Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Postcard challenge book - and NYC photos

For 2012 ... I'm doing a postcard challenge sponsored by Darcy at Art and Sole - a weekly postcard conversation we have between two imaginary characters, based on the idea in the Griffin and Sabine books by Nick Bantock.  You can read about the entire project (and I hope you'll join in too, because it will be so fun to see everyone's postcards each week) at this link:  Art and Sole

I made the book using instructions I found through Darcy's site, making a few adjustments to my own, and using one of my favorite heavy-duty herringbone folders as the outside cover.  Each one of the signatures pulls out to hold four postcards, one for each week of the month.  

My imaginary characters who will be sending postcards back and forth are:
Luca Cabrera - 498 Broome St., New York, NY  10013
Luca is an artist who lives in the SoHo section of New York City.He believes that people spend too much time thinking about art and that they should instead by creating - that there is nothing else nearly as important as the act of painting to discover what is to be found in the canvas.

And Fiona Byrne, 45 Twig Lane, Bedford Massachusetts
Fiona is a writer who lives in a small town in a 300 year old house in the town of Bedford, MA.  She lives in an upstairs room of a boarding house, filled with nooks and crannies and with a writing desk nestled into a dormer that faces out onto Twig Lane, where she watches the world go by as she writes and dreams of a romantic life in a far away place.

I have no idea what they'll say to each other.  Can't wait to find out!!

And finally, saying goodbye to 2011 -- the year of Charlie Sheen's madness, Osama bin Laden's demise, Anthony Weiner's "outing," the Occupy movement and losing Steve Jobs.  Here are some photos I just took up the street from me at 8th Ave and 49th Street.  Everyone is feeling jovial right now,

 Party horns are blaring, and more than enough alcohol has been consumed.  (I still don't know where people to go use a bathroom...

Barricades are set up to organize all the visitors...

And streets all around -- in places that will NEVER see the ball drop -- are full of happy celebrations.

To my friends who had a tough 2011 (you know who you are), I wish you and all of us a happier, brighter 2012, full of health and joy.  I salute your courage in the face of adversity and I want you to know you are my heroes.

Onward and upward!!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Some holiday things

It's been a busy December, but I managed to get a few holiday things done.  

I crocheted little twine stars and decorated them with buttons and pearls.

and I painted hangers to give as gifts, below.

Some people asked about what a feather tree looks like.  Mine isn't an antique one - it's a modern version.  But I love it.

The original ones had little candle holders on the ends of the branches, with tiny candles lit for a few moments of splendor on Christmas.  Mine has a tangle of tiny white lights cascading down the sides.

I have a thing for snowmen. Above is one of them -- a chef snowman.

My friend stitched little felt stockings for me. There's one, beside a beautiful bird, above.

I discovered this lovely angel 30 years ago, above, and she has graced our family Christmas trees ever since.  

See the beautiful lacy Christmas stocking, above?  My friend Sox made it for me this year.  Onto the feather tree it goes!

And below is a 25-year-old quilted wall hanging my mom made for my son when he was a baby--our Little Bear calendar.  Each day of December, Little Bear would look for Christmas all around the house - under the front mat, in the attic, at the skating pond.  To make the holiday more fun, "Little Bear" always left a little present for the children wherever he looked for Christmas.  (Wasn't that nice of him?) I think the kids were actually a little sad when Christmas day came because there were no more Little Bear presents to search for every morning.

Hope you enjoyed my holiday house tour.  If you post pics of your tree, will you let me know? I love seeing decorations!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Candy Cane Candle Holders

Earlier this week while I was visiting my daughter in Toms River, NJ, she surprised me with a holiday craft idea she'd seen on the internet that turned out to be so much fun: candy cane candle holders.  If you decide you want to make them, you'll need about 20 candy canes and two taper candles - either red or white, ideally - as well as a hot glue gun in order to make them. Easy! And it's extra fun if you rock out some Christmas music in the background like we did, and of course get up to dance around the kitchen while hot gluing.

The "ingredients"
I'm going to link to the tutorial we followed at the bottom of this blog post, but not before revealing a couple of pictures of the fun, as well as our super special tip:  draw a line around the circumference of the candle in the place where you want to line up the tops of your candy canes.  If you do that, the bottoms will be nice and even -- unlike our first attempt, which yielded a lopsided effect like a wobbly table at a restaurant.  We had to prop them up with little pieces of hot-glued felt underneath the shorter canes.  Draw in the line and you'll be gold!

