Saturday, November 28, 2009

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.
Pearl S. Buck

When I began to study the chemical reactions of Fiber Reactive Dyes I immediately saw the connection between cooking food and working with dyes. My goal was to be a comfortable and competent in the the dye kitchen as I am cooking and baking in my food kitchen. Joy in working with my fabrics creating unique color and design patterns makes my eyes dance with excitement.

Presently, I am working on long, skinny scarves 90" x 7" burned out in Devore featuring raw edges are a fun, youthful, cozy way to warp yourself in color.

1st Annual Holiday Boutique @ Historic Ossining Campgrounds, Westchester, NY
December 5th & 6th (Saturday & Sunday) 10:00 am ~ 4:00 pm
Serving up hot chocolate & delightful treats.
Event to take place within the Historic Auditorium.

  • This will be a lovely weekend as my son Barry Rafferty and his fiance Meghan Oreilly-green at their home in Ossining, NY
  • In addition to seeing Barry and Meghan I look forward to visiting local historic sites around the Hudson Valley and meeting their dear friends.
  • Plus as an added bonus visit my dear friend from Canevin High School, Jim McDonald at his home in New York City.
Lots of work to do preparing for next weekend, now back to work in the studio ;~)

Please join Kara and I on our facebook fan page

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

God Bless the work of your hands

"Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful."Deuteronomy 16:15 New American Standard Bible

Thanksgiving is a time to remember those we love and everyone who has shown us love. I have a strong, healthy body, creativity and the will to produce something everyday that is so much to be thankful for it is hard to decide where to begin.

Perhaps it is because I am an artist or perhaps I am an artist because I respect for people who work with their hands. As I young child my fondest memories of Thanksgiving was of my mother and my maternal grandmother working in the kitchen for days to produce one meal. I can still see how much my grandmother enjoyed working in the kitchen throughout her 80's and into her early 90's. Vivid memories fill my heart with joy visualizing my grandmothers frail, wrinkled, thin fingers carefully tearing dried bread then seasoned with sage, thyme and rosemary, moistened with broth, mixed together with sauteed mushrooms, celery, onions and chopped apples gently placed into the Thanksgiving turkey. I loved to watch my mother's fingers delicately forming the fluted edges on her pie crusts. I stared at her quiet hands while she laid dying remembering and giving thanks for her 70 years of selfless service.

In my kitchen we still make the enter dinner from "scratch" using; whole wheat flour in our pastry crust for pumpkin pies. I love to grind fresh cranberries with oranges adding just enough raw sugar to sweeten the cold relish dish. An array of fresh vegetables; yams baked in their own jackets sweetened with dots of fresh butter, butternut or acorn squash baked seasoned with butter, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Think about color as you select the vegetable's to accompany the featured roast stuffed turkey.

My children are grown now yet I am pleased to say I have passed the torch for the love of working with their hands as makers. The joy I felt working in my kitchen teaching Barry and Kara to savour creating fresh, homemade meals had blossomed in them as adults today. While I was sharing my knowledge of making I shared our family history. When they call me for a recipe they ask for the recipe by the persons name.
Thanksgiving is a day set side to stop, reflect, remember with gratitude and respect those who have shared part of their life journey with us.

Today I want to share a simple recipe for cooked Apples with Drop Dumplings from my maternal grandmother.
*Note I have added dried cranberries, use brown sugar rather than white sugar, buckwheat baking mix instead of white flour, buttermilk over sweet milk and leave the peels on as my own spin on grandma's recipe.


2 1/4 lb. Cortland apples

3/4 c. brown sugar

handful of dried cranberries

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 c. water

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 c. Bisquick baking mix (I used New Hope Mills, old fashioned Buckwheat Pancake Mix)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Wash, pare, core and thinly slice the apples. I leave the peels on for fiber
Place apples in a 12 inch skillet or dutch oven

Add 3/4 cup sugar, ground ginger, water and lemon juice and stir well to combine.

