Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thank you, Mt. Etna

Above:  Thank you, Mt. Etna, Toni Youngblood, 2009 Encaustic on board

In October 2002, I made a trip to Sicily.  Mt. Etna had it's last eruption in Julyl 2001.  I considered how fortuitous it would be if the mountain happened to erupt while we were vacationing in the nearby hilltown of Taormina.  As it turned out, while our plane was making its approach to the Catania airport on the island of Sicily, we noticed we were cruising through a brownish cloud.  The captain announced that Mt. Etna had begun erupting at midnight before our morning landing.
Above:  Photo erupting Mt. Etna at sunset. (Toni Youngblood)

The encaustic painting above is named to honor the active eruption of the volcano that loomed over us during our entire eight-day stay.  The airport closed just after our landing, due to the ash from the volcano.  It was closed the whole week of our tour of Southern Sicily. The only activity from the airport was that of utility aircraft carrying fire retardant to drop on the flanks of the mountain in order to put out fires from the blazing lava.  Our itinerary for the week went as planned with the exception of a scheduled hike up the side of the mountain.  From our hotel terrace, we had clear view of the mountain, only three miles away.  Evenings, we could view the glowing sparks propelled from the volcano cone, as well as the fiery lava flowing down the mountain side.  In the quiet of the evening, when no Vespas buzzed through the cobble streets, one could hear and feel the deepest bass tone rumblings of the mountain.  But there was only one evening that the ash blew and drifted over our hotel.  When we woke the next morning, there appeared to be black sand covering the hotel terraces.

I wrote the following information taken from the television news reports during our stay:

Mt. Etna eruption in October 2002:  Blasts shot 100 meters high. Ash cloud was visible from space. Ash falling was reported in Malta and Lybia. State of emergency was declared due to earthquakes and police evacuated villages on Etna's flanks. 

Though the airport was shut down following our plane landing on the island, coincidentally it was found safe to re-open the day we were scheduled to fly back home. 

Darn it---I really wanted to call in to work...sorry I'll be late due to the... volcano eruption.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Small Weekend Wonders!

Above:  The crystal reliquary chandelier in my studio with the newly added Jen Harmon Allen Running Legs.  Jen's show runs at Charley Hafen Jewelers-Gallery until the end of July.  I was delighted to learn that Jen is selling individual pairs of legs (only $14), a fun piece of art (or buy many for an installation) for a very easy price.  It was a good reception Friday night.
Above:  Another view of the Running Legs.
Above:  A beautiful sight...no car parked in the driveway.  With some major rearranging of items in the garage, the car now fits inside, too!
Above:  The newly constructed "stoop" at the person door to the garage, which I built yesterday afternoon.  I got to use my circular saw, my chop saw, my table saw and my power drill.  ;o)
Next task is staining the stoop.

I also baked a couple of loaves of bread, and feel that it's been a good all 'round weekend for domestic endeavors.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July GALLERY STROLL: Friday the 15th, 6-9p.m.

Charley Hafen Jewelers Gallery features the work of figurative sculptor and installation artist, Jen Harmon Allen, who purposely creates partial casts and impressions of the human body to focus on the enigmatic meeting place of body and spirit.

Charley Hafen Jewelers - Gallery
1409 South 900 East,Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Monday - Friday 12 – 7,
Saturday 10 – 2, Closed Sunday


Contact by e-mail
: charley@charleyhafen.com

For the current Gallery Stroll list click here

Happy Birthday, Becky Doersam!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wonder: Gender Culture

Sweet and demur versus (does it look to you like he's leaning in towards her?)

I've vaguely noticed how different my house mate's shower products look from mine.  This morning while showering, I saw that his current shower gel is the same brand as mine and thought it would be fun to compare how differently the same manufacturer formulates and packages the men's and women's products.
 My shower gel is "Yogurt Vanilla Honey Nourishing Body Wash", kind of seems like after I shower, I'd taste pretty good!  It also says that it "Refreshes Thirsty Skin" with "Yogurt Protein & Honey Extract".  The bottle is smooth with subtle curves swooping upward (not bottom heavy).  The colors are light, creamy and subtle and there's a picture of a honey pot with vanilla flower and beans on the front.  Hmm, I might just use this recipe for a light and healthy breakfast!

