Friday, December 08, 2006


With lake effect snows and a windchill of -8 outside the window, I've decided to do a little dreaming through this winter.

There are lots of places I'd love to someday visit, so as the winter blues pile up and I feel more and more as if spring really will never arrive, I'm going to make myself feel better by taking virtual mini vacations. With a small limit - find out what the national flower of each place is and learn about it. What is better than gazing at beautiful flowers and ignoring all that white stuff, if only for a little while?

So Bali is first. It has an average temp of 86 degrees from November to March, with very high humidity. (Sounds fab to me right now!) I found out something rather interesting; Indonesia didn't even have a national flower until June 5, 1990 for World Environment Day. (Established in 1972 by the UN)
And then, they didn't choose one, but three.

Rafflesia arnoldi (How cool is that?) There are 16 known species of Rafflesia, the latest discovery was in 1988. It was first discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr. Joseph Arnold in 1818. It is the largest flower in the world and can weigh up to 15 pounds. It's also called the corpse flower of course, using flies as pollinators, but I think that's an awful name for such a beautiful flower. (No, I don't want to smell it.) On the opposite end, the smallest flower in the world is duckweed - which you can only see with a microscope.

Moon Orchid (anggrek bulan / Phalaenopsis amabilis) Ooooo, pretty! Maybe Carol should give it a go! :) Anggrek bulan is also the title of a song.

Melati (Jasminum sambac) Also known as Duke of Tuscany. Mmmmm. Can't you just smell it? A drink is made by soaking the flower in water. (Jasmin tea) Grows to 10' but will stay from 1' to 3' if grown in a container. The government nicknamed it 'people flower', puspa bangsa. Beautiful!

So, where would you like to go this winter?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cookie Help

With the corn therapy bags done, (and all those corn husks for the compost bin) I'm on to a cross-stitched stocking for my Dad. I certainly don't have time to do a complete stocking in cross-stitch, but I found some really cute patterns in some old magazine to do just a cuff with, and I'll make the rest from fabric.

I plan on filling it with cookies, and I have a really, really good sugar cookie recipe, but just one kind is sort of boring. Does anyone happen to have a good cookie recipe, or can point me to a good one? It has to be simple ingredients though, nothing extravagant that I'll have to buy. (ok, sorry, like you know what's in my cupboards!) Just no nuts, cream cheese, fruits or fancy extracts and stuff.

I know, I know...hard to make anything but sugar cookies with basic flour, sugar and eggs, but I'm hoping someone has something simple they've always made that's awesome.

Tall order. Why do men have to be so difficult when it comes to gifts?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sew Far Sew Good!

The corn therapy bags turned out awesome! They really, really work. And work great!
I can't believe I didn't try making some before. I'll make some for the kids since you can use them as ice packs also. Maybe I'll have a chat with the school nurse and see if they could put some to use. It certainly would give me something to do this winter and use up some scrap.

I guess I'll give in and try some of those 'cool ties' for gardening come spring. Well, if I'm not too busy with the actual garden itself to sew, and if I can find polymer crystals cheap enough.

So far so good on the rose cuttings, too. They've put out lots of leaves, which is a good thing, but not so good. I'd rather they put their energy into making roots instead of leaves, but at least I know they're still alive.

It just got light enough to see outside - snow. Figures.

Syracuse has been voted, by Dave Gilmartin, as one of the worst places in America to live in his new book.
Well, color me shocked...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My Kingdom For A Shed

We need a shed. Ok, so D needs a shed, I need a potting shed.

It's surprising how much stuff there is to put away come winter. Isn't it amazing how much you find you've collected when you finally have to clean, organize and store it?
With nowhere to stash it, it all sits behind a corner of the house covered with ugly blue tarp.

I saw a gorgeous potting shed on one of those shows a while ago. Oh, man, to die for! running water in a bathtub sized sink, full of fabulous cupboards and shelves, slide out soil bins, antique gardening stuff on the walls and even a small reading corner in a sunny window, complete with a small gardening book library. A place for everything, and certainly, everything in its place.

I couldn't be allowed one of those - I'd live in the thing!

But I do have something I think is just the cutest... a small bathroom sink and cabinet. I repainted the under-sink cabinet white (to match the planter benches D made for the ponds) and left the top alone, since it was white already. The brass faucet already had a tinge of vertigree, though I might rip it out if I can find a more antique-ee one.

There's enough storage space in the bottom for my small stuff; trowels, cultivator, etc. It also gave me somewhere to store a few excess pots and soil. I planted portulaca in it last year and it looked so cute! Maybe next year I'll try pansies since they bloom the longest. Wish I could take a pic of it. I only had one person give me the 'There's junk in their yard' look.

My poor tulips are confused with this weather. They've poked their little heads out of the ground an inch or two. I'm sure they'd realized their mistake once the temps dropped like a rock from 68 to 34. But the upside - the sun is out! Although it isn't expected to last the day, I'll enjoy it while it's here.

On another note-
A man in Glens Falls has had a fabulous lights display for Christmas at his house for years and years. People come for miles around to see it. This year, he had a car accident and couldn't do it. The community was so disappointed, they pitched in to put the display up and are paying the electric bill so everyone can enjoy it this year too. Yay for Christmas spirit! The full story.