Generous Spirits, Caring Hearts

The goodness of bloggers abounds.

Bloggers near and far filled my mailbox these past several weeks with treasures of hand-made goodness. I’ve never  met the bloggers at In Search of it All or Garden Sunshine. Before blogging, I’d never meet Boomdeeadda either. Yet they all have one thing in common: a generous spirit and a sharing heart.

Once upon a time there were pen pals. You mailed letters to someone you didn’t know who  lived on the other side of the world. If you were lucky, they wrote back.  Now we blog.

Gardening Nirvana came to life as a place to write about the things I love.  I never dreamed of the community that would gather around it.  Who could imagine the connections, the learning, the support and the fun that blogging had in store? I came for the writing and stayed for the friends.

If you blog with regularity, you know what I mean.  If you’re new to the medium, you have wonderful things to look forward to. Finally, if you’ve never blogged, start today.  You’ll be glad you did.

In Search of it All

The lovely, lace embroidery, below was a ‘just because’ gift from Marlene Herself at In Search of It All. Isn’t it beautiful? Marlene blogs from the northern state of Oregon. She describes herself as “a young at heart senior citizen that still has more questions than answers.”  She enjoys reading, sewing, quilting and of course writing. Pop on over to her blog to read her unique perspectives of the world. You’ll be glad you did.

Embroidered lace snowflake

Embroidered lace snowflake by Marlene Herself

embroidered lace

More embroidered lace from Marlene

Garden Sunshine

Diane blogs from Ontario, Canada. She shares her gardening progress on  7+ acres of land at Garden Sunshine. Her photos and projects are stunning. Garden Sunshine sent the blue heart pin, cotton square and calendar, lovingly crafted while she waits for the sun to shine again. Apparently I’m her top commenter. Who knew? Thank you for the shower of gifts.

Stars and hearts pin

Stars and hearts pin crafted by Garden Sunshine

Hand-knit cotton square

Hand-knit cotton square by Garden Sunshine

flower calendar

Garden Sunshine photo calendar and notebook

Boomdeeadda

For those of you familiar with the “Boom Room”, it will come as no surprise that this little treasure arrived from Edmonton, Canada via Boomdeeadda. Kelly describes herself as “living the dream with Mr Right and two rescue cats, Petals & Blossum. Life and Love is enhanced by the many on going projects.  This is a Journal of these and other bits along the way.”

Through blogging we’ve formed a close friendship. We celebrate our kindred spirit, which extended beyond blogging into texting, phone calls, Skype sessions and in-person visits. Next stop, the Ellen Show.  😉

layered card and envelope

Hand made goodness from Boomdeeadda

Virtual Gifts

versatile_bloggerSpecial thanks (and apologies for not acknowledging this sooner) to Pauline at The Contented Crafter. I appreciate your kindness and support.

sunshine blogger awardA warm thank you to Val at Nikitaland for passing on a bit of sunshine. Much appreciated.

The Sweetest of Peas

While shopping for ‘bedding plants’ (take two) I bought this small trellis.

garden trellis

Garden trellis

It was an afterthought.  I spotted it as I was checking out, fell in love and grabbed it. Now it’s the focal point of the curb garden. Funny how things work out.

The long, narrow bed definitely needed some height and character. Originally I thought I would accomplish that with one large plant, but I’m really liking this alternative.

I planted garden peas from seed in late August, and they’re already three feet tall. The first of the blooms arrived this week, which means delicious, garden-fresh peas will soon follow. As fall descends and the tomatoes go fallow, it’s delightful having this little garden oasis.

Peas on the trellis

Peas on the trellis

Flowering peas

Flowering peas

pea flower

A pea is sure to follow

Work on my Halloween costume continues. Here is a sneak peek at my costume inspiration: this beautiful piece of art by our good friend over at Boomdeeadda. Isn’t it stunning?

Halloween Countdown:

Boomdee

Just a couple of bloggers, wearing wigs and smiles before tea.

