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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Because we have August birthdays (see previous post)....a wonderful blessing!

For your Birthday

Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day
The blueprint of your life
Would begin to glow on earth,
Illuminating all the faces and voices
That would arrive to invite
Your soul to growth.

Praised be your father and mother,
Who loved you before you were,
And trusted to call you here
With no idea of who you would be.

Blessed be those who have loved you
Into becoming who you were meant to be,
Blessed be those who have crossed your life
With dark gifts of hurt and loss
That have helped to school your mind
In the art of disappointment.

When desolation surrounded you,
Blessed be those who looked for you
And found you, their kind hands
Urgent to open a blue window
In a gray wall formed around you.

Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
Your health, eyes to behold the world,
Thoughts to countenance the unknown,
Memory to harvest vanished days,
Your heart to feel the world’s waves,
Your breath to breathe the nourishment
Of distance made intimate by earth.

On this echoing-day of your birth,
May you open the gift of solitude
In order to receive your soul;
Enter the generosity of silence
To hear your hidden heart;
Know the serenity of stillness
To be enfolded anew
By the miracle of your being.

---from Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue

July Journal pages

When we aren't doing any "exciting" living, I spend time working (playing?) on collage pages in my art journal. The first page is based on the logo I designed for my "baby goods" ETSY store, "LILLY BEE". It features "BEing" and is built around a young woman who looks strong and happy.
Across the page is one about moving into August. The girl on a swing is a theme I have repeated throughout this particular art journal....sometimes up, sometimes down. The quote from Eudora Welty says, "All serious daring starts from within". [I remember learning to swing, how older people in my family would push me until I finally learned to "pump". That is an early memory!] The August page reflects my dilemma in making it to my high school reunion in a couple of weeks....and some other issues as well!


We have two August birthdays coming right up this son, Andrew (on the 4th) and his lovely bride, Mary (on the 1st-tomorrow!)

This photo was taken before they were married, but shows both of them so well!

This is a photo from last August when they were married. The setting is in the San Francisco peaks outside Flagstaff, AZ.

With both birthdays and their wedding anniversary this month, they had to be in the blog! I am so happy to say that they will be coming for a visit at the end of the month....more about that (you may be sure!).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finding GOOSEBERRIES....and a RODEO PARADE....a fun day!

I have heard of gooseberries....but had only had the jam (Crabtree and Evelyn from Great Britain) once. That empty jar has been my button jar for pearl buttons.
So when I found these, next to the blueberries, in our grocery store today, I had to bring some home. I am delighting in how they look, a wonderful light green (so trendy now!LOL!) and sporting little stripes in their translucent skin!
They have very little flavor and are tart, rather like a sour green grape...hmmm no wonder they made jam! They are full of Vitamin C, pectin and must be good for me and I will eat them....maybe with yogurt and honey....I'm not up for making jam (or a gooseberry pie)!!!!!

Searching the Internet brought up this poem.....[Appelliefie is another term for gooseberry, the word being even more obscure than the fruit?]


I may eat grapefruit
or apricot
may crisp a strawberry with my eyes
or part secrets of passion fruit
but I cannot remember
the taste of appelliefie ...

Growing wild
it has to be stripped from its skin
-lifted onto a palm -
becoming a dream of transparency.

Whilst the mouth water
to sample its innocence
and lips lisp ecstasy
yes,whilst the tongue awakens
to its memory
it awaits the tired traveller
on a hillside at Ruiterbosch
hiding in abundance
to delight him
who does not seek.

by myra lochner 20.06.2004 [her name is a link!]

[Gooseberries in bowl photo by Lila....gooseberries on a bush from Google "images"]


These photos were taken (by Mr. Pear!) while watching the Huntsville, AR, hometown rodeo parade which passed through the old downtown and courthouse square this afternoon. [click on photo to enlarge]

Local color and pageantry were visable in abundance and anyone with a mount could join in the end of the parade.....I especially like the green wagon...advertising a logging business. This is still a big industry in the area. The children all pile in, and of course, I notice the girl with bright red hair (Celtic ancestors are common in these hills!).

We strolled and saw a drug store on the town square, which just closed after 110 years and generations of serving the area. Progress marches on. Several former shops are now "flea markets" and or coffee shops. Browsing through the flea market items from an economically depressed part of the world is pretty "ho-hum", unfortunately...sometimes the old farm tools are there, rust and all. I did see some quilt blocks and one booth was selling cotton quilting fabrics (someone's "stash").

On the way home, I finally get a photo (thanks to Mr. Pear) of this old Victorian farmhouse just off the highway....the porch has a "NO TRESPASSING" sign. Now the windows are broken and some of the balcony railing has gone missing. IN spite of the rusty tin roof, there is still a bit of gingerbread trim and plenty of "mystique"...."Is it haunted now?" Perhaps they even had a garden with gooseberry bushes once upon a time......

Thursday, July 24, 2008

This small photo is of my grandson in the grocery shopping cart (looking so cute beside the bananas!)

The cart is lined with a colorful item I made. It is a "shopping cart liner"...LOL! It can also be used to line high chairs in restaurants, as you can see in the larger photo. I am now selling these on ETSY....check back for more colorways as machine gets going. [ Or if I can put down my latest mystery novel long enough to be productive!]

