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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tending Weeds - Sweet Annie

Image result for sweet annie plant

The definition of a weed:

A plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one that grows where it is
not wanted.

So, by definition, I've apparently been cultivating undesirable plants. Troublesome plants. Plants nobody wants. A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding a small area behind the pool filter that had become somewhat overgrown. As I yanked and pulled, I recognized a familiar fragrance. "Sweet Annie" - I'd been pulling out a patch of "Sweet Annie"! So I quickly dug a couple of holes in the back of my so-called vegetable patch, and dropped in a couple of handfuls of roots and stem. Last fall I bought some branches of "Sweet Annie", or Artimisia annua from a vendor at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York. I'd previously planted some seeds but never identified any seedlings. Anyway, I formed my "Annie" into a wreath with green florists' wire and added some dried Hydrangea blossoms to complete the piece. I know "Annie"  grows by the side of the road but I never found any I could cut without getting run over. Hopefully now, I'll have my own little crop of this fragrant herb. "Sweet Annie", according to Mother Earth News, is originally a native to Southeastern Europe, North Africa and Iran. It's known as "the Tomboy" of everlasting gardens due to it's plain and gawky appearance. It's a favorite of crafters for its versatility and sweet, lingering fragrance and been used medicinally since the 7th century as well. "Sweet Annie" will only become troublesome to me if I can't keep up with the harvesting.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Euptoieta claudia & Indiecito

This beautiful thing is a Variegated Fritillary (or Euptoieta claudia). She didn't get into a face off with the large bee that shared the branch of butterfly bush with her. She just elegantly enjoyed sipping and flitting around on a warm September afternoon. It struck me that her wings backlit by the sun, matched the centers of the flowerettes perfectly. When looking for color combinations for yarn dying, fiber artists frequently take a cue from nature and this is a perfect example of colors that I would never have tried to combine.

I've barely started a new project - a Pebble Beach Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart in Malabrigo Arroyo in a variegated colorway called Indiecita (Little Indian). I wasn't sure if I'd like this pattern in this particular yarn. It reminds me of a beachy, summer sunset. Another inspiration from nature. Someone said that there's nothing new in the world. All we have to do is look around and appreciate what's here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Before & After Kitchen

Here's where we started. I married a man with a son who were living in a home that had never been updated. Just a couple of bachelors (one big, one little) with a sad, yellow kitchen.
This is where we started. A small, square kitchen, portable dishwasher, wall between the kitchen and a dining area/family room. A very large coal stove and chimney that had to be removed. We kept the brick wall. 

Stove and chimney removed but hole still in ceiling. Built-in bar with mirror tiles over (apparently to nicely reflect liquor bottles?
We kept the existing window over the sink.
The wall between the kitchen and FR (with cook top and built-in oven came down.)

Stove & microhood are where the old fridge was. A door to the backyard was closed up and the fridge takes its place.

Maple glass door cabinets and built-in desk replaced a bare wall and portable dishwasher. The desk was created by using upper cabinets as lower to allow room for knee space under the countertop of the desk.

I'm linking back to the www.thededicatedhouse.com blog (Wednesday Before and After).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Liquid Lunch


No, not that kind of liquid lunch. The yummy, healthy kind. Or it could be breakfast, instead. But I can't stand the roar of the Ninja blender too early (and I know it grates on my husband's nerves, too). It's quick and easy and just about all I want at 11:30 a.m. if I've skipped breakfast. Now, skipping breakfast is not a bad thing if you're like me and can't stand the smell of eggs cooking before noon and you're avoiding grains. A couple of  cups of coffee (half decaf) get me moving in the a.m. but by late morning I'm looking for something to fill me up and keep my tummy from growling. This blueberry smoothie made from 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, 1 scoop of vanilla brown rice protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal and a couple of drops of liquid stevia. I whirl it in my Ninja with a little water and a few ice cubes until it's thick but not too thick to pour. It has 375 calories, 22 grams of healthy fat, 29 carbs (okay, a little high there but look a the fiber!), 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. I can't recommend a food, supplement or give any advice regarding nutrition. And nursing and pregnant women should not consume flax seeds, according to Web MD. But if you would like to add some healthy fiber and plant lignans to your diet from what some experts claim is the most powerful plant on the planet, you might want to research the possible benefits to adding dark colored berries, healthy fat and ground flax seeds to your already healthy diet.