Friday, October 2, 2009


His name is 'Midnight' and I really, really enjoyed this piece! AND, you will never believe what this horse is made of...the 'cotton' from the cottonwood tree! This 'cotton' actually came from the Ukraine. It was sent to me by the instructor in our last month's class on the guild. This one was taught by Alyona, a wonderful master artist from Ukraine and she sent the 'cotton' to us. We have a ton of this floating through the air in the summer...looks like snow in summer sometimes! But I did not know how to collect it then. Next year I will have to talk some little fellow into shimmying up a tree to pick some of the seed pods for me before they 'pop'!
I plan on more of these! Hmmmmm...what else could I do with this...ideas, anyone?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brook in the Woods

Finally got back here! What a summer on the High Plains! Cool and wet for the most part. The perennials and the weeds loved it...the annuals and veggies shivered but finally gave me something for my hard work. Beans are still blooming, but the tomatoes are about to give it up!
Well, I did get a few classes completed this late summer. This one is called 'Brook in the Woods' and was a class done by guild member Elaine McMahon. We learned how to use mushrooms for rocks and onion membrane (yes, membrane...the very thin silvery skin between the layers of the onion!) for the water. And I used sanwa tissue over the background to soften it. Loved this class...thanks, Elaine!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The fourth piece in my 'South Dakota Wildlife Series'

My goodness...what a challenge and a stretch this picture was! I learned so very much and thank Irina for another wonderful class. This one is titled 'Calm Morning on the Slough'...don't get many calm mornings on the High Plains! Our goal in the class was to learn how to use bark for sky and water. Since I don't find birch bark in this area that is readily available (would have to raid someone's yard tree!) a friend from the WWPFG sent me some from Pennsylvania...thanks, Nancy!
Birch bark is a tricky material to work with. If it is cut from the tree in the spring when the sap is running, I understand that it is easier to separate into thin sheets. And besides the obvious white their are a variety of pinks, yellows and beige colors in the individual sheets. All of the material used for the sky and water are done with sheets of birch bark. The muskrat houses are made of the faded day lily leaves. The trees are made of various skeletonized leaves and the mallard ducks are made of white poplar, banana skin and fall leaves.
Oh, just a bit more info about the muskrat houses that I didn't know til recently...ducks and geese sometimes make their nests right on top of these houses...high and dry and with a pent house view to boot!

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Latest Commissioned Piece

What fun this one was! I was commissioned to do this by a customer (and now a friend!) in Tyler TX. This is the biggest piece I have done to date. It measures 4' x 1 1/2' and is designed to go over her headboard. I always enjoy commissioned pieces...first because I have made many new friends this way and also because I learn so much from them and the experience. They usually ask for something I have never done before so I get to stretch in a direction that is new to me. And I am also about to learn a whole lot more about shipping!
So, thanks to my new friend in Texas, here is my latest piece.

Picture of my Pasque Flowers

Today I had time to run out and take a picture of my pasque flowers. They are so pretty and delicate. I found some interesting info on the 'State Symbols USA' website. Here is an excerpt:

Pasque Flower

The pasque flower (or pasqueflower) was designated the official state flower of South Dakota in 1903. Also called the May Day flower, prairie crocus, wind flower, Easter flower and meadow anemone, the pasque is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring (often before the late winter snows have thawed).

Pasque is a tallgrass prairie flower and grows wild throughout South Dakota. The pasque flower is member of the buttercup family and is highly toxic (pasque flowers were used as a medicine by native Americans for centuries).

And...our 'other' state flower is starting to bloom now. We will see millions, maybe trillions of golden heads nodding soon and see their fluffy seed heads blowing in the wind. And we will have all the dandelion leaves we can consume! Dandelion wine, anyone?!

Hope your day is warm and sunny wherever you are!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Finally a Bloom Out There!

