Sunday, April 24, 2011

'Twas Easter-Sunday.

The full-blossomed trees
Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



Rules of Chocolate Easter Eggs

If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

Diet tip: Eat an Easter egg before each meal.
It'll take the edge off your appetite, and that way you'll eat less.

If you can't eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can't eat all your chocolate, what's wrong with you?

If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.

Money talks. Chocolate sings.

Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

The problem: How to get two pounds of chocolate eggs home from the store in a hot car.
The solution: Eat the eggs in the car park.

Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous?
Because no one wants to quit.

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Painting is very easy when you don't know how,

but very difficult when you do.
~Edgar Degas

The Fine Arts club on campus was setting up an exhibit as I was leaving on Friday. I love to look at the work of new artists. Art tends to drop to the bottom of the list in school budgets along with music. With the world of modern graphics and musical equipment, the traditional painter or musician tends to become lost in the cyber winds. But, I am always attracted to primitive style painting...those done on inexpensive canvas or even good stretched canvas. Sometimes the colors are dramatic, or the perspective is just a little off to make you look.

In the art world, naive or primitive painting is a term used to describe artists who create without formal training. Folk art also falls into this realm as well. I think it would be neat to have a grouping of various folk art paintings of a particular subject...like florals or landscapes.


Most probably would categorize Grandma Moses as one of the more famous primitive painters. In the post-World-War-II years, Moses was one of the most successful and famous artists in America, and possibly the best known American artist in Europe. Some art critics label her as the first artist to become a media superstar. In 1940, Moses went from exhibits in rural fairs and local drugstores to exhibits in fine art galleries in Europe and the United States. Self-taught, a widow and mother of ten (only five of whom survived infancy), Grandma Moses became an American celebrity.

Technically, the work of primitive painters is distinguished by a conceptual rather than a visual approach to painting. Its strength lies in the feeling for pattern and the charm of the mood that is projected.

Here are 2 landscapes from a recent purchase...oil on canvas (Grandma Moses painted on heavy cardboard!). There is just something appealing in their simplicity.

Flowers are always a typical subject for the primitive paper...if one loves to paint, how can one not look at pansies in spring and not think painting?
I do love when I find good folk art done on things other than canvas. These water lilies are painted on a pottery plate...the plate was probably created for the painting.But, then you have those florals lovingly done and professionally framed. You can imagine how proud the artist was when these were hung in the living room!

So, the next time you are at a shop, flea, or yard sale, consider one of those paintings that you know came from the heart not merely from the brush.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

For the person for whom small things do not exist,

the great is not great.
~ Jose Ortega Y Gasset

At times I feel like the cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland .This illustration is from the 1866 edition drawn by John Tenniel(1820-1914). The cat constantly raised philosophical points vexing Alice, but then he had a way to twist humor into his ideas. The world today does require thought provoking ideas, but we sure do need a dose of humor also. And, then again, it is perhaps the small things that give us pause...which brings me to this week's "lesson."

I received a shipment of these wonderful wreaths made from folded pages from old books...and I have them with sheet music also. I am seriously promoting American made...these are created by a woman from the midwest...
Anyway, she packages them with a nice large bag clipped at the top with a clothespin, a clothespin that has been stamped with French--don't ask...I learned Spanish!.

I got to thinking about clothespins...curiosity gets the cat, you know. In 1998 The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History had an exhibition titled “American Clothespins,” which consisted in part of displays of patent models of clothespins from as long ago as the 1850s. In America, 60% of households have automatic dryers, so I am sure there are younger children here who have no idea what these are for.
From the Smithsonian exhibit it was noted that the earliest American patent for a clothespin, issued in March 1832, described a bent strip of hickory held together with a wooden screw. It was impractical. Rain or even dampness would cause the screw to swell, rendering the pin inoperable. It took 21 more years for an improvement to emerge that would be deemed worthy of manufacture (if briefly): the “spring-clamp for clotheslines,” invented by David M. Smith of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853, and made of two wooden “legs” hinged together by a metal spring.

