Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CUCUMBERS AND CANOPIES

GARDEN'S BOUNTY

Do you love cucumbers like I do? I planted mine late in the season, but still am getting quite a few of these little delectable delights. Cukes are great for the digestive system. I have read where in some Asian societies, cucumbers are eaten with every meal for exactly that purpose.
I love to slice them and soak overnight in apple cider vinegar and fresh cut onions.  Serve with warm cornbread, tomatoes and a stir fry of zucchini and yellow squash,  Yum!
 Tomatoes soon.  These little guys will soon be big and  juicy .  I use tomato cages, but also tie them up loosely with large rope  by staking them to a rod placed in the ground near the cages. I use insecticidal soap to treat any insect problem.  Companion planting helps. In years past I planted marigolds alongside many of my veggies. Helps with the insect woes.

 SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT...SHAMWOWTASTIC!!

I want to show you how you can make a charming canopy with a different twist. In this particular design I used the top from a broken metal table from Egypt.  I loved the metal work when I bought the broken parts.  I knew one day it would find a home somewhere in my funky house.
 See how the pretty lace metal work casts an artsy shadow on the wall? I turned the table top upside down, attached a ceiling mount from a broken swag lamp with the chains still intact to the ceiling.  I then hooked the chains to the table top. Worked great.
 I then hooked a purchased net canopy to the center of the ceiling mount.  Next I found antique lace panels  (from my stash), which I pinned around the table base as side interest for the canopy.
 I used the intricate ironwork from the antique bed as tiebacks to keep the canopy nice and neat, yet flowing and allowing the beauty of the bed and lace to compliment one another. 
 Years ago I bought a fabulous collection of antique, hand gold leafed ceiling molding.  I used some of these stunning pieces as crown molding above the canopy.
I am not one to "match up" anything..clothes, furniture or crown moldings. The moldings in this room are all different.  I think it adds contrast.

If you want to make a canopy.  Look around your treasure stock pile for anything that might work.  Use your imagination. You might have a broken table similar to mine, an old fireplace screen, wagon wheel, barrel rings, boxes with the bottoms removed or even a car hood.  It does not have to be round.  Square and rectangles are super cool.  I have used many "weird" pieces of junk for canopies.  Go for it.  You will have a fun creating your own Shamwowtastic conversation piece.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CONCRETE TIME IS THE KEY STEPPING STONES

CLEANING OUT FLOWER BEDS CAN RESULT IN FINDING TREASURE

PROVIDENCE STONES

I found a few treasures when I recently cleaned out an over grown flower bed. Years ago I made some stepping stones which I called Providence Stones. I collect old keys, clock parts and other funky little cast offs.  One day I decided to make some stepping stones to frame these collections. Placing each key, old clock face and gear into their perfect new home was relaxing and yet invigorating as it made my mind go to memories of times past.
These three stones is what I have left of my "Time is the Key" steppers.

 Digging and playing in the dirt does not always mean planting flowers, trees and shrubs, it can be planting works of art.  Your own personal interpretation of beauty.
You can see these have taken a beating from mother nature and yet survived to bring a smile to my face.  If you look closely you will spy a penny. I have always put a penny into my stones, not for luck but as a sign of Providence, Blessing and Grace.
I have made many steppers in the past not only with keys and such but with any funky object I find fun and interesting.  You can do some for your own garden.  Choose anything you like. It can be marbles, broken jewelry, pieces of china or pottery, small toys, pieces of industrial scrap.  I have written on some,  placing my own bits of humor and sayings using a sharp pointed stick or tool. Painting them when dry with weather proof paint or attain. Use your imagination.
All you need is a large terra cotta( or plastic) saucer or any shallow dish. You can use almost any concrete product. Quickcrete and such. Depending on the texture you want in your stones.  Follow the directions on the product you choose.  I have tried several ways of lining the saucer.  I have used Crisco to grease the saucer( especially easy if you use a plastic saucer), I have used plastic bags to line the saucer, either work just fine.  You pour the mixed concrete into the saucer, depending on how thick you want your stone to be will determine how much you pour. When the mixture is somewhat set--but not firm start placing your objects into the concrete mixture.  Press firmly so when the concrete completely dries your objects will hold tightly. Place your saucers in the shade to dry.  Doing this will help them from cracking. When your new art is dry(this may take a few days) you then turn  the saucer over onto the soft ground and your new creation will pop right out. You can seal them if you wish or even stain them.  Get creative and do whatever your artistic side dictates. As my friend from Arkansas always says, "No step for a stepper"..but I say step right on up and make your own steppers.  That would make you a step stepper..I like it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WEEDEATERS CAN BE FUN

I have to be honest, after my last true "Weedeater" bit the dust, I decided no one made an actual weed eating machine which would fit my hand.  I have retired from that chore. I still hand pull those hated weeds from my flower beds and garden when they poke their nasty little heads through my deep mulch.  Yep, I hate them. 

