Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Best Weekend Ever, Part 2

Oh boy, has this weekend been amazing so far - and there are still two days left in it for me!

So, where did I leave off? Friday morning. OK, so I planned to fill the boxes, add the grid, and plant on Friday, but blending the five different composts and then mixing the compost with the peat moss and vermiculate took forever! By the time I was done and realize that I needed just a bit more, it was time to pick up Michele.

Off to the truck stop I went and then we came home and, while Michele took a nap, I mixed up the last batch of "soil" and topped off the boxes. Michele then helped me tack on the grids and the boxes were done! Aren't they pretty? At that point, I only had the seeds I planned to plant and didn't really have time to go buy seedlings, so we called it a very productive day.

Saturday morning we went to the public market (a farmer's market type establishment here in Rochester - very cool) and got about a million seedlings and a flat of the prettiest marigolds (which happen to be my favorite flower tied with tulip). We still didn't have time to plant anything on Saturday because I had a date planned with my very favorite friend, Deb: lunch and a show. We saw the best show, Five Course Love, and I highly recommend it!

Bright and early Sunday morning found Michele and I planting the seeds and seedlings. Oh, so wonderful. We planted tomatoes galore, cucumbers - three kinds, melons, lettuce, strawberries, beets, potatoes - red and white, broccoli, cauliflower, white, purple, and green beans, red, green, and orange peppers, orange watermelon (strangely no red), onions, chives, corn, squash - yellow and zucchini, and, of course, carrots! We planted the expected orange carrot. Plus, I got a pack of seeds that shows a picture of purple, red, and white carrots, but in actuality the carrots will be salmon, white, and yellow (no clue why the purple, white, and red picture is on the front.) [And, inquiring minds: it is believed that the first domestic carrots where purple (5000 years ago)! Orange carrots are pretty "new." There are still purple, red, white, yellow, etc. carrots around, but just salmon, yellow, orange, and white in my garden!]
After planting, Michele and I met our lovely friends Tina, Kathryn, and "baby" Ada for my favorite breakfast at IHOP, after which Michele jumped for joy at the prospect of heading home to more gardening! Much fun was had by all!

Now, tomorrow, my actual birthday will be even more extra special. We're having a barbecue and guess what's going on the grill? If you guessed carrots, which will become carrot dogs, you guessed right, but more on that tomorrow!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Best Weekend Ever, Part 1

This is the morning of the first day of the best weekend ever. It's my birthday weekend, Michele will be home soon, and, well, what more do I need for this to qualify as the best weekend ever?

Actually the bestness of it started earlier in the week. As I mentioned yesterday, I've been aggressively gardening so that I don't worry so much about my dad. Well, ever since I started my veggie gardening last year, I've wanted to do Square Foot Gardening this year. So I bought my lumber and built my boxes on Wednesday evening. Very fun - I love building things! Then, yesterday evening, I placed them where I wanted them in the yard, layed weed cloth along the rows, and mulched with 100% recycled tire mulch (pretty cool, huh?). I also got all the stuff to make the potting mix to go in the boxes: 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost (don't ask me why I didn't use the lovely compost I've been cooking since last year. It's very sore subject!) Today, I plan to mix up the mix, fill the boxes, add the distinctive Square Foot Gardening grid, and plant away! I'll let you know later what all I plan to grow this year. I will give you one hint: carrots...and they are not all orange!
The bestness didn't consign itself only to the garden, either! I came home today to find that my tree had been yarn bombed by my good friend and crocheting vigilante, Karen! What a colorful birthday treat!!


