A Star is Born: The Life of A Pie

CA park day

…It all started one Saturday a few weeks ago when the most precious homegirl and I found a moment to snag an impromptu bike ride.  We stumbled upon a yard library, scored the books we were meant to receive, took a sip of ice cold  life changing cantaloupe juice she made, renamed it the nectar of life and met a crab apple tree! We plucked a few to enjoy once we reached the park.  After taking a bite of the found fruits, my most precious friend alerted me that they were transporting her back to childhood.  Of course this excited me more so I followed suit!. …And right she was.

CA bicycle

We committed to going back to the tree later in the week for more and agreed we would make something from them. They were perfectly sweet and perfectly sour. We felt so lucky and blessed!  More importantly,  these apples wanted to be used. …To have their purpose realized. To feed someone! Not be overlooked or taken for granted as a tree that produces a “nuisance fruit” that we have no use for (as is often the case here).  …It was a tree that wanted to give when many don’t know how to receive.  Yep, a real life giving tree!

CA worm

I soaked them and cleaned them and fell asleep. …This made some of them very soft forcing me to begin the process of using them immediately the next day.  This little visitor reminds us how important the cleaning process is by the way. Now wet AND soft, slicing them was more difficult than usual.  After draining the water I put them back in the refrigerator in hopes that the cold would restore the crisp of the apple making slicing easier. It helped a lot and by that evening production was on again. .

CA chopped

Do you know how small a crab apple is? And these were larger than normal!  I sliced off each side of the apple discarding the tiny core. They’re about the size of a golf ball but my fingers were souring on the slicing task quickly.  I tried to stay motivated and focus on the end result. It was already about 9p.m. Thoughts of “What have I gotten myself into” were starting to creep in.  I could see it was gonna be a long road ahead.  –I hadn’t even gotten to the crust yet! {shakes fist} Damn! Daaamn! Daaamn!

CA crust mixture

I put the apples in the pan with some brown sugar, water and lime juice until they began to simmer.  While that was going I started on my crust but started to get excited when it looked like it was blending so beautifully! Eventually I dropped my fork and opted for my fingers. The feeling of crust forming between your fingers that is also just the right texture and consistency is so…so….i dunno. Lovely! I rolled it into a ball and placed it on a sheet of plastic wrap to begin the roll out. –Another thing I didn’t always do but now, always will!

CA bottom crust

So smooth so lovely, no cracks! i poked a few fork holes in the crust and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes.

CA whole pie dough

I started falling asleep standing up during pie crust assembly. You know….what better time to incorporate some lattice pattern pie crust than at midnight when you really wanted to be in dream world an hour ago! But I’d come too far to turn back and had no option but to see it through to the end. Once I started I couldn’t stop so then I had to add some hand cut leaves.  I confess, toward the end here the fatigue was really setting in.  I was about to start pasting designs all over this pie! But I had to pull it back and remind myself that less is more, lol.  I also didn’t want to be appalled by my own work in the morning. 

CA whole night pie

After all my hard work I almost sat up with tooth picks in my eye lids. I was not going to drift off and fall asleep. I’d be lying if I said was not pleased with the result. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wanna cut into this immediately but in my fatique I found restraint!  I went to bed and said I’d get a better image in the morning and enjoy some for “breakfast-dessert” with my coffee.

CA whole pie

Fresh and well rested, I got a better picture. I still wanted to dig right in, but I needed the proper “accouterments” to enjoy my slice.  In other words, not without the java!

CA pan and slice2

…To think, this all started from a simple bike ride…

CA pan and slice

I have to say, I was so pleased with the consistency! Initially I wanted it to be a bit more soupy and gooey like a cobbler, but the consistency I got truly couldn’t be more perfect! It’s also a good consistency for it to be enjoyable hot or cold. …Like breakfast or dessert. They say crab apples are high in pectin and that is the truth! It is a real force to be reckoned with and would require adding significantly more water to your base. It will congeal at the drop of a hat.

CA crust only

But my crust though ya’ll! …I really don’t wanna toot my own horn but, TOOT TOOT! The recipe for LadyGurls crust is 2 2/3 Cup of all purpose flour/1tsp salt/ Cut in 1 Cup of real butter/7-8 Tablespoons of cold water. The colder the better. This crust rolled out beautifully. I am an egg wash addict on all crust, lol. It really does polish the crust up so beautifully in every way.

