Friday, March 30, 2012

Cute Needle Feltings

I discovered the sweet needle feltings of Kit Lane recently, which I have to share with you. Below are a few images depicting some of her work.

Aren’t these adorable?

See more of her work here.

Sunny Side Up

“Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves -
or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.”
- Ayn Rand -

On this week’s end of the week smile, I invite you to kick back and enjoy the wonders of the earth.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone.

Dendrobium (Orchid)

Orchids are some of the most beautiful and intriguing plants with their unique form and spectacular flower displays, so it’s no wonder that many indoor gardeners are eager to add a few to their houseplant collection. One of the most popular Orchids is the Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid) because they are quite easy to grow. But they’re not alone in the spotlight. Dendrobium is another favorite amongst houseplant enthusiasts.

Dendrobium, a large genus widely spread in different regions of Asia and Oceania, consists of over 1000 species of Orchids. Most of them are epiphytic (grow on another plant), but there are several that are lithophytic (grow on rocks). In addition, these Orchids can be deciduous (a plant that sheds most or all of its leaves after the growing season) or evergreen (a plant that retains its leaves year-round).

Although a Dendrobium Orchid is not the easiest plant to grow, it’s not exactly the hardest either, as long as you provide proper care. One of the first things you will discover about these plants is that there are two major groups of hybrids: Dendrobium Nobile (extremely popular) and Dendrobium Phalaenopsis (flowers resemble the ones on the Moth Orchid). Because Dendrobiums have adapted to a variety of growing conditions in their native areas, it’s best to learn about their natural habitat so you can provide them with the care they need. When you purchase a Dendrobium, make sure you ask what type it is.

Here are some general care tips:

When growth begins at the end of winter, water a D. Nobile sparingly until flower buds are well developed, then water moderately but regularly. Reduce watering as the summer comes to an end and water very little in the winter, just enough to prevent the pseudobulbs from withering. D. Phalaenopsis should be kept evenly moist in spring and summer while the pseudobulbs are flowering and growing. Once they are well developed and the plant is not growing as rapidly, gradually reduce watering. Allow the medium to dry somewhat between thorough watering sessions. In the winter time, water moderately; do not allow the pseudobulbs to shrink.

(Pseudobulb: A thickened, bulblike, fleshy stem located above the ground, as in many orchids)

Grow Dendrobiums in an airy, fast-draining medium specific to Orchids. Use a pot that is just large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system; Dendrobiums enjoy feeling a little snug in their containers. If you are using a plastic pot, you may need to provide some type of support that will prevent the plant, which can get quite top heavy, from toppling over.

Ideal growing conditions include bright light with about 2 – 4 hours of direct sun. Plants may need protection against the hot midday sun (11 am – 3 pm) but they will flourish with the full morning sun of an eastern windowsill, the indirect sun of a southern location or the late afternoon sun of a western spot. When given proper amounts of light, the leaves of a Dendrobium are a medium to light green shade, and quite firm. If light levels are too low, the leaves will be long, floppy and dark green, and if they are too high, leaves may turn yellow.

During the winter rest period, it’s best to provide a D. Nobile with cooler temperatures: between 16°C - 18°C (61°F - 64°F) during the day and 10°C - 13°C (50°F - 55°F) at night. During the active growing season, average room temperatures are fine. D. Phalaenopsis enjoys warm temperatures throughout the year, and can even cope with levels as high as 30°C (86°F). Ideal levels for this Orchid are between 24°C - 29°C (75°F - 85°F) during the day and 16°C – 18°C (60°F – 65°F) at night. Do not expose to temperatures below 15°C (59°F) for prolonged periods.

These Orchids do best with humidity levels between 60 – 70 percent, but they will manage, and even bloom, in slightly lower levels. To add more moisture in the air, place the plant’s pot on a pebble tray filled with water, add a humidifier nearby or grow in a terrarium or heated greenhouse.

