Friday, December 21, 2007

Must stop playing now and get serious about Christmas

I love these bugs! Had fun playing as you can see, but now I have to get busy finishing up chores for holiday. I spent all day yesterday playing in the mud, getting things glazed, fussing with things in various stages, must now concentrate on getting ready for Christmas, then back to the studio to play some more. I made a lovely tiny barnacle bowl that will be put in the final glaze kiln but not be out before the new year. I threw a pear vase and altered it, that is drying now and another textured vase, and I threw my best bowl yet --also drying now. My glazing leaves a lot to be desired and does not meet my expectations on all pieces, but each one is a learning experience. I also learn much from other potters there and their successes. I have another spectacular piece mulling around in my head which I will donate to a foundation fund raiser (if it turns out as well as I have envisioned in my head). Maybe I will post again before Christmas, but I must now get off the computer and get started!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Inspired by Red

This morning I am inspired also by red, and the posting at Block Party Press in which she observes:
"One thing I think the cardinal can teach us is to not be afraid to stand out, or to be afraid to create things that stand out. While most animals try to hide and blend in with their environment, the bright red cardinal is bold and is more concerned with attracting a mate than hiding from predators."

Her posting reminded me of the photos I took several years ago of cardinals in the snow one winter. Here in Wilmington, NC, we manage to get a sprinkling of snow once every five or six years or so. I can count two times in the last ten years! But in keeping with our holiday season, red seems appropriate.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My latest vase

Jaca, this is the vase I was talking about!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Experimenting like Mad

I don't have much time today, but thought that a slideshow might be best vehicle to show all the stuff I am doing at the Pottery Studio, I am obsessed at the moment which is how I usually attack any new endeavor. I started in the safe, black and white mode, trying to make things to use in my kitchen and to go with my Mary Rose Young mugs, but had been experimenting with using silkscreens to decorate, and trying to find the best technique. I think now that using them damp on bisqueware gives best image. Using underglazes on images, the tree plate was my last silkscreen. Also venturing out with glazes, early attempts were UGLY! I loved the woody look on my first triple vase so used it on my garden fairy clothing and on some jewelry beads, most of the photos have annotations, so anyone interested in what I am playing around with can see and read what I did. Still experimenting and most of this stuff is just for fun. Will give away to friends as gifts (whether they want them or not!)
Have fun, I sure have---------

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We love our cats don't we?

Just a quick post to share a video, you may all have seen by now, you really can't dispute the affection this cat has for this woman. This should put to rest the ridiculous notion that cats are not affectionate. I know my two are!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Transitioning from Angel to Fairy

I have made three angels for Christmas gifts but as you can see my muse was pushing me in another direction, the last angel ended up with a pod halo, which begged for the creation of a garden fairy. The first one I made and labored over for quite a while fell to pieces in the drying process, I didn't even get a photo of her before she fell apart. Undaunted, I set about creating another and she is behaving herself up to now as she dries. You never know if these things will make it through all the processes, but for now she is sleeping quietly while drying enough to get bisque fired. Shhhhhhhhh

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ta Da!!!

My biggest load yet from the kiln:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Consumed by New Hobby

I have spent so many hours in the pottery studio at which I am now a member which means I have 24/7 access. I have spent hours there, mostly playing, but also observing some wonderful creations produced by the people who work there. I have been using my camera to record much of what I do. Found that I can use sound memo on photos I take to record what glazes I used because as soon as one of those things goes on a shelf, you immediately forget what you did! Very handy indeed. I am so excited because this coming Tuesday a whole pile of my stuff will be coming out of the final firing. Mostly black and cream pieces I have made for myself, but a few other experiments as well. I have some very notable failures, but I don't think I will share these but hopefully will learn from these mistakes. I find that I like the underglaze process a little more since what you see is "mostly" what you get, unlike the other glazes (dipped and poured) available for us to use. So for now the bulk of what I am making falls in the "underglaze, then dip in clear glaze" category. I have made myself a mug pattern that I have used a lot. My first use was to create this handbuilt pitcher in the Mary Rose Young "style." I am quite pleased with it.

