Friday, November 27, 2009

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

So what do you do for Thanksgiving when your family traditionally doesn't get together until Saturday, to allow family members to spend the day with other in-laws? Years ago, my side of the family bowed out of vying for Thursday, but it still feels like a day for a special meal, even though my in-law family has passed on. This year, I went vegetarian for the two of us (top photo, clockwise) with cauliflower gratin, chard timbales, chickpea-seitan cutlets with porcini mushroom gravy, and a relish made with apples, dried peaches, dried plums, and ginger. I also made a simple green salad with roasted red and yellow beets. We finished with an apple galette. Somehow, it felt Thanksgiving-y without a mashed potato, cranberry, turkey or pumpkin in sight.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Surinam Cherry-Final

© Ellen Blonder
It's hard to put something down for a month and add finishing touches. Here's the Surinam cherry painting I last posted October 19. I may turn this into my Christmas card, since we did find these in Kauai over winter.
By the way, I just found out about a great foodie dictionary and recipe resource, so if you want to find out more about Surinam cherries, check this out:
Surinam Cherry on Foodista

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Peony Leaves

© Ellen Blonder
The peony watercolor above is something I painted a few years back. But what I really wanted to share is how much more finely someone can take shading of peony leaves. The photo below shows part of an embroidered work I saw during my recent China trip. Not only are the silk threads almost as fine as hair, the work is embroidered on a translucent rectangle of silk that hangs in a free-standing frame; the piece has a "front" on either side--no messy knots or stray threads anywhere. I was told such a piece can take three years to embroider.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall on the Sacred Way

photo © Ellen Blonder
I'm still trying to get back up to speed with the drawing and painting after returning from China. Meanwhile, I've been working on a personal album of photos from the trip. The photo for this page was taken alongside the Sacred Way to the Ming Tombs, a path that funerary processions took when an Emperor was to be buried.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


photo © Ellen Blonder
I didn't paint these. Children who were visiting the Beijing Zoo did. I love how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Thousands of these small, hand-painted pandas were arranged on an enclosed lawn. The results were stunning.
I was in China for two weeks, and have been working on a personal photo book since I've been home. This is one of the pages. We were at the zoo to see the real pandas.