Sunday, March 28, 2010

Less Successful Project for Easter

I am often in the middle of some kind of project or other. Martha Stewart often manages to inspire me to give something a try. So in her April issue she had these paper mache Easter egg table decorations. The ones in the magazine were very elegant. And the instructions didn't sound to difficult. So I decided to give it a try.
I had not done any paper mache since I was in grade school. I got my supplies together and thought it would be fun to document the process. So this first photo is as I was tearing all my strips of paper. Couldn't use newspaper like in grade school, because it wasn't going to be painted. And as Martha suggested, I used gold tissue paper on the inside so it would look neat on the inside.

Next I blew up the balloon. It took me two tries to get one I thought egg looking. To try and contain the mess, I put it in a cardboard box. Then on a small glass bowl so I could work on it. First off, the bowl was way to small to work. As you put the wet paper on the balloon, it becomes heavier and starts to slide around. So I had to get a bigger bowl, which was also one of my nice bowls.

Then I started with the gold paper strips in the modpodge and water mix. The other problem, is you really don't know how much paper you are going to need and how much to prepare. I thought I had plenty, but I was wrong. I had enough gold ready, but not the parchment paper.

This is the inner layer of gold. Kind of gloppy looking. You can see my cat, Nigel, is on the table because he wanted to help too.

So this is the parchment layer. Even though I had the table protected with newspaper and the balloon in a box, in a bowl; I still managed to get mod podge on my nice table cloth and on the floor.

Here it is done and drying. They said let it dry for 24 hours. It took it several days to really get dry. And lets not discuss how hard it was to get all the glue off of my nice white bowl afterwards.

So they say mark a jagged line and using a craft knife cut it open. I could have cut it open about a third of the way down and used the upside down top as a stand for the bottom. But after seeing how much of a mess it all was, I decided I wasn't going to make another one. So I cut it about in half so I would have two. I also used a black marker to mark where to cut. Not a good idea of course, because you can see the line after I cut it.

So here is the finished product. Not anywhere near as cute and elegant as Martha's. I'm sure my friends won't tell me that, but I know it's true. Another thing, She had the stuff inside arranged really nice with the grass and all. I think she must have had something hard in there to hold the stuff up because the Easter grass was so soft that my things were just sinking. I put in extra grass and called it a day. Notice how they have to sit on little glass bowls so they don't tip over.

They will be alright on a table full of other things, but chalk it down to experience. It's not a project I am likely to repeat!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Art on a Friday Night

So my friend Bob is an artist. He has done all different kinds of things over the years. Some paintings, but a lot of what I think he calls craft art. A couple of years ago he came up with these feather paintings. They are amazing! They are made of feather boas on a wire grid. I was excited when he told me he was having a showing. So my friend Lezlee and I went to see them tonight. Some of the photos look like they might be out of focus, but I think it's just the nature of the feathers. It is also cool because they kind of move when you go by them. All the different color combinations really made me think about color.

Lezlee took a photo of me, I guess to prove I was really there.

This is a sample of the other artists work who was showing with him. It looked a little like a spirograph. Bob's wife Lynne said they seemed a little frantic to her and made her think of work.

We went to another gallery to see some paintings of another artist Lezlee knew, I think his name was Brian Boner. He was from North Dakota and so some of his paintings have a rural feel. I liked the buffalo in the background here. This was a huge painting and the ones in the background looked like they were really walking towards you.

There was a second artist showing with Brian Boner a lady and I think her name was Lee something. (whoops) This is one of her paintings. It was called something like origins. It's kind of cool, there are trees and birds on the bottom and then a cathedral space on top. I thought it was kind of cool.

Pardon the flash reflection. This is another one of hers called Out on a ledge.

This is a protrait of Brian's wife. I thought it was pretty cool too. Lezlee has a couple of his paintings at home.

I thought of Dave Hale and his tractors when I saw this.

This is another one of Lee's. Several of her paintings had a religous theme.

This was my favorite one of Brian's. It was sold. Not that I had the money to buy it anyway.

A close up of the raven's feet.

These are by Brian's wife. They make me think of an ant farm. The "trail" was carved out.

