Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Summer!

I hope everyone is having a marvelous summer!  I can't believe it is already nearing the end of July.  I have had a busy couple of months but have managed to spend a little time outside enjoying my garden.  I didn't plant as many annuals this year.  Mostly money prohibited me from going all out, but I did manage to add a few new things.  

One new addition was this gorgeous Clematis.  It is the Kilian Donahue variety.
It has done surprisingly well in its large pot.  I am hoping I can trim it back and get it to hold over the winter in the pot.  It is supposed to be very hardy.  We will see.

Isn't the bloom just beautiful?  Despite our very hot, dry summer it has added new growth and has continued to bloom.  I love how the blossom looks like suede and just look at that beautiful Calyx!

Clematis Close

Last season I planted several Lavender plants because I really love Lavender.  My mom advised me against it because they are generally not hardy enough to survive our cold and snowy winters.  If you missed seeing what my house looks like in the winter, click here!  You might understand her skepticism.

I chose three different varieties of Lavender: Provence, Grosso and Mitcham Grey.  These varieties seemed to have the best chance of living through the winter.  I purchased my lavender plants at the High Country Gardens store, but you can order them from their website as well.  I highly recommend High County Gardens.  You won't be disappointed in the quality of their plants.

I planted my lavenders against the South side of our house hoping the heat would radiate and help keep them warm.  I think my theory worked, because not only did they live, but this year two of the three plants have thrived!  I'm pretty excited.  I just harvested the stems from the Grosso plant and they are now drying inside.  I can't believe I forgot to take some pictures before I cut the stems!
Isn't it pretty?  My family room smells lovely!  

First Lavender harvest

The Mitcham Grey didn't do as well as the Grosso and Provence, but it lived and it did produce some blooms.  I'm hopeful that it will do better next year.  I have dreams of lavender like the photos on my Lavender Pinterest board.  Click here if you would like to see it! 

Maybe I will have enough to make a gorgeous wreath like this one I saw at  Designed on Sunshine!  
You must check out Melanie's blog.  She creates the most beautiful things!  

Looking forward to enjoying some more lovely blooms in my yard before Autumn arrives.  It will be here before I know it.  What new things are growing in your garden this summer?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I love Mother's Day.  I don't love it because I get breakfast in bed, or because I am lavished with expensive jewelry or fancy flowers.  I saw a segment on the news that said the average amount spent on mother's day gifts is $150! I was kind of taken aback. I couldn't imagine spending $150 on a mother's day gift for my mother.  Not because she isn't worth it, but because she is worth so much more!

I am grateful for my mother. She is my friend and my advisor. She's a wonderful mom and a fantastic grandma.  Over the years I made my mom many awful little gifts and some pretty tacky cards.  One year, I was maybe seven or eight, I gave her a beat-up Sucrets box with a few pennies, a safety pin and some rocks in it.  I think I drew a picture too.  That gift was certainly not a pair of diamond earrings but she treasured it as if it was.  Years later I saw that she had lovingly saved that box along with many of the other things I had made for her.  Thankfully the quality of my handmade gifts has improved, but my mom seemed to love the junk just as much as the nicer things I made her later in life.  
I didn't understand why. . . .until I became a mother. 
Yes, I love Mother's day because despite the challenges and daily frustrations that come with being a mom, I am reminded that I wouldn't trade my "job" for any other. 

Friday afternoon Little K ran in the door shouting, "Mom! I want to give you your Mother's Day gift, RIGHT NOW!".  Who could argue with that?  
He handed me this bright poster of his hand prints and a little poem.  I thought how big he is getting and that his little hands will soon be larger than mine.

Little K's Hands

It made me think back to the day we brought him home from the hospital.  I snapped this picture with our digital camera as we were in the car driving home.  
My heart stops a moment when I see how tiny his hand was in this photo. *sigh*

Little K's hand

When I got up Sunday morning I saw him quietly sitting at the table concentrating very hard on something  before him.  I have no idea how long he had been there but I was given strict instructions to "stay away".  An hour later he brought me this creation.  I like to call it my bling bouquet.  When I looked at the meticulous detail he put into lining up each little rhinestone to make his flowers my heart swelled.  He did that for me!
See the tiny sea shells and birds?  He said he knew they are my favorite.

Little K's Bouquet

Then there is my big boy who is getting ready to leave elementary school behind him.  His independence grows every day and I see my cuddly, little boy slowly disappearing.  
He brought this card home from school.

  Big K's Card

Inside he drew a picture of us shopping. I don't know why, but he thinks that shopping with mom is fun. 
On the back of the card was a series of fill in the blank sentiments.  
My favorites were:  "You make me feel good when"  He wrote, I'm hurt, I'm sick, or sad.  
That made me feel good!
"You are good at so many things.  Here are three of them"  He wrote, You are good at art, helping me, and food.  I'm hoping he meant that I am good at cooking food and not just good at eating it.
Most of the time I feel very inadequate when it comes to helping him with things like math homework.
I'm grateful he thinks I'm good at it, even though we are really learning it together.
But did you notice the first thing he listed?? ART! *warm fuzzy feeling*    

Saturday night he had a sleep-over at Grandma's.
When he came home on Sunday morning he handed me this plate and said,
 "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  Look what I made you! Well, Grandma helped me."

Big K's Cookies

Mmmmmm.  Peanut Butter cookies!  Fresh-out-of-the-oven peanut butter cookies, no less!  
Yes, there were more than two cookies.  No, I did not have help eating them.  
See?  I really am good at food! 

 Flowers wilt, and while jewelry is nice it can't compare to the thought and love I know my boys put into their gifts for me.  What's better?  My sweet mom helped Big K make his gift for me and they had fun together. Time spent together is time well spent.  

Handmade is heart-felt and I wouldn't trade my Mother's Day He{art} for anything!  
 I hope that your day was filled with as many treasures and blessings as mine!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Catch of the Day!

Spring is definitely here!  The mornings are crisp & cool, but the days are warming up nicely. My boys are running out the door to go play as soon as their homework is finished.  They love playing outside. There is a lot of kick ball, riding bikes, and playing war with sticks.  They also love to go exploring.  We are blessed to live in a rural mountain community where our family history runs deep. We have lots of space to roam and the boys often come running in the house with exciting finds like rocks, bugs, lizards and an occasional wild flower for their mom.

Yesterday afternoon Little K was still working on homework, so Big K started the outdoor expedition without him.  He wanted to go for a bike ride.  Not long after, he came running in the house with his latest catch of the day.  I never know what is going to be inside a pair of cupped hands and I always have visions of some creature or yucky bug getting away and hiding under my sofa. Such is life with two boys!

Big K kept reassuring me that I would REALLY like what he had to show me.  Then he opened his hands and this cute little guy was inside!  He was right. I did like it.  I really do love horny toads.  I have good childhood memories of catching lizards and horny toads and making them my friends for a little while before setting them free.  For many years we didn't see any horny toads around here at all.  So when we found several residing in a rock retaining wall last fall, it was a big event.  Horny toads are such cute little creatures and they like people once they figure out that you are going to be their friend.  Here he is. Checking me out.

Short Horned Lizzard

You do know they aren't a toad, right?  They are affectionately called a horny toad because they have spiky horns and their bodies are round like a toad, but they are actually a lizard.  This little guy is a Short-Horned Lizard.  Short-Horned Lizards supposedly squirt blood from their eyes when they are threatened, although I have never seen one do that.  It is possible that is because these are the Pygmy variety and they do not squirt blood from their eyes.  I don't claim to be a lizard expert, so your Google research is as good as mine!

What I do know is they are actually very docile and enjoy hanging out a getting a nice pet or two from a finger.  This is a smaller horny toad.  He is about the size of a half dollar sitting in the palm of Big K's hand.  I have seen them much larger, about the size of an adult hand palm and I have seen them smaller, only the size of a quarter.  Look at his cute little tail!!  Did I mention I like horny toads?

Short Horned Lizzard

See?  He is just hanging out. . . .literally!

I ♥ Horny Toads

Big K knows how much I love horny toads.  He was pretty proud to show me his "Catch of the Day"!

Big K & the Horny Toad

What do you think of our little horny toad friend?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

I can't believe I turned the calendar to April today.  Where is the time going?  Before I know it my boys will be out of school and the craziness of summer will be upon us.  But in the mean time, I am going to enjoy SPRING!

I walked around this morning surveying the affects of Winter on my yard.  The snow is finally gone and most of the mud has dried.  My day lilies are up, the rose bushes and honeysuckle are leafed out and I noticed my lavender plants putting out new growth!  I got out the Easter Bunny flag too.  It's much more suitable for Spring than poinsettias.

Spring has sprung!

It's a very exciting time of year.  We can finally open the windows and let fresh air in the house! The birds are chirping and I really want to get my hands dirty and start planting annuals in my containers.  Sadly, I must hold off a little while longer.  I live in the mountains and we can have snow and hard freezes as late as the end of April. So, for now I will have to peruse seed catalogs and browse Pinterest for gardening ideas.

I found this lovely little weed blooming when I was walking around this morning.  It looks a little like a Penstemon, though I'm sure it's just a weed.  It's rather pretty, though, don't you think?  I was happy to see it anyway. It's a perfect reminder that Spring has definitely sprung!

A Pretty Weed!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Inky Fingers

My boys love arts & crafts.  They love to make things with pipe cleaners, construction paper, markers, colored pencils, glitter glues, popsicle sticks, googly eyes and a multitude of other things found in the kids' craft section at your local Hobby Lobby.  And while they have fun with their supplies, they are always admiring my stamps, ink pads and "special" glitter glues.

I will admit that I am a little OCD about clean stamps and stamp pads, so it isn't very often I let them get into my art supplies.  Yesterday was an exception. Since it was kind of cold and snowy, and it was the first day of Spring Break, I decided to relent and let them dig in to my craft stash.  They each picked out several stamps and ColorBox cat's eye pigment inks to make some creations.

Both of my boys' names start with the letter "K".  I know, very "konfusing".  I proudly introduce Big K and Little K!  Now you won't have to remember which "K" is which!  I love these guys.

Stamping fun!

Little K was very focused on the proper application of ink to his stamp. Focus, focus, focus. . . . He did a fine job, I must say!

Focus. . . .

They spent a few hours meticulously stamping book marks, and making pictures.  Big K started smearing ink on the paper and said, "Look, Mom! I made smoke come out of the airplane engine!".  He was excited to learn he was using the "direct to paper" technique with pigment ink.  I was especially impressed with Little K's idea to use parts of the airplane stamp to make it look like it had crashed and parts of it had fallen off.  In the stamping world we call that "masking".

I laughed to myself.  We adults are so silly.  We read books and take classes to learn art techniques.  Not kids, they just create with reckless abandon and could care less if they are using some fancy "technique".  I should be more like them!  Big K made one of his his airplanes crash upside down into the lighthouse.  Little K called his picture "World War III".  Yup, kinda looks like it.  Only boys.

Finished works of art!

The proud artists!

They were very pleased with their finished works of art and so was mom.  I loved watching them go to town and be creative with my art supplies.  No direction, no restrictions. . .just have fun.  Makes me think I need to stop being so OCD with my own creative process.  Stop worrying about about ink on the stamps, stop worrying about ink on other ink, just get inky and have a blast!