Friday, May 30, 2008

Merino wooly goodness!

Here are more images of Dianne Nordt's wonderful Merino wool. I found out that she has only 3 Merino sheep, a woman comes to sheer them in the spring, then the wool gets sent off to a mill to be spun. This current collection is from three year's worth of shearing. Erika is "modeling" some yarn that Dianne dyed with black walnut leaves. I love that she gets two brown shades from the leaves. I've one pair of fingerless gloves from the single-ply yarn and love the way they look and feel. Dianne wants me to make a pair for her and two other people that I saw at the market want pairs. Woo hoo, I've got to get busy knitting!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Market day

I work for Victory Farms of Hanover of Thursday mornings at the Farmers' Market, as some of you know. I just love it. It's so nice to talk with people about produce, exchange recipes, buy things from other vendors, like today fresh local strawberries that were so yummy.

I liked the way this person's market basket look, filled with her produce choices.

The French radishes are my favorites. I like to eat them raw, or on bread with butter. Lots of people like my radish's a simple recipe. Put a package of cream cheese, half that amount of butter, and some of the radishes in a food processor and whirl away. You can also add some green olives with pimiento, or even some carrots. You don't need to add any seasonings. If you're vegan just substitute the non-dairy products for the dairy version, of course. It's really a good summery spread for crackers.

Last week was the first time I tried fresh garlic. Here's what it looks like.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Real Small Art

Today, I left a small collage, which I labeled with the Real Small Art league information, at Ukrop's Carytown store. I left it near the coffee shop, a display of Putumayo CDs provided a nice backdrop. I went by tonight and it was still there, though turned upside down, SO someone must have looked at it. Since the shelf is gone, I am feeling the need to leave little things elsewhere. I, also, released a book I'd registered on, at the post office and surprisingly, found a book at the same time.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mail Art workshop.

I had such a lovely time this afternoon. I lead a Mail Art workshop at the home of a friend of mine in beautiful Ashland, Virginia. I'd donated the workshop to the Richmond Peace Education Center for their annual auction last fall, and my friend bought it as a Christmas gift for her daughter. Pretty cool! It took awhile to coordinate a date so it's Christmas in spring. My friend, her daughter and her nearly 8 year old grandson participated. We had a great time and everyone did such nice postcards. I love doing this workshop. It's like playing, and it's impossible to tell whether a card was made by a grown-up or a child, right? It's such an excellent way for all of us to interact on a level playing field, I think. Another neat thing, my friend's grandson is going to send a postcard to my little cousin Ryan, since they both like to send and receive mail, it'll be perfect. Pen Pals!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I've been remiss in not talking about Skull-a-day , where has the time gone, but here's the big news: it won the People's Choice Webby Award. Is that cool or what!!? A year's worth of skulls is almost over, hard to believe, except that we know the skullmeister is ready for the year to be over. Check out the site, it's really lots of fun. Also, a book with lots of the images from this project will be published in October, though it's already available on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A special post for all my dear family and friends, and readers of my blog, wherever you are:
since being with our cousin after her breast cancer surgery, I'm even more aware of the need for women to take to the market place concerns for what is in products aimed at women. The statistic that I read and had confirmed by our cousin's oncologist is that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer. These are women with no family history of it. What can we do to prevent cancer? Who really knows for sure, however, there is something we women can do and that is to change the products we use. Products that we put on our skin are absorbed quickly into our system, thus the use of patches to administer meds. Our skin is our biggest organ. So what do we put on it....known carcinogens! Yes, check out the products you use, moisturizers, make-up, shampoos, and even nail polish. Make yourself aware of what is in them. One place you can check is on-line at the Skin Deep cosmetic safety data base. It's run by a non-profit group. I have been gradually eliminating products containing phthalates, lauryl and laureths, and parabens. So far, I have found moisturizers, sunscreen, shampoo and conditioner, nail polish, and some makeup that I feel is safer for me. I, also, learned that there is mercury in mascara and found one by Jane Iredale, that I buy on-line, that is mercury free. (put "mercury in mascara" into your browser and see what you get, Minnesota has banned the sale of mascara with mercury.) You can find resources to purchase these products on-line if you can't find them in a shop where you live. I buy my moisturizer by Nuxe through SpaSkin, which doesn't charge shipping, a plus. I was able to buy Badger sunscreen on-line, then found it at Wegman's in New jersey. The Burt's Bees was available in Walmart (which I don't shop at normally, but went there with our cousin) but I'm sure it's readily available in stores. I was really impressed by the Burt's Bees because right on the label it said "no phthalates, no lauryl or laureth, no parabens. O.P.I. nail polish is free of dangerous chemicals, yay, I love my purple and blue nail polish! The E.U., European Union, is very strict about carcinogens in the skin care and make products sold in E.U. countries. Buying from those countries, if the formulation hasn't changed for American export, is a better choice for us, which is my reason for buying Nuxe, a French product. I am really upset, really, when my female friends and relatives mention price when talking about skin care products and make-up. It's our health here, dear ones. Gradually replace your products with safe ones. You're worth it. Please! Do it! For those of you nearing your 40th birthday, get that first mammogram. For those of you who are pregnant and not considering breast this decision. Breast feeding can lower your risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer, not to mention the benefits to your child. Educate yourself, please. Vote for safer products in the market place with your purchases. Please share with me any other information you learn, a products you like, a site you found that is helpful, and so on. Please pass this information to other women. HUGS for all of you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Home Again!

