Thursday, October 28, 2010

Personal Inspiration- Part 3- Liza Lou

I don't know how many people have heard of Liza Lou. She is an artist who does life-sized installation art pieces that are completely covered in glass beads. Yes, that's right GLASS BEADS!! It is amazing to see in person. I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of her work back in the 90's when she first really *hit the scene*. She now is doing more political pieces but then they were more kitschy commentary on American life. These are some of my favorites.

( by the way, ever since I saw this exhibition (15 years ago?) I have had the vision for a Christmas tree made completely out of glass beads. have thought about contacting Darice to see if I could buy the beads I need at wholesale but that's as far as I have got on the execution of my vision. The time commitment is what really stalls my desire but after looking at these photos again, I realize I still want to execute it. I'll keep you posted:o)

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Fabulous Fall Weekend

All summer long, I anxiously await autumn's arrival. This year, with all the added heat, it seemed to take ever so long to get to my favorite time of the year. From October to February is my all-time favorite time of the year. Now mind you for whatever reason my years run from August 23 to August 22. (August 23 is not only my birthday but when school typically started.) My spirit just naturally accepts that as a calendar year.

Anyway, we had an awesome weekend. The weather was clear and cool. On Saturday, we went to the Greenway Corridor in the morning(photos from my previous post) and attended a Haunted Hayride at Lake Metroparks Farmpark in the evening. The little one loved it and he even got to go down the slide in the dark(a big highlight of his life to date). On Sunday, my little one and I went on an adventure to old graveyards, train tracks and trestles, and even a haunted house. I wanted to take photos of the foliage and what better subjects than those above. After our adventure we started our errands and before we could get what we needed at Home Depot, I found an injured sparrow in the entryway. I caught him and my little one and I raced the little bird to Penitentiary Glen's nature center to see if he could be saved. The lady told me that he was on his way out:o( The only downside to our weekend) Next time I will just take the little bird home and try to nurse it back to health myself. We raised my spirits by going to the pumpkin patch and picking out a pumpkin!

Needless to say, playing outside all weekend means I got nowhere on my projects so that is what is on today's agenda: Painting paperclay ornaments, photographing said ornaments and making a batch of homemade paperclay for my giant elves *remodel*. If all goes well, a post of my productivity should happen sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, go outside and enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lake Metroparks: Greenway Corridor and Chair Factory Falls

Today is a beautiful autumn day. It's sunny and in the mid 50's. The trees are near peak color so of course we had to go out to find some fallen leaves. My little one and I are going to identify the leaves we found and then iron them between 2 pieces of waxed paper and pin them to the kitchen soffit. I know, it sounds slightly odd but it is something that my mother and I enjoyed doing in the fall when I was a child. Now it is my son's turn to enjoy the fall leaves with his mommy. These are the photos from our 2 hour walk/hike in the Lake Metroparks this morning. Enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Canada's Thanksgiving Day. Since I don't host the traditional November holiday right now, I decided to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend with my northern friends. It was a crazy weekend. We took the little one on a pumpkin train ride on Saturday. He got to pick out his own pumpkin(which he named Greg) after the train ride. On Sunday, I cooked. We had a feast of Lemon Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Gravy, Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Wild Mushroom Stuffing, Cranberry Cherry Walnut Marmalade and a delicious salad (made by my dear friend, Pam)consisting of Romaine, spinach and leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, bacon, red onions, Mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses with a light vinaigrette dressing. For dessert I made Concord Grape and Pumpkin Pies. I found most of the recipes on Eating Well magazine website. Since my husband is a type 1 diabetic and the rest of us could stand to lose a few pounds(while still enjoying the food), I looked for recipes that would replace some of my less healthy childhood favorites. I've included direct links above to the recipes I followed verbatim and will share my altered recipes for the marmalade and stuffing below. I especially liked the Cranberry Cherry Walnut Marmalade. I've always loved cranberry orange relish but this recipe adds my favorite fruit to the yumminess, has less sugar and a nice little crunch with the toasted walnuts.

Cranberry Cherry Walnut Marmalade


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water (liquid from cherries plus additional water to equal 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup port, or other sweet red wine (see tip1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 can of tart cherries, drained,reserve liquid for above
  • 1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see tip 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest(see tip 3)
Combine sugar, water, port (or wine), cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium nonreactive saucepan (see Note); bring to a boil. Stir in cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until about half of the cranberries pop, about 10-12 minutes.

Add cherries to the cranberries and return to a boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in walnuts and orange zest. Let cool completely. (The marmalade will thicken as it cools.) Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tip 1: I used a local wine because they had a sweetness gauge on the label. As I tend to like dry wines, I had not a clue which wines would work for this when I couldn't find a port. A kind fellow grocery shopper told me about this handy little feature. I am thankful for friendly fellow shoppers!

Tip 2: To toast chopped walnuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes

Tip 3: The zest is the very top layer of the orange rind, do not use the white part because it will impart a bitter taste to your finished dish. Oxo makes a very nice, easy to use lemon zester

Note: A nonreactive pan—stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking acidic foods, such as tomato or lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.

This recipe originally used dried tart cherries. For the original recipe, visit this link: Eating Well: Cranberry Cherry Walnut Marmalade

(Not so)Wild Mushroom Stuffing


  • 1 loaf day old ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 large container baby bella mushrooms and 1 large container of oyster mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons thyme( fresh thyme if you can find it, I could not)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place bread in a large bowl and toss with milk. Let stand, tossing or stirring occasionally, until saturated.
  3. Add the 2 tablespoons oil and butter to a large straight-sided skillet and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushroom have softened and the liquid released has evaporated, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Drain and squeeze the bread and add to the bowl with the mushroom mixture (discard any remaining milk). Add parsley, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Stir in eggs. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake until heated through and golden on top, about 45 minutes.
The original recipe uses turkey or chicken livers and chanterelles or a mix of wild mushrooms. I omitted the livers and used the mushrooms that were available to me on the day that I shopped.
For the original recipe visit this link: Eating Well :Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Handy tidbit of relatively useless knowledge:The Oyster mushroom may be considered a medicinal mushroom since it contains statins such as lovastatin which work to reduce cholesterol.