Category Archives: Personal

Christmas Cookie Family Favorites

Sherman Family Christmas cookie favorites include sugar cookies and date bars.

 

Every year my family looks forward to my mother’s cookies and fruit cake.  She bakes yule logs flavored with molasses, date bars, rolled sugar cookies, and fruit cake.

This year, I followed her recipe for sugar cookies and for the filled bar cookies, using chopped dates.  She sometimes substitutes part of the water with orange juice. I added a quarter teaspoon of orange extract.

 

My mother rolls her sugar cookie dough and then cuts them into shapes. I was lazy so I formed the dough into balls and then pressed them flat with the bottom of a glass.

This are my Mother’s recipes as she wrote them:
Filled Bar Cookies

Make date or other filling.

Preheat oven to 400°.

3/4 cup margarine 1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 3/4 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Mix margarine and sugar together thoroughly.

Mix together and stir in flour, soda, and salt.

Stir in oats and mix thoroughly. Place 1/2 the

crumb mixture in a greased and floured 9 x 13

pan. Spread with cooled filling. Cover with

remaining crumb mixture……patting lightly.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned.

While warm cut into bars and remove from pan.

Date Filling: Mix together in saucepan; 3 cups

cut-up dates (24 oz.), 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 1/2

cups water. (I have substituted orange juice

for part of the water.) Cook over low heat,

stirring until thickened. (About 10 minutes)

Cool.

Prune Orange Filling: Mix together in saucepan;

3 cups cut-up cooked prunes (drained), 1/2 cup

sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tbls. lemon

juice and 2 tbls. grated orange rind(optional).

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until

thickened. (About 10 minutes) Cool.

Fig, Apricot,or Raisin Filling: Use date recipe

and replace with figs, apricots, or raisins.

 

 Sugar Cookies

4 1/2 cups sifted flour      2 cups sugar

  1/2 teaspoon salt          4 eggs, beaten

4 teaspoons baking powder    1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup margarine              2 tablespoons milk

Sift flour, salt  and  baking powder  together.

Cream margarine  and sugar together.   Add eggs

and vanilla.   Add sifted ingredients and milk.

Roll and cut. You will probably have to add

more flour as you roll. Sprinkle with sugar and

bake on an ungreased baking sheet in  375° oven

12 minutes.

To Fill Cookies:

Roll out dough  and cut  into  circles.   Place

teaspoon  of  filling  on  half of the circles,

keeping it away from  the  edges.   Cover  with

remaining circles  and  press  together  around

edges with tines of a fork.  Bake as for sugar

cookies.

               Raisin Filling

2/3 cup sugar    2 cups raisins    Dash of salt

2/3 cup hot water         3 teaspoons margarine

Combine ingredients and cook until thick. Cool.

                 Fig Filling

1 cup chopped figs   1 cup water  Juice 1 lemon

 1/2 cup sugar     2 tbls. flour   Dash of salt

Combine ingredients and cook until thick. Cool.

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Filed under Christmas, Holidays, Life, Personal, Photography, Recipes

National Cat Day #NationalCatDay

I’ve been a Cat Lady since 1991 when we got our first cat, Malcolm, a little Maine Coon kitten from Wayside Waifs.

Lucky me, since the summer of 2010 I’ve played with cats and kittens every week at Wayside Waifs when I take their photographs for the adoptable cats section of the Wayside Waifs website. I also photograph dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and ferrets. But mostly cats, maybe 15,000 so far.

Sadly, Malcolm and Paddington have both passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

#NationalCatDay I’ve been a cat lady since 1991 when we got Malcolm from #WaysideWaifs. #Purrfect Love (Top Left to Right, clockwise) Malcolm, Bones, Inka and Paddington.

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Life, Personal, Pets, Photography

Armistice Day Peace and Remembrance Display

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918, a light installation of scarlet poppies, movies and information, “Peace and Remembrance,” was projected on the Liberty Memorial for nine nights (Nov. 2-Nov. 11, 2018), honoring the nine million soldiers who died in the war.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

~Lt Col John McCrae

Although, snow was forecast, a friend suggested we make a trip to the final night (Nov. 11, 2018) of the Poppy Display at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, a 45-minute drive. I was reluctant to go, but I’m so happy that we did. It was a very moving experience. And the snow waited until after we got home. The Liberty Memorial is part of the National World War I Museum and Memorial of the United States.

Although The National World War I Museum and Memorial is far from the battle zones of World War I, few Americans were untouched by the sacrifices made in that war. My grandfather, a farmer in South Dakota, was deployed to France at the end of World War I. Fortunately, he came home.

