Sunday, May 13, 2018

Collage Art

Thinking of my Mom on Mother's Day - she loved flowers and taught me when I was very young to press and dry flowers.
So we usually had all the phone books full of drying flowers.  This used to be a problem when my husband actually used the phone book to find a number.  But now that we use the internet to find phone numbers, I can use all the old phone books exclusively for drying flowers.
When my sister introduced me to collage several years ago, I finally found a use for all those dried flowers!
 Start with art paper - if doing birthday or Christmas cards, I start by cutting the paper into approximately 5" squares.
The first layer is tissue paper - I paint white tissue paper if I'm looking for a particular color.  For Christmas cards, there are tons of Christmas themed tissue papers available.  I cut the tissue into approximately the same size as the art paper - a bit larger to completely cover the art paper.
The key ingredient is the medium - using a paintbrush, paint the art paper with it, then lay the tissue on top and paint again.
Then add accent paper, dried flowers, and anything your imagination can provide, adding a layer of medium after each element is added.  At the end, I use a paint brush and paint to highlight as needed.
This is from a photo I took of my sister-in-law that made a perfect scene for collage.  But, you don't have to be an artist - collage is the most forgiving of art projects.  When my mother was nearly blind with macular degeneration and 92 years old, we were still doing collage together.  Sometimes I found flowers glued to the table or the floor, but she made some stunning greeting cards too.  If you are an artist, of course, you can do amazing things with collage - like this one that my cousin, who is an accomplished artist, did for me.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spring - Our busy time of year!

So I started our busy time of year by stupidly charging through the woods and tripping, falling, and badly breaking my left arm.  Thankfully, it was my left arm as I'm totally right handed - but that being said, even brushing my hair or my teeth seems to take two hands - who knew?  I was sent home from the ER with a displaced fracture to wait a week for an orthopedic surgeon who had time to fix me.  I won't even discuss the pain - but it was unlike anything I've ever experienced before.  Fortunately, after a month I'm starting to get back to normal.
 The cherry trees are in full bloom,
I've moved most of the plants I started in the greenhouse into the garden or into their tubs in the greenhouse.
Ron is getting really good with his new machine and is busily clearing a spot for a barn building.
And yesterday we had an 80 degree day where we took the motorcycle for a ride to look at the tulip fields of Mt. Vernon.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


While it may not be Spring yet on the calendar, we are definitely feeling Springlike around here.
Ron's new machine arrives just in time for Spring projects! The side benefit for me is I will have nearly exclusive use of the Kubota and will be able to leave the rotovator on all summer!
Snow is gone, grass is green, trees are beginning to have leaves, sun is shining, and the plants in the greenhouse survived the winter.
Life is good!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Snow in the Pacific Northwest in February isn't totally rare, but usually by February, signs of Spring start popping up, and we get some sunny warm days where I can plant peas.
This year, we had a two week cold front that came through the last two weeks of February, where the temperature dropped, the ice began to advance on the lake, and we were dumped on with snow two separate times.
After the second snow storm, we had accumulated about 8" of snow.
Ron took the tractor out and cleared the driveway so that we could all get out, as the snow seemed to be concentrated at the 500' level where we are located.  Once we got out on the main roads, there was little or no snow.
The gravel is going to need some rearranging when this is all over, but we weren't stuck at home.
Since it was time to plant my garden, I dug out the plastic containers I've been hoarding and started some seeds on my dining room table.
The apple containers are perfect for the larger seeds.  I can label them with a magic marker.
The peas are already popping up - I planted them on February 25, so it took just 4 days for them to get started.  When they get too tall for the container to be closed, I'll cut the top off and discard it and let the peas continue to grow until the ground is ready for them to be planted outside. Before planting them in the ground, I will move them outside to harden them off on sunny days. The roots become more and more visible through the plastic, and they come out of the container easily when it's time to plant. I'm always looking for ways to extend my growing season, and these containers are the best. (And they're free!)
March 1 - the only snow remaining is what we shoveled off the patio and the snow that slid off the roof.  It feels and smells like Spring outside and we're ready!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A mid-winter trip across the country

After driving over 6500 miles in the past month, to a lot of the country, I have to say that we didn't experience the "crumbling infrastructure" of the country.  It appears to us that there is a LOT of road and bridge building all across the country.  My unofficial truck count is way up and things seem to be booming everywhere.

First stop, visiting my family in Los Angeles area.  Pretty area with lots of sunshine and an interesting little farm in the middle of the asphalt jungle.
Enjoyed a great visit with my sister and niece and family.
On to Georgia, where we enjoyed views every day from the house.

Sunrise in the morning. Wheel line over the peanut field outlined against the morning sun coming up. 
(East view)
  • Sunsets and lake views from the front of the house.

(West view)
We enjoyed watching the bass fishermen boiling up and down the lake on Saturdays for tournaments.  It sure felt like Spring!

Lots of blooms and warm sunny days made me anxious to get home and get the garden planted.  It was warming up nicely in Washington when we left in the middle of January, and I usually plant peas in February.
Then we took a trip to Florida and visited our good friends Patti and Fran where it felt like summer.  I was really ready to get home!
OK I get it - it's still winter.  Too many years without snow has left us expecting early springs every year.  The sun is shining, and it's beautiful, but it doesn't look like I'll be planting peas yet.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Back in the South

Every time we come back, we realize how much we love our Georgia property.  
Bright sunny days make 65 degrees seem just about perfect.
We had to shed our sweaters for our walk around the cotton and peanut fields.
Love watching the views on beautiful Lake Eufaula - boats, birds, and fishermen.
The view from my easy chair is nearly as good as the one from the patio.
Sadly, the time has come for us to part with this property.  The trip across the country takes five days of driving, and we are just getting too old for it.  We are hoping to find a buyer who will love it as much as we have, and who will take over our place in this neighborhood of great people.  For details, please check out our blog:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Maggies Cookies, Chapter Two

I suppose I could take the time to figure out Blogger and how to place pictures, but after trying ALL of the menu links, it wasn't obvious, so I'm taking the lazy way. The recipe for the dough is in the last post.  Once the dough has been refrigerated, the fun part begins:
Dredge a large cutting board with powdered sugar and roll the dough multiple times until it is flat and less than 1/16th inch thick.  The more you roll powdered sugar into the dough, the flakier your cookies will be.
I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares.  Then put about a teaspoonful of pineapple preserves and about a teaspoonful of chopped walnuts on each square.  (Note:  Pineapple preserves are hard to find so I make my own using 2 cans of crushed pineapple and 4 cups of sugar and one package of pectin - I make it ahead so it's ready when I make the cookies).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
To be clear, these are NOT diet cookies, and not easy to make, but they are well worth the effort in my opinion.  I thought I had better share this recipe while I still can so the tradition can continue. 
Link to a short story about my recent spa experience.