No wonder the pasque flower is the South Dakota state flower! It's the first sign of spring here after, usually, long and very cold winters. There are not too many left now in the wild as most of our ground is either inhabited or, more likely, planted in crops. They are a very pretty lavender with a thick, long center. I have not tried pressing these yet but plan to very soon. I shall leave some of the blooms to go to seed. There should be, I hear, a lovely seed pod that can be used in fall arrangements.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Indoor Garden

Well, it's supposed to be spring here, but all I have blooming in my garden is my pasque flowers. I would put a picture of those here but it is so windy, cold and cloudy that I don't think they even bothered to open up this morning! Can't blame them...not sure if I want to either!
But I do have my indoor garden in full bloom. The red amaryllis finished up and now my next one is open. Also you will see my orchid 'bouquet'...15 blooms on that beauty. Under the orchids is my cyclamen. The other one is my out-of-control trailing geranium. It is pink with a burgundy throat. Not sure of the name. But they are colorful and sure brighten my day! Hope they add a little something to your day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Third Piece in My South Dakota Wildlife Series

Well, got the third one done and I am having soooooo much fun with these! This one is a group of buffalo silhouetted against one of South Dakota's majestic sunsets. The sky is made of fall maple and oak leaves and the ground and buffalo are made of very dark poinsettia leaves. Hope you like it!
Next I hope to do an artwork with mallard ducks in a slough complete with cattails. This one will be done as my interpretation of the May class on the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild. Irina Orlova will teach this one. Can't wait!
We are getting warmer weather tulips are poking up. Need to find time to get out there and clean some things up a bit. Are you in your gardens yet?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Easter! Still pretty dreary here, but our spirits are is finally getting warmer. The snow is almost gone!
I started my blog with my amaryllis re potting and now I just have to share a picture of the first blooms with Easter present to you! The second one should bloom in a few days. It is white with red veins. My husband says this is his favorite flower. He calls it the 'Martian Plant'! I love it for the beauty and serenity it gives me at Easter time and because I am sooooo desperate for anything blooming this time of year. As you can see in the picture all is still pretty brown and bare outside. But my geraniums, cyclamen and orchids are all blooming right now. I am truly blessed!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The second piece in my 'South Dakota Wildlife Series'

Hello to all!
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the temps are going up instead of down! Yeahhhhh!
I have been busy in the workroom these past few weeks. I finally had some time to finish my interpretation of the class projects taught recently by Master Artist, Irina Orlova. What an excellent, patient teacher she is!
This one is titled ''Time for a Rest' and, like the one with the pair of pheasants below, depicts wildlife scenes from our Great Plains. I love the fall here on the plains when the geese fly through. I have seen thousands and thousands of them swarming around harvested corn fields and the sight is breathtaking. When we lived in Clark we had a small farm with an old 2-story house. There were corn fields all around us and I would go up to the 2nd story and open the windows to see and hear the geese flying and circling the fields. The sight and sound were almost overwhelming! I learned that part of the huge flocks would stay aloft, as lookouts, and circle while part of them would fly down to feed. Then those would fly up and relieve some of the others so they could feed. Pretty amazing, huh?!
I made the sky of corn husk and used faded day lily leaves for the corn field. The geese are made from banana peel and white poplar leaves. The trees are done from fall leaves. The buildings are done with white poplar leaves and fall leaves.

Now I am working on a picture of buffalo silhouetted against one of our majestic sunsets. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My entry in the Philadelphia Flower Show 2009

