31 August 2010
30 August 2010
So, I am going to give it a go at coaxing it to bloom again. Although, that isn't exactly correct, I am going to try to coax the bracts to turn red again. Turns out that those little yellow balls that we see in the middle of the red, or other colored, bracts are the true flower or cyathia. The plant is native to South America, and, in nature, can grow to be 10 feet tall. I don't think we have to worry about that with this one, but it is currently standing at almost 2 feet tall.
Now, IF I can coax this into blooming, it will be the miracle of the season. I am not the world's greenest thumb, that's one of the reasons I find it so shocking that this is still growing so well, but you know what... as I said before, I have nothing to loose, so why not?
The plant needs to spend about 14 hours a day in darkness in order to get the bracts to turn red again. This week, I brought it indoors, so it can start to acclimate to being inside. I am allowing it to spend time in front of the window where it will winter so that it can get accustomed to the light that comes in it. Beginning next week, it will spend about 8 hours a day in front of the window, and the other 16 tucked into a closet where it will get no light. The plan is to set it out and let it "sun" while I am at work, and tuck it back into the closet when I get home. Hopefully, in about 10 to 12 weeks I will have red bracts again. Like I said, if it happens, it will be the miracle of the season!
Everything I have read about this process describes how difficult it is, how "fussy" it is, how so few can do it, it will be interesting to see if I can... because if I do, it will definitely bust some of those theories. Anyway, it's going to spend the next week or so in the house, and in a couple of weeks I will start giving updates on the "project" every week or so. Keep your fingers crossed!
29 August 2010
She woke up really early, before the sun was even shining, so that she could get me up before everyone got started on their day. She was going to go grocery shopping this morning, and thought she would leave me before lots of people were there doing their grocery shopping after church.
To tell you the truth, I'm a little scared. What if no one wants me? What if no one takes me home to love me? I'm little, and I'd be afraid to be on my own very long.
Before we left, she wrote a note to tie onto my arm to explain who I am, and why I was made, and that I was looking for a good home.
Then she put me in a plastic bag, she said it was in case there was rain, but I don't think there will be, it's a very sunny day. And off we went, along with her grocery list, for me to (hopefully) find a good home. I hope I get one!
So, here I am, waiting for someone to come along and find me and,hopefully, give me a good home. She left her blog address, in case the person who finds me wants to let her know I have a good home. I hope they do, 'cause I know she worries about the little ones she leaves to be found.
28 August 2010
Last evening I was sitting in this chair. This is what the morning sun looks like as it comes in, the evening sun comes from the window on the other side. I was doodling on a sheet of watercolor paper, and the evening sun was coming through the window screen falling across the paper adding the pattern of the screen to my pen lines. The leaves of the trees made the shadows dance for a few very fleeting moments, and then, it was gone.
So many of the wondrous moments in life are like that. Beautiful and fleeting. Often so fleeting we forget to notice them. And, very often, those are the moments that have the chance to bring the sense of awe and wonder (dare I say magic?) to our world.
What kind of moments do you see that bring the joy and wonder to your world?
I am off to candy more ginger, and do some laundry... and look for that magic. But, before I go do that, I'm going to remind everyone who is participating in the Creativity Invitation that the prompt for August is "Transition". Interpret it in any way you please, then email me with photos of what you have done, add your photos to the flickr group, post it on your blog... or any combination of all of the above. Just be sure to leave me an email or a link so I can share it with my readers.
And, don't forget, everyone who is a follower of the blog, who leaves a comment on any of the posts in August is entered into the August giveaway...
The images are links to get you to the information about both...
And, finally, I'm sharing the ArtsyBlogger links for the week, everyone has been very creative, go see and enjoy!
Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Are you looking for ribbon weaving or Homecoming Mum Chain directions? Look no further.
What to Do With an Extra Large Zucchini
Cherie talks about working with a zucchini the size of Chicago.
After receiving a wonderful package of crystals from Auntie's Beads, Cyndi set out to make a bracelet that would show them off!
Flip Flop Craft, Cake and Cupcake Ideas
For your end of summer celebration party
27 August 2010
You know what? We do have them in Kentucky. We have the Little Southern Devil Scorpion. You know how I know this? We found one at work here today. Well, not "we" really... but Tony, one of our IT people did. Yeppers... we did. See him up there? (The scorpion, not Tony.)
When the heck did we get these? I've lived here all my life and have never seen one.
