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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Astronomical Frame Cuts
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Circle Infinity Dies (H)
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Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors
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Da Vinci Cosmotop Sable Mix F Brushes...
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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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VersaFine Clair Ink Pad, Nocturne -...
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Heavy Base Weight Card Stock- White
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Fabriano Extra White Cold Press...
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Escoda Versatil Brushes, Travel Round...
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Sakura CLASSIC WHITE Fine Line 05...
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MISTI Stamping Tool
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Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
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LightView 2in1 LED Magnifier for...
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Mudder 10 Pack White Buffer Sanding...
Teflon Bone Folder - Ellen Hutson LLC
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Crafter's Companion GEMINI...
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Essentials by Ellen Storage...
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Die Storage - Clear Storage Pockets...
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XL Stamp 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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Tombow MONO MULTI Liquid Glue Two...
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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.


  1. Well, this made me tear up. :) I hadn't linked 9/11 to the current media culture. I've been confused lately by our current culture of "seeking out microagressions we feel people have perpetrated against us" vs the culture I grew up in (just ask my kids, ha!). Even though I have my FB feed streamlined, as my husband says, to "cat videos and cards" at times I still feel bombarded by ugliness. Great reminder that reality isn't what the media says it is and guard our peace! Your cards are gorgeous and I love the sentiments!

    1. I feel you! I had to do some curating on FB this week :) Hugs!

  2. These are gorgeous, Lydia, and love the sentiment of your post. Couldn't agree more. ♥

  3. Love how your moon cards turned out. So fun.

  4. You are both a fabulous artist and a fabulous writer. You say it all so well.

  5. I too was much too young for the space stuff. So when I saw your first photo, of all five cards together, the 1st, 3rd & 4th looked like animal faces to me. In the same spirit of "looking up", my childhood had that "game" of laying on your back in the summer grass and identifying "things" (flowers, faces, etc.) in the passing clouds. So now your beautiful moons are my little critter faces, well at least 3 of the 5 are anyway. Thanks for bringing back a fond memory!

  6. I love what you said! The cards are great and the potato recipe looks delicious, too.

  7. Lydia, your post was so profoundly beautiful and I couldn't agree more. I remember the moon landing and how everybody was so riveted to it on the television, not just in America but around the globe. Would love to see civility and polite discourse come back into style.
    Thanks for sharing your fabulous work and the tutorial!

  8. Beautiful cards! And I can't wait to try those potatoes!

  9. I was a newborn when this event happened. My life has always been emotionally connected to the moon and her galaxy. These cards are so special! I will try to copy cat them to frame for my granddaughters room. Her name was selected months before her arrival, with Luna as her middle name. Of course her nickname became Moon instantly. Incidentally she was born during a full moon and shows (call me crazy, I don’t care!) full connection to all the moon cycles. 🤷🏻‍♀️
    I totally feel you regarding the climate of our interest & human disconnection. I’ve had to self protect and strip all the news from my social media.
    Thank you for closing with an amazing comfort food recipe. I am going to make them! My son wants CRISPY fries on his birthday. I’m going to try the baking soda idea!

  10. I love this post so much! Both for the gorgeous cards and for the awesome message. <3

  11. These are unreal and compel me to confess that you are my number one favourite artist. Hands down. In the world. There's some subtle little mysterious sweetness that comes about in everything you do. (That is why, reason numero uno ... in case you need a reason, because I imagine you are overly modest and because I might seem overly gushy since I admire you so much.) Also, if you require further proof of my naturally evolved, well-deserved Lydia-worship: you are the only person in the known universe whose youtube videos I do not watch on 2x speed, because I might miss some nuance of that implicit sweetness in your work, or some nugget of wisdom or hilarity.

  12. I love a lot of your posts Lydia as they often make me laugh but this one struck a chord. I so appreciate bloggers and facebook commenters and others who can put into words things that I am often feeling.
    The cards are wonderful. I was too young to appreciate the lunar landing at the time - not enough action - but I recall my parents watching the events here in Canada.

  13. Beautiful cards! At first glance, I thought they may have been made using salt. I never met a potato I didn't like, the recipe looks delicious!

  14. What a awesome tribute to a perfectly amazing moment in history. These cards are completely Lydia amazing!!

  15. Lydia, your watercoloring and recipes inspire me more than you know. There are no better crafting videos out there! Thanks for just being you.


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