It’s a Digital Age

Just about everything we can think of is available to us digitally.  With technology evolving minute by minute, computers, tablets and cell phones, offer us a wealth of information at our fingertips.  Some may see it as advantageous; others dread using it. However we feel about it…it is here to stay.

Many of you have enjoyed our colorful printed catalog for the last 27years. In 2012, we decided to offer our catalog online for many reasons. As a result, we can all enjoy many advantages. For example, digital catalogs allow us to produce ongoing updates for you that are not possible with printed documents.  We are also able to provide more in-depth descriptions of our resources that in turn provide you with more information to make the best purchasing decisions for your program. The ability to share the document easily with other colleagues is another plus. By email, the link to the catalog disperses within seconds, and everyone making purchasing decisions or group orders can view it simultaneously. The popular Did You Know sections, formally in the old print versions, have returned because we have more space to include them! Another benefit of the new magazine/catalog format is that you are able to receive, via email, a new issue quarterly. The magazine section offers articles, activities, an artist spotlight and special offers.

We purposefully selected a simple format for our document that is compatible with older computers as well as the newest machines. If you do not have the capacity to use the digital format, please contact us.

CRIZMAC is dedicated to providing the finest quality resources for the best value. With our online magazine/catalog, we are able to offer more. We invite you to enjoy the benefits of technology and join us in discovering the possibilities in this exciting digital age.

Celebrate a Chile Christmas in July (or Whenever…)

Red or Green?

Red or Green? It may seem like an unusual question, but it’s one you’ll undoubtedly be asked when you order a meal at a traditional New Mexican restaurant. What your server wants to know is whether you’d like your enchildadas (or maybe burrito, huevos rancheros, or stuffed sopapilla…) topped with red or green chile.

Both types—red and green—chile come from the same plant. When New Mexicans talk about “chiles,” they’re referring to long chile peppers with names like “Big Jim,” “Rio Grande,” and—most commonly—“Hatch,” for the region surrounding this small town in the southern part of the state that is known as the “Chile Capital of the World.” These peppers are similar to what are known as an “Anaheim” in other places.

Green chiles are harvested before they’re quite ripe. After they’re roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced, they’re cooked with onion, garlic, chicken broth and (sometimes) tomatoes to make a savory green chile sauce.

For red chile, the chiles are allowed to remain on the plant longer, until they change to a deep, red color. Then they are harvested and allowed to dry (often in the colorful hanging strings, or ristras that are so emblematic of New Mexico). Red chile is sold in bags containing the dried pods, or processed into a powder. Either can be used to make red chile sauce.

So which should you choose?

Well, it depends. The flavors are quite different, so it really comes down to your personal preference. I generally opt for red chile on huevos rancheros, and green on chicken enchiladas…but that’s just me. If you’re unsure, you can have it both ways—and sound like a local—when you ask for “Christmas,” which will get you half and half—red on one side of the plate and green on the other.

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Some Valuable Quotes about Gold, Silver and What’s Really Precious

All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.

Plato

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Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn.

John Updike

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As every thread of gold is valuable, so is every moment of time.

John Mason

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Fort Knox Bars

I’ll admit it, as far as I’m concerned, this falls into the “what will they think of next…” category, but in the spirit of Gustav Klimt (who showed us the benefits of embellishing all things with gold) and since it is the season of Auld Lang Syne…silver and gold and all of that…let me introduce you to (you saw it here first!)…edible gold leaf! And yes, edible silver leaf is also a (slightly more economical) option.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that I haven’t actually tried this. (I’m far too cheap.) But if you have money to burn…or maybe I should say digest…I’m sure these bars will make quite the impression at your next party.

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Make a Klimt-Inspired Gift Box

Even just a hint of a sparkle or metallic sheen is enough to catch our attention and get us to take a second look. Gustav Klimt knew it, and so do we…  Here’s an idea for making some decorated boxes to package your holiday gifts in that are sure to be noticed…and appreciated!

