Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cool mornings and hot cooking!

Can you feel the seasons change? There’s something about the cool, dry mornings, the last flowers in the garden and the first bright red leaves in the trees that gives it away. The calendar gives it away too: I wrapped up my final summer art show last week at Penrods. I dried out all my outdoor booth materials in the living room and carefully packed them away until the Broadripple show in the spring. The boys and I picked up the last CSA vegetables this Wednesday too. We’ll miss seeing Amy, Andy, Grace and Willa at Musgrave Orchards every week.

Every ending has a new beginning, and it’s time to get ready for the upcoming holiday art fairs. For me, that means the Holiday Market at the Shower’s building, the Fiber Arts show, the recycled art show (Déjà vu, in Columbus, IN) and the Unitarian Universalist art fair (Holiday Art Fair and Bazaar, with the great cookies!). I was wondering what I could make that was new for me to sell at those shows when my eyes fell on my giant pile of waste yarn. I decided to launch into a project I’ve been thinking about for a while, but one that I have resisted to keep focused on finishing weaving for the summer shows. Have I said I liked finding uses for everything? But what could I do with leftover yarn scraps of all colors? You guessed it—holiday wreaths! So with great enthusiasm I went through my sewing basket of thread and pulled out my spools of green, red and white. I used the thread to wrap yarn balls. This is a technique I picked up from Sue Westhues last year. She saw my ornaments from a distance and thought they looked like Temari balls. I had never heard of them so I started looking in books and on the web. It turns out that Temari describes an ancient Japanese craft of wrapping remnants with fine thread, then stitching onto the product. How perfect: pretty thread, meet yarn remnants! I even found a use for the leftover quilt batting Aunt Lois saves for me. She belongs to a quilting bee in Michigan and the batting scraps they generate would otherwise end up in the trash. I make her save them for me, and it gives me a connection to my slightly quirky aunt.

So now I have a bunch of Temari balls in search of a home. Hmmm. I built a wire frame and covered it with remnant cotton cording to make the backbone of a wreath. Then I wrapped the frame with strips of remnant commercial felt. I decided I need 106 Temari balls for each large wreath—wow, that’s a lot! Life would be easier if I wasn’t so good at math. So I made the first 106 and attached them to the frame. I hung it on the front door to get an idea about how it would look, and to me it looks just delightful. The eSoA (elder son of artist) thinks he’d like one in autumn colors—that’s my boy! So soon I’ll pull out the orange, yellow and plum threads from my collection for the fall color wreath.

The new fall wreaths are fun, but of course it’s also time to get back to finishing the projects I’ve put off doing to focus on the summer art fairs. That means putting together an analysis of the Fourth Street Fair from the surveys and writing the final reports. Important, yes; informative, yes; exciting, well, hmmm. I do like statistics! I also have to assemble a grant proposal to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to help support the Fourth Street next year. Another deadline to meet. Arrrghhh.

So what’s been fun this week? When the world starts to descend on me I launch into cooking mode. The CSA has cleverly and deliberately filled my refrigerator with everything from eggplants to zucchini to cabbages to tomatoes, to, well, you get the idea. I cooked ratatouille, Mexican pepper casserole, Bulgarian pepper pot casserole, Chinese green beans and peanuts, and Garbanzo pepper curry. I’m still planning to make Gujarat baked cabbage, a cool looking Indian dish that I’m hoping will provide a tasty use for the cabbage. I’m also going to make Zucchini Parmesean and caramel pie for the kids. At least they call it caramel pie—I make with my blender and a huge zucchini. Despite the ingredients (not knowing helps) the boys like it and that’s the important thing. I even get help from the HoA, who makes the crust. He seems to like doing that, and me…did I say I like pie?

Until next week…

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