Friday, March 29, 2013

Girl Holding Rooster

Easter Greetings!  Recently finished another 2014 calendar illustration based on a photo I took several years ago at the Delaware County Fair in Walton, NY. This plucky little girl was holding her prized rooster and as we walked by, I asked if I could take her picture. She agreed. As I was looking through my 1000s of pictures lately, this image leaped out and begged to be drawn.  I imagine the model is a teenager by now...I wonder if she still enjoys her poultry pals.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Foster Park Gazebo Illustrations

I've been working on drawings toward my 2014 calendar, and just completed the drawing for my May page of the Foster Park gazebo. This  is a scene of Foster Park on a past Memorial Day.If you look very closely, you will see my parents, waiting for the parade and onlookers to fill the park eventually. Memorial Day is an honored tradition in Afton, complete with a featured speaker, band music, taps, blessings and a special ritual honoring our war dead  (  notice the white crosses in the foreground, awaiting the wreaths placed on them by the scouts, honoring each member of the community who died in service of their country).
Afton Gazebo, B&W,2013

I've completed this drawing in time to donate a large, colored print to a benefit, honoring a valued member of our community, Afton Electrician, Mike Sickler, who will be greatly missed, not only for his work ethic and dedication, but also for his quiet friendliness.
Afton gazebo, color, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Current projects

The quilt I've been working on is finally in the mail to a friend in Nebraska who lost her home to fire over the Christmas season. Another friend offered to machine quilt it, which made it look like a "real" quilt! She also chose a different backing material which complimented and added a little extra "life" to my pieced front. Thanks, Cindy K!

I also have been working on a new drawing of the gazebo at Foster Park in Afton. It will illustrate my May page of my Farmhouse 2014 calendar.

Today, I will print notecards for a new order from Walt Nicke Company: I may need to dash to Binghamton to get more cover stock to complete the order.  Need to think about new cover ideas for their  W. Nicke's Garden Talk catalog, too!

Monday, February 25, 2013


I'm happy to report several sightings of eagles this past week! They are steadily gaining in numbers and we've spotted them over our Susquehanna region between Bainbridge and Nineveh. Last weekend, I went on a nature walk at Chenango Valley State Park in the town of Fenton, hosted by the local Sierra Club and led by BU Biology professor, Julian Shepherd. We saw lots of tracks, a trio of whitetail deer, a great blue heron, a pileated woodpecker, and yes, an eagle, soaring overhead as we walked along the old Chenango Canal towpath. There were a few small, wooden signs, indicating the location of an eagle's nest overlooking the river, but none of us could figure out the cryptic signs.





Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Greetings

Sending New Year's greetings and well wishes to all my blogging friends!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Seasonings

Here's a sprinkling of Christmas images-

Putting UP the tree!


With my dancing mentor, Mindy.

A lovely luncheon at a friend's home.

At Z's Trees...
My friend, Elaine Z...

Tree elf.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter GreenPrints in my mailbox!

My copies of GreenPrints arrived today!  There's my self portrait (about 20 years younger and right-handed instead of left-handed) on the cover. I've been illustrating stories for them nearly ten years now and it's truly a blessing to be part of the GreenPrints family of writers and illustrators. In case you've never heard of it, it's a quarterly  publication with heartwarming stories and art that reflect the essence of gardening.

I took the time this morning to order a couple gift subscriptions- for my sister-in-law in TX and our local library!  Had a nice chat with Pat Stone, the editor...he reports that the 25 th anniversary of GP will be celebrated in 2 1/2 years:  I'm already marking my calendar!
winter GP 2012 cover

Wreath upon our Door,,,

Pine  cones and acorns- wreath upon my door, gathered lovingly ..from the forest' floor.
 Pine cones and acorns,
Wreath upon my door;
Gathered lovingly
From the forest floor.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


A sure sign of the Christmas season is a new poinsettia to enjoy. Thank you, Renee!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Loving Legacy

My dear Mother-in-law died recently after a long Summer and Fall of failing health, hospitalization,   slow rehabilitation and incremental recovery, a joyous return to her home through the help of her devoted sons, hope, determination, the hard work of physical therapy, additional setbacks that necessitated her return to the hospital, and finally hospice care. Throughout her ordeal she retained her constant faith and love for her family, and received undying love in return from her four grown sons and their families, friends and neighbors. She left a legacy of love- of her devoted family, of her church and of the Christmas season ( all holidays, actually). Her interest and concern extended well beyond her immediate family to neighborhood children and the youngsters in her church family.

Even though I don't remember the names of all the people I've met in the past couple days at the calling hours and church's reception after the lovely, solemn yet celebratory funeral, I'm impressed with the genuine feeling of love and support that everyone offered through their  mere presence, handshakes, hugs, a light touch on the shoulder, a nod or a sincere smile, stories and offerings of sandwiches, cookies, snacks, etc. People have a way of coming together to offer genuine, loving support in times of need, but you have to be willing to allow that support to happen.

I think Marijane's legacy will live on in genuine love and concern for one another. Each year, she loved being in the midst of her family's large and noisy Christmas gift exchange and feast, often fitting about 15 people into her small living room, already filled by a fully decorated tree. We will continue to keep her joyful presence in mind and heart during the midst of our  Christmas celebrations.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Small Decorations


I bought this small, sequined tree at the Chenango Valley Craft show in November, and it will spend most of December hanging from the curtain's edge of our front door's window.


I bought this small, fabric tree at the senior center's craft show this past weekend.  It has found a spot to remind us of the season, between some nesting Santas and a red, wooden, Swedish horse, on the windowsill.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday in Advent

Advent begins today, the fourth Sunday before Christmas as we prepare our homes and hearts for the arrival of the Christ child into our daily life. An Advent wreath was always a part of my childhood. Usually we poked evergreen branches into a Styrofoam ring and added four tapers to it, and placed it in the center of our dining room table. We try to continue the tradition today with our own family.

