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.