Popular Posts

Friday, May 21, 2010

Make Your Own Bamboo Paintbrush Holder

You can buy a bamboo paintbrush holder for about six bucks, or make one for a dollar, IF you have to buy a bamboo placemat like I did (found it at a local variety store, in the "bargain" aisle). If you already have one, it won't cost you a thing. Bamboo trumps any other material because it allows the brushes to breathe and become dry, thus keeping them from getting moldy (can you tell I live in a damp climate?).
Just google "Bamboo Paintbrush Holder" and you can see pictures of what these look like. Very easy to copy, and then you can save enough for a new brush to put IN your new bamboo holder.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sorry!! and Sorry for Myself

I'm sorry I can't post pictures right now, as my computer is in the shop for three weeks!! That's why I'm also sorry for myself. I have to come to our local public library to use their computers; it's not that far, but just inconvenient. I should be grateful that they let me use their computers, after all the books I've turned in late, lost (but paid for, etc. On the other hand, with a great fine-generator like me, they should maybe name an addition for me. )
Soooo, I'm having to adjust to using the computer a whole lot less than I am accustomed to. I miss it, for sure. The motherboard on my computer is the part that failed, and it was still underwarranty, so it had to take a little journey back to the company that produced it, for repair. That is why it is taking so long to fix. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for the whole thing (I do have to pay $70), but I'm bummed that it will take so long to get it back.
I took my first watercolor class last week, and it was so fun!! I really enjoyed it; there's only four of us in the class, so we get a lot of attention from the instructor.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Something to Consider

Finding Real Wealth: From a Consumer Culture to Social Well-Being
If you copy the book title above, and paste it in your browser, you will find an interesting essay on Mother Earth News from this book. Something to think about. I tried posting the VERY LONG link and it just wouldn't work. But this does.

A Cool Street Art Project


I LOVE this! I believe art should beEVERYWHERE!!

Monday, May 10: Sort of Clean Table

` Well, this is the best I could come up with for the table today, and I didn't get it by noon either. HOWEVER, it is STILL Monday and The Enumerator is doing his paperwork at THE table tonight. The census MUST go on, you know! It's the LAW!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Non HAIKU Poem

This postcard, I call it my Poop Postcard, was sent to The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle in 2003, in an effort to get chosen in the ZooDoo Lottery; they said the person who pulled the names (Dr. Doo, I think they called him) was partial to haiku poetry. ZooDoo is the composted waste of the animals residing at that zoo and is said to be wonderful for gardens.
Notwithstanding my lovely poem, I did not get chosen (whimper, snivel) to win any ZooDoo. I think my husband jinxed me because he didn't want me to win. You had to shovel it into your truck yourself, and he wasn't very enthusiastic about that prospect.
Still, I thought I made a game effort and still enjoy looking at the postcard. The leaves, btw, were a gift from the lady that operates our streetsweeper; the next block over has horse chestnut trees lining it. ( I no longer think it is a good idea to have leaves from streets, but I wasn't as smart seven years ago as I am now.)

Rocks don't rock!

AUGGHHHH!!!! I spent this afternoon digging a gazillion rocks (about 8 gallons of them) out of what will be the site of my pallet compost bin. We put those rocks there about 15 years ago when we discovered that rain formed little "lakes" along our fence. Little did I know I'd be digging up almost every single one, but I am. I dug a lot of them out of the side fence last year when I wanted to plant some flowers there, and more earlier this spring at the end of that same flowerbed.

And now more today. Oh, well, it's not like I don't have the time; I can spare it, and I love being out in the fresh air. (Here, near the ocean, I think we have about the freshest air around.) The grass looked so nice and short after its mowing, and the dogs were enjoying sitting/running/lying on it. I finished de-stoning the compost bin site; now I'm ready to get on with that project, as soon as I find another pallet. I'll be driving past the city maintenance yard every afternoon until I find another one there--or at Home Depot. Sometimes they have them to give away, too, and I need to go there for the gate locks anyway.

It was so NICE again today (60), but a rather chilly wind came up around 4 p.m., which makes me wonder if it will blow in some rain. Weather report said there was a chance of rain tomorrow, and if there is a chance of rain ANYWHERE, there's a good chance it will be here. But that's OK; I got to work outside three days in a row, and for that, I'm glad. My plants will need some rain, anyway.

I hope I didn't put three of my tomatoes out too early; I heard Cisco say (tonight) to not put them out yet, and to put them outside, in pots, for longer and longer times for a week before planting them outside, so I'll do THAT with the rest of them. He also said he begins his tomatoes from seed on April 1, and that he puts them on heat pads (which I have but didn't use this year) until they sprout. Then he puts them in his unheated garage under florescent lights 2" (not sure, might have said 4 or 6") above the plants until he's ready to do the one week routine before putting them outside. He said if they stay in a warm place, like my garden window, they will get leggy, and a couple did. Lots to learn.

