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The beautiful Pacific Northwest
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I am artist of texture and color. I enjoy working with textiles, mixed media and the graphic arts. I am an avid cottage gardener with a love for pass along plants and big fluffy pink peonies and pink roses. Many of my tangible creations reflect my love of the garden and all its wonderful colors. I am not one who will settle for neutral colors as they bore me. I have been selling my creations online since 2002 beginning as a hobby and 10 years later my art is my full time passion.
Visit my website at http://MarionberryCottage.com
I am a regular contributor to http://ShabbyLaneShops.com magazines

05 September 2014

What to with Sunburst Squash. Make bread.

 I had a bounty of sunburst squash from only one plant. Finding this little unique plant at a nursery last spring, I thought I would try it.  I really did not like it cooked, there wasn't much flavor. But it was good cut in chunks and eaten raw with other veggies, but I had way too many for just that. These are supposed to be picked when they are 3" an under. I had so many that grew double that size and I was faced with a huge bounty that I had no clue what to do with them. I had to find some recipes to deal with it.

I found several recipes that were really good, but this one was an instant hit. My hubby did not even realize this was "squash bread" until he saw me making a second batch. My little granddaughters actually get excited to have a piece of it for an afternoon treat. I have yet to have a loaf make it to the freezer which what my plan was to begin with. I was able to freeze five 3 cup bags of shredded squash, so this will be yummy for holiday bread too. 


Sunburst Pina Colada Bread

I had a bounty of sunburst squash from only one plant, so I adapted this from a recipe in an old cookbook, Makes a yummy moist tropical treat. My granddaughters love it! Zucchini can be substituted. 
Debbi Oeltjen Sublimity, Oregon

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 eggs
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup plain greek yogurt (or 6 oz. Cup)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups shredded sunburst squash  (heaping or packed tightly)
1 cup ( 8 oz can) crushed pineapple with juice
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Line the bottoms of three greased and floured 8”x4” loaf pans with waxed paper and grease the paper. (don't skip the wax paper—I did the first time and the loaves were almost impossible to remove from the pans)
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking power, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, combine eggs, oil, yogurt, and extracts. Stir in dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in shredded squash, pineapple, and nuts.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake at 350f for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick come clean in the middle of the loaf. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Gently remove waxed paper.
Can be frozen, wrap tightly in wax paper then seal with foil or freezer paper.




04 September 2014

From my porch


It can be said that summer is having it's last gasp. Here in western Oregon we have had a fabulous summer. No brutal heat waves, not too much rain (in fact not enough). The weather service just announced that this was the warmest average temperatures on record. Ever. Wow, that was hard to believe. But they factor in the night time temps and we did have a lot of warm nights and many 90f+ days.




With all that being said, my garden looks a lot more tired for the first part of September than it usually does. I took these front porch pics 2 weeks ago. I have to truthfully say that sadly the hanging baskets are toast now.


Note to self for next year. I had too many petunias. They need to be sprayed for budworm at least every two weeks. I missed a dose and they were gone within a week. Million bells will be the alternative next season. 

Next on the porch agenda. Something pretty for fall. But not quite ready to stop enjoying the summer weather.....


15 August 2014

Summer swaps

I always love a good swap, but there is always a chance that one will end up with a flaky partner who either is very late completing the swap or never comes thru at all. But for me, it is all about the thrill of stepping up to the challenge and creating something wonderful for my partner.

This summer I joined a private facebook group of less than 30 lovely artists and crafters. Our leader, who calls herself "Shabby Jen" presented us with a challenge of decorating a baby shoe. There was 10 of us who participated in this swap.  It was amazing what everyone came up with.
I was lucky to have Shirley Hubbs as a partner. Below is the shoe she created for me. This is the most itsy bitsy shoe I have ever seen, it must be a newborn or even a preemie shoe! So very delicate with the most beautiful tiny details.

Below is the shoe i decorated. I had some little baby black patents. I asked Shirley to choose from 4 words. She choose "Bliss".



I lined the soles with vintage sheet music and decorated with vintage crochet, a handmade rose, ribbons, beads and lace. I included a little gift tag and a fragrant rose sachet that used my dried rose petals from my cottage garden.

Below I am including some of the other shoe creations that were included in this swap--so much fun!

I will be back next week to share another swap we just completed, I am waiting on one more piece. It was a pennant swap!


28 July 2014

The challenging flower bed

 For the last 10 summers we have lived in this house, I have had this little narrow flower bed on the back patio that has always been a challenge. Shady most of the day, but the late hot afternoon sun beats down on it. Nothing would grow well planted on the ground, so I started using it as my little garden decorating area and dress it up a little differently each each year....the pic below is the early spring when I set the "bones" for this little bed. I have changed things up a bit since then, always adding new finds!

 Here it is now a bit more filled out. 


 since nothing is growing "up" the trellis, I opted to have a few treasures falling "down"
 My favorite wood ladder I painted last summer, just positioned a little differently this season
 a new find this summer, a chippy cement bird. When my husband set him on the ground he said "the eagle has landed" LOL, maybe more fitting would be "the seagull has landed". Also note the ladybugs. That was a spring painting project with my little granddaughters. They had fun placing them in the garden as we painted several.
 More fun finds sprinkled. A broken china plate I glued back together still has life in the garden, a wheel from a broken wheel barrow planter, a rusty shovel and colander too.

 the trellis is probably my favorite piece. I have used this in many different places in the garden over the years.

this old wire chair is a perfect plant stand.
 Hope you enjoyed this little tour of the little challenge garden!

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