Friday, August 29, 2008

Nifty stuff and new treasuries!

A BNR I'm on, currently, has a treasury! debralinker set it up for us, and I was able to see my first without someone having to send me a screenshot or upload one for me...because of a wicked crazy cool site called thumbalizr that dorana showed me.

Here it is!

Here's, also, an EtsyPHAT treasury that SapphireChild created a few days ago!

Some hard decisions and some good things.

Fabulous! My toad lily has been blooming for the past two days, and here's a pic of one of the blooms. What I think is absolutely wonderful about it is that it's got blue on it. Not the wannabe blues that you see on most flowers, but true blue, dyed in the wool BLUE. I'm lovin' it lots. This is now my favorite flower, I think.

Besides that, I made the difficult decision today to cut back on the amount of recycled packing materials I use. A guy on freecycle asked if anyone had any spares, so I bit the bullet and put two large boxes out for him. He shreds them and uses them for other packing needs, so they're not just getting thrown away.

Most of them were too old and fragile to be reliable. His request came at a great time, because I'd already decided to stop using the ones in good shape. Why? you ask. Because, after three months of charting postage costs for private trades, I've found that reused bubble mailers increase the postage cost somewhere in the area of .16-.55 a mailer.

While it hurt, it seems like a good business decision and a good healthy home decision. I eliminated a large, ugly clutter that made me avoid my sewing room, and I'll now be able to reduce my shipping costs.

And the sugar on top is that I don't have to be concerned whether people are put off an old mailer, even if it was safe to ship in, and I don't have to worry about throwing away mailers I receive -- cuz I got the hookup, now. He gave me another box and told me that, as soon as I fill it up, he'd be happy to come and pick it up again.

As soon as I use up the stock of new mailers that I've been hoarding, I'll invest in some new bubble wrap and start making my own mailers to send my seeds. Using salvage plastics and saving money is even better than saving money! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yay for treasuries!

I got a lovely little convo from Ajewelryboxx today saying that she'd featured my Teddy Bear sunflower seeds in a treasury.

Check it out!

Thanks for including me! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Card crazy

Due to recent concerns publicized on the etsy forums that these cards are copied, without authorization, from happygirlgreetings, I thought I would add this little disclaimer making it clear that this is my own design, as much as a generic design can be. The fonts are all standard in my graphics program and do not identically match that produced on the cards. The images are all MINE, from when I took them all of the way through to the final edit. These are OBVIOUSLY not direct scan and edits from the cards she sent me. I am deeply apologetic for any misunderstandings that may have occurred, and I will forward this on to my legal counsel for clarification on whether this may constitute infringement.

I'm crazed! I did my first small, custom run of cards last week by happygirlgreetings, and I've got the card bug. She did a great job, was super accomodating, and had a great feel for what I wanted. I've already got them all accounted for, so I needed to make another order and decided to play around with some other designs on my own.

And this is what I got:

I'm a complete computer graphics dunce, so I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. Compared to my original promos, they're about a million times more attractive. I was able to keep the upright thing going on, and they're just the right size to have a pack of seeds attached to the back.

I'd been doing some price hunting and was a bit disappointed that they were going to be entirely impractical to print less than 500 of each set (putting the entire order into the $130+ range), until I ran across a great deal with off-site codes by vistaprint.

I've heard all of the terrible things about them, but I decided to go for it anyway and ended up with a $35 order (including shipping) for 4 sets of 250 cards without their name on the back. I wanted to do a double sided card, but it wasn't worth $11 for each set of 250 for one small line of text on the back.

I think that these are flashier and will work better at shows and in promo packs. The happygirl ones are more sedate (dare I say professional?) and will be better suited to be included attached to bonuses in orders and for handing out to people who ask for them.

Hopefully, they turn out well and the entire order processes alright without any undue surprises. For $35 it was worth a try and the hassle of a potential chargeback. We'll see!

Health, life, and gardening.

The past week has been filled with doctor appointments and imaging appointments, and it looks like it's going to keep going for the next week or so. Being tired puts a damper on how much I'm outside, but I've been going out and taking the occasional snap.

For example, my toad lily is going to bloom for the first time! It's Taipei Silk, I think, and has really been suffering since I moved it. I had to move everything in the spring in preparation for some major outside house renovations, and it's been getting too much sun and not enough water. So I'm excited.

I'll have to go outside in a bit, when the rain (thanks, Fay! we've needed it!) settles down, and see if it's survived the downpour.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The hacking of the lemongrass

Today was a very happy day for one of my lemongrass plants.

I love lemongrass, I really, really, really do, but it's a weed! Like any grass, it grows as much as it can and that can is quite a lot. I've got two monsters in 15 gallon pots that I divide down to 1/4 of the original size each autumn, and they've filled the pots again by the end of the summer.

I usually start a bunch of divisions for trades and plant sales, and I ended up with an extra two or three this year. Instead of throwing them out, of course, I kept them. One is in a 5 gallon pot and the other has been trapped in it's one gallon pot since February.