Yarn Bombing is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk. The practice is believed to have originated in the U.S. with Texas knitters trying to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects, but has since spread worldwide. While other forms of graffiti may be expressive, decorative, territorial, socio-political commentary, advertising or vandalism, yarn bombing is almost exclusively about beautification and creativity.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Roller Coaster Ride

From the end of last week to the beginning of this week, my family has been on a roller coaster ride of fear and concern as my dad went into surgery on his back and then spent a few days in ICU - not a place you want to spend much time or want your loved one to spend much time, that's for sure, but the nurses were so kind (and didn't fuss at us too much when we disobeyed the 2-person-at-a-time rule and ignored the posted visiting hours.) The eight-hour surgery much improved the feeling in his legs and his ability to walk, but took a toll on him and all of us! It's hard seeing my parents sick or hurt. Thankfully, my dad is now home and working hard with a physical therapist to recover rapidly and well.

The day I got home from the hospital in Georgia, I slept for seven hours, got up, ate, and then went to bed for the night. Feeling much improved, the next day I worked in my garden. My dad had been released and was feeling good and I found gardening to be a great way to keep my mind off the stuggles he'll have over the next few months as he recovers. There's nothing like fresh air, nature, sun, and dirt to really bring you back to life!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giddy Like a Child

My birthday is coming up and I am just giddy with excitement - just like I have been for the past 35 years and will hopefully be for the next 35! I've always adored my birthday - that one day a year that is solely mine(although I do share mine with my Uncle Logan and Clint Eastwood). A birthday is like a holiday just for you! Which is funny because my birthday often (about every seven years! LOL!) falls on a national holiday - Memorial Day - so it REALLY feels like it's my own personal holiday. I still remember so many fun birthdays:

  • My 9th birthday party when we play Red Rover and I ended up getting clotheslined and getting the wind knocked out of me and staining my birthday dress - it was still fun, though! Red Rover is such a great game!
  • My 10th birthday when I got a wallet and a purse for my new military ID card - boy did I love showing that off!
  • My 16th birthday party that my brother threw for me - such a sweet brother I have!
  • My 21st birthday that I celebrated at the roller rink - not drinking, since none of us drank
  • My 25th birthday for which all my coworkers gave me quarters since I was a quarter of a century
  • My 30th birthday that brought on an "Oh wow, how did I reach 30 without accomplishing any of my goals" crisis which led Michele and I to pick up and move to NY and buy a house
And now I approach my 35th birthday and am so excited to find out what this one holds for me! Whatever it is, I know it will be amazing, wonderful, full of life...and hopefully mouse-free!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tip for the Week: Find a HandyPerson and Make Them Love You

Michele and I have always done a lot of projects around our house. They are usually initiated by me and go something like this:
Me: Hey, how about a little home improvement project? Let's lay a new floor in the kitchen this weekend.
Michele: Ohhhh, do we have to? I have the flu and don't really feel like it.
Me: Oh come on it will be easy.
Three days, 40 hours of labor, and one sheet of vinyl cut outside on a snowy driveway later:
Me: See, that wasn't so bad and the floor looks great!
Michele (from her sick bed because she really did have the flu): ARGHHHH! NO - MORE - "LITTLE" - PROJECTS!!

But, of course, there's always another little project and we always forget that any estimated project time needs to be doubled or tripled because our house is old and things just aren't always made the way the manual says they will be!

Anyway, since Michele has been on the road, I've still had hosts of little projects that I worked on for the first year, but, as I get busier with my shop and gardening, have really fallen by the wayside. My solution: hire a handywoman - and she is truly divine! Lisa, of Lisa Golden Enterprises, is so divine that she is going to come and take care of that pesky little composting problem I mentioned yesterday - and she's willing to do it while I'm gone, so when I get home from work it will be as though it never happened! It's the next best thing to a transporter! Now that's GOLDEN!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Composting is not for the Faint of Heart -or- Was that a Mouse in My Compost Bin?

