June 30, 2014

Felted Cacti by OnceAgainSam

So. I've told you about my infatuation with succulents and all things cacti.
Imagine my heart palpitations when I came upon this artsy rendition,
 created by artist Sarah Mandell of Once Again Sam!
They're part of her collection of craftily-felted curiosities, 
upon whose health surely not even I could wreak havoc!
In addition to cacti, she creates plants such as orchids, 
Bonsai trees and venus fly traps.
A lighthearted addition to your desk or table, guaranteed to bring a smile!

Find Once Again Sam here:

Images used with direct permission from Sarah Mandell.

June 27, 2014

Aluminum Anthill Sculptures


Summertime brings picnics and picnics bring...ants!
Along with a charming red & white check picnic blanket and a chubby watermelon, somehow
a picnic just wouldn't be a picnic without those party-crashers showing up to "bug" us!

Cartoons have long depicted them toting off the goodies
while we folks look the other way!


Today I'm sharing the work of an artist with a unique way of creating sculptures.
Using molten aluminum, he makes casts of ant colonies!

Fire Ant Colony, 14.5" deep, 10.7 lbs.

Anthillart encourages us to see these creations as both artistic and educational.
It's fascinating to appreciate the elaborate construction of an ant colony from a scientific viewpoint,
as well as from an artistic point of view as an attractive, contemporary piece of art.

Fire Ant Colony, 13" deep, 16.6 lbs.

Aluminum is poured into the top opening of an anthill until all of its tunnels and rooms are filled.
After a period of cooling and hardening, the surrounding area is dug up. 
Attached dirt is hosed off to reveal the intricate, silver sculpture.

Fire Ant Colony, 18" deep, 17.9 lbs.

How interesting that different types of ants have different styles of colonies!

Carpenter Ant Colony, 16.5" deep, 2.3 lbs.

These pieces are sold on Ebay.

Carpenter Ant Colony, 19" deep, 2.3 lbs.

Quite the conversation piece, wouldn't you say?

Carpenter Ant Colony, 31" deep, 3.5 lbs.

Luckily, we don't have to rely on my choppy description to picture how it's done;
watch this YouTube video to see for yourself:

Visit the Anthill Art website and Facebook page!

A shout-out to my friend Scott, whose
Facebook post brought this to my attention!

Images used with direct permission from Anthill Art.

June 25, 2014

Bucks Knocks Out Hunger!


Friends of mine invited me to join them for a morning of volunteering with the
United Way Bucks County, at an event called Bucks Knocks Out Hunger.
Their fight is made possible by joining resources with thousands of volunteers
to package nutritious meals for the County's food pantries.

The United Way is in partnership with a group called Outreach, Inc.,
who is able to offer supplies at a cost of only 25 cents per meal.

They also work alongside the Hope of the Harvest Charitable Garden at
Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA, where this event took place.


Volunteers don aprons, hair-coverings, and gloves, preparing for the action.
Notice the young lady in the cape: one of the organizer "super heroes" of the event!
Also notice in the foreground the red tools used to seal the bags.
This is a total assembly line project - precisely organized!


Huge bags of beans, rice and such are opened and at the ready.


The mission for our shift was assembling Rice & Beans and Macaroni & Cheese meals.

After sliding an opened bag onto the bottom of  these handy yellow funnels,
we would each dump our ingredient into the bag.
Next, each bag was weighed, adjusted if necessary, and then sealed.
A very efficient set-up! 


Me, Bill & Lynne!


We were assigned to a Rice & Beans table.
Here are the bins with beans, and a soy protein mixture.


A seasoning packet went into each meal bag.
My assignment was adding a scoop of these dried vegetables.


Members of the Delaware Valley College Football Team
were on hand to help out. Good work, Superheroes!


Here's a very quick action shot of the assembly line in process.
There wasn't time for photos while packaging was under way;
it was serious business focusing on the rapid-fire order of assembly.
I couldn't really even converse with anyone - a tough one for me, but I stayed to the task!


