Frutta V

Frutta V
Maria's Best Selling Giclee Print to Date

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creating Natural Laundry Soap - Sept 29, 2010

Maria's Natural Laundry Soap:   I love all things green, eco friendly, natural and organic.  But who can create their own natural laundry soap and not pay those high prices?  Who also has just purchased a new low sudsing washer?  Since I produce the old time lye & lard soap many older customers request I can also create a laundry soap very similar to "Ivory Snow", but is 100 % pure.  Using grated soap, washing soda and borax powder, Coastal Cottage Soaps produces a great laundry soap without detergents and other additives.  I have been wanting to share this product with you:

Natural Laundry Soap Ingredients

Artful Images:    The Fine Art Exhibit is hung and on display.  The exhibit catalog listing is completed along with art identification cards which are display next to each painting.   The Show Looks Great!!  I can't wait for it to be judged by our art professional.   I am creating official ballots whereby all visitors can vote for their favorite pics for the People's Choice Awards.  Votes will be tallied and those awards will be presented on on Oct 26.

I wish you all visit the exhibit.  Here is a glimpse of the Food, Farm & Foliage Fine Art Exhibit, sponsored by the Holly Branch of American Pen Women, currently on display at the Delaware Agricultural Museum, Dover, DE.  Our fine artists are from across the Delmarva Peninsula.  The exhibit opens Friday, October 1.

Maria & her painting:   "Vegetables on a Windowsill"

N. Taylor Collins, past NLAPW Pres & Holly Branch Secretary
 and her painting:  "Fading"

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More to do tomorrow so we must part.  Until then,

Maria L B

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Greatful Sunday - Sept 26, 2010

A Greatful SundayA day of rest and reflection.  A cooler day means opening the windows, fresh air and fall is coming.  In fact a few leaves are falling.  I do love the outdoors, my backyard, my vegetable and herb garden.  I have tall zinnias planted around the outside of the garden.  I have watched the hummingbirds and butterrflies dance from flower to flower and know I am assisting them with their duty to pollinate.  I have continued to feed the birds all summer.  I usually don't summer feed as they have plenty of insects to eat.  It has been a dry summer with little natural matter for them to stay nourished.  I also have noticed the birds have left the ripening tomatoes alone (which seems to be a problem each summer.  Each morning  I also fill bird baths and large clay saucers for my friends and watch them drink and bathe themselves.

Memories of Mother:  Sweet memories of my mother, especially as Fall begins.  It was my mother's favorite season.  She truly was inspired by nature and the natural surroundings.  It was very apparent when spending time outdoors with her.  She observed and always pointed out small things that most people never noticed.  Mildred was also a great artist and reflected on nature through artist eyes as well.

My Teacup Bird FeedersI have created wonderful teacup feeders with copper posts using my collection of tea cups.  Very charming and can also be used as tea lights in the garden or along the path.

Maria's Tuscany Painting:  There is another art exhibit coming up quickly.  In fact the paintings are due tomorrow.  My eyes hit upon a framed Tuscan scene I painted a few years ago.  So I thought I would touch it up, and make a few changes since it was painted with acrylic paints.  I am now pleased with the outcome and hope others will enjoy it also.

"Maria's Tuscany" Painting (unframed)

Included in the Diamond State Branch Bienial Show at
Grace Gallery, Oct 1 - 31, 2010
Opening Reception, Wilmington Art Loop, 5:30 - 7 pm 

Creative Thoughts:  I saved the prose below a while ago.  The author is unknown.  Please read and reflect.

Creating the inner self
Discovering our creative side
Achieving creative talents, training and instruction’
Transforming our nest
Becoming one with our nest
Creative appearance, clothing and attitude
Becoming one with nature
Giving of one self, gifts and sharing talents
Preparing creative meals with artistic approach
Creative entertaining
Developing creative patterns and relationships
Art for art sake

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Maria L B


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Artful Life Continues - Sept 24, 2010

Another Great Day in the Artful World:  The Food, Farm & Foliage Exhibit is taking shape.  All  entries are in and they were juried today by a great artist with a great eye for composition and technique.  It was interesting to hear her comments and perspective on the exhibit in general. The personal comments relating to traveling the Delmarva Peninsula through the works of our artists is what is great about an exhibit with a theme relating to our place on earth.  I am most grateful to her commitment to assist us.

