This came from a conversation with my friends that I just HAD to illustrate. It involves me being a hooker on a sketchy street while wearing a snuggie and crocs. How much more sexy can you get? Exactly. You can’t get much sexier than that.

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What makes me feel like an artist? Is it seeing my mental images coming to life on a blank page? Is it tracing the lines of a persons facial features with my eyes, as if I’m drawing them in my mind? Is it knowing exactly what colours I need to mix together to create my desired shade? Is it smelling fresh paint as I open the cap and try not to gag? Is it feeling the moist, yet hard clay moulding to my touch and shaping into a new creation?

Sure, I guess all of those things are well and good artisticy things. But what makes me feel the most like an artist is having dirty hands. When I have dirty hands, I feel like I did something. Like I was so into my art that it overflowed off of the page and onto my deft fingers. Whether it’s graphite rubbing off onto my hand while I use my finger to smear lines into subtle shadow, pastels leaving a dusty, pale, chalky trail where ever they touched, dust vibrant splashes of  paint jumping off of the canvas to colour my pale hands, or clay coating my fingers in a crackly, thin grey layer, having dirty hands makes me feel good inside.

Sometimes I’ll intentionally try not to keep my hands clean for just that reason, “accidentally” setting my hand in some wet paint or blending a particularly dark spot with my finger. But, because I’m a generally messy person, I usually don’t have to go out of my way to be messy. Once my hands are dirty, I’ll half-heartedly wash them, but not too too well, so that some residual artistic expression remains on my palm, part of me hoping that someone will see it and ask me what I was working on.

Messy hands, to me, are the badge of an artist. If you don’t get messy, you’re not doing art. Maybe that’s just me, and my interpretation, but if I’m doing art right, I do not stay clean for long. Now, I’m not really an artist, and only sporadically sketch a pencil drawing now and again, but when I do decide to stretch my dormant artistic side and wake it up, it’s an amazing feeling, and I remember why I loved doing art ever since I was a little girl. Time ceases to exist, and it’s simply me and my work, existing, shaping each other, as I quietly sing to myself and attempt to spill my messy, colourful emotions onto the blank white wilderness before me.


Best. Weekend. Ever.

That is how I would describe my trip to Quebec. No question. It’s like everything that I imagined Canada convened into one weekend of snow, fun, and laughter.

I can’t really describe the awesomeness, so I’m just going to make a list of awesome things that we did. Yea.

1. Freaked out because we thought our car was going to break down, due to a combination of a check engine light, the automatic shut off over reacting when pumping gas, and the smell of gasoline as we drove down the highway, which prompted us to pull over and sniff until the smell dispelled and we deduced that it wasn’t actually our car.

2. Got utterly lost coming out of Montreal because the highways are just confusing, and ended up taking a crazy detour through small town Quebec and fueling beside snow mobiles while getting directions in French from the gas station worker.

3. Drove past moose crossing signs.

4. Were rudely dealt with by a subway worker 20 minutes before he closed and told that he was having a bad day and needed to go afterwards and would stop in the middle of a sub when it reached 11 o’clock, and laughed about the encounter for the rest of the night.

5. Stayed with an extremely welcoming couple who opened their home and made amazing Quebec food.

6. Ate my first beaver tail and ballroom danced while waiting for a ridiculously long zipline line which we ended up

ditching.

7. Cheered on sled dogs as they ran down the roads of Old Quebec.

8. Marveled at the beauty of the frozen St. Laurence river in the winter time.

9. Slid down snow covered steps.

10. Saw houses that had tunnels protruding from their doors in attempts to prepare for a possibility of getting ridiculous amounts of snow and bars made of ice along the side of the street.

11. Watched amazing snow sculptures being sculpted by cool people.

12. Went inside an awesome castle hotel that is way more expensive than I’d ever be able to pay for.

13. Got a picture with Bonhomme’s royal snowyness himself.

14. Ate maple taffy, Putin, Crepes, and bagette with a delicious chese, peach, and almond topping, and drank, (well, really, gagged down in my case, apparently I’m not used to the taste of alcohol) a glass of wine with friends. So good.

