Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday With a Side of Spandex

I want to thank my buddy Eric Lee for sharing this spandactular video, also it's his birthday so send him good thoughts. There's nothing funny about getting older.
So many fantastic things are going on and it's not fair that we can't do them all, but it is great when we try to put in a little effort to do so.  Hopefully you all turned out your lights for Earth Hour last Saturday and showed some support for World Water Day. If you didn't, don't worry you still can. http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/home/en/  That's the info for World Water Day and Earth Hour is easy, just turn your lights off and everything that runs on electricity for an hour.  Play hide and go seek for an hour you may enjoy it.
Now for something I forgot to share with you last week.
Oh my goodness are they good.  I'm still not eating candy, I have a few more days to go, so I've been seeking out every flavour of marshmallow that I can find. These are so good, not a huge key lime taste, but it's just enough.  These go really well with the caramel flavoured ones I showed you before. The chocolate mint flavoured ones are pretty great too.
Next is a recipe that my friend Shylah shared on her Facebook page.
Cheesecake Crescent Rolls 

2 cans of Pillsbury Crescent rolls
2 (8oz each) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted

Unroll and spread 1 of the cans of crescent rolls on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish (or 8 x 8 if you want to cut the recipe in half). Combine softened cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Spread over crescent roll layer. Unroll and layer remaining crescent rolls over cream cheese layer. Melt your butter and spread over top of crescent rolls. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 20-30 minutes in 350 degree oven until bubbly and slightly browned. Drizzle with a little honey if you like. Let cool a bit, slice and eat.

 I forgot to take pictures of the whole process, but it's pretty self explanatory. 
 If you make the whole recipe you get A LOT!
I was excited that this suggested to brush on egg white because I wanted to try the plastic bottle to suck up the egg yolk trick.  Unfortunately in my attempt to be as eco-friendly as possible I have zero plastic water bottles in the house.  I'll just have to take people's word for it that it works.

It tasted really good, but in the future I think I'd cut the recipe in half and take out 4oz. of the cream cheese and replace it with 4 oz. of lemon curd or any flavour jam.
Something else I made was chicken jerky for the dogs.  So many dog treats have been recalled and it's almost impossible to find treats that aren't made in China.  I did find some, but it cost $25 per bag.  I love my dogs but if I spent that much on dog treats I'd have to sell a kidney or something.  I can buy a bag of frozen chicken breasts (6lbs) for around $13, so it's about half price, plus I know exactly what's in these.  I borrowed my mom's food dehydrator, found the temperature and time settings online and tada, chicken jerky. If you're interested it's 140 degrees Fahrenheit and 12 hours.
 Cranberry and pomegranates are two fruits that I rarely eat because they're such a pain to do so.  Grandas are good, but a lot of work for a little fruit. My Grams used to make us wear garbage bags while eating them because they stain like a mofo.  I found this tea and thought, what a great combination I'll give it a shot.  It's very very good and I used lime in this tea instead of lemon because I just wanted it to be that much more tart and it was delicious.
It's always a good thing when you see the little frog on your box of tea. Here's a link to the Rainforest Alliance's page that explains what being Rainforest Alliance Certified means. http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/agriculture/crops/tea
 These next few pictures are of the paintings I've been working on.  I think I've hit my limit on this type of subject.  I've been testing out papers and primers and using these fruits, donuts and vegetables as subject matter.

It's been fun experimenting, but I feel one can only paint fruits and such for so long.  Mostly because the food eventually spoils, but you know.  I think it's funny how people joke about how Cezanne painted his food, before the invention of cell phones with cameras, as his way of showing people what he was eating.  You may be annoyed to know that there are some people out there who only take pictures of food. http://digital-photography-school.com/food-photography-an-introduction
Yes, it may seem stupid to take pictures of your food and share it with others, but there truly is an art to it.  If you find it so stupid then go ahead and cover up all of the pictures of food that you've ever seen. Makes it a little more difficult to read a recipe. Sure a picture isn't necessary for that, but it makes it nicer to know what it's supposed to end up looking like. Also, no peeking at a menu with pictures.  Leave your dining experience up to your imagination. Go ahead, try the tripe.