His bottle is the color of STEEL, it has grips on it (sure don't want to drop this thing in the shower---Oopsie!) and it is asymetrical (kind of has a little swagger to it) so that you know exactly how to grab it when you need it---no messing around when it comes to getting clean.  I'm not sure what the green circular thing is on the front label, a frisbee?, a drain where all the nasty stuff goes down, the open end of a gun barrel?  
 His product says "For Men" on it (I guess anyone can use mine) and his is "Full Force", there's no holding back when washing yourself with this stuff!  It's "ULTIMATE CLEAN BODY WASH with CLEAN RINSING TECHNOLOGY"--- we are not nourishing our skin with this stuff , no recipes---it's Technology at work here, and we are sure as heck not going to leave anything sweet nor tasty behind!
My product says "For a Healthy Clean You Can Feel (touchy-feely),  Refresh your thirsty skin with Dial Yogurt Nourishing body Wash!  Enriched with natural yogurt protein, our clean-rinsing formula is clinically proven to moisturize your skin and leave it feeling sensationally smooth and healthy."  And then there is the 
"Yogurt Fact:
Yogurt protein is a natural skin conditioner that can help protect the skin from dehydration."

And His:   
* The Ultimate Clean - Removes odors and cleans deeply (we girls don't smell so bad and are usually not very dirty).
* Non-Drying Formula - Engineered (Engineered?) with the right balance of skin conditioners.

And in the spot where mine had the yogurt fact, (this is my favorite part of his product's labeling) "His" has directions (crazy, we all know guys don't read the directions---is this a little joke from Dial?)  

HOW TO USE:  1. Squeeze out.  2.  Lather up.  3. Rinse off.
(He didn't listen to his mom when she instructed him on how to wash?)

In case you are thinking that I share a bathroom with a real man's man, consider this.  Last week my house mate ran out of his shampoo and told me that he used some of mine.  When I asked him which one he used (I have two types), he told me he chose the "pink" one.  ;o)

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Click on the image above to see the line-up on the official Jazz festival website.

Some of our favorite local musicians will be out in full force performing at the Jazz Festival, including David Halliday (on tenor sax with SLCJO for Tenor Madness with guests Pete Christlieb, Eddie Daniels & Don Menza), David Hall (on baritone sax with SLCJO), and The Orbit Group.

For all Festival information, including ticket purchase, visit the official website for the 2011 Salt Lake City Jazz Festival here.

Preview of Artist Performance Schedule...

Double click on the schedule image below for larger view.

Double click on the schedule image below for larger view.

Double click on the schedule image below for larger view.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Guinness Chocolate Cake for the 4th of July?

Oh Yes!  I may just have to roll off the (no-fat) wagon and try this recipe for the long weekend.  More photos and information can be found here on Design*Sponge.

Guinness Chocolate Cake
Katie Quinn Davies
Cake Ingredients
  • 250 g (1 c. and 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 250 ml (1 c.) Guinness
  • 75 g Dutch process cocoa ( 3/4 c.), sifted
  • 275 g (2 +  1/4 c.) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 400 g (2 c.)  sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 150 ml (2/3 c.) sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. good quality vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients
  • 300 g (1 + 1/3 cup) cream cheese
  • 150 g (1+1/2 c.) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 150 ml (2/3 c.) cream, whipped
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

1. Add butter, cocoa and Guinness to a saucepan. Warm over a medium heat and stir until melted. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.

2. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Pour in the Guinness/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly combine, add the vanilla, eggs and sour cream and beat everything together until well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.

3. Pour into a greased and lined 10″ angel food pan (or another straight-sided tube pan) and cook in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.*Note: This cake is very moist inside, so use your judgment regarding the skewer test. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has totally dried out — cook long enough so there is no uncooked cake on the skewer but there may be a few moist crumbs sticking to it after an hour of cooking.  [Please note:  Katie baked this in an 8.5" x 3.5" pan.  If you make this in a regular angel food cake pan, you should start checking for doneness at least 15 minutes early.]

4. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin and placing on a wire wrack to cool completely.

Frosting Instructions
1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a low-medium speed using a whisk attachment (I find a paddle attachment tends to over-beat the cheese). Whisk until the cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.

2. Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape any excess frosting from the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.

3. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing to fully combine.

4. Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out just to the edge without going over the side (never go over the sides of the cake) until the cake resembles a pint of the creamy black stuff! The idea is to capture the essence and simplicity of a pint of Guinness. Sláinte!

I made this cake to take to a dinner party this weekend...

Photo credit:  David Halliday, Halliday Film Fest Quiz Master
I agree with Katie Quinn Davies--- this may be the best tasting chocolate cake I've ever had (at least without a doubt---of those I've made myself).  My froth runneth over!



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