So as we were walking there were these two bright orange, matching tricked out Harley's. I thought they were kind of fun to see.

And then there was this unexplained fun mural on the side of this building. Lezlee said they change the mural about every month.

Tour of MY Garden

Last weekend I want on a garden tour. So today I took some photos of my garden. It is now a year since I started this and I am learning more about what will work in my little shady back yard and what won't. I am feeling pretty successfull. I had a salad yesterday of spinach, onion, radish and bell pepper, all from my back yard! Pretty cool.

So this is some of my lettuce. I have two different kinds growing and I grew them all from seed instead of transplants, which is cool! These are a little further along than the others. The others are in more shade.
I've got some strawberries. The plants are doing pretty well now, but no flowers yet. I'm optimistic though.

This is a type of cucumber. This was a transplant from the nursery, but I've also planted some different kinds from seeds. I am interested in some bush cucumbers I planted. We'll see what happens. I had bad luck with aphids on these last year.

This is armenian cucumbers. I also planted some seeds of this.

I have just a few flowers here and there. These are from bulbs, some rannuculus and freesias which are just on the verge of blooming. I'll take photos once they open.

This is my younger lettuce and spinach patch. It's a different lettuce than the previous one. All from seed.

These are the last of my onions. I've been eating them pretty regularly. I am enjoying them.

And this is my mint. I haven't eaten any of it yet.

These unpromising little sticks are my thornless blackberries. They just got put in a little while ago and came bare root so they haven't sprouted any leaves yet. I have five of them and they are in a really shady part of my little yard. I'm not sure if they are going to work, but I am hopeful. I LOVE blackberries!

I had a bumper crop of swiss chard that I've already eaten and given away that I grew from nursery stock. Here is the next generation that I am growing from seed.

And this is one of my future producers of heirloom tomatoes! I have one little plant that is supposed to produce purple cherry tomatoes that when chilled have a bit of a concord grape flavor. I hope it grows!

This little basil bush grew from seed and has been going gangbusters for a full year. I trimmed it back and hope it's ready to just keep going.

I love the flowers of sweet peas. I have tried to grow them in the past before I had my raised beds. These seem to be going to make it this time and I can't wait for the flowers. They smell amazing. We saw sweet peas in bloom on the garden tour, but my backyard is so shady, that it is always behind the sunnier locations.

I never used to care that much about radishes until I started growing my own. They are yummy. Most of the time I don't even bother to put them in a salad. I just wash them off and eat them. I am almost out of this group that I grew from seed and just planted some more seeds. They grow so fast.

This is my flat leaf parsley. It has grown enourmously. I just whacked it back too. We'll see how it does.

I finally pulled out my chilis that I planted last year. The only thing left in that section is my bell pepper. It has been producing for a year. It looks a little sad, we'll see if it can keep going.

I planted these alaskan nasturiums from seed. Another flower that I really like. Again, mine are a little behind, but they are taken off and should start flowering soon.

My dwarf meyer lemon that I have in a pot looked kind of sick last year. But it seems to be doing better this year. Hopefully these flowers will produce some fruit for me. My dwarf peach died last year. I have a new one, but I didn't take photos because the flowers are already a little past. I am hoping it pulls through and produces too.

This is my "old" spinach patch. I have been cutting off spinach leaves and harvesting for a little while. It's been fun. Hopefully when it is done, the new spinach will be well on it's way.

And my peas! I usually pull off a pea pod when it's ready and just eat them without trying to cook them. I don't have very many at one time anyway. Something else seems to be eating them besides me. I am not sure but I suspect my dog Winston. It could be one of the cats though because they like to sample things too.

And this is my new bok choy patch. I had some bok choy from transplants that I already ate. It was really good. These are called toy choy and are from seed. They are a little smaller than the other ones. I am planning on starting to eat them soon!

I also have a lot of other seeds that I just planted recently. Corn, beans, squash, some other cucumbers. We'll see if my animals eat them or not. They seem to like seedlings. Which is why I am so pleased that I have been able to get what I have from seed!

And finally, my daffodils are blooming. I only have a couple but isn't this one pretty?