Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baking the Greek way...for Sweet Saturdays

"Yum" ACEO

Mother’s day is right around the corner and it has me thinking about and missing my mom who passed away several years ago after a short illness.  Recently while searching through my recipe books for ideas for Easter dinner I was surprised when a scrap of yellowed paper fell out onto the floor.  I discovered that it contained the handwritten recipe for Koulourakia (Greek Easter Cookies). Wow, I found my mom's cookie recipe one week late but just in time for Mother's day.

Now let me be clear here, most Greeks don’t write down their recipes.  It’s all up there in the cranium and you learn by doing.  So when I say recipe, I mean that written on this aged scrap of paper was a carefully printed title and a list of ingredients. What you did with it was up to you.

Cooking the way I learned it from my mother is not an exact science. She didn’t even own a measuring cup.  The cup she drank her coffee from each morning was good enough, thank you very much.  And you do stir your coffee with a teaspoon, right? Somehow I know some fancy TV chef is cringing at my very words.  They are thinking, “How can you bake without exactness? “  Let me say right now that whatever was baked, roasted, fried, or stirred in this Greek inspired kitchen tasted, well, heavenly. Somehow I think Greek thinking can be summed up in two words…. no fear.  It will all come out ok, and if it wasn’t exactly what you were aiming for, well then its something new altogether.  Opa!

But I digress. When I was a child, every Easter we all set out to help my mother create these tasty sugar type cookies. In my family there are many variations to the look of a Kolourakia. Most cooks roll them into long ropes and then braid or twist them into the traditional shapes. We on the other hand, have always tried to tweak the usual, with circles and twists and braids and curls.  Our cookies were like snowflakes like snowflakes in the fact that no two were ever alike. They became an artistic expression of ourselves.  Everyone tried to outdo the others in ways that were, well unconventional.

Everyone became a baker, from boys to girls, men to women. It didn’t matter if you were 2 or a 102.  We all got to make our very own cookies and we all held dibs on our particular creations. My mother’s more traditional looking cookies were carefully placed in Tupperware containers for sharing with visiting friends and relatives.

Koulourakia seemingly lasted forever so it didn’t matter if we made a few thousand.  I think they may even have a few in the Smithsonian’s natural history museum on display. (kidding!)

Want to make some?  Well, what follows is the easy peasy listing of ingredients, the rest, of course is up to you.  Maybe baking a cake is more to your liking?


¾ lb. butter (melted)
2 cups sugar
7 eggs separated
½ c. orange juice
Sesame seeds
4tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
6 c. sifted flour
3 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. lemon juice

Ok, I will take pity on you and print up what I know to be the rest of the story…

Mix the sifted flour, baking powder, and baking soda, in bowl.  Mix in the melted butter.  In another bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add orange juice and vanilla extract gradually.  Beat egg whites and combine with the wet ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to flour mixture.  Add lemon juice.  Knead well.  Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into desired shapes (braids are traditional) roll in sesame seeds.  Brush with milk.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes till lightly browned. 

Makes a ton…8 dozen cookies so you are free to halve this recipe!!

Why not visit Sweet Saturdays and join in the fun?

P.S.  My Mac is still my best friend!  It wasn't him after it, it was the internet service being squirrelly, all better now.  :-)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Help arrives in some places, not so much in others :-(

"Help arrives" ACEO pencil

It that time again…Paint Party Friday and although it’s been a busy week, I did manage to get some things done.  Allergies be darned, I’m still going to plant some pretty flowers.  I don’t have a very green thumb, though, but wait, out of the shadows comes a caped crusader.  Well, he’s not exactly caped but he is a crusader nonetheless. He is taking care of my flowers and I bet he won’t forget to water them. Seriously though, even though I wish I could have a little helper, it is simply a fantasy.  My helper will just have to be my better half.

Grrrrr...just to explain that I may be a little slow commenting on the other entries this week.  My wonderful, fantastic, never had a problem before Mac has decided it wanted to become a PC and it is making my life a bit difficult.  So, I have to revert back to the old PC (that all of a sudden seems to be working better)so I can leave any comment at all.   Patience is a virtue of which I have very little of. 
Thanks to Kristen and Eva we can all enjoy the beautiful artwork in this fun weekly event. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The wonderful world of color, horror movie style

We have had a lot of rain recently and in between the days are warm and sunny.  Mother nature has erupted into a world of colorful hues.  Beautiful? Yes!  Comfortable?  Not so much!

