Sunday, March 29, 2009


For the first time in twenty years the house is filled with the smell of herbs. Lavender and patchouli predominate. I spent a pleasant time on Friday filling small muslin bags with Lavender and attaching pretty tags. Yesterday, I mixed the potpourri that contains the patchouli.

Here are two of the lavender sachets--

And here are the flowers--

In the language of flowers lavender signifies purity of heart and devotion. It has been used for centuries to freshen linens and keep moths away from linen and clothes chests, as well as being used as a wedding herb.

I am resurrecting a tiny (micro) business that I loved in the eighties and am hopeful that now, with the Internet, I will be able to do a little differently and a little better with it.

The language of flowers and of herbs as well as their histories and uses fascinated me when, in the eighties, after setting aside an unfinished dissertation, I looked for something to do.

Some of my Squidoo lenses, many of my designs on cafepress, blog posts about my garden and now the herb crafting hark back to that time and tie periods of my life together.

The source is Mountain Rose Herbs, recommended by a friend who is a nurse and an herbalist. The quality is everything she said that it would be and I am delighted!

It has been a long full week and one of great blessings. I am as filled with gratitude tonight and the feeling of being part of a caring community, as I am tired. So shortly to bed and then to read an herbal mystery by Susan Wittig Albert.

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Spring Flowers

This post is for my sister and everyone who is still locked into cold weather. (It has been cold here too, but not so much so that it has impeded Spring.) Yesterday I went outside and took more flower pictures. Here are the two calla lilies blooming on my porch steps.

Followed by one white daffodil.

Then a yellow daffodil.

The callas are especially beautiful and the white daffodils continue to amaze me. I am grateful for the joy they bring as well as their beauty.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Where oh Where Does the Time Fly To?

How can it be Saturday already? I fully intended to post on Thursday, the Feast of St. Joseph. St Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, of families and of workers. We all need his intercession now more than ever. For those of us who are still employed, whose businesses are holding up or who are starting new ventures, that our employment may continue. For those of us in need of work, that we may find work. My godmother, who is 91, sent me a card for St Joseph's day. I was deeply touched. I have spent the week updating Easter designs to my cafepress shop and need to do the same to my Etsy. It was so appropriate to send me a card that blessed my endeavors and I smiled in hope and joy that she had sent it to me.

Of course, it also reminded me of my father and that makes me smile too. Papa is always worthy of remembering. Fathers don't get the recognition they deserve in our culture. Butt of sitcoms, instead of being portrayed as the domestic heroes they truly are, fathers have an uphill climb now days. It is good, I think, to pause, remember St Joseph and think of our fathers.

This week I also admired my garden. The first calla lily bloomed several days ago and was quickly photographed and incorporated into one of my new cafepress Easter designs.

One perfect yellow daffodil caught my eye.

Here is an array of daffodils on the picnic table that shows yellow and white daffodils, the whites are in two stages. When they first open they look like jonquils with their white petals and yellow centers. Over a few days the yellow centers fade to white. These are Mount Hood daffodils and I bought the bulbs last year from American Meadows.

I love these Spring flowers so much and am extremely grateful today for all the manifold blessings of the week, especially my godmother and my flowers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day

A Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone who wanders by. There is no green beer here, but there is Irish Soda bread from Safeway. I also have two (at least) mixes of a brand called Garvey's Irish Soda Bread--and one of the same vendor for Irish Brown Bread. Sounds Irish enough so that the product should be authentic. We shall see.

Shopping on the Internet told me that Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur Flour both had Irish Soda Bread mixes. Sticky Fingers has wonderful mixes in delightful new packaging and a quick check says yes they have Irish Soda Bread. Iveta Gourmet, another one of my favorite sources for yummy things that have way more calories than I need or can burn, doesn't. They have so many other scrumptious goodies....(Hey, I wonder how many calories does it take to roll up and down my ramp and how many times a day would I need to do it to justify/use just one scone.) Plug of the day over.

Last week I received my first ever order of herbs from Rose Mountain Herbs and I will be reactivating an old part of an old small business that I had in the 80's and that I absolutely loved. Sachets will soon appear on my Etsy shop and I am happy and excited.

While I have been posting this KDFC has been playing Irish music. Alas they do not play the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. I should get more organized and dig out the tapes and see if the tape recorder still works and, and ....

A tiny bit more work on my Easter designs on my cafepress site, a poke my nose out the front door to admire the daffodils and calla lilies that are blooming (and the oxalis, shamrocks as well) and an episode of NCIS will complete my day.

Happy St Patrick's Day. May all your days be blessed. I am grateful for my Irish heritage.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Today has been a lazy Saturday. The sky has been overcast, threatening rain, but not delivering the goods, the water that we still need in this drought parched land. I am revising my garden plans--no point in starting seedlings if they can't thrive.

There are some interesting water collection devices, out of my price range, and it is too late this season anyway, but in addition to the rain barrels that I was looking at several weeks ago there is also a water "pillow" that stores rainwater--1000 gallons and more depending on the size of the device. It would be interesting to include these features in a "universal design" house. Water conservation and energy conservation features should be as much a part of this, I think, as lower counter tops and remote control blinds.

This would expand the concept of universal design somewhat, I believe, for it would be an aspect of self-sufficiency or sustainability. Ultimately, I would like to have such a house, green-tech, high-tech and amazing and comfortable. I don't think that it will happen in this life-time unless I win the lottery. (Since I never buy tickets to the lottery, it won't happen in this lifetime.) Still it is fun to dream.

