Sunday, March 8, 2015

Garden is a go. I repeat, garden is a go!

So yesterday we actually had some sunshine and it was warm enough to want to be outdoors. So I went to a budget friendly "no frills" garden center by my house because they had been advertising 99 cent vegetable and herb plants.

I filled up the entire back seat of the car with vegetable and herb plants.

The little transplant size plants were all larger and healthier than the $3 ones from the big box store nurseries and home improvement centers. So I got all I wanted to plant.

I got peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, oregano, thyme, mint, cilantro, parsley, watercress, dill, lemon balm, thyme, and some mixed variety marigold flowers. More herbs than veggies. Because I can put herbs in smaller pots. Veggies need very big pots usually and they are at a premium in my garden.

I also got a nice big aloe vera plant because I haven't had one of those in years. I had a huge one from my mom when we lived in an apartment and somebody swiped it off of my porch. They had to climb into my back patio to get it which really pissed me off.

But that's it for plants.

Now, to get them all planted.

Today it's gonna rain. Monday it's gonna rain. The rest of the week it may or may not rain. Early next week looks clear. I'll do as much as I can as I can do it. I just need to keep the baby plants alive until I can transplant them.

Now that I have the bulk of the garden planned, all I have to do is pick up little colorful flowers a few at a time to add here and there for eye candy, and some varieties that attract bees and other pollinators.

I'm glad I went to the garden center when I did. We stopped back in on the way home from our afternoon out so I could get the basil plants I forgot and they were incredibly picked over. Easily 60% of the herb/veggie stock was sold in the 8 hours I was off doing other stuff. I guess everybody came out in the sunshine to start their gardens. The employee said that's pretty much it for most of the veggies and herbs. They get what they get and then they don't get any more of most of it. I may go back when it's not raining to get chive plants if they still have any. I forgot to get chives yesterday and my established plants look pretty raggedy from the light freezes we had.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

And I still haven't started my Spring garden. Along with other random stuff.

Because the weather has completely sucked. It's either raining or cold, or both. On the rare days it's not, the dirt is still too wet to work with.

I've decided to just do a small garden this year. Probably focusing on herbs and flowers. I still have plenty of time to plant a lot of vegetables though. Who knows. I haven't even been to a plant nursery yet. I keep meaning to go to the big box budget nursery near my house because they have 99 cent herb and veggie starter plants. I'll get a bunch of herbs there for sure. Probably cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and mint. Thyme if they have it. And some peppers I guess. Fairy Tale eggplant if they have them as well. Maybe I can convince my friend to go with me tomorrow, or just go by myself and get it done.

I don't know why I can't get into gardening this year. Usually it's something I really look forward to. I guess the sucky weather has a lot to do with it. I'll do something. Even if it's just a few peppers, a bunch of herbs and colorful annual flowers. But I'm just not feeling it this year for some reason.

So, the perfume sampler thing has been fun. I've tried all of the fragrances at least once, and narrowed down to two final contenders: Alien and Black Orchid. I think that if Dear Husband and I go anywhere near a mall with a Sephora this coming weekend, I will actually flip a coin to decide which to trade my voucher in for and go ahead and get it. I really want both, but neither more than the other. I am not good with decisions, especially ones that don't have serious consequences, so flipping a coin is probably going to happen in the parking lot of whatever mall we happen to pass by.

I got my artist trading cards in the mail on the due date, I forgot to take photos of the other 3 categories. But I will be getting one of each of my own back when the swapmistress sends everything out. So here is how the swaps work. We pick a category or theme, and make as many identical or near identical projects as there are people in the swap. They do the same. So for example, there were 9 ATC swappers. I made 9 identical cards, the other swappers made 9 identical cards, I get 9 different cards back in the mail, including one of my own. I signed up for 4 categories. Spring, Beach, Halloween, and Vintage. The projects were a bit of a challenge because my normal paper crafting style is extremely minimalist and simple. Most ATCs have a lot of mixed media and collage work. This swap was with a scrapbook and card making oriented group so I just used up supplies in my paper craft hoard.

