Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fruitcake

I absolutely ADORE fruitcake!! I know I can't be the only one! My Dad gets one for me every year from this place called Collin Street Bakery.



To me these are the very best fruitcakes - they are moist, sweet, sticky, and have just the right balance of fruit, nuts, and cake. Truly a work of art! They don't last long around me! I got mine just before Thanksgiving this year, and it was gone before the end of the following week.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Busy Knitting (of Course)

I have been quite busy with all my knitting projects as of late. But one day I was coming home and I saw this creature on my garage door:




I had read about walking sticks and had seen them in pictures and on tv, but it was nice to actually see one in person. Had it not been on the garage door I probably wouldn't have noticed it, thanks to it's excellent method of camouflage. It was about 4-5 inches long. I pointed it out to my daughter and explained to her what it was. She seemed fascinated by it. I didn't think they had a habitat in NJ. But then again, I've seen many strange looking insects and spiders living in the garden state.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Church crafts part 3

I'll probably post a few more of the church crafts I'm working on, and then that will be it. I'm making the same crafts that I made last year for the most part, but some of them I didn't post last year. Here are this week's crafts:


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peter's Valley Craft Fair!!

This past weekend my family and I went to the Sussex County Fairgrounds and walked around the 40th Annual Peters Valley Craft Fair (http://www.petersvalley.org/) . According to their website, "Peters Valley Craft Center is a national center for fine craft education where people’s lives are enriched through the exploration and execution of fine craft. Located in the Delaware Water Gap Peters Valley offers two to five day workshops in blacksmithing, ceramics, fibers, fine metals, photography, wood and special topics including printmaking, books & paper, drawing, and glass." Every year they have a craft fair. We had never been before, and I had seen a show about Peters Valley on the local PBS station. So we decided to check it out. Great choice! It was only $8 per adult ($7 with $1 coupon), and children under 12 are free. It was so much bigger than I imagined! There were 6 long buildings,
and each one was filled to the brim with vendors selling all kinds of handmade creative items.
Clothing, jewelry,
ceramics,
fiber arts,
sheep,
beautiful flowers made out of clay (!!!)
roaming musicians,
even wood carving.
In fact, the artist in this picture was carving little items out of wood for passers-by. We just happened to be standing there and watching when he had finished a small item for a lady nearby. When he was done, he said, "Who's next?" Naturally, my daughter chimed right in, "Me!!" Much to my surprise. I didn't think the items he was making were free, but he set to work making a 3-dimensional butterfly. He made it seem so easy the way he used his tool with skill, as he described the process of making the butterfly. In moments, he gave my daughter the finished item below:



She promptly said thanks and we gave him a small donation. She was delighted with the little butterfly, and so were we!

There was also an area where artists from Peters Valley were demonstrating their crafts.



Many of the vendors had delicate items, so we cautioned our daughter not to touch them. However, there was an area for the children to create their own crafts, so my daughter spent some time there coloring and cutting.

It was a pleasant day, the weather was nice, and we enjoyed ourselves.

More Church Crafts!

Here are a couple of the ones from this week:



Octopus




Jesus walking on water


I had one more that I did but I didn't finish it in time to take a picture of it. It was a baby Jesus in a manger, made with straw and popsicle sticks. I guess they are starting the Christmas story early this year.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Church Craft Time Again!

It's that time of year again, and I'm busy prepping the crafts for our children's church Bible classes. Here are the crafts I worked on this week (from the Kids Quest curriculum):


a sun mask, a friendship book,
and an angel.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I interviewed Barney & Hip Hop Harry!

I’m happy to announce that I just posted my interview with David Joyner, the man who knows Hip Hop Harry & Barney inside out. He’s the actor who has brought these characters to life for many years, and he has some very interesting stories to share! I hope you’ll take a look at the interview by clicking this link: http://www.creativehelps.com/interviews_3.htm#ANOTHER_COLORFUL_LIFE_~_DAVID_JOYNER . Let me know what you think!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hobby Lobby Visit

I love Hobby Lobby! Just going there makes me drool with delight about all the crafty projects I could make, and this visit was no exception. Just look at all their wonderful Christmas stuff! Made me get emotional right there in the store:


video

video

Aarti Party dinner!!

On Saturday I made my first recipe from Aarti Party, the new Food Network show from the winner of the Next Food Network Star contest! Out of all the contestants I wanted her to win the most, and she did! Yay! Her show is one of the only ones I have tried to make the recipe for; the rest I just watch.
Here's my version of her Bombay Sloppy Joe:


The recipe was very easy to follow, but it took me a little better than an hour to make, since I chopped the ingredients by hand, and I'm a careful chopper. But boy was it worth it. I was surprised to see how much authentic Indian flavor it had, and how light it was! Sloppy Joes can be so heavy, but this one tasted so light! I ate two that night, though I'm sure I could have polished off more all by myself. The whole family enjoyed them. And she was right, they smelled so great while I was cooking them! We will be making them again!