The book of the week is one that I picked up in an antique store. Before you go thinking that this is a "dirty" book let me just tell you, it's a "dirty" book.  It turned out to be a book of jokes and illustrations.  Back in the 50s when these books were published they were found to be "scandalous".  Sure it's not a book to share in mixed company, but it's highly entertaing and Russell Patterson is a really great illustrator.  Some of his scandalous work can be seen here http://artofrussellpatterson.blogspot.com/ Don't look if you're worried about being judged for looking. Which brings up a topic I would normally put at the Pissed Off blog, but it fits well here. So the site Boing Boing had a link and a video to an artists' work and it caused an uproar. The title clearly states NSFW, which means not safe for work. http://boingboing.net/2013/03/22/human-bodies-mercilessly-jiggl.html Still it got some people's britches in a bunch because they opened the page in front of co-workers. *GASP* It clearly states that it's not safe to look at in the workplace. Which brings me to my point. If you're actually working should you be trolling the internet looking at posts that aren't safe for work?  Shouldn't you be working?
The work is in an art gallery and was created by the artist intending it to be art, not just naked people jumping around so there shouldn't be a problem.  The problem is, if you're at work you should be working. Quit procrastinating by means of surfing the internet and get to work and you won't have any problems. Am I the only person who doesn't find that to be a crazy concept? Sometimes I feel that I am.
One of the jokes that I really enjoyed.  If you're confused it's this. "What's the difference between mashed potatoes and pea soup?"  "Anyone can mash potatoes."
The comic book for this week.  There's a lot of buzz going on about this one and I'm not quite sure why. Yet. Treasure hunter Fabian Gray has been granted special powers after an encounter with "the dreamstone".  He can now tap into the powers of five ghosts.  Is this a rip off of America's Got Powers much?  The concept sure sounds like it.  I'll most likely get the rest as there are only five issues and it may get more interesting along the way.

The artwork was ok, I HATE it when artists do this to shadow out the eyes.  Looks like he got both eyes dorked out while in a fight with a drunken pirate. Drunken pirate because only a drunken pirate would think he could swipe another man's eye and replace it with his missing one.
The daily doodle is pure crap but that's because I used liquid pencil. It claims you can sketch with it and that's what I tried to do.  Truth is, liquid pencil is a lot of fun and it works well, but you have to sketch with it like it's watercolour paint. It doesn't work like a pencil, it just looks like pencil. If you're a painter and want to do quick sketches I highly recommend using liquid pencil.  If you're not a painter and you want to make quick sketches I recommend you stick to a pencil.
Alright, that's it.  I hope everyone enjoys their Easter weekend whether you celebrate it or not.  It's still a good excuse to get together with family and family time is always good time. Well, until it turns into a Royal Rumble, but that's fun sometimes too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Bluesday

Did anyone get the new Jimi Hendrix album that came out last week?  Good stuff Maynerd, go check it out if you didn't.
Last week was a busy week and most of it was a blur.  I blame the Saturday night out with friends and the following day being St. Patrick's Day.  I did manage to get a lot done and I'll fill you in on the stuff that I can remember.
First up, I donated a box full books to a store in town.  The store takes donations and whatever money they make selling those items goes back to the no kill pet shelter.  So people can buy other people's stuff and the dogs and cats live to see another day, it's a win win!  So after I dropped off my donation I headed down the street in search of a typewriter.  I've been looking for one for a long time and all but gave up on it.  I first stopped into a store that specializes in printing and they used to sell typewriters and all of the accessories. Now they still run a printing business, but they're mostly modern technology now, so they didn't have any.  I stopped into the antique store next door and walked out with more books and no typewriter.  I went to a store that the woman in the printing business recommended and still no dice. As I headed home I thought about one other place and low and behold...
I found my typewriter in a used furniture store.  I'm thoroughly enjoying my new found friend.  I'm sure some of you are thinking what a stupid thing it is for me to want a typewriter, or to even use one. Don't worry, I spent the rest of that afternoon typing up eight pages about the benefits of having a typewriter.  Here's a little smidgen of that.

