Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I've stopped hyperventilating . . . or . . .Making Progress

Some of you may have noticed that my blog's been down.

You've been sent to a weird page that is definitely not A Life of Whimsey!

Just when I thought that the switch from one domain host to another was going smoothly . . . disaster!

And no idea on how to fix it!

I've got a call out to Jana but as you can imagine she's a busy woman and I started panicking at the thought of all these people (all 3 of you  ;D ) continuing to find this weird page every time you came to visit.

Morgan suggested that a good friend of his might know how to solve the problem and . . . we hope . . . it has been solved.

It will take 24 hours give or take before we know.

Fingers crossed.

Or. . . much more effective . . . prayers are going up.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Decluttering My Basement . .(Shudder!!!)

I am a small time hoarder.

Most of our married life we have been on a tight budget and each new (to us) thing we brought into our home was precious because we had so little to start with.

Both Henry and I look at stuff (i.e. junk) and see potential for . . . something.

The thing is, we will be celebrating our 29th (gulp) anniversary this fall and after 29 years we've seen a lot of junk coming  in and not a whole lot has going out. After all . . . what if I need it???

The time has come, however to look my hoard in the eye and get ruthless. Free myself from all the stuff that jams up my hallways and leaves me feeling like my house is never, ever truly clean.

The time has come to stop cringing inside every time the kids head downstairs with their friends and wanting to shout down after them "I'm not really a messy person!"

So I've decide to call in the Big Gun. To enlist the help of the most organized person I know.

My good friend Joyce has volunteered to give up a few days of her precious holiday time to help me conquer the beast.

We're going at this Peter Walsh style. Everything in the basement hallways and storage cupboards will go onto the driveway where it will be sorted, condensed and organized within an inch of it's life before going back into the house in an orderly fashion.

And because we are crazy like that, both Joyce and I independently thought about painting the hallways and cupboards (outside only) before putting things back.

I think we may just go for it . . .

I have the best friends ever! If it weren't for Nicole my kitchen would still have ugly brown wood cupboards and without Evelyn the rest  my upstairs would be in even worse shape. (and that's only painting . . . if I had to list everything else friends have done for me over the years, this post would never end.)

I may not blog much this week. Projects like this tend to be all consuming so I expect most of the week I'll be doing quick updates on Facebook rather than here. Feel free to stop by my Life of Whimsey page to check out our progress.

Have a great week everyone and wish us luck! And if you have some free time . . . many hands make light work . . .  ;D You know where to find us!

Also a big thank you to the sweet ladies who offered their hosta and rhubarb leaves so I can keep sculpting this summer. Thank you so much! I'll be by next week . . .

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Technical Difficulties!!! Again!

Once again Technology rears her aggravating head!

I just got an e-mail from Google Apps saying I haven't paid for my domain name. (That's my web address)

The asked me to update my info. I tried but couldn't get on to the site.

I have a free account so I can't talk to a person. I can't upgrade to a paid account where I can talk to a person because I can't get on the site!!!

I am in the process of switching to another service provider but it can take up to a week for it to become active.

This means my blog may be down next week.

I hope not . . . there is something we can do that may speed things up but if I'm not here . . . not to worry, I'll be back in a week at the latest!

Friday, July 19, 2013


I was finally able to get my work area set up today. Between the rain and the extreme heat I haven't had a chance to work on my concrete leaves.

I got everything set up and tried out a new mix on two small leaves. It's so much fun!

I wanted to just keep going but decided to be sensible for a change and wait until tomorrow to see how things worked out first.

A hail storm just blew through here.

 It lasted less than five minutes.

The hostas and rhubarb took the worst of it.

I'm too sad to take any pictures tonight. Maybe on Monday after I've had a good cry.

Right now I'm going to read a good book and eat my way through a bag of sweet and salty popcorn.

And a tub of ice cream . . .

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Living in the Garden . . . a Birthday Tea

It was my sister-in-law Leona's birthday  a while back but I wasn't able to attend her party so I decided to celebrate it in my garden instead.

It took several weeks before we found a time that worked for both of us, but it was worth the wait.