CA a bite.jpg

And the pie was enjoyed by many. Even the child who is often my toughest critic, was pleased. The End. Oh– I used my left over dough by rolling it out, cutting it into triangles and creating “pie cookies”. I sprinkled them with a little sugar, baked them and stuck them in our ice cream with some warm peaches. This crust goes a long way and freezes well too. I’ve said this before, but I hope you didn’t feel like this post lacked direction. Listen, it was about the pictures okay?! What can I say. But if you really want a more detailed recipe, just message me and I’m happy to send it or post it. I’m so much more about the visuals and the experience of it all.😉  P.S. Are we all clear on the benefits of not only the apple, but our “bitters”? Make sure you read up and the next time you see a tree that wants to give, be open to receive and do NOT shy away from the work involved though it may be tempting.  These are the moments and projects that keep us in a space of present moment living.  …Something that all opposing forces are working to pull us away from these days. 

…Just talkin pie, in Studio Five.


LadyGurls Scratch Biscuits in No Time Flat



People are so quick to give all the excuses as to why they can’t eat foods from scratch. Almost always first on the list is time.  Lawd knows I can relate to that. Not only that, people’s definition of what qualifies as real food has changed as well. I always say that simply counting the number of ingredients on a package and comparing that to the number of ingredients you’d use to make it at home tells you all you really need to know. Like those pilsbury biscuits in a tube? Mhmm, don’t do it. I knoooow!– those biscuits are so good! Don’t even get me started on the Orange cinnamon rolls!! But no. Say no. You know how their “squoze” into that tube and then POP OUT when you start removing the label? Well, guess what, they’re gonna do that in your body too! Eeew!

Second people will think these foods too rich, or say they have too much starch, blah, blah, blah. As you can see this recipe only has a whopping 3 tablespoons of sugar and actually calls for more salt than you really need. After that it’s pretty simple ingredients! That’s a heap better than multiple sugars, multiple salts/sodiums and some other preservatives inserted into your biscuit so it could arrive “fresh” at your local grocery store. Eeew.  If you let it, some simple preparation can make all the difference in your world! This is one of my most favorite biscuit mix recipes and it keeps for up to 1 month in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. I took it from a Marth Stewart mag initially, but then made my own modifications to it. It quickly becomes your own “add-milk (or heavy cream) + a shot of vanilla-and-mix” recipe. This does not take long AT ALL to prepare and once it’s done, requires even less time and labor to enjoy a true homemade biscuit.
6 Cups flour {for a whole wheat version substitute 2 of the 6 cups of flour for whole wheat flour}, 3 Tablespoons of sugar, 2 Tablespoons+2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon course salt {honestly I only use about a tsp. of sea salt}, grate 2 sticks of frozen butter OR cut in 2 sticks of room temp butter. Bake Time: About 10 minutes    Oven Temp: 350-375
The quantity of milk or cream will vary based on how much biscuit mix your using.  I add it very sparingly and add just enough for my dough to be moist, a little bit sticky, but not so sticky that it’s STUCK to my fingers. Avoid GUMMY. If it goes there, add a little more dry mix to balance it out. ….Just let it retain a little “stick to the touch” if you will. This recipe makes what I call a more “rustic” biscuit (look i’m not a food blogger okay). It’s got a little fluff but it’s more hearty than anything.  If you prefer a lighter biscuit, increase your amounts of baking powder. It doesn’t take much to make a difference.  Whats great about this is you can make 2 biscuits at a time instead of 12 biscuits at a time. You can make this a sweet or savory biscuit, you can make it a cheddar biscuit by adding cheese, you could add herbs, you just add butter and honey or oooh!– Some of that cremed honey from Trader Joes! You’ll be so happy to have it on hand. Makes a nice gift too! Scratch biscuits in minutes and 6 ingredients instead of 60 that won’t be trying to make the great escape via your fat cells.