Back to the Studio:  Creating order out of, photographs, magazine references, backing materials, art books, hook eyes, wire and the like can be satisfying and necessary.  I still need to finish 4 paintings started this summer.  Sometimes it is good to go back to a painting after some time has passed to "see" your true work.  There are more art shows to enter and of course more challenges ahead.

Maria's Soap Shop:  Bathing or showering in a great natural olive oil soap is extraordinary.  Just think of the great lather, great scents from the essential oils and just knowing you are nourishing your skin and creating a healthy environment.  Take for instance my Peppermint Orange Olive Oil Soap. The aromatic mint and orange scent combines well together creating a fresh and refresh bar. Finely ground mint and orange peel is added to enhance your very own soap.  Great for males and females alike.  Step inside the Coastal Cottage Soap Shop:

Maria's Handcrafted 
Peppermint Orange Soap
visit her shop at

Back to the Oven:  A recipe for Buttermilk Sugar Cookies appeared in our local weekly paper.  I then thought of the Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies with the chocolate mint filling.  Maybe I could put the two together creating Maria's Milan Cookies (Milan is a Italy largest industrial town).  So I searched and found a great buttermilk sugar cookies on  I replaced mint chocolate chips for the chips in their icing.  Some cookies I did sandwich, but mostly just put icing on individual cookies.  Comments later from my husband after consuming the first of many was, these taste like the PF Milano Chocolate Mint Cookies!!  

Buttermilk Sugar Cookies
Cookie Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk\
Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets.
Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and salt.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until smooth.
Drop level tablespoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are puffed and edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks.

Glaze:  1 cup   chocolate mint chips
              1/3 cup cream or half and half

Melt mint chips n a  heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Remove from heat; whisk in cream in a low stream.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Spread glaze on the underside of half the cookies.  Sandwich with remaining cookies.  Or you can spread on the top of single cookies and not sandwich.

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My best to you all,

Maria L B

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Consider Them Finished - Sept 21, 2010

3 Finished Paintings - Seriously!  Up early the last few days and a good time to apply another layer of paints to speed up the process.  Working with oil paints can create a lengthy completion of a painting.  Although Plein Air Painters create paintings in one session, sometimes in 2 hours.  But of course the drying time of thick paints will be considerable.  I framed the art with 2 frames I had on hand and 1 that my husband had created for me out of the barn board.  Hook & eyes, wire, and a backing completes the painting, but does take more time. 

I did forget to take images of the completed and framed paintings. Today was the deadline to deliver entries for the Food, Farm & Foliage Art Exhibit.  So delivered they are and on time.  I will take photos to post to this blog during my next trip to the Delaware Agricultural Museum. Stay Tuned

More Artist Talk:  It was another great day for me.  It looks like the Holly Branch will have a successful exhibit.  The number of professional entries, by individual artists will fill the South Gallery. To accept art for the exhibit, meet the artists and discuss their many different art experiences keeps the juices flowing.  We all have information to exchange with other artists.  That is one thing that is great about coming together as artists.  It makes organizing an exhibit so worthwhile. 

My Olive Oil Handcrafted Soap:  Did you know I use all natural ingredients, such as olive oil, Castor oil, soy oil, coconut oil, sea salt, spring water and natural essential oils for fragrance?
My long lasting, moisturizing and extra foamy soap is great for your skin. We make bath soap for men & women, kid's fun soap, men's shaving soap & pumice hand soap, doggy soap, laundry soap and more.  We real soap cakes, tarts, muffins, etc.  Great for party favors, and gifts.  We have many repeat customers and a great inventory of soap creating a heavenly scent wherever you go in my home.  Please check out our site:  Shipping is currently free for any orders Below is an image of a group of our products.

