The Most Dangerous Thing You’ll Read Today

My skillet is about 6 inches across.

One of the cooking blogs I follow posted a recipe for one walnut chocolate chip cookie.

One.

As in, you are in quarantine by yourself and you just need one cookie RIGHT NOW!!!!

This could be a slippery slope.

Her recipe uses butter, but my go-to for cookies is Crisco. Mine was crumbly, but delicious. The butter might have held it together better. I will have to experiment with round two.

Corona Confession

Confession: My Christmas tree is still up.

It’s not that I’m super lazy…well, maybe a little, or that I love Christmas. I don’t. Christmas is super stressful as a season and as a holiday, plus that time of the school year is a mess. Some years I don’t even decorate because SOMEBODY is going to have to put stuff away. Clearly that somebody struggles with this. This year I packed up all the ornaments some time at the end of January.

It’s up because I like the quality of the white lights. They’re soft and twinkly. It’s a very soothing, pleasant light. Honestly, it really doesn’t do any more or less lighting-wise than the lamp that I have to unplug to put up the tree.

My dream is finding some type of sculptural structure that I can string with white lights and call a lamp to negate the , “Why is your Christmas tree still up?” feeling.

If this Christmas tree being up in March really bugs you, by all means come over and put it away for me. I can also point you towards the vacuum and some loose laundry.

Willing them to grow

I’ve been failing at this for a couple of years now. I do not find the seeds I need and get them started early enough to have big enough tomato plants to produce tomatoes in the summer.

Miles is helping.

Specifically these are Granny Smith Tomatoes. The mature tomatoes are bright green like a Granny Smith apple and very firm making them perfect for fried green tomatoes! I learned about them after finding the plants at a greenhouse one spring. After that I have only come across the seeds.

On this very sunny morning, I set my greenhouse out for more direct sunlight. Hopefully Miles willing the plants to grow will help production and I won’t have to rely on immature green tomatoes for my fried fix!

Grow I say!

MomBert Makes Me Pretty Things: Part 3

The very first time I went to goat yoga at the farm, I was fascinated by the bone pit. It was just a leftover concrete foundation of some previous structure or maybe a filled in well, but it was full of bones and skulls! Glorious intact skulls with horns!

MomBert and every Adventure Buddy who has accompanied me since, has assertively whispered under their breath, “You need to take a skull.”

I can’t just climb into the bone pit and take a skull at goat yoga! That feels like all kinds of bad etiquette. Finally during a June visit last year, Adventure Buddy initiated a conversation about purchasing the skulls because I wasn’t about to do it. (I was also cupping a tiny baby bunny at the time, and chose to be really focused on that.)

It turns out that people buy the skulls all the damn time! The farm owner Katherine had three on hand that had been appropriately cleaned and dried because artists buy them frequently. In response, I rambled on about MomBert’s deer skull creations. So for $15, I bought a goat skull.

MomBert was not pleased.

I was sincerely surprised. Previously, she had created two really beautiful skull pieces with stained glass and then with costume jewelry. Her reticence came not from the idea of a skull but from a GOAT’s skull. She said that it made her think of all the Satanic associations. Meanwhile, brat that I am, I was like “I spent all of $15 on this and I want skull art!”

She found a way to make it work. Deciding on a bug theme, she started collecting bug themed costume jewelry. We made some choices together at an extravaganza flea market. There’s repeat vendor whose entire booth is layer upon layer of bejeweled costume jewelry. She has it sorted by holidays, animals, shapes etc…. Whatever you need! We had no trouble choosing a variety of inexpensive creatures from her. (I am eternally jealous of her personal jewelry. She usually has turquoise, Western style rings on every finger and drapes herself in squash blossom necklaces.)

Goat in the Flower Garden emerged at Christmas because it’s not Christmas until somebody gets a head in a box.

I think she could have gotten away with just the painting because the underlying flowers are so pretty. However I also love all the creatures we chose, especially the spider complete with thread and the tiny frog.

