Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mmmm, PIE

Oh. MY. It's my dad's blackberry pie! I desperately wish I was at home right now to eat this. Mmmm . . . sweat delicious home made pie. No one can make pie like my dad, and he doesn't even make his own crust! (Shhh, it's a secret). I don't know the recipe exactly (and he probably can't even tell you), but I would guess it's pretty close to this:

Blackberry Pie

2 9" frozen Oronoque Orchards pie crusts
4 cups fresh blackberries
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2) Remove both pie crusts from freezer, turn one upside down on a cutting board
3) Combine berries, flour, sugar and lemon juice. Spoon into pie shell, and dot with butter.
4) Gently loosen the 2nd pie crust from aluminum and cut into 3/4 inch strips.
Create a lattice for the crust if desired.
5) Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes, or until browned.
6) Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let the Rain Come Down

Normally I would be upset with 3 whole days of rain, or maybe it's been 4 by now? In any case, I think it's made my week. Not only has it been rainy, but deliciously cool. I have even been able to wear jeans! for the first time in months! This is cause for celebration! Fall is on the way! I saw this picture it reminded me of the past few days.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh look, it's my dream room. I'm pretty sure this is almost exactly the way I've been imagining my own library/studio for some day in the future. I'll have to keep this in mind.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's that time again . . . time to move. I was just staring out my windows watching the rain and I realized that very soon this will no longer be my view. It surprises me how fast the time has gone. I've lived in this apartment for just about 2 1/2 years! That's longer than I've lived any where else besides the house I grew up in. As much as I'm looking forward to my new apartment and leaving all the problems of this one behind, it will always hold the title of "My First New York Apartment". If I had it my way I would just take my whole room here and put it in another apartment. I love it so much . . . and yet it's time to go.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Christina's World

Christina's World, by Andrew Wyeth (1948) is one of my favorite paintings. I think of it most after I've spent time at home because for some reason it reminds me of myself, and the place I grew up. Although the painting has a rather forlorn feeling, it also seems wistful to me. I imagine that she is looking towards the house dreaming and wishing for something.
Many of Andrew Wyeth's paintings have this same feeling of isolation, which sometimes makes me sad. But I love the textures he develops in his paintings and I have especially admired how he captures trees. Each one has a distinct personality and he brings it out with what seems like extreme detail. I look to his work as a source of inspiration.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just Finished: Made In America

I just recently finished reading this book, Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, by Bill Bryson, and it was really great! I was a little skeptical at first, but once I got into it I was continually surprised by the information he presents. Bryson is a fantastic non-fiction writer, in that his style is very engaging and humorous. The book is organized cronologically and by category, so it was more of a history of america than just a book about language. Below are a few of the excerpts I found most interesting/entertaining:

In reference to the Pilgrims: "It would be difficult to imagine a group of people more ill-suited to a life in the wilderness. They packed as if they had misunderstood the purpose of the trip. They found room for sundials and candle snuffers, a drum, a trumpet, and a complete history of Turkey. One William Mullins packed 126 pairs of shoes and thirteen pairs of boots. Yet they failed to bring a single cow or horse, plow or fishing line. . . They were in short, dangerously unprepared for the rigors ahead, and they demonstrated their incompetence in the most dramatic possible way: by dying in droves."

"Even on the great National Road, pride of the American highway system, builders were permitted to leave stumps up to fifteen inches high—slightly under knee height. Imagine, if you will, bouncing day after day over rocks, fallen branches, and tree stumps in an unsprung carriage and you may get some notion of the ardors of a long-distance trip in nineteenth-century America."

"Nonetheless, the McDonald's formula has clearly worked. In an average year, all but 4 percent of American consumers will visit a McDonald's at least once . . . McDonald's buys more beef and potatoes and trains more people than any other organization, the U.S. Army included."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maybe I should think about getting some new business cards. This is pretty spiffy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

State Fairs

Speaking of cows, now is right about the time that everyone should get themselves to a state fair. Not that I have been to one recently myself, but, I was cleaning out my old National Geographics and I came across one my favorite articles, "Take in the State Fair with Garrison Keillor". I was laughing out loud when I read this. Here is a favorite excerpt from The Ten Chief Joys of the State Fair:

" 3. To mingle, merge, mill, jostle gently, and flock together with throngs, swarms, mobs and multitudes of persons slight or hefty, punky or preppy, young or ancient, wandering through the hubbub and amplified razzmatazz and raw neon and clouds of wiener steam in search of some elusive thing, nobody is sure exactly what."

My personal memories of the county fair include giant wads of cotton candy dissolving in my mouth, the slightly anxious but joyful feeling while swinging at the top of the ferris wheel, and, of course, winning first place in my horse back riding class.

The photos from this story by Joel Sartore were recently in Communication Arts magazine, and they are pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself. Also, Garrison Keillor may be one of my heros. I have listened to many of his stories about Lake Wobegon on NPR. They are so captivating and hilarious.

Now go find yourself a state fair, or at least a corn dog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who doesn't love flying?

While I do love to travel . . . it does have its down sides. This piece by Christoph Niemann is pretty hilarious. My transatlantic flights go pretty much the same, except with a little more anger directed at the crying baby.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pamela Zagarenski

I would like to introduce one of my favorite illustrators, Pamela Zagarenski. She happens to be from my home town, and I first met her and saw her work a few years ago –and I have been in awe ever since. The sense of whimsy and dream-like quality to her work is something I wish I could achieve in my own. I particularly like the multi-media aspect of her work; the text she places in most of her pieces is always fantastic. Someday when I have a lot of money I'm going to buy one of her original large paintings and hang it somewhere in my house. But in the mean time, I'll just have to enjoy the images she shares online and in books.
She has also published a number of children's books with Scholastic. You can see them here. I admire that she is able to be successful while sticking with hand made art. I hope I can do the same.