Getting Goopy in the Kitchen

Spoon Oil: smeared on & working it's magic
In my lovely new kitchen there is a lovely wooden counter top.  It's beautiful, but it was also a little concerning:  It had no finish, and the sink is right in the middle of it, and I was worried about warping and cracking and mildew.  Also, I kept thinking about food-borne bacteria while I was cooking with raw meat.
Stains were a mild concern too, but we quickly decided that we like the stains.  It gives the kitchen that broken-in feeling that reminds us that, hello, we live and eat here.  Still, this counter needs something, but we didn't know what.

Until I was shopping for kitchen supplies, and I found some spoon oil in a little tube.  This reminded me of something I read on 3191.  Do you know it?  You should read it.  Add it to your RSS feed or bookmarks now.  I'll wait.
Okay, so in one post, Stephany describes how to make spoon oil, and mentions that she used it to finish her wooden counter top!  HELLO SOLUTION!

Mineral Oil and Beeswax
Spoon oil is a food-safe mixture of mineral oil and beeswax.  It conditions the wood, fights against warping and cracking, and repells moisture.  It's great for wooden utensils, bowls, cutting boards, and apparently counter tops.

I was too lazy to find a local beeswax source, so I ordered it from Ebert Honey.  I bought the mineral oil at the pharmacy.



BEFORE (with wine stain)
AFTER
I'm so pleased with the results.  The counter has a lovely honey color to it, and is so smooth.  The water beads right up off it.

This is a fun project!  I wish I could have taken a picture of how goopy my hands got.  I kept thinking how much kids would love helping spread the stuff around.

Things I would recommend:
  • Use a jar with a wide enough mouth that you can get your hand in there.  I didn't do this, and needed a spoon.
  • Take off your rings before you start the application process.
  • If you're undertaking a big project (like a counter), you might want to consider putting on some clothes you don't mind getting slimed.
  • Use paper towels when you're wiping down the surface, and be ready to use a lot of them.  Whatever you use to wipe the oil needs to be clean from wax, otherwise you're just spreading it around.  I started off with using a wash cloth, and I'm not sure if the goop will come out in the wash.
  • Don't try to wash your hands when they're covered with the stuff.  Wipe off the excess with a paper towel, and then rub in any residue.  THEN you can wash your hands if you want.  They'll feel lovely and smooth.


Water beading off the oiled counter

Hello stranger!

A few people have pointed out recently that I haven't posted recently.

OH YEAH!

Sorry.

Here is what I've been up to:

     Work

  • new boss
  • multiple coworkers quitting
  • considering quitting myself
  • new boss quitting
  • not quitting myself
  • suddenly becoming the senior clinician - WHAT?!

     Home



     Other


I have been busy!  And even though I haven't been posting, I have been creating things!  Usually you can see stuff on my Flickr site, so check it out.

Matthew advised that I ought to post about our countertop, so you can expect to see that next.  It is hopefully more exciting than it sounds.  There are other home-related stuff I could post about too, and ought to, because I'm pretty sure you'll be enthralled by all of it.  AM I RIGHT?!

See you soon, kidlettes.

I love this

I loved it while I was making it, I love it now.  It's like looking at clouds, I see all sorts of things in the shapes that I didn't even know I was drawing.





More Staff Meeting Doodles

This is a scan of a full page: A whale, a quail, and a little deco sort of thing that was totally inspired by the bursts of life that surround Raina in the graphic novel, Blankets.




3/17/10

I drew some not-so-scary (mostly silly, in fact) monsters at our last Staff Meeting.  Behold:







3/3/10

Today, I baked bread.

Bread
Just out of the oven.

Here is the recipe.  I used dried cranberries instead of raisins, and I forgot to get lemons so I just used two teaspoons of orange juice in the glaze.

Vacation pictures, Part B

Click through to any of the photos, so see notes and more details.






Steps down to the garden





The view up the hill


The pool

Vacation pictures, Part A

These are pictures I took my first day in the Bahamas:

Leaving a Grey Boston Morning
My Matthew's profile before leaving Boston, on a rainy morning.



After settling in at our bed and breakfast, we went for a walk. These leaves were taking a swim together.





Full Bus
We took a bus to explore Nassau. These buses were rickety little things that barreled down the roads. It was quite an adventure! On the way back to the B&B, the bus was too full, so we sat on these little jump seats that folded down into the aisle. It was a little ridiculous, and pretty awesome. Look at Mr. Simoneau, all sitting pretty wedged in there.


Some Day in Early February

Crankypants

You guys, I am so grumpy!


I just got back from a glorious vacation, and I was remarkably happy to be home despite the gloriousness (I missed my shower, and my bed, and my normal-sized toilettries).  I was so pleased that the transition was going to go smoothly - even the weather in Boston is mild and bearable!

