Purple … 2018 Color of the Year

Fit Of Pique Six Sweet Kitties

Purple’s back baby! I have always loved the color but shied away from it until I turned 60. Then I figured, I’m old enough to wear purple now ha ha!

Well, a shade of purple — Ultra Violet to be exact, which is a purple highlighter shade — has just been named Color Of The Year by The Pantone Color Institute, the trendsetter for fashion and style in clothing, homes and even food!

Several weeks ago I wore a shade of purple jacket to church and my priest remarked it was “the royal color.” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but politely demonstrated my “royal wave.” To me, the color — in all its shades and tones — represented a flamboyance. Which is why, in my long years in corporate fashion hell, I never wore it. But now I have some version of it in almost half of my closet, including my underwear drawer.

A wonderful article in today’s New York Times lays out the history and composition of the color, from ancient times to today. I recommend it – a quick read which will enrich your understanding of purple and all its cousins.

If you are interested, the Fit Of Pique frame illustrated here, Six Sweet Kitties, utilizes two shades: Lavender Lustre from vintage gilded Noritake Made in Japan porcelain, and vintage Purple Transferware by Maastricht, a Dutch china company. One of my favorites!

Fit Of Pique Six Sweet Kitties

 

Art vs Craft Debate Redux

Fit of Pique “Flower Dog”

Is it “Art” or is it “Craft” and what defines each?

Remember the classes we took in high school decades ago? I do. “Arts & Crafts” tended to attract the girls, while “Shop” attracted the boys, though some of the items made in Shop would have qualified, in my opinion as art, and some of the schlock produced in art class was, well, schlock. I have seen a lot of crafts which were just that — functional items made by a process specific, usually in wood, ceramics or glass. But just as Tiffany made craft art, and Warhol made the ordinary extraordinary, the lines are not straight and true.

I have had many call my Fit Of Pique mosaics “art.” To the extent that they are an expression of some inner emotion or spirit, even though made with the usual materials associated with craft, I would have to agree. Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

But it is not a comfortable tag for me. It feels rather pretentious. “Art” to me is an oil painting, such as my mother used to create, requiring extraordinary skill as well as expression that is unique. My Fit Of Pique pieces are functional — a photo frame, box, mirror — which might assign them to the craft category. Yet to me, they are more. Much more. In fact, though I sell them, parting with each is emotional for me.

There are certainly some who feel it cannot be art unless the maker is starving or coughing up a little blood. And certainly how others perceive an item or its maker is an important gauge. I remember when I painted my first oil painting — a still life of an apple and knife on a soft cloth. I entered it in my 7th grade’s “Art Contest” only to have the teacher eliminate it because it was, in her opinion, so obviously a Paint-By-Numbers production which was prohibited (it was not). When I came home in tears, my mother let that teacher have it! But the impact on me was severe. That “art” teacher had quelled the spirit. I didn’t attempt “art” again for years, until a drawing class at the Corcoran drew me out once again in my twenties.

I would prefer to think of my Fit Of Pique pieces using the Swedish designation of  “ArtCraft,” with elements of both in each piece. Some are certainly unique and artistic, such as the Flower Dog frame shown above. Others are more craft than art, but still beautiful, such as the Playing Cards box shown below.

Fit Of Pique Playing Card Box

Fit Of Pique Playing Card Box (Interior)

So, does that make me an “Artist” or a “Craftsman” or an “ArtCraftsGal” — I vote for the latter. But let me know what YOU think. And please visit my Fit Of Pique section at www.CherryGal.com to see all my artcraft mosaics.

New CherryGal.com is here!

My web guy has been telling me for months I had to do this, and being the frugal (i.e., poor) businesswoman that I am, I resisted. And resisted. AND resisted. But finally Google pushed the urgency because they changed their security viewpoint and I was forced to do this “update.” It’s more than an update. Its a totally NEW website, with all sorts of bells and whistles which I am just beginning to learn. But for the moment, it works quite well at processing orders and I am even able to offer a discount if you hurry and purchase $50 or more in CherryGal.com items, you will get $10 off. Just use coupon code at checkout NEWWEB. What could be simpler. Hope you do … this update cost me a LOT! 🙂

The “new” CherryGal.com is here!

Wonderful day with my new booth at the Warrenton Harvest Festival!

Fit of Pique Mosaics featured!

So happy with my new larger booth!

One of my favorite customers inspects a FOP mini pot with cat grass

I had a wonderful time with CherryGal‘s new larger white booth at the Warrenton Harvest Festival! Great feedback and sales of my new Fit of Pique genuine pique assiette mosaics line which were featured. I had frames, mirrors, boxes and garden pots. We also had Lucky Like organic and all natural premium biscuits, CherryGal’s Organic Do It Yourself Gin Kits and gift vases of Paperwhite Narcissus. I made new friends and new customers! So I will continue to produce my Fit Of Pique and other special CherryGal and Lucky Like items, which are all available on my website, CherryGal.com and in my Etsy shop. I am also open to commission requests that are color and/or theme based. These make unique and wonderful gifts! And after a few customers suggested it, I am considering creating a Fit of Pique pique assiette class event locally, where you will be able to learn the art and create a frame, all supplies included. Let me know what you think about that idea! Thank you everyone for your friendship and patronage! Looking forward to seeing everyone again at the Spring Festival in April!

CherryGal’s Fit of Pique Mosaics Makes Its Debut!

