Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Cloche

Image Via "Its About Time" Blog
Spring has officially arrived even on our cool mountainside, and I have been busy planting the pots and flower beds.  Every day, I check the weather report because it is still possible there might be a late frost and I might have to move all the pots inside.  This coming Monday there is a light frost predicted. I would not have to do this if I would invest in a few cloches for my frost tender plants. 

In a previous post I showed you a little miniature potagere I found on Pinterest which included two tiny little wicker cloches.  A cloche is a covering for plants to protect them from extreme weather.  They can be made of glass which traps the heat and keeps the plants from freezing.

 Or they can be made from other materials such as wicker or willow to keep animals, such as rabbits, squirrels and deer from munching on new plants.  In our desert southwest these would also be useful to provide a little shade from our blazing hot sunshine.  They also provide some architectural interest to a garden as you can see in a previous post.

Or they could be made of metal.  The weight of these would be helpful as the winds on our mountainside are likely to blow away a wicker cloche unless it were securely staked.

I am still kicking myself for not buying this one which I found in an antiques shop in Bernalillo.  I hesitated because it was missing some glass and I wondered if it would look odd to replace the old handblown glass in it with new glass.  While not truly a cloche, but more of a terrarium, it loosely fits the definition.
My sister, Rosalind, bought three tiny glass cloches on a trip to Williamsburg for my Hogwarts Miniature castle.  However, since her death last June, I have been  adding landscaping for her miniature Williamsburg dollhouses, so the cloches will be used in the potagere located behind the separate cookhouse.  The formal garden is almost complete but I am just beginning the kitchen or "potagere" garden for this estate.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Painting in Grand Canyon - Day Four

In the press of getting ready for Easter and several dinner parties, I put away the painting journal I kept in the Grand Canyon and then could not remember where I had stashed it!  Today, I came across it in a pile of not yet finished paintings, so now I can continue to share our recent trip for those of you who might be interested.   If you find these posts to be "boring!" as my girls used to say when teens, just click away to your next blog.  I will never know and hence cannot have my feelings hurt!

Day Four was a lay-over day which meant that we stayed put, so there was time to explore some sites with prehistoric rock art, look at and paint some cactus and watch more intrepid hikers scramble up very exposed cliffs to see some ancient Anasazi ruins.


The Journal paintings.
Betsy, getting much better photographs than mine!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miniature Potagere

If you live in an urban apartment, you can still create a Miniature!

Images Via Pinterest - Doll Houses Past and Present
As usual the doll, although wonderfully executed, spoils the illusion just a bit.  But look at those cunning little wicker cloches!
The gardner's own little outdoor toilet...hmm, where is the sink?
 Click on "older post" below comments box to see some real potageres.  Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Round looks a bit formal
Potagere, a French word for kitchen garden sounds so much more elegant than what it describes.  However, a potagere really can be elegant. 
The wicker obelisks are lovely
The French design their kitchen gardens on a grand scale.

Villandry, France - Image via
It is starting to warm up and my perennials are making an appearance.  I have been thinking of what vegetables to plant this year.  We have to plant in pots or raised beds to keep the ground squirrels from decimating our efforts to raise a few vegetables.  This year I am considering these...

Unless they have little squirrel sized grappling hooks, I am hoping the slick sides of these will deter the depredation!  Have any of you used these watering troughs for planters?

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Breaking Bad" on the Mountainside or "One Terrible Tuesday"

After a an interesting evening dinner party at my house with folks from the New Mexico Wildlife Federation who are working with my husband to try to keep a diversion project from being built on the Gila River in Southwestern New MexicoI collapsed into bed a full hour earlier than normal. 
Photo by Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal

At 3:00 a.m. I was awakened by noises outside our bedroom french doors.  From the bed, I could see Tar, our large black dog, whining with his nose pressed against the French doors from the living room to the deck and wagging his tail.  Thinking perhaps we had left the cat outside, or the neighbors' dogs had dug under the fence and were coming for a visit, I opened the drapes to see a young man looking into the living room.  Paralyzed, I stood for a minute, trying to decide what I should do...slowly dropping the drapes back into place.  I then heard footsteps going around the house and woke my husband.  He got up,  turned on all the outside lights, and told me that neighbors had emailed (after I had gone to bed) with a warning of a young man approaching several houses, acting and talking strangely.  Checking to make sure we had locked all the windows and doors, we got back into bed.  After a minute or so of tossing and turning, we decided we should call the sheriff's office.  While we were talking with the sheriff, we saw a vehicle at the top of our driveway turning around and driving off.  The sheriff's department came and checked the neighborhood and did not find him.

In the morning we awoke to find our Sportsmobile with its trailer and our raft gone from the driveway.  My husband was distraught!  He loves the Sportsmobile because it hauls his rafts to rivers all around the country.  Last summer he spent two months in it in Idaho enjoying a retirement celebration.

