Garden Colors, Despite the Heat

We don’t have air conditioning and my extensive and highly scientific studies have shown that temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit without AC make me a very grumpy and sleep-deprived crafter. These same studies have also shown that small dogs in this situation will move around the bed all night looking for the next cool spot and end up taking way more bed space than they are usually allotted (thus disturbing the sleeping humans on the same bed space). It’s a recipe for disaster and we’re all finding our way (mine involves a wind tunnel created with multiple standing and ceiling fans in the guest bedroom…did I mention my night sweats?).

So we’re having slightly more fun than the rest of the world that’s dealing right now with heat stroke (my family and friends in Texas are dealing with 100+ temperatures so I’ve extended a personal ban on my own complaining). The sluggishness does make me question my lizard roots…(I get so lethargic that the only thing missing is the lizard push-ups…most hilarious thing ever…if you’ve never seen it you should do a quick search…I’ll hold).

I’ve been posting more on social media than my blog (pics with few words are WAY easier!), so my summer life has been documented elsewhere. But no fear of missing out on my every sneeze! I’ve decided to capture a “best of” here to keep us all connected (ok, it’s based on nature and art rather than sneezes – lucky you).

Nature First: In the Garden

20160815_115709
We can finally grow tomatoes without the local wildlife eating (most of) them!

 

20160815_115632
Cape Honeysuckle blooms
20160802_095100
Plumeria in the front yard
20160815_115749
Often when these geraniums grow next to each other one of them creates a bloom with both color schemes in one blossom. I haven’t seen it yet this summer.

Geraniums remain my primary vote for IronMan of Flowers in So Cal. They bloom all year long here y’all, despite heat extremes and water constraints. It’s basically a weed here and I give/throw away runners all year long (poke it in the ground and you have a new geranium bed).

20160802_094909
This is a rose bush I rescued from my neighbor’s driveway under a “free” sign. She has a garden full of more than 200 types of roses (all with official name signs) and for some reason this one was being cycled out. It’s called a “Rosetti Rose” (for the curious). It’s the only  flower in my garden with its own pre-printed name tag.
20160726_191456
This wonder of nature landed on my rental car windshield when I was recently in Portland, Oregon.  What a cool way to be, huh?
20160808_105451crop
This is my pineapple experiment…

So this took years y’all. I planted three pineapple tops “Avocado-pit-style” and waited…and waited…and waited…and I’m still waiting on all but this beauty. I think 5 years might have passed while these guys sat in pots and got moved in and out of the direct sunlight (causing some lukewarm gardening discussions about placement and which should be moved where when…a lot of W questions were flung about). This is all in the shadow of a favorite previous neighbor who grew  multiple juicy and edible pineapples in pots just like this around his pool (one of these experiments came from his garden). Not sure what I’m doing differently and I can’t guarantee the above fruit will ever be edible. But we continue to try…

So that’s what’s happening in my corner these days. I’ve also been crocheting, drawing and experimenting with the special stitches on my sewing machine so stay tuned.

Happy crafting!

Advertisements

Everything’s Coming up Roses!

My across-the-street neighbor grows only roses (she has over 200 different kinds, all with little signs stating their names!). I refer to her as The Rose Lady on my dog walks when people ask where I live (“across from the Rose Lady”) which always gets a resounding, “Oh yeah!” Everybody knows The Rose Lady, and we’re lucky enough to see her garden from our bedroom window every day.

She encourages everyone to cut a bouquet whenever they want so I headed over this (warm) afternoon to trim a few blooms and plunge them in water.

IMG_6649
I lined them up on the floor for easiest pictures…and now I want to leave them there!
IMG_6648
An army of roses!
IMG_6646
I love this splatter pattern. These remind me of candy.
IMG_6632
These rose petals are orange on the outside and red on the inside. I couldn’t capture the beauty of the whole bouquet.
IMG_6642
I enjoyed placing the cute red bouquet in the middle of these pinkies.

P.S. Marge is doing well and headed back to the care facility (from the hospital). Thanks for all your positive thoughts.

Needle Lace…I’ve Been Inspired by an Artist

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a piece from this amazing artist: Ágnes Herczeg. She does a form of needle lace that incorporates natural elements to create amazing works of art.

Hanging proudly on my wall! By Ágnes Herczeg
Hanging proudly on my wall! By Ágnes Herczeg (link to more of her works on her facebook page)

Her work really intrigues me, and even when I hold it in my hand, I can barely comprehend how the tiny stitches came together into such a beautiful form (I’m still admiring it under a magnifying glass – such detailed work!!).

Needle Lace and Me

So of course I had to look this up and figure out how a lay person might give it a try. I found this super cool tutorial that walked me through the BASICS of creating lace on paper. So I gave it a try.

20160406_232655
Finished product – lots of room for improvement but an interesting experiment. (silk floss on outside/ribs, cotton floss on veins)

 

In Progress Notes

 

Using the cordonnet stitch to attach the framework
Using the cordonnet stitch to attach the framework. I think next time I’ll use broader anchor stitches instead of stitching each cord separately (the anchor stitches didn’t come out easily)

 

Working the buttonhold stitch up the leaf
Working the buttonhole stitch up the leaf

 

Adding silk thread to the veins of the leaf
Adding silk thread to the veins of the leaf (boy did it take me a long time to figure out the direction of stitches on each vein to get the knot to line up…I think I got it…)

I’ll definitely create more patterns to mess around with (and I’ll probably “have to” buy more embroidery thread because my stash colors are boring).

