Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Challenging Myself

I enjoy a good challenge as you’ve probably already guessed with all the DIY and creative challenges I take part in.  So I thought a fun motivator for me would be to challenge myself with monthly projects that I could blog about regularly.  At the beginning of the month I will tell you what projects I have decided to challenge myself to complete for that month.  Then the next month I will show what I did for each one. 
Here are the challenges I’ve come up with for myself:
Indoor Makeover – An area within walls: it could be in the living area of the house, garage, shed, etc.  May or may not be my own home… but it will be someplace I have worked on.
Outdoor Makeover – Any area outside that I’ve worked on.
“Copper Chef” – I’m not at an Iron Chef level but I’ll use one seasonal ingredient in multiple recipes.
Book Review – I’ve started reading a book a month purely for pleasure with the Artful Readers Club.  I’m going to continue finding interesting reads for each month and writing a review on them.
Clutter Free Me – Organizing or decluttering projects.
Vignette - Time to mix up my shelves and table tops. 
Repurpose It – New use for found or thrifted items.
Going Green – I want to become more environmentally responsible. 
Creative Outlet – Instead of a weekly ‘Creative Friday’, I’ll show what I’ve been doing once a month. 
51-derful – An area of personal change to live a better life.  
I’ll tell you tomorrow what I’ve decided to work on for August!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Artful Readers Club Review: “Echoes of Fury” by Frank Parchman

Ever since I was ill in April, I’ve fallen off my pleasure reading list.  I doubt if I’ll catch up those three months missed, but I’ll get started again with July.
My book is “Echoes of Fury” by Frank Parchman.  (An amusing note:  The cover photo is NOT the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens!)
The book is the account of the volcano and a few of the lives it changed forever.  Parchman does an excellent job of explaining volcanoes, especially Saint Helens, in an informative yet easy to understand way.  He briefly goes over the history of Saint Helens, and then starts introducing you to the people of the book in the days before the eruption.
As I started the book, I had worried that it was become confusing with so many people in the story lines.  Each person’s experience is woven together like a master tapestry.  Their lives before, during, and after the eruption.  There are a few photos to give you reference and a face to bring to mind as you read.
Also told are the stories of the rescues and the governmental chaos & cover-ups that followed.  To say I was shocked at the way WA State treated the victims would be an understatement.  Wow. 
I chose this book because I remember so well that day in 1980 when it erupted.   On a trip to Seattle in 2008, Himself and I made a day trip down to Mt. Saint Helens.  I wanted to see the mountain for myself.  Miles and miles before you could even see the mountain, you could see the ash laden riverbanks.  Along the road are markers telling how high the river overflowed at this point… or that you were entering the blast zone… or that you were now entering the kill zone.
Then a bit farther down the road you get your first glimpse of Mt. Saint Helens.
Oh my goodness.
My art is two of the many photos I took that day.  I digitally altered them, first using the “pencil sketch” option, then a few other edits to sharpen the image.  The first image shows the waste land around the base of the volcano.  Twenty eight years and the slopes are still lunar in appearance.  The second image is a close up of the blown away wall.  You can see a puff of steam rising from the center.  For perspective, remember that Mt. Saint Helens used to be called the “Mt Fuji of America” because of its perfect cone shape. 

I can recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Mt Saint Helens.  And if you are planning on visiting the site I would definitely say to read this before you go. 
You’ll look around with different eyes…


Monday, July 22, 2013

1947 Recipe Scrapbook (with recipe)

When my great grandmother passed away, I found this old scrapbook among the things the rest of the family wasn’t interested in.  I grabbed it up right away!  Behind this decorative cover lies treasure…
… a bit of my grandma on every page.  I remember cooking and canning with her when I was little.  Oh the meals she could make!!!
She clipped and pasted all sorts of things.  It’s fun to see what she was interested in cooking.  And it’s equally fun looking at how recipe notations have changed in 66 years. 
In some places she wrote in the recipes from friends.  I wonder who Mary Lee Taylor was?  She must have been a good cook; there are quite a few of her recipes in here.
On a few pages she pasted in recipes that friends had given her.  And I love the way she made sure to get the recipe photo in where she could.
We’ve tried one of these recipes so far.  Himself makes this rice pudding as a treat.  It is a bit of a process but sooo worth it!
I’m going to keep this recipe scrapbook on a plate rack in my dining room for the memories of cooking with my grandma.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day Trip to Adsmore House in Princeton, KY

In June I took a short road trip with some friends (my homemakers club).  We went to visit The Adsmore House in Princeton, KY.

It was built in 1854, and owned by the last family from 1900.  In 1984 Katherine Garrett bequeathed the Adsmore estate to the trustees of the George Coon Public Library.  Her will stipulated that all of its elaborate furnishings to be restored and that the house be maintained as a public museum. 
The house is full of beautiful furniture; almost all of it is original to the family.  What is unique about this particular home tour is that it changes seasonally to portray a different event.  We were there for “Selena’s Wedding”.
After getting your tickets at the old carriage house, which is now the gift shop, you stroll up the walk to the back porch.

Here you wait for your tour to begin.  The views are lovely.  I’m sure this used to be a favorite spot for the family.  Before too long, you are greeted by your guide who is dressed in period clothing.  She acts as tho she is a family member and you are guests to the home.  Until you get used to it, it can seem a bit strange as she often went “out of character” to explain renovations or how the museum came to be… then she would go back into the 1912 character. 
No inside photos are allowed, so this shot thru the window from the porch is all I have. 

The home is beautifully furnished and well worth the visit to see.

One word of caution… be careful not to touch anything…including the doorways!  You’ll get barked at!  At one point we were told to look out a window at something.  A man who was also in our tour group pushed the window sheer aside to look.  The little lady was all over him about touching the curtain… seems we were to look through the sheers.  (She did tell us it was alright to touch the banisters as we went up the stairs!  LOL)

The grounds are beautifully kept and well worth the time to walk thru.
It was lilac time when we were there.  The bushes perfumed the grounds.  I can’t wait until my lilacs are big like these!

When Himself comes home, I plan on taking him up to see the house.  I wonder what the ‘season’ will be?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Flowers That Fly

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
~~Nathaniel Hawthorne
While in Missouri, I had the opportunity to visit the Sophia Sachs Butterfly House in Faust Park with my Mom and Little Bird.
Love this display!
Little Bird and butterflies have some things in common.  They are pretty and they seldom sit still! 
She wasn’t impressed with the butterflies’ lunch… old bananas.
The blue morphos enjoyed it tho.
Here’s one fluttering around a piece of banana that was dropped on the walkway. 
Little Bird pointed out every butterfly she saw and wanted its picture taken. 
So I did! 
This last one would NOT hold still.  This is the best shot I could get but I just had to include it.  I think it is one of the prettiest I saw.
Little Bird liked pointing out the butterflies but she wasn’t too keen on them getting close to her!  This blur is her dancing away from a butterfly that took an interest in her.  You can see the orange blur straight above the little sign and just a bit higher than her head. 
I have to admit…they can be a bit startling when they flutter straight for your face!
There is an area where you can observe the chrysalis of different butterflies.  Might even be fortunate enough to see one emerge!
“New born” butterflies plumping and drying their wings.
Besides the butterflies, the greenhouse is full of beautiful tropical flowers.
They were lovely.  This last one had the most wonderful scent. 
A gentle reminder.  Little Bird said the butterfly was reading the sign. 
My little butterfly resting… time to go home.