15. Wandered around the streets of old Quebec and stopped in random little art galleries around the town.

16. Snowtubed down a ridiculously large hill in a raft full of 10 people overlooking the carnival itself.

17. Got ticketed by Quebec police for parking and not paying for a meter- oops!

18. Played bonanza for the first time and didn’t do too horrible. Though I’m not a fan of beans.

19. Walked around Quebec all day wearing snow pants and snow boots and bundled up with a scarf, hat, and Canadian mittens.

20.Did aerobics in French with a man on the stage of Bonhomme’s ice palace.

21. Answered a question put to me in French with “si.” (aka Spanish.)

22. Discussed philosophical topics while driving for hours upon hours in a car.

Overall, it was just a good feeling weekend. It felt good. Something’s good when, in the pit of your stomach, you just have this indescribably happy feeling; you look out upon the St. Laurence river, take in the snowy, icy spots of the river combined with the rocky cliffs and the quaint old buildings and just feel content. Like this is how the world should be, snow and laughter and love and cold and ice and beauty and people. Staring at a painting of a little house painted in the middle of a snowy field with a blue mountain in the distance and wanting nothing more than to go buy that house and live there for the rest of my days, reading novels curled up by a fire after a day of cross country skiing or tobogganing or taking a snow shoed stroll through the woods. That feeling that everything you’re experiencing is everything you ever wanted, dreamed of, and hoped for. That’s what this weekend was for me.That’s what it made me feel. And I realize this may seem a bit overdramatic and romanticized and silly. But, deep down, that’s what I felt. And it was wonderful. No matter how small or silly it seems, it was no less awesome. Simply. Awesome


I am applying to be a frosh (freshman) leader for Frosh week 2011 at Grebel! Woot!

We had to make a creative video showing off our creativity.

What to do…

Doctor Horrible Parody?

OF COURSE!

Enjoy!


Bowling. I love bowling. It’s a very fun thing to do, and every time I lift that heavy 13 lb ball I feel like a beast and marvel at the apparent strength I possess in my muscular biceps. What’s not to love about trying to aim a ridiculously massive ball at some silly looking pins, then crossing your fingers and leaning your head slightly to the side like a confused dog as you attempt to encourage your ball with your mind power to stop being silly and stay out of the gutter, then dancing back to your seat as you boast about your prowess and skillful aim.

So when a group of Grebel people decided to go bowling, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. But there was a catch- the theme to this bowling was tight and bright. Fortunately, my friend Jane had some tights and a sweatband that I could borrow to complete my outfit, but I’m pretty sure I looked completely ridiculous. Here you can see a lovely illustration of my beautifully uncoordinated outfit. 

But whatever, I was sure that many other people would dress up too. I wandered downstairs as people start to gather. And I looked around. And… everyone seemed to be dressed in street clothes. Lets just say I felt a little out of place, like a silly frosh who was taking things way too seriously. But, Jane was dressed weird too, so I took some strength from that, even though she pulled it off way better than I.

We left Grebel, the whole group. And we started walking. And walking. And walking. Until I realized, we weren’t taking a bus or anything. We were walking. The whole way. And even though I had my awesome trench coat, I was wearing converse and tights. Converse don’t work well in the snow. And tights are not actually good at keeping your legs warm in sub 0 Celsius weather. I’m not opposed to walking, I’m always up for a decent long walk. But… not in tights. I was cold. And my feet were getting wet.

So finally we got to the bowling alley. And I immediately became ridiculously confused. I stared at the bowling lane, trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with it. Then I realized, there were only 5 pins. 5 pins?? I looked around, trying to see where the balls were kept so I could chose a good one, maybe a pretty purple or blue swirly ball. But there weren’t any racks like I was used to. There were just little small balls on the lane, without any holes.

I was baffled! What is this, some kind of bowling for little children, with half the right amount of pins and a ridiculously small ball? Is this some kind of kiddie bowling? I looked around, but everyone else just saw this as normal. I was the only confused American in the bowling alley. I shrugged my shoulders and sighed, realizing it must be some kind of Canadian thing, and decided to just roll with the flow.

