Nancy Crookston - WOW!

I got a phone call from our friend Garr Crookston yesterday. He called to tell me that he and Nancy (his wife, our friend, an accomplished painter, famous and successful artist, and all-around neat lady) were in Scottsdale at the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition...an annual exhibit and competition where Nancy is THE judge (juror of awards) for the event. He said he called to tell me that he was standing in the Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, looking at a painting of our daughter Becky that Nancy had painted and exhibited.

Here is what the website says about the event: "A number of educational events will be held in conjunction with the opening weekend of the exhibition, April 30 - May 2, 2010. Headlining this year’s program will be this year’s Juror of Awards, Master Signature member and internationally acclaimed artist Nancy S. Crookston OPAM. In addition to judging, Ms. Crookston will provide a 3-hour painting demonstration on Friday morning, April 30."

Nancy is a OPA Master Signature Artist, an elite status that very few artists attain. Notice this paragraph from the website - and notice how FEW women are in the list: "The success of this year’s exhibition is further bolstered by a strong contingency of OPA Master Signature members including: Thomas S. Buechner, William T. Chambers, Nancy S. Crookston, Dan Gerhartz, Albert Handell, David Hettinger, Doug Higgins, Quang Ho, Ramon Kelley, Steven Lang, David Leffel, Jeff Legg, Ruo Li, Huihan Liu, Calvin Liang, Paul Mullally, Neil Patterson, Joyce Pike, Zhiwei Tu, Jeffrey Watts and William Whitaker. Joining this illustrious group are new Master Signature artists: Kenn Backhaus, Michael Mao and Warren Chang." As you can tell, I'm really proud of Nancy!

After talking to Garr, I immediately went to my computer and googled the Oil Painters of America website and quickly realized that I should have rounded up everyone Nancy knows, and we should have traveled to Scottsdale to cheer for Nancy. I definitely wish I had taken my daughters Suzie and Becky, because they have both been models for Nancy. And also Dorothy, Bonnie, Shari, Marty, etc. etc. And for sure Scott - Nancy was the first painting teacher he had! I now realize what a BIG deal this is for her. This is really huge in the oil-painting and art world.

Nancy is THE judge - just her - the one judge. She told me about this unbelievable honor a long time ago, but I didn't realize that it would include an exhibit and other events that the public could participate in. Nancy has three painings in the exhibit, and one of those paintings is on the Legacy Gallery website, and is a painting of Becky. It's a beautiful painting that Nancy painted from a photograph that she took of Becky about three years ago.

Garr said that Nancy is also teaching some classes during the week, and that her daughter and granddaughters will be there to model for the paintings. I'm glad they're going to be there. Here is the link to the Legacy Gallery's gallery so you can see all the paintings, and here is the painting of Becky.


Fresh Treats

I'm finally back to my blog - but only for a minute. I want to share the recipe for Shelia's Brownies - it's at the end of this post. And to balance your diet if you eat brownies for breakfast like me, a I have a suggestion for a new product that you can top with fruit for a fresh treat. (Though, admittedly, it's more dessert than health food.)

This new product (anyway, new to me) is Yoplait Delights Parfait. I have to give the credit to my sister-in-law Lesa for discovering them and then having the idea to put fruit on top. They are in the yogurt section of the grocery store, in a four pack, like small yogurts - but the key word on the package is "Delights." (Which, as I already mentioned, probably means they have no redeeming nutritional value.) They come in four flavors, but my favorite is the Triple Berry Creme shown above. They have a layer of berry yogurt, then a layer of white creamy fluff. On top of that I put as many strawberries and I can smash in, then, if it's for company, I top with a dollop of whipping cream. Because they are in a clear plastic container, they look kind of pretty and party-ish.
They're fresh and delicious and better for you than ice cream, I'm sure!

And now for...

Shelia's Brownies

1 cube butter or margarine
2 (1 oz.) squares Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup plain flour
2 eggs
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
walnuts - coarsly chopped

Melt butter and baking chocolate together. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time. (Shelia says, "Yes, this does make a difference.") Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Spray a 9" x 9" baking pan and pour batter in. Bake for exactly 30 minutes at 350.
Do not overbake. Cool and cut into squares.

Debbie's suggestion and I think Shelia does this too: Always double the recipe then you'll have enough for a 9" x 13" pan and some batter leftover so the children { lol } can lick the bowl.Posted by Picasa


{ old friends are best friends }

This photo was taken last week in Park City - I love this photo because of the colors and the memories. We had such a great day!

