me this crazy bowl last summer and I was stymied as to what I should put on it. And then it hit me. Kitty cats!

And I still love my lupins. And I think they look grand on this elegant pitcher. (And I haven't forgotten the ladybug!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blues on Tuesday

Last night Richard and I headed out to the Atlantic Hotel in Alexandria (about a 15 minute drive) to see Terry Gillespie and the Granary Band.

The band is fantastic and plays a mixture of blues, jazz, funk and reggae.

After the first few songs, the place was hopping and you had to elbow your way for a spot on the dance floor.

There were four birthdays celebrated that night. Here's birthday boy, base player Stephen Barry blowing out the candles.

Also celebrating were friends Mac, Vlasta and Helen.

It was a BIG cake with lots of candles. (And yes, I made it.)

Susan and Brenda cut about 60 pieces and fed cake to the entire bar crowd. And we all sang happy birthday!


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