Monday, March 31, 2014

Show Off Your Marigolds

Happy, insect repellent, glorious marigolds !

A native of Mexico, marigolds have been grown in gardens throughout the world for hundreds of years. Today, they are one of the most popular bedding plants in the United States. Marigolds are easy to grow, bloom reliably all summer, and have few insect and disease problems. The marigold’s only shortcoming (for some people) is its pungent aroma. There are numerous marigold varieties available to home gardeners. Many of the commonly grown marigolds are varieties of African and French marigolds.  (source)

Exploding a myth:

While marigolds are seldom bothered by insects and diseases, they are not problem free. Spider mites can devastate marigolds in hot, dry weather. Grasshoppers can also cause considerable damage. Aster yellows is an occasionally disease problem. In a related matter, some gardeners plant marigolds in their vegetable gardens to repel harmful insects. While the marigolds are an attractive addition to the garden, research studies have concluded they aren’t effective in reducing insect damage on vegetable crops.

dried marigolds for sale here

My contribution to Inspiration Avenue this week is a painted marigold:

Oils, 11" x 14" copyright McCarroll

What is in your marigold world this week?  Come and join in the fun and show us YOUR marigolds, be they plastic or ceramic, or even REAL from your garden!  Go over to Inspiration Avenue and show us your marigolds!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Pause in Lent: Mercy

Excerpted from A Cry for Mercy:
O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul. But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter - but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament. 
I pray that these last three weeks, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you. 
Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come, and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen.

Excerpt from A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee, Copyright © 1981 Henri J.M. Nouwen. Published by Doubleday.

Linking with A Pause in Lent

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mary Janes for Baby, Shortbread


Annie at Knitsofacto, knitter extraordinaire, published a complimentary pattern for baby Mary Jane booties found here (not for sale).  They were so cute that it spurred me on to knit some.

Only one completed thus far.  Linking up with Small Things

and also linking with Tami at Works in Progress Wednesday.


Almost finished with this for sale at the Palisade Art Lover's Show in April:

Oils, 11" x 14"


Here is an old favorite recipe from Natalie that I'll be making soon, adding culinary lavender for spring flavor:

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, unsifted
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut in chunks
(lavender, chopped finely, about 2 Tbsp, optional)

With your hands, work mixture until it is very crumbly and no large particles remain,; then press mixture into a firm lump with your hands.  Place dough (it is crumbly) in an 8 or 9 inch layer cake pan with removable bottom and press out firmly, evenly.  Impress edge of the dough with the tines of a fork and prick surface evenly.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a pale golden brown.  Remove from oven and while warm, cut with a sharp knife into wedges and sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp. sugar.  Let cool, then remove pan rim and transfer cookies to a serving tray or airtight container.  Keep at room temperature as long as a week; freeze for longer storage.  Makes 8 to 12 cookies.

The picture above is of two ladies knitting at the Shetland Scalloway Museum.  I took it last summer while at the coffee shop museum.  They meet weekly and knit, chat and share SCOTCH SHORTBREAD (note the plastic container between them that holds their treats).  I just loved that they brought their own cookies to the museum while they worked and chatted with me. Their brogues were very thick, and I had to ask them to repeat their words several times.  And yes, they did give me permission to take their picture for blogging purposes. These two ladies were amazed that there picture appeared immediately on the iPad!  Neither had seen an iPad before.

Read this Month and maybe back into February:

Hidden, by Catherine McKenzie (excellent!)
Best Kept Secret, by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles) a keeper
The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila (written in the 1500's, and I just could not understand most of what she had to say about Purgatory, but I was determined to read it for the Lenten Season.)  Read it only if you dare.
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (loved this 2008 Agatha Award Nominee Book; Inspector Exeter of Scotland Yard at the turn of the century kept me interested; will be reading more by Charles Finch)
A Time to Kill (only 20% through this), by John Grisham.  Lots of courtroom drama
Sycamore Row by John Grisham (the husband said to read A Time To Kill if I liked this one, which I did)

What are you up to?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Candied Violets and KnitWits

There are lots of ways to make sugar coated violets.  Since my two violets are blooming profusely, it was time to make a few to top a basic buttermilk cake from Lottie and Doof.

This is what they look like after 14 hours in the fridge

Be sure to give yourself a day for the egg whites to dry, making them ahead of time so that they will be ready for cake decoration.

Several KnitWits were served cake and ice cream yesterday sans the violet toppers since they were still drying. Should have read the recipe two days ago. Oh well.

Still knitting on the chevron Delancey cardigan and am half way through one sleeve.  Pictures later.

Remember it is Fiber Arts Friday!
Photobucket and linking with a new site, from a home schooler in South Africa

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Acrylic Impasto Technique

For the church sanctuary display beginning on Sunday, April 27, and continuing through the summer in Ordinary Times of the liturgical season, I decided to try the impasto technique of raising flowers with thickened acrylics.  Not having any thick acrylics on hand, YouTube came up with a way to make a stiffener for paints.  It can be seen here.  But I still prefer buying the Liquitex product.

A few close ups of the flowers using both a palette knife, brushes and thickened acrylics, along with twigs glued onto the canvas and painted over with acrylics:

Fimo clay shaped and baked at 225 degrees lilies


This is the completed 36" x 24" canvas: be paired with the poppy finished a few weeks ago:

24" x 36", acrylic

Does it make you feel like spring may be closer than we think?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cheerful Acceptance of Penances (?)

Again this Lenten season, Floss is hosting a weekly link-up on Sundays and Mondays in which people reflect on thoughts, ideas, books, sermons, people, poems, art ... just about any process leading up to a personal reflection prior to Easter.  This link will take you to a plethora of bloggers giving pause.

A thought I read on Jean's blog Saturday has given me pause.  Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just re-post it here. In part, says Jean:
One of the two or three things I can remember from a lifetime of sermon-listening is the suggestion that the cheerful acceptance of the penances life imposes on one can be more meritorious than laboriously carrying out the ones one has thought up for oneself. (I got home from church that day and found that the Aga had gone out, which sort of underlined the message.)
Isn't that brilliant?  To cheerfully accept your burden, or if not cheerfully, at least one can just pick up that cross and get on with your living.  The Scripture reading at church yesterday was to pick up the cross and follow Jesus.  To emphasize that point, there was a wooden cross at the altar; it was lying on it side, hauntingly taunting communicants at the rail with its message of picking up one's burden. Which brings me back to what Jean wrote about laboriously carrying out the self imposed burdens of consequence versus just the acceptance and picking up of life imposed burdens, perhaps the more meritorious act.

It comes down to picking up penances and keeping to the higher ground: Lent.