Saturday, December 31, 2011

New article at the Examiner, on starting a pineapple top for a houseplant!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

101 uses for a dead Christmas tree... okay, only a few uses. But still.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner: thinking about New Year's resolutions? How about some resolutions about gardening?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rooster doll

A crazy pieced and embellished rooster. Sadly, it has a few problems. One, by the time I got all stitched around them and stuffed, the feet are too small to support it; it wants to fall over if it's just leaned against something. Two, it looks like a duck with a poofy hat on instead of a rooster. 

Oh, well, The recipient likes ducks, too. It's just that the kitchen is rooster themed.
New article at the Examiner: the legend of the poinsettia:

Monday, December 19, 2011

One gift achieved!

Got my aunt's present made and wrapped up in tissue, but need to go to the post office for a Priority box and get it sent off. Thankfully she's only across Washington from here! Didn't feel up to going in to do errands, but managed to get off my ass and piece the three other CQ gifts. Now to sew the pieces down, embellish them, sew backs and fronts together, stuff them, mail them... Felt better earlier but now I'm exhausted and my blood sugar is back up waaay higher than it should be. The plague is still with me, apparently.

The gift: a crazy pieced and embellished cat. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Green and gold necklace

Although I'd started this necklace sometime in early or
mid-summer, I just finished it Saturday, hours before the party I wanted to wear it to. It's clear yellowish-green 11 seed beads, a few gold metallic seed beads, 6mm dark green pearls and 4 mm metallic gold pearls.

I'm not totally pleased with the pattern. It's from a magazine, and even though I swear I followed it exactly, there are problems. There is a lot of thread showing in places, but when I tried to tighten things up, the piece gathered and buckled. If I ever try this pattern again, I'll be putting more 11s in certain areas to make it lay flatter and be tighter.

The bracelet that I took for the gift exchange was a big hit- got a commission out of it!
New post up at the Examiner, on lighting up the garden for the holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the annual flower Love in a Mist (comes in true blue!) , Nigella damascena:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beaded bracelet!

I needed something for a white elephant gift exchange, so I quickly beaded this up:

Metallic gold #11 seed beads, 4mm pearls, and a few clear green #11s. Now I want to keep it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New article

New article at the Examiner: the digital magazine Leaf is having giveaways for the first 10 days of December!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New cat

So. We seem to have gained another cat.

Colin’s neighbor’s had several cats, who roamed the neighborhood. Colin fed them on the porch, as they always seemed famished. Then, the people moved away, taking two of the cats with them, but leaving the female – she was fixed, thank deity, unlike the males. But it’s been getting cold here, and one of Colin’s cats is an older, now chronically ill, grumpy female. He really didn’t want to risk bringing another adult female cat in, since in my experience at least, that’s combination least likely to get along.  He was getting upset, not wanting to take her to the shelter, not daring to bring her into the house, feeling terrible about her out in the cold- she was in his garage, with a bed, but it’s not heated.

We said we’d take her if he took her to the vet and have her checked out, including a feline leukemia test, we’d take her. He said if we’d take her, he’d not only do that but would help with the food, too.

Yesterday he brought her over. Clean bill of health, vaccinations, wormed. So far she has spent a lot of the time hiding in the crafts/storage room, but has been out and about a fair bit. She eats faster that Silver (which I did not think was possible) and shoved her head into his dish after she finished her own, which he did not know what to make of. She’s spent the last few hours on the books stacked on the headboard, gazing out the window- no doubt reconnoitering for making an escape. Silver has been sitting on the bed gazing at her, with a ‘WTF’ look on his face. The other two boys have met her without a great deal of interest.

Natasha has not met her yet. That is apt to be a very ugly confrontation. Natasha hates most everything in the world. The three boys live in horror of her, even though she is half the size of them. This cat- Luna, btw- I’m sure will represent all that is bad and wrong in Natasha’s world. I’m equally sure they will meet in the middle of the night, just for maximum drama.

Luna is long haired, unkempt, and gray. Apparently since Marmalade died there has been a rule written somewhere that we shall have only cats that can be printed in grayscale.  No pictures as yet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, about the online plant guide/finder on the Fine Gardening website:

Give it a try! It's fun!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New article up at the Examiner, on rose breeder Ping Lim and his roses:

Ice crystals

While the snow yesterday wasn't deep enough to hide the junk and turn things into a thing of beauty, a few days ago we had a hard freeze when the air was very moist, and the resulting frost had huge ice crystals that hung onto things until quite a ways into the day.
I wish the sun had been out; it would have made it all sparkly!

