Saturday, June 20, 2009

Green Grapes and Soup

What a pleasant Saturday this is! Normally I’d be showing at Art Fair on the Square today (here in Bloomington), but this year I decided to take the day off. I’ll replace the show with an adventure to Madison for their version of Art Fair on the Square, which is downtown in the Capitol of Wisconsin in early July. So instead of getting up early and getting set up I got to sleep in a little and begin my relaxed Saturday at the farmer’s market. We traditionally have part of our breakfast there. That usually means scones, muffins, cookies or croissants. It also means cheese curds, the freshest cucumbers of the season and whatever else we happen to find that fits the taste of the family. This week it was blueberries for a pie (yum!), peaches, and some flowers that needed a home. From the market we strolled over to the Square to inspect the art and engage in a little friendly artist-chat. The rest of the family played games on the cannon and the big grate on the northwest corner of the Square. The highlight, though, was finding Eleanor Broaded. She’s a jeweler based in Indianapolis and I love her work. For some reason, though, her elegant earrings somehow get caught in my clothes and fall off without me noticing. This year I got a nice brown ceramic pair of earrings that I really like. That made the whole walk worthwhile.

In the art world, I’m beginning a new project. I’m starting a still life intended to go above a mantelpiece over a fire. To begin I made a series of sketches, and the one that started to take shape in my mind is shown. I fleshed out the thumbnail layout to come up with a working composition that includes three candles, apples, grapes, cherries and lots of juicy colors. I began by creating the grapes, and of course that means a trip to Bloomingfoods to get the green, organic grapes for a model. The setback in this part of this story is that the grapes sat in the car next to the eSoA (elder son of artist) on the way home. He scarfed them down, leaving me with a good model for the stems but no grapes. So I scampered off to O’Malias, got more grapes that stayed in the front seat, and quickly got them down to my art studio. I pulled out three different green fleece to create the grape green, two of which I dyed myself last year. I carded them together and needle felted them into grape shapes. The process is very time consuming but I think they’re cute. Next I’ll create the stem parts (I’m all set on models there).

My other activity over the past two days has been converting our CSA (community supported agriculture) harvest into something compatible with freezer storage and quick dinners. On Friday I made a big batch of a soup I really like –Hungarian cabbage and dumpling soup. The HoA (husband of artist) really likes this soup too, but he doesn’t know about the secret ingredient that he would never eat (sauerkraut). Today I also made ‘Lois Soup’, named after a friend of the family (Lois Graham) who introduced it to us as a non-vegetarian friendly recipe. I made a few changes here and there, and voila! A hearty kale-based vegetarian soup. It had fresh garlic and onions from the farmer’s market, a little bay and rosemary from my kitchen plants, and a few secret ingredients I’d never put into writing. A cook has to have a few secrets!

One last bit of news—I have a new bike. At least it’s a new-to-me bike. I used to have a 1960s era English-made bike that was a hand-me-down from Grandpa. He demanded a big, comfy seat in his bikes, and that was its best feature. But after a 10-mile bike ride with the eSoA last week it was clear I needed something more than the clunky old one-speed I had. So I hopped over to the Bicycle Garage and found a used bike that needed a good home. It was hard to give up my big cushy seat, but the fellow there assured me that the seat would be equally comfy. Hmmm…we’ll just see!

Until next week…

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