Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Peek Into My Watercolor Art Journals

This is one of my favorites so far....I felt so accomplished after painting her. Enjoyed it as well. 
I have been super busy and this is the time of year I start to plan for the spring and summer, as to what I am going to plant, what shows I am going to attend or hopefully attend as some you don't get into. They will say we already have that or we already have this....blah blah but then if that's the case why do we put one drugstore beside or across from the other one??? When what I have is totally different than another. So sometime s getting into certain shows can be difficult. So I have been planning a lot. Creating new ideas for other products or things I would like to do. Selling stuff on Ebay. The boys have been home a lot now from the holidays, snow, MLK Day, and now the forecast of more snow.  So when I get to create something it really is a much needed and I am so thankful to do so. I also have been taking my aunt food, getting her groceries, and of course taking care of all my duties here on the farm. As you know you stay busy and when you have that time to just let your mind and heart flow into your art it is just SIMPLY AMAZING!!! 
 As a lot of you know I am a mom to nine children and "yes" I had them all, and "yes" they are all from the same dad. Yes I get those questions all the time when someone ask me about them and they ask why too? I feel like really you ask that why? Sometimes folks those are questions you just don't ask..... (WHEW I got that off my mind) but as a mom to nine I have certainly seen a lot, done a lot, and worked a lot. Let me tell you, WORKED a lot I have and still do, but I know ALL moms do. I am super amazed by "celebrity" moms (these moms don't have to be movie stars so to speak but  moms that are more known) and blogger moms. I will read their stories etc. and be like WOW. It really astonishes me that we as moms can accomplish so much and just handle things so well. Able to plan and execute the activities, the meals, the laundry, parties, of my gosh its endless and yet still share all this. I have been trying to find the time to complete all this myself but sometimes that inner critic says "you can't do all this" but my new attitude is I CAN DO ALL THIS. I miss all my helpers from the when the older children were here but on the other hand I am so thankful that my adult children are all successful and have left home with confidence and independence and soaring on their own. I can't believe sometimes how amazing they have all developed into thriving and clearly marvelous adults.
I don't give myself any credit for this but people always remind me that this is a true success and an art, that raising children isn't easy but the rewards are all WORTH every second. I can honestly say that I put my heart into raising my children and all though they may never see that or see it now. I see it in ways that you would never expect. It makes me happy to see them mature and grow into interesting, and prosperous adults. With the older children gone from the nest and soaring with their own little bundles of joy. I don't have the help I once had where I could escape into my art studio and create and try to push all my limits and express myself to the fullest. I can remember when I could tell Alexis to cook our dinner for a family of eleven. Crystal to do laundry, Amanda to fold the laundry and mind you there was a TON of laundry. Have Cody help with the younger children. Jr. our oldest was always with his daddy working. I could create right in the center of all that was going on. The older ones helped with the homework and later we usually would go for a walk or finish up chores together. This wasn't everyday as there were all kinds of sports, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, school know LIFE. Now my life is so different yes I have four boys still at home, but I don't have the help as I once did and I work even way harder than before....I mean way harder! Some nights I am so tired that I can barely even lift my arm to read or even think of water coloring. Which it what I do mostly now since I can carry it with me anywhere and it requires very few supplies. I am no purist at it but I certainly do enjoy it and that's all that matters. With running the farm, the long hours and the markets I am so thankful to be able to make any art (on paper) Bruce tells me that my jams are art, my pickles are art, the honey, the cheese, the soaps.... and so on. It is all creating and that in itself is just fine. I wanted to share some of my watercolors as most times I don't as that inner critic comes to the surface and says NO! Honestly I put my heart into the paintings and enjoyed every step of the way and THAT TO IS all that MATTERS.  One thing I want to convey in this message is to enjoy every minute of all that is going on in your life even in the hard times and the good times as you will look back on them and reflect all that you are today. As the old saying goes Rome wasn't built in a day. 

This is the full layout of this watercolor girl I use Lukas watercolor paint in the half pans I carry it in my bag pretty much everywhere I go, because I don't like to be idle. 

I actually used the Jane Davenport stencil to outline the perfect face. I bought those stencils several years ago which I really hadn't used as I mostly just draw them myself (although they are far from perfect) but I enjoy it and one less thing to carry with you or have.  Remember My life is geared to simplify.

This was a watercolor I did while on a hike

This was the making of the girl on the hike watercolor  It just makes me happy! 

