Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Hey friends!

I hope your weeks are going well. I feel like I've been away from this space more than I wish to be...I'm really hoping to get back in the swing of things soon.

For the first time in years, my internet addiction feels a bit subdued. I have a pretty serious crush on the internet...I'd be lying if I said I haven't spent hours of my day stalking design blogs. Of course, I do take breaks from design blogs. I have to get my internet shopping lust on, after all...or at least wish list making. I don't really purchase much. And of course, there's always the other usual suspects that fill any voids I may find myself in. Flickr. Amazon. Craigslist. *cough*facebook*cough*. Yeah- website hopping is one of those things that I don't feel great about. Spending the extra hours each week writing for Houzz has made it easier to make me want to get away from the internet. I get the same way in the winter when I work on a computer all day at work.

But anyway, enough of that. Back to awesomeness. I'm hoping to post more projects over the coming months, but first I'm going to clean the blog up a little bit. It's looking a little messy these days. Watch for a new layout in the coming weeks! New tabby things to the right instead of a mishmash of whatever is there right now. Okay, I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Keeping Bees

Ah yes. Spring. Or should I say "spring"...

We've been the enduring receivers of 42 degree, rain sleet and slosh filled days throughout much of Wisconsin over the course of March and April. Don't get me wrong- I do love grey skies. They make for great driving conditions (we all know how much I love my drive to work...) and they're easy on those of us who have been blessed with Rosacea or other skin related nuisances. Rosacea and sun don't mix. I work outdoors a lot and sunny days are not my friends (although so badly I wish they could be).

So yes, spring has been off to a slow start. But I'm not going to lie- I'm a little uneasy about going into my Super Mega Garden Reconstruction Project 2011, so this rain and snow and whatever the hell else is falling from the sky is actually kind of okay with me. Because I know that as soon as the 63 degree days hit, it's Go Time, and there's no turning back. Not the words that a Grade-A procrastinator wants to hear. I don't mean to brag, but I am pretty awesome at avoiding things. Why do you think I blog?

Anyway. I'll step off the sleepy horse now and get to what I came here for. Bees.
After weeks of lusting, I finally bought "Keeping Bees" by Ashley English, and although I'm only on page 23, I have to say that it's one of my favorite purchases ever. Ashley has a writing style that is clever and easy to follow, and the photo to paragraph ratio is about 1:2. My kind of book for sure...I like books with pictures and I don't like books without pictures, so this is pretty much perfect for me. 

Anyway, I picked this up with the intention of keeping bees next year, so it's been a nice way to fill any empty gaps of time that I find. I would highly recommend it even to those who do not plan to keep bees in the future. It's a fun read and teaches us just how magnificent bees really are. 

So since I have been so delighted by honeybees lately, I'm sure you can imagine my excitement as I turned to one of the first stories in this month's Midwest Living:
More words about bees! I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Midwest Living subscription, and just as I was about to give up hope that they ever processed my subscription card, I got my first issue. Yes! Because, you know, I really needed more magazines. 

Anyway, onto the next. I have shown you this a few times before, but I'm showing you again, because a post about bee love would not be complete without it.
This is the first linoleum block I ever carved. Or should I say, the only linoleum block I ever carved. I am hopeful that I will start printmaking again some day. And actually, I am going to rearrange my studio over the next few weeks and I'll certainly have printing on the brain when I do. Part of the reason I fell in love with our house was because of the potential awesomeness that the basement offered in the way of studio space. I should get on that. Maybe today.

Anyway. So that's all. Not really too much has been going on around here in my free time other than fertilizing my house plants, watching my cats sleep, working on my garden journal, writing for houzz, drinking mass amounts of coffee (i gave up on the idea of quitting), and thinking about trips that we want to take this summer. Oh, and I've been listening to a lot of music and finding new apps for my android. But that's about it.

Joe's been doing awesome things like making pizza from scratch (on the grill!) and dying eggs for me for Easter. He did one of each color, six total, and hid them along with not one but two hollow bunnies. Oh, he also got a brand new lawn tractor thing which he's super stoked about and he got his fishing license the other day. As we were standing in line for the license, I made the spontaneous decision to get one as well. 

We've been trying to think of more things that we can do together, which is difficult when you have 2 people who have completely different interests but it seems to be going well. We'll see what we come up with over the next couple of weeks. We may just end up making potato guns and shooting out some newly replaced security lights or bake a 6 layer cake with gummy worms if we can't come up with anything else. Whatever we end up doing, I'm sure you'll hear about it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Creating a Garden Journal

Joe and I are going into our second spring since owning our home, and this year I decided to start keeping a garden journal. 

I sat down a few evenings ago and came up with a list of things that I'd like to keep track of throughout the growing months. Then I made a rough draft of the categories that would help keep me on track-- I didn't want it to be just another unorganized notebook. I'm pretty awesome at keeping jumbled notebooks...I'm one of those people who just opens it to some random page and starts writing. Being unorganized is one of my worst habits!

Anyway. After a couple hours of planning, I made a list of what I needed from the store and went shopping when I got off work. PS: it helps to come up with your color choices before you head to the store.

What you'll need:
- 3 ring binder
- lined paper
- graph paper for plans and drawings
- plastic sleeves for articles & clippings
- magazines to gather photos & ideas from
- decorative paper to divide journal into sections
- pouch to keep supplies in
- pens, markers, scissors, tape (i'm going to get cuter tape from etsy), glue stick, etc.
- hole punch (a 3-ring punch will save you lots of time...i didn't want to buy one, though.)

