A Life of Varied Endeavors

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Color out the Grey – Fall 2013

Deck Color and Edibles Fall 2013 (1 of 3)We’ve had a TON of fog this fall.  Grey, windless days, and DRY!  But some of the colors have been amazing.  I have certain plants in my garden that were selected specifically for their fall colors.  My favorite is a disanthus cercidifolius that gets more sun than is usually recommended (it’s normally a shade-loving shrub).  In the middle of the day in high summer, it gets pretty strong sun but late afternoon shade. It’s been arborized to be a single trunk, and its 10 or 12 feet tall.  It grows near the side of a deck, so we see the top very close up.  With large planters built-in to the deck, there are certain times when we get a showcase picture.  This year, grass and a savoy cabbage get this amazing backdrop.
Deck Color and Edibles Fall 2013 (2 of 3)



Just to the right of this display is a nandina (with pretty blossoms at the moment) that wants to take over some space. Looks nice now, but it will get pruned….

If you like fall color, disanthus cercidifolius is a plant you might love!  It blooms (discretely) early in spring, and colors up early in the fall. Thanks, Miller Garden, for the Fall Color class that introduced me to it several years ago!Deck Color and Edibles Fall 2013 (3 of 3)

May Little Altars – an elephant and beads for me

Little Altars - Elephant May (2 of 4)Here was May’s project.

Once again, my own collected and unfinished treasures provided the inspiration for this month’s Little Altars spot.  Since I was making the spot “for myself” meaning my exchange this month was with me, myself, and I, this was an interesting and sort of indulgent endeavor.  Some sort of serendipitous spell came over me as I wondered around my little places of projects and treasures, and I pretty quickly came up with something that I thought I’d really like.  Nice when there are very few false starts, and that’s what happened this time.

I’m an elephant fan, so the opportunity to use an elephant bead that I’d probably never put on a piece of jewelry was a plus.  And the flat beaded disk has been teasing me to do something with it ever since I made it.  Of course it was supposed to be part of a larger project, but now it’s in a perfectly happy place, pretending to be a water place for the elephant.  Both now live on top of my currently favorite play materials: watercolor paper, watercolors and gouache.

Little Altars - Elephant May (3 of 4)

Little Altars - Elephant May (1 of 4)

Sequins for October’s Little Altars

Sequined Party Dress

Sequined Party Dress

This month, thankfully!, the trajectory from idea to end result was less wobbly.

For October’s Little Altars spot I was inspired by a beaded and sequined 1920’s dress on Antiques Roadshow.  It was the second time I’d seen that episode, and I liked the dress as much or more than the first time.  I thought it would be fun to do a miniature dress on ____ (?) with some of my “extensive” sequin collection.  Stitching was the first considered approach, but the size of the sequins in relation to the size of our October space and therefore the dress, told me that would be overkill.  Too much structure, overworked.  Been there before….

I’m not really sure how the end result finally came about.  I decided to do some testing, and the testing pretty much turned into the finished product.  I used a piece of water color paper that had been printed with the photograph I used in our February Little Altars spot (the Olympics from Ebey’s Landing).  I covered it with Glass Bead Gel (a new product for me) that I mixed with Iridescent Gold Acrylic.  (In making this, the end product always looked gold to me, but standing upright, it is definitely defined as much by the blue photo background as it is by the gold on top.)

I decided that gluing the sequins on, randomly, would actually get me the effect I wanted.  I really like what happened, although, once again, my husband is a little dismayed, and questioned why he was finding sequins all around the house.  (They stick to you!!)

I thought that Cyn’s wee folk might want to party fancy once in a while, so this is a gossamer and transparent little party dress.It’ll keep them up to mischief, even if a little chilly at this time of year!


Sequined Party Dress (1 of 1) P1050269

Sequined Party Dress Blue View

Sequined Party Dress (1 of 2) P1050268

Sequined Party Dress

It’s Chanterelle Time! Thanks, Dr. Doug!

Dr. Dougs Famous Chaterelle SauceOnce a year, I get excited about chanterelles, and even though I love them just for themselves, there is one reason in particular that I celebrate their presence: Dr. Doug’s Famous Chanterelle Sauce.

When I moved to the Puget Sound area in the mid-1980’s, I worked in downtown Seattle, and was able to make convenient trips to the Pike Place Market. On one trip, I picked up a Market newspaper, and this recipe was in it. I was from Hawaii, and knew nothing, nothing, nothing about mushrooms, much less chanterelles. (I still know pretty much nothing about them, but these days I have smell memories every fall when mushrooms and chanterelles come in season.)

This is the best chanterelle recipe I’ve ever had. We make it once a year (it’s an indulgence). Some years the chanterelles are harder to come by, but this year I guess my timing was good and the harvest was plentiful; we will be able to splurge on more chanterelle experiments.

Today, for the first time, I searched to see if this recipe was on-line and if I could find Dr. Doug.  Yes!  He’s got a blog and a website and a most interesting life!  Go see Dr. Doug Leen!  From there, don’t miss his blog!

Here’s the recipe in a cut-and-paste version.  If you are gluten-free, this is great as long as the hoisin sauce is gluten free.

Dr. Doug’s Famous Chanterelle Sauce 

Dice and fry 1/2 lb. of bacon until crisp. Add l lb. clean chanterelle mushrooms, cut into pieces. Fry for ten minutes, or until water in the mushrooms is evaporated; drain. Add pulp of two large beefsteak tomatoes, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (available in Chinese groceries), and 1 cup of cream.  Lower heat and cook sauce until reduced and thickened (or if impatient, add 1 teaspoon cornstarch). Serve over your favorite steak – great over whitefish too. Enjoy!