Thursday, December 14, 2006


Continuing on with my 'mini-vacations', Bhutan is next.

This is a country that I really, really hope remains as untouched as it has. Why would I want to visit? It is one of the very few intact ecosystems left in the world.

Sandwiched between China and India, the Himalayas rule the north border. It posesses 3 distinct climates - obviously, severe winters in the mountains, a temperate central area and a tropical south. Imagine what you could grow!
More than 5,500 species of plants grow there, (and who knows how many yet to be discovered) with the main agricultural crop being rice.

The national flower is the Blue Poppy (Meconopsis grandis)

Is that not beautiful!?

The Blue Poppy is a perfect candidate for Winter Sowing and is a robust plant that's hardy to zone 4. The seeds need light to germinate, as with most poppies, but no sun as even the plants themselves will suffer if temps reach 80 degrees or above.

It's happy with harsh winters, with lots of snow cover, and cool summers. Grown in more alkaline soil, it's possible the petals may present as lavender or wine purple instead of blue. It prefers partial shade, preferably afternoon to protect from the hottest part of the day. Fertilize well and mulch to keep soil moist.

The plant gets 2 feet tall and the flowers are 3 to 5 inches wide, with four to five flowers per stem. Should be divided every 3rd year. If not deadheaded, will produce seed pods. Some have designated this a hard to germinate seed, while others have found it not difficult at all.

The seeds are available at Thompson & Morgan.

So, if anyone would like a real challenge, there ya go! Could there be a more fabulous flower to give a try?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Flying Fingers

I got the stockings finished and they came out perfect!
I found out I can cross-stitch as fast as the best of 'em. Whip out that needle - ready - set - go!

Of course, I couldn't just make plain ol' stockings with a cross-stitched cuff - oh no. I decided they needed to be puffy, and quilted, and have a liner, and have toe and heel contrast colors at 45s. Ugh!
I'm hopeless, but glad I did all the extra work. These are times I wish I had a camera, because even if the parents don't appreciate it, I'm proud of the detailed work I did, even on such a time crunch. It's amazing what I can find in my scrap basket that really works together!

Sissy is baking her little fingers off today, which is exactly what I should be doing, but I'm not.
It's going to be simple cookies only in the stockings. I'll make the typical melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies that I do every year (I mean really, what's Christmas without a good sugar cookie?) and Colleen suggested shortbreads, which I'm going to give a try.

All that's left is knitting slippers for two more children, the cookie baking, and getting everything wrapped.

I am such a procrastinator! I know I should start all this Christmas crafting in January, but I always think that maybe this year I'll be able to afford to buy more and make less of the gifts. It never happens, so why, oh why don't I just give in and start stuff when I should? Of course, to win the lottery, you actually have to play it. There's always a catch!

Someone give me a poke in Jan (Ha! try it - I'll be outside playing in seeds and dirt and milk jugs. lol). If I'm lucky, I'll get to some of the 'after' sales and find some good christmas crafting items. That only happened one year, but hey, a girl can hope! Just what the hell do you make (or buy, for that matter) for people who have everything and need nothing? I've done every craft I can think of, including tatting, for Pete sake. Ok, so the corn therapy bags were a fab idea.

I swear, I'm so going to start early next year! Well, if I can find something worth making, that is.