Friday, April 21, 2017

Springtime 2017

Little posies and brilliant colors add happy pleasure at the Casita.

Little Cotton Rabbits for Little Girlies

Finished these bunnies in time for Easter giving.  There are still a few bunny bodies in my basket waiting for little outfits to be complete but I may have to take a break from bunnies as this project has been front and center for at least a couple of months already.
Jaden got first pick; first granddaughter, first pick : )

For Gracie and Morgan, although I've heard that their grandmother may have a hard time letting these go

For Chloe and Natalie

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bunches of Bunnies!

This knitty noodle (me) in a bunny frenzy; knit, knit, knit, day after day to get these bunnies done for Easter. Bunny pattern source: Little Cotton Rabbits. I love you, little bunnies, but I'll be glad to move on to other projects. The garden is coming into full swing and I'm getting read to work on quilting projects again. Plus, I must sew a handful of gardening overalls and smocks to knock around in...primary wardrobe these days.

Speaking of Henry...

Henry overlooking his kingdom. Je suis Henri and this is my world.

Springtime snippets

A shady spot
Anna Apple - "Good morning Anna!"
Clayton's Japanese Maple
The flowering plum in bloom
Lavendar wands abloom

Welcome Spring 2017!

New additions to my garden
No bucketfuls of flowers in my garden, but always enough for a small bouquet from time to time
Springtime is here at the Casita; here today, gone tomorrow, it goes so quickly. Already the temperatures have soared and spring blooms have begun to fade. Flowers bloom and then melt away, replaced by colorful canopies of leaves that will take us into summer.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Je suis Henri!

Je suis Henri!
Comings and goings; all granddaughters visited this past summer at one time or another. The girls love Henry. He's not as frisky as he once was, but always at the center of cheerful mischief; love and patience is evident. Summer is winding down, the echoes of happy laughter slowly fade.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fruits from the garden...

Pictured, Einsheimer apple, from an ultra-dwarf fruit tree that we planted two seasons ago. First time apples have grown since planting. "Hallelujah!" a shout out from me. The tomatoes and peppers were harvested from my garden as well. When there is a good harvest, I take pictures, and now those pictures have become subjects for my paintings.

Family Pets in Watercolor; Sammy and Happy


My sister's two dogs, Sammy and Happy. As it turns out, Sammy is our dog Henry's best pal. They've known each other since Henry was just a young pup and that's about eight years ago and counting. Henry, who is an only child, adores Sammy and is happiest when he gets to hang out with these dogs. Happy is the newest adoptee in the Bikel household. She's a strange "cat" but I'm growing to know and understand her better.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Basil Jelly; Summer 2016

In the hot Temecula sun, I grow basil in the shade of a white paper umbrella.  Hubby's not big basil fan but still, I make pesto when basil grows. Having a bountiful harvest of healthy basil leaves, I wanted to do more. Herbal jellies came to mind, so I looked for a Basil Jelly recipe, gourmet stuff. This one comes from, posted by Maryland Jim. The basil flavor in this jelly is delicate, with just a hint of lemon. Success; this one is a keeper. Yummy!

1 cup fresh basil leaf, lightly packed
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups water
6-1/2 cups sugar
2 (3 ounce) envelopes Certo liquid pectin

1. Place basil leaves, lemon juice and vinegar in an 8-10 quart sauce pot
2. Let basil, lemon juice and vinegar stand while you are measuring the water and sugar
3. Add the water and heat almost to a boil, stirring to blend, then add sugar all at once
4. Stir to dissolve sugar
5. Bring to a hard boil
6. Add both pouches of Certo, stir to mix and return to a hard boil
7. Boil for 1 minute or until jelly point is reached
8. Remove from heat
9. Remove basil leaves with a slotted spoon
10. Pour immediately into hot sterilized 1/2 pint jars
11. Seal and process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pen, Ink and Watercolor

Summer harvest: tomato varieties and jalapenos. Rendered in pen, ink and watercolor.

Meet Coco

This is Michael's cat, Coco.  Michael is our son.  He has a wife, two daughters and two cats, and they live happily in Idaho.  Coco stays out of sight when we visit, she is that shy. Another watercolor pet portrait, in keeping with my theme of family pets.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Einsheimer Apple from the garden

Einsheimer apple from an ultra-dwarf tree planted in our garden two seasons ago. Einsheimer is a low-chill apple. This is the first year apples have formed and I'm excited; there are only seven apples on the tree.  I wonder if they will be sweet or sour. Painted by me, using watercolor medium.

Family Pet Portraits, Ruby and Zander

More family pet portraits in watercolor.  Here are Ruby and Zander.  Ruby's been in the family since she was a pup; Zander is a rescue dog who has found a good home, a good life. Both belong to our son and his wife, Sean and Anna.  My painting skills are improving but there's so much more I need to learn.  The translucent quality of watercolor paints is addictive.