Here's my little girl doing her best Martha Stewart impersonation. "I treasure them."

Ta Da!!  So satisfying to make these.  They look fabulous on her mantle, nestled among the little white lights and the other decorations.

She found this tutorial here:

Monday, November 28, 2011


I'm in a wonderful art group where we share our talents with each other in round-robin style.  One of the things we're working on is graffiti-style work based on the book Walls.  Inside the book are lots of pictures of - you guess it - all kinds of blank walls, just waiting to be defaced.  

We could have taken pictures of walls and then just drawn on them - perfectly good idea - but the book wasn't very expensive and we wanted to patronize the author for coming up with such a great concept.  Here are two photos of wall art I created.  So much fun!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gonna Miss Ya, Regis

Teri and Angus at Regis and Kelly Show
When I first moved to New York City in 2004, I left classroom teaching and instead taught children  who worked in movies, television, and Broadway.  One of these students was Angus T. Jones, the (then) little boy from the tv show 2 ½ Men.  When acting kids are out of school on a few consecutive days, they’re required to have a set tutor to help them make up the work they miss.  For me, it was always a lot of fun to discover which show or movie I’d be working.

On this particular December day, Angus was appearing on the Christmas episode of The Regis and Kelly Show.  Everyone in the cast was wearing pajamas for the show, including Regis and Kelly. Angus had knit a pretty impressive scarf as a gift for Kelly, which I particularly remember because I still hadn’t mastered the skill of knitting and was amazed that this little guy had.

Even more than the scarf, I remember the scene in Angus’ dressing room just before the show began.  Angus’ parents were there with us and he was finishing up some schoolwork, waiting for his cue to go onstage. We heard a knock on the dressing room door and looked up to see Regis, who was there to visit Angus and welcome him to the show. A few minutes later, Regis, (dressed in pajamas and a Perry-Como-like bathrobe) Angus, and Kelly’s kids were all singing Christmas songs together backstage. No one - except a few inconsequential people like me - would ever see this scene.  Regis wouldn’t get a sound byte for it. It wasn’t done to impress anyone. It was just the real Regis, a genuine man sharing himself and his love. 

This week I watched Regis’ last show and I thought about how many smiles he’s brought to countless faces over the years – not just the ones we’ve seen on tv, but especially the ones that never appeared on camera. In a time when we find very few celebrity “personalities” who look the same from the back as they do from the front, this man was the genuine article. We’re going to miss him.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Central Park at Twilight

My friend Holli sent me a link to a Pinterest that our friend Brandi had pinned.  It was a lovely photograph called Twilight in Central Park by Rod Chase.  I was working in my Smash Book journal today, so I sketched my version of the photograph in there.  So inspiring.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween past

I was 7 years old when this photo was taken, and I remember it as if it happened yesterday.   I was dressed as St. Theresa, my namesake.  My mom made the costume, as she did all my Halloween costumes, and usually on the evening of October 30.  And as you might have guessed, I attended parochial school.  (Where else would someone aspire to be a saint?)

My sister is standing behind me, behind the door.  You can see a bit of her school uniform, with a jumper, white shirt and thin bow tie at the neck.

My favorite candy was Bit o Honey and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies.  And Almond Joys.  In those days I don't think there was such a thing as "fun size."  Fun meant big, and that's what most of the candy bars were in my neighborhood.  My mom made jelly apples by the hundreds for the trick or treaters, and my brothers did so much trick or treating that they filled pillow sacks with their candy, which lasted until Christmas...

What candy did you like?

Friday, October 7, 2011

The (real) Jersey Shore

Many of you know I'm originally a Jersey Girl. I visited my daughter and son-in-law last weekend at their home in the heart of the Jersey shore, and we went for a walk on the Seaside Heights boardwalk.  It felt so good to be "home."

Gotta love the spotted pig prize.

Shoot the Guido?  Gotta be Jersey.

Yes, it's the "See The Jersey Shore" skyride.  (Takes you past the JS house.)

Note this boardwalk bar says, "We love Bennies."  For the
uninformed, Bennies are people who live outside
the Jersey shore area.  Funny thing is, since most of these outsiders  are
unfamiliar with this term, the sign won't lure many in.

My daughter and son-in-law in front of the Jersey Shore tv show house.

My son-in-law explained the JS tv house command center to me, as he worked in
this facility for some time.   (see my notes on the photo)

Coming to Jersey? Here are the nearest cross streets for the house.

I couldn't resist photographing this.

Really?  Someone needs underpants that say these things?