I have to say I was also surprised by the raisins, honey, and cream. I thought it would make it taste too sweet, but after I tasted it while it was cooking, I found myself adding a little more honey to it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interview with Reality Tv Show Winner!

I hope you'll take a moment to read my interview with Abdi Farah, winner of the Bravo reality tv show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, on my website at www.creativehelps.com/interviews_3.htm . Thanks!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seeing things

I was outside in the backyard taking pictures when I saw this caterpillar crawling on the ground



I have no idea what kind it is. It was pretty big too, like the size of my index finger, about 3" long. If you look closely it has these long black hairs sticking straight up out of its back in a cuple of places. It has a little black face too, but it was crawling away from me when I took the picture. I presume it will turn into a butterfly at some point, but isn't it late in the season for such things?


Then early one morning I pulled some tissue off of the roll and it came out twisted in this shape:




It kind of looks like a penguin, or an angel, or something. I'm always seeing things that look like something else. What do you think it looks like?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Treasure in the Trash!

Look at what someone set out at the curb!




Originally it had said $15. on it, but then later on that same day the word "Free" was written on it. Who could resist? It's in great condition too. Nice sturdy wood, and clean, though I did clean it up again myself. One side is a chalkboard, the other side is an erasable board.

Now my little girl can get a nice head start on her creativity!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's Poppin..

(Turn your speakers down!!)

Guess what we made for our after dinner snack...




video



Next time I'll film it with more light. In case you couldn't tell, it's POPCORN!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Newsletter

I just e-mailed the summer edition of my newsletter, Artman Greg's Scratch Pad. If your name isn't on the mailing list and you'd like to receive a copy, contact me at ArtmanGreg@aol.com

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Woolworth's Lunch Counter

On Saturday, I was at a birthday party that my daughter was invited to. It was at a place that had kid-sized versions of different play areas, like a Post Office, a supermarket, a kitchen with a lunch counter, etc. Well, my daughter was all over the place having fun, but after awhile she decided she wanted to go to the play kitchen. There were other children in there, and an elderly white couple was sitting at two of the stools at the lunch counter. There was one stool left, so I decided to have a seat. In that split second as I sat down, my mind flashed to the Woolworth lunch counter back in 1960 when the black students sat down and were refused service because they were black. I thought about how (if I had been alive) I could have never sat down, even in pretend, at a lunch counter back then, and I was thankful to all those who made it possible for me to sit there today (and for my daughter to play with all different kinds of children in peace). Who knows, it might make an interesting subject for a scratchboard someday.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rain

Well, we finally got some, and it looks like the raspberries survived pretty well, though we did lose some. A number of them simply did not grow bigger due to the lack of rain.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eggplant skyscraper

Tonight I was making roasted eggplant wraps for dinner. I cut up a large eggplant and stacked the pieces side by side, one on top of the other, just to save room on the counter. I really wasn't paying attention to how it looked until I just glanced at it and said, "Hey, this looks like a sculpture." So I got the camera and took a couple of pictures, before I grilled them up:







They tasted great after I grilled them. Sweet and tender.

In case you're wondering: you grill some eggplant, onion, red pepper, all sprayed with oil so they don't stick to the grill. On a wrap you slather on some spicy brown mustard, sprinkle some minced garlic, add a little italian herbs and spices, pinch of salt, dash of pepper, some extra garlic powder (if desired), some tomato (I left off the tomato tonight), and some pickle chips (which I tried for the first time in the wrap and they tasted great, but pat them dry before adding them). You may want to add some shredded cheddar, but I didn't. I got this recipe several years back on some recipe website, and just embellished it with my own tastes.

4th of July Berry Booty...

As in treasure that a pirate might find. What did you think I meant? : )




Unfortunately, we have been having a heat wave here and the berry plants are starting to wilt. This means though we have bountiful berries, some of which haven't even opened yet, we may not get the full harvest unless we get some rain soon.