I have made plates and more mugs in this style and will see finished product on Tuesday!
In one of our earlier classes we made angels and I have since made two more similar to this first one, to give as gifts for Christmas. These are quite easy actually and show the basic clay color dipped in clear glaze.
Here she is:

Then a fairy door for my daughter's fairy garden, to lean onto the base of a tree:

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Seeing Double

I just came from viewing the fabulous shot Jessica got of a hummingbird stopping to admire her hummingbird shaped outdoor ornament. Check it out here.
This reminded me of a cute little fella who used to visit the garden and munch on a few tidbits in the garden, --I always plant a little extra for the critters. I managed to catch him munching alongside an ornamental sprinkler shaped like a bunny! Made me laugh, hope it will make you smile too!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yes indeed, a new Hobby!

As if I needed one more, but I have always been intrigued by pottery and have had a yen to try my hand at it, but was deterred by the equipment needed, the mess it entails and not to mention expense of having all that equipment, rollers, kiln, etc. so it has been in the back of my mind. Well as luck and no little coincidence would have it, ---in March of this year while shopping at this lovely gift shop for a wedding present,I spotted the most gorgeous and expensive mugs I had ever seen in cream and black that would be beautiful in my red, black and cream kitchen and red dining room and oh how I wanted them! They were much too expensive and I just could not bring myself to buy them and embarked upon my usual test, "if after a long period of time, I am still longing for something, I really need to have it!" ---I thought often about them and the longing was still there, then five or six months later, after getting encouragement from many friends regarding money and short lives, yadda yadda yadda, I made up my mind. I said to myself: "self, cruise on over there again and if those mugs are still there, they are meant for you!" Well, they were and I bought them and brought them home. I still didn't take them out of the box, but looked at them whenever I could wondering how I could find other pieces to accompany them--"if only" I could get my hands on the clay, etc. Well, the potter that makes them is Mary Rose Young in England and nowhere on the internet did I find anything like these mugs, etc.
Then very coincidentally, two friends with whom I took water aerobics were going to head down to this place to get information about a kiln operation and pottery in general. I went along for the ride and boy was I impressed! The lessons offered were wonderful and affordable and the equipment available to use was just "everything" and the workshop was bright and cheerful and the people there warm, friendly and extremely helpful. I was sold, and what you see after four weeks are the two triangular boxes I made in the style of my mugs. They were made (formed) in our very first lesson and I had intended to try to see if I could replicate the look. I was not sure how they were going to turn out, but when at the last class they popped out of the kiln I was very pleased and now inspired to make other pieces to match my mugs and many more projects floating around in my head! There is one more larger box made at the first class but having a huge mess during the glazing process which I "thought" would have ruined the piece. But a very talented artist working there at the time helped me and assured me that all was not lost, the glaze was washed off along with the underglaze and last week I redid it and it is awating dipping in clear glaze and the last firing. It is not a hobby for those wanting instant gratification, clay must be shaped (I am doing handbuilding for now and might learn throwing later), then drying the greenware, then firing at bisque level, then decorating, glazing and firing again, a total process that can take weeks, but there is always some new piece in each of the various stages which appeals to me. I have learned so much already in just a short period of time, as you can tell I am quite excited and pleased that all this has come together. I need a tile tray for behind my stovetop in the kitchen and that project design is floating around in my head along with all the others. Stay tuned----

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lycoris Radiata almost finished Blooming

This year has been a good year for my Lycoris Radiata, hurricane lilies, or spider lilies.  I look forward to them every year in my southern NC garden, they always surprise me.  They pop up and bloom so quickly, I hardly ever notice their emergence from the ground.  I was able to pluck a few and stick in a quick arrangement which included one of my newest favorites for this time of year, "Limelight Hydrangeas" with a few stems of white flowering chives and a bit of greenery,  the arrangement was complete.  Seeing them this way, up front and personal, I was again reminded of their value in the garden.  They don't bloom long as with most perennials, but I wouldn't miss them for the world.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Feet Week Redux

OK, so I am a nut, had my camera pointing down and saw my feet and decided to do a little walk about.  The wonderful thing about blogland is there is at least one, maybe a hundred nuts around just like me.  While uploading this video, I was checking around some of my favorite blogs and discovered that feet week (according to mecozy blog) was Sep 3 through the 7th, and I didn't even know til I discovered these.   So a couple of weeks late, here is my homage to feet week:


with Music credit to: Peter Mulvey, Brady Street Stroll

Monday, September 03, 2007

Thinking about Christmas already

In my other blog I shared with you my project using up my boxwood clippings.  I am making really good progress with only two more to go!  Here is a picture of the lineup of boxwoods all in a row, just need to keep them watered til Christmas and decide how I will be using them.

