Wednesday, May 16, 2018


I'm a fool for just about any member of the dianthus tribe.  I'm also a little stingy with my gardening dollars, so I'd rather spend $3.00 on a packet of seed than $6.00 for a single plant.  The only problem with that strategy is that I seem to be incapable of a.) sowing less than an entire packet of seed and b.)keeping the labels up to snuff.

So my more or less nameless collection of pinks and their carnation cousins is just beginning to bloom.

This red one, below, I do know is Fenbow's Nutmeg Clove Pink.  Several years ago, for reasons I no longer recall, I decided that I would not be able to lead a happy and productive life without having a Fenbow's Nutmeg Clove Pink in my garden.   It took some time to track down seed and of course this variety turned out to be hard to grow, so the first season I ended up with only two plants.  The following season I tried propagating a few cuttings and had pretty good luck, so now I have six plants.  The Fenbow's is a nice, clear red pink, but one really grows them for their amazingly strong clove scent, which regrettably I cannot share with you via photograph.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Extrovert

A few days ago I cut a couple of tulips to bring in the house.  Though they're same color, they're different varieties, which became very apparent over the course of a few days.  And although it's a little hard to tell, the demure tulip in the background is horribly embarrassed by its wanton cousin.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Cobweb Houseleeks Have Babies!

Imagine my surprise on finding that the wooly houseleeks I bought last September and left outside all winter have whelped, or whatever it is they do.  Those tiny fuzzy things (I count seven in this picture)  to the right and below the parents are the babies.  They emerged only in the last couple of days.  No, I'm not going to name them.

Monday, March 26, 2018


One weekend I decided to keep the mid-winter doldrums at bay by making a new duvet cover.   I felt very pleased with myself for finally using a fabric I'd had for years, continuing my effort to reduce the size of my fabric stash.

The duvet cover turned out nicely and gave the bedroom a cheery fresh look, but I ended up with some long narrow strips of unbleached muslin left over.  Still feeling thrifty and motivated, I decided that rather than putting these in my scrap bin, I'd get some scraps out of the bin and see what I could do.  The first scraps I came across were from a strawberry print cotton fabric I bought in the early '90s.

This is one of my very favorite fabrics.  How could one not love tiny strawberries and tiny strawberry blossoms and leaves?  Over time, I've made three shirts out of it (two to give away, one for myself) and carefully saved all the scraps.  Over the course of a couple of weekends I pieced the scraps together to yield as many 2 1/2" squares as possible and then made up 4-patch squares with the muslin.  Fifty 4-patch squares wasn't going to get me very far, so I (virtuously) drew again from my stash for some fabric to use for alternating plain squares.  Finally I made a third withdrawal from the National Bank of Fabric for the binding fabric.  The quilt batting was cut from a full size batt that had gotten a little mouse-nibbled some years ago.

By the time I'd finished the quilt, the daffodils were blooming and the doldrums were beginning to fade, though most evenings it's still nice to have a little lap quilt.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cream Was On Sale

A few days into the new year, I polished off a gift of maple caramels.  I made them last as long as I could, which wasn't nearly long enough.    I couldn't get them out of my mind, so I bought a few packets of pre-cut candy wrapping papers and waited for cream to go on sale.

Last week during my weekly grocery shopping I came across a pint of organic heavy cream on sale for $2.99, and I was off to the races.  Well, I was off to the stove, armed with a heavy copper saucepan and a good candy thermometer.  I made a pound of caramels.  I wonder how long they'll last.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

By Her Bookmarks You Shall Know Her

The front line in the battle between print and digital books seems to shift in unpredictable ways.  Sometimes ebooks are less expensive than the print version, sometime they're more expensive.  It's a complete mystery to me.  For now, I still seem to need bookmarks.

Some of the bookmarks here go back a considerable number of years.  The embroidered cat on the blue ribbon is something I did in the 1970s when Victorian crafts were enjoying a revival.  The embroidered cat on the red ribbon is one that my mother did a few years ago.

The medieval woodcut is a souvenir of a trip to The Cloisters in the late 1980s at a time when I had very little money beyond the price of the train fare and the admission ticket.  The Union Fair blue ribbon is for a traditional fisherman's sweater that I entered in the fair in 1996.

Northern Lights and Village Book store are no longer with us, I'm afraid.

When will book marks become as quaint as steel-nibbed dip pens?  I don't know if anybody knows. But I'll have my choice collection available, should Antiques Roadshow come to town.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Christmas here at the Blue Door is a pretty quiet event.  I wait until the Solstice to start decorating, which means it's somewhat catch-as-catch can.  I was able to find a plain wreath and liven it up with a bright red bow (carefully saved from year to year) and some snowflakes I made decades ago.

A tree was out of the question this year, so I made a swag of my favorite ornaments and hung it on the fireplace.

I don't know that frogs and pea pods are particularly Christmas-y, but I like them.

I set out a few wood ornaments that come from a place that was once called "West Germany" 

Glass icicles, a few glass balls, and a foil star liven up the dining room light.
I make the same flower arrangement every year.   The holly comes from a tree that I grew from a seedling I found in my yard.

Merry Christmas, everybody.