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Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Visit to New York City

Bob and I spent a few days in New York City last week, thanks to my brother Fred and his wife Elaine. They live there but were going out of town for a while and said we could use their apartment if we wanted to. We did. We love the city and any chance to hang out there is just great. We always have fun with them and I have to say we missed their company but managed to enjoy ourselves nevertheless. Here's a random sampling of some of the shots Bob took as we wandered around. He's been sick since we got back with bronchitis but must be feeling a bit better since I found these images he had sent to me while I was out at a meeting tonight. So here's a little taste of what New York looked like last week.

The dazzling view at night from their apartment

Angles and Reflections

A Farmers' Market in the city

Grand Central Terminal

The Chrysler Building with flags flying

We watched the St. Patrick's Day parade - these two were too cute

The New York City skyline from Brooklyn

Bob and Linda, friends from Phoenix who now live in Brooklyn

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's Spring!

I know I am a day or two late in wishing you all a happy spring but I hope you are enjoying the change in weather. The weekend was glorious, then a bit of rain. Winter is gone from the east coast (at least our corner of it!) Daffodils and tulips are filling flower beds and planters and the leaves on the trees are ready to burst open! So enjoy! I love the changing seasons!

"Single Red Poppy" a limited edition giclee print

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My handsome husband Bob

...at his favorite place - the beach. He always looks so happy there.

Friday, March 12, 2010

City gets $25,000 for Riverwalk development

I read this in the Milford Beacon this morning and found it so exciting I wanted to share it with my readers from Milford. This is exciting for Milford and thanks to the efforts of our Mayor, Dan Marabello who established a Green Acres Fund for public property purchases for the benefit of all our citizens. The Riverwalk is a crowning jewel of our city and it's about to get even better! Thanks Mayor Dan, and the council, city manager, Gary Emory and everyone else involved in making Milford an even better place to live!

City gets $25,000 for Riverwalk development - Milford, DE - Milford Beacon

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rehoboth Chocolate Festival

Yesterday we headed over to Rehoboth Beach, to the Convention Center for the Annual Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival. We've managed to miss it the last couple years and I really wanted to see what all the buzz was about. The judging took place around 9 and the doors opened at 11:30, which was when we arrived. We were totally astounded to see the line that started at the convention center and wrapped around the block, past the Fire Station on Rehoboth Avenue - and continued to swell.

We moved pretty fast though and before we knew it we were knee deep in chocolate (figuratively speaking) and people! Chocolate Lovers to be exact! It was one crowded, crazy place! They had "professionals" and "amateurs" and for $2 each, you were permitted to look at everything - if you wanted to taste, tickets were 50 cents a taste. Believe me, it didn't take long to get chocolate overload and we ended up bringing home a little plate of goodies that we finished off today.

Here's a little "sampling" of what we saw. Don't know if we ever need to go back again, but it was worth the experience.


Pirate's Treasure - one of the winners
(or maybe the top winner? - if you know, please let me know)

One of the Winners

The lines stretched around the block!

Clowns entertained outside

Money Man - raking in the "dough"

Great Chicken Mole from Hobo's Restaurant

The crowd! (believe me it was worse than it looks!)

After all that craziness we took a walk on the beach. One of the reasons we love living here! The beach suffered quite a lot of damage from the recent storms. They've got a lot of work to do to get it in shape for the summer. And they're still working on replacing worn out boards on the boardwalk. But I'm sure by the time the season starts everything will be "ship shape." But we didn't care, it's always so relaxing and peaceful to just BE at the beach.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Signs of Spring in Milford, Delaware!

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of spending time with my friend Morgan, a fellow artist from Ocean View (and a new member of our Misillion Art League!). We had a delicious lunch at Abbott's Grill, visited the Art League's Gallery and shopped up and down North Walnut Street in downtown Milford! We both found things we wanted in Eco Chic Boutique and Megan bought this gorgeous cape/wrap/sweater thing at That Boutique! And stopped to say hello to the guys at Dolce Bakery!

It was so great to have some "girlfriend" time and while we were walking down the street she noticed the first little signs of spring - tiny "Snowdrops" in the areas that the Milford Garden Club "beautifies"! Soon I suspect we'll be seeing daffodils and tulips and all the other pretty spring flowers waiting just below the surface for the weather to warm a bit! The Garden Club does a great job of adding a touch of beauty to the downtown streets! Morgan sent me the photos she took and I cropped and tweaked them to show them here.

