Saturday, June 25, 2011

Apricots and Peaches Everywhere!!

Well its that glorious time of year again, when the beautiful flowering fruit trees have put on their crop of fruit and the warmth of the sun has ripened it all at ONCE!! Ahhh. I love the thought of going out and picking a ripe apricot or peach from the tree on a hot day and enjoying it but it doesn't happen like that. It takes ladders and every bowl in my house to carry in the ripening and falling fruit. I try to pick the ripest first and spread the wealth over at least a week.

Sometimes it happens, sometimes not.

Normally I spend the early summer dreaming and pining over canning and preserving books I have collected over the years for some new, exciting recipes. This year I didn't do that. Then Marta called me to tell me she was canning strawberry margarita jam! Oh, I got all excited. Finally after canning by myself for so many years I have a few friends that have begun to can!! Its so exciting, exchanging recipes, canned goods etc. Dawn also then posted she had canned Ginger Lemon marmalade. Wow!! more goodies.

Well I better get busy here.

This year, like last, my apricot tree has had a disease. Don't panic, it isn't contagious, but it does affect the production of fruit. We lost the whole crop last year but this year Randy did get the tree sprayed once. It probably needed to be sprayed three times but being organic gardners it really pains us to treat things we are going to eat with anything. But the idea is to spray before the tree is setting blossoms and then the disease will be treated. Anyway (long,boring details), we got apricots, but they were small but plenty of them and they tasted good. So I picked the day before fathers day and set them out for the party goers the following day. After everyone had eaten their fill I still had plenty left over. Not wanting to tackle jam during our heat wave I got a great idea, Apricot BRANDY!! So simple but so much fun. I got on the internet, poured through all my books and found a recipe that seemed good. After I put the apricots in the liquor I had to put them into a brown paper bag in the closet, to keep it cool and dark. It has the feeling of being a closet drinker during prohibition days I must say! It felt weird to show Marta the concoction cooking away in the pantry! LOL Marta and I were dreaming over a chapter of decorated jam jars, already planning how we will prepare the Christmas gifts for my everyone!
Here is the process and I even took the time to journal it in my sketchbook!
Preparing the liquors, sugars

In go the apricots

One jar down, one to go

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Working on some new art pieces for dishes!

I am working on some artwork for dishes! They are looking for a salsa, Tex-mex theme. I have been painting and putting some things together hoping that the company will want the artwork for a set of dishes! I don't know about you but the thought of having my artwork on dishes is soooo exciting! I would just have to order every piece! The several pieces that I have done and were rejected have become images in my inventory for anyone else looking for that theme so it is time well spent. Here are are few of the pieces that weren't going to work for what they wanted, the last image is a new submission, waiting to hear.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sub Q's newest meeting and challenge

I belong to an art quilt group called Sub Q, Subterranean Quilters, meaning we had to go underground to do art quilts! LOL Our challenge last month was to interpret a fortune cookie that was handed out to each member. We had a month to do an 18"X24" quilt to bring to our June meeting. We had a wonderful time revealing each quilt and reading our fortunes. The actual fortune had to be somewhere on the quilt top. Then Ann, Debbie and Nancy shared a technique they had learned and we all worked on another small quilt at the meeting. Such a great time. 

I decided to paint my quilt top after I drew some of the hats I wear.

Then Painted

Then attached my fortune

Then I quilted and made a new price tag for the fortune, that I also wrote; My Life, Priceless

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Countryside Cottage Roof Raising

Marianne had a roof building class at her beautiful home today! Cynthia led the class as she taught us how to build our moss roofs and then plant the tiny little succulents that will be covering the roofs. Marianne also provided custom wood houses to set our newly planted roofs onto! What a great class, fun day. I also have to mention Mariannes amazing gardens and yard, a treat for any garden lover. Here is my sketchbook entry for the day. I will be moving my little house around the yard until I find it the perfect place.

Some of the mature succulents

Marianne had yummy snacks too! Rosemary sugar cookies and bear claws!

My adopted youngsters!


Planted, da da!!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Pruners, sunscreen, gloves and my hat , going out to play in the yard

I have really enjoyed these last few days of playing in the yard and getting things trimmed as well as planted. The yard is bursting with color right now with the roses in full bloom and other things getting ready. I love the spring, life bursting out at the seams everywhere. Its the time of year when all my past efforts are still paying off. Things that have sat quietly are now screaming for my attention with their colorful flowers. I am trying to capture as much of it as I can in my garden journal, taking the time to label and try and show both the close up as well as an more expansive view. The big fountain is filled with potted plants, flowers and they are trying to come back after the winter of neglect, I may need to replace.
After working outside all day I sauteed some garlic and asparagus, made black bean soup and sweet potatoes for dinner, strawberries for dessert. We all ate outside at the barbaque area, the weather perfect and the sun shining through my grape stain glass window we hung in one of the arches. Still managing to eat vegan, and enjoying it!
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