Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Monday (7) Baked Manicotti

This past Saturday we had a meeting of our Cayo Hueso dinner club at our home. It's a monthly get together of eating and drinking and good conversation with friends. I arranged an Italian team of baked manicotti, chicken marsala, green beans with mint and garlic and lots of red wine of course! Our friends always include the apps etc to round out the meal. The chicken recipe and marinara sauce used to top the manicotti have been on previous posts.

Do you call your marinara, tomato sauce, or gravy? I call it sauce, but that's my choice since that was what it was called in our home growing up.To me gravy is brown, white or au jus, sorry, I digress, back to my manicotti which is to die for, worth the calories and melt in your mouth.  Making your own shells makes all the difference, is not hard and makes you look like a genius! It's like making a crepe with a cheese filling. I made the shells and filling the day before, then rolled and baked them before my guests arrived. This is my Mom's recipe, a family secret, but I will share it with you (o:


5 eggs
1 1/4 cups unsifted all purpose flour
1/4 teasp salt

 combine all ingredients:
2lbs ricotta cheese
1pkg (8oz) mozzarella (diced or shreaded)
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
1 tblsp chopped parsley]1 teasp salt
1/4 teasp pepper
2 eggs.

Make shells: in a bowl combine all shell ingredients with 1/1/4 cups water and mix with a portable mixer until smooth.  Melt 1 teasp butter in 7" skillet ( I use a Teflon type pan and just use butter for the 1st pour). Pour 2 tblsp (or more) batter rotating pan quickly to spread batter evenly over the bottom of the pan.. Cook over medium heat until the top is dry but bottom is not brown, Cool on wire rack and then stack with waxed paper in between each shell until you are ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
 Cover the bottom of your baking dish with a small amount of  sauce. Place 1/4 cup filling in each shell and roll up. Place shells seam side down in a single layer and top with sauce and parmesean cheese and bake till bubbly.


Thursday, April 19, 2012


TSKW stands for The Studios of Key West. This non profit organization is a wonderful venue for artist to join together as a community to share artistic ideas and expertise. Welcoming artists from all over the world, TSKW provides them a  place to reside for a month and share their work with the community of Key West. The artists reciprocate by giving workshops in their field giving others the opportunity to experiment in different medias.

I have been volunteering at the Studios for about 18 months now. When we moved back to Key West after spending time in Jackson Hole, Wyo and the Outer Banks of NC. I wanted to become move involved in the art community. Joining TSKW had done this for me. I have embraced my surroundings and I am learning to push my self boundaries to create what I feel is inside me. It is my time now. I may feel like a 30 year old on the inside, but in reality I am that quirky older ( I prefer ageless!) woman  that realizes that time is not to waste. With this in mind, I am learning new art techniques, experimenting with my own ideas, breaking some art rules and having fun along the way.

This evening I was part of TSKW show Voluntary Acts. Artwork created by the volunteers of the Studios is being celebrated in the 2nd floor gallery. I am happy to have my work displayed in this venue. The highlight of the evening for me was when a woman approached me to tell me she was looking for me because she really enjoyed my work and wanted to meet me. Thank you, thank you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Funky Friday (6) Journaling

  I like the idea of journaling, just with a twist. Several years ago while searching on the internet, I came across an artist that journaled on clothing. I was imediately hooked and wanted to try it for myself. I started with a pair of worn demin jeans that I altered into a skirt (the legs into a small bag).  I now keep my thoughts and special memories on jackets, purses and vests.

  If you want to see where my inspiration came from, check out 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Menu Monday (6) Monday Surprise

It was a busy day, worked in my studio (more about that later), had my car repaired, household everyday stuff, then dinner. It was 6:30pm, tired and hungry, what's for dinner. I have to say some of my best meals were concocked from whatever was on hand with no recipe to follow. This evening was one of those meals. Checking out the fridge and pantry, I had 3 chicken cutlets, a selection of potatoes, some grape tomatoes and several bags of frozen veggies in the freezer. This is what I came up with. You can put a name to it!

