Sunday, July 31, 2011

some altered book club art

I have a few pictures I have taken of some pages I did for our round robin altered book group for the last three or so months.  Since these go to the book owners/theme choosers it's nice to have a place to keep pictures of the pages I did in other members' books.

theme:charm bracelets "Do you collect charms?"

theme:the way we were "Off the Grid"


theme: wheels "para bailar La Bamba"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cuando hace calor -- Hace Agua Fresca!

When it's hot, make Agua Fresca!

There is a Mexican tradition of flavored water made from freshly pureed fruit, water, and perhaps a bit of sweetening -- agua fresca.

I saw this recipe on Lovesown a week or two ago.  It is so refreshing, and what a good way to use up those cukes that, um, got a bit past their prime in the refrigerator while hiding behind the past week's produce.

Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca:  a couple of cukes chunked up, a half cup of fresh mint (I used a combo of regular, chocolate, and pineapple mint from my garden), a half cup of sugar, a half cup of lime juice, and 1 1/4 cup of water (a white wine or other alcohol could stand in for part of the water).  Whiz it in the blender until liquified, then put it through a sieve.
ready to blend
poured into a sieve
pressing the pulp
So good and refreshing!  I took the pulp left in the sieve, and chopped up a bit of red onion, some jalapeno, added some salt and it made a very nice salsa -- a sweet salsa with spicy notes, kind of like the mango or peach salsa that is sold.  Actually, with the tortilla chips it made me think of an edible margarita.

linking up with Tuesday Garden Party

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's been a long wait

Like watermelons and fresh berries, fresh figs are an iconic fruit of summer.  They are nothing like their dried version, and once they ripen they are good to eat only for a day or so.  They are so delicate they don't ship well and I have seldom seen fresh figs available at grocery stores.  Even with home grown, it's a challenge to pick the fig at the proper ripeness, but before a bird pecks holes in it and ants infest the interior of the fruit.  But the sweet juiciness of a ripe fig, throbbing with the life force of sun and earth, eaten right there, on the spot . . . .

Here in the south a fig tree was always a given in the yard of the grandparents, providing loads of fresh figs to be eaten out of hand or rendered into "mammaw's fig preserves".
brown turkey fig tree
My grandparents didn't live in the south, nor were my parents from the south.  And I never experienced a fresh fig until I planted my own brown turkey fig tree as an adult.  My current fig tree was given to me by my artist friend Mary Cour Burrows.  She lives in her grandparents' (mammaw's) original farm house across the road from the house she grew up in.  The house is a craftsman style bungalow built circa 1920, a rarity in our upscale suburb of Memphis which was a tiny farming community from 1830 until a huge building boom in the 1970's.  About 11 years ago Mary had a "period" sleeping porch added on the back of her house, which necessitated uprooting her fig tree.  She was pregnant at the time and she didn't want to mess with finding a new spot for it, so knowing I was missing my fig from my previous house, she sent this one over for me.  When her husband hauled it out of the back of his SUV he knocked the top of the tree out.  Between that incident, and the increasing shade cast by a small oak tree, the fig grew more laterally than vertically.  But two years ago we got rid of the oak, and storms did away with some trees of the neighbors, and now the fig is growing upright and producing buckets of figs.  I picked the first ripe ones this week.

decorative garden cat "Belle"

linked to Tuesday Garden Party

Friday, July 15, 2011

coughing coughing

A couple of weeks of some kind of respiratory virus, along with a sinus infection (first I've had in years and years!) and now I'm coughing, coughing, coughing.  It's getting really old and is totally zapping my energy level.  Each day is a bit better so I hope to be able to put something up worth reading sometime soon.

We've been transitioning over a little 2 yr old terrier mutt named Trixie, who will be staying with us permanently beginning tomorrow (our 15 yr old miniature dachshund had to be put down last December).  Number 3 daughter just has one more year of high school and then number 4 will be all by her lonesome here -- so Trixie will keep things enlivened over the next number of years.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Art in my Garden

bird house in front yard, living bottle trees behind
Thought I would share a bit of art from my garden.  I'm very fortunate to have a great group of longstanding friends.  We all met up about 18 years ago through homeschooling our children and La Leche League.  The group has been an amazingly creative bunch, and two women have become successful artists, with works in galleries and works in both the Memphis Botanic Garden and the addition to LeBonheur Children's Hospital here in Memphis.  Below is a piece by MaryJo Karimnia, mojo fine arts, who does a lot of mosaic as well as painting and drawing.  I have it sitting by my patio resting against the tulip magnolia.

This is my screen door from the patio into the screen porch.  This was done years ago, so it's very weathered and faded so it's hard to tell from the picture, but it's painted up with a carnival of blues, yellows, reds, flames and check patterns, snakes and eyes, and messages for the visitor ("Knows all, Sees all", "Madame Luna is in" -- a reference to our mini dachshund who passed away this last December -- "past present and future", and more painted on the inside.  This was done by Mary Cour Burrows

Now this below is a mosaic-ed concrete table and benches in my back yard.  In our circle of friends we have a custom of doing a group quilt (everyone would do a square or portion and all would help with the quilting) to present to those of our circle who were pregnant.  As we all got older, we would do a group project when one of us would turn 50.  This table is what my friends did for me for my 50th birthday.  Mary Jo supervised the project and designed the table top.  Each participant (there were 9) designed and mosaic-ed a section of the benches.  We joke that we can never move now, because how could we get the table and benches out of there (it was a job getting them here from Mary Jo's garage, which was the work site).

table top

bench detail

second bench detail

third bench detail

over view
And below is a painting by Mary Cour Burrows done for my 40something birthday, not in my garden but in our house, entitled "Diana Finds Her Church in Her Garden".

Linking toTuesday Garden Party

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What I Won

A little while ago I won a blog giveaway that Manuela at A Cultivated Nest had.  I won a hand made journal from Gadanke.  The journals that Gadanke carries are unique and explorative.  My journal came wrapped in tissue paper tied with artsy bakery twine and was a pleasure to unwrap.  I'm not really a journal-ly kind of person, but I'm looking forward to exploring my thoughts and feelings with this one.

hmm.  too bad there isn't an edit feature to focus out of focus photos.  I think it was windy.  Plus I can't really see the picture clearly in the view thingy so I can't tell what I'm doing anyways.  Especially outside.  That page says "then she created 3 bigger goals for the month" with 1, 2, 3 down below to list the goals.
You can see that the prompts are actually in the third person ("she" and "her" -- do men journal?), which kind of puts a different spin on the whole process.  There are also little envelopes, tags, and decorative papers inserted, and the whole thing is held by rings so you can add to it, insert other papers  and things, and further customize it.  A thoroughly charming little journal.  Thank you Manuela, and Katie at Gadanka!