Wednesday, July 30

Garden Pic Wednesday: More Yard Views

I'm feeling better today. I ground a little fresh ginger into the coffee I'm drinking prior to brewing it, which gives me the benefit of the ginger without the peppery taste.
 I can drink tea; I don't love it. Rather drink coffee.

Today's Garden Pics of the Day are more views of my yard.

First: A back yard view from left corner:
It's high summer now, so not a lot is blooming.
I was working in that corner back there this morning, pulling out spider plants (the house plant) because they tend to take over and moving around garlic chives to fill in blank spaces along the bed border. (They make a fair edging.)
This corner is on my project list for figuring out what to plant in front of the Elephant Ears & Hydrangea back there under the trees, an area that gets strong morning sun, then heavy shade.

Next: Same back yard, other corner:
This is the "woodsy" side I want to add more daffodil bulbs tothis fall.
The bed in the right corner is a oval bed that used to be just a high rise in the yard until I encircled it with blocks last fall.
That blank square (with the purple writing on it) is normally my veggie garden space, but it was too water-logged this spring to use.
It's on my project list for refurbishing with 2 rows of red castle rock blocks, like the adjacent bed, to make it a raised garden.

Last: A view down my shady walk out to the street. 
You can see the block wall we installed last Nov and, in the distance, my Gardenia that I gave a pretty thorough hair cut. The beast is 26 years old and needed a bunch of old joints cut out.
I cleaned out the bottom, too, in hopes of promoting more fresh growth.
You see all the pin wheels? Those are there to scare off birds from my strawberries, but they add a charming touch, spinning and flashing in the wind.
This area in on my project list, too: I have edging I want to put in along the grass side opposite the strawberry bed.

So, what sort of outdoor projects are on your list?
That's it for today! Come back to see what's up with Mama Kat!

Tuesday, July 29

Polyvore Tuesday: Nature Fairy Set

Greetings! My hubby had a summer head-cold sort of thing for a week, so, naturally, now I have it. I'm taking my Zicam, drinking my ginger tea and so on to try to shorten it's stay. I have one advantage---I can tell immediately when a cold is starting up and Hubby cannot. That's because he has a lot of sinus drainage due to the constantly changing hi and low pressure systems of Gulf Coast weather, so the scratchy throat the indicates an incoming virus isn't obvious to him. 
So I'm staying home tonight from Bible Study we do on base for the young Air Force/Army/Navy kids. No sense sharing.

Today's Polyvore set is one I made for the secret pal thing last month, this one themed on fairies, which she seemed to like.
This is a layered scene of different scenery clip art I found in Polyvore featuring a fairy at the pond's edge.
It's pretty.

Nature Fairy, Gift #2

Nature Fairy, Gift #2 by madamdreamweaver on Polyvore

Giant Allium
My fall Michigan Bulb magazine just arrived in the mail and I was perusing it for bulbs I might be interested in for fall planting.
Naturalizing my back "woodsy" bed with Woods Hyacinths & more Daffodils appeals to me. 

Also I really like to add some Giant Allium in the bed along the back of the house.
Allium, by the way, is the general family that onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chive belong to. Think of it as a kind of giant chive flower.
So, when you feel a cold coming on, what's your go-to remedies?

Monday, July 28

Good Eating Monday: Allspice

Greetings!  Today we went to the fitness center. I do Zumba. Hubby rides the exercise bike.
Then, once home, I did a some mowing, mostly under the picnic table, since hubby was available to help me move it out of the way, then replace it.
I refilled the hummingbird feeder with a commercial hummer food. They didn't seem to like my homemade--though I used the correct ratio of water to sugar. 
I have a cage suet feeder Ii'v filled with short pieces of yarn for the birds to use for nesting. Most of it happens to be red yarn. Interestingly, we saw a female hummer helping herself to some of that red yard recently! Really, she's the first taker I've seen interested in it.