The pollen has gone off the charts.  My car, which usually resembles a black limousine, has turned a dusty yellowish green.  The kind of covering that induces mini vandals to write, “wash me” with their fingers.  It does no good, however, as soon as the car exits the wash bin, the pollen has enveloped it as if it is starring in a good horror movie. 

 “Rosemary’s yellow baby,” 
“Nightmare on any street.” 
“Invasion of the auto-body snatchers,”
 “Count Pollenula, 
“The dulling.”

Even though no one will feel the urge to write, “wash me.” On my forehead, I too, am not at my most attractive.  My eyes are red, I sneeze and cough and my throat is sore.  I live on Zyrtec.  Ah, the joys of allergy season.

“Night of the living dead.”

So until this natural phenomena is under control, I sit inside the house and view the beauty that is, for me, a beast. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Flower?  ACEO

Puppies enter the world with a natural inquisitiveness.  Everything is new and exciting to them.  They run out into a field of flowers.  What can these leafy puffs be? Oh, but there is more to discover.  What is this?  It walks, it makes a snorting sound and it towers above him.  He is not afraid.  He is going to figure this out if it takes all day.  Ah but he is not the only one with questions about the world.  The horse that hovers above wonders, could this be, a new flower?  And they say cats are curious!!!

The theme for Mr. Toast’s Creative Tuesday is short and tall.  Please check out all the other art based on this theme. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Eggly duckling

I‘ve always dyed Easter eggs.  Just because my husband was working late and I now have an empty nest doesn’t mean I won’t be dyeing my eggs. So I called my daughter and she came over. I boiled my eggs in preparation for the dyeing process.

 Now I don’t use those fancy schmancy kits that come with little tablets that are supposed to magically turn into awesome colors.  Where is the adventure in that?  We use food coloring.  Food coloring can create some really nice colors, unless someone (and I’m not mentioning names here Mary) gets a little too flippant with the food colors.

Just stick with the basics I say, but she doesn’t listen and her creative urges take over.  She adds the drops and changes the drops and then adds some more drops of another color, till she gets a color bath that resembles something like mud. 

Voila, we have created the Eggly duckling.  I don’t think I've ever colored eggs without at least one eggly duckling.  There just always seems to be an indescribably weird color egg.  There is a happy ending for my little eggly ducklings, however.

Ever have an egg fight on Easter?  When we were kids, before we ate an egg, we would always have egg fights to see who had the toughest egg.  Egg fights involved tapping our eggs onto our opponent’s eggs.  The winner was the egg that didn’t crack.  Well, I am happy to report this happy ending.  Eggly ducklings always win!

Happy Easter!!

Design tip…If you want your Easter eggs to have a nice shine, rub a little olive oil onto the egg and wipe off.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Paint Party Friday—a Boy—er,uh… Man and his dog

8" x 8" Pencil

Who among us can look at a fluffy, soft as a powder puff little kitten or a sweet sleeping puppy and not get all warm and fuzzy inside?  Even the brawniest and manliest of men cannot at least crack a smile when the little puppy runs to meet him at the door.

This is the same little puppy that chewed the corner of the sofa.  Yes, he is the one who piddled on the floor four times in one day.  And I bet he didn’t make it to dog-hood without chewing up at least one of his owner’s favorite shoes.

This week I decided to sketch my rambunctious little Jack Russell in one of the moments that makes me believe it’s all worthwhile, for dog and husband!

What....the birds are laying already colored eggs?  Happy Easter everyone!!!

ACEO  in Pencil

Be sure to check out all the other wonderful submissions in this week's Paint Party, I sure will!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I don’t like spiders and snakes…

I think that was the verse of an old song and now that I got it in my head I will be humming it all day long.  This phenomenon, aptly called an earworm happens when one just can’t get a song (like it or not) out of their head.  That is, dear friend, is another story. I do, however, want to talk about the world of insects that seems to intersect occasionally with ours.

I know some of these insects are beneficial.  I’ve heard that before and just so you know I don’t kill these invaders, I simply catch and release.  Perhaps it’s the eight or more legs, I mean why do they need that may legs?  It could be the weird eyes, which even at their tiny size seem way too big.  And what emotion other than fear do fangs evoke?  Even spider lovers will rip and tear at themselves if they inadvertently walk through a spider web. 

