"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Color Crazed

Mt. Hood from the corner of Orient Drive and Waybill Rd.
Mt. Hood from Revenue Drive by Schmidt's Farm

Knit dishcloth from Sugar'n Cream cotton, Crown Jewels
My favorite coloring book!

It has been gray and rainy outside today, but I feel happily drenched in color from absorbing the colors around me over the last few days!

The Rhododendrons are displaying their brilliant pinks and reds!  Mt. Hood stood majestically white against hazy blue skies when I took a roundabout way home on Thursday from a meeting; and  I finished knitting a variegated dishcloth in purples and greens this evening.

Around Mother's Day I got a copy of Inspire, the NLT Bible that has lots of black and white sketches to color.  So far I have used woodless colored pencils, fiber tipped ink pens, and watercolor on the opening pages. I find it very exciting work/play/meditation!

Yesterday I enjoyed listening to some knitting podcasts that Betsy and Kris told me about, and I explored the knitting tutorial for socks that Kris has successfully used. Maybe I will eventually be able to finish the magic loop socks I started several years ago if I watch the tutorial enough times...maybe :)

Tonight I watched a movie about the French artist, Seraphine, then I did a Google search to see more of her work...fantastic colors!  Do click HERE to see her work!

Do you ever feel color crazed?

Gracie xx

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Flowers and Formulas for Fun

First Joseph's Coat climbing Rose of 2016

First Geranium blossoms on the two plants I wintered inside and transplanted outside

A pretty clump of purple Petunias I planted in the front flower bed this week

This past week has been filled with normal routines punctuated by the joy of seeing the first Joseph's Coat climbing Rose of the season in bloom. Isn't it a gorgeous combination of colors?  I am excited that the Geraniums I wintered inside are flourishing outside and producing pretty pink blossoms, and I'm enjoying a clump of purple Petunias I was given for Mother's Day from my youngest daughter and her husband.

Because I prefer drinking from glass or stainless steel I have at various times lugged around old juice jars as water bottles.  The last one I used I crocheted a cotton cozy for so I could lug it around more easily.  This past week I found a ceramic glass that can be used for either hot or cold drinks.  I decided to make it a cozy for added insulation and to hide the logo on the glass.  I used some of the leftover Lion Brand Homespun yarn I used to crochet a bag for my granddaughter, Joy.

Crocheted Glass Cozy (US terms)

chain five and join with a slip stitch
chain one and crochet 16 single crochets into the ring
chain 2 and double crochet in each single crochet

 At this point I set the ceramic glass on the round I had crocheted and 
determined that it was large enough for the bottom of the glass,
but you could easily add or decrease stitches for whatever 
sized glass you want to cover.

For my sixteen ounce ceramic glass I crocheted a total of 11 rows
before cutting the yarn and weaving in the end.

To try out my new glass cozy one afternoon I made iced tea and cookies. My mom's mom, Nana, had a big old pickle jar in her pantry. She kept the jar full of ginger spice cookies~~~ a heady perfume wafted from the jar as I remember it from my little girl days when my nose led me to her pantry.  My dear friend, Donna, who was twenty years older than me, shared a super simple spice cookie recipe with me.  I loved to eat the cookies she made from it when she served them while she trounced me in our numerous games of Scrabble.   I have fiddled around with her recipe and am pleased with the results.  If you want to try the recipe, here it is.

Almond Flour Molasses Spice Cookies

Mix Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup molasses
then add 3/4 cup coconut sugar 

Mix Dry Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 generous tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves

Add the dry ingredients to the wet. 
 If the mix looks thin or wet add
more almond flour until the mix is
very stiff.  Stick it in the refrigerator.

After the mix is cooled, form it into
balls the size of walnuts or half that size
and bake in an oven on parchment
paper at 350 degrees for ten minutes.


*Measure your oil first then your molasses in the same measuring cup. The molasses will slide out of the measuring cup easily making the clean up fast.  

*The cookies should spread and have a crinkle cookie texture, chewy inside and crisp outside.  If you prefer a ginger snap drier texture you can cook them a bit longer. 

* If the cookies still look like balls after cooking for ten minutes just take them out, pat them down and let them cool.

*While I have not tried agave nectar in place of the coconut sugar I think it would work, but you would have to add more almond flour. 

*I have kept the mix in the refrigerator for some days, just making a few cookies at a time. 

Please tell me if you try the recipe and tell me what you think about it.
Be honest.  I can take it...I think... 

For those of you who celebrate Mother's Day May 8th, I wish you a happy one.  Such days can be fraught with feelings of all sorts, I know, but I am hoping that the strongest will be Love. 

Gracie xx

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Come Along!

My oldest daughter, Mary Kathrine, used my camera to take a photo of my granddaughter, "Princess" Rose and me after we had been down to the front pond to see if we could see any duck activity today.

Several days before we had witnessed Mrs. Mallard shepherding her ducklings from the back to the front pond.

My youngest son in law loves to do complex puzzles.  I think I should make this photo into a puzzle for him!  I especially appreciate the grass and leaves that provide some protection for the ducks. Several days ago we saw a heron take off from the front pond.  It was startling, because they are huge birds and I have been thrilled to see them.  However,  I did a Google search on herons today to learn more about them, and now know that in the circle of life drama, ducklings and ducks, and moles and fish are possible prey for herons.  I have been thinking vegan thoughts all day...but had salmon for dinner...sigh...

