Monday, September 19, 2011

Charlotte Pruyn Hyde

Photo source: Hyde Art Museum, collections department

Charlotte Pruyn Hyde

Charlotte Pruyn Hyde is the daughter of Samuel Pruyn, co-founder of Finch Pruyn Paper, Inc. in Glens Falls, New York. This is the paper mill where my father was employed at the time of my birth. Charlotte Married Louis Fiske Hyde in 1901 after a 14 year courtship, and they settled in Glens Falls in 1907. Charlotte and her two sisters, Mary and Nell, built adjoining homes not far from their father's paper mill. The homes and the surrounding seven acres now make up the Hyde Collection, a museum complex with a world-renowned collection of art that is availale for
public enjoyment. In the photo slide show titled "The Hyde" you will see some of the photos that I took while I was visiting the museum recently with my two youngest children. As a seamstress and quilter, I was fascinated by the thimble collection. I also photographed the sculpture near the entrance to the museum, a lovely piece depicting a family dancing together.

Another addition to the Glens Falls area, thanks to generous financial donations by the Hydes, is the Crandall Public Library (

This is a place I remember visiting with my mother when I was very young and she was a student at Adirondack Community College. I now take my children to Crandall Library. They have wonderful programs and are very helpful to the many homeschoolers in the area.

I am grateful to people like Charlotte Pryne Hyde and her husband who cared for their community and for the coming generations in such a generous way.

for a video documentary on the family. It includes photos of the paper mill and many of the collected works.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Special Delivery!

This is how to prepare a package to send to your favorite nieces...

First, fill a box of your choice with something fun. Mine contains fancy dresses! Make sure that you put everything in that you want to send...once we're done decorating the box, there's no going back!

Tape the box tightly closed. Cover the top with mod podge.

Place a whole sheet of tissue paper on top of the box, centering the paper so that it drapes evenly over the sides and ends of the box.

Turn the whole thing over so that you may work with the uncovered bottom. Cut the paper so that you may draw it up over the ends of the box. Spread mod podge on the box where you will be placing the tissue paper. Press the paper in place and dab on mod podge as needed to hole the tissue in place. Do not be afraid to get the mod podge on the outside of the paper as it will dry clear and smooth.

Now trim the extra tissue away and glue in place to cover the bottom of the box. Draw the sides of the tissue up into place, being sure to glue down all edges and corners securely. Use extra tissue if necessary to cover all of the box. Multiple layers and different colors work well, too.

Once the box is covered, choose a label. I used the front of a notecard that I liked. Since it is going to my two nieces, the two teddies having a tea party was fitting. I covered my picture with mod podge to make it secure and waterproof.

Use a plain 3x5 card to write the address. Secure in place and send!

Washington County Fair

I had five entries for the Washington County Fair this year and two of them brought home Blue Ribbons!!

First, I was finally able to enter my embroidery sampler this year. I had tried to enter it a couple years ago but it did not fit into a category because I had added some cross stitch motifs. This year the entry office made it possible for my sampler to be included, and it won!

I also entered this tea cozy which was knitted with yarn that I spun myself on a simple drop spindle I built. I have decided that I love to spin!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Gallery

This is going to be my "public viewing" site for my "Make It Pretty" expert level badge requirement. I have several painting of various mediums that I have been working on after taking a beginner level series of classes at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls ( I received training in pastels, oil, acrylic, and watercolor painting. Included in the fee was a beginner kit with paints and necessary materials. I learned a great deal, had fun, and met some wonderful people.

This first piece is in watercolor and is my attempt to recreate a painting that I found in an art magazine. It is a full sheet of paper, approx. 12x20.

This one is a pastel, and also a recreation of something I found by another aspiring artist. This is on a piece of beige pastel paper and is about 6x9. This is one of my favorites.

This pastel, still surrounded by tape which is used to keep the edges sharp and clean, is finished but not sealed with fixative yet. It is of a scene that I saw at my friend Claudia's in the Adirondack Mountains.

This is a pastel reproduction of a photo I took at the Adirondack Balloon Festival a few years ago. I was looking for a silhouette type image to try. The photo is above and the pastel is below. It is on a blue/gray pastel paper and is unfinished. I was having difficulty getting the right effect and the balloons need to be sharper. I'll work on this one more.

This one is a repo of another artist's work. I am not happy with this one as I could not get the color tone that I was after. It is acrylic paint on heavy paper. I couldn't get the right effect of the sun shining through the trees. This one is done because I kept trying to fix it and only made it worse.

This one is oil on heavy paper. I couldn't get depth into the bowl or the right color in the fruit. I am very happy with the flowers in the vase as they have nice depth and color tone. Even in this reproduction I can see the texture of the paint. That is what I love most about oil.

This next painting was a class project, and was the most interesting class with the best of the four teachers (see Tom is a talented painter and gifted teacher. The label on the bottle of wine (not included in my painting) was designed by Tom for a special annual event and so we not only painted the bottle, but opened a few as well! I enjoyed about half of my glass of wine, then I mistakenly tried to clean my brush in it.

In this painting I practiced developing compliments with my colors. I like this painting even though it is simple.

This painting was another class project. I like my colors and perspective, but the painting is static. There is nothing happening in the scenery and I cannot think of anything to add to it to make it more interesting. Oh, well.

This is my chicken coop! I have a couple other paintings of my chicken coop, but this is the best one. I could make it better by darkening the outlines of the hens and the coop, but once again, each time I added to it I seemed to make it worse. Sometimes one needs to just call it "done."

