Friday, February 24, 2012

Cloudy Days

This last week in the midst of February has brought cloudy, windy weather. I find the constant wind somewhat depressing. I don't know why. It gives me a feeling of claustrophobia. Strange, right?

My range (cooking) finally has met its end of days. I have been limited to using only one good burner; the other one that works has in the last week or so been erratic in its heating- either very high or low. The oven has for years been difficult to gauge temperature. Most baked goods burn on top and still are not cooked all that well in the middle. But.... we've lived with it because Tom and I have this thing about not wanting to make such a big "footprint" like throwing items in the garbage pit.  Also, we don't have the money.

I remember when I was in college, someone, I don't remember who, shared this image with me. In most primitive cultures, they had to "live with" their garbage. Meaning, whenever they threw out their garbage, the non-usables, that stuff stayed within site, on their land, in their village. Every day they passed this growing mass. Can you imagine if you had only your side yard to throw your garbage? Moreover, if you moved, you had to bring your garbage with you. How would you change your lifestyle regarding reusing things as many times as possible, or making due with what you have; fixing something instead of buying a "new, improved" alternative?

It was the erratic burner that made us finally break down and commit to buy a new range because we were worried about an electrical problem. We have to be more careful about these kind of things due to the parrot; he is susceptible to smoke. And we just made it in time for Lowes' 18 months no interest/ 10 percent off deal. The company that installs will take away the old range for "parts." Yes, we signed her up as a donor stove.

Here she is, the new hearth of our home.

It should be delivered and installed by mid-March.

I like to use the oven in the fall and winter. I have a rice cooker that sits on top of the range. I use the rice cooker every day. I use it not only for rice, but for all of my grains, even for cous cous.

I also use a dehydrator. I use the dehydrator mostly in the Spring and Summer. It is in these seasons that we eat a primarily raw diet.

We always feel better, physically and mentally in these seasons. I don't know if it has anything to do with eating habits. I do know that it is more work on me to prepare raw foods for a week of eating.

But, we still have a few more weeks of Winter, and I plan on heating up my beautiful new range and cooking with joy.

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination.
- Teri Gullemets

I said before, that the days have been cloudy. It has been rainy, also. I suppose this is a similar sky to a northern sky before snow. It is a winter sky. Besides having to use my ever active imagination, there are other things that bring color to my world in Winter.

We have the Painted Buntings and the Indigo Buntings come visit in the Winter. The are prolific. We get more and more every year. They are so delightful.

Here are two prints from Charles Harper, of whom's work I love! Tom gave me a book of his prints for my birthday one year.

I bought some red geraniums to pot up.  I read in my Cottage Witchery: Natural Magick for Hearth and Home by Ellen Dugan that red geraniums bring protection to the home and are often planted by the front door. I am all about protection. Ellen also notes that local Midwestern folklore believes that the way to spot "good Witches" in neighborhoods is to look for the red geraniums or red begonias.
I can't resist adding this picture of red geraniums on a double window sill. How pretty they look inside. I don't have the light inside to grow plants.

The other thing she mentions as an old enchanting tradition is to paint the front door blue. Yes, I have a blue front door.  Riviera blue, is what the paint sample was named.  But I didn't paint it because of this book: I actually painted it blue because of another reason, one I couldn't remember, but, I liked the color. There you see Alobar. This area that we put a screen around really cut down on the mosquitoes that use to follow us in through the front door!

I made laundry soup again this week. I have been buying the hard laundry bar to grate and then add with the washing soda, but, have found a website that gives recipe and instructions to make the simple bar soap. I can make many bar soaps and then grate these to add the washing soda and hot water mix to make laundry detergent. The reason I make laundry detergent is because it saves money, plastic bottles and I do like the clean "no smell smell" it has. I also make a "green bleach" for my laundry using hydrogin peroxide, water and a little lemon oil that I keep mixed in a bottle. I add it to loads that have clothes that need extra attention because they are more stained or "smell." This mix is the same as many green bleaches you buy in the store.

Here is the link to the site in case you are interested in making your own soaps. It isn't hard and doesn't take time at all, just maybe an hour in all to last for many months. Plus, you know what goes into the soaps. So this is the link to the basic bar soap recipe website. It has a nice video tutorial to watch as well.

And, to use the laundry detergent, and to add some color to the world, I hang out clothes. It is a good thing to do when it is windy. Not, terribly windy, but just breezy windy. Today, it is like that. Eighty degrees; yes, the sun is shining now and the windy is now breezy.

