Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden Pictures, Uncut - Warning: This is Scarey!

DISCLAIMER:  The following pictures are not for gardeners who are faint of heart.  
These are not "before" pictures.  These are not "after" pictures.  These are "during" or "in process" pictures.
We had a sun-shiny, no rain day today - the first in several days.  I had to take advantage of the situation and, although I was only in the garden for two and a half hours, did manage to get a fair amount of work done.  Can't tell it, can you?
These pictures are all of my one large garden.  I haven't yet shown you the several small ones in front of the house, the one at the side of the house or any of them in back of the house.  Can you see why it all has to be raked clean before major weed-pulling can take place?  
I allowed many of the annuals to go to seed in hopes that some will replant themselves (this does happen here in Tennessee, where the winter temperatures are seldom below zero).   Unfortunately, I also allowed many last year's weeds to go to seed as well.  Why is it that weed offspring is always more hearty than ornamental offspring?
The crocus are gone but this garden does have its share of daffodils.  The tulips are in other gardens.  Most of the green you see is new growth from iris, Oriental poppies, several varieties of day lilies and torch lilies and gladiolus.  Although the next picture might look like a trash dump, it's actually where I threw some stones that I plan to use to help complete my garden path in this garden and a couple old wooden ladders that I use to set pots on.
This is one of the wheelbarrows I filled up today.  It is obviously at the end of the garden where I haven't quite started, I mean, finished raking.
The next photo is a shot of part of the back of the garden where I managed to work some on the path and planted some zinnias.
I barely started the actual entrance to the garden, as witnessed by the fact this wheelbarrow has such a small amount of debris in it and the container next to it isn't overflowing yet, either.
I did get quite a few sticks and other debris in this one, but trust me when I say that I somehow manage to pack them all to overflowing.  
Meanwhile, the grass is green but quickly growing.  My hubby likes to say that the mowing is his job (and it generally is); however, I do help him with it sometimes.  Kinda hard to take care of that, plus all the flower gardens, the house, the parrots, the laundry, the shop - I think I need a butler.  And a maid.  Heck with that, I need a WIFE of my own!
Leave comments - this month's drawing is in two days!
Peace, love and blessings!

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm Getting Egg-centric!

Yep, I'm still playing with eggs!  What do I plan on doing with all of them?  (*Shrugging my shoulders*) Beats me!  I'll probably put this nest in our shop.  If you want to make a similar nest, this is just a little grapevine wreath that I spray-misted white.  I added a bottom by cutting a piece of felt to fit the wreath and just glued it on.  The paper is shredded leftover wallpaper.  The eggs are plastic that I spray painted, then handpainted.  Three eggs are large, two are small.  The small two have beads in the middle of the flowers.  All of them were finished with a glitter shower.
It's been raining the last two days here.  It did wait a couple of hours today before it started, and I was able to geta few minutes of  leaf and weed raking/pulling in.  I pulled this picture of our angel out of my files to remind me that yes, it is all worth it.  (She stands in the middle of my largest flower garden)
And, I just finished these mixed media hang tags.  I decided to make a set of five and call them "Spring Fever", as it seems that there is a lot of this contagious disease going around.
Mama bunny here is my favorite in this group.  
Just wanted you to know what has been going on in my little corner of the world.  What have you been up to in yours?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wine and Roses and The Truth about Cheap Electricity

He brought roses home to me, along with some wine and (cheap) champagne.  I love cheap champagne and prefer it and cheap wine (NOT Ripple) to their more expensive counterparts.  
We still haven't gone out to celebrate; I told him several days ago that I really preferred to cook our meal instead of going out.  Hopefully, he didn't take me at my word.
  Just kidding - I really do prefer to stay in, especially when the economy is the worst it's ever been in my adult lifetime.
He and I the other night were talking about the electric companies having higher rates during the "peak" time of day (basically between 8:00AM and 6:00PM).  I've heard that for so many years that I don't remember the source, etc. but have always tried to do things like dry heavier wash loads in the evening to save on electricity.  I thought about posting the information on this blog, then decided to first check out the validity first.
I'm glad I did.  Here's what I found:  Is Electricity Cheaper at Night?
I hope you click on that link.  There's good information about energy saving appliances that you might find interesting, along with the low down on cheaper electric times.  
Thanks for all your good wishes for our anniversary!  I appreciate your comments and just plain love you all!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary to US, Back Yard Notes & Getting Ready for Easter