Information on feeding these plants is wide and extremely diverse. Depending on who’s telling the story, you will be advised to feed every week, every two weeks or every month. But there is no exact science to this. Feeding depends on where your plant is placed, and how vigorous the growth is. If your plant is not actively growing, feed it infrequently (about once a month) with diluted levels of fertilizer (1/8 – ¼ recommended strength). If it’s growing in leaps and bounds, feed more often (every week or every second week). Use fertilizer for Orchids.

A Dendrobium Orchid grows very well in hydroculture. Adaptation to the soilless system is quick and easy with little or no symptoms of stress. This is not surprising since most of these Orchids are epiphytic and prefer not to be grown in soil. From my own experience, it seems that the plant retains its flowers during the conversion period, which is fabulous, although I would recommend that you transplant after the flowering period ends – just in case.

Like all Orchids, Dendrobiums will live indefinitely under ideal conditions. And their flower displays last for several weeks, even months, making them that much more desirable as indoor plants.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smiley Faces In Everyday Objects

I recently discovered Ruth Kaiser and wanted to share this finding.

Who is Ruth Kaiser, you may ask. Well, I’m gonna tell ya...

Ruth Kaiser sees smiley faces in everyday, inanimate objects. She has a website, Spontaneous Smiley, which explains more about what she is doing. And there is a page that invites everyone to submit their own smiley photos.

Here are just a few adorable examples:

Aren't they sweet?

Don’t forget to visit this lady’s website. And make sure to submit your own spontaneous smiley faces that you may run across!

Tune Time - Follow Me

This is the only song I know and like from Matthew Shafer, an American rock, country, and rap rock musician known as Uncle Kracker. Released February 2001, Follow Me went to number one the ARIA Charts in Australia. It was a huge success, reaching #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and is Uncle Kracker's highest charting song to date. The single also reached #7 on the adult contemporary chart. In the United Kingdom, the song went to #3 on the UK Singles Chart in September 2001.

Today's Trivia - Butterflies

This week’s useless but interesting information is all about one of the few insects that I am truly fond of: butterflies.

- There are about 20,000 species of butterflies.

- More than 750 species of butterflies live in the United States and Canada.

- There are 292 species of butterflies in Canada. Most of which are found in British Columbia (176) and the fewest on Prince Edward Island (42). In Ontario, there are 142 species.

- Some butterflies, such as the Northern Pearly Eye, will fly at night.

- Butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators -- next to bees.

- All butterflies metamorphose from eggs to caterpillars, and then harden into chrysalis for the pupal stage. They then emerge as beautiful winged adults that we admire. In the summer the entire process takes from 5 to 10 weeks.

- Monarchs have been known to migrate over 3000km. One Monarch tagged at Presqu'ile in southern Ontario was recovered in Mexico and is on record as being the longest insect migration.

- The larvae of some of the Blues, Coppers and Hairstreak butterflies produce a sugary excretion that is consumed by ants that in turn protect the larvae from predators.

- Butterflies taste with their feet.

- The Monarch's Mexican wintering site was only discovered in 1975.

- The ancient Greeks called butterflies 'Psyche' which also means 'soul.' Many cultures feel that when we die our souls go to heaven as butterflies. In Russia they're called 'babochka' or 'little soul'.

- The Mourning Cloak and Compton Tortoiseshell are Canada's longest lived butterflies. They can last up to 11 months.

- Monarchs can fly 1000km without stopping.

- The Giant Swallowtail is the largest butterfly found in Canada. Its wingspan can reach up to 5".

- The largest threat to butterflies is loss of habitat.

- Since butterflies are cold blooded it is necessary for them to warm up their flight muscles. This is done by basking in the sun in order to absorb heat.

- Butterflies can attain a flight speed of up to 50 kph.

- The major cause of death to the Cabbage White larvae is rain, which knocks them off their plants where they drown or are severely injured.

- Eastern Tailed Blue, Marine Blue, Bog Elfin and the Small Checkered Skipper all share top honours for Canada's smallest butterflies at a wing span of 16mm. Worldwide the smallest are the Pygmy butterflies at 11mm.

