[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: My new obsession

Fluid acrylic painting. Who knew. This is one of those things were I see a craft video and I'm like, "I have all that stuff. I'll try it." And I go home and try it and it's awesome. Apart from the first failed attempt to even mix the paint correctly. (Turns out I didn't have all the stuff I needed and I tried improvising with random home chemicals; I'm no chemist so all the paint turned into snot consistency which was pretty much the opposite of the nice, runny, fluid consistency that I needed.)

Anyway, here was my first real pour:


The paint was thick (only thinned with water) and I tried getting "cells" with a hair dryer. This really didn't work and it just ended up pushing the paint around the canvas.

From what I've gathered from my extensive history of researching this technique over the past, like, 5 days, the gist is that you mix paint and water (yes, I'm using plastic knives, I don't have Popsicle sticks):


Pour it in some color sequence into another cup and turn that cup upside down onto the canvas:

Dirty cup pour

Lift up the cup:

Liquid acrylic pour

Then tilt the canvas to cover the entire surface. Let excess paint drip off the sides and set it on something to keep it elevated while it dries.

All the colors blending and not blending and swirling make a totally unique picture with lots of visual interest:

First liquid acrylic pour

I liked it. Obviously, it was my first time and it's not going to be amazing and ready to be hung in a gallery. I wanted cells, though, and you need to add some kind of lubricant to the paint (oil and water don't mix). I've seen people use treadmill oil, 3-in-1 household oil, KY or hair care products that contain dimethicone.

I wanted to try again, so I mixed up some different colors and added some WD-40 (what I had on hand). Made another dirty cup pour and this is the result:


I really like this one. There are more noticeable spots of cells from the WD-40:




There are many things that I learned just from doing these two small 8" x 10" painting. There are some special things that you do need (notably a paint flow aid and a torch). It's messy but a very fast process. I did a bunch more paintings over the weekend and will post them here throughout the week.


[cooking] Red curry pumpkin coconut soup

More pumpkin for supper last night:

Thai red curry pumpkin coconut soup. And naan. 🎃 #pumpkinsoup

Pretty simple and quick to bring together. I finely minced a small onion and sauteed in olive oil. Add minced ginger. Then garlic. Then a couple cups of pumpkin puree, a cup of chicken stock and a cup of coconut milk. Added a tablespoon of Thai red curry paste. Heated and garnished with coconut milk and cilantro. Served with homemade naan.

TGIF! Going to pick up some art supplies after work- I just found a new art hobby: fluid acrylic painting. I tried it on a couple small canvases I had on hand last night and I loooooove any piece of art that is unique and only takes 45 seconds to make. That budgets well into my schedule.

Tomorrow should be sunny so I'll finally be able to try some solar printing. My sister gave me a lot of cyanotype paper for my birthday- you just put things on top of the paper, leave it in the sun and then rinse in water. Voila- nature silhouettes. I went around last weekend picking and pressing leaves and flowers, so I have everything I need.

More pumpkin recipes to try this weekend: pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Pats are playing Sunday night, which is better for me- when they play Sunday at 1pm, the afternoon is shot and the house doesn't get cleaned. I've got to make a dump-run; find a nearby laundromat to wash some big blankets and rugs (which should be good knitting time). I'm so ready to be done with this fuffy yellow scarf- but at least I'm on the last ball of yarn. I've printed off a dozen new hat patterns- I just want to move on to quick things for holiday gifts!


[cooking] Rugelach

This month's King Arthur Flour #bakealong challenge is rugelach:

This month's #bakealong is #rugelach. #kingarthurflour

This was my first time making these traditional Jewish sweets and I did the recipe basically as written. My filling is chopped dried cranberries, pecans, brown and maple sugar, cinnamon. I do have a bottle of boiled cider and I used that to brush over the rolled dough to make everything stick. Easy enough to vary the filling based on what you have on hand. 

Lovely little flakey, spiced croissant-y cookies. A rare treat considering all the butter and cream cheese in the dough. Would love to try a savory version next time (spinach or pesto filling? minced sun-dried tomatoes and parm cheese? pepperoni pizza rugelach? pizza-lach? roo-ge-za?).