BUT nothing is working!


My washing machine is squeaking, and my internet is broken, and I had to go into work on my work-from-home day because I couldn't access any of my files, and my CAMERA...

Let me tell you about my camera:
I am editing the pictures from aforementioned glorious vacation, and I'm having some problems.  Firstly, I have apparently forgotten the lionshare of my photography skills.  What was I doing with high ISOs in the bright bright sun?  Who knows.  Not me.  IN ADDITION, the digital sensor is so very splochy.  Finally, I've had a hunch for awhile now (like, more than a year) that there's something wonky with my focus.  When I manually focus it doesn't come out right, and when I auto-focus it doesn't come out the way I want it to (I think this has something to do with the view-finder).
Everything is grainy, and out of focus, and has splotches, and it was too sunny and the pictures of my handsome boyfriend are all squinty, and I only took pictures on the first and last day, and I didn't take any pictures of the inside of our hotel, and HELLO I AM POUTING!

Okay.  Grumble.  I'm going to try to post some pictures now.

1/27/10

THE HOPE TRUCK HAS A DELIVERY FOR YOUR HEART!


from the margin of my Staff Meeting Agenda

1/30/10

Family friends, Chris, Jenny, Jordan, and Andrew came to visit my mum for the night.  My aunt Polly was there too, and some other family friends.  It turned out to be a nice little party!  Jordan had never met Polly before, and she became quite a fan when they started coloring together:

Polly and Jordan coloring.

I colored too!  This is a page from Do You Doodle? which has some great prompts to get you going.

1/20/10




Doodles from a long, 6 hour training on clinical issues (including, obviously, PTSD)

1/28/10

I got up bright and early this morning and set to work on my group curriculum. It starts next Thursday, and it's pretty much all planned, but I have to put it all together (which takes more work than I'd like to acknowledge).

One of the activities I devised on this day (as opposed to adapting from a book) is designed to help group members learn how anger feels in their own bodies. Each group member will be given a paper showing an outline of a person and art supplies to share. From the curriculum:

Ask them to remember what it [the anger] felt like in their body. Did they feel it in their chest, in their hands and feet, or somewhere else in their body? What did their face feel like? What colors was their anger? Invite them to use the art materials to illustrate the anger on the figure on the worksheet. Give them permission to write words to describe the texture, temperature, weight, etc of their anger.

I'm hoping that this activity will help the group members to recogize then sensations they have when they feel angry, so later in the group they can take the opportunity to use the coping skills we'll learn to intervene before their anger gets the better of them.

1/22/10



This was an emotional day, kittens!

My supervisor and fearless leader for only seven and a half months has moved on, and Friday, January 22nd was her last day. We did a pretty good job pretending it wasn't going to happen - which isn't to say that it wasn't talked about. Actually, the picture above was taken on Tuesday when we all went out for lunch together (that's Elizabeth in pink at the end). There were plenty of other celebrations and things to talk about. But we didn't really acknowledge it until the very end.

Late Thursday night, I slipped out of bed after Matthew was asleep and sat in the living room and wrote her a letter. I revised it in the morning, and at work I went into the art room and put it on cheery yellow construction paper which I decorated with pink polka dots and blue flowers done in oil pastels. The letter basically said that she's amazing and that I appreciated the time we worked together, but really it's mostly between us.

[oh, and I should also mention that all the heartbreakiness of Elizabeth leaving was sandwiched between two wonderful things: breakfast with darling Geoff and his girlfriend Brittany... far too short of a visit! And then going out dancing with Matthew and his parents at their local community center... where we may have gotten a round of applause!]

1/17/10 REVISITED!

I went home to vote, and while I was there, I took this iPhone picture of the art Sydney and I did in my mum's coloring book:



I did the top row, and she did the bottom row. I'd like to live in a city like that!

1/24/10

In an effort to impress my boyfriends parents with how effortlessly I can make a delicious meal, I took over Matthew's mother's kitchen and made them a delicious meal!

Elaine (his mum) was at work while it all went down, and Matthew was out in the Airstream getting organized. But their family friend Annie kept me company while I poked about in cupboards and stirred away, and his dad, Peter, walked through the kitchen occasionally to take samples and show me where things where hidden.

I made risotto with hot Italian sausage, sweet apples, onions, toasted pinenuts, peas, and parmesan. And a salad with baby greens, tomato, cucumber, and shallots. Please take this as proof that risotto is the perfect vehicle for everything good in this world.