So color for joy, color for protection, color to get through the cloudy days! Another aspect of the gypsy soul.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Color My World

Pino - The Gypsy
I made myself a promise that I would add color to the world around me this last week. I have said that this is what I have asked of my February Gypsy Muse. I kept this promise.

I still have bits of color on my fingernails as I type this. Acrylic paint, in glorious layers, is hard to get off at the end of the day, and when I know the next day more color will be added on, why worry so much? Interestingly, I am also playing more music. I think that the music is like color in the another vibration.

Yesterday, when I went out to greet Tom home from work, I had an acrylic paint "bindhi" in purple. No wonder the last part of my work seemed so centered (smile)!

I thought about color when I made supper food this week. This is the what Tom brings to work.

I made soup. A stew, really.  I called it Gypsy Stew. You can imagine what this stew is = a little of everything.

I limit my buying to one or two main vegetables of season a week and some essentials like onions, carrots, garlic, carrotts, etc. I also have my herb garden, or what's left of it after the couple of frosts we've had this winter, so in the stew went rosemary, oregano and a little culantra.

I always have on hand grains and dried beans and they compliment the meals. I also make breads in the fall and winter.

So, the Gyspy Stew and Pumpernickle Rye Bread added color.

Also, I found a "new" food in the produce bins. I picked up a Red Prickly Pear.

This is how they grow.

This is how they look cut up.

 And, you can only imagine who loves, loves, loves to eat these....

Another messy picture of Emmett. I have read that the Eclectus parrot is called the "pig" of the parrots. Because of thier enthusiastic, messy eating habits.

I finally pulled the cover off of the sewing machine and have begun working with my clothing redesigning projects. I am sure, like you, I have so many projects. One at a time....

Anyway, unlike my sister, I am not so enamored with the sewing machine. This is one of the projects I had in my "first" pile of ideas.


It is a sweater I picked up at a thrift store for $.50; I like the feather pattern.  I cut up the middle. I stiched along the cut sides to prevent fraying Around the neckline, I added some trim that I took off of a vest that I still have. The trim has a flying duck pattern, so they have an "unmatched match." The sweater had a couple of little snags that I was bothered with, so I added the doiles (antique) that my Grandmother made. The dyed silk ribbon ties it together.  It is the perfect little top to add over many outfits and give a little warmth.

I bought Gel Pens!!! I love them!!

I currently am working on an art projet. It is like a quilt, but not. I have been playing around with the hamsa image for months but couldn't think of how to put it into an art piece.

These are individual canvas boards. I will drill holes in the sides and "stich" together. I am thinking of using jute.

Once all the canvases are done and stiched together I might make a border or just hange as is. Hmmm. Any suggestions? This will probably be an etsy piece.

I might have shown you this "bird" in another post. It is an amazing tree branch that Tom found while on a walk in the scrub with Masala. I was given the floor vase and had the willow sticks and other curly sticks that I included in the piece.

The paints are both acrylic from a set and my house paints. I'm not sure if I'm done. It depends on where I put it in the house. It may be one of those pieces that evolve over time. I can see bits of feather, mirror, beads being added over time. Maybe not.

The little table, was a "side of the road" pick up. Tom brought it around the same time as the piece was being put together. I like the whole piece together.


I found this photographer's portfolio of a Gypsy Wedding in Spain, The Salazars. It belongs to Andriana Lopez Sanfeliu's, and follows a little of the life of Salzar family in Spain getting ready for a wedding.

Andriana LopezSandeliu

Check out her other portfolios. The Salazars' individual portraits are great also. They could inspire some portraits.

The photos are in black and white; and interesting choice when gypsies are known for color. But, even in B&W you can still see the color seeping through. Don't you?


Well, as my February Gypsy stays with me throughout these cool days of Winter I will continue to find my way with color and light. I wish the same for each of you.

May your day dreams be in color. May each step you take spring forth color and light. May your very breath in and out be in the colors you choose. Breathe in Yellow, breathe out Blue. Take your showers in Purple water. Wash your clothes in Green soap. Kiss in Red (of course!)

I think these two nap in color.....


Gypsy playing guitar from Pinterest

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Warms the Heart?

Nothing warms my heart like a bowl of oatmeal on this cold February morning. I'm glad that there is enough to go around!

I hope that you find the "oatmeal" to warm your heart on these winter mornings.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I painted the mirror purple, and the blue/green of the house and then Tom and I hung it on the front wall of the house. It faces North East. 

As I took this picture, the sun was shining; the evening sun hits this part of the yard just right, so the little spots you see are reflections from the mirror reflectors that I have hanging in the trees. If you remember, they are the ones, I wrote about before. I said the squirrels like to throw them around and knock them off the trees - on a weekly basis.

