Thursday, March 28, 2013

garden v.2013

Ti tree - very happy against the back fence
with that ancient wreath for company.
I quite like the bright pink against
the weathered wood of the fence.
Another spring, another garden. I love spring with all its hopes and plans. More tomatoes! Less basil! Hotter peppers! Better peaches!

Over the winter we took out the white Babcock peach that neither of us liked (that I mistakenly bought when my eyes were blinded by garden lust that day at the nursery) and replaced it with a yellow peach that promptly burst into gorgeous bloom and will hopefully provide us with bushels of peaches.

Apricots!!! Tons of them.
The apricot tree went berzerk this year
and is covered in fruit.
Fingers crossed that the birds leave us some.
To date we've planted <drum roll please> tomatoes (12 varieties), peppers (12 varieties), spinach, fava beans (just cause), zucchini, cukes, cauliflower, Brussells sprouts, onions (3 kinds), oregano, basil, and cilantro. 

Still got lots of space out there so on the kitchen in small pots are yet more tomatoes, peppers, and cukes, plus some broccoli. Soon as they're big enough, out they go.

Nectarine tree in bloom. It has the most gorgeous flowers.
Large 2" dia pink blooms that remind me of a moss rose.
So far, the Excel Garden Plan is holding up well. I dutifully consult the Plan when needing to plant something because the family who gardens together eats lots of good meals together!

Planting the onions sets was a pain. 80 of them. Hands and knees. Scrape bark aside. Poke hole with dandelion digger. Stuff onion set into hole. Scrape dirt back over hole and tamp down. Fluff bark over dirt. Scoot foam kneeling pad 4" backwards. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The backyard. It and the kitchen are why we bought this house.
Further to the right is a covered patio with our table and chairs.
Along the back of the house are the kitchen and family room,
both with lots of windows so that you can always see the yard.
Maggie is watching Mabel the cat who's looking out the door at us.
That's my $2 garden cart in the middle of the patio and
our 5gal paint buckets that now house 6 of my 14 (!) tomatoes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

wanna swap postcards?

Got some postcards here that need a new home. Who wants to swap some mail art??

I've been working on these for a couple days and this morning managed to finish them up, in between laundry, re-potting broccoli seedlings, arbitrating the ongoing dog/cat wars rough housing play, and drinking cappuccinos. 

Since I got a Keurig, I've gotten hooked on the hazelnut cappuccinos produced by Grove Square. They're 12 k-cups to a box for $4.58 (only 38 cents ea!) at my local Winco and I love them. I drink them straight, and I drink them over a pack of instant hot chocolate in a big mug in what I call a hazelmochaccino. It's very good. 

Anyway, I'm sure I drink too many of them but it's one of my few vices and it's cheaper than the coffee shop. Or therapy.

You've seen a couple of these before but I added some gel pen doodles and dots and now they're done!

The elements used on the first two cards are from that 1946 American Home magazine. I stuck the woman in the toaster and I crack up every time I look at her.

If you wanna swap, email me at maugreall at gmail dot com and let me know which one you want along with your addy. I'll mail it off and you can get a hand made one out to me when you get to it. 

Hopefully not too long lol cause all I'm getting lately is bills.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

freebie farmer's almanac pages

NOTE - use these pics, not the ones in the first post I put up, in case you're using a reader. Those scans were only at 72dpi cause I'm a muffinhead today.

More scans from that 1946 farmer's almanac I picked up someplace or other. 

One of the pages has the answers to the puzzles from this post. One of you asked if I would publish them and here they are. (hopefully you're still reading me lol)

Another page is called the Principal Holidays because back in 1946, the US had no national holidays! They've all been established since then, which is practically in my lifetime. I had no idea.

As always, please don't sell them. If you make something with them, I'd love to see it. No one has ever gotten back to me that they've used it...

Have fun.

Friday, March 15, 2013

MMSA collage sheet swap - outgoing

A collage sheet was provided for this swap and you could use only the items on the sheet, nothing additional, altho you could cut things up in any way you liked. 

I cut several of the images into wedges and then played with them until I had something I liked. 

Very abstract, which is not really my thing, but I like the colors well enough. Off they go...

MMSA round swap - outgoing

Well, these were fun. Round postcards. Started with a cereal box, of course - my go-to cardboard source. 

Freehand cut circles about 5" in diameter and glued on gelli prints for backgrounds. 

Then chose a couple head shots of children from vintage cabinet cards. 

Layered them over another chunk of gelli, then added some words and gel pen dots.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Letter Love 201 lessons 6, 8, 9

lesson 6 - I like this one, especially the colors.
Did a lot of blending with my Copics.
Huh. I blew by lesson 7 somehow so I'll go back and do that one later. Meanwhile, here are my latest efforts. 

lesson 8 - <sigh>
Sometimes I simply can't get the hang of what we're supposed to be doing. It's not that I don't understand it, it's that I can't seem to do it. So I look at these and think gack. That's why I wrote 'barf' for one of the prompts. I'd already done it once with normal words, but didn't like it at all so I did it again with 'barf'.

It's somewhat better.

lesson 9 - supposed to look like 'op art'
Not sure what my problem is except that I'm definitely better with paper and glue than I am with a writing utensil in my hand. 