I was so enjoying working in my yard yesterday. The day was beautiful: sunny, warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt, but cool enough to still work outside. My compost bin did it's duty through the Rochester winter and was now ready to provide me with a good amount of rich wonderful compost. So, I was turning the pile in the bin to access the finished compost and I do believe I saw a mouse! I screamed bloody murder and leapt away from the bin. Rita, my savior and go-to gal for anything I cannot handle in the yard was not home, so I went to beg my other next door neighbor to come help me. I just wanted him to take out the pitch fork and close the lid so that I could pretend I didn't encounter a mouse. He graciously did so and I spent the rest of the afternoon convincing myself that I hadn't really seen a mouse - it was really a leaf that moved as I was turning the compost and from the corner of my eye it LOOKED like a mouse. Oh, how I really want to think that it was a leaf! Then, this morning, I made the mistake of googling it to see if there was any possibility that a mouse could be in my compost bin. BIG mistake!! Story after story of people finding mice in their bins, of people who understood going into it that mice would be something they could expect. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it! I can deal with a lot of things, but not that and I really have no idea what I can do about it! I need to find someone to take care of this for me - this is truly above and beyond my capabilities and tolerances! You know what would be ideal? If I could use one of the Enterprise's transporters to beam the whole mess - mice and all - out into space!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two Really Great Things to Tell You

Thing 1: My sister had throat surgery today and came through it with flying colors. Surgery of any kind has its dangers and this surgery in particular was a big concern for Kym because 1. it was to remove her cancerous thyroid and cancer is scary! and 2. it was throat surgery and she is an opera singer! Well, the removal of the thyroid went great and examination of it revealed NO cancer - the previous biopsies were either incorrect or had been inconclusive. And, I've spoken to Kym, and she said that the first thing she did upon regaining consciousness was sing a few notes to test the "opera-singing nerves" - yes, there really are nerves associated with the ability to sing opera - who knew! I'm so glad my sis is back in good working order!

Thing 2: Etsy in general and my local team (RNEST), in particular, was featured in the local paper - with a very nice picture of me in it! So fun! Here's the link to check it out.

All in all, it was a banner day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Creative Carrot-Centered Mission

As I mentioned in my last post I have a new mission. Either Mum, Deb, or Michele was brilliant and suggested this at the show. I happened to wander around to all the vendors looking at all their beautiful items and looking, without knowing I was looking, for carrots. By the end of the show, I'd harvested four beauties and one of the brilliant people named above suggested, "You should make it your mission to collect a carrot in EVERY medium!" And so that is my new goal. I thought I'd catalog the ones I have so far:

Photographic carrots: The Organic Carrot series by Chris Farnum - I actually bought the photo on the left at the food co-op, Deb gave us the photo in the middle, and I bought the photo on the right - the third in the series - from the artist herself at the show!

Felt carrots #1: Carroty Goodness family of carrot magnets by Happy Olive Designs - I commissioned these adorable magnets from my friend Sarah.
Felt carrot #2: Smilling carrot key chain by Beadwork by Amanda. This carrot I met and fell in love with at the show. Its purchase spurred the creation of the carrot below.
Needle-felted carrot: Impromptu Carrot by Peaches Products. When the lovely Casey saw how excited I was to find a carrot at her boothmate Amanda's booth she immediately reached for the fiber and started felting me a carrot. She promises to make me a forrest of them and I plan to hold her to that! The delivery of this carrot spurred the gifting of the carrot below.
Crocheted carrot: Impromptu gift carrot from Duncan Creative. When the divine Karen saw how excited I was when Casey delivered unto me my needle-felted carrot, she immediately gifted me this beautiful crocheted specimen.

Polymer clay carrot: You likely remember this gorgeous carrot crafted by Heavenly Creations (my big sis). Sometimes I just stare at it - it's such a beauty!
And now for ones that I did not buy/acquire from my favorite artisans: Ceramic carrots: I bought these during one of my mom's visits. We went to a little town with a little library and a little gift shop and found these adorable bunny/carrots (or barrots or carrunnies).
"Paper" carrot: this beauty was purchased on an anniversary trip to Skaneateles. Its made from a combination of raffia, wire, and papyrus and hangs from the ceiling in our kitchen. We (I) bought it in the morning and Michele wouldn't go back to the bed and breakfast, so I had to walk around with a three foot long carrot all day - I got some interesting looks! It was worth it, though!

