Watercolor blobs

I used some watercolors the other day and let them run all over and then I used a little bit of leftover acrylic Melody was using for a project. I took a photo and added some digital elements to a small section of the paintings. I like the way they look now though the originals don’t look good at all. I may alter them to match what I did in Photoshop instead.

Preparing for Imbolg

When celebrating Imbolg it’s usually the time of year when the earth is starting to emerge from the Winter slumber. Most of the world is not emerging from this slumber right now but our area is. The birds are singing and the bulbs are poking up from the ground. If you are in an area where you are having snow right now I would really suggest waiting a week or so to celebrate Imbolg. No one says that you have to celebrate on that day or even that week. This is an important thing to keep in mind and it’s sometimes a good excuse for delaying celebration too if you aren’t organized. Brighid won’t be offended if you are inside your house and can’t dig your car out of the snow in your driveway. Just because a book says that in ancient times (before global warming) people celebrated this holiday on Feb.2 doesn’t at all mean you have to. They celebrated because they noticed the earth’s signals and her signs. When you notice these you can celebrate as well.

For Imbolg I usually make Colcannon but I am going to make this bread as well this year. I couldn’t find malt extract at the store so maybe I will add another tsp. of Guinness. The other thing is that they had three different kinds of buttermilk so I picked the Bulgarian kind because it was higher in fat I think. 🙂 I have to convert the celsius before I start.

Guinness bread

* 2 cups coarse whole wheat flour (or 1 cup each quick-cooking oatmeal and oat bran)
* 2 cups fine whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 8 tablespoons butter
* 1 teaspoon malt extract
* 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
* 1 1/4 cups Guinness

We call this one the “cups and cups” recipe.

Preheat your oven to 215C. Grease a loaf pan and dust with flour. Get the cup and teaspoon out and measure the flours and sugar. In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, soda, and salt. Cut in the butter.

Stir in the malt, buttermilk and Guinness. Mix well. Pour into the loaf pan, sprinkle with a heaped tablespoon of coarse whole wheat flour.

Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 200C and bake 15 to 30 minutes longer.

You know the bread is properly cooked if you insert a skewer into the center and it comes out clean.

Turn off the oven, let the bread cool down with the door open for half an hour. Transfer to a wire rack and eat warm or cold.

There are a lot of different variations of Colcannon but this is the one that I generally use.I sometimes use leeks but this time I am using an onion.

Colcannon

2 pounds russet potatoes
1 cabbage, trimmed, pale-green leaves finely shredded
1 leek, pale-green and white parts only, cut into 1/2-inch dice or 1 yellow onion, cut into small pieces or slices
2 sticks butter
1 cup hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
* salt to taste

Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing lightly. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.

Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.

Add cabbage and onion to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.

Yarn dolls

Yesterday we made Brighid dolls and read a children’s story for the upcoming holiday of Imbolg.

Imbolg comes six weeks after Yule and six weeks before the Spring Equinox. At this time, we honor the Celtic Triple Goddess Brighid in her maiden aspect. Brighid is goddess of fire, inspiration, healing, craftsmanship, and midwifery. She is patroness of the hearth, poets, smiths, craftspeople, healers, and priests.

Imbolg is the winter festival of lights and honors the Goddess Brighid. It is the quickening of the year, the first fetal stirrings of Spring in the womb of Mother Earth. Spring lies within sight!

February 2 is also Groundhog’s Day. The groundhog is said to be a manifestation of the God. He has been sleeping since Samhain and stirs in his slumber to get an idea about the coming of Spring.

Once a month we are going to have “sun school” for the girls and read them a story that relates to a God or Goddess, holiday/season, and do a craft. The other requirement for sun school was cake so Melody and Willow helped with that beforehand.

The yarn dolls are very easy to make and you can have a lot of fun personalizing them into what kind of doll you want to have. There are instructions with photos  here. Traditionally the Brighid dolls are corn dollies that are made with corn leaves that are dried. It’s always fun to do something different and this was a great craft for all of us to do.

There are additional crafty ideas for kids and adults on Pooka pages here and from the ADF here.

 

New

Hi there,

I am still working on transferring things over to this site. I am working from the most recent to the older photos in the posts while transferring.

