I had to make one last peach cobbler before the end of peach season. It's not summer unless I have my peach fix. This recipe issimple to make, the hardest part being peeling the peaches, but putting them in boiling water for a few seconds makes it easier. I used myBible for cooking, Epicurious. Here is therecipe.
As I was strolling through the Sawdust Art Festival last Thursday, I came across an artist whose work I was really impressed with. I was excited to learn that she was offering a workshop and I signed up for it, because I have always wanted to learn the correct way to do collages. The class was only five dollars, so I had nothing to lose. She supplied all of the materials and we were put to work immediately, shifting through her boxes of scrap paper and magazines. We were taught how to pick textures to paste down on the board and then apply acrylic paint over it to create the background.
Since the class started at seven o'clock at night, and lasted only an hour or two, I really didn't have the time to make something gallery worthy, so I just tried to learn as much as I could in the little time I had available.
It was a fun class and Suzette Rosenthal is one of the most talented artists at the whole Art Festival. Check out her site. Now that I am hooked, I plan on taking some of her more advanced classes this fall. One more reason I'm thrilled that I moved to the beach.
Laguna Beach is the quintessential art colony, that draws artists from all over the world with its breathtaking scenery, beaches, canyons, perfect weather, and fabulous natural lighting. It is genuinely one continuous art festival in itself, but during the summer it's mother lode of art shows. The Sawdust Festival is a favorite of many locals and received its name from the sawdust and wood chips that cover the grounds of this Bohemian art show. It started in 1966 with 200 exhibitors all with ties to Laguna Beach. It is pretty much the same today as it was back then, complete with toe rings, tie-dyed scarfs and so on. Old hippies never die, they just retire to Laguna Beach. The thing I enjoy most about this festival, is that you are able to see the artists up close and personal. This year I was able to spend some time here at night, which is quite a pleasant change from the hot, over-crowded daytime atmosphere. If you want to see what Laguna looks like at this very moment, click here The surrounding scenery is just as delightful as the art work, and you can spend the whole day browsing through the exhibits, sampling the food, listening to the live music, watching artists at work on their crafts and participate in workshops. It's a pretty fun day or night for only a seven dollar admission charge.
While on Balboa Island I came across this delicate,whimsical flower, which I found out from the owner is a Spider Lily. Luckily for her she was home, or I would have been tempted to rip out the bush and plant it in my own yard. Only kidding.
Right off the coast of Newport Beach is a tiny, quaint island that is so retro, you expect to see the BeachBoys cruise by in their souped up Thunderbird. Because I have some wonderful friends, I have been lucky enough to be able to spend some time on Balboa Island this summer. This is one of the most popular places to vacation in California, with zillion dollar houses crammed into an area so small, it makes a can of sardines look spacious. It's a little too crowded for my taste, but I love the fact that you can walk or ride your bike everywhere, especially to check out all the charming neighborhoods. Of course the walking really comes in handy, after you indulge in some of the specialties of the island. Balboa Island claims to be the birthplace of the frozen chocolate covered banana and it is the the number one tourist attraction by far. You can tell which places sell them by the long lines of people waiting to get their daily potassium fix. If you feel that a chocolate covered banana is too healthy for you, there is always the incredible Balboa Bar. The most fabulous vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts.A clogged artery just waiting to happen. I even broke down and went swimming in the bay. I don't want to say that it was dirty or anything, but the whole time I was in the water I was praying to the Patron Saint of disease control, that I wouldn't come down with hepatitis.
Am I the last person on earth to jump on The Office bandwagon? Why didn't I listen to the few people whose taste I respect, when they told me how much they loved this mockumentary? Maybe because I didn't know what a mockumentary was or the fact that I dislike most sitcoms, I never got around to watching it, although I did put it on my bucket list. When I moved to the beach, I decided to see how long I could go without a television, since I hate most of the shows anyway. Of course, to me watching television means doing something at the same time, like reading or surfing the net, so the only thing my brain absorbs are the commercials.
Miraculously, I found out you can watch most shows on-line, sans commercials, for free. Sign me up. I started watching the Office and once I did, there was no turning back. I immediately became addicted and ended up viewing every single episode ever made, in two days time. I don't know how anyone who has ever worked in an office could not love this show. I can identify with everyone. The clueless boss who was promoted above his level of competence, disrespectful employees, the ass kisser, the slackers, the pranksters, the office romance and so on. How you have to spend most of your day with a few people you can't stand, and the lengths you go to make it tolerable.
