Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vintage Seed Packet Images

Vintage seed packet pictures: an internet search came up with many good links.  The beauty of Victorian ephemera is quite fetching, especially since all images were hand drawn and painted.

Links to free images of vintage seed packets are cataloged here for my (and your) future use, along with some of the pictures that captured my eye.  These images will be an excellent source for referencing, painting, and posting on my Floral Art blog.

Here are some links, in no particular order:

Smithsonian Museum: "Seed Packets, Vintage"

(sweet peas)
and my favorite:
Free Vintage Fruit Crate Labels:

Go to Google Images and you will see many such as this one:
Bing Search Engine has lots:
Vintage Seed Packet Templates shows many templates with flower and vegetable images, all free to use for your own non-commercial purposes.  (They are in PDF format)

Home and Garden has more images:

And some blog posts about vintage seed packet images and how they might be used can be found at The Frugal Mennonite, The Vintage Workshop, Blue Hour Studio, to name just a few.

So there you have a short run-down of sources for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Headband for a Bald Head

This is called "headband for a bald head" and it should fit right into the wardrobe of a person without hair. And it took less than a day to knit.

  You can click on the badge to the left to get all the details and the free pattern.  It is a good thing, and I'll bet you can guess who will be the recipient.

And another cotton number from the same pattern:
and yet another:

Caffeine Cure for Wrinkles

If this topic interests you, look further. (That means if you are over thirty, is caffeine the cure for puffy eyes?)

This gal (picture courtesy of the London Mail Online) shows some real change after using caffeine serum in her before and after pictures.

  Having featured on U.S. chat show The Tyra Banks Show, the First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller caused a  online and sold out on the Boots website within two hours. 
WILL IT WORK - FEMAIL'S VERDICT Several eye products have started incorporating roller ball technology because customers like the cooling sensation on their skin and immediately think that it must be having some sort of an effect. Garnier launched its Caffeine Eye Roll-On in 2008 and it became one of their most successful products. 
The metal ball does mean it feels cool to the skin, although I’m not convinced the pressure equates to the sort of results a facialist can achieve with manual massage. Glycerin, a powerful moisturising agent, and mica, a mineral which reflects light, mean fine lines do instantly look less obvious. (Read more here.)
So I am thinking that if wet tea bags are placed under the eyes for a refreshing spa treatment, why not use a wet instant coffee bag for additional benefits? Just a thought.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Referencing a Multi Talented Woman Blogger

For art lovers and those who enjoy beautiful images, please wander on over to It's About Time.  This site will provide pictures and bio information about a variety of topics, including:
  • flowers and gardens
  • reading
  • motherhood
  • outside art
  • boating
  • the countryside
  • folk art
  • working with textiles
  • Madonna and child
  • and NINE other topics for you to investigate for lovely illustrations
  • PLUS Four, yes four, other blogs Barbara authors, each in its own separate blog space, and each fascinating in its own right

Michael Peter Ancher (Danish artist, 1849–1927) Artist's wife Anna Ancher

This is just one of the pictures found on one of Barbara's blogs.  She entitled it Outside in the Hot, Hot Garden.

Can you tell I am very much impressed by this prolific blogger and researcher? In part, she says:
I am a historian, the images usually cluster around some social, cultural, or academic theme or a timeline. I try to choose works that justify their inclusion on aesthetic grounds. There is a little museum in each blog -- no travel necessary.
dawn chorus, Ipsden, Midsummer (mp3)

A blogging buddy who lives in the UK doing her PhD (The Domestic Soundscape) introduced me to Audioboo and provided the bird call. (It is one of Felix's top hits!)  Just click on the arrow and turn up your speakers and you will feel like you have a morning flower bouquet in your hand!