Liberty Memorial Poppies, Kansas City, Missouri Photo Print

According to the National World War I Museum and Memorial Website: “For the nine days leading up to the Armistice, the official WWI memorial of the United States was illuminated with a nearly 55 million pixel, 800,000 lumens display featuring more than 5,000 poppies each evening in a massive and moving light installation. Every 15 minutes, a special presentations of images, footage and details about World War I will appear. Peace and Remembrance marks the centennial of the Armistice of 1918 that brought an end to WWI, with each day of the installation leading up to the Armistice signifying one million of the total nine million combatant deaths of the conflict.”

Opened to the public as the Liberty Memorial museum in 1926, the National World War I Museum and Memorial.was designated in 2004 by the United States Congress as America’s official museum dedicated to World War I.

In 2004, construction started on a new 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) expansion and the Edward Jones Research Center underneath the original memorial. The year that this was completed, Liberty Memorial was designated a National Historic Landmark (September 20, 2006)

Why Poppies?

In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write a now famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.

The inspiration behind the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance.

National WWI Museum and Memorial
America’s official World War I museum and memorial, located in Kansas City, Mo. Home to the most comprehensive collection of WWI objects in the world.
National World War I Museum and Memorial Official Website.

Armistice Day Peace and Remembrance Display.

Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI.

About the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

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Filed under History, Kansas City, Personal, Photography

I’m a Fan in the Rain

 

I recorded part of Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded” song (in video above.) I thought the fire and lighting effects were fun (I don’t get out much. Maybe this is standard at concerts now.) Although I hadn’t specifically followed Foreigner’s music and don’t own any Foreigner albums, I recognized every song from the radio.  Very singable music! They just don’t write songs the way they used to, this old timer says.

 

I’ve been a big Led Zeppelin fan for decades.  On July 17, 2018 (I’m a little late posting this…), my husband and I went to see “Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience” at Starlight Theater, an outdoor venue, in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Experience plays Led Zeppelin music exactly as I remember it.  It gave me goosebumps, and not just because of the rain. I always see Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s lead singer, when he performs town. Next time is in September 2018! My husband and I already have tickets.

I got soaked at the Starlight Theater concert, but it was worth it. After The Led Zeppelin Experience, we enjoyed “Whitesnake” (a guilty pleasure) and then the main act was “Foreigner,” a band I’ve always enjoyed on the radio. It performs in Kansas City every year, I think, but this was my first time to see Foreigner in concert. This band has devoted fans!

For the past nine years, Foreigner has welcomed a local choir to join the band in performing a song at every show on its tour. With each road stop, the performing school gets $500 towards its music program. St. Thomas Aquinas Choir to Perform With the Band Foreigner.

The “Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience” performs in the top photo. Speaking in the center is drummer Jason Bonham, the son of John Bonham, who was the drummer for Led Zeppelin.
In the lower photograph is David Coverdale, lead singer of Whitesnake.

Part of Whitesnake’s iconic song “Here I Go Again.” Sorry I didn’t get the entire song. Hey, it was still raining a little.

Set List for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Starlight Theater, July 17, 2018
Set List for Whitesnake, Starlight Theater, July 17, 2018
Set List for Foreigner, Starlight Theater, July 17, 2018

My blog post about my love of Led Zeppelin.  Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin.

Jason Bonham Official Website.

Whitesnake Official Website.

Foreigner Official Website.

You can also find more information about these bands and their members on Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

 

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Filed under Kansas City, Music, Personal, Photography

Passion for Photography

You can see my “Valentine Diner” photograph in the center of this ten-second video of Art Gras 2017, a juried art show in Leawood, Kansas.  The action is at 4x normal speed, I’m guessing.  After I watched the video several times looking for people I know, I saw myself in the first aisle closest to the camera.  My daughter appeared briefly later.  It’s our ten seconds of fame.

When you read a photographer’s biography on a website, you will often find the phrase “passion for photography.” It might seem trite, especially when you read it over and over. But it’s absolutely true. How else can you describe the overwhelming need to take photographs. The reason for the passion differs, perhaps, but the drive is the same. Many photographers describe this urge, mania or whatever it is as beginning as soon as they knew what a camera was. The evolution of photography with a camera built into a phone makes it easier to feed this passion.

A different passion is showing your art in galleries and art shows, which I’ve done the last few years.  I’ve included a few photographs of my adventures in the Kansas City art show world.  I’m not as enthusiastic about entering art shows as some are.  I only enter local shows.  Some people enter shows throughout the country, which means shipping your work, not an easy task.  That’s dedication.

