Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recipe of the Week: African Beef Curry

For this week's recipe contribution, we're sharing a really easy and satisfying beef curry. It's not too spicy, so feel free to up the heat factor by adding red pepper flakes or more curry powder. I gave the directions for a stove top preparation, but you can cook this in a slow cooker too. Just combine all the ingredients and cook over low setting for 6-7 hours, or on high for 4-5.

1lb lean beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (15oz) fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 small onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, cook beef until no longer pink.
Add vegetables and canned tomatoes, cook until soft, then add curry powder and salt. Mix well.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.

Serve with rice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

change of plans

We were supposed to go work on the mural again this morning and then head out to Walton, IN for the unveiling of Building Blocks later this afternoon. But Sandy is causing some pretty gusty winds of up to 50mph, and I'd be damned if I allowed Zach to get on that rickety 16ft ladder. The unveiling is also now being postponed till November 13th. We'll make a reminder post when the time comes.

So instead of being out and about today, we're huddling in at home. I'll write, and he'll draw, we'll make some dinner and watch a movie.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy in Indiana

Hurricane Sandy is terrorizing the East Coast. It is calm over here in Indiana, but Sandy is giving us some really pretty skies tonight.

The skies before dinner:

and this is "edgy" Sandy after dinner:

growing garlic

So, in the midst of painting the mural and everything else that was happening last week, Zach tore up our dying garden and I planted a pound of garlic. I have been looking for something to plant this fall, and since we eat a lot of garlic, this seems like a good choice for us. I don't know really know what I'm doing though. I've tried reading about it online, but I have not read anything about what I should do with these new sprouts. Anyone have any idea?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

west lafayette mural: day 3

it was a long day at the wall today.  mindy and i started early in the cold morning, worked through the afternoon, and got back home just in time to watch robbie gould nail the game winning field goal for a Bears win.  we were so exhausted when we got back that we just flopped on the couch for the following 4 hours.  just the noise of the traffic on the bridge above and road below is enough to wear you out.


we got a lot of the front walls completed today.  first i fixed what i messed up the day before, then finished drawing in all the robots on the south wall.  mindy was cleaning up some of the sloppy places from the previous days.  then we started painting in the robots on the front walls.  pete and his son arrived after church let out and they started in immediately knocking out a big portion of the color on the south wall.  we also had a great family of volunteers show up to paint today and because we had 8 brushes on the wall, we got a lot accomplished.  i'm looking forward to finishing it out soon.  weather permitting, we'll be out there most of the rest of the week.

it's exciting to watch this mural take shape.  this is such a big space, not just for the size of the walls, but also for the acreage they take up.  the mural is such a visual surprise on the drive north or south on SR43.  the honks have been increasing each day we're out there as people drive by.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Official Unveiling of 'Building Blocks'

Please note that the unveiling of the mural has been postponed to November 13th, at 3:30pm. 

You're invited!

saturday afternoon snack

A few years ago, Zach drove me up to Asheville, NC to present a paper at the Black Mountain College conference. We had the best chocolates of our lives at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for 3 nights in a row. When we got married later that year, we even ordered their truffles for our guests.


So last month, when I was having an intense chocolate craving, I logged onto their website and instead of just ordering myself a box of truffles, I impulsively signed up for a 6-month chocolate subscription. I was a little apprehensive about spending so much money on chocolates, but now I am loving my special treat each month! Today I feasted on an Indian kulfi, jasmine, and lavender honey truffle. Yums.

Friday, October 26, 2012

west lafayette mural: day 2

i was determined to paint today, and thankfully, so was the weather.  after a steady rain through most the night, the AM radar showed a line of storms 100 miles east of us and nothing behind it but sketchy-looking grey clouds.  we picked up paint cans from the studio, headed out to the wall, and quickly got started painting in outlines on the front pylons.  i got a couple of large robots on the walls before pete arrived with 2 of his kids.  we got them started painting in the robots on the back walls with mindy helping them layout the colors properly, then got back to working in some more images on the front pylons.