Happy Birthday Leona! Thanks for a lovely visit.

And should any photographer be reading the is post . . . (Chandra)

Please be kind! Once Leona and Ethan left and everything was put away, I went to download the pictures.
Only to realize that I hadn't changed the settings after I had taken a bunch of pictures in the house, in a dark room.

 1600 ISO and a florescent light white balance setting! Arghhh!

I was never so thankful for Lightroom! The pictures are still rather grainy and maybe even a little bluer than I might have liked but . . . they are still pretty.

As I am working hard to let go of my perfectionist ways . . . I posted them anyways.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Offline Today.

I got up yesterday at 5 am.

That's not unusual.

I got out at 5:30 am.

That's not unusual.

I was on the computer by 6:30 am

That's a little unusual . . .

I got off the computer at 11 pm.

That's very unusual . . . .

But aside from a few food and bathroom breaks, that's how long it took me to figure out how to edit my pictures for yesterday's Moss Basket tutorial in my new Lightroom 5 program, make a watermark (still not there!) and add text to one off my pictures to (hopefully) make it more 'pinnable'.

So today???

I'm going to have a Happy Birthday tea with my sister-in-law Leona, take Jada for a long walk, photograph everything and edit nothing and snuggle with my sweetheart.

I'll be offline until tomorrow.

Have a fabulous day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Step by Step: How to plant a Moss Basket

how to plant a moss basket

As promised on Friday, today's post brings together Superstore, flowers, moss and a feminine hygiene product.

A while back I was approached by a lovely lady representing Superstore's garden center asking if I would be interested in reviewing some of their new plant introductions for this year.

"Hmmm . . . you give me free plants, I get to try them out and tell my readers how I used them and how well they did in my garden???"

I answered the only way an avid gardener could . . . Yes!

It was rather late in the season when we got this all sorted out so I had everything planted up already, but no gardener worth her salt would let that stop her.

I had been tossing around the idea of showing you just how I plant up my moss baskets and this was the perfect opportunity to do it.

From Superstore's garden center I received three Dahlinova Hypnotica 'Tequila Sunrise' annuals (One of which I used in this post) as well as the cutest little 'Pixie Grape'.

What follows is a step by step pictorial tutorial (ahem) on how to plant a moss basket.

* warning to all men and proper women . . . a feminine hygiene product was used in the making of this tutorial . . . (and I still can't believe I am going to post this anyway. I am seriously, one of the most proper women I know. . .)

 *Gather the supplies: I used a wire basket, however you could use any wire container. I bought a bag of sheet moss from a floral wholesale but it is also available at most garden centers. For plants I used  my Superstore dahlia as well as a seriously marked down sage plant and a six pack of alyssum. You will also need a plastic garbage bag, scissors, gloves if you use them and (wince) a maxi pad.

Step 1: Line your container with sheet moss.

Step 2: cut small holes in the bottom of your plastic bag and put that in the container once the moss is in.

Step 3: Here's where the maxi pad comes in. . . and if you find this too weird you do have other options. I just didn't have anything else on hand that day. It helps to hold water in the basket a little longer.

 Option one is the water holding crystals  you can purchase in many garden centers. I don't think there is likely to be much difference from brand to brand

Option 2 is to pull apart the insides of a (clean) diaper as the materials in there work in much the same way as the crystals. Either of these can be mixed with damp soil. Just make sure you hydrate the crystals first if you use them.

I was out of crystals and as my youngest is 20  . . . long past the diaper stage. But maxi pads work this way as well.

Step 4: I cut it in half and folded the wings back. I didn't bother to pull them apart and mix them with the soil.

Step 5: Place on the bottom of the basket making sure you don't cover the drainage holes.

Step 6: Fill with potting mix.

Leave room for plants


Step 7: Plant so the top of the plant is slightly below the top of the basket. Plant too high and water will run out over the top of the basket rather then sinking in.

Step 8: Add in your other plants. Don't hesitate to cram them together a bit. As they will only be in this basket for a season and not all year, this will work just fine.