LOTS of pictures today - so please be patient!
TODAY is my hubby and my Happy Anniversary!  We've been especially busy lately and today won't be an exception.  However, he's spent a lot of time (suspiciously) trying to hide the fact he's making phone calls.  I don't know what he has in store, but I do know this - it will probably take place this weekend.
We changed one of our shop booths into a more outdoorsy-looking theme.  I removed the hearts from the arrangements that didn't sell for Valentine's Day and replaced them with colorfully decorated eggs.  There are so many other pictures that will be loading today so I'll show you only this one.  You can see part of our concrete menagerie that we're selling.  A vintage panther is crouched at the door when you enter this area.
This morning, I peeked out the back door (as I always do) to see what was going on back there.  Birds have been building their nests and flowers have been popping up everywhere, so I always get to see something new this time of year.
When I looked toward my biggest flower garden, I noticed that something was dangling from the duplex birdhouse over there.  I slipped on my husband's shoes so I could go outside and get a closer look.  (I guess I really need to get some comfy shoes for outdoors that I can just slip on and off without having to lace them.  Trouble is, they can't be backless because I would slide out of them on this hillside.)  Anyway, here's what I saw!  I think that probably a troublemaking bird (bluejay, mocking bird, etc.) decided to destroy the nest that one of the songbirds had started making.  Hubby said he thinks that one of the songbirds had started pulling out the old nest from last year to build anew.  This is one of those disagreements that won't be solved without calling in the Birdy CSIs.  In other words, we'll never know.
I then proceeded to walk around the patio to see what colors we have going.  It looks like a yellow scheme for now.  A lot of our daffodils are blooming and will continue to do so for at least another couple weeks.
Doesn't this little reader look serene sitting there ?  She has a real secret, though.  She has a splitting headache.    See that hole in the top of her head?  Probably the result of a rock thrown from the mower last year.   Oh - I almost forgot to show you this:   
These were all full yesterday from the raking and pulling of weeds I did from just PART of the big garden.  If I get a chance to go outside today, they'll all be full again very soon.   
This is the whiskey barrel that Mr. and Mrs. Whittle live in.  We bought them several years ago.  In fact, they were the first garden statuary we purchased together.  (Someone, please start humming a verse of "Memories" in the background...")  It won't be long before the iris that surrounds them will be in full beauty.  This shot is immediately in back of our patio.  You probably recognize tulip leaves; the fuzzy-fern looking leaves belong to Oriental poppies.  (These poppies are grown from a root versus seed.) If you look toward the bottom of the picture, you'll see weeds that need pulling.  So, don't look there.   
This is a picture of my hubby's hand holding an old button and pennies.  He was working on this old door he found for the shop and happened to see some change hidden behind the keyhole.  It excites him to find money, even if it is just pennies.  There was one wheat penny in there.  He worked really hard for this 18¢.  Did you stuff pennies in strange places when you were a kid?  I did.  I wonder if the back steps at the house I grew up in have ever been replaced.  Because I KNOW of at least one silver dime that exists down deep in one of the cracks.
And, lastly, I've been playing around - oops, I mean, working - getting ready for the Easter bunny.  Here's a hang tag I made:
...and a paper egg...
...another fabric egg...
...and a styrofoam egg that looks like a real egg, painted.
There's more, but that's probably more than enough pictures for one post.  Take care and have a tremendously blessed day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Flea Market and Giftaway Info!

  It's Friday and that means it's Flea Market Time!  Instead of listing the items I have for sale , I've decided to just post my Etsy Shoppe link and hope you have the time to visit there.  However, I'm running a special for those of you who read my blog; if you see anything you like, let me know and you can have it for 15% off!  Just let me know that you saw the offer on this blog!
Please click on the polka-dotted logo to see a listing of all the participants!  
Remember that last month's Giftaway was a surprise package?  Well, Dummy here forgot to take a picture of the surprises before she mailed them out.  Last month's winner, Patricia Rose, posted a picture on her blog and I've "borrowed" it:    She said she thinks the big fuzzy bee is quite a character and put it next to her computer, as it makes her smile when she looks at it.  
Remember, all you need to do to qualify for my monthly Giftaway is leave a comment on this blog!  Just wait until you see what I have planned for March!  
Wishing you an abundance of blessings for the weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Look Who's Back and My Husband is Playing Around

