Wednesday, July 28

life, bread, and art

i have a couple of 'deep' discussions to share with you all, but it's either hot, storming, or i'm busy with the in-laws.

we're having a nice time though. popped into dubrovnik, croatia, with them yesterday. pizza, ice-cream, and no camera...

i haven't baked in ages, since hot weather makes me steer clear of the oven. but i made some cornbread for guests and discovered that my father-in-law loves the stuff. so have rolled out a few versions of that. as soon as the temp dropped with these storms, i start hankering for baked goods.

so in lieu of some juicy chats, here's a recipe..... i've no idea what makes for an official british scone or american biscuit, but i think this is something like both. it's stems from a brain full of countless similar recipes.

2 cups/250g flour (plain/all purpose)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp garlic powder
about 80g cold butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp of vegetable oil
1 cup/150g grated cheese (sharp/mature flavour is great, like british cheddar. but we don't get that here in montenegro. i found that i milder but tangy flavoured cheese worked nicely)
1/2 cup/120ml milk

heat your oven 400F/200C

1. mix dry ingredients well
2. add cubes of butter, break down with fork or cool fingers, coarse texture is great
3. add cheese and oil and mix well
4. add milk in bits. you want to add just enough to moisten it and have it all hold together well. if it's sticky it's too wet. don't over mix.
5. drop heaped tablespoons onto a stick proof (okay, completely forgot the right term) cookie sheet type contraption.

bake for 15mins, or until nicely golden.

i milled cracked black pepper on top after dropping onto the sheet. just sounded yummy to me. it worked. herbs or brushed melted butter could be nice too.

now i have no idea what they're supposed to be like, as it's just made up really. but mine are lightly crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. gorgeous warm... i'll let you know what they're like cooled.

did you know that sarah is sharing her photography with us?

 i'll be offering my own art for sale soonish... might as well be brave with this, right?

oh, and does anyone recognise what fruit this might be? they're a small couple of centimetres. sweet with a tang.

Thursday, July 22

elements of self... the mask

yikes, i've been away for a week. in-laws are still here, it's scorching hot, our neighbour from the previous post passed away and we had the funeral yesterday. it was a great turn out. he'll be missed by us.

so i'm a little late on this one...
juliana at shakti mama is hosting a self-portrait challenge which has several of us taking deep breaths but having fun too.

my physical mask is my hair..... a useful mask and a not so great one.

i like to melt into the shadows and my hair serves as a cloak. but it's also my i-know-i'm-not-much-to-look at and i-have-bad-skin mask. it isn't self-loathing, i've never been that way. more of a matter-of-fact realism. i don't use it so much in that way any more, but i would never pin my hair all the way. besides it's bloody uncomfortable to me, i feel very exposed, and feel that my not-so-great-face is too exposed.

the perfect porcelian blemish-free skin is part of our social pressures of beauty as much as a perfect anything else.

i have come a long way. i embrace my wrinkles at least. completely. each has it's own story. and it's not even so much hating my skin but hating that someone else can't hear me past staring at a huge pimple on my head or something. you know?

but my hair mask is part of who i am, part of my heritage, the women in the family.... i'm okay with it, because i've learnt to love myself.

Thursday, July 15


this last couple of weeks have been about other people. you ever have those days/weeks, where on looking back you find that several people have taken up your head space, your heart space?

the lovely in-laws have been over from England. arrived on sunday and here for 3 weeks, though we hope to convince them of staying longer.

our neighbour, who has been very helpful to us (living in a 7 person village, with only 4 of us in this section), has been diagnosed with cancer and given 4-6 months. he's 64ish. he's going to Belgrade for a specialist's opinion and possible treatment.

a dear friend's relative passed away, and i felt her pain and sorrow.

a wonderful friend is searching for trust in our relationship.

a friend is struggling with dipilitating health issues and marriage breakup.

another friend is trying to find the balance between work, play, where to live. but is otherwise a happy soul.

a friend is weakening under unhelpful peer influence.

a relative continues to struggle with jealousy.

individuals' purpose within a group.

a friend announced her pregnancy with her 2nd baby. yay!

the wildflower

a distant relative, close friend, has moved closer to a place where she feels alive.

a friend discovers her artist self alongside me.

gifts from an antipodean friend (Ruth)

we're doing good. finances have eased up enough for a breather. work is slow but steady. the wilflower is healthy and happy. i'm struggling a little with her velcro-ness. i'm creating (yep, that's my collage work up there). the dog is flealess. the stone house is cool in this 35C+ heat.........

summer days......

p.s, im going to put through the keyhole on hiatus for the next couple of weeks. so many of us northerners on summer break.

