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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The second Unannounced Contest

You might recall my list of pet peeves
of a few weeks ago.

Tina of The Enchanted Home, listed several pet peeves but the best of them was "people who talk really loud on their cell phones..."

Tina, please choose your prize from any of these

A Baker's Dozen of my hand printed little cotton drawstring bags.

A hand painted door sign

Custom hand painted for you.

A vintage Lace handkerchief.

An assortment of my famous organically grown fruit  preserves in jars with hand painted labels. 

Thank you Tina for participating.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Why I love Orchids

It's because they are repeat bloomers,
especially the Phalaenopsis Orchid.
And of course, because they are so exotic.

Do you remember when orchids were very expensive.  I do.

Now you can purchase orchids in grocery stores and many other non traditional plant places.

And they come in so many different colors.

There is never a need to have a plastic Phalaenopsis.

They cost less than a flower bouquet yet each flower spike lasts 4 months or even longer.

When they finish blooming,  place them in an out-of-the-way place, water once a week and watch them bloom again.

Phalaenopsis Orchids  are not difficult. Once they bloom they are very happy in any light condition. However, you must keep them away from  direct heat.

 Place Phalies wherever they are appreciated the most. 

Give them a try, you will be so pleased that you did.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

All it takes is a few Tiles

And a bit of strong glue

Glue tiles onto board, add plastic feet to board.

Four small tiles hold several sticky preserve jars.

So easy to keep clean.

Not just for Jams and Jellies.
Also great for condiments.
And many more uses.

Have a great weekend my dear Blogging Friends.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sweet Peas, How To

Soon it will be time to plant Sweet Peas

We live in zone 3.  My seeds will be planted in the middle of March.

In warmer climates Sweet Peas should be planted in February. 

At least 2 to 3 weeks before planting start germinating seeds in a plastic bag.

I gathered seeds from my garden a couple of weeks ago.  Not all seeds will germinate.  Place moistened paper towel and seeds into plastic bag.  Keep top open and place by window.

Besides collecting my own seeds I will be ordering from Thompson and Morgan.

Check seeds a few times and rinse them in cold water  (to prevent  mildew) and return to plastic bag.  After  about 2 weeks your seeds will have sprouted and they are ready to be planted.  Sprouts are very sturdy and can be handled easily.

With this method, taught to me by our good friend Steven, the brilliant Lawyer, I have almost a 100% success rate. 

Give it a try this year, my dear Blogging Friends.


Friday, January 20, 2012

A Complete About Face

From "Too much is not enough" to Minimalist

I could see it coming.  Christmas is to blame, I think.

There is always so much color

I've been painting simple plates

The kind that only take ten minutes to paint.

See the Ladybugs?

Less than an hour to paint but almost 20 hours to fire and cool.

So, what do you think?  Should I go back to my Gypsy Ways?

Love to you All, my Dear Blogging Friends,


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Majolica, Maiolica. Which is it?

But first, What is it?

I found this very large Tile Mural set into a house wall in the historic hill top town of Deruta, Italy.

It shows, in pictures, the turning, the forming, the painting and finally, the process of firing ceramics in a wood burning kiln.

The mural was copied from the original, a treatsie entitled "The Three Books of the Potters Art" written by Cipriano Picolpaso in 1556.  Picolpaso's book describes the different techniques of great ceramic Artists.

  Maiolica is hand decorated, tin glazed earthenware. 
During the Moorish occupation of Spain, in the 8th century the technique of tin glazed wares was transmitted to Southern Europe via the trade centers on the island of Mallorca, hence the name.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The technique of painting bright colors on pure white background spread from Spain to Italy and Portugal and to Northern Europe.  At the beginning of the 16th century Guido di Savino of Castel Durante, Italy, emigrated to Antwerp, Holland and set up a family business.

Castel Durante
Maiolica and Majolica are pronounced the same, with the "j" making a "ya" sound.

The English appropriated Maiolica and changed its spelling to Majolica.

Many experts like to differentiate ceramics, which are produced outside of Italy, by giving them the name Majolica.  Most often they are also 3 dimensional in shape and form. 