To quote our very own University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture web site:
"Although they are able to sting, the scorpions that live in Kentucky rarely interact with people, and are not important pests. They are sometimes found in buildings, however, and can be startling to homeowners."
"Not important pests"...yeah, if they are not YOUR pest. And, I think the statement "can be startling to homeowners" is a tad of an understatement. We were in awe, maybe shock even... certainly disbelief (and we are a part of that College of Ag no less). A scorpion in Kentucky. Not just in Kentucky, but in our very own building in Kentucky. A tad disconcerting to say the least.
He wasn't really all that big, an inch and a half, maybe two if it was all stretched out (adults reach about 2"), but he sure as heck was unexpected. Apparently, this sort of scorpion is "not very dangerous", that's good, especially if they are going to hang out in our building. It seems that, when exposed to black light, scorpions glow in the dark. Another reason to not leave home without a hand held black light, huh?
And, the College of Ag's site even suggests that they can be "kept as a pet". Yeah, that would be right up there next to a pet snake on my list of must have items. One of the students who works with us is studying entomology. I cannot think of anyone who would enjoy the gift of as scorpion more... we're giving it to him.
25 August 2010
The Big One and the Bonus One are building their life together about 900 miles from me... and my daughter has made her first REAL stab as the "I am an adult, and I can do what I please."
Monday she emails me with..."I want to talk to you about something." This statement generally strikes fear into my heart when it comes from her.
She has decided she wants a tattoo, and, while she had made her decision, she would really like to have my blessing.
She wants a tattoo.
Oh, and while she was there, she was going to have her tragus pierced.
And how did I react? I thought I did rather well. There were no threats of death, no lectures about infections, or any discussion about being kicked out of the house. At least not out loud. Had I voiced them, she would have had it done before I even got home from work. Instead, I told her that, before I could give her my blessings, I had to see the design. That seemed the best way to buy myself time to form arguments. Right?
One of my coworkers happened by my office right after that conversation with her, my elbows were on my desk and my head was hanging down with my fingers rubbing my temples. He asked if it were "that kind of morning", and I explained that my teenager wanted a tattoo. Whereupon he was kind enough to remind me that "technically" she isn't a teenager... OK, legally she is an adult, she is after all 18... realistically ... she wants a TATTOO and she's my baby... my baby.
Sometimes this motherhood thing is filled with challenges that are really difficult. (Read that: there are moments in this thing that is called motherhood that really suck.) And this is my fault. I was the mother that encouraged her children to be who they authentically are. To live their lives according to what they believe right for them, not according to the judgment of others. What was I thinking? Is it any wonder that I pray constantly for patience?
As per how my daughter does things, she had already done her research, knew exactly where she was going to have it done, and already had designed it. This was important to her, and while she wanted my blessing and support, she was going to do it regardless. Make note here, she wanted my blessing, but was more than content to ask her father's forgiveness after the fact. IF and when he notices it. It took him almost two weeks to notice her nose.
There is no choice in that. She is an adult, she will do as she pleases, and this is how she is going to take that first step out of the nest. Big, bold, and certain. The no turning back sort of thing. What could I do? I did the only thing I could, I extracted a promise from her that, IF, I did support her, she would get no more ink. None, zip, nada. And I explained to her that this small tattoo that she wanted, IF I supported her decision, would represent her commitment to me that she will work to excel in college, she will get her grad degree immediately after, and she would find a kick ass career that she loved.
She agreed. And I have it all in an email conversation. With timestamps. This will be kept in a safe place to show my granddaughters some day. I hope she has twins, daughters, that bring her as much joy as she has brought me. And are as much like their mother as she is like her own. If that doesn't curse her nothing will.
Flash foward to Tuesday about 10 am... email from her "soooooo...will you come with me for moral support? I'll understand if you don't want to, but I'd really like to have you there." Argh. What can I do? All my life I have been abandoned by people who told me they loved me unconditionally and would support me through anything...at least until something actually happened where I needed their support.
I am not thrilled about this tattoo, but in the scheme of things, this is a smaller battle, and while I can express my discontent with her choices as she progresses in this adventure of adulthood, I cannot make them for her. Nor can I stop being the supportive mother just because she makes a choice I do not agree with. She is my child, and I love her and her brother, to depths I didn't realize even existed until they were born. I cannot stop loving either of them any more than I could stop breathing.
Besides, I have her agreement that this will be her only ink. With timestamps too, in case there is ever any question about when that promise was made. I thought I'd take pictures too, so that when those granddaughters of mine come to me some day complaining about their mother not allowing them to do something like this...
