Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Dessert

We are officially ready for Christmas. I am happy to say that we did not over do anything this year.  I did decide not to make my traditional Bûche de Noel (Yule Log cake for you non-Français readers. I have been making it for a bazillion years (that translates into at least 35) and it is delicious. However, it IS a Christmas Eve dinner tradition and since we are having our family dinner on Christmas Day this year due to family time conflicts that was my way of opting out as lame an excuse as that is. This year we will have  something different. Last night Don and I were able to successfully replicate out favorite ice cream from Swensen's. There used to me Swensen's Ice Cream Parlors all over but sadly most have closed that are within easy driving distance. Lately the only one we have been to is the "mother ship" in San Francisco—a tad far for dessert cravings.  I digress. The ice cream flavor in question is none other than Swiss Orange Chip. Simply the best ice cream flavor on planet earth though SOME will tell you that it has to be something from the rival shop called Fenton's. But pay no attention. So, we decided that we NEED some SOC for dessert on Christmas. We went out and bought an ice cream maker and put to the test the recipe that Don found a little while ago online (thank you Nate) and to our surprise and delight it is an excellent replica. Personally I think I would have to have a side-by-side blind test to tell the difference. I'm not one to keep a good thing a secret so give it a go. Here's the Recipe.

Now to keep from eating it all before Sunday.

So… what is YOUR traditional Christmas dessert?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas from San Diego

Just popping my head in here to apologize for the lack of posts. I am blaming the holidays. That said, my faithful followers have probably been too busy to read anything here anyway. I promise to get back here very soon. 

For now, I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas (or however you celebrate this time of year) and a Happy and Healthy New Year. See you back here soon! xx

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rev Episode 4

I am not normally one to be addicted to television. I can usually take it or leave it. I never watched 'Lost' or sat glued to 'American Idol' or any other cultish TV shows. Last night we watched Episode 4 of the long awaited and utterly brilliant 'Rev' series 2. Each week I eagerly await each episode of the program me like a child waiting for Santa. It is almost like a drug addiction and I don't know what I will do when it ends beyond wearing out my series 1 DVDs, waiting for series 2 DVD, hoping for a third series. Silly I know, when there are so many other things to do and think about but the series does touch my soul and keep me sane in a muddled world so it is important to me.

Episode 4 is still stuck in my brain. Adam (played by, you guessed it, Tom Hollander)  told a story at the end that dealt with explaining death to small children and it was so touching I can't stop thinking about it.

I recorded the last little bit and sent it to our daughter and son-in-law which at that very moment were on the road to go to a funeral of a grandparent—their two young children probably sleeping in the back of the car. Perfect timing for that one.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Music

Today I am listening to Christmas music while I work. That said I would like to share an artist I discovered last year and have been chatting with occasionally on Facebook.  David Tolk kindly signed two CDs for me (long story) which I gave to Tom Hollander last March when we went to London. David is a brilliant musician and a lovely person. This particular track  is a favorite and even more so now that David gave me a little backstory on it. The heavenly voice is that of his 16 year-old daughter recorded 12 times and mixed to sound like a choir. It gives me chills.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Distractions, Christmas & Commissions

This week I was distracted but flying high on all the nice comments I got on Facebook regarding my "guest appearance" on Angela's Handsome Bob Podcast. Angela said I was a natural which at first made me blush as I never ever thought of myself as able to speak *in public*. Not that a podcast is exactly speaking in public but all the same it was strange to not feel nervous and I did enjoy it. Maybe it was the attention. I don't know. Normally I do not like being in the spotlight but it seems that I eat up attention these days since I spend most of my days alone with only myself and the internet to talk to. It is a challenge at times to "step away from the computer. As much as I hate to admit it I guess I get a bit lonely when I am not immersed in my work and throwing paint around or working on my Etsy shop.

I finally managed to step away and switch gears back to *watercolor Deb* to do a speculative commission. I am still waiting to hear if what I did was acceptable but I had fun doing it and it was a bit of challenge for me.

I am happy to say that all my Christmas shopping is done and it is not even December yet! I just have the usual *oh I think I will make so and so this* to work on and then I can relax and enjoy the holidays.

Now…if only I can coax some elves to come and decorate the house… back to the sewing machine.

Well, I finally did it...

