Friday, November 30, 2012

It All Started While I Was Wasting Time on Pinterest ...

Last week, I was surfing around on Pinterest, looking at some boards with interesting garden ideas.  As I scrolled through one board, I saw one of the photos from my online rose rooting tutorial.  It's neat to know that folks I have never met like my stuff well enough to save it for later and share it with their friends.

My amusement quickly faded as I realized that the link in the pin DIDN'T come from my Hartwood Roses web site ... and that it had hundreds of repins ... who knows how far this has spread?
The link on the Pin led to a reputable web site that publishes independent articles ... in this case, an article on rooting roses that contained the stolen content.  I submitted a report to the site, telling them that the article used my photos without permission or attribution.  Yesterday, I received a response ... the article has been taken down. 
The damage is done, though.  I wrote that rose rooting tutorial a long time ago, when I was a more trusting soul and before I knew the importance of watermarking all of my online photos.  The hundreds of people who pinned and repinned this now have a dead link ... it never led them to my tutorial anyway, which is a shame.  (I have rooted a LOT of roses using this method, and so have many other people.)
For now, I have asked The Husband (my genius computer guy) to temporarily remove the tutorial from my web site.  It's not done as well as I would like, so this gives me the incentive to rework it a bit, to add some steps and photos (watermarked this time) to the process, and put up a better product.  Until I get this done, anyone who wants to learn to root roses using my method will be disappointed.  It's a shame ... but I don't think I have a choice.
Do you watermark the photos you publish online?  I use Photoshop 6.0 to edit and format photos and add my watermark.  I will be happy to work up a quick tutorial, if we have enough interest.  If you watermark your photos with a different program, I'd love for you to tell us about it.  It's WAY too easy for photos to lose their connection to their original creator, and I have a feeling that there's a need give bloggers the knowledge and tools to protect their intellectual property.
Let me finish by saying this ... I welcome ANYONE to pin my images and ideas ... just make sure that your pins are linked to original source.  Let this apply to ANYTHING you pin, and this corner of the Internet of ours will be a much more honest place to hang out.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Putting Down Roots

Earlier this year, I announced that I will no longer be propagating and growing masses and masses of roses for sale.  The business of a retail specialty nursery, along with maintaining and expanding my rose gardens, was too much work for one person ... especially one person who wants to do anything else at all with their time.

I'm still rooting roses, though.  Instead of producing the same popular roses over and over every year, now I have a limited number of roses that I am rooting for my own garden, for friends, and there may be some leftover that I could offer for sale.  We'll see how it goes. 

Rooting roses isn't rocket science.  Years ago, I attended a propagation workshop given by a rose friend, and the method she teaches changed my life!  She showed how the top of a two-liter soda bottle will fit into the bottom half-gallon milk jug, making a little self-contained greenhouse.  Genius!! 

My collection of jugs of cuttings live on a shelf in the north-facing window of my basement workshop.

I keep the lid on the soda-bottle top until the cuttings show good root development ... like this:
To harden the cuttings to outside conditions, I simply remove the screw lid on the soda bottle to let them acclimate.   (Look at the first photo and you will see a couple of jugs without lids.)   After a week or so without a lid, the cuttings are ready to be carefully separated and planted into small pots.
I had quite a few containers of cuttings that were ready to pot up, so I spent some time doing just that yesterday afternoon.  It seems that one of the cuttings in this container was being impatient and was already heading for the sky  ... I've never had one grow through the lid like this before.  (These are cuttings of a yellow Tea rose at Hollywood Cemetery.  I think it may be 'Isabella Sprunt', but I'm not sure.)

Look at these beautiful roots!!
It feels wonderful to have my hands in dirt ... no wonder I can't keep a decent manicure.  After a couple of hours, I had potted up 42 new plants.  I will let these little babies settle into their pots for a few days, sitting under the grow lights in the basement window, then I will take them to live in the greenhouse for the rest of the winter.
Speaking of the greenhouse, I should go out there and tidy things up a bit.  I practically shoved all my potted roses in there to protect them in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and it's going to take some effort to get them arranged in any sort of logical order.  Working in the greenhouse doesn't feel like work at all, though ... it's warm and comfortable in there on sunny days.  For example, our current outdoor temperature is 50 degrees, and my remote thermometer in the kitchen window tells me that the inside of the greenhouse is 77.9  Shirt sleeve weather!  What a great way to pass the time till spring.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

All That Glitters ...

I've been feeling crafty.  The only one of this past weekend's sales that held any appeal for me was the one at Michael's (craft store).  I have an idea for a really unique decoration for our front porch, and I needed to get the components for some of the ornaments.  I left Michael's with a basket full of clear plastic Christmas balls, and a sixteen papier mache stars ... all half price!

