Wednesday, February 29

Creative Mixed Media Art Forms

Artist Robert Bradford upcycles discarded
plastic toys and wood creating original sculptures.

Mixed Media Art is artwork in which more than one medium has been used. There is an important distinction between "mixed-media" artwork and "multimedium" artwork. Mixed media usually refers to a work of visual art that combines various forms of traditional visual art media. A work on canvas that combines paint, ink, paper and fibers could properly be called a "mixed media" work of art. Multimedia art combines visual art with non-visual elements like recorded sound, drama, dance and music. Not me....  When creating a painted or photographed work using mixed media it is important to use layers carefully and allow enough drying time between the layers. Make sure to choose a sturdy foundation for your mixed media art. Many layers of a variety of materials can tend to be heavy and weigh down the normal weight of a canvas. Plan ahead and be prepared for whatever elements you are using. 
  Many effects can be achieved by using mixed media. Found objects can be used with traditional artist media. Many mixed media artist are "green". They use recyclable items as well as paints and graphite, to express a particular meaning.
  I really love the collage and decollage forms of mixed media art. I have my eye on a few altered books as well, but somehow I can't bring myself to buy a book that has virtually been destroyed from it's original purpose to create art. I'll keep you posted on whether or not I overcome this feeling and buy one anyway!
  These are a few of my favorite mixed media artworks. I found them all on Etsy. ENJOY the eye-candy!

This guitar covered with mosaics is SMOKIN'! May not be practical, maybe too heavy, but well worth the effort I'm thinking! It truly is a work of art. Remember what you make with your hands is your life, is your legacy, is YOUR ART! You can't USE UP your creativity. The more you USE IT, the more you HAVE! SO BE CREATIVE TODAY! You CAN do it!

Mesquite Symphony Guild Presents "Pretty In Pink" Debutante Cotillion Ball 2-25-2012

Miss Elizabeth Morganne Porter

 Well dear friends near and far, it's ALL over and we have recouped from this very busy, crazy and wonderful weekend. I must say that we have been to MANY events in our lifetime, but Mr.P and I both agree that the Cotillion Ball was by far the classiest event that we had ever attended. It is what I imagine a Hollywood wedding reception to be. I had no idea how wonderful the girls and dad's would dance. Mr. P is NOT a dancer but their dance teacher choreographed everything so beautifully and they pulled it off without a hitch. I was amazed at what Mr.P had learned. Dance class had obviously been time well spent for the P's. The girls executed the 'Texas Dip' without any difficulty and they were ALL SMILES looking up at their daddy's while dancing the waltz! The ballroom was gorgeous, the flowers smelled spectacular, the tables arranged to perfection, the food divine, and the music that the orchestra played was wonderful. WOW! When the girls were escorted back to their tables for dinner they played fantastic music...the boys: Frank, Nat, Tony with a little Michael Buble thrown in for good measure. When dinner was over the DJ came out and the music changed. And did the girls love it... what a joy to watch! I think everyone enjoyed this portion of the evening. We got out there and danced as best as we could, and had fun trying new things....even Mr.P! It really didn't look all that hard...I can hop! It was a delight to see Elizabeth  and the other debs dancing. Obviously there are the standard 'party hits' they must play at every dance, because E knew every one of them. On the dance floor, with her deb sisters, good friends and Bradley, she sang her little heart out hopping around, swirling and line dancing, LAUGHING and GIGGLING with no reservations at all. Miss E was having a grand time and didn't care what anyone else thought!  I know the other deb moms out there  feel the same way....I loved seeing the girls and my daughter in particular having such a great time. Having spent so many hours working to get to this one point in time, the girls and their families not only reaped but were very deserving of this  magical evening. They will NEVER forget this year or their cotillion ball and I dare say neither will we. It was perfection and I would heartily recommend the deb program to anyone with a daughter in high school!

If you would like to see her deb pictures from the last year click here!
If you would like to see her deb pictures taken at the studio click here!
If you would like to see photos taken at the Cotillion Ball click here!

For my foodie friends out there the dinner they served us was divine. We started with a Poached Pear and Organic Green Salad with Spiced Pecans, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette. I love salad, and this was a real treat. Our entree was Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast with Spicy Creole-Mustard Sauce, Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans with Red Bell Peppers. Creme Brulee with Caramel Sauce and Raspberries topped our dinner off nicely. Later in the evening they had an all chocolate buffet with a chocolate fountain. I heard it was fantastic but I didn't make it up there to try it out....too busy visiting and hopping! This is a night our little family will not soon forget.  Thanks to all of the ladies on the Guild for all of their hard work. You made this a memorable evening for all of our girls.

