You know its a winner when....

When you get ready to go to bed and your DH is still raving about the dinner...you know its a winner!!!!  As promised earlier this week I picked squash blossoms for dinner and stuffed them with a ricotta/parmesan/shrimp mix and then dipped them in batter and deep fried them... To accompany this I picked fresh pea pods and sautéed them with red peppers and pines nuts... The recipe specifically
called for male blossoms but I was a couple short and filled in with female blossoms...

It's about the end of blossom time so I had better quick make the other recipe...squash blossoms stuffed with fresh corn, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese and fried of course.

Also I'm happy to share that I'm not so old that I don't remember and learn from some of life's harder lessons. This pendant needs to be sanded flat on the back so I can mount it on a piece of filigree.  The pendant piece is about 1 1/2" by 3" and years ago I had something similar in size that I wanted to sand on one side.  My plan then was to hold the piece to be sanded in my left hand and hold the belt sander in my right hand... Not a good plan.  The sander was heavy and I lost control of it. The belt sander chewed up one of the fingers on my left hand.  After
surgery and some skin grafting they were able to save the finger...  With that memory in mind I have a new plan.... I wired a  handle on the pendant and will mount the sander in a vise...  UPDATE: Well it is back to the drawing board with this piece.  I did the planned safety measures and came back from the barn  with all my fingers intact but I couldn't get the pendant flat enough to look right on the filigree... Rethinking!!!

Thanks for all the positive comments and I will keep writing as long as I can and I love  knowing someone is reading.  Been restless with all the changes that are out of my control  and feel I need to take some positive action to be in control...not sure what.  Maybe I need to get a  body part pierced besides my ears   or even better .... a tattoo of Morris on my chest....  a Morris might be painful...maybe something smaller like a bee on my arm..

If you have followed the blog at all you know how I love proverbs and sayings that I can use and it always seems one come along when I need it most and today is no exception.  This appeared on Facebook this morning. and I'm going to print it and put it on the fridge. "You either get bitter or you get better!"


To blog or not to blog...

All winter and spring I struggled with the changes in my life caused by my vision problems and often didn't post for weeks as without stitching did I really have anything worth saying?  I've given up stitching, bridge, driving, painting buttons among other things.  Thank heavens for my giant computer screen.  I do check the stats and people do still read the blog but I did see a drop when I didn't write about crazy quilting  anymore...

I have been blogging for over ten years and occasionally have thought about stopping at different times like when I approached 1000 posts or 1500 posts and now am approaching 2000 posts which might be a good time to quit.  Even better sometime within the year I will reach 1,000,000 views... maybe that should be the stopping point.

But from the very beginning I included  posts about my personal everyday life and even have a category called "Gerry's Journal"  and it has become just that and I would miss the writing of it. Not all have been happy posts...there were  posts about being robbed, hit by lightening, riding my bike off the mountain, and a cougar killing my sheep... But many more happy posts also,,, the suffragette quilt going to Houston,  Morris's vacation and the joys of my family, garden and kitchen.  I have even shared the difficulties of having a husband, who even at 84, is a chick magnet.

 Four years ago I did a recap of the blog at 1500 posts and now I am at post #1903 and think I'll  continue to blog as long as I can see the computer screen and hope that even though it is now about jewelry, gardening, cooking, etc. and  there will be friends who still tune in as my life is going in all new directions....

 The only discouraging thing is how Blogger handles (or doesn't handle) comments.  Some used to come to my gmail and were easy to answer.  Others I couldn't  answer unless I made Hotmail my primary mail and that didn't work either.  But since I can't fix it I guess it is what it is.

All these photoshopped versions of me are from various posts from over the years.


