Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Mushroom Show!

Dear viewers, I attended a long-running autumn tradition in the Willamette Valley---the annual Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Show. This beloved fund-raising event is put on by knowledgeable volunteers who gather wild mushrooms shortly before the event and display them on long tables with accompanying informative placards. It is a wonderland of fungi, conks and lichens! I am sharing some photos of them below---and I just have to say that I am not supplying these photos for identification purposes. If you plan to harvest mushrooms, the safest way is to take an experienced person with you and bring a good mushroom book or app with you. There are a lot of poisonous mushrooms out there and sometimes they can mimic the non-poisonous ones.

Okay, with that out of the way, here are some of the glories of the mycological world:

The classic Fly Agaric or Amanita Muscaria mushroom. 

Earth Star Mushroom

This is one of those mushrooms that has poisonous look-alikes

okay, this is one of the weirder mushrooms----if I saw this in the woods I would think it was poop!

This is a mere sampling of the many, many species that were on display at the show,
I took some time out to get a bite to eat at the LCC Culinary Arts booth---a delicious mushroom dish served in a flaky pastry shell. I forgot to see what kinds of mushrooms were in it---whatever they were, they were extremely tasty!

Then it was on to look at the scarecrow competition. There were quite a few this year and many were very imaginative:

Did you know that you can use mushrooms as a natural dye? This display showed the various colors that can be achieved with mushroom dye:

Finally, I ran into these delightful ladies who allowed me to take pictures of their awesome mushroom costumes:

Yay for fall and yay for fungi!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The toile pumpkin

I love white pumpkins. Often I will just display them as they are---they are kind of hard to carve, having a tougher skin than your typical orange pumpkin. This year I decided to decoupage one and see how it turned out.

I got some great toile tissue paper (I bought mine from uline, but you can only buy it in bulk there),
and some Matte Paper Mod Podge. I cut out the images I liked from the tissue paper and podged them onto the pumpkin. The tissue paper is not white, its more of a light beige-y tan, so you can kind of see the edges of where I cut the paper. Tearing the paper gives a more fuzzy edge, but sometimes its hard not to tear into the design. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with the outcome:

It almost looks like a tattooed pumpkin, haha! I wonder if anyone has ever gotten "toile" tattoos?
I'll have to look that up. At any rate, my next pumpkin design is the "caged pumpkin". Stay tuned!

Monday, October 22, 2012

I carve pumpkins every year without fail and I am going to trickle out some designs over the next few days.
I always carve a pumpkin of my cat, so I will start with that:

I saved the cutouts from the eyes to use as the ears. Then, I just cut two little holes on either side of the head where I wanted ears to be and stuck the cutouts in the holes. Waaaalaaa! Cat pumpkin!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just like that, the rains are here. The moss came back green overnight, the leaves are falling and I love the smell of the earth after the first good rain of autumn.

My calendula is very happy!

And it is pumpkin time!

And also, filbert (or, hazelnut) time as well:


I'm hanging up my crepe decorations:

And making cookies! 

These are Rosemary Cookies, from a recipe I found on The Year in Food ,
a fabulous food blog. The specific recipe can be found here. I make these cookies quite often and I have even used vanilla ice cream to make delicious ice cream sandwiches with them.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I Saw On My Walk # 1

 I have taken to walking for health reasons and have discovered that I see a lot more cool things walking than I do driving. Here are some things I saw today:

 I love random public art. These people have found a new artistic use for old wooden embroidery hoops---as hanging mobiles!

This is a "ghost bike". If you are not familiar with ghost bikes, they are white painted bikes that are placed as memorials on or near the spot where a bicyclist was killed.

 Fall crocuses. I remember the first time I became aware of these ethereal purple crocuses that bloom in the autumn. I thought something was wrong! I had no idea there were such crocuses. Now I see them and think "I need to get some of those bulbs to plant when spring comes" ----and then promptly forget about it. And then, when fall comes, I am reminded once again :)

Socio-political commentary :) This must have gone up last night because this is definitely something I would have seen when driving, and I don't remember it yesterday.

When I arrived at my friend's house at the end of my walk I saw these on his kitchen counter. He is a horn player and had cleaned all of his mouthpieces. I couldn't resist snapping a picture.

I'm hoping regular walk-related postings will sharpen my observational skills as well as give me some exercise! I saw some other interesting things while walking today but I have to admit I am a little shy about photographing stuff out in the urban public zone because, well, people tend to stare at you when you are crouched on the sidewalk taking a picture of an interesting piece of street graffiti!  I know I just need to get over it and go with the, Onward!!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello October! The nights are getting very chilly although we still have sunny days. I haven't quite figured out what my Halloween costume will be this year---usually, I already know by now! (Halloween is my favorite holiday). I've gotten out a lot of my decorations and costume stuff and have been playing around, getting into the mood. I tried to get my cat in on the fun:

But as you can see, she wouldn't hold still for me (but she looks a bit ghostly, no?)

After a little digital magic I came up with this haunted cat picture:

And here she is a bit later, refusing to look at me, haha!!!

 I like costumes with an old-fashioned flavor, and I love paper crepe! Victorian Trading Company carries some great masks and headbands, as well as full costumes:

That skull headband is a favorite :)  I like to start with a piece like this and then build my own costume off of it with stuff I already have (and since I have been collecting for awhile, there is a lot to work with!)

Here are a few masks from my collection. The vintage owl mask was a stupendous find at a thrift shop for 59 cents! The woven raffia one is maybe a Mexican or South American mask. It is creepy in its own way :)

This Dia De Los Muertos style mask was a purchase from Etsy. The cat skeleton painting on the forehead sold me, haha! You can find her work at MasqueFaire. What costumes are you planning for Halloween?