Feathered Nest at Windy Corner

Friday, May 1, 2020

Jelly, jelly, jelly. I'm on a roll.

Last week it was dandelion jelly. The experiment was so successful, I decided to make a second batch with my granddaughters Deirdre and Fiona. It has been hard staying away from my darling girls during the pandemic. They are two of my favorite people. We decided to risk a visit and, all the while, maintained a safe, six foot distance. Difficult to do, but so worth the effort if that's what it takes to enjoy their company.
Decades ago, back on the farm, I sold  jam and jelly at my roadside market. These were made from homegrown and wild gathered materials. I am thinking about launching a line of jellies next season - maybe by subscription -  something like a flavor-of-the-month club.
So... this summer I will be hauling out the canning kettle and dusting off some of my favorite recipes to review and refine. Maybe nothing commercial will come of it, but I am having fun experimenting, making something from nothing more than what's at hand.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

It's time to plant the zinnias

It's hard to believe that the winter wonderland we woke to yesterday has given way to spring again. I’m so glad I have a calendar to keep me on track.
I was dreaming of armloads of zinnias as I seeded flats and set them out on a warm pad for germination. My calendar tells me I won't have to wait too long to add these transplants to the garden!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Another Day, Another Nest

Like the busy birds in my garden plucking material for their nests, I head to my workroom and spin a few myself using the delicate, airy grasses gathered last September in the golden glow of autumn. I pick blond rice grass and deep purple love grass each fall and set bundles aside to use as real Easter grass in spring arrangements. Shredded plastic may be OK for some, but nothing man-made can ever surpass the beauty Mom Nature delivers!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

It's time to feather your nest!

time for spring
Hello again. I'm back blogging where I left off two springs ago! Even a broken clock is true sometimes - and it's no different with this blog featuring the spring activities that I enjoy every year. That idea makes the most recent of these (2017) posts seem current and fresh. However, I am starting over again with renewed interest in sharing my stories.

Feather your nest!



Given the uncertainty of the times it is a good idea to take stock and celebrate the small joys that fill each day, each season. Grab a  bit of wonder wherever you can. For me, it's all about nature,and that's what I plan to fill this space with: all the wonderful things I make from what is grown, gathered and gleaned from the center of my universe here in Bishop Hill, Illinois.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Time to Spring Forward under the Worm Moon

March's Worm Moon setting - as seen from my west driveway
Turning the clocks ahead has made me a little blurry this morning...kinda like this pic!
Native Americans, who used the Moons to track the seasons call March’s Full Moon the Worm Moon. It's my favorite because it signals the coming of the equinox – the balancing of light and dark, when the Sun is at the midpoint of its extremes.

Right about now, the ground begins to soften enough for earthworm casts to reappear, inviting the return of robins and migrating birds. These signs announce the beginning of the gardening season and my inclination and enthusiasm to dig in the dirt returns.
This is also the time when other lights dot my landscape. Greenhouse lights pierce the dark; they are on day and night coaxing seeds to sprout and grow tall. On closer inspection this morning, the tomatoes are up and the peppers are popping through the soil. BLTs are not so far away that I can't imagine the taste!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

NOW: Victorian Lace Eggs in COLOR

COLORS Nature never intended
I've experimented with this idea for a while. Like so much of my work, I am prompted by clients to expand my repertoire to include a broader range of design - and especially color. Tricky thing though. I've finally found pigments that work with the chemicals and the process of shell carving! I'll be adding a softer range of pastels as soon as I can figure out how to get even color coverage without building up unmanageable layers on the surface of these delicate shells.
Citrus
Raspberry
Blueberry
Watch for these soon in my ETSY shop. As soon as Easter orders are out the door and that bunny has left the building, I'll be going full speed ahead with this project. Oh, happy spring. It's time to look at old things in a new light.
Take a different path in the warming days ahead. 
Let spring work its magic on you all.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs!

The incredibly warm February weather we are enjoying in the mid-section of the country is a gift beyond measure. Pussy willow catkins are plump and silver. Warm southern winds are waking daffodils from winter’s cold hold on them. Moss is greening and the forsythia buds are swelling.
Neighbors are out and about, months before the traditional break from hibernation. Best of all, my cats are spending less time underfoot and more time chasing squirrels from their territory.
For me, ‘tis the season of eggs, eggs, eggs. Blowing them, carving them, selling them! This year I have finally found a reliable source for the rare and exquisite Tinamou eggs I’ve sought for so long. The eggs come from a breeder in Chile, where these once wild birds are now being raised domestically. Their shells have a striking glass like shine. Elegant-crested Tinamous lay a deep green egg while another member of the species, the Chilean Brushland Tinamou, lays a purple/brown/black egg.

I started to carve them the day they arrived!

My work is featured this spring in two national publications.
You’ll spot my hand-carved Victorian Lace eggs in the Favorite Things section of the March/April issue of Victoria Magazine and on the front and back covers of the Guidepost publication, Angels in America.

I’m grateful for such publicity, but it means busy days and late nights ahead. 
It’s a good thing I love my work; there is plenty of it right now!