Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Perky Paperwhites

Paperwhites are a popular forcing bulb, however I prefer to have mine out in the garden. Their flowers have a fragrance that I find overpowering indoors but quite nice outdoors. In addition, here in North Texas they often start putting up their leaves in December and begin blooming before the end of January to let you know that winter won’t last forever. Growing up in North Carolina, this was the job of the crocus. I have not had luck getting crocus to repeat reliably for me in Texas so I was happy to find that I can count on paperwhites to give me the first perky blooms of the season.

This year my paperwhites first started to flower about the last week of January. While a few of the blooms are beginning to fade at the end of this third week of February, most of them are still holding their heads high and bringing welcome cheer to my winter garden. (The photos in this post were taken about a week into February.) As you can see from the photos, I have two different types of these early bulbs. The ones with the longer flower petals that are more star shaped came from an old neglected planting at a home that a friend of mine had just purchased. I don’t remember where I got the other type from but it is what you are likely to get when you buy paperwhites for forcing or if you are just buying the bulbs to plant in your garden.

Paperwhite bulbs are large, so the bottom of the hole for planting should generally be about 6 inches deep. Plant them in well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. If you know someone that will share some bulbs from their clump, wait until after flowering and after the leaves have died back by at least two thirds so that they will have a good chance of storing enough energy to flower for you next year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count 2012

In my “Science Rocks” blog post earlier this year I mentioned that you didn’t have to be a scientist to contribute to our wealth of scientific knowledge. I encouraged you to become part of a citizen scientist program that meshed with your interests. For all of you nature lovers out there, there is a great opportunity to participate in a valuable, four day, citizen scientist program from your very own backyard starting Friday, February 17, 2012. It is the Great Backyard Bird Count. (GBBC)

The GBBC runs from Friday, February 17 – Monday, February 20. You can count for whatever days you can participate and for as little as 15 minutes a day in order to gather useful data for scientific studies. Print out your regional tally sheet and you are all set to go. There is also a photo contest every year that you can participate in. Check out last year’s fabulous photo contest winners.

So gather up your binoculars and bird ID book (not required) and get some fresh air while making a contribution to science. Click here for other bird related citizen scientist programs.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spring 2012 Fashion Colors

The spring 2012 fashion report from Pantone is out with lists of 10 energetic and eye catching colors for women and 10 for men. These two lists each include tangerine tango (vibrant orange), solar power (dazzling bright yellow), sodalite blue (calming deep blue) and starfish (warm light brown neutral). The other six colors share some similarities but differ by being more masculine or feminine. Check out the link above to see which of these colors you already have in your wardrobe and which ones you fall in love with and just have to add to your collection with an item of clothing or an accessory. As I flipped through the inspiration sketches from several designers in the report, it became clear to me that the biggest favorite this spring is tangerine tango, which can be seen in this fun, chunky gemstone and chain necklace.

Add a bit of this spring's neutrals, starfish and driftwood, with this lovely twisted necklace and earring set of freshwater pearls and crystals.

Other items with Pantone’s spring 2012 fashion colors can be found at EclecticSkeptic and EDCCollective. Add a bit of bellflower with this amethyst n ladybug purse charm. If you don’t find quite what you are looking for, please contact me to see if I have the materials to create a custom piece to accessorize your outfits with a splash of the spring color that you are looking for.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thanks for the Treasuries - January 2012

Six different Etsians let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during January. Ten January Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my items. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during January. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 6 Etsy shops that let me know that they featured at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

Corkycrafts' unique wine cork wreathes and cork crafts make the perfect gift for the wine lover.

This shop sells hand stamped, customizable jewelry, bookmarks, golf ball markers and more.

Find lovely Texas and nature themed stained glass and wood pieces in this shop.

This shop carries fabric supplies such as quilt squares and yoyos in addition to lovely handmade purses, placemats and more.

Sparkly jewelry for everyday, weddings, special occasions and awareness jewelry for MS and breast cancer are found here.

This shop is stocked with rag dolls, teddy bears, stuffed animals, pincushions, clutches, & wallets.