Saturday, July 10

through the keyhole #7 - windowsill

real people, real homes
we don't care how 'unpolished' it is, we're just nosy!

i couldn't decide which windowsill to share. i have something on each one. ornaments from our travels, books... but since it's been all about the studio recently, i thought i might as well share possibly my fave windowsill.

i took this shot this morning, about 6:30am, so just a soft light coming in. the sill comes under my knee it's so low, because of having to raise the floors of this old building. so it's more of a window seat. it means the light is sacrificed, but i do get this treat. it's just wide enough for my butt. i usually open one side. a breeze rides insistantly over my propped-up legs. i see the greenery of our land and beyond, and on a non-hazy day, i look up from my sketchbook and am again pleasantly surprised to find a portion of sea... stretching out into a tantalising horizon. knowing that italy is on the other side pleases me.

so, what sits on one of your windowsills?

link below to your direct post. you have till monday night. make sure to comment or i'll miss it. and do visit each other.

next week: nightstand (care of LisaC, feel free to make suggestions)

Thursday, July 8

studio + me

got the studio. can you hear my grin across the waters?

in it's previous incarnation...

the only original part of the house, we kept it but it needed a lot of work. our neighbour was born in here.

and now...

recognise that little nook from the top photo?
there will be a high bookcase where those books are piled. 
and where those boxes are there will eventually be a writing desk.

this is the tidy version

and blame shakti mama for having to see my face. not a big deal for many, but for me, well, there's hardly any pics of me in our house. i have a fine self-image, i just dislike that i don't photograph the way i really look, or perhaps i do! and i'm a private person. so, let's push the scary limits ay?

so unphotogenic + no makeup and hair needs a wash
but it's me

i'll be here on saturday with the next through the keyhole.... find a windowsill or the closest thing to it, show us what sits there.

Friday, July 2

june in review

Your reader's may have missed out on some content this month, you have new or occassional readers, or you didn't post much. Consider a Month in Review post. I know I can't keep up with all the wonderful blogs out there. Just copy & paste the headings below and add your responses.
Here's a tip, set a post up in draft form and add to it throughout the month.

june felt full. emotionally and creatively. lots done around the land, lots of rain, lots of art, an ill child, the company and personal experiences of friends, some gardening, gifts, new dog......

A thought...
the value of what we do

We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, 
the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it's all about.
Joseph Campbell

A sound...
scratchings in the walls - somehow, irridescent beetles have made their home in our living room wall. fortunately they're harmless. but we're concerned they'll start chewing on something soon. and the sounds can be creepy.

A taste...
summer strawberries and new (good) chorizo from a new store in town.

An image...
outside time - mama's setup, Wildflower with bucket & spade or sidewalk chalk,
and Missus, ever present in outdoor photos.

A scent...
rotting kitchen waste... although it was accidentally thrown out, no fear, i've restarted it.

A word...
abundance- struggling with the concept when it comes to money... slowly making my peace.

A touch...
kisses + plaster (bandaid) - the Wildflower's thing was to say you've got a hurt, or react to an actual one, and then go off into the kitchen to grab a (imaginary) plaster. she kisses your hurt and puts the plaster on. very sweet.

heat - poor Wildflower's 4-day fever. and the return of my super velcro-baby.

A gift for me...
a studio to come. and believing, i deserve this.

A post you may have missed...
the gift of tantrums

Did you do a review? Let me know. and a link back of course would be nice.

wow, july snuck up on me. let's hold of 'til next weekend for the next through the keyhole.