Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Poetry Anthology from Incarnate Muse Press

Incarnate Muse Press is delighted to announce that the new poetry manuscript is finalized and ready to go to the printer!

I know the editors are pretty doggone happy to be able to say this
. It has been a long road to getting this one done, fraught with various personal impediments and many complete computer failures. (Now totally solved...I hope!)

This anthology is The Venomed Kiss,
Poems of Childhood Emotional and Psychological Abuse. It is not light reading. As Perie Longo, the poet and therapist who wrote our forward stated, "These poems are heartbreaking." But they are also often healing and redemptive.

Many thanks to Edward McGuire for all his computer and formatting work and sharp eye as we proofed and re-proofed this MS.

Michelle and I,
editors of Incarnate Muse Press

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mixed Media Collage Artist Darcy Altaville

She Dreamed of Houses
print available from Etsy

Darcy Altaville of artnjoy combines traditional and digital collage techniques to come up with these fun and colorful mixed media collage paintings.

I asked her a few questions about her art, her techniques and inspiration:

What inspires you to create and/or how did you start out?

I have always created art since I was a child, encouraged by my Dad who was an artist in his spare time. We needed an extra income while raising my three kids, and so I decided to put my art on line, after hearing how wonderful etsy is. I do prints of my work so that they can be affordable and enjoyed by the masses, not just people who have tons of money to spend on original art.
I mostly get inspired by emotions, music, words and the colors they evoke.

Tell a little about your art process and technique.

The process is ever changing. But I have always loved Mixed Media Collage work. Just getting down and dirty with paint, paper and everything else at hand. Which probably accounts for some of the diversity in my work!
I recently expanded into doing Artful Paper Gifts and Goodies, since my hub was out of work for quite some time and we have been hanging by threads.
It's a way of providing my artful touch to pretty, functional, and affordable items that people can use everyday. Important in these economical times.

When asked for thoughts about or the inspiration for one of her pieces of art, Darcy commented on "The Gift" pictured below:

Oh my images just sort of evolve and take on a life of their own. "The Gift" started off with the iconical head and evolved from there into a presence that I felt was somewhat spiritual. I came across the words "The Gift; Sent Forth By God's Blessing" in an old hymnal and they seemed to fit perfect. It also touches me personally, because I feel that God has always watched out for me and has continued to Bless me, even during these tough times.

Darcy was raised in Manhattan, NY and went to Art School. "Though I never really pursued my art on a any professional level. Sounds cliche, but I got married and was blessed with three wonderful, kind, talented children who are always encouraging about my artful endeavors. I now live in Pennsylvania, where my days are pretty much that of a typical Mom. Though as my kids always remind me...I'm anything but. I guess I'm a bit more colorful, eccentric and out of the box...pretty much like my Mixed Media Art!

"I also love to read, listen to music and eat sushi! Though these days, Frozed Lo mein is a staple on the menu! The life of an almost starving artist and her family. Filled with ups n downs, and art, but always blessed!"

Darcy's work can be found and purchased from her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spring Moonfall glass mosaic mirror

This 24x24" glass mosaic mirror is now at the Artful Hand in Fort Worth. Actually, I am writing this blog post from my Flicker site. I had no idea you could do that, and I just got the 2 sites linked. I had intended to add a link to the Artful Hand gallery, which is on 7th Street in the Cultural District. We'll see how this Flicker to Blogspot posting works.

The mirror is photo-edited out as white, as are all the little rectangular pieces at the top and bottom which are also mirror, and just don't photograph very well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pecan Time in Texas

The pecans are starting to fall in my front yard. This is always one of the sure signs of autumn here.

The pecan is the state tree of Texas. My tree's limbs have been bending down toward the lawn under the burden of their fruit. It is going to be a good year for pecans.

I have a little pecan nutritional info from the Texas Pecan Growers Association:

Pecans Offer Good Nutrition
  • 90% of the fats in pecans are unsaturated (about 60% monounsaturated/30% polyunsaturated)
  • A serving of pecans (30g) provides about 25 percent more oleic acid than a serving of olive oil (one tablespoon)
  • Pecans are cholesterol free
  • Pecans are sodium free
  • Pecans are fiber-rich
  • Pecans are a valuable plant protein source
  • Pecans have more than 19 vitamins & minerals
  • They are an excellent source of gamma tocopherol, an important type of vitamin E
  • They contain concentrated amounts of natural plant sterols, touted for their cholesterol-lowering ability
  • Pecans contain a variety of phytochemicals
  • Nuts are recommended by the American Heart Association and U.S. Dietary Guidelines as a desirable source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
Pecans can double the cholesterol-lowering effectiveness of a traditional heart-healthy diet, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, September 2001.

