Monday, February 20, 2023

"Tom's World Famous Pasta Salad" Recipe

This is provided as a free public service....... I like to share things that I love.
And "World Famous" is in jest. Of course.


“Tom’s World-Famous Pasta Salad”



Soooooo, there’s really is no recipe or measurements; this is more of a guideline. You’ll have to figure out proportions on your own. Start small - you can always add more of whatever as you prefer. Also, this is more of a vegetable-heavy pasta salad – which is better for you, IMHO.


Ingredients -
Finely chop - (I figure the finer the better, it cuts down on the chewing, especially since all the vegetables are raw)

red pepper, or yellow, or orange
kale - no big stems
onion - if desired, I like Vidalia or sweet
garlic - we used the minced garlic from a jar

You can use any other vegetable you might have, or like.

Also added -
ground black pepper
nutritional yeast, if you have it - I added a generous sprinkle.
sunflower seeds, or any kind of seeds really. Sesame or roasted pumpkin seeds are good.
a pinch of dried basil and dried oregano

Sometimes I also like to add -
finely chopped fresh spinach
rarely, I add celery - it doesn't add anything nutritionally, it just adds crunch
I add tomatoes, if I'm going to eat it right away

Pasta -
whatever you like; I like rotini. I usually go light on the pasta; I'd say it’s about 30% pasta to veggies.

The Dressing –
I use the minimum amount so it’s not too saucy or overpowering. Start with the bare minimum; you can always add more.
extra virgin olive oil - not too much - you don't want it too oily.
vinegar - I use Bragg's apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar – equally, or any amount you like. Careful - too much vinegar can be overpowering. You can always add more, (lesson learned).
mustard - I used Dijon, but sometimes I use yellow, or spicy. Again, just a little of this. Not sure if you ever taste the mustard, but it's in there.
ranch dressing - I usually add this last; to taste. My wife’s not a big fan, so I keep it to a bare minimum.  
You could probably add any salad dressing you'd like. We usually only have ranch.

In the past, I've also added - 
cheese - feta is good – or any kind of shredded cheese. Just a bit.
capers, yum!
You really can add in anything - I figure the more variety, the better.

The Process –

I usually chop everything while the pasta is cooking. After everything is chopped, add in the liquids and the salt and pepper etc., and toss/stir. Then add the cooked, drained, and cooled pasta. Toss/stir again. Add ranch dressing. Toss/stir. Taste - and alter to taste. You can always add more of whatever once it's all together. That's the real key – taste, and alter to taste. The more you make it, the more you’ll learn how to make it "right" - but for me it's always delicious!

A lot of times I make extra and enjoy it the next day.

Basically this is a fine chopped salad without the lettuce. And you can pile it all on spinach or lettuce as a quick salad.




PS Next time I make this, I'll try to add some photos as reference.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

"Jessicka's Piece" - 2021 - A Birthday Gift for Her Husband

Some of you may know Jessicka Addams; she's an artist, and musician, among other things. I met her at a  group show at a gallery in 2014. We have admired each other's work for years. She asked my to make this piece - that she's had in mind for a while - and I gladly accepted. She texted me a quick sketch (see below) and then we talked on the phone about it. After I got all the info, I set out to create this piece for her - about her, her husband, their house, and their many cats.     

It doesn't really have a title - I just call it "Jessicka's Piece".

The final images.....

The piece measures 12" x 19" x 8".

The piece depicts their house, with porch, and their multiple cats. This is really what their house looks like - I made it a bit more stylized.

The heart represents, of course, love - but also there's a bit more going on in the heart. 

On request, I added battery-powered lights to the house. I rarely use anything battery-powered - but they worked out well, and made sense here.

It was a bit of a challenge to get their arms around each other like this. The have to be 'joined' together, and then inserted into the base at the same time. 

I like this more dramatic shot. 

A few 'making of' images....

This is the sketch Jessicka sent me. 

Starting with the bodies. I knew they were going to be in close contact - and that was a challenge - getting their bodies, and arms, into natural positions. 

The legs are carved.

Sadly, I didn't take many of pics building the rest. 

This is how I built the fence - mimicking the one they have.  All soldered.

This is the fence in its raw state. 

And the fence after treating it with an antiquing solution.  I had to make two sections of fence for this piece.

An image of making the castle (house). I made a round form, and wrapped stiff paperboard around it. 

A little more detail is added. After this I 'stuccoed' it all with a mixture of black paint and drywall mud. 

Here's a close up of the heart. 

I wish I took more pics of the 'making of' this piece. Actually I took more video of the 'making of'.

Here's that movie.....

Thanks for looking!


Saturday, January 15, 2022

"Heroes" - 2020 - Tributes to Some of my Favorite People, Part 1

 I've been thinking about doing this kind of work for many years - portraits of some my favorites. For my first 4, I choose not only some of my favorite musicians, but also people how had a very distinct to their 'look'. I like distinct unique faces. I think I'm feeling for confident about my sculpting skills - my faces are not super-realistic, but more stylized. I rather have my own style honestly. 

All these are sold, but I hope to make more in this series.

First the final images, and then a few "making of" images at the end. Ladies first......

"Broken Heart of Glass"

A Tribute to Debbie Harry. This piece is 14.5" x 15.5" x 3".

The frame is vintage - and in pretty sad shape, but I love how it looks. 

Yes, I also have a small collection of broken pieces of glass. I'm glad I had these on hand.

I decoupaged the background with vintage paper, then aged it, and added a bit of white paint to lighten it up. 

All the glass pieces were secured with specially bent wire that I made. I didn't want to use glue. 

Her face.

On the back, I pasted an article that I found in an old detective/true crime magazine from the 50s. I thought it was perfect.

"Happy House"
A tribute to Siouxsie Sioux, of Siouxsie and the Banshees. The piece measures 8" x 13.5" x 3".

This piece is mounted on a lid from old box my brother gave me. The box contained tons of old cobbler's nails. I still have, and use, those nails in my work. And I think I used the box for some other piece as well.

And I love the song, "Happy House", I think it was one of the first songs I her from her, back in the late 70s or early 80s. 

I love the pop of color that the red cord adds. 

It's all about the details.

More details. If you lift that little door, there's a secret word inside. 

I pasted a page of a Danish bible from the 1880s on the back. Why not?

"Sixteen Shells"
A tribute to Tom Waits. This piece measures 20" x 13" x 3".

I was able to salvage more of that vintage frame for this piece.

An obvious reference to Tom's song, "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six". And I was lucky to have these shells in my studio. At the time, I lived in Downtown Atlanta and lots of movies were shooting in the neighborhood. I would pick up the spent shells when I would see them. They were perfect for this piece.

I decoupaged the background with vintage paper.

I nailed these on, and treated the nail heads with an antiquing solution. 

The antique frame. 

More decoupaged vintage paper - appropriate to the piece I think.

"Reasons to be Cheerful"
A tribute to Ian Dury, of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. The piece measures 14.5" x 11" x 3"

Ian has a song called, "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3". What a perfect title for this piece that may or may not have anything to do with being cheerful - but who cares? 

I love all the found objects here. 

I just always loved his personality and his style. I hope I captured some of it. 

Tiny foundry patterns. 

Small vials.

Something off of a saxophone(?).

I love this - and had to include it here. I have a few of these coins - I think someone gave them to me. 

The back. This piece is actually out of an old Victrola. The instructions on how to lubricate the Victrola are on the label you see. 

A few 'making of' images....

The polymer clay heads - before I added the hair on the second bake. 

The heads after painting.

The heads, after aging, lightly sanding, and finishing with a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax. 

The portraits are dressed, and ready to be added to their piece. 

Laying out the heart for Debbie's piece - so many choices.

Laying out Siouxsie's piece.

And Ian's piece. 

The background for Ian's piece. This was covered with 'answers' from a vintage question & answer book. Aged and then lightly sanded and waxed. 

A possible option for Tom's piece. I thought the other way was better. 

An interesting page from a vintage catalog. I love stuff like this. 

Thanks again for looking!