- The Mourning Cloak has been known to play dead in order to escape predators.

- Butterflies smell with their antennae.

- The Painted Lady is the most widespread butterfly species in the world. It's found on all continents except South American and Antarctica.

- When it rains, butterflies find shelter in crevasses, in dense undergrowth and tree cavities.

- The Spring Azure is one of the shortest lived butterflies; it lasts only a couple of days.

- Over-wintering species of larvae avoid freezing by producing glycerol, a kind of antifreeze.

- Male Monarchs never make the return journey the following spring.

- Butterflies breath through openings in their abdomen called "spiracles".

- Butterflies are divided into two main groups called skippers (hesperioidea) and true butterflies (papilionoidea).

- There are some species of butterflies like the Red Admiral that prefer feeding on rotting fruit and animal dung.

- Caterpillars do not have bones, they have over 1,000 muscles in which they use to move from place to place, and they can move very quickly.

- Butterflies can see ultraviolet light (light invisible to the human eye) which makes the markings on flowers very vivid to them and guides them to the nectar tubes.

- Butterflies have strong muscles in their thorax which force their wings up and down on a fulcrum basis. They actually go in a slanted figure 8 motion that propels them forward through the air in the same principle as an airplane.

- Butterflies typically lay their eggs in late spring and hatch 3-6 days after they are laid. It takes 3-4 weeks for a caterpillar to pupate and 9-14 days to emerge as an adult.

- Most butterflies prefer flowers that are pink, red, purple, or yellow and that are open all day. - Butterflies generally fly only during the day, at night they sleep between blades of grass or find the underside of a leaf.

- Female butterflies are usually bigger and live longer than males.

- When it is cloudy or night, the adult butterfly rests by hanging upside down from leaves or twigs. - Butterfly wings are covered with tiny scales, each a single color. These colors are produced by pigments. The iridenscence of some butterflies results from a reflective microstructure on the scale's surface.

- The Queen Alexandra’s birdwing from the island of New Guinea is the largest butterfly; it can have a wingspan of 11 inches!

- Most butterflies make no sound, but some in Florida and Texas make a loud clicking sound with their wings.

- Butterflies can’t hear, but they can feel vibrations.

- The veins on a butterfly’s wing work like supporting bars in a kite.

- Butterfly wings get their color from tiny scales. Their wings have 125,000 scales per square inch. Compare that to a human head, which has only about 100 hairs per square inch.

- It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However, butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species.

- Many species of butterflies have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.

- Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism.

- Butterfly wings often are brightly colored on top to attract mates or warn predators to stay away. The wing bottoms may be drab for camouflage.

- Adult butterflies do not eat — they only drink! They sip liquids from flowers, juice from rotten fruit, and may even drink sweat and liquid animal waste. When a butterfly’s feet come in contact with a sweet liquid, its feeding tube unfolds.

- Butterflies like sunny areas that are sheltered from the wind. They are unlikely to fly on cool, overcast days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Amazing Tape Sculptures Of Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins makes art from tape. Packaging tape to be exact. And he installs his tape sculptures around the world. Here are a few examples of his incredible talent:

He even dresses up his work and positions it in the oddest ways. I bet it really shocks some folks.

This time-lapse video features the artist Mark Jenkins creating a human sculpture out of packaging tape.


Be sure to check out Mark Jenkins’ Website for more of his work:

You will be amazed!

Off The Mark Prediction

“Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.”

Hewlett Packard executives to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who would go on to
co-found Apple, when they tried to interest HP in their first personal computer, 1970s

Words Of Wisdom

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Chickadee Drops By

Everyone is welcome in my backyard, and because I offer an assortment of treats, almost everyone does, in fact, drop by. Hey, no one can resist a free meal.

Anyway, a few days ago, this little cutie popped by for a quick snack:

This pretty little bird is known as the black-capped chickadee; an energetic and curious little thing that quickly discovers bird feeders and hangs around the garden regularly. Although it will visit feeders for sunflower and other types of seed, a chickadee eats mostly pesky insects, which makes it a welcome visitor to your garden.