One other project which jumped at me last week was to handpaint the ornaments seen below.  I was inspired by the holiday plates I preordered from




Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Placemats to Purses

One of my many hobbies is making purses out of placemats, something I just love to do.  I have made quite a few for gifts and they seem to go over well.  Over time, I have improved my methods to make them sturdier and more attractive.  My latest invention was adding cute little feet for the purses.  I did not have any of the "proper" feet handy,   but I had quite a few magnetic snaps that I used to close the purses.  I had ordered about 100 from ebay.  Another of my hobbies is playing with polymer clay, so I made little feet with colors that matched the quilted pattern, and put the magnetic snaps at the bottom with feet made of polymer clay with the other side of the snap embedded into it so that the feet can snap on and off.  This way, the handle can be removed and the feet snapped off, and the whole thing thrown in the wash when needed.  I find mismatched or broken sets of placemats to make these.    Below is a slideshow of other placemat handbags I have made.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Blogging Rabbit Hole

I have been very lazy about posting these days.  As I have said before, I am so amazed at the beauty and quality of the blogs that I visit that it often takes me down the proverbial Looking Glass rabbit hole.  For example.  I had one Swedish blog I visited almost daily.  I could not understand a single word since it is in Swedish, but I loved the site anyway, just for the pictures.  I figured out where her links were and down the rabbit hole I went to discover even more delightful blogs each with more links to follow as I went deeper and deeper down the hole.  As you can see, many of them are now in my homepage content for quick daily reviews.  Here is a picture  of my Google homepage with all the tabs for favorite blogs. 

mygooglehomepagecropped  As you can see, I have one tab called "can'tunderstandaword" and that is where I keep all of these.  So to entice others in the freefall through the rabbit hole, here are some links to these delightful blogs, highlighting the things all of us seem to enjoy so much, beautiful interiors, gardens, sweet furry and wooly friends, creativity, etc.  I would never have had the access to these if it were not for the fabulous blogging community and the ability to find likeminded cyberspace travelers.  Enjoy:

Housemartinguldkantpalivet, An Angel at my Table, Spets och snor , Emma, Camillas Drommar, Lantliv i stan,

Annas hus, Clara's LinescapHemmapalandet , Hemmariket, Fridtid, Vita Ranunkler , LovingHulu,  and this lovely shop  in Norway (I think) Linnea's Hage (maybe Hage means house?) with so many beautiful things, antiques, etc, etc, and be sure to see the amazing shabby chic dollhouse here, it is so "perfect."

Well I will leave you now that I have enticed you to spend even more time than you do already chasing the "Inspiration Rabbit" down the hole, but I think you will be rewarded.  I just wish there were a Scandinavian Language translator tool that I could use --but I still can enjoy these sites (sights)!! I apologize to anyone if I have not been able to distinguish between Norweigan, Swedish, Danish blogs, but the language of beauty is the same and that is what has been communicated

I have created the following album slideshow of just a few of the delights you will find at these blogs:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Face Painting on the 4th of July

As one of my many hobbies, you all know I love painting little faces and I do it twice a year, on the 4th and in October for our Octoberfest here. This year I did manage to take a few pictures of the little darlings, although I was painting solidly for 3 hours and they were still coming. I think they are so cute! They are usually so nice and still and well behaved, it is a pleasure to see their eyes sparkle when I finish and let them look in the handmirror at their painted faces!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm Baaaack

Actually got back on the 5th of June but had a nasty head congestion/allergy thing which did not make me feel like posting, slept a lot to get my time changes in synch, also, had to load up all the 912 pictures and 17 video clips taken on the trip, see this link if you have the stamina, note that all the video clips are on the last page and there are some cute ones, especially of my friend Lynette being wooed by a silver faced, charming mime! Then another one of us navigating the narrow stone passageway down the 65 foot Glenfinnan Tower. OSHA wouldn't allow us to have such an opportunity here I am certain! Oh, and I forgot, if you find the right picture, and enlarge it, you will see what Scots wear under their kilt. I had taken a picture of what I thought were fine looking Scotsmen in kilts walking down the street in Glasgow and got more than I bargained for. Didn't ask, but I guess they figure we all want to know and flashed us anyway. I turned my head but managed to somehow (LOL) click the camera button so I did get the picture.