It's only grown 5 growths because of it's captivity, but they're nice, fat, healthy stalks with a handful of leaves each. Today, I took it out, attacked it with pruners, and divided it up into single stalk divisions, pruned the roots and foliage.

I swear, I think that the divisions have already started growing and have halfway filled up their 12 oz cups with roots. I expect that, by next week, I'll see the roots punching out braille 'LET ME OUT!!' in the styrofoam.

I wish that the beasties would live outside and survive the winters because I'd have some honkin' specimens after a year or two. These divisions are located in my etsy shop here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shiny objects...

Got distracted again. There's been a lot of stuff going on recently, and it's been a bit tough to keep up between doctor's appointments, imaging appointments, and life in general.

The EtsyOrganicTeam is off to a good start, and I've, apparently, been given full reign of the blog. So far, it's been a lot of fun, but not having flash really prevents me from keeping up with treasuries and that sort of thing.

It's also harvest time in them thar gardens. I've been doing a lot of seed sorting and harvesting, cropping and pruning, rooting and moving. It seems that fall is in the air, so it'll get really busy in another month or so. I've got a ton of bushes that I need to move to new homes.

I've also been dealing with a piecing nightmare. I came up with a pattern for a pair of pants and it's truly one of the most annoying things I've ever done. I haven't decided what's going to be victim first: the sewing machine or the square. Luckily, I bought 6 yards (a whopping $4.81 at 5% of the original price!!) so I've got some room to play with it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Garden PIG!

Here are my piggies! It's been cool enough out, recently, to give the girls a bit of outside time, and they're definitely enjoying it. They run around, chut at each other, nibble on the grass and the clover, and generally have a good time.

Bali, the most photogenic pig ever, is my rock star. She weighs 6 lbs and has the 'do. She's the red and white one, if you can't tell. Someone found her running around behind an apartment complex and took her in to find her a home. She's a terrific pig with an awesome personality. She's very lazy, but she's also very outgoing and very happy to tell you what she needs.

Karma, the skunky looking one, is a new addition. My vet got her after someone's children spray painted her, and we ended up adopting her. It took about a month for her coat to return to normal, but she's a healthy, happy piggie now. She's much more reserved than Bali and a bit high strung, which really isn't surprising considering that she's had a rough time of things. She's lean, slick, and has the shiniest coat I've ever seen. She's kind of silly, but she's still so skittish that I don't think we've seen the real Karma yet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yargh, bugs!

One fun thing about organic gardening is that bugs are everywhere! They're fascinating creatures, and it's fun to see the good ones, the bad ones, and most excellent to see the good ones eating the bad ones.

Here are what I assume to be some sort of nymph. My first guess is assassin bug nymph, but I was unable to do more than two weeks in my entomology class before my health caused me to drop. Your guess is probably better than mine! :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The fun never ends.

Sometimes, I think there are little elves in my home set to torture me.

I had two orders to get out Tuesday, or they would have had to wait until next week. I pulled out my roll of tape...and it had two feet left! That's not enough when you need to reassemble boxes, tape plants in, seal, and attach labels. I knew I'd seen a roll lurking around somewhere, so I frantically searched the house for three hours before deciding that I was going to have to tell the people who ordered that I was going to have to delay the shipments. If I could legally drive, it wouldn't be a problem, but I can't.

I was lamenting this to the dog when she suddenly took off up the stairs...which got me thinking. Lo and behold, there was a partially masticated roll underneath the dog's blanket. Hurrah! The packages went out (with tape lacking chew marks) and life was good.

I wasn't feeling well, so I spent most of the day sorting seeds. I had about four cups of Rose of Sharon seeds on my lap and reached over to grab something off of the table. That yanked the blanket that the tray was on and all of the seeds dumped onto the floor. Yay. I'm just very glad that I have an indefinite supply of these and that they aren't the rolly kind of seeds.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bug glamour shots

I love 'bugs' and, even though this isn't a true bug, I ended up taking about half a dozen glamour shots of this lovely who I know then crawled/hopped off to munch on my plants. There's a nice closeup of the body in my flickr that I may get printed for myself. I've got a purple wall that it would be fun against.

Friday, August 1, 2008

More veggies

My okra has really had a struggle this year. First, ants were colonizing aphids at an impressive rate on the flowers and tender, new growth. Then, the chipmunks got it:

I loathe chipmunks.

Finally, the few surviving plants are beginning to bloom:

I really love okra. It's an amazingly versatile plant that's got great flowers. I grow it for an ornamental annual and for my SO who loves to eat it. It's easy to grow and I direct sow it a couple of weeks after the last frost. It loves our crappy soil and I can't find anything to dislike about that!

If the flower reminds you of a Hibiscus, that's probably because it should. :) Okra and Hibiscus are cousins, of sorts, but okra definitely win in terms of flavor.