Saturday, July 19, 2014

In the Garden...

Come stroll through my garden with me...
~
 photo 20140628_172055-1_zpsd3f57a34.jpg
~
 photo 20140719_120046_zpsd3ebe522.jpg
~
 photo 20140719_120117_zpsdfc213c4.jpg
~
This Rose of Sharon, or Althea, as my Grandma Collier called it

(Hibiscus syriacus, actually) ~

is a "daughter" of the one(s) in Grandma's yard from almost 50 years ago...

(it's really two different-colored varieties combined in one clump).

My mom took off-shoots to her house, then moved them with her twice more.

Three years ago on my birthday, I told my children that all I wanted was for

them to move the shrub from Mom's last home (I got permission from the new owner)

to my yard. It was quite an undertaking, but they did it!

~

One of my favorite things to "pretend" when I was little,

was that the Althea blossoms were little Faerie ball gowns...

~
 photo 20140719_114626_zpsf99576f5.jpg
~

Who would have guessed that 50 years later I'd be making shoes to match?

Hmmm...now, do these go best with the pink or white gown?

~
 photo 20140719_114822_zpsa5f67e3d.jpg
~

I know ~ the white blossom makes the perfect petticoat!

What do you think?

Fae-approved, I believe.

(BTW, if anyone else wants to play, I'll have more Faerie Shoes in my Etsy shop next week!)

~
 photo 20140628_171757-1_zpsc91924fb.jpg
~
 photo 20140628_171735-1_zpsdb6c6bab.jpg
~

My friend Elaine started my growing (no pun intended) obsession with Daylilies a few years back

by sending me these, which have multiplied greatly!

This is called Decatur "Cherry Smash"...

~
 photo 20140719_105349-1_zpsc059b23e.jpg
~
 photo 20140522_233318-3_zps6c3493ba.jpg
~

This gorgeous pale peach ruffled Day Lily is called "Land of Cotton";

given to me by Elaine as well, in "honor" of the region ~

my current yard and garden were a cotton field just a few years ago!

It smells heavenly (more so in the evening) ~ like honeysuckle!

~

(If Grandma had grown Daylilies, I'm sure these would 

have made lovely gowns as well...ruffly underskirts built-in!)

~
 photo 20140705_192719-1_zpsfcc0ff61.jpg
~
A little visitor to "Land of Cotton"... think he was whistling Dixie?
~
 photo IMG_6577_zpsc052b386.jpg
~

One more Day Lily...this one is "Star Dream"...such a beautiful, sunny yellow!

Thank you, Elaine!

~
 photo -4_zpsfe8340d2.jpg
~
Pretty in pink...
~
 photo 20140705_150432-1_zpse016b184.jpg
 ~

A bee in the Pentas!

This is my first year for growing this pretty perennial, and I am quite impressed!

They are holding up extremely well in the heat ~ they seem to thrive in it ~

just as the petunias are pooping-out on me...

~

I first thought this was just a "regular" Bumblebee,

but I looked it up, and it's an Eastern Carpenter Bee,

which makes sense, as he (or she), along with some friends, have been

doing a little (ahem) work on my wooden trellis...

~
 photo 20140705_150512-1_zps5694d671.jpg
~
 photo 20140705_150515-1_zps08987ec6.jpg
~
 photo 20140705_150516-1_zpsa512f93c.jpg
~
 photo 20140705_150519-1_zpsfbc72ec4.jpg
~
 photo 20140705_150551-1_zpsa6857b8d.jpg
~

I kept getting closer and closer with my phone's camera!

It was okay; the bee was much more interested in the yummy Pentas!

~
 photo 20140717_153336-3_zps66494f42.jpg
~

Honeybees love Echinacea!

~
 photo 20140627_113214-1_zps13ebdddd.jpg
~

Another little pollinator!

~
 photo 20140627_113207-1_zps33c65f52.jpg
~

Yellow Floribunda "Julia Child".

~
 photo 20140526_124214-1_zpsdbab704d.jpg
~
 photo 20140526_124219-1_zpsdee674af.jpg
~
Clematis "Will Goodwin"
~
 photo 20140523_191908-1_zpsa008e2de.jpg
~
Pretty Astilbe...I used to have such an abundance of shade,

and now it's just the opposite...

I have only one little (day long) shady area!

~
 photo 20140715_135037-1_zpsdd932633.jpg
~
 photo 20140715_135014-1_zpscef3fdd6.jpg
~

"Next window, please!"

My vintage bank teller's window (circa 1900) is being engulfed in Cypress Vines...

