Monthly Archives: March 2013

Easter Ideas

Egg Shape Chocolate

Beautiful soap mold used for Chocolate Nutella Fudge – pretty and delicious for Easter.

Filling Blue Egg

Basket of Eggs


Crack-Me Eggs: blown eggs, dyed, filled with candy.  Crack open to get the goodies.

Washi Tape Easter Egg

Quick and easy Washi Tape Easter Eggs: cover blown eggs (or kraft paper eggs) with torn pieces of washi tape.

Muffin Cup Quiche

Muffin Cup Quiche will use up some eggs (if you’ve been blowing eggs to decorate the shells).  They’re also delicious!

Beautiful Hat Card

I designed this hat-shaped card with paper roses for Mother’s Day but wouldn’t it be a lovely Easter Bonnet?

Thank you for stopping by.


Filed under Cooking, Crafts

Ombré Easter Eggs

Five Ombre Eggs

I remember dying eggs as a kid.  The kitchen table covered with newspaper and cups of water bright with food coloring and pungent with vinegar.  I’m one of 6 kids and we each got to dye a dozen eggs.  Someone was sure to leave one egg in a dye bath extra long to get it really saturated but hogging that color.  We would sometimes try dipping it partway into one color or halfway down into a cup, holding it with those little wire egg holders that came with the dying kits, or, more typically, with a soup spoon.

This year I remembered this Pinterest picture that showed eggs dyed with gradations of color and the helpful directions to “slowly add more water until eggs are covered”.  Aha!  What a great idea!

First I needed to hard boil some eggs.

Hardboiling Eggs

Next I mixed up cups of dye, but used only a small amount of the water called for.  I should have started with less because once you put an egg in the cup of dye, the dye bath is displaced.  It went further up the eggs than I planned, but I continued with the project.

For color recipes, you can use the ones from my Crack-Me Candy Filled Easter Eggs post here (using drops of regular and neon food coloring), which I got off of the marvelous Not Martha blog, or use recipes on the food coloring package or your own combinations.  What you want to keep in mind is to use just a few tablespoons of water for the first round of color.

About a teaspoon or so of vinegar goes into each cup, than the food coloring (I labeled the cups to help keep track of which cup to put which colors in), than that little splash of just-boiled water.

Dye Cups

I suggest using a spoon to help lower the eggs gently into their various colored baths.  I tried to get them more-or-less standing up in the cups, but that wasn’t always successful.  Let them sit in the dye for 5 minutes.

Here is another helpful tip: don’t go start checking Facebook.  Because you want the different shades of color to show and be distinctive.  In other words, don’t do what I did.

Deeper in Dye

When you remember get back to the eggs, all you have to do now is add a few more tablespoons of water and wait 5 more minutes and repeat until the eggs are covered and fully dyed.  In fact, the last round, for better contrast, could be even shorter so it is really light.


Use your handy spoon (or your already-blue-dyed fingers) and remove the eggs from the dye.  Blot gently with paper towel.  That’s it!

Blue & Green Eggs

Purple, pink & orange eggs

I’m very pleased with the results but if I were to do it again, I would try to:

  • Cook the eggs the day before so that step is done
  • Use a very small amount of water for the first round of dying
  • Watch the time carefully
  • Take the eggs out after only a few minutes after the final round of dying

Dye cups in sink

Oh – having a dishwasher is a good idea too.  Mine was watching a video and really, my fingers were already blue so I needed to get them soapy.

Rooster with Eggs

Thanks for the visit!


Filed under Crafts

Art Journal

Cover Page Artist's Journal

This is my Art Journal.  I started it after seeing some of a friend’s altered books and finally having it strike a chord in me.  I’d read about altered books and art or artist’s journals but seeing and holding one in my hands made the difference.  (Thanks, Michelle).

You can click on any of the pictures and get a larger view.

An art journal doesn’t have to be in an altered book and an altered book can be many things other than an art journal.  But for me, the two came together and I was inspired and excited to get started.

Some months ago, Rem and I were out for a Sunday drive and found a little antique and collectibles shop and I discovered this book.


