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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Flashback to the end of May....
Mom and I drove to Georgia to visit my daughter. We went to granddaughter Lilia's dance recital. Here we are with Lilia and her roses after the recital!

Then Mom and Lilia at breakfast the next day!

Today we are still sorting and packing things at Mom's, moving her in with us by the end of the summer. All is going well with that!
I am almost through with reading "Cold Mountain". I like it a lot, Charles Frazier writes beautifully..(I just skim through any violent or upsetting parts of Civil War civilian suffering, ....could fast forward if I were watching the movie, I guess.) I especially like all the description of pioneer ways, the natural world in the Blue Ridge mountains, early gardening for survival, etc.

Hope you are having a good Sunday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Out and about in my "home away from home" for the moment, Little Rock, Arkansas, seems to mostly involve trips to donate at the Goodwill thrift shop. Of course, after giving them our donation, I have to browse in the shop itself. This is fun....and it is cool and air-conditioned! I picked up the hardback of "Cold Mountain"....partly because I love the intense blue cover with distant mountains (we have similar scenes near my other home). I have avoided this novel and movie since it first came out (afraid it might be too graphic or upsetting)...but will now give it a chance. It was only $2.00 and for a good cause...

Another "find" some dishes with the pattern name of "Ella's Rooster". As Ella is my mom's name and also my great-niece, these were meant to be ours!!!
I'm still loving tunics!!!! This Irish linen tunic with a bit of sparkle was in the window of a resale shop near the yoga studio where I take classes, AND they were having a of course.......

Today I found a soft white cotton pleated tunic at Goodwill. It is so light and airy! Rather a cross between a tuxedo shirt and a peasant blouse! [natural pearl buttons, too!] the heat index climbs to 100 degrees and above...but I am ready!


Another delight while away from home, is e-mail!!!! [so write to me!!!LOL!]

Today's e-mail was a wonderful letter from my friend Paula. I have her permission to share it with you! She tells me the manner in which she came to create this little vignette in her home....

"Sending you photos and descriptions of my latest treasures:
The three floats occupying the far right, center, and far left are the ones I found at the Potter's House thrift shop last week. They were tied together and had a macrame type cover that obscured the glass so I cut the twine off. What you see now is the imprint of the macrame protecting the glass. The sand would get on the glass and abrad the glass leaving it cloudy with many small scratches. The glass under the twine is smooth-this created the subtle pattern you see on those
three. These floats are probably older--maybe vintage. The other two are gifts from Martha Lew Featherstone, a friend of Joan Beyette's with whom I visited recently. The two from ML were collected more recently off the coast of Alaska, and, when I look closely at those floats, they have a seam line so they are newer.
Your "landlocked beachcomber" friend had great fun putting this together. I enjoy how the light plays off the different colors. I took this (photo) at 3:00 yesterday in natural light. I found the sign in the background for $1 at a flea market earlier this summer and placed one of my favorite fabrics behind it. These pale colors seem perfect for summer days.
Your friend,Paula"
So thrift shops, flea markets and resale shops are where the treasures are this summer! Have you been blessed by finding special things just waiting for you there????

Monday, June 21, 2010

I am enjoying being home this morning! June 21st, the summer solstice.
I treated myself to some quiet time in my garden retreat.... just outside the studio door. This is a place of cool breezes and birds visiting. I wrote in my journal, read about Manet's still-life paintings and enjoyed a cup of coffee. [There is definitely a nice side to loosing one's day job!]

My silent companion, now twice mended, a little praying angel stands above an ornamental sweet potatoe vine.

Across the yard, in the sunshine of a layered vegetable garden, things are growing nicely. Small cucumbers growing almost before my eyes!

My first year to grow cherry tomatoes. They look so cute all lined up on the vine!

An heirloom variety, Anais noir, (or pineapple) tomato has grown a great deal while I was gone!

We are having hot summer weather now, I don't expect to have leaf lettuce much longer but was able to fill my salad spinner with enough for a large salad tonight!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love painting flowers! I also love finding a fellow artist who paints them too!
Below, two paintings by the late Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981). I really like her light atmospheric work!

What an original feature shadows of bulbs in bloom near the forced crocus in the dish!
She is really painting the light as much as the flowers! Finding a world of inspiration on a window sill!!!

One more..."Honeysuckle and Sweet Peas". She was a fabulous colorist and her work was very modern for the time!

Winifred was married to the artist Ben Nicholson whose work was taken more seriously than hers. They eventually divorced but remained friends. In addition to the still lifes on the windowsills, Winifred produced a number of seascapes, many painted on trips to Scotland. Often she would paint the windsill with flowers, then a landscape in the distance.

I like her work so much that I have ordered a book all about her art! I am also making a copy with my acrylics and canvas of this painting, "Gateway to the Isles". It was painted when she was 87. I learned a lot about this painting from a post [June 13, 2010] by Dancing Beastie , a blogger/mother/ writer who lives in a castle in Scotland....a quote below.

