Friday, April 29, 2011

Plans to break a creative slump

I've been in a bit of a creative rut this week. Often when this happens, I get sucked down into the interwebs and have to claw my way out. In this case I did a bit of that, but  happened to run right into this great "Ten Paths to Help You Emerge from a Creative Slump" post from Alyson Stanfield on her ArtBizBlog. Hooray! 

I jumped right in with #1 on the list: Wallow. Yes, that's right — wallow in it just a bit. I wallowed while devouring a great book, The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball, which I would highly, highly recommend. 

I tried out #4 and had a lovely lunch with a pal at Earthen Jar with the added feel-good bonus of supporting a great restaurant suffering a bit because of the massive construction on the street where it lives. I also fell for #9 and watched a terrific, yet angering documentary called The Art of the Steal about how a multi-billion dollar collection of art you've never heard of was in essence stolen after the collector's death. Ack! 

And so now… having wallowed and read and talked and visited and watched, I'm moving on to #3 on the list: Get out! With so many great things happening this weekend in town, I will be out and about lifting the old spirits:

FRIDAY, April 29: In honor of Arbor Day—today—Arbor Brewing Company is serving up spruce ale and $1 from every pint sold will be donated to Ann Arbor's Adopt-a-Park program! The money will be used to plant trees at local parks. So drink up!

SATURDAY, April 30: Come on down to Blue House for a spring trunk show! Six of us—Courtney Fischer Jewelry, Deid Goods, Brown Joey, Little Sister Jewelry and Tinkerdot Designs—will be hanging out with our wares and soaking in some spring time crafty goodness whilst the UM folks graduate across the street! We'd love to see you there!  

SUNDAY, May 1: First — head over to the lovely Pot and Box and sip a little coffee. And then head right up the hill for the Water Hill Music Fest. This one-of-a-kind music festival from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.will feature residents of the Water Hill neighborhood performing on their front porches and yards for other neighbors and anyone who happens to wander by.

Wow!!! If this doesn't perk me up creatively, I don't know what will!! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inspiration: Ben Shahn

I recently checked out this great book about Lithuanian-born American artists Ben Shahn from the library. I just love his style, line work, colors and composition. Beautiful! I thought you might like a look…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nutty banana muffins

Helllooo! Here it is Wednesday and I'm just saying hello to you — I think it must be this grey, grey rainy weather we've been having. But luckily I have just the thing for that — baked goods! These tasty, healthier-than-most muffins have been seeing me through the gloom. Feel free to add chocolate chips or chunks for an added treat — I did!

Banana Espresso Walnut Muffins
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts
1 Tablespoon instant espresso
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 3 large)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Combine flours, baking power, salt, espresso and 3/4 cup of the walnuts in a medium bowl, whisking to combine.

In separate large bowl or mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and then blend in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and yogurt. Gently stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Do not over work, or your muffins will be tough.

Spoon into prepared pans all the way to the top of each cup and sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Bake until golden, about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.