Merry Christmas and Memere's Apple Cake Recipe

Whenever I make Memere's apple cake recipe I can hear Memere calling Rick "My darling".  All her grandchildren were her darlings. That's a pretty good seed to plant in any child's heart.  

This is a really good recipe. I use Macintosh apples. I used coconut oil this year. Trust the recipe.  It won't look right when mixing it up.  

Memere's Apple Chocolate Chip Cake

2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda 

1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar 

3 cups apples
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts 

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a bundt pan 

Sift flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda together.  

In a separate bowl, mix vanilla, oil, eggs and sugar until well blended. 

Fold wet and dry ingredients together until well blended but don't overwork.  Fold in apples, nuts and chocolate chips. 

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. 

Cool slightly then remove from pan to plate.

Art Process: Using the Brushes Redux App

In 2014, I hosted an art party.  Participants were invited to put random brush-strokes on the canvas, working on a collaborative piece of art, which I would finish later.  After the art party I wanted to remember the experience, so I hung it on the wall as is for (ahem) two years. And life did what it does. 

Recently I decided it was time for me to go back in and "finish" the work.  So I used the Brushes Redux app for IOS to try out some ideas.  It's really a fun application, because after you finish drawing, you can see a kind of "video" of the drawing sequence.  Artist David Hockney used his iPhone and iPad to make paintings with this app.  What's great about that is you might see a spot in the middle of the film that you like better than your ending.  Art is like that.     

Here's the video of the process.  If I were going to be "professional" about this I would have put the ipad on a stand and put my iphone on a tripod to take the video.  But then it might not have gotten done.  This is a quick video to give you the idea of the process of the app:

Here is one frame I isolated from the video above: 

Here I used a photo app called Over make a filter of the painting and combine it with a photo I had taken of sunshades in a city park in Auburn, Maine.

The following is a combination of the painting 
with a photo of a quilt I took at an antique auction:

And here is a the painting combined with
a photo I took of a little antique lamb toy.

This process is fun for me on days when I cannot get to my sewing room or my cellar painting area. As John Wooden says, "Don't let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can do."

Making Slipcovers for Furniture

Because I chose a new colorful rug For my living roomI need to slipcover a chair and loveseat. I thought I'd share the resources here for those who are also going to try learning to slipcover furniture, and also so I can find them again.

This guy has a series of well done videos on YouTube.

This now vintage book (!) is how I originally learned back in the 80's - before the Internet, y'all!!!.

Slipcovers and Bedspreads

That book is a penny used, y'all.  And now vintage,  SMH.

If you can get ahold of John French's out of print DVD videos for learning to make patterns for slipcovers, buy them.  They are very well done.

On this Pinterest board I've collected links to videos and images about making slipcovers.

Using welt, not using welt, whether to use colored welt, etc, length of skirt, etc., all dramatically affect how your chair/couch, etc. can look.

There is a discount place nearby that sells drapery fabric.  Consider what the backside of a fabric looks like.  Sometimes the more muted side can be exactly what you're looking for.

What Can I Finish?

read Julie Morganstern's book Organizing from the Inside Out years ago. (I don't do ads or affiliate links. I only recommend books and products which I like. Links are provided for your interest). One of the takeaway points for me at the time was to look for what is working. It's easy to be overwhelmed with what is not working. But looking at what IS working creates fertile ground for that to spread. 

Recently Julie tweeted this: 

Finishing things brings psychological benefits. When you complete something, it brings a feeling of success that you bring to the next project. 

Thinking about this is what reconnected me to creating after a long hiatus following a very hard year.  It's helped me to look at some of the things on my creative shelf that I'd like to finish.  Here is one.  I started to learn mold making by sculpting a mini Izannah, then making a plaster mold of it. The shoulder heads that came from the mold are all different, because pulling from the mold makes slight changes and how the clay dries changes the shape slightly, too. Another variable which affects the final head is how wet the slip is when you pour it into the mold. It's s fascinating process, although my first attempt was very rough.  I don't know that I will use this process much, but I like learning new things.  

Here is a little sculpt I made at the same time.  I like her babyish look.  

Right now I am "finishing" being a soccer mom.  It's been a joy.  

After that?  Back to art-making. 

Relax in the "Good Right Now"

This blog became so solely focused on art that I felt if I wasn't making art I didn't have anything to say. I do. I do have a lot to say. What an interesting time of life this is, getting ready to launch one child off to college next year to live a good life and helping my older son who lives with us have all the opportunities and supports that he needs to live a good life. 

Right now it is soccer season - the final year of school sports for my younger son.  I love soccer!  It has been so fun over the years to see these young men work hard at improving. Their hard work shows.

Something I say a lot to my older son, and to myself, is to "relax in the good-right-now".  If I were to edit that it would be to Relax in the Now. Meaning that right now is good and I want to really notice that. People tease me about taking a LOT of pictures, and I do. But I do it as a way of paying attention to the right now. Sometimes we need to be mindful about seeing beauty.  

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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