The picture of  the yellow flowers In Anna Ancher's arms reminded me to put this small work of sunflowers in oils that I have been painting for a few weeks:

The stems have not been started, and the centers have no definition yet.  We shall see.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to Make 3-D Decoupage

A little history about Paper Tole was found here:
There has been much speculation of the origins of the craft of Paper Tole or 3-D Decoupage, as we know it today. The Japanese have for centuries shaped and folded paper into beautiful designs, transforming a 2 dimensional piece of paper into 3-D creations.

Indeed oriental lacquer work formed the basis of the development of the 17th Century art form decoupage. The craftspeople of the day embedded designs into furniture by applying successive coats of lacquer, sometimes using 15 or 20 coats.

The French and Venetian further refined these techniques in an art form called "Vue d'Optique" which is considered by many as equivalent to the modern method of using paper sculpture to create 3-dimensional pictures.

 beautiful example of 3-D paper tole by Susan Lee

A quick tutorial on how to make a tole card is available from eHow, and provides enough information to start you out on this craft.  Here are the supplies you will need:
3 to 6 copies of a detailed image; card stock (optional);  Spray adhesive (optional); Scissors; Silicone adhesive;  (hot glue gun or foam tape); Tweezers; Clear glaze or glitter glue (optional); Well-lit area to work in
This picture is a postcard that I will be using to do my first paper tole project:

Several postcards came in the pack.

Things to keep in mind while making a tole card can be accessed at this site:
There are 3 principle areas that when looking at a 2 dimensional image the crafter must visualize, those being, the background, the middle-ground, and the foreground with several intermediate layers between the background and foreground.

A natural perspective is gained by properly and skillfully shaping each cutout piece before gluing it. In our view, one of the most important techniques that will really elevate your finished tole from being really good to magnificent lies in the skill in which you shape or sculpture the individual elements of the picture.
After reading the information about 3-D Decoupage, I decided to take the princess by the crown and start cutting up those postcards and make that princess come alive.

Her bald head, of course, needed to stand out in all its beauty, so the head and crown were emphasized by building up layers. And of course, she needed pink beads on her tiara, so the bead stash was raided.  Here is the finished product.  I was disappointed because the head-on view did not even show that cutting and gluing job!

This side view displays more of the dimensionality of the card.  (Is "dimensionality" a word?)

Jane Holmes at  Porcelain Painting in Australia  first introduced me to this craft.  Thanks, Jane.

This is part of How Sweet the Sound of Pink postings on Saturday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good News!

Instead of linking to a care page, I'll just let my blogging buddies know what has happened to daughter Julie over the past two days:
  1.  She had her chemo treatment, but a week later she had severe nausea.
  2. When the nausea continued to the point that it was obviously not related to the chemo, she was taken by ambulance to her local hospital (20 miles from her home in S. Carolina) and then AGAIN transferred by another ambulance several hours later to Charlotte, NC to the 700 bed Carolina Medical Center for tests on her AV shunt (the AV shunt drains fluid from the brain to the heart to treat her hydrocephalous).  She has had over 100 AV shunt revisions in her life.
  3.  Julie underwent emergency surgery last night to replace the clogged. She is speaking coherently now, has no headaches and has no memory of anything that happened, including her intense pain from the headaches, for the past 72 hours. That short term memory will likely not be regained, and I say "who cares?" as she won't remember that awful time.
  4. Julie is supposed to sit up in her wheelchair for a few hours today while in hospital and will be discharged tomorrow if all goes well.
  5. Thank you all for your prayers and concern!
The other good news is the package of breast cancer clothing accessories that came in the mail yesterday from Cafe Press.

This is the t-shirt I wore yesterday:
It says: "They're Not Real (the real ones tried to kill me)

Here is a hat for Julie going in the mail today, also from Cafe Press:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Decoupaged Side Table & Chair

Greeting cards, get well cards, birthday cards, sympathy cards ... I cannot bear to throw them away because the sentiments, although sometimes just the garden variety that come from the manufacturer, are sincere efforts to keep friendships alive. And often, the illustrations are keepers!

