Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First part of the Icon Project is Installed

It was a busy weekend at our house. Saturday I had the opportunity, with the help of John Birge and my lovely bride, to hang the first panel of icons at the church.
Discussing the merits hanging canvas. The 2 icons in the background are also mine.
Final touch ups

The installed project
The second half awaiting transfer

So what's next? After I transfer the rough sketches to the canvas, I will create the final outline with a brush and brown/black paint adding some shading in as I go. From there I will begin the laborious process of coloring in the 'proplasmos' or base layers then large detail then finally small detail. The last panel took a good 3 or 4 months to complete. Since most of the research is finished on this piece, I can begin to paint. Finding several prototypes and then cherry picking the best features from all of them is just a part of the process but takes a while. I may have 5 or 10 downloads of the same saint, looking for common features and unique details I can incorporate.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summery Salsa

Last night we had our usual sautéed Mahi Mahi with a side of green beans. I was tired of the same ol' thing so I made a fruit salsa with whatever we had on hand. Brenda happened to have a bag of fruit in the freezer with mango in it so...

Spicy Mango Salsa

1 1/2 c mixed fruit including strawberries, mango and blueberries
1 hot pepper of choice
2 green onions chopped
Red and Yellow sweet peppers
1 T Red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
 If I had cilantro I would have thrown that into the party also.

I chopped the fruits pretty fine then added the rest of the ingredients. Test seasoning and serve over the fish.

 The pepper was quite spicy. I have no idea what it was as I freeze peppers whole to keep them fresh but this was some sort of long thin chili. One of my workmates brought them in last year. Muy caliente! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

KC weekend

We had a busy few hours to spend with our favorite men this weekend sampling the local BBQ as well as a very robust Farmer's Market. Of course we had to hit the local IKEA to pick up Mackenzie's order as well as a few odds and ends for ourselves.

The Q39 BBQ stop was a good choice. Lots of tasty, albeit pricey, choices for tender smoked meats and unusual sides. The burnt ends was by far the best of the lot. This was not the place we had planned on going but Nicholas has great taste and directed us here, off the beaten path yet quite busy. Graduation weekend has caused a lot of celebration in town for sure. We saw a few wedding parties and just a bustling great time.

The Farmers Market in the River Market District was fantastic and loaded with deals and great places to eat. I even found my elusive Mediterranean spice I was looking for. The spice stores are well appointed for sure.  We left early right after breakfast but way too early for the Outlet Mall so, all our treasured finds in tow,  we came home.

We stopped in Omaha at the Dollar Store and bought 3 packages of clear plastic forks. Not sure if this works or I am just imagining things, but I have been positioning the forks, prong sides up, to deter garden nibblers. So far so good around the larger plants who can't wear one of our fashionable hats. I now have hundreds of forks menacingly guarding the garden against invasion. Crazy huh?  It has worked better that cayenne pepper or any of the other methods I have tried. The rabbits have been particularly active this year eating things they normally would leave be like my irises, coreopsis and Joe Pye Weed. My more showy plants are being spared.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hosta Hats and other oddities

a few of the hostas from last year including Wheee!
Lucky to have anything come up since the squirrels love this pot. The cabbage looking plants are Bergenia just about done blooming. The pot is filled with Canna Lillies and Gladioloas.

glass sculpture for accent
Hosta wearing a hat.

So I finally got around to planting our bounty from last weeks adventure to the Hosta Farm. Now, I have a rabbit problem like most of us suburbanites and they destroy everything I put in the ground unless adequately protected. I have tried it all, sprays, powders, human hair, dog hair and the neighbors cat. Nothing seemed to do the trick.

I found some small link, coated chicken wire at the local Menards and resigned to putting a fence around everything. I got thinking and cut a 2 foot length of the 2 foot wide wire and put it over a 5 gallon bucket. I forced another bucket on top effectively creating a 'cloche'. Secured with a few bamboo stakes and voila! No more rabbit food.  For the smaller plants, I used 2 clay pots. Look Ma, no more nibbled leaves. Now if I could just keep the squirrels from digging in the pots....

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Fail

Nick was in town Sunday so he showed with Jill and we had a nice brunch planned. Caramel Pecan Rolls, Egg Benedict and breakfast meats. Sadly I thought I could use the Sous Vide for the eggs instead our usual fail proof method on the 6 and a half minute boil. In the future, stick to the tried and true methods. What we got instead of soft boiled was a jelled yolk. Not much fun there.

Ben and Mackenzie were working so most of the rest of the day it was just Brenda and I. Rainy and a little nippy, there was not much to do. A fruitless search for our favorite trailer for our pots was frustrating but we did find our pond plants at a local garden spot. Just not much out there. Last few years we found our huge ferns at Sam's Club but this year nothing. Funny how you get used to something and just nothing else will do.

Busy regrouping now for the rest of the week and what lies ahead.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Road Trip to visit friends

On Saturday we motored to Des Moines to visit Matt and Lori who recently moved back 'home' where Matt got a new assignment. While we grew close after 8 or 9 years in Omaha, we missed them a lot. Part of the weekend was a trip the Flying Frogs Hosta Farms where Brenda and I added another 5 plants to our collection of about 30 distinct varieties from over a thousand choices. So many more to go! It was a grand weekend and we had a blast. We drove back right after breakfast on Sunday and are looking forward to a visit from them next time they are in the Big 'O'.


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