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

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


Cape Honeysuckle blooms
Plumeria in the front yard
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).

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.
This wonder of nature landed on my rental car windshield when I was recently in Portland, Oregon.  What a cool way to be, huh?
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!


Which is my favorite? It’s a Tie!

My mom sent me a great text recently: “I have access to lots of ties – want some for your crafts?” You betcha and yes ma’am!

So here’s some of the lovelies she picked out for me. What should I do with them?!

there’s art, upholstery, book covers…the possibilities are endless!
crowns and a feather, we’re spanning some decades here
the white and tan beauty in the middle defies tie-dom with its texture and lack of definitive creases – I think maybe it’s aiming toward sash-dom…on a party dress…

The purple one to the right of center might be my favorite (after I sing “Sailing” by Christopher Cross and “Lime in the Coconut” in honor of pineapples everywhere…wait, there’s no pineapple involved in that song?! P.S. I don’t want to talk about watermelon right now…unless you can quote a song that mentions it).

These ties are pure gold and all my thanks go to my mom, who took the time to pick them out and mail them to me. I can’t imagine what I’ll make with these beauties…any ideas?

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.

I lined them up on the floor for easiest pictures…and now I want to leave them there!
An army of roses!
I love this splatter pattern. These remind me of candy.
These rose petals are orange on the outside and red on the inside. I couldn’t capture the beauty of the whole bouquet.
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.

Native Garden Tour: So-Cal (2 of 2)

Here’s the rest of the flowers we saw…

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…
Fuzzy on the creases – this one cracked me up
Heart-shaped cactus – I didn’t notice until I processed the photos!
Aren’t these amazing?! The color juxtaposition floors me…
This flower just about undid me. So leggy – so other-worldly – with leaves to match…
spiky green leaves
spiky green leaves
Bottle-brush bush in all its finery (not to be used to clean actual dirty dishes). 🙂
Another feathery bloom like the white one above…
Lacey…feathery…fluffy…flowery…loved these!!!
Part of a hanging basket with many more blooms heading up to the front door. They look like Christmas Cactus blooms to me…
Same house – hanging cactus in the background. I love the light/dark contrasts in this pic
I like the rocky backgrounds to these cactus flower shots.
Colors and shadows…IN LOVE!

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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

A type of buckwheat (I like this one more than the many versions of white-flowering buckwheat bushes we saw).
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).
Native Iris – kind of unusual for such an arid climate
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 🙂 )
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)
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.
A type of sage – I love how the flowers are as fuzzy as the leaves.
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).

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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.

Where Do All the Cigar Boxes Go?

I bought some more boxes, and now I’m wondering where all these amazing cigar boxes are going?! The cigar store owners seem to be very ready to get rid of them…like maybe it’s a problem related to selling cigars!

They're all so different!
They’re all so different!

I happened upon a new store recently and thought to ask about empty boxes. At first he said he sells them for $1.99 each, and that a man comes by every two months or so and buys them all – and he offers them to him for one dollar each at that time. I asked him what the man uses them for, but he hasn’t asked (ah well).

So then he offered me 11 boxes for $10. How can one resist? I mean, they’re so weird and different – every one! Some of them even have a little clasp to close them, like on my diary from a million years ago (e.g. childhood)!

So now I own “A LOT” of cigar boxes – some of which are being used for craft supplies (not labeled yet, so it’s a hunt-and-chase situation…mergh…:\ )

They come in all shapes and sizes (what crafter isn’t “wow’ed” by that alone?!). The one on the left is a trapezoid (I think…whatever, it’s a weird shape!)


It has a magic slide top y'all. Seriously.
It has a magic slide top y’all. Seriously. Are cigar smokers doing magic now and we just didn’t realize it?


This box has a wooden partition in it that has the label glued on
This box has a wooden partition in it that has a label glued on the edge…which says “Hand Made.”

So much wow.

I think I’m officially addicted now to cigar boxes. (According to all the labels, I’m better off addicted to the boxes than the cigars…have to figure out how to remove all those useful labels…P.S. DON’T SMOKE…but check out smoke shops because they probably have some cool boxes sitting around that they want to get rid off).


Patterns and Rhythms, in Nature and Life

I’m busily sewing up this Alabama Chanin Stitch Corset featured (in pieces) in this post: Hand Stitching a Garment. I’ve since embellished it with beads and I’m putting in seams on all the pieces. There’s more before the end…pics to come.

Meanwhile, here’s some beautiful patterns I saw during our recent San Diego Arboretum visit.

a hollowed out log
a hollowed out log
These brown strands were not on every leaf...
These brown strands were not on the underside of every leaf…
I was so enraptured I forgot to read the sign telling me what this enchanting plant's name is...
I was so enraptured I forgot to read the sign telling me what this enchanting plant’s name is…

Lots of looking up for these pictures, and it was so worth it!

Quick Flower in the Rain: Vinca

I came across this flower pic last night when I was posting and meant to include it.

Today I decided it needs a post all its own. The lovely Cora Cascade Lilac Vinca after a spring shower (from the archives).

Cora Cascade Lilac Vinca

It’s not rainy here today…just remembering another soggy day while I’m stitching along. (I signed up for some jewelry making classes soon – so excited to try a new thing!)