I’ve done experiments on myself eating packaged baked goods as opposed to home baked goods. The results were quite dramatic I must say. Just know you have much more wiggle room in your dessert/pastry/baked goods consumption when they are made in your own kitchen. Your body KNOWS these ingredients a bit better and can process them much easier.  Consuming processed pastries not only created rapid weight gain, it created “cottage cheese skin”, eeew!  So remember that, it really is more about the SOURCE of your food. You don’t have to sacrifice good food or dessert in order to stay trim. You just have to eat REAL food. Oh! And also remember that if you see it on a package and don’t recognize the ingredients your body probably doesn’t either and that’s when you can expect some internal funk and resistance now or later.

I hope this recipe doesn’t seem vague. It truly is as simple as it looks but if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask. Lastly, I recommend biscuit making as a tool for stress relief.  Rolling out dough works wonders. It is also a good “memory” food. Foods can be therapeutic in so many ways. I say get it any way and any where you can. No matter what it is, you will be WEARING these foods. Make sure you are choosing foods that your body isn’t fighting you about wearing.

…Keeping the art and benefits of biscuit makin’ alive all up in and through Studio Five.








Furr’s Cafeteria Butter Chess Pie / I Gotta Testimony

furrsA while ago I came across some of the recipes for Furr’s Cafeteria online.  Now, depending on where you live, you may or may not know of that which I speak. In the late 70’s through the 80’s, Furr’s was the equivalent of a soul food restaurant here in Denver. It was thee place where everyone and their Grandmother (literally) gathered to dine after church on Sundays. It was a zillion times better than any Country Buffet and probably considerably less wasteful. You went through the line to choose from a selection of meats, veggies, sides, desserts and beverages.  Practically all of the women that worked there were black women that just stayed “putting there foot in it”* weekly.   Through various conversations I’ve discovered that for many of us (especially here in Denver), it’s holds some real childhood memories or what I prefer to call “Culinary Chronicles of Blackness”. While Furr’s Cafeteria has been closed many years, everyone I spoke to remembered exactly what they used to order which speaks volumes considering it’s been closed over 25 years I’m certain.  These days in Denver, you can count the number of authentic soul food spots on one hand. Hell, maybe two fingers! That being said, it’s hard not to drift back to the days when Sunday dinner really was such “a thing” that families did TOGETHER be it inside or outside of the home.

When I stumbled upon the recipes from Furr’s, I swear I thought I’d hit the jackpot multiple times! Last night I finally got around to testing the recipe. First I wanna say, it’s a rare occasion for me to blog the day after something occurred so this must be serious.  –Ya’ll know I’m slow. Even when it’s my intention, I start but often don’t finish for a myriad of reasons.  I won’t tell you how many drafts are sitting in my word press account.  Second, I’m no food blogger so I don’t really have a rating system or even the “proper” language to apply to these moments.  I’m just an artist who likes food and history.  I don’t have a number of stars to throw out, or spoons or…whatever–  so I’m just gonna say this and you can quote me on it. A’hem:  “This damn Furr’s Cafeteria Butter Chess Pie TASTES like a room full of black folks dining in Furr’s Cafeteria!”.  Can an image classify as a description for taste?  Today it will, lol.  If you are not a person of color, you may not understand that “rating” but it’s the best I can do. Those that are understand the richness that is present in the culture. The nostalgia often forgotten surrounding certain family members and the dishes they would delight everyone with. Church basement dinners and the warmth and connection of family reunions   This pie? This pie is a rich buttery mess of Southern goodness takin’ you all back up in and through memories you didn’t even KNOW you had transforming you from average citizen to Time Traveler in no seconds flat.


This pie tastes like their faces. Mhm…..

I am sharing the recipe here as I certainly cannot claim it as mine.  But if you wanna impress your people with a pie that is relatively simple to make, go with this one.  I made my crust from scratch and still knocked it out in a few hours, but you could certainly go with a pilsbury ready made crust or a frozen pie shell. These are stressful times. Many things are healing, namely food.  If you wanna spread some love, massage some hearts or experience some REAL GENUINE quality time with some folks, bake this for them and let the pie do the rest.  Watch what ensues.  Everyone will thank you.

…Even you.

20160816_223559chess pie2










“……Keeping your culinary DNA alive in Studio5”

~h.kai aka LadyGurl


*putting their foot in it: a term used in the black community to describe ones cooking success or success related to the preparation or reception of certain culinary delight. “Ooh she put her foot in that banana pudding!”

