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Monday, June 28, 2010

My DUP (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers) Cake


Are you 18 years or older? Are you a lineal descendant of an ancestor who came to Utah before the completion of the railroad on May 10, 1869? If so, you have a chance of winning my DUP cake and eating it too.






Every year I am asked to contribute my cake to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) bake sale. The first year, it was auctioned off to a Professor of History from the "Big City". The next year a member of the DUP won my cake.





The very next year, I received a phone call the night before the bake sale asking me when exactly would I be bringing the cake. The caller was waiting for me at the front door. The next year, the organizer met me at the door and the cake disappeared (she had promised it to one of her cronies). So much of a fuss for such a simple cake?




The following year I received a phone call, aksing me to please bring the cake AND the cake recipe. My recipe? Oh no, I can't do that. It is a secret. But I will share my secret with you.
The cake is made in 10 minutes because I use a Sarah Lee frozen poundcake. Always have one ready in my Freezer.


So, here it is:



1 pound cake, cut into 3 layers. First and last layer, apricot, strawberry, lingonberry, peach or whatever preserves you have on hand.



Middle layer, butter cream (recipe follows)



1 and 1/2 sticks of unsalted, very soft butter

2 and 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2 to 3 Tb of fresh lemon juice.


Mix by hand with wooden spoon and cover entire cake



Decorate with fresh violets or use candied violets and candied mint leaves.



Gina


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Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Kitchen Hearth


My custom made kitchen cabinets were installed and I didn't like the way they dominated the entire space, SO ...


I hired a local handyman and by noon of the next day I owned the perfect kitchen.


We moved a cabinet to a better location. We reduced the size of some of the cabinets so they would not jut out so far.



With the left-over lumber we built a new cabinet and with the oversized facades for the oversized refrigerator (we purchased a smaller one) we built a brand new corner pantry. We even had enough lumber left over to build a cabinet so I could hide my washer and dryer.






And then, I asked him to build me a chimney piece. Out of plywood he fashioned the hood. He measured once, adjusted the angle once, and it was done.




All that was left for me to do was to paint a tile mural to cover the plywood.


The uprights you see are architectural fragments made of cast cement. I simply painted them with acrylic paints.



Gina


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Thursday, June 24, 2010

A perfect match made in nature


Lady's Mantle and Icelandic Poppies bloom in my garden at the same time. The chartreuse green of the Lady's Mantle and the brillant colors of Icelandic Poppies make for a very colorful and happy combination
.


One caveat; you MUST remember to singe the stems of Poppies over a flame for 10 seconds before placing them into water.




Lady's Mantle, alchemilla vulgaris, self seeds in my garden showing up in unexpected places. Large leaves hold water droplets which glisten in the sun, pretending to be little jewels.


The plant contains salicyllic acid used for treating wounds to prevent infection. It is also known as the woman's healing herb, hence the common name Lady's Mantle.



As a young girl I gathered a different alchemilla plant for our local apothecary. Our pharmacist used the dried herb as a medicine to lower high blood pressure.





Icelandic Poppy, papaver nudicaule, is grown as a biennial and is hardy to zone three. All parts of the plant are poisonous containing toxic alkaloids.

Gina

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alfalfa, the crop of choice


Life under the Horseshoe Mountain. Our Watershed
.


Oldtimers watch the snow crest on top. If there is snow on the 24th of July, we will have a good water year.


The first ton of alfalfa from our field, almost 3 weeks late. We usually get three cuttings ... maybe not this year.
Finally, our trees have grown so much that our house is now hidden behind them. What you see is the barn, the garages, and the guest quarters upstairs.




Beginning from the outside of the field, the first row is cut. And a bit later, the entire field is cut.



Next morning, very early, the field is winrowed. The gathering of hay from 2 rows into one. Has to be done before alfalfa dries or too much of the precious fodder is lost.





Next day the alfalfa has dried and is now ready to be baled. Rain is coming. Will it be small bales of 80 pounds, easy to handle when feeding lifestock or will it be large, one-ton bales?
It was baled during the night, in the dark, with lights shining into our windows. One-ton bales it is.




As soon as the alfalfa bales are trucked away the cycle begins all over again. The wheels carry the pipes, which carry the precious, life giving water.