Yes, it's GERTRUDE!  Prince Charming was no where to be seen.  Maybe it's too early for them to be amorous.  Not familiar with Gertrude and the Prince?  Click HERE for their love story.
    While I was busy outside clicking pictures of Gertrude and raking the sticks, leaves and various debris that Old Man Winter blew onto the gardens, my husband was playing around.  I came into our house, started toward the office and our computer and noticed that our bedroom door was closed.  I could hear him in the kitchen, snickering.  
     Opening the door, I discovered...  He goes back to work tomorrow.  And I'll actually miss him.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now You REALLY See it and a Furniture Re-do

Okay, even I will admit that this is probably a strange picture.  Let me explain, but first, let me tell you that I really have to keep an eye on my husband whenever we go to estate sales.  For example, on this one particular day I must have left him alone for all of three minutes (maybe four) to go to the Ladies' Room.  I returned to find out that he had just bought two department store mannequins.  He was so proud of himself!  He knows I love dress forms and figured they were in the same general category.  
     I wasn't about to hurt his feelings and didn't point out to him that what he bought was two mannequin tops, one Caucasian and one Black, two mannequin bottoms, both Caucasian, two left Black arms and one left Black hand.  Both mannequin tops were bald.  Take a moment to mentally put those pieces together, then when you do, take another moment to giggle at that visual.  
     Finally, a couple weeks later after he continued to ask me why they were still sitting in pieces in our study, I broke down and told him why his purchase wasn't really something I could immediately use.  So, I put the Caucasian top and bottom together, decided to call her "Venus", and loaded her up for the shop.  Imagine my surprise when someone purchased her "as is" a couple days ago.
     Now, what to do with the second mannequin with a Black top, Caucasian bottom, two Black arms and one Black hand?  Simple - I would keep both arms off her and cover her torso in bright tissue paper.  Thus, the photo above.
     The "Now you REALLY see it" part of this post?  Well, now you REALLY see my studio when I am working in part of it.  Note the bags hanging from my chair, the crap 
 supplies piled on top of my work table and file drawers.  
     Yep - now you REALLY see my studio.
     Now, back to the mannequin:  I ended up completely repainting her face because it was so badly scratched and scuffed and this is what her top part looks like as it sits in our living room waiting for the bottom part of her to dry.  I love the way her face looks now!  Gone is her blue eyeshadow and deep scratches!
     And this is our cockatoo, Bailey, believing that he now has a new friend.  He hasn't stopped talking to her all afternoon.     As soon as I put her in the chair, he said, "Hi!" and then, "Whatcha doin'?"  After she didn't answer, he asked "Hmmm?"  He must have decided that his shy new friend just didn't have much to say.  
     Last but not least, I had to show you this furniture re-do that my hubby finished.  This white cabinet was in really bad shape.  It had broken glass panes, only one glass shelf, a broken bottom door and a paint job that rivaled the one my daughter did the time she decided to paint the fixtures in the bathroom with my makeup.  She was two when that happened.
We really needed a way to display our nicer glass pieces in the shop.  This is what the cabinet looks like today:    It's gorgeous!  He may make strange purchases at estate sales, but he's definitely still a keeper!

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Award, An Egg-spurt and Dumb Colds opposed to smart colds, of course.  Hubby, just last week, came home from work with the beginning signs of the Sniffles.  Uh-oh.  These things never end there.  Of course, the Sniffles progressed into a full-fledged nasty Cold and, just as he was beginning to show signs of being better, I came down with it.  And I, being the giving person that I am, passed it right back to him.  So now we are both into a full-fledged nasty old stupid old cold.  Since we are both prone to bronchitis and I have what they call a "compromised immune system" because of medications I take, I can easily progress into pneumonia.  We went to see our family doctor this afternoon and he gave us meds that should knock the socks off any infection.  Hopefully, we'll both be able to once again breathe with our mouths closed.
Many, many thanks to Patricia Rose for thinking highly enough of me to pass this award my way:    This award is accompanied by the following words:
"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. " Please give more attention to these 8 writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."
It's difficult to choose only eight bloggers, as there are so many of you and all of you are special, charming and meet the criteria!  
     Here are the ones I finally chose, in no particular order:
1. Mary - MeGardenGal
          2.  Margo - RoboJunker
          4.  Tracey - A Cottage Industry
          5.  Vickie - Sand Flat Farm
          6.  Lynda - Prim on a Whim
          7.  Cynthia - Rust and Splinters
          8.  YOU!  Please add the logo and the rules to your blog and pass it along!
I also have a quick, shameless self-promotion of my Etsy for you!  I've listed this vintage sewing drawer, perfect for a small stash of needles and thread, as well as several yards of white stretch lace and several yards of trim.  PLEASE, if you are making a wedding gown, costume, etc. that you can use stretch lace for, take a look!  It's beautiful and I'm selling it for only fifty cents a yard!  I really need to de-stash my huge stash.
And finally, yes - I've had an Egg-spurt.  This is what I've been working on the last couple of days:  
This Victorian-style egg with the cameo is the only one that isn't sugar-glittered on both sides.  
I still have to decide whether I want to put these on Etsy or in our shop.  If you're interested in any of them, email me at - they're about the size of duck eggs (larger than chicken eggs) and are made of fabric (felt), ribbons, ric-rack, buttons, polyfil, faux pearls, and different baubles and bling-y things I have in my studio.  The Victorian egg is $5.50 plus postage (no additional fees) and the others are $4.00 each plus postage.  I'll wait a couple days before either listing them or packing them up for the shop.
And, many thanks to ALL OF YOU who took the time to add my Etsy shop to your favorites list!  Thanks to you, I now almost look popular!  
I had to put this little bird in the pictures because it's just so darned cute!
Love to all of you!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Frugal Thoughts, Fresh Trash and Dogs in Heaven

