In Love with Orchids


Coming back from vacation has it’s perks. The snow is now gone, and I actually saw a robin in the yard today. It seems like overnight, winter has finally given up and warmer days are ahead.

Returning from vacation has it’s down side also, I can no longer avoid all the things I have been worrying about, and I am still suffering from the time zone differential, a.k.a., I need a nap. A long nap.

For today, I will share our vacation visit to this fantastic orchid greenhouse. I have never seen anything quite like this, an entire greenhouse full of just orchids.

It was absolutely amazing. I could have wandered around in there for days.

The woman who ran the place, had the most interesting way of organizing her orchids, rows and rows of vertical hanging baskets. Each one was connected to the one above by a simple metal hook. It gave the impression of being an entire wall, but it really wasn’t a wall at all.

Orchids do not need soil, some varieties thrive purely on air and water, others require bark or moss to cover the roots. These hanging “vines” are photos of all the bare roots, just hanging down from their little wooden or plastic baskets. I would love a greenhouse full of these!

It felt like a jungle. 

It was a jungle.

 This particular variety of orchid only blooms every 6 years ( I can’t remember the name of them, sorry!).  These are only 4 years old, and won’t bloom for two more years. I can’t imagine having that much patience waiting for them to bloom would be so hard for me!  Wow, this woman had PATIENCE!

I especially loved the orchids planted in the wooden baskets. They look so gnarly and rustic, what an inspiration! Don’t you just LOVE it?

Another wall was covered with wire fencing, then with rows of tiny orchid baskets on hooks. This system was part of how she propagates her orchids, and these were not for sale. Each one was labeled with the latin name, and she knew all of them!

 I would love to learn how propagate orchids, although I guess I should learn to grow them first without killing them. Sigh.

First things, first.

My son had the best time in this place, he found an orchid to take home with him as a souvenir. This variety, Phalainopsis, is quite common, you can buy them at Home Depot or your local greenhouse. They have the most dazzling blossoms.  Keep your orchid in indirect sun, and evenly moist. The bathroom is a great place for them, they love the humidity. You can put them in the tub with a bit of water if you have to go out of town, they will be happy until you return.

I must say, I really don’t know that much about orchids, I killed one once that I had been given as a gift. Fortunately, my son is very good with plants and I am hoping we can keep this one alive for a while. Forever, actually.

Next time we are on vacation, I am bringing home a dozen of them, at least!

Christmas Knitting for Gifts

I have been inspired this last week to make a few last minute Christmas gifts. It all started with our recent visit to Chicago. Everyone there looked so nice in their beautiful hand knit hats and scarves. They didn’t seem to mind being out in the cold because they were dressed for it.
I decided I am under-dressed for the weather. I also decided, that everyone else I know is under-dressed as well and it’s my duty to fix it.
Hence, the flurry of last minute knitting.
Then I discovered the most beautiful line of imported yarn from Germany.
I am obsessed with it!

I love how quickly it knits on these jumbo needles. I always wanted to learn knitwear design in college. But back then knitwear was just ugly.
You remember those giant T-shirts with the word “WHAM” on the front?
I rest my case. Knitwear today is so much more attractive.
I call this cowl blue smoke. It’s a gift for my sister in law, shhhhh don’t tell!

This teal number is for my mother, she loves teal. Hummm, I think I am going to need one of these too.
The other nanna is getting neutrals. I love Oatmeal-like color combos.
This infinity scarf took me forever to finish. I am keeping this one, but I decided to show it to you anyway. I wore it to the movies for the first time the other day.
 I love how you can wrap yourself up in it. It is so soft and warm. I can’t wait to make another one.
I call this cowl bubble gum. Aren’t the colors just amazing? You could wear this with a million different things.

This scarf is for Gramps. Salt and Pepper is a perfect color combo for him.
This last one is still in progress, but I decided to show it to you anyway. It has a bit of gold in the yarn, nothing like a little Sparkle for the holidays. 
As soon as the snow storm lets up I will head back to the yarn store again so I can finish it.
As of the first of the year, I will be adding these items to my Etsy store. They will be available for custom orders after the holidays, more details to come!
Have a relaxing day!
Only two more days til Christmas! Plenty of time to knit a few more last minute items!

