2 Down the Lane

2 Down the Lane

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bridge, Ideas and an Award!!


Since moving back to town, every now and then I have been substituting in a Monday morning Bridge group.  It is such a nice way to start the week.  It is only one table. Toby and Carol have been bridge friends for over 30 years (OUCH!)  and I have known Frances all of my life.  It is at Frances’ home each Monday. 

Frances has a wonderful art collection in her large living area where the bridge table is always set up.  She has one painting that I just love.  I would just look and look at it.  It is a triptych of sunflowers.  Well, I came home one day and in my journal started drawing.  I didn’t do a triptych and it really doesn’t look like the paintings, but it does make me happy when I walk into the dining room at my house.

So, I started it last summer and finished it before my first art crawl.  It didn’t sell (sad day), but then, I decided to enter it in the Mooresville Artist Guild Show last September.  I was absolutely thrilled to have won Honorable Mention in the Watercolor Division.

I thought I would show you the steps that I took to paint the sunflowers.  I wish I had a picture of the triptych at Frances’ home—but the important thing is seeing the finished product.


This is the drawing that I did in my journal.  Since this, I have discovered that I need to pretty much draw out each painting like this before I start.  I do not like to start something and then just keep adding until it is finished.  


I started this on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper.


This is just some practice for the background.  I even save all of this in the finished picture file.  I save all of my practice drawings, my practice color swatches and any photos or pictures that I have assembled to help me paint.


And, the finished picture.


So, I would love to hear some comments.

Have a great day!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Always taking pictures—always looking for new ideas

When I switched phones, I discovered I had over 500 pictures on it.  I had no idea that I had that many pictures of my grandchildren, flowers, clouds, trees and leaves. 
But a lot of times that is where I get my inspiration.  So I thought I would show you some of my inspiration.  I do love that I have the iphone.  I have a Kodak camera, too. 

So here goes.  Sometimes, you will wonder.  I will try to explain what I did see when I took the picture.  See if you see what I saw? DSC00152

This is a little fuzzy.  But, do you see all of the different “things” in this picture.  The clouds, the reflections, the colors—even fuzzy makes a pretty picture to me.


A trip to Florida always gets lots of birds and wildlife.  This is on my list to paint this summer.




Working on this right now.   The painting doesn’t look like this but I am using them as examples. 


100_1993 100_0434

Dozens of waves pictures.  Look at the colors in the waves.  Working on this, too, this summer.  This doesn’t begin to tip the bucket of the photos but it gives you a little view of some of the things that I look for when I take pictures.

Have a good day!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I am back again…….

I know it has been a long time since I have written. Well, actually a year.  I didn’t think it would take me this long to determine that as much as I once loved to set the table—decorate—sew new pillows—try new recipes---the whole homemaker thing—that it is not what I want to write about all the time. 

Oh, that is not to say that I don’t want my house pretty and every thing in it’s place.  I will tell you though that going from 6000 square feet to 3200 square feet has been an experience.  On top of that—I had to give up  or sell, or send to  Goodwill or Habitat or give away  a lot of things that were very dear to me.  My children didn’t want it—my sister took some---which is great because I know I can have it back if I want it---but, I don’t want it….I don’t even like going to yard sales as much as I did.  And, believe it or not—I honestly don’t remember the last time I went to Goodwill.   Now, I go to yard sales and look for art supplies and items for my two step-daughters (I should say friends – because they are). 

So, why have I started up the blog again? 

I am going to share my art with you—My journal entries—the good paintings and the bad.  New things I have tried and hopefully, through this we will learn together.  That is where my life is leading me---not setting tables with 1000’s of dishes---but drawing and painting—sewing and knitting and crocheting.   And oh my goodness, PINTEREST!!!  I am so hooked. 

I will take pictures of places we go and funky things that I think are fun.  I want to make the blog-my blog---not a copy of what I think you might want to read but my blog will be what is interesting to me when I sit down to write.  So, please comment.  Tell me if you have been somewhere that would be fun to paint or if you know of a place to go to get great photographs.  I am still going to cook and share recipes.    I am going to make jewelry.  I don’t even know what I am going to do but I hope you will be there with me. 

So, I am going to try, again.  Thanks for putting up with this quirky old lady. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Monday


I am sorry that I have missed the past two weeks.  I was keeping my mother the first week.  My sister took a well deserved vacation with her family.  Mama had a bad cold. She got well, but I got sick.  It has taken me a little while to catch up with life.  


Low Fat Spaghetti Pie     Pear Walnut Bleu Cheese Salad


Low Fat Spaghetti Pie

6 ounces whole wheat pasta
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
12 ounces drained, skim milk ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, drained
1 (16 ounce) jar low sodium  spaghetti sauce
4 ounces shredded low fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and cool.  Mix the eggs, noodles and

Parmesan cheese.  Press into a 9” pie pan (I spray mine with PAM)  and form a shell.

Spread ricotta on top of spaghetti shell.  Spread the spinach on top of the ricotta. Pour the sauce over all of the ingredients.  Top with mozzarella cheese. 

