Monday, July 30, 2012

Busy Bees

Despite stepping on a hornets nest, being chased all the way home, and stung repeatedly as a child, I am not afraid of bees.  I love the bumble bees who roll luxuriously in the pollen and then because of their greed, must sit and patiently clean some of it off in order to fly off again.  

I love the honey bees from my neighbor's hives who swarm on the orange Hummingbird Mint (Agastache aurantiiaca), the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), the lavenders, the cosmos, and the Butterfly bushes

Hard to catch the bees sitting still.  There is one in the upper left corner sharing the bush with an orange butterfly in the lower right corner.

Butterflies and bees swarming are a testament to the lack of pesticides in my neighborhood.  And even though I really HATE the horned tomato worm, I patiently pick them off by hand (and leave them as a tasty treat for the birds, far from the tomato) rather than use poison.  So far the score is definately on the tomato worm's side.  My husband can spot them much better than I am able to do.  Maybe we will get some tomatoes this year... and maybe not.  The chipmunks love them as well.

We do, however have lots of flowers.  I cut some today to bring into the house (braving the bees, wasps, etc. to do so!) so that I could link to Jane's "Flowers in the House" Party.

Loosely arranged in a blue glass vase.  Everything from my garden except the white mums which are hanging around after almost two weeks from Dorothy's Memorial service.

I even love the bee (or is it a wasp?) with the orange wings on the cosmos flower.

  And of course...bees make honey, which we enjoyed with sopapillas when my brother, niece, and great-niece came for a very short visit with my Mom.

Mina and her grand-auntie Rosalind.
Sopapillas with honey..recipe here
 Don't forget to click on Jane's link to enjoy lots more photos of flowers.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Miniature Accessories for the Granddaughter's dollhouse.

When Rosalind and I renovated the doll house for my granddaughters (her grand nieces) we decided not to get too elaborate because their fine motor skills were not yet developed, so all the furniture is pretty sturdy, and we only let them have a few accessories.  Two sets of silverware and dishes, and two pots and pans, and only three little books.  

Much to our surprise, they carefully followed the instructions to never take anything out of the dollhouse.  They could move things around inside as much as they liked, however, which they did endlessly.  Only one little chair was broken in the weeks they were playing with it and I suspect it was dropped on the floor by a little cousin during the family reunion.  It was easily re-glued.

They left on Monday... and Tuesday evening I came down with the cold they caught right before they left.  Not feeling like cleaning the big house which badly needs it after three weeks of company, I decided to make some lamps and hang some pictures in the dollhouse, which lead to painting some of the furniture, and cutting out some tiny little sculptures from magazines.  Most of the things I made will be put away during their next visit and saved for when they are older.
Rosalind, who is the queen of dollhouses, also has a stash of tiny little accessories which will be added as they are able to handle them. 

Doll house before the twins went home...
And the doll house now.

Stored in Rosalind's attic is a stunning dollhouse styled after the homes in colonial Williamsburg.  At some point, perhaps I can persuade her husband to climb the ladder to retrieve it so that I can show it to you.  She spent months and months finely crafting furniture and accessories for it and it is definitely not for tiny little hands!

In the meantime, let's take a closer look at this less impressive house.  Since lamps started this whole process, here is the first lamp I made.  The space is somewhat limited in the living room and we don't have an end table, so I made a floor lamp with a skewer and some beads.
Propped gingerly against the wall until I can figure out a more sturdy base which I suspect means a trip to town
 Next I tackled a table lamp for the bedroom...
Also made with beads and a tiny little copper perfume funnel for the base. On the wall next to the lamp, the little charm with my first daughter's photo finally found a home now that she is in her late thirties!
   For a tutorial on making lamp shades, visit Pat Carlson's blog.  I had trouble getting her pattern to print, so did a free hand copy...should have used a ruler!
Another great tutorial for making lamps is here.  The lamps are way too fussy for my taste, but the construction details were helpful. 

Which led to painting the dresser which had been stained a dark mahogany.  Also in the master bedroom are a painting from the pages of Martha Stewart Living Magazine and two from Better Homes and Gardens, and a rug from the pages of House Beautiful. All of these cut-out pictures were attached to tag board with Elmer's Craft Bond multipurpose spray adhesive so that they would not wrinkle and would look a little more three dimensional.  This lazy crafter chose not to actually cut little tiny frames with my sister's miniature mitre box, but just use the photographed frames. 

The next room will eventually be the bathroom and its contents will move to the attic (which will be divided into two spaces for a play room and a music room.)  For now we chose not to risk the girls breaking the porcelain fixtures and made it into the music room.

This room's artwork was stolen from both Steven Shubel's cottage (the little cherub on top of the piano and Susan Lyne's Manhattan apartment which includes works on paper by Gaston Lachaise.  For help with updating the interiors of this apartment (featured in the April 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living) Lyne chose Kevin Sharley, who painted the rooms with various shades of yellow.  So of course this little replica will soon be yellow as well.
Here is the original....
Susan Lyne's Manhattan apartment via Martha Stewart Living

In the living room are more rugs from the magazine pages of House Beautiful.  And, as I was very taken with Steven Shubel's updating of his California Cottage (page 70, July August issue of House Beautiful),
Photo via House Beautiful
 I stole his fantastic mirror for over the mantel. Not yet placed, because I haven't started the landscaping, are impressive plaster casts of marble statues and fragments. 

 From the same issue came the fabulous light fixtures from architects Bill Brockschmidt and Richard Dragisic's shared 600 square ft. loft apartment. I also purloined their little plaster statue for the top of the bookcase and some of their blue and white porcelain collection.  I wonder if they have missed them?