3 chicken cutlets
1/2 onion copped
1 bag frozen green beans
1/4 cup of dry Vermouth
olive oil
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 box grape tomatoes cut in 1/2 pieces

In a frypan drizzled with olive oil, heat until hot
saute onion till tender
add chicken seasoned with salt and pepper & hot peppers
cook over medium heat, sprinkle with hot pepper & deglaze pan with Vermouth
  ( I had dry Vermouth on hand for my special occasion dirty martinis,
 but any dry white wine would work)
cook chicken slowly turning in pan until cooked through

In the meantime cook frozen green beans
and baking potatoes, first in microwave then crisped in toaster oven.

When chicken was cooked completed, I removed it to a dish. I then added the green beans to
the pan stirrng to coat with pan juices and a pat of butter and seasoned to taste. Gently stir in the cut grape tomatoes to heat thru.

To plate, I seasoned the baked potato, added a couple of spoonfuls of the green beans and tomatoes and topped with sliced chicken.


This was an easy dish, a great combo of what I had on hand.

I wanted to post a photo, but I am having camera issues! Come up with a name for this if you would like. If I was feeling a little more creative, I would have used fresh green beans!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Funky Friday (5) The Process

I have been asked many times where I get my ideas from. I have to say, it is a process of building. I will usually start with a box, or some kind of base or a stand, like an old floor lamp, or an object like a shoe, and let it grow by adding objects to it. The photos below will help in my explanation.

The platform shoe spoke to me because it stood high and gave a strong presents. My next thought was, why not make it taller?  Searching through my stash of goodies, I came across some dolls pieces....a leg! Altering it just a little, the leg fit perfectly over the heel of the shoe. Then using heavy tape (I sometimes us paper mache), I attached the leg and continued to wrap the whole shoe to provide a good surface to paint on. Wow the shoe can walk on it's own! Watch your step pops into my mind, yeah then I think this shoe needs an eyeball so it can see where it's going. (Can you see how this is building?)

After some paint and embellishments, I stood back an looked at what had taken place. I originally had the inside of the shoe painted black, but you could not see the definition of the inside of the shoe because it blended in with the black of the feathers. Adding a piece of blue felt to the foot bed gave it more depth.

This shoe would be really cool to wear, but I think I will see what I can do with a pair of flip flops....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Monday (5) Chicken Marsala

I love have good recipes that are easy, but look like you've spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Chicken Marsala is one of my favorites for an impressive dinner for guests or a make ahead entree for a party. This is another recipe from Graziella.

6 chicken cutlets
1 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 pound mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste


Pound chicken cutlets to tenderize.  Put flour in separate dish for dipping.  Dip cutlets into flour. Shake off excess.  Saute in olive oil until golden brown.  Add salt, pepper and Marsala wine. (Don't worry if the saucepan flares up when you add the wine.  Just remove the pan from the stove for a moment.)
In a separate pan, saute mushrooms in some olive oil or butter. Add mushrooms to chicken.  Add some chicken broth if the sauce is dry. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Eating well doesn't get any easier!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Funky Friday (4) Challenging Yourself

Challenging Yourself

I feel that challenging oneself creatively by limiting yourself the amount of on-hand supplies when developing an art piece a good tool to help you think out of the box as an artist. In Feb. of 2010, I decided to participate in the 12th International Collage Exhibition/Exchange taking place in New Zealand. We had just moved back to Key West and living among moving boxes in a temporary rental. It was a lifestyle we called “glorified camping”. I saw the collage exchange posted on an Internet Assemblage Group I belonged to. Since we were in a holding pattern waiting to move into our home, I thought this would be a good project for me to get involved in to keep my mind “busy”.

 The idea behind the exchange was to make 13, 8’x10’ collages. Twelve of the collages would be exchanged and returned to me from 12 other artists from around the world, and one would be shown in an exhibit at the Real Tart Gallery in New Plymouth, NZ.  I thought receiving artwork from artists from around the world would be fun. In actuality, I received a lot more than that.

As I mentioned before, I was in the mist of moving. Everything I owned was pretty much, in a box. This is where the challenge began. Having very little access to my supplies, I had to come up with ways to make the collages with very few resources. I was able to recover some paper a pair of scissors, some markers and a glue stick. Now the fun began.