Another part of this lazy Saturday was sitting at the computer and re-doing what feels like a million cafepress templates. (It isn't, of course, merely a few dozen. It just feels that way.)

It has been a busy week, full of people in and out and packages arriving and it was good, actually to have a quiet day. Good music came through my radio and at the end as the sun was setting my window was filled with lavender sky. Absolutely gorgeous.

I am grateful for this lazy Saturday and glad to have some visible results for my efforts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Full of Good Things

Salmon, green beans, noodles and thin mints. I do love thin mints. I think that is supposed to be Thin Mints. Girl Scout cookies are so yummy and so fun.

It has been a very full day, what my sister calls a "revolving door day" and I still have a new episode of my favorite tv show, NCIS, to look forward to so it isn't over. Then I will go to bed early (with my bed newly changed and made up by a housekeeper who is the best in the world and has become a dear friend) and continue to read Alex and Me, the story of the African Gray Parrot who must have been the smartest bird on the planet. It is touching and sweet and all together a treat to read. On loan from another friend.

The Girl Scout cookies bring back stories of my niece's time in Girl Scouts and her Gold Award project. I am still proud of her and her big brother who is an Eagle Scout. I let their accomplishments rub off on me and bask in the shine. Good to be a Grand Aunt, too to someone who is just starting to say, Grandpa and og (for dog). Are we proud? Oh yes, we think he is the smartest, most beautiful boy on the planet. (We're a little prejudiced here, of course, but in this case that is a good thingl)

So I am replete with good food, good friends and love from my family. It was a superlative day. Life is good. I am full of gratitude as well as Thin Mints.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Sunshine

The clouds have finally cleared and the flowers and people are enjoying the sun. Never mind that we need more rain, we love the sun. One of the amarylli that I put outside is sprouting a third bud. I have never seen one do this before. The calla in a pot also has two buds and I can hardly wait for them to bloom. The white chalices are among my most favorite of favorite flowers.

I have been puttering about all day, looking at my kitchen and trying to decide how it could be more effectively organized for my needs now. I hope to try my hand at baking bread again. My late mother was wonderful at this. I don't think I quite inherited her touch and have had too many loaves fail to rise because the kitchen is too chilly or drafty for them to get themselves going. (She also made wonderful pies and I am not much of a pie baker either. Cookies, cakes and muffins are more my speed.)

Three boxes of books--large boxes, actually--stand ready to go from the house. They need a second sort as to their designations. So now I need to pull some paper bags from the kitchen and label them. Some, I hope, will sell on Amazon or possibly Advanced Book Exchange.

Some paper actually got sorted today and discarded into the shredder and recycle piles. This feels good.

After receiving chow mein noodles instead of soba noodles in my Safeway online order, I found another delivery service, Planet Organics that has the soba and too many other lovely interesting things. I will give them a try. Would like a little more information about the delivery window. But I will be here all day, so that isn't a problem. It should be fun and reminds me of the heyday of the era when two services, Peapod and Webvan co-existed and delivered groceries throughout the Bay Area. Those were the days...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


With St Patrick's Day just two weeks away, I have been adding new products to my Cafepress store. (Click on the cafepress link in the links list to the right and there are sections for "St Patrick's Day" and "Everything Irish" to see the array of products.)

The slideshow that wouldn't load the other day, loaded beautifully just now and I am especially pleased to see the steins showing up. They look like they are pretty and I am tempted to buy one to use as a flower vase--I no longer drink beer, or much of anything alcoholic for that matter, since the neurological disorder of post-polio syndrome is enough to cope with.

So far the design that is selling best is Feliz dia de San Patricio!

Another success that has pleased me very much is that my friend C, she who is a professional organizer, found my small metal bowl that had lost itself in the kitchen cupboard. I don't know how it put itself there (and I was quite put out with it for hiding) but it is good to find it again.

I am thinking about two recipes from King Arthur Flour, one of my all time favorite businesses. One is for Chocolate Stout Cake. The other is for a carrot cake that needs a sour dough starter. Oh the calories! Oh the temptation! What to do with the leftover Guinness, which Safeway online does carry? Maybe these will stay in the day-dreaming stage--it is Lent after all--and I will settle with satisfaction for pumpkin muffins.

It is so easy to come up with more projects than I can possibly do in a day or week, or what is left of my life, for that matter, that sometimes I wish I could just wiggle my nose and see the projects materialize.

After a goodly amount of rain, the sun is trying to poke through. More rain, more rain, we need and want more rain.

I am grateful for the rain. (I would be even happier if I could remember to use the preview feature and catch my more egregious typos before I publish them. I never did much like typing.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A new month and old problems. Why can't I change the contents of my slideshow? This seems silly. I wasted an inordinate amount of time the first time that I set this up and now I have repeated the frustration.

The good news is that it rained all day today and there is more to come. I am heartened by this for it means that the garden will not have to be completely abandoned.

It is also the first Sunday of Lent. Is the recession penance enough? Or would it be practical to see how we can alleviate the effects of same recession in our neighborhoods and communities; by reaching out and helping one another.

My local church is reading a book about helping to build schools in Pakistan, while here in our very own neighborhood the local schools need help; here in our very own state the budget, even though passed, is still in crisis. That same budget means that many services needed by real people are in shambles. I would like to see Lenten practices that would focus on our spiritual lives first and then if we are inclined to alleviate poverty do so at home.

There is a certain feeling of disconnection to this and it makes me discontented.

I am nonetheless grateful for the rain and will try to figure out how to make the software work as well.