Wednesday, August 27, 2008


In the dog days of summer with the garden winding down, you’d think I’d have more time—not less—to post. But obviously, that hasn’t been the case.

What have I been up to?
Lots of writing assignments, a minor home renovation project, some time off to relax, and a day on the set of Emeril’s new Planet Green cooking show. More about that in my next post…

Some of you have asked what happened to The Mystery Project, which I was working on for the last 10 months and which I blogged about earlier this year.

Unfortunately, I was unable to reach agreement on a contract with the person who held the primary contract with the publisher (this happens occasionally in publishing) and I am no longer associated with the project.

I’d say more but the censors wouldn’t approve.

Since my last post was about China, I figure we’d take a short detour to the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan on our way back to the beach.
My fascination with Bhutan, began may years ago. How could you not be intrigued by a land that’s home to the world’s only blue poppies and blue sheep?

Every July, Washington’s Smithsonian Institution...

hosts a weeklong festival on The Mall, the grassy park that runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol.

This year the forty-second annual Folklife Festival celebrated the state of Texas, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and Bhutan.

On the opening day, while touring the festival’s a traditional Bhutanese Buddhist temple with a flock of journalists, I met a strikingly handsome young man.

The friendly Bhutanese turned out to be the king! He’s a great ambassador for a country with a development program measured by the country’s Gross National Happiness.
Imagine what life would be like if all governments ensured the contentment of their people and tried to balance economic growth and modernization with quality of life and spiritual values!

Throughout the day, you could watch and participate in demonstrations of Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts.

These include bamboo basketry...



leatherwork and embroidery.

The finest examples of Bhutanese design were amazing and had been passed from one generation to another for centuries.

Each region of Bhutan has distinctive traditional weaving and clothing styles.

Dyes are made from vegetables and minerals.

Patterns have symbolic meanings.
You could also listen to Bhutanese music played on long trumpets, oboe-like instruments, double-sided drums and conch horns…

Watching traditionally garbed Bhutanese, who had rarely left their small mountain villages, whip out cell phones to snap photos of typical Americans was entertaining, too.

What is Bhutanese food like, you ask? In brief... spicy!
Unlike other parts of the world, where chilies are used as a spice to flavor food, here chilies are served as a vegetable. Each day at the festival, the cooking demos of chili cheese curry (the national dish of Bhutan) were a crowd favorite.

Want to cook something different—and fiery—for tonight’s dinner? Here’s the recipe:

This hot pepper and cheese stew is usually made with yak cheese but I was assured feta cheese works well.

1/2 lb hot green chilis (long serranos, shorter jalapenos or less spicy poblanos)
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 cups water
2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
2 tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lb feta cheese
1/2 tsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Remove seeds from chilis and cut lengthwise into strips. In a saucepan, add chilies, onions, oil and water bring to a boil, then simmer 15 minutes. Add tomato and garlic and simmer for 5 more minutes. Just before serving add cheese and cilantro leaves. Heat through but do not let cheese dissolve. Serve over rice.
Now… to the beach.
Back in July, I posted about my trip to the Chesapeake Bay. I had such a great time that I decided to do it again.

So as the sun sets on summer, here’s another peek at one of my favorite places to get away from the world.

*** BLOGS DU JOUR ***Recently, Fifi Flowers asked my permission to turn one of my photographs of the Getty Villa into a painting. I was flattered and now you can see what a talented artist can do with a little inspiration.
Looking for your own inspirations? Visit Sweet Six Studio, an on-line art retreat hosted by Holly Abston, Natasha Burns, Cheryl Dack, Jennifer Hayslip, Heather Kowalski and Analise Sledd. It starts on September 2nd, so you’d better hurry!


Catherine said...

Hello Barbara!
Bhutan looks like a beautiful,very colorful,& interesting Place.
Your flowers are beautiful, I love that yarrow~gorgeous color! And your Cleome is huge! Funny, I have a yellow petunia in a glazed blue pot~looks like yours!:) I love the Chesapeake Bay~We try and visit once a Sept. the Eastern shore on the Chesapeake bay in Va. on our way to Hatteras Island in N.C.

Sorry to hear your Mystery project didn't work out!:(
Thanks for sharing all of the beautiful photos, and the Cheese Chilli sounds yummy~especially on a chilly rainy night like tonight!
Have a wonderful time at the Beach!

Sometimes It's Good said...

What a wonderful country that would be to visit. Bhutan has such gorgeous arts and crafts! Wow!

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Hi Barbara,
Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos of Bhutan.
I never heard of it... so it was very educational as well as interesting!
Kisses & Hugs
Debbie Moss


Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara, Have a great time soaking in the seaside one last time. I've missed you...:) Love the pics as usual too..!!
Hugs to you,

Ribbonwood Cottage said...

Wow Barbara, what an amazing post. I will try your chile pepper recipe. We actually grow these peppers and love to try new recipes. Thanks for stopping by and giving me ideas on my shutters. I have several new thoughts now on what to do with my shutters.
Blessings, Debbie
Perhaps your mystery project will find another outlet, in a better way for you. I sure hope so!

Melissa said...


It is so nice to meet you. Thank you for stopping by Sunbonnet Cottage and for leaving such a nice comment.

I really enjoy visiting your blog. It's always a treat to see what you will write about next.

I hope we get to visit again soon.

Thank you.


Natasha Burns said...

You sure are a great tour guide Barbara!
Thanks for the plug for Sweet Six Studio too!!!
See you in NYC xo

{oc cottage} said...

