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Monday, May 31, 2010

Tilly, the ongoing saga


First, there were six, and then two, and then three, and then six again





Do you remember my story (Jan. 13, 2010) when Tilly, our resident goose, lost Leopold and we found five little goslings for Tilly to ease the pain of losing her friend?


Several months later Tilly chose one goose out of the five to be her special friend. Because these five goslings had been landlubbers, they made the rounds through my flower and vegetable gardens several times a day. Even the terra cotta flower pots were given a haircut every morning.



So, with a heavy heart we gave all but Violet (Tillie's new friend) to a neighbor who lives several miles from our house. I called the next morning to see how they liked their new home.





What? Only one goose is left? We raced over and rescued the terrified little goose. Tilly had been moping around and was now happy to see at least one of her little friends back.



But what had happened to the other three geese? We looked everywhere.



Two months later, our neighboring farmer wanted to know if our geese could fly? No, they are domestic geese, They are too heavy. He let us know that three geese were living amongst his sheep. They had been there for a week.



Yes, there were two white geese and one grey goose living amongst the sheep. Then we hurriedly drove home and yes, we had two white geese and one grey goose happily swimming on our pond. (Have you lost count yet?)



For two months, the three "lost" geese had walked across many fields, through fences, across a major highway, walked the gauntlet past many raccoons, bears, bobcats, foxes, mountain lions, coyotes and mean barnyard dogs.



No doubt they were on their way to meet up with their long lost friends and a pond they had become accustomed to and familiar with.



We gathered them up and drove them the rest of the way home.



Gina

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Celebration


It was a huge success




More than 3,000 visitors came to our little town of five hundred. The sun was shining, emerald green everywhere. Smiles on every face. Handsome, real cowboys, in hats bigger than the West, were taking visitors on wagon rides pulled by 19 hands tall mules.



Firehouse sirens announced that breakfast was ready at the Bowery. The Honorable Governor of the State Utah shook my hand and actually had a conversation with me. (I shamefully admit that I posed for the cameras).



For lunch San Pete County special Turkey, with all the fixings, was served.



I set up my shop in the "Old School"; met wonderful people who were so complimentary and interested in my ceramics. They actually brought out their wallets. I said good bye to many of my favorite pieces.


At 2:00 p.m. sharp a lively auction took place. Our artists, and we have many, donated their 4-square paintings. This is the most successful event of the Memorial Day Celebration. We donate the proceeds to the restoration fund of the "Old School".

Gina

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Snow


We live in the desert for heavens sake


I could be cleaning up after the dogs and cat. Snow always brings muddy and wet paws and well, snow into the house. But I decided to do something constructive instead. This is it. A very large (16 inch) bowl. Of course, it isn't fired yet, hence the soft colors. Of course I don't know what will happen in the kiln. The bigger they are, the faster they fail. So, maybe cleaning the house would have been a better idea, after all.




The scene out of my kitchen window

P. S. Please don't show me any more of your beautiful flower pictures.

Gina

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stackem Up


I'm ready



For the annual Memorial Day Celebration Sale



People come from far and wide
and I am ready




My kiln has been working overtime
Come join us, it's a lovely drive through the most bucolic countryside anywhere

Gina

Friday, May 21, 2010

Passion. . . Passiflora Caerulae


A most accommodating vine in my greenhouse

Next time you are perusing a seed catalog, order a few Passiflora Pardifolia seeds. They are very, very easy to grow. There is no other vine I know of which is so perfect for flower arrangements or bridal bouquets. No special "conditioning" is needed. The tendrils are sturdy and graceful. The passiflora is a prolific grower.

Leaves of the Passiflora contain powerful chemicals and when used in tea can produce dangerous and negative side effects. Passion flower fruit and leaves have been used in folk medicine to lower anxiety and insomnia. I grow passion flowers in my cool greenhouse. Outside they are hardy to zone seven. Most species are found in Brazil and Argentina.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend with restful and invigorating sleep.

Gina

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We're back in the building business



What we need is a little shade to the West



It will be a Pergola




First Column going up, then another, only 10 more to go.




A few more pieces of lumber (actually, a whole lot of lumber)) and then we can enjoy the view to the West
Gina

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It isn't fair


You have met my friend Anita. She is my friend who bakes the fabulously delicious and sinfully good Streussel Kuchen. Anita was visiting yesterday and it is customary that we go for long walks into the countryside. We gathered wild asparagus and ate it right then and there. Then we walked to our Spring and picked watercress and munched on it.



It is now that the story gets complicated.

Anita brought her sister-in-law Christina. Christina is the Pastry Chef for the finest French Bakery this side of the Mississippi. Not only are her pastries beautiful they are also irresistible. Of course, I had to take a picture of these little works of perfection. Safe enough, right? After all, they were all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a pretty pink ribbon.





But then, I wanted to get them out of their wrapping for a close-up. And that is when I just had to have the yellow cookie.






And then I had to taste the green one.




And then there were none. AND then I packaged up the plate and sent it off. I sent it to a charming young woman who saw it in my Etsy shop.


Gina

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

You thought that I was kidding


My Living Room




Color, and more color, that is exactly the way I like it

And a Happy Sunday morning to you

Gina

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Friday, May 14, 2010

May and snowing


It is snowing again today, however, my sunny plate is out of the kiln
.




Well, my dear blogging friends, I painted my plate yellow.

I like it this color and more importantly, my customers always purchase everything I paint in yellow.

I need to be ready for our big celebration. A yearly event that takes place on the Memorial Day weekend. It is a sale to which all artists, from our community, donate part of the proceeds to a worthy cause.


