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winter gardening chores

January 12, 2014

Just 1 week after a hard freeze, the kind this zone 8b/9a landscape isn’t exactly equipped to handle, I have the sad but necessary chore of cutting back the damage.  Plenty of life remains and the plants will spring back.  It just looks awfully bleak.

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So while I continue to tend to this chore over the next several weeks, I’ll be enjoying the cool-loving plants prospering here at the moment

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and making mental plans for cultivating seeds that will grow in the kitchen garden and cutting garden this year

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joe pye weed

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bee balm

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dreaming of flowers, honeybees and butterflies

thank you for reading!

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downtown on a winter afternoon – part 1

January 5, 2014

between packing up dozens of boxes of Christmas decorations and freeze-proofing the house and bedding plants, a window of opportunity presented itself for a downtown photo op.  These images are from the roofs of two parking garages.

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More than half the images are still in the camera waiting for a little pre-download perspective correction.  Soon…maybe.

Thank you for stopping by!

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images of the ship channel

January 2, 2014

this large inland port covers a large geographical area filled with heavy industry.  The imagery is both serene and gritty.

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thank you for stopping by :)

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last day of 2013

December 31, 2013

images from my DSLR, primarily of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

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The overcast grey day and the curvilinear outline of the pavilion captured my imagination.

Tomorrow is a new moon and if it was not quite so cold and grey, I’d definitely head down to the shore with Cristybella to witness the low-low tide phenomenon.

Sending heart felt wishes for peace as the new year dawns.  Thank you so very much for reading!

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{best of 2013} crafty home

December 30, 2013

I love fresh, breakthrough ideas for craft projects and home surroundings.  Sometimes ideas arise by looking at old favorites in a new way.  Let’s take a look back at my most loved new craft and home projects in 2013 and apply creative thinking to transform them into something completely new and wonderful in the coming year!

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1. Lace transfer

Adapted from another old idea, I used some vintage lace to transfer the impression brushing craft paint over the lace and pressing it (positive transfer) to the surface of my craft paper.

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2. Vintage boat oar

After a two-year hunt for a vintage wooden boat oar, we found two mismatched oars at Round Top for under $20. Twelve months later I finally broke out the stripping solution to remove the yellowish varnish from the larger one.  I tried my hand at adding a chevron pattern to the paddle, but it was a fail, so that side faces the wall.

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3. Button flowerets

Inspired by a flower shaped button among a package of craft-store buttons, I made flowerets to enhance my winter season greenery with a touch of homesweet homemade softness.

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4. Everyday bouquets

Large or small, bringing nature indoors is like a breath of fresh air.

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5. Cross stitch with a twist

Take the time loved cross stitch, shake it up, and you get something wonderful.

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6. Collection of miniatures

Grouping dissimilar items together by size makes for a lovely visual collection.  Each cubby in this vintage post office mail sorter reveals a special item.

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–added bonus: practicing with the perspective corrector on my DSLR–

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7. return of the “Let’s make it a Crafty Christmas” party

For the 2nd year, we invited family and friends to join in an afternoon of creative holiday fun, punctuated with bubbly prosecco and yummy treats.  Planning for the bigger and better 2014 edition will begin soon!

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8. paper doves

Take my beloved paper stripe shapes, add a 3-dimensional element, glitter paint and form it into a lovely bird shape to get the prettiest ever paper doves.

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9. Vintage repurposing

From yard sticks to printing press drawers, creative repurposing makes any arrangement more appealing.

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10. Lexie

Lexie joined our family this past summer via the Miniature Schnauzer Rescue group of Houston, although she’s not actually a schnauzer.  She’s just a bundle of love.

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Thank you so very much for dropping by!

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{best of 2013} garden variety

December 27, 2013

While the landscape will always be a work in progress, it helps to focus on past performance as we formulate bold plans for the coming year. Let’s acknowledge plantings that performed well in 2013 and vow to keep them abundant in the new year.

Here’s my list of the best in the homesweet homemade 2013 garden:

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1. Geraniums

Nonstop blooms January through December.  Hands down our number-one performer. While they didn’t do as well in the front yard, they thrived in flowerpots out back, so I’m going to bring the front yard geraniums to the back this year.

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2. Mexican petunias

This sprawling groundcover in the back yard eclipsed my notice for several years, only because it required no care.  However in 2013 I discovered its identity and tested transplants with outstanding results.  It spreads rapidly and tolerates both sunny and shady locations.  This plant will be making a debut in the troublesome front yard flowerbeds in 2014.

source: Southern Living

3. Tomatoes

Our first foray in cultivating tomatoes was truly remarkable.  I planted 3 seeds (Sweet 100 grape tomatoes) with 100% success.  While I plan to move them to a different location, I’ll definitely grow them again.  The photo below is my own – actual vine-ripened fruit.

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4. Milkweed

We can’t get enough enjoyment from watching the caterpillar-to-butterfly cycle of life.  Our butterfly garden could benefit from some freshly cultivated cuttings of this hardy plant.

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5. Zinnias

The sturdiest blooming plant that I know of for producing cut flowers.  The prickly stems aggravate my allergies terribly, but I keep coming back for more of the colorful old fashioned garden blossoms that give us the prettiest ever bouquets all summer long (image below from our very own cutting garden).

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6. Amaryllis

The previous homeowners left a few bulbs behind and we relocated them to a new bedding area where they appear to be happily thriving.  Last spring we saw blooms, thankfully, and are counting on more in 2014.

source: Gardening with Nature

7. Hummingbird bush

Probably not its technical name, but it absolutely attracts hummingbirds and that’s what we like around here.  We noticed one rogue plant that sprouted up unexpectedly in a remote part of the landscape, but that’s what we love about this nectar plant.

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8. Parsley

As I discovered through observation, this plant is a biennial, so I need to germinate new seeds each year. Easy to grow, it’s a true staple for our kitchen garden.

source: Buffalo-Niagaragardening.com

9. Basil

Another easy-care kitchen garden inhabitant, we’re enjoying 3 varieties – sweet basil, thai basil and lime basil. The Thai basil is incredibly robust, but we use sweet basil most frequently for culinary purposes.  New seedlings will be germinating soon.

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10. Compost

We bought a compost barrel last spring and have been adding clippings, coffee grounds and paper scraps for months. The barrel’s contents will provide hearty nourishment to the garden soil come springtime. In 2014 we’ll focus on increasing the portion of paper bulk in the barrel and eliminating woody organic matter that takes a long time to break down.

source: Urban Farmer

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stay tuned for more {best of 2013} in another day or two :)

thank you for stopping by!

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wintry seashore mantel & diy details

December 26, 2013

decorating for the holidays or any day is nearest to my heart when it highlights the things I love most.  our ocean kissed fireplace mantle includes mixed seasonal greenery, some of our cherished seashore treasures and a homesweet homemade button garland.

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carrying the wintry woodland feeling to the tabletop with homesweet homemade style, it’s a humble clothespin holding a snip of greenery along with the dinner guest’s name …

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and clusters of twigs wrapped with fabric and tied with twine, mixed with greenery and candles on a plate charger.

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as always, I’m most serene when I have the chance to bring beautiful natural elements indoors .  wishing you a cozy warm winter :)

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Feathered Nest Friday

Whipperberry

Craft Dictator

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