The other day my daughter picked up a bug and thrust it towards me. (She was always a tomboy and had nerves of steel) She told me to smell. Smell a bug; she had to be kidding right?  I am nothing but trusting and naïve, so I did as she asked. 

I have raised kids and changed thousands of diapers in my day.  I have wiped up pet messes.  I have cleaned out litter boxes way before scoop able litter came in to vogue. I have had babies upchuck on my best dress, and a daughter with projectile vomit.  Nothing, and I mean nothing could cause a gag reflex in me, until now.

A stinkbug aptly named for the revolting odor they conjure up at the slightest interference in their personal space. No matter how ironclad your stomach may be, you will gag.  You will retch, and you may even dry heave. 

So last night sitting on my sofa and watching a little television before bed, I heard something fly and hit the lamp base.  A stinkbug!  I called my Tomboy daughter and asked her what I should do.  She told me not to squash it.  Well, duh! 

I honestly considered letting it just stay there and hope that it found it’s way out.  And then I had visions of me, accidently sitting on it when it moved from the lamp base to the sofa.  What if it flew (yes they fly) upstairs and into my bedroom? Something had to be done and soon.

I retrieved a paper cup and a piece of paper.  Like an expert, I scooped the little guy into the cup and without so much as a sniff I tossed him outside.  Oh yes, I tossed the cup too; I wasn’t falling for that again. 

p.s.  I read that stinkbugs are not native to Virginia and recently migrated here in the 90's.  It figures!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easy Easter egg box…Kid’s craft

The Easter egg hunt is over.  The overabundance of Easter candy is now in the kids.  How do you keep them entertained? How about some Easter egg boxes to take home some jellybeans?  These boxes are super easy to create and require very few supplies.  Take a cue from the Girl Scouts and set up a table outside, cover it with newspapers and let the kids create mementos of the day!

You will need:

Miniature Paper mache oval box

Acrylic paint, pink or any pastel color

Gold acrylic pant


Flat lace scraps (You can buy bags of misc. scrap lace in fabric stores for very little money)


Tacky glue

1.     Paint the box top and sides with pastel color.  Paint the box bottom with the same pastel color.  Let dry. 

2.     Paint the inside of top and bottom in gold acrylic paint (if desired) Let dry.

3.     Cut pieces of various flat lace scraps

4.     Decorate the top by gluing the scraps lace across.  Slightly arc the lace so it resembles a decorated egg.  Vary the lace strips with widths, designs and colors.  You can even add rhinestones if you like.  Let dry completely. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, look up in the sky…I bet you thought I was going to say Superman didn’t you? Nope it’s not the guy in a cape and tights.  It happens to be the bane of my life, bamboo.

I kid you not; bamboo grows at least a foot a night. In a week it is as high as a 4-story building.  Ok, so maybe I am exaggerating a tad, but not by much. 

A few days ago, while my dear husband was at work and before I was sidelined by the worst cough and cold all year, I decided that I would cull out some of the bamboo that is taking over the back of my yard.  The wind knocked some extra long stalks on top of my kennel and was threatening to squash the heck out of it. 

Did you ever try and saw fresh bamboo?  Well, the problem is that bamboo is hollow and when you get your saw halfway through, it hits the hollow area and just stops there.  Then you have to hack and pull and wrench on it in an effort to get it to let go. The frustration peaks to a frenzied crescendo and you resort to beating at it with the nearest available tool, namely the saw. 

Hint…flailing saws are dangerous.  The saw sliced easily through my gloves and almost severed my thumb.  Did you know that what separates us hominids from the lower forms of animals happen to be our opposable thumbs?  Well, I almost demoted myself from that level of evolution by separating myself from my thumb.

So after several hours of frustration, band-aid runs, spider webs, aggravating dust from last year’s leaves, I emerged from my bamboo jungle, hair all askew and covered with various leaves and debris. Do you have a visual?  Frightful sight don’t you think?  In my wake lay stacks of sawed off pieces of bamboo. 

And since I’m not getting into making bamboo furniture anytime soon, husband dear will be taking a few trips to the local dump.  Sad to say there is still tons of bamboo growing at its nuclear rate of speed. I read somewhere that Giant pandas eat about 30 lbs. of bamboo a day.  Anyone know where I can borrow a panda for week or two?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here Kitty, Horsey, doggy

"First friends" ACEO acrylic

If you are a returning visitor to my blog then you know I like to draw, paint and create animals of all kinds.  Cats are particularly interesting to me since they come in so many varieties and colors.

