Friday, August 24, 2007

Latest Internet Addiction: HEL LOOKS

I have a soft spot for anything Scandinavian, especially anything Finnish. Perhaps that's why I can spend way too much time browsing Finnish street fashion on HEL LOOKS. And while I'm definitely a conservative (to put it nicely, boring is probably more realistic) dresser, I have to think that some of these people HAVE to be kidding. I mean, cmon. The bonus of browsing HEL LOOKS is seeing glimpses of Helsinki, which truly is a wonderful city.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Midsummer Garden Check-Up

Since it's raining (yay!), today is the perfect Green Thumb Sunday for me to do a garden check-up. This is only my second gardening season, so I'm still learning. Here's what worked, and what didn't this year.

First, my flower bed. This is the only dedicated flower bed I have in my backyard and everything except the rose was planted this season or last. It's still a work in progress, but it looks a lot better than the weed-filled bed it was when I moved in. There are still some things I need to move (the Coneflowers), replant (Rudbeckia)

The good:

  • Cosmos - These were purchased very cheaply from a local nursery. They are by far my new favorite annuals.
  • Using compost instead of synthetic fertilizers
  • Deadheading
  • Buying hanging baskets at Marc's, a local discount grocery chain. They were way cheaper than anyone else, they look great (although not as lush as they did in June) and they're still going.
The bad:
  • Coneflower - Last year I tried seeds to no avail, this year I planted seedlings that seem to be doing well, but haven't flowered. Maybe next year I'll finally see a Coneflower?
  • Black-Eyed Susans - I love these never-ending bloomers, and I was so pleased when they bloomed from seed last year. Except this year, mine dried out and died. Maybe it was the extreme heat and dry weather we've been having. I definitely want to replant these, but maybe I'll try a different variety.

To improve/try next year:
  • Use the trench method to plant tomatoes
  • Use a better staking method for the tomatoes
  • Plant the tomatoes in a new location, perhaps incorporate them into other beds
  • Work on the front flower bed, try winter sowing to get more plants cheaply
  • Find more room for more spring bulbs
  • Plant small flowering plants in groups, they get lost on their own.
  • Do something with the weed jungle on the side of the house and the other side of the garage

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ahhh....that's better.

The first time I saw the bathroom in my house, I immediately noticed and detested three things:
  1. The ugly, horrible, atrocious fake cardboard tile (Who would ever do such a thing and why? Whyyyy?)
  2. The hideous wood hollywood light fixture, complete with missing bulb
  3. The floor. Which my realtor said was "in great shape. How lucky!" "It's hideous," I said, in my usual understated way. "I hate it and there are paint splotches all over it."
But don't take my word for it.

I replaced the fixture quite quickly with a score from the local Build It Again center (a Habitat charity, good stuff). That most-dreaded fake tile though? It lived and lived despite my daily glaring and curses. Ideally, I'd take it down and paint the wall, but I assume it was there to hide a plaster issue. Why else would someone possibly do that? Finally I had a plan, I'd eventually replace it with more beadboard, but I haven't yet managed to sucker anyone into to doing that for me yet. So I waited, and hated. Then yesterday I started thinking about painting it. And this morning, I did.

Sure, it's not the ideal solution, but it looks clean and sooo much better. I'm happy now.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A few pretty things for the kitchen

After work I stopped by a warehouse sale Kroger is having locally. I managed to find a few pretty things for the kitchen.

Can you believe I used to think pretty tea towels were a waste? They're not that absorbent, compared to big fluffy towels, and I was convinced the pretty ones would just get stained during normal kitchen duties. But I've realized the error of my ways. They look so pretty under a stack of drying dishes or, better yet, hanging by the sink or from the oven. Now I can't have enough.

Only spent $4 too. Not bad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's Blooming Now

My first featured bloom for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is my one and only rose. It came with the house, so I'm not sure what it is. It's not blooming as prolifically as it did in June, but it is still blooming. Cutting off the old blooms (which I didn't do last year) seems to be key.

This is one of three Veronica Speedwell plants I purchased from a local nursery in May for a whopping $1.00. I'm pretty happy with it.

I love this bright and sunny correopsis, it cheers me up every time I look at it. It just blooms and blooms, although the very hot very dry weather we've been having seems to have taken a toll. This is the second year this plant has been in my garden.

What else is blooming? So glad you asked.
  • Alyssum
  • Bachelor's Button or Cornflower
  • Canterbury Bells (Campanula medium 'Single Flower Mix')
  • Catmint (Netpeta)
  • Butterfly Blue Scabiosa (Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue')
  • Pinks
  • Cosmos

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Blooms

Here are a few of my favorite recently-blooming blooms. First, there are the lilies. These are one of the few flowers that were here when I got here. There are three of them. They're quick bloomers, I think they maybe lasted a week, but they are stunning while they last and fragrant too. Just as long as you ignore the big holes in the leaves.

Next, there are my new favorite annuals, Cosmos. I just love them. I've showed them before, but now they're more lush with more blooms. And they just keep going and going. Plus they self-seed. I am really lovin' this flower.

Last, but not least are the Bachelor's Buttons, or Cornflower. I know the photo doesn't look like much. I have NOT been able to get a good photo of them,and they're flopping horribly, but I have a soft spot for these Cornflowers that I managed to grow from seed. Thinning them might have helped, and I tried, I really tried, but I have trouble killing off a perfectly healthy looking seedling. They're still pretty anyway.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This Tomato Is For You, Ma!

See mom, the tomatoes are finally ripe. And they were de-lish on our tacos for dinner. Or as my little friend Eli would say, they were YUMMY!

Don't you wish you had some?

I just might have one or two to spare on Sunday. Maybe. If you're good. Maybe you should get rid of some crap to swing things in your favor?

Haha. I kid because I love.....tomatoes.


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