The rest of the night was fun. I was initially good at the 5 pin bowling and quickly picked up on the scoring set up. However, I do believe that I prefer the good old fashioned 10 pin bowling that I’m used to. And the night only got better when the group of teeny-bopper girls in the lane next to us finally left for home to go to bed. And Journey played on the radio, immediately prompting everyone to pull out their air guitars and start jamming away. After we got to the bowling alley and more people had taken off their coats, I realized that Jane and I weren’t the only crazily dressed people. In terms of bowling, my game declined as the night wore on, and I started getting more and more gutter balls. But it was ok. Because I had kicked ass the first game! Overall, it was  a pretty awesome night.


My lack of navigational skill is notorious. I once had to ride my bike home from work, three miles from my house, from a place that I drove to very frequently, and took a wrong turn down the wrong grael road and managed to wander 3 extra miles out of my way. My directional sense is that bad.

However, I still tend to overestimate my skill. This Christmas, I had to find my friends house, which is 40 minutes away and in territory that I don’t know at all, and I have never been there before. I thought I would have the GPS, and everything would be easy-peasy. But apparently my dad had it.

But that didn’t matter! I’d just print out mapquest directions and I’d be set. Foolproof plan right?

Well… long story short… not so much. I didn’t really look at the directions before I left, so I was trying to read them while speeding down the highway. And I knew I was looking for exit 11, to Carlisle Pike. Understandably, when I saw an exit for highway 11, I took it. But it didn’t make sense. And there was no Carlisle Pike. I got really confused and started getting on and off various highways, turning around, thinking that maybe if I re-approached it from the original direction, I’d get it right this time.

After driving around for a good half hour, I sighed and pulled into an empty parking lot. The map I printed out with my directions was fairly useless because I forgot to zoom in on the part I needed. However, when looking at the map, I realized something. You see, I had to cross the river, and then drive a while on 83 until I got to 11. But I had exited on 11 immediately after I crossed the bridge. Baffled, but realizing that I had exited too soon, I regathered my confidence and set out again. Turns out, 11 crosses 81 not once, but twice. How the hell was I supposed to know that?!

Finally, I arrived at Erin’s house, a good half hour late. We promptly got lost going to the movie theater as well, though that wasn’t my fault because I didn’t know the area. Amazingly, we managed to walk into the movie, Megamind (which is ridiculously funny by the way), right as the title flashed across the screen. Perfect timing, and no annoying previews! Score! The theater was really cool too; it was an old school theater that you paid for outside, and then you went into the single huge theater. It was pretty sweet.

Then I had to drive home. Well, I thought I had a general idea of where I was going… so I decided to just keep driving and not go back the way the directions said because I knew the general direction. Well, I drove for a while down the wrong road, until I realized that just because the roads ran parallel did not mean I would be able to get back. So, I swallowed my pride and followed the directions back.

Until it came to crossing the river again. There was a bridge I thought I knew that crossed the river at a different place, and I was pretty sure it was the one we took to church every morning, and I figured I’d know how to get home from there.

It was not the right bridge. It took me into downtown Harrisburg. Well, I needed to get to the other side of Harrisburg, so why not just drive straight through? So, I exited and proceeded to drive through the sketch city of Harrisburg. At night. Fun times. But eventually I saw a road I recognized! Excited, I took that highway. And drove. For a while. Until I finally realized that yes, I was on the right road, but going the absolute wrong direction. Exasperated at my lack of common sense, I turned around, and finally made it home.

Overall, I wasted at least an hour of my life getting lost that night. The moral of this story? Emily needs a GPS. No question.


This is the height of my baking accomplishments. This is my greatest accomplishment. This scone recipe is freaking amazing. I got the basic scone recipe from Cafe Ferando- http://cafefernando.com/strawberry-scones/ and the idea for the orange glaze and flavouring from http://bakingbites.com/2008/04/strawberry-sunrise-scones/– when I made the strawberry sunrise scones, they didn’t turn out well at all- I didn’t mix the yogurt in well or something, it was soggy and gross. But the flavour was good. I also got the idea to grate the butter in from a cooking video online- the colder the butter, the flakier the pastry will be. So, if you grate in frozen butter, it remains quite cold but is shredded into little pieces which can be incorporated into the dough. As far as I can tell, it works like a charm! So here they are, my wonderful scones.

