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Sunday, March 28, 2010

While I was on my trip to Georgia last week, our town had a late snowfall of 8 to 12 inches! I wondered what my flowers would look like when I came today I took the camera out and found the beauties! The snow didn't bother these at all!

I can't remember what variety these daffodils (below) will be....planted them last fall!

We are starting to plant cool weather vegetables in the lasagna garden. These broccoli plants are a new addition. I look forward to really fresh broccoli before summer!

The flowering quince or Japonica, in the back yard, is almost in full bloom!

This watercolor of ranuculus (lovely buttercups) which Laura had in a glass vase at her home, became the subject of a watercolor sketch. Later, I was letting the grandson use my art supplies...( he is a brilliant 2 year-old artist, of course!) and the little "gray" muddy area appeared in my bouquet!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

After a long drive.......

A week with puppies and grandchildren....."where are the "puppies"?...asks little B coming down from a nap!

What fun!!!!!
Today there are no puppies, but the weather is beautiful. Lilia had a short school day and we are off for a picnic and a hike in a park near here!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cuteness Unlimited!!!!

I am on a road trip with my sister, visiting family and delivering some very cute English Shepard puppies to their new homes!

When she was ready to go on to South Carolina with the puppies, the white van would not start! It had to be towed to a garage. This was really a good thing, we get to stay longer with the grandchildren and have a great visit! [and the little people got to play longer with the little puppies..."cuppies" as the 2 year-old calls them!]

Today, with the help of a new fuel pump (see photo), Elaine will make her side trip to South Carolina. I will be back to post photos of the puppies and the grandkids....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reflections....pondering and BEing...
(warning: this is a very self-absorbed post!)

Recently, I took my camera to capture a current image or reflection of myself. This is one of several reflections in a mirror taken from different angles....a self-portrait using modern technology.
This is my 60th trip around the sun,and, as I told Mr. Pear and my mom, I am beginning to feel dizzy! [They are both older and appreciated the thought!] So many memeories and thoughts spinning in my brain...Like I've been here for quite a while and what next????
I'm trying to decide what to do about hair dye....tired of pretending that my hair isn't gray. Dying it is required so often as more gray must be covered...I'm wary of the constant use of harsh chemicals on my head, so, I am about to try some natural dyes from our organic grocery store. These are packaged and have wonderful names. I will be trying Naturcolor "Woodruff Blond" # 8C , a dark ash blond which I hope will work well with all the resistant gray.
Once I get through the transition to gray, it will be very liberating (and probably aging too!). Will I be wiser???
---Update Friday after using the Naturcolor--I LIke the way the cool taupe blends with the gray which peeks out here and there....much better than the brassy dark blond I was always gettting with L'oreal!

Hobbies and passions keep us from aging too fast. I would like to use my time well and wisely still pursuing my life-long interest in art. My favorite aspect of art is COLOR! My favorite medium for painting is watercolor! I love to see the paint flow onto the paper and have a few surprises for me as it dries!

This is a watercolor/collage which I sold last year. I identify with the little birds now hopping into my still life paintings. They are just like me, BEing there, appreciating all the beauty and shapes around them! The collages use fabric and colorful papers collected from anything and every thing. [fortune cookie fortunes, receipts, notes, magazines, newspapers, nothing is too mundane to find it's way into some little corner of a collage]
I think my love of collage grew out of my love for combining fabrics in scrappy quilts. I am actually rather tired of sewing and quilts....but nostalgia and romantic ideas about all of this still have a great hold on me!
My latest acquisition is pictured here. Something I really have no "need" for other than that I love it's aqua color and "life-story".
This Singer 337 sewing machine was manufactured in Clydebank, Scotland in 1964. It was owned by a 90-year-old sewist (not "sewer" any more, the term is now a sewer is a receptacle or pipe for dirty water!) who is down-sizing to move in with a family member.
In the photo you can see some of my patchwork. We always said, "When life gives you scraps, make a quilt!"

Life has certainly given me riches in many forms, rather than just scraps, so I am grateful!
This week, I am riding with my sister to Georgia to visit my daughter, her husband and my grandchildren. We will visit with our mother along the way!
I'm sure the trip will give me even more memories and events upon which to reflect!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My sister recently sent me an e-mail list of wonderful uses for COFFEE FILTERS....

This led me to Google images and come across this fun crafting idea.

This coffee filter garland is an idea from Pam Garrison's craft blog. I love the for more uses for coffee filters, read on....the e-mail from my sister:

The wonders of coffee filters: Better than paper towels and a lot less expensive... Coffee filters .... Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers. 2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome... Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

15. As a sewing backing (stabilizer). Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliquing soft fabrics.

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds> inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book..

25. Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.


One more amazing use by a lovely young prom dress designer.....

Aimee Kick made her prom dress entirely out of coffee filters! Isn't it lovely!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's all in a day off!!!!

I have had a wonderful day....going to my yoga class, getting mushroom compost on the garden beds, doing laundry and finally doing some ART!!

These are collage pages from a round robin canvas art journal which some of us are doing. [Go to my collage blog to see more about this round robin.] The theme of the round robin is ART SAVES. I've done the first pages and cover for my journal. Now it will travel for awhile then come home to me full of fun, lovely, inspiring pages done by others!

To keep me going while doing all of this, I was looking forward to having a piece of this Raspberry Polenta Cake from the current [April/May] issue of Hobby Farm Home. The article is about baking in cast iron skillets. It was fun to do. So, we ate a piece or two and the rest is either in the freezer or going to work with me tomorrow to share!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's all in a day's work.....

