Gracious Gardens

yellow wildflower

I’m inviting you to a garden party at my house. All you have to do is take a couple of photos of what’s growing near your house and drop them off here.
I’d like to see plants from other countries. What’s growing in Australia this time of year, when our Aussie friends are heading into winter?
I’ll post photos in this Flickr pool as I travel this summer too. I’m always fascinated by the similarities and differences in plants around the world.
Do you have a favorite tree? Do you have a favorite bloom? (I know several of you do!) Do you ever take a walk just to notice what is growing this time of year? Take a shot and tell me why. There will be the occasional prize too. And if you want a serious case of garden envy, check out Finny’s pumpkinzilla. This girl’s got such a green thumb, plants are sprouting from her compost! Ay!
And Eva’s blooms too! So pretty.

Here are a couple of my favorite shots from a recent walk.

orange poppy center
orange lantana

From the top: wild daisies, poppies, lantana.

Happy gardening!

Green + Orange = Happy Nicaragua Bag

I’ve been trying my darndest to participate in this “Use What You Have” project for April, coordinated by Sooz in Melbourne. Essentially this means not purchasing any new craft or art supplies for the month. God knows I have enough yarn and fabric to have me knitting and sewing myself silly for quite some time, but the notions have been a bit tricky. I’ve run out of certain colors of thread, zippers, buttons, etc. I’m making do, but we’re just at the beginning of the month. It should be interesting.

My first scrap knitting project is the market bag from “AlterKnits.” I plan to fill this with goodies for a family I’m visiting this summer in Nicaragua. I like the way the bag begins and ends with orange and the green stripes in the center make me smile. It is a happy, wild color combination.

scrap yarn bag before felting

This was a great way to use up a bunch of small bits of wool I had left over from other projects. I’m going to use some wood handles to finish this baby off once it is done felting.

scrap yarn bag cu

Colors gone mad!


Road Trip

Road trip!

Yesterday I was on the road again (sung to the key of Willie Nelson) for work. I headed north to Flagstaff and then took the scenic route back to Phoenix, winding my way through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona.
It was a beautiful day.

San Francisco peaks from the road


Typical Flagstaff

Ah yes, Flagstaff. Poverty with a view, as Rolling Stone once described it. I love this little hippie town.

Road, red rocks

The red rocks of Sedona never seem to bore me. I know, I know. I keep going on about the beauty of Arizona. I’ll stop at some point. Promise.

sedona red rocks

Just not today.

Sedona red rocks2

Tell me this doesn’t remind you of an old Western? John Wayne should be galloping by at any moment.

This post brought to you by the AfricanKelli Arizona Tourism Board. “Arizona, where the natives are crazy, but love that dry heat.”

Mother Nature’s Palette

I came out of the grocery store last night to find the sun setting in a brilliant array of firey colors.

sunset, cropped
sunset, orange and purple

I’ve found myself in an artsy rut as of late. I’m sewing the same things over and over again (See my aprons, for an example.) I’ve knit the one skein wonder pattern enough times that nearly all my girlfriends now have a dusty knitted ball at the bottom of their bra drawer that is far too small to wear. I baked four dozen chocolate chip cookies last night. Why? Because it was easy. Because I didn’t have to think about it.
Bah! Time to shake things up and get more creative. This sunset reminds me that my best source of inspiration is mother nature. I would never think to pair pale sky blue with bright pink, soft purple and firey orange — and yet, do these color combinations come in any more beautiful form?
CAOK is coming to an end. I’ve got the last few packages on my kitchen table, waiting to be mailed out on Friday. Then I’m got a few new art projects in mind. Ones to make me think. Ones to keep me learning new techniques and seeing color and texture in a new way. Photo cards, new handbag patterns, finishing that sweater for my grandmother, wedding quilts for girlfriends…


Paper and Puns

I found a new paper store last week that I love. It is expensive and the stock is limited, but the owners of PaperJoy are sweet and creative. They’ve made a lot out of their tiny space next to La Grande Orange in Phoenix. If you are a Phoenician, check it out. If you are secretly in love with Paper-Source, the mecca of all paper stores, you can save yourself the shipping expense by stopping in to PaperJoy to pick up most sized envelopes and cards. I covet the day I am able to return to the Beverly Hills Paper-Source for another day of sublime shopping. Silly how pretty paper does it for me, eh?

Paper Source Goodness

The last time I was at the lovely Paper-Source. Look at that smile. Oh, heaven.

Here are a few Easter – Passover – Spring cards I sewed last night with my new stock. I’m going to send these out with the last CAOK gifts during the next week.


eggageratingly cute
arent you eggcited

Eggageratingly cute? Eggactly what I was thinking!


Color in the Hue of Spring

I took an afternoon walk this weekend through my neighborhood, enjoying the lingering breeze, cool weather and warm sun on my back. Spring is certainly fleeting in Arizona, but it seems this year’s season has been particularly plentiful and generous. The flowers are blooming in appreciation of the mid-80 degree weather and Phoenicians city-wide are stretching their legs, sleeping with their windows open and breathing deeply. We all know too well we’ll be living in a kiln again within a matter of weeks.
Now is the time to take that leisurely stroll and enjoy every wonderful second that is spring in the desert. Look how colorful it is!

red poppy with orange in bg

These red poppies grow wild in my neighbor’s yard.

cholla blooms2

In a sea of olive and sage green desert, these bright blooms draw hummingbirds and bees like wildfire.

eye level shot, orange poppies

More pretty poppies.

poppy before bloom, cu

I imagine another giant red beauty is waiting inside of this little green baby.

purple hybiscus, double

These were peeking over a fence. If flowers could speak they were not-so-coyly saying, “Yoo hoo! Don’t forget us! Take our photo! We’re the prettiest on the block!”

mesquite bloom orange

Mesquite trees en fuego.

prickly blooms lined up

Raspberry red blooms will burst from these shells in the next week.

prickly pear blooms2

To a native Arizonan, you can look at this cactus and know that its seen water recently. The bright green color is that of a happy cactus. While a few strong recent storms have brought some of the color back to the desert floor, we have no snow in the high country to refill our water reservoirs. It is going to be a dangerous summer for wild fires.

prickly pear leaf

Love this shade of green and the way the light is bouncing.

nopal, artsy

More green. I suppose a colorful spring in the desert is still mostly greens.

nopal blooms

More photos from my growing collection of desert plants can be found here.