Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Promised Pictures

Here are two pictures taken in Banbury, England. (See previous article for story.)
Banbury Cross Statue and Lady on a White Horse Statue.
Actually the Lady is on a horse, but it isn't white.
A little humor though--notice how I caught her with a chimney on the top of her head.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


To the cold December heaven
Came the pale Moon and the stars,
As the yellow Sun was sinking
Behind the purple bars.–
Charles Dawson Shanly, Canadian poet, 1811–75

Yes, December is cold and already snowy. We had 5 inches over the week-end and more predicted for Wednesday.

The Old Farmers' Almanac tells about this special event--

Sky Watch
The planets and
the Moon are putting on a show! For a few nights, brilliant Venus, bright Jupiter, and the crescent Moon blaze in a striking conjunction. They first formed their brilliant triangle last night, 15 degrees high, in the southwestern sky. The three celestial objectives will continue to stay close together as seen from Earth even though the planets are millions of miles away.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

So many things to be thankful for--
This certainly isn't everything, but what I could think of right now.
Do you have some you could add to the list?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Banbury Cross

Do you remember the nursery rhyme?
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.
We drove to Banbury one day where we saw the two statues -- one of Banbury Cross and the other of the lady on the horse.
The words of the Banbury Cross nursery rhyme are often attributed to the "fine lady" Elizabeth I of England. One day she travelled to Banbury to see a huge stone cross which had just been erected at the top of a steep hill. When the Queen's carriage started up the hill a wheel broke and the Queen chose to ride the cock horse to the Banbury Cross. The people of the town had decorated the horse and the Queen was attired in her fine jewellery, as well as shoes with pointed toes. The fashion of the day was to attach bells on the toes of those shoes.
Thus the nursery rhyme. The original cross of the rhyme was demolished in 1610.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama Victory Brought Euphoria In Britain

Election of the new president in America elicited such excitement in England that radio commentators were euphoric. Words such as "amazing performance, historic event, massive effect, high expectations" were common terms. He "hits the ground running, has enormous prestige, second coming." He's "the people's president, change has come, just believe." One reporter even joked, "now the weather will be better." On a Sunday morning radio program they talked about Obama's message of Hope. A newspaper cartoon had a sign by the White House, "Please don't walk on the water!" On the radio they were calling in and singing songs about Obama. "Barack Kareoke" "Obama Mia, Yes We Can."
Newspapers on the news stands had Obama front page headlines for three days with photos of him and his family. Headlines, such as -- "Whole World is Galvanized." "Obama Mania Across the World." "World Looking to Obama to Solve Problems." "Obarmy Army." "As Obama Gets Elected, the Earth Moves." "Obama Factor Boosts Tourism in America."
This has been very interesting experiencing this frenzy. We were in a shop one day and in conversation with the clerk, after she knew we were from America, she mentioned the election and wondered if I was sorry to be here and miss that. "Oh," I said. "Absolutely not. I really enjoyed being in this country and seeing what happened here with our election in America.
We never would have known any of this if we were home."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Remembrance Sunday in Great Britain

Standing outside by the Redditch War Memorial on a cold, windy Sunday, we took part in the Remembrance Sunday Observance, which is held every year on the Sunday before Armistice Day. It included the wreath laying ceremony, which was preceded by the Two-Minute Silence Observance signalled by the bugler. The wreath ceremony was led by the mayor of the town of Redditch.
Following the ceremony we attended services at nearby St. Stephen's Church. This was a continuation of remembering the war veterans and ended by singing "God Save the Queen," Britain's National Anthem.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day & Guy Fawkes Day

Today, November 4, is Election Day in America. In England it's the day the early 1600s when a conspiracy to destroy the English Houses of Parliament was discovered. Through means of a tunnel 36 barrels of gunpowder were stored in a vault below that House by a group protesting the suppression of the Roman Catholics. After receiving a tip from one of the conspirators, a search was made of the vault where they found the gunpowder and a Catholic Englishman, named Guy Fawkes, who was commissioned to set off the explosives. He was arrested, tortured and later hanged. Today the plot is celebrated as Guy Fawkes Day and the explosion is commemorated by fireworks on November 5. So tomorrow night we will be hearing a lot of "booms" and "bangs" and will see the skyline bright with fireworks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes, England, We're Here!