I will show you the balls later, once I'm finished with them.  For now, this is what I did to the stars.

And here is a step-by-step of how I did it.   Normally, I wouldn't do a tutorial about how to paint and glitter some papier mache stars, assuming that everyone knows how how this is done.  I discovered while helping Janet at her shop last week, though, that there are folks out there who have never used glitter and needed to be shown what to do with it. 
It seems like most projects around here involve Chalk Paint in some way.  In this case, I used Old White to put a quick base coat onto my stars.
After the paint dried (which didn't take any time at all), it was time for glitter.  I used Diamond Dust, which is a clear glass glitter that's available in just about any craft store.  It looks like coarse sugar and was exactly what I needed to make my stars sparkle.
Brush a generous coat of glue (I used Elmer's) onto one side of the star. 
Use a spoon to sprinkle glitter all over the glue.  The excess falls into the pan.  Keep scooping and sprinkling till no more glitter will stick to the star, then gently shake any loose glitter into the pan.  Glass glitter is great because it's heavier than synthetic glitter and it doesn't get all over the place.
All done.
I applied glue and glitter to one side of each of my stars, and I laid them out on the counter to dry.  By the time I did the last star, the first one was dry enough for me to carefully do the reverse side.
The transformation from brown papier mache star to sparkly ornament is simple and perfect for what I'm planning.  (No hints ... I don't want to spoil the surprise.)
Sending a special Thank You for those of you who have sent your Kitchen Window photos.  I am so excited to share these next week!  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Click HERE for details.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Through the Window

My sweet husband has the flu.  I'm doing what I can to limit my exposure to him and his germs, while making sure that he takes his medicine and gets enough to drink.  I don't want to be this disease's next victim. 

Last night was my second night sleeping on the sofa, leaving our bed to my husband and his germs ... I'm thankful that our family room sofa is really comfortable to sleep on.  When I woke up yesterday morning, the room was filled with lovely violet light.  I turned toward the window, and this is what I saw.

That's Dorothy on the left and Alice on the right, silhouetted against the sunrise, mesmerized by all the birds that were outside the window.  How lucky was it that I had my iPad at hand to capture the scene!
I hope my husband will feel a bit better when he wakes up this morning.  The flu is a nasty, nasty thing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Lights

I prefer to keep our outdoor Christmas lights simple.  White only, please, and only on the roof of our porch. 

Our porch is nine feet square, and the roof is almost flat ... perfect for setting a Christmas scene.
The Christmas tree is seven feet tall, one of those white, prelit ones without needles ... labeled for indoor or outdoor use, and perfect for this spot.  The icicle lights on the eaves create a 'stage' for the scene.  One of our neighbors tells me that satellites can probably see this tree from space.  It's not THAT bright, is it?
Next up ... the front door and the porch itself.  You're gonna love what I have planned!  (Our oldest grandson is here with us this weekend, and he and I will go shopping in a little while to get what we need to make some decorations.)
Don't forget about the 'Through the Kitchen Window" project for next week.  (The idea is to share views from all over the world, if possible.)  If you didn't see my post about this, click HERE to see my kitchen window view.  If you've promised a photo, don't forget to send it to me.  email:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The View from Up Here

My goal for yesterday was to get our outdoor Christmas lights up.  The only place we put lights is on the eaves and roof of the porch, and I can walk right out onto the porch roof to do this ... no need for a ladder.

As I was sitting up there cross-legged on the roof, working to untangle and straighten out the icicle lights, I realized that you would probably like to see what it looks like from up there.  A few quick iPad photos later, and this is what we have ... going from left to right. 

Our house faces east.  This is the view toward the north.  The leaves are almost all off the trees now, but there are still a surprising number of roses in the Hybrid Tea Garden.  Look in the background and you can see the round hay bales that Hartwood Winery next door uses for their fall decoration. 