"In ‘The Gate to the Isles’, Nicholson was apparently inspired by the Gaelic legend of Tír na n’Óg, the ‘Land of Youth’, more commonly known as the Isles of the Blest. According to Scots-Irish myth, this ‘otherworld’ was located in the uttermost West, beyond the reach of maps. It was a paradise for the souls of the blest, a land of eternal youth, without sickness, misery or death."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

These are some of the ingredients I am cooking with today, onion, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella...I planned ahead and made the dough in my bread machine earlier! This is a wonderful caramelized onion pizza recipe from the Pioneer Woman !
I followed her directions almost exactly and we LOVED the results! (I used a 425 degree oven instead of 500 degree.)

Here the pizza before baking:

After 20 minutes at 425 degrees. YUMMMM!
I served it with fresh sliced tomatoes marinated in Balsamic dressing and lots of fresh chopped basil.
The novel I am currently reading from the library is "The Long Song" by Andrea Levy. It is going to be a good one. Historical fiction about Jamaica.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am showing you some of my favorite things from today! Above, Judy Garland wondering if she can bake muffins, maybe using the recipe from this "Victory Binding of the American Woman Cookbook". copyright 1942. This book has lots of recipes designed for times of shortages and rationing.

My mom has a copy which was her uncle's book.
A fellow blogger,The Happy Sorceress, found the same cookbook when cleaning out her father's home. She has posted about many of the recipes which she calls "Wartime Wednesdays". [Look for the badge in her sidebar!]
I will read some recipes tonight and plan to cook something in the next few days!

Second favorite thing for sunglasses. Oscar de la Renta on clearance at TJ MAXX!

Third favorite, a pile of fresh cardboard boxes! We need these with the task at hand!!!

Fourth favorite thing.....all this hunting for boxes made me very thirsty! An Asian grocery store let me have some boxes and I found wonderful Mango Juice there too!!!!

What were your favorite things in the last day or so?????

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A perfect June Sunday! While Mr. P worked on the front yard, I have spent the afternoon puttering around outside my art studio door where I have 2 chairs and a little retreat garden. I am a little late on getting these pots going this year; simple impatients, blooming vinca and an ornamental sweet potato vine found safe homes for the summer!

I like using broken cups and ornamental tiles as well as this angel statue which has been mended at least twice!

Then for dinner, a friend is coming and we have lots of produce from being at the farmer's market yesterday! Wonderful, tender yellow squash! I wonder what to make???? I also have a pound of ground beef thawed and canned tomatoes in the pantry. Using the Internet, I soon find a recipe for "Mexican Squash and Ground Beef Casserole". Perfect!

I substitute pepper jack cheese for the cheddar and don't even bother to heat the oven, finishing the dish by covering my iron skillet for the last few minutes to melt the cheese!



I also worked in the art studio on the round robin art journal, "ART SAVES"which is so much fun to do!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Back home after being gone for 10 days....I am delighted by the growing garden! [Vase above, backlit, has hydrangeas from the yard....posing as I do a watercolor.]

This pink lily was only buds last week! Here it is in the morning sunshine! (BTW, the orange-colored pollen is intense and will stain fabric!)

In the same flower bed, after 4 years of waiting, I have my reward! "Endless Summer" hydrangea in bloom at last!

They are so beautiful, but can hardly hold their heads up! I think I even have enough (some blooms are hidden) to cut and display (maybe paint-watercolor, acrylic???) inside the house.

In the backyard, raised beds are still in the shade. Everything has grown. The tomatoes were trying to escape their cages! LOL! I'll have to get a trellis or stepladder in there for the zucchini to climb.

In the other bed, my cool weather crops are still going gangbusters! Lettuce for every meal now! The cilantro has already bolted and I plan to let all of these crops bloom, go to seed and then hopefully, I will have more of these in the fall from those seeds! The French marigolds are volunteers from last year and will do wonderfully through the heat! I threw in some cosmos and snapdragon seeds a couple of weeks ago, so this may evolve into a flower bed too....

Now, I'm drinking green tea ice tea and can either work on art down in the studio...or read "The Double Comfort Safari Club", by Alexander McCall Smith. Set in Botswana, featuring the #1 Ladies Detective Agency.

I did both some reading and a quick watercolor sketch of the flowers. A good day!


I could also recommend a cute movie with Amy Adams, "Leap Year". Filmed in Ireland, a girl on a mission who encounters a romantic Irishman. It reminds me of a more current version of the classic, masterpiece, "I Know Where I'm Going" which was set in the "wilds" of Scotland.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A great shirt for summer!

I love these shirts....3/4 sleeves, great Peruvian cotton knit! Cool, classic, reasonable price, and I want one in every color.....from L L Bean! [Blogger won't let me paste the just look on line, you can find these easily!!!! Or, use that catalog which you got in the mail!]

A couple of photos....these are the only photos I have at the moment. [the travel agent/photographer/daughter with the camera is off on a Caribbean trip of her own this week!]

Above, grandaughter, Lilia about to dance at the recital. She (and the other dancers) did a wonderful job! Worth the trip to see them, for sure!

My grandson always joins in when I do yoga. Here, after we left, he found his Babar yoga book and is trying a pose! Two years old and doesn't miss a beat!


Today (Wednesday) we are back at Mom's, heading to Home Depot to look at countertop material. (Sometimes, I wonder if we will ever get this move accomplished!??? We can't seem to even begin.... ) At any rate, we will need our strength for this, so I am baking!... A Cinnamon Walnut Cappucino pound cake...

[Photo from the internet. My camera and this computer are not friends!]

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