One of the best parts of being in this art world is the many wonderful friends that you make. They are also very inspiring.

Here are some quotes from famous and not so famous photographers, who will explain this passion better than I can:

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” Alfred Eisenstaedt

My Photographs in 2017 Arti Gras Juried Art Show, Leawood, Kansas. “Valentine Diner” won first place in photography.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams

“The quickest way to make money from your camera is to sell it.” anonymous

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Ansel Adams

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange

“Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.” David Lynch

“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” Edward Steichen

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.” Ansel Adams

“I’ve always believed that photography is a way to shape human perception.” James Balog

“Traditionally, photography is supposed to capture an event that has passed; but that is not what I’m looking for. Photography brings the past into the present when you look at it.” Julian Schnabel

“Photography is the easiest medium with which to be merely competent. Almost anybody can be competent. It’s the hardest medium in which to have some sort of personal vision and to have a signature style.” Chuck Close

Here a man enjoys reading a book in a quiet corner of Corinth Library where my photographs are on display. A photography group I belong to displayed some of the member photographs in the library, which is a branch of the Johnson County Library. The Johnson County Library displays a wide range of art in changing exhibitions.

Here a man enjoys reading a book in a quiet corner of Corinth Library where my photographs are on display. A photography group I belong to displayed some of the member photographs in the library, which is a branch of the Johnson County Library. The Johnson County Library displays a wide range of art in changing exhibitions.

“People think because it’s photography it’s not worth as much, and because it’s a woman artist, you’re still not getting as much – there’s still definitely that happening. I’m still really competitive when it comes to, I guess, the male painters and male artists. I still think that’s really unfair.” Cindy Sherman

“In a world and a life that moves so fast, photography just makes the sound go out and it makes you stop and take a pause. Photography calms me.” Drew Barrymore

“I never shot on sets, but if I was traveling somewhere or on location, I would always have my camera, and I’d always be – it’s that kind of fly on the wall approach to photography, though. I don’t engage the subject. I like to sneak around, skulk about in the dark.” Jessica Lange

“Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment – this very moment – to stay.” Sam Abell

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams

Many art shows give patrons the opportunity to vote for their favorite artwork. My photograph of a “Rancher Starting a Controlled Burn” is on the left at the Buttonwood Art Space in Kansas City, Missouri. Perhaps being displayed over the ballots gave my photograph an advantage, because it won the “Patrons Choice” award in 2015 for “Visions of the Flint Hills.” Buttonwood Art Space has supported the Flint Hills area of Kansas and its through an annual art benefit featuring art of this essential grassland prairie.

My photography has been accepted in several local art shows, including Arti Gras, Leawood, Kansas; the “Visions of the Flint Hills” exhibit at Buttonwood Art Space, Kansas City, Missouri; “Art at the Center’s National Juried Exhibition” in Overland Park, Kansas; and “State of the Arts” juried art show in Prairie Village, Kansas.  My work has been featured at the Overland Park galleries of  InterUrban ArtHouse and Images Art Gallery, where I was a member and now continue as an associate.  My photography was part of an exhibition in 2016 at the Corinth branch of the Johnson County Public Library.  Additionally, I have art piled up all over my house!

The first time I entered “Valentine Diner” was the 2016 annual juried “State of the Arts” show in Prairie Village, Kansas. Only one artwork from each artist is accepted and it must have been produced within the two previous years. The juried exhibit is on display in the R.G. Endres Gallery every October. The photograph of the “Blue Swallow Motel” on the left is by my friend Marla Craven.

Some of my worst photos — fuzzy, overexposed, etc — I’ve taken at art shows. It’s hard to take photos when you’re holding a glass of wine and clutching a program. But I still want to document the event. Here, William Rose, a fantastic artist, announces the winners of the 2016 “Art at the Center” annual juried art show. Rose was the juror for the show.

I also exhibit online, where I’ve “met” and discovered thousands of brilliant artists and photographers.  One of my favorites is Fine Art America.  My website is  Catherine Sherman on Fine Art America. Another favorite is RedBubble, where I can found at Catherine Sherman on RedBubble.  You can find all of my work, including greeting cards and products on such sites as Zazzle and Greeting Card Universe gathered on my website: Catherine Sherman Website.

Part of my featured artist exhibit at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park, Kansas, in June 2016.

Part of my featured artist exhibit at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park, Kansas, in June 2016.