Not the Jersey shore without the lemonade stand.

I love this shot of the ferris wheel, with the tumbling clouds in the background.

Unlike those tv shows you see these days, this is my Jersey Shore.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stacks and Studios

Do you pile your things in neat little stacks, waiting until you get to them?  If you are a stacker like me, then today is your day, because Seth Apter has a blogpost celebrating that very thing.

As it turns out, I JUST went through my three stacks earlier this week as I was organizing my new office/studio space in my home.  So I can't show you my messy piles (but I assure you, I do have them) but I can show you a stack of books in my new space, and show you how a New York City dweller -- who runs a business from home and has a passion for art -- keeps it all organized.  First the stack, then the studio.
The Stack

The work desk and art "studio"

 I keep my files for work and the art supplies I don't use every day in a closet in my bedroom.  Out here are only the things I use a lot.

Same thing with books -- in this work area are the books I refer to often, for art and sewing reference.

pens, markers, brushes, pan pastels, pen and ink

That red candy container, bottom left, is full of portfolio oil pastels.  Watercolors, aquarelles, and a vintage file card box for notes.

 plastic drawers for small things like small tools, adhesives and paper tapes, 

 And things like gel medium, gesso, texture paste, crackle paste, and so much more have a new home here.

My sunny little corner of the living room. (As you can see, I'm not disturbing the cat at all.)

Whatever you do for work or fun, how do you keep your workspace organized?  

And tell me, are you a stacker???

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later - 9/11 Street Memorial

Beginning at 14th Street and stretching north on Fifth Avenue for nearly 10 blocks is a street art display that fills the height the World Trade Center buildings once occupied.  Each floor is marked, and, using the chalk in the cup at each level, friends and loved ones are able to leave messages of remembrance and love.  

Floor by floor, year by year, we try to heal.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Approaching 9/11/2011 as a New Yorker

I didn't live in Manhattan 10 years ago. Many residents left this town, feeling either fear, pain, or isolation.  I moved here 3 years after that terrible day.  I have a strong belief that life must go on. I further believe we honor those who died by rebuilding and remembering.  One week from today, on September 11, 2011, the WTC memorial building will be officially installed.

I've been watching television programming about the work, the thought, the love and the care that has gone into this construction.  Every individual involved has been touched in a way that goes beyond any simple job -- many have very personal reasons for wanting to take part -- their parents, children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives were lost on that day.

Throughout New York, the United States, and the world beyond, our lives changed that day.  We walked through our lives in a daze for weeks, months, some for years.  Some never recovered to move past their grief -- but in a testament to life's unbounded spirit, many did.

The picture above is how the new Trade Center construction looked in August 2011.  Almost there --- but not finished yet.  Next week, I'll be watching and listening as each of the people who have touched this project get to smile just a little bit with the satisfaction of knowing they have laid their loved ones to rest, at last, in peace.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Best ever chocolate chip cookies

We're going to Ally's house for a Labor Day BBQ, and I've been assigned to bring chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  I'm going to share my favorite CCC recipe with you and show you the important steps along the way.  No matter how many times you have made them -- 0 or 100 -- you'll love watching.

First, gather all your ingredients so you don't get halfway into it and realize you're missing something.  Allow the butter to soften for about 30 minutes (All ingredients at the end.)

Mix the salt, baking soda and flour together and set aside.  Use an electric mixer  to cream those two sticks of butter.  Get them good and velvety. (See how it looks up there on the beaters?  That's what I'm talking about!) Now add in the sugars and beat it again.  

Add the vanilla (yum - make sure you add enough!) and add one egg at a time, beating it after each one.  Those eggs should be big and fresh -- no old fogies for this recipe.   Gradually blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture (I do it in 3 parts) and then fold in the chocolate chips by hand. You can add nuts now too, if you want them.

Your batter should look smooth and rich, like this.  Getting hungry?  I know you are!!

After baking these babies at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes (I use parchment-lined cookie sheets), your warm, chocolately bites will look like this.  Watch them carefully while they bake! The edges should be crispy and golden, the underside lightly browned.  Not too much time -- and not too little.  
Mmmmmm----wish I could give you one right now!

And if he's very good, you can let your husband lick the bowl...
This recipe, which yields 4 dozen perfect little gems, is on the back of the Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips package.  The ingredients are in slightly different proportions than the traditional tollhouse style, so pay attention.

2 1/4 c. unsifted flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened  -- don't use margarine
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large, fresh eggs
2 c. Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
optional:  1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans