Truth.... isn't it strange?

" Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities . Truth isn't "

Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

quail floor cloth gone

Definitely a process and lots of " hurry up and wait " time. This 3' X 6' cloth left yesterday for it's new home in and entryway .... It will be on oak hardwood. Perfect!!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Painting phrases on the walls after doing the lower walls in the rich red . Accenting the lettering with metallic bronze. Just finished a little more painting over there this AM before opening my shop. Art walk is tonight!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

lots of work

I'm kind of all over the place this week. Tiling my bathroom early before work or later at the end of the day. Squeezing in a few hours here and there at " Shoestrings " before they get their new floor put in this weekend. Waiting on paint to dry !! I'm playing with this funky old chair that doesn't have a seat. probably putting the hem on this floor cloth commission today. Yeaaaa! It's been a good week.... seeing lots of things come together.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Working on some lettering today for Shoestrings. Early morning till I open. Then , maybe another mirror. Pics coming soon for Shoestrings.

Friday, May 20, 2011

before and after

As I wait for curing time with the floor cloth , I am now painting and doing some consulting at " Shoestrings" , our local shoe and accessory store. They are expanding their space and lines of merchandise and I am helping create the look they want. It should be complete in about a month. These are some before pics . Today they will have some bright red happening!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

almost finished floor cloth

This is the finished creation before sealing and hemming . Take a look at the start from earlier blog post. I'll be sealing this today. This was commissioned for an entry on hard wood floor.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

new mirror

just finished another mirror like the last large one. 2 completely different looks on the same style of old mirror. This one is in rich french colors, yellow oxide, dark purple, bronze, acid green, and burgundy. I put a gloss finish on this one. Heavy mirror, at least 20 or 30 lbs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

exterior house painting

that time of year and now that I have coached my daughter in doing her own painting she has realized how " not fun " it is!! I think she is going to get a contractor. As I told her ... it feels never ending because as you start to prep ( which is 70 percent of the job ) your creating lots more " UGLY " in what you thought was a beautiful house. All the scraping, paint flecks around your house, splotches of primer giving it that super classy look! So long story short .... no instant gratification here. But once you put in the elbow grease and the time, then you get to put the color on and the finished work will last. 

But .... since she is going to get the painters to do it , a surprise.... bids came in from 1500.00 to 7000.00 for the same house. Get references and make sure you get good product on your house . I am recommending she use Sherwin Williams Duration paint. It is self priming, low temp and a really good life. If someone says they are going to be done in 2 days , I would wonder at that , since drying times at least need to be considered and also how many painters will be working on the project. So many variables and no guarantees that the 7000.00 bid will be better than the 1500.00 although I am known to say" you get what you pay for" You need to get some references and ask some questions about their methods.... spray or roll and brush?  priming? what type of primer are they using ? are they including the supplies in their bid? do they have liability insurance and are they licensed to do the job? Who are their employees and how much experience do they have? Very often . you'll love the person doing the bid but they are NOT going to be  painting for you, which is fine as long as they have loyal long term , well trained employees. I do believe it is hard for someone to complete a good job at one of these lower bids. They will run out of steam and time, everyone deserves a fair wage. There's a reason you're hiring someone else to do it . It takes time and experience like anything else to get a job done right.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

floor cloth

I'm back to working on another floor cloth commission. This one will be an entry 3 ft x 6 ft cloth to be placed on hardwood floor. A great place for a floor cloth. The customer is wanting something with quail in the design and some unique colors, acid green and teal , maybe some purple and browns. We'll see when it's done but today, for mothers day I am going to do something with the mother of my grandchildren. Just reaping some of the benefits of all those years of uncertainty! Celebrate and enjoy!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Shady Oaks ladies night

I'm going to have a space at the Shady Oaks ladies night out event tonight. Shady Oaks nursery on Hwy 99 north. Live music and catered dinner for ladies only. Lots of vendors in an outdoor setting on the grounds in the back of the nursery. From 6-8 PM . I've heard they put on a nice event. I'll be bringing the  work of several artisans from the gallery. No need for reservations

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ethiopian recipe

So... back to recipes. I had a request for the ethiopian food. so here goes . Lots to say . I love this food. After making it for the last 30 years.... a bit of interest..... I read in the book "The Blue Nile"  written by a national geographic photographer, that Ethiopian cuisine is the single most indigenous food in the world, due to the fact that the country had never been invaded until Mussolini in the 40's . The reason being the Blue Nile wraps itself around the core of the country  , no bridges and very large crocodiles kept invaders out.

The friends and relatives I learned to cook from are Christian Ethiopians and follow a diet that is restricted like the jewish diet in that they do not eat pork , shell fish and do not think of eating wild game. Only domesticated cattle. Lots of chicken , beef, lamb. Here are some very basic recipes everyone loves.

Kaya - wut:       kaya -( beef )    wut- ( red pepper sauce )

Saute 1 hour, in 3 or 4 quart sauce pan:

2 large onions- diced fine
2-3 tablespoons oil
enough water to keep from browning
Add and simmer 1/2 hour
2-3  lbs lean beef, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
2-4 Tbsp Ber-Ber ( ethiopian red pepper spice combination ) . I get mine from relatives but you might be able to get some from an ethnic store or restaurant. If not this is what goes into it. I grind these spices finely in my palm as I add them :

Cayenne pepper ( powdered )
nutmeg ( a pinch )
Paprika ( enough to give a dark rich color to the sauce )

It all depends on how spicy you like this but remember that when you partake , it is lessoned by the cheese you eat it with and the bread ( injera) so I like a lot.

