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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Modern Design Plates

I love my clients. They come up with ideas and I have the priviledge of making it happen. Not only that, I also get paid. In additon, and often, I have to step out of my own comfort zone and paint something that I have not painted before.

 And each time I learn from the experience. I should be paying my customers.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Exotic, Beautiful Orchids

Phalaenopsis Orchids growing by my kitchen window

Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchids adapt easily to most environments in the home. They are a shade plant. In the Fall, when nightime temperatures drop a few degrees, new flower spikes appear. Moth Orchids need little care. Once a week I flood them with lukewarm water and let them drain in the kitchen sink. And, once in a great while I add a little orchid food to the water. Some of my orchids are very old. They bloom repeatedly.

A new flower spike will bloom for 3 to 5 months. Making them the most rewarding gift for your friends and for yourself. Give orchids a try. But be careful, they are addictive.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Flowers dried in Sand

A circle of Spring and
Summer flowers dried in sand and a sunflower seed head for the birds.
The sand from the Great Salt Lake is the perfect sand in which to dry flowers. It is an oolitic sand, a sand that under the microscope, has no sharp edges.

I use ordinary builders sand, 35 grit, available at any home builder supply. In order to preserve the beautiful colors of flowers, both the sand and the flowers have to be very dry.

Fill a large container with about 2 inches of sand. Cut flower stems to 1 inch from flower head. Place upright into sand. Now, carefully and slowly pour small amounts of sand all around the flower head until it is totally covered. Leave in safe place for 4 to 5 days. Slowly pour off sand. Voila! Keepsakes throughout the winter months.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's all in the Name

Champagne Grape Jelly

My Best Seller
It must be the Name

They are not champagne grapes, nor is champagne part of the recipe. It could be the name or it could be the labels, or it could be the taste. Long before the grapes are ready I am asked if I will have champagne grape jelly again this year. Many people buy my preserves because of the labels and then they come back because of the taste. My labels are all copies of ceramics I have painted.


Sunday, August 23, 2009


Would you be grinning from ear to ear after having spent $500 on a heap of lumber?

It's all about the corners

The sheep have lived in it

In situ

a few weeks later
a few months later

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gold Leaf Candles

Add a little Glitz to your Life

Mask off area where you don't want gold leaf. The remaining section paint with SIZE (rabbit skin glue). Wait till almost dry. Apply sheet of Gold Leaf. Polish with soft cloth.

You can now apply dried flowers or scribe a swirling pattern directly into gold leaf.

Turn off the lights. Open a bottle of champagne.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meine Allee

It almost didn't happen. The plans were drawn, the site was chosen. Something about being land locked, something about the house being too far from Main Street. What if you have a fire? Will the fire department get to you in time? You have no power, no water, no natural gas.

With a lot of luck and a building inspector on our side, the construction was begun in November. We had contracted a fine young builder who worked with his crew throughout the winter. The following May, we moved in.

Now all that was left was the tree-lined lane to my house. A wish I have had since I was very young.

What kind of trees? They had to be columnar. I wanted Cypresses. They don't grow in Utah. There is a new species of Poplars. Thieves Poplars were chosen. The saplings came in bundles of 25. They fit into the trunk of my car.

Gene planted 100 saplings in two days, what a guy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


My Tondini or Cardinal's Hat Plates

The perfect plate for the perfect dish

This is the unusual shape of the Tondino

It can be very plain
It can be very charming
It can be a bit odd
The form of the plate was introduced, in Italian Maiolica, at the beginning of the 16th century. The tondino is a plate with a broad rim and a deep center or cavetto.

The tondino reminds me of a child's plate. A plate you would give to a child so he would be eager to finish his meal to see the surprise at the bottom. I love serving desserts in them or beautiful and colorful salads. I like the idea of a very large plate with a small amount of very extravagant food. So Italian.


We have had many chickens in Spring City

Alturro with his girls

Taking care of the Grasshoppers

Ready to go back to the coop

It isn't the hens we have trouble with, it is the roosters. Especially those from South America. The meanest of them all was Alturro (above).
When I was small, living in East Germany, a chicken dinner was hard to come by. We lived with the town Baker, right above the bakery, in a small farm community.
The Baker always had chickens. The mean little girl that I was I would call the rooster.