Step 9: Water thoroughly. Better yet, have the soil moist before you plant and then water. Much more efficient. I was in a hurry . . .

Step 10: cut off the exposed plastic.

Step 11: Tuck in between moss and soil.

Step 12:  Soak smaller pieces of moss in water and squeeze out a bit. Cover the top with the wet moss making sure to cover the edges and exposed soil. This helps the soil in your planter stay damp.

Step 13: Find a lovely place to put your planter in the garden and enjoy!

 *just make sure to keep it watered. Even with the plastic bag a smaller basket like this can dry out fairly quickly.

How pretty is this dahlia? I can't wait to show you what I did with my other goodies . . .

Thank you Superstore!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quiet Sunday

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Big Thank You and a Free Gift for Everyone.

I wanted to thank everyone who gave me such great ideas for garden classes. It was good to know many of them were things I had already planned on.

 There were also some I hadn't thought of and a few of them had my mind spinning off in new directions!

So again, a big thank you to everyone who participated!

As promised, I have drawn a name from everyone who left a comment and we have a winner . . .

Congratulations  Sigrun! Send me an email with your address and I'll send you your thank you Dutch Birthday Calendar just as quickly as I can.

Also as promised, I have a gift for everyone who sent me ideas. I have been thinking about this for a while and finally figured out how to make it possible.

I have a free printable for everyone who helped me out!

This is a pretty big one and will only be offered this once and only for a short time.(The link will be live through August 11 just in case some of you are on holidays) I am in the process of learning how to make other types of printables and hope to offer more in the future.

In the mean time  . . . here's the link to a downloadable Dutch Birthday Calendar file. It's pretty large so it takes a little bit to load.      Dutch Birthday Calendar Printable.  I do ask that you not share this file with anyone. I am happy for you to make more than one copy if you would like to give it as a gift  but the file itself is only for you to use. Between taking the photos, editing them and making a template for the calendar it took up quite a lot of my time and I would rather not have it end up floating around on the web somewhere.

Thanks for understanding.

You can print this out on your printer on  81/2 x 11" card stock or photo paper. There are two calender pages on each sheet so you will need to cut down the center of the page for each one. Add a hole (or two) at the top of every page and tie them together with twine or a pretty ribbon and voila! A Dutch Birthday Calendar!

Some of you might be kicking yourselves right about now. You intended to leave me an idea or perhaps the sight of this lovely calendar has caused a garden class idea to pop right into your head . . .

No worries . . . Just leave an idea in the comments (and yes Ev, telling me all my ideas are fabulous and you haven't got anything better counts. ;D ) and download away!

Make sure you tune in on Monday for a don't miss tutorial that mixes Superstore,  flowers, moss and a feminine hygiene product in a most unusual way.

Until then . . . Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In the Garden

I had big plans for today's post. An exciting opportunity recently came my way and I fully intended to blog about it.

After I did a little weeding . . .

Today is perfect gardening weather! (aside from the mosquitoes but I've just covered myself from head to toe to deal with that problem.)

It's either been blisteringly hot or pouring rain for the last little while and aside from watering and the odd breakfast, I haven't been in the garden at all.

Weeds have begun to out number my ornamental plants.

So today, instead of working at the computer the way I had planned. . .

I'm taking back the garden!!!

Tune in tomorrow for the post I had planned for today.

Today is also your last chance to send me your ideas for garden classes.

Tomorrow I will be drawing for the little gift I have as a thank you to everyone for their help with this.

Now I'm off to have a cup of tea while I wait out the little rain shower that popped up.

I'm sure it will be over in no time. . .

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sharpies Rock!

I was about to bake bread this morning and grabbed my trusty glass two cup measure.


My camera refused to focus on the glass!
I keep forgetting that the red numbers have worn off. I peer at it from every which way hoping against hope that I've gotten the measurement right.

It makes me crazy that things wear out so quickly. After all, what am I supposed to do? Throw a perfectly good glass container in the garbage because I can't see the measuring line anymore??

Then . . . a light bulb.  Maybe I could paint them back on.That wouldn't last though. It would wash off the first time it went through the microwave.