In the van's place was a somewhat decrepit green Outback with a cat's litter box on the ground next to it.  Called the sheriff again!  Spent the morning with  a Sandoval county deputy trying to find all the necessary documentation for the value of everything that was stolen.  (Note to self...more organization of files critically needed).  By late morning, a Sandoval Sargent and Detective had arrived to continue the investigation and began to go through the abandoned Suburu only to find methamphetamine's and syringes inside.  I was then sent to the neighbors' house because of the remote danger of explosion.  

Walking up the dirt road, I heard something that sounded like our Sportmobile.  Quickly ducking out of sight as the van and trailer passed by,  I tried to call 911 on my cellphone to warn the sheriff service without being close to our repeater!  Not to worry, however, they had heard it as well and were coming out to apprehend the suspect.  I scampered into the neighbor's house in case shooting might ensue, which it did not.  Only lots of shouting.  "Get out of the vehicle!  Hands over your head!  Get down on the ground!  Hands behind your back!" 

Sandoval county deputy picking up suspect's belongings.

Two days later we have learned that the young man who took and returned the van has mental health issues, and some drug dependencies.  Even the sheriff's department is concerned enough about him that they are making sure his belongings (left in our van) are returned to his father and that we, and our neighbors, will look for his cat which was lost in the fray.  Sati, our cat, and the pinion jays are enjoying the food and water I have left out in case the lost cat has survived the coyotes and owls for the last two days.

My friends are joking that "Breaking Bad" is rather more real than fantasy at our house, but in reality we are all praying for this young man as he struggles to regain more positive possibilities for his life.   

Kudos to the Sandoval Sheriff's office for the professional, polite, and kind way in which they handled this incident. We are glad they are on the job!

Oh, and we are discussing sending Tar for barking lessons.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Painting in the Grand Canyon - Day Three

We move camp on day three and I am reminded that it is still winter.  I really would be more comfortable with two layers of fleece under the dry suit!  We travel twenty miles today. 

Two real and one reflected.

Oh no, Butch and passenger, Tony, look as though they are heading into the hole.

Nope they just glide on by on the right!
Not a good spot for a kayak or a raft!
Late afternoon and the sun is dropping lower in the sky.

We all are now hoping the camp spot is just ahead.

South Canyon just ahead...our home for tonight and the next.
Glad that I am not cooking tonight.  Quick sketch of our camp kitchen. My model, Butch kept moving and then dinner was ready, so this is not finished.  As you can see the tablecloth was more cooperative.  I, fortunately did not see or smell the skunk who visited in the night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Hare-brained Idea

Image Via Aunt Peaches

Easter is Around the Corner!

Image Via 013/02/10/how-to-make-an-easter-bonnethat-from-tissue-paper/
In planning the Resurrection Party for the children at St. Mark's I spent a little too much time on Pinterest!  I was looking for fun games to play rather than have the traditional egg hunt when I discovered these very cute tissue paper hats...
Perfect for the little girls, but what should we do for the boys?  How about a Mad Hatter top hat?  

Image Via Children's

So off to search I went.  Everything looked a bit too hard or complicated, or I did not have the materials on hand and did not relish spending an hour going to town to get them, so I put on my thinking hat (pun not intended) and came up with these...

Paper Mache Hats to decorate.
 This tutorial gave me a basic idea of how to create the shape...

Imaga Via Quilters Gems blog
 However...I did not have large enough tag board.  I did, however, have some 8 by 11" card stock and two different sizes of paper plates, so I improvised...

I poked a hole in the smaller 10"plate and cut it eight times from the center to the first ridge.  This will become the brim.  The larger 12"plate's rim was cut from the outside to the second ridge of the rim and will become the top of the hat.

Then I folded down the tabs.
Next I stapled the two pieces of card stock together to make a long rectangle and then stapled those ends together to make a tube for the body of the hat.
Folding the tabs up on the smaller plate, I then stapled the brim to the body of the hat.
The first two I made with duck tape and then ran out of it.  Searching through my studio, I found some old fashioned masking tape (not the blue painters tape which will NOT hold!), which turned out to work much better.
Hint:  Center the top of the hat, hold it in place and use four pieces of tape opposite of each other to hold the top exactly in the center.  Then begin taping down the remaining tabs with horizontal pieces of tape.
Now into the project 2 and a half hours, I have twelve basic shaped hats.

Hmmm, a little shaping the brim would not hurt. 

Now for the really messy part.  Ordinarily I would do this outside, but the wind is howling, so inside it is. 

Now I cover all the tape and various colors of materials with brown paper bags cut into rectangles and circles.  Dipping the pieces into flour and water, I glue on the covers....
Because the top is larger, you must fold pleats in the bottom to make it fit.

And fold pleats on the top as well, which you will cover with a circle of brown paper.

Three hours to make twelve hats...good thing I am not being paid by the hour!  At least they were cheap!  The boys will add colored tissue, ribbon hat bands and perhaps some painted designs.  We have more than twelve little boys, so am thinking a few newspaper cowboy hats as well.  Hopefully they will take a lot less time to make!

And oh, by the way, I did find some fabulous games!  What a hare-brained idea to make Mad Hatter top hats!  Should have just stuck with the games.  Off now to clean paper mache off every surface of my kitchen.