This kid needs a kitten

It happens every weekend. Somehow all the other cats camp out for mid morning to early afternoon naps, but The Wigglebothum is still awake and she wants to play. She won’t pounce on any of the sleepers, but she’ll squeak and wiggle, and head bump my legs for attention. I fantasize about a kitten who would occupy her sometimes. I want to play, but I also want to get things done. There’s nothing like the parental guilt of sitting at the computer trying to pay bills while your kid desperately wipes her wet nose on your shins looking for love.

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Fortunately, I found a game to entertain both of us. Valentines Day was cold, but very sunny which meant two boldly colored sunspots in the living room.

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With The Wigglebothum ready to play, I tried to get some action shots.

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We have lift off!

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It is ridiculously hard to flip a cat toy in an alluring way while also trying to work a camera. Bubble break. Those are catnip bubbles by the way.

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While my pathetic string tosses weren’t always coordinated enough for flying leaps, there were some fierce, but lazy prone attacks. Murder mittens indeed.

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Love this one!

So much sass in this girl.

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MomBert Makes Me Pretty Things…really belated Part 2

I swear on a stack of cats that I already posted about this creation, but apparently I did  not. Unfortunately, I don’t feel I can post the most recent addition without acknowledging this one. So I’m dipping into my Instagram takeover again.

  • Artist: MomBert
  • Title/year: MomBert makes me pretty things, 2017
  • Materials/size: deer skulls, so much glue, costume jewelry
  • Collection of @Kstewand4cats

MomBert has always been a maker. I remember bad 70’s art projects involving crushed eggshells and felt, macrame things, and paper decoupaged on the back of old eye glasses. She sewed doll dresses and some of my dresses. These days she plays with watercolors, sketching, stained glass, and really whatever else comes her way. Retirement, baby!

One of the things that tend to come your way when you’re in Southern Ohio is deer skulls. The stained glass one showed up in a community dumpster in 2017. She applied her fairly new passion for glass (My sister has only had to call the EMTs once!) to create a floral look.

The next pretty thing, the jewelry skull was delivered to my sister’s yard by local dogs. It was still a little juicy and she wanted it out of there before my nephew saw it because he would want to keep it. After an extensive cleaning process–there were brain bits– which involved burial for a while,

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MomBert took on the task of creating a bejeweled deer for me. When my sister and I made our last pass through our grandparent’s house, I found the box of costume jewelry that we had used to play dress up for years and years. Incorporating it into the skull seemed like an ideal display.

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Product Placement

Maybe you’re in a post-Christmas “I deserve this!” buying frenzy or maybe your MomBert insists on immediately giving you cash when you request that the cat shoes (for me not the cats) and strobe lights (for the cats) be returned. Let me point your desire to purchase at two sources of varying levels of appropriateness.

Approved for all ages: LinesNShapesJewelry

I first ran into this vendor Trisha Powell at the Craftin’ Outlaws spring show where I bought the dangling blue triangles pictured below. I had hoped to see her again at this year’s December show. However when my sister requested “cool earrings” for Christmas, I headed to her Etsy shop instead.

Due to working Christmas shows, the shop was not quite up- to-date, but she was quick to message me with alternatives when a pair I ordered was not actually in stock. Trisha was kind enough to send me several pictures including a pair that I described having seen earlier in her shop. My sister got her “cool” circles with gray and blue acrylic flow. I gifted myself with the dangling green pair that I had previously loved, and the marbled circles that my visceral response to was “Oh. Crap. Sold.” when Trisha shared their picture. All of the earrings are hand painted wood and incredibly light weight. I would absolutely spend money here again!

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Approved for anyone who likes to “use fuck like a comma“: ChicalooKate

It’s so smart that our local arts and crafts shows have started to have their vendors do social media takeovers before the show. I have absolutely been sucked in by seeing Instagram posts of the artists’ products and processes, then immediately planning to attend a show.

I saw ChicalooKate’s takeover for Craftin’ Outlaws and swore to find her at the show for a mug that said “Calm your tits!” which my darling sister had recently said to me in her snottiest little sister voice. Adventure Buddy was along for the shopping extravaganza and secretly bought me a mug as well.

