Friday, April 15, 2011

The Nest

You've seen me mention it before in passing. I'm a little embarrassed about it, and yet I love it.

Welcome to the "Nest" that lives beside my place on the sofa.

This is where small bits of thread ends are (sometimes) gathered in a small bowl. I'll be honest though... More often, they are just left strewn where they fell.

It's a place that is constantly evolving, littered with design ideas, mis-starts, mis-fits and works in progress.

It's a place that beckons me to sit and pick up my scratched up needles (I crochet on ROCKS, for Pete's Sake), as long as it's not too messy, in which case, I'll happily ignore it for awhile (at least until visitors are coming, and my mid-western upbringing requires that I put it all away, and we can start again, tomorrow).

(Note to self: Remember to give S. those crochet books from the library...)

Today, I made 5 pebbles, some for my friend who sent the thread, and some to sell at Buena Creek Gardens:

It's getting to the "too messy" stage, right now, in fact, but I think I'll ignore it at least until tomorrow.

Might be able to get one more good day out of it before I have to force myself into cleaning mode.

And I'm wondering... Do you have one, too?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Help! I Need Somebody...."

Photo by Flickr user LiminalMike

I just heard that the comments form here is being a bit persnickety. 

I originally had it set as "Anyone" can comment, but know that at least one reader had to use an old Blogger account to make a comment.  So, I switched to Only Blogger, saved it, then switched BACK to "anyone" and saved again. Huh....

The other issue has been the word verification that I had set in place... in my own experience posting comments to blogs I follow that verification pops up in a strange way AFTER you THINK you have posted your comment... so, I'm probably missing out on a few comments from that as well.  No more.  Comment/Spam away. 

Huh.  Wish me luck.

Probably a hundred people have tried to comment on the Guest Book, and I'll never know about it.  Bummer.

If you'd like to help me out - and I just KNOW you do - give it a shot and let me know if it's working, m'kay? 

UPDATE!! Sorry, folks... I've been doing a little research into what may be causing issues, and apparently, two of the three comment posting options require the acceptance of third-party cookies. I know that isn't copacetic for some people, so the only solution is to move to the "full page" commenting form. And, of course, the full page commenting form has it's drawbacks in that it takes you to a whole new page, but that's the way it'll have to be to best ensure that everyone is heard. And since the whole idea of this blog is to get people to sign the guestbook with their pebble finds... that's the way it will have to be. At least for now.

Cheers and crossed fingers!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I WILL have a Garden this Year, I WILL have a Garden This Year...

It's my new Mantra.

I swear this to myself year after year after year... but I have a teeny-tiny California-sized yard (my Ohio Homies would hardly recognize it as a "yard" in fact). 

It's, like, barely there.

And, as a good Ohio girl, I grew up weeding and hoeing a garden that was literally five times the size of my current "yard".  I am seriously worried that having a "yard" this tiny is stunting my children in many, many ways, but there is very little I can do about it. 

I look at my single, lonely tree (a very nice Magnolia) and sigh.  No kids climbing its too small branches.  No woods behind my house to get lost in.  No creeks to wade through.  No tadpoles/crawdads/minnows to catch.

And no garden.

I've tried planting a veggie garden in the 4 foot wide space between my house and house next door... BOTH SIDES... two different times.  There wasn't enough sun on either side.  Blame the tall fences and house shadows.  Boo.

I've tried planting a veggie garden in among the decorative plants that run the length of the back fence, but most of my plants were quickly slaughtered by slugs, pocket gophers and dog-pee.  Yum.  Fabulous.

I've pulled out rocks by the THOUSANDS (thousands... really. Ask my neighbors.  They've done it, too.  We're pretty sure the builders actually had to blast the hillside with TNT).

I've created irrigation systems both in-ground and above ground.

I've improved soil until my back was breaking, I've cursed and I've cried and I've attempted the impossible. 

But THIS time...  This time will be different.

Container Gardening to the Rescue!

My father, bless his gracious, gardening heart, helped me set up some 1/2 wine casks (No Gophers!  Dog-Pee Protected!) on my back patio, in the one place in the yard that actually MAY have enough sun to make tomatoes and beans happy.  He even used his Dawes Arboretum work/volunteer experience (He was born for gardening, truly, he was) to improve vast quantities of soil ("Turn each pile FIVE TIMES!") to fill up those bad boys and get them ready for planting. 

Ready... Set.. GARDEN!

All good Italian Girls need at least ONE Barrel o' Tomatoes!
I planted four different kinds of tomatoes (two heirlooms, and OF COURSE, Roma & San Marzanos), cilantro, basil, two different kinds of pole beans, a bush bean, yellow sweet peppers, and cucumbers.

I also planted a watermelon vine, but out in the yard, near the fence, with the idea that it will grow on the other side of the fence, and when they are ready, I'll jump the fence and pick' em.  Please don't report me to the city!

Then, I installed drip irrigation so that the veggies have half a chance at getting through the hot, wilty and dry San Diego summer.  Cross your fingers.

I gave my 9 year-old packets of wildflower seeds to plant, my 4 year-old tossed in a flower whirly-gig she'd been given on her recent birthday, and we are in business.

I unearthed this strawberry pot and saved it from certain takeover by the Aeoniums in the side yard... then I planted it with two different kinds of bare-root strawberries.  But, dad said that they were the deadest looking berry roots he'd ever seen... we shall see... Unfortunately, he is rarely wrong about such things.

While we were at it, I bought a slew of new pots to re-pot/re-arrange my patio plants.  Here's my 'lil water garden all cleaned up and ready for summer!  One fish survived the winter.  I really oughta name him/her.  Something stalwart and Thor.  Or Helga.

