Monday, April 26, 2010

Blog Break


Well, kids, I'm here to tell you that I'm going to take a blogging break, probably for a week. My husband has a severe issue with his knee, I need some mental health time, and because Tim is laid up, there is TONS of laundry, house cleaning, what have you. I'm feeling more than overwhelmed and I need to get my proverbial house in order.

So there you go. Have a lovely week, do some amazing things (but get plenty of rest), eat good food and drink good wine, and take plenty of amazing photographs! I will miss you all.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

English mixed border inspiration

I'm on a flower kick! Today, I thought I'd talk about the mixed border. I've been trying to perfect the Ohio English garden for years; here are some photos to inspire you in your quest for a most beautiful border.

Spring color is important to any border


Flowering almond bush, jonquils, tulips and phlox

I love roses, so I tend to build my borders around them. I also believe that a mixed border isn't complete unless the roses are under planted with compatible plants.

Felicite Parmentier rose under planted with lily of the valley

Pink rose as a perfect complement to purple violets

Vertical interest gives the border added dimensions. I have two climbing roses on bamboo teepees in my garden

On one I have a New Dawn rose interplanted with a Nelly Moser clematis. They have a bloom overlap period of about 2 weeks and are gorgeous then!

Many other plants can add vertical interest

Echinops, hollyhocks, stock, and lupines

Soften the edges of your garden by letting plants spill over onto the sidewalk. Just make sure that the plants smell good so that when people brush up against them they smell something divine.

Catmint, pinks, and lavender are all great choices.

Fill in the garden with plants that fit into your border's color palate

Veronica, pink Asiatic lilies, salvia, Gertrude Jekyll rose, purple scabiosa, cosmos, perennial geranium, peonies, and Russian sage

And finally, add a few doses of unexpected color

Hyperion day lily, red geum, red scabiosa, and yellow geum.

So these pictures are based on the colors that I like to see in my garden. If you like yellow and purple, then by all means used yellow and purple flowers. I also use flowers that I can abuse a little, that tolerate pretty poor soil (you could mold a mug out of mine, even with all of the amending) and that can take slightly dry conditions. Easy care is my motto!

So get out there and plant! Create the border of your dreams! Live the gardener's life - it's good for you!

Pictures from Beauty In Everything and the David Austin Roses American website.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Made in the Shade

After my last post, Lois asked me about colorful options for a shady garden. I was just going to email her, but my email got so long I realized that I had a blog post, so there you go!

Shade is a big problem for a lot of people, but if you are creative, you can have a colorful garden.

Perennials are my thing, but impatiens really are the king of shade color. Other annual options are coleus and violas.

As far as perennials go, there's a lot to choose from. I think people get tired of hearing about hostas, but there are so many different varieties, leaf colors and variegation's, and flower types that they can be mixed well for a really stunning display. My favorite hosta is 'Guacamole', then I build around that with whatever catches my eye.


Daffodils and bluebells grow well in the shade for early spring color.

Astilbe has fern-like foliage and blooms that are feathery and come in a variety of colors. they range in size from teensy to quite large. Goatsbeard looks like astilbe (but I don't think it's in the same family), is really large and throws up large white flowers.

Hellebores are short plants, but they leaves and flowers come in a variety of shades.

Bleeding Heart, one of my favorite flowers, is a shade lover and, under the right conditions, can grow to be a huge, incredibly beautiful plant. The foliage dies back after flower, so it has to be positioned behind other flowers (ferns are good) that will fill it's gap when it's gone.


Monarda has beautiful flowers and smells great but can be thready, so it needs to be planted within or behind the border.

Foxgloves love the shade, eupatorium will give you fall color, and autumn fern has copper colored leaves that contrast nicely with the green leafed varieties.


Phlox, shasta daisies, columbines, salvia, butterfly weed, day lilies, asters, echinacea, and scabiosa all grow well in partial shade.

