Something on your mind? ? ? :-)

If you would like to leave a comment to tell me what you like or if you would like to share an experience you have had, have suggestions for new adventures, or would just like to share what's on your mind, please feel free to do so! I would really, really love to hear any feedback you would care to offer!

When you click on the comments link at the bottom of the post, you will be presented with choices for logins, if you do not already have one of the accounts listed, or you do not choose to login with that account, you can always choose the anonymous option, in which case your name would come up as Anonymous! If you choose to use one of the other log in options, your name would appear as the public name you list for that account. For example, mine would appear as Willow's Quiet Corner, and, of course, your email would not show!

Thanks! And, again, thanks for stopping by! I really hope to hear from you and to see you again soon! Let me know how you think I am doing! :-)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bowers Museum Day Trip

First, I just want to say my heart goes out to all the people who have been affected by the devastating tornadoes that are tearing apart so many lives this year.  I hope the terrible waves of devastation are over, there has been more than enough suffering.  


I received an email the other day reminding me the exhibit at the Bowers Museum, Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold Van Pelt was ending this weekend.  So, I made sure to scurry over there this afternoon to take a peek.  When I got there, I discovered there were also a couple of other exhibits that looked very interesting, so I was very pleased I had made the effort to get there.  But, it is going to make for a bit of a long post!  ;-)

It was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining and the slight breeze was soothing and cool.  If you've never been to the Bowers, you should make sure to visit someday.  It is a little gem of a museum tucked into the heart of Santa Ana.  It's grounds are sometimes used for weddings and wedding photographs.  In fact, as I was leaving and taking pictures of their gorgeous roses, I was the sole spectator for a wedding photo shoot that was going on on their lawn, while half a world away, there was another wedding taking place that the entire world was watching.

I must apologize in advance that my photos came out blurry.  I was allowed to photograph in two of the galleries, but was not allowed to use flash or tripod, but I did the best I could without them.  I was also shooting through the glass of the display cases and trying to avoid the reflections as much as possible.  The photos looked much better when reviewed on the camera than they did when I got home and got them all downloaded!  . . . Funny that!  ;-)

Anyway, this post is going to be a bit heavy on photographs, even though they are not the best quality.

On the way to the gallery where the gemstone carvings were displayed, I passed by this glass sculpture by Loretta Yang titled, A Great Wish.  It is such a sweet sculpture, but I wish it had a better background against which to view it!  It is nice to have the light behind it, but it would be great if there wasn't the window/door behind it.

This little agate beastie with the little gold nose is actually a drinking vessel.  It sat prominently in the front display case to welcome you into the room.

He used a variety of materials, such as this petrified palm wood for this jar.

And agate for these spoons.

And amethyst for this sweet little cup.  Could you just imagine this in a blue sapphire, emerald green or ruby red?

I was amazed by the quartz items!  I thought they were glass pieces decorated with the gemstones, but no . . . they were actually pieces carved out of large blocks of clear quartz adorned with other bits of carved gemstones.

Here's a little bit of a close up of the one with the aquamarine base.

A quartz apothecary jar.

The quartz flower vase has little pink tourmaline flowers and green tourmaline leaves peeking out from the little cut out on the side of the vase.

Just look at these quartz eggs and the carved jewels!  How beautiful!

And a close-up of those delicious looking little jewels.

Ito Jakuchu - Rooster, Hen and Hydrageas
After visiting the Van Pelt gallery I decided to check out the Ito Jakuchu: A Man with No Age exhibit.  It's not the sort of art I usually get overly excited about, but I really did enjoy his work.  They didn't allow photography in that exhibit, so I am borrowing a few images from the book that I succumbed to buying from the museum shop; Japanese Masterworks from The Price Collection.  I learned quite a bit about their painting techniques that gave me new respect for their works.  Made me want to get my face right up to the paintings to inspect them even closer.  Too bad museums tend to frown on that type of thing!

