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.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Off to Virginia!

This pink azalea bush behind our house is a riot of blooms! It is about twelve feet tall.

Mr. B and I are going to Virginia to check on the house at the lake. I'm taking my hammock with me. Hoping to have a little time to swing, read and nap. There is no TV and no internet in the house!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Little People

I enjoy creating many different types of things, from photo cards to fabric sculptures. These little people are a favorite of mine. I think of them as the Mr. and Mrs.  Sheila of Starshine Through My Windows saw their picture in a post about my new studio location and asked me how their bodies are stiff enough to hold them upright.

The torso is actually a pill bottle. The rest is a bit of fabric, felt and pantyhose. Oh, and her purse is leather. My supply area is well stocked enough to have all this on hand!

Every well dressed lady has her earrings on.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who lives in your "hood?"

Mr. B and I went for a Sunday drive and this is who we saw. I'm never fast enough to get a good picture when a bird flies across the road in front of us. I barely caught this egret before he landed in a flooded area where we couldn't see him at all. This donkey I wanted to hug but settled for a rub on a velvety nose. The goose was serenely watching the water flow by. We wondered if it was a male being a lookout for a nesting female.

After the downpour last night, the creeks and rivers were roaring! We saw some amazing waterfalls going over old dams. It helps me understand the power of water and why there were so many mills in New England.

Visit Little Red House and see other photo collages.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sun Bath for Plants

My plants are traveling all over the house in search of sunshine! We have to be careful where we step. Here you see my Asian Lilies in plastic bottles I cut off. Mr. B and I bought a box of fourteen bulbs at BJ's. They had white tops which are now turning green.

Only the squash seeds came up. They are thriving in yogurt containers which I will wash and recycle. I think it is not warm enough in the house and there is not enough warm sun for the flower seeds to germinate. We could feed the whole world if everyone would eat squash! I can't get everyone here to eat it unless I make it into zucchini bread. Maybe I should put it in the blender and hide it in spaghetti sauce. Would that work? I'm talking adults, not children.

At last, we had a day warm enough to take things outside! My coleus have done fairly well. I cut off the tops and root them and then pot them in soil. And of course I am always pinching back so they will be bushier.

One day of sunny warmth and now back to three days of rain. No sun anywhere!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Studio

It wasn't even my idea! But it all fell into place so beautifully. My daughter suggested we move the dining room table into the sunken living room so we could eat by the fire. Certainly the living room is large enough. That got me thinking about what could be done with the dining room.
Why not turn it into a studio for me? It would bring me up from the basement where I only have one very small window and where I feel very cut off. The downstairs studio can store my supplies. Now I am next to the kitchen and laundry so I can work and then dash off to stir the pot or transfer laundry. In the photo you can see past the kitchen doorway and into the laundry room.

Where my worktable now sits is where the dining room table was. And I just had to add the shelves for storage! I am trying very hard to keep it neat but am thinking it is not in my nature to work neatly! I am being much more productive in the new location! And there is light - a whole wall of nearly floor to ceiling windows!

Here are my little people and some of my photo cards.

The collage (made in Photo Shop Elements) shows my wild crochet, one of my photos framed in a shadowbox and a basket of fat yarn.

Thanks to all of you who gave me suggestions for making photo collages. I'm going to work with Elements for a while and see what I can come up with.

I'm joining Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out all the mosaics there.

Now a question for those of you who have Etsy shops. Is it hard to do? Does it pay off? How do you get business? My attempts to find a part time job have not succeeded. I'd rather be home with Mr. B and working in my studio. But a little income would be appreciated. After all, a girl has to buy photo paper, frames, fabric and books. I need to support my habit! Thanks in advance for your answers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reception at Akus Gallery

Exciting evening!! This is me posing with my photo "Shenandoah Valley Mule" at a juried art show at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut. This is the first time I've had a photo in a juried show. I am so proud of myself! Mr. B took family and friends to dinner after the Reception at the gallery.

Click here to learn more about the Akus Gallery. Below is the poster for the show.

There are many opportunities here in Connecticut. Hopefully there will be more shows in my future. I plan to continue with my photography but am also crocheting and working on my fabric sculptures. Let's create!