Gifts Wrapped Up Plus an iPad Mini Giveaway!

Here’s the Gifts Wrapped in Glass Wrap-Up! Be sure and catch up on any posts you missed!
Day 6: Dilly Beans
Day 17: Apple Butter
Day 20: Jar of Roses
Day 24: Lemon Jelly
Don’t forget to register for this awesome iPad-Mini Giveaway!
You have 24 chances to win by Liking or Following the
Blogs below on either Facebook or Pinterest.
You only have to complete one entry, but the more you
complete – the more chances you get!
Giveaway runs from Nov 17th thru Nov 24th at 5pm.
Winner will be announced and notified by email on
Monday, Nov 25th.
Good luck everyone!





Gifts Wrapped in Glass: Day 29

This Gift Wrapped in Glass is for the Artist in the house. 
In the past, that has usually been me. Our boys toyed with art for a while, then seemed to grow out of it. 
The other day our son Ted informed me that he wants to learn how to draw.
This came as a real shocker. 
Ted was the boy who HATED ART. He would scream and cry when I would try and get him to hold a crayon. 
Suddenly at age 17 1/2, he wants to learn art?
Wow! I never would have guessed that in a million years!
I took his cue as the perfect opportunity to create The Artists Jar. 

I started with a two quart, wide mouth Mason Jar for this project.

I also purchased a few small art supplies including:
mini art mannequin
charcoal pencils
kneaded eraser
various drawing pencils of different hardness
variety of colored pencils
pencil sharpener

Washi tape for decoration

I gathered a few other supplies such as water color crayons and pastels (these we already owned) and packaged them in little plastic baggies closed with a bit of colorful Washi tape, as they can be quite messy.

I also pulled out some water color pencils, art brushes, and a pad of sand paper (for sharpening the soft pastels and charcoals).
I found this cute little set of charcoal pencils in a carrying box at Walmart. I decorated the outside of the box with a few pieces of Washi Tape.
I love the funky eye glasses print. So festive!
On a whim, I decided to decorate the mini-manni with the tape too. He even got a pair of glasses. He reminds me of our son. Cute and fun!
I think I shall call him MINI-MOE.

Mini-Moe fits great into the jar, along with the other supplies.
There are lots of uses for Mason jars in the art world.
I store all my drawing pencils in them. I always store drawing supplies with the point up. It’s easier to see all the colors and you won’t wear down the points.
You can also use the jars for painting, or for use with water color pencils and crayons. I use them for dipping or for washing my brushes between colors.
Enjoy inspiring your artist!

Gifts Wrapped in Glass: Day 18

Today I tried to calculate how many Mason jars I have used so far in this series. I know I bought two shopping carts full of various jars, but I also used some old ones plus a few more I had picked up at thrift stores here and there. I estimate we are approaching the twelve dozen mark, possibly even more. 
I have jars on every single shelf in the house and am fast running out of room.
Still 13 more posts to go! I think I will need more shelves.
Today’s Gift Wrapped in Glass is not going to be on the shelf though. It has to be refrigerated. This is 
Homemade Maple Syrup.
It does not involve trees, sap buckets or smelly boilers. That is far too complicated. It involves only simple ingredients:

Here’s the proportions:
1/2 tsp. Maple Flavoring (Mapleene is a good brand)
3 cups water
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Bring water to a boil, add sugar, stir until dissolved. Turn heat to low, add liquid flavorings. Simmer for 30-60 minutes until it reaches desired thickness.
Remove from heat, place in jars with lids and bands.
The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Makes 1/2 pint.
I added some colorful faux leaves to the jar by punching the leaf with a hole punch and stringing it on raffia. 
A label for the top was the finishing touch.
No trees were harmed in the making of this post.
Lots more Gifts Wrapped in Glass to come!