Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dig For Victory

Always good to learn some new tips for gardening and I did from this old WWII video.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Contemporary Painting of the Mona Lisa

A painting thought to be the earliest copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and painted alongside the original has been discovered in Madrid's Prado museum in Spain, giving another insight into what the model for one of the world's most famous paintings actually looked like.

The discovery, hailed as one of the most remarkable in recent times, was made during conservation work and is believed to reveal how the famous sitter would have looked at the time.

"This sensational find will transform our understanding of the world's most famous picture," said Art Newspaper, which published the findings.

The Prado painting was long thought to be one of dozens of surviving replicas of the masterpiece made after Da Vinci's death, but it is now believed to have been painted by one of his key pupils working alongside the master.

The Louvre museum original, displayed behind glass, is obscured by cracked darkened varnish, making the woman appear much older than her true age. Because of its fragility, cleaning and restoration is thought to be too risky.

But art historians believe the Prado's Mona Lisa reveals her as she would have looked at the time.

"It gives a much more vivid impression of her enticing eyes and enigmatic smile," reported Art Newspaper.

The discovery of a contemporary copy of the Mona Lisa painted in the same studio of the master has been accepted by experts at both the Louvre and the Prado.

The sitter is generally believed to represent Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the Florentine cloth merchant Francesco del Giocondo and is thought to have been painted between 1503 and 1506.

Ana Gonzalez Mozo, a technical specialist at the Prado, presented the findings at a conference on Leonardo da Vinci at London's National Gallery last month.

She said that what was most exciting about the Prado replica is what it reveals about Leonardo's original. In the Madrid copy there are areas that are better preserved than in the Louvre painting.

I just thought that this was so interesting, another painting of the Mona Lisa.  Done by a student at the same time and not a copy.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New In The Kitchen

A couple of additions to my kitchen.  First the salt and pepper shakers, when I saw those bright red poppies I thought what a lovely splash of colour and you know I love poppies.  They came in a very pretty sturdy little box.  Rob came home and said do you have a little box for me to make a Pin Hole Camera?  So voila!  I gave him that one to use, problem solved without a big house hunt.

I had one of those glass cutting boards by the sink, not that I ever cut on it because I think they would ruin your knives, they feel and sound awful to cut on, but they do come in some very pretty picture designs, but after a while they fade, or being by the sink, water gets under them and the backer starts to come off.  So since I came up with the idea of a large cutting board, and put some plastic feet on it.  It reminds me of the old kitchen draining boards, which used to be wood.  I remember Mrs. Ratcliffe down Water Lane where I used to live had a wooden draining board, draining into a shallow but large old kitchen sink.  Plus it rather goes I think with all the wood in my kitchen.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There are times in a life. ~ Joyce Stranger

There are times in a life
When you need a break.
Days full of strife
Are hard to take.
Take a deep breath and cross the floor.
Put on your coat and shut the door.
Take train, coach or car,
Escape the street,
Out into the country and onto your feet.
A loitering stroll down a leafy lane,
Sunshine and shadows, bright sky or rain,
A field, a river, and clumps of trees.
A small bird singing. Just give me these.
I'll return refreshed to the constant strife
That is, for most of us, daily life.
Whenever I lie on a bed of pain
I close my eyes and I dream again
Of wide blue skies and purple moors,
Of soaring hills and sandy shores,
I flee from the mess that man has made
To the God-given peace of a leafy glade.

~ Joyce Stranger

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dear Boy

After the meeting was canceled last Sunday because of ice, Rob and I decided to study our Watchtower together.  It was nice to take some quiet time, no rush, a pot of tea and of course Tink the ever faithful arm companion.

I had rushed around all morning getting things done before the meeting, so all was done and the pressure was off.  Lovely to share these quiet times together.

Rediscovering Old With The New

When I was sixteen I bought myself a little zip around leather writing case at Boots in Bishop's Stortford.  I still have it, I have used it continuously for over forty years.  The edges are somewhat bare, but I'd never part with it.  It's also travelled with me to many places.

But when I espied this one on EBay for one pound I could not pass it by.  I love leather, because unless it has been absolutely hideously ruined, just a little leather polish and elbow grease and it's rejuvenated.

