miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-17 01:03 pm

Sunday Relaxing Squirrel

Cooking Up Art website

The entire family is currently relaxing on the Majestic Garden Deck at
home. By the entire family, I mean our squirrel friend, too. I'm
sitting here writing come content for the blog to be posted later, and
I've been feeding our pregnant squirrel. I guess she's comfortably
full. So full, she just plopped across the railing and stayed. With my
camera through the doors right beside her, my only option was the photo
machine on my laptop, so the quality is poor. I missed capturing the
moment of her right arm also spilling over the edge of the rail. Still,
I present our family squirrel draped languidly on our railing after a
nice meal.

Click here for the adorably languid squirrel relaxing.

Adorable.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-15 01:26 pm

Test Post

Welcome.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-15 12:32 pm

[Cooking Up Art] The Art of Loafing: A Sourdough Tale

Please follow the link for an adventure in Sourdough bread making at my Cooking Up Art website.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-14 12:14 pm

For my friends who feed birds...

Do you keep a suet feeder out through the summer? Do the birds want it? Or will it melt in the summer sun? It's my first summer with a suet feeder and I have a brand new block in my cupboard. If it's only going to go bad, I'd rather save it for autumn.

Thanks!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-13 02:43 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Black-headed Grosbeak

This morning, I had a new visitor to my Birdfeeder Buffet: a
Black-headed Grosbeak. Flanked by camera and tea with the laptop on my
knees, I finally was able to capture a shot of him after setting up
shop on the deck. For a picture, follow the link to the Cooking Up Art website.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-12 06:32 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Sock-cess!

For my latest post about my adventures in Mother's Day gifts, please follow the link to my Cooking Up Art website.


Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-01 06:09 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Backyard Eden: A Work in Progress

Cooking Up Art website

I've just posted a short film of my backyard from a few weeks ago. Hey, the wheels of progress can sometimes be slow. If you're interested, click here.


Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-05-01 02:22 pm

Rock and Roil

Yesterday, I spent most of the day in the Lilac Corner. I borrowed my friend’s little pickup truck, bought a yard of planting soil, drove it home and then spent my day carting and distributing soil while arranging rocks to form retaining walls. It’s good to finally put my Tetris skills to use in a practical way.

One yard was not quite enough soil, yet two yards would be overkill, so I’m not quite done. I need to fill in some little gaps in the rocks (they are local rocks harvested naturally (read: G and I digging them out of the ground and loading them in the back of the Subaru), so they are of varying shapes and sizes. I may just buy a little bag of cement and mix a paste to solidify the wall a bit. I also will need to buy a few more buckets of soil as there’s still some uncovered weed block. Oh, and I need to finish building the wall. I left a gap to allow the wheelbarrow through and this may require another urban rock hounding excursion.

All this additional work will have to wait, though. I did all this solo. Schlepping soil and hefting some rather large rocks around my yard has exacted a toll on me. I woke this morning with neck and shoulder ache and my fingers are tingly and numb on my right hand. It could be from bashing those fingers between rocks, yet it’s more likely a pinched nerve or something. I’m sure I’ll be better in a day or two. Either that, or it’s a heart attack, and I won’t. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the Lilac Corner isn’t going anywhere and it will content itself to sit and wait until I can work on it some more.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-28 05:39 pm

Spring Showers

I can't say I'm a huge fan of piña coladas, yet I do love being caught in the rain... well, sometimes. Today was one of those times.

I was walking my errands through mist and drizzle, so it was of no surprise when a goodly shower of rain hit me a few blocks from home. I had prepared myself by wearing 3 thin layers and a hat. I even had an umbrella, though I was enjoying myself too much to stop and dig for it in my backpack. I passed a few folk at intersections holding signs asking for work or money and, as I wished them luck and a good afternoon in passing, they all rejoined with some comment about, "stay dry" or, "try not to get too wet." I shouted back, "You, too" over my shoulder. A nice man sidestepped out of the shelter of an awning as I approached and I pressed into the doorway to let him pass, smiling, "Please, you deserve to stay dry, too."