[cooking] Dehydrated apples

One of our wild apple trees is fully loaded with large apples. I went out to pick some this weekend:

Wild apples picked from the front yard. To dehydrate. 🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎

Maybe not the prettiest but my plan was to peel and dehydrate them. I got a new Spiralizer to make quick work of it:


This product works so well, it makes me angry. Think of all the apples I peeled by hand. All the slicing I did by hand. All the apples. All the pies. All the years. This thing is amazing- pop on an apple and turn a crank- it peels and slices and cores. It's wonderful to have all the slices uniform thickness for dehydrating. I just cut the cored apple spiral in half and lay all the slices on the trays. 8 or so hours later:

Dehydrated apples. Will use softer ones soon and store the driest ones.

What to do with all the dehydrated apples? I think we'll have them for snacking (they're more like apple jerky than apple chips) and then King Arthur Flour just posted a recipe for Appalachian Stack Cake


[cooking] Pumpkins galore

Dollar and I went to a local farm Saturday morning to pick some pumpkins. Since it was the last day that the farm was going to be open for the year, they were having a sale. Pie pumpkins were $3 each... or 10 for $10. So yeah, I came home with:

10 pie pumpkins for $10. Going to roast and freeze the purée.

I don't think I understood how much work it would be. I've never processed a pumpkin into puree for cooking. I brought three inside, cut them into chunks, worked out (and saved) all the seeds, scraped out the innards and set them on baking sheets:

Three pumpkins down... seven more to go? 😩

I bought a small little pumpkin scraper at Baketville in Putney some years ago and it's amazing. I can't find a picture of anything like it online but it is the best instrument I've ever used to cleanly and easily scrape away all the sticky stuff from inside a pumpkin. It's about the size of the palm of my hand and it's a metal half-mood scraping blade with a wooden handle. So small but it made incredibly quick works out of clearing off the pieces from three little pumpkins. I've still got more pumpkins to do- I'll take a picture of it.

Roasted it all at 350F for 45 min. Let rest until cool enough to handle and then the skin just peeled away. Pureed it all, in batches, in the food processor. Result: Ten 1-cup portions, ready for the freezer.

3 pumpkins = 10 cups purée. I'm all out of these little one-cup containers. So... things get interesting tomorrow.

I boiled the seeds in salted water and then left them out to dry overnight:

Pumpkin seeds, boiled in salted water. Will let them dry over night and roast tomorrow. 🎃

The next morning I mixed them all with a little olive oil and Greek seasoning and roasted at 350F for 20 min, stirring every now and then. They're totally toasted and crunchy- perfect snack food. Not chewy, which has kind of happened to me in the past. I think the salted boil and leaving them to dry overnight did the trick.

So that's three pumpkins. I clearly had no idea what I was doing when I thought "Sure! Whatever, I'll get ten, lol!" My list of pumpkin recipes to try: risotto, ravioli, soup, bread... uh... muffins? Scones? Sage seems to be a good pairing with pumpkin, from what I've seen online- I'll go out and pick the last of it before we get a frost tonight.


Here's a picture of the scraper: Maudie's Super Squash Scooper:

Maudie's Super Squash Scooper

Locally, it looks like you can get it at Dan & Whit's (of course) and the Upper Valley Food Coop.

I did three more pumpkins after work yesterday and this scooper is great. More puree went into the freezer but I left a lot out to have this week. Last night I had fettuccine with a pumpkin cream sauce (o.m.f.g. - so good). I have plans for a Thai pumpkin coconut soup tonight.


[art] Bob Ross weekend: 5 paintings

With the long weekend, I decided to take out all my oil paints and get back into Bob Ross painting. 

Saturday painting, Bob Ross style. First time painting on a black canvas. #bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 9. Episode 3. Red Sunset.

One more... #bobrosvia Instagram <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>s #painting #oilpainting
Season 12. Episode 10. Mountain at Sunset.

New way to do mountain shade. #bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 13. Episode 8. Mountain Exhibition.

#bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 10. Episode 1. Towering Peaks.

#bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 10. Episode 2. Cabin at Sunset.

While Bob can crank out a painting in 30 minutes, it takes me 60 - 90 minutes. Not bad- easy enough to do in an evening. But I should definitely practice more often.

Now to order frames and start hanging all these.


[knitting] Seascape Stole progress

The yellow scarf grows:

#knitting project grows.