Earlier this week, I placed one of my Mom's oil paintings in our living room. It's a lovely little scene of my Grandfather McKee in a horse drawn cutter in our maple lined driveway. I imagine my Grandmother, Lillian, took his photo with her little box camera, around 1920.  My Mom was an amateur painter. For many years she met in the basement of her friend, retired English teacher, Esther Brooks, who was an amazing friend, artist, gardener, cook...just an all- round interesting person. Esther was hostess and mentor to a diverse group of women, who met in her basement weekly to work on paintings or pastels, share conversation and potluck lunches. Wanda, Dot, Dot (Martina), Olive, Esther, Marion (my Mom) and a few others helped each other with their paintings and problems...Mom painted what she loved- her Mother's doll, Carrie, yellow tulips, our dog, Woody, our cat, Oleo, her first grandson Mike,  a scene near Tin Cup, CO, her father's barn... the list goes on and on.  I'm awed by the love she put into her paintings and amazed at the amount.  They are a tangible reminder of her and that wonderful time in her life.

G.W. McKee,circa 1920,painted by Marion M. Cook,1980

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Joy to you in this December Month!

It's Merry December, a time to celebrate each morning as a gift... may you all have a spiritually full Christmas season!

I love the preparation for Christmas more than the actual day...people seem more open to thinking of others, and take efforts to create a little magic- just look around at the lights and decorations.  Christmas  doesn't have to be depends on how YOU celebrate it in your heart.

Today, I hope to go to the local senior citizen's craft bazaar at a local church, and make snow flake cookies later this afternoon.

Recipe for Snow Flakes

Uses a cookie press (Mirro cooky press)
Bake time:12-15 min
Temperature: 350ºF
Yield- 6 dozen

1 cup shortening
3 ounces of cream cheese (the secret ingredient)
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated orange rind (the other secret ingredient!)
2 1/2cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

*Cream shortening, cream cheese and sugar.
*Beat in egg yolk, vanilla and grated orange rind.
*Gradually, blend in flour, salt and cinnamon.
*Fill cookie press. Form cookies on ungreased cookie sheet.
*Add decorations- colored sugar, sprinkles, etc.
*Bake at 350ºF for about 12 minutes.
*Remove from trays onto cooling rakes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Major Autumn Events

The Major's Inn Quilt show in Gilbertsville, NY, hosts one of the loveliest annual events in the region inspirational, unjuried show that displays quilts of all spectrums of colors, talents and creativity in a truly awesome, old inn that has been lovingly restored to its former grandeur. (The restoration is an ongoing process). I had four items displayed, including my Yo-yo quilt that I titled Baseball Yo-yo Ma, the culmination of this Spring and Summer's attendance at my son's baseball games. I like to keep my hands busy while watching countless hours of plays. I haven't counted how many yo-yos I fashioned into a star-shaped throw. Several of my friends had quilts in the show, too, so it's fun, finding where they are displayed in the inn... like a scavenger hunt. I chanced to see some friends from the small town I live in, and even a high school acquaintance who had brought her husband and mother on their annual Autumn ride into the Butternut Valley. I also love the lunch available each day (Soup, salad and dessert) and browsing the fabric finds for sale in one of the small, upstairs' corner rooms!






This is one of the quilts my friend Marilyn made.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Greetings

Pumpkins galore, popping up everywhere!


Autumnal light and textures fill the landscape.



xc meets, near and far



More pumpkins!


Autumn walks!

and of course, flowers!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Catching up

Just posting some photos that capture some of our Summer's highlights:

A Summer overview isn't complete without at least one photo of sunflowers! These beauties hail from Marilyn and Frank's garden.

We finally got around to ask tree experts to lasso and cut a leaning maple, thanks to toppling winds from last year's Hurricane Irene. The LeFever twins performed an amazing aerial rodeo.

We spent a few hours watching the Jets practice at their training camp in Cortland, NY.

Made Joe a pre-birthday cake...

Celebrating brothers...

Joe and Dan at the BC airport (Joe and I flew to CO to visit Rachel)

Viewing Denver's convention center...

GEDC8129Famous Denver dancers...

A glimpse of the Rockies from our hotel window...

My Joe, Rachel get reacquainted with their second cousin, Katie...
...and I see my cousin, Eileen, for the 2nd time this Summer!

Rachel painting on a mural for Tarantula Billiards

Joe's 14th birthday portrait

Denver loves bicyclists; took this photo for Jim

We walked a long way on a hot day to get a lick of ice cream from Little Man

Met cousin Cassandra (Ticka) at the Tattered Covers Bookstore

Denver's mile high capital

Birthday burger

Rachel's view

Dan's Olympic rings

Welcome flowers

Bean blossoms

Picnic with the Lorczaks in Albany

Dan's Summer woodworking project

Dan and Joe kayaking at Dorchester Park

The state DOT has our tree on their "to cut sometime" list

Lunch friends; some of us have been meeting over 20 years in various configurations!

Sunflowers at a farmstand

Another day at Dorchester

Frisbee rescue!!!! Ask us how!

Perfecting new skills

Enjoyed a Chicago concert at BU. One of the performers said something to the effect of "We've evolved from ignorant and arrogant to grateful and productive" trying to explain their 40 years of continuous gigs. The music was soaring.

The DEC building at the State Fair warned us about invasive pests like Asian long-horned beetles

My three cross country kids at a CV relay meet, my alma mater

Go, Joe, go!

Goodbye old car. Hope to see you on the road again someday!

Shoe shopping at the mall and saw our friends, the Franklins!

Vacation's over

My first morning glory!