Add 3 Tablespoons of clarified butter and let this simmer for an hour or two . You will see the richness of the color come out. It deepens like a nice chili sauce.

Cheese: 4 quarts buttermilk

Just put in a heavy 5 quart stew pot and heat on medium low. Do not boil. heat as though you are scalding milk. Do not stir , ever!! let it slowly simmer,( again no bubbling) Until it puffs up and becomes satiny smooth. The middle is the last to get done. Of course the outer edges get firm first and feel a little drier. The whey separates and the milk becomes firm . After it has all firmed up ..... it feels soft but firm like a baked custard..... take a fine screen strainer and put it in your sink in a stable position and turn the cheese into the strainer while letting the whey run through. I try to pour the whey away from the cheese so it doesn't disrupt the cheese too much. You should have a nice sized ( about the size of a cantaloup ) ball of cheese in the strainer. Turn the strainer from side to side and let the water run out. Do this for several minutes till dry. transfer into a covered dish and break it into pieces so it looks kind of like feta cheese. Cover and refridge . Serve on the side with any of the hot red pepper dishes.


In blender:  water first and then the flours, blend on high
4 cups water
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 cup teff flour ( buy at a specialty store , you may have to search for this depending on where you live)

Add or subtract as much flour (self rising) as you need to give the batter a thin crepe batter texture. Use a non-stick electric skillet ( I have one reserved for Injera )
turn on 325 degrees and pour at least 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup of batter on one side of pan and quickly slant pan so batter covers the bottom. Let cook till it no longer looks wet and the edges curl , it should have thousands of bubbles so if you held it up you would be able to see them from the other side slightly. You only cook on one side and then remove gently using your hands ( it is stronger than it looks and you can lift on one side without it breaking ) . lay out on a clean cotton cloth . repeat process letting each cool thoroughly before stacking on plate.

I'll try to post more ethiopian recipes next week. Tiring doing all this writing. Please let me know if this works out for you. It would be really great if you can get your hands on the " ber-ber" ( red pepper spice mix)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What is glazing

Glazing .... what is used for faux finishes, ragging, sponging, washes etc. Glaze is a medium or "vehicle" to apply a thin layer of color or paint over another while keeping it transparent enough to act as a sheer piece of fabric would. So ... when I use the word vehicle or medium , what I mean is: it is simply a tool to make the paint behave the way you want it to.

Glaze allows you to thin down the paint without making it becoming runny . The glaze itself, if you were to use it all by itself, would dry clear .... almost like the Elmers glue you used to put on your hand when you were a kid , letting it dry and peeling it off. In fact I kind of wonder if much of the glaze out there isn't actually made from the same recipes as elmers glue. Glaze is usually white and should always dry clear.

My very first attempt at glazing was done after totally screwing up our bathroom with wallpaper back in the early 80's . There really wasn't much info for the lay person at that time and most paint stores weren't carrying faux finish products or at least there wasn't much demand yet. So .... I had an idea and went with it !! It worked out in the end but WHAT A MESS!!!! First off I used oil based paint and just thinned it down with paint thinner , got some gloves and drop cloths and started rubbin' down those walls!!

This faux finish was done using an HVLP sprayer

I only do faux in water based products now ( for walls ) and ALWAYS combine a glaze product with my paint . 4 parts glaze to 1 part paint. The color , when mixed with the glaze will look pastel ( reds look pink, navy looks sky blue, etc ) but when the glaze dries the original color comes out . keep your eyes open for drips and globs of paint on the wall because they will be much more noticeable when dried.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Torte Recipe

Orange Bossom Torte Recipe:  Serves 24 

9 eggs, separated :  whites will not whip up if their is even a drop of yolk in them , must have clean      beaters and use glass or stainless bowls.
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 cup flour
1 oz white chocolate, melted
1/2 cup melted butter ( let cool at room temp ) 
Orange marmelade

whip egg whites till soft peaks form , gradually add cup sugar , continue beating till stiff peaks form.
Beat egg yolks for 6 min on high till thick and lemony , add lemon juice. Fold yolks gently into whites.... Then fold flour into egg mixture , lastly fold in the melted butter and chocolate. 

Pour batter into 2 - 9 inch greased and floured cake pans. ( do not grease sides of pan ) 
Bake at 325 for approximately 30 min. Let cool on racks and remove from pans. After fully cooled,  slice horizontally in half to make 4 layers ( works best if they are fully chilled in the re-fridgerator). Spread each with thin layer of orange marmalade and layer with filling . Spread filling on top of cake if any is left. 


1-8oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup butter, softened 
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup powdered sugar


1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar ( optional ) 
1 tsp vanilla

Whip the whipping cream till soft peaks. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar or to taste and 1 tsp vanilla. Continue whipping till peaks stand firm when you lift beaters. Frost cake and keep refridgerated. Does not need to be kept covered, the whipped cream seals it from the air. I just put plastic wrap on the exposed cut edges after  serving. This cake can be made and layered in advance and even frozen, frost before serving . Stays good for days, when stored in fridge. 

Garnish with orange slices

My all time best ever fool proof scratch cake . You could always change up the flavoring with Tay berry jam or Marion berry jam. Whatever strikes your fancy.... shaved dark chocolate and use a little cocoa in the filling and cake recipe. I haven't done that yet but it sounds good!