Monday, May 23, 2011

Working Indoors on a Rainy Day

Go to Little Red House and see the other photo collages on Mosaic Monday.

Yes, it's raining again. Raining buckets actually. But between the downpours I was able to garden two days. Enough to make me relish a few hours in my recliner with the heated pad for my aching back. So today I can enjoy some Studio Time!

The Windham Regional Arts Council is having a members' show in June and the entry deadline is Saturday. Being a new member I didn't realize this was coming up until I received the notice a week ago. Can I have some good things ready in time? One moment I say "yes," next moment I say "no." I don't want to embarrass myself with my entries. What to do? This is not a jurried show but all members can exhibit. That means I have no check on my entries.

I have been working on my "Organic Crochet," for lack of a better description. In trying to finish old projects I found two of these balls and decided to enhance them and add a third. Looking at these now, I realize that creating these years ago started me on my crochet and fabric sculpture path. This led to other creations and my tiny fabric brooches.

The picture below is one of a set of three Organic Crochet Balls. You can see all three on the worktable above and close up on the top right in the collage.

Mr. B and I went with friends to the Chihuly Exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I was struck by how the shapes I am using on these Organic Crochets are similar to the shapes he uses in his glass sculptures. This photo taken from the internet of a different exhibit.

I'll take the week to get some photos ready for the show and decide about the crochet.

Devastating news today about the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Those people didn't have a chance. It makes our many days of rain such a minor inconvenience by comparison.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Garden - A Work In Progress!

No long list here of what is blooming in my garden. I'm creating a garden. Even though we bought a 45 year old house (with our daughter and son-in-law) there are only foundation plantings. No yard full of daffodils; No perennial beds; No rosebushes.

We do have azaleas and rhododendrons that are so overgrown they reach to the roof. When they finish blooming there will be some serious pruning going on. The downpours this week are really beating up the azaleas.

These sticks are three lilac bushes. Will they bloom next year?

Two of the lilacs are pink and the center one is purple. Won't that be beautiful?

In future posts I'll share more of the beginnings of this garden. The Windham Garden Club (Connecticut) is having a plant sale on Saturday. You can bet I'll be there! Members are dividing perennials and selling them along with donations from greenhouses. I am a member but have nothing to share yet. If the garden grows well, next year I can share bee balm, silver mound artemisia, Shasta daisies and more.

I'm joining The Little Round Table for "This Week in the Garden." You have to see the beautiful roses!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wet Spring Green

Wet was the word for today. We had several downpours. The puddles had bubbles in them just like I remember the puddles from my childhood in Georgia. I managed to get out when it was only sprinkling and enjoy the wet greeness of everything. The moss was plump and soft. The ferns were brilliant.

These little blue flowers didn't mind the rain. Look at their soft "bed." Does anyone know the name of these flowers?

Join the Mosaic Monday party at Little Red House and see all the lovely collages.

Homemade Pie Crust

I'm not much of a pie maker but Mr. B really loves pie. Give me a cake any day. But in my efforts to please Mr. B I decided to make a pie crust. I used to make the kind that came in a box and you mixed it. Then I found the Pillsbury pre-made refrigerated crust to be excellent and easy. Our pantry has been overflowing since we shop the "buy one get one free specials" or the "ten cans for ten dollars" bargains or buy the cases of cans at BJ's. In my effort to eat from the pantry I found a can of pumpkin pie filling left over from Thanksgiving. You-know-who LOVES pumpkin pie. Not a favorite of mine so I am not tempted to eat it. There was no ready made crust in the refrigerator but I thought, "I can do this." gave me this recipe by Julia Childs for a crust made in the Cuisinart.


1 3/4 c. flour
1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter, cut up
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt

Blend flour, butter, oil and salt in Cuisinart until crumbly. Add 1/4 cup of cold water and continue blending until ball forms. Makes dough for a double crust pie or 2 single crusts.

It sounded easy enough. It really did form a ball which I halved and rolled out on a large cutting board. Rolling a circle is not easy, but that done, I draped it over the rolling pin and transferred it to the pie plate. The second crust I rolled out and put it in the pie plate and refrigerated it for another day.

Here is my crust. I'm not an expert on the pinching to make it pretty but this is not bad.

