Friday, November 29, 2013

Loving the Joseph Eichler Home!

It is amazing to me that houses designed in post-World War II still look so modern.  I love the open plan and glass walls that invite the outdoors inside.

Joseph Eichler was very proud of the homes he built and you can tell that by a statement he made in the 1960's:
"There are other builders who efficiently produce well-built houses and sell at a fair profit.  The purchaser of one of these will get a good value.  We believe our houses go beyond this because much more thought and care go into them.  Nothing is spent for frills or gimmicks.  Beauty is achieved by the architect's skill in designing details, his blend of materials and proper proportions, and above all, the exercise of good taste.  In short, we produce a work of art that has gained international reputation."
- from the book "Design for Living Eichler Homes" by Jerry Ditto and Lanning Stern

Eichler homes were built for average families, but they have a custom-designed appearance.  They look  like this because the award winning architects who designed them also designed for individual clients.

Not exactly the tract homes they through together now!

There are real estate firms who specialize in selling Eichler houses.  I have fun looking at all the beautiful homes for sale!  Socalmodern is one of these firms.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sometimes around the holidays I get nostalgic for those retro recipes I ate when I was a kid.  The sweet potatoes with the mini marshmallows, the classic green bean casserole, and that jelled cranberry sauce that you plop out of the can.

It's comforting to taste those flavors and remember my childhood.

It seems like many of those recipes started with some Campbell's soup.
So here's a Campbell's recipe for

Day After Thanksgiving Casserole

4 cups stuffing, prepared
2 cups cranberry sauce
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/3 cup milk
4 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 can (2.8 ounces) French fried onions (1 1/3 cups)

Spoon the stuffing into a 3-quart shallow baking dish.  Spoon the cranberry sauce over the stuffing.

Stir the soup, milk and turkey in a large bowl.  Spoon the soup mixture over the cranberry sauce.  Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until  the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Top with the onions  Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

So embrace your forgotten inner child and enjoy a retro Thanksgiving dish!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Am I Blue?

Untitled #40

After I put this collection together I thought of that old song "Am I Blue" written by Hoagy Carmichael.  There is a scene in the classic film "To Have and Have Not", where Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael sing this song while Humphrey Bogart looks on.  It's a short scene, but I love the way they sing together:

Am I blue, am I blue
Ain't these tears in my eyes tellin you
How can you ask me am I blue
Why, wouldn't you be too
If each plan with your man
Done fell through 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Language of Flowers

I have been reading a book called "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Differnbaugh and by coincidence I found out that she was coming to my local library.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the flyer, because I had read in the book that the author lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Why would she be coming all the way out to Southern California to my little local library?  I had to ask the librarian to confirm, because I really didn't believe their flyer.  Once she confirmed, I circled the day in bright red ink on my calendar!

The book is about a girl who has spent most of her life in foster-care.  Her life experiences have been so hard that she has difficulty getting close to anyone.  She uses the Victorian language of flowers to communicate with people.  But of course they don't know what she is saying, so she never gets an answer.  (In Victorian times, people would give each other little bouquets called nosegays or tussie-mussies.  Each of the flowers held a secret message for the recipient.)

I had originally checked this book out of the library.  I renewed it so many times, that I eventually went out and bought my own copy.  There is a flower dictionary in the back that I kept referencing.  I've been working on some new floral artwork, that I will share with you all later:)

Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I at the book signing.

It was a lovely afternoon spent listening to Vanessa tell us how she came up with her character, Victoria.  Vanessa, in her own life, has 3 foster kids and 2 children of her own.  She is passionate about helping as many foster kids as she can.  She has formed the Camellia Network, which helps kids who are aging out of the foster care system.  Camellia means my destiny is in your hands.

The meanings of flowers just slipped their way into her book, because she has always been interested in them.

I am just amazed that she was able to write a book in a years worth of just 2 hours a day during her little one's afternoon naps!  What have I been doing with my time?!  This gives me some inspiration to be more efficient and productive with my time!!  Hopefully...

I highly recommend this really well written book!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies

I know these cookies don't look very pretty, but I make them when I am in the mood for a healthy cookie.  These are cookies that I don't feel guilty about eating.  After my Halloween candy eating binge, I felt I needed a healthy dessert alternative.  And isn't November the perfect month to bake something with pumpkin puree in it?  Now I just have to hide all the Halloween candy from myself!

Pumpkin Cookie Recipe from the "Healthy Life Kitchen" by Marilu Henner

3/4 cup honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour of choice
1/4 cup soya flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix honey, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients; add to pumpkin mix.  Stir in raisins and nuts, if desired.  Drop by spoonfuls onto oiled cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

I used canola oil and walnuts for this recipe.  I baked them once without the raisins and they just didn't come out as sweet.  And since these cookies aren't very sweet to begin with, I think they really need the raisins.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Visiting The Getty Center in Los Angeles

We visited The Getty Center in Los Angeles.  It's a beautiful museum that sits on top of a hill overlooking Los Angeles.  I try to take my daughter to as many museums as I can fit into the schedule, because I want her to experience and explore beautiful works of art as well as birthday parties and bounce houses.  Although I have a lot of fun in bounce houses too, I just believe that children love to learn about so many things.  And it is great fun to see through a 7 year olds eyes.
We saw some beautiful illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, and drawings.  We saw some famous paintings that I recognize from my art history classes: Irises by Van Gogh, Model Resting by Toulous-Lautrec and The Royal End by Gaugin.

There is something so soothing about a fountain and the sound of flowing water.

Sandra just had to repeatedly roll down this hill until she was completely dizzy!  Apparently this is a favorite pass time of Getty visitors.  The hill beckons you and you can't help yourself.

The Central Garden was created by artist Robert Irwin.  I visited when The Getty first opened in 1997 and the docents told me that the gardens were too new and they would be changing and growing.  They suggested I return.  I finally got a chance to return and see how beautiful the gardens have become.  Irwin's statement "Always changing, never twice the same" is carved into the plaza floor.  This reminds visitors of the ever-changing nature of this living work of art.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October Recap: Pumpkins, Bats, and Witches!

Here's a little recap of some of my October activities.  We went to the Octoberfest at the Oak Canyon Nature Center and had a lot of fun playing games and decorating pumpkins.  Plus, it's always fun to listen to the oompa band and dance the Chicken Dance!
I broke out my cat ears and Monster High tshirt for the occasion and Sandra was a little bat all October, with pink wings!

Pumpkin decorating with tissue paper and glue.  Very messy!

Trick or Treating with some friendly pirates on Halloween.

Hope you all had lots of fun this Halloween :)