This gardener's bucket tote is the project of the month I will be teaching this Saturday! Making it was my "day's work" at the shop!

The pattern is in the current issue of QUILT magazine. Using a 5 gallon bucket, it makes a very stable and portable organizer for garden tools, gloves, seed packets, sun glasses, water bottle and so forth.

I chose a drapery-weight, large floral fabric for the background and used co-ordinating striped fabric and green leafy fabrics for the pockets and trim. [Thank-you Macrina, for the bundle of fabrics, some of which are used here!]
I also made a matching smaller tote using a 5 quart bucket.

These instructions are on-line at QUILT magazine's website.

Now I have one of those "day's off" tomorrow...yeah!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A warm Sunday in March, we make a fresh start in the garden...

My art journal from a few days ago. Today the weather was perfect and we were both home from work so we got busy! I started by planting a few herb seeds in potting soil in egg cartons.

Then out the back door to see the remains of last year's "lasagna" garden..

We raked and cleaned for awhile.

Before too long, the surface was cleared of debris and little green weeds. I planted what cool weather veggie seeds I had on hand, beets, turnips and spinach. I don't know if any of these will take off. If they don't flourish, I will replant this with herbs and flowers!

We started a second bed hoping it will have more sun this summer and vegetables will be happy there. Here I am watering down the thick layer of newspapers which is the first layer of a layered "lasagna" garden! It is a windy March day so I am using small rocks to help keep the papers from blowing.

After the newspapers, I added a layer of straw, and brought in topsoil (see below). As soon as the low walls of boards, or whatever go up around this more layers will be added, peat moss, chopped leaves, compost, ashes from the fireplace, mushroom compost (purchased nearby).

In a few weeks, after danger of frost passes, we will buy our plants. I did find one beauty already, for the partial shade garden....this English daisy. She can go outdoors permanently in a few weeks!

I have to say that even if nothing grows very well, the fun of being out on a day like today is truly rewarding already!!!!!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bits of color!

This is for Cheryl, who gave us the container full of onions etc. last year. The onions are up again and in front of them I planted one hyacinth (can you find it??? still pushing up!) and a dozen pansies.


My colorful life also includes the progress made on the scrappy granny squares, someday this will be an afghan which may come in handy in keeping those heating bills year.

We learned yesterday that our 25 year old furnace must be replaced..

More bits-- these are snippets of my yarn which I put outside for the birds, don't know if they will use them in nest building or not!

My pinched nerve (or whatever it is) pain in my neck, shoulder, back and arm has returned today :-( Can't figure out what brings it on...
Like ruts in a country road, pain seems to find habitual pathways;I need a way to set up some road blocks or detours, better yet, get that road smoothed out so good energy and health can flow freely!
Working at the computer makes it worse, it seems...and sewing machines to rest now with a new novel...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

My own "March Madness"!!!!

This free calendar page is a great visual of how I feel on this fourth day of March!

We have a great forecast, warmer, sunny, not too windy and I have the day off!
It is like an overload of energy and possibilities this morning!

Birds are busily preparing their nests, my house wrens arrived this week! Robins are everywhere....I am tempted to clean and tidy my own nest.

OR, I could make a batch of crepes to have on hand for coming meals....or even try making my own mozzarella. [Yesterday a customer commented to me that her next errand after out store was to pick up a cheese thermometer. I was intrigued and had never heard of such a thing. She told me that she makes her own mozzarella and that it "ONLY" takes 30 minutes. It was an interesting conversation, but I didn't think too much about it....THEN, while running my errands, getting seersucker fabric for more little rompers for my grandson, I browsed the magazines at Hancock Fabric...what should catch my eye but "Make Mozzarella in Minutes"!!! It was in a charming magazine called HOBBY FARM HOME.

I bought the magazine... seems you can also make ricotta from the whey as you do this....and ricotta with fruit would be wonderful in those crepes!] If I had another day tomorrow too, I might just jump in and try!

OR there is the art/sewing studio downstairs, where I could collage, or paint birds,...

OR step out the door there into the garden area and start cleaning up and preparing for planting.
OR I could visit local thrift stores looking for a fun chair to recycle into an art piece for our local "CHAIR AFFAIR" an art auction evening which supports Life Styles a local organization which provides services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
I guess since there is a deadline coming on doing the chair, I could do that errand.... after the heating and air-conditoning workers come this morning, to do the seasonal check on our furnace and all. And of course, getting to yoga class....
OR maybe the best way to have a day off is just to relax and "piddle", take things as they come and NOT try to accomplish too much ????? Just breathe and BE.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Still baking....I take this to work and share!
I had pumpkin in the freezer from the pumpkins on my porch last fall. Tonight I have 2 kinds of pumpkin bread "Starbucks" pumpkin bread in the oven, almost done, and another yeast pumpkin bread in my bread machine. The bread machine should start working in the wee hours and have a loaf ready for our breakfast....not sweet and dense like the other one (the quick bread) but warm and good with butter and marmalade I bet!

You see, I'm trying to clear out other seasons, and make way for spring!
We had very light snow flurries this morning...and daughter Laura, in Atlanta had snow today.

Towns in our state are just a few days away from their daffodil festival....can Spring be so close??? and daylight savings time coming sooner this year too.

Below is the quilt block I designed today for the class I teach. I am lucky to spend my "work" time on creative projects like this!

I see robins everywhere and know it is time to clean out and prepare the garden. I really enjoy thinking about all dreams....

Of course, using the spade is not my "thing", so it will be an above ground, layered, "lasagna" garden again!!!LOL!

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