Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mississippi Houseboat

My book group took a weekend excursion on the Mississippi on a houseboat, courtesy of the planning and piloting of a member and her friend who loves being on the river. We had to have a book, of course... and that book was The River Queen.

Houseboats in a row.

Home away from home. Very cozy, with electricity and a real live bathroom. 
Close quarters, but comfy nonetheless.

Our main activities were kayaking, eating, reading, eating,
talking, eating, admiring the views as we toodled up and down the river,
and eating.

The food... many thanks to the book club members, all of whom it seems are quite accomplished cooks. My contribution was an appetizer of hot spiced pecans, and a Red Velvet Cake, a redux of a club meeting for Getting Mother's Body.

The views... the houseboat as we traveled up and down the river or were anchored on a beach, from the kayaks... lazily paddling through the back byways and collecting monkeypods, riding along with or struggling against the current of the Mississippi.

Though it looks idyllic... there were a few "inconveniences" ~ 
the unexpected and unseasonable heat wave, the flies, the no-see-ums. 
Just a little reminder.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Unexpected Landing

Sometimes in the summer we are graced with the appearance of hot air balloons. This one appeared amongst the neighborhood houses on a rapid and must have been untimely descent.
It came down in a cornfield behind our neighborhood. We walked up, and others in the neighborhood drove to the nearest dead end street out of curiousity. The corn was too high to see more than the balloon, but nothing seemed to be happening.. just an unexpected landing. Within a few minutes a pickup truck with the company's logo drove up. We didn't stay to see what would happen, as the mosquitos were out in droves.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Iris Folding

My first attempts at iris-folding cards for graduating seniors and a birthday. The papers I used for the last two were thin glossy paper from a book of Japanese print giftwrap papers. The top one was origami paper. The addition of a thin gold line at the edges of the folds helped to define the pattern of the iris. I cut the frame shapes on the Craft Robo, though that would have been pretty easy with an x-acto. But these fancy gadgets have to earn their keep somehow...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lilies in July

These are some lilies I bought and planted just before they bloomed. I tend to do that, as I want the immediate gratification, which I now understand is a rare thing in gardening. Once in a while I will get something that will bloom a month or two later, but never do I get a plant whose season is over. I don't want to wait 'til next year to see it. And then, too, in my garden the chances of it coming up the next year are 50-50 or worse.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oak Wilt Aftermath

The answer to the question previously put... "can this tree be saved?"... is a resounding, echoing, expensive NO. The tree was pronounced by the city and independent arborist types to be afflicted with oak wilt, a date was set for its removal (the deadline was sometime in the fall), and down it came. The stump was ground, a friend took most of the wood to burn as winter fuel, and we were left with a gaping treeless, grassless, dead zone. It was so sad. This was one of the trees that sealed the deal for the lot purchase... the tree that the house placement was shifted for, the tree that we daydreamed about putting a treehouse in one day, and the tree that we named Genevieve. Now comes spring, and we hired a landscaping company to fill in and fix up the area that the tree was in. The above picture and the one below give an idea about how much dirt was needed to grade the spot.

Here they have almost finished grading the back portion of the lot where the tree was removed. Last is to spread the grass seed and cover with straw, and to mulch in the areas next to the house and rock wall, and back by the wooded area. All that's left is the watering. Day in and day out through the hottest days of the summer. We manage ok by attaching two hoses to the faucet in the back and then not moving the sprinklers, just twisting the lever that switches from one hose to the other. The ground is really soft and can't be stepped on without sinking into the dirt like quicksand.

The wooded area looks semi-civilized for the first time since we've been here. I've started adding more plants along the lines of hostas and columbines, etc. After about the middle of June, though, it's hard to work back here because of the mosquitoes. I am drawn to high-maintenance plants that need lots of watering and plucking and whatnot, but the best plants for back here are the ones that need nothing at all. Ever.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Baby Robins

We have this little dwarf tree just outside the front door.
A robin made a nest in it and now there are three baby birdies.

I think this is Mother Robin watching from a nearby tree.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sunset, Facing East

Once in a great while, I happen to be in the right place, at the right time, and with a camera.

Monday, May 28, 2007


This would be a picture of columbine leaves before the annual infestation of leaf miners. When I first noticed the serpentine markings of the miners, I thought it was just part of the way the plant matured. Now I know better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

the sight of stars

A card done for an IOSCA exchange (Images of Color Stamp Art yahoo group). The Somali Woman stamp is from Stamp Francisco, and the star background is Stampscapes. The text stamp is from Penny Black, the bottom portion is cut off. The whole quote is "i know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream" (Van Gogh).

Friday, April 13, 2007


For a Letterheads paperdoll swap, I made a Catrina (Day of the Dead) paper doll. This is her traveling case. The saying on the front of the case translates as "When we live with hope, we die happy". The ribbon closures tie at the side, and a pair of eye milagros adorn the front of the case. That's an Acey Deucey stamp - the one with the guitar.

On the side of the case, the words translate roughly as
"There is more time than life".

When the case is opened, there is a top layer with a coffin-shaped piece tied on with string and a heart milagro. Marigolds, flowers of the dead, were constructed of dyed paper flowers and glued to the case and the coffin piece. The hand milagro lifts out the portion of the case that covers the paper doll's clothing.

The skeleton body was manipulated in Photoshop from clip art and printed on cardstock. Her articulated limbs were attached with the tiniest of eyelets. It was a little tricky making the eyelets tight enough so they weren't floppy, but loose enough so she could be posed. Her makeup was done with Prismacolor color pencils.

Before she went off to her next round robin destination, I made two outfits for her. They were attached at the back with little bendable copper strips. Her dresses were primarily constructed of decorative paper glued to a paper base, with various trims attached. The trim on her ruffled dress is a lace-stamped tissue paper, her boa is also made of tissue paper. Her bridal veil is fabric trim, along with the pearls accenting the gown, and she carries a simple bouquet of calla lilies.

Doesn't she make a beautiful bride? She's off on a round robin. I'll post her new duds and bibelots on her return.


Cris P. added THE most inventive and beautiful items to Catrina's wardrobe!

All manner of tissue paper Dias de los Muertos miniatures, including a little booklet with a sugar skull recipe and the tiniest papel picado banner...

Queen of the Rodeo...

The traditional Catrina hat...

An envelope of faces...

And more! Thanks again, Cris!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Armando Reverón

I don't read all the arts news that comes into the inbox, but this one from an article in the New York Times caught my eye. Armando Reverón was an Venezuelan artist, and he made these life-sized dolls to use as models in his paintings. However, they eventually became a kind of extended family; he gave them names, made them clothes and musical instruments and pets, even constructed a cafe for them to hang out in. The writer descibes them as "tattered mummies, a macabre sight", but I found it touching, at least on the surface, that he peopled his life with these dolls.
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