Anyway, I intend to finish out the class in the hopes that I'll pick up some more lettering skills even if my actual homework is not what I hoped it would be.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

freebie vintage book pages

Some of these are from the Sept 5th, 1912 issue of The Independent, a weekly magazine from New York. It sold for 10 cents an issue or three dollars for a whole a year. Quite a deal.

I get a kick out of examining the fashions and imagining myself going about my normal 2013 day all gussied up like that. And the ads are fun to read.

I didn't bother changing the orientation of the sideways one, since you're prolly going to print onto 8.5x11 anyway. Saves you the trouble of switching them back or fiddling with portrait/landscape in your printer settings.

The paper it's printed on is old and thin, so there's some ghosting in the unprinted areas from whatever is printed on the other side. It can be cleaned up in photoshop but I don't have the time, sorry. The images themselves are fine since they're dark.

Harper's Bazar postcards

I bought a bunch of pages from an old Harper's at an antique shop last year while visiting Moneka in Visalia. I forget the year but they're quite old, as you can tell from the fashions. I've scanned most of them and now I'm using the originals in my art. UPDATE - the date of the Harper's is Oct 6, 1883.

Don't know where these will go yet, but possibly a couple for Postcrossing, and maybe a friend or two.

Backgrounds of the two colorful ones are gelli printed cereal boxes from that marathon gelli day I did not long ago.

The other three are collaged torn up vintage book and ledger pages, covered with watered down gesso, then a few select elements and some gel pen scribbles.

The ladies' school ads were cut from the Sept 5, 1912 edition of The Independent, a weekly magazine.

The large text was from half a book page I found while rummaging. The large words are just the right size for postcard art.

Now that I'm looking at them, the green one needs something more so I'll keep working on it.

MMSA green swap - outgoing

These are the 4 cards I'm sending in for MMSA's green swap.

Each started life as a gelli print glued to cardboard, then I added misc green things found in my endless stash or torn from a magazine.

I think I like the confidential one best. The squishy circle background was big bubble wrap pressed onto the paint before laying down the paper. Then I cut a few of them out and glued them on top. Remind me of kiwi fruit. Or lime halves.

Plenty of time to enter the swap if you're interested. Cards don't have to be in the mail to her until March 18th. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

free collage sheets

I made these for Karen at MMSA to use (or not) in an upcoming swap. Meanwhile, I thought if they appeal to any of you, feel free to download and use them however you like, except to sell. 

They consist of gelli prints, vintage photos, a receipt from 1915, an old tape measure, ancient button card, some wallpaper, some old airmail stickers, corrugated packaging paper, a few numbered wooden tokens, part of an old crochet cotton band, and a calendar page from 1920.

As always, if you make something with them, I'd love to see it.

Excel - it's not just for accountants

My apologies to those of you still under lots of snow with the prospect of yet more in your future, because this post is about the planting of my garden. Here in northern California, the danger of a freeze is past and so it's safe to plant all sorts of things right into the ground.

This year is different in many respects.

1. It's the 2nd summer in this house, so we know more about sun/shade/wind - the things that affect various plants in different ways.

2. We're starting many things from seed in our sunny kitchen window. If you want to eat at the kitchen table, you must cozy up to the two trays of peat pots with spindly little shoots straining toward the light.

3. Mr. OneWoman'sHands (let's call him S) is involved in a major way. Last year I did all the donkey work while he strolled around sipping Chardonnay, gathering peppers into a basket and commenting on how the tomatoes needed better tying up. (note: my garden was haphazard, overgrown  and messy but it produced like crazy)

Well, the tomatoes won't dare get out of line this year because We Have A Plan! This plan was drawn up on a spreadsheet in Excel, one foot to a square, labeled with what plant goes where.

S loves Excel in the way that some men love their car. He sees it as a tool that can be employed in many ways, not the least of which is laying out the floor plan of a wood shop or the planting of a garden.

A couple weeks ago, after endlessly occasionally consulting me about how much space such-n-such veg needed, he eventually emerged from his office with two sheets of paper which he proudly handed to me with a self-satisfied smile and the air of a job well done.

We took these plans with us this afternoon when we sallied forth into the back yard to Plant. I stood by holding pots of veggies while he measured (you heard me right) the distance from the edge of the raised garden to where the first pepper plant should go.

Scrape chips away, set pepper down in bare spot, smile at wife - next!

We laid out most of the garden in this fashion, then went back and planted. There are many more plants to come, plus another (new) bed for root veggies, which we didn't have last year.

(I may have missed dead center by a few inches here and there but I expect it will all grow anyway)

Feb postcard giveaway winners!

Remember these?

One of these cards made by me, plus a blank-except-for-the-gelli-print card, are going to these lucky ladies - LESA, MAUREEN, and JUNIPER GOODS.

Please shoot me an email (maugreall at gmail dot com) with your addy and I'll get them on their way to you. If you have a fave card, say so. I'll try to oblige you but no promises.

I think for the March giveaway I'll send out 3 selections of gelli prints. One full sheet of deli paper, plus assorted pieces from sheets of deli papers and phone book pages I've torn into already. Then you can make something fun at your end. Even if you already have a gelli plate of your own, my prints will be different in various ways. 

In fact maybe what the world needs is a gelli print swap. Huh? That sounds like an outstanding idea to me. Let me ruminate on it a bit...

Please leave a comment sometime in March to be in the drawing.