Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More signs of spring.......

A first year planting of a hyacinth poking through the ground. It doesn't look like it will put out a tall stem but I will wait and see what happens.

I planted my Blaze climbing rose in a corner where I will install a trellis to hold it. I gave it more water today as it looked like really dry soil.

New England Bluebells have very nice foliage.  I am glad to see them coming up. Thanks for stopping by.........

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Toy soldiers on parade......

I have a toy collection of soldiers and nurses that are representing figures from both World War 1 and World War 2.  They were given to me along with all the other things by John and Iva Horton.  Their children were the same age as my parents and they did lose one of their sons in WW 2.

From my research the metal pieces are representing WW 1.  The nurse and the wounded soldier are also from that group. I have one soldier that is on a stretcher.

Here is an example of the same toy, one done in a metal form and behind them is one that is made of a paper mache-like material.  I am thinking that the helmets in the foreground toy soldiers are WW 1 but I am not an authority on this.

This is a toy in very bad shape. Can you see the pigeons that he is handling?  I think that I have a helmet that does fit this guy.  Can you imagine using pigeons to send messages.

The cannon has  rubber like material for it's wheels and the rest of it is made from metal. The guy in front is a first WW soldier.

As  a foolish college kid, I needed a fast sculpture for a class and I used a few of these guys in the composition.  I actually glued them down to the sculpture, bad idea I know, and the sculpture along with many others were left in an open classroom for many weeks.   The flag and grass was painted by me to make it look better.  I know now one isn't suppose to do that to antiques.

The whole collection is 40 or more pieces. I really wanted to take time to photograph and catalog each one but that didn't happen this winter.  I actually didn't get the posting done until spring but I did want to share some of them.  My collection is in very bad shape.  I know that they are not of great value because of that, but as a piece of history they are museum pieces.  Thanks for stopping by.........

PS  I did a little research and did find one company Manoil that made one kind of my soldiers. I will be looking for more later.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Signs of Spring.....

There is hope as the daffodils are ready to open.  Behind them are the starts of the surprise lilies.

An iris that is a leftover one as I had moved most of it out of this area.  The iris is a tough one as well as the creeping charlie.  A lot of my transplanted iris for my parent's home are peaking their leaves up. I will be anxious to see if they will bloom this year.

The  daffodils are doing well here also and there are a few tulips mixed in among them.  I won't take the leaves away just yet as we could get snow or even an ice storm yet before true spring arrives.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A slow creative day......

Do you have any pictures like this.  It has seen a lot of hard times. I had never seen it before this year while digging through my mom's sewing room.  When she died, she left my wife and I a room full of more that just sewing.  It was a room where everything was stored, including her two sewing machines.  Her mind kept her from quilting her last 10 years.  She had made so many quilts, cabbage patch dolls, pillows, and wall hangings, but she had to give it up as the mind couldn't figure things out anymore.

The room that took three to four tries, was finally cleared after sorting out old quilts, quilt pieces, VHS tapes, plastic flowers, baskets, old clothes, sewing supplies, old photos, books, toys for the grandchildren, books from an old country school house, and a closet full of handmade clothes of her past.

Important things were also found, documents that I needed to handle the estate, and of course pictures.
My mom's dad was not in very many photographs and when he was in them, my mom would write Dad above them so the rest of us would know which one he was.  In the photo above they are bringing in a crop for thrashing.  When you click on the photo you can better appreciate all that is in the photo. There five or more men looking at the camera in the background.  I do not know the other guys in the photo but my grandpa was named Leroy Martin Brown, who died in 1937.  Thanks for stopping in......

Saturday, March 27, 2010

if you do stuff, stuff gets done: Sepia Saturday

if you do stuff, stuff gets done: Sepia Saturday
I really enjoyed the photos and I too am amazed of the disappearance of James. One will never know. Great blog!

Saturday's shorts.......

I was at a bookstore and found a book about indoor houseplants. It was well illustrated and contained a lot of useful information.  The majority of the plants were far more tropical in nature that I can  buy around here but I did learn some new things about the plants that I already have.
The oxalis pictured above, was given the common name of Shamrock.  They showed the darker leafed variety ranther than this lighter green leafed plant.  I always thought a shamrock was a three leafed clover but maybe the nursery industry likes to give it a name like that to help sell it at St. Patrick's Day.
I did learn that I would be better off if I let this plant dry out and go dormant over the winter, but it always hangs in there throughout the winter months for me in a south window.  I will be planting it in the ground in May when the soil warms up and that makes it a very happy plant.

