Thursday, November 21, 2013

Finding the Right Path

I'm not a "keep up with the Jones'" kinda girl. I'm never "in the loop". I'm no "sorority sista" nor did I ever want to be one. As a matter of fact, when I moved up to middle school from grade school, I was still wearing my elementary school Danskin's pants and saddle shoes when all the other girls were suddenly wearing Levi Jeans and Clogs. At some point back then, I tried to fit in. I went to get some back to school clogs after the rush of back to school shopping was done and over. I found a pair but they were too small. I crammed my feet into them and wore them to fit in, but they hurt. I looked like one of the crowd, but I didn't "feel" like one of them.

And so it goes in life. One tries to fit in, to be one of a group, to belong to something, to be the same.

When I got to college and it was time to choose what I wanted to do the rest of my life, it was a hard choice. I changed my mind and schools enough to prove that point. I had a brother and a sister who were in engineering schools and another brother and a boy friend who were in programming. I started off on a path in art, but I felt like I needed to keep up with the siblings, and that my choice of art wasn't good enough. I eventually ended up with a bunch of students in a pre-med program at school studying science and chemistry.

 I was doing fine but I didn't "feel" like I fit in. My senior year I changed my major back to art.
With my heavy science background I ended up getting jobs in technical industries. I developed multimedia training programs for financial companies, medical equipment companies, flight simulation and the defense industries. All along the way, I never blended in with the crowd, didn't fit in. I learned that it was ok to be different, but like wearing the wrong shoes, it hurts.

Following the wrong life path really can hurt. It can show up as bad moods, headaches and actual physical pains. I am out of the rat race now and no longer trying to fit that mold. I am pursuing what I love AND I no longer hurt!

Follow your own path, love what you do and make it work for you. There is no sense in wearing the wrong shoes just to "fit in" because it doesn't feel right. And besides, it hurts your feet.

These Path photos can be found as prints and gallery wraps in my online store. Find these and more at

Until next time,
~ Michele

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Making a Collage by Combining Photos

I would love to have my artwork all over the house! But that is not going to happen anytime soon. But, I did decorate my laundry room with some bird photo blocks that I made this past summer. Here is the make over:

The window in the laundry is decorated with faux shutters on the sides. They were shelving boards cut to length at Home Depot and I painted them with chalk board paint.

I really want to add an image that is more "laundry" related. I had this one more image that works with the photo block set, featuring three birds on a wire. This is a cropped section of it:

I call this one "A little bird told me". Today in the cold Texas fall I strung up some clothesline rope between two trees and used some clothespins to hang up a couple of vintage pillowcases like so:

Of course my helper was with me as you can just about see her tail end. She cleared the area of all rabbits and squirrels. I took this image and merged it to the birds so it looked like the birds were sitting on the clothesline!

It almost looks like a sundress and a pillowcase. I just added the tree photo as a layer and erased out the background, trees, leaves and of course the dog.

I then merged this one to the final photo "block" and added some apropos text.

And this image is available now in my Etsy shop, on I will be making the other photo blocks available on canvas as well, so you can decorate your own laundry room. Which, I hear, is for the birds!

Until next time!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Biscotti Season ~ Pineapple Rosemary

This is the morning where we are suppose to "Fall Back". Back up the clocks. There were many years where I backed up the clock radio beside my bed, then my husband would back it up. Double back up are not good. So this year I did not touch the clock radio. Neither did he. So when I woke up at 6:22 I figured my braid thought it was 7:22. No reason to fight being awake, so I got up. It was really 5:22. ON A SUNDAY???

It is finally cool enough to turn on the oven hear in Texas, so I thought I would make some biscotti. First batch of the baking season. I had just purchased some dried pineapple chunks that were waiting to be used. And I had a can of crushed pineapple for some juice. AND there on the counter top left to dry out were two branches of rosemary from the herb garden. I thought, at 5:30 in the morning, it would be a good idea to combine the two.

I love love love the smell of the freshly cut herbs from the garden. As an aside, I don't know what we did differently this year, but our rosemary actually bloomed! It looked almost like the lavender plant right next to it in the garden. Maybe it was jealous.

Being that it was so early in the morning and I was delirious with the scent of fresh herbs, I forgot to mix my pineapple chunks into the batter, but hey, I'll have it for the next batch.

I make my biscotti so it is not rock hard and hurts my teeth, yet it is firm enough to last through several coffee dunks. That is what it is all about in this house anyways! Here is my recipe:

Into one mixing bowl goes:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

Into another mixing bowl goes:
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 tblsp pineapple juice
3 tblsp Olive Oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

(next time I bake some I will add more photos through the steps)
Slowly add the dry to the wet until a soft dough is formed. I guess you could to this in a food processor, but I don't like to get into the heavy equipment early in the morning. Before coffee. Before sunrise. Or almost ever.

Add 1/2 cup candied or dry pineapple bits. And if you like some piney zing, cut up some rosemary with kitchen shears, about two teaspoons. Add some walnuts if you want. I didn't have any available today.

Butter a cookie sheet up and sprinkle some flour onto it. Knock that flour from side to side so there is a nice coating on the sheet, to keep the log from sticking.

Form the dough into a flat log about four inches wide and as long as the cookie sheet. This stuff is pretty sticky so you might want to dip your finger tips into some flour. Top the log with a sprinkling of Turbinado sugar or large sugar crystals.

Bake about 30 minutes in 350 degree oven until the log is firm to the touch but still dimples from your finger touch. Remove the log from the oven and let sit for as long as it takes for you to make a cup of cappucino, about 7 minutes. Transfer the log to a cutting board with two spatulas so it doesn't break. Cut into 3/4 slices and lie the slices flat on the cookie sheet. Into the oven it goes for about 10 more minutos until there is a nice crisp on the top side. Take them out and with your bare fingers pick one up to dunk into that cappucino before it gets cold. The coffee that is. And the biscotti.

Until next time!!