Lovely evening last night. The weather has warmed back up- I think I might get a 2nd bloom from my delphinium:

I might just get one more delphinium bloom?


[cooking] Macoun Apple Pie

I had to run down to Lebanon last Saturday afternoon to pick up my car from the mechanic. They had had it for 3 days, which was fine by me because they gave me a 2017 loaner at no cost. I was hoping they'd call be like, "We're never gonna get to your car so... ya know what, just keep it." Sigh. I had to go pay $$$ to get my piece-of-crap car back.

But. Since I was right in the area, I popped up to Poverty Lane Orchards to quickly pick some apples. I asked if "two below" was open (two acres below the main farm, FULL of rare/heirloom apple species) and they said not until next weekend. The main, large orchard are just Macintosh, Cortland and Macoun trees. I usually pick cortlands for pie but I wanted to try just macouns this year. I asked what color tape the trees were marked with (yellow) and made a beeline up the main path, to the back where the right trees were. 

Macoun apples. Had to pick up my car from the service center in Lebanon so I picked a few at Poverty Lane and got a jug of cider. Their rare/heirloom orchard opens next weekend!

I picked a little more than a dozen. And got a gallon of cider.

The macouns are good for eating out of hand- tart, not too sweet, firm. Also perfect for... PIE.

Apple Pie Prep

Sunday morning I made some dough, peeled some apples...

Apple pie filling

I was on auto pilot and forgot to cut out pretty designs in the top crust. I put the top crust on, cut away excess dough, crimped  the edges, looked at the pie... and said "oh shit". I was going to use cookie cutters to cut vents when it was all rolled out but BEFORE it put in on the pie. So instead I used my maple leaf cutter to cut some leaves from the excess dough and applied all over:

#applepie 🍎🍏🍎🏈

And just used my knife to stab-stab-stab-stab vents.

After baking:

Macoun apple pie 🍎🍏🍎

We were able to let the pie cool for about 30 minutes before we caved and cut a slice. Warm, with ice cream- this was one of my best apple pies ever. The apple slices held their shape really well. 

So happy it's apple season. And looking forward to "two below" this weekend!

By the way, for local people, the Coop Case Lot sale starts tomorrow. 


[misc] Penny Tuesday

I'm not sure how many open-window days are left but Penny's enjoying them while she still can:

Not many more open-window days left...

Speaking of cats, I just got a cute little 'Cats in Ads' project bag in the mail:

Cats in Ads

Every now and then a cats group on Ravelry runs an auction as a fundraiser for a Raveller who could use some help paying vet bills. I have donated stuff in the past but this time I decided to just bid and I won this bag- just the right size for a sock or hat project!


[vermont] 2017 Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival

This past weekend was the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. I waited a bit for the rain to pass Saturday morning before heading over. I got there in time to get a little lunch and watched the sheep herding demonstration.

Artwork on the side of one of the foodtrucks:

Pretty bunny

This year is only the 29th annual VT S&W. And this is only the 5th year that it has been at the Tunbridge Fairground (which I love so much, since I only live 10 minutes away) and while the first year or two were pretty small, it was much larger this year.

I noticed lots of beautiful art, in the form of needle felting:

Needle-felted landscape

Needle-felted bunny

Needle-felted fox

Needle-felted Totoro

These tapestries were A-MAZ-ING:

Needle felt tapestries

Needle felt tapestry

Like I need a new hobby but I so want to do some needle-felting now.

I loved this weaving demo:

Weaving Demo

Just whipping up a landscape "painting".

My modest haul from the fest:

VT S&W haul

A couple skeins of yarn, a couple small (4-5oz) bundles of fiber to spin, some wooden buttons and 5 bars of soap. Festival goat's milk soap is the best soap ever and I love that they come wrapped in little pieces of fabric. The pack-rat in me is keeping all the fabric for a future soap-charm-square quilt.

Oh, and this was my first time seeing and petting cashmere goats:

Cashmere goats. 🐐🐐

They were pretty soft and that's just the outside, guard hair.

Still working on the yellow, mohair Seascape scarf. Just joined the 2nd ball of yarn. The plan is to knit through 3 balls. Then I want to pile up single skeins of yarn and a dozen hat patterns for super-quick, instant gratification hats. All my recent projects (baby blanket, socks, baby blanket, shawl, stole) feel like forever-projects. I want to make stuff that only takes a night or two. 


