Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Ever turn around and find that someone you care about is gone? I’ve lost three friends recently, the first at the end of August. My friend Sally died in September 12th of a stroke. We lost J. Bogan Nov 7th, I never heard what got him but he’d dealt with some chronic illness for years. I’m not a big fan of losing people I care about, especially when they are too young and the loss is so complete. The Thanksgiving holiday has been a good reminder to count my blessings. And so I look around my life and am grateful for friends.

Some people are a part of my life long enough that our stories become interwoven, and some pass through very quickly. I took a metalworking class a while back. I had gotten some really difficult news that morning and though the seminar was excellent, it was a painful weekend for me. I ran across one of the other students in that class on Saturday, she came over and gave me a big hug. Her husband came over and introduced himself a little later on. My connection with her was brief, she came into my life in a moment of private grief, but she was very kind. And her kindness helped. I’m grateful for this kind of momentary friend.

I am also grateful for those who have been a part of my life for years. A friend joined me for lunch recently who has proven to be a trustworthy friend and confidant. And there are some recent additions, people who are kind of new in my life but have nevertheless become interwoven in my story. I could list a lot of people that have marked my life by honestly sharing of themselves with me. There are women in an old hometown that I love to spend time with, and even though we live at a great distance now, when we’re together the connection is as strong as always. I love these people, and I’d miss them deeply if life or death took them away from me.

I live a solitary life as a studio artist, most of my time is spent right here in Studio B. My closest companions are my border collies. My life is far from perfect, there is so much I need to learn. Thankfully there are some teachers, and some fellow students who walk with me as we learn and grow together. The losses of this fall have made me want to remind my friends that I love them, that I’d miss them if they were gone, and that I appreciate what each one of them have brought to my life.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for dropping by my blog. Life is short, be authentic and love unreservedly. None of us are promised a tomorrow.
-Carmen Rose

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Community Bazaar

Photos from the holiday show. My booth had painted art glass and hand made soap:
Dichroic glass pendants:
Hand dyed silk scarves, cut velvet scarves and cut satin scarves blowing in the wind:
Some quilts around the edges
And lots and lots of sunshine! Yay for sunshine, otherwise the cold would have gotten me!
It was a good day, lots of people came through and a few friends dropped by to say hi. Our local paper sent a reporter and he quoted the most mundane thing I said and they ran photos of board looking venders. Oh well. We set up at 7 am and went home at about 4:30 pm, it was a long cold day but worth it. I went home and curled up under lots of blankets, happy to be in out of the cold!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The View From Studio B

The weather turned warmer today and the sun came out for a change. The leaves have all fallen off and now we have a view of the horizon from Studio B. This time of year is such a treat when the mountains in the distance reappear. I tried stitching a few of the photos taken from my back porch this morning.

For Thanksgiving, we usuinvite family, whoever is still in town, then serve anything but traditional Thanksgiving fare. I’ve never really been a big fan of the flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving, too much boring blonde food, usually over salted and over cooked. However, we have two young students with us who call Korea home, so I decided to give them the traditional Thanksgiving experience. I’m a big fan of the Food Network and I’ve learned a lot in the last year and decided that I was going to see if I could create a Thanksgiving that was traditional but also flavorful. (And since I'd served a killer delicious hot curry soup the evening before, we were ready for something with a *little* less flavor!)

The turkey was the first thing I started with this morning. I started with an Ina Garten recipe which was pretty simple and straight forward. The only thing I did different than she did was to slice a lemon on my mandolin, add thyme, garlic and olive oil and then I carefully worked this mixture between the skin and the meat. That's not how she does it but that's how I do it when I roast a chicken on the grill and it works really well for that. As the turkey roasted I basted it a few times with melted butter. After the bird turned a lovely brown I covered it with foil so that the skin wouldn't burn. It got done a little faster than I expected and so it came out of the oven at about 3:30 and I tented it under foil and it was still piping hot at 4:30 when I carved it up to serve at 5. It was moist and good, no real big flavors but not dry either. I was very pleased with how it turned out. This is how it looked before roasting, you can kind of see the lemon slices under the skin, it's buttered with salt and pepper on the skin.
The next order of the morning was the green bean casserole. I’ve developed a bit of a snobbery toward Cream of Mushroom soup lately and so I went hunting for the real thing. A combination of Tyler’s Ultimate and Alten Brown’s recipes were good inspiration but I did a two pounds of beans version of the recipe and I didn’t bake it in an iron skillet. I figured a pound of beans to a pound of shrooms would about do it. I blanched the beans and toasted up the onions for the top. I sautéed the shrooms, made a roux and then added chicken stock (that I made the day before) and then added some buttermilk. It calls for cream but I think buttermilk tastes as good and is lots less calories. These are the shrooms just after I poured in the buttermilk.