Cats & baskets - a match made in heaven

Yesterday I was trying to set up an etsy shop for the jewelry and ran into so many problems  that were so frustrating that I quit  and now I try to get back to do more editing and can't access it. I have had the button shop for 10 years you would think setting up the new one would be a piece of cake.  Everything has changed so much and nothing seems to work..  It absolutely refuses my new logo,,, 

So I decided to give up and paint... One of my favorite things to paint is baskets and the one I have the most trouble with is cats.  On most animals and people if I get the eyes right everything is OK.....but with cats I have to get the nose right or it looks like a monkey. I have painted bunnies in baskets, chicks in baskets and flowers in baskets and now I want to paint kittens in baskets.

 Since I had wanted to paint some kittens in a basket on a pendant I went net surfing for inspiration  and found  many kittens in baskets.  These two in this painting are a bit scary and look as if they have had too much  caffeine.  This is a vintage oil painting by Hans Fenger and is available on line for $250/

At the bottom of each post are several thumbnails that link to previous posts.  Quite often I travel down memory lane with these,  Today the post was from 2009 and was about all the drama of lambing.... http://olderrose.blogspot.com/2009/03/lamb-photo-op.html.  I dearly loved my sheep.


There was fun in funky....

Remember the pile of "possible parts"? 
Well it ended up this necklace.   I usually wear a new one for a day to test for any problems and I do need to do some fine tuning on the hanging hearts.  I wore it on a red top and the yellow really popped.   This whimsical necklace received positive comments all day and even the waiter at the brunch liked it.  I'm glad because I do have an all-out whimsy idea that I want to start painting the pendant today.


Soup Search

 DH let me know that the supply of homemade soups in the freezer is running low so I went in search of recipes a little different than my usual standbys  and DH favorites.. Over the next 2-3 weeks I'll try these with the extra goal of adding more beans and grains to our diet.

1. An Italian sausage meatball   soup using a dried 15 bean mix and lots of veggies (and maybe a couple extra cans of black beans or kidney beans as well).

2.  A Moroccan chicken/sweet potato soup with chick peas and spiced with turmeric and cumin..

3. A cauliflower/cod chowder.  I don't  have cod but do have rockfish in the freezer which needs to be used.  This recipe uses lots of leeks and cherry tomatoes as well.  I will sneak some white beans into this as well..

4. With the garden in mind I am making a Pea/Pea/Pea soup.  To a base of dried peas and ham hocks I'll add fresh peas, pea pods and frozen peas.  Best of all I'll add lots of the abundance of fresh tender pea vines in the garden.

5.  And last but not least a Squash/Kale/Brown Rice soup to use up the  the squash from the fall harvest of spaghetti squash.  The recipe I found had apple added and was spiced with cinnamon and allspice. I will add some cooked wheat berries as well.  A big batch of each of these soups should carry us into the winter.

There are an abundance of squash blossoms now and one night next week we'll have squash blossoms stuffed with shrimp and ricotta cheese dipped in batter and deep fried... Yummy.


Some bold, some quirky but all OOAK!

So far so good with the jewelry venture and it has not only been fun using stash but also combining painting and jewelry. At the moment working on a piece for which I painted a hummingbird.. Not a clear vision on this one so it has been fun trying a lot of different approaches.

On the other hand this project has a long history and a pretty clear vision. I have had these handmade beads for about 50 years.  A friend brought them back from Africa as a gift for me.  They were strung on a piece of hemp and for some time I wore them that way but then I restrung them and have never been too pleased with the result..  This time I'd like to combine them with the distressed beads in that bracelet, part of the yellow seed bead necklace I bought at a market in Germany and these precious red lacquered wood beads..plus maybe some yellow lampwork beads..  I definitely have a vision for this one and eager to start and hope to make two necklaces from this pile..

I have finished the bear necklace and am pleased with it.. It is a "statement" necklace and would need a very specific person to want it.

But all my jewelry is a little on the quirky side..

And I finished the roses on the slice of purple agate.  It sort of chose its own beads... This one is large and bold but not too quirky..


This plant made my day,week,month etc.

