Monday, December 27, 2010

With all the talk about the Fockers...

Makes me want a Fockea for the New Year!

Image from Cactuspedia.


My Prickly Pear, which you may remember from my front garden (this pic is from July or so)....fell over with the strong winds we've been having!!! Yesterday started near freezing here and high winds! Other than patio furniture being blown around, this was my only plant disaster. The roots are not long, so I think I will just dig a deeper hole and sink it in a little further to stablize it. I didn't take a pic of the poor fallen thing today because I didn't want to freeze while doing it. The thing is actually about a third again larger than what you see here!!! It's a steady grower.

Hey, here in south Florida, we are not used to such temps! We are big babies! LOL.
It is supposed to get down to between 22-34 overnight!!!! Good grief!

I got an idea tonight that I could posibly use the pads as stamps...carve a design into them and stamp on paper??? Do you think it would be too juicy??? I may give it a go. I haven't actually found a good use for the pads (I'm not fond of the taste). Maybe I could grind them in my Vita Mix and use it for a floor cleaner??? OK, just kidding!!!

So how are all of you fairing in your current weather conditions??? We also have a wildfire not too far down the road (approx 20 miles away) that is threatening homes now...that is so scary! The air is very dry. Weird, for us.

My lungs are not reacting well...a little cough and congestion. I am using my inhalers (for occasional asthma), and drinking my wonderful Airborne. The thing that heals me the fastest and makes me always feel 110% better is my Doozey. She was just jumping at my feet to come up, and now she is laying arcoss my chest and I am typing with both hands doing a balancing job...

She is awaitng a bath as soon as it warms up...and time for her flea medicine again. I guess I will take her to bed and snuggle up for the night...while praying for calm and warmer days, and no more cough!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Acrylic and chalk pastel pinecone

I printed out a picture of a pinecone (cause I didn't have any handy)...and sat down with grandson, while he painted a picture, to attempt to paint one with acrylics. I had to stop after the first layer of paint was down, to settle a squabble with the kids...and it sat around a few days, then I went back to it with chalk pastels and added some details.

I think it looks sort of impressionistic. Am I right?? I love that style of painting.

I tell you, if I get in a mood to do something supposedly artistic, not much can stop's weird....kinda like the postman will deliver the mail through wind, hail and snow...or kinda like when they tell you you will "get an urge to push" when you are in labor ('s more like YOU WILL PUSH CAUSE YOU HAVE NO CHOICE)!!! OK...anyway...that is what comes over me...and then when I look at what I did, it usually looks fairly good to my untrained I might post it and torture all of you who know good art. Sorry. Love ya anyway!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One of my favorite epiphytes!

Steve, over at The Rainforest Garden has called his readers to do a post regarding our favorite epiphyte. There are so many to choose from (all of which I love) I had to just pick one, and I believe I have picked one of the funkiest ones around...

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), is a flowering plant that grows upon larger trees, commonly the Southern Live Oak or Bald Cypress in the southeastern United States. I find it to be quite alluring and mystical! It's just plain strange, let's face it!

It is an angiosperm of the Bromeliad (Pineapple Family), and can live in full sun or partial shade. It is so southern, so graceful and full of charm, that you can only envision the beautiful oaks in Georgia filled to the brim with this stuff, so elegantly draped over their branches. I for one, could stand beneath it, take deep breaths, and just feel happy to be alive! I have done this many times on vacations through the south. I took both the close up (above), and the picture below, of Spanish Moss in an oak tree at a church nearby.

As it turns out, in looking through my photos, I found a pic of this Bald Cypress, taken at a state park here, also draped with some of the moss. I found this to be amazing, just because we have very little Spanish Moss growing in south Florida...we start to see it more, on our way up the state, at about the central area of Florida and on up. This is one of the reasons I start to feel sad when coming back home, and leaving the areas were it can be found in abundance.

10 interesting facts about Spanish Moss provided by Garden Guides.