[misc] Penny Friday

Most unflattering angle of Penny:

Most unflattering angle ever. #catsofinstagram

The temp has dropped and Penny has gone into heat-seeking mode: trying to get under the covers in bed, flopping onto any open lap, burrowing into laundry baskets of cloths right from the dryer.

Tomorrow is VT Sheep and Wool! Looks like there will be some rain in the morning- not sure how muddy the fairgrounds will get but I'm going to bundle up for sure! Can't wait to see all the vendors and all the pretty things!


[knitting] Seascape Stole

After I cast off the dragon baby blanket, sewed in the ends, washed and blocked it, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I finished it, in time for the fair- what a weight has been lifted... what to do now?

Immediately cast on something new:

New project starting to look like something. #knitting

Seascape stole in Louet Kid Mohair, published in Knitty Summer 2008 (omg, I've had this pattern queued for nearly 10 years). It's working up nicely- the yarn is great and the charts are very easy compared to the dragon charts.


[gardening] What blooming in late September

Let's see, it's been a month since I posted flowers. Some of these things are done and gone but I do have some late summer flowers to enjoy.

Purple bee balm:

#monarda purple #beebalm

I like this- good height (4 - 5 feet tall) and tidy; it doesn't spread like red bee balm. Purchased a very small plant a couple years ago at the Hanover Garden Club sale and it's just huge now. Suffers from powdery mildew. It's in full sun and gets plenty of air circulation, so I don't know. 

Red cardinal flower bloomed just as the white was finishing (in the back right of the picture):

Red cardinal flower

I bought three of these lobelia plants this year and planted them in the part shade bed. And all three are different colors: red, white... and blue:


The blue one isn't as tall as the white and red but it's much more showy. It's their first year- will be interested to see how they look next year.

I've been waiting years to see if anything would happen with a Japanese anemone that I planted (again, another tiny plant purchased from the Hanover Garden Club sale). Finally, this year, it bloomed:

#anemone 💕


So glad I never gave up on it and left a marker where the small little leaves were. Hopefully now that it's established, it will spread.

September 10 was the last daylily bloom out of all the daylilies:

Last daylily out of all the daylilies. 😭

Or so I thought. Actually, some of my light yellow stella d'oro are still blooming now:

Some daylilies still blooming. Huh.


I had a couple new gladiolus bloom:



Stone crop

I don't appreciate this plant enough. The greenery looks nice all summer as it grows and then you get a pop of color in September. 

Planted some nice, tall, bright asters during the summer and they just started blooming:

#aster #vermont

Looking nice now but I have a horrible feeling that the woodchucks won't let this happen again next year. I had two short asters planted in flowerbed last fall and the woodchucks grazed on them this spring whenever any leaves appears. I dug them up this summer and brought them to plant at work. By the time I planted these (above) the woodchucks either (a) had enough other stuff to eat, or (b) moved on.

I actually have not seen a woodchuck in more than a month. Maybe two months. Where are they? I kind of hope a gang of fox or coyotes came through and, uh, "took care of them". 

Anyway, I'll enjoy this aster for now. It's a common Vermont wildflower and I see this bright violet kind growing in ditches here and there (I've got to start keeping a little shovel, bucket and gardening gloves in the back of my car)- maybe the woodchucks don't eat this kind? Maybe? 

Lastly- mums started blooming:

Um. The mum I got last year is blooming this year? Is this a new perennial kind?

I thought this was beyond strange- I planted these last year and they came back and are blooming this year. I've NEVER had a mum last more than one season- winter always kills them. But a couple people on my Instagram said they've had mums that have lasted years, once planted in the ground. I will say that they're both in MA and in a zone (or two) warmer than me, so this was a pleasant surprise for me.

So that's that for plants. The weather here has been insane- 90 degrees the last three days. We haven't had any rain in quite a while. Temperatures will drastically fall tomorrow and the next day. The high forecast for Saturday is sunny and 61. Which sounds perfect to me- the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival is this weekend at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds and I don't want to be shopping and petting wool in July-like temperatures. Maybe I'll even dig out a knit hat and scarf to wear!