Boomdee Crafts

Costume inspiration close-up

Craft it Forward: Tiny Album, Big Heart

DSC_0197My kindred spirit Boomdee is flying home to Canada today.  Mr. B and the kitties can’t wait to see her.  I tried to convince her to stay through the end of October, but she didn’t want to miss the first snow of the season. 😉 I reluctantly took her to the airport this afternoon after seven, extraordinary days.

Although I’m partially responsible for bumping her suitcase over the fifty-pound limit, I was happy to deliver Craft it Forward #5 directly into her hands.  (It can’t possibly weigh more than four pounds (two kilograms).  It must have been those cute new shoes.

Boomdee’s charming blog is about ‘art, life and other bits.’  She says

“Picking a Blog name is such a personal thing.  Should it be a play on words, funny or witty?  I want to do so many things and I’m passionate about a ton of stuff. What will I write about? That’s how I landed on Boomdeeadda.  It’s a bit of a nonsense word but says so much about me.”.

The Challenge

I like to challenge myself with each of these projects. Though I’ve created many photo albums in the past, the challenge this time was creating something for such a talented crafter. If you haven’t seen her paper masterpieces, you are in for a treat.  Take a look.

She encourages me to go the extra mile.  I inked the edges, added layers of flowers, ribbon and photo corners here and there.  Mostly, I had fun, choosing her colors and mixing it in with a garden theme.

Album pages are viewable in the gallery below.  Please click on the gallery slide show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 What is Craft it Forward?

Here’s how it works. The first five people to comment on the original post receive a handmade item with the gardening nirvana touch. In return, they agree to pay it forward, crafting their own unique item for the first five people on their list. Craft it Forward encourages community, creative spirit and camaraderie. It also encourages flexibility, so I expanded my list from five to seven based on interest in the project. Isn’t it fun making your own rules?

craft it forward button

Craft it Forward: Grab a button

Further, in the era of the internet, who doesn’t like ‘real’ mail? If you haven’t started your own Craft it Forward, today is a good day to get going.

Birthdays and Flowers

mystery blogger

Mystery Blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger this week.

That said, I know you’ll all forgive me, as I’m having the time of my life living large with Boomdee.  We celebrated my birthday today, laughing, lunching and loving our time together.

Then we took a twenty-minute refresher, before donning silly wigs and meeting my sister and another friend for dinner at the Left Bank.

I’ve been surrounded by beautiful flowers and lovely friends all day.  My clock just struck midnight so I guess it’s not my birthday anymore, but oh, what a day it has been.

I should be in bed, but I’m still abuzz. See you tomorrow.

XOX from the birthday babe.

purple and pink flowers

Stunning blooms in downtown Campbell

orchid

Hotel lobby orchids

four women

What started as a random joke on Facebook, lead to identical wigs at dinner. My friends are all good sports.

Spina Farm with Boomdee

The sweet, lovely and indefatigable Boomdee’s in town.  We’re having a great time.

If you’re new to Gardening Nirvana, it may surprise you to learn that the two of us met through blogging. We live in different countries, thousands of miles apart, but quickly realized we had something special.  The ‘written’ word brought us together, with an assist from technology. We became fast friends.  Like a twin, I missed her even before I knew she was there to miss.

Now she’s here for a week, so we’re eating, site-seeing, touring, laughing, photographing and talking our hearts out.  She came all the way from Canada to be here the week of my birthday.  Happy Boomdee to me!

Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch

A playful Boomdee at Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch

Spina Farms

Field of Pumpkins

Large adirondack chair

Honey, I shrunk the bloggers!

Spina Farm Pumpkin Patch

Spina Farm Pumpkin Patch

Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch Highlights:

  • Hay rides through the beautiful sunflowers fields
  • Over 60 pumpkin varieties
  • Locally owned and operated
  • The opportunity to meet and snuggle a few small animals (I got to hold a chicken!)
  • Climb on the over-sized Adirondack chair and feel like a child again

Final Score: Pumpkins, 8, Squash Bugs, 2

Things got a bit dicey in the pumpkin patch last month.  Nearly a dozen pumpkins grew happily on the vine until disaster struck.  A rapidly producing colony of squash bugs moved in and things turned ugly.  If you have any doubt, take a look:

This pumpkin never had a chance

This pumpkin never stood a chance

Instead of leaving the orange pumpkins on the vine to harden, I harvested all but two and set them on the patio thinking I would wipe them off before bringing them indoors.  The next day, the squash bugs found the harvest!  Eek!

