Monday, January 16, 2017

Hello Willow and Hello Dolly

The winter skies outside might be dark and foreboding, but the new bank of lights in my art studio makes it feel like the middle of August.  Thanks sweetie pie Jim!  It’s bright and sunny inside, so I’m working on a bright and sunny piece--my Willow by the Lake.  It feels good to return to a calm organized space.  It’s a refuge for me.  The piece still requires me to attach the dangling, swaying branches and adorn the shore with some stones, but the peace and calmness is just what I needed at the end of this busy week.  I had a hectic but rewarding few days in the costume studio fitting all of the returning Sounds of South members into their pre-costumes for the October production of Hello Dolly.   
When the curtain rises there will be roughly seventy kids on stage and each one needs at least two costumes!  The color story matches the happy, sweet and cheerful play.  The musical might be a little fruity and sugary, so I chose the color palate with that in mind—watermelon and lemon.  Each of the chorus members will display all of the colors in their costumes.  The production is set in 1885, which was the height of late Victorian extreme fashion.  I’m having fun assembling the huge bustles and leg o’mutton sleeves into colorful creations.  I have five of the women’s costumes designed and assembled to various stages and I’m working on the sixth.  It’s so much fun because each outfit is completely different.  I’m fortunate to have big bins of trim to work with, harvested by the Sounds of South kids from old clothing, ruffled curtains and lacy table cloths.  And of course there are some unusual treasures - the "buttons" in this green costume are actually vial caps that Cook donated to the Material for the Arts program at the Recycle Center!
I also have T-shirt cording that parents have created by cutting one inch continuous strips from watermelon and lemon-colored T-shirts.  I’m making the bustles out of the crinoline that I can harvest from old prom gowns that have fallen out of fashion. 

On the family front, I can’t believe it’s only been a week since we’ve returned to school.  I feel like we have seamlessly returned to our routines and are again rocking along on all of our daily activities.  The boys are back into voice lessons, hip hop, science Olympiad, Taekwondo and sparring.  I’m back into city meetings, E2C exercise classes and Zumba.  Speaking of the boy’s Taekwondo training, they have scheduled their second degree black belt test for March 4th 2017.  Over the holiday they did some extra aerobic training to enhance their endurance for the grueling test.   
Forgive me for a mom moment—I’m very proud of their accomplishments and I’m looking forward to celebrating their achievements!  Speaking of pie (how did that pop into my mind)—there’s only been one, but sadly it was a pizza pie.  It was beautiful.  It was amazing.  It was tasty.  It went well with a glass of wine.  But it wasn’t a “pie” pie.  Helllooooo…   Jiiiiiiimmm…  There hasn’t been a pie picture in the blog since November 15th!  What ever shall I do...?

Until next week

Martina Celerin

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trees and tomatoes and no pie, oh my…

It’s been a tree week.  Looking around outside I see a lot of bare branches and snow.  I remember my husband telling me that you have to love browns if you want to live in Indiana.  I do, as long as there is some pop of color associated with it.  Like tomatoes!  After a long couple of weeks of family activities followed by reclaiming the house, I’m finally getting back to work in my art studio.  I’m finishing a piece that I started over a month ago.  I’m creating the grey-brown tree trunk as I look at all the grey-brown trees and brown withered plants with a dusting of snow in the neighborhood.  There is something beautiful about the complexities of the lines of the branches that is now visible with the leaves missing.  With that said, I’m ready for the hints of spring green to give some much needed color to the world.   
My answer to the problem was to make some tomato slices as part of a weaving called ‘Salsa to Go’.  The title might evolve, though, because this week I introduced the boys to home-made guacamole—thanks Kroger for having 88¢ avocados—and they loved it!  My art really does reflect my life, so the art piece might actually become a visual recipe for guacamole. 