1. It cannot survive exposure to temperatures below 22°F.
2. It can be propagated by cuttings, and seeds.
3. There is evidence that Spanish moss was used over 3,000 years ago to make fire-tempered pottery.
4. Native American tribes (the Houma and the Koasati) use Spanish moss in the construction and decoration of small dolls.
5. Yellow-throated warblers and northern parulas build their nests inside clumps of living Spanish moss.
6. There is at least one species of spider that only occurs in Spanish moss.
7. The plant is used as fodder for livestock.
8. As we know, Spanish moss is used in flower arrangements and as decorations for handicrafts.
9. Spanish moss is grown commercially for use as packing material and as a replacement for horsehair in upholstery and mattress stuffing.
10.Several species of bats including the Seminole bat roost in clumps of Spanish moss.

This is some really awesomely funky stuff! Let's hear it for Spanish Moss!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy cactus/succulent Monday!

Happy Monday! I am finally remembering to participate in Cactus Monday!!! Yeah! Over the rainy weekend I took a few pics of things in the screenroom. If you read to the bottom I will include a pic of the cute earrings I made from left over paper beads I had from my sisters bracelet.

Here are the buds on my white Christmas Cactus! The pink one has no sign of budding yet.

Is this (below)an Aeonium??? I can't remember!

Here is my amazing many-lived Kitten Ears plant (also a succulent plant)...some of the leaves are turning a pretty bronze color, and a close up shows the fuzziness of them. I have gotten more joy out of this can't imagine! It comes and goes, but when it is going, it is really pretty!!! It hates water!!!I only water it about 3-4 times a year.

Below is my gorgeous variegated at first sight when I found it a few years ago!!! This is my beauty queen!!!

And a trio of Haworthia(?)...aren't they cute? Only about 2 inches across, each! are the earrings I threw together for a craft fair visit! I wish I had had some gold crimps, but alas, no. I used the silver ones (as the base) and it was OK. I'm a mixed up kind of person anyway (mixed gold and silver)....well, nd just plain mixed up as well! Hahahaha.

Happy Cactus Monday everybody!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I am sitting here typing, and staring at this!!!!!

I am beginning to think that maybe we are going against all of nature when we try to organize craft spaces! It just never LASTS for me.....I am beginning to feel OK with it...possibly even deriving some pleasure out of looking at it??? The problem is that I have more in my overflowing secretary, entertainment center, and hall closet. Seriously, when I opened the pull down secretary front, stuff started to tumble out! Now, that is a sad state of affairs!

I am working on finishing two more pair of Christmas tree earrings for a few folks. One is the economic developer for a town nearby who I met on the beading isle at Crafts N Stuff! She is so sweet. I must take her a pair...I am hoping to run into her at a craft fair on Sunday. I wish she could hire me to help her develop a whole artsy community in their town. It is coming about, but surely I could help her in some way!!! That would be fun, don't you think? She was telling me that we may get a Christmas shoppe back in town who was forced to leave a few years ago, that everyone dearly loved. If he comes back I will be thrilled!!! Oh, well...ever onward with my fantasies!!! LOL.

Here is a few pics of the tent we set up in one corner of the screen room for the kids to play in (for a little playhouse) that we can read books in and play games. (Don't notice all the darn plastic, Messyfish, OK)...I am going to go check at our camping store for a lightweight small clip on light that can attach to the inside top of the tent for better lighting in there. An LED, for long lasting low battery usage. Right now we have a lantern in there...but who wants to buy batteries...NOT ME!!! Of course, there is some light just from the screenroom itself, but we are looking for a camping-like experience...sorta being outside, without actually being all the way outside. My grandson is afraid of bugs right now...something we must gradually work on so he can be my camping buddy one day soon!!!

Today he and I were at Home Depot, and he is learning to read, so I encourage him read signs wherever we are...and he was reading the labels for the different types of tomato plants. One was called Mr. Stripey, and it had a pic that showed a yellow/orange colored tomato with red stripes! I immediately said "Let's get one"! I got it planted today and it looks happy so far...will be fun to see what developes!!!

(Image and tomato info from Cooking Light).

'A pale yellow tomato with pinkish-orange blush, and occasionally, green stripes, Mr. Stripey is a delicate beefsteak with low acid content that allows its sweetness to shine. The flavor boasts notes of melon, and the firm skin provides a nice contrast to the tender flesh when eaten raw.' Doesn't that sound interesting?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! xoxo- Julie

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chalk pastel ragdoll ornament in the night...

