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