**Apparently there is one Furr’s Cafeteria left in Colorado located in Wheatridge. I cannot speak for the quality of their food these days though I welcome comments from anyone that can.

The Exhibit Nobody Knows (cue mysterious music)

The last month of  life has been incredibly busy.   Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines and an exhibit that I had to get work up for (another deadline).  When deadlines on my work jobs were getting pushed because my clients were behind on providing all necessary pieces it began to spill into the production time I’d alotted myself to finish my exhibit pieces. Before I knew it, I was down to literally 3 days and my work was already a week late.  The whole time I was hustling to complete the graphic jobs on the table I started getting a little “crochety” and was in my feelings.  Crochety because of late clients yes, but also crochety because I’d been doing so much art work but still had so much arting ahead of me that needed to be done but all of this was separate.  I’d been “graphic arting” daily like a mad woman and what was that? Chopped liver?!!!! I mean, I know…I know the 38 page graph job was not for the exhibit, nor was my super fun warhol esque event announcement job, but still.  What made it even worse was, while I can be my own worst critic, I was really diggin the work! But….these pieces would go quietly into the night and I still had at least two MAJOR pieces to complete in less than 72 hours. The good news is, I did it! I was not going to fail.  But after the brutality of completing those jobs, completing my work, making it through the reception, crashing hard for a FEW days and now having recovered, I decided I couldn’t let them go quietly into the night and felt like the best place for them to be displayed was here.  Besides…..I don’t think I’ve ever posted any of my graphic work here.  …’Cause I’m too busy talkin’ all the time, or workin on syrup, or clothing.  Here are the pieces from one job, a meeting of the minds of sorts at art students league of Denver


ASLD . Graphics by Holly-Kai


ASLD . Graphics By Holly-Kai

Layout 1This was the final invite. The original image was just black and white and kind of looked like a sketch.  Obviously I took it through some layering which I have to say made her look considerably more ethnic! I love it! It wasn’t necessarily my goal but a happy accident for sure. Ultimately I felt like going with one  allowed you to connect with the image better whereas four, as cool as they may appear, were a bit more distracting.  I may still stick them on my wall somewhere though….




This is the before imagery (2015) of the banquet brochure I was to make over for CABPES: The Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists.





Last years theme was ‘Engineering is the Heart of Our Lives’. I did not do last years book.  This is my first year working with them. This year their theme was CABPES heading to Mars. So I had to figure out a way to work that in…








AFTER: Cover


I kept it pretty simple and clean.  While some people can pull it off, I am not a fan of cluttered or chaotic graphics.  I always try to be mindful and create what seems a “pleasant experience” for the journey from the eye to the brain.  …Not to be taken lightly, you know? A friend of mine just happened to be at this event. She didn’t know I’d done the graphics until she heard my name. Later she commented that “It looked very Holly”. …I thought that was kinda funny but now I wanna know what that means and I didn’t ask. Does all my stuff look like this?? I mean…i don’t think so…i hope not!.. but…..I do like outer space and old stuff, lol. I created all of the pages with an old newspaper feel. I felt like it was apropos considering what a big deal space exploration was back in the day. While it’s still a big deal now, it’s profound because we are reeeeally living in a time where we are talking more seriously about the exploration of Mars! …Just kind of a fun idea to play with and translate into the graphic messaging.  I also liked the idea of creating headlines to identify each page as opposed to simply listing, “Message from the president”. That’s so boring.  So I just created headlines that still spoke to the content enough to identify what the page was about.



AFTER: Message from The President Page and Menu page


I also wove in some places and spaces for information about famous black engineers and scientists to prevent blank spaces and chunks. I was amazed that there was no mention of such in the previous book, especially in an organization that deals with youth. There are so many that people are not privy too! Don’t get me started.  Little do they know I could go on about it all day! …As you can see I had to sneak some George Washington Carver in here ’cause we roll like that. Anytime I can, it’s my duty. …Love me some George. That is Lewis Latimer on that page as well. I really like this page. It is actually there Statement of Objectives page. I didn’t take a before picture, but it looked nothing like this. It was much more….more…how shall we say…”objective-ish”, lol.  They really liked it too and the pres. mentioned that his daughter was very drawn into the “Do you know” sections. That’s what we like to hear. If the adults liked it, of course that’s great.  But if you get the young people to look twice, even better!  :)

{Sorry, I tried to turn that page around but it didn’t work}. Next up I’ll post my completed works from the art exhibit, ‘Recalibration: Honoring The Sacred Journey of Womanhood’.  You may like those too.