I brought the pumpkins inside one by one, wiping them down with the first thing I could get my hands on: my son’s lip balm. (Desperate times call for desperate measures).  I didn’t want to bring garden pests indoors, so I figured the coating would put an end to anything I missed.

polished pumpkins

Polished pumpkins

We’re big on pumpkins around here: we grow, harvest, decorate and carve them. It’s been a family tradition for a decade.  I also enjoy saving  seeds for the next season. This year I gave a few starters to friends, and passed on some seeds to an adorable pair of three-year-old twins that walk by the house with their dad. They planted the seeds and grew pumpkins of their own. I’m delighted.

The pumpkins hung out in the living room for several weeks, but as October approaches, it’s time to bring them center stage. I created a display on my iron bench combining an eclectic mix of drying lavender, three pumpkins and a refurbished fairy garden. Check back next week for the fall upgrade.
DSC_0012

DSC_0013-001

I love October. It starts with my birthday, ends with Halloween with plenty of goodness in between.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this Boo season brings a special visit from Boooooomdee. She told me to expect her on the whisper of a dandelion, but I think she was teasing. I’ll go to the airport to fetch her just in case.

Boo season, here we come!

 

Crafty Watering Can Brings Flowers to Life

Several months ago I attended a weekend scrap-booking retreat and fell in love with the Silhouette Cameo™. In fact, one of the designs, featured today over at Boomdeeadda, uses the Silhouette. Check out the clever lantern designed by Despina Boettcher.

Over the years I’ve admired all the various die cut systems, but never jumped in. Where would I store them all? Then along came the Silhouette. Simply attach the Cameo to your computer via a USB port and download (or create) designs. The watering can design below was only 99 cents. Most of the designs are under two dollars. If you’re a designer, you can make your own creations and even sell them to other users. So darn cool!

This weekend, while hiding indoors from the current heat wave, I had fun making this paper watering can.  The design, by the clever husband-and-wife team at SnapDragon Snippets was a great way to combine my love of crafting and gardening.  Since it was my first attempt, I used paper leftover from another project to see how it turned out.  I love it!

paper watering can

Paper Watering Can designed by SnapDragon Snippets

Since none of my real watering cans look this good, I decided to age my paper one for an authentic flare. I used a water-based dye ink called ‘garden green’ and brushed on a coat of gold and copper leaf flakes, originally used on a Craft It Forward project earlier this year.

Distressed paper watering can

Distressed watering can

Then I waved my magic wand to make it waterproof (or for the less gullible I added a small jar inside).

Garden flower bouquet

Garden flower bouquet

In an effort to beat the heat, I raced around the garden early this morning snipping hydrangeas, anemones and for height, a few snips of flowering basil. (Since the flowers take away from the flavor, I could snip to my heart’s content).

pink hydrangeas and anemones

Anemones, hydrangeas and basil

It’s easy to forget how relaxing it is to pursue a creative hobby. Cutting and arranging flowers is soothing too. Note to self (and anyone else reading this): remember to make time for your favorite creative endeavors.

Searching for inspiration? Here are a few:

Fairy Garden Treasure

DSC_0059 Look what arrived in my mailbox last week?  Isn’t it a treasure?  It flew all the way from Edmonton, Canada via the effervescent Boomdee of Boomdeeada.  I love it!

The cover features a one-dimensional cut-out of the 3D version, above.  Once open, you’re treated to this.  I love fairy gardening, so my mind has been spinning ever since this arrived.  I carried my  Boomdee card around the garden today and snapped a few shots.

squirrel in the pine tree

What are you doing down there?