In a small bowl, stir together the baking mix and buttermilk just until mix is moistened.
Heat apple mixture to boiling. Drop dumpling mixture in 6 portions over apples.

Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Cover and simmer until apples are tender and dumplings are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve in a small bowl, top with low fat half & half.
Enjoy the work of your own hands, buy local products, support local markets.
Please join Kara and I on facebook to see the work of our hands

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Find joy in the journey." quote by Thomas S. Monson

"Find joy in the journey." quote by Thomas S. Monson

Last Tuesday I departed from my home around 11:00 am for an adventure to Pittsburgh. An unexpected bonus happened during the four hour drive. Alone in my car filled with so much sunshine that I by the arrival time in Pittsburgh around 3:00pm I was covered in an explosion of freckles.

My first stop was to Shadyside, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts to deliver an assortment of my Devore scarves in time to be included in the Holiday Show.
Hours Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Sundays, 12:00 to 5:00pm. HOLIDAY HOURS Sat Nov 21-Dec 30.

Jen Carter and her numerous helpers were busy filling the entire gallery with a huge assortment of handmade art and craft items. Everyone was working feverishly to fill the space in time for the members preview show, that did not prevent Jen from being kind enough to offer me a cup of tea hearing that I had just arrived into town.

Next stop was to pick up an Autumn Bouquet for Jim's Aunt Katie. She has made remarkable progress towards recovery since my last visits in August and October. Keep up the jovial spirits Aunt Katie you are look stronger every day.

The warm, loving, soulful eyes of Rupert, see the above left image, greeted me as I was a guest in my sister-in-laws, Maripat Rafferty, home. Rupert always makes me feel special and very welcome while I am a guest in their home.

Oh, I don't want to forget to mention, Miss Sophie,who is the most well mannered, darling, petite little girl.

Rupert follows me around the home, he even stays beside me all night long. In the morning both Rupert and Sophie welcome me with joy and kisses. I can't imagine how Maripat can get anything done with the constant love and affection from these babies. I would play all day if I lived with Rupert & Sophie.
Thank you Maripat ;~)

Wednesday morning I was warmly welcomed by Brigette Martin at
5169 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15201
I highly recommend a visit to this gallery to see all of the offering by many fine artist such as the pic shown here.

By the way, my piece is in the front window ;~)

While you are on Butler Street step into
Sugar, 3703 Butler Street

Katie Bulger, the proud owner of SUGAR, one of Lawrenceville’s premier fashion boutique has melted the hearts of Pittsburgh boutique shoppers by featuring trendy and unique designs. It was at Sugar, I received a warm Pittsburgh welcome and tour around the boutique from Bill. As I left he held the door, waved goodbye and wished me a safe rest of my journey.

Thursday morning I met with Pat Moran, director of Fr Ryan Art Center
for a tour of the facility.
This treasure trove in the heart of McKees Rocks has a variety of Art & Cultural Events to enrich the life of the community as well as serve the greater Pittsburgh area. The art center is focused on sharing the arts with people of all ages preschool through elderly who wish to enhance their lives through art, music, and dance. I look forward to being an active part of this team of artists as soon as I can move back home to Pittsburgh.

I followed my olfactory joy to the lobby of the art center where I purchased homemade Chicken Soup with thin noodles and a Hot Sausage sandwich to nibble on during my ride back home in the rain. The woman at the counter was so kind tucking in extra onions, green peppers and provolone cheese into my sandwich to go. Wishing me a safe journey and many happy returns as she packed my lunch for my journey; I felt like I was being sent off by a cousin or a loving aunt rather than I woman I just met at a lunch counter.

That is the thing I love most about Pittsburgh, as soon as, I drive into the city I am keenly aware of being home. All along my journey, art directors, store clerks as well as people on the street were warm and welcoming. Joy found me on this journey to Pittsburgh.