Here is the finished product. I was so proud of myself! Mr. B loved it! I have to say the crust is not as tasty as the Pillsbury kind. Maybe I should try one made with Crisco. Any suggestions for a flaky crust recipe?

Paws was very interested. Maybe I should make him one filled with tuna fish or chicken!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nesting Time in the Park

In my last post about Gay City Park I promised more photos so here they are. Mr. B and I sat at a picnic table to gaze out at the water. There was a small island with a goose on it. He was motionless. As I was taking his picture I saw another goose. It was the female getting out of the nest. And there were four little ones at her feet! Papa goose never wavered from his job of sentinel.

Underneath are other photos I took in the park - the creek through the skunk cabbages, ferns unfurling, and a small waterfall. Even a small waterfall sounds good as it gurgles. Mr. B and I returned to the park another day planning to watch the geese and have a picnic. But we couldn't see any geese and a cold wind and then rain drove us back to the car. We ate our pimento cheese sandwiches in the car but there was a lovely view of the woods and blooming trees.

Stop by Little Red House and see the other collages on Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gay City State Park

 I've had the opportunity to choose my Mothers' Day gift. Even though we moved into a forty-five year old house, there are no perennial flower beds, just foundations plantings of azaleas, rhododendrons and junipers. I am eager to start some flower beds and have four, 4x4 cedar raised beds ready to go. My gift is a load of mulch and a load of mixed compost and topsoil. Oh, happy gardening-days-to-come. You may think that is like getting a washing machine for Christmas, but I assure you, this gift will make me very happy. Throw in a little fertilizer and I am a contented woman. Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law for this lovely gift!

On the way home from the landscaping place, we decided to check out Gay City State Park. What a find! Water, wildlife, serenity and place to sit and enjoy it all. It was a warm sunny day. While the "kids" went to explore the dam,  Mr. B sat and turned his face to the sun, and I wandered down a path with my camera and monopod, feeling quite like a professional photographer. That is until I was almost run over by a dog on a leash that seemed to be pulling a man on a bike. After I recovered and quite was restored, this squirrel came through the woods and stopped to rest.

 In this close up you can see the dirt on his nose. Don't you think he had just dug up the nut?

There were wet areas along the creek and they were full of skunk cabbage. Reading about skunk cabbage, I learned the plant can generate heat which allows it to push its way up through the frozen earth.  Next spring I'm going to start looking for it earlier so I can see the bloom which is inside the spathe, the first part to push up.

Don't you love the way the leaves look with the sun shining through them? I like to look up close and see the details like the veins in the leaves.

Gay City State Park is in Hebron, Connecticut. According to Wikipedia it includes the remnants of an 18th century mill town which was named after the Gay family, who made up a large part of its residents. The Blackledge River flows through the park and there is a dammed pond. The extensive trail system links to other parks.

In my next post I will show you more pictures taken in the park.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Azaleas

Deanna of "My Loves, My Life" expressed amazement that an azalea bush would be twelve feet high. All you southerners know they get that tall and even taller. But I didn't expect to find such a tall azalea in Connecticut. Here it is as seen from the window of my former dining room, now studio.

Here is the same azalea as seen from the path to the back porch.

These bushes are near our lake house in Virginia. They are six to eight feet tall.

If you want to see amazing azaleas you should go to the deep south in March. Nothing can rival the beauty of azalea time in Savannah, Georgia. I'm from near there and I can tell you that every yard has azalea bushes, many of them huge!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Azaleas in Virginia

Mr. B and I left Connecticut in a cold rain and headed to Virginia. We took turns driving through heavy rain and fog. In Harrisburg, PA it was Mr, B's turn to drive and my turn to nap. I woke up outside Chambersburg, PA in a different world. Blue skies, warm sunshine and the middle of spring. It was lovely! Dogwoods, redbuds and azaleas were in full bloom! Here are some of the azaleas I enjoyed in Virginia. The butterfly on the flower in the collage was taken in the yard of our Virginia house.

I took the hammock south with us and the night we arrived it was up and I was in it! It was a warm, breezy evening and I could hear the night sounds. Believe me, that hammock was well used during the time we were there. Oh, so nice to have some Porch Days!

We met with the realtor and our lake cottage in the woods is for sale.

Visit Mosaic Monday and see all the lovely mosaics.