Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cold Weather and Baking Bread

I live in the Northeast, and as you may have heard, we had some snow this week.

During the first storm which came through on a Saturday, I decided to make some bread.  I found this recipe for 4 Hour Baguettes and since I have a thing for baking bread by hand, I had to try it!

I don't have any pictures of the mixing or rising dough, but it was pretty straightforward.  It just required some patience and not too much watching or poking...

They came out of the oven looking nice and authentic (maybe not quite as pretty as true French baguettes, but not bad for a first try!)

Even the inside looked like a good baguette with lots of holes and a chewy texture...I will definitely be making those again!

Then the past couple of days we were visited by a blizzard!  Juno, to be exact.  And with the wind howling and the snow flying past the windows, I thought it was a good day to warm up the kitchen with another batch of bread.  This time, we needed bread for sandwiches so I went with a wheat bread recipe from the cookbook my grandma gave me as a wedding shower gift.
Again, it took some patience to let the yeast do its work, but since I was working from home during the storm, I had some tasks to keep me occupied.
I would like to try sourdough, though I know there is some prep work and warmth needed in getting a starter. . . well, started.  So that might be something to try when the weather is a little warmer.

Until then, it might be time for another batch of pretzels ... hmm...

Do you bake bread?  If so, what is your favorite recipe?
If not, what keeps you from giving it a try? 

Friday, January 23, 2015


Sometimes I find that I have expectations.  Not only mine, but others'.

As I work on a painting, even if it is for my own experimenting or learning, I am thinking about what my professor might think about my work.  Is it overworked?  Does it need more texture?  Is it balanced?

Many times as I get ideas, I get pictures in my head of what I would like to try.  Those pictures create expectations for me.  Can I really get it to look like that?  Can I really make that image travel from my head, through my imagination, jumping synapses, firing neurons, sending messages to the muscles to move and put the mark down...and will the image look the same when it arrives on the canvas or paper? 

Many times, no.  It does not.  But I think I am coming to realize that might be why my professor told me if I finished something, do it ten more times.  Each time will be different.  Each result will be new.  But there will be patterns discovered, techniques discovered, maybe even a bit of myself. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I have to show for my time off. . .

Happy New Year!

It has been a little while since I wrote in this space, so I thought I should touch base and say hello!

We are working on getting back into the routine of school and work, so things have been a little crazy, and I have been a little distracted.  I am working on a painting I started after I rearranged the dining room area.  I rearranged some things to see how it worked, and behold, a blank spot on the wall appeared and needed something to fill it.  I had a canvas that I bought for a specific idea, and it was the right shape and size, so I had to start it!

I am still working out the final details of the painting, but here are a few progress pictures...  (If you are on Facebook, you can like my Facebook page, or follow me on Instagram:  @hollyjanecreative, to keep tabs on my doings too!)

  The palette of colors for the painting...

Some of the cloud details. . .

 The entire canvas, waiting for the extra details to finish. . .

Some house sketches to add to the bottom of the painting...they are small, maybe an inch-and-a half wide...

This is a separate project I worked on one day over my vacation.  It is about 5 x 6 inches, and was a fun experiment!  Watercolors, watercolor paper, cardboard (box), glue, book pages. . . I like the way the shadows play behind the tree cutout.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Boxing Up Some End-of-Year Thoughts

As we sit on the threshold of 2015, I look around and take in the number of boxes I have around me.  My brain then starts with thoughts about what is in the boxes, the different shapes and sizes of the boxes, do I have too many boxes, do I need more boxes to better organize. . .  you get the idea, right?

We use boxes to help us move things from one place to another.
We use boxes to neatly store supplies that we need to find easily. 

And we can use boxes to exercise our creativity and ideas.

We can also use boxes to hold things, keep things hidden, contain things.  And sometimes even people - ourselves included.  Most of you have probably dealt with boxes in some way or another. 
As we head into the new year, one of my goals is to take myself and my thinking out-of-the-box.  To think bigger, to push fear aside and stretch myself and my creative pursuits. I am working on setting some goals for myself, this blog, my art and my business.  I would love to have you stick around and join me in this next part of the journey, so please stay tuned to see how things progress! 
What dreams or goals do you have for the coming year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Day Before Christmas Eve

It's the day before Christmas Eve and what are you doing?
Are your gifts neatly wrapped while your coffee is brewing?
Do you have your list checked and double-checked too?
Is there any task left that you still have to do?

Are you anticipating the arrival of friends,
Or hoping that soon, this season will end?
Do you fret that your gifts just might not be enough
Or are you wondering how you acquired too much stuff.
There is more to this season than buying and stressing
and cookies and ham and turkey and dressing
There is more to the giving and gifts and the rest
There is something, no, Someone who gave us His best...
So quiet your heart and your mind, turn your ear
There is hope most glorious of which you must hear
Hope come to earth as a baby to grow
into a man and sacrifice that we might know
Of the love of a Father who wanted the best
for His children who trust Him to give them true rest.
So as you ponder this day, this week, this year
Consider these words, take time to truly hear...
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Behold I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people... 
 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[c]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.