Friday, November 11, 2011

New article!

New article up at the Examiner, a review of the book "Monet's Passion", about the artist's gardens and instructions for using his design techniques in your own garden:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Have spent the last few days harvesting vegetables. The nights have been down in the 20s, and they keep threatening us with snow, even down at our altitude, and we *did* learn something after last year’s epic of hacking carrots out of frozen soil. So we have a house full of buckets of potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions. No big onions, mind you, as we never have luck getting them to make bulbs, but lots and lots of what are basically glorified green onions. I did find some radishes we’d missed; they are the size of baseballs. I left them out there as I hate to think what their texture would be like! We still have to get the kale, kohlrabi, cabbage and a little bit of broccoli in but that shouldn’t take very long. The tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse are still producing, but it won’t be long before it gets too cold in there, too.

We also have a large box of catnip stems drying, which of course the cats won’t stay out of. They don’t seem to understand the term ‘deferred gratification’. I don’t care; less for me to pick off the stems and put away!

Now to see if I can take advantage of the return to standard time and continue to get up ‘an hour earlier’ or if I’ll follow my nocturnal pattern and slowly slide to getting up later as usual.

Oh, I made bloomers! They were supposed to be made for Steamcon, but that fell by the wayside. They’re nice for sitting around in the evening, with stripey thigh highs. They’re black cotton with white lace at the bottom of the legs. Did you expect any other combination from me?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dear Cats;

Please stop taking the gladiola bulbs out of their buckets and batting them around the floor. I had them separated by color, and would prefer to keep them that way. I do not trust your design talents when it comes to mixing colors.


The Human

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The under the sea hat

So, I started with this, a sort of black felt skullcap with various types of fabric manipulation on it and a crappy veil. I finally decided that, from the look of it, it must have been a millinery student's project, where they learned different techniques. Knowing it wasn't a valuable vintage treasure allowed me to feel okay with hacking it up.

And this was the pile of possibilities (that's like the room of requirement)

First I took the crappy veil off, and then cut off most of the texturey pieces that had been layered onto it. Then I covered it with a sheer purple fabric that had large chunks of glitter on it, but I didn't sew it down, only pinned it.

Next I put a layer of sheer burgundy over the hat, but this layer was deliberately uneven and dimensional, rumpled in places like a brain or something. Now, I sewed through all layers, attaching 'soap bubble' beads at every stitch. I've used these clear with AB finish beads in lots of undersea quilts for underwater bubbles. On the front and sides I tucked the sheer under the edge and sewed it under, but at the back I let the bulk of fabric hang down the back and cut it into wide strands.

Since this was supposed to have an under the sea theme, I needed sea shells. I chose an appropriate small crafts tool and drilled holes in some shells.

These, with some pearls, were applied to the back of the hat where the long dangling strands were.

I also took some wide, sheer ribbons in purple and gold and tucked them in with the dangling strands. The strands, I was hoping, would be sort of seaweedish, while the hat itself was supposed to be sort of brain coral. Or something. The finished hat:

It took me all day to make that fool thing. It's not really as bad as I thought at first, but it really wasn't the glorious creation I'd hoped to make!
Macabre reading in time for Halloween at the Examiner: The Poisoner's Garden!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Steamcon 3 - Monday back home

Monday was travel back home day. I managed to drag my butt out of bed early enough to eat, put my makeup on and finish packing without a panic, which surprised me. I’m usually good for a panic. R saw me off when the shuttle picked me up, and because he driver had to pick up some people from their house, I got to see some of the residential area- and on the freeway, for one minute, I got to see water! I swear I will see and smell salt water again someday.

TSA at SeaTac figured I was trustworthy looking enough to not make me be radiated, so I got through security very quickly. The gate for my flight was in a smaller section of the airport, and it had a very small waiting area. Why, I wonder, would you have an area with only 48 seats for a plane that seats 75 people?

 As soon as we board and I’m seated, I check my blood sugar. It’s 174- not surprising, considering the number of chocolate covered pretzels I ate. Someone taps my shoulder. The guy across the aisle and one row back asks if I’m diabetic. I say yes, and he says “Isn’t 174 rather high?” I explain about the pretzels and that my intermediate insulin is just about ready to kick in. He nods, tells me he has 6 relatives with diabetes, and that he’ll be watching me for problems. Thankfully, there are none, but it is kind of cool knowing that if my sugar bottoms out and I just sit there drooling when it’s time to deplane, someone will know what’s going on and what to do.