I'll share one other benefit of using a typewriter before I move onto the next random topic.  Proofreading!  One thing I don't think a lot of people do very much of anymore is proofreading.  By typing, or even writing, everything first, then retyping it into a program like Word is one of the easiest ways to proofread and edit yourself.  If you're already a perfect writer then you don't need to worry, however if you're not as great as you think you are, give it a shot, you may just be amazed.  I know for certain if I typed up this blog on my typewriter, I'd catch more mistakes than the computer does. Spell check and grammar check are too different things.
If you read last week's post you may remember that I was testing out different primers to use with the pastels.  I tried out two that were available in the store and wasn't crazy about the results.  I didn't want to give up so I ordered the brand that the teacher recommended, Art Spectrum.  I ordered this, and other supplies, from Jerry's Artarama.  If you live in the states and you need a place to order supplies from I highly recommend them.  I had an excellent experience and they packaged the items so well that I'm convinced that I could order a dozen eggs from them and they would arrive in one piece.
So I painted on the primer onto the same type of paper I used for the other two brands, plain old Stonehenge.  I let it dry overnight, just as I did with the other two.  This brand already comes tinted, and you can choose from several different colours. I chose elephant because I liked the colour and I thought the name was cute, just like real elephants.

Using the same pastels and the same apple I ended up with this.  Hooray, I found one that works!  Well, to be fair the other two work, but just not for me.  This primer is definitely the one to use if you're using soft pastels.
Also, what the hell do they put on apples that preserves them for a whole week?

 Speaking of food, I found the best snack ever! Well, it's the best if you gave up candy for Lent.  I'm still drinking that green smoothie that I wrote about last week and it's actually not that bad.  I'm probably going to continue drinking it for awhile. I still need my daily fix of calcium so I've been scoping out the yogurt, pudding and of course cheese. This is the best store bought pudding I've ever had.  Sorry about the sideways picture, the blogger site seems to be particular today.  Surely you can still read that it's Jell-O brand Dulce de leche sugar free pudding.

Here's the cheese if you please. Babybel has several different flavours out now and I wish I had room in the refrigerator for each one.  Instead I picked up the white cheddar to try and it's delicious.  Best thing about these little wheels of cheese is that it's already portion controlled for you.  The bad thing is, they're already portion controlled for you! Since they're all wrapped individually it's too easy to eat a bunch at once. Easy on the cheese. Just because they make cholesterol medication doesn't mean you need to take it.
Next is the book of the week.  This is one that I picked up in the antique store on my adventure to find a typewriter. I swear to God I don't know why it is that I gravitate towards books about war!  This one is actually a book of poems by Matthew Arnold and not all of the poems are about war.  The first one was and I wanted to shoot myself, not only because it was about war, but because there were a ton of words in it that I didn't understand.  I once had a professor that suggested it's best to have a dictionary handy while reading new subjects or topics that you're not familiar with.  Thank God for the dictionary app on my phone, however this book is so old that some of the words weren't recognised. For example the word Hyphasis is a word that's no longer used, so I had to investigate. Hyphasis is now called Beas and it's a river in NW India. This poem was only written in 1853.

I love how this old book has the the feet and the accents marked. The breve and the ictus may be correct, but I'm not sure about the feet. Oh well, I think it was someone's school book so perhaps they were just learning. My favourite poem from this book is "Stagirius" you can read it here if you'd like.

The comic book for the week is Dia De Los Muertos.  It has three stories inside and they're all really weird.  I'd suggest you get drunk and read them, but this is another one of those books that's printed on heavy paper and stinks to high heaven. (that's a phrase I haven't heard in awhile) The stories are weird, short and will make you wonder what you just read once you've finished.

Daily doodle. Practicing drawing guys in hats.  It's not as easy as you'd think!

Normally I'd leave you with the daily doodle, but I want to leave you with a reminder that this Friday, March 22 is World Water Day. Here's a link to some information about it. http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/home/en/
The one thing that most people take for granted is that we have access to clean drinking water at all times.  Can you imagine if you didn't?
Here's a video from World Water Day 2011 that may help you understand what I'm talking about.
I leave you with that to think about and let you get back to doing great things in your own life. If your life isn't that great at the moment then you had better make it that way.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Blame It On The Boogie Day

Everyone needs a little pick me up after Daylight Savings Time has been messing with our energy. What is Daylight Savings Time supposed to accomplish? Anyone have an intelligent answer for that question?
No matter, we must carry on so let's get to it.
First up I wanted to share this with you, I think it's so cool and the possibilities of having this could save so many lives around the world.


 Since I gave up candy for Lent I thought I'd go a step further and torture myself. I decided to try one of those hippy drinks. Here is the website to the official recipe http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/ggs/ This is called "the glowing green smoothie" and I was VERY afraid of it. This is only day two of drinking it and I must admit that it doesn't taste that bad. I'll have to get back to you on the benefits of it.

