Thursday, February 28, 2008

A few souvenirs from last summer

It seems like some people (and you know who you are) just can't get enough succulent plants. You tend your plants, expand your collections, and take pictures of them to post online and show other people who also have this apparent succulent plant addiction. Well, I can only stand so much of that kind of thing....and I think the only thing I can do some of my own special succulent plants, dammit!

Last summer, on my second trip to the Sonoma Coast, I found these succulent plants growing wild along the craggy slopes that led down to the water.

I liked their dusty blue/pink/purple coloring. And many of them had flowers.
I don't know how it happened, but a few tiny succulent rosettes somehow ended up in my pocket.

Here they are, now several months later. They have taken hold and started to grow.

They look very different from their former, wild selves. The leaves are darker and more elongated. Maybe because they have been doing their growing over the winter. And maybe the environmental conditions are much different for them here than they were on the cliffs.

There were also these kinds of succulents growing in the same area. Amazingly, these also mysteriously found their way into my pocket.

This is how they looked when I first potted them up.

This is from a few weeks ago. (same plant)
Again, their appearance is quite different from how they looked in their original location. I did have them on my covered patio over the winter, in order to keep them sheltered from the cold and wet while they were still establishing themselves. I have recently moved them to a sunny area.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lunch with my new friends

There's so much about the internet I really don't know. (Did I ever mention what a techno-weenie I am?) But yesterday, I decided I would try to add a few bells and whistles to make my surfing experience more streamlined.

First, I installed Google Reader. Now I don't need to check on all my favorite blogs. Their updates come to me. I should have done this a long time ago.

Then this morning, I ditched my old web browser homepage, which was just local news, and set up a Google homepage. It has little boxes you can pick and choose what you want. I have a to-do list, a calendar, Photo of the day, weather, and more. (including the Google Reader.) I don't mean to sound like a commercial for Google, but their products are functional, free, and easy enough for me to figure out how to use.

Of course, the standard homepage is pretty boring, but they give you a bunch of choices to change it to. They call it "themes". So I found a theme with this cute frog/ladybug duo, and the little banner scene actually changes throughout the day. (They started out at sunrise with donuts and coffee!) I came home from the arboretum this morning, starving, threw together some leftovers, zapped them in the microwave, and plopped down in front of the computer to see my new friends were eating their lunch too. He he!

Hey, pass me a grape soda, would you, Ladybug?


Aww, they finished their lunch and now they're playing Slip n Slide!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's happening right now, in my fridge

It's Mexican Pickled Carrots vs. Kimchee. Battling for supremacy. (or as Jessi says, "which one will spoil the milk?") This silly idea popped into my head. I scribbled it out in ArtRage, but it's too lame and badly drawn for my art blog. But I don't mind putting it here.

I like the fact that I got an idea (as silly as this was) and was able to just illustrate it quickly and simply. I always think I'd like to do more spontaneous artwork, but usually it doesn't happen. I should try harder.

Here's a jar of Kimchee. I thought I had it on Flickr too, but I guess I didn't!

The multi-bug wood piece things

For Illustration Friday

I still lament the loss of the little bug-shaped wood pieces I used to have. They looked more or less like the unfinished piece in the upper left. I could paint them into multiple kinds of bugs, be they beetles, spiders, flies, bees, or whatever. I once put several of them onto a cute little painted box and gave it away to someone I haven't seen since. I wonder if she still has it, and I'm sorry I never took a picture of it.

To make matters worse, I can't find those little unfinished wood pieces in that shape anymore. I've looked in the local arts 'n' crafts stores and online. I even contacted the company whose name was on the original package, and they told me the pieces had been discontinued. So in a fit of bittersweet nostalgia, I recreated them digitally, tried to make them look 3-D, and "painted" them to look like bugs. I'd still rather have the real wood thingies, though.

If anybody knows where I can get some, please let me know.

UPDATE: Whaddayaknow! Blog-pal Julie found some here. Thanks, Julie!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dog Diary vs. Cat Diary

I noticed this posted on the bulletin board in the vet's office this morning. Thought it was cute.

The Dog's Diary
8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat's Diary
Day 983 Of My Captivity
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Felted Wool Art

Even though I dabbled in embroidery when I was younger, my current encounters with fabrics and thread are mostly limited to repairing holes in socks. (Even the hemming of pants is left to the professionals!) However, I do love fabric art of different kinds, and I recently learned of the existence of felted wool creations.

While browsing through Flickr for something, my eyes came upon this beautiful felted wool painting. The very talented Eden of Handwork Naturals graciously agreed to let me post the picture above. But don't stop with this one. You must see her whole set of Paintings in Wool on Flickr.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Root Beer Floats, anyone?

Today, in a committee meeting at the arboretum, someone brought up the idea of selling root beer floats in the children's garden during our upcoming Green Scene plant show and sale. She wanted an old fashioned sign on a wooden board. It put such a vivid picture in my mind, I came home and made one in Photoshop.