pete added his icon robot stencils to the mix and i continued with the large and small free-hand/stencil pieces.  by the end of the day we had outlines completed on the north wall and started on the south wall, until i began to lose focus and screwed up the legs on a huge centerpiece figure.  but that's ok, i'll paint over it on sunday.  there is a lot going on with these walls and there is still a lot missing, but we are headed in the right direction.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

new mural project in west lafayette

we started on a brand new mural project in west lafayette last weekend. Pete Brown, two of his kids, and I met under the SR43 bridge to prime four giant walls.

this morning i began putting the robot outlines on the back walls.  the wind was relentless so I am leaving the 2 larger walls in front for another time.  Pete is in indy today giving tours of his Blind. show at gallery 924 at the indy art council but he will be helping me paint tomorrow if the weather permits.

mindy came with me (in her damn flip flops) to photograph, manage stencils, be my eyes from a distance, and help me with a sketchy-at-best ladder. i started by climbing a ladder with a giant stencil that was just getting beat to shit by the cruddy surface on the wall and the wind.  so we decided to give up on the stencil before it got destroyed and to just free hand in a bunch of outlines. i used the smaller stencils where i could and free-handed some gigantic robots.  these walls are so big and set far enough back from the road that the images need to be very large to be very visible. the images are fun and active, with most robots performing an action of some kind.  we ended up trying out the giant stencil again on the north wall, and it worked well enough to get by.

the wind began to pick up as we were about halfway through the second pylon. we were also starting to get hungry so we decided to stop for the day.  pete and I will hopefully be back to work some more tomorrow. Some of the kids who helped with Inner Alley Symphony will also stop by on Sunday to help paint.

su-PURDUE-per hilarious!!!

Sigh. The super hilarious things you miss when you are not at the right place at the right time on campus ...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Chicken and Spinach Curry

Do you start craving spicier dishes as the weather gets chillier? If so, here's a simple and healthy recipe for chicken and spinach curry ...

1lb chicken breast meat, chopped into 1-inch pieces
16oz frozen spinach
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 scotch bonnet pepper, sliced thinly
1 (15oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin seeds
salt, to taste

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in dutch oven, and cook onions, garlic, and scotch bonnet pepper until soft.
Add chicken and cook till browned.
Add frozen spinach. Cover and cook on medium heat until spinach is softened. Stir thoroughly.
Add salt, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and chopped tomatoes. Mix well.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with rice.

p.s. our beautiful dinner plates are made by Scott Frankenberger, a local potter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

mistaken identity

Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?

I frequent our neighborhood grocery store at least once a week. It is just down the street from where we live, so sometimes Zach and I would also stop in during our evening walks to pick up a small dessert treat. In other words, I like to think of us as regulars at the store. There is so much to like about the place, from the helpful and happy staff, the gorgeous produce, to the familiarity of the layout (I like knowing where to find the things I need!). The manager of the diary section is my friend and I always stop to say hello to him even if I am not buying any eggs or milk. He is chatty and always has a recipe or two to share. This is the store that makes grocery shopping bearable. I honestly don't even consider shopping elsewhere unless I need a specialty item.

Lately, something strange has been happening to me at the store. It started with the cashier a couple of weeks ago, who asked me why I didn't have my little boy with me that time. I gave her a confused and awkward smile while I tried to figure out why she was referring to Zach as my "little boy." Surely I didn't look old enough to be his mother!!! And then the same thing happened with another cashier a few days later. Today, the produce guy asked me if my "little fellow" hates the rain and chose to stay home while I came to the store. I didn't have the heart to tell any of them it was a case of mistaken identity. I just hope to never run into my doppelganger at the store. It would be so tragically awkward.

Monday, October 22, 2012

fields of gold

Fall days are the best. The trees are golden, the ground is golden, the sun is golden, and the days are filled with long shadows. I checked the weather forecast and it looks like we'll have more rain than sun this week. But it'll be okay. It's just fall.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

a spontaneous road trip

Q: What happens when you spend your Friday night on the couch, in front of the TV, watching Check, Please! on PBS on the Chicago channel? 

A: You take a spontaneous trip to Chicago on a Saturday afternoon to go seek out a restaurant that was featured in the program! You go optimistic; hoping for, but not guaranteed a table.