At the airport, the little shuttle bus takes me out to the long term parking. I then leave my purse on the bus as she drives away. Luckily, she sees it before she gets out of the parking lot and circles back, finding me running down the aisle, waving my hands wildly.

I’d planned on stopping at a fabric store and Target and perhaps Michael’s on the way home, but as soon as I pull into Target I realize I’m screwed because I have my laptop, the car doesn’t lock, and I’m not about to leave it at Target’s desk thingie where they hold back packs. Crap. So straight home I go, with no silly Halloween purchases made. Dammit! Tim isn’t home when I get there, but the cats attack me and hold me down on the bed for some time.

One of these days, I’ll get all my pictures processed and uploaded to Flickr, but that’s going to be a while still. Meanwhile:

Sunday night the toads got to play dress up. It was only fair, after R and I had been playing dress up all weekend. 

Brass fish embedded in the terrazzo at SeaTac. It's a simple thing, but really adds to the place. There are interesting art pieces scattered around SeaTac; it makes it a much, much more interesting place than the big box that is Spokane International.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Steamcon 3 - Sunday

Sunday is a more casual day at Steamcon. There are no big events and a lot of people are already leaving. So R and I dressed more comfortably in Victorian bathing costume, so no boots with heels or tight belts. Our bathing dresses were black with white trim, worn with black and white striped stockings, black flats, white mob caps with some black and white trims on them, black and white belts, and curly wiglets. The finishing touch was a pair of latex toads as big as our heads which we carried around in our arms. The effect seemed to jolt a few who didn’t really look close at first but merely thought ‘oh, bathing costumes’ and only a few seconds later went “with giant toads”. And I discovered that my face is really too old to get away with ‘cute’ anymore. R looked totally adorable but I didn’t come off nearly so well. 

There was a demonstration of Victorian cane fighting, which turned out to be fascinating and looked to be a great deal of fun. The instructor had brought a variety of canes so that people could participate. We watched as they learned to defend against different kinds of strikes. It made me really, really want to have a walking stick.

After walking around and admiring costumes and gadgets some more, we changed into mundane clothing and went out into the real world. We walked over the skywalks and visited some of the stores in the area. It’s a very well done, expensive looking retail area; one of the buildings has a water feature with Chihuly glass sculptures. After dinner, we retired to the room to try and pack our bags. Amazingly, despite having shipped some items ahead and now having large toads, everything went into the suitcases. 

 A submarine made from an old wooden barrel, with lights and motion (the propeller, which you can barely see here, turns)

Chihuly glass sculptures in the retail building.

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on keeping your yard safe at Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Steamcon 3- Saturday

Saturday is the dressiest day, the day of the High Tea. I dressed in a long brown skirt with a bit of a train, which was to prove problematical for clumsy me all day. My top was a dark brown velvet sleeveless number that looked enough like an old bodice to pass when kept mostly covered by the purple on purple Medici belt and jacket. R put a couple of curly wiglets on my head, which covered all my flimsy hair, giving me, for the first time, a decent head of hair. I put my undersea-ish hat on over this. While not awesome like other people’s hats, it was at least not as bad as I thought it was. My necklace was a fairly large clamshell that was hinged; I hung it from an antique brass chain and put a flickering LED tealight in it so it pulsated.

Tea wasn’t until afternoon, so we went to the fencing exhibition (and left because of heat) that I said previously that we went to on Friday- duh. We went to line up for the tea at a time we thought would be early enough- and found a line that went the length of the hall in front of the ballroom. We were lucky, though- by the time the doors opened, the line was that long again behind us! Apparently there were at least 200 people attending the tea.

The line proved to be a great opportunity for people and costume viewing, even though it was hard on the booted feet. So many fabulous costumes and great looking people! Took a lot of pictures, but I seem to have terrible luck taking pics. My camera reacts slowly, so people have moved on, and I get lots of blurry ones that end up deleted.

Despite being way back in the line, we got seats at a table near the front. This year, rather than a fashion show, they had a bathing beauty contest. Given the size of the room, it was a good thing that they had the entrants circulate among the tables, giving everyone a good look at their costumes, before they went up on the stage. There was every possible take on a steampunk bathing beauty, from mermaids to Victorian bathing suits to diving helmets to a person with a giant fish for a head to my favorite, a group effort: a smack of jellyfish who spun, bobbed and wove their way around. While the judges decided who the winners were, Unwoman played her cello and sang to entertain us.

