Friday, July 19, 2019

Apollo 11 Inspired

I was too little to have the full experience of the moon landing, but that doesn't mean it didn't influence every second of my childhood. It happened just before I moved to Texas as a wee tot, and was the theme of my early life.

It was a time when the country was united in looking up into something bigger than itself.

As opposed to now, when we seek out microagressions we feel people have perpetrated against us while we were taking selfies.


The whole looking up thing needs to come back into vogue. Contemplating the vastness of the universe and all the wonders of things we don't know the half of yet brings a humility that we desperately need back.

I love the generation that said - "sure - put me in a tin can for four days and we'll see if I end up on the moon." Then, when they ended up on the moon, which is crazy beyond belief, they then were happy to get back in the can, plummet through the atmosphere, and take a hard landing in an inhospitable ocean with a so-so chance of rescue.

Contrast that with a world that has a Kardashian starring in it.

Just food for thought.

I haven't been big on media since we tore down the wall, honestly. The standard was set for me very early in my life, what with space exploration, the Berlin wall, Tienanmen Square and whatnot. It hasn't been nearly as interesting since, so I've opted out. And I haven't missed it.

What I do miss is the shared optimism of the decades between middle school and September 11th.

We used to have a sense of humor, a shared load and a neighborly affection that may NOT be missing now, but it's portrayed as missing.

I see it in real life all the time, but I never see it on the news or on social media, so I do worry about people who perceive that it's missing.

It is there. But you have to go outside, look up, and talk to your neighbors to see it.

If we all did that, the weirdos in the world would have a lot less power. I love the way that James Renner, one of my favorite podcasters, ends every episode of his podcast The Philosophy of Crime: "Remember, there's a simple but challenging solution to the epidemic of crime. If everyone took the time to make good friends with their neighbors, we would know when someone needs our help, before they become a statistic. Don't be fearful of the world. Make friends, and make it better."

So that's my advice. You can take it or not - you're a free American. But I do hope you guard your happiness and peace like we used to do in the olden days, and like I do every day.

Today, I choose to celebrate a moment of wonder and unity that changed the world. It was a good day.

I used my water barrier pen and infinity dies to draw a circle I could watercolor on five half sheets of watercolor paper. Then I painted clear water into them, and dropped in Payne's Grey, Mayan Dark Blue, Moonglow (duh!), Shadow Violet and Kyanite into the wet circles for crater textures.

I used sentiments from Dream Big, Astronomical and Lucky Star for the sentiments. These are 4 bar notecards - an adorable size I've adopted from Debby Hughes.
Want to see how quick and easy these are? Great - I have a video for you! Enjoy! Stay tuned below the video for a recipe for some AMAZING crispy Greek potatoes, recommended to me by my friend Sue, one of my most trusted food sherpas. Sakura Pgb10c51 Aqualip...
CM315 Lucky Star - Hero Arts
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DI586 Lucky Star Frame Cuts (B) -...
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Dream Big Stamp Set
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Dream Big Frame Cuts
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Astronomical Stamp Set
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Circle Infinity Dies (H)
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Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors
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Simon Says Stamp WHITE 4 Bar Scored...
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Art Anthology BIG CRAFT MAT 24x36 311473
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Heavy Base Weight Card Stock- White
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Die Storage - Clear Storage Pockets...
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Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
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Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
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The Ultimate Mixing Palette: a World...
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Nesting Porcelain Bowls - BLICK art...
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My Favorite Watercolor Sketchbook
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Sue's Crispy Greek Potatoes

1 kg Russet potatoes (peeled)
2 heaping tbsp minced garlic (~6 cloves)
2 heaping tbsp yellow mustard
1/3 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 heaping tbsp dried oregano
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt (plus more when serving)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp baking soda

The day before you plan to enjoy the potatoes, get started with your prep. You want lots of time for them to marinate! Start by boiling a big pot of water on the stove and peeling your potatoes. Quarter the potatoes length-wise. If some potatoes are extra thick, you may want to cut each quarter in half.