Marie-LanNguyen, Louvre

Best known for his unusual technique of incorporating strange animals, such as snakes and  lizards is Bernard Palissy (1510-1590). Palissy popularized a rustic form of ceramic art called Palissy Ware. 

So,  if you see a lovely and colorful piece of ceramic from Italy it should be called Maiolica or Maioliche (plural).  If you are in England it could be called Majolica.  If in  Austria or Germany it could be called  Majolika.  If you are in Holland it is probably called Delftware.  If you are in France it is probably called Faience.  If you are in Spain and in Mexico it is probably called Talavera.  And if you are in Turkey it is probably called Iznik.......  

Totally confused?  Me too.

Warm wishes to all my dear Blogging Friends.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Squash Soup

On a cold Day
there is nothing better than a hot bowl of home made soup

Old Fashioned Hubbard Squash Soup, that is.

Mostly Hubbard Squash with a few Lakota Squash thrown in.
Both are excellent "keepers".
For next year,  select the seeds from your best.

Cut up medium sized squash into large pieces and bake in Aluminum foil with a little water, for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Saute 1 medium onion in 2 Tb butter and 3 TB olive oil.
Add baked, mashed squash (about 1 pound)
Add 2 cups of home-made vegetable stock
cook for 1/2 hour
Add 1 cup of half and half
Adjust consistency by adding milk
Add salt and white pepper to taste
Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Add a shot of sherry at very end
Serve garnished with Italian parsley
And homemade croutons

It will warm the cockles of your heart

Wishing you a wonderful week my dear
Blogging Friends,


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Problems with leaving comments and White Pop-Up Screen


Change comment setting to "pop up"
"full page"

That should fix the comment problem. 

Now, can you help fix our problem?
We only have a skiff of snow.

Last year we had plenty of snow in January

Will you do a "Snow Dance" for us here in the Desert?

Have a great weekend, my dear Blogging Friends.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A fascinating Woman, a fascinating Book

Margaret Mee
The diminutive artist who painted rare and exotic plants in the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest.

Margaret Mee created 40 folios of gouache illustrations, 40 sketchbooks and 15 diaries.  She explored the Brazilian Jungles on numerous expeditions between 1958 and 1988.

Most of her illustrations are now part of the Kew Garden collection. 

Mee was a botanical artist par excellence who brought many botanical plants and flowers before the world for the first time.


In November 1988,  I watched an interview with MacNeil on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour with Margaret Mee.  Throughout the entire interview, the usual somber MacNeil could not stop from smiling, especially when  Ms Mee recites an  incident where she held off a bunch of drunken prospectors with her revolver. 

Here is the interview repeated on the show after her tragic death following a car crash in Seagrave, Leicestershire, England on November 30, 1988.  She was only 79 years old.


All images (except the last) are from her book "In search of Flowers of the Amazon Forests"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

George, my little Toughie

I named him George, he needed a tough name.

I found George next to his dead mother. George had not been by his mother the day before.  No doubt he had tried to get nourishment from other yews. They had all rejected him, as it is in nature.

Now he was in trouble. On my morning walks I noticed his mother a few days earlier. She didn't look right. I made a mental note that she did not have a lamb, thankfully. BUT I WAS WRONG.

I recognized the brand but could not locate the Rancher. When I came home I asked Gene to get a ladder and a shovel. We were either going over or under the tall wire fence enclosure.  He was very dehydrated. I rubbed him down with water and forced him to drink a little. He did not move.

I have raised several bummers. Bummers are newly born lambs who have been rejected by their mothers or who have lost their mother during the birthing process. I know of a special formula. It consists mainly of molasses, salt, baking soda and warm water.

It had worked well in the past. However, little George was not improving. He is probably the only lamb that has been chauffeured to the Vet in a Mercedes. The Vet gave me lots of encouragement but that was all.

George smelling poppies, he must be getting better.

All Bummers go back into the barn for the night. 

George slowly improved.  Now I could feed him a special lamb formula, rich in nutrients. He spent his days at his beach house and his nights in the barn.  As soon as my Bummers get healthy and strong I give them back to the Farmers.  This one was hard to let go.

Have a great weekend my dear Blogging Friends.