Tuesday, April 30, 2019


When I was little, I drew a lot and made my Os with dots in the center.  I remember my brother telling me that wasn't right, but I insisted it was, I knew I was right.  And looking back, I was!  I have always been an artist, and I know beauty when I see it.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

children's books 102

 Arthur's Artichoke is a delightfully strange book with a pleasing story and illustrations by Geoffrey Moss.  Lines from this book pop out with unexpected humor, and the story takes a few surprising twists and turns.  The subject matter alone is unusual, and the scratchy drawing style complements it well.  
Arthur is an attendant at the zoo, and one night he buys an artichoke on his way home.  Instead of eating it, he adopts it as his pet because he thinks it has a real heart.  
"Having a pet artichoke was no sillier than keeping a turtle with an American flag painted on its back."
Arthur takes his pet for walks and rides on a bicycle, even when other people laugh at him. 
 "But Arthur was not shaken.  He knew he had the most unusual pet in the world, a vegetable with a loving heart."  
While working, he loses his precious pet and thinks it is gone forever.
"...Arthur returned to the zoo without his green companion.  He walked around muttering softly about the tragedy.  Sometimes he just leaned against the treadmill in the hedgehog house for hours.  "Never will I have another pet.  My artichoke broke its heart," Arthur kept whispering."
Little did he know the artichoke had ripened and burst, spreading its seeds all over the zoo.  Though it is not spelled out in a happy ending, you can see Arthur will find happiness again.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

for your pet rock's vacation

Here is a funny treasure I found at The Eclectible Shop in Winston, a jam-packed maze of books, records, framed art, and interesting objects.  This darling rock car and camper painted by artist Julia Byers Frye will be a front row addition to my wee stuff collection.

Friday, April 5, 2019

frosting taken further

A cake can be yummy enough on its own but with frosting, an even sweeter experience.  Piping with tips takes it a step further and turns dessert into a special occasion.  The book Wilton The Uses of the Most Popular Decorating Tips makes it look easy to add flowers, leaves and garlands to make your cakes fun and fabulous.

Monday, April 1, 2019

rolling bowling

It was a lovely weekend for a picnic at Miller Park in Winston, and I learned the difference between the Italian game bocce and the French game pétanque, also known as boules.
Bocce courts are much longer at 13 x 91 (I've also read 8 x 60) feet, and pétanque courts are 13 x 50 (or 10 x 43). This is because bocce is more of a bowling game with balls rolled palm up whereas pétanque is more of a tossing game with balls released palm down, creating a back spin and many more divots!  Bocce balls are larger and usually made of wood while pétanque balls are smaller and heavier, made of steel or iron. Scoring is similar in both games with points earned by getting the larger balls as close as possible to the small ball, called pallino ("bullet" or "little ball") and cochonnet ("piggy" or "jack"). Though my set is labeled for bocce, I now know I have been playing bocce with pétanque balls.
 But either game can be played anywhere, on gravel, grass or sand with any kind of balls like croquet balls or baseballs.  There is even a miniature version with marbles. I like the weight of my boules and how the silver finish is coming off more and more as the balls clink and show their pretty copper core. I'm not picky about how someone throws, and I often can't remember the score. I might enjoy a natural setting a bit more with rocks, hills and permanent divots that would make the game more interesting, but I just like being out in the sun and appreciate what a unique and fun place I have so close by. Miller Park has eight bocce courts and nine pétanque courts, and the wonderful spring weather is getting people out playing together now.