I'm thrilled that in the Pacific Northwest, there is a quality to those who live here that grant them a certain sweetness and light in the rain. I've lived elsewhere and rain often brings a certain level of grumpiness at the inconvenience. Here, it seems most people that are wandering outdoors are gentle and protective of the rain. I guess we understand that it's the rain that brings us tasty fruit and veggies, that it makes our emerald valley so lush. I love that.

The other really cool thing about returning home after being in the rain is the toasty warmth and security of a dry and happy home. The rain had only saturated the outermost layer of clothing, so it was easy to shed this and snuggle into my comfy flannel bloomers and thick sweatshirt. I was greeted by the fluffy warmth of puppies -- who happen to also be wonderfully absorbent -- and wet noses sniffing to sleuth what kind of adventures I may have had. Now, I sit with a steaming pot of tea, cozy and content. My errands are done, I'm in for the evening, and I have a lovely book to read from the library. Life is good.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-26 10:06 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Craft Afternoon

Cooking Up Art website

After a morning of cooking, cleaning and other chores, I cleared my afternoon for crafting. It was gorgeous outside, so I began by stripping and cutting some bamboo trimmings my friends Kathy and Kenan gave me from their amazing nursery, The Artistic Gardener. Before I had delved too deeply into creating a tomato cage, my wonderfully crafty friend, [livejournal.com profile] lurkitty, arrived. I set aside the bamboo, made us a pot of tea, and we settled under the umbrella on the deck to craft. While she made a lovely summer necklace, I set out to turn glass jars and inexpensive glass beads into hanging tea light lanterns for the garden.

I used 24 gauge green crafting wire, threaded and wire-wrapped beads into hangers, filled them with river sand and set them onto the garden hooks. Many of the larger handmade beads were gifted to me by Aimee of NewroticGirl. They, also, are recycled in that they were unclaimed projects at the glass school she attends. I think they look smashing in the sunlight.

For pictures, click here.

As the sun set behind the weeping willow in the next yard, I hung my little lanterns on their hooks in one of my flowerbeds and lit the candles. I sat sipping tea and watching the flames dance among the darkening foliage under the waxing crescent moon. I do so love my little slice of Paradise.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-25 09:55 am

Thanks to [personal profile] rainbow for making my morning!



*belly laughs* I rocked back to dangerously precarious angles on my ball when I read this. There was a split second in there where I did think of my friend group and thought, "Nah, there's not a sane one in the bunch."

I say that with pride. I spent a lot of quality time looking for the best, the brightest, the craziest, most interesting people I could find and plopped myself right in the middle. I guess that makes me ultimately unbalanced, eh? *beams* I think of our individual quirks as herbs and spices. We all have a different flavour and, tossed together, we make a fascinating array of tastes and great experiences. I absolutely revel in everyone's idioms, ticks, and hiccoughs. I assume you must revel in mine, too, or you'd have tossed me to the curb by now.

Besides, anyone who thinks they are thoroughly sane, perfectly balanced and completely normal is probably the most deluded of all. How boring is that?
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-24 02:23 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Tea for Two

Cooking Up Art website

I’ve been lax on my posting lately. I have been busily working on my
plethora of projects and completely ignoring the computer. If I were to
offer an excuse, it might be that the clouds have parted and the big,
bright orb is shining in the sky. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s
an event and I’m virtually sun-drunk with the joy of it.

What have I been doing? Quite a lot, actually. Today, I’ll share my
bistro table project. You’ll remember I had finished the two deciduous
trees in the mural room, and I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to
add for furnishings. I’d like to keep it simple, open and airy. I don’t
want to cover up all those beautiful trees I painted, and I want to
keep the floor uncluttered for yoga and setting up a table for a
temporary project, if the need arises. I also want to use it as a guest
room. I’ve found a small couch that converts to a bed, I added a small
plant stand for a lamp and I wanted a little bistro table sized
perfectly to hold an intimate tea for two during the winter.