I don't think England got the message that we were coming. We were greeted with rain the first few days. Then guess what happened! We got snow. A good layer fell last night and it's cold! The forecast is for more cold days ahead. The really bad part is that my Iowa family writes that they are having sixty and seventy degree days! Is that fair?

The other not so nice item--we went to Birmingham mall one day. You would have thought it was the day before Christmas there were so many people! Every aisle was packed. Part of the reason was that there is no school here this week, so many of those were students.

These are just observations, not complaints!! The flight was just fine; everything on time and it was even shorter than scheduled. And we've been spending time with family. All good!

Monday, October 13, 2008

England, Here We Come! Plus Other Bits and Pieces

Next Monday, October 20th we are leaving for England and will be there for four weeks. I will have limited access to a computer, but I hope to make a blog entry a time or two while we are there.
I did my voting last week, absentee. We won’t get to follow the excitement of hearing voting results like we would if we were here, and maybe that’s just as well!! But we will get some information from the BBC. And hint–maybe I will get some emails about what happened.
We had a flock of birds swoop in and feed on the berries in the crab apple tree the other morning. I tried to see what kind of birds they were, but they flitted so much I couldn’t see, and then they were gone. They must have stopped over for brunch and the leader said, "That’s enough, guys. Time to go!"
I had thought at first they might be Cedar Waxwings, because a flock of them usually makes a visit once a year. But I couldn’t see them closely enough. They are so cute with the little tufts on top of their heads.
We did see some Blue Jays, Cardinals and a Downy Woodpecker eyeing the feeder the other day after EG uncovered it. It was completely covered again this summer with morning glories. That adds a pretty touch to all the other flowers around the deck and to the pots full of blues, reds, yellows and pinks on the deck. Now before we leave, the pots will be moved to the garage hoping some plants will winter over and the greenhouse will be taken down.
Summer ends. Winter looms.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Hint For Etsy Sellers

When I read that an Etsy Seller had "cream tea" as part of her name, it made me take real notice, because as I wrote sometime before, that was a yummy dessert I had on our first trip to England. So I wrote to her commenting about that English treat.
Just before that I read on one of the threads a remark about the importance of showing shipping charges for other countries. Since she was from the UK, I thought she would be a good one to ask about it. I have had many times that God has sent someone into my life at such an appropriate time. She did have an opinion on this topic, I thought, from which all sellers could all profit. I have tried to make International buyers welcome by asking them to write for shipping charges.
Here is the gist of her comments.
"As a buyer I never write and ask about posting charges unless it is something I desperately want and cannot get anywhere else. This has happened once in the 3 years I have been selling and buying on Etsy.It is all about impulse buying and in a site such as Etsy, with such competition it is essential to grab the buyers and make the process as easy as possible. Plus on an international site it can lead to delays in answering convos (conversations) because of the time difference. Therefore a loss of sale if they have bought elsewhere in the gap.
Plus another point...if you only list shipping charges for your country, it may be perceived that the other countries aren’t seen as being important. You don’t even want to hint at that."
I know I am going to try to add some international shipping charges to my listings. Maybe this will help you, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Here It Is!

The mystery plant opened to a beautiful white blossom. Don told us what it is--datura innoxia. We looked up more information and found all parts of it are poisonious, but this very white blossom is so pretty. The mystery of how it got into the pot of soil has not been solved. And yes, slight pressure on the leaves does give the smell of peanut butter.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Plant Mystery

At least we knew where the first mystery plant came from, but this one is a complete mystery. That one was from a packet of Forget-Me-Not seed. But this one , we have no idea.
I had decided I needed to start some rosemary cuttings one day this summer. So I got the pot ready for them, filled it with soil from the bag that had been used before for other plants and inserted the little cuttings.. After a few days, we noticed a lot of little plants coming up. We couldn’t understand where they came from and didn’t recognize what they were. We left them until they got too big and crowded the rosemary. So I transplanted several of them into individual pots. We had to keep some of them to find out what they were. Well, we still don’t know what they are, but they are different from anything we have had before.
So where did all those seeds come from? They were only in this one pot and so many of them. And what are they? Also interesting when we look at the five plants in the picture together, they are in all stages of growth before the bloom. I will add more pictures when the blossoms open.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Someone Special

Look what someone special did for me--

After she purchased the first cookbook, she said she would be back for another. I had forgotten all about it; then one day there was the order for the second one.