Year before last we had a bumper crop of pecans. I made several pecan pies, both to give away and to provide the family Thanksgiving pecan pies. But, ya know, I'm not that crazy about pecan pie. I mean, it's not all yucky like pumpkin pie, but it's not my favorite. But I love pecans in salads (great lightly toasted with field greens and goat cheese), in cookies, toffee, and casseroles and stir fries.

Here is a recipe from the Texas Pecan Growers Association.

Mama's Texas Pecan Cheesecake

Submitted by Kim Ritchie of Wylie Texas


1-cup flour

1/4-cup sugar

1/2-teaspoon vanilla

1 egg yolk

1/4-cup butter, softened

1/2-cup Texas Pecans, chopped


5 packages (8oz) cream cheese

1 3/4-cup sugar

3-tablespoons flour

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

1/4-teaspoon vanilla

5 eggs + 2 egg yolks


1/4-cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

15 nice looking pecan halves

For crust, combine flour, Texas Pecans and sugar. Make a well in center. Blend in yolk, vanilla and butter. Mix well. Press mixture in bottom and up sides of greased 9 or 10-inch spring form pan. Press pecan halves down into top of crust on side of pan so that they stand up in a ring around top of crust. Set aside.

For filling, in large mixing bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour, zest, and vanilla. Beat in eggs and yolks one at a time. Beat until smooth. Pour into crust, Draw circle in the center of cheesecake. Using the 15 or so pecan halves that you picked out because they were so beautiful, make a ring of pecan halves touching the outside of the circle. Sprinkle mini chips inside the circle. (The finished result should resemble a sunflower.) Bake 10 minutes at 450°. Reduce oven temperature to 250° and bake 1 hour. Cool 2 hours in oven with door ajar.

Serves 12-16

(This sounds great. Might have to try this instead of the traditional pecan pie.)

And go here for a great sounding recipe from Food and Wine Magazine. I have often made many variations of glazed and spiced pecans, some more savory, more candied, or spicy.

"The pecan, which grows best in warm climates, is beloved in the South. At parties, Southerners often set out giant bowls of spiced nuts like the ones here, deliciously seasoned with cayenne, cinnamon and brown sugar."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Imagine Peace and Whimsical Art

Imagine all the people living life in Peace.

Happy John Lennon's birthday to all. I was just wondering if it is just coincidence that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today (or at least the news of it came out this morning.) Either way, accident or intent, I like it.

Yesterday and today I have been working on a new series of small collages. The idea came to me in the wee hours of the morning when, as usual, sleep was elusive. I was picturing whimsical images full of trees, leaves, flora and fauna, light-hearted fairly simple pictures done with painted and drawn backgrounds in happy colors.

Of course I still have the camera to computer problem, so I can't post photos of what I've come up with so far.

So, I plugged "whimsical" into the ETSY search engine under the category Art: Mixed Media and came up with this cute print from an original painting by Sascalia.

Just thinking

You can find lots more of her prints at her Esty shop.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Potato Salad alla Italiana

As a foodie, it's a little embarrassing to admit this, but i love potato salad. Now, a lot of (dry, gummy, bland, boring) potato salads I'd just as well do without, but I am a fan of a good potato salad. Is it too horribly immodest to say that MY potato salad is my favorite?? Maybe not, because I did not come up with the recipe by myself. I read it in the FW paper many! years ago, made it once, more or less following the directions. A number of years lapsed (my kids are not big potato salad fans). Then I wanted to make the potato salad. Of course, the recipe was nowhere to be found. So, I made it up.

I recently brought this dish to a church social dinner. When I came in from the patio, Edward slid up beside me, and said he had just heard someone gush, "That potato salad is out of this world!!"

This has olive oil, so healthy for you, replacing most of the mayo...I think I have made it with no mayo as well, but soy or vegan mayo can be used too.

This is only a "Kinda" recipe, but you'll get the basic idea.

Italian Influenced Potato Salad

red potatoes, 2-3 (or more) lbs, trimmed for spots and cut in rough chunks

Bring to boil in salted water with a 3-4 in sprig of fresh rosemary (reserve the tender end leaves), or a dash of dry Italian seasonings, or a little of both.

In the meantime:

chop 3-5 cloves of garlic, place in the bowl you will mixed the whole salad in, add olive oil, evoo, the reserved rosemary, that you have diced, and a few chopped leaves of fresh rosemary, or a few dashes of dried Italian seasoning.

