November 22, 2010

The Garden

There is peace within a garden, a peace so deep and calm,

That when the heart is troubled, it’s like a soothing balm.

There is life within a garden, a life that still goes on.

Filling empty places, when older plants have gone.

There is glory in the garden, at every time of year.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter, to fill the heart with cheer.

So ever tend your garden, it’s beauty to increase.

For in it you’ll find solace, and in it you’ll find peace.

Rosamon, Lady Langham

When we moved into this house, about 4 years ago, the front yard garden was nonexistent. There was a dying tree with a sad looking mum planted

on either side. That was just about it! So, we knew what we had to do...plant a garden. My mom pulled out a number of gardening books for me to consult and suggested I take note of trees and flowers that are growing healthily in our neighbourhood. For if there is one thing my mom loved as much as reading was gardening. If you ever had the pleasure of visiting one of her gardens, you know what I mean. She planted gardens with a TON of plants in them! She perfected the fine art of having a garden that bloomed through all seasons. I strive for that now.

My mother has a small bookcase dedicated to gardening books. Some she kept for their majestic photographs and others for the advice they hold. A few of the books I consulted were "Practical Gardening" by Peter McHoy, "The All Season Gardener" and "A Greener Thumb" both by Mark Cullen. Of course I also flipped through many editions of Canadian Gardening mom’s subscription only just ran out!

Together we came up with a design, ripped up the sod (I did that), piled in new soil (I did that), planted many plants and even a new tree. Today, our garden has grown into a beautiful habitat for butterflies, birds, crickets and ladybugs. I kid you not, every single time I am in the garden at least one person stops and lets me know what a wondrous addition our garden is to their walk.

I just closed down the garden this weekend. I love this task. My mom’s advice was to always leave some plants behind for winter interest and as food for the winter hearty birds. So, I always leave my Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Japanese Anemone. She also suggested that plants like Hostas, Lillies and Iris get quite soggy and slimy by clean them up in the fall when they aren’t as gross. Hot tip alert: When cleaning up an Iris or Lily remove any leaves that simply pull out out of the ground with a tug. For the leaves that don’t pull out easily, twist these leaves together, fold them onto themselves and tie another Iris leaf around to hold them in place for the winter. Sometimes my mom would even use elastic bands instead of a leaf. Again, leaving these leaves adds “winter interest”.

When all the cleaning is done..the garden looks peaceful. Ready for it’s blanket of snow. Moving through the garden I miss my mom. While her usual job was telling me what to do...I still hear her words in my ears. Perhaps it’s the solitude of gardening. I love having my girls in the garden with me...but the time I spend in the garden alone is glorious. I move quickly through my tasks of pulling, raking, tending. I listen to the wind, feel the sun on my skin and remember the hours my mom and I spent planting this garden and watching it grow.

November 15, 2010

Book Craft Corner

Well, I'm going to get all crafty now. My last blog inspired me to share two easy craft projects with you. I made two unique bookmarks for my mom, and wanted to show you how to make them. I'm sure I've made many more over the years, but these ones were extra special. In fact,Iam going to make my girls the first one...right now.

Project 1 - Paper Quotation Bookmark

Step 1.

I am always inspired by quotations. I search them out when I write a card for someone. When I add a quotation to my own sentiments the card feels complete. So, the first step is to search out a great, relevant quotation. When searching for quotations I always consult a couple of books I have and the web (I'll list my sources in the side panel). Since I will be putting this quotation on a bookmark...looking for a book quotationseems appropriate. I found that this one and love it for my daughter's bookmark. "The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss

Step 2.

Search for an image to accompany your quotation. This could be a drawing, photo or free clip art from the web. In this case I chose a tree with books as leaves. Seemed fitting. (again sources on the side panel).

Step 3.

Copy & paste your quotation and image into a document using your word processing program. Align the image and the quotation so they read as a bookmark does, leaving enough room for a hole where you will put your ribbon. When you have finished playing with the positioning and the font style/size...print the bookmark. You can use whatever paper you like, however thicker papers, or cardstock work the best.

Step 4.

Once printed punch a hole in the one end of your bookmark. Select a piece of ribbon, approximately 12" long. In my case I also tied two bird shaped beads to the ends of the ribbon. Remember, this ribbon will be visible from outside of the book...make it beautiful.

Step 5.
Once you have selected and cut your ribbon it is time to feed it through the hole. Fold the ribbon in half (lengthwise), push the fold through the hole. Once pushed through feed the open ends through the loop you have created...pull. Ta Da! Your bookmark is complete. Remember when giving a bookmark...give a book too!!

Project 2 - Beaded Bookmark

Step 1.

This bookmark requires a little research. Check out your recipients book collection. Do they tend to read paperbacks or hardcovers? This will determine the length of the bookmark you make. Once you know what size the books are cut a piece of ribbon, string or waxed thread (used in making jewelry) to the length of the average book - plus about 4 inches on each end. These 4" will give you plenty of thread to work on your beading, which will hang outside of the book.

Step 2.

Select the beads you want to use. My mom loved blue beads were in order.

Step 3.

Tie a knot in your thread, 4" from one end, then feed a pattern of beads on and knot at the end. Do the same with the other end of the thread. Between these two beaded ends, you should have a large portion of thread that is void of beads...this section will be inside the book, allowing the book to close without obstruction.

Step 4.

Take it for a test run in the book you are giving your gift recipient.

Ta Da! You are done yet another bookmark!

Hope you enjoyed my delving into crafting! Have fun...let the bookmark building begin!