Materials and Tools:

Photo storage box, or other box with a lid that fits over the top

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All that Glitters…The Life and Art of Gustav Klimt

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Source: Wikipedia

This is no ordinary Golden Anniversary. In 2012, Vienna, Austria will celebrate the 150th birthday of a favorite son, Gustav Klimt with exhibitions, tours and events throughout the city. But he wasn’t always so well accepted; Gustav Klimt was one of the most innovative and controversial artists of the early twentieth century.

Early Years

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt was born in 1862, the son of a struggling gold and silver engraver in a suburb of Vienna. He and his two brothers all displayed artistic talent early on. Gustav was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. His brother Ernst also enrolled in the school. The two brothers and a friend, Franz Matsch, opened a studio specializing in murals, which was quite successful. So Gustav Klimt began his professional career painting interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings in the prevailing classical-realist style. In 1892, both Klimt’s father and his brother Ernst died, leaving him financially responsible for both families. It was also during this time that he met Emilie Flöge, who would become his lifelong companion. Flöge was the sister of his brother’s widow, and whether or not this relationship was sexual has been the subject of some debate among scholars.

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Not Just Another Pretty Face: Make an Applehead Doll

Image from www.appledolls.org

Dolls have a long, rich history across the cultures. In prehistoric times, primitive puppets were often used in ceremonies. Tribal healers in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, sometimes utilized dolls in medicinal rituals. And, of course, most people are familiar with the idea of cursing enemies through the use of voodoo dolls (but we won’t go there right now…)

A few month ago, we looked at the tradition of corn dollies, which were believed to keep the spirits of the grain alive through the long winters, and to help ensure a good harvest the following year. But speaking of fruit faces (as we did in our earlier post about Guiseppe Arcimboldo’s unique portraits, here’s another way to use another common natural material (apples) to create the wonderful, wizened faces of applehead dolls. The Seneca Indians may have been the first to make dolls from apples, but the craft was later adopted by the mountain people in Appalachia. Today, they remain a popular folk art of the region.

I’m just going to give you the basics here, because there are several sites out there (www.appledolls.org in particular) that already do a far better job than I with the specifics.  Look for the resource list at the end of the post.

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Make a Beautiful Fruit Bouquet that Looks (and Is!) Good Enough to Eat

Have your centerpiece and eat it too! In our post about Guiseppe Arcimboldo, we explored the creative ways in which he used fruits and vegetables to produce his fantastic portraits. Now, here’s another way to create art from fruit—with the added benefit that this one is actually edible. With this beautiful fruit bouquet, you can enjoy your centerpiece during dinner and then put out a chocolate dipping sauce (or whatever you like…) and dismantle it for a delicious and healthful dessert!

A fruit bouquet might also make a nice, light morning-after-Thanksgiving breakfast. However you choose to use it, it’s an attractive and fun way to get your daily servings of fruit (and for a fraction of the cost of what the professionals at Incredible Edibles charge!).

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Being Fruitful or Vegging Out? The Bizarre Portraits of Guiseppe Arcimboldo

Rudolf II Painted as Verumnus, Roman God of the Seasons

Art critics have long debated whether the imaginative portrait heads of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (also spelled Arcimboldi), created entirely of representations of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, sea creatures and tree roots, are merely whimsical or the products of an unbalanced mind. The artist arranged these objects on the canvas so they formed a recognizable likeness of the subject of the portrait.

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How to Make Sugar Skulls for Day of the Dead

Image courtesy of mexicansugarskulls.com

 

Sugar art has been created in Mexico since colonial times. For the Day of the Dead, sugar skulls represented a departed soul, with the name of the person being honored written on the forehead. The skulls were then placed on home altars (ofrendas) or gravestones in honor of that soul’s return. Today, the skulls are also popular gifts. Like valentines, sugar skulls are exchanged by friends and sweethearts as a token of an affection and love that will transcend death. (If this seems like a strange idea, you may want to ready our post about Day of the Dead imagery.)

The sugar skulls sold in the markets for Day of the Dead are made using a complicated process involving boiled sugar and clay molds. But you can easily make your own skulls at home with just sugar, meringue powder, water, and special plastic molds.

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