Microwave oil, garlic and herbs for a couple of minutes in mixing bowl. (The garlic has quite a bite in this; if it seems like too much, you can reduce the amount, or cook it longer.) Add minced reserved rosemary tips, chopped fresh oregano to hot oil mix. Drain potatoes and add hot to the oil, add a spoon or so of pickle relish or chopped pickles (for traditional potato salad feel), a spoon or so of whole grain mustard, I like to add a little finely chopped celery...a touch of celery salt or minced lovage would also do. Add some mayo, regular, soy, vegan, or not at all. Add a little fresh chopped oregano and basil, or more dried Italian seasonings, a few grinds of pepper, and salt to taste. Add fresh basil if you have it at end. Mix gently.

Can refrigerate and serve later at a picnic or potluck. I admit, I like it best at room temperature or even a little warm.

Tonight this is a side dish for Ribz. A fabulous vegan recipe from Susan at the blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. My 11-year old is very enthusiastically making this recipe tonight. She made it the last time, with maybe a little more guidance from me. (She did at the beginning of the addition of this recipe to our dining repertoire, ask that it be re-named...BBQ strips was one of her suggestions. I have to admit that the word Ribz/ribs is awfully graphically anatomical.

Ha! My child, thinking about the sauce, and then searing, stage of the ribz, and putting out various ramikins for bbq sauce experiments, just said to me, "Stand back! And let me work my magic!" Love it!

I am also utilizing zucchini and a bit of the small yellow squash from the farmers market in a recipe from a Mediteranean cookbook for zucchini fritters. They look great!

Happy eating all!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Gardening Season and Bountiful Produce at the Market.

We are really looking forward to the fall growing season. Our garden this summer was not so great, except for the herbs and peppers. It was an awful year for tomatoes. We tried growing two of our plants in the much praised upside down containers, and they produced nothing, nada. One problem may be that we already had our tomato plants before we got the hanging planters (and the directions), so we put the long gangly heirloom tomatoes, German Stripe and Cherokee Purple, in instead of the smaller bush type tomatoes that were recommended. Also, I think the water delivery system didn't work so well, and I have taken the water receptacle completely out of the planter with the worse dryness problem. Now that tomato is soaking up all our early fall rain directly.

The tomatoes in the ground are looking great, all green and refreshed with the plentiful rain and full of little green tomatoes, especially the Goliath, another heirloom we picked up at a stand in a front yard in a little rural town, Comanche, TX, I think. Edward, R, my mom and I wandered around the small yard picking out lots of herbs and vegetable starts, then put our money in a box on the porch. I love small towns. Okra is reviving as well, and one branch of a yellow bell pepper plant broke from the weight of all the peppers.

The rain has been great, but it has wreaked havoc with the delicate seedlings of fall greens plantings, like spinach and arugula...have had to reseed a couple of times.

I saved seeds from a butternut squash we had for dinner a while back and the vines are hearty with blooms and little tiny green squashes. When I saw how well those seedlings were doing, I did the same with another grocery store veggie, an acorn squash, which is still small but healthy. I am just counting on our long Texas growing season to get it through to production before a freeze.

I'm not sure that we will be getting anything but a lot of pretty blooms, all male apparently, from the yellow squash I transplanted in mid August, but the bees are enjoying them. Last week, during a break in the thunderstorms, I watched a honey bee walk around inside one squash blossom, her head and half her body completely covered with pollen.

In the meantime, while we are waiting on our own Fall produce, we are enjoying lots and lots of locally grown veggies from the Cowtown Farmers Market.

Here is some of what is fresh and available this week this week:
Baby Vegetables
Garlic and Onion
Cucumbers: Picklers, Slicers
Lima Beans
Crenshaw, Israel, Honeydew
Onions: Red, White and Yellow

Last week I got asparagus, pears and a basket with a mix of slender zucchini and yellow squash, the trip before, tomatoes, lovely Touch of Lavender eggplants (they have many varieties), and more of the little squash. This weekend I found a recipe in a Mediterranean cookbook for zucchini fritters that look wonderful.

The market is open on Wednesday and Saturday. On Saturday they also have fresh bread and baked goods from a local baker, locally roasted coffee, and goat cheese from two nearby dairy farms. "Everything sold is either grown, raised or produced within 150 miles of Fort Worth."

(Photo note: Due to computer or camera or cable glitches, I cannot load my own photos to the computer, so these came from elsewhere: the plant pics from usda.gov and the farmers market photo was borrowed from their website...I don't think they'll mind.)