Fit of Pique Mosaics

CherryGal’s Fit of Pique Mosaics premiered at the Warrenton Farmers Market last Saturday! I was so pleased with the response! I will be preparing numerous new pieces for the Harvest Festival on October 14, so I will not be returning to the Farmers Market this season. It has been great fun, made new friends, and it was very rewarding! For the Harvest Festival I will have Fit Of Pique Frames, Trinket Boxes, Jewelry Boxes, Trays and Garden Pots. Hope you will come to Town Center Warrenton NC 10 am – 4 pm on October 14 to see CherryGal’s Fit Of Pique crafts and Lucky Like Dog Biscuits!

CherryGal’s Fit Of Pique Mosaics

The Holidays are Coming!

It’s the season for decorating with pumpkins, autumn leaves, pinecones, and more! Before you know it, Halloween will be here, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas! CherryGal.com is offering some beautiful holiday decoratives from Bethany Lowe, Olivia Riegel, Ragon House, April Cornell, Burton and Burton and soon … Fit of Pique! There are centerpieces, wreaths, ornaments, snow globes, frames and more! Hope you can take a moment to visit and buy!

And so much more!

As the leaves fall …

My thoughts turn to Autumn, my favorite season. I love the shortening days, the changing light; the cooling weather, putting my garden to bed for the winter and winding down at the Farmers Market offering the last of the heirloom tomatoes, herbs and bouquets. It is also fun to bring in some special peppers and flowers to overwinter inside. Sometimes I get surprises, as when I potted up my Red Rocoto pepper and found a small garden snake curled up inside its original pot.

It is now time to start planning for Spring, both what seeds to offer for the 2018 season and making the hard decisions about what seedlings to offer in the Spring, because the earlier I can start those the better and since space for growing is limited, these are difficult choices.

My attention turns also to my CherryGal.com store which is now filling with wonderful seasonal decoratives. There are snow and water globes of all kinds, wreaths, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas figurines and ornaments, holiday table linens and special gift wares.

However, this year, as the seasons turn, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Harvey and Irma. So I am also praying and donating as I am sure you are doing as well. What else can one do?

Just Treats … No High Fructose Corn Syrup

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Chocolate Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Ever since an isolated incident back in the early 70’s gave us all a fright, the commercial candy industry has been aggressively persuading us not to give out apples, popcorn balls or other home made treats on Halloween. So for years, especially when I had a young son, I dutifully purchased commercial candies in miniature form each year (and ate a fair share of them myself). However, I have long questioned this practice.

I live in a small community with a very high incidence of diabetes and obesity … even among children. So for the past few years I have resisted giving out candy, choosing instead to buy expensive organic cheese crackers in little boxes from Annie’s, which the kids have loved. But since I get 100 or more Trick Or Treaters each year, this adds up! Then there came this report from the Cornucopia Institute … detailing the problem with most treats passed out this time of year and suggesting solutions. As a professional baker (at least for dogs) I decided to go the cookie route instead. It is an economical way to put a little love in each colorful treat bag (bought on ebay for just a few dollars).

I started out with some vintage cookie cutters of a bat and a scaredy cat (tail straight up). This quickly became unworkable with the tender cookie dough. So I switched forms to Acorns and Pumpkins. I added easy decorations of chocolate sprinkles on the acorn caps and chocolate covered dots to make jack-o-lanterns of the pumpkins. Each bag gets two large cookies, one of each kind, and is tied with a string of raffia (also from ebay, also very inexpensive). The cookies are delicious! Here are the recipes, in case anyone wants to try them.

Triple Threat Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies (makes 2-4 dozen cookies, depending on size)

Preheat oven to 400F

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (softened to room temp)
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (smooth)
  • 1/4 Cup Melted and Cooled Chocolate (I used chocolate chips with 60% Cocoa)
  • 2 T Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder (Double Acting)
  • 1 t Salt
  1. Cream the butter & sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add Peanut Butter and Chocolate
  3. Add Egg and Vanilla
  4. Add Flour, Baking Powder and Salt
  5. Keep dough cold while not working, but no need to pre-chill before rolling
  6. Roll out between parchment to 1/4″ thickness and cut shapes.
  7. Decorate
  8. Bake on parchment, keeping 1″ or more between cookies, about 12 minutes.
  9. Remove to wire racks to cook completely. You can store in zip locks until packaging in treat bags.

Pumpkin Spice Cut Out Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F

  • 3/4 Cups Unsalted Butter (softened to room temp)
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 T Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 t Double Acting Baking Powder
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1-1/2 t Cinnamon
  • 3/4 t Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 t Ground or Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/4 t Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 t Ground Cloves
  1. Cream Butter and Sugars together until light and fluffy
  2. Add Pumpkin, Vanilla and Egg
  3. Add dry ingredients
  4. Chill dough for 15 – 20 minutes before rolling
  5. Roll out between parchment to 1/4″ thick and cut shapes
  6. Decorate and put on parchment to bake
  7. Bake 12 minutes
  8. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before packing in treat bags
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Cut shapes close together & then remove xtra before lifting shapes with spatula

Enjoy! And have a safe and Happy Halloween!

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The Virgin Blog

At 66 I have to admit that some of the newer forms of communication have me stymied. I have a Facebook page but not a clue how to properly use it; don’t have Twitter or any of the newer social media things; but what I DO have is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom (I hope) about gardening — why we do it, how we should be doing it, and what it means for the planet and ourselves.

This blog will share my experiences, including my Year One with my first backyard chickens: Jayne (Mansfield), Marilyn (Monroe) Betty (Grable) and Blondie (I am a big Deborah Harry fan). I hope you tune in often for gardening and chicken tips.