~
 photo IMG_6555_zps25ec6b3b.jpg
~

My flower border...I planted it really thickly (and thinned very little)

to try and have the flowers "crowd out" the weeds...

We'll see how this works as the season progresses ~

Maybe a good idea, maybe I should have thinned!

~
 photo IMG_6549_zpsa34b1010.jpg
~
 photo IMG_6553_zpsece37798.jpg
~

I'm really loving the large "Cactus Flower" Zinnias...

~
 photo IMG_6543_zps6708e5ab.jpg
~

Pentas, pretty little "Heart" (on some blossoms) petunias,

and Verbena "Wicked"...wicked cool, huh?

~
 photo IMG_6569_zps946106d7.jpg
~
 photo IMG_6568_zps794af656.jpg
~
 photo IMG_6576_zps0409dcdd.jpg
~

The herb garden...

~
 photo IMG_6571_zps2d65cfe7.jpg
~

A gift from daughter Katie two years ago...Butterfly Bushes ~ they've gotten huge!

(They would have been even bigger had we not had such a cold winter; I had to trim a lot...)

I love the honey-wine (mead) fragrance (and so do the bees)!

~
 photo 20140714_164536-1_zps2ac7626b.jpg
~

Tuberoses, tuberoses, tuberoses...

I get more excited over these beauties than I can even tell you!

Maybe I'll have flowers by next week!

~
 photo 20140714_180022-1_zps7c164eb2.jpg
~

More garden visitors ~ tiny...

an itsy-bitsy snail...

~
 photo 20140719_142125_zpsbd684209.jpg
~

And BIG!

This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle (also called Rhinoceros Beetle or Unicorn Beetle

because of the male's big "horn") ~

They can grow to nearly 3 inches long! This one measures 2 inches.

You can read more about them here.

(Son Jon found this one at work today and brought her home for me to see...

we'll let her go after we observe her for a bit!)

~
 photo 20140719_141004_zps3f464957.jpg
~
 photo -6_zps6c717f7c.jpg
~

The Waved Sphinx Moth...Ceratomia undulosa.

A subspecies with an undulating wing pattern instead of the more commonly seen

banded wings. Look at those colors!! Even a tiny bit of Cerulean Blue!

(On our porch this afternoon...flew away after the "close-up".)

~
 photo 20140714_174935_zps3bea8a81.jpg
~
 photo -1_zpsc524e1d7.jpg
~

Arachnophobes....avert your eyes!

Believe me, I was so "arachnophobic" for most of my life...

and I'm still not entirely fearless, but I am trying to look at spiders in general in a new light...

I'm striving for "enlightenment", if you will.

I take harmless spiders outside in a paper towel instead of killing them...

Exception: Brown Recluses (Satan's spawn).

We even have Black Widows around quite often...they like to hide in rock and

wood-piles, and I'm careful not to reach into something like that where I can't see...

they're really shy, however ~ not aggressive like the dreaded "BR". (Shudder.)

I digress, though... I was weeding in the herb garden and saw this spider;

at first glance she looked furry ~ then I took a closer look and saw that the "fur"

was all her little grayish, semi-transparent babies, hanging on for dear life...

How cool is that? You can read about her here, at the Missouri Department

of Conservation's website.

~
 photo 20140717_184801_zpscdf4a193.jpg
~
 photo 20140717_184634_zps5a69fac8.jpg
~
 photo 20140717_184417-2_zpsd5bd6d36.jpg
~

A little Southern Leopard Frog, resting on a hosta!

Such a beautiful little creature...look at the metallic-gold eyes!

(Click on the name to read about them at the Missouri Department of Conservation's site.)

~
 photo 20140522_212925-1_zpsca39ecc1.jpg
~

A little American Toad.

My son Jon is The Toad Whisperer. 

When he started his summer job, he was told that one particular employee was

the "resident toad-killer".

How awful!! Mosquitoes would carry us away if not for little fellows like him!

So, Jon has been relocating as many as possible to our toad-friendly

yard and garden...

(My spaghetti pot contained about 20 relocatees one night last week!)

I washed it, don't worry.

~
 photo 20140709_171338-1_zps58ea527b.jpg
~

Oh, one last visitor!

A particularly furry one!

Cyrus had actually never been outside and "down" before...

(he is "fluffy" enough that I was pretty sure I could catch him if he ran...but he didn't...)

He sniffed the herb-pots on the patio and looked around for a few minutes,

then decided it was time to go back inside...like, now.

"Outside was nice, Mom...I've seen all there is to see...now let's go back in!"

~

We have a winner for the little Cheshire-Cat rock!

Elizabeth, of "Life at Hilltop"...
(she has a great blog; click the link or check it out over on my sidebar!)

