Monday, February 29, 2016

Entries Three and Four

You've already seen my third and fourth entries in the cultural arts contest.  

My tea pot sewing kit took first place in the class "Recycled Household Items".

And my moss dish garden ("Behold The Lamb") received a second place in "Holiday Decorations - Spring".  (I have no idea why they flopped all that stuff into the middle of my entry...)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Travel Trinkets: Sioux Pottery

Another road trip... another piece of Native American pottery.

Our trip in 2005 took us through the Great Plains.  At a Lakota (Sioux) pottery shop I found this small pot that ended up having a large lesson to teach me.  It is one of my treasures.

The artists in the shop use local red clay from the Badlands area.  How they decorate is their own interpretation of the traditional ways.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Waiting For The Tin Man"

My second entry in the cultural art contest was this black and white photograph.

It was taken out at a friend's blacksmith shop.  John's shop is more like a museum with a forge in it!  So many fantastic vignettes.

I received a third place ribbon.

"Waiting For The Tin Man"

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Travel Trinket: Navajo Pottery

I enjoy collecting pottery and in our travels I pick up pieces that appeal to me.  I am especially fond of native people groups traditional pottery.

In 2004 we did an five week road trip through the US Southwest.  One of our stops was in Monument Valley.  Most people don't realize that Monument Valley is NOT a National Park.  It is a Navajo Tribal Park.  At the visitor center the gift shop features authentic Navajo art and sometimes the artist are there to talk to visitors!

When I saw this wedding vase, I knew it was coming home with me.

"The Wedding Vase is an ancient vessel still used in traditional Native American wedding ceremonies. One spout of the vessel represents the husband; the other, the wife. The looped handle represents the unity achieved with marriage. The space created within the loop represents the couples’ own circle of life.

The wedding vase is a treasured and sacred tradition among many Native American Indian tribes, particularly the Navajo and Pueblo peoples. These vases are not only symbolic in the ceremony performed just prior to the wedding itself, but also in the shape and construction of the vessel.

About a week or two before a couple is officially married, the groom’s parents build the wedding vase from clay found in a local river bed and ceremonially cleaned and filtered. Once the vessel has been properly fired, both families assemble. The parents give the young couple advice, and the wedding vase is filled with a special liquid. Traditionally it would be a nectar made by the medicine man, though many modern couples may choose to drink water or an herbal infused tea from the vase to represent the blending of their lives.

First the groom offers his bride the vessel and she drinks from one spout. She then turns the wedding vase clockwise, and the groom then drinks from this same side. Each will then drink from the opposite side of the wedding vase, and then finally in the culmination of the ceremony, they will both drink from the wedding vase together. It is said that if they manage this feat without spilling a drop they will always have a strong, cooperative relationship. The vase then becomes a cherished piece in their household and great care is taken to make sure it is never damaged."

"The vessel itself is quite beautiful, and its design is an integral part of its meaning. The two spouts represent the couple; one the bride, the other the groom. The rounded base and shared reservoir of the vase represent the couple’s now-shared lives. The looped handle also represents this unity in a more visible and apparent way, much like a wedding band is a visible reminder of the deeper, spiritual connection shared by a husband and wife. The handle creates a circle in the center of the vase that represents the circle of life."

The painting on the side is of the iconic "Mittens" in Monument Valley.

Signed and noted as Navajo.  Dine is their name for themselves.

Linked at:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ring Necklace

Back from yesterday's EHC Cultural Arts contest.  I entered six items and placed with four of them.

My first entry:

I was really pleased with this necklace.  It hangs right across the collar bone.

Do you see what the large "beads" are?

With my weight loss I have 'shrunk' out of many of my rings.  I can't even wear them on my thumbs anymore!

I saw an inspiration piece on Pinterest and made it up my own way.

The judges liked it too.

This will be going up to state level competition in a few months.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thai Tea Sweet Rice dessert (with recipe)

This month's challenge on Improv Cooking was "tea and honey".  The first tea that came to mind was Thai tea.  Thinking of the sweetness of Thai ice tea I knew what my dish was going to be... Thai Tea Sweet Rice dessert.  

I think this is going to be my go-to dessert for when I want something with little fuss.  The recipe is for individual servings as this isn't quite to Himself's tastes.

Thai Tea Sweet Rice

One cup cooked basmati rice
1/4 cup prepared Thai ice tea*
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Honey to drizzle on top

Prepare your rice according to package instructions.  When the time is up, take the rice off the heat and fluff.  Replace lid and let set about 10 more minutes.

For each serving, use one cup of rice.  Place in a mixing bowl and pour over 1/4 cup of prepared Thai tea (already with sugar and sweetened condensed milk added).  Let sit about 5 minutes so the rice mostly absorbs the tea.

Drizzle with cinnamon and honey to taste.  Serve warm.

*Thai tea mix can be purchased in international food markets or on Amazon.  If you've never had a Thai iced tea, I would suggest you have one from a Thai restaurant first.  They are different.... and very sweet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yummy Granola Trail Bars (with recipe)

A friend clued me in on a local health food store, Tree of Life, which offers classes on all sorts of different topics.  Last night we finally had the opportunity to take a class on making granola trail bars.

It was a surprise for Himself.  He knew we were going to do something but until we arrived he had no idea what was in store.  He's always said he didn't like granola bars but I thought maybe he would if he had the chance to try real ones.