It also gave me one hell of a craving.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Watch the lady spin

The Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or counter-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning counter-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

So, we've all been watching the lady spin, and we are finding that she does spin both ways, and if you watch her long enough, you start to feel a little queasy.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Warts and all

It's one thing to take a nice tight shot of a lovely plant:

It's another thing to show a few frames from the blooper reel.

This is my front porch. Dusty and neglected. I don't think the color is really as gray as it looks.
But it adds to the mood. Notice my poor euphorbia. This is actually one of my favorite plants. I've nurtured it from a tiny stem, which I had salvaged when the other 90% of it was rotting away. It's really taken off over the last couple of years. But it got really top heavy, and then it blew over in the wind. I propped it up against that post, and it's been there ever since.

Then there's this poor thing. It once looked like this:

And it even made flowers.

And this. Sad, huh?
I could go on and on. But I'll spare you the gory details for now.

I should be doing stuff

I could be cleaning something. Or trying to make something creative, for Pete sakes. But here I am, wasting time online (again!)

Funny face

You may have heard of Cute Overload, the home of cute critter photos posted daily, described in a gag-inducing writing style that includes lots of silly made-up words. (well, that part makes me gag, but I do enjoy the pictures.)

Anyway, there is also a blog called Ugly Overload. Not affiliated with the former, the latter has postings of weird and, yes, ugly animals. I find them interesting. Not surprisingly, many are bugs. To my relief, the writing style doesn't make me gag. This outlandish creature, posted there yesterday, looks so weird I just had to pass it along. It's a baby Sumatran Rhino.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

17-bean soup

I had this all ready to post a couple of days ago, then for some reason I only saved it as a draft. Don't remember what I was saving it for, so I'm posting it anyway.



17-Bean Soup
1 bag Trader Joe's 17 Bean and Barley Mix
4 cups or 32 oz. veggie broth
1 cup each:
-chopped onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 tsp dried basil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak bean and barley mix overnight. (or use quick soak method: Bring the beans and water for soaking to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and cover the pot. Let the beans stand in the soak water for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, discard the soak water and cook the beans. )

2. Drain and rinse. Pour 4 cups of vegetable broth over beans and cook on medium heat for approximately 1 hour.

3. Add chopped onion, celery, carrots. Press in garlic cloves and dried basil, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, diced tomatoes, bay leaf .

4. Add about 4 more cups of water or vegetable broth and let it all cook on low to medium heat for another 1-2 hours.

The recipe is basically what was printed on the bag of beans, with a few tweaks by me. I also added about 2 tablespoons of dehydrated vegetable mix and some little ham cubes.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shameless beggars

My dogs. Waiting for their share of the core after I finish my apple.
One good thing: neither dog is a drooler.
Hey, I already posted about this before. Here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I have music

I have been wanting to get some kind of music player for my blog, but I hadn't found one I really liked (and could understand how to use it!) Well, last night while blog-surfing, I found, and thought I'd give it a try.

It has its limitations, like no more than 3 songs by the same artist, and you have to have at least 45 songs in your playlist, and then you can't pick and choose which song you want to hear, they just play at random. But I was able to find 45 songs without too much trouble. (Although, for a couple of them, I pushed the wrong button and added them into my playlist by mistake. I'll eventually go back and fix them later.)

Anyway, most of these are songs I've liked for many years. I will try to add more current favorites soon.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Superbowl commercials I enjoyed

Not as many really great commercials this time. Here's a couple I liked, though:

Bridgestone Tire Super Bowl Commercial: Squirrel vs Car

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Gatorade G2

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Fedex Super Bowl Ad: Carrier Pigeons Bad Choice for Shipping

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The rest of the ads can be found here.

Latest thing on my wish list

These guys (Scieszka and Smith) together make the best kids' books! Humor that tickles adult as well as child funny bones, and great pictures. Gotta get this soon! Click the picture for more info.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mork & Mindy, many times over

Ah, nostalgia. Jerry recently bought season one of the vintage Robin Williams sitcom, Mork & Mindy on DVD, and he and the kids have had fun watching it. So much fun, he just bought season two. I like it too, I guess, though not as much as I remember liking it back in the day. And certainly not enough to watch 4 episodes in one sitting.

But that's how they do it. So now I have the Mork & Mindy theme song stuck in my head.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Baby and his blanket

It's been a long time since I posted something for Illustration Friday. Today, I find that I actually have something that fits the theme.

I embroidered this when I was pregnant with my first child. (That would date it to 1986.) This was a period in my life when I did very little in the way of art, so I remember being very proud of it.

It was actually a cloth diaper, and I had intended to use it as a burp rag, or maybe let the kid carry it if he wanted to, like Linus or something. Turned out, Michael wasn't a blankie type of kid. Brice was, though, but not for this one. He bonded with a little yellow blanket that he had.

I don't think I saved any of their little clothes, and very few books and toys. But I held onto this little blankie baby. Maybe someday, I'll have a grandchild to give it to.