Flowering Spring Cheer

IMG_0013Tips for healthy Daffodils (Narcissus):

  • Sun – six hours of daily sunlight. Without enough sun you will not get blooms the next year.
  • Fertilize when the flower starts to die back to help nourish the bulb. If there is a prolonged dry period after fertilizing, you may water it in lightly. Bone meal is not recommended because it can attract animals and it is incomplete nutritionally. Planted in ground in our nutrient rich clay, you may be able to skip fertilizer, but any bulbs in pots or beds filled with compost/mulch will need it for repeat blooms.
  • Allow the stem and foliage to thrive unfettered for six to eight weeks, until they die back naturally for maximum photosynthesis and chlorophyll production that nourishes the bulb for next year.

Narcissus are referred to as Daffodils or as Jonquils, reflecting the types of Narcissi historically grown on a regional basis over time.
IMG_0011 (1)
Leucojum aestivum, the Summer Snowflake, is an English native dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. Although in the right place it can create drifts, I prefer to have some close to where I’ll be passing by as they’re so delicate looking I crave a close-up view.
IMG_0050Narcissus Tête à Tête is the shortest I grow at only 6 to 7 inches – cluster of them are just so dang cute.
IMG_0019It works well with Muscari.
That I also enjoy in pots near the front steps.
IMG_4736 2
Violas make me smile, sprinkling some seed in each of my bulb pots in one of my annual late fall tasks.IMG_0104
Forget me nots are another well used heirloom flower that brightens my early spring garden. This one can become invasive in some areas My exceedingly dry summers prevent the unwanted spread.
I debated about sharing this shot. If you aren’t careful when holding your iPhone, you’ll suddenly find a slew of photos taken in “Vivid” mode. I lightened the coloration but couldn’t quite get it back to normal (and it’s been raining since). However, this rates up with my favorites so I wanted to be sure to include a shot of Dickcissel for my own records.

If you grow Paperwhites in pots – did you know that “A dilute alcohol solution limits paperwhite growth and keeps them from flopping over”? Check out the details from Cornell University’s experiment.

Love Narcissus for Spring Cheer

IMG_0105I adore spring here. When it’s not storming, it is by far the most pleasant time to be in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Mentioned before that I’m using the blog as part garden journal, so up now is a couple of posts on delightful spring blooms.
Grabbed a few shots between our rains – some of these varieties are new to me. Above is a Tazetta Narcissi, they have multiple blooms per stem.
I was surprised the Congress (split orange wavy center) survived the rains as well as it did. 
This is most likely Red Devon.
Fortune (also yellow with orange center) is similar a strong performer, a bit larger so good in beds further away. Stormed quite a bit last night, but you can see it’s going strog this morning.
I generally prefer shorter varieties as it does seem we always have rains around bloom time and those shorter stems recover better. Sweet Love (top photo, white with light yellow center) is a one of the 12 to 14 inch varieties. Above is popular Ice Follies, one of the larger varieties that’s usually prevalent in stores.
Kedron (light orange, orange center) is a more unusual color but also showed the most signs of being beat up by the weather.
Part 2 of my flowering spring collection will be posted tomorrow, so come on back.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City at ByClaudya.com. Stop by to see what others have been up to..


This heartbreaking video came into my Facebook feed buried in all the Black Friday Last Chance and Cyber Monday buy this silly crap ads. GIVING TUESDAY is coming and I wanted to share it.

Pray for Paradise “I See Fire” Ed Sheeran from Judy Abbott on Vimeo.


The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It’s also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since 1918.

Nearly 19,000 structures were destroyed, including more than 13,000 residences (with an average occupancy of 3 people per home).  Not 1,300 residences – 13,000. For many, their place of work also burned. Jobs in California are scarce – recovery will be slow and extremely difficult.

Folks not close to a disaster area may not be aware of the painstaking complexity of recovery.  The cleanup of toxic waste removal before any work can be done on any property took more than 6 months to complete after the 2015 Butte fire (that I was too near, so know a lot about) – and that was under 500 residences. All those batteries, tv’s and computers – stuff you’re not supposed to just trash – the burned waste is considered radioactive and very toxic. FEMA won’t put trailers on land that has not been toxic waste cleared; contractors cannot work there. A burned tree fell and killed a fire fighter in Yosemite this year – the dangerous tree removal also must take place to assure the safety of people working in the area. And all the infrastructure (for things like power) is burned.

The very few homes for sale near the area are all going for $50,000 to $100,000 over asking price and realtors report no rentals at all are left. 13,000 homes gone – it boggles the mind.