Until then…

Here’s What’s Blooming in the Garden!

Squash flowers are so beautiful!!
Squash flowers are so beautiful!!

 

 

Native Garden Tour: So-Cal (2 of 2)

Here’s the rest of the flowers we saw…

20160403_114215_z
I love this especially because it is a lupine, which is closest to the Texas blue bonnet that I’ve found here. Missin’ my blue bonnets…
20160403_112238_z
Fuzzy on the creases – this one cracked me up
20160403_111902_z
Heart-shaped cactus – I didn’t notice until I processed the photos!
20160402_123000_z
Aren’t these amazing?! The color juxtaposition floors me…
20160402_121856_z
This flower just about undid me. So leggy – so other-worldly – with leaves to match…
spiky green leaves
spiky green leaves
20160402_121754_z
Bottle-brush bush in all its finery (not to be used to clean actual dirty dishes). 🙂
20160402_121609_z
Another feathery bloom like the white one above…
20160402_114237_z
Lacey…feathery…fluffy…flowery…loved these!!!
20160403_115734_here
Part of a hanging basket with many more blooms heading up to the front door. They look like Christmas Cactus blooms to me…
20160403_115700z
Same house – hanging cactus in the background. I love the light/dark contrasts in this pic
20160403_115457_z
I like the rocky backgrounds to these cactus flower shots.
20160402_123012_z
Colors and shadows…IN LOVE!

20160403_115422_z 20160402_122320 20160402_121325_z

Looking forward to planting our new front/back yards with these native plants in mind.

 

 

Native Garden Tour: So-Cal (1 of 2)

This weekend the California Native Plant Society hosted an event in my neighborhood! I heard about it from the neighbors a few blocks over where I harvested the Torrey Pine needles I used recently for these mini-baskets. Their front and back yards were featured on the Native Plant tour this weekend (P.S. They’re also thrilled that someone wants all the pine needles they keep having to clean off their driveway. In fact, they had some “ready for me” that they must have picked up that morning to make things look tidy. They were happy to see me. 🙂 ).

So here’s some pictures (native and non-native plants are mixed in here – we viewed several hybrid gardens and I didn’t capture all the plant names). We got lots of great ideas and we ended the day in a small yard with chickens and a pair of Japanese quail (no actual pics – peaceful coop made out of a “Tuff Shed” – cute birds that I thought looked a little like hedgehogs, with those cream-colored feathers).

So Here’s Some Amazing So-Cal Flowers

20160403_122027
A type of buckwheat (I like this one more than the many versions of white-flowering buckwheat bushes we saw).
20160403_140748
This is a tall-blooming poinsettia I’ve only seen down here in So-Cal, and how far inland you are determines how long they bloom (like the Coral Trees). I especially love this shot because I took it blind on my tip-toes (this flower was above my head).
20160403_135945
Native Iris – kind of unusual for such an arid climate
20160403_141956
An acacia seed pod that nature opened for me. I turned it upside on my hand and shook out the seeds (usually these pods are sealed tight with four sides of really tough leathery leafy material that seems impossible to cut through). They make great rattles actually. (Amie – I’m already planning to go back and gather some for your nature-loving brood! Can’t believe I didn’t think of it in the moment…blaming it on the chickens and quail 🙂 )
20160403_121047
I loved capturing the flowers as well as the buds behind them that held more promise…the plant progression was palpable. (the wind was also blowing – which made photography fun)
20160403_121557
Cactus flowers are exquisite from start to finish. I love that these factor into xeriscaping. We have some lovely shares from neighbors in our garden already.
20160403_121800
A type of sage – I love how the flowers are as fuzzy as the leaves.
20160403_121950
There’s “Bottle-Brush” (trees) and “Fairy Duster” (bushes) versions of this flower. I think this this on the Fairy Duster end of the spectrum (growing close to the ground).

20160403_135702 20160403_135752 20160403_135848 20160403_141537 20160403_142620

I have another list of photos I’ll post in v.2. We saw a lot of flowers/plants and got a lot of inspiration. We’re ready for water barrels and native plants, with some planning.

Chard from the garden – so colorful!

I’m busy sewing up this corset. It’s amazing how many times I end up stitching each panel. I’m finishing seams tonight and hope to have something to try on soon.

In the meantime, here’s what I gathered from the garden for dinner tonight. Such inspiring colors!

the leaves are so big!
the leaves are so big! (see the cute mini-squash in the corner? they were good too)
I love the back view even more!
I love the back view even more!

Most of these leaves are bigger than my face (isn’t that cool when a plant produces such growth?! Chard is such a fiesta vegetable!) I took a few outliers to the neighbor’s chickens (2 new eggs today, both brown). Such a huge vibrant plant that cooks down so tiny so quick. 🙂

Back to netflix and hand-stitching…this corset WILL get done.