Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another lovely plant to propagate.

Today, I'll be going outside, braving the cold, and clipping off a handful of cuttings from this lovely. Mine is still holding onto it's leaves and flowers, but I don't know how long that'll last with the weather being as cool as it has been.

I have decided that I will stop shipping live plants (not including moss!) at the end of the month, unless by special request. I've reduced my live plant prices, so take advantage of this and grab what catches your fancy or wait until next spring!

In other news, my heart surgery is scheduled for 13 Nov. Eek!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

End of harvest.

It's nearing the end of my harvest season, and I've been spending a lot of time sorting seeds, packaging seeds, and planning out next year.

New things for the week:

Seedpods! I sent some of these off to a friend to see what magic she could work with them. If anyone else wants them for whatever reason, I'd be happy to send some off to you. :)

My lawyer gave me the free-and-clear (and a handful of free templates found online with the same layout), so I also placed another business card order, today. I added another flavor to my stash, so I now have five different images. I hope to be able to continue adding variety.

Health news, my heart appears to be clear from obvious defects, so here's to hoping there'll be no exciting surprises during the surgery. I should be scheduling the procedure next week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dog 'poo!

Being the handmade soap addict that I am, I decided to check out Etsy when my last jug of dog shampoo ran out. I shopped around and found several products that I was interested in, but I was a bit concerned about the moisturizing effect of these soaps.

I know most people love dogs with soft hair, but I've got a wire-coated dog with a thick, oily coat. I asked a few sellers about whether they'd consider their dog 'poo to be conditioning, and only one came back to say that they couldn't claim the soap to be conditioning. Score!

(forgive the hair on the bar -- I took the pictures post doggie bath!)

Well, my girl needed a bath a few days ago, and I got to try out wwizebody's dog soap. I must say that I'm QUITE impressed with it!

What I love:

1. Size and shape of the bar make it easy to hold on to when wet.
2. Amazing lather made it a quick job to soap up the dog. A few swipes was all it took! The liquid shampoo concentrate I normally use doesn't suds up that much and takes a lot of work to get distributed.
3. The fresh smell wasn't overpowering but still managed to compete with the wet dog smell. It's been three days, and she doesn't smell like dog, yet! The fragrance from the soap didn't held in her coat, but she's not supposed to be an air freshener. :)
4. The great cleaning power! My pup's coat is shiny, clean, harsh, and not grubby feeling. No second wash needed with this stuff!
5. Less waste, if nothing else, makes this bar a great choice. Usually, I use about a cup of diluted, harsh-coat concentrate each time I shampoo my dog because the lather isn't very good. With this bar, the edges are barely rounded, and I don't have to worry about accidentally spilling the bottle!
6. It rinsed out easily and cleanly. 'Nuff said.
7. It's not conditioning, but it doesn't seem to dry out skin. No itching, no scratching, and no flaking. Hurrah!
8. The convenience. Usually, when I go out of town, I carry a premixed bottle of 'poo for her, in case she gets skunked, rolls in something nasty, or just gets filthy. There's nothing worse than finding you haven't mixed enough or having to clean up the ruptured container. Now, with air travel like it is, the liquid is pretty much impossible, and it's equally impossible to find in most locations. This little bar is a great size and it's SOLID -- perfect for travel.
9. The price. I have no doubt that this bar will last many more washes and be much more affordable, in the long run, than the concentrate I normally purchase.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Summer is over.

Summer is obviously over. The nights and days are getting cooler, which I love, but it breaks my heart to see the bees that I spend all summer watching and cultivating a habitat for start to slow down.

That's how it goes, though. They'll be back next year, but I hate finding their fat, formerly busy bodies clinging to my flowers. :(

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New DesignStyleGuide website!

I am SO excited about the new DesignStyleGuide website! It goes live on Monday, but I've been playing around with the member access stuff for a couple of hours tonight. Can I say brilliant?

I opted for an 8 listing membership, rather than the basic 2, and I'm glad I did! It was a bit more expensive and I was afraid it'd be too much trouble to fill them out, but the listings are sooooo much more intuitive than I expected. I've already got 6 of the 8 I signed up for done, and I'm trying to decide what others I'm going to include.

