Friday, January 20, 2017

MY CHOCOLATES ARE EVOLVING!

MY CHOCOLATES ARE EVOLVING!

Magical Designs Now Adorn Many of my Chocolate Truffles

My chocolate truffles are definitely evolving. I am adding new ideas every day to make them what I hope to be the most special chocolates in the world. What you see in the picture above are the new color chocolate transfers I am adding to a lot of the pieces. They are so colorful and joyous. Included are my Mayan (with a bit of heat) My Cashew Surprise (guess what the surprise is?) and my Kahlua truffles made with my homemade kahlua.

Found After 17 Years-Lemoncello from Capri!

I’ve gone over the top though with the latest liquor I just added. In the year 2000, my granddaughter, Marcy, and I made a trip to Italy and Cicely. We went to the top of Capri and found this delicious Lemoncello that is sold everywhere on the island. It is hard for me to believe that I resisted drinking it all these years but today, after 17 years, I opened the bottle and poured a very small glass for myself. It was absolutely out of this world. The drink literally glided down my throat and was like nothing else I have ever tasted (unlike the bottle of Volcanic wine we also brought back which tasted exactly like the smell of an erupted volcano!) The whole purpose of opening the bottle was because I thought it would be a wonderful addition my chocolate truffles. I was right. I deliberated as to whether to add it to the chocolate since the bottle is so small and I wasn’t sure it wouldn’t be appreciated more here for entertaining (myself probably) But, I did proceed and it is exceptional. I will be selling all the the chocolates seen in this blog post tomorrow January 21st on our Farmer’s Market in Roanoke, Va. The weather will be beautiful and I hope you will all come by for samples of my chocolates. Both 18.

Absolutely devine-17 Year Old Lemoncello from Italy Pictured in Front of My Mosaic Italian Art Piece

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Monday, January 9, 2017

GIGI AND COLOR TO THE RESCUE!

GIGI AND COLOR TO THE RESCUE!

My Daughter, Kirsten and Her New Chalk Painted Cabinet

Being an artist, everyone expects me to have a creative home. I will admit that there are some areas that are definately out of the box as far as my decorating goes but my Great Room leaves much to be desired. I have made a New Year’s revolution (I call my resolutions 'revolutions') to bring Woodloft (my home) to life even further. My great room is the first place I will tackle. It has a ho-hum crate and barrel look to it. Brown leather sofas, brown piano etc etc. Comfy but it does not have that WOW factor that as an artist I am looking for. I decided I need more color!

Dark and Drab Looking Cabinet

I love networking and had the perfect opportunity for that after my daughter, Kirsten, just moved into her new home. She needed a piece of furniture to fit an unusual strange space off of her kitchen. Gigi to the rescue! Gigi and Kirsten have been friends for many years and help one another with decorating ideas. Gigi has been known to carry a saw around with her on needed occasions and is an expert on decorating. She took one look at the space and then glanced over to Kirsten’s dining room and said, “What about that!” She was pointing to a piece of furniture that came with the dining room set her mother-in-law, Jeannie, gave to the family many years ago. Without hesitation, Kirsten and Gigi pulled the hutch to the kitchen and were thrilled that it fit perfectly into the space. Now there was no need to purchase a new piece of furniture. Gigi suggested that Kirsten paint the dated brown piece a modern color to match her kitchen. They chose a beautiful grey tone and used a chalk paint. I couldn’t believe the transformation.

Gigi and The "New" Cabinet

After Picture-Featuring Newly Painted Chalk Cabinet and Another Matching Smaller Piece

Gigi had so many ideas to offer me during a brain storming session the three of us had when I went over to see the new room. I explained how I wanted to shake things up a lot in my great room. Gigi said to start with the rug. I had already in mind to change my beautiful but very dull coffee table rug but Gigi expounded that idea by telling me to get the rug first and then build all the colors around the colors found in the rug. Actually, this step was easier said than done. I found a fabulous rug and then couldn’t make up my mind whether to paint my lovely, but brown, baby grand piano and what color? I changed paint twice and now I’m almost back to the first paint I chose to begin with. It is a matt chalk paint. I keep thinking that I should use a satin finish on piano? So, I went back to my original idea and started pulling out colors of not only the rug but my life size Frida painting. I don’t know what it all will look like but I’ve got everything crossed that it all comes together. If it does,it will be a wild Frida look with a Colonial Mexican/Carribean feel to it. Stay tuned and I'll keep you updated on my progress. Thanks for viewing!

