Thursday, December 27, 2012


The Moode family angel is the best angel ever.
30-somethings playing Super Mario World? Best ever.
Organizing ribbon post Christmas? Best ever.
 My Dad said this looked just like my Master's Thesis.
My family's beautiful, happy heirloom china.
The last year this china was made was 1904.
Snowy white camilias and holly from my parents' garden.
My mom made this costume 30 years ago for my brother to
wear in a school pageant. We just found it. Really well made.
Kinda fits me, right?

Ginger things.

Hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas and a restful, wintery holiday! I understand many of my friends have seen more than a little snow. I'm visiting my parents at the moment, and it's even been a bit frosty here!

I've been baking this week. I love the blog 101 Cookbooks, not only for the recipes, but for the beautiful photographs. I made this gingerbread last year, and knew I wanted to make it again this Christmas. Since most of the ingredients were the same, I also made these delish ginger/chocolate cookies. My baking adventures don't photograph quite so well....

So, I actually made this recipe twice. The first time around
I failed to notice I was using salted butter. Oops!
They came out as darn salty cookies. I blame the wine.
darn wine.
Chopped bittersweet chocolate.
Gingerbread dry ingredients.  
And sourdough bread, of course.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Try Harder, Carolyn Keene.

Mid-December! Wow, how did that even happen? It hasn't been wintery-cold here; the last few days have been very grey and wet. My Kickstarter Project, Books & Postcards form Wyoming, only has hours to go! I'm amazed at how well it has been received, and so very grateful for all the support I've found! And of course I am very excited about my residency!

Persian cats are being stolen, and Nancy is tap-dancing in morse code.

One of my winter leisure pastimes seems to be reading Nancy Drew books while soaking in the bathtub. They are fascinating in their ridiculousness, and the astounding variety of bad writing styles all attributed to Carolyn Keene. Because I'm Michelle Moode, and my hobbies and interests occasionally turn into temporary obsessions, the whole Nancy Drew thing is starting to take on a pseudo-scholarly-research sort of thing, as I have started taking notes as I read. Really? Mostly this consists of...

  1.  The sequence of  outrageous dangers Nancy encounters in a given book. Some seem due to outright recklessness, and her father is not nearly concerned enough about his daughter's safety. 
  2.  Also her pleasant, smiling comments and reactions after she, ya know, gets clear of her car or cottage that has had a time-bomb placed in it...
  3. Nancy's astounding talents and skills. From tap-dancing to horse-riding to flying airplanes. And the whole mystery-solving thing. Nancy is awesome.
 I've also become interested in learning more about the history of the series, and the Stratemeyer Syndicate, and the revisions that were made to the original stories, and what seems to be a serious collecting community. 

Were you into Nancy Drew as a kid? I confess, I really wasn't. I owned and read a few of the "Nancy Drew Files" written in the 1980's, (I have re-read a couple of these recently. and maybe a couple of the original books from the library...

I really don't mean to sound all cynical or serious about this, you know. Again, this is just a winter diversion, and good bathtub reading.  I have been joking with friends about starting a Nancy Drew blog...what should I call it?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This greeted me on my doorstep, this fine December morning!

I love my Bakersfield friends. If Spruce Pine wears out, maybe I'll move back west. Liz and Laura visited me ever-so-briefly a while ago, on their way to DC. Besides avocados, in their back yard they have bees, chickens, and certainly other goodness. I'm so envious!

Monday, December 10, 2012


Today I'm trying to work on grading. Obviously I'm on a break at the moment...

We've closed down the Penland Gallery for the winter season, and I got to experience a "week-end" of those things where you have two days off in a row! Wow! I did so much. Laundry, gardening, (it's in the 60s here...crazy!) organizing, cleaning, art-making, bill-paying,!

Of course, shortly after the thrill of a "week-end" comes the shock of temporary-seasonal-unemployment.....but hey, I'm not done at App State yet, so we'll think about that next week!

Less than 10 days left of my Kickstarter Project, Books & Postcards from Wyoming!  Check it out if you have not already, and maybe pass it on if you think it's pretty good. The funds raised thus far have exceeded my expectations. Any further funds raised, and I'll be able to buy some leather! I haven't worked with leather since I assisted Bonnie Stahlecker at Haystack all those years ago.

Also, have I mentioned I'm making my own walnut ink? With black walnuts from my back yard? Yeah! How cool is that!?  Photos of the brown messiness next time!

Okay, back to work, Michelle.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kickin' Starter


Hey, look! I'm back in the bread-making business! It took a while to revive my sourdough starter, and there was one unsuccessful, hard-as-stone loaf, but two beautiful loaves have been made and consumed, (not just by me, mind you!) and my house smells good and bread-y.

Last week of classes at ASU, and we start closing for the season at the Penland Gallery this week. Busy times.

I've made a few books. Alfred is unimpressed.

Not a helpful studio-mate.
About 16 more days to go on my Kickstarter project. Thanks again for all the support I've found, and if you haven't already, take a peek!

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