I haven't been able to get down the path along the greenhouse because a large tree fell on it early spring.  Dh got the tree cut up and cleared away so I was able to spray the path this am  and see what was still surviving..  Seeing a mass of butterflies I knew one of my favorite plants had reappeared -  Eupatoriaum purpureum. I was sure I had lost it.  I have tried to move it by the house twice and failed.  I even bought a plant online and it too didn't survive. It's common name is Purple Joe Pye Weed and is a butterfly magnet.   I have marked it with a red ribbon and will hand water it through the up coming drought and will get it by the house this fall if it is the  very last thing I do..   Plus give a start to my best gardening friend.  A great cut flower also..

Another superb unusual cut flower surviving
 is "giant scabiosa" (Cephalaria Giantea) and it is indeed a giant at 7' tall and makes a huge clump.  I do not have space for it by the house... but it is happy in the wild garden.

A little self-seeder I never see in gardens (but should) is a delightful 18" perennial pincushion "Knautia Macedonia" It is not long-lived but seeds politely and is not the least invasive.  It is darker maroon than this photo... Love it. I once posted a bouquet of unusual perennials and this one stumped everybody.

I used to remember both botanical an common names of all my plants and now I'm lucky if I can remember either... But any name for this plant escapes me this morning.

Could see about a half dozen huge clumps of this salvia in the deepest weeds (where I seldom venture  often because these particular weeds which have nasty little burrs.) But it will be worth it to get a clump or two next spring.  The yellow flower you see is a small flowered verbascum which is spectacular in bouquets.  Again not long-lived but is a polite self seeder.

I speak from experience that if you venture into these weeds in sweat pants you might as well throw them away because you will NEVER get all the burrs out.. Definitely jean territory.

Last but not least the lavender everywhere is in full bloom.  I mentioned recently that years ago every time I planted a rose I surrounded it with lavender but most of the roses are long gone and mega clumps of lavender are throughout the wild part of the garden.  It is a super dark variety Hicote.  If it is a moist spring I can lift long branches  and find new plants growing underneath.  I haven't done that for 4 or 5 years so must mark the calendar and do it in the spring for plants to put by the  peony garden.  Some elderly ladies from a church used to come and pick carloads of it and dry it to sell at their bazaar. 

Our resident hummers are calliopes and black-chinned but this week we were treated to a visit by colorful rufous passing through.

And  large batches of baby quail are finally  emerging from the safety of the juniper and mahonia.  Here they are basking in a warm patch of sunlight.  It will be nonstop parade from now until fall.

Must let you know that Morris is not one be denied his creature comforts.  In fact I believe he invented the term "creature comfort"  Every dog deserves a pillow for his bum and two pillows for his head... so civilized...


Upcycling, power tools and little yellow bells....

Things are moving along nicely with the jewelry projects and enjoying it more and more as I move ahead.  Just starting to do the beading for this slice of rock I painted.  I have no idea what it is but the roses look lovely on it.  When I did CQ I loved to use tiny metal spacers on my seams.. I will use some of them on this necklace.
And as I continue to sort and organize I am finding more possibilities for painted pendants.  Some I'm finding at thrift stores and some like the piece on the lower right were in my stash.  I cut the beads from this piece and now I filed it smooth  on the corners and drilled new holes and will use it with my bear.  I've replaced all the black beads on it as well.
Next to the reciprocating saw my favorite power tool is this drill press. I bought it years ago in a special parking lot sale at Harbor Freight for about $50.  The motor sound terrible but it works great.  I had a hard time with breaking  tiny bits in a hand drill and this is super cool woman friendly tool.  I recommend it without hesitation. 
 I said this when I planted this clematis and several times since..."I will regret planting this aggressive plant in this spot."  But I did  and now I'm in love with all the tiny yellow bells planted by the path I walk many times a day...  But down the road I'm sure someone will rue the day I planted it as it envelopes both the house and garage and the forest . But meanwhile I say "Good day" each morning to this lovely Bill McKenzie clematis and all his yellow bells."
I didn't think I'd find the right color of flowers  for the table Sunday but I did and again forgot to take a picture of the dim sum..  I'm getting quite clever at folding them... With them I served fried rice using a mixture of  brown rice, wild rice and wheat berries....delicious.