A few tips if you're going to be brave and try something like this. Blend each item one at a time.  The lettuce took up the whole blender and it took some provoking before it blended very well.

Also, you don't drink it all in one day. I read a lot of comments about these sort of drinks and people were complaining about the side effects of drinking them. DERR, your body can only hold so many nutrients per day no matter how you take them so don't over do it. The saying, too much of a good thing is very true. Here's a link to an article about vitamin overdose.
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/effects-of-taking-too-many-vitamins Just remember, everything in moderation.
I started by drinking 10oz of this drink and it's not enough to keep me from being hungry, but I'll build up to more as I go.

The next thing I've been drinking is yummy mineral water. I can enjoy mineral water all on its own, but I've discovered that putting those chemical filled water enhancing products in mineral water makes it almost as good as candy.  Geez, Easter can't get here soon enough. I just want some licorice or a lolly. GAHH!

While I was in the store getting the ingredients for the smoothie I perused the hippie food section and found this and thought I'd try it. I'm not sure how I feel about something that says 100% natural but has an expiration date 8 months from now.
Also wasn't jazzed about the fact that one little Fig Newton sized piece is 110 calories.  It did taste good, but I'd rather eat mini toasts with brie and a handful of grapes for the same amount of calories.

 The other day I took a class taught by David Garrison, his website is here http://david-garrison.com/ I wasn't sure what I was going to learn but I've never been afraid of learning and I was positive I'd get something out of the class. I certainly did.  I met a lot of nice people and learned quite a bit about products that I had never heard of and some new techniques that I'm incorporating in my own way of working.
This is the painting that I ended up with at the end of the day.

 Everyone who took the class ended up with a nice painting that they worked on and everyone got a "goody bag" from Dick Blick.  The class was at a Dick Blick store, which was both good and bad.  The store gave us this bag filled with products and it was nice to be able to get up and buy supplies whenever we needed them. It was like being locked inside a candy store all day. I was in heaven!

The bag was filled with another bag, charcoal, coloured pencils, paint and a sketch book.  This was the icing on the cake. I'd definitely take another class there.  I'd also take another class with David, it was a lot of fun.

 The next day I wanted to keep the lesson fresh in my mind so I decided to try another.  Not my typical subject matter or technique, but I really enjoyed it, so you may see more like this.

 These are some previous paintings I did before I took the class. There's a definite difference. We'll have to see where this all goes.
Part of what I learned at the class was that there are products available to make your own sanded paper for  using pastels on. I thought I'd give it a shot and see how it works.  I tried two different products, one being this Liquitex brand natural sand texture gel. I added some red acrylic paint to it to help thin it down and painted it on to a piece of Stonehenge paper.
It applied very easily and the paper held it well.

 The other product I tried was this Golden brand acrylic ground for pastels. I added some paint to this as well and it also applied to the same brand of paper very well.
 If you attempt this one word of advice is to apply in one direction only.

 The results were VERY different.  On the left is the Liquitex brand and the Golden is on the right.  These are of the same subject and I used the same pastels on both.  I chose to use some really cheap old pastels that I have laying around because I didn't want to waste my good ones on this experiment.
The sand definitely doesn't give me the results that I am looking for.  This stuff would actually work really well with oil pastels.
The acrylic ground gave ideal results but you can see the brush strokes underneath, which isn't ideal for me.  I'm sure with some tweaking I could get that worked out.  It was a fun experiment and I think I'm going to use this stuff in a sketch book and see what kind of results I get with it.
The comic book for this week is an old one I found in a comic book shop.  I love these random finds and it's proof that there's a comic book out there for everyone.

Oh, and it's pronounced Puck with a P, but I had to do a double take because the printing on this page was questionable.

This is the book for this week and it's just kind of meh.  It said "Read This Before You Die" so I thought I had better do it.  It was only a dollar for the Kindle and it's only worth about a dollar.  The layout of the book is poor, but the content is alright.  The first book is by Anne Bronte and it goes on and on and on.  It's also misleading as it says there's a chapter one but when you choose chapter one it goes straight to chapter two. I'm not sure if I missed a whole chapter or if it's just set up that way. Either way, for a dollar you can read several classics, if you want to.

Finally, it's time for the daily doodle.  Try to not let Daylight Savings Time get you down.  Go out and enjoy your day.  Try something new and when you're snacking on delicious candy think of me and all of the other kids who don't get candy.