And so, here she is, my beautiful daughter, inked. Oh, and with her tragus pierced. This beautiful daughter who felt this tattoo so important that she was going to do it regardless, and yet still enough her mother's daughter that she wanted to know she would be loved and supported regardless. My beautiful daughter who has the soul of a warrior, brave and fearless... and determined to BE who she is.
24 August 2010
But I added the links for the blogs I'd found while out and about online on the Very Cool Blog Links page, but I haven't gotten around to posting them on the front page... Shame on me. So, without further ado, here are ten blogs I've run across this month while blog hopping online...
23 August 2010
The pages are made from sheets that I already had cut waiting to be turned into ATCs, so it is small. They were all painted with acrylic paints as a base and then it was anything goes.
Layers of paper, colors, gesso, more paint, words from books...
The packing tape transfer method...
Ten pages, front and back, layers and layers of paints and paper, and then a matte varnish to finish them all off. That gives a total of twenty mini pages ready for photos or messages or whatever fills them.
Then "bound" with two metal rings and some very interesting fringe to add texture and color.
In the end, it turned out to be another one of those projects that I expected to take a couple of hours that instead took a couple of days overall. It's funny how you can get lost in what you are doing and completely lose track of all the other things you really "should" do...
22 August 2010
I love it in all its many and various forms... but my favorite is most definitely candied ginger. Especially when it is dipped in chocolate. Even more when that accompanies a glass of wonderful red wine and a good disc of jazz. Something about that will always remind me of New Orleans and Snug Harbor.
I am really not a fan of Godiva chocolates, but they do produce a candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate that is to die for. Sadly, I have only found it in New York and New Orleans. As I said in my last post, when I asked for it here, they had no idea that the company even produced it. What else am I to do, but take matters into my own hands?
I ordered a pound of candied ginger a couple of weeks ago from Frontier (through Amazon, you can buy EVERYTHING there now days), thinking I could just dip that in chocolate. I was horribly disappointed. It was candied alright, and all stuck together, every shape and sort, and rather than having that gentle, peppery burn that good candied ginger has, it was harsh. VERY harsh. I'm sure it will serve its purpose when it is chopped and added to baking, but as a ginger to munch on, it is awful.
So, the other day when I was in the grocery I happened across some fresh ginger that actually looked fresh. It was lovely and firm and just begging to come home with me to be candied. What else could I do but bring it home?
I thought I'd start small, and if it worked out well, I'd do a larger batch. First, peeled and sliced a batch, and then boiled it until it was "fork tender", like when you boil potatoes to mash, the fork tines went in easily and came out easily. That water was then drained and put aside, and cool water added to cover the ginger.
Once the water began to come to a boil, I added a cup of sugar and turned the heat down so that it simmered. For a very long time. I allowed it to simmer until the ginger began looking translucent, and the sugar and water had cooked down to a thick syrup.
This is the point where you should be able to sugar it, but I have always found that the thickness of the syrup at this stage made the sugar glob more than coat, so I added some water to thin it before I removed the ginger from the syrup. Coating it in the sugar worked SOOOOOO much better!
At this point I can attest that the ginger tastes WONDERFUL. It has retained a bit of the crispness from being fresh, and it has that lovely, gentle, peppery flavor that is exactly what I want, not at all harsh. Perfect for snacking on.
BUT... dip it in a bit of chocolate, and as far as I am concerned it becomes the favor of the gods... or at least this particular goddess. This is perfect... just the right amount of spice and chocolate, perfectly crisp yet candied... no wonder it is my favorite.
And, when you make this yourself, if you keep the water you boil it in first, and add it to the water that is sugared after you remove the ginger to dust with sugar, cook it down a bit more, you have the PERFECT ginger simple syrup. Add it to a bit of bubbly water, add a splash of lime juice and lots of ice, and you have a perfectly refreshing summer drink for everyone. Add your favorite gin or vodka and you have the perfectly refreshing adult summer drink.
If you try it, let me know how it works out for you.
21 August 2010
This is where we last left off on the journal cover.
And I think this is the finished cover... although, there may be a few more items when I bind the paper into it.
I thought I'd use some of the paper that had been in it originally to do the inside covers, so I painted three pages different shades of teal and blue, and added some smears and smudges in whites and greens... and when they were dry, I tore them up.
And then, Mod Podged (have I told you lately how much I love this stuff???) them into the cover.
Several coats of finish later and here's how it looks so far.