I began to cut out pictures and words from magazines, catalogs and newspapers. I pulled cereal and snack boxes out of the recycling bin and cut out letters from them to make designs, rolled up pieces of corrugated boxes to make stamps that resembled roses.  Paper towel tubes were great for circles.  Sometimes I would have a glass of wine while I worked and used the cork as a stamp and wine as ink! Not having much to work with, pushed me to be resourceful in using what was around me. I didn’t feel limited at all.

At completion of my 13th collage I was please at was what I have accomplished. A couple of months later, I was happy to receive 12 wonderful collages from artist within the US and as far away as Australia. At the end of the exhibit, my piece that was in the exhibit was sent to be in permanent museum collection with the other collages in the ArtColle in Brittany, France.

As a reminder of this fun experience, I framed two of the collages I received and hung them in our home.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Monday (4) Chicken Paillards with Lemon-Butter Sauce

It seems like I have trying a lot of recipes lately that include lemon, but it is such a refreshing fresh element to a dish, I think I will using it a lot more in my kitchen. Today I made a chicken recipe from Martha Steward collection. It was fast and easy. I served it over steamed spinach with a slice of bread so all the sauce can be enjoyed.

To make the paillard, I cut a double chicken breast into 4 pieces and pounded them between wax paper into portions. To segment the lemon, cut away all the peel and white pith. Then slice along the membranes. Below is the original recipe. I used a little more olive oil and less (salted) butter.

Chicken Paillard with Lemon-Butter Sauce


4 chicken paillards
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon plus 2 to 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
   cut into pieces.
1/4 cup  minced or sliced shallot
segments and juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock

 (1) Season chicken paillards on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter foams.  Add 2 paillards, and saute on one side until golden brown (about 2 mins). Reduce heat to medium. Flip, and saute paillards until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate. Raise heat to medium-high, and repeat with two remaining paillards.

(2) Add shallot to skillet, and cook over medium heat, adding oil or butter as needed, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute.  Raise heat to medium-high. Add lemon segments and juice, chicken stock, and any plate juices, and deglaze the pan. Simmer until sauce reduces by half, about 3 minutes.  Gradually stir in remaining butter until just melted. Season to taste.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Funky Friday (3)

A lot has taken place since last Friday. The Sodu Gallery show, From a Woman's Hand  was a success.  43 women artist from the Florida Keys were selected to participate. I was very pleased to take 3rd place.

The battery for our Nikon is no longer holding a charge, so I had to retrieve photos of the shows from my friends. Thanks Shiela and Cynthia!  There is a limited choice of shopping here at the southernmost point. The camera shop we used in the past is no longer in town. Thank Goodness for the Internet!

The Art and Music Affair brought in a great crowd do to the hard work of Kate and Carl Peachey. My sales were up from last year, but my biggest reward was seeing the smiles of the people looking at my work. I love it when the quirky humor in my art makes people laugh.

My next adventure---I have been accepted to be part of The Yellow Show held by Art Space Key West. I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Menu Monday (3) Salsa alla Marinara

It’s Monday, a good day for mrinara. (Okay, I know it's Tuesday and I am a little late, but I live on Key West  time).  In November of 1994 I was living in New Jersey and had the opportunity to take some cooking classes taught by Graziella Iacovino. She is a very talented chef and interesting woman, a former nun, now the mother of five children. Her restaurant, Graziella's featured awesome Italian dishes, and an Opera singing wait staff. Taking her classes was a wonderful experience and enhanced my love of eating and cooking Italian food. I look forward to sharing her recipes with you along the way. This recipe was handed down to her from her mother.

From her cookbook La Cucina Semplice:  

Salsa alla marinara

½ cup olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

½ cup chopped parsley

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon oregano

2 (32oz.) cans peeled tomatoes

2 leaves fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried basil

Salt to taste

½ cup dry white wine 

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.  Saute onion, parsley, and garlic.  Add wine after onion and garlic are soft.  Add tomatoes, salt, oregano, and basil. Simmer 30 to 40 mins.

