Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Victory Garden 2014

You would think that after all the hard work last year I would skip a year of vegtable gardening but I'm not that smart!  After such a warm winter we were able to start clearing the garden in Februrary and planted 22 tomato plants in early March.  He bought 6 packs of grape tomato, a beefsteak and a medium size salad tomatoes.  Yesterday he came home with mystery tomatoes that lost their tags!  Lee has been working on the garden using the tiller and has cleared almost 3 times the space we had last year.  Already the seeds have started growing and we have a larger selection of plants.  So far we have planted crookneck squash, peas, beans, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, beets, small carrots and multi colored carrots.  The garden has provided volunteer pumpkins, tomatoes, arugula, cosmos and sunflowers!   Here are a few pictures!

I planted the basil but the sage survived the winter and has a lot of bees visiting.
Small basils in a pot.
Only one pumpkin seed germinated from last year so I planted some more to keep it company.
One of 22 tomato plants!  They are all looking happy and blooming already!
Green peas popping up in the garden.  I planted a six foot row so we should get quite a few peas.  I couldn't get more pictures off the camera so I'll have to post the vegetables later.
This year I decided to have a real flower garden and a potted garden of small plants and miniatures
A pot of lovely violas in yellow and purple and orange and purple.
This is a 4 inch pot of purple violas.  I love how bold the colors are in such a tiny plant.
Tiny viola in purple with a delicate white face.

I love these yellow violas they are bigger then the others and have a delicate purple edging to the petals.
In the vegetable bed a small forest of cosmos have come up from reseeding themselves!  I've already transplanted over 4 dozen and still have more to give away!
Several purple irises have bloomed and each plant has had 7 blossoms.  They are more than 2 feet tall.
The snapdragons survived the winter and are blooming like crazy.  These are in the main flower bed with the irises.

Lots of violas in the main flower garden!

Yellow roses.  They were New Years gifts for 2013.
California poppies!
Mr. Lincoln rose.

First Persian jewel to bloom.  There are some blue flowers ready to bloom also!

The Amaryllis is about a foot in diameter.   It has two babies that will hopefully bloom next year.  This was just some of the plants that are welcoming the spring!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Scherenschnitte and Wycinanki

The last months I have been obsessed with cutting paper patterns.   Scherenschnitte has been like oxygen and I started cutting 3 or 4 patterns a day.  Finally I went looking for advanced patterns and ended up at a website called   It was hard to choose from the many patterns offered but finally I purchased "Sheer Pleasure" designed by Alison Cosgrove Tanner and "Wycinanki" by Susanne R Cook-Greuter. 

Wycinanki is the Polish term for paper cutting.  I haven't quite figured out what makes a design "Polish" but the designs tend to be brightly colored and incorporate birds especially roosters.  Also one Polish paper cutting style is to layer paper shapes slightly smaller and different colors on the design.  This form of Wycinanki is similar to some of my paper art so I look forward to trying it.  So far I have cut 84 Scherenschnitte and Wycinanki.  Some small cutting and huge cuttings but most of them fit on a 8.5 x 11 page.  Below are some of the most recent cutting I've done.

This is all that I could salvage from my first Wycinanki style cutting.  The vase of flowers normally sits inside a larger circle.  This is going to end up as a card decoration.

This was another failed attempt at a Wycinanki style cutting.  At least I was able to get through the next circle in the design.  At first I thought this was a pansy pattern but after looking at the buds realized it is a primitive rose.

This is an almost acceptable cutting.  This was a Wycinanki style cutting about 8 inches in diameter of carnations.  Unfortunately the second to the last cut left a whole in the bowl pattern.  Almost broke my heart.  This took 10 hours to cut because I stop and stretch every few cuts.

Center detail of carnation cutting.
Detail of outer edge.
Finally a finished piece of Wycinanki style paper cutting.  This piece was under 6 inches in diameter.  This one was a little easier because it is more dense then the other designs.  One difficulty when cutting away most of the paper is that the remaining piece can stretch and eventually tear.  Another problem I ran into was with the parchment paper.  Parchment can actually flake tearing just a layer of the paper.  Really strange!  As for the flowers I have no idea what they are but I really like the design.

Close up of Wycinanki style paper cutting.
This lovely heart cutting is from the patterns called "Sheer Delight" which is a Scherenschnitte pattern.  This piece is 7 x 5.5 inches which is 20% larger then the original pattern.  When starting a cutting that is difficult I find enlarging the pattern helpful.  This allows me to determine the most difficult parts of a pattern which is not always obvious.  I had to cut this enlarged pattern 3 times before I cut it properly.

Close up of heart cutting.  The flowers surrounding the swans were not the most difficult cuts.  If you look under the swans the lace v is actually a series of tiny swans.  The hidden animals and flowers that make up the lacy designs in Scherenschnitte is what I love about this cutting style.  It reminds me of a kaleidoscopic image.

Design 4.25 x 5.5 inches.
Finally I cut the pattern without enlargements and it came out beautifully.  Only one flower lost a petal other wise it was a great cutting.  Unfortunately a piece of paper got under the sun while I was taking pictures.  The piece is really finished.

Close up of heart.

Design 8 x 9 inches.
Paper cutting number 83.  This piece was a real challenge.  It was too large to increase to practice but it still took only 3 tries.  Unfortunately this cut tore twice but was repairable.  This lace cutting is so light it can barely be felt in my hand.  The design is made up of tulips in the center, dividing the image into quarters.  Around the center are geese.  Four trees grow from the center and leafy branches spread out adding to the lacy effect.  At the top of each tree is a sun or moons.  Between the trees are birds with ribbons draped with dangling hearts.  When I first saw this pattern I didn't think I would ever be able to make it.  But somehow I managed to make this elaborate cutting and move up to advanced cutting in less then 3 months.
Close up of center.

Close up of 1 quarter of the design.