Isn't Mr. Mallard handsome? I wonder if the males are so brilliant in color so that they can distract predators from the mother mallards and ducklings.
Mama Mallards kind of blend into their surroundings here.
I think this is one area where the Mallards have a nest.
I caught this duck just taking off from the front pond.
On another day I got a photo of  Mr. Wood Duck snoozing on a branch.  Did you know they do that?  I didn't until I witnessed it.
 I think this is Mr. Mallard resting on a branch.
My blogging friend Bethany asked if I planned to show you my finished Haystack Rock painting.  I have worked on it several times since then. I think it is finished...or it is finished for now at least. Most recently I added people. Two are riding recumbent bikes like those Teresa and I saw some folks riding along the beach.
I finished writing heart themed Scriptures around the acrylic splatter painted heart I made at our worship art group and am interested that it has kind of a 3D effect...there is probably some sort of scientific explanation for that...that I do not know :)
Watercolor, Staedtler triplus fineliner, PROGRESSO KOH-I-NOOR woodless pencils
Dover Kaleidoscope coloring book patterns [not colors] by A.G.Smith
Original Dover (2005) www.doverpublications.com
I taped the three little pages on a window and took the photo with the daylight shining through the pages.  The paper is a similar texture to tracing paper and I wondered how it would take the colors, so I tried three different coloring mediums. On the far right I colored both sides of the paper with woodless colored pencils to intensify the hues.
Have you been coloring lately?

This week I have knit some rows on two of the blankets I started, and I have a dishcloth half knit while watching House Hunters International on Netflix, thus traveling to Easter Island and Mongolia from my armchair. I have been reading everything from newspapers to completing the fascinating auto-biography of Catherine de Hueck Doherty...then lunch out with a friend, reading and cooking with grand girls, and sleeping and cleaning and studying, and.............. 

Thanks for coming along with me!  Where have you been wandering along? I do hope you will tell me.

Gracie xx

Monday, April 25, 2016

Unique Hearts and Flowers and Gifts

This week we celebrated another birthday in our household.  My six year old granddaughter, Molly, made a pretty flower fabric stuffed heart as a much loved gift; and I have been enjoying the gifts that my dear blogging friends, Taci, Betsy, and Teresa gave me last week.  Taci gave me hand made soap and facecloths she crocheted. Betsy gave me a flower crocheted pin she made, some lovely lime cotton yarn, a perky wooden bird and a neat dpn sock needle guard she and her husband, Dennis, made.  Teresa gave me some super soft acrylic gray yarn, a beaded zipper pull and a pretty necklace she made that has a Venetian blue glass bead on it. Thank you so much again, Ladies.

Saturday morning seven members of our household visited a new to us flower nursery near us in between some April showers.  While we don't have Bluebells dancing in fields around us, as I have seen on some blog posts recently, we have been enjoying the pretty blue flowers that are spreading out in the flower bed in the front of our house.

Then on Saturday afternoon I attended the worship art group at a nearby
church.  Our facilitator made the heart on the far right.  I made the reddish heart on the lower left.  We started off with white watercolor paper and spread blobs of paint over the whole sheet. After that dried some of us took a cardboard heart shaped stencil and traced around it. Some of us then took a splatter brush and splattered drops of paint on the heart and then used white paint around the heart shape.  After that was dry some of us then started writing heart themed Scripture verses around the heart.  We took group photos and everyone gave me permission to show you their work.  Isn't the uniqueness of each work fun to see?

Gracie xx

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Fever Gardening

Rainy day crocheted strawberry still not complete...
Fudge Almond Chocolate Chip cookies and Almond bread by replanted Shamrock plant
Fish Stew [I thought it was yummy!]
Rainbow Chard, Fuchsia Hanging Basket and Basil planted
Hulda Klager Lilac Garden, Woodland, Washington

Lilacs from our bush

Wood Ducks
Sandy River from Tad's Chicken'n Dumplins
Becky, Dennis, Betsy, Teresa, Phil, Dayle, Gracie

Gracie, Betsy, Teresa, Taci

While I am not certain of the symptoms of Spring Fever, I suspect I have a full blown case of it.

You see, I have spent time inside cooking, and stitching and painting a new horizon for my watercolor painting, but, I have been so excited to spend even more time out and about witnessing the glorious blooming of Spring!

Teresa, my dear blogging friend, drove us north to the Hulda Klager Lilac Garden in Woodland, Washington, and published a wonderful post about our trip HEREThank you, again, Teresa, for the fun, and introducing me to such an amazing place.

When I got home I checked our one gigantic lavender Lilac bush.  It only had about six blossoms on it and I cut two and brought them inside so we can enjoy them...the blossoms have such a short life, but their fragrance is h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y ~ ~ ~

This week I planted three hanging baskets of white Fuchsias...no blossoms yet.  I planted six little Rainbow Chard plants and a Basil plant out among the flowers.  We have some Joseph Coat Rose buds, I noted!

Saturday my youngest daughter sent me a text while out on errands to tell me she had seen a lot of "duck action" out on the front pond on her way out the driveway if I wanted to take some photos.  I was convinced I only saw some Mallards, but when I looked at the photos on my computer screen I saw some Wood Ducks, too!

This weekend was very special because our blogging friend, Betsy, drove down with her husband all the way from Spokane, Washington...six hours!  We had a great visit.  I had such a good time I did not want us all to part ways again.  Taci was not able to make it to Tad's, but at the last minute was able to meet most of us the next day.

On my way home I did not want the fun to end.  The weather was perfect!  I was thinking about Betsy and Dennis telling us about their youngest son's life over in Japan where he has worked for years.  Then I remembered that I had read recently about the Japanese garden in Gresham that I had never stopped to see.  I pass by it nearly every week, but you can't see it from the road.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photos I took of it. I hope to go back many times, and am curious to know how it will look different from season to season...after I recover from Spring Fever. Do you ever develop a full blown case of Spring Fever?

Gracie xx