Thursday, August 28, 2008

roasted tomato sauce, part 2

Mj has made my roasted tomato sauce and and has posted great step by step pictures and mention of her variations.
Glad you enjoyed it mj!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Making paper bowls

I signed up to teach a series of paper bowl making classes at the gallery in October, only to realize that I have sold or given away nearly all of the paper bowls I've made in the past. I'll need examples!

So here's what I was doing this morning. In the silver bowl at the top is what used to be watercolor paper scraps from a friend that I've recycled in the blender. I also added some CMC for added strength.

Then I applied a light coating of Vaseline to the inside of the other two bowls. In one I laid several hosta leaves, vein side up, and then applied the recycled paper pulp into the bowl, on top of the leaves. In this picture I was only part way done - I actually applied the pulp up to the rim of the bowl. In the other one, I placed a number of colorful yarns and fibers into the bowl first, and then added the pulp.

As I applied the pulp, I pressed it down with a sponge to soak up excess water, and to strengthen the bonding of the recycled paper fibers. There are other ways to make paper bowls, and I'll post some of them soon.

These bowls will take several days to dry - I'll show them to you then.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Brimming with a colorful harvest...

I have been blessed with copious amounts of colorful heirloom tomatoes. It is (deeply) ingrained in me not to waste food, so I am feverishly giving away and finding uses for as many tomatoes as I can. The delicious recipe below has been a lifesaver - it uses up a large amount tomatoes, and freezes well.

(By the way, in case you're wondering, "You frame it Friday" will return next week)

roasted tomato sauce

15 cloves of peeled garlic
8 # of ripe tomatoes (any kind), cut in half
5 medium onions, quartered
1 cup of fresh herbs, chopped (I use a mixture of oregano, Italian flat leaf parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
freshly ground black pepper (I like a lot)
2-4 tablespoons of honey, optional

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop 5 of the cloves of garlic. Leave the remaining cloves whole. In a large roasting pan, carefully toss together the tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Roast for 25 minutes. Gently stir. Roast for another 25 minutes, stir again. Roast another 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened and broken down into a sauce with a golden brown crust on top.
3. Remove from oven and taste for seasoning. Mash tomatoes slightly, (some chunks are nice) or blend until smooth if you wish. This sauce freezes well, or is great for canning. Use it with pasta, fish, or as a wonderful dipping sauce for really good french bread.


"The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest."
Psalm 85:12

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Friday, August 15, 2008

You frame it Friday "One of a Kind"

During my teen years, when I had a rebellious, angry heart, I once encountered some one who tried to tell me that I was "one of a kind," and specially made by a God who loved me. At the time, I couldn't have been more unimpressed ... or so I thought. Not long after that, by the grace of God I did come to believe.

Psalm 139 is an amazing psalm that reminds us that we are uniquely created, and that we have a God who is totally aware of exactly who we are, what we are doing, and what we are thinking - even before we do. I love the part where is says, "you hem me in-behind and before..." That leaves little room for doubt that He is a God who is near, and who cares.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Doctor

Here's a card I just finished for Ed and Jean, an older couple at my church. Years ago they gave their doctor one of my cards, and they say that he still raves about it every time he sees them. I think some one must be exaggerating, but that's beside the point.

Anyways, the doctor is having his 80 something birthday this month and they wanted me to make a "large card with lots of flowers" for him. An 80 something doctor? That's what I thought too. But, he's pulled Ed and Jean out of a number of health crises lately, so he must still be pretty much at the top of his game. I hope he has a great birthday.


Monday, August 11, 2008

pressing work

I'm back to work, or, as friends and family tend to say, "She's playing with her flowers again."

I’m feeling the need to re-organize my life and get back to a routine. I suppose summer does that to everyone. But, before I get started with that, I'm going to focus on fully reaping the benefits of my herb and vegetable gardens. So many times the summer slips by and I feel guilty for not making the most of my herbs and vegetables, but with prices as they are, I'm going to stay on top of things this year. Today, in between pressing flowers and filling orders, I will make my first of hopefully many batches of pesto and herb butter.

As soon as my Roma tomatoes are ripe, I'll share an awesome Baked Tomato Spaghetti Sauce with you. My aunt in Albuquerque made it for us, and because the tomatoes are baked their flavor intensifies, and the result in incredible. And, the recipe freezes well, so I plan on making many batches. You'll love it.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

My view

I arrived back home yesterday with mixed feelings.

On one hand, I loved every minute of the time we spent exploring New Mexico and South Dakota. The sun seemed brighter out west (and definitely hotter), the sky seemed bluer...bigger. The stark, peaceful beauty of those arid areas was moving.

On the other hand, when I stepped out onto my driveway just after midnight on Friday, I found myself thrilled to be greeted with hum of crickets and the soft, humid late-summer air of Wisconsin, heavy with the smell of the corn in field behind our house. Wisconsin isn't as visually exciting as the West, but it's where my heart is home.

Above is the view we woke up to at the Circle View Ranch in South Dakota. Tom and I first stayed there two years ago, and we loved it so much we decided to return there - this time with our three kids. This working ranch bed and breakfast sits high upon a bluff, and borders the Badlands National Park on one side, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the other. The views are stunning, and owners Phil and Amy welcome fossil hunting on their property which was a huge hit with my kids.

As an added bonus, they even have three friendly burros who are more than happy to help you pack up your minivan when it's time to get ready to head for home.


Sunday, August 03, 2008


The tenacity of plants will never cease to amaze me.
Here is a brave little Indian paint brush flower castilla minitia holding its own next to a prickly cactus on a hot, crunchy ancient lava bed. I scratched my finger down into the soil (if you could call it that!) and there was less than 1/3". Plants can do so much with so little.
We've been staying with my 78 year old aunt and cousins in Albuquerque, and this picture was taken from a day trip we took the other day to the western part of New Mexico. My Aunt Shirley is incredible. Despite her age we've hardly been able to keep up with her as we've hiked in the Sandia Mountains, through canyons, pueblos, over and around petroglyph rocks, etc. The beauty here is stunning - I see why New Mexico is known as the "land of enchantment".