So heartwarming to find these special people who enter our lives. I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Garden Progress

Maybe there should be another title for this, because of how BIG some of the things are. We are quite shocked when we find each one.
Brandywine tomatoes are huge. We had one weigh 1 lb., another weighed 1 lb. 2 oz. and then we found the one pictured which weighed 1 lb. 8 oz. In the second picture you can see it in comparison to some also large sized tomatoes. Shown in the picture are a few Chocolate Drop tomatoes. They are like a cherry tomato, but are dark colored like chocolate. Very tasty. The small oval shaped ones are Baby Girl and very sweet.
Then there is the large cucumber. What can you say? It just grew big. We gave it to a friend who is into making relish.
EG has a large dahlia bed, of which he is really proud. He keeps me supplied with bouquets every day. But of this yellow one, he is especially proud. It measures 10 inches across! What a beauty!
So enjoy looking. We’re happy to share with you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Garden Beauties

These are some pictures we just took of things that are growing in our yard. First of all on the deck we see a beautiful canna. This was grown from the seed of Princess Di Canna, but it doesn't look like the parent plant. Then there's the lovely red hibiscus grown so tall with a profusion of huge blossoms. The last two pictures show one plant of Brandywine tomato with its twelve large fruits plus several small ones. Just beginning to ripen, a taste treat awaits us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Painting Experience

WhenI was asked me to write an article for the church newsletter about my painting hobby, I wondered what the best approach would be. Then the thought hit me that this hobby has led to many adventures. When I bought that first little box of oil paints so many years ago, I had no idea where the Lord was leading with that and how much enjoyment would come from it. It was always a thrill seeing what putting the paint on the canvas looked like, how adding a touch of another color would change the whole effect.
As time went by, I found I liked acrylics, too. Then I went to watercolors and pastels. Along the way I took advantage of a few different classes. One I enjoyed was given by a local artist who gave lessons in oil painting and pastels. The class excursion one of the days included painting buildings on a nearby abandoned farm.
Enjoyable was a watercolor class a friend and I went to in northern Minnesota given by a well-known watercolor artist, Ed Whitney. There we met another watercolorist and arranged for her to give a two-day watercolor workshop in our town to anyone interested.
Another interesting project. A friend read poetry while I did a painting with pastels. We gave the program several times for groups. Seeing the interest in the students when I demonstrated oil painting at the local Christian school one year, was rewarding. On the scene painting with friends through the years has also been enjoyed.
Some of the paintings were displayed in several area places and were hung for a time when our local vacant school had a Gallery. A few times some paintings were entered in various fairs. Quite a few were sold.

Then there were the murals. That all began when two of us mothers of students at that time began painting scenery for Proms and Homecomings. We did a total of five Proms and two Homecomings between 1980 and 1984, usually on pieces of cardboard eight feet tall and of various widths.
Stemming from that there was the request to paint murals in the Steamboat Rock school. Two others helped with that project. We painted smaller ones in the hallways, but two covered the two walls of the study hall. On one wall was the large rock formation along the Iowa River for which the town was named. The other wall was Tower Rock, the tall rock formation near the River, too. That was in 1983, and in 1984 we painted another postcard scene of the town’s old flour mill on the City Hall wall. All these murals are still there today.
Finally, all this culminated in being asked to paint a large mural on big cardboard pieces for Kiwanis of Eldora and that was 40 feet long.
Personal murals were one for my sister in St. Paul and two in my house
Sometime during these years I decided to do an oil painting of our two churches. I wasn’t satisfied with the painting of the new church so that was never finished. I decided now is the time to get the painting of our former church out of the closet and give it to the church.
It has been a long traveled road that brought much reward and enjoyment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lingering Aftereffects

Never to be forgotten is the devastating tornado that leveled a large section of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa on May 25 this year. A recent popular event was a fundraiser held by three graduates of the high school which was destroyed. Athletes Casey Wiegmann, Brad Meester and Jared DeVries (Aaron Kampman, planned to attend but was detained on a flight) who are all players in the NFL came back to help their former school and community. Attending the event was one Parkersburg resident in a wheelchair who cut in the long line of people waiting to get autographs. "I think I have bragging rights," he joked. "If people complain I just say, ‘Hey, did you have a house fall on you?’"

