Tuesday, June 29, 2010

lamb's ear

Lamb's ear is a fascinating feeling plant. It's soft and fuzzy and demands to be touched. It's a plant that is neutral and goes well with any color, is draught tolerant and attracts bees. It HATES wetness in any form! It will sulk and refuse to do well in a summer of rain and shows this by just simply 'melting,' or rot to nothing. But never fear, if it gets the slightest chance to grow again or reseed - lamb's ear is your plant!

I do limit mine to certain areas as it spreads and will reseed wherever it can. It's a wonderful filler and looks lovely in bouquets. After the teeny, tiny fuchsia-colored flower is finished on the stalk, I cut the stalks and put 'em outdoors where they shine for several weeks if you like that kind of a look. When it becomes too invasive, I ruthlessly pull them out to control it. I've never dried them but my guess is they'd dry very nicely.
Here is a close-up of a 'melted' spot...
Simply pull the 'melted' spots and throw it on the compost pile.
Stalks cut and in an aluminium bucket -
rugged looking but fits the outdoors.

This is not every one's kind of plant. I once had a yard man tell me they're the silliest kind of plants...
which simply put, means each man to their own! :) If you have a hot, dry area, this is your plant - it will prosper!

Monday, June 28, 2010

week end musings

we had a busy but lovely week end.
this week end was our annual Zook reunion when we spend two days in Belleville, PA,
the place my mother grew up.
four of us siblings decided to do a quick stop
and were welcomed by the present day owners. 
we treasure our time together...
food - delicious and lots of it!
cousins hangin' out...
more hangin'...
a popular color!
went 'green' with personal cups hung up on a string.
Kubb was the preferred game...
aren't these adorable?! two brothers and a cousin
had an auction for next year's kitty.
 a lovely, lovely time! 

we could only spend saturday there
 as we had a ten o'clock wedding on sunday morning.
the wedding was at a local state park,
under a tent in a small glen beside a creek.
the happy couple...
the reception was in a pavillion...
altogether a simple, lovely wedding!

in the evening we had family time at our house...
the big and small kids played a game of 'take away.'
good times together!



Friday, June 25, 2010

temporary chair fix

several weeks ago i dressed up the gazebo as a sitting room for a garden tour
and wanted to use this chair i picked up at a GW which is on the re-do list...
i got my thinking cap on and remembered some tucked away sheer fabric
and started on a temporary transformation with eight corsage pins
 from the many i had saved from our children's weddings.
it ended up loking like this...
i started with the arms by ripping four inch strips,
 winding it around the arm until the old fabric was covered,
then using two pins to keep it in place.
to cover the seat i ripped another panel,
making sure it was large enough to cover the seat and hang over all sides.
in the front, i cut the fabric on an angle to fit the seat width,
took the corners and tied it together in a ballet tie.
  tucking the fabric under the back of the seat,
then behind the chair i twisted the fabric and pinned that.
ripping four more strips, i wrapped two strips above the arm and two below the arm,
tying them in a knot around the back, giving it a bow-tied look
i also took a strip of fabric the width of the back 
to tuck up and down behind the cross-wise strips of fabric.
to give it a feminine flair,
 i pinned a fabric flower centered with a seashell to the front and side of the chair.
this was a quick and fun project to do
 and will stay like that until the right job is done.
right now, she's just sitting around looking pretty!



linking up to Funky Junk

Thursday, June 24, 2010

my favorite annual

My gardens are six years old and many plants have come and gone. When we downsized, I needed to choose between what I liked versus what I really liked. We moved here in April and in July, I was on a garden tour and one would have never guessed it was only three months old. I had the advantage of transplanting mature perennials which made that possible. Out of the five tours I've done, it is my favorite garden tour.

Speaking of tours, Tuesday evening, July 27. I and another friend, Lena, are having a twilight tour from seven to however long you want to linger. Twinkly lights, candles and a bit of food is on the program. No tickets needed as it's a fundraiser for our church and there will be donation boxes setting around. We hope to see you all in our gardens!

Six years later, partly due to age, due to everything growing so quickly and tree losses, this garden has changed in a big way! But yet again, I needed to think about what I liked and what I really liked and eliminated more plants. For the past several years, the only annual I bought is my very favorite annual...
- blue salvia victoria -
This annual blooms it's heart out...all. summer. long! The bees love it as much as I do but you mind your business and they'll mind theirs! :) It only asks to be dead-headed occasionally and sprayed for the lice an occasional plant gets. It dries beautifully - just cut the flower stem, put it where you want it and it'll last for a long time or you can bunch 'em together and tie with a ribbon. The flower petal falls off, leaving a nub-like thingy on the stem - a really, really lovely look! If the winter is mild enough and it's protected a bit, it will do a comeback the next year - it also reseeds itself if the dirt around it is left alone.