This cactus has a name of Peruvian Cactus.  I bought it at a Home Depot for a couple of bucks. It became sunburned while in the east window as you can see some of the yellowing going on.  I found out that I just cut some of the pieces off, let them dry out good and then put them in soil and I can have new starts of the plant.

Off subject for now, I took a photo of the inside wrappings of my new shirt.  I am soon on the way to the waste basket with this stuff but I remembered I had place all the pins to the side.  It is amazing the amount of work that is put into the packaging of a shirt, to make it look wonderful as it sits out on display.  How many pins would you think it would take to support the whole thing around the cardboard forms, plastic neck supports and cardboard neck supports?  Well 8 silver, round headed pins would be the magic number.  I received some new spring clothes for my birthday, as I refuse to wear all the shirts and pants that I use to wear as a teacher.

It is rainy looking and dreary today so I will be framing pictures.......many people have needs to have me frame and I will obey.......thanks for stopping by........

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26, Friday, 2010

Spring is getting closer to being a reality. We have the bright sunny light, but we have cold arctic air.  Yellow Kitty is so glad to get outdoors in spite of the wind.  She finds a place in the sun and out of the wind and relaxes.

As a gift to me, my neighbor Judy gave me these two packets.  She loves to order things in seed catalogs.  She has fixed up for me a start of two tomato seeds.  She tells me that they are to grow eight feet tall.  I will keep this picture and make a comparison a couple of months from now.  I am going to have to put them as is into a pot of dirt to soak up that cardboard container and I was warned not to wash the see out of it.   Oh boy, this is going to be touchy.

I found this photo and shot it with my camera instead of scanning it.  I wanted you to see the date on the photo at the bottom and shock you.  It actually was a photo that was developed in May, but it was taken on March 26, 1957.  Someone in the picture had just turned 7 that day and he didn't have to go to school. The barn has a door like a Dutch door design and the top one is open and the bottom on is closed. The snow covers the bottom of the door which makes the snow at least 3 and half feet high. Yes it is a drift but it was a lot of snow for March.

The guy above is wearing a red coat with fake soft fur around the hood.  My brother, three years older than me, and I got the same kind of coat. Back then it was the only kind that was in the store.  It must have been a generic boy or girl coat as a teaching friend said she had the same coat that year also.

The barn now stands in collapse and the grainery on the left, had to be moved, as the new owner of the farm had too big of tractor and equipment to go through that space between it and the barn.  Unfortunately that well constructed grainery went rolling down a hill destroying it. It had been moved behind the barn on the edge of a hill and  a large wind caught it up like a kite and sent it to it's


Thanks for checking in........

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Cheap Purchases.....

My garden blog friends are cringing right now but I threw away some small change for a couple of roses at Walmart.   The hybrid tea is a joke as I will have to bury it in dirt this fall with a pile of hay to keep it alive for another year.  I know a guy in a town south of us who has dozens of hybrid T's but he covers them in four feet of straw each fall plus burlap wrap.

When I was a kid on the farm 50 plus years ago, we had the Blaze Climbing Rose.  It is a piece of my past I would like to revisit also.  I plan to get these planted in a protected area very soon so the leaves will stay alive and the roots won't rot inside. It has a very wet packing material  around their roots which I doubt will be very good for them.

They look really healthy as you can see from all the sprouts.  They of course are grafted and in Iowa we bury that graft at least three inches below the soil.

One other thing that I did accomplish this past few days was to work with the birdhouse condo.  The base of it that I had used was made of recycled plywood.  The weather caused it to deteriorate in less than a year.  I had to take it off the pole, take all the houses apart and replace them on a new waterproof plywood. I didn't get any Martins living in the house last summer but if you look closely I must have had a sparrow nest in there. That is better than nothing.

I wanted to put real shingle material on the different roofs while I had it down, but the framing business has become overwhelming and I didn't have time to mess with it.  Maybe I will take it down for the winter and then I can put real shingles on it.

Spring is getting closer around here.  Thanks for stopping by......

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh the mysteries there are in your own home......

I was going to tell you that this teapot was bought at an antique store and mention how it is made so similarly to the cream pitcher that I posted much earlier.  As I examined it from of the shelf I found inside a dozen or so funny looking pennies.  I also found on the bottom that it was not a Slovia made pot but was a Royal Rochester piece made in Ohio. It is sold on ebay for 50 bucks right now. So I asked my wife, "what do you know about those pennies?"

