Monday, November 23, 2009

An Artful Potato


I suspect it is a recessive gene that allows one to see all sorts of things in almost innocent fruits and vegetables. I always knew I could see lots of things in clouds and vinyl bathroom floors but my sister seemed to have a "special" gift (see her Sexing Lemons post on her Escape from the Library blog). But, alas, I knew I was cursed too when this little fingerling potato left me with no thought in mind but Henry Moore Potato. And then ...five potato, six potato, seven potato, Moore. Honest.

Fall Photos

All of the pretty colors are gone now but one afternoon Ken took the camera out and got these shots of the cleaned out garden space, some geese he startled on the pond, a grandpa frog in the pond and the paths in the woods. It was great for me because that was when I was barely getting outside because of trying to get the ornaments done. Hopefully next year we'll get out to collect the hickory nuts and walnuts and chestnuts.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Dreamscape Book

This accordian book is one of my favorites. The little scenes are overlaid with pieces of sheer vellum that can be lifted to see the scenes better. It was really different to try to distill the essences of these places I dream about into stamped scenes.
Two more of my "little books" are posted April 2009 and October 2007.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rubber Stamp Madness / Little Books

While we were still in Kirkland, I submitted most of the scenic stamping I've done over quite a few years for a special publication Rubber Stamp Madness magazine is doing on scenic stamping. The whole thing seemed to get put on a back burner and with our move I didn't give it another thought until last spring when I thought I'd like to get my submissions back and realized I hadn't sent in a change of address. Shortly after I contacted them, they asked if they could use some of the submissions for a feature in their Holidays issue(pictured here). The writer for the article was the delightful Barbara Blanks whose blog is now in my links. The issue came out last week and the article said that some of my little books were to be seen here on my blog. Since the focus lately has been the move and gardening, I thought I would post a couple of those little books. This one is in the form of a star book but shaped like a nautilus shell. It has snippets of the poem "The Chambered Nautilus" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. I'll put up another one tomorrow as The Amazing Race is calling me to the boob tube.

Todd and Kei Chi's Visit

This was over a month ago and I'm really late in getting it posted but we had some very special guests the last weeks of September. Our son Todd and his wife Kei Chi were here from Seattle. We stayed very busy most of the time they were here with trips to Malabar Farm State Park, Lehman's in Kidron and the Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware. We picked a lot of black beans and lima beans to shell. Since Ken and I thought digging potatoes was so much fun, we left a few fingerling potato plants for them to dig. We ate a lot of garden produce so there was some serious cooking done too. And, of course, anyone who is here on a Friday gets to go to the produce auction. Todd and Kei Chi walked over to the auction and back to the house but we didn't make them carry our goodies: eggs, green beans, tiny hot peppers, hickory nuts and a hickory nut pie.
They took a short trip to Columbus to visit friends and relatives and a thrift store on Cleveland Avenue that we all love. Todd works at Microsoft so I had thought he would appreciate getting away from the computers for a while but I was wrong. The last day they were here, Todd's friend from Columbus, Dell, came up for a short visit. Dell is always busy with his food service business so we felt lucky to have him spend some time with us.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Absolute Last Garden Post (Ho ho)

Well, it seems that most everyone who looks at this blog is looking for news of the veggies. I had no idea. I put some of the middle of the season garden pictures here: because I had just run out of things to say. These are the results of two of the best picking days we had (there's 110 pounds of tomatoes in that one shot) and a shot of the freezer and a composited pic of most of what we canned. We also just bought an Excaliber food dryer and are having a good time playing with that. We haven't given up on the solar dryer we had started building - just short on time.
We did learn some valuable garden lessons: two seed packages of beets produce way too many beets, garlic is supposed to be planted in the fall, if peppers aren't ripe and red by now, forget it. Also, either the complete organic fertilizer mix described in Steve Solomon's "Gardening When It Counts" is amazing stuff or Ken and I have had a pretty good run of beginner's luck.
I have now sworn not to get back into the garden because I am FINALLY working on some ornaments. We'll see how long that lasts because my tiny okra dried so well I want to try drying some larger pods. Maybe I can talk Ken into fetching some and cutting them up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Output during Kate's visit

These are a few of the things that I did while Kate was visiting. Looking back, it was more about learning some techniques than getting anything useful. I had wanted to do some altered cabinet cards but the ones I printed (one made up from a photo of our grandmother and one downloaded from a site about guitars, I think), I printed the wrong size for cabinet cards and we didn't realize that until much later. The small fabric pages were for an old Word Perfect binder I have where I want to combine fabric and paper projects. My initial thoughts on how to get the small pieces into the binder are not working and I did not like the results of using adhesive sheets to stick the farm scene together - much too flat. So that project will continue to be a challenge.
I hope Kate will post her grandmother "cabinet card" also. I loved it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Studio II

Well, I put these in backwards. The last photo is Ken putting some temporary lights in for us to work with. Then Kate working on a project and lastly (actually firstly) a few shots of the studio all ready to go. The bears, books, beads shot is there because Kate arranged them the way she wanted them, which I thought was a stitch. The book she made for my birthday is too tall for the shelves and is sitting in the window. The windows will get blinds so won't always be so bright in photos.
There was a bit of time spent looking for stuff but not really as much as I had thought. We did oodles of crafting which I'll show on the next post and hopefully, she will show hers on her blog too since time just ran out on getting photos of everything.

