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September 2009

Orange Ovation

2 Persimmons

Angel Trumpet-brugmansia

Monkey Paw Flower

Orange Dahlia

Canna Leaves

Pincushion Plant

Pat Austin Rose


O v a t i o n Origin early 16th century: from the Latin ovatio(n-), from ovare 'exult' [exultation] from the mid 17th to early 19th century.


The hoped-for clever writer in me tapped ovation for inclusion in this post's title, because it's a zingy, positive word, and what else, it starts with an O. Unsure of its appropriateness, I consulted Webster. He told me ovation is the same as exultation. Good going– thanks Daniel!

Five of these orange shots were taken on the afternoon of the purple dahlia post. In a two-hour span, I photographed stunning plants that took blood, sweat, and centuries to reach today's gardeners. While writing R is for Rose, I learned about plant hunters, and it occurred to me that you might enjoy three entertaining reads that I discovered. Reading for pleasure, and learing at the same time, are the best, don't you think? Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth are historical novels, by the inimitable Philippa Gregory, about the John Tradescants, father and son gardeners to English kings, as well as plant seekers in the new world. The Land of the Blue Poppies: The Collected Plant-Hunting Writings of Frank Kingdon Ward has riveting tales of Ward's adventures in China.


Photos from the top: Fuju persimmons; brugmansia 'Angel's Trumpet'; dahlia; monkey paws; canna;  pincushion plant; 'Pat Austin' rose; orange.

PS Exalting, through photos, is, was, and always will be one of my aims.

Blogging, patchwork, memories . . .


Until recently, I posted this blog without taking the time to really participate in the greater blog world. I was actually too shy (no, it's true) to leave comments on the three blogs I did pay attention to. I knew I had to break my pattern and get out and about. On one such venture, I discovered that someone named Tara Frey was taking pre-orders for her book, Blogging for Bliss. I ordered it.


Several months later, still uncomfortable about posting comments, I received Tara's book. What a treasure, eye-opener, and love fest it turned out to be. From blogging how-tos, to features of her favorite bloggers, Tara demystifies blogdom.

Now, I'm a happy wanderer, leaving hearfelt comments, and discovering the most delightful, talented people. The opportunities for self-expression in this thriving medium are boundless.

Happy Zombie


Many of Tara's blogging friends are craftswomen. One evening, I found myself on Happy Zombie in utter bliss. Monica Solorio-Snow has the cutest, sweetest, funniest blog about her life and her insatiable passion for needlework, especially patchwork. She has so many lovely projects going on.

I became wistful .  .  .


. . . about my own patchworky past. Yes, there was a time, long ago, when patchwork was my main creative focus. I used to sew very complex patterns with tiny diamonds and triangles on clothes, pillows, upholstery. I only have one item from those days, the quilt above. I just had to somehow post it with roses, in honor of all the quilt fun going on today.

In the 70's and 80's, decorating magazines used to display quilts as tablecloths. In France, I think they actually really use quilts on dining tables. (It must be a winter thing.) Anyway, I thought why not.

As I looked at the patches . . . I remembered . . .


How I loved rosebud prints–– and I wasn't even into roses then.




The turquoise dress, with the zipper in front, for nursing my first baby girl.



Three-year-old daughter Oneita's pink flannel nightgown.



And, oh my, the two fabrics in this one were actually left over scraps from a summer outfit my mother made me when I was three!

Next Post ––
A how-to for the rose bouquet, and a peek at the place settings.



Hummus (without tahini)


Warm pita triangles with a generous dollop of silky, creamy hummus is one of my favorite food combos. However, tahini (sesame paste) is one of the main ingredients in a traditional hummus recipe, and this cook hasn't cracked the code on how to combine the separated oil floating on top of the paste, with the actual paste. On the internet, one post says, "Just stir it together." Sorry, it just doesn't happen for me.

It's o.k. I have a fabulous tahini-less hummus recipe. Silky-creamy it's not, but rich with a nice texture it is.


Pan-roasted sesame seeds are the secret. Note the red arrow– don't even think of having the heat any higher– lower is good too. You want those seeds to brown gradually– no burning allowed.


The finished hummus after a whirl in the cuisinart.


Hummus, veggies,


and Japanese-style rice crackers make a yummy lunch.

Hummus (without tahini)

1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained– save 1/3 cup of the liquid
3 T sesame seeds, toasted (add a few extra for garnish)
1 medium cove of garlic crushed (larger if you're a garlic lover, but you know that)
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 juicy lemon, squeezed
Cayenne or white pepper, optional

Brown the sesame seeds in a pan over medium-low heat. Stir, to keep from burning with a wooden spoon. Place all ingredients in a cuisinart or blender and give them a good whirl.