Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I spy...

An unexpected mid-summer amaryllis scape!

Red Lion amaryllis, unexpected summer scape

I noticed this scape peeking out of one of my amaryllis bulbs this afternoon.  This is the 2008 Red Lion bulb, which has bloomed faithfully every year. It didn't bloom last winter and I thought it was going to skip a year, but apparently the summer outside kicked it back into gear.  It has lots of leaves, so hopefully it will store up plenty of energy and be able to put on its usual show inside next winter too.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Disaster and mayhem at the Tomato Annex

O.   M.   G.

WHAAAARRRRGARBLNABBIT!

tomato disaster

This is not a picture of the Tomato Annex from May.  This is a picture from today, August 9, 2016.

My tomatoes have had a really rough time this year.  It was so cold this spring, and has continued to be cool at night all summer (last night, IN AUGUST, it was 39 degrees at my house), and the tomatoes have struggled.  The past couple weeks, we finally had a stretch of really warm weather with daytime temps in the 80s and 90s, and they started to take off despite the cool nights.  They had grown to over three feet tall, and were covered with flowers and itty bitty fruit. I was excited.

Last night, there were apparently demonic evil deer in the Tomato Annex yard.

tomato disaster

Sob.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Blooming sea urchin

My little sea urchin cactus (Astrophytum asterias) bloomed today!  First thing this morning, it looked like this

Astrophytum asterias almost blooming

Then at noon it was open!

Astrophytum asterias

It's so pretty.

Astrophytum asterias

I like the feathery edges on the petals and sepals.

Astrophytum asterias

And bonus- it's fragrant!  It smells sort of lemony, but sweet.

Astrophytum asterias

Thursday, August 04, 2016

TWO spikes now!

I noticed yesterday that the Gastrochilus somai orchid is putting out a second spike!

Gastrochilus somai with TWO spikes!

Go plant go!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Fair 2016

Hello hello!  The Fair started today!

I entered a few things this year, since I finally finished off some mostly-finished pieces that have been hanging around mocking me.

First up is the blue hardanger square-in-square piece that I designed last year.  I mounted it into a box lid, and it won a blue ribbon and Best of Show!  Yay hooray!!

hardanger box lid

Next up are the three snowflakes (actually two snowflakes and one eight-sided motif) that I made when I was experimenting with tatting finer threads.  The top and bottom ones are made with #40 thread, and the middle is my own design, made with #100 thread.  I wanted to put all three in the fair but you can only enter one item per class and lot, so I joined them together, put a hanging loop on, and called it a Christmas ornament.

tatted snowflakes

Last up is the green and white edging that I made last year shortly after I re-taught myself to tat.  This has also been sitting in the drawer, just needing the fabric insertion added. So yesterday, at 4:30 pm, I pulled out the sewing machine and an old ripped pillowcase and finished it off.  Fair entries were due by 8:00 pm, but I thought I probably had enough time.  Because I'm not a procrastinator or anything, nope not me.

I traced a circle with a fortuitously-sized drinking glass, ran a narrow line of very close zigzag stitches around the circle with the machine, then hand-sewed satin stitches over that line, catching the inner picots of the tatted edging as I went.

I like the way it came out. This is pretty much exactly as I was envisioning it as I tatted.  The circle isn't perfect and I'll probably clean up that one point on the curve next week when I get it back from the fair, but I really like it.

tatted doily

The thread was my grandmother's, vintage #80 Star tatting thread that's probably 50+ years old. The pillowcase was my mother's, a really old pillowcase that I slept on as a child.  When I went to off to college in 1989 this was one of the two pillowcases that she sent with me, and I continued using it until about four years ago, when it ripped down the middle.  Throw it out?  I think not.  The cotton is so soft and worn and sun-bleached white that it's nearly transparent, and I knew I would eventually use it for something.

Grandma's thread, Mom's fabric, my tatted design.  Everything about this little doily makes me smile.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Elephantine slowness

My elephant ear corm, which I planted in MARCH, has finally grown a leaf and a half. Wow, that took a long time.

Elephant ear, finally showing a leaf after  almost five months.

It was a good big corm, and is actually showing five sprouts poking through the surface of the soil, so I assume there's been a lot happening underground. I think I'll have to try overwintering this one inside without full dormancy, and see if I can get it going earlier next year.

My reliably frost-free growing season is only mid-May to early October, and if it doesn't even leaf out until the end of July, that doesn't leave much time for growing huge!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bloom!

This morning at about 8:00, the Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii bud looked like this. So close!

Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii

By the time I got home three hours later, it was open!

Thelocactua bicolor ssp. schwarzii

It's so amazing to see big flowers on small plants. In this case, the plant is only 2" in diameter and the flower is 4" diameter.

It's so vibrant!

Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii