Studio Materials 2

Studio Materials 2

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taking Stock and Making Stock

Taking Stock - idiom: To look at critically or searchingly, or in minute detail, Make or include in an itemized record or report

I recently moved, ….again…, so I was forced to unearth and assess all of the things I have accumulated during more than 20 years as an adult. I have very few things from my childhood: a 1976 syrup bottle commemorating the bi-centennial of our country. I put coins into it. I doubt, if turned in, those coins would amount to $20.00. An electric owl lamp whose eyes light up. It’s really no more than a night-light. A Teddy Bear I bought at Hersey Park in 8th grade. His name is Cocoa. I know, lame name, but he’s cute.

It’s amazing what we haul around with us through life. Tables, chairs, beds, bath towels, clothing (I have a lot of clothing!), kitchen supplies. These are the foundational items, the stuff we feel we need for creating a comfortable living space.  I’ve been preoccupied lately with what makes a comfortable home. Due to recent events which have me living a comparatively nomadic life, I’ve been forced, to reconsider what I am willing to carry around with me in order to live in what modern times would be considered a comfortable life.

The TV was one of the first things to go. I can watch what I need to fulfill that Zombie-like state of mind on the internet. Watching a television has become old school. Who would have thunk it? I’ve also been editing redundant kitchen utensils from my essentials list. Who really needs a blender anyway? I can buy drink mixers in the supermarket, with alcohol if need be. I only have a few pieces of furniture, just the essentials: dresser, mirror, bed, desk ( a big desk - I have my own business, so this monstrosity is my portable office) desk chair ( an antique I bought years ago at an auction, it fits my short legs), and one of those sets of four folding tables you buy at Target. Thankfully, where I’m living now is well furnished, no need for me to provide a tractor-trailer full of furniture.

What things do we need around us on a daily bases that make our lives livable? What can we live without? What are the things we have that, when we think about it, are more a burden than a benefit? I often wonder what it would be like to have a lot of money, and, therefore, the buying power that comes with it. Would I want all of things I can’t afford right now, or would acquiring, say,  an original dragonfly Tiffany Lamp be a liability rather than an improvement to my life?

Stock –noun: a flavored water preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces.
My first cooking lesson involved, among other things, making a basic soup stock. The ingredients are: rough chopped carrots, green peppers, onions, and celery. That’s it! From this basic, foundational melody of flavors, you can make a beef, chicken, or fish stock, or keep it as a vegetable stock. Any of these four stock bases will yield whatever soup, sauce, or flavor enhancement you like. Many people recommend having several containers of prepared stock in your freezer. What a revelation this is for me. Cooking always seemed like a chore because I thought I had to have all of this stuff on hand all of the time. Now I know I need just a few foundational ingredients, like soup stock, with which to create a delicious meal.

Simple, clean, uncluttered. I like it.


  1. Donna-
    What a fascinating juxtaposition of words and their related and contrasting meanings. This was wonderful post that left me mulling things over--or maybe I am simmering my thoughts!

  2. Love your new blog and the painting you posted with this entry. You are an amazing lady.

  3. Awww, shucks, Ladies. Phyllis, as a seasoned blogger, what advice do you have, if any, for me? Linda, thanks for the dish. :-)

  4. I have been thinking the same thing lately. I have too much stuff - over two-thousand vinyl LPs, Five reel-to-reel tapes and tape machines, ten shelves loaded with books, several hundred VHS tapes, three guitars (What was I thinking? I can only play one at a time).

    You inspire, Donna Cusano.

  5. Tom, I hear ya. For the sake of full disclosure, I did not mention at all the stuff i have in my studio. I have been editing that collection as well. However, as creative people, I feel there are things we need around us for the sake of inspiration, as well as those things necessary for our livelihoods. For example, I need to have what I ned in order to make paintings, and I need the good stuff. Crap brushes are a waste of time and money, so I get the god ones. Do I need, though, to collect other people's artwork? probably not. Bit, the pieces I have inspire me and I don't regret bringing them with me on my life's journey.

    Tom, your records, your guitars probably inspire you to write and film. They are part of that little-engine-that-could motivation that drives us crazy self employed creatives forward, when circumstances repeatedly suggest we give it all up for a real job.

    OK, get rid of one of the guitars. I'll bet one is a rare collectible piece anyway.

  6. That comment is full of typos, and I apologize for all of them. Sheesh!!