I'm sure I'll do this one again as I am rather obsessed with recreating hens, roosters, and coops.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Busy Summer

Always my favorite time of the year...veggies growing, kids swimming, birds chirping, laundry waving in the wind...I love Summer!

New to me this year are eggplant, which I confess I do not know how to cook. My daughter brought home six plants from the organic vegetable farm that she works at, and I innocently put them into the garden. I now have about twenty almost ready to harvest. This is AFTER I picked a dozen and gave them friends who took pity on me. I googled some recipes and had a friend send me a tried and true from her own collection, so I am almost ready to take the plunge. Almost.

Also new to me this summer is the political process that I thought I knew so much about until I decided to run for local office. I learned a new meaning to the word "running" as used in "running for office"...because I have not stopped running since I started! I am on petition #2...58 signatures needed for each petition, with a few extras just in case. I've been through almost everyone I know in town, and I've been knocking on doors of people I have not met before. All in all, it has been a difficult but extraordinarily satisfying undertaking. I am receiving so much support and encouragement...even if I don't win the position, I will have been blessed by the process :-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Case for Organics

What organics can do for you~

Organic foods are generally a little more expensive than mainstream fruits and vegetables. However, the hidden cost of non-organic foods can be much greater. Buying organic will help you to avoid GMO foods, hydrogenation, and synthetic poisoning. Avoiding these foods will keep you healthier in the long run. Most of us do not know the hidden dangers of these practices because we trust the FDA to ensure that our foods are safe and non-toxic. However, we can no longer rely on government agencies to protect us.

The FDA has deemed GMO foods to be safe for public consumption despite a warning by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) asking the public to avoid all genetically modified foods until they are proven safe in long-term, independent studies. AAEM has pushed for a law which would require special labeling for all foods containing GMOs, but their efforts have been strongly opposed by the FDA along with support from Big Biotech (see ) whoc claim that consumers do not have the right to know the source of their foods. AAEM alleges that GMO foods create "serious adverse health effects" including "rapid aging, severe alterations to the majo0r bodily organs, infertility, immune problems, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and disruption to proper insulin regultion" as well as other health issues. Medical experts fear that children are the most susceptible to har.

Some results from GMO testing on animals include:f
-Female rats fed GMO foods saw most of their babies die within three weeks of birth, and those that survived had a difficult time conceiving later on
-Male rats in the study developed abnormal testicles, altered sperm, and DNA changes
-Birthing complications developed in Indian buffalo that were fed GMO feed; infertility, spontaneous abortions, premature delivery, and prolapsed uteruses were among the problems. Many of the calves that surviced gestation died shortly after birth
-24 US pig farmers reported that their pigs became sterile after being fed GMO corn
-Shepherds witnessed thousands of sheep die after being fed GMO cotton; postmortem tests found irritation and discoloration to the intestines and liver and enlarged bile ducts in these sheep
-Bt corn has been blamed for the deaths of cows, horses, water buffalo, and chickens in Germany and the Philippines
-GM tomatoes cause bleeding stomachs and eventual death in rats

The reason that genetically modified plants are so harmful to living beings is the very fact that they are engineered to become their own pesticide. The Bt levels produced in a GMO food is thousands of times more concentrated than that of Bt spray. Therefore, the effects are "greatly amplified" and can continue to live and reproduce in the body, particularly in the intestinal flora, long after being consumed. This can cause intense allergic and immune reactions and death. The implications of an infected intestinal flora are "mind boggling" and a cause for societal concern. For more information see Natural News.Com, Genetically Modified Organisms are Unfit for Consumption.

Hydrogenation practices also create cause for concern. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that trans unsaturated fatty acids had "uniquely adverse effects on blood lipid levels" and was "associated with an increase rist of coronary heart disease." Foods that typically contain these fats are margarine, baked goods, fried fast foods, and other prepared foods. Many scientists are lobbying for labeling requirements to include am0unts of trans fatty acids in a food, and for a switch in the food industry from hydrogenated oils to unhydrogenation oils. It is believed that "such a change would reduce the risk of coronary heart disease at a moderate cost, without requiring major efforts focused on education and behavioral modification." However, until the food industry makes these changes, it is important as consumers to educate ourselves, do some research, and make wise choices. (New England Journal of Medicine, June 24, 1999 Vol.340, No. 25)

Lastly, consumers must watch for synthetic ingredients in their bath and body products and vitamins. Such ingredients are often allergenic, toxic, and carcinogenic. They include fragrances, mineral oil, parabens, propylene glycol, and sodium laureth/lauryl sulfates; they can also be found in products labeled "natural." Check out "The Dangers of Synthetic Ingredients in Skin and Body Care Products" for a list of ingredients and more information.

It is clear that as consumers we must be aware of the source and safety of our foods. As a citizen of Washington County I am fortunate to live in a part of our country where the freshest, cleanest, healthiest foods are readily available! Washington County is overflowing with CSAs, Farmer's Markets, and natural food stores and co-ops. I have both summer and winter sources for fresh, local, chemical-free fruits and vegetables as well as year round access to organically grown, all natural groceries. As a consumer in the upstate New York region, I have the power to change the world by supporting my local agriculture, reducing my carbon footprint, and squashing the need for pesticides and synthetic materials.

And so do you!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Aprons of the Adirondacks

Aprons of the Adirondacks is group of like-minded farmgirls, meeting in Argyle twice a month for projects and fellowship. We get our inspiration from each other, and from MaryJane Butters of MaryJanes Farm in Moscow, Idaho.