Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sweet Summer Diversions

So often since my last post, I have wanted to sit down and write about what has been happening in my world.  Summer is always a crazy time during which I'm either working my tail off in the garden, on the trail in the park, or busy simply enjoying time alone with my wonderful husband.  

Since my last post I was busy picking, preparing, eating and putting up a multitude of home grown strawberries.  During peak season, I was averaging about 1 ½ gallons of strawberries every other day (I lost total count but I'd say we brought in about 40-50 quarts this year) from my two 5' by 3' strawberry beds. 

That's a lot of strawberry pies, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry smoothies, strawberries on cereal, strawberries with ice-cream, plain strawberries, strawberries dipped in Nutella and dehydrated strawberries. 

 Every year I say to myself, "Gosh I'm so lucky to have this right in my back yard…. and anyone who loves strawberries like I do, and has at least 3 square feet of growing space is crazy not to grow strawberries."  They really are so easy to grow.  I planted about 12 plants my first year (about 5 years ago), and those 12 plants multiplied each year and I now have 2 full beds… with a third and fourth bed that I dug this year and transplanted a few plants from my original bed to create bed #3 and planted a new variety (Alpine) in bed #4.  The photos in this post are from my strawberry beds and harvest this year. 

I also wanted to share this beautiful gift that I received from one of my wonderful friends.  The gift (pictured above) is a berry bowl which has drainage holes in the bottom of the bowl, perfect for rinsing a quart of berries.  I used this on a daily basis during strawberry season!  My friend Amy is a potter.  She creates functional pieces of art that would be great in any home.  Here are some of the other wonderful pieces that she has given me - a small lamp, teacup and saucer mini planter and a ring holder.

Amy does a variety of gorgeous work and she offers classes for both adults and children.  To see more of her work, check out available class schedules or make other inquiries - check her out online at:
or email her directly at:

My other sweet summer diversions have been picking wild black raspberries in my neighborhood and blueberries from our own blueberry bushes.  This year we harvested about 2 to 3 gallons of black raspberries which I turned into raspberry syrup (perfect for making home-made sodas when mixed with plain seltzer water).  Red raspberries will be soon ready for picking and can be found in even greater abundance... and our blackberry bush is bursting with fruits that are ripening as I type this.  We will also have sunberries, huckleberries, elderberries and chokeberries this year.

I can't forget to mention my Polymer clay news.  My sweet summer polymer clay treats have been: 

1. Getting published in the Summer 2012 Recycle & Reuse issue of The Polymer Arts Magazine  for both my tutorial on silk dyed polymer and also as a mention in the article entitled Polymer to the Rescue written by Angeli Del Rosario.  Go to The Polymer Arts magazine website to order your copy or to subscribe to this awesome publication (issues are available in digital and print versions).

2. Winning 1st place voted by PCAGOE members and 2nd place by the public in the May PCAGOE monthly challenge for my Tiffany inspired lamp.  (see previous post for photos)  Thanks to everyone who voted in the challenge.

 3.  Here is a photo of the piece that I entered in the June 2012 PCAGOE challenge theme of vessels (a polymer clay covered incandescent light bulb): 

Congrats to all of the winners of the June 2012 challenge!  July challenge will be open for voting soon (I've entered a piece in this challenge also) and I'll try to post about it before the end of the voting period! 

Now to enjoy more of summer's sweet diversions!.... Leave me a comment telling me about your summer sweets....what have been the highlights of your summer?