For a picture of the new table, click here.

I searched around and didn’t find any kind of table I liked, so I built
one using a base I had stored in the shed and a pre-cut plywood round
top. I sanded, stained, sanded, stained, sanded, stained, sealed,
sanded, sealed, sanded… you get the picture. Then I assembled it and
brought it into the room. Now I have a perfectly sized, sturdy little
table to hold tea, a nibbly bit and plenty of atmosphere.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-22 09:23 am

Happy Earth Day

To celebrate, I have plans to roll around in the dirt later this afternoon. I'm walking to an appointment and some errands this morning, then into the garden for me. I'm almost at the point where I'll need to buy another yard of soil for the Lilac Corner. I've been trimming branches, turning earth, hauling rock... well, we'll see how it turns out.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-17 03:27 pm

On being out of touch

*sigh* G has fixed all the server stuff -- after two trips up north -- and gotten all our websites up and running. Well, everything except my email. The email for both my sites is still not functioning. It's been 3 days now. I'm not angry, just inconvenienced. And I feel badly that I may have important questions or comments coming in that I miss. I can catch up on some of the LJ stuff if I remember to go back and look at those posts, yet I'm sure there are things I'm missing.

So, this is me apologizing if anyone is trying to ask or tell me something and I don't respond. I'm holding back on spending a lot of effort in Internet projects and conversations because I won't be sure I'm able to follow up appropriately. Instead, I've been sneaking outside between bouts of rain to work on the bistro table and dig some more in the Lilac Corner. I think maybe I'll go plant my blueberry babies while there's a break in the clouds.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-17 10:13 am

Critter relations

I’ve taken to carrying a handful of peanuts in my pocket. I was just out scattering coffee grounds on my veggie bed when the little Sweetie Squirrel girl spotted me. She ran up to me and sat on her haunches a meter away with her hands folded across her chest. I can’t resist. So there I was, squatting on the grass, in the rain, hand feeding a squirrel peanuts. I am so whipped.

As I walked up the deck, I noticed Dina in the window next to her doggie door watching me with growing concern. Inevitably, I gave her peanuts, too. I can’t have her thinking I favor the squirrels over her. She’d never let me sleep at night. I know who rules this house and do all I can to keep some small advantage – outside of the obvious opposable thumbs and height. Maybe that’s why I curry the favor of small critters… at 5’2”, I rarely can claim a height advantage.

Speaking of opposable thumbs, I have been watching the squirrels manipulate and, when seen up close, observe that they have a proto-thumb. It’s just a little nub that juts out at a 90-degree angle from their fingers. I don’t see that it moves like ours, yet it seems to be a stationary brace for the fingers to use. Hey, it’s more than those useless little dewclaws the puppies have. It’s all about exploiting advantages. Yay for opposable thumbs!
miladycarol: (CA Beaverton)
2009-04-15 06:58 pm

Reconnecting with the best part of my childhood

I’m happy with my accomplishments today. I woke early, saw G off to The Rose City to fix our servers, walked downtown to run some errands, manicured the lawn, planted a pot, weeded the garden beds, dug out and placed soil barriers in the Lilac Corner, then I turned over the soil there in preparation of a retaining wall, began putting together and staining the legs of what will become my little bistro/tea table for the Mural Room, and took the girls for a walk.

In between all that, I spend around two hours reconnecting with Jim. Jim and I were next door neighbours growing up. We spent the first twenty years of our lives together like a brother and sister who just happened to live across the fence from each other. I lost track of Jim while he was working interstate and then I moved across the country. I’ve been looking for him on the Internet for a looong time. I finally found him through Facebook.

