Project Spectrum

Pink in the Garden


Although my own garden is beginning to look, well. . . kind of bad; definitely bedraggled . . . I'm still finding shades of pink (amid the weeds and dying stems).

My Watercolor shrub rose is having a great year (following a couple of years of decline; I almost took this guy out last year -- glad I didn't!).


And parts of my succulent wreath are having a bloomin' party!  (Other parts are . . . not.)


And this?  Why, this is poke weed.  A weed.  Something I did not plant.  But it has such interesting blooms. . . that sometimes I just let it go.


(This particular poke weed is growing strong - with a couple of friends - in a bed I am planning to renovate yet this season.  It would be bleak without the poke weed!)

I've also had the great fortune of visiting several gardens (public and otherwise) this month.  I've seen so many lovely things!  Here are some PINK highlights.

From the Michigan State University Children's Garden:




From my brother-in-law's vegetable garden (the most lovely vegetable garden I've ever seen):




From the Gardens at Spring Creek in Fort Collins, Colorado:



And from the Cheyenne Botanic Garden in Cheyenne, Wyoming:



Have a lovely weekend.  Keep your eyes open for PINK!

ReThink. . . Pink!


A new calendar month brings a new Project Spectrum color . . . PINK.


Pink?  I'm not a huge fan of pink.   I mean. . . I don't mind it.  Really, I don't.  But it tends not to be my first choice.  Pink?  Where am I even going to find it around me?

Not in my closet. 

Except for . . . oops!  A nice pop of bright color here and there.


(My current favorite handbag.)

Not in my house.

Well. . . except for some colorful touches to soften the edges.


(Like in these embroidered throw pillows.)

Not on my toes.

Ummmmmm.  Except that my latest pedicure is "cupid pink."


Not in my garden.

Except for that nice shell pink begonia. . .


and some interesting foliage. . . and maybe even a few other blooms here and there.


Not on my needles.

Well. . . unless there's a new baby on the block!


(All the details Raveled here.)

Maybe I'm going to have to re-think. . . PINK!


Feelin' Groovy


Officially finishing off July = Blue with a little Simon & Garfunkel.  Hit it, boys!


Erin has always loved owls.  Always.  Like. . . from babyhood.  One of her favorite books as a very little girl was a simple, heavy-pressboard book called Animal Sounds.   She loved to make the sounds of each animal in the book.  As we read, and got nearer to the end of the book, she would get increasingly excited.  You could feel her little body get jumpier; her hands would twirl with excitement . . . because the last of the animal sounds was the "whooooo-whoooooo-whoooooooooo" of the owls!  (Or "wowls," as Erin called them.)  She loved it!

When she was 15 months old (or so), in the fall as we put our vegetable garden to "bed" for the winter, Erin discovered our inflatable "scarecrow" owl.  It was pretty frightening; it looked just like this:


No matter, though.  She loved it!  She gave it rides in her baby stroller, dragged it everywhere, and treated it as gently as any 15-month-old can.

But, back then, owls weren't . . . groovy.  You couldn't find owl toys in the stores (although my mom did manage to find one stuffed version that Erin adored); there were no patterns for adorable owl bags or pillows or toys; you'd never see owl fabrics or clothing with owl designs.

But now?  Well, let's just say Erin was an "early-adopter!"  Now, there are owl patterns EVERYwhere!  Owls are definitely . . . feelin' groovy. . . these days!  You can decorate your house with owls, wear owls, carry owl lunch bags. 

And moms can finally find adorable owl fabric to make an apron for her owl-loving daughter.


This pattern is from Sew Liberated - the Emmeline Apron.  Very cool design.  Very fun to sew.  And. . . completely reversible!


So it's two aprons in one!

The owl fabric really is groovy . . . with little peace signs and everything!


Happy little owls.


In blue.


I hope Erin will be . . . feelin' groovy . . . in her new WOWL apron!


Spectrum Baby


I knit a baby sweater last weekend . . .  a Project Spectrum baby sweater!


Red, yellow, and two shades of blue.  (The actual sweater looks more blue-ish; the photos make it look like the red predominates.  But it doesn't in "real life.")

I love the buttons!


I had planned all along to do buttons in primary colors -- but I didn't have the right shades in the right sizes in my button box.  I went off to the fabric store, just hoping I could find three shapes/sizes in colors I liked.  Imagine my surprise when I found these three buttons (plus a green one) sold all on one card!  Perfect!

It's such fun to knit baby things.


They're tiny, sweet -- and really quick!  They make great gifts, too. 


Ravelry link here.

Enjoy the weekend -- and stay cool!

Garden Blues

Blue. . . is not an easy color in the garden.  There aren't very many truly BLUE flowers -- and especially not in the hot parts of the gardening season.

In the spring, I have a beautiful blue in my garden.


This is my 'Jack Frost' brunnera.  It has true-blue blooms for a few weeks in the early spring -- and it is magnificent!

Now, though, this is the closest-to-blue I have blooming.


It's trailing lobelia in one of my patio containers.  And it's really not true-blue; more like a purple-y blue.

My garden is lacking in blue! 

While on my recent garden tours, though, I was drawn to blue in other people's gardens.  Not usually through blooms -- but through accents and pops of color.

My friend, Sandie, has a fabulous periwinkle blue wall across the back of her garden. 


(Sandie is a ceramicist; she made the fountain and the tiles.  Gorgeous, non?)

I found this blue-lined birdbath on one of last month's garden tours.  It looks like a swimming pool for birds!  (And that clematis bloom floating . . . isn't that perfect?)


At one of the nurseries we visited, I found this row of wheelbarrows.  I'm always kind of a sucker for wheelbarrows anyway, but this row of blue ones really caught my attention.


Sometimes, just little blue accents are the perfect touch in a garden.




Do you have any garden blues?

Enjoy your weekend . . . hope you find plenty of blue skies!



Damn Right. . . I Got the Blues

You guessed it. . . Project Spectrum. . . July. . . brought to you by the color BLUE. 

Hit it, Buddy.


I'll be singin' the blues this month!


And to start things off, I'll tell you a story.  A blues story! 

When I was a very little girl, I had a tiny blue willow china tea set.  I think (I need to check with my mom on this one) the tiny blue willow china tea set was a "big sister gift" when my sister was born.  There are some family stories about how I jammed one of her tiny baby hands into my tiny tea cup.  (I mean, really.  Can you blame me?  They told me I'd have a new sister to PLAY with.)

Anyway.  Being a very little girl, who tried to play nice. . . but didn't always manage to. . .the tiny blue willow china tea set didn't make it out of my childhood.  But I remember it well.  In fact, it is deeply embedded in my psyche.


I have been piecing the tiny blue willow china tea set back together. . . from various antique stores. . . through the years.  I almost have the entire set assembled once again.  (I'm always on the lookout for additional pieces.)


I love it!

The charm of that tiny blue willow china tea set stayed with me.  Now, as an adult, I have an ongoing, all-encompassing "thing" for blue transferware.

You can find pieces of blue transferware all over my house.  On side tables. . .


as centerpieces. . .


on the walls. . .


at tea time. . .


and, prominently, in my china cabinet.


Because it seems kind of inevitable. . . that a little girl with a cherished tiny blue willow china tea set would grow up to be a woman with big blue transferware china tea set!


Yeah.  Damn right. . . I got the blues!  They're everywhere!




Fade Out


Last year, I bought a new "fade-resistant" patio umbrella and matching cushions for my outdoor furniture.


It looked nice -- cheery and bright.  But.  "Fade-resistant"?  Not so much.  This year, the same umbrella and cushions are looking tired and kind of sad . . . totally faded to shades of grey.


I really don't want to have to replace my umbrella and cushions every year.  I decided to let Project Spectrum inspire me . . . to add a brighter, greener touch to my tired patio cushions.

I headed to my local fabric store where I found outdoor upholstery fabric -- Sunbrella -- it's supposed to be "fade-resistant" but I'm not holding my breath.


And I made five cushions.


I think they turned out pretty well; I'm happy with them - especially the contrast piping.


They brighten up the little couch and the chair.


And make the swing look much more inviting.


It's still looking pretty faded. . . but I think the cushions will help bring a little bright spot to the patio.


Until they fade out, too, that is!!!

Green . . . Any Way You Look At It


Thinking Green!

I'm off today for Master Gardener College, a 3-day extravaganza of tours, conference sessions, and field trips.

Wearing Green! 

I found this little t-shirt today. . . perfect for wearing to a garden conference.


Spending Green!

Well.  Maybe.  I'll have plenty of opportunity to buy plants, garden gadgets, and garden-themed EVERYthing.

Enjoy your weekend!


PS -- In keeping with this week's Ten on Tuesday theme of book recommendations, check out this list of Ten Terrific Summer Reads from NPR.


Just Plain Foliage


When most people think of "gardens" . . . they think of "flowers."  And, yeah . . . flowers are usually the showpieces of any garden.  Beautiful . . . but short-lived and fleeting.


(And, in the case of my peonies this year, VERY short-lived.)

The real workhouse of any garden, though, is the foliage.


I plan my gardens . . .


and I purchase my plants . . .


oftentimes, just for the foliage!


So many greens!


So many textures!


And not a flower in sight!


Just plain foliage. . .


is never plain!

Everyday Green

As a gardener, I'm surrounded by green.  Every day.


But yesterday I realized that I'm also surrounded by "everyday green."  Stuff I use every day -- and kind of just . . . take for granted!

My water bottle, for example.


Couldn't get through a workout without it! 

Or my incredibly handy market basket.


I keep this in my car and use it all the time.  For shopping.  For errands.  For carting Jenny's stuff up to the lake.  Incredibly handy.  (And it folds flat.  Bonus.) 

Or my watering can.


Rubbermaid.  Indestructible.  Steady.  Useful.  I bought this one before Erin was born. . . and I've been using it every gardening season since! 

Or my gardening shoes.


Steady-Freddies.  Oh, sure.  I've been tempted by the much cuter, happy-patterned gardening shoes available now.  But these green "Sloggers" (that's what they're called. . .) have served me well for nearly a decade, and I imagine they'll hang in there for a lifetime of garden slogging!

Or my other trusty gardening tools.


I'm surrounded by everyday green. 


How about you?