Total cost: $28, although you can make yours for less. I gathered everything I needed from Target and Archivers. When I searched "garden journal", I saw directions for one that said it would cost $60...not really sure what all that money went towards, but I'm pretty happy with my total cost of $28. I think I could have spent only $20 if I had the tape, glue and ink pads already.

Total time: I spent about 2 hours shopping (i like to look at everything) and then about 3.5 hours assembling, although you could spend less. It all depends on how much you want to get your craft on...and how many photos you take and edit if you blog.

I cut my decorative paper into strips to add a little visual interest to each section. I could have saved a lot of time and some money by just using the actual piece of decorative paper, but I didn't want the journal to feel too chaotic so I decided to use thin strips on blank paper.
Once I had all my strips glued in place, I used my Dymo printer to make section titles. I ended up putting November-March in one section since gardening in Wisconsin is pretty much at a stand still during those months.
In addition to monthly categories, I came up with about 5 others as well so I could keep everything sorted out.
A now that it's finished, I can start keeping notes and ideas! I'm pretty excited to have something like this to keep me organized, and it will be a lot of fun to look back at throughout the coming years. I will most likely use the same journal until it is completely full and just keep adding paper to the sections as I need it.
In case you are interested, here are the categories I included, although I'm sure I will think of more as time goes on:

- each month has it's own section, other than the winter months
- plants and flowers: i'll keep an ongoing list of plants that i see & like.
- inspiration: i will keep my clippings in plastic sleeves in this section. 
- care and keeping: fertilizing times, what works/what doesn't, problems that arise.
- plans and ideas: i put my graph paper in this section. i'll draw my sculpture and bed plans here.
- etc.

And that's how I spent my Friday morning. What are your plans for the weekend? Joe is getting off work in about 20 minutes, but I'm not sure what we'll do yet. It's really windy outside and I think it's only about 45 degrees- no fun for outdoor stuff. Ah well, it's a good day to start filling my journal. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Shelf for Spring

Hello friends!

I hope to be in this space a little more in the coming weeks...we'll see! It's finally garden season, so that will pretty much take over my life from now till October, which is awesome! I'm creating a moss garden and had every intention of doing it today, but I busted my effing knee on a ball hitch at work yesterday and now it's a swollen, achy, throbbing jumble that I  really don't care to kneel on. Thankfully no blood was involved. We'll see if I can get this fixed up with some painkillers & coffee.

This morning I wrote an ideabook for Houzz on insects and bugs. I needed more photos that weren't entirely butterfly oriented, so I rearranged my shelf and ended up with this:

Today is supposed to hit 70 here and I've to lots that I want to do outside. I better start swallowing those pills and get on with my day. Check ya!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


So there has been a growing pile of magazines on our coffee table for about a month now. It's been bugging me for a bit, but since I haven't set aside the time to flip through them yet, I didn't really want to put them away.

So I just re-piled them in a more organized fashion and I feel much better now. Although I woke up to most of them being on the floor this morning. I'm pretty sure it was's kind of her style to do something like that. I imagine she got a running start and slid on them over and over. She misses her rug rides- I put the ugly one from the kitchen downstairs and she doesn't get her daily ride anymore. Bummer.
The word puzzle books are Joe's. The rest are mine. I really like Everyday Food, but rarely make the recipes that I bookmark since I tend to work past a reasonable dinner hour. Sunset Living was a mistake on my part- I thought it was more of a DIY style but duh, it's like Midwest Living on the West Coast, minus the Midwest part. Whole Living is one of those magazines that have a few good articles but is mostly just filled with stuff I already knew. Living has been a letdown for like a year now. I think what I'm getting at is that I should just only get Midwest Living and be done with the rest, although I do get a lot of them at thrift stores so it's not too terrible.


Yesterday I started working on the yard but only spent about 4 hours outside. Then, of course, I was awake pretty much all night wishing that I had today off so I could keep doing yard stuff. The reasons I lose sleep are almost always directly related to me thinking about my current projects. Damn.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Estate Sale

First off- Thank you all so much for the kind comments on my last post. Things are getting easier- I only shed half a tear today! That's a record so far this week...I was in the middle of cleaning the garage & found 2 stickers that I had paper clipped together a few years ago. I meant to send them to her, but I had sealed the envelope before realizing that they never made it in.

Anyway. Today was a good day. I had the day off with Joe, which is a rare event, and we headed out to an estate sale this morning. We got there a little later than I wanted to, so we went to breakfast to kill time until our number was called. It ended up working out well, although I'm sure I missed out on a lot of garden stuff. Dang! Ah well. I did get 2 wooden handled straw brooms & a garden hoe for $3.50 total. I also got a little ceramic pot, but didn't get a great photo of it.

I like to have (cute) brooms scattered around so they are convenient. Now I have 4, but I'd like one or two more. One for the garage, back deck, litter box area, potting room, kitchen and bedroom. Then I'll be set. Kind of like my need to have 5 hammers or 4 tape measures. There are some things that just make life easier.

After the estate sale, we worked on the yard awhile. I finally have a vision for the way I want it to look! First thing's first: time to get rid of all the previous owners cutsey little things that they left for us. You know- items like the ceramic boy sitting on a bench with a dog...a black witch caldron buried into one of the retaining walls, some bird figurines on metal sticks...that kind of thing. I didn't get rid of them sooner because the first summer we just lived here with everything as-is and the second summer was pretty much a wash. Third summer's sure to be a charm, I'm sure.