I also liked the white background. Most of you have suggested that I should leave it white.

I think that I will paint a similar platter and leave the background white next time.
Gina

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Ornamentalist's Goldmine


The Wartburg Castle, replete with drawbridge, dungeon, towers and castlekeep, overlooks the town of Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany. The Castle was founded in 1067. UNESCO added the Wartburg to the World Heritage List as one of the outstanding monuments of the Feudal Period of Central Europe.





Martin Luther lived here for a short while in 1521; long enough to translate the New Testament from the original Greek into German. Luther was hiding, he had been excommunicated by Pope Leo X.



Moritz von Schwind (1838-1890) painted these wonderful Frescoes in the Rittersaal and in the Saengersaal, Hall of the Knights and Hall of the Minstrels, respectively.


Richard Wagner used this setting as inspiration for his famous Tannhauser.
Gina visited the Castle, as a young girl, on a school outing while still living in East Germany. At the time it was pointed out that the Devil had appeared to Martin Luther. Luther threw his ink well at the Devil leaving a large ink spot on the wall.
For years visitors would leave with a souvenir from the Middle Ages. The devil ink spot was reconstituted many times. And after all of this deceit, the story is only a legend. It never happened.
Gina, again, visited the Wartburg, this time as a citizen of the Great United States of America. Only this time she slept in the grand suite of the "Hotel at the Wartburg".

Gina

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What? Only Blue and White?


I know, I know. You expect a lot more color from me. I do make exceptions. I like blue and white china. So I painted a few pieces.


I also like black and white, as in checkered black and white marble floors, especially in garden rooms with lots of green palm trees, lemon, orange and kumquat trees and a few zebra skins thrown into the milieu, for good measure.


I think that I can predict who will buy these pieces at our annual Memorial Day Sale, coming up soon. The question is; should I paint a few more?


Have a great weekend, my dear blogging friends. And, if you have time, please leave a comment. In English, in German, in Italian, in French, in Spanish, in any language. I would love to hear from you.

Gina

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

La Magia del Barroco en Apaseo




You will see, this is a very special book. How to acquire it? You have to know someone who knows someone who is close to the person in charge at the Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer, Mexico City, Mexico. I happen to know such a person and that is how I became the grateful owner of this very fine book on design, decorative painting, history and baroque architecture.







A grand baroque building built in the 18th century in a small town of Apaseo el Grande, south of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.




I own many wonderful books. Each and everyone of them chuck full of design inspirations. But this book is special.


All photographs within this book are of one grand house, namely the "Casa Grande de Apaseo" , also known as the "Casa Herrera".




It is a long story. I was looking for several hand carved stone surrounds for our 200 year old Doors from Argentina. I found stone carvers in Mexico who carved the surrounds, not as fabulous as the one above, but one of mine does have the Lion of Venice carved into the entablature.



Hand painted and hand sculpted wall treatments.



Mostly, I am showing you photographs of one of the many kitchens of this grand house.


I like the innovative use of blue and white tiles. They are Portuguese in design but could have been painted in Mexico. Talavera, Azulejos, Maiolica, Delft tiles all have one thing in common. They are painted in the "Maiolica" style using tin glazes.




By innovative, I mean the way images are separated and divided by plain white spaces. So much more effective than covering the entire space with patterned tiles.





Here are some of the tiles I painted a few years ago. See the flower basket tiles above? They are similar to those I have painted. And so is the bird and vase mural that you see in the picture below.





To really appreciate this book you should see the photographs of the interior rooms and courtyards. Never, have I seen such splendid interiors and made more so by the exquisite flower arrangements. All photographs from this book are by Jose Ignacio Gonzales Manterola.

You might be able to place an order on the Amazon.com wish list. An English version (ISBN 9685205000) is supposed to exist. The Spanish version (ISBN 9686258728) might be more easily acquired.


Gina

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Looks old..... isn't old


When painting Tiles . . .



It is so much fun playing with years
Would like to reverse the process
on myself
Gina

Today I'm joining  http://diybydesign.blogspot.com/


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Helleborus, my loyal and early bloomer.


In zone 4 what blooms in the depth of winter in my garden? Helleborus orientalis, of course.



The Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose is a member of the genus helleborus orientalis comprising of about 20 different species.


Helleborus are a herbaceous perennial flowering plant belonging to the Ranunculaceae family.



You can see the seed head forming. Soon the seeds will spill out and if undisturbed, small little seedlings will appear early next Spring. They can then easily be transplanted.


If you would like to bring them into the house you must first slice the stem lengthwise, almost all the way to the top and "condition" them in cool water and a dark place for a day. A half of a toothpick, placed in the stem, near the head of the flower, will keep their heads from drooping.




The seeds have already spilled from the flower on the right. It is at this stage that you can bring them into the house and they will hold in water without special treatment.


The large green leaves of the Helleborus provide perfect greens for flower arrangements thruought the year.


Many species of the Lenten Rose are poisonous. Alexander the Great is purported to have died because of an helleborus overdose when he took it as a medication.

Gina

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where do YOU hang your Hat?




He said that it was ugly. And I agreed. But it was only a Dollar
.



No, not this one, and not the Hat.


But this one, the one on the left. Ugly indeed! But it is hand wrought and it had possibilities.




Don't you agree?




A few paints and a little gold powder mixed with a binder and a wonderful Hat Rack is born. Moral of the story? Look a little deeper, look a little more carefully and you will discover beauty all around .


Wishing you a great Day.

Gina

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