Kickereekee! and I would start running across the courtyard. Soon the rooster chased me and EVERYONE else, including the Baker's little boy. Our Baker family did not like chicken, we had a chicken dinner now and then.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Greeting Cards

Make your own Cards

Background swirls made with piece of cardboard

Block Printed with old Computer Mouse pads

On a large plate, in a circle, squeeze out water based paints (at least 5 to 6 different colors). In the middle of the plate add a water based conditioner (Floetrol). With a torn piece of cardboard, about 3 inches wide, swirl colors and conditioner onto large sheet of ordinary paper.

When dry, cut into sizes appropriate for cards. Glue onto cards. Now you are ready to embellish further. Don't forget to sign your art.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Apple Jelly

How Time Flies
On the tree

In jars the same day and to the Farmers Market the very next day

Only one left today

Friday, August 14, 2009


Stencilling, a different way

It is the background that makes the difference

Putti on Dining Room Ceiling

The idea is to make them look as if they were "stolen" from a fresco.

Again, it is the background, here marbelized, that makes the difference

Beautiful Stencils are created by using creamy pigments

Blend your pigments with stencil brushes on a glass palette. Use lots of colors but little pigment.
Experiment with stenciling using "rub-on-gold" or finger gold. Looks sensational on red Venetian Plaster.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Nabateans

The Mysterious Nabateans

One has to admire the beautiful ceramics of the ancient Nabateans. It was the Nabateans who made and painted ceramics so different and so beautiful, that it set them apart from other potters of 2,500 years ago.

The picture shows Nabatean Pottery sherds, brick red, extremely thin and delicately painted, excavated from the "Temple of the Winged Lions", Petra, South Jordan. The heavier, buff colored sherds are from the same period, crafted by local artisans.

In the early 1980's I catalogued an entire season of artifacts from one of the digs. These were a present from my Professor.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Boycott

My flower bouquets cost $1. It was so marked on the sign. The stand was near Main Street, one hundred Thieves Poplars from our house.

Gene dug 100 holes in one day and planted 100 trees the next. That was 15 years ago. When the trees were saplings, I could see my flower stand from my kitchen window.

There was an elderly farmer who would come by on his tractor. He would stop and take at least 5 minutes to select the perfect bouquet. With one hand driving and the other holding the flowers, he would drive through town to his farm.

Gathering the flowers was a lot of work. So I raised my prices. Now the bunches are $2 each. I was boycotted. But only for a few days.

The correct amount of money was always in the money box. I was never shortchanged even though the stand was operated on the honor system.

I made minus 50 cents an hour. My rewards were many. My favorite, a wonderful Thank You Note from the wife of my elderly farmer friend.


Sunday, August 9, 2009


Many flowers wilt as soon as they are placed in water. Poppies are a good example. So are Hollyhocks. Both varieties will last many days if you first singe their stems over a flame. Count slowly to 10 for Poppies and 20 for Hollyhocks.

If you need to re-cut the stem you must repeat the process.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bowls! Bowls! Bowls!

I paint many bowls
Large bowls, small bowls, fancy bowls, simple bowls, colorful bowls, plain bowls, practical bowls and not so practical bowls, humble bowls, sweet bowls, extravagant bowls, many, many, bowls.

But I never have any bowls left for myself.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My favorite Flower

Painted Tongue, Velvet Trumpet Flower of the Genus Solanacea, known as Salpiglossis

Salpiglossis belong to the nightshade family. They are closely related to the petunia and tobacco flower. Their open habit makes them so appealing. I don't know of another flower that blooms in so many different colors. From bright yellow to blue and purple and red and orange and to many shades in between to almost black.
Salpiglossis are a sensation in my garden. They never fail to be noticed. They make excellent cut flowers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Horsetrough

Everybody and Everything likes the Horsetrough except the Horses

Stanley likes it, the birds like it (when Stanley is not there)

Nephews and Nieces like it

And, Gene likes it
You can't miss it. You have to pass it no matter what and where your destination. We built it so that the Horses could rest in the shade and have a drink of water. I even planted a Linden Tree nearby. But the Horses still don't like it.
Everyone else and everybody else does.
The setting reminds me of an old German folksong:

"Am Brunnen vor dem Tore
da steht ein Lindenbaum,
Ich traumt in seinem Schatten,
so manchen suessen Traum
Ich schnitt in seine Rinde
so manches liebe wort . . . "

Monday, August 3, 2009

Maiden Flight

Cautious Visitors

They fly overhead, circle the pond and the house. They categorize every person and every animal. If there are no strangers, they will land. Every year, parents bring their offspring. As soon as they learn how to fly they are introduced to our pond. They spend the day under the giant elm tree, in the shade. They never spend the night. There are raccoons waiting in the night. Geese are so smart.