Please join Kara and I on facebook rice rafferty fan page

Monday, November 16, 2009

The kingdom of joy is protected from all evil by a red door"

" The kingdom of joy is protected from all evil by a red door" unknown

Last week I took full advantage of the week filled with unseasonably warm, sunny days for November in Western New York to paint my front entrance RED. Not just any red, this is a HIGH DRAMA, lip stick, English telephone booth RED!!!

In early America a red door was a sign of "WELCOME." People travel by horse and buggy; they had to stop often. If they came upon a house with a red door that usually meant they would be able to spend the night.

Rumor is that a red front door was used in the under ground railroad for the slaves traveling north to signal this house is a safe house.

A scarlet entry also has deep religious undertones.

In Catholicism, a red door represents that the blood of Christ and other Martyrs has been smeared on it meaning the area beyond the door is holy and sacred.

For Protestants, and especially Lutherans, the red door hearkens back to the time of Martin Luther, who posted his 95 Theses on the red doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany—the crimson color symbolizes the church as part of the Reformation.

A red door is a significant symbol in many countries.

In Ireland, a red door is thought to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.

Folks in Scotland painted the front door red when they paid off the mortgage announcing that the house is paid free and clear.

In China, some say a door painted red before the New Year invites good luck and happiness.

The Feng Shui aspect of painting your door Red is that the front door is considered the "Mouth of Chi" where all good energy enters a space. Red is considered to be the most auspicious color in Feng Shui. So it's done to attract luck and good energy.

I love color. This look at me hue is my warm welcome of peace to all who enter my home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Informal conversation is probably the oldest mechanism by which opinions on products and brands are developed, expressed and spread.

" Informal conversation is probably the oldest mechanism by which opinions on products and brands are developed, expressed and spread." ~ Johan Arndt

Here I am, putting last minute touches on our display before the doors opened at the Women's Gift's craft sale and gift boutique yesterday at Babeville in Buffalo, New York. Kara and I shared a table with friend Marcia Ross.

Kara, shown here in front of her jewelry, was an organizing force throughout the long day. She kept the merchandise neat for display, handled the sales transactions, changed items on display, took notes on observation of customers interest, greeted shoppers and fellow artisans as well as found time to network around the room. Kara is responsible for building our website, designing contact cards, and building our Etsy site. Look for more items to be added soon.

My work is predominantly 100% silk or silk/ rayon velvet Devore, burnout patterns. Each item is unique, luxurious, rich colorfast made with love as a work of art rather than just an article of clothing. This is one of a kind art you can wear.

If you can't make art, BE ART.

We had great response from customers who are interested in my ability to create custom work; specific hues, burnout design patterns, as well as, yardage.

Here are Marcia Ross and I midway through the day.

Women's Gifts took many forms at Babeville yesterday. Here are a few images of local belly dancers who showed up for an afternoon performance. As well as food vender in the lower level.

Great weather, large crowd of shoppers, visit from a few friends who stopped by the booth as well as some surprise meeting of old friends I have not seen in years made yesterday a good day. A good time was had by all at Babeville yesterday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

“When it rains, it pours”

“When it rains, it pours” American Proverb quotes
Such an exciting weekend, two places I would love to be at the same time. Hate to miss the opening of this show on Saturday featuring the work of so many talented artist, however, I will make a point to stop in the gallery to see the show when I am in Pittsburgh next week.

'Paper or Plastic?'
What: An exhibit featuring craft works executed in paper, cardboard or plastic materials
When: Opening reception, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit continues through Jan. 16. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays
Where: Luke & Eloy Gallery,
5169 Butler St.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Details: 412-784-1919 or Web site
About the writer
Kurt Shaw covers the art scene for the Tribune-Review.

I have a prior commitment since July to share a table with my friend Marcia Ross;

THE CHURCH AT BABEVILLE341 Delaware Avenue at West Tupper

Celebrating Women's Creativity
We invite you to participate in the 14th annual event celebrating women's creativity,
Women's Gifts.
Date: Saturday, November 14, 2009
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Asbury Hall at Babeville (Ani DiFranco's venue formerly known as "The Church"),
341 Delaware Avenue (at West Tupper).

