Sunday, June 30, 2013

The RED season

I think summer arrived a bit early for Portland.  Right after the fourth of July is normal.  My garden has become very red with bee balm and penstemon and salvia and day lilies and crocosmia.... the hummingbirds are loving it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bad Yellow Jacket Season in Portland

John was stung twice today while he was moving yard debris stored in a trash can.  It turned out yellow jackets had a nest in the debris in the can.  I am allergic and John had already been stung so we called Bee Control Northwest.  Bill came and took care of it and told us Portland is in for a bad season this year.  He said that in March, when the yellow jackets were building their nests, there was a lot to eat because our mild winter meant lots of insects survived and provided food for the yellow jackets.   Also, our dry warm March weather was perfect for nest building. Remember that warm unseasonable weather we had?  Well, now we are paying for it with a huge yellow jacket population.   The last several years have had low populations but we are off to a roaring start this year and their populations double every two weeks.

So, keep your eyes open.  Watch for yellow jackets congregating and diving (into their hole).   If you see them foraging, the nest can be quite a distance away.  But if you see them diving, look for the nest.  He also told us Skin So Soft repels them, as it does many insects.  I think we may be soaking some cotton balls in Skin So Soft and putting them around the porch when we are out there, even though I find the smell of Skin So Soft revoltingly sweet.

We don't use poisons in our yard.  Yellow jackets, however, are the exception to the rule.  They are nasty creatures.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quilt fabric selection process for bed quilt

I posted about my new bed quilt idea a few days ago.  I spent a LOT of time on line finding fabrics that I want to use for the quilt.  Most are coming from Patsy Thompson.

I used the fabric sample photos in Picasa and Microsoft Photo Editor to make this mock up.  I am very happy with the colors.

The fabric design scale will not be the same because I plan to use fairly big pieces, probably bigger than the samples....I think it will still work.   The quilt design plan used pieces that are more regular in size but I kind of like it a bit wonky, as Melody Johnson says.

Let's hope the fabrics look like their photos... I've had pretty good luck with that on line, particularly with Patsy Thompson.

I am pretty jazzed about it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Susan's Fairy Garden

My friend Susan and I like fairy gardens.  Once upon a time when we lived near each other, I am sure we would have made our fairy gardens together.  Those were the days.... Now we share photos of our efforts.

Here is what Susan said about her garden:

On second thought, this is more of a gnome’s place.  The locale is my new hosta bed in fairly deep shade where there is plenty of room. Our occupants are drying herbs off to the side, elfin thyme for sure!  Lots of hot glue bun fun with a bird house from the craft store, pine cones and the right stones from the driveway, and some left-over stain that probably dates back to the 80’s.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Bed Quilt Idea

I decided to make another bed quilt.  I started with a simple pattern called Boardwalk from the Modern Quilt Workshop.  I played with the scale and the colors and here is where I am.

Here is their design and materials list

Here is their sample quilt made up.

Isn't it amazing how color and scale can change the look?

Off to Fabric Depot to see what I can find.  I think I will use batik fabrics.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kitchen Counter Lighting

No LEDs for me.  Instead I ordered various night lights... some from Amazon, some from Etsy, some from Ebay.

This photo was taken last evening.  I love the magical warmth the lights create.

The lights we like best are made by GE.  They have a punched hole pattern with a metal shade.

All my lights (except the night lights) are on dimmers and boy I use them.  We seldom have the lights all the way on.  Adjusting the amount of light, changes how the kitchen feels....  I love that.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Gift to the Street

People who walk by our house sometimes tell us how much they enjoy our garden.  We love hearing that.    I like it when people who walk in the neighborhood enjoy the garden.   I wouldn't want to be on a tour or anything (did that once; didn't like getting ready).  But I do like sharing the garden with our neighbors and those who walk by.

Many, many years ago (more than twenty) my friend and neighbor Barbara gave me this book because she thought our garden made the world a more beautiful place.  I like to think of our garden as a gift to the street.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Making a new lampshade

I knew that once the counter top was installed, I'd need to adjust the color and lighting in the kitchen.  I am very fussy about color and lighting.  Our kitchen isn't flooded in natural light.  It isn't dark, but it has some areas that need a little more light so I use what I call mood lighting.

Lighting is so important.  I hate bright glaring light.  I like warm inviting light.  I checked out under counter LED lights but rejected that idea for lots of reasons.  I am an incandescent girl.  That other stuff just doesn't make the right kind of light; even the warmest of the LEDs is cold to my eye..  Also, I want pools of light; LEDs don't do that.

We keep a small lamp on the counter that is always on.  It has a 25 watt bulb.  The lamp is pretty old and its shade has needed replacing for a long time.  It was worn and dirty and frayed.  These photos were taken after I removed the trim so I could remind myself of how the sewing was done.  They also show the dirt and wear.

So I made my first lampshade.   I carefully took apart the old one and used it to figure out how much fabric to use.   It is all hand sewn (no glue) and that took a bit of time.  It doesn't have trim yet (the trim hides the raw edges) but I am already pleased with how it looks.

 The fabric isn't as dark and  it lets out more light.

Old shade

 New shade

The lampshade isn't the only lighting change I have planned.  I also ordered some fun little night lights from Amazon and Etsy but they aren't here yet.  This is the fun stuff.  I love figuring out how to make things a little better looking and better functioning.  

Update: I finished the shade.  I just turned the edge under and sewed it by hand.  I did it that way because I liked the way it looks better than with trim.  I like the pleats going to the edge.

It's still spring here

I told you spring lasts a long, long time.  And it is still spring.  Last week was rather chilly and rainy.  This weekend is sunny with perfect temperatures in the mid seventies.  We've been inside working on the kitchen most of the week though we did hang out on the porch during the sun breaks.  Today is gardening day.  The roses have been flowering spectacularly.  Some are past their first flower flush and need some pruning.

This is our daphne transatlantica, which blooms off and on all year and now is loaded with blossoms and fragrance.  It smells divine and often wafts onto the front porch.

I am cutting roses for rose bouquets about twice a week.  They are so fragrant and nice.  The red one is Commitment.  I love the how the darkness makes it rich and velvety looking.