Hang on . . . what about all those sharpies I bought to try out some sharpie art on glass? It will not come off.

Believe me I tried! It's the reason there was no Sharpie art at my last sale. There is no erasing your mistakes.

I even had a red sharpie. Whoo hoo!

Look . . . it worked!

Sharpies rock!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Lesson I'm Learning from Cancer. Again.

I woke up this morning to a brain seething with activity.

In the last month I have registered for seven different intensive online courses that range from Photoshop artistry to video blogging.

It's exciting! And overwhelming. Plus, these courses need to be paid for.

So, the brain goes on overdrive.

 Maybe I should offer a week of mini consultations at the end of June to help cover the cost?

Wait, what about strawberries? Are there any left out there? I wanted to make jam and freeze sliced strawberries with vanilla bean.

I should bake this morning. Bread, some kind of coffee cake and maybe Henry's favorite peanut butter cookies.

What am I making for supper? I have leftover ham. It should be something interesting though. I can't serve ham and potatoes for the third time. Better google some recipes.

Hang on, I've got all these courses to work on today, I don't have time for all that!

An intense twinge in my leg stopped me cold.

It was time to take a deep breath.

I've been getting rather painful twinging more often in the last little while. I had thought they were signs of feeling returning to my leg. Until late one evening, while getting a small ice pack ready to rest my feet on, (Yes, I still get the odd hot flash in my feet.) I realized that I couldn't feel the cold on my leg even though the ice pack was right against my skin. I found that kind of intriguing (and a little weird) and thought I would use this to test just how much of my leg was numb. Because I can feel pressure (in my leg) as well as sensation (in my hand) when I run my hand over my leg, I can't get an accurate idea that way.

 The test shocked me. I thought I had feeling in my knee and most of the back of my leg. It turns out that I have no feeling in my knee and only in a small strip right in the middle of the back of my leg.

I've started to realized that I may never get that feeling back and that the twinges may be permanent.

The past week has been a difficult one as I struggled with how to accept this. I know in my heart that everything comes from the Lord and is all a part of His perfect plan for me but that doesn't mean I don't still struggle with accepting his will with a glad  heart.

That twinge this morning brought me up short.

The intensity with which I pursue the many things that interest me is both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. I become so focused on those things that need to be learned or done right now, that I stop living each day with joy, looking for ways to show my family and friends how much I love and cherish them. I instead become consumed with trying to make every moment of the day count. I start to resent taking time out of my day to run for groceries, visit someone for tea, snuggle Henry, or take more than 15 minutes getting dinner ready if I can't get away with saying "Help yourself."

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned from my experience with cancer has been that the things that matter most in life are  the people and how we love and cherish them. The other is that we are valuable for who we are, not what we do. You have no idea how hard that last one is for me. I no problem valuing others for who they are rather than what they do but when it comes to showing myself that same grace?

 Not so much.

Obviously the two things that go first when I  start hyper focusing on something are those two lessons.

As I was lying in bed, praying about all the difficulties my leg has been giving me,  it suddenly occurred to me . . .

I could look at my leg pain as a terrible burden or a blessed gift. A gift that would continue to remind me of those hard earned lessons that I seem to so easily forget.

Instead of heading straight to the computer after breakfast I ran downstairs, woke up Holly and the two of us went on a spur of the moment adventure to Fort Edmonton before she had to work later that afternoon.

We had the loveliest time. We strolled around, stopping here and there, ending up at the Selkirk Hotel for lunch. She and I shared a brushcetta  and balsamic vinegar glazed, grilled cheese sandwich on swirled rye bread. It was so good, I asked our waitress to find out what brand of balsamic vinegar they used so I could try to recreate it at home.

And I am going to make to time to actually do it.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quiet Sunday

Friday, July 5, 2013

I'm Going on a Trip!

I'm so excited!

I just booked a ticket to B.C. for the beginning of August. I was fooling around online, googled cheap flights from Edmonton and discovered a flight that was so cheap I couldn't pass it up. Seriously. Round trip, taxes included for the price you usually pay for one way.

