Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just Lay Me in My Grave Now!

That must have been Max's thought last night when he climbed into the dirt of the freshly built planter bed to take a nap.

We've been giving him more unsupervised outdoor time now that the backyard is completely fenced off. Usually he wanders around seemingly aimlessly for hours but lately he's been napping outside. He's slept next to the lavender, on the deck, and now — the planter bed.

He looked so cute and peaceful that I really couldn't groan about the seeds that I laid down that were now inevitably in his fur. He just looked so sweet and so unlike the curmudgeonly old man who has given us a headache with his almost complete inability to do his business outside rather than the living room carpet even though he gets to go outside and spend hours out there everyday now.

I'm a little worried about how he'll cope with the addition of another dog. Will it be enough to send him over the edge? Mr. Field Notes and I joke about how he's bound to try to throw himself into traffic, off a bridge or whatever other means to end his misery he musters up. For now, he's just practicing at pushing up daisies.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend Gardening

My dream is to create a Japanese garden in my backyard someday. It would have to contain wisteria. If I started now, with a plan, in several years time it could be awesome.

The thing is, I am not much of a planner anymore. In my 20s I had everything planned. I new exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and kept lists and deadlines. Now I rarely do that. Flexibility is what works. I still have goals, but I am not so rigid about when and what I'll do. Perhaps I've just grown impatient with age. I want to see immediate results! That's why this Japanese garden dream may end up just being hodge podge of what worked at the time - and more realistically - what I had money for at the time. Add the fact that I really like flowers and they are not the main feature of Japanese gardens - at least not from what I've seen.

My weekend gardening saw me uprooting lunaria to transplant to the front yard - at the front of the house to hide the ugly foundation. I had hollyhocks growing there the last two years but decided I like lunaria more. Hopefully the transplants will survive.

I also uprooted a lavender plant I grew from seed. It was doing really well until the lavender it was near engulfed it, crowding it out of sunlight and room to grow (must have felt like Max in Katy's shadow). So, I moved it to a new location. I think I may have done quite a bit of damage to its roots when I moved it. It's wilted now and just looks awful.

Mr. Field Notes expanded my planter bed to 3 times its original size so I took advantage of the extra space to plant seeds for some veggies and more flowers. I'm really hoping I can get the columbine to take off. They are such a pretty plant and I've seen quite a few of them growing in our neighborhood. That will be the last of the flowers I need to grow to use the seeds from in my shop - all the others I harvest myself from plants I grow. It's just the columbine left, then ALL of my cards will have seeds from my own garden. Lots of people sell plantable cards, but so far as I know, I am the only one who grows the plants and harvests the seeds from them.

Next on the list is getting the wisteria and loofa started!

It's not shaping up to be a very Japanese garden...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Plantable biz cards turned out beautifully!

One of the wonderful aspects of is that they've made it possible to request - and fulfill - custom orders. This has been a huge boon to clients who love the idea of making their biz cards, tags and customer appreciation or other promotional gifts out of plantable paper. For many, it's the first they've heard of the concept.

Although I've made custom plantable papers before, the most recent one turned out really, really well. I made the paper base out of completely recycled paper - newspaper page proofs - for a creamy white color. I added wildflower seeds plus flower petals and bits of metallic and mohair yarn scraps from Mr. Field Notes' weaving. Adding the petals and yarn bits increases the time it takes to make each sheet, but I think the effect it achieves is worth it.
The Pretty Peacock can be visited here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Three week update and Newf News!

Now that things are slowing down a bit I've had time to create some new cards. Rather than pressing flowers or leaves into cards, I decided to print images on the paper I make. Fortunately it soaks up the ink really well. I really like how they've turned out and am busy at work on some completely new images.

In other news, I was asked to review a manuscript for publication. Finally I get to use my PhD for something directly relevant! I am a little curious how it came to be that I was asked to review a paper instead of the hundreds or so other PhDs out there who are far better known. In truth, it feels great to be asked to provide an expert opinion on the quality of a piece of research. My non-academic day job certainly doesn't offer much of what would pass as respect. That is one of the things about academia that I took for granted. Pretty much everyone respects everyone else at some level. Being asked to review a manuscript means someone respects my opinion. Lately that feels like a refreshing drink after walking through a desert.

I've got to get as much done as I can in the next 6 weeks because we are expecting! A puppy. In a few weeks we'll be going to visit the family Katy came from so we can pick out the puppy we like. They have 2 black females. She won't be able to come home with us until she's 8 weeks old. I know it will be a ton of work. It's happening earlier than we'd like. I wanted to have one arrive sometime in October when the weather is cooler, but the female became pregnant earlier than everyone anticipated (thanks to a very eager male) so she'll be coming home sometime around the 4th of July. Katy will have a little sister who really is her sister! She'll be coming with us to meet the puppies too. I think it will be fun to see her doggy family. I wonder what she'll think of so many newfies! She seems to recognize them when she seems them, or just goes bananas over big shaggy black dogs that drool a lot. Either way, it will be a riot I'm sure.

She is the inspiration for one of the new cards I'm creating. And maybe just maybe one of these days I'll have time to draw some more monkeys. But for now, I'm hoping these will be the catch of the day for Father's Day.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

For the love of - Lunaria

Last year I planted a bunch of lunaria seeds from plants I found growing by the railroad tracks that run through town. I didn't even know what the plant was called at the time; I just loved the seed pods.

Lunaria is also called the "money plant" because the seed pods look like silver dollars. It's a fragrant plant that produces big bunches of purple flowers and unique seed pods that look like silver dollars. They grow to about 4 feet high and produce big wide leaves that are perfect for hiding an ugly foundation. They grow well in partly sunny locations and are perennials so they produce flowers in the second year.

This year the lunaria I planted last year took off! I will be planting more of them for sure.

I pressed some into the paper I make and embedded seeds from the plants into the pulp. They can be planted just like my other cards.

As usual, I had a newfie helper during the photo shoot. She loves hanging out outside on cool, breezy days.