After the awards were given, everyone rushed out of the room for a group photo on the beautiful double staircase in the Winter Garden. R and I went around, hoping for good pictures rather than being in the picture; most of mine did not turn out, sadly. It was a great opportunity for viewing costumes!

We ended up going back to the room to relax for a while as neither of us felt very well. Later, we wandered out in search of music, but what was playing at the time didn’t strike our fancies so back to the room we went, for sewing on Sunday’s costumes. Yes, that *was* a recurrent theme! Thankfully, this time I only had some ornamenting to do, not any hemming and pressing. 

 I saw a number of people with wings over the weekend, but this was the most ornate pair, with clockworks and gears!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Onward! Steamcon 3 Friday

Friday was my day to bring out my standard black and white striped skirt. It’s not Victorian, it’s not steampunk, but hey, black and white stripes! Wore it with the black bustier I altered and a black velvet bolero. Had intended to wear my fire engine red wig with it, but when I put it on (having not worn it for around five years) I discovered that the color instantly aged me 10 years. I have been aware that my skin has aged a LOT the last two or three years, but I hadn’t realized quite how bad it was until that moment. So, I switched to the fuchsia purple wig R had given me. Much better! I did learn that screaming fuchsia purple hair requires a lot more eye makeup, though, so that one’s features are not over powered by the color. Pile on the purple shadow and black liner!

We spent a lot of the day in the vendor’s room and the art show. Many beautiful things in both places. The art that impressed me the most was from this studio: and her name is Yvette Endrijautzki. Go look. Buy her work, because I want her to keep creating art so she can come back to Steamcon 4. There was also some incredible metal work, such as an angler fish that I think would make a great addition to a porch with a light in it’s , well, light. Sadly, I did not get a card from that display. In the vendor’s room I ended up buying a silvertone brooch with a skull on it, which I promptly put on, and R most graciously bought me a crocheted bead bracelet with midnight blue AB beads that went marvelously with my black and white outfit.

We went to watch a fencing exhibition, but it was so hot in the room that I thought I was going to croak. Gave up and went to recover. Found the Cityflowers Halloween display, which had many, many wonderful things, like giant thorny stems (like, towering over me giant), very realistic latex toads, steampunk spiders and an animatronic old woman in a rocking chair that actually disturbed me as it kind of reminded me of my mother near her end. *That* is effective scary décor!

Also that day we went to a lecture on the development of submarines which turned out to be fascinating. The two gentlemen were in impeccable uniforms, had a wonderful Powerpoint presentation (hey, time travel, remember? Anachronisms are cool) and knew their stuff. As an added bonus, there was a Russian woman in the audience whose father had been in the USSR submarine corp and she had been on their subs herself a few decades back. The interchange between her and the presenters really added to the panel! We had dinner in the room, and went out a bit for a few minutes but neither of us felt wonderful and we had to work on our Saturday outfits- I still had to put the whole bottom hem in my jacket yet!

A couple of the many, many marvelously dressed people.
Tentacle love!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Steamcon 3- part 1

