Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Grants, Pies and Bright Fall Colors

Over the last two weeks I limbered up my fingers and dove into grant-writing mode.  The most important support I apply for is to bolster our marketing efforts for the Fourth Street Festival of Arts and Crafts.  The CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) has been very helpful in years past by supporting targeted advertising in regional markets such as Cincinnati to the southeast and Indianapolis and beyond to the north.  A large number of people traveling to Bloomington from afar spend money at local motels and restaurants, so they help promote our mutual interests in bringing art patrons to the city.  It’s still a chore to write the proposal because I need to assemble all the details about the show and how we marketed it.  The format changed this year so had a small learning curve to try to get it right. 

In between grant writing I was working on some smaller projects to keep my fingers limber.  It’s sweater petal season, which are felted flower accessories I make and sell locally.  I decided to do some dyeing to get some fresh fall colors into my sweater petals.  I did some dyeing with Kool Aid, which is an amazing starting point because the dyestuff is non-toxic and the colors are vivid.  I did some non-traditional mixes to create new colors, which is a little against my scientific nature.  You might think I would need to follow the same recipe to get a consistent product, but this time of year I just get inspired by different colors.  Every time I drive to a meeting I see new oranges, reds, yellows and deep purples emerging all against a blue fall sky.  I added a few pinks and purples to cover the spectrum and I ended up with some very cheery colors.  Next I need to scale up my efforts to dye the spectrum of green yarns I need for all my winter weaving projects.  I got out my antique skein maker and began cranking to make skeins of yarns to dye or over dye. 

While I was dyeing on the stovetop the oven below decided to follow suit.  The ceramic ignition element gave up the ghost after six years of service.  Fortunately, the helpful folks from Morrison’s popped out in a few days to replace it for me and I’m back in business.  The oven gave out right when Jim was raising dough to bake, so he ended up using the toaster oven. The loaves came out surprisingly well.  Lately I’ve been into baking muffins to put in the boys’ lunches.  They like fresh muffins, and I’ve been sneaking in some healthy ingredients.  I slip in fruits, milk powder, whole grains and more that I can’t mention, along with lots of vanilla to make them flavorful.  I also made a ‘healthy’ caramel pie
this week, which is one that Jacob requests.  It’s actually a recipe for a pureed yellow squash pie that I got from Mary at the Recycle Center.  I cut down on the butter, upped the eggs and replaced the white sugar with brown to make it a little more ‘caramely’.  I like to think of it as a pumpkin pie without the heavy-handed spices.  And yes, I did get a pie since I last wrote.  Jim made nice Mutzu pie with apples from the Farmer’s market.  He actually made two and gave one away, so he was busy.  Tommie even got into the act, making Beignets from a mix that our relatives from Mississippi brought us when they visited MI in June.  
 Beignets come from the café Beignet in New Orleans, and they’re deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar.  They make delightful companions to espresso!

We did manage to get out a little too, attending the Lotus Festival for the first time as a family this year.  The boys’ favorite was De Temps Antan.  Each boy had ended up with a band T-shirt from the band.  After a pre-Lotus trip to the Owlery for dinner and Blu Boy for a "diva brownie" and ice cream for the boys, the evening was full and fun.  This week Grandma comes to visit and the boys have fall break, so I expect a packed few days!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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