All that picture uploading took some time, then the garden needed some attention but DH had done a wonderful job of keeping everything watered, but the weeds!! So many lilies were in bloom, it was a joy to come home. But another stupid act of mine got me in real trouble. I was smart enough to wear gloves, but chose those nice soft cuddly Foxgloves to do some weeding and cleaning. Made the BIG mistake somewhere along the line of wiping my face with those soft gloves, I don't even really remember doing it, but now my face has a nasty case of poison oak! It hasn't gotten me anywhere near in the mood to blog about pleasant things. I did take pictures of the nasty rash, but they are too depressing to include in this post. I will share pictures of the nasty weeds though and encourage all of you not be as stupid as I was.

I must admit I don't post as often as I should, but I feel so inadequate as I go from blog to blog enjoying the tremendously talented entries I find. There are so many wonderful blogs I forget to update my own. I actually get lost in them some days. To me it is better than having magazines lined up at my mailbox, there are truly so many lovely people out there sharing their insights and lives and pointing to beauty and charm in all corners of the world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Totally Mixed Emotions for me

The time has come and I must spend tomorrow packing for my trip. Everyone who knows me knows that I hate leaving home in May. In fact, there are only a couple of times a year that I like to even think about traveling, but this is not one of them. Things are starting to bloom in the garden, delicate new annuals have been placed, and babied and I must now depend on others for 11 days to water them. In our climate, it doesn't take much to wipe out a plant for lack of water. I also do not make it easy for people to take over these chores, since I have things scattered all over the place. But I am putting my faith in trust in my DH and daughter who lives nearby to make sure things survive while I am gone. I will also miss my home, family, friends and my two most adorable kitties, Beau and Piglet.

Many of you know that this is the trip we have been planning for such a while and my sister (whom I haven't seen in ten years) will be accompanying me and a dear friend. We all have read (and loved) the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and our tour to Scotland will be based on the history behind the books. My sister who has been undergoing chemo for over 14 months now (every other week) will have a much needed change and we are all excited to be able to take this trip. That's, of course, the happy and excited part of me, the other side will miss May at home in the garden. Ah, but then there is June--we should be back on the 5th of June and I will be plowing through the hundreds of photos, and will then enjoy the lilies which are right now starting their bloom sequence. First my tall lemon yellows, then the Asiatic Lilies, then the Oriental lilies. I may miss the daylilies which are working toward their peak now and the Hydrangeas, and lots more. But this is the trip of a lifetime for my sister and I am happy we can do this. Next Monday night we will all be in our 18th Century costumes at Culloden House near Inverness. I have a few pictures posted here of my friend and I working on our costumes with a little help from Beau. If I had realized I would be posting these, I would have combed my hair and put on a little makeup, but the pictures of Beau helping me sew were not expected.
I will miss my other kitty, piglet and as I was experimenting with my camera, I took this closeup video clip of her.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

As Mother's day is soon approaching, I have to admit I have spent some time looking at precious old pictures and a few newer ones, also, one of my favorite things is to listen to some audio tapes I made of my little girl at about 3 years old. For mothers and grandmothers with young children, I highly recommend making some audio tapes as candidly as possible for playback 30+ years later as in my case this week. Most of us have pictures, but the sound of their voice at that tender young age is something to enjoy over and over again as well.
Here is the slideshow (I haven't made one in a while and love doing them)

And for those who want to hear her too, here are two separate voice recordings that thankfully I have in digital form now.
Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (sort of)

and Kristina talking to a spider

Well that's my walk down memory lane, Kristina is now 35 years old and all this seems like just yesterday. Precious memories for sure.
I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day with your children and your own mothers if you are fortunate enough to be able to spend time with them. Take a few moments to cherish those memories.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I need a blowtorch!