These two recipes are my take on our wonderful meal. Not poached pears but roasted, they are really good you should give it a try for a formal dinner party.

    Endive Salad with Roasted Pears


  • 2 unpeeled ripe but firm Pears
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 head baby frisée
  • 2 heads Belgian endive
  • 1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • Cranberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese...I use more, I LOVE Blue Cheese, Maytag is the best.
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup caramelized pecans, I buy mine at Central Market


  • To roast the pears, preheat an oven to 500 degrees. Cut the pears into eighths lengthwise. Core, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then gently toss the pears in the mixture. Spread the pears on a rimmed baking sheet lightly sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly caramelized.
  • You can make the pears up to one day in advance. If you do, cool them thoroughly before refrigerating, then bring to room temperature about an hour before serving.
  • To finish the salad, cut the root end and about 1 inch of the top off the frisée. Rinse the frisée thoroughly, separate the head into leaves, and spin dry. Cut the stem ends off the endive, halve the heads lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into thin strips.
  • Toss the frisée and endive in a large, deep bowl with the remaining greens and about ½ cup of the vinaigrette.
  • Divide the greens among large dinner plates. Top each salad with pears, cheese, cranberries, and pecans, dividing evenly. Pass additional dressing.
  •  If you are having a big dinner party during the holidays, this recipe can easily be doubled. And, if you are tight on time, you can substitute sliced fresh pears for the roasted pears and buy a large container of mixed greens. This makes quick work for a wonderful salad.
  • Yields: Makes 4 to 6 servings



  • ⅔ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil or very light olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Combine the cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Purée the mixture in a blender, then blend in the mustard and orange juice. With the machine running, gradually drizzle in the oil. The dressing should become smooth. Blend in the salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.  Makes 1 ½ cups

Spicy Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast
with A Creole Mustard Cream Sauce


  • 4- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 C Dried Breadcrumbs
  • 1 C Pecan Pieces - toasted in oven until browned & then finely chopped
  • 1/2 C Cajun Seasonings
  • melted butter for dredging


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the breadcrumbs, toasted pecans pieces and Cajun Seasoning. Dip each chicken breast in melted butter and cover fully with the pecan mixture. Place on a cookie sheet covered with non-stick foil. Cook for no more than 20 minutes, remove from oven immediately.

Spicy Creole Mustard Cream Sauce


  • 1/4 C White Wine
  • 1 T Minced Shallots
  • 1 Bay Leaf, crumbled
  • 1 C Chicken Stock
  • 1 C Heavy Cream
  • 2 t Creole Mustard
  • 1 t Dijon Mustard
  • Pinch Salt 
  • a few grinds of Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
  • 1/4 lb Cold Butter - cut into small pieces


  • Combine the first 4 ingredients, cook over medium-high heat and reduce by half. Add the cream, both mustards, salt, pepper and Thyme. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove sprig of thyme and slowly add the butter. Stirring constantly.
  • Pour the sauce on your plate and top with baked chicken.

Thursday, February 23

Out of Town Guests, a Cotillion Ball and Overnight French Toast...It's Going To Be One CRAZY Weekend!

This simple yet elegant overnight French Toast casserole is ideal for special occasions where time is of the essence. AND what could be more special than this Saturday, February the 25th...the day of Elizabeth's Debutante Cotillion Ball. I thought I would have this dish ready to pop in the oven early this coming Saturday morning. We are going to be crazy...K-RAZY busy all day long. I will make sure the Porter 4 eat a good breakfast and then it's every man for himself as the day progresses! I can whip this up Friday evening and refrigerate overnight. It will ensure that my family is fed and sprinting out the door quickly and hopefully on time. Eating a  generous helping of this "QUICK" French Toast will keep their hunger pains at bay!  It only takes about 15 minutes to assemble, then chill it in the refrigerator overnight, and bake it the next morning! I love, love, LOVE EASY! What really sets this recipe apart from the rest is the Sweet Crumb Walnut topping. If you really have a sweet tooth, double the topping! It's decadent, but divine. Pour on Maple Syrup and melted, unsalted butter for an over the top experience! Serve with a bowl of fresh fruit, crispy bacon, juice and milk. *You may have a family member that is in need of protein for breakfast, like ME, I always set out boiled eggs as well. I don't "DO" sugar for breakfast. You can sit this out buffet style and leave everyone to
For a healthy start to your busy day 
 try boiled eggs and whole wheat toast.
fend for themselves! Don't miss an opportunity to turn a normal morning into a spectacular attention to the little details. Your kids will remember things like this FOREVER!



Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast Casserole


  • 1 day-old loaf cinnamon raisin nut bread, Central Market's Breakfast Bread is wonderful for this recipe.
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of your bread
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, optional
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, optional
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest, optional

Walnut Streusel Topping:
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

  2. Cut cinnamon bread into 1-inch chunks. Place in the baking dish, making two layers.

  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, half and half, cinnamon, vanilla, orange juice and citrus zests if using. Pour over bread, pressing to coat the bread well. Cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight.

  5. Remove the casserole from refrigerator. I turn my bread upside down in the pan at this point. It gives the bread on top a chance to catch any extra egg and milk mixture.    

  6. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and flour together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives....I use God's utensils..MY FINGERS! Stir in chopped walnuts. Scatter the topping over the casserole.
  8. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 350 degree oven. If you prefer a softer, more custard-like French toast, bake the casserole for 45 minutes. If you like a crunchier, more toasted texture, bake it for 1 hour.
Alternate version: Leave the orange juice and orange zest out of the recipe. Add one 8 ounce pkg. cream cheese and 1 cup peeled and chopped apples. Layer half of the raisin bread in a 13X9 inch baking dish. Cut cream cheese into small cubes, sprinkle over cubed bread. Top with chopped apples and extra raisins if you like. Top with remaining bread. Follow original recipe from here.
Serves: 10.....depending on who is doing the eating!

Saturday, February 18

Roasted Fillet of Sea Bass on a Bed of Spinach, Wild Mushrooms and Potatoes

Miss Elizabeth Morganne Porter
 So sorry it has been awhile since you have heard from me but in the words of Ms. Dolly Parton we have been busier than a one armed paper hanger here at Porter South! Our daughter, Elizabeth, is a Debutante this year. For the past year we have been busy with all things DEB related. We are just about DEB-bed OUT! It is finally all coming together at a huge Cotillion Ball. Next weekend. This comes after a year of parties, symphonies, etiquette lessons, self defense classes, volunteering in the community, buying many formals, having many fittings, mani-pedis, facials, hair appointments, portraits, MANY father-daughter dance lessons and lessons for the Texas "dip", our version of a curtsy which is insanely ALL the way to the floor! Bizarre as it sounds there are no other debs in the US that curtsy this low. I do believe I have lost a few brain cells along the way! You name it WE HAVE DONE IT! We are ready to get back to our normal "teenage daughter" routine...if that weren't enough!! Mr. P and I have two great kids. They do well in school, Jared is in college (last semester....YEA!) and he consistently makes the dean's list, active in church and for the most part they both have sunny dispositions. We are truly proud of our Jared and our Elizabeth. We, as a couple, have been blessed with these two little souls. We have been entrusted as care-takers for only a short while and they will be gone all too soon. So even if we are crazy busy, we don't mind, we are glad we have been allowed to go along for the ride.

Tuesday, February 14


Valentine’s Day, one of the loveliest of holidays, a celebration of the thing that makes the world go ’round . . .
Not just the thing that makes it go ’round, but the thing that makes the ride worthwhile.
Not just for romantic love, but all love; parents for their kids, kids for their parents, teachers for their students, sisters for sisters, brothers for brothers, best friends for their BFF, even the love of a beautiful blue sky, tea, kittins, and everything in between, ALL LOVE; everyone should have a Valentine today so be sure to save some of that love for you!  Treat yourself to a little Valentine love today and be your own best friend.