A side note: those of you who have seen me cook know that I'm not exactly neat in the kitchen. I toss eggshells in the sink instead of the garbage, and I leave onion skins in a pile on the counter while I move onto the next thing. So I was particularly pleased that I even got a chance to clean up after myself before Elaine got home, adding to the apparently effortlessness... although it's quite possible that she found bits of chopped apple on the floor days after we left. If she did, sorry Elaine! Thanks for letting me make a mess of your kitchen!

11 Days!

Oh noes, it's been 11 days since I posted anything!

THAT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVEN'T MADE ANY ART IN THE PAST 11 DAYS!

It does mean that I haven't made art EVERY day. Boo. And it also means that the art I have made is spread out everywhere and needs to be brought together.

I'm going to make an effort at that this weekend. In the meantime, watch this movie, because it's cute, and it made me smile a lot!

1/18/10

Today's idea comes from something I found at a blog that I often find inspiring, Andrea Scher's Superhero Journal: ATM doesn't always have to stand for Automated Teller Machine, it can also stand for Always Trust Magic!



Yes, I did exactly replicate one of the ideas in the video, but there's nothing wrong with that, just ask Warhol. I liked the idea of leaving a dollar for someone, like a little extra bonus. Also, I thought the concept of us all being one was fitting for today, MLK day!


In other news: I am injured, and therefore I was thrilled, THRILLED to see that some wonderful person shoveled our driveway, because there was no way I was going to do it with my neck spasming.



Always Trust Magic, indeed!

1/16/10 & 1/17/10

People in Massachusetts might have noticed that this weekend was a little more fun than usual! That's because my cousin and her daughters came to visit!



These are my loves! I used to live near them when I was in college, and I actually lived with them for a few months. As Lisa explained to Matthew: she's somewhere between a mother and a dear friend to me. She's taken care of me while I was sick, celebrated holidays with me while I was far from my parents, comforted my broken heart, laughed, confided, listened, gently told me that I'd made poor hair dye decisions, took me out for my 21st birthday, helped me buy my first car, and on and on. And her girls? They are in my heart every day.

They've recently discovered the joy of AIM and video chat, and I've been talking to them online pretty often. This reconnection spurred some discussion amongst them about coming to visit for a long weekend, which turned into a realization that: hello! THIS is a long weekend! And Thursday I got an email announcing they'd be coming Saturday!

They came to my house from the airport, and here comes the creativity: I somehow managed to clean my apartment from stem to stern, AND make a meal for nine people (the three of them, Lisa's mom/my aunt Polly, my mum, my step-dad, my brother, my youngest sister, and me!) AND somehow serve it in my big-but-not-that-big kitchen!
I made a recipe from the February 2010 issue of Real Simple. It was SO EASY and very tasty:

Creamy Ravioli and Pesto Gratin
1c heavy cream
1/4c pesto
1 16-18oz package of fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
1/4c grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375.
Prepare the ravioli according to package directions. (I actually skipped this step by accident, and it was still totally fine)
In a large bowl, whisk together the cream and pesto.
Mix in the ravioli.
Transfer to a shallow 2-qt. baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake until golden and bubbling, 25-30 minutes.

I served it with a big salad that had mixed baby greens, grilled chicken, sliced shallots, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and grape tomatoes with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It was a hit!

Then Lis and the girls gamely set forth to Boston, where we visited the Aquarium, and then, tired and hungry again, we went to Mum's house for tacos and Wii.

Sunday, we had plans to do all sorts of things, but we ended up taking it easy and coloring. Of course, I didn't scan or take any pictures of the art we made together (I'll try to remember next time I'm out there) but I promise you this: it was colorful and full of joy.

1/15/10

Uhm... today I made brownies with Andi and Jess?

I don't know.

I was telling them about this project, and we decided that's what we'd do. They were really good!

1/14/10

Another date without any documentation to back it up:

One of the pages in Wreck This Journal instructs you to rip out the page, put it in your pocket, put it thought the laundry, and tape it back in. So I did the first three steps... but taping it back in proved to be difficult. The age disintegrated into pulpy bits, none bigger than a nickel, stuck to my clean clothes. I tried to rescue as many as possible, with the intent of piecing some back together or at very least putting them in an envelope back in the book, but that didn't happen either because my wonderful sister was helpfully cleaning in the anticipation of my cousins' visit and swept the little pile of scraps into the trash before I finished the project.

Alas!

1/12/10


I kept it simple today. (Actually, the first time I wrote that I wrote "I phoned it in today", but I'm making an effort not to be so hard on myself here. It's an experiment isn't it?). This is another page from Wreck This Journal.

This is what I wrote:









As I was saying: I kept it simple, but I really like the result. Now every time I go to the book, it's like a little reminder to be daring and creative not only on those pages, but in all of my life.