Our instructor Skye was great.  She knows nutrition and she knows yummy ingredients.

See?  Yummy ingredients!

There was several sweetening options available... brown sugar, honey, agave, and a new one to us; coconut palm sugar.  We tasted the coconut sugar and decided to go with it.  It's not super sweet.

We got to pick out the yummy ingredients we wanted in our granola mix.

Himself had the 'kitchen sink' blend.  

Coconut shavings, pumpkin seeds, apricots, figs, cranberries, raisins, walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

I made a yummy gourmet blend... apricots, figs, cranberries, and pecans.

Mixing up the base that holds the yummy ingredients together.

Packing it down in the baking pan.

Eight pans of granola bars... eight varieties.


My chewy granola bars on the left and Himself's crunchy granola bars on the right.

All that is left to do is to cut them into bars and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Guest Blogger (Himself): Humming Along...

I've been working on a few creative things as I work on feeling better.  One of those things I'm having fun with is making moss gardens.  Himself wrote a story about it for his email list group.


Recall that when someone is so contentedly working on something they enjoy doing – building a model airplane for instance – that they ‘whistle as they work’?   There may be someone else around them – doesn’t matter.  They are fully engrossed and would whistle if you were there or not. contentment.

As I fiddled on the computer today ‘doing Himself things’, Teri was downstairs....creating.  And humming along as she was doing it.  What was ‘it’?

Moss garden!

In the setup for the below pictures, Teri recently asked me to retrieve moss off rocks/trees during one of my walks to the lake.   She had plans for it!
Take a look...


 Teri working in her studio on a resin ‘face’ that had cracked in the ice/snow/thawing that we had gotten over the years.  In this picture you can see various terrariums, a bucket of dirt, a jar of activated charcoal (to sweeten the soil) and piles of moss as she designs some sort of ‘scene’.  


 Up closer.  (The bag on the far corner is the trash bag that I had retrieved ten pounds of moist moss.   That close-up bowl with the cross and the sheep was from last year - Teri will be replacing the moss.  Ref the terrariums, that is where the activated charcoal comes in...with moss/wood chips/soil products in an enclosed damp container, it.......can become ‘whiffy’.  The charcoal keeps it sweet.


 Teri placing shreds of moss within cracks on the face that were caused by freezing/thawing.


Poking ‘em in...and watering them.




 Up close.
Every so often I would appear with a fresh cuppa tea to my content & humming wife.
The good stuff...


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Deerly Having Fun

It's not just people who enjoy playing in the ocean!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Crud, Terabytes, and Flotsam

Hi... I'm back... sort of.

For the last week and a half I've been rockin' case of The Crud.  I'm feeling better but still not myself.  Himself has been a sweetheart and is keeping me in hot tea and treats.

As such, not much has happened around here, so I've had nothing to write about.  Reading, thinking, drawing Zentangles, messing around on my laptop, and napping have been my activities.

In fact, the laptop has been one of my main activities.  I've been having issues for the last few months with very, very, VERY slow morning start-ups.  I'm talking about it taking an hour to run its morning computer yoga and get ready for business.  It would just not 'go'.  A look at my drive space showed I was almost full... just a little bit til it hit the 4G mark.  Uff-da!

So I got out the Terabyte drive and start transferring everything over (needed to do a good backup anyway).  That took hours... I have almost 100,000 photos.  That's just crazy and an issue to be dealt with later.  Once everything was copied over and triple checked that it really truly was on the TB drive, I started slowly deleting off files, photos, and music that I don't regularly use.  I did it in small batches (relatively speaking) and after dumping the trash can I would do a quick defrag and reboot.

Della's (my laptop) hard drive is now around 200 G lighter.  And it looks good on her!  LOL  No more super slow start-ups.

I'm looking forward to getting back to my self again.  There are so many projects lined up to do and share.

Oh, we did have a bit of excitement on Thursday.

Apparently the Corp of Engineers released a bunch of debris (mainly tree and tree pieces-parts) that had been trapped up against the Cheatham Dam.  We noticed the river looked funny and went down to look.  It was full of junk!  So we jumped in the car and drove to a boat ramp a little over 2 miles downstream.

We got there just as the debris field floated in.  By the time it got dark (over a half hour later), it stretched bank to bank and was still coming.  There were quite some bangs as the big stuff hit one of the navigational buoys near the ramp.  I wonder if they will have to be reset?

Now that I'm starting to feel better, I will answer the emails piled up in my box.  Irish!  You're the first one... you did it good, didn't you??

So, that's what I have been up to.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Word 2016: Beautiful

It has been a quiet week; I’ve been knocked down with “The Crud”.  Except for an occasional burst of energy all I have done is to sit around and think.  This time I’ve been thinking about my plans for 2016.  I spent 2015 setting up the foundations on which I will build this year.

You might know that like many others I pick a ‘word for the year’ rather than to make ‘resolutions’.  This year my word is “Beautiful”... as in making a beautiful life.

Here is my 'manifesto' but how does one reach the goal? What is the plan? There has to be change to make a change... right?  I have come to the conclusion TIME is the hinge point.

I don't have TIME because there are too many undone things stealing my time. So this month is going to be my "make time" month - Feb is evening helping out by giving me an extra day of time!

There are a few things in my home that need to be taken care of.  Ironing and mending have definitely gotten ahead of me...    I will be blogging less but it will be more intentional. 

Feb is going to be interesting...  I am looking forward to it.