Posted in January 2012

Week Three – Clearing the Decks.

So here we are, beginning to get down to brass tacks.  If you think the last two weeks were a cop-out, quit thinking that.  This week I poured twelve hours into a fine piece of craftsmanship if I do say so myself.  I really want to use this year to push myself further in mediums I have used before, and to raise and unify my artistic style and vision across all mediums.  In short, I want to find myself as an artist.  I want to learn the sound of my voice and make it soar.

M. Moss, a Study 8x10 embroidery on cotton

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. Maurice Moss of IT Crowd fame.  Moss is an 8×10 embroidered portrait, satin stitched in 4 shades of 3 strand DMC cotton.  The hair, tie and background are 100% cotton fabric.  The hair and tie are both stitched down.  This is all satin stitch folks – 12 hours worth.  A rediculous amount of work, but well worth it in the end.  This is left unframed, as it is a commission and the owners wish to frame it themselves.

Look at that mug!I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeVille.











Full disclosure – I’ve had this mapped out for some months now.  The actual build did not start until Monday, however.  I am contemplating doing these as commissions with very specific source image requirements, of course.  For which, I would need to make another that doesn’t belong to someone else.  I’m thinking John Stewart.  I do need to rest my sewing hand before I do another of these.  Stitching the appliques was the hardest part, and the hair took me several hours to sew down due to frequent breaks for my hand.

Hopefully I will have an animated gif of my 7 days of progress on this up later this week.  For now, I am signing off, satisfied with my work and hustling on to my next project.

Week Two – One Helluva Blue Dress

So I figure part of this journey is finishing up projects that are in backlog, and contemplating how to go forwards from that work into what I would like for myself to be as an artist.  Also – figuring out what I would like for myself to be as an artist.  Week Two sort of resolved it’s self in that respect.  A commissioned dress needed making, so I made it.











The clients chose a Vogue pattern.  I have very mixed feelings about Vogue’s pattern making abilities.  On one hand, Vogue adds in all of the beautiful finishing details and simple clean lines that make a piece of clothing stand out as a piece of craftsmanship and a thing of quality.  On the other hand, they are fond of giving you only steps one and five, leaving you to fill in the gap between.

This dress came out beautifully.  It was simple, but well cut, and in a beautiful blue linen.  It is certainly the most beautifully simple dress I have ever made.

Week One – Theoretically I did it.

Since I am ending my weeks on Sunday, theoretically the first week of this year both began and ended on the first.  Not wanting to break my New Year’s resolution right out of the gate, I did what anyone would have done, I made corn chowder for the Sunday communal meal at the Buddhist-Mongolian Cultural Center in Bloomington, IN.  It is sort of cheating, but hey – I made something in one day – right?  Here is sort of the rough recipe, which doubled served about fifteen people comfortably.

Ingredients:Yum yum

For each pot of chowdah, you will need:

  • 3 Large Potatoes
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Carrots
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Bag of Cut Corn
  • A Goodly Amount of Milk
  • 1/2 Cup of Cream
  • Fragrant Spices
  • Dried Herbs

In addition to that, delicious cheese and half-baked bread never hurt nobody.  Pardon the frozen pizzas, but we were afraid we would run out of chowder.

Chippity Chop

Next up – Prep!

Scrub those potatoes, peel those potatoes, peel and chop your onion and carrot, smash the ever-loving hell out of some garlic!

FYI – carrots chop a lot quicker if you quarter them lengthwise most of the way through before chopping them crosswise.


The Cooking Begins!

Put some oil, butter, or any kind of fat you have, about a tablespoon into your pot and melt.  Add to this the onion and mashed garlic, and saute over low heat.  You want the onions to sweat real nice, so put some salt on top, and wait for the mixture in the pan to get  a little bit juicy.

Smells tasty!

Add the carrot, and cook a couple of minutes more.  Salt the carrots as well – this opens up the flavor some.  Just a pinch – don’t overdo it!  Look at your sexy saute pan!

Makin’ Dah Chowdah

Now is time to make the bulk of your soup.  Add your potatoes and corn to the pot, along with the cream, and add enough milk to cover your veggies.  Add any seasonings you like – I always add three kinds to mine.  First the fragrant spices which consist of things like Turmeric, Saffron, Paprika, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger.

Making the nom noms

Then the dry herbs, such as Thyme, Bay, Oregano, Basil.


Finally, I add whatever moist flavoring I have on hand.  This time, for instance, I added Siriracha and spicy brown mustard.

Mustard looks kinda gross just sitting on top there, huh?

Finishin’ Dah Chowdah

Stir everything up, turn the burner to a medium heat and then cover it with a lid.  The kitchen at the cultural center didn’t have matching lids, but that doesn’t matter much.  When I was in college, I would make a lid out of aluminum foil.  Just don’t use your cat and you will be okay.


Keep an eye on this bad boy – That milk/cream mixture is going to want to burn to the bottom of your pot.  Look in at it every four or six minutes or so, and make sure to stir, getting the entire bottom of the pan with your implement of stirring.  The soup will be done when the potatoes are cooked through.  They should easily mash with a fork against the side of the pot.

Your mother always told you not to stir the pot, but in this case you probably have to.


Serve your chowder with warm bread, cheese or anything you like.  Enjoy.  Make sure to clean up when you are all done.

A note in the kitchen.  Buddhists don't believe in doing harm to living things.  This includes ants in the kitchen.

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