Friday, July 29, 2011

New Work from TattooDreams Studio

We have been busy here at TattooDreams Studio on Purple Hill. Our collectors will reap the reward of our efforts! If you see something here that ignites your soul- contact us jphecker (at) bluemarble (dot) net. We can help make this part of your collection!
~Jon and Patricia Hecker

The Artists Palette
Roughly 12" high. On this palette resides a wonderful quote from St. Francis of Assisi. Speaks to the creative spirit of craftswomen and artists. A must for your studio!

Affirmations Mirror
Black stain on oak adorned with positive affirmations. Affirmations are of various heights and are accented with a raised copper tacked edge. Very hand hewn!
Excellent for an entry way to your home or business or wherever the tone of positivity needs to be prominent!
20" x 28" Can be hung horizontal or vertical. Wired on the back with stainless steel cable.

Quilted Reflections Mirror
Hand painted and air brushed patterned pieces adorn this bold mirror. This matches everything!
Wood is stained black over oak. Patterned shapes are of various heights and are accented with a raised copper tacked edge. Very hand hewn!
20" x 28"

Affirmations Mirror
20" x 28" Cherry with raised words in black. Affirmations are of various heights. A wonderful way to set the tone!
Cherry copper tacked raised border.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stuffed Spinach and Cheese Shells Recipe

• 1 box large pasta shells. I used Tinkyada as they are gluten free and available on Amazon
• 16 oz. Ricotta cheese
• 1 large egg
• Large chunk of mozzarella cheese, cubed
• Parmesan cheese
• About a pound of fresh chopped spinach
• Ample garlic, black pepper
• Fresh or dried basil and oregano
• Fresh or jarred pasta sauce

In a large bowl mix ricotta, egg, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach and spices. Set aside.
In a large pot cook the shells till al-dente in salted water. Rinse with cold water and drain throughly in a colander.
Pre-heat oven to 375º

In an oven casserole dish, add a small amount of sauce to bottom of pan. Fill each shell with spinach cheese mixture.
Place open side up in rows. Squish in any extra empty shells or mixture.
Add sauce to top to coat and sprinkle a little more parmesan on top or decorate with small pieces of mozzarella.

Bake uncovered till bubbly. Usually about 35-45 minutes.

Served with a rustic artisan bread and tossed salad- I must say - this meal rocks!


Monday, July 25, 2011

What I Learned at Ann Arbor

What I Learned at Ann Arbor
Sometimes life's lessons are best learned from watching nature. In our case, it was ants.
Yes, the lowly often stepped upon ant.
Sales were exceedingly slow in the 100º heat at Ann Arbor this year. I sat on our grey utility box behind our booth on Friday evening. The low box gave me a great vantage point to ant watching.
It had cooled a little. Streets were full but no one buying much. I had time on my hands and lessons to be learned!

A colony of ants found some broken chips on the sideway behind our booth. Perhaps remnants from us feeding Timmy the baby squirrel behind our booth earlier in the day. Timmy and his Dad inhabit the grounds in the front of Angell Hall on State Street. They must love the artists coming to town each year since their diet becomes infused with a new array of snacks and friendly animal loving artists to play with them. These cute squirrels were fed, photographed and befriended by many of us! Timmy loved peeled grapes cut in half, pistachios my husband shared with him and gluten free edamame chips. Only the best for Timmy!

The ants however added a whole new dimension to what occurred in my hundred square feet of overly expensive 'real estate' for four days!

Lesson One: Ants don't work alone.
They take on huge tasks and work in groups. Overwhelming to most insects they whittle away the sides of big things making them smaller and lighter, providing nourishment at the same time. They took on huge tasks and broke them into smaller tasks they could handle.

Lesson Two: They communicated with one another! If they can do this, why can't our politicians manage this task? Why can't we do this with one another?

Lesson Three: A few leader ants rode atop the small chip and gave directions! Clearly female ants charting the course not wanting to get lost and willing to ask for directions should they become disoriented along the way. Never needing GPS they were guided by instinct. What better way to live! It's the journey people! I digress....

Lesson Four: They traveled out of the path of being stepped on by moving their chip into the crevasse of the sidewalk. They stayed low and did their thing! Honestly, I don't think they cared that I was watching them. What a blissful state to travel through life in!

Lesson Five: They accepted help along the way. Other ants took over when the fist squad got tired. Something we all need to remember. We can help one another!

Lesson Six: When the rain came and splashed on their efforts, they took cover under the leaf I gave them and picked up where they left off despite their chip being relocated. A few inches to us, probably miles to them! They did not cease!

Lesson Seven: Past errors need not be repeated. We can learn from them and move on! A good reminder!

Lesson Eight: Sometimes it's Gods smallest creatures that can teach us life's biggest lessons - if we are willing to watch and learn!

They never gave up.

I can learn from this!