On a rainy Sunday, my cousins drove me to MetroPark station to catch the Amtrak home. The two weeks went by quickly. I'm glad I was able to give that time to them during this difficult period of adjusting to life in Cancerland. Our cousin is cancer free! Yay! She still has to experience chemo-therapy but no radiation. We are grateful for that. I had the fun of spending time with a 7 year old, who is funny, smart and creative, not to mention, energetic, too! He was sizing photos on Photoshop for his blog within a few times of seeing me do it. He would tell me what to type since I type faster than he does. This cracked me up: "You type fast for an old lady." What a riot. It made me think back to when I was in high school and thought my home room teacher was so old. Later I found out that he was only 6 years older than we were at the time. Yikes! I've been refering to myself as "ol' lady" ha ha ha ha, sounds like yodeling. On another note....the night I got home, we walked Smitty dog past the pole where the shelf used to be. What a delightful surprise, there were some wire words on the pole. One was "May," another was "Spring," and another was "Shelf." Guess which one I took home......

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Aquarium visit

Last Saturday, I went with Ryan and his aunt, uncle and cousin to the aquarium in Camden, NJ. I hadn't been to one in a long time and this was a real treat. The kids enjoyed it, and so did I. Here's a sampling of photos that I took. The Hippo and the orange jelly fish were taken with my cell phone. I remember the first time I saw someone taking a photo with a cell phone, I was so amazed. Now it's so "normal" to be doing that. Ryan wanted his picture with the Benjamin Franklin bridge in the background.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Philip Glass? Steve Reich?

Last night, Ryan gave me a personal concert on his keyboard. I was so loving his enthusiasm and how he got into his own music making. It really was like listening to some contemporary composer. Oh to have a sound recording device! Don't you love the lollipop?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I took the bus into Manhattan from NJ yesterday and met up with Mica. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Nomado 33 in the Murray Hill area. We sat by a window overlooking a little garden with a fountain that reminded me of Isomu Noguchi. The food was fabulous. I can't say anything that would be able to explain the delicous-ness. It was major YUM! Later, we went to see the movie Iron Man, which was fun. If you see it, stay to the very end of the credits for a surprise. I was happy that I was able to climb the six flights of stairs to Mica's apartment! Yay for staying fit! We had brunch this morning at Oliver's in the west village, where we had Mimosa and Bloody Mary cheers. After a stop to buy some yummy cheeses and a baguette, we boarded a bus to New Jersey where we had a nice family visit. Photos of Ryan's frosted cupcakes will be posted at some point. They were pretty spectacular. A nice Mother's day, the first I'd spent with Mica in a long time, and maybe the first ever with Dawn.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Life in New Jersey

