Monday, April 22, 2013

Color


We had a wonderful anniversary weekend in Atlanta, a city I've always referred to as home, but with each visit, I realize it has silently morphed from home, to hometown, to the city in which I was born, to a place I once lived. What used to feel familiar and inviting is now unrecognizable and less interesting than ever. If pressed to describe Atlanta in a word, I would choose sprawl. If given a two word option: pretentious sprawl.

There are a few things about the city I do love: sitting at outdoor cafes and being surrounded by a half dozen foreign languages, festivals every weekend, vegetarian friendly restaurants, and the tiny gelato shop near my mother-in-law's house. Roughly the size of a closet, Paolo's has room enough for a cash register, an espresso machine, and a cold case full of flaky cannoli, tempting tiramisu, sparkling marzipan, and a rainbow of gelato. The shop stays open late, so around 10 pm on Saturday night, we joined the line spilling out the door and down the sidewalk. The young man behind the cold case served customers non stop, his hands moving as fast as his unintelligible accent, his patience never wearing thin no matter how many samples the four kids in front of us requested. Their father gently prodded them to decide. I joked with him it would be easier to choose by their favorite color, but I was glad they were ahead of us, slowing things down, so I would have time to decide. So many flavors, but in the end, I took my own advice, and chose violet flower gelato simply because it was a pretty color.

The weekend was a study of color, first among the 250 artist booths at the Dogwood Festival, to the Frida and Diego exhibit at the High museum. The festival is one I have fond memories of; I've attended for over twenty years, and I used to buy pieces, but this time around only one booth caught my fancy, and the rest served to spark my imagination, but the cost and content left me empty-handed. The downside to being a creative soul is looking at a beautiful piece of art for sale and thinking I should just keep my money and go home and reproduce what I am admiring. The Frida exhibit was well done; their art interesting, compelling, and topical, but the photographs of the artists were what my husband and I enjoyed most. He appreciated the compositions and moods. I appreciated the photos for the glimpses of Frida's jewelry and adornments. More than her art, her style appeals to me.

Above is a photo of another necklace I made last week with wool left over from the baby's blanket and sweater. I realized when I started writing this post, I had not even taken the lens cap off my camera this weekend. I think it was because I was enjoying myself too much, and often a photo falls flat from the reality. I'd rather journal the days or even work them into a story. The laughter, the chilly wind off the park lake, the smell of street food, and the warm company couldn't possibly translate as colorfully as my memories.

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? 
 Can one really explain this? No. 
Pablo Picasso

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Interwoven

Have you seen Quince and Co's offerings? Delightful. I'm smitten with the rich yet subtle color ways, weights named after birds, and charming patterns. One collection is Interwoven, a sweet little book of jewelry options. I raided my wool for all of those left over bits of skeins. I easily came up with half a dozen color combos; the first my eldest daughter wanted was turquoise + red, which happens to be a favorite of mine, as well. She supervised from behind her tablet while I cut, braided, and wrapped for less than an hour. The next necklace I make will be of thin braided strands. Addictive little process with lovely results.

I am grateful for any opportunity to share creative time with her. She's about to turn ten, beginning to maneuver the delicate stage of prepubescence, the hints of everything changing, inside and out, with no real idea of what that really means. At times she does or says such grown-up things and I find myself watching her, silently warning her in my head, "it will hurt, and be confusing, and the next decade will form you, and I am sorry that I can't make it easier, but you have to go through it to get to the you on the other side."

The urge to over protect children is so very strong. The art of shielding them from our interference is difficult, but what parenting is made of.  I am reminded of this when my 7 year old son rails against being considered a little boy in public, yet still requires my comfort and doting in private. Or, when I want to put the baby's dolly in her hand rather than letting her continue through frustrated attempts at grasping it on her own. If I were to make every challenge they face easier, what would they learn of their own reliance, of the universes of ability and transformation inside themselves? Giving them enough help to comfort but not so much they are dependent is such an intricate dance. I imagine I'll feel this way no matter their age, no matter the circumstance. Admitting you have no control over the pain or fear or just plain old sadness your loved one's will inevitably face is one of the hardest exercises in growing up we all have to do. There is no other option. They have to learn for themselves that joys cannot exist without a balance of sorrows, pleasures without pains. All we can do is wait for them on the other side, take their hands and be content with who they choose to become.

There are thoughts which are like prayers.There are moments when whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees. Victor Hugo

























Thursday, April 4, 2013

For the Love of Beet

One night, before my husband and I were married, he served me a variety of jewel toned roasted beets with goat cheese on crispy crostini. It was one of those special moments in our deepening relationship, one that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying, and all I could safely say was, "Oh my God!" The dish was so lovingly plated, nonetheless, I hated beets. 

The look on my face must have translated my inner struggle, because he convinced me to try the dish with a promise these wouldn't taste like any beet I'd ever had and, after all, there was plenty of goat cheese (which is manna, I tell you). Well, I decided to try the crostini, trusting him, but thinking, as my teeth sank into the tiniest edge of a golden beet, how sad it would be to tell friends my relationship ended because he served me beets. Fortunately, he was right. They were unlike any beet I'd tasted, and after we devoured the whole plateful, we discovered a couple new things. First, roasted beets have been done a terrible disservice (as have many vegetables) by being served from a can. Whoever thought that was a good idea should be flaked and powdered. Secondly, I'll eat just about anything with enough goat cheese on it. Except mushrooms, no matter how much my husband promises I could love them as I now love beets. A self respecting girl has to draw lines somewhere. My line happens to be fungus.

I made this roasted beet, chèvre, and arugula pizza for dinner a few nights ago. I was inspired by a recipe for a beet salad, but decided to throw it on home made pizza dough. Delicious. Even better when you cook while listening to anything by Astrud Gilberto. Here's a short list of food blogs I've been following lately; enjoy!

Naturally Ella :: seasonal vegetarian dishes, lovely photography, humble & funny like a good friend.

Manger :: professional chef living in France with professional photographer husband. Not humble or particularly funny, but oh so nice to look at.

Vegetarian in Dixie :: So I know where to eat in and around Birmingham. Great photos and links.

Bakers Royale :: for the sweet side of life, indulge in this self taught baker's collections of recipes and sources.