There are plenty of options for your shade garden. With a little creativity and attention to flowering schedules, your shade garden should be gorgeous all summer long! Happy gardening!


All photos found on Beauty in Everything

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dirt Under my Fingernails

I was out in the garden all day, weeding, transplanting lilies, violets, and lily of the valley from my neighbor's yard to mine. He's building a new patio and wanted to find a new home for his flowers. They are happy in the rose garden now.

Didn't take any pictures, but here's one from yesterday.


It's going to rain all weekend here, so I'll have to put off tilling for the veg garden for a few days. Bought corn, stringless beans, pink chives, genovese basil, cosmos, hollyhocks, and marigolds, and forgot to buy peppers, eggplant, tomatoes(I'll buy small starts of these) and am looking for asparagus starts. I use the marigolds to deter bunnies, the chives are pretty, and I plant garlic all over the garden to deter other pests. I haven't figured out what I'm doing with the cosmos and hollyhocks yet, but I just have to have them!


The more hollyhocks the better (from Beauty in Everything)

More pretty flower pictures can be found here and here, and some prettiness here and here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A day in the sun


Today, I finally got some much needed time in my garden. Raking leaves out of the garden that protected my roses, pulling weeds, staking and pruning the rose bushes, taking inventory of what survived the winter and what needs a replacement.


I still have much to do. A vegetable garden to plant. Seeds to sow. and zillions of thistles and other weeds to pull (oh, the queen anne's lace! You are so pretty, but why must you be so invasive?), mulching, amending my hard as clay soil. A whole summer's worth of gardening projects.


Yet what is better than getting out in the sun, feeling the heat of it, and getting dirt under your fingernails? Gardening is my first love, before knitting, cooking, all of those other crafty things. It is in my blood. Perennials and vegetables course through my veins from generations back. I truly feel at home in the garden.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Once Upon a Time . . .

I joined a group today on Facebook called "I remember when we passed notes instead of texting." The world has become technologically complicated and saturated, hasn't it?


A few years ago, I had to show my niece how to use the rotary phone in my grandparents basement. She had no clue. My mom told me that the kids at her school (she's a secretary) are always amazed that records have two sides.

When I was practicing medicine, I always used to wonder (usually when I had been up all night answering questions about Tylenol dosing) what doctors did in the time before pagers and cell phones. I hated my pager with a loathing that has no words.

Do you miss typewriters? While the computer has HUGE advantages over typewriters, there's nothing like the "clack clack clack" of typing and the "ca-ching" of hitting the return button.


Life used to be quieter. There were no booming subwoofers in that annoying kid's car that shake your windows at 3:00 A.M. We used to actually have to step out of our homes to talk to people. If you wanted to hear the newest record, you went to your friends house to see if you liked it. Introverts like me were forced to interact with the world, not a computer.

Life was slower. You couldn't Twitter that celebrity sighting or political scandal the moment it happened. There were 5 channels on the TV, all of which went off at midnight (to the strains of "The Star Spangled Banner.") I wasn't in 22 sports and miscellaneous activities throughout the year. If I wanted to play soccer on a particular day, I just showed up at the field. When I got bored, I went outside and picked flowers and laid in the grass and stared at the sky.


I think I yearn for those days, then I remember my Facebook account that has reintroduced me to friends and family, and this blog that has opened me up and saved me in ways that I can't even describe. Not to mention The Internet. How could we live without it - well, there is that building called The Library.

Photos from We Heart It

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yes, I'm a Follower


We Heart It

So, yeah, I've joined Twitter. I'm new, I'm still trying to get down the @whoever's and #somethings. But I thought it would be cool to have if I was out and about and something absolutely amazing that I had to share Immediately came up. Because everything happens at the speed of sound these days.

So if you want to follow me, there's a wee button under the "Followers" widget. Click on it, and there you go. I've got a new follower. I think I signed up for all of my bloggy buddies twitters, but if you want me to follow yours, let me know.