Once your water is boiling, add in 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda, then add in your potatoes and cover with a lid. Immediately, set the timer for two minutes. The cool potatoes will stop the water from boiling, but that’s okay — they are still cooking and getting softer. Once the timer goes, dump the potatoes out into a sieve and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking further. You don’t want them too soft. Set them aside while you prepare the marinade.

In your large casserole dish (anywhere around 11″ x 9″), mix together olive oil, minced garlic, yellow mustard (like Suzie’s or French’s), lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Add in your potatoes and stir them around until each is fully coated. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. When you have the opportunity, remove them from the fridge and stir the potatoes around so the other sides get to bathe in the marinade (I try to do this at least three times before cooking). You can get away with a very short marinade (1 hour) but I marinated them for 72 hours and they were amazing! I could tell the difference.

When it’s time to cook them, preheat your oven to 390F and cover the dish with an upside down baking sheet (aluminum foil is typically used here but I find a baking sheet works just as well and it’s zero waste). Bake for an hour, then remove the cover and bake for another 45 minutes. Thanks to the baking soda in the boiling water, the bottoms should have an irresistible extra crispy layer. Remove from oven and enjoy with a Greek salad (with this tofu feta)…or all on their own like I do (I actually love them best at room temperature). Sometimes I add an extra drizzle of lemon when they’re on my plate. They’re all I want to eat sometimes!! Hope you love them as much as I do.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Little Shifty

Remember my Stencil Staggering video? Well I'm back with a little (literal) twist on that today, with a similar concept on a Gel Press print!

This technique is super simple, and just gives you a new way to use stencils on your Gel Press!

I started with my 6x6 Gel Press, and three Golden Fluid Acrylics.

You can see two layers here - the bottom magenta and orange layer was created using these fun rubbing plates, which you'll see in the video.

The top layer is this stencil, shifted slightly as you'll see in the video, to give it a 3D look. (FYI, you can get 10% off all the stencils I'm using today and the rest of her store with code LydiaFan10 here.)
This sample uses a different rubbing plate from the set, shifted using the technique to create the sense of motion.

Next, to show you how different the shifting technique looks from the traditional use of the stencil - here is the shifted version of this leaf stencil:
And here's a traditional use of the stencil. See how it doesn't have that 3D effect? Underneath the leaves is a shifted version of one of the rubbing plates

Finally - here's one of the shifted rubbing plate prints. I love the pattern on this one. 
These are going to make great card backgrounds! I'm sure you'll see them soon.

In the meantime, enjoy the video, and below that, since it's cherry season - a recipe for homemade maraschino cherries from my friend Jennie Chen. I just made six jars of these for gifts, and I still put 6 pounds of pitted cherries into the freezer for later. The two festivals at Whole Foods that warm my heart are cherry fest and Hatch fest. For those north of the Mason Dixon, or east of the Mississippi, that means hot green chile peppers, roasted outside the store and sold in 2 lb. containers. Those go into the freezer in large quantities for winter salsa. If you've never had green chile beef - I'll be back with that recipe soon. It's one dish, one step and you'll eat tacos all week! Enjoy the video!

City Windows Stencil
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Big Leaves - A Colorful Life Designs
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6x6 Gel Press
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Joyful Tiles Turnabout Stencil Pack
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Inovart Pro-Roller Brayer
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MISTI Stamping Tool
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Absorber - Synthetic Cleaning Cloth
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer...
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Homemade Maraschino Cherries by Jennie Chen.

Per 1 pound sweet cherries, pitted:

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C water
2 t lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 C of Luxardo maraschino liquor and 1/2 cup brandy  
Wash and pit the cherries.
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and booze and bring to a rolling boil.
When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the liqueur, and let cool.

Using mason jars, can as you would preserves - I boil the jars, add the cherry mixture, put the lids on just finger tight and then boil the filled jars for another five minutes or until contents are boiling. Then don't tighten the lid for 12 hours. The lids should click and be indented. But please note - these are not technically canned - they are intended to be added to drinks or eaten after you make them, because they are irresistible. And the high alcohol content makes them different from preserves, etc. I usually have more of the juice then will fit in the jars, and I use that as a cocktail additive as well - it's great in an old fashioned.
Please, for the love of God, don't eat those soulless neon "cherries" in a jar. This is easy and will make your house smell amazing.
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