If that isn’t beautiful enough, how about the title?

Wild Life

I couldn’t find a copyright date, but the inside cover has an inscription “Christmas – 1913  To Dad from Jack”  I’d found my book. I just found a copy online that has a copyright of 1881.

The book was falling apart but I was going to give it new life as my Artist’s Journal.

Inside Cover Spread

I wanted to keep the inscription so I covered over the words with a piece of tape and painted around them, creating a two-page spread of banners and blue sky.

Here is a definition that I like for Art Journal that I found online:

An art journal is a journal or diary that has a strong visual element to it, an expression of your artistic creativity and imagination, not filled only with words like a traditional journal. It’s a journal for using your art to express your memories, dreams, and thoughts. How you create the images, and what type of imagery you make, is entirely a matter of personal choice. There are no rules. You can paint or draw, use pen and ink, photos, collage, doodle, stickers… anything and everything.

That is from guide,  Marion Boddy-Evans, an artist and writer.

Back to my old book.  It was written by Gustavus Hines, a missionary, about mission work around the world but mostly in Oregon.

I redid the title page.  I kept some of the original wording (I love “the fearless explorer of the Northern Pacific Coast”).

Fearless Explorer

I skimmed through the book – lots of this kind of stuff:

This part the author flatters himself will supply the Christian public with a needful desideratum with respect to the true character of that important Mission and of the courageous and self denying men who were the first to carry the Gospel across the Rocky Mountains and to proclaim it along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

I tore pages out to make it thinner because I will be gluing other layers in. For every two-page spread, I glued several pages together to make them stronger.

Illustrated Page Spread

As I started working on my own art journal, I looked online at other art journals of which there are many.  Here is a quote from Corey Marie Parkhill.  She is an artist and blogger and she not only does her own beautiful art journal pages but she crafts and sells art journals.

Journal = Journey

A shopping trip to BLICK Art Materials in Berkeley resulted in these hearts, punched out from the shopping bag.

Brown Paper Hearts

Brown paper hearts with dictionary washi tape reinforcing the pages.

Close Up Hearts

Driving to work on a wet November morning, the stormy sky, dark with low clouds, was a perfect backdrop to a row of trees, brilliant in their fall foliage.

Simply Trust

I remembered a song we sing in choir and used the lyrics The blue paper background was perfect to recreate what I’d seen in the morning.

The leaf was stamped onto a page torn from the book, inked and embossed in layers, cut out, and inserted into the book.


This next spread has a technique I probably first learned in nursery school.  Paint dripped on paper, folded in half and then unfolded to create a design.

I covered the pages in white gesso and let it dry before dripping and smooshing paint between the pages.  It looked like a butterfly, especially once I added the black detail.

Butterfly Flutterby

Songs weave together words and music.  That was what I wanted to do for this page: woven words & music.

Woven Words & Music

I used strips of paper woven with bands of music-printed washi tape.

Title Words & Music

I have another ongoing book, similar to an art journal that I’ve kept for years.  It is my Image Journal.  For that I have and continue to collect pages torn from magazines, along with postcards, old calendars and greeting card that I use to put together themed pages.

From my Image Journal collection I found this beautiful centerpiece from a Real Simple magazine article.  It was just what I wanted for Thanksgiving.  The background has been covered in gesso and stamped with a blessing.


An early morning walk inspired these pages.

Spiderweb with Dots

Foggy Morning

Coming from the parking garage on campus one morning, I saw a beautiful gingko tree and the bench and ground underneath thick with yellow leaves.

Bench Covered with Leaves

It rained the next day and the wind and rain stripped all the leaves off the branches and made all the leaves on the ground into a dark, sodden pulp.

The leaf is made of yellow paper.

Gingko Leaf (of paper)

This patchwork quilt is made from 30 small squares of paper, each one with the same curve sketched into it.  After coloring a design on each square, I put them together to form circles.


The patchwork pages were made in December before the holidays.

We were moving to a new office at work, I got sick with a bad cold that wouldn’t go away and my journal sat untouched for months.  I packed it in with other craft supplies for our trip up the coast to Sea Ranch and made some new entries.