When I tell folks that I live next door to a winery, some of them can't comprehend that I REALLY mean next door ... in country road terms, that is.  (Our pasture separates the two driveways)  This photo also shows a peek at our across-the-street neighbors' house.  It's a lovely early 20th Century farmhouse, which was built when one of the granddaughters of our home's original owner married into the Courtney family down the road.
Our front yard needs a BIG renovation next year.  It's vast and empty, and we HAVE to do something about it.  The only feature the storms have left us is this large Southern Magnolia tree.  Losing our big trees has opened up the whole yard to sunshine, so we have lots of landscaping choices to make ... have to repair the fence, too.
This is where you can REALLY see the devastation.  There used to be two huge oak trees, where there are now just piles of wood chips (from the stump grinder).  The stack of wood that we saved from the one tree is still sitting in the yard under that brown tarp.  Each piece huge and heavy, and we will soon put together a work crew with strong young men, a trailer and a couple of tractors to get it moved to the barn so it can dry.
Here is our view to the south.  The white fence holds my Van Fleet Ramblers, and the brown fence is the beginning of the Barbier Rambler Fence.  You also get a good look at the top of the bay window in our family room.  The 4-sided, 2-story bays are very distinctive feature of our house.
It didn't take very long for me to put up the Christmas lights.  This evening, once the sun goes down, I will take a photo and show you what they look like.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for Family, and Friends, and Pot Luck

The Husband and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner here, with a house full of family and friends.  All of our guests brought food to share, which is always my favorite way to have a party.  Everyone contributes to the feast, and no one is stressed out by the preparations.  Believe it or not, I only took one photo all day ... a picture of one of my pumpkin pies.

This is from my grandmother's recipe.  I know I'm biased, but this really IS the best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten.  (Recipe at the end of this post)
Pot Luck parties are the best!  I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food, and I love the variety of choices at a Pot Luck party ... especially since most of our friends are just as adventurous as I am
Our menu included:
Cheese, crackers, chips, and other finger food
an assortment of WONDERFUL tropical fruit from 'Robert is Here' in Homestead, Fl.
Traditional turkey and dressing, with mashed potatoes and gravy
Collard greens, cranberry apple relish,
Orange rice,
Bread pudding with bourbon sauce and ice cream
Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
(I know I'm forgetting some things)
Among the crush of people, we also had four dogs ... our two, and two that belong to friends.  The two guest dogs fell right into line with ours, following people around, sitting and staring longingly,  and hoping for treats or randomly (or purposefully) dropped morsels.  Our cats made themselves scarce upstairs while guests were here.
I just remembered ... I did take one other photo ... this one, of our friend Kim and her entourage.  TJ and Daniel and Ruby were REALLY trying to encourage her to share the chips.  (I'm glad I had my iPad sitting on the counter so I could capture the moment.)
To add to the lovely day yesterday, the afternoon football game was a good one ... the Redskins beat the Cowboys in a really exciting game, which is always a good thing for this 'Skins fan.  (I send my condolences to those of you who are Dallas fans.)
Today is supposed to be a lovely, sunny day ... with cold temperatures due to return for the weekend.  I hope to take advantage of the warm weather and get our outdoor Christmas decorations put up.  If you drive by and find me sitting on the roof of the porch, be sure to wave.
Nonnie's Pumpkin Pie
1 small can of Pumpkin
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon each Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, and Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1 1/2 to 2 cups Milk (I use skim, because that's all we have in our house)
Pour this mixture into two unbaked 9" pie shells.  (sometimes I make my own crust, sometimes I use the store-brand rolled pie dough, and sometimes I totally punt and use Marie Callender's frozen shells.)  Bake at 350 degrees until center of pie is set ... this usually takes over an hour, and it's hard to give an exact time.  I set my timer for an hour, check the status of the pies, then reset the timer in 15 minute intervals.  It's practically impossible to overbake this, unless you forget and the pie is incinerated.  Err on the side of a little more done, rather than underdone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Through My Kitchen Window

A person's kitchen window can tell you a lot about who they are.  Mine definitely does.

No fancy styling here ... this is exactly what you would see if you were standing at my kitchen sink ... which you sort of are, in a virtual blog-type way.  Because our home's windowsills are so deep, I have to work really hard to keep this one from filling up with all sorts of stuff (the walls of this old brick house of ours are over a foot thick).  
On the windowsill right now you see: 
1.  A jar with two paintbrushes (washed out and drying from Chalk Paint projects)
2.  A tiny vase with a sprig of Rosemary that I plan to try to root
3.  A square jar filled with rocks from our trip to Alaska this summer
4.  A baby Saguaro Cactus I got years ago at the botanical garden in Phoenix, Arizona
5.  An empty pot that used to hold an African Violet
1.  The big green building with the grey roof is our 4-car detached garage.
2.  The white building is our future guest house/studio/workshop.
3.  My greenhouse is all buttoned up for winter.
4.  The area between the house and the greenhouse, surrounded by picket fence, is our dogs' backyard.
The view this morning was frosty with a light fog ... sparkly and beautiful.
What do you see when you stand at YOUR kitchen window?  I would love to put together a post filled with kitchen windows from all over the world, so we can all visit each other's views.  If you want to participate, email your photo to  Please include your location, and a short description ... what does your kitchen window say about YOU?
 You have a week to send your photo ... I'll put up the post with everyone's photos on  November 30.
Are you in?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

To Infinity and Beyond

The onset of cooler autumn weather is guaranteed to send me scurrying upstairs to the sewing room to sift through my stash of yarn.  I love to sit and knit or crochet in the evenings, and my favorite projects are ones that I can wear to help ward off the chill of winter ... or give as gifts.