Simple and delicious….eat healthy!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Funky Friday (2)

It's the beginning of a busy weekend. This evening I am part of the From A Woman's Hand show at the Sodu Gallery here in Key West. I got a little peek of the other art that has been submitted, and it is going to be an awesome show. It will be fun to see what the creative women of Key West have done while we sample chocolates and sip Champagne!

Last Friday I posted about embellishing shoes. I worked on several this week. Check out the process of transforming one of them.  I created Watch Your Step by attaching a doll's leg to the heel. (My husband just shakes his head).

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll let you know all about the "Art and Music Affair" that is being held tomorrow at the Schooner Wharf  Harbour. It's going to be a beautiful weekend here in Key West.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Monday (2) Red Lentil & Veg. Soup

This is a OMG good soup.                                                                                 
 It's high in fiber, easy and good for you!!
 It's a meal in a bowl, more of a stewp.

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup (From Good Housekeeping)                              serves 4
                                                                                                                                 total time 30mins

 1 Tblsp. Olive oil
4 medium carrots (chopped)
2 stalk celery (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (14 1/ 2oz _ diced tomatoes
1 can (14 1/2 oz) veg. broth (or chicken)
1 cup dried red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 bag baby spinach

(1) pour yourself a glass of wine (optional)
(2) In 4qt. saucepan, heat oil on medium until hot.  Add carrot, celery and onion, and cook 6 to 8 mins. or until lightly browned and tender.  Stir in cumin: cook 1 minute.

(3) Add tomatoes, broth , lentils, 2 cups water, salt, and pepper: cover and heat to boiling on high.   Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Stir in spinach, Makes about 7 1/2 cups.

Ok I must confess, I added the celery on my own. It added more fiber and flavor, so I don't fell bad about my taking this recipe to the edge! I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. I would definitely make this soup again.This was a quick and easy recipe, heart healthy as well as inexpensive.  I served it with a slice of toasted Italian bread.

Eat healthy!

Friday, February 24, 2012


It's Friday and time for my first "Funky Friday" post. As you know, I am getting ready for the Schooner Wharf "Art Affair" on March 3rd. It's getting down to the wire, but I got inspired the other day to work on some "altered shoes". I've made some in the past and thought they would be a good addition to my table for the show. Off I went to find some funky shoes to get creative with. I'm posting a photo of what I came up with as well as 2 shoes that I've created in the past. I'll keep you posted as to what I come up could get scary!

Old Shoes

My first altered shoe was created in 2006 as be part of The Great American Shoe In which was held by the Modesto Museum of Art in Modesto, California. My shoe "Spiked Heel" is now part of the museum's permanent collection.

In 2010, "Step Out" was part of the Putting-It-All-Together show held at the Climate/Gallery Long Island City, NY. It was then later sold at the 2011 "Art Affair".

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Monday (1) Lou's Lemon & Tomato Pasta

Art is my passion, but not my only passion. I also love to cook. Over the years I've taken many cooking classes and experimented on my own in the kitchen. With this in mind, I thought adding Menu Monday to my blog would be a fun idea. On every Monday, I plan to share a receipe or my menu plan for the up-coming week. So for my first entry: Lou's Lemon and Tomato Pasta. My brother Louie shared this with me a couple of weeks ago and I thought tonight would be a good time to try it. It was a busy day today and I needed to make something quick and easy which this was, along with being very YUMMO! Lou's receipe called for fresh tomates, which I'm sure it would be even better, but using ingredients on hand in the pantry for a quick meal is always appealing to me.

Lou's Lemon and Tomato Pasta
(serves 2)
1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 lemon (zest removed and juice squeezed)
6 leaves of basil chopped
crushed red pepper to taste
salt/pepper to taste
1 tblsp olive oil
Italian Cheese for topping

cook pasta and drain
in pasta pot add olive, heat till hot
add tomates, lemon zest and juice add salt/pepper &
/red pepper to taste, stir to mix
add pasta to mixture, stirring to combine all ingredienta,

Plate garnish with basil and Italian Cheese.

The Lemon in this receipe brings to mind a YUMMO soup receipe I must share with you.