I still have 3 charm swaps to complete (Spring, Easter, and Hobbit/LOTR). An altered tin, and I just signed up for a Summer/Beach themed shadowbox swap. I plan on getting the charms all out Monday, so that will leave me a few weeks to do the tin and then a couple months at least to do the shadow box. I procrastinated the Hobbit/LOTR charms because I know what I want to do (a book quote) but not how I want to do it. I can do soldered edge glass pendants with paper sandwiched between the glass. I can do the same kind of thing but a piece of glass adhered over paper in a metal frame. Soldering will take forever because I have to make 12. I don't like the bails on the pendants that are trays that hold a glass piece. I may go back to the craft store to look for something else. But then again, if I just sit my ass down and start working on it, I can pull off the soldered version with no problems. In the end, that is probably what I will end up doing. All I have to do is foil the edges of 1X1 squares, solder over the foil, and then spot solder a ring at the top to attach the clasp. It's more tedious than picky work. I have everything I need. Plenty of foil tape, a new pack of solder, and a new bottle of flux. And I did order a bunch of little glass squares at one point for a small project so there are more than enough left over to complete this one.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Random update on random stuff.

First off, I haven't done diddly with my garden. Days the weather is nice I am busy. Days I'm free, the weather is awful. Today my friend who is going to be helping me with my garden this year has the day off, but we had a very uncharacteristic cold front come through and it's barely getting past 40 degrees today. So he and I are not going to be doing any gardening. Maybe going through seed packets. But from the comfort and warmth of my kitchen table.

I also got behind with my craft swap projects and have several to finish by the end of the week. None are particularly involved. Just some artist trading cards and charms for charm bracelets. Still, I had planned on not procrastinating this time and am pretty frustrated at letting it all get away from me. I also have to clean up my craft room because we are rearranging the furniture and replacing my easy chair with a futon/sofa my grandmother in law needs to find a new home for. I figure it's more room to sit and put my feet up and work in comfort, and if we have a guest and don't want to stick them on the sofa, it makes out into a full size bed. It's like a futon but has a nicer "mattress".

I've also been procrastinating starting Youtube videos. I am going to jump right in and do the whole vlog thing. I have ideas for videos I want to do, I just need to sit down and do them. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have at least one up. I find myself watching a bunch of vlogs of people who I either have something in common with or who just seem interesting and fun to watch.

I also have to henna my hair. It looks like warmed over ass. Oh, and I got a haircut. I have not been to a salon since late 2008. Seriously. I had grown out hair just above my hips in the back with grown out blunt bangs just to my chin in the front. I stopped in a salon in the mall on a pure whim Friday the 13th got a long layered cut, with the center back a few inches above my waist, and gradual long layers all the way around, the shortest one being right around my jawline. It's different but I like it. I'll probably grow it back out again though. I'll keep getting the layers, I like the fullness it gives. It looks awesome when I roll it with thick hot curlers, gives my straight hair some body and wave.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Early Valentine's Day present - Perfume Sampler, and fragrance talk.

So this came in the mail today, an early Valentine's Day / Anniversary present from my husband. The concept is, you get a box with a bunch of sample size spray vials of different fragrances, and it includes a voucher that you take to a Sephora store and use it to get a small full size bottle (most are one ounce) of one of the sample fragrances.  Which is a great gift for somebody who loves fragrance.

And I do love fragrance. I have loved fragrance since I was only allowed to wear Tinkerbell cologne and Love's Baby Soft. Which is most of my life.

I have no idea which one of these fragrances I will pick to use my voucher with. I asked for it assuming that I would want Thierry Mugler's "Alien" because I tried that in a department store during the holidays and loved it. But the more I sniff at the samples, the less sure I am of which one I like best.

Tom Ford's "Black Orchid" is right up my alley. As is Elizabeth and James' "Nirvana Black".  And some of  the softer and fresher ones might be good for hot weather. I guess all I can do is try a different one every day, narrow it down to a top 3, then use up those sample vials to make my decision.

My all time favorite fragrances come from the Oriental category. Woods, spice, heavier florals, amber, vanilla, musk, etc... I don't like soft florals as much, nor do I like sweet candy scents as much. Fresh and clean fragrances, especially tangy citrus or green herbal ones are good for me when it's hot. But I really prefer spicy, woodsy fragrances with some vanilla and amber. Jasmine is one of the few flowers I really like, along with ylang-ylang and gardenia.

That being said, I like to have a little bit of diversity in my fragrance wardrobe for days I'm in the mood for something sweeter, more feminine, softer, or fresh and clean.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Container vegetable gardening plans for February 2015

So, it's time to plant a few things in the garden here in the Houston, TX area. It seems like it should be much too early for veggies, but we are in a warm planting zone (8B, maybe closer to 9A at my house since I live less than 10 miles from Galveston Bay).