New York apartment of Richard Dragisic and Bill Brocksmidt via New York Social Diary

Could use a more impressive chair for the foyer desk! Steven Shubel's mirror flanked by two brass beads turned into candlesticks.
Close up of the bookcase...
In all these photos, you may have noticed the peeling walls.  I understand that is very fashionable these days.  For a hilarious post about this trend, visit Steve's blog, An Urban Cottage.   Bye for now, off to play with my...opps, I mean Sara, Caroline, and Eliza's dollhouse.  And possibly order some of the miniatures I have pinned on Pinterest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dollhouses are NOT for show!

All the little boys at the family reunion were fascinated by Sara and Caroline's dollhouse... much to the twin's dismay.  Here some photos of the twins first look at the dollhouse and subsequent "decorating" of the place.

 "Hmmm, should we put the tricycle in the living room?"
 Yes, I think so....
"And the bookcase?"
 "Let's consult grand-auntie about where the kitchen should be. Maybe closer to the living room?"

"Sister, the couch is too close to the door!"
 "I think the children want to sleep together."
 "Everyone can sit on the couch and watch a video.  Oh, wait, there is no TV! How about a story?  Are there books?"
 "I think they are in the attic in the playroom."
 "Looks pretty good.  Let's put everyone to bed."
The Next Morning....

"G-G, the dolls moved their furniture around!"  "Let's show baby Eliza when she comes!"

"Or maybe I could just take a picture of her on Mommy's phone."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Show Opens in Sacred Arts Gallery

I will be helping to hang the show on Friday, so look for some photos of the the artworks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Drawing Via homemakertales blogspot.

As my husband's extended family gathers for a family reunion, my thoughts have turned to what it means to be part of a family.  Most families I know are pretty close, keeping in touch for special occasions, visiting each other on holidays, etc.  But I have rarely seen three sisters as close as the Neatherlin girls.
Photograph by Kyle Jeffers

Through the last almost ninety years, although leaving in different cities, Dorothy, Beth, and Irma wrote letters, talked on the telephone, and learned to use an IPad and computers to keep in touch.  The daughters of conservative Methodist parents, and descended from a long line of preachers who built churches, and founded seminaries and colleges, it is no wonder that their faith bound them together.  
L-R Irma, Dorothy, and Beth, photograph by Kyle Jeffers

Ever joyful, playful, and kind, each of them nourished their families and taught them to care for others. 

 This reunion will be the first one without the two oldest, Dorothy and Beth, who both recently died within a few months of each other.  The remaining sister, Irma, is now the reigning matriarch of the Neatherlin clan.  I imagine Irma would agree with the poet and writer, Emily Dickenson,  "I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness." 

We will celebrate Dorothy's life at a Memorial Service at St. Mark's on the Mesa on Thursday morning, July 19 at 10:00 a.m.

As part of the family reunion, Beth's descendents will lead "Memories of Beth" at our house on Friday evening.

My own sister, Rosalind, is my closest friend.  I have a host of wonderful friends, but I always call my sister with wonderful news or if I am sad.  She knows me better than anyone and loves me still.  How many of you consider your sister your best friend?  I am counting on Rosalind to sit in rocking chairs with me at the nursing home and help me remember my youth.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

One of These Things is not like the Other-Part Two

Another striking difference between a small Alaskan town and big bad Albuquerque is the lack of a police force.  In fact there is not even one police officer in Gustavus.  Everyone's doors are left unlocked.  Car keys are left hanging on the radio antenna's in case someone might need to borrow the vehicle.  One potter displays her wares in a gazebo.

If you wish to purchase something such as a beautiful blue glazed bowl....
 You just fill out a sales receipt and leave the money.
Handy calculator on the counter in case your math skills leave something to be desired.
No shop keepers in Albuquerque would leave merchandise unsupervised, much less cash! And I cannot imagine anyone leaving their car keys handy in Albuquerque, because the "borrower" might be driving that car across the border or to a "chop shop" within a few minutes. I was at the park the other day and two young men, spotting my car with all the windows down (to keep it cool so the twin's car seats would not get hot) pulled over to check it out.  Seeing me walking towards them, they peeled out!  NOT a good idea to leave a car unsecured in Albuquerque.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One Of These Things is NOT Like the Other!

When my children were growing up, they were especially fond of the Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the other."  They would continue to sing it well into their teens to point out something that was different or odd.  I was struck looking through my photos of the rain forest in Glacier Bay National Park, at just how very different it is from the New Mexico terrain.  So here you go, a few contrasts...

New Mexico Forest

Alaska Forest
Prickly Things in New Mexico
Prickly Things in Alaska

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Painting flowers

While we were in Alaska, I shot a few photos of tulips, thinking I might want to paint them.  Georgia O'Keeffe always painted flowers in a very large format. 

Painting by Georgia O'Keeffe

"O'Keeffe's interest in the scale of transcendence let her to violate certain boundaries. Not only did she make the large small and the small large, but she took serious chances with color, sometimes upsetting conventions of visual harmony in order to startle the eye into new kinds of seeing. She liked to stress visual edges that have metaphysical implications: between night and day, earth and sky, life and death." via

Perhaps it might be fun to do the same with a tulip from Alaska?  I rarely work from photos, but it would stretch my comfort level to try something new...however, not this month as I am hosting my daughter and her twins, who are taking all my time.  They both love my watercolor paints and have covered the few empty spaces on my walls with their masterpieces.  They are three and very uninhibited in their color choices!  Unfortunately there are no photos to show you, since I left the cord to upload photos to my computer at my other daughter's house in Colorado when we made a brief trip north to meet the newest granddaughter, so no pictures that I took of Eliza either!

Here are a few that Alethea took, however...
Cousin love!
 Who cares about working when there are grandchildren to love?