Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spring Blossoms: a Challenge

My Blogging Business Artisans team on etsy hosts a monthly Challenge.  You don't even have to be a team member to participate!  The idea is to be inspired to create!

This month, Sharla of Beaded Tail gave us the following Challenge:
Your challenge is to incorporate your favorite inspiration into a project of your choice.  Are you inspired by nature?  Create something to show how nature makes you feel!  Do your kids motivate you?  Have them join you in a crafty project!  
Do your pets "help" you with your craft?  Let's see their pawsome contributions!  Have fun just letting your inspiration lead you to do something crafty!
Glacier National Park
I am so inspired by the beauty of nature.  Imagine a deep blue pristine lake surrounded by snow peaked forested mountains with meadows of flowers at your feet.  Huge vistas inspire awe.  But so do the tiny intricate details of a painted flower.

For this challenge, I decided to paint a silk scarf with flowers.  I didn't have a plan in mind except that the flowers would be pink.  That's the starting point.  I let inspiration lead me from there...
I've used several techniques and processes in creating this scarf.

Wash scarf.
Soak in solution and let dry.
I began by painting the petals and their outlines.  I  added a little salt for some texture.  
Let cure.
Wash scarf.
Soak in solution and let dry.
Paint petal details and center of flowers.
Add a little salt.
Paint green stems/vines.
Add dots of pink and green.
Add 4 flowers of a different shape in 2 shades of pink and add green stems.
Let cure.

Air dry.


    ↑ details ↑

The completed scarf--hand painted on China silk--light and breezy and perfect for Summer.  You can find this in my etsy shop HERE.

Intrigued by our team challenge?  Come on over to our BBA BLOG and see what others have made!  Create something yourself that fits the theme and link up!   

QUESTION:  What inspires you to create?     

photos by me © 2011 and 2012  all rights reserved  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Black Bean Salsa

This is a fabulous recipe which I've tweaked over time.  The beauty of it is, that you can use as little or as much of each ingredient as you wish.  Every time I serve this salsa it gets rave reviews.

onion, tomatoes, chilies, corn
♦2 cans of black beans rinsed and drained
♦1/4 C chopped onion (use your favorite)
♦2 ears of fresh corn, shucked (of course!) and cut off the cobs
♦@ 10-12 oz or @ 2 C chopped tomatoes
♦1/2 of a 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
cilantro from my garden
♦1/4 - 1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro (1 T more or less when chopped finely)
♦1 t olive oil
♦salt and pepper to taste
♦2 avocados, diced (ripe but still firm)
♦2 limes, zest and juice

chopped avocado marinating in lime juice
♦Dump rinsed and drained black beans into a bowl.
♦Add onion, tomatoes, corn, chilies, and cilantro. 
♦Add oil, salt, and pepper to bean mixture and stir.
♦Zest and juice both limes.  Add zest and half of juice to bean mixture.  Mix.  Set aside rest of juice.
♦Dice avocados and pour reserved lime juice over them.  Mix gently.
♦Add avocados to bean mixture and mix gently.
(Instead of chilies, you could add chopped hot peppers or pepper powder.)
Serve with chips.
served on a bed of mixed greens with chips as an entree, garnished with a sprig of cilantro blossoms

♦I read a great way to grow cilantro is to plant it crowded together and to keep snipping off the top leaves.  This is because it goes to seed very quickly.
♦Judie says sliced radishes add zing!

A new round of  Alphabe-Thursday has begun!  This is such a fun meme!  I know that you too, dear reader, would love to join in.  So come on over HERE ---join in and/or visit others' submissions.  This week our letter is "B."
[Sorry, Ms. Jenny.  no broccoli cheese.  I hope I still get an A though.  ;-)  ]

photos by me © 2012     all rights reserved

Thursday, May 24, 2012


a few snippets of Albuquerque scenes...

San Felipe de Neri church  (more photos and information HERE)

A new round of  Alphabe-Thursday has begun!  This is such a fun meme!  I know that you too, dear reader, would love to join in.  So come on over HERE ---join in and/or visit others' submissions.  This week our letter is "A."

photos by me © 2007     all rights reserved

The End: Alphabet Soup

The end of yet another odyssey with Alphabe-Thursday has been reached!  What a challenge it had been at times to come up with a creative post for the current letter of the alphabet!    I've enjoyed this journey with you, my readers and fellow Alphabe-Thursdayers, sharing our posts and lives.   Thanks, Jenny! 
(You can click on any of the following links to go to that post.)

