Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Curwen Press Miscellany and me

Curwen Press... have you ever heard of it?

Last week I spent a few days on a road trip with my dearly beloved. Because there are many miles involved, we change the view by stopping at an occasional antique store.

That's where I discovered Curwen Press.

In a stifling second-floor room of a small town antique store, I found this.

I flipped through it and loved the few pages I saw.

It wasn't until I got home that I saw this...

... and decided that before I started cannibalizing the book for art to frame, I should do a little research.

Surprise! Curwen Press has a fascinating history, and I hold a rare piece of that history in my hands. Not to worry... I've changed my plans for cutting it up.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that shopping is a waste of time. I find it to be very enlightening!

... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7

Monday, June 14, 2010

Giving gifts

It's funny... the little things that cradle big emotions.

A small driveway pebble, chosen because it was available, given with the words, "Remember me, Grampa"

A gift bag, decorated with figures whose arms and legs poke straight out of their heads...

A small, Honeysuckle vine that grows with fierce vigor, flowers from early spring till the winter snow flies, given as a tribute...

An Evening Primrose that produces brilliant blossoms... which by evening wilt to a salmon colored clump. A memorial gift...

The pebble has traveled thousands of miles with Grampa. He gets a little misty when he handles it.

Can't remember what gift was in the decorated bag, but the bag hangs in the work room, holding flower petals.

Honeysuckle vine = "bonds of love" in the language of flowers. I remember that whenever I look at that vine.

Evening primrose = "inconstancy, changeable"... and so it is in days, weeks and passing years.

Don't just throw money at father's day (or any occasion!) and call it good. Find a stone. Give a part of yourself. It lasts so much longer than a tie.

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. I John 3:18

Friday, June 11, 2010

The good... and the bad

The lavender plant in my front yard is flourishing since my cleaning session a couple of days ago. It is covered with fresh buds - which is good news, because at the precise moment of ripe-but-not-quite-open, I will harvest them for our family favorite, Lavender Lemonade.

The first year I made this, I was sure the grandkids would all refuse a beverage as unfamiliar as lavender lemonade. I was so wrong. It was a hit with all who tasted. Lavender lemonade joined the list of must-serves, right next to the black bean salsa.

I've decided to share the recipe. Just make sure that your lavender buds are edible - that is, pesticide free! (note: the ratio for substituting fresh for dry - 3 to 1)

The beautiful glasses and the garnishes are nice... but optional.

The bad?

I have poison ivy. Buried in those dead, dry, autumn leaves somewhere I brushed against the wicked menace. It's not too bad. (Praise God) I will survive. But thank you for gasping.

Wherefore doth a living man complain for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Lamentations 3:39,40

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dried roses

There is a little rose bush in my yard that produces an abundance of these...

So, when I learned that flowers can be dried in the microwave, these little beauties were my first (and most available) choice for experimentation.

I found the instructions here. Equipment required (beside the microwave and flowers)? Two microwave safe plates and paper towels.

Lessons learned:
- When they say "dry, not crisp" - listen.
- A flattened, dried rose blossom has its place, but I prefer the individual petals.
- A glass plate is a good weight.
- Don't use your best flowers the first time. Experiment with "seconds"!
The color in the petals stayed fairly true to the fresh blossom. Can't wait to try this again.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5

The lavender plant

When life moves too quickly, this blogspot gets neglected. Details disappear into the blur of "hurry!"... soon forgotten, because they were never recorded. The blur continues, but I will not let it swallow all the moments of today.

Even though I have never enjoyed gardening, there are a few plants in the yard that I love. One is my lavender plant. I had reduced many a lavender to straw before this specimen came home with me. I plopped it into the last place in the yard that seemed to fit the description on the tag. In view of its age... the tag was right.

During the winter, leaves and debris smooshed (all right... so how would you spell it?) their way in, around and through the branches of the plant, so this afternoon I cleaned it out.

Unfortunately, to remove all of the mess, I had to really push that plant around. The thick woody stems were fine, but many tender leaves and branches were bruised in the process. I was enveloped in the sweet aroma of lavender.

I couldn't help but make the spiritual comparison. Do my roots go deep, or is my growth just under the surface, weak and feeble? Am I strong enough to survive a spring cleaning by the "Master Gardener"? When I am bruised or broken is the immediate response a sweet smelling savor?

Despite the dirty dirt, sitting in that lavender scented cloud was good for me, body and soul.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. Ephesians 5:1,2