Blogging 101: I’ll Follow You Anywhere

Part I:


Tower of succulents coming back to life

Today’s Blogging University assignment focuses on the other half of blogging: engaging with your community.  We’re instructed to follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.

It’s been awhile since I’ve explored WordPress Reader, not from lack of interest but lack of time.  I know a plethora of interesting blogs await discovery, but I must be realistic with my time.  If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll fall in love with bloggers from around the world. Thirty days from now, I’m flying cross-country to spend a week with four other women, all friends I’ve met through blogging. Extraordinary!

Which brings me to

Part II:

I’m off to find and follow five more blogs:  I’ll be right back. 😉

Please close your eyes and pretend your clock is ticking…You can open them now.

Ok, I’m back. I wanted to write part one before tackling this assignment.

Following Michelle’s lead, I added narrowly focused topics. My list:

  1. Color
  2. Sunflowers
  3. Honeybees
  4. Fashion Over 50
  5. Postage Stamp Art

First up, Sew Katie Did. Isn’t that a clever title? I love her play on words.

Though I’ve sewn all my life, I never learned how to quilt. I admire the skill that goes into each one, as well as the color and artistry.  Sew Katie Did is a feast for the eyes. She’s posted photos of several quilts, both beautiful and eclectic. I’m quite smitten with Tilted and with her Stepping Stone Quilt, but frankly, they’re all gorgeous.

Katie Pedersen says “I’ve always been artistic, but a whole world opened up to me when I discovered fabric as my medium.  My workshops focus on design and finding your own process.  My teaching places a heavy emphasis on the importance of color value when picking fabrics and designing a quilt.  I teach modern quilting and sewing classes in Seattle and provide guild and show lectures, trunk shows and workshops.”

Searching sunflowers lead me to Patrick Mackie’s stunning photography. He photographs a number of beautiful subjects, but the sunflowers called me to his page.

Okay, so I tried to stay away from gardening, but my honeybees search lead me to this:

Lottie Land Girl Kaz Brown “records our journey on our lottie plot 21a through my photography. There’s nothing better than digging on the allotment with my husband Stew and our little dog Jassy (our buns Daisy and Alvin can’t play! They’d eat our veggies.” Her blog is filled with beautiful drawings and photos and…gardening tools. Be still my heart.

Guess what? Two of my Reader searches yielded nothing. Two, entirely untapped subjects. Fashion over 50 for women like me who fear they’ve fallen into a fashion frump and they can’t get up. The fact that no one is writing under that tag sent me further into my frumpy despair.

Postage stamp art didn’t come up either. I recently completed a project using my dad’s postage stamp collection and I wanted to see what others might be doing with stamps. I’ll tag my postage stamp table top liberally so that some future reader will find something on the subject.

So, I’ve added five tags to my reader and I’m following three new blogs. With that, I’m off to bed dreaming of beautiful quilts, sunflowers and the gentle buzzing of honeybees.

Have you followed any new blogs lately? Do you struggle to keep up?

The Colors of Fall: Our Own Special Tree

colorful leaves

Colorful leaves

New England states are known for stunning displays of fall color.  My husband and I crossed the country by train one year so we could enjoy the spectacular (and fleeting) beauty.

We also had the good sense to plant our own fall color in the strip of land between the street and the sidewalk.  Though there were four beautiful trees growing in the back yard when we bought our house in 1996, we didn’t have a single tree out front.

August, 1996

Planting the tree
August, 1996

We planted two that first year, and have since planted a couple more.   The Magnolia shows off in early spring with huge, snowy-white flowers but the fall belongs to the splendid Chinese Pistache.

The City of San Jose requires a permit before planting a tree in the sidewalk strip, the space between the sidewalk and the street.  They provide a list of “approved” street trees.  Approved trees must have non-invasive roots, non-staining fruit and other good-neighbor qualities.  In the past, neighboring streets sported Liquidambar trees.  They’re pretty but a nuisance when planted curbside.  Invasive roots lift the sidewalks, causing myriad tripping hazards, and the seed pods are hard enough to twist an ankle when stepped on.  I remember getting them caught in the wheels of the boys’ s stroller and later in the undercarriage of scooters.  One by one, homeowners removed the Liquidambar, leaving neighborhoods bereft of trees.

A few years back the trend reversed, and once again families are planting trees.

Planting a tree is an act of hope and optimism.  It also says “I’m here to stay!”  My family moved a lot when I was a child, and I moved even more during college and my early working career.  The same was true for my husband. Planting a tree outside our front window said  “we plan to stay awhile.”

chinese pistache newly planted

August, 1996

chinese pistache spring

Spring, 2011

Now and again my husband grumbles that our tree is not as tall or as full as the one across the street.  I immediately come to our trees’ defense and assure him that it’s just fine.  BK (before kids) we used to measure the tree’s height each year.  We settled into life raising two boys, and measured their growth each year instead.

Winter Views of the Pistache

Growing boys, sleeping tree

Now we have three strapping teenagers (two boys and one tree) and all three are taller than me.  The colors of fall, and our beautiful tree, are an introspective time to reflect.

chinese pistache

November 12, 2013

hummer in pistache

This little hummingbird sang while I raked

Fall: The Color Orange

I love color, and find myself mentally attributing various hues to the time of year.  Nothing quite says “fall” like the color orange. Vibrant orange Cucurbitas line walkways and grocery aisles.  Shades of auburn tumble through the graceful branches of deciduous trees. Cool green lawns seem to disappear beneath a carpet of rich autumn hues.

Chinese Pistache Fall Colors

Chinese Pistache Fall Colors

pistache assorted leaves

Pistache up close

Standing at my kitchen window this time of year, I get a grand view of our Chinese Pistache Pistacia chinensis.The leaves drop slowly, as the tree let’s go of summer.  I often collect a few of them to decorate our Thanksgiving table.  Once the tree is bare for the winter, I get a second view.  Our friends directly across the street have a row of Nandina.  They’re covered in red, orange and gold leaves, with berries in multiple hues.  They’re one of my favorite plants this time of year.

nandina berries

Nandina Berries

Nandina leavesAs an aside, when I first met my dear friend Nandini I had to work hard not to call her Nandina.  I assured her it was a compliment to be mistaken for something so vibrant and alive.

According to Sensational Color:

Orange, is a close relative of red. It sparks more controversy than any other hue. There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger “love it” or “hate it” response than other colors. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy.

Interestingly, some tones of orange, such as terra-cotta, peach, and rust have very broad appeal. Orange stimulates activity and appetite and encourages socialization.

If you’re lucky enough to live in California, you’ll still see oranges on the tree. Not to be undone, the seed pods on the Magnolia take on a similar hue.

Magnolia seed pod

Magnolia Seed Pod

How do you feel about the color orange?


“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.” Wassily Kandinsky