Just what I need right? Another hobby! I sure would love to try this art/craft on for size, not that I could create anything as wonderful as these beauties, but I would love to be able to do metal work. I found these on Whipup (one of my daily blog checks---necessary for every crafter). But since I value beauty over function, I could easily see turning shovels and wheelbarrows into works of art like these:

This talented artist from Nova Scotia makes metal look like lace. Awesome I think.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Oooh and one more thing--

I forgot to let NG know how delighted I was at her including me amongst several other "brilliant bloggers" as one of her selections for Thinking Blogger Award. I am indeed honored to be among her selections. I know I am supposed to list five that inspire me, but I couldn't pick just five, there are so many places I travel daily in cyberspace that make me think, and excite and inspire me. It is the most wonderful community--the world! I will add one site, not a blog site, that never fails to make me think. Quite a departure from the world of beauty and garden and home delights that I usually post about, but this is truly a "thinking" site and very controversial also. The Edge has so many interesting and provocative ideas that help me keep my mind open and to truly "think" about things differently and try new ideas on for size. It may not be for everyone, but when I was challenged to pick a site that makes me think, this one came immediately to mind. I try to keep a balance of serious thinking and creative pleasure in my life, this shows a more serious side of me, (but not too serious!). Steven Pinker's articles are particularly interesting to me as I ponder life's mysteries.

Now to bring this back to the beauty of the world, be sure to click on the gorgeous anemone
at the top of the website and explore the breathtaking beauty of Katinka Matson's images, artfully arranged and presented to transport you inside the beauty that exists around us all the time.

Azalea Garden Tour-- Wilmington, NC

Two of the three days were nice, but Sunday got rained out I think. Fortunately, we spent the whole day on Friday getting lots and lots of pictures with lots and lots of gardening ideas! The gardens were very nice with beauty and hard work evident at each location. From the grand and majestic to the delightful treasures of a tiny garden with lots of surprises. Toured with two friends and their adorable dog and had a lovely time. Did manage to bake cookies for the ribbon cutting and made an extra batch for my daughter.

Also took hundreds of pictures and they all can be seen in the separate photobucket album here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wedding Marathon

Just recovering from a three day wedding marathon that was really wonderful. If I am the least bit tired, I can't imagine how the primary participants are feeling. The wedding events began (for me at least) this past Friday with a bridal shower, then the rehearsal dinner that night, then next day, the actual wedding and spectacular reception was quite an experience. I think it was the most elegant wedding I have attended, just beautiful. Then on Sunday, the bookclub gals (I am one of eight of us) provided food for Easter Brunch for what seemed like 200 people. We never did count them. The setting was absolutely gorgeous in the backyard of bride's parents, one of the most beautiful gardens here! I got up at 6:00 a.m. and made about 150 ham biscuits as my contribution, it was so much fun working with my book club friends. Now a brief rest for this upcoming week's event, the Wilmington Azalea Festival. I will enjoy seeing the garden tour with friends this Friday and will need to make cookies for the ribbon-cutting for the event. The Azalea Festival is a major event here in Wilmington, NC and the garden tour that comprises one of the events during the weekend is the main fundraiser for the Cape Fear Garden Club. Lots of money is raised that goes into beautification grants for many organizations throughout the city. I am proud to be a member of this garden club.

Monday, April 02, 2007

So much in common!

I truly do have so many hobbies, I just am scattered everywhere. I also never know what I want to post on this blog, but I have blogs of friends that I visit often and sometimes one or more of them jogs something into my head that I want to follow up on. Too bad there is no way to have a community discussion on some of the blog postings where you can share pictures, etc. I do often comment, but want to take it further. For example, I just visited Nature Girl's blog and see that she has just posted photos showing her beautiful pansies pressed from last year and it reminded me that I had recently had my bag of dried/pressed flowers out and they looked so pretty. They were just laying on my cutting table so I took some pictures (photos were dated March 18th). I love saving some of my flowers this way, and do dry them (in fact my phone books (old ones) have these bits amongst all the pages.) I had dried these last year as well, most using the microwave, silica gel method.
For a great rundown of all the methods, check HERE
I have stuck a few on cards and gift tags, but am always looking for unique ways to use these dried flowers. For example, in the photo collage, you will see a plastic cup where I decoupaged some around the edge. I was making a dinner "to go" for a friend who has been looking after her pregnant daughter-in-law who has been bedridden since last December hoping to bring the baby to term (so far so good, I think baby is due in April or May). Anyway, my friend needed a break from cooking all the meals so I thought I would help out. I wanted also for her not to have to return any dishes, etc. I decided to make Rachel Ray's Chocolate cup dessert which I have made before and love since it is soooooo easy! Then I thought, maybe I could use plastic cups to put the dessert into, but wanted to jazz them up. What you see in the picture is an attempt, made but abandoned, since I couldn't wait for glue to dry and wasn't sure how it would look. I ended up just covered the desserts with plastic wrap and tying with rafia. Sooo, long story short, thanks Nature Girl for helping me to come up with another posting stimulated by you!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring is here for certain!