Well, I've been particularly fond of this cheaply made, thin plastic little ornament that came to us several years ago...just how many, I can't say. She is on the tree, and calls out to me about how cute she is, just about every day...begging me to draw her. Well, today I saw that Teri over at Teri's Painted Daisies has started the most adorable Santa Journal, and it made me think back to when Lisa, over at Artsy Endeavors had painted an ornament a day during December a few years ago. It all added up to me pulling out the pastels this evening, after the grands were asleep, to give it a go.
Standing in the kitchen with the BIG, lovely case of pastels that my SIL had bought me a while back, I began to just freehand her out. Such fun! I always knew I was a cheap date, but seriously confirmed it tonight. LOL! The doll is so cute, and what I ended up with here kinda looks like something you might pay admission to see at the fair! But, she still has a cuteness factor that is hard to deny.
I love her! Thanks to all of you who inspire me just to play!!! You will never know how much I appreciate it!
P.S. There is a lot to be said about having a large choice of colors in whatever medium you use, is there not??? Ahhhhh.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Garden pastel

I was inspired by Messyfish, with her surge of pastel drawings! So...last night I went and bought some black paper, and did a chalk pastel myself. Again I returned to the flower tire garden and here is what I saw. The plants include white and orange impatiens, kale, purple salvia, coleus, yellow marigolds, and pink periwinkles. One photo with flash...

and one without... (I like this one better)

It's a fun process...really messy...especially when it is windy, like it is right now! I tried to spray my picture with sealer, and a lot of the color (especially the purple) just I threw it out. Hey, at least I have an electronic record of it. Happy Sunday to you all!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A visit to Tropical Ranch Botanical Gardens in Stuart, Florida

My Mom, daughter, and I took a drive to visit this garden for a plant sale they were having, and to just have a look around. It is a 40 minute drive for us, and none of us had ever been there before. A gorgeous day today put us into action!

I focused on succulents (and one Bromeliad). This was a large (5 ft. tall) stone planter with faces all around on it as planter was one of the faces planted with sedum.

And how about a cute alligator (or is it a Croc ?) planter filled with Crown of Thorns??? A good match, I would say!!!

This was the prettiest red/orange bromeliad...just blazing away in it's little froggy planter!!!

This Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora 'Fantastic' (as it was labelled anyway) was quite large, and beautiful to boot! This was the only plant I was tempted to buy! I was not familiar with the hybrid 'Fantastic' decided to do a little research first. It was marked 18 dollars...and you may know about how cheap I am...knowing I could start one from a I left empty handed!!! is an added bonus! This Kalenchoe Bossfeldiana was found growing at Mom's house today. She took some near dead cuttings from my house a year ago...and now look at what she's got! I'd call that a SAVE!!! Isn't it just gorgeous...all reaching out and in bloom with that lovely shade of yellow! WOWZERS! Way to go Mom!!!

I love succulent plants more every day...nothing quite compares for me. Bromeliads are a close second...if I could just find some shade around here.....

If you are ever in Stuart, Florida...consider a visit to Tropical Ranch Botanical Gardens!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Succulent cuties!

Today I spied some changes in the succulent tires! One thing is that the Rattail Cactus my blogging friend, Claude had sent me, has finally put out a sideshoot! I am thrilled. It has been out in full sun for about 6 months already, but I am sad to say I have not gotten it planted into a larger pot yet. I need to get it into a hanging dish, and keep it in full sun...just need to get off my lazy (yet overly busy, if that is understandable) butt, and do it!
I am psyched, Claude!!!!!

Well, we'll just call this one BIG DADDY, and leave it at that!!!!!! Whew!

Here are a couple of cuties basking in the sun between a bunch of low growing Kalenchoe tubifloras, and Silver Squill...they look great together, don't they????? Yeah, baby!

And a few more pretties together! They love the winter sun!

My Kalenchoe (Mother of Thousands, or Millions, hehehe) is growing it's long stalk up to the sky to flower again...not much to see yet, but I took a few pics up close, and got this one. What a monster plant! Kinda scary/freaky looking!