John initially wanted to skip his last Butler County Fair, even though he knew that the Fair officials had decided it should go on as planned. After all, his aunt was killed and his parents injured, as well as feeling the loss of their home and business. Also the twister had killed several head of cattle John planned to show at the fair. However, through the encouragement of friends and family he did show two of them. Four were suffering from severe injuries, and John turned his back when they were shot by the police.

An avid gardener Marian prefers working in her garden, but instead she has spent the better part of June tending her lawn, pulling a rake through the grass, periodically stooping to sift through glass, and other material. Nearby, her 12-year-old grandson, Logan, uses a magnetic bar on wheels to collect wayward nails.

After the tornado destroyed the home of Gina and Bruce, they moved into a trailer. After one night, rising flood waters forced the pair to evacuate that. Heavy rain flooded their town. Since then, it's been laugh or cry, Bruce said. He chooses the former. He is comforted by religious teachings that everything in life serves a purpose. Ironically, they weren’t home the night the tornado struck because they had gone shopping for a broken toilet handle.

Residents returning to the area that should include houses, businesses and trees, not open space, piles of debris and heavy equipment, were stunned with mixed feelings. Many look to faith for answers and strength. "This is not something you are going to wake up from."

Finding comfort in his faith, a 75-year-old who lost his wife, says, "Every day is a blessing. It's only through God's will that I'm here, because everything was out of that basement except the freezer and a few other things," he said. "Why else should I be alive?" Indeed, following last month's storm, many friends and neighbors mistakenly believed he had perished with Shirley. The couple had huddled together in the lower level, holding on to each other as the noise grew, overwhelming their senses. "Then all of a sudden there was a huge 'BOOM.' I looked up and the whole house was twirling, and then it was gone. Shirley never said a word, so I think she went to be with Jesus right there."

The business of recovery demands more than a hammer, nails and a blueprint. Some survivors find a positive outlook and thankful heart are also essential.
Quotes--courtesy of Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Christmas in July

Many people like to do their Christmas shopping early, so the Christmas in July theme is being promoted by several Etsy shops. Anyone looking for something handmade would benefit by checking some of these shops this month. And there are a lot of shops to choose from. Since Etsy’s launch in June 2005, over 100,000 sellers from around the world have opened up Etsy shops.
My shop will be joining other Etsy shops in this Christmas in July event, a venture which will be a service to all those early shoppers looking for ideas of the unusual for teachers' gifts, friends and neighbors’ gifts, stocking stuffers, etc. These shops will have a variety of items, from jewelry and soaps to large quilts and wall hangings, from tissue holders and pincushions to knitted scarves and gloves, from original paintings to chocolate chip cookies, from purses and totes to baby apparel. No limit to the variety and selection.
This is my Christmas in July list for you to look at.

If you type "Christmas in July" in SEARCH, a long list of items will come up from many different shops. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Plant Progress

Well, we know the plant is making progress as evidenced by the recent picture. But there is no progress in determining what it is. The rapid growth certainly suggests that it's a weed, but no one has come forward to help with identifying it. We took pictures of it to Earl May Nursery, and they tried to find what it was, but could not. So we are still looking. And that's the latest update!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two Little Girls, Two Big Messages

On Friday my little Great Granddaughter was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She will be seeing a specialist in this field sometime in the near future to verify this diagnosis. This usually bubbly and happy little 4 year old recently began complaining of her foot being sore and that it hurt when she walked. The diagnosis indicated the arthritis was located in her right foot and right hip. Only a pain killer as treatment has been prescribed so far. We are praying for a treatment that will give relief and that she will be one of the children who will outgrow it early.
Delia, with her stay-at-home mom, dad and little brother, Elliot, live in rural Iowa near a very small town where her dad is employed as a Soil Analyst. She has gone to Preschool this past year and will be attending Kindergarten this fall. Delia will be five years old August 17.
I will relay any messages left for her in "Comments."

