Monday, April 30, 2018

A to Z / Z is for Zucchini

Zucchini - that vegetable that people give away by the bag full...

I don't think I've ever grown my own zucchini.  Never needed to - my friends always grow it and give it away.  Now I've learned that it dehydrates well and if you slice it and add a little seasoning,  you can make a great "chip" to use with hummus!  I'm putting in a few plants this year...  I'll let you know in July or August how that turns out.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A to Z / Y is for Yam

Y is for Yam.  But not really...

How many times have I asked, "what is the difference between and sweet potato and a yam?" I bet I asked my mother or grandmother at every Thanksgiving dinner...   I would usually get an crazy answer like, a yam is bigger.  Actually, a yam is not even in the same family as a sweet potato.  After doing a bit of research, I'm not sure I've ever seen a yam.  I understand that they are available, probably in an international type of market (most likely won't find that near my rural mid-west home).  My search is on...

Friday, April 27, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A to Z / W is for Wasabi

Wasabi.  Eat it with sushi... 

This letter was an eye opener - what we call and eat in the States is most likely not wasabi.  Chances are pretty good that it is horseradish.  Real wasabi is extremely difficult to grow.  Unless you go to Japan and watch the chef grate and make wasabi in front of you, it is horseradish.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A to Z / V is for Vanilla

Vanilla.  I learned that the vanilla bean comes from an orchid.  Did you know that less than 1 percent of the vanilla used in the world actually comes from the vanilla bean.  Most of what we eat is artificial vanilla.  It takes 5-7 pounds of beans to produce 1 pound of vanilla.  It is one of the most expensive spices in the world, second only to saffron. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A to Z / U is for Unbleached flour

Unbleached Flour - a food and a colour!

I do not do much baking.  Cutting dairy products out of my diet changed much of my world in the kitchen.  When preparing for this post, I went to the cupboard and did a little flour inventory...  almond flour, spelt (also know as dinkel wheat - that makes me smile), whole wheat, rye, and all purpose flour.  For someone who thinks she doesn't bake much, I guess I do have my favorite recipes and enjoy experimenting.  One of my favorite dirty pleasures is making a Norwegian Wedding Cake.  It is so easy - almond flour, egg whites, powdered sugar, and almond extract.  My family loves it and we don't have to wait for a wedding to enjoy this treat.  I also make Swedish Crisp Bread on a regular basis.  Smoothered with Lingonberries - very yummy...  I think I hear the kitchen calling!

Monday, April 23, 2018

A to Z / T is for Tomato and Tangerine

T is for Tomato and Tangerine

I've been trying to incorporate some beading and other techniques into the pages of my alphabet book.  For this page I twisted rick rack together and sewed it to fabric, adding a few beads for texture.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A to Z / S is for Saffron

S is for Saffron

Saffron (a spice) comes from a crocus flower.  As it is very expensive, I don't use it much for cooking.  I do splurge on a small jar from Trader Joe's occasionally, and make saffron rice.  It is a beautiful yellow colour and makes me feel like a Persian princess, dining on extravagant foods...

Friday, April 20, 2018

A to Z / R is for Raspberry

Yummy and pretty...

R is for Raspberry

While I worked on this page, the song "Raspberry Beret" kept running around in my head.  The words changed and became a new song, Raspberry Sorbet....  "She ate some raspberry sorbet... the kind you find in an ice cream store...." 

Yes, my family laughs at me a lot...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A to Z / Q is for Quince

During the month of April, I am creating an alphabet book using foods that are also a colour for my A to Z posts.

Today we look at Q....

Q is for Quince

This might be stretching it a bit for a colour name, but I am the artist.... 

I didn't know what a quince was until I was doing my research for the a to z project.  Funny thing --- I had photographed a quince while visiting my son during the Christmas holidays.  One morning, while he was at work, I took a walk thru the gardens in Ansbach (Germany).  I peered into the windows at a greenhouse and took a picture of what I thought was the biggest lemon in the world.  Turns out, I was wrong and it was a quince!  I am now on a mission to plant my own quince tree.  I'll let you know in 5-7 years if I am successful at growing one!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z / P is for Plum and Pumpkin Spice

P is for Plum and Pumpkin Spice

I read that the first recorded use of plum as a colour name in English was in 1805.  The source was Colour Dictionary by A. Maerz and M. Ren Paul - book published in 1930.  Sadly, I could not find a copy of this book in our library system. 