There are lots of ways to celebrate a day of love; take your child to a special bakery and buy him/her a chocolate eclair (a great way to give yourself a Valentine!), take a long warm bubble bath with a good book and a big bottle of cold water, take a nap in a hammock with your Valentine, call someone who is lonely and shoot the breeze, set the stage...throw an old quilt in front of the fireplace and have a romantic firelit picnic, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate this morning and take it back to bed, watch an old black and white movie, lie in the grass with your sweetheart and watch the stars, take a walk with your honey and hold hands, give everyone you pass a wonderful smile, give butterfly kisses, make a batch of Blue Ribbon Brownies and cut them into hearts using a cookie the excess...there are no calories in the bits and crumbs that you cut off, besides everyone knows that a passionate 2 minute kiss
burns 50 calories!
Plan to celebrate this wonderfully special day. I hope that all of the sweethearts, flames and true loves experience passion, tenderness, infatuation, enchantment and adoration on this Day of Love.
Tell your loved ones that you do in fact love them.
Thanks for stopping by, you make my day!
Have a "LOVE"ly Valentine's Day.

From me to you....
Ronda Chesser-Porter
The Domestic Curator
Dedicated to Mr.P
Give me a kiss, and to that kiss a score,
then to that twenty, add a hundred more;
A thousand to that hundred; so kiss on,
to make that thousand up a million;
Triple that million, and when that is done
Let's kiss afresh, as when we first begun.
~R. Herrick

Thursday, February 9

Jalapeño-Basil Pork Chops

Pork is tender and juicy, it cooks relatively quickly making it a great week night family meal. Try new ways of preparing pork. Experiment. This pork chop recipe will keep your family dinner fresh, deliciously spicy and under budget. Full of flavor, these chops are surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a jar of Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, fresh Basil and White Wine*. Delight your family soon with this perfectly innovative new recipe for pork.

Jalapeno-Basil Pork Chops

Claiming Your Creative Side On The DAY of LOVE

Valentine’s Day is hailed as one of the most romantic days of the year, and it's coming soon.  Articles and photos about Valentine’s Day are sometimes the best ways to find inspiration. To put you "in the mood" as it were for doing something slightly different this year for your loved one. Enjoy the following eye-candy and see if  you can find your inner romantic.
Besides giving a bouquet or table flowers for Valentine's Day,  Valentine wreaths can be selected as a wonderful alternative to your ordinary dozen roses. These wreaths can be very simple to over the top elaborate. 
Silk flowers or fresh, check with your local florist or grocery store to see what is readily available. These gorgeous wreaths can make the mood more exciting in accordance with the spirit of love. Your sweetie will know you spent a little extra time thinking ahead and out of the box. They will love and cherish the moment and remember it fondly for years.
I love these paper wreaths. Especially the wreaths made out of vintage Valentine's Day Cards. My grandfather loves to receive cards of any kind. He saves all of his cards. Years ago my mom, sister and I were going through old boxes. We came across Big Gran's very old Valentine's Day cards. 
If you don't have access to vintage cards head to the scrapbooking section in any craft store. They carry vintage papers from which you can choose. Scrapbooking papers cost very little money. Cut out the cards and attach them to your wreath,very, very easy.
A creative use for old fabric, ribbon scraps and yarn is to make wreaths. I love the vintage look of placing turquoise and pale pink on the same wreath. So easy and quick to make, simply buy a heart or round wreath form and begin tying as much ribbon and fabric as you possibly can.

Also OLD clean socks and t-shirts can easily be transformed into fabric roses. Go to Goodwill and find t-shirts in your color scheme. Just use hot glue to attach the roses to a wreath. Fabric wreaths are versatile twist to the average Valentine's Day gift. Get creative!
You can not go wrong, EVER, with fresh flowers. Any shape or size they make a grand statement of your "undying" love.
 There is an added bonus to using fresh flowers on a wreath. When the flowers start to wilt leave the wreath in a cool, dark and dry place. Your flowers will eventually dry completely and you can then use your wreath as decoration. 2 gifts in one!
Of course you can always skip the fresh flowers all together and go directly with a great dried wreath. 
You already know how beautiful it will look as a keepsake long after Valentine's Day is over. I must admit, this is what I would prefer myself. 
Show your love in a very creative and personal way. Your loved ones will cherish the thoughtful effort on your part.

the domestic curator ~ ronda

Wednesday, February 8

No Recipe, No Rules.....Grilled Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwich

I posted this little nothing of a recipe about a month ago but couldn't figure out how to post my photos along with it, Mr.P was asleep. My not-so-high-tech-world seems to stop when he's asleep! So here we go again...this is my take on a Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup.

This sandwich is my favorite go-to "it's cold, I don't feel good, Mr.P's working late" meal. I could eat this everyday. Truly. It may seem ho-hum to most but it doesn't matter, I love it anyway. So here it recipe, no rules...