Hot Lips Salvia.  My absolute Favorite Thing in the yard...

...Next to my Alstroemeria, of course. 

A "Rabbit-Foot" Fern that a neighbor gave me....

...Look'it those wabbit feets!

....AND THEN, I got really crazy, and decided to cut back the jungle of Aeoniums in the side yard, and re-do the whole shebang.  I have no before picture.  Trust me.  It was hideous. Jack-the-dog wouldn't even go back there.  And once upon a time, that was his favorite... uh.... "resting" place...

It's like a whole new world back there...

An Aeonium Jungle/Eyesore, no more!

Re-potted Succulents and a tiny peek of the cheesy Garden Gnome that I bought my husband as a joke a few years ago.  I'mn tellin' you, he's T.r.o.u.b.l.e. with a capital "T"...  :)
Hummingbird Sage (Salvia Spathacea).  Smells DIVINE.

A close-up of the Aeonium.  So groovy.

Heuchara 'Purple Palace'... I *think*...

The Bird & Butterfly corner that I planted about two months ago... it's coming along now that we seem to have FINALLY gotten rid of the pocket gopher (knock on wood).  That rascal ate at *least* an entire clump of day-lilies before he left (let's not even talk about what he did to the rest of the yard) and was starting in on my prized Leonotis (I've wanted one for years), which is when I pulled the trigger. Seriously, little dude.  I'm a Leo.  Don't mess with my Lion's Tail plant! 

Anigozanthus (Kangaroo Paw).  Fuzzy!

Buddlea just starting to bloom...   Yo!  Butterflies!  It's almost Miller-Time!

Lavandula.  Poor guy's been moved and moved again about 6 times.  I think he's home now, though...

Lantana.  Of the variety susceptible to Black Spot.  Ew.  But I think it looks like Cotton Candy, so I keep picking off the black leaves hoping it'll be okay. 

Leptospernum (New Zealand Tea Tree).  Love those sweet, tiny flowers!

FYI, nearly all of the plants came from my good friend Shari at Buena Creek Gardens.  She knows E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. about gardening.  Go see her and her amazing nursery/display gardens.  You will be blown away, I promise.  Say "Hi" to Donald the Peacock while you're there.  He's hilarious.

It's always good to have a little dirt under your fingernails.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Parcel from the Past

I am SO remiss in posting this lovely and precious thing... Sometimes life gets in the way of what I'd rather be doing.... Doctors Appointments for the young Master (he's doing SO WELL! No Heart Caths this year! Yay, TEAM!), Cleaning for the imminent arrival of my mother (my mother puts Martha to shame... it's TRUE), A slew of cupcakes and a 4th birthday party for Miss Thing, etc, etc, etc...

Remember this?

A very thoughtful and kind woman found me on Etsy and thought that maybe I could use her vintage thread collection, as she was no longer able to use it herself, and hated the thought of it just ending up in the garbage somewhere.   It is the collection of two dear ladies, and my friend even included samples of the ladies' work. Oh! So Cool!

Anyway, I couldn't help myself. 

In the midst of all my planning, list writing, cleaning, and the picking up/dropping off of small people, I spent about an hour photographing the box of lovelies, drooling over their variegations, their paper bindings, labels, wooden spools and price tags (15 cents!).  And then....

Well... then, reality hit me. 

My mother was arriving the very next day, and Holy Hannah, was my house ever a mess. 

It really was. 

So with a sad, sad heart, I very neatly re-packed the thread, and put it back in the box.  But, I left the open box on the table so that I could enjoy it for a few days.  I'll have you know that a postal box of vintage thread looks very nice with a bouquet of Alstroemeria from the garden.

I actually kept a bitty spool out and put it in my "nest"-- you know... that place beside the couch where the thread and pebbles live? Yeah.  That "Nest".  I've mentioned it before-- And I picked up that bitty spool later that night and I made a bitty curious pebble.  But I broke the thread at the very end, because I was pulling it too tight.  But!  I have since had success with another bitty pebble and another bitty spool and will post that very soon. 

Enjoy the thread riot...

A peek of pink/white tatted lace (upper left) and the purple edging of a
handkerchief swatch just below... Samples from the past...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cupcake Army

I'm a'lookin' at the last post, and seeing that my iphone photo uploader/blog app is NOT doing what it should, and that my pics are all pixelated and not lovely.  That's no good.

But a fix will have to wait until later, as I have more important things to post (those pics were soooo three days ago, anyway, right?) this fine evening.

See, tomorrow is Miss Milla's birthday.  4.  Years.  Old.  Already.


She told me last night that she wanted to take cupcakes to pre-school on her birthday.  She's only in school twice a week, and her birthday just happens to fall on one of those days. 

Who am I to say "no"?  I called her darling Master Teacher who told me in her darling Belgian Accent that "Of Course I should bring zee cupcake... i fink we have twenty-one tomorrow..."

And so, a cupcake army was born.  It might look a little less like an army if they weren't all waving those Pink Flags?  We (the Royal "we"... My husband and I... not that he had much to do with the making of them, although he did lift the box as I plastic-wrapped it, thanks for playing!) briefly considered making a little stop motion movie in which the cupcakes were marching all over the kitchen, waving their little "Milla" flags, singing bittersweet songs of Millie patriotism and loyalty.... but then, we quickly realized that would be sort of unsanitary and stuff, so uh, maybe not?

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of her party (which actually happened yesterday, but that's neither here nor there)...