The Studio

The studio is in a semi-attached garage across the breezeway from the house. We had jumped right off the deep end shortly after we got here and had a Naturestone floor installed. Crazy me thought that was all there was to it. But a really cold winter and getting most of my working supplies into the basement made me a bit more willing to wait for insulation and other amenities. Ken and Barry and I blew the insulation into the walls and although I thought I would just be in the way, the machine was so loud it required someone to signal between the hopper and the end of the hose.
Ed and Dee Ann, friends of ours from Lancaster, came to help with the wiring. The guys managed to do most of the nitty-gritty stuff in two visits. The diffusing lights and the fans still need to be installed but we wanted the finishing work done before that.
Ken and I nailed supports for the pieces that were to go between the joists, stuffed pink insulation into the cavities and cut and installed the short pieces of 2 x 8s to fit between the joists. We were really pleased with the results of that last finishing touch. We also insulated below the beaver board with foam insulation and put up a baseboard but I couldn't find any pictures of that because at that point I got overly anxious to get moved in. Ken had told my sister Kate that we would try to have the studio ready for her visit in July. I knew it would involve more than just moving everything out there. We had to organize it and then try to remember where stuff got put away. Assigning letters to each bookcase or storage unit helped me know what went where after the organizing was done. Most of the work was done when our friends had time to provide the help we needed or when it rained and we couldn't get into the garden.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And Even More Garden Pix

These beans are black beans but we also have peas (I know it's too late), limas, green beans and edamame. The pictures were fairly indistinguishable. The little red stemmed ones are beets, already thinned. We built a support for the cucumbers and cornichons. Pretty cool, huh?
And that's the herb garden with the stones around it and yes, there are 6 more tomato plants in it as well as a number of tomato plants in pots on the rim. Wish us luck figuring out what to do with all of them. I should weigh them as we bring them in just for fun.

More Garden Pix

I know, I know, I'm getting sick of pictures of dirt too. But after getting all of the planting done on June 16 which we had started on June 7, it was so exciting to see how quickly stuff started to come up. The seed potatoes had seemed a complete loss since we had stuck them in the basement for a couple of months without opening them to see the instructions that said to plant on arrival or refrigerate. When we got around to opening the box, it was a scene worthy of a science fiction movie. The sprouts were up to nine inches long and completely intertwined with the mesh of the bag. That was about a week before planting was a possibility and I worried over them every day. After we stuck them in really deep holes to keep from breaking the sprouts, I told Ken I would feel blessed to get five plants. Today we have two 20 foot rows almost full of plants.
The cabbages were starts from our friend Doug and the rest of that row is okra. The tiny plants in the unfocused picture are pepper plants. I'm waiting for the second set of leaves so I can thin the three or four down to one. The 24 caged tomatoes are about 400% more than we've ever had before, but apparently not enough for Ken. Check out the picture of the herb garden in the next post. And I'm pretty sure the dirt picture will be the last one of just dirt. I just wanted to show the raised beds I dug by throwing dirt from the paths up there. Ken smoothed and raked them and got them ready to plant.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Future Berries

My sister, Kate, called about a month ago and told me she wanted to give us a "new house gift" of some blueberry bushes since it takes a couple of years before you can start harvesting them. She said she had found a great place in Madison called The Blueberry Patch and they had a deal of six bushes and asked if I knew the place. I told her we had been to Madison (nine hours away in Wisconsin) but weren't very familar with it. When the plants came, two of them were snapped off pretty low to the ground and Ken noticed they had been shipped from Mansfield (half an hour down the road). I'm pretty sure Kate heard me say that we weren't all that familar with Mansfield. So we called and arranged to change the broken bushes plus we added two more when we went over. They sat around for a while before we tackled planting them: the instructions called for a 2 foot diameter hole 18 inches deep refilled with half soil and half peat moss, 6 feet between plants and 8 feet between rows. We've got lots of room to plant - it was just a matter of deciding where. Black raspberrries, which I had been pining over since I saw some plants at the auction, seemed a breeze by comparison so we got 13 little plants and put them in too. However, we used the last of the sunny days to get that done and are now waiting to get back into the garden. More on that soon.