Observations on life & art and the inspirations I see around me

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Throwing in a bit of Creativity

The packing continues.  We've got our fingers crossed that friends of Ashley's may buy the house.  If that doesn't happen, the goal is to get it on the market by the 15th.  Toward that we're loading up a box trailer to get lots of stuff to storage in Wimberley.  We're hoping the storm (Hurricane Alex) doesn't stay over central Texas this weekend.  Space bags are handy for linens & such and this one even gives me an idea for a quilt design of crazy stripes. 

I have gotten in a few creative moments.  Ashley taught a couple of friends and me dyeing wool with Koolaid.  There are other brands too, giving a great assortment of colors.  The smell is a bonus, as is the ease & safety.  It can be done in the kitchen microwave.  Only the green & varigated are mine but I wanted to show all the variety you can get. 

The afgan and hat I finished last week.  It is crocheted of yummy organic cotton which Elliott picked out.  It is a gift from E,C,&K to friends' new daughter.  I enjoyed doing it, especially the hat.  I'll have to make Karlie one soon. 

The best fun we've had lately was this past weekend when we babysat Karlie for most of 3 days (she was home with Mommy & Daddy at night).  M&D had a weekend reunion of old friends and spent the days on the lake and river.  Friday was the first time Karlie has been out without her parents and it was a fun time of shopping and lunch.  She's very sociable and a joy to watch and snuggle.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Last night in the midst of composing my post the whole of my electronic connections shut down.  This included tv mid episode of "Work of Art".  Thankfully, I could turn to reading and will finish WoA later today.  Some disconnects are not so easy to correct.  This morning I read of National Geographic warning of an Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb that would virtually STOP the world as we know it. 

Electronically or otherwise, some people are TOTALLY disconnected and worse.  I'm feeling really "Dixie Chickish"; I'm embarrassed that Texas is represented by the likes of Joe Barton.  I'll refrain from nasty name calling but ..... ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

The latest Dallas Quilt Guild newsletter shared a story from the Dallas Morning News that Texas is the #1 state with families at "hunger risk" and the North Texas Food Bank is facing a huge shortfall.  Quilt Country of Lewisville is holding a mini quilt silent auction to help.  Please join me in creating a donation or bid at the auction.  Quilts need to be there by 5:00 pm, July 1st. Check their website, http://quiltcountry.com for auction details.  Since this is a local effort I'm also doing a sale at my etsy shop, http"//etsy.connieakers.com.  I've lowered some prices and will give 15% of sales to Habitat until July 4th. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Signs of Summer

It's getting HOT in north Texas.  The pastures are going brown so the best place to look is UP. 

Memories & Good Karma

I am thinking about connections, continuity, and influences - who & what touches each of us and how we touch others.

This beautiful young mother-to-be is the daughter of my friend of 50+ years, Kathy. The quilt over the crib is the one I made in 1979 when she was born. Now I am honored that my handwork is getting a 2nd life.  We're all excitedly waiting to welcome her new little one into a circle of love.

As I write this I'm watching Carol King and James Taylor on PBS; he just sang "Sweet Baby James" & "You've got a Friend".  Their music was a big part of my youth and still sounds good to me. 

Despite a rough start and nasty headache this morning, I gathered myself up and made it to Studio Group - better late than never.  Each of these gatherings is important to me; I'm going to miss these wonderful ladies when I can't be with them on a regular basis. I believe our connection will last across geography. Three of us are moving soon: Karen to Seattle, Deborah to Annapolis, and me to central Texas.  I want to believe that we'll spread the magic so to speak.  Today was a UFO day with each of us doing our own thing.  I'm working to finish a crocheted afghan for friends of Elliott & Celeste.  Their baby has arrived early and thankfully healthy. I hope the afghan will give them joy.  Flo brought 2 beautiful books to share today on Martha Mood.  Flo studied with Martha in the 60's & 70's.  Martha was a prolific artist & teacher and had a strong influence on Fiber Art not only in Texas but across the US.  I never studied directly with her but definitely felt her influence. This is another reminder that generosity of spirit has a long life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Bit of Creativity & Memories

I haven't posted in a while because my energy level has been in the pits and I hadn't done any thing that seemed worthy of show & tell.  I don't expect anyone to get excited about boxes or garage sales. It isn't thrilling me much except I can appreciate the progress we're making. This weekend after closing down the latest garage sale I did get a bit creative in the kitchen.

Over the years we tried again and again to get these berries to grow here.  Starting back in the 70's Dad had a row about 20 feet ling down their fence in Houston.  Mother made jam, cobblers, muffins and fruit salad with the ones we & the birds didn't eat right off the vine.  Finally about 10 years ago we got them going here.

Since we've been out of town so much this spring our great neighbors who look after the animals got most of the picking rights.  I shared my recipe and heard the cobble was a big hit at a church dinner. This last week I got the last harvest; it's suddenly hot (100 plus) so there won't be many more.  I made this Sat. while Ashley & Frank were here and invited the neighbors as well.

The recipe is simple, adapted it from 2 versions in a neighborhood cookbook I helped put together & illustrate in Houston in the '70's.  As part of the cleaning for moving I've let go of most cookbooks (aren't most of  the recipes in the world online now?).  This one and a couple of other classics will move with me.

The cobble can be made with other fruits; peaches & plums are yummy and you can even mix it up.   Texas Peaches are coming into season so maybe I'll do that version soon. Here's the recipe for whatever fruit you have in your area. 

Simple Fruit Cobbler:

Melt a stick of butter in 9" x 12" baking dish
Heat approximately 4 cups of fruit to boiling (if it's very tart you can add a small amount of sugar)
Pour fruit into pan with butter.
Mix together:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teasp. salt
1 teasp. vanilla
Add 2 cups of milk and stir together well.
Pour batter over fruit.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream (Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is our #1choice)

Enjoy, stay cool, and be creative.