There is a sweet dance with color
Pickles bring so many wonderful memories to mind. They have always been a favorite of mine. When I was little it was always a real treat to spend the night with my friend, Liz. She was the only person I was allowed to spend the night with on a school night. Oh what a rebel I'd feel like staying up late on a tuesday! But that wasn't even the best part. I could eat all the pickles I wanted! Unlike my house, where a strict ONE was allowed (one of the few rules I didn't mind breaking). But not at Liz's. Straight down the middle, we'd divide the jar, stay up late and share stories and schoolgirl giggles.
It has been years since I have seen Liz, but I always think of her when I eat those delicious vinegary cukes : ) And I can still down a jar in no time flat. Proven to be true this past week! E and I made summer pickles. We made them last year, devoured them and have talked about making them again since. A friend of mine gave me some fresh picked vegetables, and with summer coming to a close, it seemed like perfect timing. (AND, those beautiful blue anniversary BALL jars? Has anyone seen them? I have been dying to do something with them, even though I don't have those pictured!)
Summer Quick Picks
2 cups seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 cups water
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
5 Tbs. sugar
4 Tbs. kosher salt
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. coriander seed
1/2 tsp. dill seed
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. Aleppo chili flakes
Tomatoes (green, red and black!)
Jalapeno Peppers (sometimes I am brave enough to throw those in)
Once the cucumbers are cleaned and cut, place them in a bowl with a table spoon or two of salt to draw some of the water out of them. About an hour will do the trick.
For the Brine: Mix together the vinegars, water, salt and sugar on the stove top. When it starts to boil, toss in the garlic cloves, fennel seed, coriander seed, mustard seed, dill seed and aleppo chilli flakes. Whisk together and let it sit for about five minutes.
Arrange the cucumbers, tomatoes, Vidalia onions and peppers in jars. Place fresh dill at the top of the stack. Pour the brine over the stacks until the jar is full. Once the jar is cooled, lids can be placed on top and placed in the fridge! They will be ready the next day, and will keep for about two weeks.
I hope this is a lasting tradition on Humphrey Street! I just absolutely love making them! And of course, eating them, too!
The Finished Upstreet
Lots of starbucks coffee, brand new brushes and lot of time in a sketchbook mean this project is complete! I actually finished several weeks ago but neglected to ever post pictures.
So the picture below is of the first wall. A basic "park scene" is what we were going for! Kristin is having someone come in and build lots of fun stuff on the wall, like an old wooden water tower. This scene wraps around to the picture below it. A big park entrance will be built onto that wall. The paintings are simple, but I like them. I like how they are part of something else, something bigger.
And the last wall is of a small little city scene with wonky buildings and whipped cream trees.
Daffodils and City Streets
This week I will be working on another mural for Southside Church in Peachtree City. This one is of a city street. I love it because it is full of crazy perspectives, wonky buildings, and lots of color. I was supposed to start on it yesterday, but I ran into a few hiccups in my planning for this week. No worries-- I am not much one for scheduling anyway! So, instead I had some much needed time in my studio. (slash.. my front porch)
This is my favorite part of the process. It is the messiest and the most spontaneous. Creating the first layer is so liberating because there are no boundaries. Its just plain fun and free. This first part is just about getting some color on the canvas, getting it started. Lots of rags and spray bottles and finger painting. (shh--don't tell me students)
It was definitely a fun day on Peachtree Street. The painting isn't finished, but it is getting there. I left for Peachtree City and left the daffodils to dry. City Streets are next! Updates to come.
Embrace the Shake
I just love this. Be encouraged today! and Inspired! There is beauty all around you-- find your box, your limits and get creative.
Every Summer Has a Story
I grew up about a mile from the florida border. So the "Welcome to Florida" sign was often overlooked. But not this past saturday! We crossed that state line and officially became tourists. So, naturally, we stopped at the State Welcome Center to drink some fresh squeezed orange juice and pick up some brochures.
If I had actually gotten ready for the day instead of rolling out of bed for the drive, I would have taken my photo in the "insert head" dolphin photo prop. #mustdo onwayback
Six Hours and lots of boiled peanuts later, we arrived.
My mother is like an Indian Princess; I, however, the exact opposite. She soaks up the sun in such a beautiful way, I have to scurry from it. I wear my hat, my glasses, lather in sunscreen, and still can only handle maybe an hour or two in the direct sun. I have literally slept on ice packs in my youth because of this dilemma. I am trying my darndest to not be so transparent but also to avoid skin cancer. My many days as a lifeguard tends to get in the way when I am trying to tan on the beach.
This week will be great! We literally have nothing on the agenda. I can not think of a time when that has been the case for seven straight days. I have a basket full of watercolors, sketchpads, books and my journal!
I'm in Peachtree City this week! I am dodging golf carts and painting another environment for Upstreet. Here is day two! Ive got a lot of work to do but its coming along!
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms"
I had the most amazing opportunity serve alongside Haitians last week through the 410 Bridge. The 410 Bridge has forever changed my view on service and mission work. They have a beautiful model that works and is based around development, sustainability, and building lasting relationships to expand the Kingdom. It really is amazing and it is beautiful to see it work. Read more about it here.
There were lots of service projects throughout the week; We helped build two pit latrines, gave a sex education class, helped in the community garden, and helped Brightpoint set up their sponsorship program. But the one that I was most excited about was, of course, the mural project.
The idea came in lots of conversations before the trip, and all I really had in mind was a large painting... Something the kids could do and I could be a part of. I love to garden, I love to build, and whatever else we could possibly be doing while there would be great.
But I wanted to offer part of me. I wanted to do something that was from inside my heart.
I wasn't sure what would come of the painting or what they would do with it, but I didn't care. It was sure to be a fun experience.
I got a 6x9' drop cloth and primed it before I left. Once in Haiti, I came up with a few sketches and put some light lines down. I was inspired by the folk artist Heather Galler. I love the work my students do throughout the school year based on her.
Day one of the mural.. was not disastrous. But it wasn't filled with my most successful teaching moments! I tried to limit the number of children working on the painting.. but . the language barrier got in the way. Did I mention I do not speak Creole? and that I hadn't thought about that before this project?! I didn't have an interpreter at that moment. And the kids were just ecstatic! they wanted to paint-- everywhere! There was not enough room on the drop cloth for eager hands.
I had to just let go. The kids were having fun! And later I would come up with a better plan!
Day two I did have a plan. And an interpreter to help! Teammates grabbed a child or two and guided them. Their guidance was mostly "coloring in the lines" (did I really just say that?!), helping to explain what the sketches were, and getting them the supplies they needed.We got the painting filled in before we left the community!
It was still insane, but it was fun. There were definitely moments when I felt like I was back at home in my own classroom. Paint going everywhere, brushes in the air, and lots of excited squeals and laughter. But mostly, nothing going according to plan!!
The kids were excited to sign their names, and some left their "mark," if they couldn't write.
That night I outlined their work, and added my own little touch to the painting. Two incredible teammates, Jennifer and Susan, helped me finish it off and stayed up late ( did I mention I felt like I was back home?!) to get it all done.
The next morning we all signed it, prayed over it and it was handed over to the community of Mailiarette. It will be hung in their school that they are opening in September! WAY cool!!!