It’s been much too long since I posted to the blog. I apologize to you readers, I hope you will find me and come back. I wasn’t completely uncreative in my time away. If you followed my instagram I kept up with regular posting. I just wasn’t able to commit to the more lengthy blog. Also, most of my creativity has gone into non-art projects. However, since the beginning of 2015 that has slowly begun to change. My plan is to get back to posting regularly with new pieces and consistency. I have been floating for many years between projects and my ‘look’. My time off has given me a chance to explore myself and find what it means to be true to me. This is a brief history of what I have been up to since December of 2013.
After the holidays of 2013 I started baking. My daughter got old enough to be distracted but, not for long enough to sit down and draw. With this obstacle, I decided it was the time to learn how to make croissants. If you continued following me on instagram you will have seen all of my batches. I even got a sweet nod from the baker, Joanne Chang, who provided me with this wonderful recipe.
Attempting and then succeeding at making croissants gave me new confidence within myself. Since then, my goal has been to make as many of our meals, snacks, desserts, and treats as possible from scratch. I use a variety of sources, my favorites being Giada’s Healthy Cooking, Isa Does It, My Whole Food Life, Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook and Alton Brown’s recipes. These are my go-tos. Each brings its own batch of food to us. Given that we have to eat and my children are all-encompassing the rest of the time, I have allowed myself to take my creative space in cooking.
In the spring of 2014, we moved. We have settled ourselves down in Redwood City, CA, becoming home owner’s again. We have built garden boxes and set up house.
The garden boxes took over mine and my husband’s lives. As we rolled from setting up house the seedlings that I had brought over in containers went into these garden boxes end of May. By mid June we were up to our ears in cucumbers and additionally fruit from generous friend’s fruit trees. The canning bonanza that sucked up our summer began. We have made everything from jam to pickles to lemon curd. We have had enough pasta sauce to last the year from over 150 lbs of tomatoes grown from our Amish Paste tomato plants. It’s the common CA “problem” of an abundance of produce. A problem I am enjoying having and beginning to gain control over.
In the fall of 2014 our oldest started school and our youngest began climbing. I’m not aware of any productivity from this period of time. My life became a series of challenges to have cat-like reflexes catching my daughter as she ran, climbed, fell, and leaped. My back is a constant disaster. I have had multiple instances where contorting myself inappropriately has been necessary to protect her from injury. I was injured in most of these moments with muscle strains and bruising. My eldest provided challenges of the emotional sort with questions and confrontation to express himself and gain understanding of the world. I feel that all of this is par in having children. However, as the primary care giver art has had to stay in the trunk.
Until March, when I was able to run an art show for my son’s school auction. With the help of the auction coordinators and my co-art show coordinator we ran a great show and managed to sell almost all of the art. For myself, I created two original pieces that were successfully auctioned off. I pulled from the garden for my inspiration.
After the auction I was brought back to cooking and gardening. I offered a service of making a pie a month as an auction item; since, I wasn’t able to complete a third art item. With my successes in croissants I have gained some skill in putting butter and flour together to make delicious. Pies have been the latest in my food time commitments. Thus far I have made, apple, key lime, orange, strawberry-rhubarb, strawberry, cherry, strawberry-peach, pecan, and of course pumpkin pies. I have tried many pie crusts and find that Joanne Chang’s and King Arthur Flour’s are my favorites.
Although, this spring as my daughter obtains more independence and my son has settled down, I am finding a better balance of all my desired activities. We finally had a fence put in which, gives me freedom to garden during the day; since, my daughter can no longer run away. She is entertained by eating strawberries from our patch and I can weed and manage our plants. I am done exploring all the options and keep my cooking to what I need and definitely want in our cupboards. This also means, I do not accept or take on more food than I want to process. My daughter has consistent sleeping patterns which, is giving me structured time to work. It feels like everything is coming together. We have firm routines now and no plans for more disruptive moving. This should mean I will be able to consistently create for a while. Here’s to starting the plan.