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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The garden today....our temperature outside is about 33 and it is snowing this morning.
In the past few days some hungry creature has nibbled almost all of my Red Russian Kale down to nothing. They ate a few pansies too. So far, they have ignored the "Dinasaur Kale" and the "Merlot" lettuce.
We are having thunder and snow as I write this. I hope the blizzard areas of the country are getting some relief. We will only have a light dusting (I think...)

Update on "Three Cups of Tea"----

New version for children is available.Also, Greg has written a lovely book for children, "Listen to the Wind", which is illustrated by collage artist Susan L. Roth!

I happened to catch the last of ABC's nightly news last night. It was the segment called "Person of the Week". This time it was really GOOD NEWS!

The person of the week was Greg Mortenson!

Because of news reporting more terrorist activity in the area, I had wondered how the schools he helped to build were doing. It was so good to see that they (over 70 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan) were still educating local children, especially girls.

The newspiece said that yesterday the Pakistani government was honoring Greg with it's highest award. Now, Greg has a blog so I am hoping to read more about things there. His latest blog post is that he was addressing the cadets at West Point!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stopping at home between thunderstorms, I find new blooms to delight!

I was very happy to have had rain as I had planted some seeds the day before! Here are the packets and the sketch of the garden bed. Radish seeds should be up soon, the green salad bowl lettuce will come along after my merlot lettuce. I planted the dill in the center as it will be tall. I hope the dill and basil will last all summer! [of course, they have to sprout first! LOL!]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finally a sunny Spring day! Here is a group of daffodils (with slightly pink trumpets) from our front yard.

In the back yard, we find a brighter yellow in the forsythia bush!

And 2 weeks after building the "lasagne" garden bed, we plant the first plants. I chose the Merlot (red leaf) lettuce, the Dinasour kale and the Red Russian kale from a local organic plant sale yesterday. Because it is still cool, and to add some color I also planted a row of pansies.
Other seeds are being started indoors. I still have to plan much of what I will grow.

And of course, I must update the watercolor garden journal, too!

Finishing a project.

Here I am putting flowers and faces on the tropical beauties of my "Come Away with Me" chair. The finished chair is outside for the glossy lacquer coat. Below is a back view showing the palm trees ,woven rafia and tiny sea shells.

This chair will be donated to a silent auction to be held in April for a charity called "LifeStyles".
This Thursday, we have an artist's reveal/preview party to attend. Should be fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Still searching for a wonderful spring purse. One that is not only fun to make but one that I might actually like to carry! This pattern looks promising.

It is McCall's #5822 by Kay Whitt.

Now I wonder if spring fever will make me not want to sew at all...our weather is wonderful today!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A project I am trying to finish. [photographed in the early morning light on our back porch]

This quilt of hand appliqued blocks is called "Through Grandmother's Window". When I started it, I wasn't even a grandmother! Now I am working on the hand appliqued outer border of a vine with buds. It uses wonderful batik and hand-dyed fabrics as well as commercial fabrics. I am hoping to have it ready to hand quilt before too long. Like many quilters, I have several of these "UFO's" (unfinished objects) in boxes which I do plan to complete!

Before I can work on this today, I have plans to celebrate St. Patrick's day with a corned beef dinner and a pint of Guinness. I think my brother and his wife will be joining us! And before that, off to work!

Friday, March 13, 2009

"COME AWAY WITH ME" chair in progress!

Former bare old chair now painted blue with raffia woven into the back.

Here is a rough sketch of where this thing may be going.... palm tree, seashells, beach umbrella and lovely ladies holding tropical flowers still to be painted. We'll see....

It is coming along nicely I think. Now to stop and do chores....cottage keeping and cooking. Here is bread rising to bake in a couple of hours!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

We have had days of SUNNY WARM weather and the time change brought lots of positive energy...Awakening Joy for sure! [recent journal page]


We are now having another taste of winter with some sleet and snow. I am supposed to work in a booth at a "Taste of Home" cooking school this evening....I hope they will have great samples there! LOL![ We will have sewing machines in our booth!]

Cold weather makes me crave comfort food. Here is a recipe from Weight Watchers for a wonderful meatless main dish! [Shown above]

I will be making Irish soda bread this weekend, for St. Patrick's Day. I plan to make the whole wheat version that Martha Stewart has in her current magazine issue. There are also lots of whole-wheat Irish Soda Bread recipes on-line including one from Weight Watchers.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A warm sunny day AND (which we forgot!) daylight savings time begins!
So after sleeping in later than we thought, we spent the day out in the yard.
I still have my kitchen garden dream....illustrated here in a moleskine watercolor sketch.[click on the pictures to enlarge].. In planning our garden bed, we followed the "Lasagna garden" idea as best we could.