Tonight, I cooked up a bunch of veggies with garlic and Italian seasonings, and some cheese ravioli, which Ron added sauce to, and with a salad, this made an okay dinner. Ryan had to eat something else because he's allergic to eggs (the ravioli had eggs in them,waaa,)

Ryan was happy cleaning out the bowl we used to make vegan cupcakes from the great little vegan cupcake recipe book.
This is an excellent cookbook even if you aren't a vegan. You can see the cupcakes on Ryan's Vox blog. He took photos and wrote his blog himself. He's 7! Check it out.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cute or what?!

Here's my little cousin, hard at work, on my laptop. He's finding a new image for my Vox blog. He also worked on his blog, adding photos that he took on our walk. He's so computer savvy. I wonder how many kids his age even know what a blog is? I just had to share this photo with you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Jersey update

After dinner yesterday, my little cousin and I took a walk in his neighborhood. He wanted me to take a photo of the bird on the wires and it did turn out to be a nice composition.

A neighbor added some personality to a tree. The trees and flowers are in bloom here. I get to enjoy spring twice, since we've already moved on to another state back at home in Virginia. The little guy enjoyed the walk, especially my allowing him to use my camera part of the time. We put some of his photos on his Vox blog. Others we'll print and make into postcards. Happily for all, his mom is doing well. Yay!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Heading north....

Yesterday, I rode the Amtrak train north to New Jersey. I’d forgotten how nice it is to ride on a train, the silent start, moving forward slowly, watching the landscape change. Moving from freight train views to landscapes, to, my favorite, industrial views...we were making good time until just before the MetroPark station, where my family was waiting for me. We stopped, we started moving VERY slowly, we stopped, we rolled on, we stopped. It turned out there was an accident involving a person on the tracks, no details, but we did see some firefighters on the tracks as we rolled through the New Brunswick station. We were one of many trains backed up (same rails used by New Jersey commuter trains, I think) We ended up being an hour late, while standing only 15 miles from my stop, but no one was cranky, just curious.

Now, I’m in suburban New Jersey, to be with my cousin, who is doing very well after her surgery.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

RUSH, Chuck's exhibition of Glass (3)

Last night, Chuck's show at Quirk Gallery opened to the public. It was the best First Friday in a long time as the weather was perfect. Lots and lots of people were out, walking on Broad St., visiting galleries, so much fun. Chuck talked to a lot of people about how he did the work and sold another piece. Afterwards, we partied in the newly opened two yards. Jack's dance floor was great, Tango dancing experts danced and taught people how to do Tango. Both yards had lights, food, drinks, people. Our nieces, Marilyn and her daughters, came early to set up so that Chuck and I could stay at the gallery. Thanks bunches. People brought food and wine to share. Thanks more bunches. People from different parts of our lives came, diversity abounded! We had a blast!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rush, Chuck's exhibition of Glass (2)

Last night was the preview for Chuck's show. These are just a few of the many pix I took. The gallery was packed and it felt SO good. Chuck was relaxed and happy, and even better, a piece sold. One of the smaller ones that isn't in any of these images. I've just dropped Chuck at the gallery for opening night for the public, I'll change into some black, going to the gallery clothes, and will join him there.
Afterwards, party time at our place!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


This post is for Dawn. Yesterday, our cousin Dawn had a bi-lateral mastectomy. Today, at my hair cutting place, they were making a cancer survivor chain in preparation for their annual Lance Armstrong cancer awareness day. I added a link in the chain with Dawn's name on it. I'm wearing a pink tee shirt in her honor. (I rarely wear anything but black) She is a survivor. I'll be going to spend time with her in a few days.