I DID get my loganberry into the ground finally; I bought it at the Hoquiam Farmers' Market about a month ago. Planting it was the easy part; first I had to dig down about a foot to root out as many husky grass plantlets as I could. I mean these grass plants were BIG! I think they may have sprung from hayseeds in one, or both, of the bales sitting nearby. But I got most of the grass out before I found I was being summoned to Feed the Hungry to help serve; all the usual highschool helpers were busy with family gatherings on Mothers' Day. I hurriedly put compost into the hole, and planted the berry bush before I rushed inside, changed from my overalls into clean jeans and went to hand out cookies.

When I returned home a couple hours later, I went back outside to the rock-removing project, which took til dinner time. I sure do like working outside, though, on nice days, even if I don't like picking rocks out of soil. Soon my new compost bin will be done, and I'll be able to turn my compost every 2 weeks as recommended. I like compost--I like the way it looks, I like the way it smells, and it gives me a good feeling to see grass, leaves, paper, and kitchen trimmings turning into cool, nutritious (for the plants, that is) soil!

I THOUGHT I read on a composting site that the ratio of brown to green is 30 to one! I thought it was much less than that, like 2 to one. I will check again, to be sure I read it properly. But if it's even CLOSE to that, it explains why my compost takes so long .

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Compost bin(s) out of Pallets

Well, I looked online and found directions for a compost bin made out of pallets; you can find it here: http://www3.uwm.edu/Dept/shwec/publications/cabinet/factsheets/WoodenPalletCompostBin.pdf

Pallets are often given away, so right off, this appealed to me. Also, I'm not much of a carpenter, and neither of the males living here are either, so the simplicity of this design also appealed to me. It looks like something I can actually DO, without a lot of help.

Now, this is NOT saying this is the right composter for you, only that it fills the bill for ME. If I've learned anything by living all these many years, it's that people have different tastes, and what appeals to one will not appeal, even to her close friends, let alone the world in general. (That's one nice thing about good friends--they tell you, in plain language, what appeals to them and what doesn't--they don't use subtleties or beat around the bush, and they're not shy.)
I wanted an easy-to-build compost bin, one that was CHEAP to build, and one that would allow me to turn my compost pile. You might care more about how it looks, etc.

Sooo, I am going to start collecting the minimal hardware I will need for this pallet compost bin, and scout around for one more pallet. ( I intend to put my bin against our chainlink fence, so I will only need three pallets and I have two already.) Our town's City Maintenance Facility has a "free" pile right by their gate, and that is where I got the two pallets I have and probably where I will find the next one. I'll take the truck, though. I had the Impala when I picked up one of them, and it was quite a feat, getting it in the car by myself--I think I finally stuffed it in the trunk after trying, in vain, to wrestle it into the back seat. Not fun.

Spent the morning out in the yard with my dogs. It was warm (60 degrees is a warm spring day here-we're near the coast and on a harbor) and the dogs LOVE a warm day. They slept in the grass and just looked so very happy-watching them revel in the beautiful day reminds ME to revel in it, too. Poki was stretched out on her belly with her two short back legs straight out behind her; part of the time, she slept under my wagon. I guess she has now decided that my little wagon is her friend; she barked like crazy at it when I brought it out yesterday. She has a "thing" about wheeled conveyances, and also all motorized things.

The wagon is just a child's wagon, old, with those wooden slat sides. I bought it at a garage sale after someone stole my John Deere Green metal wagon from our backyard. I actually PREFER this old wagon to the nicer one, because it is the right size for me; the other wagon was really too big, although it had nice rubber tires, etc. However, that said, I would also PREFER that people not steal my things, of course.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Mothers' Day and I said, "Dirt!" I have been waiting for a year and a half for a load of dirt for a flowerbed in the frontyard. I laid several layers of newspaper down where I wanted the bed, sprayed water on it until it was thoroughly wet, and then covered it with a tarp. I'm PRETTY sure the grass is all gone under there by now!!! I never DIG a flower or garden bed; why do that when you can just cover the area and let the worms dig it for you??!! I do the same in the fall, if I decide to make my garden plot bigger for the next year. All it takes is a little planning ahead, and you'll never have to break sod again!!

I have an unhappy little rhodie that wants to be moved to a higher perch, so I'm going to mound up this Mothers' Day dirt, and make a little hill for it. Maybe then it will BLOOM next year!! I don't even remember what color it is, as the only time it had any blooms was the year I bought it. One thing about plants, you either make THEM happy or they make YOU an unhappy gardener!! At least, they make ME unhappy when they don't grow, bloom, live, etc., etc.

I also detached one of the Clemitises (Clemiti ?) from the Butterfly Bush. It was climbing all over it, so I had to detach it's little tendrils, one by one, so I could have it cling to the fence, not this other plant. I failed with several Clemitises, but finally have two that have begun to do well, coming back year after year. I don't know what I did wrong before, but I do know these guys like to be watered if it gets dry. I watered them both today as this is our fourth (!!!!) consecutive dry day.