For now I can just be a little happier that these images didn’t just get stuffed in a closet somewhere, lol. We had our own private showing right here!

Much better.

“Shining light on the creative work vibes all up in and through Studio5”.







The Musicology of Holly: A Testimony

diane and leo dillon

Sometimes you wish you had taken more pics to capture a magic day. But sometimes the day is too magic to bother with phones and pics. Yesterday i found myself in the midst of a dream i dreamt a few nights prior. Then i marveled at the magic. Experienced yet again the layers in which we exist and expressed wonder at watching them collide. Was live on set with the master co-creator and almost literally watched the hand of God work everything and everyone like a chess piece. Then he gave me the side eye like, “watch this, trust me”. Then i was like “YO! That was better than anything i could fathom!– I WILL!!” In turn the LIVE dream just continued and the magic and love just multiplied into the morning in ways un-imagined. I rode it til the wheels fell off! …And who’s to say they even have?!. These moments are steeped in gratitude and a real testimony. I dream many dreams. I live many places. I live many dreams and i dream many lives. …God works. God IS. Make yourself open and available to all of his skills. He is a master director and screenplay writer to name just a few of his occupations. He is funny. He is thorough. He IS. Love to every effing being i made live contact with yesterday. The actors/ the vessels used to illustrate a dream. For all of us were touched by the master puppeteer. The true hand of God. He lives.

Photo by #LeoAndDianeDillon #BlastOff #WrittenbyLindaCain #susanRosenbaum #GodIS #dreams #live #living #witness #testimony #realms #layers #IWILL #IAM #gratitude #community #God #Master #cocreator #afroblack #cosmodark #happeningnow #tuneIn #marvel #admire #relinquishYourNeedForXplaination #worldsknownandunknown
#darkness #trust #expansion #dreamsandreality  #lookatthestars #weAre

“….we are more than A LIFE and more than ALIVE.  Know that while you’re readin’ the words in and around Studio5”.


This Month at wEmusTgRoW Etsy…

It’s no secret that I am NOT a techie person.

In fact I often resent how much tech time I’m forced or expected to spend in tech world!

Anywhoo, over here we get so caught up in the personal sometimes, I don’t share enough from art world which is considerably more fun and less serious.  I am working on connecting to my less serious side and unifying all of my fragmented digital selves but for now, come on over here and meet my new earrings: The Mirrors of deLight From The Black Cosmic Love Bubble.  Now available right here!


Generally shiny reflective clothing like lame, or sequins, or glittery embellished couture are written off as novelty fashions indicative of a certain era. …Usually the 60’s or 70’s. Sometimes this style gets laughed off as tacky or gaudy, or even misconstrued as perfectly obnoxious for this years Halloween party. …And sometimes it is! But as we know over time many things have gotten lost in translation and when created with real intention, this my friends is one of the greatest misconceptions of all time:

Reflective clothing and/or accessories are in my opinion, one of the greatest silent communicators {c.SunRa and The Solar Arkestra}. When the light hits just right, it sends a signal back to the cosmos that says at the very least, “See my light?! Here I am!” To everyone else these earrings will appear a simple, shiny, delightful accent that you cleverly worked into your wardrobe that day. From a distance they may even be mistaken for your Grandmas earrings! (Which is okay because here at we.must.grow we STAY Grandma Chic) They’ll say things like, “Oh look! I can see myself!” But while your onlookers are busy complimenting your fashion sense and taking things in from their own reflection, your earrings will be working for YOU. …Having numerous conversations on your behalf while you are simply BE.ing YOU. These earrings will return any unwanted vibes to their source and simultaneously signal The Universe/God/ The Force or whatever Divine presence you believe in, that you know they see you and that most importantly you see them too! The Force is ALWAYS sending you love whether you know it or not and now you will be sending it right back and keeping your communication in motion.
…With the cosmos.
….The Unknown.
The ALL.
Receiving and giving.