Maria's Recipe Produced Today:

Apple-Oat Muffins

The shredded apple adds moisture to the muffins. You'll find that the batter fills the muffin cups more than most recipes, but it shouldn't overflow in the oven.

Yield:  1 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)

2 cups shredded peeled McIntosh apple (about 3/4 pound) (I used chopped peeled Granny Smith)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) carton plain low-fat yogurt (I used light sour cream instead)
1 large egg
Cooking spray

CALORIES 190 (19% from fat); FAT 3.9g (sat 0.9g,mono 1.1g,poly 1.5g); IRON 1.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 20mg; CALCIUM 96mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.6g; SODIUM 238mg; PROTEIN 4.5g; FIBER 1.9g

Maria's Apple Oat Muffins
Adapted from

Can't wait to have the muffins and fresh cantelope in the morning!

Sweet Dreams,

Maria L B



Preheat oven to 400°.
Place apple on paper towels; squeeze until barely moist. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour and next 6 ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk, oil, vanilla, yogurt, and egg; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in apple.
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Artful Weekend, Sept 17 & 18, 2010

Lovely Lavender Olive Oil Soap

Maria's Most Popular Handcrafted Soap

This aromatic soap will take you to your own lavender field.  The stress relieving qualities of this lavender soap in addition to the great sudsy lather will make you a repeat customer

Artists Submit Entries:  Saturday, a day artists are submitting entries for the Food, Farm & Foliage Exhibit sponsored by the Holly Branch of the American Pen Women (of which I am Pres).  Waiting for the entries at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and talking with fellow artist members is always special.  Subject matter like our latest framing nightmare, and will our paintings dry in time is the buzz.  The essence of being with other artists and discussing where we create and how we create is good for the creative soul.  Meeting the artists submitting their entries does make all the work of coordinating an exhibit worthwhile.  Answering questions about pricing their and framing their pieces along with boosting the self-confidence of the new artist is a very worthwhile part of supporting creativity. And when an artist thanks you for organizing such an exhibit that the public can enter.   I am amazingly humble.  Thanks to them for wanting to be a part of this creative world.   

Time to Finish:  It is another great day of sunshine and as I was inside the museum's South Gallery most of the day.   To soak up the sunshine I carted all my paints, tabletop easel and supplies upstair to the porch.  Wow, natural sunlight to paint by.  How good is that?  So I worked and  worked to almost finish the painting, "Vegetables on a Windowsill".  It is looking pretty good. Stay tuned!

The Framing, Part 1:  I usually frame my paintings and matted prints with gold finished gallery frames which is sort of a trade mark.  2 weeks ago while walking Winston, I noticed a wonderful large barnboard frame appeared by a neighbor's home for trash pick up.  I went back and carried it home to add to my frame collection.  I new my husband, the magnificent wordworker, could use it to make a frame or two.  Last week I asked nicely  if he could infact cut it down and make a frame for one of the paintings I have been working on with a deadline he could handle.  Stay tuned!

Tomorrow's Dessert:  My husband has asked his daughter over for Sunday dinner and a movie.  (Maybe they will watch Julia & Julie.)  My chef is preparing:  BrocaelI with all natural ingredients.  I volunteered to handle dessert.  Searching through my many recipes as well as on-line I though a light carrot cake would work.  Light because I have been indulging in too much yummy food lately.   The recipe calls for carrot juice in addition to grated carrots.  A great purpose for the my juicer appliance used only twice in 5 years  Here is the Weight Watchers recipe and image of my creation of Weight Watchers Carrot Cake with a Lemon  Glaze:

Maria's Creation of
Weight Watchers Carrot Cake with a Lemon Glaze
16 servings, 3 points each

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Vegetables on the Window Sill" Painting

Organizing an Art Exhibit:  I do have a list of things to do for the upcoming art exhibit, Food, Farm & Foliage Fine Art Exhibit to open October 1 at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover DE.  This exhibit is sponsored by the Holly Branch of the American Pen Women of which I am president. (  Press releases, receiving art, handling their website, answering phone calls & emails,  developing brochures, applications, fliers, posters, invitations.  There is much to do.  But how special it is to talk to artists, whether hobbyist or professional.  That is "The Artful Life."  Supporting the arts and fellow artists is so important and such a basic component of creativity. 