Ito Jakuchu - Cranes, Bamboo and Flowering Plum
Apparently, they use extremely thin ink and never overlap their strokes, so the ink doesn't crack when the scrolls are rolled and unrolled.  Mistakes cannot be erased or corrected.  Everything has to be placed correctly.  There was also a display of the types of brushes (along with a video of an artist showing his brushes and sharing how they were made and cleaned) and a display of the types of pigments used as well.  It was all very interesting and inspiring.

Ito Jakuchu - Tiger
I just loved this little tiger!  The pose seems so whimsical to me.  Just a tiger taking a little bath, perhaps in preparation of a nice little nap!  If you could just see the detail, nearly every hair is individually drawn.

Then before I tottered off to Tangata to see if I could rustle up some dessert I passed by the Quilts: Two Centuries of American Tradition and Technique and couldn't resist popping in to have a look see.  I was also allowed to photograph in there, but again, no flash/tripod, so you can just get a bit of an idea of the quilts they had on display.  These were some of my favorites.

Star of Bethlehem Quilt c. 1840
This one is an example of the Star of Bethlehem pattern made of cotton by an unknown maker c. 1840.

Rose Wreath Quilt c. 1850
This example of the Rose Wreath pattern, c. 1850 was hand appliqued, hand quilted and hand set by an unknown maker.  I love the colors in it.  

Lace and Silk Quilt
I forgot to take a snap of the information card for this one, but I seem to remember that it was a lace quilt from the Victorian era.  I had never seen a vintage quilt that had incorporated lace in it before and I would have loved to take it home with me!

Signature Quilt c. 1930 - Pleasant Grove, Missouri
This pretty blue and white Signature Quilt c. 1930 hails from Pleasant Grove, Missouri and has dozens and dozens of signatures on it.  I wonder if any of your friends or relatives might have signed it?

Double Checkerboard Yo-Yo Quilt c. 1934 by Mrs. Grace Deane Anderson
I like yo-yo's and thought this quilt was really cute.  A lot of work, but really cute!  I especially liked the way she used the yo-yo's in the edging.  It was made by Mrs. Grace Deane Anderson c. 1934.

Glorified Nine Patch c. 1940 by Nancy Beard Webb
This Glorified Nine Patch was made by Nancy Beard Webb from Greenfield, Missouri c. 1940.  It was hand pieced and quilted.

I got delayed enough that I missed dessert at Tangata's, but the museum shop was still open, so I ended up buying more books!  I just can't seem to resist!  There was the one I mentioned above on the Price Collection, The Fine Art of Kimono Embroidery and a few others about American Indians.

I polished off the afternoon with a few snaps of the roses on their grounds.  They were just beautiful!

Oh, and I did finally get my dessert!  I stopped by Dairy Queen on the way home and treated myself to a chocolate dipped ice cream cone!  Yummmm! ! ! ! !

Well, I guess that is more than enough for one day!  I sure hope you'll come along on my next trip!  I am heading down to San Diego in the morning!  I hope to share that trip with you in a couple of days!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pretty, Pretty Bowls

My friend is getting ready to pack up her house for a big move and she had a few things she didn't want to take along.  So she gave me these sweet little bowls.  Her parents got them in a trade with a family in Germany sometime in the mid-late 40's or early 50's.  I just love them!  They look so sweet and spring-y!  (Thank you, my friend! ! ! ! )  I have been searching online for information on them.

So far, I haven't had as much luck as I had hoped.  Although, I am very much leaning towards believing they are from the von Schierholz factory in Germany, which has been producing porcelain since 1817 in the town of Plaue in Thuringia.  I did find a bowl online that is very, very similar to the ones she gave me.  The makers marks are very close, but not quite the same.

This is the one I found on the internet (it has fewer flowers around the rim than mine, but otherwise, they appear to be the same):

This is the maker's mark on the back of it:

And, these are the ones I have:

And the mark on the back:

Here is a closer look:

In the lower right corner, there appears to be a 6564 stamped and just below that an 8 and then right where the bottom curves up, there is a small 2.  The other one appears to have the same markings minus the little 2, but the 8 is very faint, even more faint than on this one.