Wear these earrings and remember that YOU are a delight to The Divine {De.Light~ Of light}. The Divine not only delights in recognizing you, The Divine delights in you delighting in YOUR.self! The Divine also delights in being recognized and now you can effortlessly, obediently and fashionably participate in this simple, priceless and rewarding exchange.

Be mindful of your war.drobe.
Be cognizant of the energy you are facing.
Be intentional and clever with the energy you adorn yourself in daily.
…For even if you don’t leave the house, remember that you have an audience worthy of being entertained.

I.e. Don’t bore God.
**The Black Cosmic Love Bubble: A special place to be explained at a later date via studiofive.wordpress.com, but for now a place that I respect, honor and commune with regularly. Also commonly referenced in my world as TBCLB🙂



Back in the world.

Loving too much.

Questioning if there’s such a thang

Contemplating my own transparency

Missing precious Althea since she left the planet

Feeling her presence and honored by it

Questioning death

Knowing it’s futile

Juggling to-do lists

Thinking everyone is nuts

Knowing I am too.

Connecting to surprises present each day.

Merging words to make Surpresence

…Or maybe SurPresents

Or both

Wanting everything like I want it

Knowing that’s sorta silly

Flopping around like a fish

Knowing I should breath instead

Paying my “artist toll”

Avoiding “universal ass whoopins”* cause they hurt bad and come with long recovery times

Thinking there’s a lot of P’s and Q’s to stay abreast of

Feeling rebellious

Proud of my follow through

Thankful for insightful friends

Debating myself about suppressing my own transparency

Knowing I can only do it for so long

Honoring my agreements

Acknowledging deals I made with The Most High

Laughing (sorta) on how he’s upheld his end,

though I got no say in how that would play

(But I knew that).

Feeling purposeful.

Wanting to feel my full self

Knowing that can be overwhelming

Thinking I should let others negotiate the overwhelming part

Cursing those that can’t receive

But not wanting to

Trying to stop over thinking

Scoffing at how it’s second nature

Feeling a little bit like  a badass.

Wanting to be loved on like a baby

Listening for a lecture from my heart

Wanting to travel as in beam me up scotty (but not for good just sayin)

Communing with The Black Cosmic Love Bubble

Knowing you’re wondering what that is

Promising a story for another day

Wanting to go back in the nunnery**

Not wanting to go back in the nunnery

Asking if I can reinvent the nunnery

Glad people are finally getting mad

Glad I’m mad again!

Wondering when I’ll write my Femmoirs

Daring someone to take my word

Happy to be writing

Thinking my story hasn’t changed much since 15


Bout to pray

(But I’m sorta prayin’ now)

Living by less thought more action

Appreciating life

Studying myself

Wondering if anyone thinks this subject is as funny as I do.

Tryna let myself feel all the things

Wanting to put my sword down

Still yearning to get “Michaune” with it***

Wanting to by syrupy

Wanting to be sweet

Tryna blend it well with my cayenne sting

Aries hot head

Working to stop apologizing

And make everyone else start recognizing

Damn that’s work

Embracing being the teacher

Trying to be an obedient student

Rolling my eyes

Trying to stop writing

Need to go exercise

Getting interrogated by my little self

Marveling at how the roles reversed

Thinking that this train won’t stop

Maybe there had been a plug in my thoughts!

Thinking “Today” should also be tomorrow

Practicing present moment living

Practicing present moment giving



~Is this what it means to be alive? …Thinkin thoughts in Studio5~


*Universal Ass Whoopins: when you don’t do what you know God told you to do and then he does it for you in a way that usually involves whoopin your ass from the cosmos which is far worse than any physical beat down that could have been avoided had you just listened the first time.

**Nunnery: My imaginary convent that provides abundant self fulfilling love and focus. Dedication and commitment. Faith, belief and trust while refraining from physical activities with the opposite sex that also involves switching back over to my green and blue wardrobe. A living meditative state adopted after The Black Cosmic Love Bubble Experience.

***Michaune: the badass sword wielding sista on The Walking Dead who was initially a curator or something like that before the apocalypse but now she’s just mysterious sword wielding bad ass who works a sword like no other and has managed to be one of the few characters of color not to get “kilt”!.

***The Black Cosmic Love Bubble: A very long but most fascinating life changing experience story for another time.