Aug 26, 2015

Chicken Wire Dress Form

I love Pinterest and have a lot of different ideas out there in Pinterestland waiting to be tried.  A couple of years ago, I built a raised bed flower garden.  I have thyme, sage, chives and six roma tomato plants that came up on their own. Currently, the flower garden is not in accordance to Feng Sui and looks like it will topple over on its side at any moment. I have been working on the back yard for a while and it is nearly to my liking.  But it lacks art. 

I have driven by homes with the most beautiful gardens you can imagine and I am envious.  So far I have three stepping stones, a few colored bottles hanging on a metal trellis and nothing else.  Then I found projects that can be made with chicken wire on line. I had some left over for when the neighborhood cats thought that I had made an extremely large litter box just for them.  They were pleased, I was not. So, the excess sat in my garage for two years.  Then I saw a dress form made out of the wire.  I loved the idea and this weekend I made one.  The hardest part about this project is twisting the wires together. But if you have a wire cutter and needle nose pliers you are set, a pair of work gloves is a plus.  Twist the wires with the pliers and then curl them to look like little buttons. 

I used 48 inch chicken wire but you can use any size that you like.  I found a picture of a dress form and tried to copy what I saw.  Overall, the project took me about 2-3 hours.  I bought bright pink spray paint because I thought that it would show up better in the yard.  Then decorate with whatever you like.  I found some artificial flowers and an old necklace that someone gave me.  These dress forms would be great at Halloween decorated with cheese cloth and wide skirts.  There are tons of ways to shape them and decorate.  I have been eyeing a corset.  It looks a bit more complicated, but am willing to give it a try.  Final note, use stakes to anchor in the ground.  

Aug 24, 2015


I wanted to see a sunset this evening, but I had to drive beyond the wires. In the city they are everywhere. I needed open spaces and the ability to see the horizon. Hurriedly, I drove to the next county and I parked the car. Then I waited. The rays of the sun broke through the clouds and I witnessed the grandeur of a sunset. There is nothing as beautiful as this.

Aug 23, 2015

Looking for your face

From the beginning of my life
 I have been looking for your face
 but today I've seen it.

Today, I've seen the charm
 the beauty
 and the unfathomable grace 
of the face that I was looking for.

Today, I've found you
 and those who laughed and scorned me yesterday
 are sorry they were not looking as I did.

I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty 
and wish to see you with a hundred eyes.

My heart has burned with passion and has searched forever
 for this wondrous beauty that I now behold. 

I am ashamed to call this love human
 and afraid of god to call it divine.

Your fragrant breath like the morning breeze 
has come to the stillness of the garden.

You have breathed new life into me. 

I have become your sunshine and also your shadow.

My soul is screaming ecstasy.

Every fiber of my being is in love with you.

Your effulgence has lit a fire in my heart and you have made radiant for me the earth and sky.

My arrow of love as arrived at the target 
 I am in the house of mercy
 and my heart is a place of prayer. 


Aug 19, 2015

Castle Chateau La Roche

"Chateau La Roche was built as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower. It was their knightly zeal for honor, valor, and manly purity that lifted mankind out of the moral midnight of the dark ages, and started it towards a gray dawn of human hope." from the forward, "Chateau La Roche" booklet. 

It was a glorious day. The sky was bright blue with puffy clouds. This day was ordained to be an adventure. And it was. 

My nephew and I decided to visit a castle in Loveland, Ohio called, "Chateau La Roche. It was named after the original in France. 

Harry Andrews built this castle from the ground up. From his youth he was fascinated with Medieval times, dreaming of knights, castles, and chivalry.   He bought a plot of land along the Little Miami River, northeast of Cincinnati, so that he could invite his Sunday school children over and have small parties. The boys were able to camp, fish, and slept in tents. Eventually, Harry called his group the Knights of the Golden Trail. The tents eventually decayed and Harry built the boys two small rooms to stay in, which were called stone tents. This was the beginning for Castle La Roche.  But let me back up to the beginning of his story.

Harry was a WWI veteran and served as a medic. During his enlistment he contracted spinal meningitis and was declared dead.  He was moved to the morgue. Harry's records were marked "deceased" and sent to Washington.  As the doctors began working on his body they decided to use a new drug called adrenaline. The doctors pierced his heart, gave Harry a punch, and his heart began to beat again.  

