Cirque Americana x99

Each year, our marvelous Springfield Art Museum throws a party with a purpose, called “99x.” The purpose is that the museum raises money to restore permanent pieces for the next 99 years. So clever!

Both of us have been fortunate enough to put our creative crazy visions to work for the last two years. They don’t even check in on us! They trust us! Now that’s crazy.

Last year, the theme was “Gilded Glamour,” where we were inspired by John Frederick Kensett’s “Shore Landscape.” Stephanie was invited to create an interactive tableau, using the Newport Beach estate ”

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My project was to paint an interpretation of one of the Newport estates, using ‘illuminated’ qualities. It was then turned into a 10-foot wall hanging that was displayed in the lobby of the museum.

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It was such a magical, glowing night!

This year, though…was even better. The theme was “Cirque Americana,” where we celebrated Ben Messick and his clown paintings. Stephanie’s company Queen City Blooms was asked to help do a floral carousel-inspired centerpiece in the museum’s lobby, while I created an interactive tableau of a fortune teller.

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We had *so* much fun. Already we’re talking about collaborating on a tableau together next year. With so many talented and amazing artists in the area, though, the competition is fierce!

Looking to add a bit of fortune, gold, and circus-inspired bling to your life? Keep reading!

Easy Bruschetta

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Living in the midwest affords us plenty of farm-fresh fare. This year, my family re-joined a CSA (community-supported agriculture) at Millsap Farms. We belonged a few years ago, and it was such an amazing experience. Each week we’d receive a box of fruits & vegetables. To offset the cost, we’d work the farm a few days over the season, which was an eye-opening experience. I mean, who even knew what Kohlrabi is!?

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This year, we are more hands-off, and the box of produce is delivered to our house, and we paid extra to skip the work hours. But the vegetables still taste oh so delicious! And each week, we’ve been receiving a giant bag of basil and a pint of multi-colored cherry tomatoes. That means one thing: BRUSCHETTA!

Now, I’m no connoisseur. But I do know that I like my bruschetta garlicky, oily, and full of flavor. So here’s how I make mine:

INGREDIENTS:

  • cherry tomatoes (pint)
  • about 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of basil
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • can of artichokes (drained)
  1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Put in a bowl.
  2. Roll up the basil leaves and cut them into thin strips for a chiffonade. { –> How to Chiffonade Basil via The Pioneer Woman }
  3. Add basil to tomatoes, drizzle balsamic vinegar to quickly coat the tomatoes. Start with a little, you can add more later.
  4. Chop the drained artichokes into bite-size pieces or smaller. Add to bowl.
  5. Mix everything together.
  6. In a skillet, add a few tablespoons olive oil and the garlic, and heat until just brown. Pour the garlic and oil on top of the tomatoes. Let marinate.
  7. EAT!

I love slicing french bread, buttering it, and toasting it in the oven Or prepare a big bowl of linguini and add this to the top, with a shaving of parmesan cheese. Or just grab a fork and eat straight out of the bowl. Serve with nice mineral-y white wine (I love J’s Pinot Gris), and you got yourself a summer dinner!

Do you have a favorite recipe that you use during an abundance of tomatoes? We’d love to hear!

Birth of Venus

The first time I remember seeing the depiction of Venus de Milo was in the movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen“. It left such an impression that when I saw the painting “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, I was like, hey! It’s like that scene from the movie!

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(Everything always comes back to the movies for us…)

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Since that time as a 7-year-old, it remains a painting I still obsess over. Her imperfect and irregular body! Floating on a seashell! Mystery, jealousy, divine! I loved it as a little kid, I love it as a big kid.

Which might explain this recent art purchase by the talented Sarah Jones:

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Made me wonder what other Venus-inspired treasures I could add to my collection…

Queen City Blooms Launch Party

Come celebrate with Queen City Blooms founders Stephanie Hornickel and Alex McQueary, as they officially launch their new floral design business! Queen City Blooms is a custom wedding and event florist serving up beautiful blooms to the greater Springfield, Missouri area.

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The open house will have sips & snacks, plus an introduction to their unique and custom floral work. Build your own bouquet* and enjoy a fun afternoon of flowers and friends.

For more information, visit their website or Facebook event page.

*Bouquets available while supplies last.