Little Siobhan lives in Florida. She is barely 4 years old, yet her artwork suggests her age is much older. Just give her a canvas and some squishy paint and she is busy creating another lovely painting. Hands and fingers are her paintbrush. This adorable talented child is special because at the age of two and a half she was diagnosed with Autism. Her mom, who is also an artist, is a stay-at-home mom, a soldier’s wife, a veteran and now an Autism Awareness Advocate. Her father is in the Army, and she has a little brother, Orlando.
It’s interesting that Siobhan, who loves the squishy paint (Crayola Tube Paints), will not touch anything else that’s of that texture. The idea of eating something such as yogurt or peanut butter or even ice cream is repulsive to her, and she will only eat dry, crunchy foods.
Although she is virtually non-verbal, with her artwork she is very expressive. The family is hoping to spread a more positive message that while Autism does have it's challenges.... it has many gifts, too
"I am her voice. She is my world. We are her hope."
Siobhan’s Dream –
Her Etsy Shop --
Her Mom’s Etsy Shop –

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Buttonhole and The Button Box

Etsy once again has been the avenue for a special happening.
I was happy when Janis bought the Tote Bag that I had made and had for sale on Etsy. I was not happy when I heard from her that the buttonhole I made on the bag was too small for the button I put on. (Thinking back, I must have planned for another button when making the buttonhole, but changed my mind when it came time to sew the button on.)
I wrote Janis an apology and thanked her for telling me. I told her if there was anything I could do to rectify this to please let me know.
And I signed it, Blessings.
She answered,
Not to worry. I know how things can slip past us even when we're very careful.
She thought she might have a button to replace the one I put on.
I'll get out my button box and check. You know, now that I think about it, this is a blessing in disguise. I'm reminded of myself as a little girl sitting in the middle of Mom's big bed with her button box poured out in front of me. Haven't thought of that in a very long time. Makes me smile.Thank you for your offer to rectify the situation if you can. Your gracious response is more than enough.Thanks for the memory!
Right after this, she found the email I had written telling her I had sent the Tote.
And you signed your email with ‘Blessings.’ Thank you. The memory of my Mom's button box is a blessing indeed. :-)
Blessings to you as well!
My response,
That makes two of us who have smiles right now, Jan. What a sweet thing you wrote about your mom and the button box. You are so nice about the buttonhole problem. I am sure when you use that tote bag that you will think of the button box and your mom and maybe of me, too, who caused this whole situation!! I know whenever I make another tote bag, I will think of this one and of you who were so kind. I'm so glad to know you, a very special person.
And I thought it very appropriate to sign it–
Showers of Blessings!
Then I invited her to visit my blog. (I received her permission to make this entry.)
Then she sent this message--
Isn't it funny how things turn around? I have a lovely new tote bag and I am so glad it has a too small button hole! :-) Because that buttonhole sneaked past you, I have a tote bag "accessorized" with a new friend and a wonderful memory. They say you can find good deals on Etsy but I never imagined How good! :-)
You're right. I will think of my mom and the button box and, most definitely, you when I use the tote. I'm smiling some more now. :-)
I don't have a blog but I'll definitely visit yours tomorrow. I'm glad to know you, too!
I think the Showers of Blessings have already started. :)
I’ll leave it to you to determine who received the greater blessing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Can You Identify this Plant?

Again, we have a plant of interest! Last year I had the adventure of trying to start some Rosemary plants from seed. (See The Rosemary Story earlier in this blog.) We had a difficult time identifying the plants that came up, which we knew weren't Rosemary. This year I planted some Forget Me Not flower seed. The plant shown here looked like the Forget Me Not when it was transplanted into this hanging pot. Then it started to grow so fast and now reaches the top of the greenhouse. And look at that flower! So different! Definitely not a Forget Me Not! We eventually discovered that last year's mystery plant was Lemon Balm, but we are truly mystified by this one. Can you help?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flood at Steamboat Rock

This has been a very wet year breaking records and a year of many storms. Floods across the state have been breaking records in every town that is situated on a river. The record in our town exceeded by 18 inches the previous record, and the flood threatened my daughter's family's house. Pictures show the sandbags, but the water didn't reach them. Other pictures show entrance to their home.