I like to try to random stuff and sometimes it doesn't always work out but something else is always learned along the way

Just more play 
Fun stuff and a great message

This one I was inspired by Lindsey the frugal crafter on YouTube she is an AMAZING watercolorist 

I love turtles 

I am a Reiki 1 and 2 Certified I tend to make the symbols quite often and it comes out in my paintings ( a way to keep my skills up) 
Choku Rei 

Playing with color

Flow was my word for the year in 2017

Always enjoy painting bee related stuff 

This was just a watercolor background and a Jane Davenport rubberstamp

One of my absolute favorites I painted while Bruce and the boys were fishing and I was sitting water coloring 

                           More favorites I love painting sea creatures and beachy things

                                                          Some of my really early work

                         This was like the third or fourth watercolor I ever did and I love it
Another favorite 

                                        More backgrounds and Jane Davenport stamps

Always love sons and mushrooms 

This one I painted one day while waiting on Bruce to finish a job straight from the heart

This one I think I was inspired by something on Pinterest 

This one came from my inner Mindy Lacefield I have had many classes from her in the past and on her website 

This was my first ever watercolor from a class from Janelle Jacobson 

Some of my older work 
Painted this one recently 

Much more recent stuff 

This one was one I created from one of Mindy Lacefields classes creating a watercolor of Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice I created this one with her camera. Mindy has the best classes affordable like $15 -$20 bucks kinda affordable. You learn a lot and who doesn't love Mindy she is wonderful. I probably told this story before but I went to an art workshop at Donna Downey's (which are AMAZING) and it was smaller event that time of year so there were two of us at one of the tables and we all got to working and I was looking over at Mindy's stuff and it hit me like a ton of bricks.....this is Mindy Lacefield sitting across from me at the same table. You know that feeling when you see someone famous and you just beam. So I say your Mindy Lacefield oh my goodness I can't believe this. I had been sitting with her a day and didn't even know it. I knew of her work but not really her face or story. So I beamed like the shiniest star in the sky the entire weekend!!! I was sitting across from one of my most favorite artist. She is a wonderful person and so very talented. 

I did this one at the cabin I stayed in Crozet Virginia 

I drink a lot of tea so it came to me one night to paint a tea cup 

                   I painted this one while at my friend Jane's house, she painted a flower that night.
I love mountains and trees and this one is also one of my favs. 

This is a quick video of one book 

Another video of another book 

As I was putting this post together I got that same feeling of that inner critic saying don't share these no one wants to see them......but I didn't listen!! I hope you find some inspiration in some of these watercolors. I feel like I am progressing as I am much more successful with acrylics and other mixed media and enjoy them all but as I said this is simple and you can take it anywhere like a sketch book and it doesn't require much stuff. 

You can see more on this one HERE 

This week alone I got a lot of soaps poured and batches cut and drying I had to order more supplies as with all the soap making supplies since I use almost all organic and therapeutic it is very costly. Thankfully with the items I have sold on Ebay I have been able to buy more supplies. Winter is even harder with farm life. On the good note when you love what you do it all works out!! 

Getting ready for the springtime. 

I hope your New Year is going great.......! Keep up those resolutions and reading those books, keep those goals and dreams in mind and keep up the excitement and anticipation you had for the new beginnings. Each day can be a new beginning if you loose site. I know how that can be sometimes. Stay POSITIVE and ENJOY the process whatever your art or passion may be.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Our Homemade Aged Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese and a few Cheese Ideas

This is the homemade farmhouse cheddar we made at our commercial kitchen and took the class I did back in October. Well of course since it is an aged farmhouse cheddar we dipped the cheese in a bought wax...however since then I have learned you can use beeswax which I have plenty of and wondered why I bought the red wax (which is a common color in America) and mostly for Edam and Cheddar cheese. The color of the wax actually a signal as to the type of cheese (usually) but sometimes are farmstead cheese makers that doesn't always signal that, as we would use what we have.
Clear wax is used to make several coats and can be used. Make sure it is a food grade wax. The purpose of the wax is to make the cheese retain its moisture content, and protect the cheeses from the air and humidity.  
Black was mostly common used for longer aged cheeses. For a much longer aging. Common in European countries. Which when we went to Wisconsin we actually went to a place that makes 12 year cheddar and let me tell you OH MY!!!! Bruce and I joke Alexis send us some of that 12 year cheddar again. It was simply amazing!!! Brown waxes are mostly used for cheeses that are smoked. I know for sure I will be using beeswax once I run out of the red wax. You can read about one of my favorite cheesemakers Gavin at Curd Nerd.
Here are some of our pics from Wisconsin this past year while visiting the cheese factory in Theresa Wisconsin.  

 A family owned business with wonderful cheeses. 

It was late afternoon when we arrived so not much cheese making going on at the moment but I love viewing the commercial scale cheese making equipment. 

Some pic on the board at the cheese factory from the past. 