Here…

fairy pop-up card

Fairies and birds at the fountain

and here.

kissing fairies

Kissing near the roses

I’m planning on color-copying the front of the card, but reducing it in size.  Then I’ll figure a way to use the miniaturized copy in the fairy garden.  I’ll be tickled pink, and I know that Jazzy’s day care kids will too. I wonder what the fairies will think?

Do you know what I think?  I’m the luckiest gardener in the world.  ♥♥♥

Have you discovered the joy of fairy gardening?

Boomdeeadda, Boomdeeadda

Welcome Boomdee and Mr. B.

A Fairy Garden Welcome for Boomdee and Mr. B.

I once marveled at friendships forged by letter-writing, the back and forth exchange of lives via the written word. What fun it would be to share the minutia of life with a kindred soul.

I’ve found that kindred spirit here on WordPress at Boomdeeadda!  Instead of forging a paper friendship, we’ve connected through our blogs. It started simply enough, with an exchange of comments. Before I knew it, I was following Boomdee and checking in every day. We connected on Facebook, Pinterest and finally Skype.

It’s been an extraordinary journey, one of affection and discovery, leading the Boomster to my doorstep this week. The odds that we would ever meet seemed improbable: she lives in Alberta, Canada; I’m in San Jose, California. But connect we did and due to this amazing blogging community, we found ourselves together in a cozy tea shop swapping stories and sharing our mutual admiration of our fellow bloggers.

Boomdee is warm and kind, generous to a fault, clever, creative and fun. I wish you could hear her laugh or collect one of her spontaneous hugs. Like a couple of school girls, we found something to laugh about around every corner.

Beautiful Boomdee Near the Fairy Garden

Beautiful Boomdee Near the Fairy Garden

Alyster dropped by for a visit.

Alyster came with!  What a nice surprise.

Lisa's Tea Treasures with Boomdee and Sharon

We donned wigs and false eyelashes, then went out for tea.

I’ve been teasing all week that I would like her to move here, but in reality, well… I would like her to move here.  Sure, it’s impractical with jobs and family and lives, but the alternative meant saying goodbye at the curb. Alas, with heavy hearts, we did.

Safe travels my friend. You’ve filled me with joyful memories…until we meet again.

Boomdeeadda is…

No need to take my word for it.  You can go see for yourself. 🙂

Boomdeeada: One Lovely Blog Award

If you haven’t stopped by Boomdeeadda, you’re in for a treat. Boomdee’s clever and creative blog covers eclectic topics ranging from animals to vintage.  She loves the color aqua and weaves it throughout her posts. I look forward to reading her blog daily. It’s always upbeat, personal and informative.

Among my recent favorites:

Boomdeeadda CM Page

Continuing the One Lovely Blog Award Tradition:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog in your post.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Nominate seven bloggers you admire.
  4. Leave each blogger a comment letting them know they’ve been honored here.

Seven Things

  1. I love dancing. I don’t do it enough.
  2. The spelling of my name Alys dates back to the 1600s.
  3. I love the smell of the earth, the sprout of a seed and the joy of a changing garden.
  4. I never get tired of holding babies.
  5. Things I’ve done in spite of my fears: scuba diving, para-sailing and holding my cat as he slipped away.
  6. I used to cover my short, red, curly hair with my mother’s black slip so I could pretend I was Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet.
  7. I enjoy the sound of a purring cat, fizzy champagne and my husband’s laughter.

Seven Super Bloggers

  1. A Detailed House Blogging about architectural details and design symmetry.
  2. A Nature Mom “Playing outdoors and exploring the wonders of nature…every day.”
  3. As Time Goes…Buy Fashion and fun, all rolled into one.
  4. David Hobson’s Garden Humour “To boldly grow where no man has groan before.”
  5. Pillows-a-la-Mode An education writer who loves to make pillows and crafts in her free time.
  6. The Pyjama Gardner.  PJ blogs with humour about her spacious and inspired garden.
  7. Romancing the Bee  Making urban beekeeping beautiful.

Thank you, Boomdee.  It’s been a joy getting to know you.  Thanks to all my readers for making this a special place.