When Harry revived, he was paralyzed and blind. After a while his sight was restored but not fully and Harry ended up wearing glasses. Six months later his fiance married another man before news reached her that he was not dead after all. Harry never married and avoided women altogether. 

In 1927, Harry purchased his land and in 1929 began building. All of the bricks are made of concrete and quart sized paper milk cartons were used as the mold. The total cost to build this work of art was around $12,000 and 23,000 hours of hard labor. 

The castle has electricity, water pump, oil-burning furnace, running water, sewers, and a telephone. 

We came not knowing what to expect. I was taken in by the feeling of times past. The castle was simply decorated and a couple of the rooms were blocked off that still contained memorabilia of the previous owner. I tried to capture what I could, but sadly it was very limited. 

Life was not easy for Harry and it was spent toiling the land and building a place that he always dreamt of.  He not only built the castle but created the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.

 The garden area pictured here reminds of the movie " A little Chaos" with Kate Winslet that was released recently. There is enough room for about 30-40 people to sit and watch a theatrical performance where I was standing.  

I could have sat there for hours listening to nature and enjoying the view, believe me, I wanted to very much.  

After exploring every possible inch of the property we headed for home, but not until I convinced my nephew to pose one last time before we left. It was priceless!

 Oh, when I read the words manly purity in the brochure, I burst out laughing.  We know that is just a fantasy. 

The Chateau La Roche is located at:
12025 Shore Road
Loveland, OH. 
Ph# 513-683-4686
Admission: $5.00 per person

Aug 16, 2015

Noticing the Sunrise

Today, I woke up early so that I could see the sun rise, which I rarely get to witness.  As I drive to work during the week, I get a glimpse of the spectacular show that we are given every day and wish that I had my camera with me at all times.   

I, also, drive past fields where the morning mist has settled behind a rusty gate offering a look of romance and softness, daydreaming that a horse would suddenly appear and its rider is a cowboy sitting tall in the saddle.   

And the field flowers are glistening with the dew as the light begins to slowly rise over the horizon.  I look on with admiration of the beauty of it all. 

A leaf that has been the breakfast, lunch, or dinner for insects is unusually beautiful as I pass by, knowing that its days are very short. 

The Hollyhocks are blooming until the end, which is an admiral thing to do.  I want my life to be like this until there is nothing left of my existence...going to the grave blooming.

Not only did I get to see the sky and all its beauty but the other forms of it is all around as I meandered back home.  I am reminded of the scene from the movie, "The Color Purple" where Shug Avery and Celie are walking through a field with purple flowers.  Then Shug says "I think that it pisses God off when we walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." And I think so too. 

Aug 9, 2015

My Native American Experience

Yesterday,  I took three of my nephews to witness a Powwow in a city nearby. Powwow means to dream or have vision. Each Powwow usually has a host drum with several guest drummers, all of which are men.  Women usually take part by singing only. The drum is considered sacred and is to be treated with great respect. And no one is to approach the drum who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs nor are you to reach across it. Once the drumming begins, one feels the need to dance. 

The beat of the drum makes our bodies, mind, and spirits, join together in harmony. It allows us to connect with Mother Earth and to each other. So, therefore, dancing to beat of the drum is not only healthy but is spiritual too. So, if you find yourself wanting to dance when you hear music, just remember you are doing what comes naturally.  

Compared to the women, the men were like peacocks, displaying their elaborate regalia. As I was observing the Circle Dance, I felt that my eyes were drawn to the men as they proudly displayed their tribes traditional clothing. 

 The term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus who thought that he had landed in the East Indies. Here in the U.S. we refer to them as Native Americans or American Indians while in Canada they are referred to as First Nations.

Many Indian words are now part of our main stream conversational usage such as: wigwam, moose, moccasin, caribou, chipmunk, squaw, tobaggan, totem, and woodchuck. 

Native Americans have been living on the American continent since about 12,000 BC and were not separated by tribes or nations but a variety of cultures, peoples, and languages. 

The average African-American genome is 73.2 % African, 24% European, and 0.8% Native American. Latinos have an average of 18% Native American ancestry, 65.1 % European ancestry, and 6.2% African ancestry. Most Mexicans do not believe that they are of the same race as Native Americans even though they lived here at the same time and do not label themselves as such.  

I had a wonderful time with my family observing a culture within a culture.  The audience was encouraged to participate along with the dancers and many did. Maybe, I will be brave enough to do that next year.