Deciding to put some muscle behind the dream, I laid out a 5'X8' rectangle with rocks and bricks. I chose an area which gets morning sun and hopefully a lot more.
The first layer was newspaper, followed by water, peat moss, more water, leaves, water, compost, water, peat moss, water, soil, water, mulch. Sometimes, I sat and supervised, Steve took direction pretty well, LOL!
It is now covered with plastic until we are ready to plant. [of course, that will have to be researched and negotiated too!] Whatever we do end up harvesting, we know we have had a good day preparing and making ready!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Researching a new project. Lasagna Gardening!

Here is a short list outlining the process: (from an on-line article)
-There's no hard and fast rules about what to use for your layers, just so long as it's organic and doesn't contain any protein (fat, meat, or bone). The basics of making garden lasagnas are simple:

-Don't remove the sod or do any extra work, like removing weeds or rocks.
-Mark the area for your garden using a water hose or a long rope to get the desired shape.
-Cover the area you've marked with wet newspapers, overlapping the edges (5 or more sheets per layer).
-Cover the paper with one to two inches of peat moss or other organic material.
-Layer several inches of organic material on top of the peat moss.
-Continue to alternate layers of peat moss and organic material, until desired thickness is reached.
-Water until the garden is the consistency of a damp sponge.
-Plant, plant, plant and mulch, mulch, mulch.

The images I used are from the Internet. There is a lot of information about this on-line as well as places to order the book.

Now, we have one of the best local farmer's markets here in town. I don't can or freeze food (yet). So I have to decide, is this something I will need to do? What if I grow "too much"? Hopefully, I will find that I love having my own tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant etc. right outside my studio door. Not to mention a great source for pesto!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Reflections on a new hat!

In order to keep interested in doing self-portraits, some props are needed. Here, from our local Salvation Army Thrift store, is my new Eliza Doolittle hat!
I am working on the watercolor sketch above as a self-portrait![sometimes painting someone from a different angle...upside down?...helps open our creativity!]

Hoping you all have a great weekend. I'll be back at the shop, teaching the tote bag class.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On a mission to find some clothing for our local school system's community children's clothing drive, I found these "PEAR" things. Could I resist and say "NO".

Not this time!

These are from Target, designed by Orla Kiely. They are on closeout. We have been drinking from glass tumblers...and when they tumble, they break! These retro inspired "glasses" are heavy plastic! Yeah!!!!
Question: "Will the guy who no longer wishes to be called "Mr. Pear" mind drinking from one of these?????

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I am loving the color YELLOW today. I grabbed my yellow cotton sweater to wear to work today after seeing Diane Sawyer in her bright yellow this morning on Good Morning America.

This yellow fixation started when I saw the beautiful yellow tunics in "Slumdog Millionaire". It continues as I see daffodils coming up all over town!

Aren't these fabulous????

Here is one from Target....oh, to have arms which could be bared! Sigh! Of course, LOL! it is TOO COLD for that yet anyway. SO, I will begin watching for the perfect yellow fabric and will sew my own yellow tunic for spring...with 3/4 sleeves.

Here is my pattern, ready and waiting!


Now, for my art exercise. This is a watercolor self-portrait. It is actually 2 halves, separated by a line of masking tape (which is removed as I paint). Realism is not the goal here, though I had to chuckle after scanning and seeing this on the screen, that I seem to have a "black eye" on the shadowy cooler side of the face!

Doing self-portraits often is recommended for artists....and especially when one is tired of painting other subjects. There are even Internet art groups which encourage painting a self portrait weekly, or perhaps doing 100 self-portraits. I'll post these as I work them out! Ha!!

Meanwhile follow this link for book on doing Self-portraits!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A cold winter day! We had snow yesterday, big flakes falling all afternoon. This morning the sun was out and birds found our bird feeder. I saw chickadees, nuthatches and tufted of course I had to paint them! [In totally unreal situations!]

I'm reading a novel recommended by Loretta of Pomegranates and Paper. It is "In Hovering Flight", by Joyce Hinnefeld, a love story about a biology professor and an artist who loves to paint birds! So far it is very good! Back to reading!!!!

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