Now I'm going to get to hang out with my youngest sister Sabrina and snuggle her sweet baby Damian. . .

Escape with my sister Lisa for an adventure in the States and possibly a sleepover in a hotel somewhere (Lisa's a travel agent) . . .

And run around doing a bunch of gardeney, designey, adventuring type things with Tamara. Plus, it's her birthday while I'm there.

Whoo Hoo!

So I had better head into the garden and get some weeding done. Between the rain and the intense heat we've been having the weeds taking over everywhere.

Those same two issues have also kept me from make new concrete leaves as well. I'm hoping for better conditions next week.

Ugh. I just realized that I forgot to put the load of laundry in the dryer last night. Argghh. Let's hope it hasn't gotten that weird musty smell yet. I do not want to wash it over!

Time to stop visiting and start working.

 It'll be August before you know it!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wordless . . . Thursday??!

Holiday Monday's always throw me off.

 I was so sure it was Wednesday today while at the very same time knowing it was Thursday.

I am an odd one.

This one's for Crystal . . .

finding hearts

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Need YOUR Help!

As some of you may know, I have put garden classes from Growing Wisdom on hold for this year as I recover from my surgery.

That does not mean that nothing's happening in this area however!

I am hard at work coming up with new class topics and materials so I will be ready to go come next February.

My plan is to offer a class in my home once a month from February through November as well as giving people the opportunity to book a small class either here or in their home at a time that best suits them. I want the topics of these monthly classes to be relevant to the garden task of each month.

February would possibly cover simple aspects of design both in the garden and in regards to planters using annuals you can start from seed. (I'm pretty sure an inspiring power point will be included. After all what's better than gazing at beautiful garden images in  snowy, cold February while sipping coffee/ tea and munching homemade cookies?) We would cover the best places to obtain seeds, how to fill out a seed starting chart (provided by me) how many plants you would need to implement your design ideas etc.

 March might have a class on seed starting for both annuals and perennials, and cover topics like the best places to get seeds, different strategies for starting various seeds (some seeds require special treatment to germinate) what types of lights and light bulbs to use to grow plants in your home, different ways to set up your lights, transplanting seedlings into larger pots and so on . . .

August could be a hands on class as we put together various elements that can be used to throw a fabulous garden party. Lighting, banners, flowers, food, table decor and the like.

Perhaps you would like to learn how to create simple hand tied bouquets . . .

Or discover what design principles will bring your garden to the next level . . .

Maybe you've always wanted to grow plants in a backyard greenhouse but aren't sure how to go about it . . .

So, where does your help come in?

I can come up with tons of topics that I think you will all like and need but if you don't actually like and need them they won't be worthwhile.

So here's my plea for help . . .

What would you like to learn about when it comes to plants or gardening or even interesting ways to experience the garden either inside or outside your home??

I want to know!

As a thank you for  taking the time to share your ideas with me, I will be holding a draw next week Friday from everyone who responds. You don't have to live close by to help out. Just enjoy a pretty garden and it's flowers.

The winner of the draw will receive a special gift.  Just make sure you leave a way for me to contact you should you be the lucky winner.

*** update. It was such a bummer that not everyone received something from my last draw that I've decided everyone will receive something, with a draw for an extra something on the Friday. . .

You can leave a comment here or on my facebook page or even email me by clicking on the envelope icon at the top of my sidebar. (just put garden class ideas in the subject line so your email doesn't get lost in the crowd. ;D )

I can hardly wait to get started on your ideas!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pinks in the Garden

When my front garden first starts blooming, purples and white dominate.

The next wave of blooms ushers pink into the mix. (And a few weeds. Ahem.)

All the rain we've had ensured lush growth in the garden this year.

The heat that came after the rain???

The peonies reacted by blooming and fading in record time. 

I'm a little sad about that. I love using peonies in flower arrangements and from the looks of things I'll be lucky to do it twice this year.

Mind you, that also means my heat loving plants are doing fabulous things right now.

There is always a silver lining in the garden. (Unless it hails. There is seldom a silver lining in hail . . .)

© A Life of Whimsey