Took these pictures in the last few days, couldn't resist yet another slideshow

Friday, March 09, 2007

Aaaah Spring!

My favorite flowers, easy to plant, last a long time, come back every year, can cut bunches to bring inside and they usher in the spring season with such wild abandon!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

And they swam and they swam-----------

Had a marvelous weekend in Philadelphia visiting the Flower Show. Also got some experience using my new camera (Canon SD800IS) and the movie function.
I am trying now to upload all my pictures to my Photobucket Account to share with all of you. Lots of inspiration for our gardens and entertainment. Fun show and got to take this short movie of the Koi Pond:

We also had some wonderful dining experiences at the famous Bookbinders in Phila, as well as a new (for us) find--which DH loved called: "Fogo de Chao"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

With love to my sister on Valentine's Day

Here is the present I sent to my sister for Valentine's day. I had fun making these "ruby" earrings and necklace. She had made a dress some time ago which she thought would be appropriate for our costume night during our trip to Scotland, and was looking for a ruby necklace to thread on a ribbon for her neck. By way of explanation, my sister has been undergoing chemo for over a year now for cancer in colon, kidneys, liver, and has been doing very well. She gets quite ill for a few days after each treatment but bounces back during the week "off" her chemo. When she was diagnosed in October 2005, prior to surgery, I had told her about a wonderful series of books that I thought she might like. Diana Gabaldon's books, (there are 6 of them now), starting with the Outlander are books I have enjoyed and thought my sister might be able to find some escape through these wonderful historic novels. Well, I never expected her to love them the way she has. She has read all six books (in paperback, they are over 1,000 pages each) five times! I expressed the idea that maybe someday we could go to Scotland together. Well, wonder of wonders, I checked and found an Outlander tour! We are booked to go and one of my dearest friends, who has also read the books and loved them, is joining us. Judy Lowstuter is the tour director and she has been absolutely wonderful thus far in arranging all the details for the trip which includes my sister leaving from Providence RI and my friend and I leaving from Wilmington, NC and linking up with my sister is Newark, NJ for the overseas leg of our journey. If you go to Judy's photo site, you will see pictures of previous tours and the special costume night at Culloden House where we get a special private presentation of the Jacobite rising and Scottish entertainment.

I have been entertaining my sister with little surprises to keep her spirits high as she continues her treatments and anticipates our wonderful trip together. In her Valentine present package I included some delicous chocolates and a copy of Scottish Life Magazine.
Here is a bulletin board I made up for her:

My sister sent me a photo of her dress and I "pinned" it to the board. She also sent me pictures of a calendar a neighbor bought her of the Castles in the UK, I had such fun using my Photoshop skills to create the board for her and she loved it. She also does Tarot Card readings and will bring along the deck for "fun."
I hope many of you will explore the books, the story and the fantastic history of the time. The last several books have particular significance to me since they take place in colonial North Carolina in the few years leading up to the Revolution. In fact, one of the last battles in the saga takes place at the Widow Moore's Creek which is just 20 miles from where I live. I am trying to talk Judy Lowstuter into exploring the possibility of a North Carolina "Outlander" tour which could be fascinating and fun.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Keeping my eye on the ball