See how magical they make the yard look.

This is what they look like. I sometimes put seaglass in between the tiles of mirror and end with a charm, shell, key, etc.

I really love how the mirror on the front of the house looks. It is behind the gardenia. The gardenia will have more leaves and gorgeous white flowers in the Spring. How beautiful to have that reflected. But right now, when the trees have their branches bare and the maple is in the redbud stage, the open light also looks beautiful in the reflection.

I placed the mirror so that it is just high enough not to show your reflection as you walk up. You see the reflection of the trees and sky as you walk by.

I am projecting my want for more mirrors. I'd like to put a few more to paint in different colors on this same wall.

This is a different angle to view. These are bottles and vases that I picked up at some thrift stores. They are hanging from a piano part; you can't see it in the pictures. I am not sure what part of the piano. Tom took some parts of one that was being thrown away. I painted this one the color of the wood and hung the wire and monfilament to the metal pegs. It has more pegs for the future. Most of the little glass bottles filled with air plants that Tom, Masala and I picked up on our walks. I also put some plant clippings in the vases with water. 

Emmett is sitting on a branch we stuck in a terra cotta pot. We secured the branch in the pot with granite stones that we picked up. It was a heck of alot cheaper than buying a birdstand!

I have been tending to the terrariums and hope to reopen up Tom's Terrariums and Glass Gardens in the Spring. I have the many plants divided up and rooting and terrariums settling in. I want to show these in another post.

I also am "messing around" with Bonsai gardening. I received one for a New Years' gift and it is so interesting. I am currently rooting a ficus; an azalea, and a eucalyptus. They are all cuttings from trees/plants in our yard. I have others that I want to get cuttings from next. I want to get some trays/planters that are interesting. I am going to put that on the list when going to the thrift stores.

The table that the plants are on Tom brought home. Someone was throwing it out. I didn't paint it. The other side of the patio, where the terrariums are and where I have my easel set up, has furniture painted in many colors, but back here by the pool, everything is a bit more natural. Kudra really seemed to enjoy the table. She has taken to this spot and sits here many afternoons. Silly girl.

Well, I think that I have felt the influence of the February Gypsy. She has guided me with color and light and I thank her.

Here is Emmett enjoying Spaghetti squash. Of course, it is a vegetable in season! I give him a little of the seeds that I scoop out; the part we don't eat. I put the seeds and "goop"  back in the shell and put in some extras, like pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. It is kind of like a pinata.  He has fun tearing it apart. The room his cage is in sometimes will have a nut or a piece of squash thrown across the room. How fun, right. But he's pretty and says, "Hello, Gorgeous."

To celebrate the February's Gypsy, I am sharing these three files in jpg. I imagine the craft possibilities are endless. I myself, plant to do a little embroidery, possibly on a cuff/bracelet.



Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February's Gypsy

My February Gypsy is born of the roots of the Earth traveling through the colors of the forests: the trees, the mosses, the leaves, the vines, the very mists and fogs that rise from these places each morning.

She has always had her many scarves, cloaks of textures and variations and as she dances, spins,  and jumps for joy.
They twirl about her, ever increasingly so, creating the slight curtain of mists allowing the titillated mind the travels of the gypsy caravan.

When the evenings are cold; however, she loves a warm and cozy bedroom.

The spreads and blankets remain warm and inviting while she takes the willing traveler on adventures to places of exotic colors, light, sounds and smells.

With roots planted in her home; the February Gypsy journeys, the vehicle her heart, the key her love of stories. Stories from books, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, the classics and current novels all add to the mystery of the February Gypsy's travel.

My February Gypsy appreciates a love for all things beautiful and exotic. She wraps herself warmly - as the weather dictates - in glad rags gathered from all her adventures, near and far. For her, much of her art is her dress. She adds some color to the world around her that the one time deciduous trees have lost, that the flowers once bloomed have now also lost. While the world sleeps in February, she wraps herself and her world in joyful, jewel-like colors.

Inside her home, her caravan wagon, my February Gypsy keeps colors alive in these days of February. She keeps small planters, hangs colorful bottles, dried fruit and strings of beads and colorful strips of fabric patches. In this month she works on furniture projects to call them to the gypsy heart.

Outside, too, the paintbrush will come out and add colorful flair to the greying world around her. She either puts flowers in pots, or throws a shawl on a table for a sunny afternoon tea. Either way, it's an adventure, a journey for the mind's eye each time viewed.

Throughout February, I hope to show in this blog the different adventures I go on as I play my Gypsy. I am already working on some now. I only have to remember to take the pictures - the hardest part sometimes!