My Frida Painting Situated in an Adjacent Area to Great Room

Part of My 'Crate and Barrel' Dark and Overly Cluttered Great Room

Baby Grand Piano with Band of Tropical Peach Tester Paint

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

NEW YEAR'S " REVOLUTIONS" AND THE CHOCOLATE QUEEN

NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTIONS AND THE CHOCOLATE QUEEN!

My B-Dazle Art Car Featuring 23,000 Beads and Other Items-Give or Take A Few Hundred.

Finally! My B-dazle art car is up and running again. It’s been over a year since she had her “break down” I searched far and wide to find a good mechanic who could and would work with a 27 year old car covered in beads bangles and bows. Joe Senecker, from Vinton, Virginia took on the challenge. Joe totally rebuilt her engine but in the process, her window slammed down into the door. She’s old..the girl has a right to be a bit belligerent from time to time if she wants to right? Joe is rebuilding that window motor from scratch since the part for it is nowhere to be found. In the meantime, I’m driving her to our Farmer’s Market loaded down with my new enterprise..chocolate truffles!

My Line of Chocolates Including The New Chocolate Vessels

Each year I make out a list of what I call my “Revolutions.” Surprisingly, I accomplish checking off most of them each year. This year, I plan to learn absolutely everything there is to know about chocolate designing. Last February, I took an adventure with my granddaughter, Marcy, to visit my friends, Chris and Betsy at their apartment in Nantes, France. It was there we all took a cooking class on how to make French Macaroons. When I got home, I found that making for family and friends is one thing, but to sell is another. I completely sold out the first week I took them to the market but the process is so time consuming that I had to finally admit it was not a good plan.

The Macaroons I Made Upon Returning from France

While in Nantes and Paris, I was astonished at how many chocolate shops there were. Not just one on every corner but many more than that. Each shop had it’s own ambience and type of candy..all chocolate of course but many of the shop owners were not just makers of chocolate, but authentic chocolatiers. The presentations were magnificient. I kept the ideas in the back of my mind, hoping to come up with my own style when I got back to the states.

Chocolate Animals

Chocolate Cars and So Many More Amazing Chocolate Sculptures

I just knew I had to start making chocolate truffles. The adventure began. After experimentation, laborious work and some failures I finally have come up with my new line of deep, dark, chocolate truffles. I am now changing my DBA from Garlic Queen to The Chocolate Queen. So far my endeavors have been very successful. I’m even contemplating shipping possibilities. My friend, Deb, agreed to be the guinea pig by accepting a box of my chocolate shipped regular mail, which was a bit slow, to her home in South Carolina. I asked her to check to see if any melted or felt sticky in any way. She declared “Chocolate arrived perfectly and is delicious!” Maybe I will be able to ship in the winter months?

A few of the favorites so far are, Mayan (with a bit of heat) Kahlua (with my own homemade kahlua) and my natural peanut butter. I have several other selections but I need to experiment with more exotic flavors. Do any of you have ideas about what ganache you would like to taste inside my dark chocolate truffles? I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, I’m off to work on my creations but will be back with more news from Woodloft (my home) soon. Hope everyone has a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Cheryl

Front View of B-Dazle. Lots of Repair Work This Winter!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

EXCITING JOURNALS FOR 2017

EXCITING JOURNALS FOR 2017

"Egypt" is 9" w x 11" h. I created her with stoneware clay. She is a bas-relief. Being substantial, she would not only make a useful journal and or day planner/art planner but she also can serve as a striking table book or even be propped as an artpiece. She is $89.