There is so much need.  Although, within a few days centers were buried in used items and pleaded for folks to stop sending such – even new items and toys had to be tuned away as space for people indoors is the first priority. Volunteer centers reported after 6,000 applications they had to stop taking applications. Word now is that volunteers may be needed in January and February, but not before. Money can do the most good, but for some reason people never want to do it – running off to buy things that they get angry  when their carload/trailer load of things can’t be accepted.

Local Support Non-Profits recommended in responsible media, most also have a Facebook page if you want to check them out further:

• North Valley Community Foundation: https://www.nvcf.org.

• North Valley Animal Disaster Group: https://www.nvadg.org/donate
• Caring Choices: http://www.caring-choices.org.

Larger Support Non-Profits
• American Red Cross: www.redcross.org.

• Salvation Army: give-do.salvationarmy.org.

• United Way: www.norcalunitedway.org.

If you want to know more about the animals, visit the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital page or check out the KTVU news article how to help the animals affected by California’s wildfires.

Screenshot from ABC news showing Silicon Valley size versus the fire’s size.

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 9.19.47 AM (1)

If you’re looking to give anything this season, know that money donated here will go to people who are in need.



Respite from the Vortex of Halloween

I’ve been sucked into the vortex of Halloween in the blogosphere lately. Time to wrench myself from its gravitational pull and highlight a few other things. Looks like I’ve been light on postings on machine embroidery, so time to address that.  In sharing machine embroidery projects, I want to be careful not to tread on the rights of the digitizers whose patterns I use.  If you purchase a pattern, detailed instructions with pictures accompany them (or at least they do for the ones I’ll highlight).  If you don’t do machine embroidery – you may still garner ideas from the post as long as you keep in mind you can hand embroider, appliqué or photo transfer an image in any of the places I use the machine to make a design. 

My little Queen of Hearts Tarot Bag was made for a friend.  The Queen of Hearts design is from Urban Threads. I used the drawstring bag pattern from MooseBeStitchin. It gives you 2 perfectly stitched buttonholes plus drawstring casing stitched lines – definitely worth the price of the pattern (drawstring bags are very easy to construct sans pattern, here’s a free ehow pattern).  Plus, you can add machine stitched windows to the bags if you like. However, I wanted it lined, this pattern was not, and I did not follow the cardinal rule of doing a pattern once as instructed before messing with it. So, I did muck it up a tad, requiring more effort than would have been needed had I thought it through (you can see the little squares of black I used to cover exposed stitching inside the bag below). However, I’m pleased with the end results and will be stitching up a few more. The Fabric is JoAnn quilting cotton and the lining is charmeuse (polyester).

I’m partially through a wine bag that will also have a drawstring top.  My favored restaurant in Murphys, Grounds, allows you to bring in a local wine for your dinner with no corkage fee.  A few others do the same.  So, friends and I are often lugging in a bottle in a brown paper bag as though we were some wino walking down the street. Crafting abilities to the rescue J. The fabric is upholstery weight microsuede I have left over from another project.  It’s heavy enough that I won’t line it but will utilize a nice size upper hem to give it a polished look. For stabilizer I turned to a black tear away from Allstitch.com. I thought the fabric was heavy enough that it should be fine, but you’ll notice it puckered, I should have gone heavier weight. The design is a combination of Embroidery Library grape bunch sheer plus their word wine.  In the hoop below you can see I rolled the fabric that will be the back and used an inexpensive plastic hair clip to hold it out of the sewing area.  These things are a must.  If you’re doing t-shirts or other completed garments you want to be sure you keep the fabric that shouldn’t be stitched on outside of the stitching area and you don’t want that fabric to create a lot of drag on your hoop (the machine does the design by moving the hoop with the needle always going straight up and down). The plastic hair clips are a useful tool.

It came out a bit more muted than I expected, but I was going for subtle, so it’s ok. Given that I’m using a drawstring, I think the design puckers won’t be noticeable as such (it will look like what happens with the top scrunched together).

Another finished project is my reading chair. I actually have a lovely little standing light that peers over my shoulder perfecting this corner spot of my bedroom. I can sink onto this puppy and not move for hours engrossed in a great book. It’s really not at that barren in this corner – I simply dragged everything out of the shot except the chair. Think piles of books, two full knitting bags, cat carriers …


The chair is IKEA. Fabric is microsuede to match a whole gold, deep red, muted green scheme I have running throughout most of my home. Designs are Embroidery Library Fairy Fantasy Border and Corner.  The seat cushion is squared by the sewing technique explained as “mitered corner” for cushions on ehow.

 Finally, I’ll share the towels that go in the private bath.  The dragons make me smile. They are Embroidery Library’s Lightening Dragon and Cernunnos from Cactus Punch’s Dragons, Fins and Faerie Things.

Machine embroidery adds the easy ownership of cloth, design, design size and every thread color to a crafter’s arsenal of tools and I love it.