Friday, January 28, 2011

There's Gnome Place Like Home!

The blank gnome for the Holden Arboretum's Gnome and Garden Arrived today!

It was very difficult to get a photo of him without my little boy, he apparently took an instant liking to him....

I think the sentiment is mutual

He's here! My blank 5 foot gnome is literally in the house. Don't think I will get right to work on him. Unfortunately, he will sit in my living room until at least Monday. Before I can start working on him, I have a speech class, still need to hang my two 6 foot shelves in my studio and finish sorting and putting away the random supplies that litter my space. After I am done with that I can start drawing. I still need to buy the paints for him as well as the magicsculpt to add dimension. Really looking forward to this, I've been itching to create! I have realized I may need to adjust my initial design a bit due to his shape but I also think I can use it to my advantage if I play my cards right :o) I will definitely take photos along the way. I think he will be a show stopper when he's finished!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Studio - Getting Closer

The studio is finished being painted. I have organized most of my supplies. I still have one 6 foot table covered in miscellaneous stuff that I need to sort through, paperwork and receipts that need to be organized and de-stash stuff that I need to put into *lots*. I just finished hanging my first two shelves for my CD's (and that is only a portion of my CD collection I have a library system that holds many more without the jewel cases!). I taught my small one some new words when things didn't go the way I planned, it has been quite a while since I have hung shelving. Still waiting for my LED lights to arrive for underneath the top shelves (which I will hopefully hang this weekend). I am very happy with how things are turning out. I do hope to make a *cover* for the CD's. I hope to make a pretty lattice-like door out of a thin wood that will hinge to the bottom shelf covering both CD shelves and fold down when I want to pick out some music but hide the busyness of the CD's when I am working. I still need to design the pattern, but I am thinking snowflakes and stars, 60's style of course. I may do it on the top shelves, too, but I need to see how distracting they are with the storage bins first.

On another front, I aced my first Microeconomics quiz. As a matter of fact I have 60 of 60 possible points to date. Hooray! It has turned out to be a bit of a mind numbing class so to do well makes it feel worth my time.

Finally, my 5 foot gnome is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, Friday, January 28, around 3 pm. I'll take pictures of him when he is in the house. Oh, and he can't fit into my studio yet (I have the step stool and vacuum in the space I will put him in) but hopefully by tomorrow he will. According to the director of the event he only weighs about 35 pounds so he'll be easy to move around. (My son weighs about 35 pounds so I know I can handle it :o)

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Studio

The new hue.

Note the clean 2 foot swath along the wall (so sad).

How it all began.

Pretty scary, huh?

This is what happens when the table you store things under goes away! YIKES!

It is a very pretty shade of blue, the photos don't do it justice.
[and it's VOC free and only $10 a gallon at Home Depot!!)

Since Christmas, I have been diligently working on my studio. I also decided that it was time to return to school. Unfortunately, the timing for everything collided. I was in the process of cleaning out and organizing the studio when I had to go to the community college and register for classes. Then, when trying to get registered, filing for Financial aid and taking care of all the incidentals that come up with re-entering college, I found out my gnome design was 1 of 20 selected to be reproduced as a 5 foot garden sculpture (Yay!)

The Gnome is due to arrive at the beginning of February. Classes started last Saturday and the studio is slowly but surely being transformed (Thank God for my mom, she has been watching my son while I take my Tuesday and Thursday class and helped me clean the rest of the house since I've been transfixed with my studio!)

I'm still on track for pulling this all off. These are the pictures of the studio from it's sad and sorry state at the beginning of the process to the current (even worse) state as I try to paint the walls. Once I finish painting, it should come together quickly. Unfortunately, I store a lot of things under the tables. Much of that will go out this summer when I hold a yard sale, until then it will probably be re-stashed under the tables. AT least it won't be in the middle of the floor!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Better Late Than Never...The Christmas Tree: Part 2

The Smith Family Christmas Tree 2010
(featuring my cat, Oscar, upset that Santa came and left presents right where he liked to curl up and sleep)

Vintage Santa Ornament

Frosted glass snowflake ornament

Oscar still questioning Santa's judgment

Santa's bounty

Christmas Tree on December 26 (just before it became naked)

Vintage kitchen curtains and mistletoe elf ornament

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Better Late Than Never...Christmas Decorations: Part 1

The decorated antique hutch where all my Holt Howard and 50/60's pieces reside
Surprise! Look who I decided to keep, I couldn't part with his joyful self!

Holt Howard candle holder and some really groovy foil poms

My little candy cane elves and more groovy poms

The whole hutch

My moose collection

Our stockings and the little one's animated toys

Christmas dishes and elves on top of the kitchen cabinet

The kitchen tree(with groovy foil poms)

On top of the refrigerator

I wanted to post these earlier but I'm still working between 2 laptops (A tale of two laptops:o) Anyway, here are the ones I put on my thumb drive. I'll have to do one more post with the Christmas Tree since I obviously didn't transfer them this time.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The First Three Days: An Update

I finished the first 3 days of trying to establish or re-establish, as the case may be, a new habit. So how is it going so far? Not bad. Not perfect, but who is?