Speaking of yummy foods, I put my birthday present from Grandma to the test.  She gave me a new potato ricer and I used it to make butternut squash gnocchi.  I actually used it for the potato portion of it.  I made a ginormous double batch and half went in the freezer.  We topped it off with a garlicy-roasted red pepper sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.   
I filled to capacity two six-foot teenage boys and their parents.  It’s the time of year when the new school year begins and we need quick dinners in the freezer.  The luxury of time over the holiday break allowed us to make slow meals, but that will all change tomorrow when school restarts.  Fortunately, I’ve got plenty of soups, chili and lasagna in the freezer for those crazy packed days that are fast approaching. 

Speaking life getting back into full swing, tomorrow I will launch into costume making for Hello Dolly.  At last count I had over thirty suit coats and pants in watermelon and lemon colors (fuchsia, emerald green, lime green and crisp yellow).  I’ll start fitting the boys with their colorful pre-costumes.  Each of them will wear all of the colors.  No Indiana winter grey-browns in this crowd!  And yes, still no pie, although Jacob has been making Pizelles and Jim’s homemade bread is wonderful, but they’re not pie.  I need fruit to prevent scurvy for my long voyage through winter—just sayin’!

Until next week

Martina Celerin

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I exercise with a bunch of crazy fun people in the wee hours of the morning three days a week.  They’re a terrific lot and we share many stories.  They have embraced me in their group and I love being part of it.  Not only do we exercise, we share stories and bounce ideas and act as each other’s support staff.  Just before Christmas, Cathy Green announced that we all needed to wear our solstice shirts to our exercise class on December 21st.  Of course the rest of us just looked at each other in a puzzled way and hemmed and hawed.  When I got home I decided that if Cathy said we needed them, I was just the person to make them!  After scrounging for shirts, especially long-sleeved white ones (the sleeves are for yet another project—they’ll be pseudo socks for the Scottish highlanders in the parade in Hello Dolly—more on that later), I brought out my glitter glue, gold fabric and solstice-appropriate embellishments.  I briefly transformed the kitchen island into a craft space and gleefully spent the day on a silly fun project.  Oh, and Mary Madore, yours will be waiting for you when you get back to Bloomington! 

So Christmas—it was wonderful in our house with Grandma and Great Aunt Lois visiting.  On Friday evening before Christmas we ventured out into the rain to see Oliver.  It was wonderful—Cardinal never lets you down, especially for the holiday shows.  The joy pouring out from a stage full of kids singing and dancing is overwhelming and you can’t help but smile.  The costumes were terrific.  The sets were incredibly complex and featured constant rearrangement and reassemblies.  The choreography of the shadowy bodies flitting across the stage to create the sets was a captivating performance hidden inside the play.  I had seen many of the primary actors before, but the undertaker’s daughter was new to me and I thought she was terrific.  Mike Price, the outstanding professional pillar and mooring for all the young actors, was in his element.  He is an amazing character actor—I could watch him on stage all day.  We went home delighted to feast and party until we had to deliver everyone to the airport on Monday.  

On Christmas morning, Jacob received an unexpected present.  He was supposed to be a bad boy in the Sounds of South holiday performance.  It’s part of the newer Christmas song:  “I’m getting nothing for Christmas”.  Unfortunately, Jacob got sick and wasn’t able to perform, so Jim tried to make it up to him.  You have to sing, or at least say, that title line in your head to get the joke, but hopefully you’ll grasp it when you look at the box that Jacob is holding. 

My boys must have heard some running water around Christmas, because they turned into beavers and built a dam around the carport.  Our neighbor, Martha Oakley, had a large tree cut down in her front yard, leaving huge chunks of trunk that needed a new home.  After a large number of treks back and forth to Martha’s house, hauling some ginormous hunks of wood each trip, and a heck of a lot of swinging of the maul, we now have at least a year’s supply of firewood guarding my car.  The only downside to the break is that there Was. No. Pie.  OK, yes, we’ve had cookies, brownies, stollen, chocolate, and rumballs, but no pie.  But I’m hopeful!  The stollen didn’t last long.  The cookie supply is dwindling after giving away many tins and keeping after them after meals.  There are a few rumballs and brownies put away in the freezer for a time when chocolate is needed, but it’s time for a new dessert!  We NEED some of the summer farmer’s market fruit to come forth for a pie! 

Until next week

Martina Celerin