Bake for 30 minutes.  Serves 4-6. 



Pear Walnut Bleu Cheese Salad

6 cups salad greens
1 red pears
1/4 cup bleu cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4  cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoon  toasted walnuts
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 /2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 small shallot
1/2  teaspoon sugar

Dressing:  In a blender, put vinegar, walnuts, shallot, sugar, Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper.  With blender running, slowly drizzle canola and olive oils.

For individual servings:  Place 1 1/2 cups of greens on plate.  Cut the pear into halves and core.  Slice each 1/2 into quarters.  Arrange on greens.  Sprinkle bleu cheese and toasted walnuts on top.  Spoon dressing on each salad.



Meatball Minestrone           Herbed Parmesan Biscuits             Baked Apples for dessert       

Meatball Minestrone

1 pound ground turkey, 1 egg, 1 small minced onion, 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, dash of pepper, 1/4 cup milk, 1 clove crushed garlic,  2 tablespoons chopped parsley.  Mix all the ingredients and shape into 1” balls. Place on a lightly greased jelly roll pan and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove and drain. 

Mix all of the following ingredients into a Crockpot except the macaroni and zucchini

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, 1 (15 ounce) rinsed and drained, 1 (12 ounce) can of drained corn, 3 cups water, 1/2 cup dry red wine, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2 stalks celery, 2 finely chopped onions, 1 cup cooked macaroni and 2 cups sliced zucchini.

Sauté the onion and celery.  Cook in the Crockpot for about 6 hours.  Add the meatballs and then add the zucchini and the macaroni.  Cook another hour. Serve with grated Parmesan Cheese.  Makes 10-12 hearty servings.  Freezes well.  Don’t add the zucchini and macaroni to the frozen soup. 
I always double this and sometimes even triple it. Yummy!


Herbed Parmesan Biscuits

1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put butter in a 9” square pan and put in oven until it is melted.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, Parmesan, sugar, baking powder, basil and parsley.  Stir in the milk until just moistened.  Turn dough onto floured surface.  Knead a dozen times, until smooth.  Roll or pat into a 12”X4” rectangle.  Cut into 12 strips-one inch wide.  Roll each strip in the melted butter. Leave in pan in rows of 6.  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Quick, Quick, Quick! ! ! !



This Wednesday is the beginning of our family night suppers at church.  So, hurrah, no cooking tonight.  We are going to be studying two works by C. S. Lewis. I am really looking forward to it. 

Thursday  I hope I am going to do this chicken.  I don’t know if Kraft makes Russian dressing anymore.  I haven’t done my homework about this.  It is so good.  This is one of those recipes from long-long ago when I first got married.  It is a really pretty dish.

Russian Chicken            
Tri-colored Vegetables 
Wild rice


Russian Chicken

4 chicken breasts seasoned with salt & pepper
3/4 cup Russian dressing
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons melted butter
chopped parsley
Brown chicken breasts and place in a 2 quart casserole.  Mix the dressing and jam together and pour over the chicken.  Drizzle the butter over the chicken.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove cover and allow to bake another 15 minutes.   Place on a platter and drizzle the sauce over it.  Garnish with the chopped parsley.


Tri Colored Vegetables

1 sweet yellow pepper, cut into slices
1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 3” lengths and then into           1/4” sticks
1/4 cup onions---cut into rings
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.  Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes.  Add carrot sticks and green beans and toss to coat with butter.  Pour in 1/2 cup water.  Cover and steam for about 5 minutes.  Watch that the water does not boil out.  Add the yellow pepper strips and the 1 teaspoon dried basil.  Cover and cook for another 3 minutes. 


Well, I am hooking up with Yvonne at Stonegable for Menu Mondays.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Menu Monday or Not. . . . . . . .

Hi guys.

I am keeping my Mom this week.  Honestly, I am not doing much cooking.

My sister is an angel for keeping my Mom at home. 

Menu Monday will be back next week. 

I have a luncheon meeting at the house today.  A good photo opportunity…..

Mr. R and I have decided that I have a new company’s name

What Little Ole Ladies Want.com

Not really, but sounds good, doesn’t it?   I sold some bookmarks at my step daughter’s shop.  Guess how old the lady was that bought them?  In her 80s and she said she was going to give them to her old neighbor—who was in her 90s.  I love it.  DSC02648-1

Oh, my bookmarks are $2.50 and shipping is free. 

I hope to get some other posts done. 


Have a good day and

See you in a few!!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

I have a problem. . . . .

Lately, I have been in situations where I have tried to sell “stuff” from my paintings to yard sale items.  I have made a random survey at these events.  OLD ladies like my “stuff”, young people don’t.  Seriously.  My daughter and 2 friends decided to have a yard sale a couple of weeks ago.  I have another house up in the mountains where I had my bed and breakfast.  The house is empty but the Carriage House is still full of “stuff”.   I took my Mini  and filled it with what I thought would be good yard sale stuff. 


Look at the cute chicken.  It was given to me by a dear friend and I didn’t really want to sell it.   By the time I thought to take pictures, I had sold several things. So that is one reason it looks so bare.