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I was overwhelmed by the snarky goodness of the whole booth. Magnets, mugs , pencils etc… What seemed like the entire script of Christmas Vacation in magnet form. I kind of wanted one of everything. However I restrained myself to the desired mug, some magnet stocking stuffers, and a few stickers.

It all wrapped up nicely when another friend visiting from out of state gifted me with a sticker and all I could say was “YOU know ChicalooKate too!”

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Art Where Weird is Normal: Asheville

This is another double dip from my Instagram takeover.

If you’ve never been to Asheville, North Carolina, go now! Given things may have changed, but at least in 2007 the motto I kept coming across on t-shirts was “Asheville, where weird is normal.” Hello, Mothership!

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Just trying to follow the motto. 2007

Asheville was a stop on a tour that started at Graceland to visit Elvis (I need a vintage velvet Elvis),

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Leopard print and gold lame seemed like a Graceland requirement.

headed for the Smoky Mountains and ended at the beach. Back before my BFF and eternal Adventure Buddy had kids, we did a lot of extended road trips.

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Downtown Asheville features a two story Woolworth converted into a collective of local artists. I picked up prints by Sarah Faulkner, and photographs on barn wood by Rebecca Tolk  at Woolworth Walk. However my bank breaking , original piece that I picked up was at the Southern Highland Craft Guild on the outskirts of town. I splurged on Greg Magruder’s stained glass piece, feeling a little broke after buying it.

IMG_E7017It’s okay to buy big every once in a while. I feel like so much of my collecting reflects where I was financially in life. I have a lot of “it was affordable” pieces; they are small but mighty and still bring joy.

  • Artist: Greg Magruder
  • Title/year: untitled (Because I can’t remember it!) 2007
  • Materials/size: stained glass and metal,  9 -1/2 x 18

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I believe the title – if I could unearth it- had something to do with sunrise, but when I look at this window,  I see a reflective orange moon rising through the trees. Those tree silhouettes remind me that I’d rather be hiking and breathing in the smell of pine. The blue glass makes an amazing dark stripe across the room in the early afternoons which, of course, my super model felines position themselves in.

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Art & Procrastination: New Orleans

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Our introductory selfie for the takeover as is right and proper. Earrings by LinesNShapesJewelry over at Etsy.com

This past week I was guest host on an Instagram account called @columbus_collects. It asks locals to share their art collections and what drew them to the various pieces. The goal is to “demystify collecting”; collecting art does not have to be an expensive or high brow endeavor. I love adding new pieces to my home. I’m not particularly looking for any deeper meaning other than I was attracted to it—oooohh pretty, must have now—-, and it makes me happy to look at this piece in my house. Kind of like the characters in Portlandia, if you “put a bird on it,” a moon or some other natural element, I’m typically in favor of it.

I volunteered to take over back at the end of June which means I should have started writing and photographing things then because I was full of ideas and had complete sentences rattling around in my head. As established though, I am an expert at procrastination and basically waited until August 30, to start writing. Thank goodness, I had made some organizational notes in June. This lead to some late nights this week, digging up artist information and trying to find and remember dates. There was this feeling that I was going to disappoint, on so many levels, the woman who runs the account; many of the guest hosts seem to have way cooler photographs of their art and know more about it beyond “hey, pretty!”

Despite procrastination and performance anxiety, I got positive feedback and made some artists happy to have their work talked about and shared. I also realized that I spent a lot of time writing so, dagnabbit, I’m going to double dip here! (Forgive me.)

I chose to organize the beginning of my feed with stories about collecting while traveling since we were just coming off a long weekend and people are still in that “what did you do this summer?” mode. Being on an adventure and finding a piece  of art along the way only makes that piece more special.

New Orleans: In 2012, three Adventure Buddies and I headed to New Orleans for a long weekend. We did not have the drunken stereotypical “girls trip” that every movie suggests. Puking is not fun. Instead we ate well, toured everything we could, listened to music, and looked at the local art. (I could spend ALL my time in New Orleans eating and looking at/buying art.)

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We spent a good part of an afternoon in Jackson Square looking at what the local artists had to offer. One friend was looking for “swamp art” but at this point I don’t remember what that meant.

