Never Never Isles Lantern Tree

 

Daylight Lantern Tree

Daylight Lantern Tree

i have been busy painting. To tell the truth, I’m not much of a painter. I sketch and draw from real life but, for me, painting requires more whimsy, more freedom of imagination that I find hard to achieve with pen and ink. What spurred me into painting was a sudden realization that I wanted to try glow-in-the-dark things. Haha. So here is my second painting, which I’m really quite fond of, since I didn’t think I could manage the dreamy, misty feel. Below is the glow-in-the-dark version.

Darkened version

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Extraction Distraction

Extracts

 

A few days ago I was in the mood to make extracts. The garden was overgrown with mint (I hate to admit it but they are invasive) and I took to picking and plucking away until I had tidied up a bit and came away with a handful of aromatic leaves. My raspberries were also in abundance so I picked a bowlful while munching on a few. 

Making extracts is a simple process. I had some vanilla beans too so I retrieved my jars and got to extracting. The vanilla bean has been sliced and scraped of its seeds (caviar) and soaked in lovely woody brandy. The raspberries were quickly blanched and cooled and pounded until mush in the jar then topped off with vodka. The mint leaves were washed and dried, placed into the jar, and then topped with vodka. They will sit like this in a cool, dry area for eight weeks, then strained and put to good use. 

 

Black Raspberries

Black raspberries

Although I am a total teetotaler, I was always fascinated with mentions of dandelion wine and berry wines in books I have read. I have no idea how to make wine, images of stomping on grapes in a wooden barrel, a la I Love Lucy, are what go through my head when I think of it.

The previous owners of our house planted black raspberry bushes, and this year they’re producing abundant berries. Not being a native, I was completely baffled the first few years when these beautiful pinkish red raspberries came out, but were just so sour. Then a few days later the birds and possums and other critters would devour it. Finally, I was wise to the fact that they were getting black and plumping up and getting juicy. Ah! They were black raspberries, and they were delicious.

I looked around the internet and saw that one can make dandelion wine at home, and I didn’t have to stomp on them. I also saw that black raspberry wine was something one can make as well. I imagine myself to be one of those characters in my favorite books, who keep a bottle of black raspberry and dandelion wine, at the back of some dark cupboard, and taking a nip once in a while. For medicinal reasons, of course.

Master of None

Jumble of tools

I’ve always been a Jane of all trades. I can do many things, and I can do them well, but I have never mastered anything. I can play the piano, and given fifteen minutes I can learn to play an instrument well enough to play simple tunes, but I can’t join your impromptu performance. I make very good meals but I can’t run a restaurant and I can carry a tune but you won’t find me on the radio. I draw and paint and I can mimic most techniques close to perfection. I’ve written books and stories that have been given acclaim but I have no patience.

There are days when my “ability” suits me well and there are days when I see someone’s original piece and deflate. How can they come up with something unique and different? If asked, if pushed, I can recreate it, maybe better but even then it’s just imitation.

Pining Away

Miniature pine broom

Here is a simple and easy to make miniature broom made of pine needles, a twig, and some thread. I needed some accessories for one of my fairy houses to come to life, so I grabbed some pine needles from the back yard, found a suitable twig, and wound thread around the two. So now, any future fairy inhabitants can sweep their home. :o) it’s the little things that keep me happy.


Fairy House 2.0

For the last month or so, I’ve been obsessed with making tiny homes. My first one was just okay. But the second one, was a little better. So much so that I’m going to share it with you.

Shingle house by the tree

I think with more research and finding other ways in which people make their homes, it’ll only get better. I’m very happy with the results of my second home. I plan on adding a base and “grass”.

Miniature shack in overgrown grass