There's a treasury feature that's not dependent on the ever crappy flash, so I'm able to actually USE it. Even more exciting!

Picture me very pleased.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's dirty work.

I was potting up some things yesterday and realized that I was out of my premixed container mix, so I thought I'd post some pictures of how I hand mix it.

You'll be shocked by the complexity, I'm sure...

The base to my mixes is peat. (I know, I know, not very environmentally friendly, but I haven't found a suitable alternative for an indoor, container mix yet. That's been in the works and I've been researching and testing for about a year, now.)

I mix 8 parts peat to 1 part bark and mix thoroughly. I usually make a lot of this up, because this 'base' doesn't usually change, regardless of what's going to be growing in it. I store this is big trashcans and pull it out as I need it. I just did a big mix, so I didn't need that today.

Then, for my general purpose container mix, I mix 4 parts 'base' with 1 part perlite. Perlite is a fluffy, volcanic glass and is excellent for opening up mixes and improving drainage.

Now, here comes the complicated part. Listen closely...


My most used recipes:

Standard potting mix: 8 pt peat: 1 pt bark. 4 pt base: 1 pt perlite

Succulent mix: 8 pt peat: 1 pt pebbles or bark. 4 pt base: 1 pt perlite: 1 pt sand

A note to anyone who's mixing peat, sand, or perlite: Please wear a mask! Your lungs will thank you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Any better?

I worked on my Garden-in-a-Bucket idea today, and I think it looks pretty darned good!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Talk about neglect!

It's been almost a week since I last posted and there's been a lot of stuff going on. I'll probably be out for heart surgery by the end of the month, so I'll get to check out etsy's new, shiny vacation mode.

I've been working on various kits to list in my fluffnflowers shop, and have had a couple of fun ideas. One is this Erlenmeyer flask terrarium kit. I call it the flaskarium, and I hope someone finds it as charming as I do.

I've also started working on some 'garden in a bucket' kits, but I don't know how, exactly, I'm going to work that. I don't have an eye for arrangements, so I'll have to work on getting some shots better than this:

Too bad I stink at gift baskets! I'll have to work on it some more before I list it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's been a good day.

Today has been a good day. What's so good?

Well, it rained for the first time in 26 days today! Hurrah! Things were starting to get thirsty and the half inch we got today will definitely help out.

Other than that, it's been a plastic wonderland. I made about twenty envelopes from old potting soil bags yesterday, and six clear ones from scrap 6 MIL plastic. I listed the six 6 MIL ones and plan on listing a set of ten of the potting soil mailers today.

I couldn't bear to part with all of them, so half of the potting soil bag envies are MINE! :D I got an order for a book off of paperbackswap, so it got packaged up in one of these and is out in the mail. I hope the person receiving it reuses it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Puffball or not?

I found this lovely outside today and was extremely excited. I'm not a mycologist, but it looks like a puffball to me! My grandmother used to sautee what I think this is and make the most delightful yumminess.

Tell me what you think. I'm not allowed to eat it, so I won't be taking your advice if you tell me it's edible. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Summer is winding down.

The nights are now in the 60s and the days are cooler (only reaching the mid 80s), and summer is obviously winding down. Leaves are starting to fall and a second rush of seed collection is happening.

I wasn't sure whether I was going to list seeds from my Northern Sea Oats plant this year or not, but I decided to go ahead and go for it. It's a fantastic plant, but I don't know how well ornamental grasses go over on etsy. You can see the listing here. It's one of the more attractive grasses I own, and I have plans for expanding it's growing area next year.

I also spent some time today breaking up another one of my monster lemongrass plants that was trying to anchor itself to the ground through its pot. People seem to find them appealing, which I think is fantastic. Not only are they attractive, but they're a joy to cook with. I'd love to know how people use them! :)

My kava got split up, but I don't know if it'll be listed this year. I'm trying to make up my mind, but that's sometimes difficult.

Tomorrow is my dreaded follow up appointment with a doctor that I've never met, so keep your fingers crossed that things aren't as bad as I fear! :) Hopefully, I won't have any blip in my online time.