Please be aware that I do not wish to have my photographs published , pinned or repinned on Pinterest.

copyright notice

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Miltonia Orchids

Have you tried growing Orchids?

My Miltonia Orchid blooming for the second time this year. Miltonias, also known as Pansy Orchids, have an exotic fragrance and come in startling , spectacular colors.

Phalaenopsis orchids are the easiest to grow. They will bloom year after year. All they need is a little attention and a location where they receive indirect light. Twice a week run water through them and let drain for about 20 minutes. Thats all.

Once they bloom you can move them to anywhere in your house. Blooms last for up to 5 months. Miltonias are like Pansies. Their beautiful faces follow you wherever you are. Have you tried growing orchids?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Books, Books and Books

Books! What can't you learn from Books?

I have an awkward corner in my living room and I have too many books. Solution . . . build a bookcase. Needed: a few two by eights for the bookcase, 2 inch molding for facing the shelves and pretend Greek pilasters, capitals and lintels from the home builders supply store. The last items come in 8 foot lengths (except for the capitals, of course) all made of plastic.

And now you need a willing husband with a few tools and lots of talent to put it all together. A little paint and a little antiquing gel and the bookcase looks like a million dollars, YES?

This bookcase is only 8 inches deep(hence the 2 by 8th). Most books don't even require that much depth.

As soon as I receive a new book, I take off the covers, don't like shininess and bright colors flashing back at me. Bookcases should have lots of books in them. Adding a few artifacts and maybe a painting make the whole scene much more interesting.

See my table in the hall? It is covered with lots of design books. I leave the covers on these books because they are works of art in themselves and it also identifies the book for a quick looksey. If you think these are all the books I own, not so, you should see the many books in my library. And, then there are all the technical and how-to-books I have down in the catacombs.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


It is minus 10 degrees outside and snow is piling up. The weather is warm and sunny in my greenhouse. How would I get through the winter if I didn't have this toasty spot.

The sun does all the work. My greenhouse is below ground and faces south. The glass catches the sun and traps the heat inside.

I was supposed to paint the cement wall black. I noticed a beautiful building in Mexico with this fabulous blue color. The cement wall gathers the heat when the sun shines and gives off heat during the night. Black would have been more efficient, but oh so not my color.

Many of my geraniums are more than 15 years old. They go out into large terra cotta pots when we have nights without frost . . . . usually the first of June.

See the lemons on my lemon tree? They will ripen once the tree goes outside and then it will bloom again and make more lemons.

The curly cactus is called Lettuce Leaf cactus. It is a very prodigious grower. Every year I have to give a whole bunch of them away or they would take over the place.

I have collected a few dollars making bets with my friends. They tell me that petunias are annuals. No, they are perennials. This blue petunia has an intoxicating fragrance, unlike most petunias. It is called "sky blue". Normally I don't grow petunias, they are a little too citified for me and remind me of parks where row upon row of petunias are planted every year.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seed catalogs arriving

All sunflower pictures taken in my 2009 Garden

If you are looking for unusual flower seeds Thompson & Morgan has a very large selection


Friday, January 22, 2010

Gold Leafing Tutorial II

Now that you know how, let's tackle a little more difficult project

The finished frame holding one of my hand painted tiles

See the cracks? They are called "Holidays". Underneath, showing through the holidays, you see red paint. It is actually "bole", a pigmented clay which imparts warmth to the gold leaf.

This is the beginning, a very unsightly frame, but made of good, solid wood.

First, paint on one coat of red bole ("Old World Art Red Basecoat"), or red acrylic paint will do. Let completely dry.

Paint on white glue ("Old World Art Adhesive Size") wait until tacky (about an hour or two) and then apply gold leaf by laying gold leaf sheets onto frame. Polish with soft cloth until bright and shiny.

My " Temple of the Winds" capitals gold leafed and installed. The capitals are made of terracotta.

Columns are painted with faux marble treatment, they are made of wood.

Columns divide the hall from our Dining Room

Columns in situ

I used composite metal gold leaf (the inexpensive gold). Waited a few months until they tarnished a little to take away some of the brilliance. Then I antiqued them with a little "Old World Art Antiquing Glaze" and for the final step, sealed the gold with a fixative.

Working with real gold leaf (the expensive kind) is an all together different procedure. If you are interested in learning how, you will have to come for a visit.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gold Leafing Tutorial

Let's give Gold Leafing a try

A few weeks ago the Utah Historic Society sent a young lady to me. The young lady had a novel idea. She wanted to teach a large group of very young children how to do gold leafing. She didn't know how herself. In my mind I conjured up a scene of 40 young children and gold leaf floating thrughout the class room.

But first things first. Let's line up the necessary materials. There are two types of gold leaf. They look exactly alike. The small envelope you see holds the real thing. 22 karat gold leaf. It costs about $80, and holds 25, 3x3 inch leaves. The other, larger envelope costs $11 and holds 25, 6x6 inch composite metal leafing. (We didn't use the first package).

The bottle in the middle holds the glue,
called "adhesive size". All materials used here
are easily available in any craft store or
art supply shop. I will explain the other bottles tomorrow. We will need them for
our next project.