Several years ago when I was going through chemotherapy as a result of breast cancer, cards sent by friends and family helped keep my spirits uplifted. I saved them all.  But a better use than keeping them in a box was to display them for gentle reminders of love.  So I decoupaged them onto a little table where some costume jewelry resides, and those bits and pieces of  get-well cards remind me of valued friendships.

A little Modgepodge and some cutting and pasting were all that was necessary to make this useful little side table an enduring sentimental symbol of friendship.  I use the "get well" table in my bathroom to hold the tools for getting ready for the day.

The cards were cut and pasted onto the table in no particular order.  The randomness of the mementos draws my eye to a different card at each glance onto the surface, reminding me of  the kindness of each friend.

(close up of top of table)

Taking on an old piece of furniture and decoupaging it with special gift wrap or other unique papers is a project which you might like just for its preservation value of sentiment alone.

Here is a link at FaveCrafts that shows how another woman has more methodically decoupaged a chair seat:

And here is that chair again holding some pretty flower pots.  Her theme seems to be flowers, and appears to be a nice touch to her patio.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Squash and Sausage Casserole

With tomatoes, squash and onions all now available, they are the basis of my favorite summer casserole.  This recipe makes plenty, is easily reheated in the microwave, and is definitely in the new triangle of foods that are good for you.  It also has lots of cheesy goodness.

Ingredients: as many and as much as you like of....
  1. tomatoes in thick slices
  2. yellow and green squashes, any varieties are fine, cut in thick slices
  3. onions, yellow or white, cut in pieces
  4. a pound of Italian sausage, browned in a skillet with the grease discarded
  5. cheese, yellow and grated
Preparation consists of layering all the vegetables, browned sausage and grated cheese a couple of times with lots of pepper, a bit of salt, and maybe some spices you like.  Cover and cook in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until the vegetables are no longer crunchy.

So there you have a complete meal if you add just a slice of bread, a beverage, and a dessert if you are feeling indulgent.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cornices with Fabric Coverings the Easy Way

After more than a few years, our dining area windows needed a decorative face lift, not to mention a good vacuuming of the blinds.

The husband cut some foam core board that came in a sheet that was 8 feet long and 48 inches wide.  The width of the foam board was one inch; our supplier was the local Home Depot.

After measuring the windows, four lengths of foam core board were required for placement over the windows.  We cut them in 12" x 48" pieces.

Knowing that my two finished oil paintings of birds were ready to hang, I bought coordinating fabric in a teal color, cut the fabric into pieces roughly 16" x 55" in size and pinned the fabric to the foam board backing.

The  original smaller version of those "Angry Birds" was given to our local hospice for a fund raiser, but I painted two more similar ones on gallery wrapped canvases that were 12" x 36".
So now there are four cornice boards covered in fabric over each of the four windows in the dining area.  Each is secured to the wall above the windows with a single nail that was driven through the fabric covered foam board cornice.

And then the Angry Birds were hung above the cornices.

Voila! (pictures pan from left to right)

It was an easy way to bring more color into this area by using a tiny flowered teal print fabric under the pictures and covering the cornice boards.  It also gave a more finished look to those windows without obstructing the view of the back yard foliage.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mint and Jalapeno Jelly the Quick Way

Mint grows like crazy in our back yard.

Mint jelly with lamb is OK, but how about a sweet jelly with a little more kick?  Maybe adding a jalapeno would bring up the heat and tone down the sugar.  It would be tasty with meat entrees, and a kick over a block of cream cheese. (My husband remembers pouring a jar of salsa over a block of cream cheese, but he is much older than I, so I don't recall that particular little party treat.)
A Google search for mint and jalapeno jelly came up quickly.  Here it is:
2 cups spearmint leaves, chopped fine, divided
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, diced
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 1/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. freezer pectin (this is my variation on the original recipe since it called for regular pectin) 
In a small saucepan, heat 1 3/4 cups mint leaves with 1 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, shut off heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain mint infusion into large saucepan, squeezing out mint leaves to extract as much mint as possible (I used a coffee filter in a small colander for straining). Discard boiled leaves.
...(recipe continues for Hot Water Bath canning)
Here is what I did to make it a quick freezer jam:

Instead of boiling it all together for what would have taken forever, I just stirred it all for three minutes, added about 7 drops of green food coloring, added a few cleaned mint sprigs to each container, then ladled it into the plastic freezer containers.  Done.  -- It has not been thawed yet, so perhaps the mint leaves might wither.

