Fall Gardening

I don't consider myself a great gardener although I've had a few gardens. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't. For example I usually get a profusion of herbs but for the last two years not a single beet has turned into anything but bug eaten tops. But I keep planting and trying and learn something new with every garden. I have never grown garlic and this year I am going to give it a try. You can plant it either in the spring or fall so I am going to try fall planting and keep my fingers crossed. The variety I chose is Late Italian. I would like to say I scoured through all sorts of varieties and this one was best for my purposes, but in reality it was the variety the store had left and I'm sure it will be just fine. It apparently is a soft neck variety with a tight wrapper and nice fat cloves and good for braiding. I planted them this morning and so goes another garden experiment.

I have waiting for me a large bag full of green tomatoes. I was tempted to toss them in the compost bin but then I found a few recipes to try, some green tomato chutney and green tomato salsa. I'll report back after I get them made.

I also took some photos of my backyard as winter sets in, a cool dried fern which I might bring in and see if I can do something interesting with and some very sour concord grapes on the vine. I probably could have made jam with them but it would have taken 40 pounds of sugar to make it palatable. Even the birds haven't eaten them!


Get Creative

I was perusing my new favorite site, Pinterest, and found this great poster. It came from the blog Divas and Dreams which focuses on photography and lifestyle. While some of these suggestions focus on photography they could be transformed into the technique/media of choice. I think there are so many great ideas in this poster it should be pinned in several places in my house...my studio, of course, above my computer, the refrigerator, in the bathroom! Enjoy and get inspired!


Wisconsin Quilt Expo

One of the fun things I did this summer was go to the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison. It was sponsored by Nancy Zieman, of Sewing With Nancy fame, and so my husband took to calling it the Nancy-Palooza which I thought was quite funny.

I didn't discover this event until a few weeks before it took place so I didn't go to any workshops. Taking in the vendor area was overwhelming enough and I only planned on spending one day. There were booths with fabric and more fabric, sewing machines and sewing machine cabinets, patterns and threads and one of my favorite really expensive things, the embroidery machines. I'm not really interested in owning one but the technology is pretty amazingCheck Spelling.

One of my favorite shops was Trims on Wheels which was a funny little booth filled with all sorts of trims and buttons. If I had an idea for some great trims I could have gone wild in that space. I got some marvelous badges that were made in India and kept my stash to just a few.

Marcia Derse has a line of fabrics that are very modern and fun. I spent a great deal of time there trying to choose among so many good choices.


Missing and a Trip

Lately I have been having a hard time getting here to post. I have been feeling a lack of inspiration in many areas of my life and, really, that isn't very surprising given the last year or so has been filled with upheaval, change and sadness. But, given that, I decided it was time to move forward and for the last several weeks I have been giving The Artist's Way a go again. If you are not familiar with this book, it was the first written by Julia Cameron and it is about how to get creatively unstuck. Some of it is hard work but so worth it. I immediately felt more energetic and now I have some ideas that I am working on in the studio.

In the midst of all of this my dad and I went on a short weekend trip to South Dakota to visit my great uncle and his family. The weekend was gorgeous and we took a really fun side trip to find the cabin on Big Stone Lake that my grandparents once owned. We only took one wrong turn but when we found the right road we knew it immediately because of the steep hill with a curve at the bottom that leads to the cabin. Of course it had changed some but it was still recognizable. There had been a large bank of windows all across the front of the cabin that have been replaced with two smaller windows which I am sure are more energy efficient but I thought the panoramic view of the lake was spectacular back in the day.

My great uncle had been a farmer and he had taken the farm over from his father, my great-grandfather and it is still in the family being run by my second cousin and his two sons. It is not the same farm I remember, but farming is not the same as it was 40 years ago. Visiting a farm in the fall when the harvest is coming in is truly a fun event. Enjoy the photos of the cabin, lake and some farm scenes!

P.S. I'm going to try to be a more regular blogger!