Purple Sunflower Seeds

Quick post: Harvesting some sunflower seeds today! The darker variety that I’ve started calling the “Last Glow Of Sunset” has these lovely purple seeds!

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Aren’t they lovely and sweet?!

Here’s what they grow into:

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Missus Hummingbird

A friendly hummingbird has been saying hello in my yard lately! She’s very talkative, and isn’t shy at all! I stay very still when she comes around because I don’t want to frighten her – and in return she has posed for some pictures for me! There are several hummingbird feeders around my yard, and this red one hangs right outside my bedroom window from a wooden porch swing. Yes, sometimes they fly right up for a snack while I’m sitting on the swing! I was sitting at my desk when I took the first 2 photos (as you can tell from my blinds in the picture), and in the backyard for the other ones. I think it’s a female hummingbird because it’s a variety of neutral colors – so here’s to a quick press blog post of Missus Hummingbird!

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VOTE! Which dwarf sunflower from the “Scooby and The Gang” batch do you think will bloom first?

VOTE! Which

Audio Blog: The Jungle

I have awards I need to give out! Please be patient with me. It’s taking me awhile to write everything out, but I have a draft started. I also have my eye on several bloggers that are “new finds” for me that I would like to nominate as well as some favorites that I haven’t highlighted yet. In the meantime, I’ve ventured into the world of audio blogging. I’ve seen Dianna and Shaun post audio blogs in the past and it seemed like a fun thing to try! Why not give it a whirl?

I tried to give myself an easy topic so I wouldn’t end up rambling, and I wound up with “the jungle”. I know it kind of seems like an odd topic, but you must remember I have a very active imagination; I’ve collected several plants in my room and I find myself feeling like I’m falling asleep in the jungle.

Total running time is 28 minutes and 29 seconds. I talk about my personal jungle, some thoughts and memories, Rudyard Kipling, sing y’all a little song, and read a short story from Kipling’s “Just So Stories” collection.

You can download “Just So Stories” as a free e-book from Google Books or Amazon.com and read-a-long if you like.

Detox and Dragonflies

I might be an absent blogger for a little bit. I started a detox last night on the notion that I think I will feel phenomenal if I can get rid of a lot of the junk built up in my body. I feel very slow and tired. Not the “run-down and lethargic” kind of tired, but more like a “hefty dose of muscle relaxant” kind of tired. The plus side of that is while lazing around in my garden I was gifted with a visit from Mr. Dragonfly! His girlfriend hung around nearby. She didn’t want to pose for a picture, but she was all sorts of lovely shades of blue.

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On another note, I started three avocado seeds, a Haden scarlet mango seed, and transplanted my apples last night.

Backyard and Zoo Adventures

I have to thank Dianna over at “Thoughts of yaussiechick” for the awesome ABC award! I will let you know when I post my response! Thank you! Thank you!

I joined “My Folia” today, and I signed up for Photobucket so I could add pictures of my plants. I am not feeling like the brightest crayon in the box because I can’t seem to figure out how to share the pictures from Photobucket to the My Folia page. If anyone already has experience with this please speak up!

They do have this nifty “stories” feature, and I couldn’t wait to try it out! So, this is a test blog to see how the “story” embeds on a blog. The photo collages should link to the story albums.

Here’s a “story” of the plants in my backyard:

Love Me Some Lens Flare and flowers

Here’s a “story” of Bam Bam the polar bear at the Omaha Zoo:

Bam Bam The Polar Bear

Here’s a “story” of the other animals at the Omaha Zoo:

Other Aminals From The Zoo

Cheers,

Rachie

Baby Dragon Eggs, Propagating Roses, and WordPress Family

First I’d like to thank Yaussiechick and Michelle for adopting me into their WordPress family! You ladies are lovely individuals and I’m glad to be connected! I’m going to need some time to pass the baton, but I feel honored and really grateful – thank you!

I’m not the world’s most amazing artist. I used to be horrible at drawing human figures. Then somewhere in my teenage years I managed to draw a human that didn’t look like a misshapen “Frankenstein” monster. I was hard on myself for not being able to create as well as my art idols. I had this coloring book of all the great masterpieces when I was a kid. It introduced me to all these amazing artists, and I didn’t feel like my crayon scribbles were worthy of their work. It’s still on the shelf “uncolored”. It just didn’t seem right – it would have been like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Besides, I always kind of hoped that I’d have a masterpiece of my own be worthy of being alongside theirs someday. It wasn’t easy for me to be patient with myself in gaining some artistic skills. Heck, I can see how I want it in my head, why can’t it just spill out on paper?! It’s a challenge for me, and I think that’s part of what draws me to art. I can see personal growth as I get better feedback on my work. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of art mediums. I’ve done wood sculpture, metal work, clay, drawing, watercolor, acrylic, oil, photography, digital art, and various arts-and-crafty projects (hoping to finish the swords next). You get the idea – I’m “artsy fartsy”. It’s a wonderful form of expression, and it makes me happy. I’m not Boticelli, or Van Gogh, or DaVinci by any means – and I’ve finally come to a point where I’m okay with that.

I’ve been feeling particularly “artsy fartsy” lately! After my watercolor Easter egg and dragon painting adventure I thought it might be fun to paint dragon eggs! Then I thought that these dragon eggs should be made into ornaments after seeing Russell’s post on The World’s Top 10 Best Easter Trees. Cheers, Russell – the dragon eggs will eventually be turned into ornaments!

I decided I wanted them to look like a window into a baby dragon egg, and that I needed to figure out how to draw a baby dragon embryo. I sifted through a few Google image searches of different pictures, even found a few other people’s interpretations of baby dragon embryos, and eventually decided it needed to be a cross between a chicken and a turtle embryo with a dragon twist.

Dragon Embryo Sketch & Future Dragon Egg Ornaments

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I left it out on the table last night and this morning my mom goes “oh, I like how you put a little burn mark like he’s breathing fire”. I then had to explain that I had left a candle burning and accidentally placed my drawing on top of said candle. So, here’s to it not being a flaming tragedy, and an awesome coincidence! I’ll update on these again when I’ve gotten a bit further along. Perhaps a tutorial?

Oh, and I’ve been a gardening fool lately! I received a mini-greenhouse for my seeds as an Easter present, and I’m delighted that I get to draw a map of the seed placement. It needs to be like a treasure map, or a map to some far off fantasy land – and perhaps Thimble-Nip will live there!

I’ve been giving a batch of seeds special treatment, and most of them are ready to plant already. The apples will take a little bit longer, but I’ll give you my special seed-lovin’ recipe in a later post.

“The Beginning Of My Bedroom Garden”

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I’m starting them indoors, and then I will transplant everything into the yard. What’s on my list?

Today I planted

Cilantro

Sweet Basil

Beefsteak Tomatoes

“Alaska” Daisies

Dwarf Sunflowers

I really love sunflowers. They are my absolute favorite flower! They are happy, adorable, uplifting flowers. I recently found an absolutely stunning time lapse video of sunflowers where they look like angels fluttering their wings.

Seeds To Be Planted Tomorrow

3 more species of Sunflower

Wisteria

Lavender

Johnny Jump-Ups

Mini Sweet Peppers

Lemons

Cherry Tomatoes

The apple seeds still have a few more weeks getting nurtured with TLC. I also started a trimming of my dad’s roses in a pot. My dad liked to grow roses, and I do my best, but I still idolize his magic with roses. One time he took stem trimmings from his Grandmother’s rose bush intending to plant them – no roots, no flowers, just sticks with thorns. Of course we told him he was crazy, and he was crazy, but not about that. Sure enough they grew into a big beautiful rose bush with large pink roses. I like to remember this because it helps remind me that something ugly and painful can turn into something gorgeous and inspiring.

Like I said, dad had magic powers over roses! It is generally¬†recommended to have a stem of new growth to propagate roses, but somehow all he ended up with was sticks – cut at both ends – with a whole lot of thorns. He took them home in damp paper towels, and just stuck them in the dirt. Bam! Gorgeous rose bush courtesy of the rose magician. Now, I haven’t tried Dad’s method, and it very well may work for me; however, I don’t think I was gifted with magical rose powers and I have a slightly different method.

“Propagating Roses From A Trimming”

Propagating Roses From A Trimming

You will need to RECYCLE something to use as a makeshift greenhouse. You can use a two liter soda bottle, a milk jug like I used, or anything that fits the requirements in your recycling bin.

*Hits The Pause Button On This Blog*

Real quick… Who else loves recycling? I love recycling! I like imagining what my sour cream container might be turned into, and often times I swipe things out of the bin for art projects. I live in California, and I’ve been recycling since I was a kid. It just seems like a normal part of life. I’ve visited other states and countries, and I find myself shocked when I realize they don’t recycle! How?! How can you just toss things into a landfill or the ocean that could serve another purpose?! Do you recycle? Have you ever used recycling for art projects?

*Hits The Pause Button Again To Resume Blog*

I chose the milk jug for the fancy “excess heat escape vent” that was previously a mere “handle” before I got to my hands on it! You’ll need to make your own decision depending on where you plant your trimming, but my bedroom garden happens to be in direct sunlight for a few hours in the afternoon which could potentially bake my lovely little rose trimming. You’ll need to make sure your trimming stays moist as it sends its roots into the soil. I mixed a little rose food, and some warm water into the soil before planting my trimming. When you go to choose your trimming look for a stem that’s recently had flowers – or if it hasn’t bloomed yet choose a new growth with leaves. I cut right above a “node” or the point where stems separate from each other. Don’t worry too terribly much about this part – just make sure you get a new growth with leaves. Snip off any excess leaves near the bottom so you have a straight stem to push in the soil. Make a small slice in the outer skin of the stem near the bottom about an inch long (perhaps a little less). This will help your trimming have room to send out new roots. Push your trimming into the soil so the slice is completely covered by the dirt. Make sure your trimming will get plenty of light, and maintain the soil moisture. The way I check is by pressing my fingertip against the soil: if little bits of dark soil stick to my finger I wait to water another day, and if my finger comes back clean it’s time to water. I chose a makeshift greenhouse with the fancy “excess heat escape vent”, and I may even choose to remove it when it gets warm in that room. You want bright light, but you don’t want to bake your new plant.