I have been seeing all sorts of Infinity (aka, Mobius) cowls, and I love how they look.  I figured crocheting one of these would be interesting, mainly because it would require that I learn a new trick ... how to make the seamless half-turn in the piece to create the Infinity/Mobius look.

This is what I have so far. 

I slipped a piece of paper under the twist to help you see it better.

To show you the difference, a regular cowl is just a plain tube.


I wish I could tell you that I have a thorough understanding of what I did to create the twist, but I would be lying if I said that.  I followed the instructions, blindly doing what I was told, and it sort of worked.  There's a funky lumpy spot at the end of the first round, but I think the dark color of this purple yarn hides it pretty well. 

All that's left now is to keep crocheting round and round and round, until the cowl is as wide as I want it to be.  It's simple, and pretty mindless, and very relaxing.


I think I may try something like this next. 

Pattern is HERE.

I'm determined to keep working this until I understand exactly what makes that twisting part.  This probably means that there will be quite a few Infinity items under the tree this Christmas.

Happy Sunday, Everyone!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Drapes in the Dining Room

This post could also be titled "Following My Heart, and Being Myself No Matter What Others May Think".  You see, the journey from a 'lightbulb moment' in a fabric store to beautiful drapes that are perfect for our house was an emotionally difficult one.

In September, I was in Hancock Fabrics and I saw the most perfect potential drapery fabric.  I knew instantly that it would be totally wonderful in our house.  I snapped this photo, and I brought home a couple of their tiny sample swatches.

The little swatches hung on the windows in our dining room and family room, and the colors in the fabric were even more perfect in our house than they were in the fabric store.  I knew that I had found THE ONE!

I visited Janet at her shop a few weeks later, and I saw a roll of MY fabric in her work area.  I told her how much I loved it, and mentioned that I was planning to use it to make drapes in our dining room and family room.  Janet said, "That's the fabric Miss Mustard Seed used for her drapes."

When she said that, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  MY fabric was actually someone ELSE'S fabric ... I knew I would feel like a shameful copycat if I used it ... especially since the simple drapes I had in my imagination were very similar to what MMS has.  (I googled them as soon as I got home.) 

It wasn't that I minded that someone else had used the fabric and published it online ... I'd be silly to believe that no one had EVER made drapes like the ones I was imagining.  I got myself pretty deep in a feeling of insecurity, worrying that other people would THINK I was a copycat.  It's totally unlike me to even consider stuff like this ... what was I to do?

It was my friend Kat (dear, sweet Kat) who set me straight.  When I wrote to her about maybe not using the fabric, even though I loved it, she replied, "I say use that fabric and enjoy those drapes.  We can't decorate our houses for the internet, nor should we deny ourselves something we like because someone else has already used it..."

Thank you, Kat!!  Your words of wisdom helped more than you know, and I am very, VERY grateful that I took your advice, and followed my heart.

Without further delay, allow me to introduce ... our new dining room drapes.  (I snapped a few quickly-styled photos for you with my iPad this morning.)

The ceilings on the main level of our house are nine-and-a-half feet high, and these drapes emphasize that height and add definition to the room.  I am over-the-moon delighted with how they look.

Since the drapes are wonderful, I decided to do what I could to pull the rest of the dining room together.  I hung this gallery of The Husband's paintings on the wall above the blue buffet, and I love how it looks ... I need to find something to put on the top of the buffet, tho.

This corner cupboard holds a little flat-screen TV, so I can watch the news while I cook.  The top of the cupboard looked like a good place for a graduated stack containing two of my primitive painted tool boxes and a child's toy trunk.  The wall clock is an 1840's ogee clock from Connecticut, and the antlers are the same ones that I originally hung over the door in our office ... they look way better here in the dining room.

From the moment I hung the first of the two sets of drapes in this room, I knew that I had done the right thing.  These simple drapes, gathered on a rod, hanging from ceiling to floor, are the perfect choice for this room ... I am so happy about this!!  