1/11/10



When describing this to Rachel M, she aptly observed: "That sounds like an excuse to use Sharpies."

This is another page from Wreck This Journal.

1/10/10

Today, in addition to the soup I'm planning on making for dinner tonight, I've finished editing ALL the photos from Amy's Bachelorette!

Here they are!

Next up for editing, at his earnest request: Seth's rehearsal dinner.

As for the soup, it will be beef and barley, and I'll give you a report tomorrow.

More photos

I just edited some more photos from Amy's Bachelorette lunch!

1/9/10

Today, Matthew and I slept in, ate brunch, and set out on an adventure! I've been wanting to go to the Mapparium for ages, so we bundled up and trecked into town see it. It was definitely very cool, and I for only $6, I'd highly recommend it. How often do you get to stand inside a three-story high globe?


Anyway, I brought my camera, thinking I'd practice with my Lensbaby (which I'm still struggling with). I did take a few pictures, but I've decided that my real art for the day was the "inspirational scrapbook image" I created in the "Quest Gallery" at the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Seen projected on the wall to the left.

I think Matthew made some art too: in the "Quest Gallery" there was some computers you could use to do research on the Chirstian Science Monitor (which is an excellent publication, by the way). Matthew, being all tech savvy and whatnot, knew how to navigate away from the site it was set to, and directed it instead to Zombocom. The rest of our time there, we could hear "Welcome to Zombocom! Anything is possible at Zombocom!" echoing through the gallery. Nice.

1/8/10

I feel like I didn't accomplish anything at all on Friday. If you asked my supervisor at work, I'm sure she'd say I did a lot, but I left so much undone when I walked out the door, I was feeling anxious and fragile. I had a tearful conversation with my mum during my commute home, where bemoaned the fact that there is so much to be done and so much I want to do, and not enough time. I suppose it's not a very original complaint, but I was feeling it deeply in my heart.

Matthew and I had plans to go to a potluck at his friend, River's house. I'm sad to say, I can't even say that I made anything for that either! River is an artist, and his home is filled with interesting and unexpected art. There was a bunch of faces drawn on a shopping list on his fridge, all alike, and I added one... Matthew said: that can be your art for the day. But I didn't document it, and I was only copying him, so I feel like I'm really pushing it with this one.

I'll have to make it up over the weekend.

1/7/10

Thursday was not a good day for art-making. Nearing the end of a crisis-filled week, I got home at 11pm, noticed a square of clean tinfoil on the kitchen table, and half-heartedly tried to sculpt something out of it. Friday morning I threw the creased and crumpled thing away.

In retrospect, on both Wednesday and Tuesday I at very least attempted something. I just neglected to push through the frustration, or even document the results because something in me labeled them unacceptable. A "failed" attempt is better than no attempt at all, and in the future I think I'll try to make some sort of record of it and post it here.

I did make some things that I'm proud of on Thursday, including beginning the creation of a group curriculum that will be used at work, and I made up some new ways of communicating and being planful with my girls. That's a different sort of creativity, I guess.

1/6/10

Wednesday night, after work, Matthew and I went to Mum's house for a delicious homemade meal and for Dana and Matthew to meet. When I got home, I did a few little doodles on paint app I have on my iPhone, but I wasn't satisfied, so I erased them once I remembered I'd done this little doodle at work:



It's not much, but it's something.

Trouble

No sooner did I say something all boastful on Twitter about how awesome I'd beem doing at making art every day, did I run into a roadblock. As it turns out, it's pretty difficult to find time to create when you're at work all day facing the many challenges faced when in the presence of six teenaged moms and their babies. Apparently, this is not going to be a project that I FIND time for, if I want to do this, I'm going to have to MAKE time. And when time can't be made, I guess I'll have to be creative in where I've been creating! As a case in point, read the next few posts (1/6, 1/7, and 1/8).

1/5/10

I painted today! All I painted was my nails... and I don't think I can count that as creativity, even if it is a new color ("I'm Fondue Of You")

So here are some more photos from Amy's Bachelorette Party. It's all pictures of pretty Amy and her pretty friends! Enjoy.

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One of the Bridesmaids made a cute and funny quiz, which they sent to Kevin (the groom) to answer. Then we all took turns asking her the same questions, and seeing how many of them matched. Here are some pictures from that:

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1/4/10



I was watching a YouTube video of a cartoonist last night, someone from Mad Magazine, and it looked so easy. The figures he drew seemed to just pour out of the tip of his pencil. I decided I had to try too... and this is what I came up with.

Eh. Looking at it this morning, it's not quite as terrible as what I thought it was last night. But I'm still not thrilled. I think I lose track of "draw what you see" and get caught up in trying to draw what I think I should see.

Nevertheless: here you are!