The crown and shield appear to be the same on both the one found on the internet and mine, but mine do not have the name von Shierholz on them, and the "handmalerei" notation (German for hand-painted) is in a different text/font style.  It appears there are many variations on the makers marks for this company based on the number of different ones I found on the web, but none are quite like the one I have.  The one above is the closest I've found so far.

I would love to know when they were made and if they are, in fact, von Schierholz.  One of these days I may take them with me to an antique shop and see if anyone can help me on this.  In the meantime, is there anybody out there who can shed any light on them for me?  I'd really appreciate help you might be able to offer me! 

Thanks for taking a look and for any help you might be able to provide!  Talk to you soon!

Death of a Strawberry

Ok, I've gone from doing the happy dance over my very first strawberry to a sad dance.  Remember the picture I showed you yesterday?  The nice bright red, delicious strawberry that I thought I'd be able to have as part of my breakfast . . .

This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon:

This is what I found this morning:

Good thing I still have some strawberries for my breakfast from the Farmer's Market last Sunday, because somebody beat me to it!  Not only did it get eaten right off the vine, but if you'll notice, it's little green companion to the right is MIA, too! ! ! !

Birds?  Lizards?  (Do they even eat strawberries?)  Opossums?  Raccoons?  Cats?  (nawww, they don't eat strawberries, do they?) Rats?  Hippopotami?  . . . Nei-i-i-ighbors?  (nawww, they wouldn't do that!) Now, I really don't mind sharing, but did they HAVE to eat the FIRST ones? ? ?  :(     (* * little wail * *) 

I've temporarily moved the pot to my patio table . . .  We'll see if that works  . . . for now! ! ! !

One step forward and about twelve steps back!  :)    Does anyone else have so much trouble just trying to plant a little something to nibble on?  ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Springtime in the Garden

Around the mailbox

Hello, hello, hello! ! ! !  First, I would like to welcome Anna, another lovely Italian with a wonderful little blog.  Benvenuto!  And thank you for following along!  I ran over to her blog and read every post.  I think you would enjoy visiting her as well!

It was a beautiful day here today!  I was way behind on my outside chores, so I spent the day trimming, pruning, and being surprised.

Remember the picture of the little strawberry blossom from my last post?  This is what it looks like today!  My first strawberry of the season!  It is almost ready for my breakfast!  Yayyyyy!  It even has some friends joining it!  Yummmm!

I had neglected things for so long, I had a lot of fixing and catching up to do!  The African Boxwood was trying to take over my poor neighbor's driveway, so I made that my first bit of business today and got it all trimmed up and behaving much better. . . . but, we'll see how long that lasts!  :-)

Then it was on to corralling the geraniums who apparently believe they should have free reign over the entire side of the house.  The naughty little dickens were even trying to cover and smother the poor begonias in their pots.  Over on the other side of the house, I found that the oregano had strangled the poor Serrano chilis to death . . .  well, it wasn't the best spot for them anyway . . .   And my cilantro had gone completely wild and was trying to take over the neighbor's yard.  Whack, whack, whack . . .  I cut it all back!  Who knew gardening could be so violent?  ;-)  I seem to remember it being a much more quiet and soothing activity.  Guess that means I shouldn't let it go so long next time!

I had planted some lunaria biennis, or Money Plant, seeds last fall and they are now flowering and producing the pods that will end up turning a kind of silvery white later.  Some people call them silver dollar plants because the pods are reminiscent of the coins.  The pods are still small and green for now, and when the sun is behind them, they sure stand out, as you can see from the bright yellow green pods above.  I am so looking forward to seeing them with the sun behind them when they turn white, making them look like they are glowing.  I am planning on using them in arrangements and potpourri mixes for visual interest.  I find them so interesting and intriguing, I might just gather them into a great big bouquet of silvery-white papery pods and set them in front of a light and wait to see if a band of dancing fairies come out to play underneath the makeshift lanterns!