I've never laughed so hard at any show and I am actually looking forward to the premiere of season 5 on September 25th. I may even go out and get a new TV for the occasion. What the hell, I may even throw a party. Now if only I could figure out how to get rid of the commercials. If you have never watched the Office, I suggest getting the DVD or if you're cheap like me, you can watch all the episodes here.
On my last trip to Santa Barbara, I discovered a charming little shop, off the beaten track, (State Street) that represents what Santa Barbara is all about. There used to be tons of shops like this, but as I stated before, they are being forced out by high rent to make way for chain stores. Santa Barbara Arts features hand-made items from various local artists and now has an online store. If you're in the area and want a one-of-a-kind gift, please be sure to stop by and give them your support.
The topic for this weeks Illustration Friday is Detach. Living in California, one of the things I miss the most is Fall. The color of the changing leaves and the crispness in the air that I remember so vividly from my youth and college days. Hopefully I will be able to go to Chicago this October and get a refresher course in Autumn.
Just as you reach the point in your life when all of your peers are done having babies, and baby showers are just fading memories, you come full circle. The people you knew at one time as buns in the oven, are now producing their own. All of your friends are becoming grandparents and the children your children played with from birth are now having babies. So it starts all over again. The only difference is that the baby's needs have multiplied and now there is a solution for every obvious discomfort the child might encounter. The baby can now swing, bounce, twist, be airborne and never have to have its bottom touched with a cold baby wipe. Forget spontaneous generosity. They now have baby registries so that the mom-to-be can get everything she needs and eliminate the tacky Barney diaper bag, that she would never be caught dead with in the first place.
I usually dislike showers, especially baby ones. A group of women reminiscing about their individual birth experiences, playing silly games, eating fattening food, and spending hours cooing over each gift, is not my idea of female bonding. A few weeks ago, I attended a baby shower for my daughter's sister-in-law, that had the theme of Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Everyone was told to wear a hat. I was the only one out of fifty women not wearing one, and the fact that it was 100 degrees in the shade, just shows the depths women will go to for the mother-to-be. For me it was quite enjoyable because no games were played. No guessing which candy bar is melted in the diaper; which flavor baby food has stained the diaper; and especially no baby bingo.
They had one activity that I did enjoy and that was decorate the baby onesies. Everyone was really creative. This new little boy will be a human billboard for some really bad art work, done by women high on champagne and sugar.
I think it's a shame that men miss out on all this fun and that is why I had coed showers when I was pregnant. They were a lot more fun, even if I was the only one not drinking. Believe me.
This summer I was able to spend some time in my favorite city, Santa Barbara, California, which happens to be one of the best places to live in the whole state, if not in the whole country. I guess that is why the richest woman in the world, Oprah, decided to build a summer home there. I didn't see her this trip, but I am sure she hangs out in all the local spots and is friendly to everyone. Sure. This isn't Oprah's house, but as you can see, even a modest two million dollar home has a view of the Pacific. One of the things that sets Santa Barbara apart from the rest of the cities in California, is the small town atmosphere and the the fact that the city regulates outdoor advertising and doesn't allow billboards. It is so free of advertising clutter, you can't tell the difference between a MacDonald's and Burger King, until you get inside. I love seeing the independent shopping, art galleries and restaurants as you walk along State Street, in the center of town.
This time I noticed more and more empty shops and when I saw a popular card shop was going out of business I inquired why they were closing. The owner informed me that her rent had increased from 9 thousand dollars a month to 25 thousand. She said she refused to pass it on to her customers, so she was just going to retire. I felt sorry for her, knowing very well that in her place would be another Papyrus which is now the Starbucks of card shops. Soon to be followed by a Victoria's Secret, Gap, Pottery Barn and so on. The local bookstore has already been replaced by a Borders and a Barnes and Noble. There goes the small town charm. This happened to Old Town Pasadena, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and now Santa Barbara. I'm really going to throw up if they put in another Cheesecake Factory. Is it just me or does anyone else miss the days when you could drink a coke out of a glass, eat French fries that weren't all the same size and color, have a milkshake made of real milk and ice cream and buy something that wasn't made in China?