Next I started in on the dressing. I’m not a big fan of dressing, I usually fail to see the point of eating it at all. After some research though, I found a few ideas I wanted to try. First I found one recipe with apple and cranberries in it and that sounded good to me. Then I watched Ina Garten on tv making this recipe and it sounded even better. I followed the recipe fairly closely for the most part. I added some dried apricots and pecans and omitted the onions in the dressing. When it came out of the oven I threw on a handful of fresh green onion and it make it look beautiful and the heat from the dressing was perfect for the onions. It worked and people kept eating it, my father even requested some to take home. That tickled me.
I made a potato gratin recipe that I saw Tyler make that I thought sounded good. I did layers of white potatoes, shredded cabbage, Yukon gold potatoes, green and red peppers almost like it was a lasagna, between each layer was more Parmesan and sharp white cheddar cheese. I think the green and red peppers in it made it look like holiday food and I sliced all of it on my brand new mandolin (love it!) = ultra thin. Tyler made it with cream and the comments on the recipe online were that it was too rich. I made it with buttermilk and it was about right. I topped it with cheese, green onion and bacon and that was the best part of the whole thing! The students were very helpful making this dish, asking lots of questions and pealing potatoes. Cooking with students is fun.
Ina Garten makes gravy the day before and then just slowly brings it up to temperature when needed. I thought that was a great idea and so when I made chicken stock, I also made gravy yesterday. That way I could attend to other things at the last moment instead of working on gravy. I'll do that again!

My husband taught the students how to make bread in the bread machine and it turned out flavorful and tender, just perfect! They did a great job. A friend of ours gave us a jar of homemade apple butter, so we included that on the table. My father made his traditional cranberry salad that is still far better than anything I've ever tasted of a cranberry salad nature! I don't know what all is in there but I do hope the secrets are passed along to me soon! My Mom brought an apple pie, drizzled with caramel and topped with some toasted peanuts. It was amazing, the perfect ending to the meal.

The beauty of this kind of meal is that the prep is all done early in the day and the food goes into the fridge until it is time to bake and serve. That meant that all the dirty dishes had already been finished and the kitchen looked good. Afterward there were only a few things to wash up and dish washer loaded and the kitchen was quickly set back to rights. In no time we were all gathered around the kitchen table playing games until late. It was a lovely evening and I really enjoyed having them here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Message in a Bottle

I haven't slowed down enough to blog lately, there is a lot going on in Studio B. I don't have photos of all the things in the works at the moment but I have a big show coming up this weekend so I've been in full tilt production mode.

I wanted to show these olive oil bottles because I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The glass is from Spain, the colors are either cobalt or red. And they come with cork and a pour top. Did you know that having your olive oil in a dark glass is good for the oil? Heat, air and light are the enemies of oil, read more about keeping your olive oil happy and healthy here.

I've got blue square ones with metallic gold details:
And some with white pearl details:
And two for my own kitchen that I labeled "Canola" and "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" (These are my favorite oils!)
Oh, and while I was working I decorated this cute little cobalt vase that also hangs out in my kitchen.
I ended up with a few red ones as well, these are decorated in pearl:
And these are decorated with gold detailing:
I think they are cute as can be, it took a while to do them all but worth it. Most have a spray of flowers down one side with a wreath of flowers around the neck, some have a more all around look. None of them are ever exactly alike even though the designs are matching. So chose one or more and pair them up for your favorite cooking oils.

Want one of these olive oil bottles for your kitchen or to give to a friend? $22 each, just email me using the link on my profile page.

My new favorite salad dressing is a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard and honey. It's ultra fast and easy to throw together and the proportions are very forgiving. Stir some together and taste, then add vinegar if it's too sweet, add honey if it's too tart, add olive oil if it is too thick and add more dijon if the oil won't mix with the rest. Stir for a while and serve as a salad dressing or a dip. I stirred in a little bit of sriracha hot sauce tonight and that added some real kick to it. Tonight at dinner I ended up finishing my salad first, then enjoying a piece of pizza dipped in this amazing stuff.... even the crust that got a tiny bit over done was amazing in this. YUM!