Today's Good Eating topic is another spice: Allspice!
Allspice is often confused with Cloves, but that's because it also has the same eugenol oil in it.  Allspice contains more then 2 dozen compounds with healing qualities.In it's natural form, raw Allspice is a pimento berry about the size of a peppercorn. It's a new world spice first stumbled upon by Christopher Columbus in Jamaica and remains a leading industry crop there, though it's also grown in various other Central & South American countries.
It gets it's name, "Allspice," from the English, who thought it reminded them of a combo of spices: cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg.

Allspice's Health Benefits:
It's is loaded with antioxidants and can help fight the oxidative cell damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and other chronic health problems.
In studies, where concentrated amounts were used for study purpose, allspice has shown an ability to lower blood pressure and potential useful as a natural alternative treatment for menopause & osteoporosis.

How Allspice is Used:
Allspice is used everywhere. It's used commercially as a flavoring in lots of every day products: chewing gum, soft drinks, ketchup, barbecue sauce, pates, terrines, smoked fish and canned meats. It's also used as fragrance in cosmetics & deodorants. If the label on any of those products lists "spice" as an ingredient, it's Allspice.
Allspice is also the key ingredient in Jamaican "jerk"and in mulling spices & curries. 
Mexicans use it to spice chocolate, a custom that dates back to the Mayans. The Spanish use it in "escabeche," which is a fish dish. Morocccans use it in slow-cooked stews. In the Middle East, it's used in "kibbeh," a bulgur & chopped meat dish.
It's also used whole in pickled herring.

How to Buy Allspice:
It's readily available both ground and whole in the grocery store.
Whole does has a better shelf life, if you would like to grind it yourself as needed.
The already ground type is fine, though does lose it pungency over time, so you consider replacing at least yearly.

Ways to Use Allspice:
Really you can use it in and with about anything!
It's already in that "Pumpkin Pie Spice" and "Apple Pie Spice" you have in your cabinet! 
* Add a pinch to chocolate desserts to enrich the chocolate flavor; especially those that are less sweet.
* Add a 1/2 teaspoon full it to your next batch of muffins instead of cinnamon!
* Add it to any fruit pie
* Add it to lamb, seafood or any game meat.
* Add an big pinch to your barbecue sauce to deepen the flavor.
* Add it to rice pilaf or curries or Turkish style rice which includes raisins & pinenuts.
* Use it in any spice driven bakery good: gingerbreads, spice cookies, spice cake, banana bread, coffee cakes and fruit cake.
* Add a small pinch in your plain coffee grounds before brewing your coffee to flavor up your coffee! (Or a shake of pumpkin pie spice will work!)  
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!

Friday, July 25

Friday Finds: Pole-Vault Philippians 3:14 Shirt

Today's Finds are some of my own BevStuff designs: this Christian shirt is one of my newest faith designs:

This shirt design features a pole-vaulter with the scripture applied to the body and the Latin words "citius, altius, fortius" which mean "faster, higher, stronger."  On back, it says, "Pressing On For Jesus, Faster Higher Stronger."
Shown on a woman's style, but also available on men's & kids styles!

Another Philippians 3:14 design I did features a rocker-climber:

This design also available on men's & kids styles!
The same design in reverse (black) is available on light colored shirts!

This next design is definitely one just for girls:
The design features the list of words from Galatians 5:22-23 accented with flowers & butterflies in bright pastel colors!

This is one of my most popular selling designs.
There is also another one in richer jewel tone colors, such
as ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue, dark teal and so on.
The Zazzle panel on the right shows most recent projects.
Be sure and stop by my store to see the new thumbnails!