We are thrilled to be in this celebrated space, created by Ani DiFranco & company, which captures the spirit of Women’s Gifts.Items for Sale: Hats, mittens, sachet bags, handbags, jewelry, pottery, cast paper bowls, paper mache boxes, photography, stained glass, neckties, vases, and MUCH MORE!Musical Guests: Kathy Moriarty, Noa Bursie, John and Mary, Euphraxia, Kilissa Cisoko, Erin Sydney WelshFood: TBD
This event is FREE to visitors. We encourage all to attend!
Look for: Hats, Mittens, Sachet Bags, Handbags, Jewelry, Pottery, Cast Paper Bowls, Paper Mache Boxes, Photography, Stained Glass, Neckties, Vases, AND MUCH MORE!

Wish there was a way to be in two places at one time ;~(

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Celebrate Creativity at Women's Gifts @ Babeville, Buffalo, New York

I will be celebrating Women's Creativity on Saturday with a table for showcase/ sale of my Devore/Silk scarves. Looking forward to a girls weekend with my daughter Kara Rice Rafferty who will offer her handmade jewelry along with our friend, Marcia Ross, who features handmade mosaic crosses and gift items.

You are invited to participate in the 14th annual event celebrating women's creativity,

Women's Gifts
Date: Saturday, November 14, 2009
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Asbury Hall at Babeville (Ani DiFranco's venue formerly known as "The Church"), 341 Delaware Avenue (at West Tupper). We are thrilled to be in this celebrated space, created by Ani DiFranco & company, which captures the spirit of Women’s Gifts. Christmas Gift Show at Babeville

more images of my recent work is available on my facebook account Carol Ann Rice Rafferty

Monday, November 9, 2009

I live to laugh and laugh to live (Milton Berle, 1908 ~ 2002)

Learning to laugh again is a skill after any traumatic incident is difficult. The comfort exists in the knowledge that after you get yourself back on track, once you can do it, you can regain balance as many times as necessary for the rest of your life.

Thanks to a group of supportive, female colleagues I am able to laugh again.
Don't suffer alone in silence. Share what is bothering you with people who can help you make constructive decision; don't allow yourself to be dragged down to suffer alone.

Sacred scripture says "A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired." (Proverbs 17:22, )

but what do you do if you don't have a merry heart or cheerful disposition?

The answer is LAUGH. After all, as William James (1842 ~ 1910) said, "We don't laugh because we're happy -- we're happy because we laugh."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

You can’t talk your way out of what you’ve behaved yourself into.”

You can’t talk your way out of what you’ve behaved yourself into.” Stephen R. Covey

Dealing with people who work in mixed messages make me feel as uncomfortable as a very off balance scale. Perhaps it is because I am of German decent that I am very literal or perhaps it is because I was born under the sign of Libra.

Libra is the only zodiac symbol that's neither animal nor human -- but surely that doesn't make you any less human. In fact, Libra is among the most sociable of the signs. As scales of old were really "balances," so to do you seek balance in all that Libra does. You respond to situations with grace as Libra attempts to put others at ease. Artistically, Libra tries to balance form, content, colors and elements, and for this reason can be drawn toward creative endeavors.

After a little research, evidently, I am not the only one who feels confused by the Mixed Messenger.

One definition I found for mixed messages is; "A situation in which a person is receiving verbal or nonverbal cues that seem to contradict each other, from another person. Typical reactions to this behavior are confusion, anger, and a willingness to cease communication with the person."

The example sited is, "A friend tells you he wants to remain "just friends," and then proceeds to call you every day, text message you twice a day, and express how much he misses you on a regular basis."

My curious nature leads me to ask myself, what does a person get out of delivering mixed messages? Followed by the next question, Why anyone is willing to believe the mixed messages?

