More Projects from the Couch

I have another project in the works for my sister Sharon.

I’m using my surgery recovery time to carefully remove hundreds of postage stamps from one of our dad’s stamp collections. When I’m fully mobile again, I’ll move on to phase two: a stamp-covered table.

postage stamps Antigua

Antigua Half Penny Postage Stamp 1916-18

Our dad had many hobbies, but the one we remember the most is stamp-collecting. Mom kept his albums for years after he died.  She eventually sold a few and gave each of us the money toward college. It wasn’t much, but it was important for her to turn his collection into something more tangible for our future. Thankfully she hung on to a few albums.

Ascension red postage stampl

Ascension Postage and Revenue 1935

Dad died when we were 8 and 9 respectively, a short time after immigrating to the United States. Dad started life in Oldham, England, moved to India, twice, immigrated to Canada where he met our mother, and then ended life in California at the age of 54 from lung cancer.

His albums took on a certain status. They were our connection to our beloved father. I don’t remember looking at them individually, but more as a collection and a representation of what to us seemed like an exotic life.

warm stamp Ceylon postage

Ceylon Postage and Revenue, over-stamped with War Stamp

Assorted colors postage stamps Chamba State India

Multi-colored India Postage embossed/stamped with Chamba State, 1907

I wrote about the emotions around his stamps back in March of 2015. Here is an excerpt:

Last August, on the anniversary of my father’s death, I was finally able to re-frame my feelings about his stamp collection. I once viewed his stamp albums as life interrupted. They reminded me of my loss instead of the joyful hours he spent pursuing this hobby. The stamp albums sat in a cupboard, revered. Now I see them as a gift to be shared, and as a way to celebrate my father’s kind and curious nature. I hosted a blog giveaway and sent many of Dad’s stamps to friends and acquaintances around the world. It was an extraordinary exercise in letting go. If you would like to read the post in its entirety, you’ll find it here: Vintage Postage: A Daughter’s Love Letter and a Blogging Giveaway.

Five years ago I made a round accent table using postage from my album. I created a few cards using his stamps, and then mailed extras to bloggers around the world. Pauline King turned several of them into a wonderful piece of art. It’s a treasure!

Sharon loves my table and asked if I would make one for her using stamps from her album. So here we are.

I’ve removed about 400 stamps so far, each meticulously mounted in the album with gummed labels. If those stamps could talk. I’m sorting by color as I go, with a special pile of multi-colored stamps that I plan to use along the table’s border. I’m thinking a lot about my dad as I go and about my sister too. We’re both excited about the table.

Here are a few more pages from his album.

Trans-Tasmanian New Zealand postage stamps

India postage stamps imprinted C.E.F.

India Special Issue China Expeditionary Force or C.E.F., 1882 to 1900

Here is a gallery of Pauline King’s art made incorporating some of Dad’s stamps, along with my postage stamp table, and a few greeting cards.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here a Squash, There a Squash

Everywhere a squash-squash.

Operation Dill and a Harvest Quandary sparked lots of great suggestions. A quick read of the comments section here and you’ll be up to date.

The onslaught of squash bugs continues unabated, but now I have a plan.

squash bugs on the trellis

Squash bugs wait in line to audition for the next horror movie

I guess I should specify another plan since the first three failed.

In Plan A I would stealthily plant pumpkins in the garden in front of the house,  far away from last year’s buggy fiasco. I would smugly dust my hands together, sit back, and wait for my glorious harvest. Those squash bugs have excellent radar and within a month, they found the plants and started their own little family. Plan B kicked in when I found the offending eggs on the backs of the vines. It required handpicking eggs and bugs from leaves and stems and sending them away on the weekly yard waste collection truck. (I wonder if the trash collector saw me smiling and waving in his rear-view mirror as he drove off with the bugs)? Plan C as in “Can’t a gardener Catch a break here?” kicked in this week. Now that the vines are dying back the plants are setting fruit. It was the next logical stop on their squash destroying journey.  Before throwing in the towel, I did what any blogger would do: ask the tribe for advice.

Thank you, tribe!

Plan C in 4 Parts:

1. Harvest my trio of pumpkins. I’m leaving for vacation, and I can’t risk the heartbreak of losing my tiny crop. Following advice, I wiped off the outer shell with a bleach and water solution. I set them to dry and warm in the kitchen window with the green sides facing the sun

pumpkin trio

Harvested Trio

beach bath

Pumpkins freshen up (1 part bleach, 8 parts water)

2. Wrap the bottom of a pair of pantyhose around the entire (newly discovered) pumpkin. Post a sign, just in case the crafty bugs can read.

squash bugs keep out

Please don’t judge: It’s possible the bugs can read

3. Tiptoe away from the vine growing on the other side of the deck (nothing to see here folks, move along, move along).

M's pumpkin

M’s pumpkin vine

4. Cross my fingers, stand on my head, rub my lucky kitty and marvel at the tiny seedling breaking ground nearby.

new pumpkin plant

Just getting started

So, there you have it. I know I’ve been boring you silly with pumpkin problems this week. Here are some other garden updates:

The sunflowers enjoyed a glorious run. Plenty of seeds to feed the birds and the squirrels, with leftovers to plant for next year.

sunflowers going to seed

Sunflowers bow their heads as the flowers go to seed

This delicate flower appeared last week. It’s from a butterfly and hummingbird seed mix. I don’t know what it is but it sure is pretty.

white flower annual

A new addition to the triangle garden

Two for one: brush the cat, carpet the fairy garden.

fairy garden rug

Lindy-Lu gets a nice long brushing and the fairy garden acquires a rug

Another late-season arrival from the seed mix.

small purple flowers

Dainty little flowers

Please don’t forget to send in your request for free vintage postage stamps. In case you missed the original post, you can read about it here. Then make your request.

Vintage Postage Stamp Giveaway

Vintage Postage Stamp Giveaway