Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chewable Fish Oil

Trader Joes now carries chewable fish oil for kids! Woot! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

FREEZE!

Improv Everywhere... Some hilarious mass group pranks.

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chevreul's color theory

I recently attended a lecture at the American Art Museum by Judith Walsh. She lectured on M. Chevreul's color theory, and particularly how Winslow Homer used this theory in his paintings. Walsh was able to distill Chevreul's complicated theory concisely, and clearly illustrate the effects about which he wrote with graphic examples. She then moved on to describe how Homer ingested the theory, using his paintings to pinpoint the way in which he was able to use Chevreul's theory successfully. Wonderfully, Walsh's lecture did not denigrate Homer's work to a mere color-by-numbers understanding of Chevreul, but really a more clear expression of how Chevreul thought his theories could be used successfully in the arts. 

I was so impressed with the lecture I promptly went out and got The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and their  Applications to the Arts. It is fascinating in part b/c of the brief biography given of Chevreul by Birren. Reading the color theory is heavy slogging, but well worth while. Evidently, most artists do not read Chevreul any longer b/c of those who first co-opted his writing, and their followers. He is now mostly forgotten. 

Chevreul was the first to note and test the consistent reaction of colors in relation to other colors. He also developed the above 3D color wheel, with the tone of the colors actually stemming from an understanding of the center (white=all colors) moving out to particularize into the various visible colors, and then up from white to black, and the tones for each color that makes. He went on to delineate all sorts of contrasting relationships between colors, their tones, and their compliments. 

Homer's absorption of Chevreul really was wonderfully applied to his paintings, and now knowing it I understand so much more of what is going on in his paintings: how he achieves such totality of effect and mood, etc. I particularly liked Walsh's personal admonishment of current scholarship of Homer. She said that it's true that Homer is self-taught (he did not go to art school)--however, being self-taught [and being of Homer's caliber] does not simply mean he was a genius. He was self-taught. He spent his entire life reading and re-reading Chevreul alone, as did he continue to study and work at his painting.

After reading the original text though, I am finding myself wishing that Walsh's lecture were available so that I could resorb her years of clear thinking on the subject! Perhaps she will publish a little book form of her lecture someday. Judith Walsh has contributed to books on Homer, such as Water Colors of Winslow Homer: The Color of Light

Representations of Color is a great article on the history of the development of the color wheel(s!).

Poach Pods

Now, I could go on and on about these little wonders for a long time, but I will try and keep it brief.

Julia Child once talked about how she always insisted on the freshest ingredients, but that she was never one to turn her nose up at a new gadget or tool. So while poached eggs have always been the most tricky and temperamental of eggs, don't turn away just because it's a gadget! My cook friend explained why poach pods work so well. (More anon).

Poach Pods have revolutionized my mornings! They cook a perfect egg every single time. When I didn't want to fry or scramble, I used to try and do a boiled egg, but inevitably the white was too rubbery, or the shell stuck to the white, or the yolk was dried out.  
And then there was the whole fuss about the water boiling, timing it from the start of the boil, or taking it off once the water boiled at letting it sit for 15 minutes! (too long), or if the egg is room temperature, not putting it in until it boils (but who has the time to wait for your egg to come to room temp.?!).  With poach pods, you crack and egg into the (Pammed) pod, place them in the water when it boils, pop the lid on, and set the timer for 5 and a 1/2 minutes! I can unload my dishwasher while they cook. 

Until I ate one of these eggs, I don't think I had actually had a properly cooked white before. Delicious, moist, tender! ahhh! And the yolks... perfectly congealed along the outer edge, and nice and runny  and warm in the middle. 

Epicurean

I have been meaning to post about these for a while... and finally remembered. These are cutting boards that have all of the good qualities of wood, and are dishwasher safe! I particularly love how thin they are, as I am always trying to streamline my small space! I have replaced all of my other cutting boards now. 

You can now shop Epicurean’s entire product line here at the Epicurean Store. Epicurean® cutting surfaces are a practical and distinctive improvement from plastic cutting boards, glass cutting boards and wood cutting boards. They have all of the best qualities and none of the bad in one highly functional surface. All Epicurean® cutting surfaces can be used on both sides and are intended for every day use and easy food preparation. Every Epicurean cutting board is thoughtfully designed for functionality in use, clean-up, and storage. With its exclusive cutting surface material which doesn’t dull knives, and the superior hygienic properties, Epicurean is considered the best food preparation and cutting surface available today. 

They have some overstock products on their site for 50% off, and I have found mine at Marshalls stores. I have also seen them at Wegmans and Bed Bath and Beyond, but for full price. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood

Here is a totally bizarre (and kind of hysterical) version of Little Red Riding Hood. The tag line for the video is "Children's stories should clearly communicate their messages." I'll leave it at that!


SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.
I am dreading The End of Nap Time. However, this will be a fun and kid-intelligible way to enforce Quiet Rest Time!

Map


I don't know why I like this so much. 

Thawing Clay

My sister has started her second pottery apprenticeship, and is blogging about it. Did you even realize that apprenticeships still occur?! Read more about what it means to apprentice, and the labor that it involves!

Little Lamb Books

My friend recently started a blog about children's books: Little Lamb Books. It's a great source for old and new classics. If you are looking for a great way to spend some time, be inspired, find the perfect gift for a little person, scroll through charming illustrations, etc.--read her blog!