Woo-hoo! Our shift reached a goal of 40,000 meals!
Isn't that amazing?
How good it felt to be part of such a worthy effort!


The Mac & Cheese meals.


The Rice & Beans meals.


What a terrific way to give back!
If you'd like to make a donation, volunteer,
or learn more about this fabulous project, here are some links:


June 23, 2014

Stig Lindberg Patterns


Continuing my series on Scandinavia's multi-faceted designer, Stig Lindberg,
I'd like to feature some of his mid-century patterns, 
which have been printed as fabric, wallpaper and such.

The clever "Pottery" design, above, reflects the passion for which he's most famous.











A similar post: Retro Prints & Patterns.

More in my Stig Lindberg series:

June 20, 2014

On Playing Monopoly…


We, as a family, have played many games of Monopoly.
Some we've even finished.
When the kids were little, it was something like this:

On a recent camping weekend, the 5 of us, all adults now,
sat down for a "Family Game Night" round of Monopoly.

Notice, purists that we are, our game is the classic edition.
Probably 25 or so years old, the lid is bent with corners split,
requiring a rubber band to stay in place.

Ours was purchased years before the multitude of 
themed versions came on the scene, only some of which include:
The Three Stooges, Muhammad Ali, Star Wars, The Beatles, Power Rangers,
Scooby Doo, The Wizard of Oz, Spider Man, Harley-Davidson, The Smurfs,
Pirates of the Caribbean, Elvis, Harry Potter, and The Godfather.

Plus states, cities and university themes such as
Rhode Island-opoly, Nashville-opoly, and Penn State-opoly.

Would you believe there is even a Bacon-opoly?

No sir, it's the classic edition for us, all the way.
(Although I will confess, we did have Pokemon Yahtzee.)


Like many red-blooded American families, ours is highly competitive.
Cut throat? Absolutely. "You're goin' down!"
I don't fare well when swimming with the sharks, so usually I'm the first one out.
But I love the bantering, bickering, camaraderie and warm-fuzzies of truly playing
a good, old-fashioned board game together, so I'm always up for joining in.


But, wait. Could it be? Things are starting to look good for me. Dare I even hope?



Read 'em and weep!
With hotels, Baby.


And yes, I did the "obnoxious victory dance!"

Read lots of fun Monopoly trivia at the Hasbro website HERE!

June 18, 2014

Zucchini Quiche


I've been making this quiche for years and it stands as a family favorite.
It's actually a Pillsbury Bake-off winner from 1980!

Promise me you'll try this! It's so easy and just delicious!

Returning from Tanner's Market, I knew just what I wanted to do with those zucchinis!


Zucchini Quiche

2 T butter
4 C thinly sliced zucchini
1 C thinly sliced onions
2 T parsley
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ t garlic powder
¼ t basil
¼ t oregano
2 eggs
2 C shredded Muenster or Mozzarella
1 can Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
2 t yellow mustard

Pre-heat oven to 375.
In 12” skillet, melt butter.
Add zucchini & onions, cook 6-8 mins. until tender.
Stir in parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano.

In large bowl, stir together eggs & cheese.
Add zucchini mixture and combine gently.

Separate dough into 8 triangles.
Place in ungreased 10” glass pie plate or quiche dish.
Press over bottom and up sides to form crust.
Firmly press perforations to seal.
Spread crust with mustard.
Pour egg mixture evenly into crust-lined plate.

Bake 18 to 22 mins. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Cover edges of crust with foil during last 10 mins. of baking.

Let stand 10 mins. before serving.


This time I tried "Butter Flake" Crescent Rolls,
thinking, "Hey, who wouldn't love more butter?"
Nope. The consensus: Stick to the original variety.

Thinly sliced zucchini. I like to use my mandolin.
Later this summer, when I'm inundated with zucchini from our garden, (let's hope) 
I'll run them through the Cuisinart and freeze them in 4 cup batches, just for this recipe!


Puzzle-pieced the crust together, spread with mustard.


Filled with the zucchini mixure, ready to pop in the oven.


Stupendous! Oh-so-yummy!




Here are the websites for
 Pillsbury and