Believe it or not, I have been working on my new journals for 2017 for 10 months! It’s so easy for me to get sidetracked with other art projects and planting my garlic farm that I have to make time for new series. To be honest, I am impelled to create my journals each year because of one of my customers. Deb says she just can’t think of writing in anything but my journals. What better motivation than that to come up with new and exciting things. Naturally, she will get the first choice. Deb’s penmanship far outreaches mine but you don’t have to have good penmanship to keep a journal. I actually use mine as a daily do list. Also you will find scribbled in the pages of my personal journal recipes that I jot down, important phone numbers and life changing quotes! So, here they are. If you are interested in purchasing one of them, please just e-mail me and I’ll send it right off. I accept paypal or personal checks. Thanks so much! Cheryl

Timekeeper was created with one of my bas-relief faces. I used interesting beads and an unusual piece of jewelry as an accent. Beads surround her face. She is 9 x 11" and is $89.

I also used my bas-relief technique on this very simplistic looking journal. I had some gorgeous antique beads stashed away and decided they would be perfect for her. I named her "Highly Elevated Soul" She is $89.

"Frida" This journal features my Frida face from my 6 foot high painting. I used encaustic wax, old flowers (and some new) and ribbons. She is 7" x 10" and is $65. It is a joy to carry this journal around since the wax is so comforting to hold.

Sold. Thanks Trish!

"The Crone" features tile work and one of my original clay faces. She is 6" x 9" and is $48.

Grandmother Tree is a copy of one of my mixed media paintings. I used encaustic wax to attach vines and interesting green earthy pieces. She is 7"x 10" and is $65.00. I purposely incorporated wrinkles in her face and tree surroundings for an aged effect. (This is the one Deb chose but I will be making similar ones in the future so if you'd like one, let me know.)

Sold. Thank you Deb!

The smaller journals have tan/beige paper pages with no lines for writing. The larger bas-relief journals have white pages. The smaller journals also lay open flat and the bas-relief will eventually lay open after you use for awhile. I use one of the larger, heavier ones and enjoy the weightiness. People with interesting penmanship or those looking for art journals will love them.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

CRASH GLASS ANGELS

CRASH GLASS ANGELS

Crash Glass Angels

Glass has always intrigued me. Long ago, I was a stained glass artist and created just about everything I could possibly think of in glass. Now, when I work in glass, I mostly work with mosaics and crash glass. For those of you who do not know of this technique, this is what I do. I purchase a large piece of tempered glass (the kind used in windshields of cars) I then drop the whole thing on the ground and marvel at the tiny pieces of jagged glass, which look as though they belong in a jigsaw puzzle. Well, it is kind of a puzzle putting them together. Then I create my design- in this case my Angels of Sacrifice- and place colored paper on them and then add the glass. I made the halos using a technique I learned in Italy while taking a fresco class and painted the angel's faces using the Renassiance oil technique, which includes using 6 layers of oils.

Turquoise Angel of Sacrifice

Side View with Rough Beveled Edge

The larger turquoise angel (which isn't actually an angel but looks like one with the glass acting as a halo scarf) in the center is 9" wide by 14" high. I have priced her at $125. The angel on the left which has a lime green base is 4 1/2" wide by 15 1/2" high and priced at $58.00. The dark green angel on right is priced at $58. and is also 4 1/2" wide and 15 1/2" high. If you feel there is one that you would like to adorn your home or office, I take paypal and personal checks. Just e-mail me and we can go from there.

Lime Angel of Sacrifice

Green Angel of Sacrifice

I have given all my angels the same story because it is one I was lucky enough to write it years ago after a personal tragedy. Here it is:

ANGEL OF SACRIFICE

Silently
She lies cocooned beneath the gossamer wings of her guardian angel. She does not move, for fear her angel will leave her
Alone
To face the universe of memories That abide in her mind.
Unrequested
the angel came with strength, wisdom, love and a promise to lift her sorrow.
Luminescent prisms flow in the distance
Becoming brighter and clearer as she travels.
Seeds of light burst round her in an Unwavering fashion. Her angel by her side, they transcend toward a presence brilliant and familiar.
She is teased with leaving behind the heaviness of her life and escaping to a place of peace. But…knowing in her heart that it is not the time…for there is much more love to give before she can go home again…

She returns.

~Cheryl Dolby~

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

GARLIC QUEEN HARVEST!

Garlic Queen Harvest

Every July I put on a different hat and become "The Garlic Queen." It started just a few years ago with my desire to create my own garlic farm. I never expected to get rich from it but I had hoped to have enough garlic to last all year for my own needs and to give and sell some. So far each year I have improved the size of the garlic and quantity. I buy seeds from all around the world in hopes of achieving the tastiest garlic around. Little did I know back then that the process is very involved.

