Sunday, June 25, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?


While working in the sunroom, I caught something large move by out of the corner of my eye. When I turned I saw a red-tailed hawk had landed in the yard. I'm always amazed at how large the hawk is. Usually, I've only seen them riding the thermals high overhead. The hawk sat for a minute then lifted with a strong beat of his wings in a cloud feathers. Sadly awesome. Looks like mourning dove became lunch.


Hard to see, but someone dug a shallow depression behind the birdbath.


Cacciatore likes to stretch out in the sun. I almost caught him lying on his back, but I startled him when I opened the window screen to get a clear picture.


Wild strawberries grow among the rocks along the driveway.


Morning glories and moonflowers getting taller.


Scattered showers and downpours yielded an inch and half of rain.


So much for planting the morning glory in the pot. Looks like someone nibbled the leaves.


The overgrown area by the front steps. These were plants were here when we bought the house and took over when we moved the front steps. Not sure what the variegated green leaves in the foreground are. Some sort of ground cover. Queen Anne's Lace is in bloom. Orange Day Lillies soon to follow.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hidden Letters

I mentioned that we had watched the movie, Hidden Figures.  I really enjoyed the history and a glimpse into the lives of these amazing, women pioneers.

One clip that jumped out at me was the woman lettering John Glenn's capsule, Friendship 7. I wonder who the calligrapher was that did the lettering? And did she letter all the Mercury 7 capsules?

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things


 Five good things that happened this week.

1. The hummingbird stopped by. Rested on the morning glory cage before flitting off. He was too fast for me to get a picture.

2. Himself went out early to buy donuts and a chai for me before I left for Reggie's class.

3. Gorgeous weather for the Solstice.

4. After hearing people give high marks to Hidden Figures, we rented the movie. All those who gave it thumbs up didn't steer us wrong. A really interesting story of the African-American women who broke gender and race roles at NASA in the 1960s.

5. I lost the magnetic sunglass clip for my glasses. Got a call that the replacement was in, and I could pick it up.

How was your week?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

In fact, when I was 14 years old I was singing the aria from Pagliacci and Uncle Vincent came to visit and he heard me as he was coming down the hallway. Mama opened the door and he came right in with that's a voice! Then and there he offered me a scholarship at the Conservatory in Boston. He said he wanted three things from me. No smoking, no drinking, no women.

Uncle was a singer in his own right, like Grandmother T. [ed: Dad's mother], and his brother, Louie (Louis). He was a lawyer at the time and doing well. And the reason for his three things I had to steer away was due to the fact this his brother-in-law was a Director with the New York Opera Company. He was in charge of the music, sets, costumes, and hiring extras, of course, he had workers under him. And whenever the company came to Boston once a year they would go on the road so called. His name was Ernesto and he would come to visit, and my father, Uncle Michael, and Uncle Vincent were in their glory. My father loved operas he knew all the arias, all the plots and where things would happen. He and Uncle Mike would watch backstage. Uncle Vincent would be on stage as an extra. My cousin, Ned, called him, The Spear Bearer.

At Ernesto's visit the talk wold be about the operas and the divas and the men singers and who was sleeping with whose wife when the husband was on the road and vice versa and also who was ruining his career with partying and ruining his voice with drinking, smoking, and women. Hence this condition for my scholarship. I would have liked to do this. But this meant Uncle would pay for the lessons, but my parents had to come up with the books, transportation and any other things I needed. This was how things were done. So I said no go.

I was not going to go through the same things I was at school. It would only make things worse.

In a way it did. Because I began to hate the life I was living. There was very little I could do. The money for extras was not there and I just went to school and stood aloof as usual. I began to hate school at sixteen I began to think of dropping out.

In 1935, with 26 days to go to the end of school. I was fed up and I dropped out. Of course, this upset Father and Mother.

While I was sitting on the curb in front of my house, the truant officer came across the street to me and said I should be in school. (The school sent him). I told him that I didn't have to be in school. He asked me what made me think I didn't have to be in school. I told him that I checked the statute and it read that at 16 years one could leave school. I was 16 on March 17. He made a note in his book and left.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

T Stands for Cowboy Cookies

Besides calligraphy and related arts, calligraphers also excel at snacking. At workshops, everyone brings in snacks to share. My tablemate, L,  in Reggie's class made some delicious, oatmeal cookies. She called them cowboy cookies. They were loaded with pecans, chocolate chips, and coconut and are sinfully delicious. They were also extremely popular. I asked her for the recipe, and she told me the recipe was Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies.

On Sunday, L, surprised me with some cowboy cookies of my very own. I have no idea why they are called cowboy cookies other than you can make giant-sized cookies or regular size. No matter. Big or small, the cookies are so good. Help yourself. You'll want the recipe, too.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.



Monday, June 19, 2017

All That Glisters



Another busy Reggie weekend. The third session of the year-long course. We began the class with gilding. During the second session, we had done some gilding using a Instacoll as a base. It yielded good results but was a little fussy to work with as if you weren't careful with brushing it on, the brush strokes would be seen through the gold. Not very pretty.

During this session, we used two different kinds of bases to give a raised effect. In the photo, the small vial on the left was a bit of gesso colored Pepto pink. Gesso is usually used to seal canvas before painting. Traditional gesso (slaked plaster of Paris, fish or rabbit glue, and white pigment) is also a base used in traditional, raised gilding, but it is fussy to work. Enter acrylic gesso.


The first thing we did was to use Golden Extra Heavy Gloss Medium Molding Paste on the heart. This was used so the gilding would have texture. A bit unusual. The steps we did are hazy for me as we had to work quickly so there wasn't enough time to take detailed notes.  So after the molding paste dried, the gesso was applied to the heart and to the compass points. After the gesso layer was dry, a layer of clear Instacoll tinted red or dark pink, was applied over the gesso to raise the base. The coloring was added so it wouldn't blend with the pink gesso. There's a small window of opportunity to gild on the Instacoll. It needs to be dry, but still tacky. If it dries thoroughly, then the metal leaf won't stick.


We got to try out various metals. 24 Kt. Loose Gold, 23 Kt. Patent Gold, 18 Kt. Lemon Gold, Palladium (used in place of Silver as Silver tarnishes over time and  Palladium doesnn't, Aluminum (used in place of Silver. Aluminum doesn't tarnish, but it's very thick and hard to work with, Variegated Gold, and Moon Gold which looks a bit like Pewter) Reggie didn't have any 23 Kt. Loose Gold so the dark pink Instacoll base still shows.