Note: these photos show a pink shopping cart liner made for a baby girl and my grandson again, using the liner in a restaurant high chair.


Tonight friends are coming for dinner, then we have a concert in the park. I will be making Spinach Feta Chicken Breasts.

This photo is from canarygirl. The recipe is there too! [I love being able to find recipes so quickly on-line!]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A fun little sewing project/gift. This is a Japanese knot bag, I found it on "little gem sessions" Helen's blog from New Zealand. She has posted down-loadable instructions. It is reversible, and can easily be made using 2 fat quarters of fabric. I used a Japanese indigo print which had a small dark red flower scattered among the blue and white, so the reverse if the dark red.

[Click on the photo to enlarge.]

Monday, July 21, 2008

More armchair travel.....or where in the world is Rick Steves?

I've just been reading Rick Steve's blog from this last May. He was on a trip for the U. S. chapter of the United Nations Association (but at his own expense!) to Iran. Though I haven't actually traveled much, I have always enjoyed knowing people from other countries, including Iran [I especially love their food!!!].

His trip there will be aired in January on PBS.

Another way to learn more about Iran ( through a young girl's coming of age story) is to watch "Persepolis", the animated French movie which was nominated for an Oscar.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A day in a friend's garden....

Lizzzie and I visited our mutual friend, Sally in a nearby town. Their yard and garden are large, surrounding a blue frame 2-story house.
Of course, I had to photograph the young pear still growing in the tree,

and clothespins on the line!
A guardian "green man" decorates one flower bed.

My friends had on their reading glasses and were looking at antique TashaTudor books.....
I took my camera on a brief stroll around the yard.

After lunch, we stopped in at a tag sale....

Sally and I found this antique "dresden plate" quilt top....very clean and ready for me to finish!!!! [Would you believe for $2.00?]

We photographed all our new treasures, [Sally had found the little set of bird plates for 50 cents] with the layer cake Sally was about to serve us with afternoon coffee!

A happy moment!

Notice: I am now adding some things for babies to my ETSY! I quess it goes with being a cannot just paint, one must sew for the wee ones!

Yesterday afternoon the weather was wonderful! Even though it was 83 degrees, the humidity was so low that it was quite comfortable. I spent an hour reading outside my back door, in the little garden.

The sunlight was really bathing these potted flowers. I had just given them a much needed drink before taking the photo. Some of them are definitely looking thirsty!
This area is all shade in the morning....

Here the dappled sunlight plays with the "wall" of river rocks from my friend Paula.
The cedar tree has wonderful bark....that is the chair in which I was reading until the sun moved in and took away my shade!

This is my current "pet" plant. It was rescued from the mark-down sale rack in front of a local grocery store about 6 weeks ago. It has since doubled in size. It is some kind of Japanese "painted" fern with soft grey-green fronds, the centers of which have a soft red violet stem. The cobalt blue urn next to it was a gift from my brother who has made some wonderful pottery.


Today, I will be visiting a friend's garden in a nearby town and will have both my camera and my watercolors with me! So I hope to be back later with an update!

On a different note....I just posted a collage here .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Still quilting and painting.....

Shadow is right in the camera lens again, she has been helping me to pin baste my "Just Breathe" quilt. As soon as I bring it to my Singer 301 and begin machine quilting, she is there to help!

These are two of the blocks from the first "Just Breathe" quilt...given to my brother for his birthday.

Here is the current quilt with the free motion quilting done in varigated thread. [Of course you can't see the thread, but Shadow did finally allow me to get the quilting done!] I am loving the brighter colors, Kaffe Fassett fabrics with others from my stash, and expecially the lime green and the turquoise which "sing"!

This is a photo of me with a quilt I sold a few years ago. It has a very large print by "who else?", Kaffe Fassett, broken up by 9-patches of other fabrics.

I have also been painting again......first, though, is this painting from classes I took earlier.
We are framing it and using it on our newly painted walls!

Using stylized philodendron leaves and silhouettes of African antelope, I created the " forest".

Extra texture was added by walking on the painting with dark red paint on the soles of my espedrilles and by pressing paint onto the painting with corrugated cardboard shapes.

Below are 2 recent watercolors for ETSY.

An indigo bird with sunflowers and luscious berries....

An old clothespin and a "Rose of Sharon" flower.

And finally, the quilting and the painting come together in this quilted watercolor. Black stitching quilts along black ink line drawing, going through the paper, the batting and the black fabric backing. See ETSY.

Thursday morning update: see my self-portrait practice and my painting studio here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A bike ride for a great cause....

My brother has taken up bike riding in the last few years. It has become something he really enjoys and pursues!

There is a special ride coming up which will raise money for MS research. The ride is scheduled for September 6th, 2008 at Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas.

I think my brother has already met his goal but all donations will go toward making life better for those with multiple sclerosis, so more money is indeed better! (You can make a dontation on the secure page from the link at "goal".)


I am a "Sunday painter" today......

Recent sales of my paintings on ETSY and a local gallery have encouraged me to paint some more today. These two watercolors will be for sale soon on ETSY.

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