“The Girls” (my daughter and her friends) are in their mid 30s.  Katy was thinking about selling her house and  had cleaned closets.  She was dealing as nothing she brought was going back to her house. Her friends, Shannon and Lisa were just cleaning out because Shannon had moved in with Lisa. 

At any rate, everything that sold of mine was sold to a person of illustrious age and good looks.  (Well, I am in that age group, too….)  Not one young person looked at my “stuff”.  For the amount of items that I took to the sale, I did okay.  I brought the chicken home and it is sitting on my dining room table (more on that next week for Table Top Tuesdays at A Stroll through Life).  I didn’t want to sell it anyway. 

So fast forward to this past weekend (Labor Day).  My step daughter has opened a little store in a barn – aptly named The Barn Shop.  She does beautiful refinishing and caning.  Her shop has vintage items in it—some really old and some not so old – but great buys.

I took some of my paintings up there and some book marks in the $2.50 range several months ago.  Nothing has sold.  We were so busy on Friday that the shop looked bare by the end of the day.    I offered to stop by the house and pick some of my “stuff” up and take it to fill in on Saturday.



Sorry about the glare. I promise you, the only comments about my paintings or the items that I brought from the house came from seasoned patrons.  I sold some bottles and a big iron pot.  Not bad---but…..

I made an unofficial survey and learned about my target market. But, I need some advice about how to a. attract another age group or b. make (paint) items that the target market will not only comment on—but PURCHASE!!!!

I know better than most that times are tight……

So, my problem and I promise I really do want comments—I would love to learn what “30 somethings” are looking for in paintings, handmade items, scarves, etc.  I want to hear from the 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.  Help, please.

I have spent a little bit of time on Etsy this afternoon.  There were some paintings that were kind of like the ones I do—I think, if I was a little more funky—abstract—maybe, that would attract a broader audience.  All comments appreciated.

thanks for your thoughts,

See you in a few,


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What fun---Or, I might have a new hobby. . . . . . . .


I guess I shouldn’t call it a new hobby.   I have always liked to play in the dirt.  When I was a little girl, Daddy built me a tree house.  I was so excited and I wanted to make it pretty.  I raked all around it (we lived in a pine forest).  I even went up farther into the woods and dug plants  and planted them around the tree house.  I was so proud.  I will never forgot running in the house and getting Mama to come out to see what I had done.  She about died.  I had dug up POISON IVY.  But, you know, I did not get a drop.  It has only been in the last few years that I get it, and only on my right arm. 

Well, my new hobby is rooting cuttings. 


Over the years, I have tried to do cuttings, but it never seemed to be really successful. I got them to root, but once I put them into the dirt, I was a failure.   But, this year has been so much fun to watch roots form in water or to see pots filled with sprigs completely fill and overflow the container. 

Last year, my neighbor brought over some pathos that she had actually already rooted.  I said thank you and stuck it in a pretty rooster container that I keep on a shelf over my washer and dryer.  Quite frankly, I forgot to keep water in it and would every now and then have an “a Ha!” moment and fill the jar with water.  This spring, I decided I would try to stick it in some dirt.  It worked---I have already brought that pot in the house for the winter. 

I was at a friend’s house late last summer and she had a Wondering Jew that I had not seen and I broke a piece off (with her permission, of course) and stuck it in some dirt.  I had another kind (the purply red and green) of w.j. that Mr. R had brought me from the Senior Center.  I got both through the winter.  The Senior Center Wondering Jew had been planted in good old North Carolina red clay.  I really don’t know how it survived—but it did.  It was so hard in the pot that I had to get a knife to go around the edges just like a cake.  I have three pots of this started.


Our “interesting” yard men (we live in a semi-gated community and if I had my way we would do our own mowing, blowing, etc.) knocked a Christmas cactus down out of a tree and broke it up---So, I took those pieces and made a couple of pots with those. 


Another plant I rooted this summer was Acuba cuttings.  I needed some green in our foyer and just went out and cut some and brought it in.  I am going to put those in the ground over the weekend. 

Now, just the other day when I made the pesto, I had some leftover basil.  I had read how easy it was to root.  I put it in the water about a week ago and I already have roots.  I love it!!  I think, I will put that in a small pot and see if I can keep it over the winter.


My sister gave me some Rex begonia stem s the other day.  They are in water and I have my fingers crossed that I get something started before long.  I would love to get that in some dirt before it gets too cold to set outside for a while. 



Many years ago, I read that when one tried to root, they should not use tap water because it contained so many chemicals.  I would let water sit and supposedly that would let the chemicals evaporate. I even went out to Mama’s and got lake water or her well water to try to root plants.   This summer I just stuck things in water straight from the tap.  Success!!!!!  I also use Rootone—a plant hormone that helps plant develop roots—I even use this when I plant in the spring.  It really helps to make stronger plants. Other than that I guess I gave them a lot of tender loving care.

Now, the next big question is, can I keep all of this over the winter.  I am sure going to give it a try.  So, this is the “new hobby” (like I needed one -- )

Keep your fingers crossed and I will

See you in a few,