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Monday, July 30, 2012

How to slow down the morning...

Just head out to the screened porch and do a watercolor sketch of your breakfast cantelope before you eat!
Here is today's sketch, zinnias and melon.

I have a brand new, handmade paper (from India) watercolor sketchbook which I used for the first time while doing this sketch. I think I am going to love it.
 I look back through my older sketchbooks and find that, though "imperfect" (charmingly so?), the images bring back floods of memories of that moment.  For me, the sketch brings more memories than a more accurate photograph can, as I have to spend more time to get the "moment" sketched than to grab my camera!

Here is a sketch from last summer, when we were visiting family in Colorado [the brown chair], onions done at a time I was loving how my watercolors flowed and dried with interesting edges, and the last one here, from the wonderful, much-needed, rain storm which blew in Thursday afternoon!

I need to develop the part of myself which can creatively make an art studio more inviting and organized at the same time.....since it is going to be 100 + today (and I have just spent 2 hours watering, filing the bird bath and catching an occasional morning breeze) working down in my studio would be a good project!
We'll see....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekend in the country

A quick sketch....watercolor....

We have just returned from a visit to my brother and SIL in Clark County, AR.
Very peaceful and enjoyable....and did I say, "HOT"?  (Of course it is hot here at home, too!LOL!)

This black angus bull, "Baby", is a family favorite....almost a pet! ( he is eating his breakfast out of a "feeder"...part of an old tractor tire)

A hanging pot of transcancia adds color near the chicken pen...

A rooster, whose days are numbered, (and the hens will rejoice) struts and crows.

[I brought home several dozen VERY fresh eggs! Now to find recipes which use lots of eggs!]

With the help of hoses and sprinklers, the flowers are thriving and delighting us!

Bird houses are in abundance.....

this one is now the home of a opportunistic tree frog!

Inside the kitchen,  on the counter, are these unusual fruits .....paw-paws!  These came from a creek on the farm.

I forgot to taste!  Hope I have another opportunity!

An old-fashioned deep pink climbing rose at the front of the house.

The view when looking up from floating in the salt water swimming pool. So peaceful!
After the swim, its back inside for some really cold watermelon!  This really beats the heat!

One of my current "icons'' (below) old lawn chairs...these will inspire more fantasy garden paintings to come!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Paintings in progress....yeah!

At last, I feel like painting!
These are off to a good start with these small 5X5 canvases.  Almost finished, as my style is loose!
This one, with the black wrought iron is beginning to remind me of the work of Raoul Dufy....perhaps I should go with that impression and add more black outlines....still work here!

My little corner garden retreat is the inspiration for this next one, but I have decided to make it a fanciful garden, I can paint it however I want, inspite of the drought!  The bubblegum pink watering can is authentic....
I reserve the right to change it's color  (and any other colors!) if I paint a garden chair series....

Maybe this painting could use some black lines too, outlining the man-made objects, not the plants....?

Monday, July 09, 2012

After some rain, the garden is better!

My little garden retreat.  Old chairs and old watering can, repainted....old pots and a sheltering old
cedar tree.

Nearby, tall zinnias are flourishing...

attracting bees and butterflies (so I leave the flowers in the garden, cutting  fewer for the vases in the house!)

Across the yard, in a sunnier area, a red bell pepper plant is happy today after the nice rain Saturday evening!

My prayer flags were made and hung with the need for rain as one we are thankful and encouraged!

Friday, July 06, 2012

The BEST blueberry pie ever!

Yesterday my friend, Gayle made this and served it to us while we were making the garden/prayer flags......Alaska Lowbush Blueberry Pie recipe ! [recipe is from a former Alaska Senator, Frank H. Murkowski, in a Congressional Cookbook]

Alaska Lowbush Blueberry Pie


4 cups of blueberries
One 9-inch baked pie crust
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 Tablespoon Grand Mariner (optional)
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter

whipped cream

Spread 2 cups blueberries in the pie crust. Refrigerate until well chilled. In saucepan, simmer 2 more cups of blueberries, sugar, water, cornstarch and salt until thickened, stirring frequently. (takes about 7 minutes). Take off heat; mix in Grand Mariner and butter. Let cool. Pour sauce over berries in pie crust; refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with whipped cream.

It is the best blueberry dessert that I have ever had, some of the berries are used fresh and cool, then topped with a blueberry sauce and whipped cream.  Pure heaven!

I'll be back with a pie photo later...if possible!

[Here it is....the photo....not the neatest of whipped cream applications....but VERY tasty!]

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Color and fun for the garden

With our weather so hot...101 flowers are struggling to survive.
 I need more color for the garden and these are now helping me in that area!

I used the basic directions from the prayer flag project blog....but used up things which were in my studio in an unfinished extra quilt block or collage....even a fabric with a grandchild's art work....

I strung them on a long ribbon which I found and and Mr. P helped me to hang them this evening!  Now the breezes can carry the prayers and good energy out into the world (and beyond!).

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Saving power and staying cool while baking....

It is a long hot summer but I still want to bake some days!
While looking for recipes to use in my small new toaster oven, I found this one...scone for one
and this one chocolate cake for one.  I adjust the recipe for my own needs and for the counter top oven, not the microwave.  They work beautifully, making enough for 2 people who need a little treat, rather than just one person (in my opinion- why overeat?).

In order for the oven thermostat on this Hamilton Beach Toastation (which I LOVE!) to work well, I made an insulated rectangular "toaster topper" with insulated batting and metallic fabric usually used for ironing board covers.  This, when  placed on top of the toaster slot (which closes during "baking" ) helps the oven to work properly.  Then it works as a hotpad to remove the pan from the oven!

I had never owned a toaster oven before, and am having fun....sort of my grown up "easy-bake" oven.
The "Toastation" also comes in a little larger version which does 4 pieces of toast.  and it comes in black too.

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