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Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square is where I found Laura Welter’s fabric nudes on display. The majority were all from behind or slightly profiled with the same twist at the waist and cocked hip. Twenty years and 50 pounds ago, I was a much more naked person, so I have a certain appreciation for a naked, confident, sassy ass. I could also appreciate Welter’s use of fabric remnants to paint on. Both of my grandmas were quilters, so playing with leftover bits and pieces of material was something that I grew up around and still feel driven to do. The large flower print seemed like something straight out of one of their sewing boxes. Plus she’s got a flower growing out of her bum! I love it! To do the takeover, I tracked down Laura’s current version of her nudes; they have evolved since 2012. I would happily return for more of them.

  • Artist: Laura Welter @welterarts
  • Title/year: untitled 2012
  • Materials/size: fabric and paint, 9×20

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Our second morning in New Orleans found us at Surrey’s Cafe and Juice bar on the edge of the Garden District, getting breakfast before heading to Jazzfest. We were seated at a table where, according to the photo on the wall, Matthew McConaughey had once sat. We were the luckiest little girls in the world.

Also on the wall was a magnificent display of brightly colored, crooked, quirky little houses. They were modeled after the shotgun style houses in New Orleans. Based on what I could dig up, Fortenberry used mirror shards scavenged after Hurricane Katrina to create the windows. There seem to be a few NOLA artists who make these, but I found that my tiny house and others attributed to Fortenberry have a raised, but hard to read maker’s mark on the front stoop. This is an example of me being attracted to a piece because of its surroundings. I too wanted a wall full of tiny houses! I often run into this problem with small pieces clustered together. Do I love it because of the context of all the pieces around it? Will I feel the same if I take it as a solo piece? No worries, my tiny lavender house found a space with other “small art” and has a happy home.

  • Artist: Casey King Fortenberry (?)
  • Title/year: untitled 2012
  • Materials/size: plaster, acrylic, broken mirrors 3 -1/2 x 5

September2019

I almost included the water meter covers designed by Edwin Ford in the 1920’s  in my takeover. We mostly saw these in the Garden District and were told by our guide that there were so few because people stole them due to the design. However local artists have used the design in jewelry, and prints. I purchased a t-shirt with the design. It really is the prettiest meter cover I’ve ever seen.

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“When life gives you lemons…throw them.” Yoga and Axes

 I’ve done a lot of “yoga and…”

Yoga and:

In keeping with my own trends and those trending culturally, I can now add yoga and axes.

“When life gives you lemons…throw them.”August2019

I’ve thrown an axe unsuccessfully before under the vague tutelage of a viking horde at Lilyfest. Viking Advice: Hit the target.

During this session, I got just a little more guidance. We did an hour of yoga on the indoor turf of the football bowling field…somehow my mat migrated a foot to the left during the class. GoYoga provided an excellent, bendy start to the day.

Fully flexible, our Throw Nation hostess, gave us a quick tutorial on throwing form.

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Turns out, form helps. However, I did much better when I didn’t overthink it. Nothing like axe throwing to make you really look at your butt.

What you’re not seeing are the 20 million tiny video clips of me completely missing everything.

Adventure Buddy and I agreed that we could see the appeal; there was the impulse to keep throwing again and again to try to get it right. However, we only used about 45 minutes of our allotted throwing hour and much of that was spent standing around wondering why on Earth anyone would add alcohol to this environment. Yes, to ideally be on trend you’re supposed to add drinking to the “and axe throwing.” Alcohol fueled competitiveness, and coordination plus deadly weapons. Bingo.

Part of the standing around in a  state of “meh” was also due to our hostess. She didn’t want the dozen of us to touch any of the other throwing lanes which meant lots of waiting, and was not inclined to organize any games. Basically, she seemed unprepared for the event, and kept saying things like “there’s not a manager here today” and “mmmmm yea that game is not open right now.” But OMIGOD she is going back to college this week! Squeeeee!

So we threw axes. It was okay. We are badasses….in theory.

Check mark. No major need to repeat this adventure.