Sunday, October 28, 2012


Here in New Mexico we were all beginning to get a little uneasy as the warm weather lingered, and lingered.  Would it ever turn cool enough to wear our fall clothing?  Should we keep watering the tomatoes?  A couple of  nights ago many parts of New Mexico had a freeze warning, and I dutifully hauled in all the potted plants, harvested my tomatoes and began to gather seeds for next year's garden.
Hollyhock seeds drying in a bowl

 Since I have no where to hang baskets inside, I will take cuttings of this coleus and then store the basket for the coming winter.  Below are steps to do so.  If you already know how, you may wish to skip the rest of this post.

 1.  Cut the large stems away from the main plant.

I like to cut them at an angle to give extra space for the stem to draw up water.

2.  Trim off the lower leaves so that you have a bare stem to go into the water.  any leaves left on below the water level will rot and make your jar of cuttings smell terrible!

3.  Fill clear jars, glasses, vases, etc. with water and add your cuttings.  Why clear?  So you can check on the progress of the roots without pulling the plant out of its container.

4.  Add water as needed for several weeks.  When the stem has formed roots...
Cutting that was taken several weeks ago with its roots.
Gently pot up your cutting in your favorite potting soil.  While you are waiting for the roots to form, your cuttings make lovely little bouquets to have for your fall entertaining.  Just don't put them where they don't get any light for long.
 What about all those little leaves you trimmed off?  Well if you are super careful, you can put them into tiny glass container and at least half of them will sprouts roots as well.  I just throw mine away.

My friends, Maren and Christopher McLaren share the bounty from their garden as they rushed to save things from the freeze...
My tomato plant on the wood stove and basil from the McLaren garden in front.  The cat is wondering why are these inside?

Head on over to Jane's "Flowers in the House Party" to see more flowers from all over the world.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Candy? Visit Honeydukes

With Halloween approaching, I am rushing to finish my miniature Honedukes Sweet Shop to use as part of my decorations. Too bad the children who will be Trick or Treating are not 6" tall with a taste for treats made from Sculpey...I have a lot of them!

French macaroons.
Orange creams
Christmas display
Candies and Cakes
The miniature cash register is actually a vintage pencil sharpener.
Ice Mice for Harry Potter Fans
In this photo you can see the upstairs which is the service area of the shop.  It has the kitchen (I temporarily borrowed the stove from Sara and Caroline's dollhou"commercial version) and the gift wrap section.
Close up of the gift wrap section
Close up of the kitchen
Noticeably missing are the chocolate frogs, Bernie Botts Ever Flavor beans and cotton candy.  They will be displayed in the not yet finished bay windows along with these little gingerbread houses...

 Also still need to install the checkerboard flooring on the second floor, and finish the exterior of the building. It is coming along!  For new readers, this is part of a much larger "Harry Potter Project" which is a fundraiser for Camp Stoney Scholarships.  Click on the Miniatures tab at the top of this blog to see more posts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fire on the Sandia Mountainside

 Last week was an anxious one as Evergreen Hills neighbors and I watched a wildfire burn about a mile away up on the mountainside. 
I noticed the smoke as I was leaving for the dedication of our Diocesan adult conference center set in the lovely Bosque off of Coors. I called our neighbors who have a key to ask if they were going to be home and would they gather up the dog and cat if there was an evacuation?  Assured that the animals would be safe, I still kept a close eye on the fire as it was visible from this valley location.  As I returned home that evening the fire was much more impressive...
Bernalillo sheriffs had closed our road and were only letting residents into the area.  Driving home, I wondered what the next day would bring and if I would be able to remember how to turn on the outdoor fire suppression system that Norm had been so busy installing before he left for a river trip.  He had the van, and Brittany and Colin had borrowed our trailer and were out of town for the weekend.  So I began to prioritize what I might be able to take with me in the car in case the fire spread and there was an evacuation. 
Photo taken by my friend Wendy Bali

The fire had grown to 20 acres by the next day and a team of firefighters had arrived.  Two helicopters were pouring water on the blaze.  The Zuni Hotshots were camped near the fire to assist the aerial assault.
Photo by Wendy Bali
 The fire is out now and we are all so grateful to the men and women who responded to this emergency.  It is hot, dangerous work.

 I am reflecting now on what is important to me.  I would never want young men and women to risk their lives for my "stuff".  Even those precious photographs that I was planning to carry with me.  I have so much in my life that is more important than my lovely antique furniture and my terrific house.  I know that I have been blessed and could live with only the memories if necessary.  Thank you to all of those would made it unnecessary for me to change my lifestyle and also for making me realize what is important in the end. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Please!

Last year, much to my surprise, there was not a single can of pumpkin in any store anywhere to make my favorite pumpkin soup.  Thinking perhaps they were just out after Christmas, I asked the store manager to order some.  He looked surprised and said, "I am sorry, but haven't you heard about the canned pumpkin shortages?"

How had I not heard about this crisis?  Well, we don't watch television in our house except for things like the Olympics, and national presidential campaign debates (and I don't mind sharing how disappointed I was in the first one of those!)  Also my closest friends will not be surprised that it took me four years of shortages to run out of canned pumpkin in my pantry...since I am frequently accused of being closely related to squirrels!

