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Friday, August 27, 2010

You can't paint? That's all right.

I'll paint them for you

These little cotton bags have original images printed upon them.  The images are taken from my hand painted ceramics.  Each little sachet is an original.

Available in my Etsy shop 


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's time to start collecting seeds

Poppy seeds are ready for collecting and so are the Lavender stalks and a myriad of other seeds.

And the best way to keep them is in little cotton bags.

I like to hand paint mine.  With acrylic paints.  Labeling helps identify the seeds. I  gather seeds from my vegetables, flowers, herbs and trees. 

More than 30 years ago I first collected Aster Seeds from Lake Maggiore, Italy.  They have been blooming in my garden and in gardens of my friends.

My Lavender is ready to pick.  Lavender Bottles take a little time to assemble but are not difficult.

This lavender bottle was made a year ago.  It still carries that lovely lavender fragrance when squeezed.

The bouquet of asters are from seeds I collected many years ago. 

Before I painted these little bags they were used for testing sand for oil content.  A left-over from my working days when I was doing mineral ownership research for major oil companies.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rolly Polly

Rolly Polly Zucchini and my hand carved bowl

Many years ago my Father carved this solid walnut bowl for me.  My Father's carving was not smooth.  It shows every single chisel mark that he made.  It gives his pieces so much character.

One of these days I'm going to treat myself to a deep fried zucchini blossom

See the simple detail my Father carved into the rim of the bowl?  Isn't it absolutely perfect?

I showed up just in time as my Father was finishing my bowl.  Can you see the "handles" on the side of the bowl?  They are removed at the very last.  They are used to hold the carving in place.  It took me a while to convince my Pappa to leave the "handles".   I like them.  don't you?

Rolly Polly Zucchini are my most favorite Summer Squash.  Harvest them when they are about golf ball size.  Even when they are larger, they are still excellent.  Just saute them, cut up, in a little unsalted butter and olive oil.  Season simply with sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.

The perfect little Rolly Polly

My Father was a very fine Master Woodcarver from the Old  country.  When I was about 8 years old he asked me to come into his studio.  Fastened to the carving bench was a piece of very thick alder wood.  He instructed me on how to carve a bowl.  I carved and I carved ... until I had carved a hole through to the bottom.  I was not invited again. 

But my Father took me on many painting expeditions.

My Father signed all of his pieces.  Once they were finished I would sneak into his studio and with one of his chisels would carve "my mark" in an inconspicuous place.  On his 80th birthday I fessed up to my misdeeds.  He first looked at me in disbelief and then he threw his head back and he laughed and he laughed. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer is for picnics

A gentle breeze was blowing

It was a perfect afternoon

 We promised our friends a picnic by the pond, under the old elm tree

We decided to surprise our friends

And moved the picnic table into our barn

The chickens wandered by, Stanley our gentleman cat, caught a mouse, which Charlie our big dog promptly stole and Lucy our Brittany sat in the shade watching birds and watching us.

The four of us sat and enjoyed the finest gazpacho, deviled eggs, a fantastic bean salad, chicken barbecued and infused with a wonderful smoky flavor, garlic bread and many bottles of bubbly, chilled to perfection. Every single item thoughtfully and expertly prepared by our friends Christine and Steven.

For dessert we had fresh blueberries topped with creme fraiche and sprinkled with Demerara sugar from the island of Mauritius.
Wishing you a lovely Sunday



Friday, August 13, 2010

Another clue in the Giveaway

I made it too difficult, so here are a few more clues

The finished and fired plates, detail NOT missing

Detail NOT missing in plate on right

Detail NOT missing

Detail missing


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Come along with me and win a prize

Let's see if you can win a prize!

Remember my earlier post entitled "I'm a copycat" ? here Thought you might like to see how really easy it is to paint your own set of dishes.

Contest rules will follow.

But first, let's learn the process. With underglaze pigments and once-fired-bisque plates (all available at any ceramic store) begin by painting a simple line. Then "attach" fruit and leaves. Then color inside the lines with colors appropriate to the design.

The image in the lower right is the finished plate after it has been fired. (Take your plate to a ceramic shop to be fired).

Now then, here is your test. Look carefully at these designs and compare them to the finished plates (below) and tell me what small detail is missing.

The winner will receive this charming, hand painted Lozenge shaped Tile. It comes complete with hanger in back, ready to hang.

If we have more than one winner, the lucky person will be chosen by the usual group of judges, who are standing by, having a glass or two of champagne.

All entries will be considered. The contest will close midnight (your time) on August 22, 2010.

The finished set of dishes, fired in my kiln to 1823 degrees Fahrenheit to last many lifetimes.

Good Luck!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Something to Share

First, there are the blossoms and then the fruit

A mornings worth of work, that's all

A couple of hours later and it's time to affix the labels. I always use images from my hand painted ceramics

Now I have something special to share with my Family and Friends


Saturday, August 7, 2010

French Evening

Soon we will be in Paris

And so will be our friends

Our friend Steven, prepared kir royale for us

And he brought foie gras, prepared two different ways
Did I tell you that our friend Steven is a very fine Chef ?

Gene served roasted chicken, I added my Mother's very special cucumber salad, quiche made with vegetables from our garden and freshly baked bread, just out of the oven.

We served a 25-year-old bottle of French wine.

For dessert we had Mousse au Chocolate made with a secret ingredient.

And we schemed and planned our trip to France


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A year later - Post number 194

Apricots are very easy to work with
They don't need to be peeled. Just remove the stones, cut up and cook with sugar, fresh lemon juice and a little pectin. Bottle when very hot. They don't need to be processed further.

My apricots froze this year. So did every other tree in our town. I spotted an old apricot tree in an abandoned lot, neglected and forgotten. You guessed it. It was laden with apricots.

After cooking the apricots for a little while I noticed that there was something amiss. The skin had turned into little pieces of tough wire. I had to toss it all out. I hate to waste food.

Just five miles north of us is a well kept garden. By the fence stands a very old apricot tree. And every year, without fail, it bears apricots. In exchange for a few bottles of my strawberry and rhubarb preserves I was able to pick a large basket of beautiful apricots.

These apricots are sweet and perfect. Exactly what is needed for my famous apricot preserves.