We walked into GT Fish & Oyster shortly after they opened at 4:30pm CT. The hostess mentioned that with no reservation, their first open table would only be available at 10:45pm! But if we wanted to sit at the bar, we could do that right away. So we found ourselves two seats, got our drinks, placed our orders for oysters and six other little tapas-style dishes.

We had:

six oysters to begin with ...

then tuna poke with mango, cucumber, and black sesame ...

crab cake with red bell pepper aioli, and pickled vegetables ...

fish and chips ...

lobster roll with pickled vegetables, and a side of fried onions ...

seared scallops with charred tomatoes and watercress ...

and ended the feasting with mussels in a tomato basil sauce and a side of ciabatta ...

By the time we were ready to leave, the place was teeming with people waiting for our seats. It made me nervous enough we decided we would skip dessert (not that I still had space left in my belly or anything like that!) and start heading home. I love spontaneous road trips.

Friday, October 19, 2012

happy birthday bloggy

our blog is a year old today.  we started this blog as a way to give insight into what we are working on, as art, by nature, is in the process.  and we thought this would be a great way to give window into the process that produces the things we make.  we have found that we really enjoy sharing much more about our everyday lives and what we make is so ingrained into our daily way of life, our blog has developed into a creative lifestyle blog, but that's what art is: a way of life.  thank you for reading.  i hope you will continue to follow us as we have some great projects planned for the upcoming year.

our blog is a year old!

We started this blog a year ago when we were still living in Portland. In the beginning I really struggled with writing posts and the idea of sharing bits of our lives so publicly (I don't even have a Facebook account!). I was also super conscientious about wanting to be private about our extended family. But now I am loving logging on here to pause and reflect on the things that are running through my mind. And I've also figured it is okay to talk about our family, as long as we're keeping things real. It is all about writing candidly and honestly, and this online space has been my way of keeping our friends and family involved and updated on what is currently happening with Zach and I. Sometimes it feels as though nobody is reading anything, but we keep on writing. So when we get comments on posts, or meet random people who tell us they've been tuning into our blog, I'm doubly excited and appreciative. Thank you all for reading and participating!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

up next: robots mural in west lafayette

on sunday we will begin another mural, one which i am particularly excited about.  the indiana department of transportation gave us an incredible space: on SR 43/N. River Rd. in west lafayette, we will be painting a mural of robots on the concrete supports for the US52 overpass.  this space has had grey splotches of painted over graffiti tags for as long as i can remember.  and it has also been a space i've wanted to paint since the first time i drove past it on my way to chicago.  

the walls are immense, 30+ feet tall and around 30 feet wide, and there are 4 of them (however the back two pylons are only about 15 feet tall).  i have invited fellow stencil artist Pete Brown to join me in creating this mural.  he will be creating 'pop icon' robots and i will be using my own drawings in a color palette of rusting steel and oxidizing coppers.  we're both cutting stencils, which will give a really nice consistency in the images, because the styles are very different.  

today i started in on the giants, creating stencils for portions of the piece, while freehand painting the less detailed shapes.  the picture at the right is a bit sawed off, but the wall of my studio is only 10ft tall, and it works good enough for testing out combinations of stencils.  the top of his head is at about 9ft. up, so he will eventually be about 16-18ft tall when i add legs and the bottom 1/3 of his torso.  i'm testing out the the rust color combination also.  i wanted to try it out before i decided what kind of paint i could get away with.  the diamond plate looks great and it was easier than i thought it was gonna be.  i've also got several other heads, gears, pulleys, chains, rope, pipes, a clamp, claws, hands, wheels, and all kinds of other little details to add on.  this piece will be seen almost entirely by traffic driving past, but i want the details to be detailed up close too.  

i love having a studio wall that i can paint on like this.  it is a 10ft. tall sketchbook and it is a tremendous asset in trying to make images that take up building walls instead of gallery walls.  i've still got several stencils to cut, but we prime on sunday, and i should have enough ready to go by then.  painting murals is fun, they become part of the fabric of a community.  this one will be a lot of fun and hopefully people will enjoy it enough to slow down as they pass it on the road.  

television eyes taking a coffee break, shaded, kinda, but not painted

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