Chessie will be coming your way, Dear!

Also linking to Beverly's Pink Saturday ~ it's been a while!

Love,

Photobucket

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mad Tea Party 2014!

 photo mtp12-1_zps44e3306b.jpg
~
 photo mtp11-1_zps0a539f6e.jpg
~

Hello!!

Happy "Mad Tea Party! ~ (I got the correct date this year!)

Linking with Vanessa's ( www.afancifultwist.typepad.com

Seventh-Annual Alice-Inspired Extravaganza!

(Thank you, Vanessa!)

~

I had such fun arranging things just so... 

(Who says one must grow up?)

~
 photo mtp19_zpsdbe5a7ea.jpg
~

Here are Red Queen 1 and Red Queen 2 ~

They'll be your hostesses today...

~
 photo mtp17_zpsf170336a.jpg
~

Presiding over their table...won't you join them?

~
 photo mtp22_zps23540499.jpg
~
 photo mtp25_zps31186f09.jpg

Earl Grey or Constant Comment?

I inherited these three pretty tea cups and saucers from my Grandma Launius...

She collected them for years...

 (Grandpa made her a very cool display shelf, which we still have).

In later years when she could no longer stay alone and went to live with her

sister (Aunt Bertha), she wanted to return to the givers many

of the cup and saucer sets she had received as gifts over the years...

 a little remembrance.

But first, she had me choose my favorites.

(Those folks just didn't get their gifts returned!)

~

What would she think of my tea party and her cups with "Drink Me" tags?

I think she would be delighted!

We had tea often, the two of us (sometimes we invited Grandpa)...

choosing two (or three, sometimes) of her beautiful cups from the shelf.

Grandma would approve.

But, I digress! This is a Mad Tea Party!



~
 photo mtp15_zpsdb0dbd51.jpg
~
 photo mtp4_zps1488b8f7.jpg
~
 photo mtp10_zps0cf82f52.jpg
~

I decorated the sugar cubes with tiny bits of icing...fun!

~
 photo mtp14_zps31a8064b.jpg
~
 photo mtp6_zpsbfa24878.jpg
~

I got my little red paperback "Alice" in my Christmas stocking one year...

~
 photo mtp13_zps9ea4e652.jpg
~

Isn't this just the cutest little teapot finial?

~
 photo mtp18_zps4604a30c.jpg
~

Gorgeous sunny yellow day lilies (a gift from my dear friend Elaine)

hold court over the tea table...

~
 photo IMG_6481_zpsca491581.jpg
~
A Lilliputian cake!

I added a little more icing decor, and of course the roses...

(I was actually going to use sprigs of Vinca and Hydrangea, but I looked them up

and they were a no-no...toxic). You can eat roses, if you want!

(But we didn't.)

~
 photo mtp20_zpsd9da3fc6.jpg
~
Queenie-Approved.

~
 photo mtp2_zpse71561f6.jpg
~
 photo mtp24_zps8deeff23.jpg
~

"I'm late, I'm late!..."

This bunny was carved years ago by my friend Jerry Smith...

I know I probably shouldn't have tampered with Jerry's artistic expression,

but I'll have to admit that this fellow's jacket has been many different colors

over the years as my decor has changed!

I thought he would like to join the party, and he fits right in...

he's a little Mad, too...;)

~
 photo mtp5_zps0c57eb60.jpg
~
 photo mtp9_zps1a53eaa8.jpg
~

Looking toward the herb garden and the setting sun.

~

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups butter, softened at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy (do not over-beat);
Gradually add sugar, beating well.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined. Crack eggs into a bowl first before adding to the mixture, to make sure you avoid getting shells in the cake mix.

Sift 3 cups of flour. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Pour mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.

Smooth the top of the cake or bottom of the cake (depending on how you look at it) with a spatula to even it out.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack. 
(The cake will have a crusty layer on the bottom that you can trim off if you want to.)

That's it! Enjoy!




Here is my Cheshire-Cat-on-a-Rock Tutorial!
~
 photo CCCollage1_zps400599dc.jpg
~
Basics...
~
 photo cccollage2_zpseb512810.jpg
~

Chessie is a very TOOTHY fellow...I didn't realize just how much so until

I started putting in all these wicked little teeth!

And....Voila!

I'll give my Cheshire Kitty away next weekend;

Leave a comment and he might be coming your way!

~
 photo mtp26_zps02002620.jpg
~

One more thing..."Mini" Faerie Houses!

They'll be in my Etsy Shop tomorrow.

~
 photo 6a00d83451d99869e201a511c130c3970c-500wi_zpsdb1ca00e.jpg
~
Photobucket