One city in the state, Cedar Rapids, had water 12 feet above flood stage, which is causing such serious flooding that it is being called the "katrina of Iowa."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ten Seconds

"Ten seconds, and it was all over."
People of Parkersburg, Iowa telling of the experiences they had that will never be forgotten.
"We were huddled in the basement. When it was over and we looked up, everything was gone."
One family was clinging to each other on the couch when they saw their dog go flying by. The dad reached up and grabbed him out of the air.
Another couple holding onto each other on the couch experienced being bounced from the wall on one end of the room, back and forth to another wall, and when it ended they were left sitting on the couch with everything around them gone.
Fourteen customers were in a Pizza place and tried to get everyone into the bathroom. All but two fit inside so they sat by the door and witnessed a pickup truck flying at them and landing five feet away. All were able to crawl out to safety.
An elderly husband and wife who couldn't get to the basement did not survive. A total of eight people died in this horrific tornado which was classed as an E5, the strongest rating with winds over 200 miles per hour.
Then the aftermath--heartache and tears. Searching for possessions in the rubble. Rejoicing when some little keepsake was found. Hoping someone would locate a billfold or driver's license or an important document, some of which were found in a nearby state.
If trying to find a large item, you knew it would be damaged. A lady reported finding three such cars in her yard, and none of them were hers.
And today the bulldozers arrived.

Pictures courtesy General Denny Mills, Parkersburg, Iowa

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Springtime means flowers in the yard.

Springtime means pots of flowers on the deck.

Springtime means hostas and flowering ground cover.

Springtime means May and May means my birthday.

I love Springtime in May.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Treacle Tart

So what is Treacle Tart? It’s a very popular and traditional dessert in the UK. I only had it once when there, which, I guess, is surprising because it is so popular. Maybe because the times I’ve been there I usually make the desserts, like pies, cakes, cookies and bars. But I really liked this dessert. Very different.
An interesting fact is that Treacle Tart has become somewhat of a curiosity in other countries because of its frequent mention in the Harry Potter books. Actually, it is Harry’s favorite dessert.
Treacle Tart is made predominately of shortcrust pastry and golden syrup. It has a consistency similar to pecan pie, though it usually does not contain eggs in the filling. The Tart is normally served hot with a dollop clotted cream. (Yes, we first heard about clotted cream in the blog about scones.) It can also be served with ordinary cream, custard, or yoghurt. Treacle tart is good served cold, too.
Many think treacle is like molasses and it is often called that in the UK. Actually it is a by-product of sugar-making the same as molasses, but more similar in taste and texture to honey. However, it has a taste of its own. We brought back a bottle of Golden Syrup and I made my first Treacle Tart. The pastry base of the English recipe didn’t turn out very well for me, so next time I will use a shortcrust recipe I have which would have more shortening in it. The Golden Syrup is combined with fresh breadcrumbs, lemon juice and zest with a small amount of ginger to form the filling of the Tart. It bakes at a high temperature for about 45 minutes. In lieu of clotted cream, we used Cool Whip!
You may find Golden Syrup in the US in international food stores, and it can be purchased on the Internet so you can make the perfect Treacle Tart.

English Recipe for Treacle Tart
For the pastry:
225g/8oz plain flour
110g/4oz butter, chilled and diced
1 medium egg
For the filling:
450g/1lb golden syrup
85g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
generous pinch ground ginger
1 lemon, zest, finely grated
and 2 tbsp of the juice
1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Mix in the egg with a knife,then knead to a smooth dough..
3. Use the dough to line a 23 cm/9in loose bottomed tart tin, prick with a fork and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas
5. Bake the pastry blind for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown.
6. Mix together the filling ingredients and pour into the pastry case. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lilac Time

A special time of year when trees are dressed in pink, white and lavender with touches of purple and maroon. This little verse says it all!
My lilac trees are old and tall:
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roofs and streets, to find the bees.
–Louise Driscoll (1875–1957)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Treasury West

I had a new experience today. There are a lot of Treasuries on Etsy, and most of the time they are filled to capacity. On one of the Forum Threads I was on, mention was made that there were some openings on Treasury West. I went to the site and happened to click on it at the right time and just like that, I got a Treasury to fill. Going to the Forum that I was on at that time, I found twelve different items that had the color scheme I wanted and filled all the spaces. Now it's available to all to see!