My photographs of night views of Kansas City iconic features, which was on display at Images Art Gallery, Overland Park, Kansas, in 2016.

My photographs of night views of Kansas City iconic features, which was on display at Images Art Gallery, Overland Park, Kansas, in 2016.

Some of my greeting cards available for sale at Images Art Gallery, 7320 W. 80th Street, Overland, Park, Kansas.

Some of my greeting cards available for sale at Images Art Gallery, 7320 W. 80th Street, Overland, Park, Kansas.

A tour of Images Art Gallery when I was featured artist June to July 2016.

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Filed under Art, Kansas City, Personal, Photography

Webster House in Kansas City

The historic Webster House has been transformed from a school to a beautiful shopping and dining destination. It stands next to the modern Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.

The historic Webster House has been transformed from a school to a beautiful shopping and dining destination. It stands next to the modern Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.

One of my favorite buildings to photograph is the Webster House, formerly the Webster School. It’s in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri. 

Nutcrackers for sale at the Webster House

Nutcrackers for sale at the Webster House

It’s a beautiful work of art, designed in the “Richardson Romanesque” style.  What a grand place it must have been to attend school there! It’s lovely inside and out with fabulous interior wood woodwork. The school officially opened in 1886 and then closed in 1932. It was restored, opening in 2002, as a beautiful dining and shopping location. The Webster House has a beautiful bell tower, which is a reconstruction. The original was removed after another school’s bell tower fell during a tornado and caused the death of fifteen students.  I like to meet friends and family at the Webster House for lunch or dinner, served in a couple of lovely dining rooms, which were once school rooms.

Behind the Webster House are the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Bartle Hall Pylons, architectural icons and modern additions to the Downtown Kansas City landscape.

The Webster School was designed by the Kansas City School Board’s architect, Manuel Diaz. Webster House is one of the oldest remaining public school buildings in Kansas City and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Webster School was the last area school built with a bell tower on top. In 1886 a tornado caused the bell tower on the Lathrop School at Ninth and Broadway to crash into the school, collapsing the third and second floors into the basement and burying children in the debris.  Bell towers were no longer permitted on top of schools after this tragedy. (Read comment from Craig Shannon in the comments section below for additional information about the construction of the school, including the bell tower.)

The old Webster School is now a restaurant and store. Here beautifully decorated trees display Christmas ornaments for sale.

The old Webster School is now a restaurant and store. Here beautifully decorated trees display Christmas ornaments for sale.

Beautiful cabinets that match the original woodwork of the old Webster School display jewelry for sale.

Beautiful cabinets that match the original woodwork of the old Webster School display jewelry for sale.

History of the Webster House.

History of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Crossroads Arts District.

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Filed under Education, Kansas City, Personal, Photography

Vermont Church Before and After Photoshop

 

“Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?”

(“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen)

island-pond-church

This is my photograph of the Episcopal Church in Island Pond, Vermont, after removing electrical wires and poles and adding a watercolor filter in Photoshop. Click on the photo to see it in a larger size.

On a recent trip to Vermont, my fantasy was to find a quintessential New England church that was surrounded by trees glowing with brilliant Autumn colors.  I found the tree in the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, but it was also surrounded by more than a dozen strings of electrical wires and one large utility pole.

As a long-time journalist, I hesitate to change reality in a photograph, even though the camera does lie somewhat with lens distortion, not capturing true color and other defects,  but as an artist I didn’t hesitate one second to remove all of the electrical debris.  Easier said than done, though.  When you remove an element from a photograph, the deleted spots must be replaced by pixels that look natural. I used the clone brush to make the changes.  I didn’t do it all at once, but in about half-hour increments over a series of weeks, because the work was incredibly tedious. I also straightened the photo a little to fix lens distortion.

After many hours, I’m happy with the result. Hope my fantasy looks real!  And thanks to my husband Mike and friend Phil who were very patient while I wandered around Island Pond with my camera. There was a gorgeous shot everywhere I looked! I posted these photographs on a couple of websites.

Be sure to click on my post “Fauxtography” Altering reality in a photograph, linked below.

dsc_0372-002

This is my original photograph of the Episcopal Church in Island Pond, Vermont, before I did any editing. Note all of the wires and the guardrail of the street in front of the church. I removed all of that with Photoshop.

Island Pond, Vermont, Church, Autumn Poster

This is a version of the church without the Watercolor Filter.

Island Pond, Vermont, Church, Autumn Poster

“Fauxtography” Altering reality in a photograph.

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Filed under Journalism, Personal, Photography, Travel