Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27...Still Shoveling

We spent most of yesterday, Wednesday, the 26, inside. Tom took these photos through the dining room window.

Yes, in the background there are snowflakes.

By four o'clock, the snow was coming down in light flurries so I cleaned the driveway off with the snowblower.  The prediction was for five to ten inches of snow before morning.  There was already at least five inches on the ground.

Thank you, Bob and Eric, for installing the operator shield  in 2011.  After installation, the snowblower sat in the garage all winter. We never had enough snow in the winter of 2011-2012  to use it.

But yesterday, I had the shield's protection and was very happy I did. In the past, I would come in from snowblowing covered with snow. Not this year.

This morning when I went out to do some shoveling,  I was happy to see I wouldn't have to use the snowblower on the driveway today. By the end of the afternoon, most of the driveway was completely clear.  The sun finished the cleaning I started yesterday.

Today my project was shoveling  the snow off the ramp and porch. Before I did that,  I stuck a ruler into the snow.

This spot had 5.5 inches of snow cover. We always have lots of drifting so there were places that had more and others that had less.

  Before shoveling...

After shoveling...

I'll shovel the rest another day. The snow is heavy, the perfect snow for making snowmen and snow forts. 

According to The Dayton Daily News, the area has now had as much snow (9.2 inches) as it had all of last winter.  Usually, we have snow January and February so I expect I will have more opportunity to snowblow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Canon's Cigar Shop, London, Ohio

When our friends took us to the Madison County Historical Society Museum, I was amazed. It is much bigger than most I've seen in small towns. It also has a number of outstanding displays. Tom suggested that I take photos for my blog. I took a lot but now I remember other displays I wish I had photographed. Since we visit our friends fairly often, I hope we can arrange to visit them on Wednesdays since that is the only day of the week that the museum is open.

This is the exhibit that Chuck especially wanted us to see, the M. B. Cannon Cigar Store. Mr. Cannon owned the business for over forty-five years.

The entire store was moved to the museum and reassembled. What makes it special are all the furnishings which came with it. Chuck pointed out that the cigar display case even has the original humidors to keep the cigars in perfect condition.

And there are five-cent cigars that gave rise to the saying when inflation appeared , "You can't even get a good five-cent cigar anymore."

Mr. Cannon gave Christmas turkeys to the newspaper boys who picked up their papers at his store. Behind the boys you can see another view of the outside of the store.

On the counter are old newspapers, their headlines proclaiming historic events.

And back in a corner is the classic cigar store Indian that stood outside the store when it was in its original location in downtown London, Ohio.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

I have been bugging Tom to take some photos of the Red-breasted Nuthatch at our feeder. He kept telling me that the birds were too skittery to get a picture. 

But I really wanted some pictures so I could do this blog about the little birds that are an irrupting species in the lower forty-eight states. Some years they are in southwestern Ohio in the winter and some years they stay up in Canada.  The determining factor seems to be the number of seed-filled cones available on the the spruce and other conifers in the north.  If the seed crop is scanty they fly down our way.

Tom, being the inventive soul that he is, took these photographs from our dining room window using the drapes as a blind.  He used his Canon EOS, Rebel T11 and his Tamron lens given to him at his retirement nearly fifteen years ago.

            "This is a good perch."

          "Oh, hello there!"

         "Want to see my tail,too?"

         "How about a classic side profile?"

"Did you get a good look at the markings on my head?"
A few years ago on a very cold and snowy late afternoon, Stephen and I decided to fill the bird feeders. The red-breasted nuthatches were busily eating away on what little suet was left.  We watched them for a minute or two but it was too cold to stand outside long so we walked up to the feeder. They flew as we knew they would.

Stephen filled the feeder and we stepped back. Suddenly, the little birds flew in to the new suet cake. We could have reached out and touched them.  We didn't move. 

The nuthatches had come to dine at our restaurant. The nuthatches carried  on a polite conversation between bites of suet.  We didn't understand what they were saying in their tiny voices but they were clearly enjoying their meal.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Portrait and Figure Studio, A Woman's Profile

A while back, Ida posed for us. I spent about an hour on the small acrylic sketch below. I was not happy with it. As I was painting it, I tried several times to resize it to make it larger. Each time I did that  everything in the sketch had to be enlarged.  The hat was a challenge, too.

We have had Ida as a model in the past and she is a real challenge for me. For some reason profiles of any person are a challenge for me, also. I just don't give them enough of a skull behind the ears.

  I went through the figure drawing books in my art library looking for something that would give me an easy guide for future profiles. I came across this in jack Hamm's Drawing the Head and Figure, one of the first art instruction books that I bought. In fact the one I have is a replacement because I wore out the first paperback. It is not expensive compared to many art instruction books.

Then I drew the grid on the photo I took of Ida and also drew one on my sketch. Now I am ready to paint a new sketch. It is easy to see that Ida's head behind the ears needs to be extended and that will change the positioning of the hat.

The photo...

The sketch

As you know, clicking on the photos will enable you to see the page from Jack Hamm's book and the guide lines on the last two pictures better.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Drama Workshop Presents The Man Who Came to Dinner

On Sunday, I saw The Man Who Came to Dinner in The Drama Workshop's new Glenmore Playhouse in Cheviot, Ohio. The set brought back nostalgic memories of the parlors of the 1930s.  I'm not quite old enough to remember them from my childhood but I remember them from old movies and from Christmas cards.