Note: I have no idea why Blogger refuses to acknowledge the paragraph spacing. I’m waaaaaaaaaaay over due on my Steamcon 3 write up, so I’ll try to get at least one day done today. Okay, hopefully two, because I’m putting a little of Thursday, travel to Seattle (oops, Bellevue!) in. Steamcon 3 Thursday Drive to the airport in the ’86 Subaru. Halfway there, I hear a new rattle that I can’t figure out. But it doesn’t sound like it’s in any area of concern, so I keep going, nervous as hell. When I stop for gas, I discover that it’s just the gas filler hatch open and flapping in the wind. That’s a relief. Get to the airport and check bag. At the first security point, the guard can’t figure out if my driver’s license is really me. Finally I take my hat off and grin at her, causing my eyes to disappear as they always do in pictures. She goes “Oh! Right!” and nods me through. At the scanners, I get pulled out of the regular line that goes through the metal detectors and made to take an X-ray (at this airport, they don’t send many through the X-ray). They don’t bother to tell me why. Evil black clothing, I guess. After losing out on a chance for an earlier flight by one person, the flight goes smoothly and they even give me a glass of wine. Gotta love Alaska flights and the Washington wine producers association! The emo teen next to me is white knuckled all the way. Poor guy. My Shuttle Express ride takes off almost immediately after I get to the kiosk, and we zoom through to Bellevue on the car pool lanes. After living in California and north Idaho, my heart is in my mouth as we speed along, because in either of those places, the car pool lane wouldn’t be respected and people would be pulling into it at least to pass others. Western Washington drivers are truly wonderfully polite! We pull up in front of the hotel and it’s spectacular. The registration desk is fronted with some sort of translucent natural stone that is back lit. The hotel shares space with and is connected to other buildings, so there is a common area with a glass dome over it. I have just a few minutes to gawp at this before R arrives. We go up to our room, unpack, talk excitedly, and get things ready for Friday’s costumes. Eventually we hit the wall and fall asleep.
The check in desk at the Hyatt. I seriously want a piece of furniture done like this.
New article at the Examiner, on the Pacific yew, source of the drug taxol:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on hyacinths! I love the scent of hyacinths so much!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on freezing tomatoes: Hard to get back to thinking about plants after the excitement of Steamcon!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on bringing the houseplants and tender perennials back in for the fall:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Altering a bustier for Steam Con!

Just by chance, I found a black stretch cotton bustier at a yard sale for $3- just what I needed as a costume piece for Steam Con. It has a side zipper, and while the bust fit, I could not get the zipper to close over my lower ribs or my waist. Not by a long shot. Yes, I am that oddly shaped.
So I did what any frustrated person would do: I cut it down the back.
Then I took another piece of black cotton that was the height of the back, plus the length of the facings and a 1/2" turn under for the facing hem. I pinned and stitched a piece of black ribbon with white dots on it, similar but not an exact match to the ribbon that goes around the bustier under the bust.
Then I pinned the new piece of fabric to the cut open back, right sides together, and sewed them.
It looks terrible now- the black doesn't match and the ribbon is different. But bear with me.
I folded along each of the new seams and pinned them wrong sides together. Then I stitched an inch in from the new seams, doing it twice for strength. There were now two flaps sticking out of the back.
Next I put four large eyelets/grommets whatever you call them on each flap. I need to get some grosgrain ribbon for the actual lacing, but this thin ribbon gives you the idea. Voila! Mock corset top!
For the finishing touch, I sewed some ribbon roses that R sent me to the front.
One project down, about 10 more to go!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New article up at the Examiner, on annual sunflowers!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book haul!

Went to the book and craft sale at the Peaceable Kingdom. Joe is trying to sell off Lois's things promptly, while he is still fit enough to oversee it all, although friends are doing all the sorting, toting and disposing so he doesn't have to do anything physical. It has to be horribly hard to deal with, even though they talked it all over before she died and he knows (and the friends know) what she wanted done with her things. So of course I came away with a number of herb, gardening and cook books. Not as many as I thought I'd get; some were out of my price range, like all but one of the Gertrude Jekyll books. I grabbed $1 each ones range.
Unfortunately, they had just sold a trunk. The trunk turned out to have vintage clothing in it, which the trunk buyer was uninterested in. Of course a couple of pieces came home with me, things way more expensive than I should have bought. A short suit type jacket of checked wool that I'd guess is early 1960s and a floor length black velvet coat with a white fur collar, princess cut. I'm guessing 1930s. The lining is shot, but the exterior is fine. It fits perfectly! If I didn't already have my Steamcon outfits planned, I would probably try to use this as part of one. Oh, well, this is something I can wear in town easily. No pics yet as they are wrinkled and hanging right now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the autumn blooming crocus (so called):

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We had our first touch of frost last night. A little damage to pumpkin leaves and a few beans. Of course, the deer have eaten so many of our plants it didn't make much difference, but still. After how late summer started, I was hoping for a late fall, too. We got a five day grace period- average frost date is the 15th- but we aren't going to get ripe pumpkins. Time to harvest and freeze all the basil and pick all the beans.

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on annual chickweed:

Monday, September 19, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the rose 'Darlow's Enigma'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the soil amendment perlite

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On the briney deep

After many years of being dissatisfied with grilled chicken (rubbery, dry), I happened to pick up an old Sunset with an article about grilling chicken on the very day Tim had taken chicken out of the freezer to grill. The method required brining the chicken, so I decided to finally give it a try- after having it strongly recommended by Colin for a couple of years. So I made up some brine, using only half the salt the recipe called for, a little brown sugar, some garlic and thyme, and soaked the chicken for a couple of hours. Wow. What a difference. Moist and not rubbery. I have come out of the stone age as far as grilled chicken goes. I’d been avoiding brining because of the salt, but I’ve decided that this is one instance where I’ll say the hell with my blood pressure.