Thursday, July 24

Mama Kat Thursday: Taking A Chance

The Mama Kat prompt topic for this week is: "Talk about a time you took a chance. "

I told hubby I was going to do this topic. He snorted and said, "You never take a chance."
And, he's right--from a certain point of view--- if taking a chance only means risking your well-being. I would never take a chance that might put me in harms way.
However, "taking a chance" isn't limited to risking one's life or well-being, though it generally involves some kind of risk in order to gain something. But what's risked can be as small as time, or trust or matters of the heart; not just money or life. 
So, from that point of view, a major time I took a chance is when I set up my first website to post some fan-fiction on that I'd been writing.
You see, I don't take criticism well. I got a degree in Graphic Art only to figure out afterwards I wasn't equipped to be in the commercial art field because I lacked the necessary tolerance for critique. So, for me, setting up my creative endeavors on-line for the first time was taking a chance on being criticized.
Not to mention the learning curve in even setting up a website to begin with was HUGE.

But you know what I found out? I found out that the internet is a relatively indifferent place. Putting anything on-line is rather like throwing a pebble into the ocean, then looking to see if it made a ripple.
I had that particular website for about 10 years. During those 10 years I got a total of about 6 emails of positive feedback.
And not one word of criticism.
I also came away with a good set of computer savvy skills that serve me still. So, I'm glad I took that chance.

Thanks for visiting!
For Mama Kat's prompt generator or Thursday link-up directions, go here!

Wednesday, July 23

Garden Pic Wednesday: Rain Lily & Garden Views

Today's Garden Pics include a blooming day lily and several garden views around the yard:

Below is a Rain Lily. It's something like a crocus in appearance. It's a bulb. I bought a mix of yellow, white and pink (this one is a white one with the tiniest hint of pink the camera can't see.)
 What makes them "rain lilies" is they bloom after a rain and the ground is wet. Perfect for a rain garden.

Next: a post-rain view of my main rain garden with a good view of the Chocolate Elephant Ears both in the rain garden and in the back right corner of the photo.

I love these Elephant Ears! I love the purple color! It really breaks up
the heavy green of a Florida garden.
They start green when little and turn dark as they mature. They are not a bulb, but have a root system like a day lily. Very easy to split and move. In fact, I split up the single clump I had this spring and moved them various places; apparently they loved it because they look better then they ever have!
Chocolate Elephant Ears are easy to grow. They prefer full shade, but will tolerate splotchy shade and partial sun. (These in the rain garden get morning sun.) Sun makes them slightly less purple.
They'd make a great large pot plant for the shade--but be aware they will fill your whole pot!
(I bought mine from an online garden center.)

Next: A view of my tall Zinnias in the center back yard bed:
This is the bed I edged with red castle wall blocks back in the fall.

These Zinnia's are all last years volunteers. I arranged them in a center row to be a tall feature. Herbs and smaller flowers occupy the other side.

Last: A front to back view of my yard along the north side my house.
These are my front beds of pampas and very tall hibiscus that frame our gravel parking spot here. (My home is to the left.) You can see the Hosta bed along the side of the house between the shrubs. This is just freshly mowed today. Time is 3 pm.

That's it for today!  Come back tomorrow to see what's up for Mama Kat!

Tuesday, July 22

Polyvore Tuesday: Be Yourself

I've just spent the last couple days re-vamping my Zazzle Storefront with larger thumbnails of each design category, such as "Chocolate Designs" or "Christian Faith Designs," and assigning sub-categories to various products groups within each. I also made special butterfly thumbnails for all the subcategories--just to make it pretty.
I've added a "Nature Stuff" thumbnail category to put everything garden, garden critter or flower orientated in, like my calenders, but it's a work in progress. I recently added a Waterfall Scripture Encouragement Card. (Finally a place to put such things!)
I've also been working hard on expanding my Christmas inventory!
Believe it or not, I have 350 products in my store now!
And I expect to hit 400 in the next couple weeks!
(All highlighted links will take you there!)

Today's Polyvore set is just an artistic for fun one I made based on the quote in the picture below about, "being yourself in a world constantly trying to make you into something else."

To Be Yourself

To Be Yourself by madamdreamweaver 

Have a great day!  Stop back for Garden Pic Wednesday!
And do drop by my Zazzle store to see all my pretty thumbnails!