Thx for the tour!!! How interesting!

M ^..^

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I know exactly what you mean... you'd think that you'd have more time as the summer winds down... but I can't seem to find it either. ;)

I love the Bhutanese colors, particularly the reds!


Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

What beautiful pictures and story.I really did enjoy it.Hugs Marie Antionette

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Hi Barbara,
Bhutan looks so very beautiful!

I am sorry for you about TMP! All of your hard work....

And oh yeah! That beach sounds sooo wonderful! Since moving to the mountains from Naples, Fl I do miss the beach on occasion :-)
p.s. my 300th post mosaic givaway starts today...come and enter!

Alison Gibbs said...

Barbara what a fabulous Folklife Festival. Thanks for sharing it with us with your amazing photos.

Brian said...

A stunning display of photos, that spider is beautiful

Thank you for your comments on my blog.


Sandy said...

I am so glad you stopped by but even more glad to repay the visit. You always have the most beautiful gardens.

Thank you for the grand tour, the photos are a visual feast and make me want to whop out my passport in search of adventure!

I am so sorry your project did not meet with fruition. How sad to have spent so much time, energy, and effort on something for not to reap the rewards. Knowing you, you will have ample opportunities to wow us with other mystery projects.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Susie Q said...

I have a dear friend who has visited Bhutan and loved it. Thank you for sharing such lovely photos with us.
Oh how I love the Chesapeake Bay. We lived in Va. beach for 8 years and that area still has a strong pull on us...
I am so sorry about the *Mystery Project* It sounds like a major disappoinment. Phooey.

Enjoy your something fun!


Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Barbara,
You covered so much - I don't know where to begin! Bhutan sounds amazing, love using the veggies as dyes, the crafts and that you met the King. I am definitely going to make the Cheese Chilli dish for my husband (well, guess I better be honest, he'll make it for himself, he's the better cook!). It sounds wonderful!

I love the beach photos. And the take Fifi Flowers has of your photo.

Well, I'm off to check out the online retreat, thanks for letting us all know about it - sounds like fun.

Enjoy your Labor "Beachy" Day!

Miss_Yves said...

Thank you for your visiton my blog!
Congratulations for this gorgeous post!
miss Yves

Anonymous said...

Oh Barbara, this blog post was a feast for me this morning! Lovely!!

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Barbara, Loved your post and the inviting pics from Bhutan. Gorgeous flowers. So sorry about your project. Something better is around the corner.
Enjoy the beach.
la rea rose

Catherine said...

Hi again Barbara!
Just dropped in to thank you for sharing the Washington Post link~I enjoyed the "Butterfly Effect article! :)
And ejoyed your beautiful colorful post again! Hope you are enjoying the beach!

Kathryn Bechen said...

Love your posts! Kathryn

Barbara said...

Fascinating and so much to digest. I love that silk red material and the photo taking of the cyclist quite funny. But why not, just us in reverse.
Have fond memories of flying over Chesapeake Bay and finding it so romantic trying to imagine being their with a boat at my disposal.

I hope that spider was not as large as it looks in the picture.

kari and kijsa said...

Have a wonderful Labor Day! Thank you for all your prayers and blessings,
kari & kijsa

NeereAnDear said...

Hey you.... thanks for your well wishes on my wild little tumble down the stairs... finally feeling well enough to start catching up on my favorite blogs..

Oh how I love al the colors in this post... well written too as you always seems to take us along on such amazing adventures...

Truly love the water color that fififlowers did on the Getty house... I do love to see how other artists work and their style and medium...Many talented women out there I must say

Enjoy the beach.. hope you are having a grand time



CIELO said...

I love to see pictures of fun happy times! :) thanks for sharing! and oh, by the way, the House in the Roses is having a Window Party this Friday, and wish you could participate.... only thing you need to do is show us your favorite window in your home.... it promises to be fun! come see!


Julie said...

Well - I would starve to death if I went there! I cannot tolerate spicey foods - but the art is fantastic!

Donna said...

Wow, what a place! The Bhutan arts are beautiful, so colorful!

The spicy cheese stew sounds yummy.


FrenchGardenHouse said...

Classy girl.:)

What a beautiful post, Barbara. The colors the people of Bhutan love are so vibrant. I love their baskets, such great colors and so well made. I think I'll pass on the fiery recipe for now, maybe later when I get more courageous.
xo Lidy

Sandy McTier Designs said...

That is one place I'd love to go and visit ~ especially experience their arts/crafts and FOOD!
Have a wonderful weekend.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Always beautiful inspiration!

Thank you so much for updating my blog address, I sure appreciate it! I'm working on my new blogroll right now!

Happy week,

Little Blue Violet said...

What a fantastic blog! Beauty...stunning home decor...and a trip around the world all at a "click" of the mouse. Ive cast my vote for your book and do hope it makes a difference. Your comment on my blog had me guessing t what a dervish (?) finally got it all figured out. Yes I am a busy little whirlwind...trying to get my home renovations completed all by my lonesome. I just purchased a new power drill with lots of torque...hope I do more good thn harm with it...some things you just can't undo!
Best wishes and I shall return.

Kathy said...

On the set with Emeril?? My most fave chef ....THAT Emeril?

Oh, please, please share with us all the exciting details!
Watering mouths want to know!
All the best-Kathy

Anonymous said...

Ah, This is spot on! Puts to bed
some contradictions I've read