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Kangaroo Spotting

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Back on the Radar and Back to Reality

I've been off the radar for a few weeks not really by choice. Post surgery was not the staycation I expected.

Aside from not being able to paint, write or exercise, I couldn't even tie-up my own hair. It's unsettling being so dependent. Don't get me wrong, the surgery was a choice and my inability is temporary. Still...I felt unsettled. Frustrated. Cranky.

You know how doing things with children takes twice as long as they normally would? Well that was me and then some. For a quick-moving lady, this was torture. I had so many things I wanted to do but could not.

One example is the commissioned artwork I have to finish for a dear friend in Buffalo. It's been hand-stretched, primed and has its first layer of paint. It's like an airplane that's been sitting on the runway for three weeks. I worry about momentum, I worry there is no one left in the plane.

Overthinking it I'm sure, but still. Anxiety.

Finding time to paint in real life is hard enough as it is. People often ask me how I do it- and I'll tell you- it's not a magic formula. It involves $cash money$ for childcare. So on days where motivation is lacking, the pressure is on financially and emotionally.

So yeah, the last few weeks with visiting family, surgery and recovery I felt my momentum sputter and fail. 

If you don't feel bad for me already what I'm going to say next might make you want to punch me in the face. (Just let me complain a little bit, we're friends right?)

I'm writing a blog post for the first time in several weeks from an empty beach on my iPhone. Not the easiest thing to do without a keyboard and with a bum hand but it feels good. And did I mention I'm on a beach?

Get this though- despite the practically empty shore there are these two sets of parents who are literally talking over me. They both have sons named Nate and they both get really pissed off when people ask if it's short for Nathaniel. It's just Nate- ok everyone?? Deal with it. People have turned a nickname into a full name. Besides, Dad no.1 really thinks it sounds sportier that way.

I know, I know, I'm on the beach. My daughter is occupied. I'm WRITING for the first time in weeks. I should be so lucky but I feel like these people are interrupting my mojo. Like when you're in the bedroom with hubby and the baby starts crying. Quit messing with my release Nate's Moms and Dads!

Moments after Nate's parents left. Go talk over a seagull next time!

I might sound really negative right now but I don't feel it. I'm pleased to be blowing off these cobwebs and actually putting down a few thoughts. I'm not a one-handed robot after all!

To prove it I'll tell you something positive. While down here on the Penninsula I came across an awesome (and reasonably priced) Arts and Crafts Market called Flock of Seagulls in Rye. It's such a lovely place to treasure-hunt or have a coffee. We went there at least once every day.

Anyway- they rent out space to local artists and vendors (I bought two dresses, an artwork and a pillow cover) a woman who works there took my business card. I left the market and later received a message from her saying that she took a look at my site, loves my work and would make room for me any time. What a massive compliment!

So even though I'm coming out of a funk now I feel happy. I know that painting and telling stories are part of my stress relief, part of who I am. Knowing this gives me back a little of my power (and hopefully some jet fuel).

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Into the Carnival of 2016

So far this year has been like the house of mirrors. Big promises, unexpected turns and some ugly distortion. 

I won't go into detail about it here but I've sent a very personal email to my subscribers. If you’re interested in receiving it please sign up here. I’m not sure what future ones will be like but let’s just see.

Thursday I’m going in for my long awaited hand surgery (35 years to be exact). Operation bump-be-gone. You may have read about it when I posted about it here last year. Surprisingly it’s been one of my most popular posts of 2015. 

The only nerves I have about the whole thing are only in regard to how long my right hand will be out of commission. I mean, I’m right handed. And to keep sane I paint and write or at least exercise. I can’t imagine not doing any of those things. Well I can imagine it..and it's not pretty. I'm one of those people who spirals downward without stimulation.

If all goes well, I will only have a few days of downtime. In a way I'm actually looking forward to being forced to rest. I should probably enjoy it and stop whinging. Cross my heart (with my left hand) I'll do my best…Netflix queue- I’m coming for YOU (suggestions welcome).

Anyway- apologies in advance if I'm off the radar for a minute or two.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Makers Monthly: February

Hey crafty, creative peeps! It's our favorite time of the month again- time to showcase our latest projects.

Read more about this monthly link up here.

To join with  your latest DIY, project or to share your store click on the blue link at the bottom of this post. I'll be paying to promote this post on Facebook- at least a few of you contacted me to say you had gotten a bit of traffic from it which rocks!
I feel incredibly grateful that I've been able to work on another special commission over the last few weeks. The brief is super interesting too! Want to hear about it?

A lovely friend I met (through another lovely mutual friend) recently changed careers so she could do something she felt was more meaningful with her time and talent. This woman is whipsmart and as wise as they come. I'm kind of forcing her to be my mentor because she inspires me.

Helen turned me onto Author and Speaker Brene Brown who, through her writing, is showing me how to be brave enough to let walls down in my artwork and in my life.

So, now Helen works at a local University and wanted a series for her new office. It's kind of a hub where she will be conducting interviews and doing research so it's a place in the uni where it will get more than average traffic and where people will sit for long periods of time.

Her idea was for me to create three pieces that tell a story. Something for people to stare at as they spoke. She liked my use of historical magazines in some of my work and enjoyed some of the softness and color in this piece.

After mulling it over I thought about telling the story of technology. It means something completely different to me than it does to students today (For example I was in the last class to graduate Uni before Facebook existed) but I think technological change is a universal subject across generations.

Above is the piece I was working on in January. It's been completed and sent off to it's new home!

January 2016

December 2015

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Sexy, Slow-Cooker, Soy Chicken With Asian Slaw

Did you ever notice how words used to describe food often sound a little naughty? I mean, seriously- I dare you to watch Nigella and not think about sex once. It's all in the descriptions.

I was feelin' it while this chicken was in the slow-cooker! The smells wafting out of there were downright sassy. I could not WAIT for dinner.

The sweet, salty and sour flavors will tease your tastebuds into submission. There is nothing like a completely satisfying meal.

Bonus: This one is mid week quickie.

Wink, wink.

Slow Cooker Chicken With Asian Slaw

For the Chicken

  • 2 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Clove Garlic Grated
  • 1 (Thumb size) Chunk of Raw Ginger Grated
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine wet ingredients in slow cooker then add the grated ginger and garlic.
  2. Give it a quick stir.
  3. Add chicken making sure the breasts are at least halfway submerged. I like to cover the exposed breasts (giggle) with a few spoonfuls of the sauce and gently swirl to coat the chicken completely.
  4. Once cooked, remove the chicken and shred with tongs and a fork.
  5. Transfer juices to a pan and reduce to about halfway, then add shredded chicken to the sauce. (You can skip this step if you want but it's worth it).

For the Slaw

  • 2 Stalks Celery
  • 1 Carrot Shredded
  • 1 Stalk Broccoli (skinned)
  • 1 Red Apple
  • A few leaves Chopped Mint
  • 1 Tomato 
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • A Few Shakes Salt & Pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Shred veggies and fruit with a grater or in a food processor. (I chopped the tomato with a knife so it didn't get mushy.
  2. Toss with lemon juice and sesame oil.
  3. Add mint.
  4. Season with S&P.

To Serve

Place chicken and slaw onto little slider buns and serve with some extra slaw on the side. If you are low carb try putting everything into a wrap or onto some spinach.