Granted we have been married almost 26 years now and I  am getting older, but I guess I do forget things.  The teapot was her mothers and when she moved in, she brought it with her, pennies inside of it.
  The only reason I was even going to show it to you was to say that in a couple of scenes of "Alice in Wonderland,'"  they had a lot of teapots just so much similar to this, sitting on the long table for the Mad Hatter's tea party.  They all had the same top with a metal lid, and the shapes were so much the same. I am sure by now the March Hare has broken most of them  with his throwing of teacups wildly everywhere.        Oh by the way, did I tell you the story of what I did the other day with two  tea pots?  Never mind......I don't want to talk about it.

As I was exploring this newly discovered item that has been in the house for 25 years,  I see the top is actually brass or some other metal that can be cleaned to a shine.  The top finial is connected to a chain that can be raised and lowered with a tea infuser attached. When I looked it up on the internet is said the finish is Pearl Lustre.

On with the story" where did these pennies come from I asked?" The pennies are mostly lead pennies that were made during W.W 2.  They are all made in the forties as we were saving copper for the war effort.  A few of the copper ones you see with them are also the wheat back and Lincoln front made in 1943 D (Denver) or 1943 (plain meaning Philadelphia). I definitely remember the stray lead penny among my coppers in my pocket while growing up as a kid, but they have all been pulled out of circulation by collectors.

The pennies were given to my wife by her dad as he thought she might take good care of them.  He also said they would be very valuable some day.  I have not checked it out.
By the way, I hesitate to recommend the Alice in Wonderland movie to all people but we loved it. We went back to see it again.  My wife and I are both creative people and my wife read the book over and over again as a child. I  knew we would like.   It really is a phenomenal showing.  If you have never seen anything in 3d, you need to go experience it with this movie. It is something that you have never experience before ever and you will never see it at home in 3d. I really can't explain the 3d things other that there are teacups flying out at you and butterflies flying into the theater and just things like that which go on all the time.

Thanks for stopping by.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Des Moines Art Center........

The Des Moines Art Center was built on the north end of the Greenwood Park. The architect was Eliel Saarinen and they completed building his design in 1948.  From my research, he is best know for the two buildings that he design that didn't get built.  He was a Finnish architect that moved to the United States in 1925.  My wife's first cousin Lavern Kohls was one of the first directors when the place was first built.

I. M. Pei was the architect to the sculpture wing of the center. It was completed in 1966. It is a modern concrete building with a lot of windows making it a very pleasant place to be. The windows here overlook an outdoor sculpture garden and a very large rose garden.  Pei is well known for many buildings in the U.S. including the wedged shape National Art Gallery in Washington D.C.  He is also famous for the triangular pyramid that was places in the courtyard of the Louve, Paris, France.  It is loved my some and hated by many others.

The last addition to the Art center was this contemporary art wing designed by Richard Meir.  He is famous for his buildings that are made up of  geometric shape usually clad in large porcelain coated metal square sheets. It is exactly like the refrigerator material covering your ice box.  He is famous for creating buildings like this all over the world. His large spaces that he creates inside are like a free standing sculpture in itself.   Some call this our salt and pepper shaker building. The work that is housed in this building is ultra contemporary and to me doesn't do justice to the great design of this building.  Large squares of color do seem to be the going theme and the museum itself is very proud that they are a modernist museum.

The Art Center has three famous paintings.  One of them is this one by Edward Hopper called "At the Automat."  They use to have places where there were a wall of little glass doors and when you put in you nickle or dime, you would pull out a sandwich, a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and the such.  This painting shows a lady in her stylish hat enjoying a cup of coffee.
They do have some famous artist's works but they are very minor works. Some are sketches by well known artist or small easel work studies.

Click on this to see the marvelous handling of paint.

Portrait of Edouard and Marie-Louise Pailleron, 1881
by John Singer Sargent

This is my favorite painting at the center.  John Singer Sargent painted these two rich, bratty kids. It is a very large painting and his impressionistic work on this painting is phenomenal.  It was told by the great grandchild of the girl in the picture, that the two of them were difficult to work with and when the painting was finally done, the two of them threw the furniture and rugs out of the window.
One other work is by our Iowan artist Grant Wood.  We actually share ownership of the painting, "The birthplace of Herbert Hoover."  No we do not own the famous farm couple "America Gothic" as it is hanging in the Chicago Art Institute. 
That is it for the review of the art gallery.  They do have a very nice, pricey restaurant that is fun to eat at when you visit.  Thanks for stopping by......

