Thursday, July 29, 2010

Make a Pea Shooter!

A couple of weeks ago we pulled the pea plants out of the vegetable garden. They were rattling with dried peas in their pods, excellent pea shooter ammunition.

Shell your ammunition. Load your shooter, made of a roll of paper taped shut.

Take a deep breath and blow! How far can you shoot it? Can you hit a target? Never aim at any living thing! Have fun!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Art Website

Go see my new website for my fine artwork! It's You can link directly to it by clicking on the title of this post.

I have put up pictures from two portrait series which I started working on about 7 years ago, working in artist's colored pencils, my favorite medium. The series are called "The Thayer Street Project" (the illustrations for this posting come from that series,) and "Disguises," which I posted about here last Halloween.

I am still learning about how to add information to my website from my techno-whiz friend Henry, and will be adding photographs of some my commissioned children's portraits real soon.
I am looking for gallery representation within driving distance of Southern New England. Can you suggest a gallery which might be interested in looking at samples of my work? Thanks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Barbapapa: French, whimsical, groovy, psychedelic! Who IS Barbapapa? Well, Barbe A Papa, (I don't know how to do accents on the computer,) means cotton candy in French, literally, Papa's beard! Barbapapa is a stretchy pink fellow with a large family: Barbamama, Barbidou, Barbibul, Barbouille, Barbalala, Barbidur, Barbabelle, and Barbotine. The family can stretch themselves into any shape they want. This is very helpful when they are babysitting their little friend, Alice. Not only does Barbidur feed Alice her meal with a little spoon, but he stretches himself into a high-chair to hold her.

Barbalala can make herself into a very warm and comfortable stroller for Alice's walk.

The parents can make themselves into tents for the children when they camp in the countryside. This seems like an excellent image for being a to stretch in any direction to love, care, and protect your children. And the family builds their new home using Barbapapa as a mold. They cover him with plastic, and when it hardens.....

Barbapapa squeezes out through the doorway. Voila! They create an entire home of interconnecting pods like this, with a bedroom suitable for each child's talents and interests.

In my favorite book, Barbapapa: La Cuisine, the whole family makes Barbapapa something special to eat for his birthday. Barbamama is making cakes, and they look so delicious that Barbidou disguises himself as a cake. Then he is able to "eat tranquilly" without Barbamama noticing.

Uh-oh! Barbamama thought he WAS a cake and almost put Barbidou in the oven!

The children get a scolding. "Si les enfants ne sont pas sages, il doivent sortir de la cuisine!" I used to say that sometimes when I was very busy in the kitchen and my youngest was underfoot and could understand French. It means, "If the children don't behave, they must leave the kitchen!"

Most of the time I love being in the kitchen with the children. Nicholas is a real chef in New York City now. My daughter studied French pastry. And my youngest likes to make cookies and cake, lick the beater, and eat.

The Barbapapa books I have told you about, written in the 1970's by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor, are "Barbapapa: Babysitter," "La Maison de Barbapapa," and "Barbapapa: La Cuisine." They are published by Dragon D'Or.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fourth of July Parade

My sister and sister-in-law decorated my brother's trailer for our family to use in the Irvington Fourth of July parade in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Here are the children eating candy and wilting in the heat before the parade started. I walked around the field taking pictures of parade participants.

My daughter did her best parade wave and kept an eye on the cousins while my sister and I handed out candy. My husband, who watched the parade, said people thought she was somebody famous. Aren't parades funny? Some of us want to be in a parade, some of us want to watch it.

This is the back of the float. It used to say "United We Stand," but the "We" blew off in the wind when we drove to the start of the parade.

There were lots of red, white and blue vehicles. Golf carts.....

antique tractors...

and a steamboat float advertising the future Irvington Steamboat Era Museum.

This vintage tow truck below was my favorite vehicle. I have a soft spot for old trucks, especially old pick-ups.

These are the Shriner's go-carts below. The Shriners do tricky maneuvers in their go-carts to entertain the crowd and raise money for burn victims. Some of my European friends have told me that the volunteer impulse is a very American one. Do you think this is true?

It wouldn't be a parade without some Boy Scouts,

and lots of children dressed in red, white, and blue. There are lots of mothers out there that put lots of thought into their children's outfits for the Fourth of July parade.

Several political candidates were there to meet people and advertise their campaigns, including Miss Krystal Ball.

The Fourth of July: unabashed patriotism stirred with humor, individuality and a streak of wackiness.

Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Make Popcorn!

In the days before microwave ovens, we made popcorn on the stovetop. Here's how. For a medium-sized saucepan, you need to measure out about a third of a cup of fresh popcorn. Also get a big ceramic bowl out, so you can dump the fresh popcorn in right away!

Now you need oil. I like to use extra virgin olive oil. I even use it to make pancakes!

Coat the bottom of the saucepan with olive oil, and add three kernels.

Cover the pan and heat it on high, constantly moving the pan on the heating element so that the oil won't burn. Listen for each kernel to pop. As soon as the third one has popped, immediately add all of the rest of the popcorn, and cook, continuing to move the pan vigorously the whole time. When the popping slows, it's done. Dump into a bowl right away!

Now add some sea salt and serve this pure, unadulterated, delicious popcorn to your family!