Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Italy, Part Two...Chianti

We ventured into Chianti twice during this trip.  Thanks to Jeannie, who had done extensive research before we traveled, we were able to have a wonderful day at Casamonti to have brunch and visit the home of the Cinta Senese, or Tuscan Pig.  These pigs were nearly extinct by the late 80's.  The owners of Casamonti formed a Consortium to bring it back from the brink.  The raise the animals for the typical Tuscan products that include salami, finocchiona, fresh sausage, seasoned pork loin, salt bacon, capocollo, cured lard, and the famous prosciutto and also grow grapes and olives.  We sampled all their products and I even ordered some to be shipped home.  Here are some images:


Anna Rita, the co-owner of the vineyard, talks to us about their wines and how to read the labels.


After lunch she walked us down to her kitchen garden.

She encouraged us to pick some vegetables!

Look at these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.  
They were delicious!

One of their pigs.

And a piglet.

Chianti was simply breathtaking.

The colors of the grapes and the leaves, just beginning to turn red.


We took our beautiful vegetables, including squash blossoms, home to 
cook for dinner that evening.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I've been traveling.....

Viva Italia!  I really love to travel and Italy is one of my favorite places to visit.  There is something about it that speaks to me on the deepest level.  The land, the people, the food.  There is a simplicity and earthiness that I adore.
Early this year my artist friend, Jeannie Moore, started talking about her desire to find a house in the country to rent for an extended period of time.  It sounded so great.  They had family and friends coming for a portion of their stay, and there was a week at the end that was "open".  My husband and I joined them for the final week of their stay in a house near the town of Orentano, in Tuscany.
I have only visited in summer months, so being there in the fall was pretty great.  Here are a few images from our time there.

Look!  On our flight over, "Tim's Vermeer" was one of the featured documentaries!

Tim is trying to sort out the wireless internet in our house.

The grounds were gorgeous and we could leave the doors open and let the sun come in.

I love these small roadside shrines...

and the beautiful old stone walls.

and the soft, bright colors and narrow alleyways.

Jeannie walks along a lovely stone fence.

The Duomo, Florence, Italy

Clotheslines on the sides of buildings.



Beautiful vegetables at the market....

pomegranates

visiting vineyards where the grapes were still on the vines.

I'm not the only person who photographs her food!


walking through the old city of Lucca

Those Italians think of everything!


A frescoed ceiling in a church in Lucca

a small market

friends or sisters

my guy!

Jeannie and I both love to cook.  One of the joys of this trip was to have lunch out and then go to the market and cook our evening meal at home.






Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's All About Mary Beth Shaw today!

Surprise!  In honor of the original Stencil Girl, Mary Beth Shaw, we are having a fun little hop showcasing a technique that can be found in her new book, "Flavor for Mixed Media".
You can find her book here.


I have been obsessed with the Liquitex acrylic spray paints so the section called "Spray It Again, Sam" really appealed to me.  

For this little project I took a look at MJ's last book, "Flavor for Mixed Media" and decided to combine the use of spray paint with a layering technique and some hand-stitching using some small left-over pieces of cloth.
I opted to use Maria McGuire's beautiful Doodle It Layered Petals Stencil, first by lightly misting acrylic paint over the canvas with the stencil in place as a resist, then flipping the paint-covered stencil over and, with a brayer, adding the positive image of the stencil.  Two for the price of one!
You can find this stencil here.



If there wasn't adequate paint on the stencil I moved it over a piece of parchment, sprayed, and 
then brayered it on the surface of the canvas.




I was fortunate to have this small piece of brown embroidered silk left over from another project.
It seems perfect as a layer for my project.



FIrst, I stitched the silk in place with my Bernina 750 QE.

Next, using a variety of neutral colored embroidery threads I
embellished the small construction with french knots and other assorted stitches.


I wanted to illuminate some of the elements of the stencil without covering the marks up completely.
Another bit of good fortune:  I have this gorgeous piece of Hoffman batik,
which has all the colors of my canvas, silk, and even the subtle variations of color in my threads.
I plan to stitch the canvas into place and create a small throw pillow with my beautiful cloth
construction.

Please be sure to stop by all the participating artists in this hop.
Thanks for stopping by!
Be sure to leave a comment here, and all the participating blogs, to be eligible for our daily drawing as well as the Grand Prize:  a copy of Mary Beth's book and a package of stencils chosen from ALL the comments left for the week of the hop!

Here is the hop list.  Be advised that the Friday participants won't go live until, well, Friday!  I am including them here for your convenience.
Mary Nasser

Michael Trent

Julie Kellogg


Friday:  StencilGirl Talk