A week has flown by, and I have yet to post photos of our wonderful visit with our friends Shelia and Bob from Kentucky. Our story began 34 years ago in the little German village of Ebersgons. Scott was in the Army, and we lived in an apartment on the upstairs floor of a home owned by a German family, the Jungs. They lived on the main floor and on the lower floor was another apartment that Shelia and Bob lived in. Bob was a tank specialist; Scott was a Army doc, and both worked on the nearby base called Ayers Kaserne.
Shelia is a most extradordinary woman, and the warmest, friendliest person you'll ever meet. The first time I met her I said, "I'm pregnant, not fat." Yes, unfortunately, that just sounds like something stupid that I'd say. In spite of that intro, we became friends and did some things together. I can't remember ANY of it; I have the worst memory. But on this visit, Shelia filled me in on some of the things we did. We made a baby quilt for Aaron - which I still have. It's a lime green gingham check baby quilt with a picot edge. Shelia ended up making the same quilt for her baby a year later - and they named him Aaron!
Through the years we've kept in touch - with the annual Christmas card (from Shelia to me) and phone calls and a bit of email. I always love to hear from Shelia - it's really true, as she says, that time and distance fall away when we get together and it seems that we are just alike and truly enjoy being together.

Shelia visited Utah 8 1/2 years ago, and we always said, "We need to get Bob to Utah." So 10 days ago we did just that - they arrived and spent a few days with us. The one thing that Shelia said when they planned this trip was that they would love to see snow and skiing. I wondered if it would be possible in April, but our wonderful spring snowstorms made it happen. We visted Park City and The Canyons - and they got to see a real ski resort in ACTION. It was wonderful - perfect mix of sunshine and snow - and the skiers were out en masse since it was a couple of days before the ski season ended and The Canyons closed.

Bob and Shelia loved this view, and Scott stuck the cameras out the Gondola window to get the shots. I must say that it IS breathtaking to see the entire valley from the Gondola lift.

We talked non-stop for four days. Shelia is a high school math teacher - for twenty-six years! And it was fun to realize how much she loves teaching and her students. She was constantly texting them, answering questions and promising to do things like write reccommendation letters for scholarships. She connnects with former students on Facebook too. She also plays organ in her church congregation. She's a super grandma too - with three little granddaughters to keep her happy.

Bob, former Army Sargeant, is now a pediatric nurse! Many of his patients have cancer and other life-threatening diseases. He is also involved in a wonderful summer camp for children with cancer. Oh my, the experiences he has. He deals with life and death every day - and all I could keep thinking is what compassionate, caring nurse he must be.

It was magnificent to hear the organ on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. When we walked into the building, an organist was practicing - and he was playing LOUD! The hall vibrated with the beautiful music.

After the snow in Park City, it was nice to see flowers in Salt Lake. These pansies and poppies in a planter on a wall in Temple Square took my breath away!

Shelia brought me a wonderful gift - a cookbook titled "Rineyville Baptist Church...One Hundred Years of Dinner on the Grounds." You know, that's the best kind of cookbook - good ole home cooking. I can't wait to try out some of the recipes like Shelia's Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole, Multitude of Sin Salad, Ritzy Chicken, and Shelia's Potato Soup (made quickly with hash browns). And, Shelia's brownies are the best. I'm craving them and hope to post the recipe soon!


April Scrapbooking Challenge


Here's my layout for the Adornit "10 in 2010" Scrapbooking Challenge. (This is my little project at Adornit - I'm trying to get people to do some scrapping - even beginners, which is why my layout looks kind of beginner-ish lol.) Seriously, it's a promotion and a motivation (participate in the monthly challenge and you'll end up with ten cute layouts that tell about your everyday life). I used supplies from Adornit's Destination Collection, except the large title letters are Anna Griffin. Click here to see my favorite Adornit mini alphabets that you can use for your small journaling.They come in lots of colors and styles. You can see the little letters above, below, and to the side of the photos - they tell where I go each day, using mini alphabet stickers.

Click here for the link to the challenge post on the Adornit blog - for all the details and challenge requirements.


this will never be me, but I love to see

I'm feeling a little hemmed in this week (and last week too), so no blog posting. But I HAD to quickly post about this cute cute event designer named Amy Atlas. She blogs at amyatlas.blogspot .com. I get the biggest kick out of her dessert tables and party planning. She also has fantastic guest bloggers on her blog who share their creativity. Really, you have to scroll down through her blog for the past two months (don't miss her posts on April 1, March 29, March 4 etc.) to see "how the other half entertains" lol.


{ fave dinner plates }

I love these plates. I just love them. They're big (10 7/8") and pretty and very smooth. And the blue color is one of my favorite blues.

This is tonight's dinner - split pea soup and rolls - we had salads too, but I didn't want to hide the plate in my photo. Look at how that one roll is smiling because he likes the plate he's sitting on...ha ha.

I bought my first two plates in some big city department store about ten years ago. They are Ralph Lauren (Kate) Denimware, so they're kind of pricey - that's why I just bought two. Then, this year before Christmas, I decided to look for more to buy. Scott realized it would be a good (easy) gift so he helped me search online on ebay and other places for six more plates to complete my set. We only found two - and gladly got them.

After I took the photo tonight, I decided to look online again. This time my search took me to Replacements, Ltd. - a website with used china, crystal, silver etc. There I found eight dinner plates, two pasta bowls and two saucers. Now I'm trying to decide if I really want them. Funny how that is. If you want something and CAN'T have it, you want it more. But if it's available, then you don't want it that much.
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