Yesterday the sun came out and we went to the wildlife refuge. In past years we go around Jan. 1 but it’s been so wet and so dark that this was the first day we have had this year to go. Willow hadn’t seen the sun in so long she didn’t know what it was and said “firework?”

 

Very misc.

I am loving the inspiration for new recipes from Alisa Burke here and here. I have red quinoa and several cookbooks that include recipes but it’s still in the cupboard staring at me.I like her idea for using it and also there’s a cool post about it here with links to more recipes.

We have eaten most of the black rice that I got and I love it. Love forbidden rice!I decided I don’t like tempeh if I cook it myself. If I have it at a restaurant I do like it so I must be doing something wrong.

Willow actually took a nap yesterday and I painted this without gluing the paper down yet. I upped the contrast or saturation so you can see the maple seeds better. I am going to fix that on the painting itself still. I hardly ever do anything horizontal and I had this idea in my head for a year so I got most of it done!

Photoshop textures

I have a few textures that I got from Kim Klassen that I used recently on some photos. You can sign up on her site for free textures to use. There are some strange photos that I don’t know why I keep them but then I look and they pair nicely with a texture. You edit them in photoshop and or Picnik online and you’re set.

What I have been doing

I started on the big canvas and it’s not going as well as I had hoped. I should have figured out what kind of style I was going for before I started. I do “see” something in it now but I have to go back and cover up a couple parts, mainly the upper left corner.Oh and a sidenote which I find funny is that I used the wrong side of the canvas. The primed side is what you are supposed to use since I got it primed already. I looked at that and thought it didn’t look right to paint on and so I used the sensible canvas side. In the future I can save money by getting the unprimed since that’s what I really use. 🙂

I started painting a woman th e other day and used colored pencils, pencil and then water color on her so far. She now has a sticker from some bananas. She is too boring still so she’s going to get some additions to her and the background today.

Willow has not taken a nap in about a week. This is not good for me because I have to entertain her during this time instead of paint or read which is what I normally do. The main table is still the art table as Melody takes over after school or in the mornings and draws or paints things. I am trying to organize things so we can find tools especially and then clean out the shelf with the beads on it so we can get to those too.

My box of pencils have been combined with a lot of her’s lately because I got her almost every pink and purple prismacolor pencil along with a couple of blue ones for Christmas.

I got some craft storage containers at Michael’s the other day and I thought I was being all thrifty because the craft ones were all the right size and cheaper than the ones for paint. I don’t like the w ay that the caps fit on though so I will probably get different ones eventually. I need something to mix paint in and save.

I am reading three books at once I think which I don’t like to do unless they aren’t novels. I got a Celtic spirituality book that I am lo ving so far and also a couple of acrylic books from the library. The source book is surprisingly good an d I can skip over some parts that don’t really apply. I like learning about the combinations of acryclics and mediums and seeing the photos of the colors which are transparent or wet or dry, etc. I have another book I got for Christmas on abstract painting that is really good as well. When I am finished reading all these I will do a few reviews for anyone interested.

The other two ideas I have along with those reviews are some online art shopping finds as well as some technique videos I hope to do. There are several classes that I would love to take but they are about $300 each and they aren’t in my budget of course. I know they aren’t in a lot of other people’s budgets either. So I am going to experiment with some things and film it to share if anyone is interested. I know there are people who visit my site who are artists and others who maybe want to see what new things I am doing.

Kyphi incense

Last year I made some Kyphi incense which has a lot of ingredients and they look like rum balls while they are drying. You burn them and they smell really good! I made more this year and I think they turned out even better. The thing I like about this incense is the process. I like making something that is going to take awhile and I can put some energy into.

This Egyptian incense is listed among the goods that the king will enjoy in the afterlife.

The incense has different ingredients depending on personal taste or in my opinion availability. Most include honey, raisins, red wine, cinnamon, myrhh and frankincense. My incense also includes cardamon and gum mastic, red sandalwood and cedar oil. You have to let the ingredients stay together for awhile including the raisins soaking in the wine and herbs. When they are first formed they are too moist and then I let them dry for about 5 days. I will put some in my other Etsy shop soon and let you know. 🙂