We have two students with us from a local girl's boarding high school, they are here for Thanksgiving break. They asked me tonight to show them how to make this dressing so I had a little impromptu cooking class right here at home. It was fun!

I think olive oil is a wonder food, there are many good-for-you reasons to make the switch if you haven't already. And if a pretty bottle would help you make the transition, then let me know.

We were baby sitting for some lovely cherub type children one evening last week and I was decorating these bottles while my husband tended to them. They watched me painting bottles and started talking about sending a message in a bottle. What a lovely idea! If I were going to tuck a message in one of these bottles, it would be a simple reminder: Take the time this holiday season to slow down long enough to be intentionally grateful. And P.S. You are loved.

Happy Creating and thanks for dropping by!
-Carmen Rose

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Earrings! (Plus a discount coupon code!)

The lovely folks at dropped by my blog a while back and noticed some of the jewelry design work I have posted in the sidebar. They offered me the opportunity to choose some of their inventory that they’d send me for free if I’d blog about it and them. I can always use $35 worth of crystals so of course I agreed. I looked through the Swarovski crystals (check out this selection!) and chose these drops first:

It's the Swarovski 6100 24x12mm faceted teardrop pendant in "crystal volcano" and they are SO cool! When the package came in the mail it looked like this, all pretty in purple!
I opened it up to check out my loot! Yay!
I also picked up some of these lovely lil buggas, a small oval crystal in the same "crystal volcano" color. These are little delicate thinga-ma-bobs!
So I went searching through my stash of Swarovski crystals to find something to go with them and found some fuchsia bicones.
I looped a fine wire through the crystal and back up into the bicone and put a loop on the top and trimmed the edges.
I made some small "S" shaped curls and folded them over the ovals and dangled some bicones from them and then put them all together.
I added the ear wires and that was it. A very easy and quick pair of earrings that are really fun to wear!

I went to a costume party on October 31st. I went as a character from a black and white movie trying to break into the world of full color. I wore full black and white makeup, even my shoulders and back were white (which could be a post all itself) these colorful sparkling earrings, a crimson scarf and matching crimson lipstick (sadly this photo was taken before I put on the bright lipstick.) I enjoyed wearing the earrings a great deal and got lots of compliments!
I got a little card in the mail from the folks at today, they've given me a little treat to pass along to you. If you go there and make a purchase before 12/31/09, you can use this coupon code and get 10% off your order. Feel free to pass this along to your beading friends! The coupon code is: "SCF10P-ARTBEADS-0424" At holiday time a pair of earrings is a lovely gift, even nicer when you can pick up the beads at discount prices. Thanks to for the lovely beads!

Happy creating my lovely readers, keep up the good work!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

With Gratitude, my 200th Blog Post! (And a Give-Away!!)

It’s hard to believe I’ve written 200 posts on this blog but I have. I’m grateful for those of you who pop by and leave your comments, thanks for being out there and interested in whatever is coming out of Studio B at the moment. No doubt that it’s always going to be something different.

I’ve put together a little package as my way of saying thanks for being out there, thanks for reading and thanks for leaving comments.
First, a small vase. I call these “rose vases” because they are perfect for a little bouquet of whatever is in bloom. I’m not a big gardener but I like picking up a bouquet of flowers at the supermarket sometimes and bringing them home. This is the kind of vase I always reach for when I do that, add a few marbles in the bottom and trim all the stems on the flowers and pop them in one at a time. Before long you’ve got a lovely little bouquet for the kitchen counter, the office or the bathroom. It’s a great way to brighten up the place or greet guests, and of course a small vase with some lovely fresh blooms is always a lovely gift.