I was introduced to Mirabelle plums while in Paris.  I've not found yellow plums where I live, ours are purplish or reddish in colour.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A to Z / O is for Olive

O is for Olive

I've used this image of my brother numerous times thru the years when creating postcards or other altered art.  Let me think...  yes, he is now 57 years old!

I cook with olive oil and prefer eating green olives rather than black olives.  We extend the olive branch as a symbol of peace.  The olive tree grows to be very old, with some being as old as 2000 years or more!  Once last thought... the olive is a fruit. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

A to Z / N is for Nutmeg

It's a food and a colour!

Oh so yummy on eggnog...


I read that nutmeg kills the bacteria that causes bad breath.  It can also help relieve the pain from arthritis. While nutmeg may have helpful benefits, too much can be harmful or even toxic.  I'll continue to use a sprinkle here and there and enjoy the scent and colour.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A-Z / M is for Mint, Mustard, Melon and Mulberry!

It's a colour and a food!

Too many M's to pick from:

Mint, Mustard, Melon, and Mulberry

The flower image was created using a gelli plate and magazine image.  It is a fun technique that I hope to explore more in the coming months.  I hope to figure out how to transfer the image to fabric... Any ideas?

Friday, April 13, 2018

A to Z / L is for Lemon, Lime, and Lavendar

It's a colour and a food...

L is for Lemon, Lime and Lavendar

Such bright and cheery citrus colours.  I've tried many times to grow lavendar in my garden.  The winter is just too harsh.  I do keep a bottle of essence to rub on my wrists and temples when sleep seems impossible and I enjoy making lavendar cookies to serve with a special lavendar tea blend for special occasions.  Can you smell them baking?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A-Z / K is for Kiwi

It's a colour and a food...

It's a Kiwi!

(It's also a bird...)

When I started this post, I was planning on using a nice and juicy, sweet kiwi fruit.  Something happened and this little kiwi bird was hatched.  I took a free motion / thread painting class and just had to create something for my alphabet book.  During my research to find a photo of a kiwi, I learned that kiwi birds are about the size of a chicken.  I had always imagined them to be the size of a kiwi fruit.  I wonder how many other things on this planet that I am wrong about?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A-Z - J is for Jasmine

It's a colour and a food...

J is for Jasmine

When I was searching the paint store names for food name colours, jasmine was one of the chips I pulled.  Can I find it in my extremely messy and disorganized studio? NO!  I'm not sure what colour they name jasmine.  Was it green, or white (bloom), or a lovely brown (tea)?  I guess it doesn't matter.  Certainly down the road when I take time to clean my mess, I'll find my paint samples and have a good laugh at myself.

This post wouldn't be complete without my jasmine story.  A number of years ago, I was doing a series of postcards to send for Mother's Day using an image of a little girl that was given to me by a friend.  She had a box of family photos that didn't mean anything to her and she knew I would find a good use.  (No wonder my studio is such a mess... I can never say no to treasures).  The name of the little girl was, Leafy.  (How nice that someone actually wrote her name on the back of the photo).  I did a little research (thank you Ancestry), and discovered that Leafy was from Kansas and was buried there. 

At the time, I was using the kitchen table to do my art work, as we were in a rental house while our home was being built.  This particular night I left my Leafy postcards on the table to dry and we went to bed.  During the night, Jon and I both woke and could smell jasmine in our bedroom.  We decided that Leafy had come to visit and was wearing jasmine perfume.  I won't bother you with a ghost discussion, but I know what I smelled, and we made sure both kids were asleep and not spraying scent upstairs.

My dad and I would drink Jasmine Green tea when he visited me at work.  We would make tea and either sit by the fireplace or he would pull up a chair by my desk and watch me work.  He died two years ago in my arms while snorkeling with the family.  I continue to drink a cup of Jasmine and pretend that he is with me working away...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I is for Ice Blue

This post was originally planned as "Indian Corn" or "Iced Tea".  For some reason when I started working on it, Blue Ice came into my mind.  We had a mega snowstorm, (which dumped 12" of heavy wet snow on us in less than 24 hours), and my sister's daughter was busy making Icees out of the snow.  This is not something I drink.  Way too much sugar and empty calories for me.  I read that a 32 ounce Icee has 116 grams of sugar (or 29 teaspoons), and 468 calories.  Ouch. and Yuck!  But, I must admit that they are a pretty colour.