I decided to make my own weedeaters. I place them at various posts in my yard.  They are scary and I think menacing enough to make weeds run for it. Do they really work--well, I am not saying but they do make me happy and that is enough.

This gal has a place of honor and watches faithfully over her charges.  No weeds allowed on her watch. Don't you think she looks like Angelica Houston? Quite stern and serious..but I smile every time I pass by.

This guy sits straight up with piercing blue eyes, and a toothy snarl scaring all weeds who think they might take up residence in his garden. Not happening while Willard ( yes, that is his name) is on duty. Willard Weedeater, I am a fan.

I made these fun characters from old implements.  I have others in the planning stages, but thought I would share these two and let you know they earn their keep by keeping me smiling.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

INVASIONS ARE CONSTANT AT HAWK'S CREEK

Seems as if every day here at Hawk's Creek something new arrives, invited and not so much invited.
Last arrival is a yellow loud mouthed cat. She came via the woods and no matter how many times I have asked her to take a hike back to the corporate world, she refuses. So, of course, I named her "Ruby", cause she just won't take her love to town. Now my older barn cat ( which also came via the woods)--dang those woods..has a partner in crime.  These two always find mischief to get into which  causes me more work. If they weren't so cute playing in my tall ornamental grasses and did not give my pup Stella such a hard time( which makes me laugh) I might help them find different jobs..elsewhere.

Each day the tasks of watering, weeding and pulling up dead Texas heat blasted bit the dust plants falls to my hands. This is when I find other unwanted invasives.  The difference between these and my loved invited guests is my bought and planted beauties come up with a mere tug while the unwanted guests need a crowbar, blow torch or chain saw to lift them out of their firm home. Then many times, they have left their offspring to come back at the first sign of rain.  Grrhhh!

Undaunted, I continue on.  Complaining a little , actually a lot, but hey, I haven't taken my love to town..YET!
 Black Bellied Whistling Tree Duck and a dozen babies, invaded our pond this year.
 Interloper, from the dang woods, Ms. Ruby, drinking from the butterflies bath.
 Barn Cat--no name..thought she would move on..hasn't so I just call her "Momma".
 Hand picked this one..and all his brothers...
 Wine Cups.  Another invasive, I welcome.  Doesn't eat..just gives free beauty.
Stella, praying..NO MORE CATS--PLLEEAASE..
 
 We all know these are the remains of ones which love to sing--very loudly.
 
This little guy is a keeper.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

YUMMY HOLIDAY BRUNCH RECIPE..SOOO EASY

Wanted to share a super easy recipe I found and have made many times.  Those who know me, understand I am not a fan of cooking. I enjoy baking, but putting a meal together is not my favorite thing to do.  I think it is because ( at least this is what I have decided to believe) I have lived most of my life many miles from the nearest restaurant and thus was forced to cook.  Now, to let you know I did at one time like to garden and have been known to can goodies from my veggie garden, freeze fruits from my fruit trees and make many homemade jams and jellies. As they say..that was then and this is now. Martha Stewart WHO?
I still am a big believer in organic foods, but now I buy most of what I use.  I have turned to other avenues to find my creative outlet. I told my hubby (The Mule), before we married that I could make one thing absolutely perfectly--that being RESERVATIONS! Yeah, right. That conviction did not last, so am big into easy when it comes to the oven or stove..
This little recipe is just the kind I now love and cherish, well cherish may be a bit strong but I like it cause it is so simple.
 All you do is mix one or two (depending on appetite) range free eggs and one banana!
Yep--that's it. Brown in skillet with coconut or olive oil.
 
You can embellish with whipped cream, berries or whatever suits your fancy. It is delicious with nothing added, but use your imagination.  Impressive..Right? Yummy for sure..Enjoy...

Monday, July 1, 2013

THE LOVE TREE

There was a tree in our yard which struggled to live year after year.  I love trees and hate to see one lose the fight with Mother Nature. My husband ( The Mule--more on that later) decided to cut the tree down, and so he did or I should say he tried.  He worked very hard digging around the base of  what remained of the tree after the chain saw had its way. He hooked chains to the stump which were attached to our antique tractor.  He jumped onto the 1950's  Ford 9N seat, put the old girl into gear and pulled, and pulled and pulled.  Well, the stubborn Texas tree said, "Nope, not gonna  happen!"
The Mule scratched his silver head, unhooked the chains and put the 9N back into her stall. That is when I put my little idea into action.

A Love Tree.  Yep, that is what I wanted in my yard and you know what--that is what I got.
 I placed a church birdhouse, given to me by a special friend,  on top of what remained of the strong, beautiful tree.
 I made a sign from an antique piece of barn wood, formed the letters out of barbed wire and other funky tools and antique keys.  Hung it over one of her lovely arms by an antique chain and horseshoes. When anyone stops by, I ask them to sign my love tree.  Below is an example, but there are others.  Some are thoughts, some sentiments,  or even blessings . I love my Love Tree and I love all who have left their mark on her hardy exterior. There is plenty of room, so come on by and carve your love into a tough tree with a heart full of hope.