First Comes the Scapes

Last October, when I planted my cloves, I gave each and every one a hearty breakfast of pulverized egg shells, coffee grounds and bone meal. For their lunch, I added some fish emulsion and dinner consisted of cow manure and compost. It's important to me to keep the garlic organic. I also have opened a new plot of land on my grounds for the garlic each fall. For the 2016 planting I have enough of my own very large garlic curing in my wine cellar (yes, sadly it has turned into my garlic cellar!) to use for my planting. This is a first since the last few years did not reap any really large bulbs worthy of replanting.

Freshly Harvested Scapes

The garlic farm is special to me because my dear son, Charlie, helped me to get it started. He moved on to another realm a few years ago and I think of him as each clove goes into the ground. It is as though his spirit is with me as we talk to the miniature life forms together, bidding them a hearty farewell into their winter sorjourn. I also feel Charlie is with me as I harvest each beautiful bulb. He is smiling and saying “ Good job mom, keep on growing your garlic and growing your life.”

Then the Garlic Straight From the Ground

Curing for 2-3 Weeks is the Next Step

The Garic is Clean and Ready to be Braided

The season is over and it definitely feels anticlimactic but October planting is just around the corner. The braids are almost all sold now but I have enough garlic (small) left to continue to make my garlic sprinkles and Dracula’s Demise all year. Come see me at the Roanoke Farmer’s Market every Saturday. We are open all year. I will also be sending my brother-the Queen’s courier- to Greenbriar Nursery Garden on Starkey Road. If you happen to be in Roanoke, please stop by and say hello. I am at booth 18.

Finally, Here I am as the Garlic Queen Giving Advice and Selling my Garlic on the Market

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

THE HIGHLY ELEVATED SOUL

HIGHLY ELEVATED SOUL

Highly Elevated Soul

I wrote the story of Highly Elevated Soul after reading the book “Sidhartha” I loved the philosophy of the book and the gentle flow of words that led me to a peaceful state. My mixed media Highly Elevated Soul has a..well..soulful look in her eyes. Her expression conveys emotion..as though she has endured much, even though there are no visible lines on her face. As we go through life, we find there are so many sorrows we must face but we listen to our higher selves and move forward with dignity and grace.

Side View

I created my mixed media Highly Elevated Soul by using the Renaissance technique of oil painting by adding 6 layers of oil paint. She is highly textured and I used beads as embellishment and placed upon her crown. She is 10" wide by 12" high and I have priced her at $125. Hope you like her. To purchase, please e-mail me and we can go from there. I take personal checks or Paypal which uses all the major credit cards.

Close-Up of Beadwork

Another Picture with Different Lighting

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

BLACK GARLIC!

BLACK GARLIC!

Black Garlic Sesame Dressing Over Seared Tuna

John, from the co-op across the sidewalk from me on the Farmer's Market, came over to my booth last Saturday and told me that a family member from China served the most luscious dish made with black garlic. Of course, since I have been hearing a lot about it lately, I was anxious to know more. John told me exactly the way it is made in China these days. You won't believe it but it is steamed in a rice cooker for, get this, 9 DAYS! I had my doubts about trying it because I was afraid the rice cooker would quit after a day or so, given that appliances these days have very short life spans. But, I was curious so decided to give it a whirl. I placed as many large garlic bulbs into the cooker as it would allow. I did not peel them but plopped them in whole, as I was instructed to do. Today, the 9 days are up and it is time to open the rice cooker. (it is supposed to stay on warm cycle but mine kept reverting to cook and then back to warm the entire time.

Rice Cooker Filled With Garlic Heads

I was a bit nervous about opening the lid and then slicing the garlic. Would it really be black and would I like the taste? I figured I would since it seems to be all the rage on the food channels and you-tube.

There They Are All Ready to Peel Open

Sure enough, after opening the pot I find that it is dark brown, lighter than I've seen pictures of but still very good. I know I want to add it to a sauce. I am wondering if I need to ferment longer as some sites have claimed that it takes a month. I don't think I could wait that long. Also, the entire house has a curious odor while it is fermenting..John says he puts his in the garage for the 9 days.