Though I doubt I can adequately describe how I feel about this, it’s a bit like finding one’s favourite cuddly sweater from high school. After 20 years, I tried that sweater on and, not only did it still fit perfectly, it was just as snuggly as it always had been. Our conversation flowed like we’d only been apart for a week.

The other amazing thing is that Jim and I have been best friends since birth, practically. All my amazing friends here have only known me less than a dozen years. While you all listen to my history, Jim experienced it with me – many of those experiences being the best bits, too. Jim knows all the childishly stupid things I was and loved me through it all. I’ve been charged with extra energy all day, I’ve had the Sing-a-Long playlist blasting through my speakers while I worked and I’ve been singing at the top of my lungs all afternoon. Amazing.

It’s time to eat dinner. G is just finishing his work and will be home in a couple of hours and my bliss will be complete.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-14 10:03 am

[Cooking Up Art] Birdfeeder Buffet

Cooking Up Art website

… or, How To Make Dish Washing Exciting.
Backyard Birding )
Every day I grow more deeply in love with the little patch of land I’ve
cultivated and I feel rewarded by so many delightful visitors to
entertain and amaze me.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-13 02:18 pm

Mud and rock

I spent much of Sunday in the yard. I’ve been placing flagstones to facilitate walking into select regions of the garden without miring myself in mud. Yesterday, I spent some quality time on my hands and knees digging those flagstones into the ground and adding sand to cushion them flat. I’m half done.

I also continued in my bulb relocation project. When I moved here 10 years ago, I invested in a bunch of bulbs, which I planted all around the house. I’ve since realized that I just can’t keep bulbs in the front easement area due to a lack of anywhere else for delivery trucks to pull over. Seriously, even if we aren’t the house receiving the package, they tend to block the bike lane and part of the sidewalk by pulling onto our easement. When I first realized this, I bought two big wooden planters and parked them on either end of this strip of soil to simulate the orange cones of do not parkiness. I failed. The big trucks still parked on my easement, thus crushing the two planters. I schemed to build some sort of cement brick raised bed… then I realized it was just plain mean of me to take away the only real area that is safe for them to stop for more than a block.

This year, I’ve been digging up the bulbs as they poke through the soil. I relocated a few, and now I’m cutting the flowers and packing the bulbs in dirt with labels so I can plant them in autumn. It may take me another year to save them all. They definitely weren’t thriving out there, anyway. This is an opportunity for me to make amends to them.

I also made a pair of little tea light candleholders to hang in the garden. I’d like to make more, I just need to dig up some more little glass jars with appropriately sized mouths. This will be my impetus to have garden parties this summer.
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-09 12:51 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Homemade Perfume

Cooking Up Art website

I am very sensitive. I can stick my nose into a rose growing on a bush
or bury my face in a lilac tree and revel is the scent, yet if someone
sits across a table from me with a rose perfume, I tend to sneeze and,
if I don’t leave their company quickly enough, a headache will follow.
And it seems like the commercial perfumes are more aggressive to me
than someone walking around with a bit of rose oil dabbed on their
pulse points. Thusly, I’ve been making my own perfume for years. I
think I bought my last bottle of commercial perfume in the late ‘80s.
Over the years, I’ve honed my process. It’s very simple and the result
has very controllable levels of scent.

This ended up being a very long post. If you're interested in the details of how I make perfume, click here to see the whole post.

I’d love to hear your experiences and results.

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!
miladycarol: (Default)
2009-04-08 02:26 pm

[Cooking Up Art] Carrot Art

Cooking Up Art website
For me, joy is in the details. I love to spend that little extra effort
for the subtle effect that, when noticed, brings smiles to those who
see. It is for this reason that some of my carrot slices become flowers
or hearts.

This is a picture intensive tutorial. Click here for the whole post.

It really doesn’t take me more than a couple of extra minutes to do
this and it makes me smile. After all, how much is a smile worth in
time?


Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
www.miladycarol.com
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!