Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bringing Nature Indoors

Autumn is a wonderful season to collect objects from nature and to use them for decorating. Pinecones, leaves, flowers, seed pods and other items can be made into wreaths, ornaments, and centerpieces. Seeds and nuts glued onto construction paper in patterns and designs that delight are fun to create for both young and old. Late summer flowers and leaves can be pressed in an old catalog or flower press so they can be preserved. After dried, they work well for crafts like beeswax framed leaf and floral art or as bookmarks when placed between layers of clear adhesive contact paper. If you'd prefer a different look, simply place dried leaves or flowers between sheets of acetate and cut into a shape you like. Then stitch around the edges with a sewing machine and thread in a color that compliments the insert. Spray paint decorates pinecones and seeds pods beautifully. Gone are the days when only gold or bronze paints were used for a project like this. Think outside the box and use colors like pale pink, creamy white, or pale peach. After the paint has dried, use twine, fine wire, or fishing line to create little loops. Affix with a glue gun and hang on an autumn branch or from the window trim.

Happy autumn! Go outside and find a bit of nature to bring indoors. It will make your day! Enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Daze


September brings crisp and clear days.  Even on a mountain filled with evergreens, colors change and a golden glow warms the landscape.  The bull elk are gathering their harems and their bugle can be heard in the distance as I walk through the meadow and hillsides.  Inside the cabin, a cozy fire is welcome and warming.  A tea kettle simmering on the wood stove makes a pleasant sound as it heats water for a hot cup of tea.  Sunshine streaming in the window by a table invites me to sit as I read or write on topics of my choice on a yellow notepad.  Stepping away from the convenience and comfort of daily life, to the quiet routine of a cabin 'off the grid' reminds me of the things that matter most in life.  Blogging has been slow for me these past few months.  Maybe the pleasant days of autumn will revive creative thought and energy.  I can only hope!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jumbo Tofu-Spinach Pasta Shells

24 jumbo pasta shells (or 14 manicotti)**
2 - 10 oz. packages frozen, chopped, spinach
1/3 cup minced onion
2 tsp. vegan margarine
1 lb. soft tofu, mashed
1 tsp. egg replacer, powdered
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
4 cups meatless spaghetti sauce (jar or homemade)
1 cup shredded soy cheese

Cook shells in boiling water until almost tender. Drain. Cook spinach as directed on package; drain well. Cook onion in margarine until tender. In medium bowl, combine spinach, onion, mashed tofu, salt, and nutmeg. Fill each shell with about 2 Tbsp. of mixture. Pour about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange stuffed shells in dish. Cover with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove cover; top with soy cheese and continue baking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Note: homemade "melty cheese" can be substituted for the soy cheese.  

**This recipe can be made as a gluten free dish by substituting crepes (made from cornstarch or another gluten free flour) for the shells or manicotti.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Flowers

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all. 
~ Robert Louise Stevenson ~ 

Lulu enjoys the beauty of a simple dandelion. Even the 
simplicity of a lone dandelion is made beautiful when 
appreciated by a child. 
Photo @ by Paula 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Indian Summer

Has Indian summer arrived where you live?  The gap of time between summer and autumn is one of my favorite times of the year.  Pleasant temperatures, vibrant colors, and shirt-sleeve weather make this the perfect time of year for exploring nature, far and near.  From Mt. Rainier to cabin meadow, pleasant ventures create happy family times.  Emily Dickinson also found this to be a most pleasant time of year.  Her verse applies, below...

by Emily Dickinson
These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, --
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gold Fish Aren't Gold...

Gold Fish

aren't gold
you know
but orange
and slippery
with thin frilly
fins and
eyes like
marbles and
mouths that YAWN

Today I watched them
swimming silently
smoothly around and around
and occasionallykissing the glass
walls of their enclosure and
I wondered if they were aware of how
incredibly boring their lives were
or were they perhaps having an intense mystical experience?

By Alison Cassidy

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Marriage

Congratulations to Sally and Brandon upon their marriage!