Saturday, September 27, 2008

September Flowers in the Garden

September is a great time for color in the garden. The dahlias, hardy hibiscus and morning glories are at their peak. The above is one of my dahlias, as are the next two flowers. Once we get a freeze, I'll need to dig up the tubers and store them in the garage until next spring.

Here's one of the garden residents:

I still have some glorious poppies:

The celosia, Gentian sage, sunflowers and sweet peas are vivid annuals that are at their best right now. I'm amazed how well the sweet peas have lasted this year - it was a cooler summer than usual. The vivid pink Japanese and blue Heavenly Blue morning glories are also gorgeous as well as the bluish purple morning glories that have been reseeding for years.

The hardy hibiscus don't even start blooming until almost September. The flowers are huge and have to be seen to be believed. They are perennial, but don't poke out of the ground until the beginning of June.

And finally, the roses are in the peak of their last flush of the year. These are some of my repeat blooming old garden roses.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally Another Doll Treasury

It had bee a while since I'd made an Etsy treasury featuring art dolls, so I did one tonight. You can find it here until Thursday evening.

Another Bright Hot Pad added

Just popped another bright hot pad into my shop, made with Laurel Burch quilt material. I've got lots more in various stages of assembly.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Grapes are Ripe

This is one of many bowls of grapes we're picking right now. The grapes are Himrod Golden Seedless, which is a white seedless, very sweet table grape.
This year we're just going to eat them and make more wine with them. Last year I made more jelly than I'll use in a life time, as well as two gallons of a very smooth dry wine. The wine was so good, we're making more this year. I predict we'll end up with 4 gallons from this year's crop since I'm not making jelly and we solve the raccoon problem by putting a hot wire around the grape.
The vine is huge. It stretches about 25 feet wide and is about 6 feet deep. We've found that very hard pruning in the spring to remove old wood gets us the best crop of grapes. Since it fruits on last years wood, we try and remove most of the wood that is at least two years old, leaving the younger, more productive vines.
This is what it looks like, freshly pruned:

And this is what it looks like in the late summer:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breathless In Berthoud Border Morris Ale

In the end of August this year, our local Border Morris Team, Breathless in Berthoud, celebrated their 5th anniversary. For those who may not have heard of it, Morris Dancing is a very old English folk dance that was old even in Shakespeare's time, and it involves clashing sticks, waving hankies and wearing bells. Border Morris comes from the area around the border between England and Wales. It tends to be more wild and energetic that other Morris dance styles and the dancers often wear colorful rags.
An "Ale" is what Morris dancers call a party where various teams (called "sides") get together to dance and drink beer. Lots of beer. At this Ale, we had our two local teams - Breathless of Berthoud Border Morris out of Berthoud, Colorado, who put on the Ale and Maroon Bells from Denver. Visiting teams were Prairie Waves from Omaha, Nebraska, Morton Bay Figs from San Diego, California, and Blackthorn Morris from St. Louis, Missouri.
I first heard about Morris dancing from my father, who danced it as a youth back in the 1930's in England. When I finally saw it for the first time here in Colorado, I finally understood what the heck he had been talking about. Since my legs don't work very well, I can't dance, but my spouse and younger daughter both dance for the Maroon Bells. I've just recently started playing for them as a musician.
I've including some videos from the Ale so you can get an idea of what a Morris party looks like.
Here we are in Oscar Blues in Lyons, Colorado, drinking beer and dancing. This dance is a Molly dance - usually done to someone singing acapella. This is Raggle Taggle Gypsy:

Here, all the teams are dancing "The Idiot" in the park across from Oscar Blues:

And here they are dancing "Donkey Riding":

More information on Breathless in Berthoud can be found here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Drying Tomatoes in the Dehydrator

Every year I get a large surplus of tomatoes and a lot ripen around the same time. Often I can them, but this year I still have many jars of canned tomatoes, chili, tomato mince meat, etc. Another way to store excess tomatoes is to dry them. This reduces the volume greatly and the result can be stored in the freezer taking up much less space than undried tomatoes would. I might even be able to store them in the pantry, but since there are no preservatives, I prefer to play it safe and freeze them. Once dried, they keep for a very long time. When I want to use them, I try to remember to put a bag of them in the refrigerator ahead of time to thaw. They're really good in salads, in stews, or straight out of the bag.

Here's my last crop of tomatoes from the garden.

Here they are cut up and put in the dehydrator. It takes at least 10 hours, to dry them.

And here they are, ready for the freezer, or to eat like chips. The cherry tomatoes are incredibly sweet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Kitties in the Garden

Donovan and Eric were out wandering around the garden a few minutes ago enjoying themselves while we picked grapes. Donovan wanted a belly rub. (upper right)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Kitty Pot Holders

I was going to post about some more kitty pot holders in my shop using Laurel Burch quilt fabric panels. But they're gone already!

These are the same as the ones I posted about here.
These are made using a layer of Insul Bright heat resistant batting and a layer of Hobbs cotton batting. I'll be making more very soon.

New Gadget to Follow my Blog

Blogger just came up with a cute new gadget to make it easier for folks to follow my blog. Just go down the left hand side of my blog and click on the link. I'm hoping other folks will add this to their blogs so I can click on their links and follow their blogs too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award

Last week I received an award for my blog from Groovey Crafts. Thank you so much - I'm very flattered! Groovey Crafts has a great blog that is on my regular reading list. I'd pass the award on to her, but since she's already been awarded, I will now award seven other great blogs. Here are the rules:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog;

2. Link the person you received your award from;

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs;

4. Put links of those blogs on yours; and

5. Leave a message on the blogs that you’ve nominate

The first is DZFANTASY - great features on other Etsy shops, giveaways, and how-tos on things like doll hair, etc.

Next is The Funky Felter with great descriptions of her processes on felting and other very useful information for people in the arts and craft business.

Then Sand Fibers with her gorgeous eye candy, Wednesday Treasury collections and descriptions of her work.

WaterRose with her beautiful pictures of her hand crafted obsessions.

Victor the Vampire Kitty - I like reading about Victor's escapades.

Beaded Tail Who talks about her kitties and her beaded jewelry.

Finally, Gem Compendium which is very educational site about gem identification, with great pictures.

It turns out I was also awarded this blog award by Beaded Tail too. Thanks!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Cloth Doll Design Process - Part 2

This will a relatively short post since all I did was add some bat wings to black "bat" cat dolls for Halloween. I resized the bat wings from my dragon pattern to fit the cat and that was it.

I do plan on designing fairy wings for this cat pattern soon, as well as a more complex design for painting the face and body.

You can find this little black bat cat here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Juried into the Foothills Art Center Holiday Art Market

I've been accepted into the Foothills Art Center Holiday Art Market which will take place in Golden, Colorado from November 15 to December 24, 2008 this year. This will be my forth year there. This show is filled with lovely eye candy from local artists, so if you're in town, come on down and take a look.

Foothills Art Center, 809 15th Street, Golden Colorado.