This was the beginning of the end of the uncontested reign of the straight wooden clothespin, a cylindrical strip of wood with a slit up the middle. People had either carved those themselves or purchased them from traveling peddlers who had crafted them by hand. (Frequently these clothespins were given decorative knobs that served well as heads when children turned them into tiny dolls.) Smith’s invention, the earliest incarnation of the clothespin in most common use today, was to be tweaked and modified endlessly: 146 new patents were granted in the mid-nineteenth century alone, most modifying the shape or material of the spring or hinge in order to either improve performance or simplify manufacture.

Philadelphia is known for its Liberty Bell, but also in the downtown area, you can see a giant clothespin...Claes Oldenburg’s 45-foot-high, 10-ton sculpture stands in front of the Center Square Building at 15th and Market Streets, near City Hall.

By the late 1950s the Penley Corporation, founded in 1923 by three brothers in the logging business, was turning out 120 spring clothespins a minute. Richard Penley, the grandson of one of the company’s founders, says the clothespin has always been surprisingly difficult to make. “The disadvantage of working with wood is that you can cut a hundred boards of a particular log and every one of them has a different grain structure. When you cut it into small pieces and dry it, you have a great deal of variation from one piece to the next.”

By 1970 Penley was one of four companies still making clothespins in the United States; the others had either closed or begun importing. In 2001 Penley, too, shut down its clothespin operation and turned to Chinese suppliers. That left the National Clothespin Company in Montpelier, Vermont, the only manufacturer in the country; it gave up the following year. Wooden clothespins are now assembled exclusively in China. Rising manufacturing and labor costs, and dryers, are not the whole story. “Disposable diapers probably did as much damage to the industry as anything else,” Penley says. “Prior to the invention of a diaper you could throw away, families were washing diapers all the time.”

Then, there are the homeowner communities who forbid hanging clothes out to dry. But, bottom line, another little thing done in China, another little simple energy saver turned over to big utilities.

See...philosophy hides under every thought...anyway, maybe you want to hang out...unless you live in one of those socialist neighborhoods!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stressed is

desserts spelled backwards.

And considering it is tax time, planting time, spring cleaning time, end of semester time...well, serve up the goodies!

What is funny is that Google already had my topic set up for today in their search icon...April 3...which today is a Sunday...happens to be the birthday of the ice cream sundae! On April 3, 1892, after services at the Unitarian Church in Ithaca, New York, the Rev. John M. Scott visited the Platt & Colt Pharmacy – and its owner Chester Platt. Platt served up two bowls of vanilla ice cream but decided to jazz it up with cherry syrup and candied cherries. They were so pleased with the creation that Scott suggested it be named after the day it was created, and the "Cherry Sunday" was upon us.

By April 5, the pharmacy was advertising its 10-cent Cherry Sunday in the Ithaca Daily Journal.My research classes have been working with the topic "only in America" this semester, the ice cream sundae is pure Americana.

According to my research, after the 1929 stock market crash, one of the few luxuries that average folks could afford was the democratically-priced sundae. During World War II, patriotic "Victory Sundaes" included a Defense Saving Stamp with every purchase, while the Navy commissioned floating ice cream parlors - refrigerated barges with ice cream plants - to boost troop morale. In wartime and in hard times, home refrigerators were stocked with ice creams that, with a dash of imagination, provided the basis for an irresistible sundae. There are even books written about the creations!

As well as...

Of course, there is the traditional tulip shaped ice cream sundae glass...I do have an area dedicated to glasses for goodies in the shop...but you can use any interesting dish for ice cream...just as you could make a breakfast sundae with oatmeal, fruit, granola, and whipped cream...but, who am I kidding...here is the ultimate sundae for Sunday....
So, you have a reason to celebrate with a sundae today...enjoy!