I mowed the dogyard, too. And then ran out of fuel--not for the mower, it's electric and runs on a battery--for ME. Had to come in and eat. Later, I'll mow the rest of the backyard, as, around here, you have to mow when the sun shines.

Moving the Composter

I have a little plastic composter purchased from the county, and it has a little door in the bottom where you're SUPPOSED to be able to pull out finished compost. But it is VERY hard to get any out, so I just move the whole thing every year; it's really easier that way. I just lift it up and there remains a formed pile, with nice compost on the bottom and unfinished compost on the top half. So I drop the top half back into the now empty composter, sitting next to where it used to be, and the rest I can use now. I break up clumps while I drop it in to speed up the decomposition.

I also have about three garbage cans (holes in bottoms) and a couple wire enclosures with stuff in them, but if you don't aerate your pile regularly, it takes FOREVER to get finished compost. I would like to have a three part bin, so I could turn it, but so far haven't made one. The Master Gardeners had a three part compost system set up at the fair last year; it took 98 cement blocks; I liked it, but can't quite decide where to locate it, so haven't made one yet

The wire enclosures have been next to useless. They are vertical, and I'm thinking of taking them down and making a cylinder from the two that I could roll to aerate the contents. I think I need to do some research to decide how best to use this chicken wire.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My baby plants are outgrowing their pots, and so I go into the greenhouse to spend just a minute or two and end up staying an hour. I need to move one of my composters and get some compost to mix with some really worn-out looking dirt--or maybe I'll be lazy and buy some finished compost. These are demanding little beings, and they take some time, but it is enjoyable work.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Emergency Prepardness

We live in an earthquake, volcano, sunami zone and I have delayed putting together an emergency backpack with a couple days' supply of food and necessities for a LONG time. I think I was afraid I wouldn't pack the right things, but finally I realized that anything is better than nothing, when it comes to your emergency backpack. I hung three backpacks in the laundry room and started putting things into mine. I found a couple pair of clean underwear in my drawer that looked like they were about two wearings from the rag bag, and put them in my bag. I figured I'd appreciate them a lot more when/if they were the only clean undies I had! I'm going to put the worst pair of scissors in the house in there, too, for the same reason; we certainly won't miss them around the house, and we'd no doubt LOVE them if we didn't have another pair. It's all relative, you know?

The Canned Food Outlet is a great place to pick up things for your backpack. You can find seafood, meat, and fruit in small cans that open with a pulltab. Don't forget bottles of water, a pocket knife, bandaids, a couple washcloths, soap, WetOnes, a comb, tiny containers of shampoo, etc., and a roll of toilet paper. If you're like me and take several prescriptions daily, be sure you put in a week's worth of those, too (and remember to switch them out every month or two, so they're current). And put in some Tylenol or Ibuprofen, or whatever pain killers are your faves--emergency situations can be a headache, literally!

Don't be like I was and be afraid you won't pack your bag "correctly "and with the "right" stuff, or that you'll forget something important. Just start!! Today! Now! Even if you only put in a few things, you'll be glad you have them if you have to run for your life!! I promise.

Table Still Clean, JD Monkey Has Tail, Knitting in the Dark

Happy Monday from the exceedingly soggy SW corner of WA state. It's another one of our usual spring days, with alternating rain and sunny periods. The wind continues to feel very cold and nothing wants to grow very much in the garden.
I am happy to report that our kitchen table has stayed relatively clean for the last entire week! I only had to put away a few grocery items before I took this picture. It appears that my plan is working, whereby I publish a picture of my table every Monday MORNING. I am amending my promise to make it before NOON, otherwise, I might post a picture at 11:59 pm. and that is giving me way too much rope!
I almost FORGOT Mr. John Deere monkey's TAIL!!! Without his tail he could NOT be a monkey!!! (Ask any zoologist--it's true; without his tail, he'd be an APE and none of us want that, at least he and I don't).
I have finally solved the problem of simplifying my monkey's design. I used a toe up sock toe for this prototype's head and I didn't want to have to explain that process in a pattern--it's not all that complicated, but for someone who's never done it, there is quite a lot of explaining.
So, after a lot of thought and trial and error, I finally remembered how the Christmas stockings I've knit go together, and decided to use that relatively simple way to make the monkey's body. You knit the body on two needles until you get to the heel (monkey's rear)--that is much easier than using the toe-up sock toe and I wanted my pattern to be easy enough for a beginner to knit.
I tried to knit in the semi-dark at a concert last night, and you know, I didn't do half badly until I realized that I had dropped a stitch. I found that, yes, I CAN knit in the dark, but no, I CANNOT pick up a dropped stitch in the dark--that can be difficult enough in the bright light; especially if you'd knit several rows (like I did) before you noticed a stitch had been dropped. So, I'd say the knitting-in-the-dark experiment was at least partly successful. Blind people knit, so I thought maybe I didn't need light to knit either. However, practice at this is necessary and DO NOT, under any circumstances, drop a stitch or you're in BIG TROUBLE!!