       Yes, it IS a strange title.  But bear with me; there really is good info here, Folks!
       First, the frugal thoughts thing.  I was reading Mary's blog a few days ago and her post on making your own laundry soap caught my eye.  I figured, hey, if it's good enough for her it's good enough for me.  I've seen pictures of her home.  It's to die for.  Believe me, if you're going to copy someone, she's a good one to emulate.  
        I decided to google even more homemade cleaning detergents.  Have you seen the cost of dishwashing detergent?  Mine was getting low, and there's no time like the present to try my hand at making the stuff.  Here's the recipe I used, courtesy of "TipNut":
Liquid Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

1 part baking soda 1 part borax 1 part water 1 drop lemon or orange essential oil per cup of detergent

  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly and store in a sealable jug.
  • Use 2 to 3 TBS per load.

If you’re having a cloudy dishes problem after using the homemade detergents:

  • Try adding a few drops of liquid dishsoap to the powder compartment when you add the powder.
  • You could also try cutting back on the amount of soap used (if you’re using 2 TBS, try cutting it back to 1 - 1 1/2 TBS).
  • Make sure to use vinegar in the rinse cycle
...and here's the result:    ...and I forgot to add vinegar to the rinse water.
I KNOW we've all noticed how laundry detergents have been "concentrated down" in their packaging.  Of course, the manufacturers don't put the fact that their product that once cleaned 40 washloads now cleans 32, AND for the SAME LOW PRICE!  How lucky are we?!  
Here is a page full of laundry detergent recipes:
         I used the same one that Mary used; recipe #4 is the closest one to it.  These recipes seem to be pretty forgiving, so don't feel like you have to be super precise in your measuring.  
Anyway, I finally found Fels Naptha Soap at Ace Hardware (where, BTW, the clerk asked if I was going to make my own soap - she evidently has been selling a lot of Fels Naptha lately!) and promptly started mixing my potions.  
       I even copied Mary's idea for measuring the dry soap (a child's toy teacup is great!).    You'll find plenty of recipes on the Tipnut link, including some for fabric softener.  
Now, for a really easy trash-to-treasure!  Hubby found this outdoor table that someone had literally kicked to the curb.
  A good scrubbing and a couple cans of spray paint later:    There are a couple spots that I need to touch up but today is no longer Spring.  It's in the 40's and it's damp and gloomy.  Not good weather for outdoor painting of any kind!
Finally, I received this email from a high school friend (yes, I still have friends from high school!) and thought I would share with you:
Here's one for you. A man and his dog were walking along a road The man was enjoying the scenery,  when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He  remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years.  He wondered where the road was leading them. After a  while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It  looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall  arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he  was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like  mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He  and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a  desk to one side. When he  was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?' 'This is  Heaven, sir,' the man answered. 'Wow!  Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked. 'Of  course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.' The man gestured, and the gate began to open. 'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked. 'I'm  sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.' The man  thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.   After  another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road  leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There  was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book 'Excuse  me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?' 'Yeah,  sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.' 'How about  my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.   'There  should be a bowl by the pump.' They went through the gate,and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.  The  traveler filled the water bowl and tooka long drink himself,then he gave some to the dog.   When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree. 'What do  you call this place?' the traveler asked. 'This is  Heaven,' he answered. 'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.' 'Oh, you  mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.' 'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'   'No,  we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best  friends behind.'