  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • Spreadable butter or margarine
  • 2-3 slices of your favorite cheese, I use Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Gruyere or Swiss and your old fashioned "gonna-kill-you-early" American Processed Cheese
  • 5-8 slices of lunch meat, I use Oscar Mayer's Smoked's extremely thin
  • Poppy seeds
  • Onion powder

  • In a T-Fal non-stick skillet, over medium heat, lay ham in a single layer to warm. 2-3 minutes.
  • In the meantime, butter the bread, set aside. Once the ham is warm, move it to the side of the skillet.
  • Place first piece of bread, buttered-side down, in the skillet. Top with 1 piece of cheese.
  • On top of cheese, layer warm ham. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and onion powder.
  • Top with remaining cheese and bread, buttered-side up. 
  • Grill until bread is golden brown, flip and grill until the cheese is melted. 
  • This recipe can easily be doubled to fit your specific needs OR desires.

This sandwich is ooey-gooey rich and it's my ultimate comfort food. Mr. P and I usually split a sandwich and eat it with good old fashioned Campbell's Tomato soup. FYI, in the bottom of our soup cups I crumble up Cabot's Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I LOVE THIS CHEESE!! I pour the hot soup over the cheese making it melt, it's the best! 
Oh the joys of Winter, a bless-ed warm house, someone to love and snuggle with and the utter bliss of comfort food! 

*Get creative. 
You can add anything to this sandwich that you like. Avocado thinly sliced with bacon, sliced peaches or apple, basil, tomato and mozzarella cheese...if it sounds good try it, you just might like it! 

Make your favorite comfort food and snuggle up to your honey, 
you'll be glad ya did!


        Monday, February 6

        Gifts of Love For Your Sweetie!

          This Valentine's Day if you are looking for a unique and fun way  to tell your sweetie that you love them try this fantastic website They offer an array of gifts that can be personalized for your special someone. I love this puzzle! This was made just for  Mr.P in mind. He loves putting puzzles together. They help him relieve the stress of tax season. He can also put the tin on his office desk to remember "lighter" days in the months to come. They sell everything from personalized romantic fortune cookies to monogrammed jammies...his and hers...and all things in between. Check them out, they extend free shipping and guarantee delivery by Valentine's Day if you place an order in the next few's a great deal.
        Haiti Heart
           Another wonderful website is I absolutely love the Haiti Heart they offer. Using rocks from quarries found in Haiti, local artist fashion hearts. Ssshhhh, this is Mr.P's gift this year. It will make a perfect weight for all of the paper he has on his desk! Not only will you be telling your sweetie how much you love them but also helping local Haitian artists rebuild their lives and communities after the total devastation that affected their country. What was the saying in Hello Dolly? "Love is like manure. It doesn't mean anything if you don't spread it around." I'm not sure but as my Daddy would say,"that'll preach!".
        Make a card that says, "You are the
        missing piece to my Puzzle"!
           My son and his sweet girlfriend like to make gifts for each other. I'm not sure if that's just code for "College Students in Love", but whatever the reason it is sweet and charming. I have seen kids take two pieces of a puzzle, again with the puzzle!, that fit together. Affix a loop on the back, paint it your favorite color and shellac the piece. Find a cheap chain and you have yourself a homemade necklace. Give your honey the matching piece that fits yours. Voile! Little to no money spent and the girls will be crazy over this idea, believe me, I was a girl once myself!  
        Send an E-card to your sweetie.
           Send an E-card or text that he/she will receive unexpectedly. My maternal grandmother passed away this last year. Little Gran was a wonder. Truly. Often when we would visit in their home you might find a "post-it" on Big Gran's bathroom mirror. Or the mirror in their bedroom. A love note from his sweetie. They lived through the Depression, WWII, my grandfather was stationed in the South Pacific, raising three children and burying one, paying off loans and houses. They lived life and through it all they really loved one another. Still just as strong as when they first met and fell in love. She would surprise him by leaving sweet words of love, in her own hand writing...image that if you can! Our loved ones LIKE being remembered. Don't forget to tell them daily! DAILY! And don't forget Valentine's Day either!!

            My grandparents,
          JD and Faye Hudson
        Big Gran and Little Gran

        P.S. If you have a hard time TELLING or SHOWING LOVE to your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend or even your children....for goodness sakes GOOGLE IT! You have access to thousands of ideas, NO MORE EXCUSES! That's just my opinion...