The moral of this story is .... I followed my heart, and I am delighted with the results.  Kat, my friend, I am ABSOLUTELY enjoying these drapes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All the Help I Can Handle

Yesterday started as a chilly, rainy day ... perfect to put me in the mood to begin to sew my dining room (and family room) drapes.  Whenever I'm doing anything important, I can count on having animals to help with the process.

Dorothy held the fabric down so I could cut it ... actually she was wild-eyed and spunky and was wadding it into bunches as she scampered back and forth.

Alice settled comfortably as I was ironing.
Ruby wasn't about to be left out.   She came in to hold the layers together while I pinned the lining.
I have two panels finished, and a lot of photos taken for the tutorial I promised.  All I have left to do is to install the hardware on the walls to hang the drapes and get those dramatic 'after' photos ... and sew six more panels, of course ... but these don't affect the tutorial.   
(Just to let you know ... these drapes are SO easy!!  Anyone who can sew a relatively straight line, and operate an iron, can ABSOLUTELY do this!  I can't wait to show you how it's done.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Snapshot ... It Was the Year 2000

The Husband and I had our Christmas photos taken last weekend by the photographer at the Greyhounds Rock benefit.  This reminded me of another Christmas portrait years ago when I tried desperately to get our whole family together in one place to take a photo.  It was a super-human effort ... full of frustration and difficulties that are not apparent on the smiling faces of a happy family.

This photo is not as it appears.  The best we could do on the actual photo day was to have two of our daughters at home ... the eldest was at work.  I took a TON of shots that afternon using the camera's timer, trying to get four humans and three animals to look their best all at the same time.  I left a space in the composition (and the camera set on the tripod in the middle of the room) to photograph the missing daughter the next day.  A bit of photoshop magic to add her in, and a few replacement heads to correct weird expressions, and we had a totally charming, totally fictitious view of our family in 2000.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday!  The Husband and I are heading out in a few minutes, to trade plants and have lunch with friends in Maryland.  I've been looking forward to this all week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Funny

I was at a discount store with my mom and my sister the other day.  As we went through the aisles, I spied these two items, displayed exactly as you see them in the photo.

I thought this was totally hilarious.  No matter what your problem, whether you need to slide your furniture or keep it from sliding, they've got you covered.
We also saw this product.
I said, "Hot damn!", grabbed it off the shelf and pretended to spray it all over my mid-section.  I thought my mom was going to choke.
You never know what's going to happen when you're shopping with me.  Humor is everywhere!
I just realized that this is my 700th blog post.  Wow!!  I think I should celebrate by thanking you with a giveaway ... because blogging wouldn't be nearly as much fun without all of you.  I'll think about it and let you know soon what the prize will be.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Have You Missed Me?

What a week it has been since I last posted!  So much going on ... all of which is totally positive.  Here's a quick overview to bring you up to speed.

You won't be surprised to find that I have been doing a little bit of thrifting ... and bringing home a few lucky finds.
I found these two large paint-by-numbers at Goodwill.  They are really well done, and the colors are lovely.

This set of Pronghorn antlers was a steal at one of my favorite shops! They are perfect over the bathroom door beside The Husband's paintings in our office.
This may be my best reuse of a thrift store item to date ... using an old silver-plated chafing dish holder as a plant stand to hold my Christmas Cactus.
Our Greyhounds Rock benefit last weekend was WONDERFUL!!  All our hard work paid off, and every part of the event went off perfectly.  (I will show more of this as soon as I get permission to use some photos ... I didn't take but a few, and most of them are lousy.)  Here's one I think you will like ... me and Fabien Cousteau, our Saturday speaker, having a bit of fun.
A part of almost every day is spent doing something with the roses.  Right now, I am concentrating my efforts in my basement workshop, where I have pots of cuttings sitting on shelves in the north window.
The cuttings are doing really well.  When Stephen Scanniello was here in September, he brought me  cuttings from 'Philadelphia', a rose he has that I have wanted for a LONG time. 
Four of the five Philadelphia cuttings have roots!  Earlier this morning, I planted each of them into individual pots.
Beautiful, healthy roots!
None of my summer cuttings rustled from "Mine Road Noisette" lived.  Some of them rooted, but the plants were weak and the last one died a few weeks ago.  I stopped by the mother plant last week and took some new cuttings.  (Fortunately, the road widening didn't take the rose, so it is still there to take cuttings from ... who knows for how much longer, tho.)  Part of studying unknown roses is to document them for possible future identification ... flowers, leaves, thorns, hips, etc.
I am working on my next project ... one that I have been anxiously waiting till this week to start ... making the drapes for our family room and dining room.  Sorry, no hints about this.  I will show them to you once they are hung, and I will give you a full tutorial as a token of my appreciation for your patience.
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