This is one of our cheddar wheels that we made and dipped in wax. You need to put the date and the type of milk it came from and the type of the cheese on a sticker, card so you know what it is and how long it has aged.  You rotate it in the cheese cave once a week. I am forever checking the humidity and the temp so that rotation of wheels is never forgotten. When Skylar was here it became routine everyday to check the dehydrator, the cheese cave, the jars to see if they "popped" (sealed) daily and as well as the goat and chicken duties. Downstairs in my house we have a bird "Sonny" whom is a cockatiel, a beta fish, and a red eared slider turtle that we have had since I was pregnant with Cooper, which was 2006. We call him Mr. Turtle (I know how original)  the boys Colten, and Colby were 4 and 2 at the time and when we got the turtle it was on the side of the road in Florida. Mr. Turtle was the size of a quarter with his legs, now he is huge like the bottom of his shell is bigger than my hand. So the feeding of all these critters was in our routine and Skylar would remind me are we going to feed Mr. Turtle she didn't let me forget anyone......I miss that little helper!! 

Unwaxing the Farmhouse Cheddar 

Here the in the cheese making process this is after the rennet and the culture has been introduced to the milk where it now coagulates to create a curd. Look at how beautiful that curd is. 

cutting the curd 

The curds cut and some of the whey emerging from the curds 

The curds 

look at those wonderfully formed curds and all the wonderful whey emerging and ready to make bread and so many more things with the whey from lacto fermentation
Once again Tiffany shows you all the most excellent "whey's" to use Whey.
She already sums it up and my students ask me all the ways to use it well just read Tiffany's post and you have a lot more "whey's" 

Time to strain the curds and the whey 

Nice separation of curds and whey 

I had a video of Bruce pouring off the curds and whey but it was short an I didn't post but basically you have a cheese straining bag 
I added the video to show the pouring off the whey and catching the curds 

See the curds draining the whey off and starting to knit together 

You can see how the curds are now knitted together to make cheese 

Here the cheese is in the press I love my cheese press it drains In the sink a little whey with the pressure of the spring tension weights. It starts off with between 25-20 lbs. of pressure but this also depends on the type of cheese and how long the pressure stays. You do not need a cheese press to make this hard farmhouse cheddar you can use coffee can and bricks wrap the brick in a cellophane wrapping or a plastic bag. I had got my cheese press several years back on Valentine's Day 2015. I got the press at New England Cheesemaking on Valentine's Day they usually have a big sale. Which is "whey" cool :0) 

Note the red wax I splashed on the back of the sink one day, as you can see the whey draining out.

Here is some excellent instructions for you on the wax. 

See how awesome the farmhouse cheddar came out and oh soooo yummy 
I didn't color it with the annatto seeds. It didn't need to be colored in my opinion. 

 At my cheese making classes at Wine and Cake Hobbies in Norfolk Virginia which is coming up again soon in March. March 27, 2018 from 6-9pm you can find my class HERE they also offer a wide array of classes from wine making, cake classes, candy classes. beer making classes and other cake classes like fondant and decorative cake arts.
Here is the cheese getting dipped in the wax. 

Me at the store getting ready for the class 

This is a wheel of goat cheese that is aged we tasted this at the class it was a bit dry but yet very tasty and had a nice "too cheesy" taste Dusty calls extra sharp cheddar "too cheesy" which Bruce and I love that sharp cheddar cheese taste. 

Getting the tools ready for the class

This is the sign that was up in the store to advertise the class

You can order or pick up the supplies at the Wine and Cake Hobbies they have an excellent online store
Here is the cheese with one of our farm eggs oh my delish! 

Goat cheese with our strawberry jam and hot pepper jam now just add some crackers talk about yum! 

The goat cheese ready to go to the market perfect little curds of chevre  

The farmhouse cheddar wrapped in prosciutto and cooked in the cast iron skillet is like amazing and is one of our favorite snacks

Wanted to share the recent temps we have been having. Thank goodness for these warmer temps we are having today of 66 degrees. We lost some of our bees I do know that which is a very sad sad thing. I cried!!

A quick little easy peasy cake my aunt broke her shoulder and I have been taking her food and stuff and she loves cake. She is 68 years old. I took an orange box cake mix and use the juice of pineapple for the water crushed pineapple pieces and farm eggs mixed well and my aunt loved it. She is the would rather have a box cake or a store bought cake then a homemade cake. City girl! LOL 

I have been working in the greenhouse lately getting it ready while not taking care of my aunt who lives an hour away. The gourds are drying well from this past fall. 
See the snow on the ground. 

                             I have been water coloring at night and reading my books. 

I am loving how this mermaid came out I learned the mermaids from Jane Davenport in her class A Mermaid Circus some years back now. I learned well. 

Ledger update eating watermelon yep a true Gallop lol Alexis baby for sure!!! 

I hope you enjoyed some of my pics and happening around #9 Farms. I have to go now and do some bee checks since the weather is not raining now. I poured soap this morning after the boys left for school, finally a full day. Yesterday was a two hour delay and that was their first day back since December 19, 2017. They spent 3 weeks and 2 days home and when we got the call that tomorrow would be a regular school day Cooper says "Oh MAN" I was like rally it is time to return to reality Cooper. 
Stay Warm and "Whey Cool",
Dawn Gallop

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