This is my third recipe for making freezer jams this spring.  We have strawberry, blueberry and now mint jelly in our freezer.  The first batch with strawberries was too sweet, so I cut down the sugar when I made the blueberry jam, and also cut down the sugar on this mint/pepper jelly.  We liked them all.

And here, in all its glory, is a picture of the mint jelly slathered over a block of cream cheese.  It tasted surprisingly refreshing with just a little bite to it.

Does that picture above remind you of James Lilek's Gallery of Regrettable Foods?
Says Lileks:
Freud never had to ask what men want. Men want liquor. They want a pistachio cordial that matches their ties, matches the coffee cups, and matches the salad and the relish. AVOCADO GREEN, the rutting stags demand.

To remind them they're men, make sure to embed a batch of wriggling, erect wieners in a sea of beans.
James Lileks has so many funny stories and books.  Take a look.  He makes our childhood foods look downright...well, unappealing. His Gallery of Regrettable Foods is here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Preemie Hats - Let's Make Some!

From a blog called Calvin's Hats, the purpose of creating tiny baby preemie hats is summarized here:

Calvin's Hats is offering to grieving parents a gift which can bring a small amount of comfort and peace... a hat tiny enough to fit right on their precious child's head and something to hold on to when their child is no longer here.
Our wish is for these hats to bring a small amount of healing."
A couple of weeks ago, Raveler Annie said this:
When Calvin's Hats first started in February of 2009, it was with the hope that we could provide some hats to families who were leaving the hospital with empty arms. We had one knitter (Sarah DuVal) and a website with a limit of 3 pages. We were sending out one or two hats per month and thrilled to be blessing those families.

About 6 months ago, something changed. I'm really not sure what it w as that spurred it on, but our goal of getting hats into hospitals was finally working. Since that point, we've sent out a large number of hats. ... but never once has my hat drawer been completely empty. I don't suppose tiny knit hats can really compare to the Bible story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a couple loaves of bread, but that's how it feels sometimes.
If you want more information about Calvin's Hat , Annie's blog can be found here, along with some easy preemie hat patterns.

Here is my first finished hat that took only 90 minutes to complete.  It would fit on a tangerine.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chemo Hats and Interpreting Sickness in a Unique Way

This is the second one off the hook:

The same pattern of crocheted hat finished this week from this free Bernat pattern:

Here is another:

These hats are, of course, for my daughter Julie.  Julie had her first chemo treatment this week, along with the requisite anti-nausea drugs.  After three days post treatment, she is still not keeping anything down. Sigh.

And speaking of sickness and how we deal with it, I am borrowing this from Abigail at Abigail's Alcove:
...When I found out that my newborn needed emergency abdominal surgery, I immediately asked to have her baptized. If my baby girl had to undergo all of that suffering, I wanted it all to mean something. I wanted her incorporated into the mystical body of Christ. I wanted her hurt to save souls.

A birth defect is different from the ordinary effects of sin. My baby girl didn't get hit by a bullet or poisoned by an environmental toxin. The Creator of the World, the One who lovingly knit together my baby's body in the womb decided in His infinite wisdom to drop a purl stitch in the formation of my baby girl's intestine.
Futher reading can be found here by Abigail about her infant daughter's sickness.  It is well worth the read, and gave me pause after digesting her interpretation of why this birth defect happened to her child.  I hope you take the time to read it.