Nearly Finished:  I have dedicated today to completing 2 of 4 paintings.  After many excuses I am getting down to business to put the finishing touches on them.  Good for my business.  "Vegetables on the Windowsill" is just about finished.  The painting  giving me a reason to really study my references is "Hazlettville Barn".   I hope they will become some of my better paintings.

"Hazlettville Barn" in Progress

"Seeing, Searching, Being":   PBS Ken Burns Film on artist William  Segal aired on pubic tv tonight.  What a great inspirational film for artists and all others interested in art.  The film explores the creative process and the spiritual relationship between the artist and his work. He really relates observing all things around us, seeing and watching and applying those visions to the paper or canvas.  Please watch if you have a chance.  There are 2 other films on Segal that Ken Burns has produced.  Stayed tuned and be inspired.

The Recipe:  I adapted this recipe from Lindaraxa's Garden Blog:

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin With Fig Stuffing. 

8 figs dried or fresh, finely minced
4 slices of prosciutto finely minced
2 TB dried bread crumbs
2TB. orange juice
finely chopped parsley

Mix everything in a bowl and set aside.  The bread crumbs and orange juice are what binds this together so use a little discretion adding more bread crumbs or less orange juice as needed.

Maria's Roast Pork Tenderloin w/Fig Stuffing
Accompanied by Oven Roasted Butternut Squash

For the Roast.

1 pork tenderloin in two pieces (I used cut my tenderloin down the middle and layed out flat)
1 cup or juice of 1orange
4 garlic cloves mashed
canola oil
Salt & Pepper

Marinade the pork loin in the bitter orange juice, onions and mashed garlic for at least 1 - 4 hours.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove and dry.  Take one of the pork pieces lay it flat on a cutting board and spread the stuffing along the length of the loin. Place the other piece on top. Tie the roast at 1 1/4 inch intervals with kitchen twine.  Do not tie so tight that the stuffing comes out. Spread pepper and kosher salt all over the loin.

Place 2 TB of canola oil in a dutch oven or frying pan and brown the roast about 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a rack on top of a roasting pan and place in the oven. I place marinade plus 2 cups water or broth in bottom of pan  Roast  for 30 minutes. If you notice the pork is not browning enough, bring temperature up to 400 degrees, remember not all ovens are created equal. Remove from the oven.  Remove from the oven and let rest 30 MINUTES.  This is important, don't skim.

Cut in 1/4 inch slices* and arrange the slices on a platter., drizzle some of the juices on top of roast. The pork will be a light pink and juicy.  When you cut it, you might have to hold the slices together with your left hand to hold the stuffing inside.

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Happy Creating.  My best to all.

Maria L B

A Day of Sunshine, Sept 15, 2010

The Bliss of Sunshine:  How to not stay indoors when the sun is shining and shining on the blessed outdoors with rays of sunlight filtering through the windows to my inside world.  It is a day when I find any excuse to be outdoors or at least see the outdoors while I attend to my tasks. 

Scones in the Morning: Up and  at em, rise and shine.  Create a somewhat healthy recipe of Mixed Berry & Pecan Scones.  I used a recipe from my huge collection and I substituted whole wheat flour for part of required flour, 2 percent milk and margarine for butter.  Here's the recipe: 

Berry Pecan Scones

1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup regular all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder,
3 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup cranberries or any dried diced fruit,
1/3 cup 2 % buttermilk, 1/4 cup solid margarine, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat over to 375.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender. Add dried fruit and nuts.  In separate bowl, beat eggs with buttermilk & vanilla.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of liquid.  Add remaining to flour mixture until  dough sticks together.  Remove to floured board & knead 3-4 times. Form into 1" thick round.  Place on baking sheet & cut into 6 - 8  pie slices.  Brush with reserved egg and sprinkle with sugar (OPT.)  Separate and bake approx 20 minutes.