STRAWBERRY SCONE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (I usually use them frozen, but I’m not sure it makes a difference)
  • 6 tablespoons frozen, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream with 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

For finishing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T orange juice

Method

  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400 F (205 C). Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the strawberries, tossing until evenly distributed and coated with flour (this allows the fruit to be evenly distributed among each wedge). Grate the frozen butter in with a cheese grater
  2. In a small bowl, stir the cream, orange zest, and egg yolks just to blend. Add this all at once to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork to begin combining the wet and dry ingredients and then use your hands to gently knead the mixture together until all the dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough and it can be gathered into a moist, shaggy ball.
  3. Do not overknead: This dough is sticky but benefits from minimal handling. Set the rough ball in the center of the prepared baking sheet and pat it gently into a round about 1 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter. Don’t be tempted to make the round any flatter.
  4. With a sharp knife or pastry scraper, cut the round into eight wedges, but don’t separate.
  5. Bake until the scones are deep golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a wedge comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Cut the scones apart and slide the parchment onto a rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix the glaze (sugar and orange juice)- drizzle over warm scones!
  7. Best served fresh, these scones will keep for up to a month, wrapped well and frozen. Thaw at room temperature and then warm in a 325 F oven.

Enjoy your delicious scones!


These cookies are a recipe my mother got from a  friend. They are soft and yummy, perfect for decorating!

Cookie Ingredients:

1 2/3 cup sugar

2 sticks butter

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 c. buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon of vinegar + milk)

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Icing: (from Rockhill Mennonite Cookbook)

2 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

2/3 cup crisco

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon vanilla

 

For the cookies:

Cream together the sugar, margarine, baking soda, and salt until smooth. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla to the mixture and mix well. Mix the flour and baking powder separately and then add to the mixture and stir it all very well. Chill the dough overnight, or your cookies will not hold their shape as well when baking.

To cut out the cookies, flour a flat surface, such as a table with a layer of flour. Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough, not too thin, perhaps a quarter of an inch thick. Take your favorite cookie cutter shapes, dip them in flour, and carefully cut out shapes and place them on a pan and stick them in the oven for 6-8 minutes at 375F. DO NOT let them brown. You want them to be nice and light colored. They’re soft cookies.

While you let them cool, make the icing.

 

Icing:

Mix all of the ingredients together and beat for 5 minutes straight. This icing does not need to be refrigerated and can be kept for weeks in a tupperware container.

Separate the icing into different bowls, and mix different colors. Usually my family does red, green, blue, and white, but this year we found some neon food color and went a little crazy with the colors. Ice your cookies, and feel free to stick any kinds of candies, such as mini m&ms, or other small delectable treats on your cookies, personalize them and make them your own!

 


These cookies are very festive and easy! And tasty! From Betty Crocker’s Cookbook!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

1/3 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package (8 oz) candies (red and green m&ms, in this case)

Heat oven to 375 F. Mix sugars, margarine, shortening, vanilla, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes. (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Emily’s notes: My favorite scent ever is vanilla. Every time I bake with vanilla, I take a huge whiff of it and my insides get happy. I went to bake at my friend’s and she had imitation vanilla, and it did NOT smell the same. Nothing can beat the smell of pure vanilla extract. Period.


These cookies are very easy and yummy! I got this recipe from a lovely book called “Southern Living: 1986 Annual Recipes”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablesppons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

approx 36 chocolate kisses

Cream shortening and peanut butter; gradually add 1/2 cup ugar and brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well.

Combine flour, soda, and salt seperately; add to creamed mixture.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls; then roll in 1/2 cup shugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on a  lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; press a chocolate kiss into teh center of each cookie. Yield: 3 dozen.

Emily’s notes: Make sure you unwrap the kisses in advance so you can put them on top right after the cookies come out of the oven so they can melt to the cookie. That’s about it, they’re pretty simple to make.

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The Dusty Archives of my Mind

‎"If I went through life by myself, I'd waste a lot of my time wandering around in the wrong direction"