Started this blog that is. It took me all day to set this thing up (I am a noodler). I look forward to sharing my artistic inspiration as well as news of my Etsy shop. You will find out about upcoming sales events (such as the 20% off Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale) here too. 

Bear with me while I get the hang of this though...blogging is new to this girl. ;)

Without further ado here are three of my latest paintings:

"Golden Gate"
(16x20 on watercolor canvas)
This is my first attempt at using watercolor canvas. It is very strange stuff. It is both horrible and wonderful at the same time. The horrible aspect is that while painting on the surface I find myself wanting to pitch it through a window. It doesn't behave in the same way as the Arches watercolor paper I have used for a gazillion years. However, it is forgiving in that you can virtually wash off any "uh ohs" and start again. I have found that I should not judge it until it is dry because like all watercolor painting, it has a mind of its own and sometimes knows what is best. I'm not abandoning Arches though it is fun to try something new now and then.

"Bonding at Bellows"
(9x14 Watercolor on 140# Arches)
This painting and the one below were commissions. I don't normally like doing commissions because I have to love the subject matter or I can't do it justice, but in this case I did love the images. The client is giving these to his wife for Christmas. This one is the beach where they were married hence the title.

"Poipu Perks"
(9x14 Watercolor on 140# Arches)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And now for something completely different…

Today my good friend (and "partner in crime") Irene and I were guests on a podcast! When Angela from The Handsome Bob Podcast emailed me about being a guest to talk about the Tom Hollander website that Irene and I created my first reaction was "oh nooooo..." After all I am a shy person at heart. But apparently at least one person foresaw the future for  when we created Thomagination almost five years ago Don said to me "someday someone will want to interview you about this". "Nah!" I would say, brushing the comment away in the air. Irene and I are very proud of the site but I honestly didn't think that would happen. After all it is a bit of a secret identity for me. Anyway, if you are curious and want to hear it you can click here:

(Explicit due to the film clips played. You've been warned.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just one of the many things Don and I are thankful for is how fortunate we are to live so close we are to this:

I took this a few days ago when I went to La Jolla Shores to walk at an extremely low tide. I love the reflections and I will probably do a painting from this at some point. Enjoy your day wherever you are!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Talking Turkey

Not me but Chef Bernard at The Marine Room in La Jolla. Today while zipping around town picking up things for Thanksgiving dinner—including the unexpected purchase of a new food processor :(—I was listening to Midday Edition with Maureen Cavanaugh. This is an excellent program with lots of good tips.
Later I will tell you an interesting story related to Chef Bernard. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A lovely find

I am constantly amazed by the things I learn about via Twitter. This morning it is an App for the iPhone called "If Poems" 

I like it because some of the poems are read by Billy Nighy and Helena Bonham Carter but another nice thing is that part of the proceeds go to @SaveTheChildren. It's a great little app that not only lets you hear the poems but you can record your own as well and share them. I am still exploring it but was pleased to see that when I searched for a poem that was my grandfather's favorite ("Sea Fever") it was indeed there and read by the lovely Bill Nighy. Check it out.

And for those of you who know me well…Yes I am indeed wondering why Tom Hollander is not reading some of these poems. Perhaps in v2.0?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Snowy Egret Sentinel —my next painting or...?

Today I fully intended to go to the shores to get some exercise in and see if my egret friends were there again at the "falls" just north of the pier  and below SIO. Somehow that didn't happen. It was too cold and gloomy to go and I knew but the time I got there the tide would be high.

I'm convinced that the bird in the pictures above is the same one I have seen on several occasions. He/she is almost always in the same general location and is extremely tame in that I can get within about six feet before he flies off briefly and then returns when he/she sees I mean no harm. Sometimes there are other snowy egrets there as well. In fact the first time I discovered them it looked like a party was going on under the little waterfall that empties onto the beach there. In the space of about 45 minutes 13 showed up. I took these pics intending to do a new watercolor with this beautiful creature as the subject. But sitting in my "thinking chair" talking on the phone with my daughter and staring at the beginnings of a project I started long ago I came up with another idea. Stay tuned and you will see another side of my art. Art Quilts

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New painting needs a title

I finished this the other day but in my excitement of working on setting up this blog I forgot to add it here. I welcome your suggestions for a title. I am running out of ideas for my island/sailing series. 

"Untitled (so far)"
6x14 Watercolor on 140# Arches Coldpress