Tape off area to be gilded. Brush on size (glue).
Let dry for at least an hour. Lower part of candle should be tacky, not sticky. Tackiness will last
for at least another 4 hours.

Place only a small amount of glue into container. Immediately clean your brush with soap and warm water when you have finished.

Lay one sheet of gold leafing onto lower section of candle. Add another until candle is totally covered. Tap on with brush and polish with soft cloth or sheep's wool. You can leave candle as is or scribe a pattern into the gold with the handle of a brush.

By the way, the little boys and girls had a wonderful time learning how to gold leaf. I was told that it was a rousing success. If they can do it so can you.

Tomorrow I will continue with another gold leafing tutorial. The next one will be a little harder to do but will be so rewarding, once learned.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Hero lives in our house

Charlie saved Lucy

Last evening, Lucy, our Brittany, disappeared behind the barn. When it was time to come back into the house, neither Charlie nor Lucy responded to the whistle.

Then Charlie came to the corner of the barn and stood there, would not come. Then he disappeared behind the barn again. This was repeated several times until it dawned on Gene that something was wrong.

Lucy was choking and in distress. Her collar was caught in a roll of chicken wire and she could not free herself. Luckily Gene was wearing his hunting knife. He had to cut her collar to get her out. If it had not been for Charlie disobeying Gene we would not have found Lucy in time.

Charlie, our dog from the Police Station

He was found wandering near a small town. No one claimed him. We loved him from the start. He has been living with us, on the farm, for more than eight years. He loves cowboys and trucks. He loves to herd all animals; sometimes sheep and cows and sometimes chickens. When he hears thunder and lightning, he disappears. That is probably how he got lost in the first place.

Charlie is our Hero


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Give credit where credit is due

I am always bragging about myself, so now it is time to give credit where credit is due!

Gene carved this beautiful Plate Rack out of solid walnut. He thought that my hand painted plates needed a good home.

My Father was a Master Woodcarver from the "old country". Every Wednesday afternoon Gene would take time away from his office and he and my father would carve together. So now I am the lucky recipient of this very practical and also very beautiful plate rack.

Gene inherited my Father's chisels, they are over a hundred years old and were brought from East Prussia more than 60 years ago. The chisels are housed in a cabinet Gene carved from solid oak


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Reflection

Do you see the Reflection in the windows?

Tilly and her charges

Did you know that geese live to be over 40 years old? Mathilde, Tilly for short, was given to us 14 years ago. She was not welcome in her old neighborhood. Her constant calling disturbed the neighbors.

With us, Tilly had lots of company, many resident ducks and wild geese. Now and then she would raise a few orphans, all ducks. At night she would sound the alarm when raccoons came looking for an easy meal.

When the food trough was empty Tilly would knock on our kitchen door. And then she started knocking on the door whenever she was lonely.

She had been trying, without success, to steal a husband from one of the wild geese flocks. We found Leopold, a fine and handsome goose. They lived happily together for many years. And then one morning, Leopold didn't wake up. He had been slowing down. Maybe he was older than we thought. Even though Tilly had ignored Leopold at times, she was now inconsolable.

Tilly left the pond. For three days she stood in front of the greenhouse staring at her reflection in the glass panes. She thought it was Leopold hiding in the greenhouse, and she wanted him to come out.

How long was she going to stand there, without water, without food? We had to do something. A neighboring farm had 5 young geese for sale. We brought them home in a box and placed it near the greenhouse. When Tilly heard the little sounds she half ran, half flew to the box, turned it over and gathered all five goslings and off to the pond they hurried.

Oh, what happiness!

To be continued . . . .


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Still cold outside, why not paint a little

Will it ever warm up?
Painting Tiles is a lot of fun. If you make a mistake it's not such a big deal.

If everything goes well you can look forward to seeing how your tiles look after they have been fired in the kiln. . . a process which takes at least 24 hours.
There are always surprises. Mostly good surprises. However, every now and then something does go wrong. If you have painted a mural, made up of many tiles, the entire work can be lost.

It is still cold outside , so I paint Tiles and Tiles and more Tiles.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Desperately needing extra Bed

Visitors are coming, we desperately need another bed. Let's clean out the garage!

Now hurriedly paint the bare walls and stamp (images cut from old computer mouse pads) a garland over where the bed is going to be. That takes care of the headboard.

Now look for anything that hasn't been used in years, anything you can find in the basement. Cover rickety tables with pretty fabrics, add a few schatzkies, fresh flowers and a couple of old lamps and scatter a few rugs on the bare cement floor. Ignore anything utilitarian.

Everyone loved it, were fighting over who was going to sleep in the garage and who was going to sleep in the guest quarters. My sister-in-law won out.


Monday, January 4, 2010


Do you ever get the Donts?

At least Gene strapped on the ice skates and skated on our Pond

No more parties, no more feasting, no more making merry, no more champagne.

Nothing left to do but bring out the boom box, invite Tschaikowsky and play the ice skaters waltz. Where is that last bottle of champagne? Where are the chocolates?