Calico cat, ACEO pencil

Cats can be in colors of Tortoise shell calico, black, white, and even blue. There are tabbies of gray and brown, yellow, orange and beige.  Tiger stripes can be bold or muted.  Some cats are Siamese, some Persians and others, Himalayans. Cat’s eyes can be green, yellow, orange, or blue. Some even come with two different color eyes.  I think cats are kind of like fingerprints or snowflakes, and no two are exactly alike.

So I guess I will never tire of drawing and painting cats…then again….

Jack Russell ACEO pencil

Dogs are particularly interesting to me since they come in so many varieties and colors.

Dogs can be black and tan, spotted and speckled.  They can be big or small.  They can be shorthaired or long, curly or straight. The best of all though is a mixed breed that can turn out in very unique ways.  Dogs are like fingerprints or snowflakes, and no two are exactly alike. Then again…

Clydesdale ACEO acrylic

Horses are particularly interesting to me since they come in so many varieties and colors.

Horses can be black or gray, white, chestnut and tan.  Their manes can be short or long.  They can be tall like the Clydesdale or short like the mini.  They can be spotted or splotched.  They can come in colors that are hard to describe like gruella or carmello.  And who doesn’t love a palomino…not Roy Rogers that’s for sure!  Horses are like fingerprints or snowflakes, and no two are exactly alike. Then again…

Ok, I’ll just stop right here!!

PPF is here and these-- dear friends, are my entries in this fun event.  Check out all the wonderful art to discover…

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Information overload

I have an infestation in my home.  No matter how many times I try to rid myself of this plague, the numbers continue to increase.  Do I have rodents, is it bugs, termites?  No, it is none of the above.  It is of a man-made nature. The man of whom I am speaking is none other than the man I married. 

Some people collect trinkets, some collect stamps, my husband collects magazines, maps and outdated travel guides.  For the life of him, he cannot bring himself to let go of even one National Geographic.  And you never know when you will be in desperate need of an old Consumer Reports. 

If you want a review on a 1994 Chevy you will find it.  It matters not that you will never uncover a 1994 Chevy, you will know how good—or bad it was.  And National Geographic has an awful lot of useful information, but after you’ve read what really killed King Tut, are you really going to revisit that again?  Don’t misunderstand me.  I like National Geographic.  I have been to their museum.  I watch their channel.  But hefty magazines with yellow covers are taking over the house.  I swear they are breeding. 

As for maps, you may think with GPS these days, who needs em?  Well, my husband informs me that real men, don’t use GPS, they just get lost with the help of outdated topographical road information.  They never get “lost” they simply find alternate routes.

He also loves his travel guides.  We once drove 55 miles to eat at a restaurant that closed in the 70’s.  The McDonalds that sat in its place was a delightful gourmet experience, however.

The solution is not an easy one.  It involves a bit of deception, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  We have a basket in the garage in which we put old newspapers (Fortunately he doesn’t have a problem getting rid of them) for recycling at the dump.  Every few days I slip a magazine or two between the newsprint.  If I am not discovered I figure I will have solved my infestation in a decade or two, providing he doesn’t subscribe to Boater’s world.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chinatown roofs--rooves...however you say it...for Mr. Toasts Creative Tuesdays

Chinatown ACEO, pencil

I am just terrible at architecture.  I don’t enjoy drawing or painting straight man-made lines.  Mr. Toast, you really had to make us all think outside the box this time, which although is very good for creativity, does sometimes result in a bit of head scratching.  Since I detest using rulers, I had to figure out something that had enough curves that didn’t require the use of too many measuring devices. 

Light bulb goes off…(the beginning of most ideas) and what do you know--memories of my trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown came flooding back and soon became little sketches.  Yes, an ACEO developed right before my very eyes! 

I just spent four days entertaining relatives and didn't have much time for blogging--or creating.  I will, however, be visiting all the other entries very soon and you should too!  :-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Painting to the oldies--paint party friday

"My old guitar" colored pencil ACEO

This week the poll on Paint Party Friday is about what kind of music one listen’s to while creating their art.  Let’s just get this out into the open right off the bat.  I must have music playing while I am painting or I will hum.  Yes, I hum, an annoying tuneless hum.  Just a warning—tuneless hums are a deterrent to creativity.