If you’re like me you will probably name your plants. I’m currently tossing around different names in my head, but I’ll wait until the plants are “born” to bestow them with names. I also sing to my plants. I know, it’s cheesy, but my plants are very happy! I sing all sorts of different songs to them, but “It’s Not Easy Being Green” is my favorite choice. I have a large hanging plant over my desk that is simply named “Ivy”, and a purple passion plant named “Violet”. I’ve given Violet a lot of nurturing, and I’ll have to give tips for purple passion plants in a future blog.

Gardening Photo Fun & Holidays + Sneak Peek @ Stained Glass Jell-O

Before I get started, I apologize for not posting last night. In the early evening I found out that a friend of mine had passed away on Tuesday morning. In May of last year I had moved to Iowa and stayed there for a few months. “Bear” hosted karaoke at a few of the local pubs and was an amazing person. He and his wife helped me feel at home and like I belonged. He will be greatly missed by many people, and I know that he’s singing in Heaven. It was fun to be around him, and it was fun to watch him sing. So, last night I went out on a last minute whim to be among the people of the karaoke tribe. I sang “Cabaret” for my friend:

No use in sitting alone in your room, come hear the music play!

Life is a Cabaret old chum, come to the Cabaret!

Start by admitting from cradle to tomb, it isn’t that long a stay!

Life is a Cabaret old chum, come to the Cabaret!

Come taste the wine!

Come hear the band!

Come blow your horn!

Start celebrating!

Right this way, your table’s waiting!

Cheers, Bear – they must have had a table in the sky already picked out for you.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been cleaning up the yard and gardening as well as spending time in the kitchen.¬†Spring and Autumn are my favorite seasons. I love the new flowers, the rain, and sunshine of Spring. I love to play in the dirt, and tend the garden, and plant new flowers. I’m crazy about rain – it’s soothing – and I’m one of those people that will go for walks in the rain, or just go stand outside while it’s raining. Strangest rain-induced Rachie Adventure so far is when I decided to go outside and shave my legs in the rain. It was warm, and I went marching outside in my swimsuit with a bucket, a washcloth, fruity shave cream, and my pink razor. I danced around in the rain to get wet and sat under the patio umbrella to shave my legs. It was the most pleasant and relaxing leg-shaving I’ve ever had. If only I could magically conjure up these weather conditions every time I need to shave my legs!

I’ve been germinating several seedlings over the past week, and I’ve been stalling posting about them because I’ve been wanting to wait for sprouts to take pictures to show you. Just wait, they’ll sprout tomorrow I’m sure because I’ve given them an introduction now. Until I have seedlings to show you I’ll share some of the pictures I took out in the yard today.¬†I have a very active imagination, so I created a mischievous little sprite named “Thimble-Nip” to think about while I was gardening. Sometimes my imagination runs off without me, and then I have to chase after it with a butterfly net. “Thimble-Nip” asked to borrow the camera several times, but declined to pose for any pictures himself. He has agreed to letting me try to paint a portrait in the near future though – perhaps it will include his little snail friends, Wiggly and Stumpy.

“Alyssum”

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“Freesia”

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“Wiggly the Snail”

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“Stumpy the Snail”

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I’m hoping to somehow find the time to write Thimble-Nip stories. I’m planning on doodling some sketches of him tomorrow at the very least.

My dad passed away 7 and a half years ago, and we haven’t really celebrated holidays properly since then. We managed an amazing St. Patrick’s Day this year, and yesterday we baked hot cross buns for Good Friday (I will have to post about them eventually); but tomorrow is Easter, and I’m not sure what we are going to do. We’ve decided that we are going to create new traditions for ourselves for major holidays. I don’t want to scrap the egg-dying tradition because I sincerely hope to have my own children someday, and I will want to dye eggs with them; but, I still need to come up with something new. I’ve got a few ideas, but we’ll just have to see what we actually end up doing tomorrow. I’ll take pictures and share whatever we come up with!

Oh, and I had this gorgeous “stained glass Jell-O” put together – then I botched the last step and it got all ugly. I will remake it so the final piece looks nicer and post the recipe. May I just say, it may have lost it’s pretty edge, but it’s still very delicious. Here’s a picture from before I spaced out and messed it up.

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I’ve started following several blogs lately, and I’m hoping to read everyone’s posts in more detail soon. I was gifted with the Liebster award yesterday from Reality In Progress, and I will have to make sure and thank them properly in an upcoming post.

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All in all I greatly appreciate the wonderful feedback and interactions with the wonderful folks of the blogging community. I’m very grateful you’ve taken the time to say “hi” and welcome me so warmly. This is where my inner dork is going to take over and I’m going to end this post in the immortal words of Mr. Elvis Presley:

Thank you, thank you very much!