Moroccan Beef Soup
(serves 6)

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 ¼ lbs. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ¾” cubes
2 tsp. salt, divided, plus more to taste
½ tsp. ground black pepper, divided, pus more to taste
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. grounded ginger
6 cups beef or chicken broth
2 (15oz.) cans garbanzo beans, drained
½ cup spaghetti, broken into 1” pieces
1 large lemon, cut into 6 wedges

1. Heat 1 tsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add beef, 1 tsp. salt, and
¼ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until no juices remain and meat is browned, about 10mins.
2. Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil, garlic, carrot, onion, and ½ tsp. salt and cook until vegetables are
softened. 6 to 8 min. Stir in cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, 1
minute. Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover,
add simmer until beef is just tender: skim off and discard any foam on surface while cooking, if needed.
3. Add garbanzo beans, spaghetti, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper and continue to cook until spaghetti is al
dente, 10 to 15 minutes more.
4. To serve: Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with lemon slice (squeeze
lemon over top before eating).

Freeze for up to 8 weeks.
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 ½ hours

If you try either of these receipes, please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I thought today it would be a good time to share with you my "Love Monsters". I gave them this name because they each have a heart on their chest. It was a fun project I deceided to do for myself, but actually did sell the one with the big blue eyes (Hung Over) to an artist friend of mine. I will let you figure out for yourself where I came up with the name for that piece. Happy Valentine's Day....It's time for a cocktail!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It was another beautiful morning here in Key West. The yard sales were a little slim, but I did find a few that delivered some treasures. The vintage train case was a real find. I'm altering a few others for the Art Affair coming up at Schooner Wharf on 3/3/12. This 70 something case will be a good addition. What am I going to do with the dolls you ask? You'lllll see. I have a couple of ideas brewing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Gypsy Palace

Art Happenings!

The Gypsy Palace has been buzzing with activity. I have just completed a piece to submitt to the Sodu Gallery "From A Woman's Hand" show,March 2nd. It is a great venue and so is the chocolate and Champagne reception.
On March 3rd the Schooner Wharf will be hosting their annual "Art Affair". This year will be my 2nd year participating. It brings in a nice crowd, the music is great and the view is wonderful.
I've posted some photo's of last year's events
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yard Sale Bangles

Yesterday's yard sale finds inspired me to get busy with the bangles. To give them my twist, I wrapped them in pieces of vintage scarfs. An old broach gave one some bling and embroidery thread and vintage buttons embellished the others.
Now where can I find some more bangles???

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Treasure Hunt

It's a beautiful morning here in Key West. A a good morning to get some exercise and search for some hidden treasures. I took my bike for a ride down some of the side streets and came across a couple of good yard sales to rummage through.
I usually don't know what I'm looking for when I begin my search, it really depends on what catches my eye. Somethimes something with inspire me to creat right when I find it. Other times, things sit for awhile.
Here is a photo of my finds for the day. I think the orange bangle bracelets are calling me....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The gate is open, come on in...

This is where I hide the junk and organize the craziness! It has a door, so we don’t have to look at it when we need to give our eyes a rest. I feel very fortunate to have a space dedicated to my art. This is Key West however, so space is limited. Sometimes when we have guests, the air mattress goes into this room to take care of the overflow. I do give our family and friends the courtesy of covering up the mannequin head and hiding the jar of teeth.
I think that for an artist I am very organized. This stems from my Mother, a treat I am grateful she passed on to me. A good friend of mine gave me a label maker, which has really helped me. How else would I remember where I put the rusty nails or dice? I keep adding storage boxes because this stuff grows! Having it all around me while I work gives me inspiration. While I’m working on a piece I’ll rummage thru the stuff, and something will tell me “You need to add me,” so I do. I try to be a good listener.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The beginning of a new year is a good time for me to reflect on what took place in 2011 and dream of what opportunities are out there for me in the coming months. It is a good time for me to start this blog.

My purpose for this blog is to share my artist process in creating my assemblage sculptures, funky junk jewelry or whatever has caught my fancy at that time. Hopefully you will share your thoughts with me. We can inspire each other and get those creative juices flowing.

I will take you behind the iron gates here in Key West to my studio where I store my bins and boxes and jars of crazy stuff. My friends look at me sometimes and say “What the heck are you going to do with that?” You’ll see…………