Getting in the groove......

As I am making headway I'm moving in several directions.  First before I started any new pieces I had a few that needed repair or redesign and this is one for several reasons... first the metal chains weren't hanging like I wanted... second the bird wouldn't stay flat because of the way the charms were attached it kept tipping out... third I used a magnetic clasp which wreaked havoc with the metal parts and was a magnetic tangled clump the minute I took it off.  But I liked the concept well enough to try to remedy some of these problems.

First I removed the magnetic clasp and chains... then I added a filigree piece to the backside of the bird which stabilized it and then hung the charms from the filigree rather than the bird which solved that problem.

I added cones to the end of the pink beads which looked nicer than just the wire guards. Now I'm deciding   if and  how I want to reattach the chains.. 

I'm trying to quickly learn about all the techniques, tools, and supplies.  Doing crazy quilting I always tried new materials and techniques on each new project and will do the same with the jewelry.

On the painting front I have made  little progress on my bear and when I was looking for possibilities for mounting it I found this  crescent shaped acrylic piece  and with some repair I think it will work. 

You can see where sometime ago I cut off a chain and the holes are still in the corners.  A little time with a file will fix that and I will drill some new holes.  The black hanging beads have to go.  But it will be next to be finished.

All these pendants just have a hole and I have been looking at pendants on the internet and have found many very creative ideas for attaching the pendant to the necklace rather than just using a simple jump ring.  So I will start a file on "attachment variations"

I had a rude wake up call this am.  When I tried to upload pictures from my camera to my old computer it wouldn't work.  At first I thought it was the camera but after some testing discovered my USB port was malfunctioning. I had to reboot it twice to get it to work.  All my favorite editing and photo software are not compatible with the new computer and I depend on the old system for all that.  I did buy another computer months ago with the old color bit mode but have never transferred the files.  Not only had I better load the other computer and transfer files, I had better save all the pagemaker files to a cloud..  It is so easy to put that kind of stuff off as it is no fun at all.


The next wave of color!!

 My mother and I were very different in so many ways and one of them was gardening... a passion for both of us.  In early spring her basement was full of tables under grow lights growing endless trays of annuals.... petunias, zinnias, pansies, etc.  She planted them in patterns and it was spectacular.  People always stopped and photographed her garden....BUT even though it was a show stopper  it was the same show from May to September. She was on county water and could keep this kind of garden happy.

On the other hand, being on a skimpy well I have a huge drought tolerant perennial garden which is mostly green and a continual change of color and plants. 

It evolves like a kaleidoscope from spring until fall with just enough gap now and then to make you appreciate the newcomers...

Now is just such a gap.  The huge old roses and lush peonies have uttered their last gasp for this year and are ready to be deadheaded and tucked in for the season.

The good news is the next show is just beginning and my favorite are the clematis everywhere.  I have planted 16 new one in the last few years...some are just getting established like this one.  These are in addition to older ones already around the farm.  Once established (which can take 2-3 years) they never need water or care and live forever.

But others are matured and spectacular.

The very first blossoms have appeared on my lavender.  All the lavender is inside the fence and grows through it.  I have gigantic clumps of lavender all over the farm.  The deer don't eat it so every time I planted a rose I put 3 or 4 lavender at its base.  Over the years the roses died and the lavender is still thriving...

And the first buds of daylilies are starting... The first variety to bloom  are the ditch lilies by the hummingbird porch. We had so much rain this spring that they are almost as tall as I am.

An extra bonus is that this is the year for the wheat farmers crop rotation and it is canola which is just blooming...miles and miles of it.

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