A  Angels Landing an incredible hike in Zion National Park

D Desert Scenes: Fish Creek Canyon a road trip near Phoenix, Arizona, USA

E Eager Earnest in which Earnest Elucidates some of his favorite Es

F fog in the mountains of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

G Greens scenes from Utah and Arizona, USA

H memories of an Hawaiian vacation random photos and an additional POST on how to pronounce humuhumunukunukuapuaha

I Idaho scenes random photos from a trip to Northern Idaho in 2008.

J  jagged photos of Glacier National Park, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, and a "drive by shooting"

K  the heart of Knoxville photos and commentary about Krutch Park and Market Square

L  LOVE: a Challenge!  love themed items I created for my team Business Blogging Artisans February Creative Challenge

M   Randomly Favorite Ms 5 photos of things that start with M 

N  napping Tigra, Oliver, and Earnest

O  Oregon coast   a few photos from a 2006 trip

P  Pond a few photos from Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC

Q  Quiet  3 photos + 3 haikus

R  Random Reds  photos

S  Saba   a wonderful, charming, beautiful island in the Caribbean

T  Ten Ts photos of tulips, tie dye, travel (Kauai), tree, treat (sunset), turquoise (bicycle), turtle, Lake Tahoe, taste, kitties (two)

U  U  photos of umbrella, under (palm tree), unequaled cuteness (Oliver), unripe, undertow, Utah, uprooted

V  Violets photos of 4 items that have violet color

W  wine  photos of a Winter Wine Weekend of wine tasting fun and antics as well as this corkboard made by my daughter and her boyfriend.

X  xerophytic in xeric  click on the link to find out what that means!

Y  Do You Like My Hat? adventures in yarn  Laurie Fortier and her luscious yarn; how I won a beautiful scarf; the Knit-a-Squillion project accepting donations of knitted or crocheted or felted (recycled sweaters) squares to make blankets for poor children in Africa

Z  ZOOM!  a Carolina wrens' nest found in a pot of parsley on my deck


Well, not quite.  There was Fall Break.

simple autumn beauty  theme was Autumn Colors


delicious Autumn theme was Anything Autumn

POST  last Alphabet Soup 

Dear Ms.Jenny, I LOVE Alphabe-Thursday!  Thank you so much for hostessing this awesome meme AND visiting EVERY single post! 
So begins Round 5 in which we start with the Letter "A."  This is my offering, "Alphabet Soup."  Come visit others' submissions HERE and join in the fun!

photos by me © 2006-2012   one photo by Laurie Fortier © 2011   all rights reserved

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I've walked out on my deck a few times the past couple of days, and whoosh! something zooms by!  What IS that??!
Oh I see!  It's a bird!  Where indeed is it coming from?  After several of these zestful zoomings, I decide to search the deck for a bird's nest, and I almost miss it.  There it is!  in a pot of parsley, oh so camouflaged.

Why are there 5 eggs in the nest and one out?  I have no idea.  (Yes, I CAN count.  There really are 5!)

(I will no longer traumatize this bird trying to get a better photo.)

I spent some time searching online and this is what I think the bird is --a Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus).  It has the markings, the slightly buff-colored chest, and the downward curved beak.

I found information about them fascinating.
a few facts:
► A Carolina wren pair mates for life.
► live in open woodland or brushy suburbia. 
► stay together on their territory year round.
► mostly forage the ground for insects and move around together.  They do climb vines and trees poking around for insects.
► DIET:  mostly insects and spiders; occasionally eat lizards, frogs, and snakes. They also consume a small amount of plant matter, such as fruit pulp and seeds from bayberry, sweetgum, or poison ivy.
► NESTING:  female and male build their nest together, sometimes making more than one before choosing the perfect one.  The nest itself is usually cup shaped, domed and with a side entrance.  The nest is loosely constructed of a great variety of materials such as bark strips, dried grasses, dead leaves, pine needles, hair, feathers, straw, shed snakeskin, paper, plastic, or string.  Nest material may be added after incubation has begun. 
Carolina wrens usually build their nest about 3-6 feet off the ground in cavities.  Near homes they make use of a variety of cavity-like spaces, such as pots and boots.
sounds:  Only the male sings with a repertoire of about 15 different songs.  Both male and female have many different calls.  Hear it!  (Scroll down to "calls" and click on the )

Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds  --I found this site to be the most helpful.

I'm linking up with my favorite teacher, Ms Jenny Matlock!  See others' completed homework assignments HERE.  Come join in!  This week our letter is "Z."  I am proud to say that I posted for every letter this round!  A new round starts next week!  Letter A.  So get your thinking caps on!