Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vintage Junk Christmas Wreath

Today was a crafting day for me! 
I decided that "traditional" wasn't working for me,
so I decided to go with what I really love...


I used some thrifted upholstrey webbing to wrap a
straw wreath, and added a couple to red burlap roses and a grungy old funnel.

Two old folding carpenters rulers provided the starburst backer, and I tied some of my old bottles onto the wreath with twine.

I hung an old red enamelware pot lid in the center, and then tucked some greenery into the bottles and funnel.  I have no idea what the two "swiveling hooks with handles" are, that are dangling underneath, but I like 'em anyway!
Happy Holidays, Everyone!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Veggies, Herbs, and Chickens.

I love this time of year, when I can finally get back out to my gardens!  This Spring was so strange, with 80 degree temps. in February.  Many of my perrenials emerged too soon, then got badly nipped when the fridgid weather returned.  Most everything recovered nicely, though my Hostas still look pretty sad.  Everything is now lush and green... especially the weeds!

This is what I call my "potato potager".  Two Summers ago I decided to try strawbale gardening in this spot with limited success.  I had planted potatoes within the square of strawbales that did well.  Last Summer I put the picket fencing around the deteriorating bales to prop them up, and disguise their sad appearance.  Last Fall I pulled the bales apart and used them for mulch, but the picket fence remained, and we used it for our Winter compost.  Today I have a lovely bed of potatoes occupying the entire space, and boy, are they happy!  I did not buy seed potatoes this year.  These plants came from a bag of forgotten spuds, purchaced at the grocery store.  They began sprouting with a vengence in their bag, at just about the time I wanted to plant, so in the ground they went.

Yesterday, I put a bunch of straw over and between the potato plants, and will continue to do so while they grow.  The pot in the center has Cilantro seeds in it, as do the four corners of this bed.  Cilantro is supposed to repel potato beetles.  I'm experimenting with companion planting as much as I can.

I've got my old turquoise washing machine planted with Buttercrunch lettuce.  There is also a little Peacevine cherry tomato tucked in there.

This old washtub is planted with a Mesclun lettuce mix, with a few Nasturtium seeds planted in the rusty cheese grater in the center, just for fun!

This planter, in dire need of a fresh coat of paint, is my Sweet Potato bin.  I grow my own slips on sweet potatoes in a glass of water, on my kitchen window sill.  The chicken wire is there to keep my hens from scratching out the baby plants.  They are accustomed to dust bathing in this bin, when it's not in use as a planter. 

I repainted my "support chair" that I use to cage my Comfrey plant, a cheery purple.  Now that the Comfrey is blooming, I'm quite pleased with the color choice.

The bumblebees love the bloosoms on this plant.  I love the many uses I've found for this powerful herb.  I was also very pleased to see dozens of honey bees enjoying the blooms on my nearby Walkers Low Catmint.  I saw very few honey bees last Summer.  Hopefully they are making a comeback!

It's always a challenge, raising vegetables with the help of my hens.  They assume every worm I dig up is for them, and all the fruit of my labors as well.  I've learned that the best defense is abundance, and of course, chicken wire!  To be fair, the Girls do gift me with lovely fresh eggs everyday, so I'm happy to share my harvests with them.

I hope you all are enjoying your Gardens as much as I and my Girls, are mine!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wishing All a Wonderful Holiday Season
and the very best New Year!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Making progress on my Steampunk Library!

I've found some pretty awesome "Steampunk" items this Summer, and finally got those finds put together. 

First I found these beauties.  I don't usually buy in antique shops, because I'm a bit of a skinflint...  I do like to browse the shops though, and spotted these wonderful old opera glasses.  Instant LOVE!  They haunted my dreams that night and I was forced to return and purchase them.

My next discovery was this gem.  Yup, that's right!  It's a vintage Electromagnetic Generator, probably used for demonstration purposes in a science class.  It actually works!  The faster you crank the handle, the brighter the bulb glows.  It also makes an awful metal on metal screeching noise, and will zap you, if you touch it in the wrong place!

This is my most exciting discovery!  On my most recent "Girl's Weekend", we stopped at a barn sale.  Inside a really cool old barn, stuffed with wonderful old furniture was this awesome Clock Shelf!  The clock face was badly damaged, but behind it... beautiful, beautiful brass clock works!  It's missing it's pendulum, but the gears move freely and best of all,  IT GONGS!! 

So here it is... the beginings of my Steampunk Library Corner! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

~Steampunk Love~

Boy oh boy, have I been a BAD blogger!  Working full time has certainly taken we away from blogland, though I do check in regularly to see what other folks are up to.
I had to share my latest acquisition, though...

These beauties just called out to me.  I even dreamed about them the night before I made the purchase!  Aren't they gorgeous??

I mean, what more could you ask for?  Gleaming brass, worn black enamel, and mellow burgundy leather...

...and of course these amazing glass lenses that caught my eye in the first place, peering out from that cluttered shelf in the antique shop, like an eager owl wanting a new home!

The case is pretty beat up, and very fragile, but check out the lovely brass clasp, so detailed and delicate!

I'm pretty sure these are opera glasses, but I could be wrong.  The are very sturdy and functional.  The focus knob in the center has a crack in it, but they still focus beautifully.  I'll probably grab them the next time I feel the need to spy on my hens while they forage in the back yard.  In the meantime, they will adorn a shelf in my bedroom, surrounded by antique books and vintage lace. 
So very Victorian.
So very Steampunk!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The OH SO Sustainable Sweet Potato!

Have you ever grown sweet potatoes in your veggie garden?
Do you have any idea how wonderfully EASY they are??
My first crop were grown from slips that I ordered from a well known plant company, online.  The slips (or starts) I received were pale and spindily, but took off just fine, once thier little roots hit soil.  I had a lovely crop of full sized sweet potatoes at the end of the Summer.  Sweet potatoes do like to burrow far and deep, so it can be hard to find them all, come harvest time.  My solution is to plant them in bins, which confines them to a smaller area, but also tends to reduce your harvest.  The thing I like best about sweet potatoes (aside from thier nutrition packed goodness) is that once you have them, you can grow them year after year, without purchasing starts!

See this really ugly thing?

This is my "Mother Potato" this year!  She is really big, gnarly and not very appealing, so didn't get baked and eaten like the rest of last years harvest.  She was buried in the bottom of my root veggie storage bin and made it nicely through our long Michigan Winter.  When I noticed the beginnings of sprouts on her gnarly surface, I plunked her into a large glass of water.  Roots developed almost overnight, and the sprouts sprang to life!

Now it is simply a matter of snapping off the starts as they get big enough, and plunking them into a second glass of water, to form roots of thier own.  This one ugly sweet potato will continue producing sprouts long after my sweet potato bed is planted, as long as I give her fresh water from time to time.

After only three weeks, I already have over a dozen slips rooting in water.  These babies really want to grow!  I'm thinking of increasing my number of bins this Summer, to increase my harvest.

Here are a few of the beauties I harvested last Summer.  Lovely, aren't they?  Delicious, too!