This play was the second play of TDW's first season in their own theater, a theater they have longed for. Those of you who are familiar with Cincinnati area theater will recognize the names of some of the actors.  As always, you can get larger pictures by clicking on the pictures.

Wayne Kirsch who played Sheridan Whiteside, the unexpectedly long-term guest, played the same role nearly twenty years ago in summer stock theater. He has the part down to perfection. The other actors and actresses did a fine job of supporting him. There are twenty-five adults plus a number of young people in the cast but the numbers never felt unwieldy.   This was because of the generous size of the stage as well as because everyone moved easily and confidently  within the space.

Joe Kosak as Bert Jefferson introduces himself to Whiteside.

Poor Miss Preen played by Julia Hedges has never had a patient quite like Whiteside.

Lorraine Sheldon played by Stephanie Adams is part of Whiteside's scheme to prevent his personal secretary from leaving him. The radio technicians are Thom Williams and Josh Roden.

 Stephanie is one brave woman and she must have tremendous faith in the ability of certain members of the cast to carry her with care.

As always, the list of crew members is longer than that of the cast. I am thankful for all the hours they voluntarily put in to create an outstanding finished product.   Their reward is the joy of theater goers like me and, undoubtedly, some very funny stories that no one else will ever know.

One page of the program listed the many vendors and businesses who have contributed to transforming the former Glenmore Bowl into The Glenmore Playhouse.

As a playgoer, I especially appreciated the carpet donated by the Cheviot-Westwood Community Association. The carpet was laid during the period between the first play, Snoopy! The Musical and this one. I was amazed by the improvement in sound.

If you live in the Cincinnati area,  spend a few hours of fun at The Glenmore Playhouse.  There are six more performances...December 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 8 PM and December 9 and 16 at 2 PM.

The Drama Workshop's website is

Political Buttons

Wednesday, November 14, Tom and I visited friends in London, Ohio. Because it was Wednesday, the Madison County Historical Museum was open. Our friends told us we would like it and we did. The guide filled us with lots of interesting information and I took enough photos for five or six blogs.

I wasn't thinking of using this display for a separate blog but because we have just suffered through a mighty windy election campaign, this seems appropriate. It is a reminder that we have survived a great many other elections in the past and are fortunate to live in a country where we can decide who our leaders will be.

Do you remember these elections?

Or these?

Or these?

Click on the pictures to get bigger pictures of the buttons.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lilian Nichols, Polymer Clay Artist...Natasha-robed figures

Lilan showed us how to make small people using a Natasha bead for the robe. The goal was to make an angel but I didn't put on the wings and halo.

Here are our figures after they were baked long enough to "set" them.  From left to right they are the work of Sally, Marlene, Pauline, Mary Ann, and Lilian. 

After we took them home we finished the baking...275 degrees for forty-five minutes.

To make them, we started with a stack of long rolls.

We mashed them together and then twisted them.

We folded our twisted roll in half and twisted it again. Lilian told us that it was our option as to the number of times we folded and retwisted.

The next step was to cut off a section of the roll, form that section into a rectangular solid and then cut downward through it once front to back and second from side to side.  We then had four equal-sized sections. The sections were then reassembled with the cut edges forming the outward sides.

Here is a photo of  three steps, the rolls before twisting, the twisted roll and the reassembled rectangle.

The most difficult part for me was reassembling the rectangular block after slicing it.  I found these excellent directions yesterday when I typed  "making a natasha bead from polymer clay" into our search engine.

Here is Sally's angel in process. You can see her twisted roll behind the figure.

Here is Mary Ann's angel in process. You can see the end of the stack of rolls she started with. She has attached arms and is deciding on the right size for the head.

The first photo below is Marlene's angel in process. The second photo is her finished angel before the baking to set it so she could take it home for the final baking. We made the hair by using a clay extruder.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

Last evening I went to the Booklovers Book Club at the local library. If you like reading about American life in the early twentieth century and like flowers you will like this book. It is an easy to read biographical novel about Hulda Klager, a German housewife with an eighth grade education, who developed 254 new species of lilacs. The novel chronicles the life on farms in the early 1900's, particularly the lives of women. This was a period when women were moving beyond the traditional roles of housewife and mother.

Today, the house and garden where Hulda lived is a National Historical Site in  Woodland, Washington.  The town is near where the Lewis river meets the Columbia River, not far from the Oregon-Washington border and Portland, Oregon.

The Woodland Federated Garden Club was instrumental in saving Hulda's garden and home from being bulldozed.

The Hulda Klager Lilac Society was formed to administer the estate. The society sponsors Lilac Days in mid April through Mother's Day, an annual open house like the one Hulda began when people began to show an interest in her lilacs. There is a lot more information about the gardens at the website...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Frosty Morning, November 17

The sun shone and the world glittered. The grasses on the prairie sparkled.

We  headed for the path around Cedar Pond.

The far side of the pond reflected in the still water.

Along the edge of the pond we saw a light coating of ice.

After we circled the pond we looked again...
                                                           at the grasses...

                                 ... and at the leaves.