Chickadees, being curious as they are, will investigate everything in their surroundings, including humans, so once they get used to you, don’t be surprised if they land nearby to examine you.

These sweet things are quite acrobatic, and they can be quite entertaining to watch. They zoom around with a bouncy flight, and zip from feeder to feeder and tree to tree, all the while exclaiming ‘chickadee-dee-dee’, their familiar and distinctive sound.

I never get tired of my backyard visitors, especially when they’re as adorable as the ‘chicka-dee-dee’.

First World Problem

Here is this week’s shameful bellyache...

Today's Trivia - Mr. Rogers Was Just As Nice Off-Screen

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Fred McFeely Rogers (Mr. Rogers), the American educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, author and television host of Mister Roger’s Neighbourhood (an American children’s television series that ran from 1968 – 2001). In the TV show, he was portrayed as a gentle, soft-spoken individual with oodles of patience and kindness geared toward his audience.


It seems that the caring and gentle personality you saw on television is the same personality Mr. Rogers had off-screen. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man with tremendous faith, one of the things he preached about considerably was tolerance. When he was asked to castigate non-Christians for their differing beliefs, or gays for their ‘sinful’ lifestyles, he would instead say to them with sincerity “God loves you just the way you are.” This often ticked off fundamentalists. And you gotta love that.

You were one cool guy, Mr. Rogers. You are missed...

Monday, March 26, 2012

11 Questions For Me, 11 For You

One of my favourite bloggers, Jane, was tagged with eleven questions and after she finished answering them, she put together some questions of her own that she hoped other bloggers would participate in voluntarily.

I decided to play along, so here are the questions with my answers:

1. Tell me about your nighttime attire - silk nightie, pj's, paint splattered t-shirt & track-pants or au natural?

T-shirt and panties. For many years now. I do not own a single pair of pajamas (true!), but I do have an assortment of nighttime (or any time) attire, which I cannot mention here. This blog is rated ‘G’, you know.

2. What is your current favourite TV show?

I don’t have one. Believe it or not, I don’t watch any television programs regularly. I may tape something now and then to watch while I run stroll (briskly, I’ll have you know) on the treadmill, but that’s about it. I am completely oblivious to what’s going on in TV land. My children laugh at me.

3. Bathe or shower?

The majority of the time I shower, but I do squeeze in a very long bath once in awhile with a good book in hand. I take so long sometimes that my husband has to check to make sure I haven’t drowned. Or climbed out the window and run away.

4. Morning-person or night-owl?

I would like to be both, but for some crazy (and annoying) reason, my body wants to sleep a few hours, so I picked one: morning person. I wake up as early as 5 AM most days, way before everyone else in my home. I enjoy the quiet, watching the sun rise, listening to the early morning chirping of the birds and the first cups of coffee. I usually spend that time working on my blog, responding to comments made on my posts, visiting other blogs, reading the news or editing photos I’ve taken. I consider it my leisure time.

5. What is that one snack that you'll hide (hoard) from the rest of your family for yourself?

Peanut M&Ms. One of the few weaknesses I have. And one of the few sweets I would rather not share. Even with my hubby who I enjoy sharing everything (else) with.

6. If you could choose one super power, what would it be?

Telekinesis would be pretty cool. I imagine myself smacking stupid, bigoted, selfish, arrogant, mean people when they’d behave badly with the nearest object (and have them wondering how the heck that happened). I’d really enjoy that. So very much.

7. Do you chew your nails or clip them?

My nails are typically a sorry mess, especially during the gardening season. I chew them, pick at them, break them and neglect them, terribly. Occasionally I do trim and polish them, mostly if I have somewhere important to go, so I’m not a totally lost cause.

8. Who do you consider to be the most influential person of the 20/21st century?

There are so many that it’s very hard to pinpoint just one! But I have to mention Alexander Fleming for his discovery of penicillin in 1928. Before this group of antibiotics (and all the other antibiotics) came on the scene, virtually any little bug that someone contacted could prove fatal. Deaths due to bacterial infection have been greatly reduced thanks to these discoveries.