As I was driving today I noticed that a lot of the trees are starting to get brown leaves, as if it were autumn already. You would think that it was early fall by looking at some of the trees, and yet it is unbearably hot.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Berry berry nice

Our third raspberry harvest:



Quite an increase from just a day or two ago.
Here's what they look like in one of those gallon ziplock bags so you get a better idea of how many we actually picked.
And this is just the beginning. I'm sure I'll come up with some creative recipes to use all those berries in.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Berry picking season again

Our first crop of wild raspberries is in:


Doesn't seem like much right now, but there are hundreds of berries out there, waiting to ripen and be picked! We'll be out there picking every day for the next couple of weeks I imagine. I noticed quite a few are growing so close to the ground that the grass is hiding them. We had a lot of rain this Spring, so the crop is plentiful. I might just try my hand at making raspberry jam or preservatives this year. There was a coupon in the paper recently for the canning supplies, so why not?
I noticed there are a lot of bugs around them too, they look like baby praying mantis. They don't appear to be eating or damaging the fruit, and they haven't bitten me when I've touched them unawares, so I leave them alone. Praying mantis are good for the garden. Maybe next time I'm out there I'll try to snap a picture of one and post it on here. Wonder if I could knit a raspberry. Hmmm....

Father's Day

Had a good Father's Day; how about you? My wife asked my daughter where she wanted to take me for Father's Day, and she said, (a local seafood restaurant). I thought to myself, how did she even know about that place? We only took her there once before, and she wasn't even talking back then I don't think! But we went, and had a nice time.

Here's what she made me as a Father's Day gift:

A nice bead bracelet that I wore proudly all day the next day at work. They all already know I'm a creative dude, so they said nothing. Made me want to make some more bracelets for myself (and her too).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Art Skillfully Integrated into the Church Service

This past Sunday, an awesome ministry came to our church to minister in song, testimony, and clay. The Potter's Field Ministries (www.pottersfield.org) led by Pastor Michael Rozell and his wife Pam, gave a wonderful example of how art can be woven into the fabric of a church service. Pastor Mike gave his testimony, followed by Pam who sang as created a pot at the wheel which illustrated the song, the Bible verses (Jeremiah 18:1-6) and the testimony. It was fascinating to see how Pastor Mike worked at creating the pot and how many different shapes and sizes it took. I could truly appreciate the amount of effort that he put into making it, since I have tried and failed at throwing pots on a wheel. It was evident that both he and she had an anointing over their lives, which came through brokenness and a willingness to be used by Him, in so many other ways besides just art. It was wonderful!!

These are pictures I took after the service:

In the center is the pot he created during the service. It took several different shapes before arriving at this one.
On the left: the WOW piece that he unveiled at the end of the service (he did not create that during the service). The painting in the background was also revealed near the end of the service.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The winds of change are a-blowin'

Watch for the June unveiling of the resigned www.ArtmanGreg.com, www.CreativeHelps.com, and the world premiere of my new loom knitting website!

A couple more church crafts...

I've been looking at the pictures stored on my phone and found a series of pics I took of different church crafts that I never posted. Rather than post all of them, I picked a couple:



This is a placemat that I took the time to cut slits in the red construction paper for every child who would make the craft. I thought it came out pretty good.

Eventually I may post a couple more, but not right now. I'm off for the summer in regards to making crafts for the Wednesday Night Children's Bible Study, so I haven't been making anything new.

What is it??!?!?

I was sitting in my chair knitting (as usual) and had pulled out a long strand of yarn in preparation for knitting. As the yarn fell onto the table, here's what I saw:


What does it look like to you? I see a face with large eyes and an ear...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Musing on Bach

Today as I drove home from the Saturday morning men's prayer group I attend, I was listening to Bach's cantata #23, Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn (You, truly God and Son of David), I was touched by the meaning of the first movement. It depicts the cries of the blind men along the roadside who got Jesus' attention and as a result were healed by Him of their blindness (Matthew 20:30-34). I was struck by how well the music painted the picture of the Saviour passing by and the cries of pity from the blind men. It made me think about the times in my life when I felt the deep need to cry out to Jesus for His total and complete healing. I had heard this cantata many times before, since it was one of my favorites, but this was one of those times that it became ministry instead of just music. I think it would be awesome to create a piece of art that continues to minister some aspect of God's character long after it was created, for those who choose to receive it that way. Not something "religious," but something that would really draw the viewer into a deeper understanding or connection with God.

Monday, March 29, 2010

More Church crafts!!

I'm almost done with this "semester" of crafts; can you tell I had a lot of fun doing them? Hope you enjoyed looking at them also:
Well with craft pebbles glued to it -

A lion with a curly mane -


Paper plate Tambourine filled with beans, side 1:
side 2:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A few more church craft project samples...

Scratchboard. The paper itself has all the colors on it, I didn't add them.


A dream mobile




God's Eye (front) this one was a little challenging to do because I had forgotten how to make them, and the directions were not immediately clear to me. I finally figured it out and it turned out great.

back:

Corn (using real popcorn kernels).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Church Crafts continue...

Here are a few of the church craft projects I've been working on lately:
Door hangers
Crowns

Heart Wreath