This little writing case is a slightly heavier leather than my old one. a little smaller but thicker.  I love the crimson lining.  Of course American writing pads will not fit in it.  I definitely need to buy a small Basildon Bond writing pad for it.  I'll do so when I'm in the UK in April.


New Mats

I needed to get new mats for the kitchen and hallway.  I find that as much as I love the more organic type Indian throw rugs, they are not always practical in the kitchen and hallway, where you don't want them to keep slipping around.  My old ones were now at the nasty state, dried out rubber backs shedding little bits of rubber everywhere, so now was the time to break down and replace them.

I could have gone for a different pattern in the hallway to the kitchen, but decided to stick to the same pattern.  As light as they are, surprisingly they do not show much dirt or bits on them.  Especially for the traffic of having to bring in wood all the time through the front door and a lot of traffic in a small kitchen.

These rugs are actually made in Egypt.  They may last longer than my old ones; which probably lasted five years, but you know me pretty thrifty, but the backer on these is more a woven rubber.  We will see.

I didn't used to have a rug under the kitchen wooden seat and that was causing a problem of scuffing up the floor, now with the rug underneath it has solved that problem.  So will have to remember to always have a rug under that step stool.

One day I will get my kitchen wooden floor sanded and done.  I have wanted it done ever since we moved into the house ten years ago.  It's on my long wish list.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sugar Sifter Spoon

This is a sugar sifter spoon; which I saw at Nostalgia at the Stone House.  I never knew they existed, isn't it a great idea?  It seems they've been around for centuries.  So now I'm on a mission, a sugar sifter spoon.  At least it's a low tech gadget to add.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Office

My office work space is also the reception area and unfortunately has no windows.  So when I saw this little pot of daffodils at Trader Joe's I thought they would brighten up my work area and remind me of sunlight and spring.

That was last Friday.  I left them at the office over the weekend and when I came in Monday morning they had grown considerably and were stretching their little selves towards the sunlight that comes through the doorway from the main office area, plus they needed watering, but during the course of the day, with the lights on they straightened up, amazing.

The UPS guy says my teacup is as big as a pool, one could jump in.  The cup and saucer are from IKEA, almost the entire office is from IKEA.

I bought one of those slide picture frames for my work desk and I must say I do like it.  Of course I need to get another USB drive with a different set of photos on for a change.

So that's a little view of my daily work area.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Helping Joni a Friday Evening Dinner

This was a dinner Janice decided to have for Joni.  It is a year since Al died and we thought it might be nice to spend a little time with friends right now.  Janice put together a lovely dinner.  It was good to be together.  The four old friends, spouses and another pioneer friend.

Janice makes these olives in olive oil and peppers in olive oil.  You buy them when they're cheap.  The peppers you lightly fry and then put in a jar with spices and olive oil.  The olives just add spices, with the olive oil.  I can't find the recipe right now but I think you also add water.


Sunday Cooking

Apple muffins, a kind of hybrid recipe I came up with using left overs.  I had left over pancake mix, with flour, butter some sugar, eggs and milk.  Plus of course pieces of apple.  Actually they taste pretty good.

Here you can see the apple pieces.

After I put the larger apple shaped ones in the oven, I decided I should have put some spices in them, so on the second batch I decided to sprinkle cinnamon over them, but unfortunately the shaker had too larger holes.

So I remembered I had brought back from England this sugar shaker, so I filled it with cinnamon sugar I think it will be just right for that.

Marinated lemon, pepper chicken in my Provence clay cooking pot.

Sunday dinner I love all the colour, mixed veg and mashed sweet potatoes.

Well I was dashing around in the morning, our meeting is at 12:00 Noon.  Cleaning out ash from the fire, cleaning the glass, lighting the fire, putting out the trash, putting out the compost.  Changing the bed, washing linens, cleaning up the kitchen.  When I got a phone call, meeting cancelled because of ice.  I must admit after all that rushing around I was happy to know that a lot was done and the rush was ended.

Rob went out and brought in two loads of wood and cleaned the poop box.  Then we sat down with a pot of tea and honey on toast and did our Watchtower together, so that was nice.  After he went to a friends and I got into some cooking.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Little Snow

This is a very wet snow, so looks more than it is.  There is nothing on the roads, just wet, but it does look lovely on all the trees and shrubbery.  So this is my 3:15AM view.

Take care,
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