I took these pictures at Glacier Bay in Alaska about 10 years ago.  This ice is blue!

The maker I grabbed to colour in the appliances looks so different on the photo paper than what I thought it would be.  I could of tweaked it in photo shop, but it is what it is...

Monday, April 9, 2018

A to Z / H is for Honey

H is for Honey.

A sticky mess when our bees let us raid their hives...

We have 2 bee hives in our yard.  My favorite honey is the fall honey that is darker in colour and has a deeper flavor.  I hoard it for myself.  The spring honey is light and milder in taste.  Unfortunately all my honey is gone as we did not harvest last year due to concerns of the bees having enough to get thru the winter.  Soon they will be working hard to support my honey habit!

The bee on this page was made by pouring plaster into a play-doh mold I made with a bee pin I picked up from a yard sale.  

Sunday, April 8, 2018


Yesterday I drove to Macomb to visit my daughter at school.  This is her first year at Western IL University, and I was pleased that she wanted me to come down for mom's weekend.  After reading a post this past week about "unplugging", I decided it was the perfect day to stay away from technology.  Well at least mostly unplugged...

The drive takes a little under 2 hours, and I did it without the radio!  I sang and did some praying and thinking instead.  I did call my husband when I got there, but then the phone went silent.

After lunch, (Thai and salmon sushi), we took in an art show at the University.  I was itching to take some photos, but resisted.  Arrianne then had practice with her Acapella group.  Two hours of music.  I almost fell asleep sitting in the warm sun shining into the classroom.  It was heavenly to just sit and listen, watching the interaction of energetic  students.

We picked up Coby, Arrianne's current beau, and headed to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.  I was happy to find a few vegan choices on the menu.  I know that Arrianne took our pictures a few times, but my phone stayed in my bag.

Our evening was a musical performance.  The students were very good, but the subject matter was a bit harsh for my taste.  As I sat in my seat, I was very happy that I had decided against inviting my niece to go with to visit her cousin.  She is a freshman in high school and really didn't need to hear the f word that many times...

Being long past my usual bedtime, it was easy to not check my phone or tablet when I returned to my hotel room.  I didn't want to turn the television set on.

24 hours after unplugging...   I did use my phone a few times.  I drove my car.  The tablet stayed off.  Did I miss it?  Not really. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A to Z / G is for Grape

It's a food and a colour!  (And also a scent.)

G is for Grape.

I love the smell of grapes.  In late August, my grapevines are heavy with grapes begging to be picked and made into jelly.  What a wonderful scent to fill the air with while cooking and canning a year's worth of yumminess!

The little butterflies on this page are cut from a grape soda can using a paper punch.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A to Z / F is for Flax

F is for Flax

About 30 years ago, my dad gave me some flax seeds that he had picked up from a farmer in Nebraska.  I was living in Oklahoma at the time and the environment was great for growing the seeds.  I enjoyed the little blue flowers and the dried round seed head that formed after the bloom died.  I would grow the flowers and save seed to replant the next year.  When I moved to Illinois, I brought seed with but never had the same luck with growing flax.

For the past 9 years I have been pretty religious about grinding and eating a tablespoon of flax each day. After my heart attacks (yes - 3 during the course of a week), I started adding ground flax seed to my diet.  Flax is heart healthy with antioxidant qualities, may improve cholesterol,  and lower blood pressure.   It is also a lovely colour!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A to Z - E is for Eggnog

E is for Eggnog!

Who doesn't enjoy a rich and creamy glass of eggnog during the Christmas holidays!?  As a child, we would make our own, sprinkling it with a good dose of nutmeg.  I prefer the store bought, as it is much richer and creamier.

While reading about eggnog, I discovered that in Vietnam they enjoy Egg Soda.  It is made from egg yolks (use quail eggs), sweetened condense milk, and club soda.  This doesn't sound good to me, but I'm not too keen on anything with club soda.

For this little piece of art work I used a stencil, heavy gel medium, and nutmeg!