This is going to go on the back burner for a few days now, I've got to figure out how I plan to bind the paper into it, and what kind of paper I'm going to use... how large I'm going to make it, and so on.
And it's already been replaced by the next project. It may not look like it yet, but that mess is going to turn into a mini journal... ATC size.
I finished it today as well... AND tried my hand at making candied ginger, 'cause we are all tired of hearing me complain about how I cannot find the candied ginger dipped in chocolate that I love so much. If my local Godiva is not going to carry it (they looked totally dumbfounded when I asked if they carried it...apparently they had no idea that their company even made it... go figure?), then I guess I am going to have to give it a go on my own... I'll be sharing the results of both those projects in the next couple of days...
For now, on to the ArtsyBlogger links for the week... go visit, see what these creative folks have been creating... it's always lots of fun!
Chapter three of Cyndi's e-book is available for download! "Dimensional Beading" looks at how to use textural stitches in your bead embroidery!
Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Have you papier-mached yet? Let Eileen tell you how.
Football Means Soup and Scrapbooking
Cherie is documenting her favorite football team this year with a special scrapbook.
And don't forget, the August give away is still in full swing... all of the followers of the blog who leave a comment on any post in August are in the pool to win the art doll shown over on the left side bar.
20 August 2010
It took me about two minutes to figure out that the fish was just too small, or maybe his fins were too big... either way, the easiest way to fix that would be to make the body larger.
So, step number one... enlarge the body.
Body, and tail... larger. And I am feeling like it's taken the right path, so a little shading is added.
I'm happier with it. After adding the shading I used a metallic gold pencil to add the scales. The pencil came as a "sample" in a box of colored pencils I purchased recently, and, since I've never used metallic pencils I didn't know what to expect. I don't know if it shows well on the photo, even if you enlarge it... but it adds a wonderful little sheen to the fish. I'm quite pleased with how that has worked, and now think I need to have a set of the metallic pencils.
So, at 10:00 I finally wrapped it up and called it a night. So much for the whole "one setting start to finish" huh? So far there's about 20 hours in this, and I haven't even begun the inside. No wonder I don't keep track of how long most things take me.
Now, in the comments from the last post Deb asked about the curly cues on the spine... So far Deb, they are just drawn on with permanent marker, I'm not entirely certain what I plan to do with them to finish them up yet. As to the putting the paper back in... I'll get to that bridge after I cross all the others... I have no idea yet. And, if it's any consolation, I feel the same way about watercolors as you do about paint... I MUST learn to loosen up.
Also, while reading the comments on the post about the door sign I did for Kellye, I found one from Josh at Giveaway Scout, so, of course I went to check it out. I don't know if you guys have seen this place, I hadn't yet, but it is a search engine that seeks out giveaways being hosted on blogs. I saw nine different categories, and 158 pages of giveaways.
Now, honestly, I haven't had a chance to dig deep into it, but from my few minutes there, I can tell you that there is a lot of flashing advertising. To be expected I guess, but annoying nonetheless. I did see tons of blogs that were giving things away though... so it might be worth checking it out. If you go, be sure to let me know what you think.
19 August 2010
You know how I said the other day that I could see more of the redone books in my future? I've started one, and I thought I'd share the process with you. Usually, when I do something like this, it goes from beginning to end in one sitting. Not this one. I'm on two evenings so far, and it looks like at least several more hours to finish it, so, again, I am learning patience. To make it more frustrating, this one isn't going quite the way I had envisioned. I wish I could say that happens every now and again, but the reality is it happens very often for me. Most of the time it works out great, so I just try to keep the faith and carry on.
So, you can see, the colors are similar. I'm not entirely certain why, but I am just loving this color combination.
The working theory was that I wanted a fish on the cover. Head on one side, tail on the other. This "fish" isn't quite working for me.
And the paint coverage of the details is a real bear this time...
But I am very happy with how the spine is turning out...
Obviously... not everyone here finds this creativity all that exciting...
But, in case any of you do... I'll be sharing more of the project as it moves forward.
18 August 2010
"Just wanted to let you know my schedule is back to the normal hours.
Another note: I keep my door closed due to the amount of traffic through the hallway. I will post a sign on my door to let people know if I am in or out and my work hours.
Thank you.... :)"
That little part in her note about the sign inspired me though, so when I got home after work, I painted her a sign for the door. I even made it two very different colors... for those of us who have failing eyesight and can't see it from that great a distance...reds she's in... blues she's out...
I sneaked in to her office this morning and hanged it on her door.
I think it's working real well so far...