If I turn on my tunes, then the humming takes a back seat and I sing along.  I guess I am a natural participant, so I don’t listen to classical.  I cannot do an adequate impression of a cello with my vocal cords.  So I listen to a mix of oldies and some newbies. 

If it is a particularly bright, cheerful song, I put down my brush and dance. Yes, I dance like no one is watching.  And that is just fine with me.  My studio, which is in my basement, allows me plenty of warning if someone should come down the stairs.   I will not have to live in fear that one of my kids will get a video and post it on YouTube with the title, “Mom experiencing seizure.’

So in conclusion I guess Dancing with the stars is a no go for me, and unless American Idol raises its age limit (since I am a tad above) I won’t be auditioning there either.  I will still, however, continue my habit of Painting with the oldies!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

Check out and all the wonderful art to be discovered there!  J

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rising to the occasion, really high rising

Rockies ACEO

When one who lives pretty much a tad above sea level visits a mountain area, they are usually awed by the magnificent views and vistas, unless, of course they are suffering from altitude sickness, medically known as hypoxia. 

I love mountains.  I have visited the ones in Virginia often especially to view the fall foliage.  The Blue Ridge’s elevations, however, are under 7,000 ft. at their highest.  The Rockies on the other hand can reach elevations of 14,000 ft.  If you are a number person you know that is twice the elevation of Eastern Mountains.

A few years back I visited one of my friends who lived in Estes Park, Colorado.  Almost as soon as I got there I felt sick.  We are talking, headache, nausea, etc.  I didn’t upchuck, but was darn near close.  The trip progressed and I semi-acclimated.  My sister and daughter were fine, no problems…go figure.

Fast forward several years and I visited again this time with my husband and son. Since they had never seen the Rockies, we decided to go right up to the highest elevation the first day.  Big mistake!  One of the first things they tell you about Altitude sickness is to take each 1,000 ft. slow.  Driving up the trail ridge road, I started to get a headache.  By the time we reached the summit…I was in a prone position not even able to walk to the bathroom that I desperately needed to use.  Husband and son were just fine!!  Why is it I always manage to travel with those who don’t get it, and I am not only talking about the sickness.

I forced myself to rise.  I staggered over to the edge of the mountain and snapped a few photos.  I got a few wonderful photos-- of my shoes.  Fortunately I did manage to capture some mountain scenes as well.  Was I experiencing this awful feeling because I wasn’t in tiptop shape I wondered?  With a little research I discovered that, nope, being in shape hasn’t a thing to do with it.  It’s all about the oxygen, and water.  I guess I was sorry I didn’t drink the 3 bottles of water offered to me by my friend who is a bit more knowledgeable about Mountain sickness.

Some people describe the symptoms of Hypoxia as similar to a hangover.  Not being a drinker and never having experienced such phenomena (yes, I was a goody-goody) all I can say is if that is what if feels like to have a hangover it is a wonder anyone ever drinks a drop!

I guess, having had this experience, I can say without hesitation that scaling Mt. Everest, for me, will forever be out of the question.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The black hole

The black hole

No, I’m not talking about space, not really.  What I am talking about is the space inside my purse.  For some reason when something goes in there, well, it’s really in there.  And to be perfectly honest, there are an awful lot of somethings in there.  Need a mint; it’s in there.  Need a comb or a brush or a hand mirror, yup it’s in there. Need a compact car; it might be in there. 

Things go in but rarely come out.   They just disappear into space.  Have you ever had your cell phone ring and search till the ringing stops?  I have, often.  So I call back.

“Ok, Mom stop screening your calls!”

“I’m not, I just couldn’t find my phone.”



I know there are special little pockets made just for cell phones; a more organized individual would probably use that.  Me, I’m always in a hurry and when I hang up, it’s any port in a storm. 

Keys are another of those items that just seems to disappear.  I know I got here with them, but when it’s time to leave, well they are just M-I-A. 

So I resort to the only thing that works, the old spill and search.  I dump the contents onto the first available surface only to find my son’s matchbox car.  My son is 19. All joking aside, I really do change purses once in a while, still I find things in there I haven't seen in ages.  

Voila!  The elusive keys appear, in the only place I didn’t look, the cell phone compartment.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dagnabbit 2

New American Captcha Dictionary (unauthorized of course)

I know I already wrote about captcha but lately I am thinking I need to follow up on my train wreck of thought. I still get the giggles when I see some captcha phrases.  For those who don’t know what captcha is let me enlighten you.