Hello to all!
Well, the snow melted and then we got more...ughhhhhh! Where's spring?!
I am so thrilled to tell you that my first and only entry in this year's Philadelphia Flower Show took a first place ribbon! The theme for the show this year was 'Bella Italia'. It was held on March 1 - 8 and thousands of people attend every year. If you would like to see photos of the show and many of the entries in the Pressed Plant Material category and other competitive categories such as Arrangements, Horticulture and Orchid and many more please go to my website: http:/
You will find links on my home page following an article I did there.
I am also very proud of all my fellow World Wide Pressed Flower Guild artists who entered the show! You will see their work also in the links and many took ribbons in their class.
The class I entered was the 'Italian Plate'. I had never done a pressed plant material design on a plate before. The first challenge was dealing with the curve of the plate. Li, a friend of mine on the guild, recommended that I use a tacky glue to hold the tough, thick leaves down for the background. And it worked great! Thanks again, Li! I drew the design out on tracing paper and then glued the pressed material to the tracing paper. Most of the picture is done from fall leaves that were sent to me by many of my guild friends from all over the country and even Canada! Thank you all, my friends! We don't have much for colorful trees here on the high plains of the Dakotas. The fruit bowl and the edging around the plate were done with delphinium petals. The highlights on the wine glass are done with corn husk. The grapes are done with the leaves from a Mountain Ash tree. Then I covered the plate with coating of a botanical glue and then sprayed it with a UV resistant acrylic spray to make it more durable.
This was all a real learning experience for me and I hope to enter next year and even attend! What fun to see all those flowers in March!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good morning! The snow is finally starting to melt up here and the sun is shining. Everyone I see has a big smile on their face today! Hurry spring...we are ready!
I finished a pressed flower picture that I would like to share with you all today. I did this one as an on line class project through the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild. Our instructor was Russian Oshibana (pressed plant material) artist, Irina O. One of Irina's most beautiful pieces was awarded a first place ribbon at the Philadelphia Flower Show that was held March 1 to March 8. She is a very accomplished artist and a wonderful instructor...we are very lucky to have her on our guild.
The picture we did was a winter scene. Since I live in South Dakota I decided to add a couple of pheasants to my picture...we are the 'Pheasant Capitol of the World', you know! And I changed the tree a bit to look more like what we have here. The technique for the sky was just intriguing! It is made of corn husk...the husk that is closest to the cob and is lighter, almost white in color. Then Irina taught us how to use onion skin for snow. The darkest parts of the tree are made with banana peel. If you are new to pressed flower/botanical art this may sound very strange to you as it sure did to us before trying it. Now all of us on the guild are looking suspiciously at all our fruits and veggies...nothing safe out there anymore!
Hope you like it. I learned volumes from Irina and can't wait for the next class!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Re-potting amaryllis today

Well, it's 13 below zero this morning but the sunshine is here and very welcome...particularly after several blizzardy days on the northern plains. I decided today was a good day to re-pot something so started with the amaryllis that has been sitting in a cool closet since about mid November. I have many more houseplants that need to get new soil and bigger pots...maybe next week. Just really needed to get into some dirt and re-energize myself and watch something sprout soon!
I lifted the big bulbs right out of the pots with their dried up soil and all. Then I shook and teased off as much old potting soil as I could. I was happy to see all the healthy, fleshy white roots there. Then I cleaned out the pots in a sink of soapy water with a splash of bleach...rinsed well and dried. Next I put some new potting soil in the bottom and kind of teased it up the sides. I have learned to buy the best potting soil out there. Potting soil, I have learned, is not something you can economize on by getting the cheapest brand. My plants have done so much better since I learned this!
Oh, and I learned something else about the amaryllis bulb that I didn't pay attention to last year. I am a pressed flower/botanical artist and have been taking lessons on a wonderful guild I belong to...the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild. We have been extremely lucky enough to have several new Russian Oshibana artists teach master classes over the internet. What I have learned is to look at every organic thing as a potential for material in a pressed plant piece of art. And right there all around that bulb was the most beautiful bronze skin that needed to come off. In our last class we learned to use onion skin, banana peel and corn husk in our artwork. Well, I am saving a container of it and just know that it will fit somewhere in a future piece. If you want to see some examples of pressed flower/botanical art you can go to my website:
and find links to some beautiful pressed flower/botanical competition pieces at the recent Philadelphia Flower Show! (I will post more on the show soon!)
So back to my re-potting...I forgot to say that I added a (4 cup size) coffee filter in the bottom of the pots as the holes were big and didn't want the soil falling through. Works great! Then I added the soil and then placed the bulbs in so that the top of the bulbs remained about 1/3 above the soil. They both got a good drink of water til it ran out the bottom. I did let the water sit in an old gallon milk jug over night to leach out the chlorine and let it get to room temperature. Tooooooo cold right from the faucet! Then they went in a sunny window and soon I'll see something green and new and alive! Can't wait!