This is a painted vase that has been fired to thermo harden the glaze resulting in a dishwasher resistant finish. In other words, you can run it through the dishwasher but if you do it too often you’ll start to lose the texture on the vase. But really, I think most of us can hand wash a small vase with no trouble.
Secondly, a small dichroic glass pendant with a little millefiori flower at the lower edge. Add a simple chain or tie with the satin cord I’ll include and it will be a lovely and delicate accent for whatever you’ve chosen to wear.
Finally, three olive oil guest soaps complete the package. First, Lapis Clove is inspired by the stone Lapis and has gold leaf in it to mimic the gold flecks in the stone. The fragrance is a fresh crisp men’s spice combination of clove and eucalyptus (I created it as a men’s combination but I love it and would certainly use it myself!) Tangerine Splash has some orange rind in it to exfoliate your skin. The fragrance includes Tangerine, Orange, Bergamot, Nutmeg, Rosemary and lemongrass essential oils. The final bar is Jasmine Clementine with calendula petals in it. The fragrance includes Orange, tangerine, Mandarin Orange, Jasmine and Amber, a blend of essential and fragrance oils.
So thanks for dropping by and checking out the things I make and the words I write. I can tell you that there is no other life that I’d rather live than the life of an artist!

In order to qualify for the giveaway, please become a “follower” of my blog using the link at the right. Then leave a comment below and I’ll draw someone at random on November the 14th and announce the winner that day. Make sure I have a way to email you, so either have your email address in your profile info, provide a link to your address or (in a pinch) post it in your comment. Thanks so much for dropping by. Happy creating!
-Carmen Rose

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Makeup Artist

I'm one of the makeup artists for the local production of Tuesday Mourning. An article about the show is in our local paper and a little blurb on our local tv. It's written by a local playwright and the music is by a local musician.
They are in WW2 costumes...
Singing and having fun...
Throw in a little jitterbug dancing...
A big smile here and there...
And a very sad tale of the Bedford Boys. Thirty young men from Bedford, Virginia went off to fight in the war, 19 of them lost their lives at Omaha Beach on D-Day. It was the worst loss of any community of the country. The story is wretched, the music is excellent and the visuals are stark and somber. The cast is fun (one VERY ticklish!!) and I enjoy doing vintage hair and theater makeup.

BTW, this is blog post #199... and to celebrate my 200th post I will do a give away. All those who are "followers" of my blog will qualify. See the link to the right to become a follower. Thanks!

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's that time of year!

I love black and white movies with the beautiful clothing and women with curves and eyelashes. What a dramatic pose with Cyd Charisse.Hats with little veils are very cool also, and also feathers. I like the almost bare looking makeup with lovely lashes.
And this Agnes Morehead photo is the reason I love black and white so much, the lighting is perfect and her eyes are incredible. The hint of a smile and ever so slightly raised eyebrow gives the look some personality, maybe a hit of challenge.
This is Louis Brooks with the boxy cut, smokey eyes and little doll baby lips. She looks sad to me, I think it's the eyebrows and the vantage point of the camera.
This isn't an especially vintage shot, but I found it very striking in pure black and white. Her cut is extremely blunt but that adds to this ultra precise look. Of course this look could be created in photo shop where all the stray details could be edited out.

I was invited to a costume party and with these images in mind, I decided that I wanted to go as a character from a black and white movie desperately trying to make it into the world of color. That was mainly because I had some great accessories in a beautiful shade of crimson, a scarf, earrings, and matching nail polish and lipstick... all of that was stuff I had on hand. I dyed the scarf and made the earrings recently (there will be a post on those earrings coming soon - promise.) Hubby was nice enough to snap my photo before I left (and before I put on the crimson lip color.) Now that's pale!

I had to take one shot inspired by the woman with the hand over her eye. I thought the vintage glove with the ice rink was a nice touch. You can see that the white from my skin has worn off on the dress at the neckline.

I started out with mineral makeup ingredients, mostly titanium dioxide which is much nicer to the skin than clown white. It stayed put pretty well actually, I didn't notice the color sifting or rubbing off, I was pleased.

I used spray color to take my hair black but didn't do a great job covering my skin and didn't get great coverage but that spray color is nasty stuff so I didn't mind much. I ended up needing to take off some of the white and patch the blotches from over spray... note to self: do the black hair first... THEN the white skin.
Glad to see October come to a close and it's time to see what November has to offer.

I spent part of the day at double tech for a local stage production of "Tuesday Mourning." I'm one of the makeup crew for a very small cast, nothing challenging but I'll enjoy getting out and about each evening this week.

BTW, this is post #198. To celebrate my 200th post I'll put a few things together to give away in my 200th. "Followers" of my blog are eligible to win, just click the link at the right and you'll be entered in the drawing.

Thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog. You never can tell what I'll be creating tomorrow. Peace and Creativity to you all, and goodnight.
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