9. What would you invent if you had the know-how?

Time travel. Hands down.

10. Which sense would you give up if you had to: vision or hearing?

Hearing. All the way. Most of the things I enjoy rely on vision.

11. What was your favourite cereal as a child?

Honeycomb. My mother usually bought the healthier types of cereal, but if this one was around, it was the number one choice. Sugary goodness!

And now, I have a few questions of my own that I hope some of you will play along with in the comments section or on your own blogs:

11 Questions For You:

1) Do you keep different foods separate on your plate, or do you not care if they touch/overlap? (This question was inspired by WebDebris, author of Remembering The 70s.)

2) Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?

3) If you were offered one million dollars, would you pose nude for a magazine?

4) What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

5) If you could have only 3 electrical appliances in your house, what would they be?

6) If you could travel to one destination for free, where would you go?

7) If you could change one physical feature, what would it be?

8) If you had the chance to go back in time for 24 hours, which day in your past would you revisit?

9) If you were on death row, what would be your last meal?

10) What is the one single food you could never give up?

11) Do you scream on roller coasters?

Book It – The Guardian

This week’s featured book:

The Guardian
Author: Nicholas Sparks


Julie Barenson's young husband left her two unexpected gifts before he died - a Great Dane puppy named Singer and the promise that he would always be watching over her. Now four years have passed. Still living in the small town of Swansboro, North Carolina, twenty-nine-year-old Julie is emotionally ready to make a commitment to someone again. But who? Should it be Richard Franklin, the handsome, sophisticated engineer who treats her like a queen? Or Mike Harris, the down-to-earth nice guy who was her husband's best friend? Choosing one of them should bring her more happiness than she's had in years. Instead, Julie is soon fighting for her life in a nightmare spawned by a chilling deception and jealousy so poisonous that it has become a murderous desire...

My Comments:

Despite the fact that he’d been around since 1996, and had already put out six successful novels, including the immensely popular and beloved ‘The Notebook’, I didn’t become a fan of Nicholas Sparks until 2004 when I picked up a paperback copy of this book. I’d heard of him, and even run across his previous books, but I never attempted to start one of his stories because I was convinced that he wrote romance novels. But not the good kind. The trashy, cheesy, highly predictable type that almost always depict a semi-nude, hulky man with bulging abs on the front cover. Or a semi-nude woman with the fallen bra strap. Tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about!

So what made me take the leap?

The dog.

That’s right; Singer the Great Dane in this story is what caught my interest. The idea that your deceased spouse had planned to gift you a dog to look after you – and keep you from being lonely – while still alive, well, that’s just more than my romantic side can take. I had to find out more. Particularly what happens to the dog. Cause you know I’m a big softie when it comes to animals.

Thanks to Singer, I discovered that Nicholas Sparks does not write trashy, cheesy, highly predictable books that almost always depict a semi-nude, hulky man with bulging abs on the front cover. Or a semi-nude woman with the fallen bra strap. He writes heartwarming love stories that caress your heart. This is one of them.

(You will adore the dog...)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

And The Award For Second Flower To Bloom Goes To...

The daffodils!

Not to be outdone, the daffodils bloomed the day after the crocus bulbs did. And they are like a ray of sunshine.

This is the Daffodil Trumpet Mix, which means that there will be other bulbs sprouting soon with a different flower colour.

In this small garden bed, I also have some beautiful tulips planted. When they rise, the combination of tulips and daffodils is so pretty.

Spring is a season of hope and promise. And of rebirth. It is my favourite time of the year. I’m so glad it’s finally here.

And I’m thrilled to see so many signs of life in my these gorgeous bulbs.

A Favourite Rose Bush

"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."
- Doug Larson -

Morden Sunrise is one of the best rose bushes to add to your garden with its brilliant explosion of colour. The photos don’t do it justice, but it’s the only ones I’ve got so far. Perhaps this year, I’ll snap better pictures of this lovely plant.

Saturday, March 24, 2012