Countdown to All Hallow’s Eve

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Blue Ribbon Cherry Tart Recipe

Cherry Tart What to do when the cherry tree in your back yard—the one that hasn’t had a good crop of cherries in years—suddenly has a bumper crop of the smallest, tartest cherries you’ve ever tasted? You can do what I did, and wait until the cherries are absolutely ripe, and then pick as many as you can. After pitting them (a cherry pitter is the only single-use gadget I allow in my kitchen!) they freeze well for later use. When you’re ready to use them, simply take the container out of the freezer and let them defrost overnight or all day in the refrigerator. The cherries will have macerated in their own juice. Once drained they’re perfect for this tart or any cherry pie—not too wet. But don’t throw out that precious juice! Use it to make a delicious cherry glaze that will make this tart sparkle.

The beauty of this recipe is that all of the components are prepared separately. Once combined, the layer of chocolate will prevent the pastry cream from making the crust soggy. It’s this contrast of flavors and textures of flaky crust, smooth sweet pastry cream and tart cherries that make this a winner.

This tart is based on several different recipes, combining the best attributes of all of them. For the crust, you can use any sweetened, enriched pie crust recipe (for heaven’s sake, please don’t use a store-bought crust). The vodka or gin (you can use any neutral grain spirit) is the secret for making the flakiest crust—it provides the moisture necessary for rolling out the dough, but it evaporates quickly in the oven, leaving no detectable alcohol or flavor. The recipe adapts well to any berry; try strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.

Download the printable recipe here, or continue reading for the online version.

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Every painting tells a story

Working in an art museum allows me to plumb the depths of the collection in a way that would be difficult, if not impractical, for most visitors. While we certainly encourage visitors to pursue their own academic interests arising from what they’ve seen (the Barnes’ art library is free and open to the public during business hours), sometimes the artwork Dr. Barnes collected is fascinating for the stories behind it, rather than the work’s formal qualities. Such is the case with a painting that can be seen in Gallery 23, by Tilly Losch. It’s a fun story to tell, and I’ve chosen to turn it into a Prezi presentation which you can view below. 

This is a rough draft— the real story is so much more detailed than appropriate for a short Prezi— and I haven’t yet drawn up the bibliography which I intend to do, but art geeks should get a kick out of this. 

Best watched in full screen mode. Advance at your own pace by using your keyboard’s arrow keys, or the onscreen arrows. 

30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 26

De-Clutter Challenge: Day 26

Day 26

Woo hoo! Only four more days to go! How’s your own de-cluttering going?

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30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 25

De-Clutter Challenge: Day 25

Day 25

More stuff from the filing cabinet. I’m beginning to view that filing cabinet as a black hole that sucks in every bit of paper that gets too near it.

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30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 24

De-Clutter Challenge: Day 24

Day 24

More stuff I don’t need from the filing cabinet.

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30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 23

30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 23

Day 23

More from the filing cabinet.
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30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 22

30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 22

Day 22

Another archive dive. Stuff that was in my collage materials morgue, but never made it into any collage.

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30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 21

30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 21 30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 21

Day 21: Time for a Pep Talk

Three weeks in, and well over 200 distinct items disposed of! If you’re following along with your own challenge, it’s time to congratulate ourselves. In the final nine days of the challenge, we will abandon as many items as we have in the previous three weeks, so it’s time to knuckle down and get serious. If you’ve been struggling to keep up, this may be the hardest part of the challenge for you. Even if you’ve skipped some days (or stopped altogether), there’s no shame in picking it up again. When you’re a hoarder, getting rid of anything can be hard, so don’t give up! You’ve made it this far, and we only have nine days to go.

Everything except that Fossil tin came from the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet, which functions as archive + morgue of collage ephemera. This is a difficult drawer for me to go through… everything in it has some personal significance, although some of it is only because I’ve held onto it for so long.
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30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 20

30 Day De-Clutter Challenge: Day 20

Day 20

More (nearly) useless stuff from the depths of my filing cabinet. I wonder what on earth tricked my brain into thinking I should keep that empty, torn-in-half envelope with no markings on it?

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