Then my grandson and I went to PiZap, online photo editer, and had a little fun experimenting around, but ending up just adding some sunflowers for eyeballs. We decided that this guy is a BIG talker...and he's a little silly now!!! Hehehehe.

Hope you all have wonderful weekends wherever you are in the world!
xoxo- Julie

Thanks Yoon See!!!

My sweet blogging friend, Yoon See, from Malaysia sent me a really amazing gift! She is so generous and thoughtful! Thanks Yoon See! She sent a sweet mermaid bookmark with a strand of beads hanging down the tail, a cute fluffy kitty cat that is so adorable with a crocheted teeney little tail and a sweet little face, and a cute little Christmas Card. The stamps from Malaysia are so amazing too...I can't thank you enough, Yoon See!!! I love them all!!! Merry Christmas to you too, my friend!!! xoxo...Julie

Monday, December 6, 2010

OK...I have some inspiration!

First, I just have to record how delicious my egg, cheese and OKRA omelet was this morning...on toast! Sorry no pic...maybe on another was really pretty with the pattern in the cut okra!!! Oh, silly me! I am thinking now, of maybe trying to print some snowflake patterns on paper using the cut okra! It can be very versatile! Hehehe.

Oh my goodness, did you all see this newest issue of Cloth, Scissors, Paper e-mail newsletter? The use of black gesso is so amazing...and her project is inspiring me...I think we will have a big crafting party one night soon when my DIL is off from work! I will take pics! Anyway...check out this black gesso...I never knew there was such a thing!!! LOL.

Have a happy, crafty week, I hope!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I saw Santa, and more tales from my world...

I saw Santa tonight! He was trying to sneak past, but I turned quickly and managed to snap a shot before he got away!!! Actually we were at a tree lighting and there he was! Very exciting! His beard was really awesome too! He had bells around his ankles at the top, and hanging down the side of his boots, and also had bells around his wrists, which we saw when he was rockin out to carols under the tree!!! He was a hip old man, I must say!!! After this we took the kids to a new carousel in town. This was their 3rd time going. It has horses on the outer edge, and the animals you can ride on the inner rings are all Florida animals...turtles, water birds, frogs, alligator, fish, etc. They have two spinning tea cups and a few benches if you just want to sit a spell. Right next to it, in the shopping center was a Whole Foods store, which Emily and I went into to see if they had any Swiss Chard. They had green and red, but no rainbow. I got the last red one they had. It's very pretty.
The grands are trying to sleep now, and I made myself a cup of Lady Grey tea...but this time I threw in a lemon-lime flavored Airborne tablet. I had never put one into a hot liquid before...that was a lot of fun!!! It started boiling so fast's a fizzy tab with vitamins and minerals and was done fizzing in about 5 seconds, it went so fast! Anyway, I took a sip, and was seriously blown away! The Airborne added an extra layer of flavor to the tea, and it somehow tastes very though it is gonna have my little head cold gone by tomorrow morning!!! I hope it will work some kind of magic on me! I really didn't need to be out in the night air, but, gotta have some fun, right???

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My new rainbow love!!!

Rainbow swiss chard that is!!! Here are a few shots of some that my SIL sent over from her organic locally grown vegie box! She has got to start eating her vegies!!! LOL!

I had always heard that swiss chard was bitter. Well, nothing was further from the truth! I have since read that it does get bitter in the winter months, but all other times, it is tender, with a wonderful mild taste.
See how pretty the rainbow chard is? Red veins in the purple leaves, and yellow veins in some of the green leaves.

The stems are so pretty too! I am so goo-goo eyed over them; you can tell I am a SC virgin!!! Hehehe.

To cook them, my DIL sauteed in olive oil, used cumin, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, and a little chicken broth. That was a wonderful dish!!!Here is another recipe that showed up in my e-mail box tonight and looks fantastic! Organic's Stir fried Swiss Chard. I have not tried it yet...but sounds like it will be really vvbggood...I plan to as soon as possible!
I have been out looking at seeds for chard online, too...looks like you can keep your plants going for a whole year! May just want to avoid eating in the winter months due to bitter taste...;but I would have to try it to be sure that is really true!!! Do any of you have any experinces with Swiss Chard??? Do you like the taste. OH, cooks very fast. 10 minutes. Period. Awesome. I like fast.