Where is the the truth, in the actions or the creed?

If mixed messages are the mainstay of a relationship the only recourse may be to walk away.

To put it another way, " What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. " Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blogger Ann Althouse and followers had fun with the ‘peaches’ verse

"If you don't like my peaches,
Don't you shake my tree
'n Get out of my orchard,
Let my peaches be,"

Sitting on Top of the World,
the chorus of an unpublished song composed by Irving Berlin in May 1914:

I'm interested in other people experiences with a "Mixed Messenger".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself ...

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." C.S. Lewis quotes (British scholar and novelist. 1898-1963)

Here I go again, another November. I can still see the roses blooming in my back yard garden as I backed my car out of my garage, traveling alone, to my mothers funeral. We come into this world alone, we die alone and some people seem to travel alone on this planet.

As of 1 November 2009, the Earth's population is estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be 6.794 billion

Being among people who don't speak the same language, who don't know about you personally, who may not even notice if you are present or not is one of the loneliest feeling I have experienced.

Most of the time I spend alone is by choice. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. Distractions of unsolicited noise, lack of work space or interrupting questions can easily take me off focus, consequently, I have learned to relish the time in my studio working alone.

Loneliness is a pain so excruciating, like getting a limb caught in a bear trap, one is willing to do just about anything to make it stop. My loneliness began unexpectedly November 13th, 1994 the day my mother died. (blog entry August 20 if you need to fill in the story)

Growing up in a family with two brothers, mom, dad and maternal grandmother left little time or space to be truly alone. Factor in that my mom was the second youngest of nine siblings and my father the oldest of six, many of whom had children, offered me over one hundred cousins. Aunts, Uncles and cousins fill my childhood memories growing up in Greentree a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Siblings from my parents generation made a point to visit with my grandmother's on Sunday's. Our home was the hub of the family central so I got to see many cousins throughout my childhood. After my mother died, followed seven months later by my fathers death in June 1995 virtually all contact with both families stopped albeit a few Christmas cards signed, love aunt .... and uncle ...

Before I moved from Pittsburgh to Western NY, I contacted many of the relative trying to keep in touch. No one invited me to visit their homes to say goodbye, they never even extended an invitation to meet at a restaurant to share a cup of coffee before I moved. People busy with their own family often overlook how others might enjoy being part of a larger community.

I really miss being part of a family community. Many people tell me that having my own children makes up for not having connections with my family of origin. My children belong to the future, they have friends, jobs and lives of their own. I really miss the funny conversations with people where you begin part of a story and they can fill in the rest of the details.

After I moved to Clarence my loneliness and curiosity led me to classes at Buffalo State College then into the Fiber Program. For six years as a student then as an adjunct I poured my energy, enthusiasm and time and money into building that fiber program all the while being told by the professor it was "our program". I believed false words thinking I had found myself a new home. Silly me, I thought "ours" meant my input was appreciated and I too would reap a portion of the rewards. The seeds I planted in that program are now benefiting present day students. When the pond became too small I did not see how I fit there anymore so left for more education at graduate school.

Fast forward two years and I am once again looking for a new place to build a nest.

"When you travel, don't take a walking stick. Also, don't carry a bag, food, or money. Take for your trip only the clothes you are wearing. When you go into a house, stay there until it is time to leave. If the people in the town will not welcome you, go outside the town and shake their dust off of your feet. This will be a warning to them."
Luke 9:1-9

My daughter Kara and I related to the mother/ daughter characters in the movie 2000 Chocolat. "Vianne Rocher and her pre-teen daughter move into a 1960, small town in France and open a chocolate shop just as lent is beginning. The town's small-minded mayor can't accept this and does his best to shut her down, but her warm personality and incredible chocolates manage to win over many townsfolk."

We both love the feel of a small town and the red hooded capes worn by the character as they prepared to leave the past behind.

" The winds of change are blowing again." I am ready for the next stage of my journey to begin.
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