Wooden carrot: This is my carrot surprise. I got this in Skaneateles, as well. I actually got two carrots and a parsnip. I decorated two small gift boxes and placed each carrot in its own box floating on a cloud of fiberfill. I haveone in my kitchen and one at work and whenever I feel down I give myself a smile by opening one - it works every time!
Rubber carrot: This handy kitchen carrot was a graduation gift from our friends Tina and Kathryn. They took us on a trip to Ithaca where we had amazing food at the Moosewood Restaurant and saw the gorges - the carrot vegetable peeler was the icing on the cake!
And now for a couple that I've made: Quilted carrots #1: Carrot Mat-a-tat-tat #1. This mat sits on my kitchen table and her sister mat, #2, graces my desk at work. So lovely. I made these from a pattern I found online, but I can't find the link. I will and I will let you know.
Quilted carrots #2: Heavenly Carrots. This quilt hangs in a place of honor in my dining room. I also made this from a pattern I found online - my very first paper piecing. I know the pattern was called Holy Carrots, but I can't find that one, either.
I've got a lot of media covered, but I can think of a few I'll be on the lookout for: painting, metalsmithed, knitted, rubber stamp (Oh, Jackbear!), glass, beadwork, hmmm, what else?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

I'm back from my furious preparations for the MayDay! show. What a blast!! Mum came and we had a great time doing a dry run of my table setup on Friday afternoon. Then we went to the venue to set up my tables on Friday night. It was my first view of the space and it was a bit of a surprise. It's a very industrial-looking space with all the walls and ceiling painted black and a very dark wood floor. I knew that my lime green table coverings would look great against all the black, but I worried about the dark (and dirty) floor and the black wall, so, the morning of the show, I grabbed the lime rug from the sun porch, a colorful lamp, and the quilt off our bed to use in my display. The rug was a great way to add a feeling of "Welcome to The Quilted House" and the quilt acted as a great backdrop once we'd hung it off the wall - and was the perfect conversation starter with my customers: "Wow! Did you make that? It's beautiful!!" The display was so colorful (and quilt so stunning, if I do say so myself) that it really caught and attracted the eye! Plus, as I did at my first show, I coordinated myself with my shop by dressing in the "company colors" of lime green and yellow and added the GORGEOUS necklace my sister made me (I need to get a better picture of it - it was a bit too dark in there to get a clear one) - it too was a great conversation started as I kept getting compliments on it! What a great sis I have!

Michele made it into town on Friday night, so was there to help us set up and brought us lunch and snacks. It was great having her there! Then, at the end of the day, Michele, Mum, our good friend, Deb, and I packed up and went off for some much-deserved ice cream! The best entourage I could have asked for!

I learned even more great tips doing this show:
  1. Rugs really help to add warmth and separate the space from the surroundings.
  2. Sheets make great table coverings - thanks, Karen and Carol for the tip! I found flat sheets in lime green for color and used a sheer white curtain on top as a neutral to set off my products - worked like a dream!
  3. I can't emphasize enough the importance of a dry run! It makes everything go so smoothly when it's time to set up at the show - even if you have to tweak things a little to adjust for the space.
I really love doing shows - it's such a thrill! The best part is meeting all the other vendors and chatting with them and customers. This show, in particular, was chock full of amazing art and crafts and the nicest, friendliest vendors ever, plus it was such a dream doing this show with Mum - one of my favorite people and just the best mom in the world! Another great part of this show was the ADORABLE crocheted "Quilted House" that my friend Karen of Duncan Creative made me! Isn't it amazing??!! More tomorrow on the talent of Karen and several other vendors at the show and my new mission. You won't want to miss it!!


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