Monday, March 22, 2010

Grandpa's Ruler..........

My grandfather Burgus passed away the year before I was born, 1949, and my grandmother continued to live in their same house in Murray for a few more years.  They called it hardening of the arteries back then and my grandmother a few years later couldn't live alone anymore.  She was hitching rides to other towns, staying up town at the cafe all day, and generally causing worry to her 9 kids.

My dad helped get the things in the house ready for a sale and he found this folding yardstick in among the things in the house.  I just found it  again in my parents house while closing their house down now.

It is an old one that has a hinge on it to open it up halfway.

Then it is hinged again to open up the individual arms.

My grandfather Burgus did build this house, with a lot of help I am sure, but I wonder if this tool was ever used while doing so.    Thanks for stopping by........

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gourds and orchids......slow day

When I first looked into this basket, I thought they had been painted by artists. When I looked closer they were really gourds of many varieties, of some I have never seen before then.

This is a photo a day picture but I wanted to place over here. I like the look of all the background leaves and the small little flowers are orchids.
Have a great Saturday.  I will be shoveling snow again but I won't be taking any pictures. Thanks for stopping by.......

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday's findings......

While digging through the files I could not find anything that will make a theme.  Oh well, you are getting use to my rambling and wandering around with my thoughts and visuals, like a guy out of control. 
This is a mural that was painted to show how Iowa was originally a prairie.  The trees originally were few on this land and the tall grasses were prevalent with buffalo roaming. Below the mural are these model specimens of all of the wild flowers that can be found in an Iowan natural prairie.  There are many orchids included in the collection.

Antique pitcher or small tea pot. 

I bought this at an antique store twenty years ago. It is from the Yugoslavia area as it  is marked Solvia on the bottom of it.  It has an interesting glaze of iridescence. The black glaze is a flat glaze.  I always thought it to be a cream pitcher because of it's size but it having a lid always puzzled me. 

My final finding was an amaryllis that was blooming at the greenhouse at the Botanical Center.  I have seen these on sale but I have never owned one.

I worked a while yesterday afternoon picking up sticks in my yard.  I started with the large ones thinking I would return another day, but then I skimmed up the medium sized ones too.  I will return with a rake after our last few winter spurts that are yet to erupt.  I have seen a lot of starts of plants coming up. I moved peony bushes from my parents home, and they did make it, and I also brought up some purple Iris that looks like that will make it too.  I didn't loose a rose over the winter, so I am very happy about that. 

I am weary and didn't think I would getting any blogging done, but I am glad I could check in and share. Thanks for stopping by......

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Snow and dirt.... snirt

I have just a few piles left of the snow from the winter.  The big piles that the city creates when they clear the streets take quite a while to melt. We hit 60 degrees back in November and supposedly we will hit 64 today for the first time since then.  We of course have a snow fall forecast coming by Friday noon and they refuse to tell what is to happen on Wednesday. 

I took a lot of photos yesterday of bulb plants coming up but they were taken in a hurry and were blurry, you have to take my word on that.  As you can see here the Sedum is about to come up.  Our grass is still fairly brown but we have a few spots of green. I know that it is spring because I see my neighbor has already cut down one of his wonderful large burning bushes as he continues to remove all shrubs from a once very beautifully planted property.  I have many sticks and limbs to now pick up from the two ice storms.  Maybe I should wait until after next Wednesday to see what is going to happen.

We did make it to the Des Moines Art Center yesterday and I will share more about that another day. The place was designed by three famous architects at it's different stages of development.  
Thanks for stopping by.............

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Coleus..........

My wife is Irish so I will put up some green for her. I am going to take her to the Des Moines Art Center today day for lunch, and to view the artwork.  It is a gallery with a few classics but it prides itself in being a Contemporary Art Museum.  I like the buildings that have been created but a lot of the work is too ultra modern for me. I really believe if the artwork has to be explained in order for one to understand it then you didn't do your job. 

I am suppose to be winding down this framing business of ours.  I can't find mat board locally and the custom pieces of moulding are getting harder to find.  I can order from the big company but no one wants to pay the price.  So anyway I was busy the last few days matting and framing these old quilt pieces for a lady. 

I don't need to tell you but I haven't been able to get any painting done while this is going on in the gallery.  I took down my fancy birdhouse yesterday so that I could give it a weatherproof base. I had a person drop off a frame job besides these two but they are going to have to wait for awhile.  Have a good day everyone and thanks for stopping by.........
Happy St. Patrick's Day to those who are observing the day.