Maria's Berry Pecan Scones

flooded with sunlight, a delightful morning on the porch

Winston, The Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier:  Going on my daily walk, this time with Winston, starts the day off by soaking up the sun.  Shedding my jacket after a few blocks, I get geared up.  Winston off course has to stop at every post and pole we pass by.  I finally realized that if we walk on the side of the street with Winston  on my left as usual but also between the sidewalk and the curb he will not trip me with the leash by proceeding across the front of me to that pole/post.

Sir Winston Pumpernickel 
Isn't he adorable?

Ignoring my Art Studio:  I have really tried to think of my paintings in progress today.  One painting is a still life of fresh juicy peaches with cut open to expose the seed and yumminess.  The first group of peaches finally turned soft and so while still eatable I cut up and added to my vanilla yogurt.  So off to the market to find peaches with similar markings with cell phone in hand which held an image of my painting.  If only I had taken a photo of the still life set up.  Thankfully the were few shoppers at the time and hopefully no one wondered what the crazy lady with the cell phone by the peach display was up to.

"4 Peaches"
Peach Still Life in Progress

Needless to say I just couldn't leave the beautiful daylight to enter my spacious art studio that is housed in the basement level of our home.  The studio with it's artificial light cannot compete with the perfect end of summer day.  Tomorrow will be a new day of creativity.

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See you then.  My best to all.

Maria L B

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trying to Catch Up - Sept 14, 2010

The Blog Idea:  I have had the blog idea for some time.  But what really inspired me was watching the movie Julia and Julie this past weekend.  How great is that movie!  What creativity both ladies portrayed.  Real women challenging themselves.  It made me realize that many people create everyday without realizing it.  We scrapbook, bead, paint, stencil, decorate, wonder through the crafting stores to try the latest projects.  We look through tons of magazines and web sites to find out how to do what the next project or at least to be inspired.  We all create or want to create.  For most it is just finding the time to do it. 

My Mom Mildred, The Chef:  Think back to our mom's who produced a wholesome home cooked meal everyday for the family.  We had out only for special occasions, fast food was not heard of and ingredients had to be on hand because Dad usually used the car for work,  and the little housewife was really the wife of the house.. They whipped up recipes to hear yums and "wow - my favorite again." They created these dishes not only because they had to prepare dinner but they also wanted to add their own flair.  My mother was the first in her family to present the "new lemon chiffon cake" that was being raved about.  

My Mom Mildred, The Seamstress:  The same mother mentioned above was probably a moderate seamstress.  Another area of creativity made by necessity.  Nothing was impossible to produce.  Anything from winter coats to draperies and slipcover could be made.  A trip to the fabric store was like our trip to the malls.  It could take hours choosing the right pattern and then fabric and notions.

Back to Julia and Julie:  The movie inspired me to move along with the blog and document my many areas of creativity and art.  Julie's project portrays the challenge of creativity and creativity as a challenge.  Maybe my projects can be challenged by my blog project.  Recipe ingredients, paint, canvas, fabric, seaglass, shells, color create a wonderful artful home and life.

A Few Days Behind But Catching Up:  Since I wanted to start my story earlier I am trying to catch you up to speed with my most recent artful life.  

The Paintings:  Currently I am working on four oil paintings. Why four at one time.  Well I have my  palette set up and while one painting layer is drying I work on another.  My current inventory is depleted and I am also submitting entries to a juried and judged exhibit sponsored by the Holly Branch of the National League of American Pen Women.  As president of the local branch I need to put my best paintings forward.  I can't wait to actually the entries submitted for the Food, Farm & Foliage Fine Art Exhibit. 

They shall be completed and framed before the deadline.