I am watching these boxwood balls created on the 22nd of December just before my bookclub Christmas party. I decided to make them at the last minute (big mistake!) they take quite a bit of time cutting, and sticking and filling the whole sphere but I did manage to make three of them and used them several times in several ways over the holidays (see my December postings), but I wondered how long in advance could I have made these and how long would they look nice and fresh. Here's a picture I took this morning. I have moved them outdoors and they have been resoaked in a bucket of water a few times and rained upon, but it is clear, next year I can make these at least a month in advance. I may even make some for friends next year because I can do them early and I have lots and lots of boxwood.
I used foam balls (4.5" ones) from at $1.99 apiece combined with other things, they could make very nice gifts. They look great just sitting on top of a terra cotta pot and can be used in a number of ways. I will continue my experiment to see exactly how long they will keep looking satisfactorily fresh for holiday planning (and other events as well), maybe I can even incorporate them into a design for Valentine's day?
Meanwhile in the garden lots of things are blooming for this time of year, Camellias which I would expect, but my azaleas are blooming, but not fully as they do in the spring (March/April), so I am not sure what they will do then, then the primroses are up and blooming and of course, those tazetta narcissus are still going strong. I spent the day (actually it has taken me almost three days) pruning up my crepe myrtles, but that garden chore is done and last week I cut back all the loriope, and the Miscanthus grasses, another winter chore, but it is fun working out there in our nice 40--50 degree temperatures.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weird, Who Me?

I have been tagged by Donna of the Decorated House who was tagged by Kim of Daisy Cottage: Before I launch into my weirdness, here are the rules for those I reach out and tag:
The Tag Game:
Each player of this game starts with 6 weird things about you. Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you're tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog for information as to what it means.

Here's my list of wierdness:
Does this photo of me make me look weird? (if so, that's Number one), I don't know why people stare at me everywhere I go!
Well exactly how weird am I? I found a test (not obviously for 64 year old women like me), but I took it anyway and it is official (weird thing #2):
8% are more weird,
3% are just as weird, and
89% are more normal than you!
I guess it is true and poor Donna didn't think I could come up with 6 weird things! Ha!
Weird thing #3: I think it is a high compliment to be weird!
Weird thing #4: I handpainted a perfectly good cement patio to look like bricks, some thought that was weird, especially since it was done in 90+ degree weather.
Weird thing #5: I hate to do things the same way all the time. When I did grocery shopping which was a very long time ago (DH does it all now), I would enter the store and go down the middle aisle just to keep the boredom down and to see things differently.
Weird thing # 6: I had my palm read during a break at a business lecture once. The person who read palms as a hobby was a chemical engineer (that's weird isn't it?) And I believe everything he said he saw in my palm.
OK that's about all the wierdness I have time for today. I hate to do this to dear friend bloggers, but I will tag Nature Girl in Ontario who I am sure could not even think of anything weird about herself (unless we define weird as "extraordinary"). I really hate to do this to her when she invited me to such a "special" tea party yesterday. Is it weird to be able to almost taste that lovely scone and white rose tea? Also, Maria in Finland will be tagged to reveal her weirdness too. And since I never follow directions, I will only tag two, not six others as set forth in the "rules." Then we can all celebrate these special and wonderful traits that make us unique and interesting people. (or just plain weird).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

From the Pretty to the Practical

After Jen at the Cottage Nest inspired us with her plans and progress to date on her studio, I thought I would share a neat idea for those of you who have purchased those wooden shelves at the craft stores that have wooden brackets underneath. I had stored my raffia and ribbons in a plastic box, always scrambling to find them when I need them. My DH, Gary, came up with the idea to use "white" bottle caps (I drink a lot of water, so these are perfect, only the case of water I have now has blue caps, so I keep trading them with others who have the white ones), anyway, he cuts out part of the rim, nails them onto the wooden bracket and a dowel slides and rolls perfectly and gives me access to ribbon, raffia and twine when I need it. Love this! I, of course am thrilled that my daughter Kristina, gave me almost three days of her week off between Christmas and New Years to get me organized. You couldn't even walk through the room for the debris everywhere. We did buy tons of plastic containers too. She is an excellent organizer. My space to "hobby" in won't be as pretty as you see in decorating magazines (and how I do admire those), but at least it is practical. Now the challenge is to keep it somewhat organized. I told Kristina that she needs to come over monthly and give me inspections to keep me whipped into shape, a really huge challenge though. Thankfully she knows me and forgives me my faults!