Tiny Snowdrops up close

The Garden Club's sign - now you can see how tiny these flowers are!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Watercolors: Door and Fruit series

I have been working on a couple of my watercolor series this winter. I added a new one to my Fruit and Flowers series with "Figs" and the other is a series called "Doors of Italy" - I am in the middle of another door painting that I hope to complete this week. I would love to know what you think about these two paintings. Normally I like to paint fruit and flowers on pristine white backgrounds as if they had just emerged from the paper but I've been experimenting with toned backgrounds and I like the way it looks.

"Figs" - watercolor on 300 lb Arches cold pressed watercolor paper with deckled edge

"Sicilian Door with Tile Roof" - watercolor on 140 lb hot pressed 100% cotton Aquarelle Arches watercolor paper

Everyone asks me if I paint first and draw later and it is just the opposite. I love the line! I will study the photograph for quite a while before I start my drawing and often will crop it and alter it just a bit to fit what I have in my mind's eye for the painting. Often I will print out the photograph I want to use as my reference material and day after day, it calls to me - I look at it, think about it, live with it. Until I can't ignore it any more and I have to paint it!

Typically, I put the image up on my Mac (I do have a nice big screen!) and I use guide lines to mark centers and break up the space so I can make my drawing. I put the same markings on my watercolor paper in light pencil lines and do a very light pencil sketch, correcting as I go, erasing and moving lines until my drawing feels right. Then I go back in with my Faber-Castell PITT waterproof artist pens and make my pen and ink drawing, keeping the lines loose and fluid - when I paint en plein aire I just go for it with the pen - no time to be so meticulous! When I'm satisfied with that, I paint.

What do you think? Comments? Critiques? Input of any kind? Let me know your first impressions! When we were in Italy I asked Bob to photograph the doors I was so captivated by with the intention of painting watercolors when we returned. If you go to our website you can see other doors in the series, on the Watercolors page.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Famous Chocolate Cake Recipe - Cockeyed Cake

We were supposed to be in New Jersey on Saturday visiting with Bob's family so I baked my favorite chocolate cake with Nutella frosting to bring for the gathering. Unfortunately It was cancelled due to bad weather up there and illness and we were left with this big cake in our kitchen.

Now we had several options. Eat it all ourselves, freeze it in individual portions so we don't pig out, throw it out, give it away to the neighbors or invite friends over to share it with us!

We decided that would be a much better thing to do and invited friends over to eat cake, drink coffee and watch the U.S. clobber the Canadians. (OK, the US did not clobber the Canadians, but a silver medal after overtime is nothing to sneeze at and we are still proud of our team!)

It ended up being a very nice gathering of around 8 couples (including us) who brought yummy snacks, wine, cheese spreads and crackers & more and we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon together watching the Olympics and finishing up my chocolate cake! Everyone was having such a nice time, they stayed to watch some of the closing ceremonies and we ordered a couple of pizzas (thanks everyone for treating us!). Fun Fun Fun!

My cake was such a hit everyone asked me for the recipe, so I promised to share it. It should be noted that I did not make this up and owe it to my friend Mae from Tempe, Arizona (she calls it Cockeyed Cake) who gave it to me years ago when our kids were in preschool together.

This cake is so easy - everything goes in one bowl and there are no eggs or butter for those with allergies! The only thing I changed was to use Apple Cider Vinegar (instead of regular white vinegar called for in the original) and to frost it with Nutella! You could use any chocolate frosting, powered sugar or whatever you prefer - make it your own! I even shared this recipe with my friend Nunzia in Vietri sul Mare after I brought it to her family's Christmas dinner. I was so tickled at how much everyone there liked it there too. I even helped Nunzia convert it into metric measurements so she could try it!

Anyway, here's the recipe. Let me know if you try it how it turned out and what you did to "personalize" it! Be creative! Then send me a photo of what you did!

Rosemary's "Famous" Chocolate Cake (also known as Cockeyed Cake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” cake pan (I use Baker's Joy with flour in it)

Mix dry ingredients together:
1-1/2 cups flour
3 TBLS cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

5 TBLS vegetable oil
1 TBLS apple vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Then add 1 cup cold water

Stir it all together till it's all blended. Bake for about a half hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Frost as desired, or just dust with powdered sugar. Yesterday I used Nutella. (hint: put the jar in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes to soften a bit so you cab spread it easily)

This is easily doubled as I did this time.

It always disappears!