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on edible flowers:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the Spokane Rose Society

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the herb marshmallow

Monday, September 5, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on frost in the fall garden:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner: a review of "Success with Acid-Loving Plants"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on the Nicotiana Perfume Deep Purple:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New article up at the Examiner, on North American native plant goldenrod:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New article

A quick article at the Examiner: sale on garden books (and garden products) at Pinetree Seeds:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Today was the day of perennials. I finally got to start planting them. ‘Pink Petticoats’ evening primrose- although this species blooms in the day instead of the evening, and isn’t fragrant; ‘Pink Dreams’ nepetas, a catmint with light pink flowers instead of the usual purple ones (and sadly, no scent- I count on nepetas as one of my stinky deer deterrent plants); more ‘Cherry Brandy’ rudbeckias- I didn’t expect the ones from last year to make it through the winter so I started more of them. And amsonnia- I got some seedlings from a client’s garden while cleaning up last year and they look good; I’m looking forward to their blue blossoms next year. Don’t want to put the echinacea mix in until I see what colors they turn out to be, and the area for the hollyhocks isn’t cleaned up yet. So tomorrow it’s grooming miniroses and finding a home for the salvia argentea- I love those furry silver plants, but they do take up room. And need a non-boggy spot- hard to come by in our garden. And figure out what to do with a bunch of ‘Palisandra’ coleus I thought we’d sell at the market- lovely, almost black plants but damn there’s a lot of them. And then weed again… and then…

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New article!

New article up at the Examiner, on 'Summer Wine' ninebark:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Herb day

Finally got the last of the herbs planted. Seems kind of silly, to be doing that so late in the season, but I hope we’ve still got at least a month left before frost. They’re all on the protected side of the house and in large containers rather than in the ground, so they should pass through the first light frosts anyway. We’ve not been herb-less up to now; I’ve had some potted up on the porch for quite awhile and have been using them, but I had extra seedlings because I thought we’d be selling them at the market. No sense letting them go to waste; I like to freeze parsley and basil and haven’t had enough to do that in a couple of years. Now I should have tons. The new herb of the year is saltwort; had never even heard of it before finding it in the seed catalog this spring. I’ll try anything as long as it’s not mint or licorice tasting! It’s slow; not large enough to try yet. Looking forward to it. Lots of red shiso this year; for once I got good germination. I never seem to actually *use* it, but it’s so beautiful! So dark, and ruffley. A lovely, gothy foliage plant. Must try it in soup or stew this year. Didn’t like it in a salad, and we don’t make sushi or tempura- so far. That is what I got done today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

New article!

New article up at the Examiner, on the easiest way to create a new garden bed!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

How we clean the yard around here

That engine is out of a rather large track-type earthmover; it's about 3 times the size of one from a full size pickup. The grappler is about 4' tall. Yes, even the seat is about the height of the roof of the mobile home there.

I have no idea what that big metal box was, but it's gone to the recycler now. Many, many tons of steel have gone to the recycler in the last few weeks. It's very nice to know someone with a giant machine who can deal with the stuff rather than trying to load it by hand! It's sort of like a giant version of one of those games where you put a quarter in and try and grab out a stuffed toy. Must manage to convince the owner to let me play with it one of these days!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Messages from my plants

Looking around at the plants today, I discovered that the young bristlecone pine is sending me messages. Here, it seems to be wishing for peace.

But another look shows it sending a somewhat ruder sentiment.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Yesterday, I was very surprised to look out and see this!
A mountain bluebird! There were a pair (this is the female), flitting around where a bunch of sunflowers grew last year. They're omnivores, so they were probably finding fallen seed. Hopefully they will stick around and nom on some bugs, too.

I haven't seen bluebirds in over 15 years. Around then, there was a push to put up next boxes for them. People would put them on their fenceposts, because apparently they like that height, and they like a long low approach.

Problem was, the fenceposts people were using were by the road, and they kept facing them to the road, so the birds were approaching the boxes over the asphalt at about 4' in altitude.

Wanna know how many dead bluebirds I saw on the road in that era? Lots.

