Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another walk in the garden

Hydrangea 'Blushing Bride'

Buddleia 'White Knight'

Elephant ear



Nicotiana + Verbena bodnariensis

Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Regrets at Summer's End

Where does the summer go? I feel a bit of melancholy at the end of summer. Long days seem to slip away so fast.

And now we're at summer's end, looking toward the next season. The list of projects I wanted to complete is long. And I just want to be in the garden, sharing its beauty and plenty with Mr. Chippy and Mr. Toad.

Here's an early summer project still to be completed: ATCs for my two sisters. Ack, ack! And the theme was my selection this time: Strawberry. Note the due date: June 16. Why, that's just last week, no? No?!

I will make the cards. . . . very very soon. Promise.

If anyone is looking for me, I'm in the garden.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Roasting the Harvest

Here in the shady suburbs, we have a small garden patch out by the street -- a raised bed on one end -- just enough room for tomato plants. It's always so difficult to temper my springtime tomato buying. This year we have two Green Zebra and one each of Sweet Million, Fantastic, Superfantastic, Principe Borghese, Juliet and Roma.

The Sweet Million plant is over 6 ft tall now, some of the others nearly so.

Juliet has lovely grape tomatoes all lined up on a stem.

It seemed forever for any of the tomatoes to ripen. . . . but suddenly we seem to have ripe tomatoes on all plants all at once.

And just when I needed it, I've two methods of oven roasting tomatoes. This one, from Smitten Kitchen blog, I tried today with the Juliet tomatoes. Some are now diced up and put over a mini farfalle pasta , sprinkled with parmesan. Delicious!

The second method roasts the tomatoes a bit longer and slower, resulting in an oven-dried tomato. This recipe is in the Chicago Botanic Garden newsletter, coming from the owner of The Rustic Kitchen in Chicago:

Oven-dried Tomatoes

Slice six large tomatoes or halve smaller ones and arrange in one layer on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, as well as thyme or rosemary, if you like. Place in a 200-degree oven for about eight hours.

Let cool, then transfer to plastic containers and freeze.

Enjoy all winter in salads, sauces, sandwiches, and flatbreads.

For delicious infused olive oil, add enough oil to cover the tomatoes to drizzle on salads or to finish off pasta or risotto.

I intend to try this one tomorrow. Yum! Tomatoes tonight, tomorrow, and in the winter, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vintage Fabric Goodness

Just got this great piece of barkcloth fabric -- gray and wine -- washed it and put it on the line.

And this sweet little piece, too, with bows -- a nice weight of cotton.

I love finding the odd fabric pieces at the thrift or garage sales . . . . I try to wash them soon after purchase, otherwise I get them all confused up and can't remember if I've washed them or not. Right now a couple more are 'living' in the back room, waiting their turn in the soapy water, and there's also a couple of felted/almost felted sweaters back there, ready for another spin in the washer and dryer.

But aren't there just so many wonderful new fabrics out there? (These are from Superbuzzy, purchased last year.)

I make myself crazy looking at the various sites with such goodies for sale. And then I tell myself to go do fabric laundry and then actually make something out of the fabrics I already have.

(More last-year purchases . . . again from Superbuzzy and from local quilt shops.)

But who can resist? Maybe one little on-line purchase, soon. Just one. Or, while I'm paying for postage, maybe a couple of yards. Of different fabrics. And some more to coordinate. And to contrast. And I really need some red with white dots. . . .

I think I need to go do more fabric laundry.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sewing again!

Newest sewing project completed: a tote bag, made for my cousin. She supplied me with this fab fabric -- it's irridescent, sputnik-y, and altogether cool. Inside is royal purple.

We went on a 'photo shoot' together at the Evanston Art Center. Oh, what a beautiful old building. I need to go back and explore and photograph some more.

Wouldn't you love to have a greenhouse like this? Details are amazing -- the carved orb begs to be touched.

And next door is the Grosse Pointe lighthouse. A stately old beauty on the shores of Lake Michigan. I love this place.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thrifty Seibel Plates -- Back to the 70s

These are 'Trellis' plates, designed for Mikasa 'Duplex' by Ben Seibel, recently thrifted. The line was in production from 1974-75, my first two years in Chicago. The gold and green colors are so 70s, I think -- earth-tone colors.

And maybe that's why I strangely love these dishes -- not my usual colors or style, but the graphic quality and colors of the flowers remind me so much of the mid-70s, my first years of solo independence and self-expression. Trippin' on plates.