Dandelion Day


On Electric Daisy day, I took Will out to play. I was in a bit of a hippie mood, what with my altered state of mind, and decided that a dandelion chain would be just the thing. I've never understood why more people don't wear them. Having flowers in one's hair, even dandelions, can make one feel quite beautiful.

You can learn how to make a dandelion (or daisy) chain here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

And the winner is . . .

I received 107 entries (107!) to the Super Delicious Yarn giveaway. The numbers were plugged into the super scientific Psychic Science Random Number Generator (yes, psychic science! It just keeps getting better and better!) and the number 20 came up, which means Jeanne from Cleveland (aka Sourire11) is the WINNER!


Jeanne had this to say about what makes a good blog:

"Let's see... things that keep me coming to a blog...

good stories
good photographs
not too much text to wade through
mix of topics - not all just crafting/knitting but i like to hear about a person's life a little bit, too.
bad grammar sends me packing as does anything center aligned or otherwise hard to read."

Her comments are a good summation of every else's; however, I will be reading through all of them again and may write an article about the comments I received.

So Jeanne, I need you to contact me via email (a link is on my profile) and let me know where to mail your package to. Congratulations, and I hope you make many lovely things with your yarn!

Necklace Giveaway

Jessica of That's What She Said is generously hosting a giveaway for JacDesigns. Go to her blog for a chance to win a beautiful necklace (up to $18 value). Contest runs through May 8 and there are a zillion different ways to enter, so go check it out!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Rainbow Electric Daisy

Here's the giveaway. Drawing tomorrow!

Okay. Before I tell my little story, I feel I must make the following disclaimer. I do not do drugs. I never have done drugs (really). Drugs are bad. Just say no.

I've not been doing so well these last few months and a dose of one of my medications has been increased. And it has hit me in quite an unexpected way. I am toasted. I feel a bit like a sleepy puddle of mush. I know that I'll get used to this eventually, but for right now, I'm enjoying my time in Happy Rainbow Electric Daisy land,where the people are happy, the cupcakes are never ending, and unicorns of all shapes and sizes frolic together in the fields.











I hope you enjoyed your visual journey to my land of wonder and imagination. If you know of a Real Happy Rainbow Electric Daisy land, let me know about it cuz' I wanna go. Preferably with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and Joni Mitchell. Gonna stop talking now.

All pictures are from We Heart It

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Light and abstract

The giveaway is here. Then come back and enjoy some photography.

So this assignment from C&C Photography (our last assignment *snivel*) really was quite difficult for me. I suppose if I had a DSLR camera it might have been a bit easier, but I have a Sony Cyber-Shot with automatic focus and "fool proof" image capture, and it doesn't like it when things are out of focus.


This is my first successful photo. Saint Francis was a good model.

Praise God for the Internet. Here's what I learned. Set my camera to "Program". Set ISO to 200. Put Steady shot on "Auto" and turn off face detection. Focus depth should be set at 0.5m. Turn on the macro (flower) setting. I still have no idea how to control my f-stop (if that can even be done). Another handy bit is to focus on the object that you want to photograph with the "take the photo" button half depressed (I know there's a better term for this, but I don't know what it is). Then set up the shot with what you want in focus juxtaposed with what you want out of focus while still holding down that button. Snap the photo. Voila. This also works if you want something out of focus. Focus on it, hold the button half way down, then move the camera out of focus.

So here's my submissions. I wasn't able to figure out the water shot. But I got some shots that I'm pretty darn happy about.





And a few abstractions



My favorite photo is still my favorite from the first week. I love the color and the way the light works in the photo.


My biggest lessons in this course came this week. Learning how to play around with my settings on my camera and realizing that it can do much more than point and click was a revelation. I also LOVED having these assignments. It gave me some direction and a way at looking at my subjects, framing, and just what takes a photograph from good to beyond.

Now I'm going to scour the web for more photo inspiration. C&C, you've created an addict!

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