All posts by Cathy

SHORT BIO OF CATHY BARZO from Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada I moved to Tillsonburg, Ontario in May 2011 from Vancouver, BC. It's a big change in so many ways, but I'm enjoying small town living including living in a house with a porch and flower gardens to look after. I'm doing lots of art - painting in acrylics and watercolour and pottery. I'm a member of our local arts centre - Station Arts, where I go to a weekly drop-in studio. As a member I and can show and sell my artwork in The Bridge Street Gallery. My first sale was so exciting! My other creative endeavours are in the kitchen and the garden. I make most of my bread, ricotta and mascarpone cheese and enjoy cooking Hungarian cuisine. My garden is coming along - my Nikos Blue Hydrangea is the star of the garden. I like to write about art, cooking, travelling and anything that catches my interest.

Where to begin…or start again

I’ve had this blog for awhile, but I haven’t written anything for a long time.  Let’s see if I can start posting once a week.

Quick update:  I’m still in Tillsonburg, running a rooming house and working part-time sampling wine & spirits in the LCBO stores (government liquor stores).  I’ve got a garden, mostly flowers but a few veg, and do my art.  Where the time goes, I don’t know.

I finished painting some greeting cards and delivered them to The Anchor Shoppe.  Carol, the owner of the store, carries a variety of local arts and crafts, even though its basically a 2nd hand furniture store.  She also has a couple of my paintings.  There’s an eclectic mix of things for sale — metal garden birds, raw edge benches, jewellery, lanterns — all sorts of decor items for your home, cottage and garden.  It’s one of the more interesting stores in town and the price points are very reasonable.

It’s Monday, so there was drop in painting at Station Arts.  I’m working on a watercolour painting of a funky chicken and rooster couple.  It’s getting there, but still some work to do.  Same story with a couple acrylic paintings I started in a recent course.

Well tomorrow is another day.  What to do?  I think gardening is in order as I still have some plants to put into pots.  

These are pics of the cards.  I called the first one “We’re Here!”  I imagine them standing outside someone’s open door as un expected visitors (if they were human that is).  The others don’t have titles.


This is my painting of birches that I called “Be Still My Heart”.  There’s a lot of texture in this painting that doesn’t really show in a photograph.  

Get a modern look for your photographs with Sublimation Printing or Facemounting

A couple of new and modern looks for your photographs is sublimation printing or facemounting. Go to the link below for an article prepared by Opus Art Supplies (Vancouver, BC) to see what it’s all about.  This technique is becoming more popular and you can find suppliers locally that can do this for you.

These methods provide a very modern look that will set your art apart.  There is no need for matting, glass or a frame making it a lightweight piece of art.  These techniques are very durable and long-lasting.

Sublimation printing involves ‘printing’ the image onto clear-coated aluminum or onto a high-gloss finish of white-coated aluminum.  Facemount printing ‘starts with a pigment-based ink and fine art digital paper – either resin-coated gloss photo paper or Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl. The print is then laminated onto an aluminum composite backing, and faced with a clear adhesive, permanently mounted to acrylic’.

I’ve seen these methods used by members of my photography club and used in a recent exhibit at Tillsonburg Station Arts.  The method you choose will depend on the subject matter and colours invovled.  Do you want the metal to show through?  Do you want a bright glossy white background to make your colours pop?  Bright colours are stunning when faced with acrylic.

Thanks to Opus Art Supplies for this excellent article on these methods.

Sublimation Printing | Opus Art Supplies.

Just another weekend in London, Ontario

It’s August and I’m in London visiting my very good friends, Marlene & Wayne.  It’s a time for lots of conversation, good eats, nice wine, movies and friendship.  I always talk too much because I’m conversation deprived in Tillsonburg.  So information gets shot out at an accelerated speed, subject vary wildly and sometimes don’t go too far.  We have lots to catch up on.

Friday night we settled in for a movie — Wayne was at the controls of Netflix and there was Marlene, their daughter Kelly and I.  Right from the start it was a weird movie – crude, rude and awful but Wayne wouldn’t tell us what it was called.  We had to overrule him to get him to change it.  We ended up watching “Girl on a Bicycle which was mostly in English with some subtitles.  I liked the movie, but it was all that great – Marlene left partway through.

Saturday, Marlene cooked up some eggs Benedict for breakfast — good start.  She made a cranberry coffeecake and I was rolling pie crust for a couple of blueberry pies.  Those are waiting for us for Sunday night dessert.  After that we just hung out at home, check out the flower garden, listened to CBC radio, read, had a nap – just a lazy day.  We had a 65th birthday party to attend later for Robert at his and Claire’s house which is just up the road.  Nice party, new people to meet plus some familiar faces.  Over the years I’ve got to know some of this crowd as they are mutual friends.  There are lots of gatherings at Wayne and Marlene’s so I’ve made some acquaintances.  The party was a little subdued which I’m sure was connected to the weather.  Yesterday was overcast all day – no rain, but no sunshine.  So it wasn’t the summer deck party they were hoping for.

Home about 10 pm – Kelly was back from work and we settled into a movie — “Snow White and the Huntsman”.  A heavily CGI’ed movie, rather dark, but I quite liked it.  I enjoy a fantasy movie from time to time.