Sea Ranch

Sea Ranch. Ahhhhh.

In which we celebrate

This isn’t really the view out the window because I don’t have the artistic skills to paint what I’m seeing.  But it captures the flavor of the view for me – and really one of the things I love about Sea Ranch.  Water and sky.

Water and Sky

The following page has an Anne Lamott quote, which my mom shared with me recently..  It is so obvious but somehow easy to forget.

When I got to Sea Ranch I had a twitch in one eyelid.  All I really wanted was to have no schedule, no decisions and no worries.

Anne Lamott quote

That’s pretty much how our time was spent.  Feel like taking a nap? Great, here’s a window seat and a slew of pillows.  After 6 days of salt air, visiting the lambs, working on a giant jigsaw puzzle and taking plenty of naps, I felt much more serene than when I arrived.

This is my birthday page.  Pisces girl.

Birthday spread

Not Born All at Once

Good quote for a birthday.

Edge of Waves

I did a green ferny page inspired by a green Valentine I made.

Green Fern Page

This lovely little poem by Stephen Sandy is clipped out of the New Yorker.


More about what an art journal can be.

Art Journal as Tool

Closed Door

I started this...

A scrap of road map and washi tape with the definition of journey.


As I continue my journey/journal I will post pictures to share with you.

My Artist Journal

Thanks for being on the journey with me.


Filed under Crafts

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Shamrocks, Sea Ranch, March 2011

Daffodils, Filoli

Daffodil, Filoli, Spring 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread (recipe here)

Fennel Fruit Juice

Fennel Fruit Juice (recipe here)

Emerald City Salad

Emerald City Salad (recipe here)

I’ve been humming this Irish Blessing in my head today and send it out to all of you and your loved ones:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

And may the rain fall soft upon your fields.

Thank you for the visit.


Filed under Cooking, Life

Lamba Ramma Ding Dong

I have more pictures of sheep and lambs at Sea Ranch to share.  These were taken March 1 through March 3, 2013.

Little Button Eyes

There are 200+ lambs at the moment.

Guess how many rams are involved?

  • 10
  • 2
  • 24
  • 16

(Answer at the end of the post)

Lamb looking

I love the mama and lambie in profile, below.

Like Mama Like Baby

Such a wee little lamb.

Tiny Little Lambie

They can really make a ruckus.  Here is a link to a very short video: Sea Ranch Sheep & Lambs


Any Chocolate Milk?

Another tiny young’un, lying in the sun.

Tiny Baby in the Sun


This sheep was chewing her cud and baaing, but I think she looks like she is chuckling at a good joke.

Mama with her Babes

Resting in the morning

Here is another short video – I love the little “meh” near the beginning: So many cute Sea Ranch Sheep & Lambs

Resting on Mama's Back


And, in case you missed these pictures from my previous post:

I love those little pink ears.

Little Lamb

This little sweetie looks like she was (he?) was dipped into a pot of black ink and only the tip of her tail and the top of her head are still white.

Baa baa black sheep

LIttle Lamb

You can see more about the herd at The Sea Ranch Sheep Facebook page.

Lamb on the hillside

The question: Just how many rams fathered all the lambs (200+) in the Sea Ranch herd?

The answer: 2!  I understand they would do the job in a week or so, given the chance, but they are not allowed to complete the task so quickly.  It is preferable not to have all the new lambs born at the same time.

Thanks, as always, for the visit.


Filed under Crafts

Sea Ranch Visit

Rem and I went to Sea Ranch last week and celebrated our anniversary and my birthday.

I can’t provide the sound of the surf or the smell of the salt air, but maybe these pictures will give you a feeling for our visit.


Day 1: Seagulls join our impromptu picnic lunch overlooking the mouth of the Russian River.

Mouth of Russian River + Sealls

A pod (herd?) of seals are sunning on the beach.


27 twisty miles of Route 1 to go.

Sea Ranch 27

We chose to have our anniversary dinner at Saint Orres, a beautiful Russian-style hotel with dining room, cabin, cottages and a spa.