My to-do list for February includes:

- Transplant blueberry bushes into their new containers, fertilize, and prune away dead branches. They got neglected during the heat of late Summer and suffered some damage. But all 4 are still alive and can be salvaged. They just need some TLC and slightly bigger pots to spread out in. I'm planting them in a different area that will get a little bit of shelter from late afternoon sunshine to see if it helps some.

- Shop for baby kohlrabi plants and get them into their containers. The home improvement centers usually have plenty of them this time of year. I won't grow a ton of them, although I do enjoy eating both the bulbs and the leaves. But really it's only me who likes them. I have seeds maybe I'll try them out. I'll look into it more to see which is my best bet.

- Get radish seeds started. My husband LOVES radishes. He will scrub them, slice them thin, sprinkle seasoned salt on them, and eat them raw as a snack. They're about one of the easiest things a gardener can grow. And they will grow in smaller containers. I like to grow them in window box shaped containers that don't take up much room. They're an early crop or a late crop here, cool weather only or else they bolt, go to seed, and the radishes are stunted and taste awful.

- Potatoes can be planted right now. I want to give bucket potatoes a try this year. Probably not a lot of them, maybe 6 buckets. I just tossed a sprouty potato that was forgotten in the pantry, wish I had held onto it and planted it. For some reason I thought potatoes were a late Summer crop here. Nope, the planting guide I use says now. So off to the nursery I go this week to find a bag of starter potatoes. I'm wanting to try and find purple potatoes. But really since this is a first time thing, any potatoes will work for me.

- Anything that is being grown for leaves can be started now. Lettuce, cabbage, greens, chard. I have a bunch of lettuce and chard seeds to plant, maybe kale too? It's not on my chart but I bet I can get at least baby kale leaves before it gets too hot.

- Turnips. I have some seeds, so why not? I'll plant them in the container where I will be planting melons later in the season and grow them for the green tops.

That's pretty much all that can be grown right now that I want to grow. It's a good time for broccoli too. If I can find some cheap plants at the nursery maybe I'll give it another go this year. I never have a lot of luck with it though. They make pretty plants, but we get early high temperatures here and they tend to bolt and flower before I get decent sized heads of broccoli to harvest. But the flowers are pretty and you can actually eat them in a salad.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spring theme ATC

So, here is the final product.  I  swapped out the orange strip for a  yellow one. I just have to make 6 more then on to my next set.  

I used a patterned paper from the craft store for the base, adhered to an ATC blank. I took a Gelly stardust clear sparkle pen and traced around the flower vines on the patterned paper for some sparkle. Then I stacked some Recollections brand paper flowers in the colors scheme I picked and traced lines on them with the sparkle pen and attached them in a stack with a white enamel brad from Recollections, also. The tag at the bottom is a basic yellow cardstock to match the yellow in the flowers, and the letters are silver paper cut on the Cricut. I edged the card and letter tag with silver ink to pick up the sparkle some and bring it all together. The sparkle is a lot more subtle in person than with the flash photograph. But it adds a little something to the design. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spring theme ATC (artist trading card)

My spring themed ATC for a swap. It's just the prototype, I have to make 8 more like it. Also the silver letters are my first project using the Cricut machine. I think I'm going to go back and change it up a bit. Use the same yellow on the letter strip as is in the flower. I don't know what I was thinking.  I've got a bad case of crafters' block.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Projects I'm working on. Lots of crafting and swappin' going on!

So I belong to a couple of online craft and gift swap groups. I signed up for a few recently to do a variety of different projects.

Artist trading cards, charms, an altered tin, and a gift box.

I figured that having specific projects with due dates would motivate me to be creative again.

I also got some new supplies to use. I finally got myself an electronic die cutting machine. I went with the Cricut Explore because I found it for a good price, and it seemed the easiest to use, based on my past experience with programs used to make cards and other printable projects. All I had to do was plug it in, set it up, and get working on a project. Later today I need to go back to the craft store and buy a little palette knife or similar tool to use to pick the small pieces off. I used it make a bunch of letters tonight and my fingernails are not up to the task of picking them off the sticky mat. I had been wanting an electronic die cutter for a long time but was not willing to spend the money on it until I was well and truly certain that I would actually use the thing enough to justify the expense.

I also need to get a refill for my Xyron so I can make the letters self-sticking, and not have to try and glue them down with a fine-tip adhesive pen. If they even make the refills for it. All I have is the tiny X shaped one. I may have a refill on hand, but when it's used up, that's it.

I'll post photos as I get things completed.