The Recipe:  Well now to the kitchen.  I think  we need some treats for my sweetie.  I decided on the Chocolate Cookies Recipe from Joy of Baking.  I used a silicone mat instead of parchment paper on the baking sheets.  Something set off our smoke detector, something we could not detect ourselves.  The thing would not stop.  Winston escaped followed by my husband.  I took the batteries out of the detector until the baking was completed.  Winston finally was coaxed inside and all is well.  Both sweeties are eating the sweets.

Here is the recipe, and images of the Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Cookies Recipe

 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (260 grams) white chocolate chips or chunks 

Chocolate Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees in rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (I used silicon sheets.)
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  First sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt and then add to the butter and egg mixture.  Mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the the chocolate chips.
Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
Bake for approximately 8 - 10 minutes or until the the cookies are still soft in the center but are firm around the edges.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Makes about 24 - 3 inch round cookies.

Maria's Chocolate Cookies
(texture is between a brownie and cookie)

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Well more to come tomorrow.  I hope to show the progress on my paintings and maybe even a photo of Winston.

Maria L B

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Artful Life Blog Begins - Sept 13, 2010

This is the first day of a new thing, my own blog.  What to name my blog, Maria Creates, Liberto Art Studio, Maria Liberto Creates, or The Artful Life.  Many of those title are taken.  Do I include the names Liberto and Bessette?  I wanted to connect my websites, Liberto's Art and Coastal Cottage Soaps with my blog.  Maria's ideas and thoughts are many and wake me up in the middle of the night to contemplate.  Some of them being my day to day steps in creating my paintings, my thoughts as an artist, including how to decide on how to frame, price and the biggie - where to market my masterpieces. How to involve the public in the spirit of creativity and promote the arts in all its' artforms. I also need to share to the great recipes I depend on, my own tried and true recipes, and other culinary adaptions I have used.  Decorating ideas, sewing projects, fiber arts, folk art, floorcloths, soapmaking and many other creative sessions are ahead for me to share.

In thinking about sharing my artful life I realize that I create some type of art almost everyday.  It may be a little flower arrangement from my garden I place by the kitchen window or on the porch overlooking our secret yard; a plate of red and yellow garden tomatoes with vinaigrette, cheese with sprigs of basil; a car ride snapping images of rural countryside or cumulus clouds to use as references in my paintings. 

So fortunate and blessed I am.  I have time to do many these things that make me happy and productive.  And to also feel I can share my feelings, ideas, and creativity with many others.  Being supportive of other artists, whether a newbie, hobbiest or professional.  ( Thankful also for time to walk my local neighborhoods everyday adding at least 2 miles to my pedometer.)

So what do I name my blog:  The Artful Life of Maria Liberto Bessette.  Seems a little lengthy, but it is me.  I will share something I create each day.  Documenting with the actual photos of work in progress and recipes with images.  I hope I have time for all I desire to share with you.  I will try and hope someone will  want to follow my path.

In the middle of designing and deciding on a name for my blog I am thinking of dinner. Thoughts of the little pasta called orzo come to mind. I recently purchased orzo from a local bulk food store set in our Amish Community. 

Here are most of the ingredients to create
Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Here is the finale!

I choose this recipe since I had all ingredients on hand.  I adapted my recipe from one found at  Serves 6 to 8.   Add chopped chicken, turkey or ham and serve as an entree.


1 cup orzo uncooked
3 tablespoons red onion finely chopped 
1 cup fresh tomatoes seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons olives pitted and finely chopped 
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon grainy spicy mustard
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon balsalmic vinegar
2 tablespoons garlic oil (I used olive oil and 1/2 teas. minced garlic) 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup feta or chevre cheese crumbled  (you can use up to 1 cup)

How to make it: 

Bring a large quantity of water to a boil and cook orzo just until tender. Drain well and allow to cool then mix with onion, tomatoes, celery, basil, olives and capers. Whisk together mustard, sugar and vinegar then gradually beat in oil until emulsion forms. Pour vinaigrette over pasta mixture and season with salt and pepper then chill salad. When it is cold mix in the crumbled cheese and serve.

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Goodbye for now.  Sleep tight!

Maria L B