Groundhog’s Day is around the corner. If it’s sunny, Mr. Groundhog will see his shadow and tuck in for another six weeks of winter. Fingers crossed for clouds, because I am done with winter. St. Louis hasn’t been hit as hard as other parts of the country, but I’m not real thrilled with my fingers going numb and white from the cold.
Hope rises like a phoenix from the ashes of shattered dreams. — S.A. Sachs
The Fabric Arts Council of the Craft and Hobby Associationhas launched a new charitable project titled Banners of Hope. Each 8” x 12” banner will be on display at the upcoming trade show and then travel to the Charity Wings Art Centerwhere it will be featured in their 24 hour crafty online fundraiser before traveling to hospitals and other health centers around the country.
When offered the opportunity to participate, I leaped at the chance. This seemed a no brainer for me. Much of my work centers on the concept of hope often with a medical theme. But I will be honest, this project proved incredibly challenging.
art, art therapy, banners of hope, cancer, charity wings art center, chemotherapy, craft and hobby association, elena lei etcheverry, fabric arts council, flowers, garden, healing, lorine mason, traveling exhibit, Wilms' tumor
...No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing. -- Julia Child
Fried green tomatoes are entrenched in my memory. Every fall Gam would head over to the farmer she befriended and pick up a bushel or two. Most of them went into making her famous green tomato pickle, but I always begged that a few be reserved and fried up. For me, they equal home, the hearth, memories of carefree moments.
The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days. -- Robert Leighton
My mailbox is overflowing with catalogs tempting me with beautiful blossoms. As daylight hours diminish, my thoughts turn to spring. Daffodils, tulips and hyacinth - this is the time to plant bulbs. As I can't possibly grow every flower from every catalog in my possession, I decided to make a few daffodils of my own. Here is a trumpet daffodil, a daffodil with multiple petals, and a classic white narcissus with orange center. I can almost smell their heavenly scent!
When we first moved into my home, I planted a sour cherry tree. I nurtured it and soon enough it was fully mature and producing thousands of cherries. The annual harvest begins around the 4th of July and lasts a few weeks.
This year we had a bumper crop, so neighbors came to
help. We’ve been making jams, ice
creams and pies, sharing recipes back and forth. This is my recipe for cherry rhubarb jam. It’s low in sugar
and full of flavor. I love it
with corn bread, but I bet it would go well with vanilla ice cream or even a
slice of cheddar.
Color is the fruit of life. -- Guillaume Apollinaire
I'm a magpie. I love shiny objects and rich saturated color. When a sample packet of Rowlux® Illusion Film arrived in the mail, I instantly fell in love with the product. These 12" x 12" sheets are perfect for a multitude of projects. Inspired by the roses in my front garden, I made this bracelet. The colors shift with the light, hot pink, light pink, magenta, deep red, fire engine red. The illusion of depth and motion is the result of thousands of tiny parabolic lenses that are molded into the surface of both sides of of the material. These lenses create a pattern of light reflection and refraction resulting in stunningly brilliant optical effects.
Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity. -- John Ruskin
Slowly the Glass Prairie grows. Here are two more flowers - Goat's Rue and Wild Lupine. Each flower is made from hundreds of seed beads and wire using the French beaded flower technique. I made each flower and leaf part separately before assembling them.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." -- Pablo Picasso
Can you imagine a more magical place than a garden filled with sunflowers that reach the sky? Every where you look there is a new to explore.
This fall I've been teaching a children's drawing and painting workshop at the Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse. We are ready to begin our culminating mural that will educate visitors to the wonders of this place. We've studied how leaves come in different shapes and sizes, wondered at the patterns of a butterfly wing and have been awed by a seed sprouting.
The joy in teaching comes from watching their excitement as they discover how to use watercolor pencils or see tiny hairs on the surface of a stem. They are becoming keen observers of their environement and want to share what they are learning. The mural will be unveiled in February, a perfect time to look forward to spring.
"This project is supported by a Neighborhood Arts Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events."
"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses." -- Hanna Rion
Every year there are always a few people on my holiday gift list that prove to be a challenge. You know who I mean, that person who is on a diet, doesn't cook, is allergic to most essential oils and perfumes and has enough holiday ornaments to decorate trees up and down the block. I love to knit and crochet, but I don't have the time this year. So what to do???? Terrariums! They are quick to make and can be personalized with plants and miniatures specific to the recipient. Add a little Santa or gnome for that holiday touch.
You will need: horticultural charcoal gravel, pepples or marbles potting soil fishbowl or glass jar of any size and style plants of your choice (African violets, ferns, ivy, coleuses, small palms, baby tears, moss or lichens) decorative pebbles miniature figurines small hand trowel kitchen gloves scissors newsprint or brown paper
1. Protect your work surface. Cover your table or counter with paper. This will not only protect the surface, but make for easier clean up. While you are at it, protect your hands and put on your gloves.
2. Clean your jar or bowl in hot, sudsy water and air dry. I supported my local charity shop by making container purchases there, but you could just as easily raid your recylcle bin. Mason jars are also a cute touch.
3. Add a one inch layer of gravel for drainage. I used glass pebbles, but you could also use small rocks you've collected or even chips of broken crockery.
4. Add a 1/2 inch layer of horticultural charcoal. The charcoal pulls the impurities out of the soil and improves drainage.
5. Add a 3-4 inch layer of potting soil. Start fresh with a new bag of potting soil. Have fun with it. Make small hills for different viewpoints within your terrarium.
6. Planting time! Arrange your plants in the terrarium until you have a composition you like. Dig holes in the soil with the trowel (or fingers if your trowel is too large). Snip off any dead leaves on the plants and then carefully remove them from their pots. I bought a selection of miniature violets I couldn't resist!
7. Create a scene. Add ferns and a few plastic dinosaurs for a Jurassic look. I wanted something a bit more whimsical and went for a gnome garden. Add a few decorative stones or moss. If using craft moss, water the plants first or the moss may turn yellow.
8. A few growing tips. Terrariums are easy to keep, even the blackest of black thumbs can manage one. Add a card with a few tips. Don't over water. Touch the soil with your finger and if damp, hold off another week with the water. Use filterd water at room temperature. Most water systems contain chlorine. Chlorine dissipates in the air if you leave a full watering out overnight. Trim plants if they grow too big.
9. Deliver in person. Call ahead as this is not a gift that can linger on the front doorstep in cold weather.
A small bag of potting soil, gravel and charcoal is enough supply for 3-4 terrariums, so don't forget to make one for yourself!
Here's my own rendition of the purple coneflower made from beads and wire.
The blackberry lily isn't a native wildflower though often seen in wildflower plantings. It was introduced to the United States from East Asia and while it produces lovely flowers, it is invasive spreading by seed and rhizomes.
A walk through an alley last summer brought this surprise, a great mullein at over 6' feet in height growing through a crack in the cement. It's another non-native wildflower, this time from Eurasia. The plant spreads itself by reseeding. If you have one in your garden and want to keep if from taking over, head it before it seeds. The seeds are hardy and can last in the soil for several decades before germinating!
Of course, wildflowers are as beautiful when fading as when in full flower. These last two photos are from an mid-autumn walk through the Skokie River Nature Preserve in Lake Forest, IL.