But, the best part of the day was when I noticed the lilacs have their first little tiny blossoms!  I was so excited I had to run for the camera.  I just wish I had noticed them a little earlier while the sun was still on them!  I didn't even see the blossoms coming and I was checking very carefully for them last weekend!  I had a very difficult time trying to get a good photo because of all the background "noise" in the pic, which I just couldn't seem to edit out no matter how I tried.  I finally got a cloth bag to put behind it to make it visible.  Not the best pic, but  . . . the first lilac bloom of the season still needs to be recorded and celebrated!   Woooo-hoooo!

So, celebrate I did!  I grabbed some lemons from my tree and made a special batch of my fresh-squeezed peach lemonade to enjoy once I put my feet up for the day!  Even after a long day of work, and bags and bags of trimmings, I am not even half-way done out there but my back is soooo ready for a rest!  The lemonade was the perfect way to call it a day and savor the tastes and smells of spring in the waning sunlight!  Why don't you grab a glass and join me?  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Raised Bed "Kinda Square Foot" Gardening

My Strawberry Pot

I have another friend to welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere!  Benvenuto, Maristella!  Another new friend hailing from Italy!  She has a very sweet blog that I can't wait to explore further!

Each space is about 6" x 9", not exactly a square foot, but  . . . I can adapt it, right?

Well, I know you can't see it from this little tiny peak at a corner of my garden, so you might not be able to tell, but I worked really, really hard to put this together.  I now have a 5' by 20' raised bed garden.  I used chimney flues to build it, so I have lots of little "compartments" to work with.  It took quite a lot of work to get them in there all straight and all level.  I'm really hoping they don't end up leaching too much lime into the soil, but I am using a bit more peat moss in the soil than usual to try to counteract it and will try to monitor the ph levels to make sure it doesn't get too high!

I spent about a week trying to get the trellises all painted.  I am using them as the dividers in the garden.  There are 8 of them and it took several coats, but I am mostly pleased with how they came out.  I sure hope they last a while, because I am so over painting them I am not looking forward to do any more of them!

Anyway, after I got the planters built, the soil in and the painted dividers on, I stood back and admired my handiwork and got all excited about being able to see it all planted up and producing lots of great veggies on which I could dine.  I couldn't wait to get some seeds started and ready to plant.  I thought it was going to look really nice.

All that excitement lasted exactly one night.  Because the very next day, I went out to admire my handiwork again and found that it had been dug up.  Holes everywhere!  Absolutely everywhere!  I was sad!

It wasn't long before I found the culprit.  Or, perhaps I should say, the culprit found me.  I was filling all the holes and repairing all the damage that was done, when this little creature showed up.  

She's kinda cute, isn't she?  She's also sweet as can be.  She just wanted to love and be loved.  Rubbing up against me and rolling over on her back to rub her chin on my shoes.  I gave her a little attention and played with her a bit and gave her a little talking to about destroying my garden.

As kittens are wont to do, she merely gazed at me, totally unfazed and absolutely puzzled that I could possibly think that I hadn't built this 5' x 20' contraption as her own private kitty box!   *sigh*   We have had several more bouts of filling holes and smoothing soil.  I have never seen a cat who likes to dig as much as a dog before!  She digs just to dig, in addition to wanting to fill them with . . . um . . .  special treats for me to clean up.  Shades of my raccoon wars!

So, until I am ready to plant, I have covered the top with every pot, bucket, piece of plastic, etc I can find to try to keep her from making any further messes while I come up with another way to keep her out when I do finally get things planted so she doesn't undo all the work I am putting into getting my little seedlings ready to plant.  I'm afraid it went from looking neat, clean and orderly to looking like a giant junk pile!  I couldn't bear to take any pics of it as it looks now.

Guess what my next project is while I wait for the seedlings to be ready to plant?  I am making a kind of moveable, sectional type fence to go around it.  Something I can easily lift out a section at a time to work in the garden.  I think I may have already mentioned in a previous post or two that I really am not knowledgeable about how to make some of my crazy ideas come to fruition.  I just don't know I can't do something.  I get an idea of what I want and then do my best to try to make it happen.  I have my fingers crossed, hoping this latest animal deterrent system will work!  Especially considering all the extra work I get to do . . . just to have my little garden!  Cross your fingers for me!  See you next time!