Day 1 went very well. Woke up and made steel cut oatmeal with brown sugar and dried cranberries. A little bit of cinnamon and milk and it was delish! Decided that that will be my go to breakfast until I decide I need a change (then I will probably just change up the fruit) Lunch was good also, Cannelini bean and tomato bruschetta on toasted french bread rounds. Great little recipe, simple to make and I can see tossing it with warm pasta (adding some spinach and Asiago cheese) when I need a change. For dinner, I had to have pork and sauerkraut (I need as much luck as I can get) and a little bit of unsweetened applesauce.

Day 2 was not so great :o( I woke up and made 4 days worth of oatmeal, this time I added walnuts in addition to the brown sugar and cranberries. Good but I will probably add them on their own when I feel like it instead of forcing myself to eat them everyday. Walnuts are very good for you but I would say they are probably my least favorite nut. Lunch was bad, very bad. I had cheese and crackers, enough said. Dinner wasn't much better a ham and cheese sandwich. This is my problem, I got busy doing things and didn't have *go-to* foods. Needless to say, I didn't beat myself up.

Day 3 was better but I still didn't do as well as I could have. Oatmeal for breakfast, still yummy. Cheese and crackers for lunch, ugh! Cheese is my enemy and it must be kept out of my house(with the exception of the hard cheeses, I can use restraint with those) Dinner was good. I had scrambled eggs with lots of red peppers, onions and a little bit of ham for flavor.I'm trying to use up my Christmas ham, what can I say?

So far today I am doing FANTASTIC! Had my oatmeal for breakfast, the Cannelini bean bruschetta for lunch (this time I put just a touch of Asiago cheese on the rounds when I toasted them in the oven. It added just the right amount of extra flavor) I am soaking Navy Beans so that I can make a yummy soup for dinner(and yes, it will probably have some ham in it) With the soup I will serve corn bread, yum!

Cannellini Bean and Rosemary Bruschetta
(taken from "Whole Foods" By Nicola Graimes)

1 can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (2/3 c dried Cannellini beans)
1 can organic petite diced tomatoes, drained or 5 fresh tomatoes if you have them on hand
3 tbsp olive oil
2 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed (I like garlic so I used more)
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary(I am not a fan of rosemary so I used 1 tsp dried italian seasoning mix in it's place since it has rosemary, marjoram, oregano and basil, liked it much better than when I did it with just rosemary)
freshly ground pepper (and salt if you use fresh tomatoes and dried cannellini beans)

French bread rounds or sliced Ciabatta bread, toasted in the oven
Asiago cheese, optional.

1. soak and prepare beans if you are using dry. Drain and rinse beans if you are using canned. Set aside.
2. remove skins from tomatoes, if you are using fresh, and dice. Drain tomatoes if you are using canned. heat oil in frying pan, add the fresh or canned and sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and rosemary or Italian seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down and soften.
3. add tomato mixture to the Cannellini beans, season to taste.
4. toast bread lightly, adding grated Asiago, if desired. Spoon the Cannellini bean mixture on top of the toast.

Steel-cut Oatmeal with Dark Brown Sugar and Dried Cranberries
(4 servings)

1 cup organic steel-cut oatmeal(Irish style)
4 cups water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. bring water to boil. Add oatmeal and return to boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer about 30 minutes until oatmeal becomes thick.
2. add brown sugar, cranberries, cinnamon and salt to oatmeal and stir well.
3. serve hot in bowl with cold milk.

I adjust the amounts to my taste so feel free to add or adjust as needed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

21 Days to Create a New Habit?

I had always heard it took 21 days to change a habit. That seems doable. Then I came across this article: How Long to Form a Habit
The article proceeds to tell us that in actuality it is closer to 3 months on average to adopt a new habit and have that habit become automatic.(which is really what we are striving for, isn't it?)

I was curious to see if the 21 day thing was accurate as I was preparing to sit down and create a menu for the next month that would help me get back to eating whole foods like I had up until my wee tot was born. 21 days is totally doable, that's three weeks. Three weeks goes by like that [insert finger click here]

Now you tell me three months? Still doable but I can't prepare menus for three months. Well, I can, but will I really want whatever I planned three months from now? Regardless, I do believe that if I can plan my menus three weeks out and stick to them, I will be that much closer to making the habit stick. After all it did take me a couple years to break the good habit I had. I can dedicate the next three months to becoming healthier and happier.

The nice thing the article mentioned is that missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit. I hope to not miss an entire day, maybe a meal here or there, but it is reassuring to know that you can just climb right back up on that horse and soldier on.

In the coming weeks, look for some of my favorite (but long neglected) whole food recipes. [my all time favorite:Potato Rösti (a swiss potato pancake) with marinated tofu and tomato sauce, YUM!)

Now, I must go prep my kitchen and pantry for a return to healthy eating!