Monday, September 24, 2012

Organization: Finding My Quinoa

So, there I was trying to find something in one of my 22" deep food cabinets...and frustration set in. I had to pull out no less than a baker's dozen worth of other items to get to the one culprit I was in need of...located at the back of the cabinet. Life was not supposed to be this difficult...something had to be done. How was I to eat healthy if I couldn't find my quinoa! As an avid recycler, I had many spaghetti sauce jars I used for nuts, raisins, rice, sugars, and, yes, quinoa. But they don't make spice racks to fit spaghetti sauce I got creative and made one of my own. I purchased a wine rack that had a slat to lay the bottle on. This was needed because the spaghetti sauce jars aren't long enough to reach out the back. Then I bought some sheets of black duck tape, cut out circles large enough to cover the jar lids, put then back on the jars and slid them into the rack. Perfect! I have a lovely to look at, easily accessible jar rack that can sit on my counter and fits with my decor. Now when I make breakfast oatmeal, my brown sugar, walnuts and raisins are right there. If I want a snack, I can open a jar and grab some almonds...and, yes, my quinoa is at my fingertips. I found a second rack at a 2nd hand store and am using that one on the top shelf of my cabinet...the shelf here is about 6 feet off the floor and has a slanted back. It makes perfect use of space and nothing is hidden. I was on a roll!

I kept going and bought 2 lazy susans to use for canned goods and small condiment bottles. Now they are all easily accessible and more reaching into the back of my cabinet and playing "guess the label" ... and there is less chance I'll buy another can of chickpeas since I'll know I already have four. Then, since I started cooking more flavorful food (yup, microwave mama now cooks!!) I've used more spices. But what do you do with all those little jars; parsley flakes, sesame seeds, curry, basil, smoke (yes smoke), oregano, blah, blah, blah... All I wanted was a simple wooden spice rack. I could not find one. So...what I did find were two white wire grid lap trays from Pier 1 at a 2nd hand store for 99 cents each. I wasn't sure what I would use them for but knew, just knew, they could be re-purposed in my little apartment kitchen. And I did; they fit perfectly into a kitchen drawer where I now line up all my spices. The small bottles and jars? I found a drawer insert, black (my kitchen accessory color), and cloth that can stand on its edge quite nicely...and my smaller jars fit into it just like an old-fashioned spice rack. I kept going and straightend out my plastic container cabinet in its wire racks, bought a new cutlery tray that fits the drawer, rearranged by not often used small appliances, etc.

I felt uplifted, almost lighter (well, I did skip lunch as I was so caught up in my quest for a more user-friendly kitchen) and more in control. Being organized has a two-fold effect; first, as was seen here, it mitigated the frustration of finding something I needed to find (and might save me from spending money at the grocery store for something I already have). Second, physical organizing and de-cluttering has an emotional effect, it gives you the feeling of taking charge of your life. It is very freeing, gives you a sense of control and is enabling. If you do enough de-cluttering and re-organizing this feeling of euphoria will escalate. Soon you will feel like you can accomplish anything if you just put your mind to it. And you will...promise.

Happy Organization!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quincy Arts Festival-Mentoring Young Artists

I haven't posted on the JOS blog in quite a while so when the events of this weekend unfolded, I thought it might be a good time to get back into the habit. One of my goals is to enter into my photographs into more juried shows. One of the first of the year is the Quincy Arts Festival held at Merrymount Park in Quincy, MA.

This year I entered three images into the Quincy Arts Festival. It was really exciting to see them on display in such a highly visible arena and in such fine company. The three images I entered were "Carriage Ride Through Central Park", "Abandoned Car" and "Gateway To Zion". This was actually the first time I placed images into a show and felt really strong about each of them. I think these three are my best work to date and am quite proud of them. None of the three won anything, but that is okay. They pleasure of seeing them on display was worth it. But I do know two wonderful, very talented young photographers who did win a ribbon!!

My two grandsons had photographs entered. Kameron, who is now 6, took the photo "Hi Little Puppy" when in Lake Placid over a year ago. Richard, who is 14, entered a beautiful shot he took in the Grand Canyon, "Deer at the Grand Canyon". Both boys won an Honorable Mention and the older one also won an Award of Excellence! I was (and am) very proud of both of them...and hope that they will be inspired by this win and enjoy photography for many, many years. And kudos to the Quincy Arts Festival organizers for enabling youngsters like Richard and Kameron to experience art in its many shapes and forms.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.

Quincy ArtsFest 2012

Photo by Susan O.
The 15th Annual Quincy ArtsFest is this weekend, September 15 and 16.  Last night was the gala reception for the artists and photographers.

Dew on Lupine
What a fantastic and fun time it was!  We were able to walk around and see all the beautiful work that was submitted, along with those works that had won awards.  In addition, there were over-the-top delicious appetizers, pasta and meatballs provided by the new restaurant at Presidents Golf Course in Quincy, The View Restaurant & Tavern.  I cannot say enough about how delicious this food was.

These two images are my entries this year, "Cables" and "Dew on Lupine".  Sadly, they didn't place, but the joy at being accepted into a juried show is a thrill (sort of like being nominated for an Academy Award, but not winning).  

If you have some time, stop by the ArtsFest this weekend.  The hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.