Sunday and Wayne cooked mush for breakfast.  Marlene and set off for the garden centre .. lots of great plants on sale — I bought a pretty pinky coleus to add to a planter at home.  I was tempted to buy more, but I’m not exactly sure whether I’m going to Windsor or just heading back home.  Plus I spend too much on flowers and I need to watch that.

We stopped at Angelo’s, a great Italian grocery and specialty store — beautiful deli, bakery and produce plus all the other grocery items.  I picked up a few ‘tube foods’ — tomato paste, anchovy paste, Hungarian goulash paste  –  great stuff to have in your kitchen toolkit to jazz up my cooking.  Marlene picked up fixings for sandwiches — Tuscan Ham,  Portuguese rolls, a Kale-vegetable salad for the most delicious fresh sandwiches.  Now some relaxation time – Wayne doing a Sudoku, Marlene sitting in the sun to read and I’m writing this blog.

No matter what we do on a weekend, it is always such a treat and retreat for me.  I feel like I’m back in the real world and I always feel re-energized.  This is my sanctuary.

It’s about 4 o’clock and still lots to look forward to — a dinner of lamb and salmon, a bottle of wine, some blueberry pie and an evening of tv of some sort – probably a movie.  Tomorrow is back to work for them, I’ll do a little shopping and then head back to Tillsonburg – filled with happy memories.

Ten (okay 14) books that had an impact.

My cousin Dianne posted a request on FaceBook – name 10 books that had an impact on you. Well because my memory is poor, I had to check my GoodReads site to look for some of those books. It was hard to wittle down to 10 – actually I had 14 that came to mind. Here’s my list: Johnathan Livingston Seagull; A Prayer for Owen Meany; Eat, Pray Love; Bel Canto; The Hobbit; A Spanish Lover; The Old Man and the Sea; A Year by the Sea; The Edible Woman; Tuesdays With Morrie; Paprika, A Spicy Memoir; Through Black Spruce; Mr. G, A Novel About Creation; The Golden Compass.

Most of these books were from long time ago. Were those books more memorable? Am I still reading books that are inspiring? Yes and No. Books were like an open window to me and I learned about the outside world. I grew up on a farm and even went to a one room school for grades 2 and 3. But despite that, I knew there was more out there.

Some of that world even came to me. In the summer time, we had workers to help with the tobacco harvest. They mostly came from Quebec and several from the East Coast. And I was first generation Canadian – my father and his family came from Hungary as well as my grandmother and uncle on my mother’s side – my Mom was born in Alberta.

Books were a way for me to learn about people, relationships and other places. I learned about about myself and others.

Hungarian comfort food – Plum Dumplings!

I was just looking at Food52.com for some ideas and came across a recipe that looked oh so familiar!  It was for an Austrian dish called “Zwetschgenknödel”.  Hungarians make these too!  They are called Szilvas (Plum) Gomboc (pronounced ‘gumboltz).  They are a plum filled dumpling smothered in toasted and sugary breadcrumbs.

The dough is made with mashed potatoes and flour.  The dough is rolled out and cut into squares with a plum, prune or spoon of thick plum jam placed in the centre; then bring all corners up to the centre and pinch off making sure the filling is sealed inside.  The dumplings are boiled and then covered with browned breadcrumbs.

Definitely an unconventional dish, especially to eat for dinner, but it could be served for dessert or brunch.  Our family loves this Hungarian Comfort Food.   I made these with my Mom – baking together was always something very special since I lived far away in Vancouver.  My Mom has now passed away so I continue to make them to share with my Dad, brother and sisters.

You can find the recipe for the Austrian version at www.Food52.com by searching for ‘Zwetschgenknödel’ or check out the April 2013 edition of Chatelaine for the Hungarian version.  They are basically the same although the Austrian version rolls the dumpling into a ball and then pushes a plum into the middle and then pinches the opening closed.  You may find that method easier.  Maybe this will become one of your favourite dishes.

Hungarian Comfort Food
Hungarian Comfort Food

“When I’m 64” – Places to Retire

The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2014.

An interesting article about places to retire – I hope before I’m 64, maybe in a couple of years.  Hungary was the number one spot and Eastern Europe in general.  Also, Portugal, Spain and Greece.  Unfortunately many countries in the EU are still recovering economically but that makes it an inexpensive place to live.  It’s in my dreams to live in Europe and by the looks of this article, it just might make economic sense too.

Print and Frame that Photograph with Speciality Art Papers!

Two speciality fine art papers available for home printing are Moab Slickrock Metallic pearl and CANSON INFINITY Arches Aquarelle.  The Metallic pearl promises to “transforms an image into lifelike, almost three dimensional quality.”  The Arches paper “is a popular mould-made watercolour paper with a warm white tone.  …  is made with 100% Rag, is internally buffered to resist gas fading, and is acid-free to avoid paper degradation.”

Here’s a link to the full article about these and other fine art papers:
Digital Printing At Home | Opus Art Supplies.

When I lived in Vancouver I shopped at Opus Art Supplies.  Unfortunately they don’t have any stores in Ontario although you can order on-line, but there is a charge for shipping.  The beauty of this site though is their section on How-To’s, Video Demos and a library of written material like this article.

So get that photo off your electronic device or camera and make some art!