Gina

Friday, June 18, 2010

Living off the Land


Goodness has it's own rewards

A trip to the garden yielded beautiful spinach, stopped by the chicken coop for brown eggs, headed for the cellar to last Falls' potatoes and onions, added a little cream and cheese ...



Mix it all together and bake ...



Gene ate two pieces
Have a wonderful weekend everyone

Gina

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stuckmarmor, Benad website in English


Received a very nice note and thank you from Martin Benad, author of "Das 1x1 der Spachteltechniken" (see last post).




Martin informs me that he has an English version website. Four of his books have been translated from German into English. However, for now, the Spachteltechnik book is only available in German.


In the meantime, if you just have to have the Spachteltechnik book, I am happy to translate for you. You can order Martin Benad books from his website (above). His books are full of interesting information pertaining to all types of decorative painting techniques. Easy to follow photographs almost do not require text.


Gina


photos: Martin Benad

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stuckmarmor - Stucco Marble Columns



Theresa Cheek wrote a fine article entitled "Scagliola and Pietre Dure" for her blog "Art's The Answer!" Stuckmarmor is one of many Spachteltechniken and so is Scagliola.



Marble columns made with Stucco technique.





More commonly known Spachtel (trowel) techniques are Tadelakt and Fresco, shown above. Frattazatto, Marmorino, Stucco-lustro, Rasata, Calcerasata, Stucco Veneziano, Stucco Rasante, Spatolato Veneziano, all fit into the lime based trowel techniques.





Tools of the trade. Mostly differently shaped trowels (Spachtel) cutting tools, polishing tools. Lime (calcium carbonate) mixed with organic powder pigments and kneaded. More colors added and stacked. Some cut into scheiben (slices) and then into cubes.





Large masses of colored stucco is applied onto a base. Smaller veins of conglomerates (cubes) are troweled onto and in-between applied stucco panels.




High spots are removed with special blade. Open areas are filled with stucco slurry. Numerous polishing procedures from rough to the very fine. Then a last coat of poppy seed oil and wax.


Staatsoper, Dresden




All photographs are taken from the book by Martin Benad entitled "Das 1x1 der Spachteltechniken".

The author and his wife, Ursula, live in Munich, Germany, where they often conduct workshops for decorative painters. You may contact them for more information.

Gina

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Daisies, simple and fine


It's the single daisy which catches my eye; not the flouncy, floppy, double and over hybridized daisy





If you want more daisies, just toss their spent flower heads wherever you want them to grow.


Mine grow everywhere, . . . "beside the lake beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze" (Wadsworth).



And down the lane, along the fence, by the wall, along the stone path, by the chicken coop, by the barn, by the Misthaufen (what is a Misthaufen you ask?). Let me know when you figure it out.



Have a lovely weekend, my dear blogging friends.



Gina


Friday, June 11, 2010

The all important center motif and a Thank You

A good place to start, when painting ceramics, is in the center





A huge THANK YOU to the fabulously talented Linda Merrill who featured my ceramics on her blog this week.

Gina

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And the winner is . . . .


Lynne Rutter
http://www.ornamentalist.net/ Ornamental Painter "who is on a mission to beautify the world".





Lynne suggested "a series of awnings that can be retracted" to provide shade for our new pergola.


Lynne will receive a signed copy of the book entitled "100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go" a book by Susan Van Allen.



Thank you Lynne,



Gina

Monday, June 7, 2010

HELP, please and a prize


My dear blogging friends. I need a little advice. My new pergola is almost finished. However, it does not provide enough shade. Do any of you have a solution?



We have a lot of snow in the winter. Solutions which work for fair weather areas will not work here.




I am offering a prize to the person with the best idea. The prize is a signed copy of Susan Van Allen's new book entitled "100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go". Gosh, I'm even mentioned in Susan's book.



So, please put your thinking caps on. Your efforts will be rewarded and I would be so grateful.



Gina

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A walk around my house


These are a few of my favorite things . . . .




Oh, what stories these pieces could tell . . . . .



I need to mention the rabbits. It is a belt buckle which my Father hand carved for me.

The Madonna painting I purchased, many years ago, from a very charming friend and Art Collector. We had an office in the same building. He would visit often but never mentioned how much I still owed him. I would pay him a few dollars, when I could, and he would acknowledge receipt on a small slip of paper (which I kept in my desk).

And then one day, the painting was paid in full and it was mine, all mine.

Gina