Not Jet Black But Dark Brown

Something else that is important for me to mention. Black Garlic has been touted as a powerful anti- cancer preventative. If you want to read more about that added incentive to make your own black garlic, just google 'black garlic and cancer' Different sites claim that it is a powerful antioxident and can heal psoriasis, Increase energy level, fight cancer, can be used as an anti-aging product, and help with sleep.

I am experimenting with many recipes but the one I like the best so far is made by smashing a whole head of the black garlic and adding it to a sesame dressing-then pouring over seared tuna or salmon served cold or warm. I used raddiccio lettuce as a base. It is delicious! I used the dressing I sell at the Farmer's Market here in Roanoke and at the Roanoke market and Greenbriar Farm Market. You can probably use any sesame dressing though. I'm not sure If I will be selling the black garlic because I will have to experiment with storage and longivity first. But, it is simple enough to make yourself and you might just want to drag out the rice cooker in the back of your pantry or purchase a new one. They are very inexpensive. I used a small 12 cup rice cooker but if you get serious about it, you can find the larger ones as well. Have fun!

PS: I heard that the Trader Joe's food store (my favorite) is carrying them but I was not able to find it at the ones in D.C.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ODE TO A MIRROR

ODE TO A MIRROR

Kebechet-Goddess of Purification

Sold. Thank you Shirley!

I've never learned the trick to taking a good picture of a mirror. Either I am shown in the picture or whatever is reflected in the mirror appears big and bold. As I was taking the picture of my Egyptian Goddess Kebechet, I thought of how this applies to life in general. I wrote a story years ago called “Mistflower” “She walked to the edge of the water and saw her reflection. Her people had taught her that we are all the great mirror-simply the reflection of one another.” It still seems true to me today. To look at another is really to view oneself. We don't always like what we see but we are hesitant to do anything to change what it is we don't like. We may not like the world in which we live, with all of the many flaws, but what are we doing to make a change? I guess I'm posting about this today because I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolvers book “ Flight Behavior.” The book addresses global warming and in particular the Monarch butterfly. Not only did I learn a lot about this wondrous winged beauty but I got a lesson in environmental crisis. Of course the book is much more. The wit and humor that Kingsolver uses in her writing makes the story come to life in a way no other author I know of accomplishes.

Close-up
Goddess Kebechet, the Goddess of purification, is approx 7" wide by 13" high. I sculpted her with stoneware clay, which is kiln fired. The embellishments reflect the golds and blacks that were used on Egyptian sculpture. I have priced her at $78. If you are interested in having her reflect your surroundings, please let me know. You can e-mail me. I take checks or Paypal. Thank you!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

REBEL SERIES-"NO REGRETS"

REBEL- “NO REGRETS”

"No Regrets" Front View

A new series has been rumbling around in my mind for quite some time. Finally, I finished the first in the 'rebel' series. Urbandictionary gives this meaning for the word rebel. “rebel is a person who stands up for their own personal opinions despite what anyone else says. A true rebel stands up for what they believe is right, not against what's right. It's not about smoking crack, drinking till you're rendered unconsious, or beating the crap out of anyone that crosses your path. It's all about being an individual and refusing to follow a crowd that forces you to think the same way they do even if it means becoming an outcast to society. True rebels know who they are and do not compromise their individuality or personal opinion for anyone. They're straightforward and honest and they will sure as hell tell it like it is.” I like this straightforward definition that basically says exactly what it means to be a rebel in todays society.

Side Angle

The names I came up with to describe each female sculpture in my series are, to name a few, “No Compromise” “Who Says” “Why” etc. I'm sure you can think of many more. I named my first in the series, “No Regrets.” It says it in her face. She has no regrets to the path she took or is taking in life. She made decisions along the way, after careful analyzing, and knowing that 'the moment of absolute certaintly never arrives', she decided and then stood by her decision.

Back

“No Regrets” is 7" wide x 9" deep and 11" high. I sculpted her in stoneware clay and draped her with a contemporary upbeat fabric. No adornment was needed to convey her countenance. Hope you like her. She is available for $245. I take personal checks or Paypal. Please e-mail me and we can go from there.

Close-Up

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