St. Orres back

Pink Flowers

Sign at St Orres

Rem had warm butternut soup with ginger and I chose the chilled coconut and pineapple.  They were both wonderful although the chilled soup would have been better on a warmer day.  Still, I ate every drop.  A roasted pear salad was the second course, served on mixed greens with endive, with blue cheese, dressed with pear vinaigrette and garnished with a candied walnut.  It was delicious in every aspect, beautifully made and arranged.

The entrees were very good but had the same flaw.  Both plates had a side that should have been crispy but came out soggy.  I don’t know if it was from sitting too long after being cooked but it was disappointing.  Rem’s wild boar had apple latkes and my roast pheasant had risotto cakes with truffles and mushrooms.  The rest of the entree was lovely with perfectly cooked little spring vegetables.  It wasn’t the stellar meal it could have been but still a very nice evening.

Tower Room St. Orres

Day 2: We headed further up the coast, stopping at Arena Cove in Pt. Arena.

Rem with Dog

We’ve been to the Pt. Arena lighthouse in the past but this was our first time to the cove.

Arena Cove

Waves at Arena Cove

Back in the car and continuing north, we stopped in Mendocino.  Some strolling, some (birthday) shopping and lunch at the Mendocino Hotel.

Mendo Hotel

Mendo Coast

We found a geocache along the bluff trail.

Mendo Shops

Next stop: Ft. Bragg and Glass Beach.

Glass Beach I

On previous visits we’ve taken baggies of beautiful, polished glass but this time we were returning some.

Coral on Sea Glass Beach

Sea Glass Beach II

Than on to the North Coast Brewing Company.  Rem enjoyed his Old Rasputin stout.


We shared a delicious plate of Calamari Fritto Misto with spicy aioli.  It included thin slices of lemon and green beans that had been dipped in batter and fried along with the calamari and it was wonderful.


Heading back down the coast, we stopped at the Noyo River harbor, under the Noyo River bridge.

Noyo River Bridge

Fishing Boat

Day 3: A very low key and relaxing day.  Rem set up his ham radio antenna, I started a giant puzzle.  I think we both took a nap.  It was lovely to unwind and not have any schedule.

Puzzle pieces

One of my favorite things this time of year is a visit to see the new lambs in the Sea Ranch sheep herd.

(More sheep and lamb pictures here).

Lamb by bush

Little Lamb

Baa baa black sheep

Day 4: My birthday!  Another day blissfully reading, crafting (I’ll post about my crafting soon), and working on the puzzle.  Rem contacted Japan, Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Galapagos Islands, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Sweden, Russia, Alaska and Hawaii during a ham radio contest.

I got off my butt long enough to go down to the beach.

Damp sand

Gull over beach

And said hi to the seals.

Seals at Sea Ranch

Surf at Sea Ranch

And visit the lambs again.

LIttle Lamb

I (under)baked some brownies.  It was a perfect day.


Day 5: We did 918 pieces of the 1,000 piece puzzle and called it done.

Almost Finished Puzzle

I went into town (Gualala) and browsed through the local bookshop, Four-Eyed Frogs Books. I picked out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook as a gift from Rem.

This is a view of Gualala Point beach from town.

Gualala Point

Every evening we enjoyed a fire in the wood burning stove or a soak in the hot tub, or both.  The canopy of stars on a clear night is awesome.

Day 6: Our last day of vacation.  Time to pack up. We made a last visit down to the beach.  We repatriated the last of the sea glass on this beach covered with shells.

Shells on the beach

It was a very low tide so we did a little tide pooling.

Tide Pool

Dianne and Rem at Sea Ranch

Locking up the house I say goodbye to one of my dad’s baseball caps hanging on a peg in the entry hall.  I feel close to him in this comfortable home.  I feel sure he would be delighted with every visitor who stays, every fire in the stove, every meal cooked and shared, every walk enjoyed and every soak in the hot tub.

Hat in the hall

Thank you for your visit. It is much appreciated.


Filed under Life