It's not easy to explain just what it is, but you can get an idea if you go to the listing. I hope you will go to it, read the comments and maybe leave a comment. That would be very nice. It will be open until next Monday, May 19.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pink Spires Tree

Every spring this Pink Spires tree brings a short time of enjoyment with its beautiful pink blossoms. They don't seem to last very long, especially if they get rained on, but have given much pleasure anyway.

About 25 or so years ago I decided I wanted a flowering tree planted out by the deck so that I could see it from the dining table. Just a few feet from the deck was the spot decided upon. I purchased it from a Nursery and with help in digging the hole the mission was accomplished.

This is the way it looks today with my Mother's Day gift Hydrangea right in front.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two More Etsy Friends

These two friends have Etsy Shops as well as blogs.

Donna wrote that she was featuring me on her Tuesday, May 6th blog. So if you go to her blog address and scroll down to Tuesday, you will see what a nice she way she handled it.
This talented gal is from Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

Her Etsy Shop is found here:

Today Gina sent me the message that I was the artist featured on her blog today. She had asked for a favorite recipe and that was put on there, too.
Gina is from BC, Canada.

Speaking of someone busy, she has THREE different shops and is very talented.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kentucky Derby

What does the Kentucky Derby have to do with me? with my shop? with my town? with my state? Well, actually it does have something to do with my blog.

One day I got this messsage --

Hi, greetings from the bluegrass state. All your recipes look wonderful! I am a fellow etsyian. I have only been to Iowa once. I saw it from the window of a train, but it was so green and full of darling farms. They looked almost like toy farms, to me. (from sweetb)

In response I told her that I was proud of our state and liked her description of it. So I decided there is a connection between our two states. Maybe we can make connection with some others, too? I think I can and will make that another blog topic.

So I invited sweetb to submit a recipe for our Recipe Section. A few days ago I got this answer--

Here is my recipe from Ky, just in time to honor the Kentucky Derby. It is from a wonderful cook book, Out of Kentucky by Marion Flexner. The forward is by Duncan Hines 1949. He is an ole boy from Bowling Green who also has lots of cake mixes named after him! The recipe is a Louisville specialty still is served at the Famous Brown Hotel.

Hot Brown
4 slices of toast

1/4 C American cheese grated
4 slices of baked chicken or turkey
cut from the breast about
1/4 thick
8 strips bacon,fried crisp
4 T grated Parmesan Cheese
1 C cream sauce *

thin sliced garden tomato (optional)
Blend yellow cheese with cream sauce until cheese has melted. Place a piece of chicken on each piece of toast and cover with 1/4 cup of sauce. Place 2 strips of bacon (previously cooked) on each sandwhich,and sprinkle with 1 T of Parmesan. Place sandwhich under broiler until golden.

*Cream Sauce
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup milk (or cream)
Melt butter, mix in flour. Slowly add milk and cook until mixture thickens.

So you can watch the Kentucky Derby and think of Iowa. That is, if you think I made my case!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our Seed Cannas

Two years ago we started our project of growing cannas from seed. EG has always grown cannas, so our deck looked beautiful the summer before with some tall beauties we had purchased. In the fall, he collected seed from those that produced seed. Not all cannas will, but we ended up with quite a few seeds. The next spring I learned a lot about growing them. First of all, you need to scarify each seed (which means to make small cuts); then soak them for two days in warm water before planting. Soon you will see little leaves poking out of the soil. It was exciting to see what the bloom would look like, because in most cases it would not be like the parent plant. Pictures are of the small growing plants--the first one to open was Ours (red without label). The other red one is Stick Red (named because it was very tall); a beautiful pink, my favorite, Ours Romance. Two yellows are Best Yellow and Yellow Speckles.