Friday, June 28, 2013

cicada sachets

I was thrilled by the cicadas this year.  I liked their overwhelming numbers, I like their looks, I was enchanted by their eerie glow-like song, even when it was outrageously loud, and Daniel and I spent a fascinating length of time down by the creek watching the ex-larva that had recently shed their shells hang still, white and wormy while they slowly developed their colors and hardened their wings.  I am sad their time is already over.  But to commemorate the beauty of it all, I painted a cicada with open wings and am in the process of sewing them up into lavender sachets.  I'll be selling them at the Food Festival in Orange on August 10th... along with lots of other things... AND I'm planning a very exciting weekend for September (more news on that later) so my sewing machine is hard at work these days.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

soap dish

I really don't like liquid soap.  The pump bottles it comes in are wasteful, it's often full of yucky chemicals, and I prefer rolling something around in my hands rather than having a little plastic bird beak regurgitate suds into my palm.  Plus, it's so maddening when they clog and then squirt unpredictable arcs out beyond the sink and into the room.  

Bars of soap are the best!  Unless they get soggy... then they're no good at all.  And soap dishes pooled  with goopy soap sludge are really unappealing, too.  And it's no good having a soap dish that's too slippery, either... You need something with stability and traction, excellent drainage, and breathe-a-bility.  Little wooden soap dishes with drainage slats look nice and work well, and then I'd like to introduce another kind of soap dish I'm finding to be good... all you need is a pretty bowl and several rocks.  There's only one rule:  make sure the rocks are bigger than the drain hole.  Prior to this set-up, I had my bowl filled with smaller rocks.  I loved the way they looked, but after a couple months, I had to ask poor Daniel to take apart the pipes under the sink to get out all the little rocks that had made their way down the drain.

I especially like this bar of soap - a gift from one of my watercolor students (who isn't really a 'student' at all, but a very accomplished painter).  It looks like a lovely time-worn piece of marble, and I especially like it with the rocks!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

windows open

Today was a good day.  I got good things done in the morning, and then had just one student over for painting in the afternoon.  While I was waiting for her bus to come, I stood in the shade of a catalpa tree.  I'd never seen their blooms before... orchid-like, and they smell really good!  It was spell-binding when the elementary school bus arrived... the many heads and bodies and arms jostling around in the seats, all the exuberant voices spilling out of the open windows.  We drank iced tea with fresh mint while she painted, and we talked about all sorts of things, like funny dreams we've had and how easy it is to get mad when you're hungry.  After class, I sprayed myself down with homemade bug repellent and drove over to do my current odd job... tending vegetable gardens.  I uprooted weeds with a hoe for 2 hours.  No, I didn't pack water.  Yes, I sweat profusely.  After I put the hoe away, I thoroughly enjoyed washing my arms and feet and face off in cold water from the outdoor spigot.  I drove home in the dusk, dazed but happy, and when I was walking toward my front porch, I saw a rabbit reclined out cat-like on its side in the lawn, with its ears pricked straight up.  It looked so contented to be resting there in the low evening light.  As soon as I got into my house, I drank three glasses of water in a row.  I guess it's kinda sick, but I really like that feeling when you get so thirsty that water tastes heavenly and after you finish drinking you can hardly catch your breath.  I took a shower and ate a big salad.  And then I ate some junior mints that I had in the freezer.  (Anybody reading this might like to put a box of junior mints in their freezer too?!)  This is a picture I took from my kitchen window just before the sun sank below the horizon.  I love having open windows and I'm reluctant to enter air conditioning season, which I know is almost upon us.

Monday, June 10, 2013

lavender harvest

 The lavender patch I planted last year is doing well. I've harvested a few baskets so far, and will have more to collect in the coming week, and then there will be a few more blooms at the end of the summer.  It is really satisfying to see the little spindly, spriggy plants grow into hearty bushes full of blooms...
 Spider web in the crab apple tree