 Captcha is the term that describes squished, mangled, and made up words that you must type (with a straight face) before you can enter a comment or even visit some sites.  These words are an attempt to thwart hackers from wreaking havoc.  How was that for a definition?  I am sure you all have come in contact with captcha, but like me only a few short weeks ago didn’t know that it actually had a name.

Personally I have started to write down some amusing ones and give them actual Crystal-ized definitions.  They are:

Verspit – (verse-spit) adj   Of or pertaining to mean spirited poetry.

Shwod -  (shwod) n. slang nerd; wimp

Frises – (frizzies) adj.  what happens to one’s hair on a rainy day.

Raisnc – (raisin-c)  n.  the third raisin.

Physt – (fist)  n. slang  term used for one’s hand tightly balled

Conecal – (cone-cal) n.  the weight watchers gauge.

Clica – (click-a) n. the name used to describe thing in your husband’s hand that changes the channels.

Please forgive any dictionary errors.  Webster I am not.

Friday, April 1, 2011

All that glitters - Story for "jumping off places"

All that glitters

What follows is my story for “Jumping off Places hosted by Linda at .  Please join in the fun and enjoy my little tale.

The coupon fluttered out of her hand and landed among a sea of legs.  She had worked hard cutting and clipping for what seemed like hours. A Penny saved is a penny earned. Isn’t that what her mother had always told her?

Now it was gone, the one coupon that was worth more than all the others.  $2.00 off!  So what if she never bought this brand of soup; and she didn’t care if she had to buy three cans. It was double coupon day and it would be practically free with the coupon.  How could she pass up that?

People stepped and moved.  She was on her knees but why was it so important to her?  She asked herself again.  Do I really need this coupon?  Do I really need something, I don’t really need?

Yes, yes, yes, the answer came back at her.  She grabbed at it and all at once it was in her hands.  Triumphantly she took the cans of soup up to the register along with the rest of her purchases.  She paid and left the store. 

She returned home, picked up her mail and went inside.  Lugging the bags to her kitchen pantry she opened the door and bags and packages spilled out of the packed cabinet onto the floor, as well as an errant box of pasta that whacked her on the head. What was she thinking; she didn’t use any of this stuff. She made a good living, she didn’t need to scrimp and save.  She didn’t need to hoard.  Guilt stabbed at her gut.

Disgusted with her obsession, she turned to the mail.  Sitting on top of the stack was a letter from the food bank asking for donations.  That was the last straw. She was getting the message loud and clear.  Sorry mom I’ve earned enough pennies today, she thought.

She put the mail down and sifted through her purse for her keys.  She went out to the garage and got some cardboard boxes and filled them with groceries, got in the car and drlve to the local food bank.

She carried the boxes in and laid them on the counter.

 “A donation.” She said

“Thank you, we are always in need of donations.” the girl remarked.

“I got really great deals on all this stuff.”

“Great, said the girl, a penny saved is a penny earned.”

The Quest

I love my Acrylic paints and pastels, don’t get me wrong, but I find I am a lot like my cat, constantly changing.  I don’t change my sleeping places but I do like to mix up whatever medium I am working with.

At the moment I am working in colored pencil.  I have quite a variety of pencils since I am on a quest looking for the one that lives up to my expectations.  I mix brands of all kinds, thick lead, thin leads and leads in between. 

What is my quest, you ask?  When I was just a little kid my mom would pretty much force me to visit my aunt for the weekend.  I wasn’t too crazy about visiting but there was something that made it a bit more palatable.  I knew on Saturday she would take me down to a store on Main Street and buy me a color by number set of Venus Paradise colored pencils.  I’d toss the color by number section as soon as I got home and use my notebook paper, paper bags, anything available to lay down that thick soft buttery color.

For weeks I’d use my Venus paradise pencils until I had sharpened them down to a nub.  I am what passes for an adult now and Venus paradise is out of business!  So, as a result, my quest has not uncovered any buried treasure.

Were these pencils really that good? I know that things seem different when you are little.  I remember returning to one of my old primary schools and discovering that it had shrunk!  How does an entire school shrink?  Maybe I am making these pencils somewhat of a holy grail and when I do manage to dig up a couple I will be disappointed to discover that they are just as ordinary as my school. 

Anyway for Paint Party Friday at  I offer a pencil sketch titled “Reaching out.” Does anyone else remember these pencils?  Am I on a wild goose chase?  Only time will tell.

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