I did plant geraniums by the stone wall because of the garden tours here this summer and like it so well that possibly that may become my second annual to buy. :) They're not demanding plants either...all they want is to be deadheaded faithfully.
 They really do complement this new stone wall!

...happy gardening!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

eat your greens!

my sister, R, introduced me to green smoothies...my first scoffing response to that information was, 'i like to eat my food, not drink it!'  she told me to google 'green smoothies' and after checking it i out decided to give it a try...to my surprise, it's actually good!

from there, i bought a dozen kale plants which are yielding an abundance of leaves
that beats any that are bought in the store!
kale can be bought in fresh bunches at the store and in ready-to-eat bags,
or spinach can be used instead.
you need - fruits of your choice
  a blender,
and you're on your way to a very nutritious meal!

this one has blueberries, pineapple and banana with twenty drops stevia (optional)
four leaves kale (or a handful) and 8-10 cubes of ice in it.
this one has clementine, pineapple, banana with the other ingredients
and is my favorite.
it's not called 'green smoothies' for nothing! :)
yield: approximately 16 oz, and one or two servings
try it...
i think you'll be surprised how tasty it is!


i know this is Wednesday but due to other reasons
i didn't write anything about our Father's Day service on Sunday.
there was a lot to think about.

- from the pulpit -

Gifts From a Father's Heart
(parable of the lost son)

- he looks down the road one more time
- he runs to us
- he embraces us
- he has a place at the table for us.

 to sit under a speaker who spoke with such profound kindness,
weeping and smiles, felt really safe and comforting.
truth is...
sometimes i'm the lost son,
selfish, eating dregs, a spendthrift.
sometimes i'm the elder son,
critical, judgmental, without mercy.

oh, my life may look all together and good on the outside,
but inside, where it's easy to hide,
at times, i AM the lost son or the elder brother.
i NEED the search, the run, the embrace, the place at the table!
and i want to GIVE the 'one more look,' the run,
give the embrace and make room at the table for others -
just as God does for me!

there was weeping, testimonies, hugs, arm-on-the-shoulder-i-care,
 happening after the service.
it was beautiful!



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

just sayin'

It's the little things that add atmosphere to the feel of the gardens. I love sundials and have been collecting them for a long time...buying some new and finding some at garage sales and thrift shops. Like anything else, time can do a number on 'em but that doesn't mean they have to be thrown away. I love the sayings on them and used them in another way.
I threaded a wire through the holes and tucked it in the brick behind it. It could also be dangled from a tree branch or tucked into a flower pot.
This is a piece of another something - I've had it so long I forget. I think it's too romantic to throw away...hence I created a Lover's Lane tucked into a corner of the house.
The bird feeder was bought years ago at Kirklands and my guess is no longer available. Notice the little bird sitting in the palm of His hands. A comforting truth!
This, too, was a piece of another thingy and was painted. With time the paint wore off and I eliminated the other thingy and hung it on the second pillar.
This was a gift from DIL M and I treasure it. After letting it out one winter too long it got cracked...but it's an interesting crack! :) I put it under shelter now.
I bought this at a greenhouse and have had it for a long time. Many folks have commented on it and it's such  fitting quotes for the gardens. Surrounding the gardens with scripture feels like an added inspiration.

And, like everything else, more isn't necessarily better. Use desecration in placing readings and they'll add to the ambiance of  your own little place!

...happy gardening!


Monday, June 21, 2010

from the paint room

i picked this gal up at a yard sale some years back - 
and decided to do a paint job on her...
then used a walnut stain to detail her.



Friday, June 18, 2010

my creative places

in years gone by, i never considered myself artistic. i grew up in an environment where there was little praise given, in part, because of life itself. my parents had thirteen children in eighteen years which created a busyness all of its own and left little time for 'extras.' it wasn't until i was fifty years old and shabby chic was at its zenith, that i finally came to an understanding of what i liked. it was like a light bulb had turned on and every time i'd see a picture of 'whites' it would draw me in. i started tearing pages out of perfectly good magazines, figuring i paid for them, and started a book (actually, two books - one for decorating and one for gardening) of my own. i spent hours looking at the pictures without having a clue of how to get the look. finally, i took the plunge and just simply 'did it' and it worked! now, our home is full of shabby chic furniture and i find it really difficult to pass up anything that is free, cheap, or paintable! :)

i have no 'special room' set aside for this, though i dream of having a place to mend and paint and have a sale several times a year. in the meanwhile, i use the garage...
the basement,
the dinning room table,
the outdoors,
the back deck,
and the kitchen table.
then another light went on! my part of the utility shed was empty emptier because of the summer things moved outside. so...
i set up shop there -
with two saw horses and two pieces of plywood
and a new and better place to transform my finds!
i live with nature!
glory be...i love it!
there will at least four more moons to use this space,
after that...well, then i'll go back to my other places till next summer!


linking up with Karen Valentine who is having a Where Women Create  party.