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Archive for December, 2013

I is for…

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In my (Sincerely, Emily) garden right now, I is for Iron. The winter garden is in full swing and the dark leafy greens are wonderful.

full of iron (and other good things too)

full of iron (and other good things too)

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Sometimes when your life changes in drastic ways, you make deals with yourself. “I’ll get such-and-such accomplished as soon as he gets his sh*t together;” the problem being, of course, that first he’s never going to get his sh*t together, and second, you have no control over when that might happen anyway.

My basement studio is one of those perennial deals I make with myself– I’ll start using it to make art when [fill in the blank]. The latest is “when my husband moves his massive amounts of stored music and filing cabinets out of the basement.”

I’m taking a few days off– to write (hello! here I am again!), to draw, to fulfill a promise to myself to be an artist if only for a few days. But like preparing for any vacation, you have to do the work first– the packing and the cleaning and the calendar clearing. I want to do some drawing with pastel, which meant that I had to find the pastels.

While I’ve kept my studio space reasonably free of the inevitable detritus that accumulates in an unused space, entropy sets in and things pile up. Since the pastels were not in the accessible place that I first looked for them– an easily reached drawer– I had to start excavating.

I’m good at cleaning– I don’t have emotional attachments to things as a rule (there are exceptions: don’t get between me and something that belonged to my mother) so it’s easy for me to throw things away. The general rule of throwing stuff away is that if you don’t know you have it, you don’t need it.

Except the stuff you do need. Someone listening to me clean would have been hearing “lookitthat!”, “oh this thing!”, “Oh, man, so glad I didn’t buy a new one of these!”, “I wondered where that was” and “Oh I LOVE this!” (respectively a photo of me with my gradeschool best friend, taken about 15 years ago when she looked me up; a blue pashmina that I’d completely forgotten I had; a clamp-on pencil sharpener; a piece of art I traded with the artist maybe 20 years or more ago; and a wonderful portrait I drew of my daughter when she was about six.)

I also found the pastels.

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I must admit that my little alphabet list was blank when I came to H until I took the photos of the hand-painted ornaments that my Great Aunt made. Over the years, my brother and I have to receive the most beautiful hand-painted and handmade gifts from her. When my mom and I were up in Wisconsin visiting my brother we all had a great time going through all the decoration boxes as we decorated his tree. There were so many wonderful decoration filled with memories. We talked about the memories as we each pulled out another ornament. It was a lot of fun.

Hand-painted ornaments

Hand-painted ornaments

At the same time, we cleared out some things that none of use wanted anymore; old decorations that were broken and un-fixable. There was a plastic garland that had small fruit on it that mom used to attach to the railing going down the stair with velvet bows – that had to go, it was all sticky and just couldn’t be saved. 041I have some of my Aunt’s things on my tree, but it was so much fun seeing the ornaments that were going on my brothers tree. The photos I took aren’t the greatest, but they will remind me of those ornaments when I look at them.

As we talked and looked and decorated we realized that there are five generations of ornaments on my brothers tree. My Great-Grandmother, 2-Grandmothers, my mom, me/my brother, and his two girls. There is a lot of history there and a lot of great memories.

H is a lot of things; Happiness, handmade, hand-painted, holiday, history, and more

Do you have some treasured ornaments that are filled with memories?

Sincerely, Emily

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Things that start with H…

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Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, H is rather fitting. So, H is for hand-painted and handmade ornaments that my (Sincerely, Emily) Great Aunt made years ago.

Hand-painted ornament (I know, it is a terrible photo!)

Hand-painted ornament (I know, it is a terrible photo!)

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Do any H words spring to mind for you right now?

 

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Time is a funny thing. It stands still. It flies by. Yet when it is gone… it is gone. 006I had to dust off the keyboard since I haven’t been on the computer in a while. Geez. I know I missed a letter in the alphabet this past Sunday. I will try to make it up to you all, ’cause I know you all sitting on pins and needles just wondering what I will come up with H. Ha (oooooh, that is an “H”)

I am enjoying the cooler weather that winter has brought to South Texas. I am just so much more comfortable right now, and it feels better when I turn up the stove to bake or cook something too. Rosemary-Lemon cookiesOn Wednesday, I did just that. I made some Rosemary Lemon Cookies for the Annual Cookie Exchange with the culinary group I am in. I have posted about these cookies before, but I forget how wonderful they are until I make them again, and drool.

Unfortunately, I was only able to sample one. ONE! The batch made up exactly what I needed for the exchange plus 2 extra (one for me, one for my husband!)

I returned home with six different types of cookies and that will make my husband happy for a while. Once the sugar buzz has worn off, I will make some more of the Rosemary Lemon Cookies for us.

There are a few things that I love about these cookies; I can walk right outside and pick fresh rosemary to use, they don’t have a lot of sugar in them, they are crispy, and they remind me of shortbread.

What are you baking right now?

Sincerely, Emily

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Revisiting F

This last week I was up in Wisconsin visiting my brother and his family. My travel timing was perfect and I met the first storm and deep-freeze temps of the season as it arrived in the area. 063I have not lived in snow for 16 years and when I watched the rain come down and the temperature drop as I waited for my mom’s plane to arrive I considered making a big sign for the back window of our rental car. Something like, “BACK OFF! I’m from Texas, and I haven’t driven in snow for 16 years!” Hoping that would explain my super slow (but safe) driving! ha

The driving really went well. The roads were slick, but I took things slow, and cautious. In fact one night when my mom, niece and I were coming back from a holiday party up at the cabin I had fun with some fishtailing on the side roads. We were all laughing pretty hard, especially after a nice fishtail where I overshot the driveway and bounced up and over the curb. The three of us couldn’t get into the house and to the bathrooms fast enough we were laughing so hard that there was a threat or two of wetting our pants. I know we will all remember that one.

062I do not miss the maintenance of winter and I do not miss that bone chilling freezing cold feeling when the temp is sitting at 0F before you even factor in the windchill (-27F.) But I am very happy; to have decorated a 14′ tree full of 5 generations worth of family ornaments, had wonderful friends over for lunch, had the opportunity to go to a few holiday parties and see many friends, have dinner with more family members up near the cabin and more!

I didn’t really have to spend any time outside. Watching the snow come down and leave a beautiful white blanket over everything was beautiful and normally I would have rushed out to shovel off the driveway and sidewalks (because it would have been fun to do – a novelty of sorts and that snow was really light and fluffy), but I knew I would get two shovels-worth done and I knew the novelty would wear off in 2 seconds when I was out of breath and huffing and puffing… so I “let” my brother do it. When I saw him get the blower out to do the driveway one day I realized that I could have done that (probably!)044

So revisiting F was kind of fun… freezing temps, family, friends, and falling snow.

Sincerely, Emily

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G is for

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I (Sincerely, Emily) have a refrigerator full of Ginger beer! Gosh, that is a great G!

Gingerbeer - getting ready for a swap.

Ginger beer – getting ready for a swap.

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