Late this summer, I was delighted to be on hand when Trader Jo's was stocking their shelves with...canned pumpkin.  Grabbing two cases, I made it the check out stand without being stopped by other customers.  PhewNot even glancing up, much less accusing me of hoarding, the checker rang me up.  My cases of pumpkin are safely stored, and a culinary crisis has been avoided for at least another two years.

I am feeling a little adventurous (now that I have secured an adequate stock) and may branch out from my three favorite pumpkin recipes:

1. plain old pie from the recipe on the back of a Libbey's can...not pralined, not cream cheesed, definitely not moussed! With some very good homemade whipped cream.

2. Pumpkin soup with cream cheese, exotically spiced and served with roasted pumpkin seeds.

3.  Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

So, if you have a favorite pumpkin recipe, please share it!  If I get three or more recipes, I will publish yours and share mine as well.
Part of a miniature Honeduke's Sweet Shop I am creating.   The two little ones with stems in the foreground are the one I made.  The ones in the tin tub are from a package of Halloween potpourri that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  The darling little shopping bag is from a package of Jolene's Stickers which I purchased at Michael's Crafts Store.  The skeleton is one of several on a garland I purchased several years ago for Harry Potter Camp, and are still available at the Dollar Store.  The cat and the copper pot holding suckers were part of a gift from my daughter Brittany's partner, Colin.  They belonged to Colin's grandmother, Cleo.

And just for fun, I made a couple of Sculpey pumpkins for the house elves at Hogwarts to use for pumpkins pasties.  However the pumpkin shortage has affected the magical world of Harry Potter too.  Honeydukes borrowed them for their Halloween display since the transfiguration spells did not seem to work on any of their zucchinis (of which they had an endless supply.) Over at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the early attack of squash bugs was effectively thwarted by Professor Sprout when the captured Cornish pixies were released into the gardens.  It appears that not even squash bugs like Cornish pixies!  Behind the skeleton, you can see the tiny little ice mice which are sitting on a tub of candy corn.  Lots and lots of cutting necessary to make those...
Here is a close up of the Ice Mice and candy corn in a tub.
Sculpey Ice Mice and candy corn.  The little tea cart was made from a miniature washstand to which I added wheels and painted pink and green.  It is only temporarily being used as part of the seasonal Halloween display in I propped the orange shopping bag in front of it to partially hide the pink.  I made a screen with foam core and the spider web wallpaper made with scrap book paper to separate this vignette from the rest of the shop which is pink and green. (Photo styling in miniature!)

 Please come by again if you want to see the rest of Honeydukes.  It is almost completed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pastel Show

Thought I would show you a few snapshots of some of the art work currently showing at St. Mark's Sacred Arts Gallery...
Fall in Brazos County - Robert Blagg

Afternoon Sun - Audrey Mindard

In the Wave - Laura Crew
Gwendolyn Wilemon
Sorry, don't have the artist's name in any of my notes!
Morning Shimmer - Gwen Wilemon
Add caption
Grand Canyon Desert View - Barbara Garrett
Sweet Carrots - Constance Gehring
Aspens in the Fall - Constance Gehring

Waiting for the Cranes - Gwen Wilemon
Fawn Lakes - Gwendolyn Wilemon

 Please excuse the poor quality of the photos which I took.  I need to take some lessons from my daughter over at the Vintique Object.  I am sure there are some tricks to taking photographs of artwork that is framed with glass.  I always photograph my work before framing so that I don't get reflections...especially from the flash.  There was not enough natural light today to avoid either using the spotlights or my flash, hence all those annoying white spots!  My apologies to those artists whose work is not shown here.  It is not that I did not love your pieces, but my lack of photography skills...those photos were too terrible to post!

Here is a list of the artists and some contact information is you would like to see more of their work.
Donna Aldrich -
Robert W. Blag -
Susan Cooper -
Laura Crew - 
Barbara Garrett -
Constance Gerhing
Audery Minard - 
Gwendolyn Wilemon -

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thrills and Chills in Northeastern Utah- not on a raft, but a Sportsmobile on a bridge.

You would imagine that rafting would provide enough thrills and chills for my risk loving husband, but he has experienced another sort of thrill when he drove our very large and heavy Sportsmobile through a "shortcut" recommended by the local shuttle firm.  Said shortcut was breathtaking in more ways then one.  We started out from Vernal, Utah, a very pretty small town after shopping to resupply Norm and the folks who were going down the river again.  Who knew that petunias would lead to almost horror...
 Leaving Vernal with its picturesque petunias and T-Rex and Pterodactyl statues, we traveled by dirt road following obscure landmarks through this canyon...

Edging carefully to the crumbling edge of the single track to let another vehicle pass...
we began to wonder at the wisdom of taking the shortcut as we passed a sign that said..."warning!  bridge ahead limited to two ton vehicles."  Ours weighs considerably more than that!  Deciding we would go take a look since we had already come fifty miles, we were relieved when we got to the bridge that the new sign said 6 ton limit!  Okay, we are a lot closer to that limit, although still a little over.  However the bridge looked pretty sketchy.  Norm, usually making fun of my over-active caution, agreed that our passengers should walk over first, which we did very cautiously as the bridge swung in the winds.  

Norm eased the van onto the bridge very slowly as it bucked and swayed...
And we cheered as he eased off the bridge back onto solid pavement.  We agreed that next time, we would skip the shortcut.  Thirty minutes of driving might be preferable to three minutes of terror!