I'm very happy to see these two. I hope they are the start of a trend.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner, on growing basil! (It's finally warm enough here to do that! Yeah!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

New article

New article up at the Examiner: cutting back tender geraniums (pelargoniums) for spring and planting the cuttings from that:

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Article

New article up at the Examiner: a review of a different and interesting gardening book:

It's about how everything we do in the garden- and anywhere else- affects the environment (for the worse, usually)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: time to deal with spring weeds!

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner on the herb meadowsweet. It's a great, dramatic garden plant!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring is here finally!

Sunny all day and over 50 degrees F. Spent hours outside today, cleaning up, weeding and planting- of course I've been buying plants already this year. Some great stuff- a Cherry Blossom delphinium (pale, pale pink), doronicum (leopard's bane), Siberian iris crowns (a streaky purple and white one), and these beauties:
Heuchera 'Beaujolais' It's a wonderful combo of copper and purple when the sun hits it.

Heuchera 'Hercules'- variegated leaves and bright flowers!

Polemonium 'Stairway to Heaven'. I already had 'Brise d'Anjou', but it doesn't have the pink in the leaves. I hope this color stays through out the season!

Now I'm exhausted. I think I over did it after being ill for a week. I will sleep early tonight, I think.

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner, on handling pesticides safely:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner, on the hellebore 'Mardi Gras Slate', blooming for me right now and with a very, very dark flower:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner, on taking care of your Easter lily, both in the house and outside:

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: a review of the books The Truth About Organic Gardening:

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: care of seedlings inside:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Beadwork

Dark blue triangle beads (they look black here), dark blue transparent 8s and 11s; labradorite briolette (couldn't get the blue fire to show up!), black faceted drops with AB coating. In real life, the sparkle and blue fire off this piece is awesome. Got it done just in time to wear it to the local home and garden show, where I gave a talk on starting seeds!

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner, on starting seeds indoors:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner, about spring garden chores we can do now (yes, I know that those of you in warmer area have done these things at least a month ago!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Things what I've been doing

The curtains in Colin's guest bedroom are up. Civil War reproduction fabric, lined with white. Rings sewn across the top. Tie backs are off white cotton that matches the flowers in the fabric, then a piece of burgundy grosgrain ribbon that matches the background, then a tube of the fabric sewn down flat.

I've also finished the kitchen ones, but they aren't up yet. He needs help putting the curtain rod up, then I'll have to pull up the strings in the header tape to make the right size pleat-y things.

Also, my first attempt at designing a necklace. Pale pink pearl seedbeads (main color) and fuchsia metallic seeds (accent) with black glass bicones on the dangles and loops. Netted top band and then just loops and dangles below.

And obligatory kitty pic spam: Bart, Colin's cat, who does not approve of the activity in the guest bedroom.

New article!

New article up at the Examiner: Perennial: Veronica gentianoides 'Ramona'

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: the final installment of butterfly gardening: furnishings and considerations:

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: nectar plants for adult butterflies:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: host plants for the butterfly garden. You know, for those icky caterpillars!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: a local rose nursery that ships it's wonderful plants all over the USA:

Monday, March 21, 2011

New things

I just finished this bracelet: #8 silver lined purple seed beads for the zigzag, #6 matte seeds for the triangles, vintage bead for the clasp.

This next is not actually new- I made it almost two years ago. But I never took pictures, and I gave it to a friend. I finally remembered to take a pic on Saturday. It's cut from an old barrel, the rust ground off and then painted.

New Article!

New article up at the Examiner: a review of the book "High-Yield Gardening":

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Article!

New article up on the Examiner on our native Ponderosa pine tree:

It was for this tree that the Cartwright's ranch was named!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fast and Dirty 'Pocket Watch'

I longed for a pocket watch, but could not afford one. So when I found a large-ish, aged brass finish locket at the crafts store, I had a brain squall (that's like a brain storm, but smaller). I went to WalMart and got one of their $12 watches and took the band off.

I thought about using polyclay or something to make a bezel around the watch, but then I wouldn't be able to get in and reset the time- or to deal with it when the battery goes dead. So I decided to just put a piece of double sided tape on the watchback.

While there is a little extra room on the length of the watch, there is almost no clearance on the depth. I went into the store with a tiny ruler to check the thickness of the watch before buying!

The finished product. It looks good from the outside, and it's functional. I just can't let anyone see the insides when I check the time!