Monday, June 30, 2014

Ode to the Daisy

Variety of daisies

I love Daisies.
No doubt about it, they are a happy flower.
And tough as nails.
They have been a part of any flower garden I have grown.
A few years back I ran across some seeds of Crazy Daisy.
A ruffledy, fun, sport of the tried and true Shasta Daisy.
DSC_0001.NEF-2I started the seeds and plenty sprouted and thrived.
Some were much more fluffy ruffled than others.
Like the one above.
Some had long elegant petals that gracefully draped.
Elegant petal on DaisySome are more sedate with just a couple rows of petals.
Crazy DaisyI also have regular Daisies in my garden,
Some with short and stubby petals. Shasta DaisySome shorter in stature, like this Silver Princess.
She is not blooming yet but very soon.
I had planted an entire 6 pack of this type several years ago but only one stayed under 18 inches tall.
So in the places in my garden that I want a more diminutive daisy I have taken root divisions of this one and replanted them.
I wanted one in front of a rose bush but I did not want it to grow taller than the rose.
So the shorter daisy works perfect here.
Silver Princess DaisyI have  tried to start seeds from it but they too grow to be taller than I want.
So root divisions it is.
Daisies are also a very hardy lot.
This one grows in the gravel next to the road, it is gorgeous, rarely gets any water,  remains straight and sturdy when others are top heavy and flop over.
It too is just about to bloom.
roadside daisy

Here is a batch that reseeded themselves and I just let them come up until I am ready to do something in this space.  They are in front of the Dream Weaver rose.
volunteer patch of Shasta DaisiesEach one seems to be slightly different than the next.
Shasta DaisyIf you wish to read the interesting history of the Shasta Daisy and how it came to be just click HERE
For me they are a drought tolerant flower, something we need right now being that California is in a drought.
In any garden if they get too much water they have a tendency to get gangly and flop over.
If you want a step by step of dividing them then click here.   HOW TO PROPAGATE SHASTA DAISY

The only additional info I would add is I don't always wait until Fall to dig up and divide.
If I need to move one, even in the height of Summer, I just do it. 
I do sacrifice some blooms but if I want something to go in that particular spot or if that plant is looking shabby then I do it any ol' time.
  I do be sure and keep the transplants well watered so they can survive the shock and have a chance to set down some good roots. 

Happy Gardening and try some Daisies today!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Great Way to Use Up Zucchini

Zucchini Noodles or Pasta

Veggie Noodles, a low calorie and tasty alternative to pastaA couple months ago I read this post by Repeat Crafter Me about using a spiral cutter to make a lower calorie noodle out of zucchini.
I was intrigued, the dish looked very tasty.
Being on a weight loss regime myself I thought to give a spiral slicer a try.
She used a different brand than I did but I am sure hers would work just as well.
I chose the Paderno Tri-Blade Vegetable slicer to have more options.

This is what the Paderno looks like set up and ready to slice.
(the other type blades for different shapes and sizes are stored handily underneath)
veggie noodles makerYou turn the handle and the zucchini is turned into veggie noodles and spirals in no time.
Turn a squash into noodlesYou do get a long core and a little butt end but I just slice them and eat them too.
I blanch the veggie noodles in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and drain.
(To add a bit more flavor I have also blanched them in chicken broth.)
Now add whatever sauce you wish.
Tonight I had chicken sauteed in my home made oven roasted marinara (from my summer garden last year).
a little homemade oven roasted marinaraI don’t know that I have shared that recipe here yet.
It is a ‘must have’ to use up all those tomatoes and squash you have overflowing your harvest basket towards the end of the season.

Here is the zucchini noodles all smothered with marinara and chicken goodness with just a dash of Parmesan.
zucchini pasta, veggie noodles4Bon Appetit
This was very yummy and it resembles pasta enough to assuage my craving for it.
Even my carb lovin’ husband was impressed.
Last time I served it with my homemade Pesto (that too is from last summer)
I promise to come back with another garden tour post soon.
My garden is starting it’s yellow and oranges stage.
Have a great evening!


For a link to the Paderno Veggie slicer just click here then look in the sidebar for the Amazon Link.  It is an affiliate link but you still get the same low price. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Paint Sunflowers Easy, Fast & Fun

Woo Hoo!
I have shipped the 98 signs I have been slaving over the past couple of weeks.
What a task!
I am so excited I just had to tell everyone.

Now on with the show.
I had posted this step by step back in October.
I am reusing it now as I have a video to accompany it.
Videos seem to really help me see how to do the steps so I figured it is the same for many others learning something new.
That being said, here goes.
First you can draw a circle or oval shape if it helps.
Many times I just start pouncing the double loaded scruffy brush around in a circle shape.
I use a dark brown and a black in the demo but if you look at actual sunflowers they come in a range of colors.
So go with the colors of what you are painting.
It helps me to find photos to mimic them.
I am using bottled craft acrylics here.
sunflower 1
Keep the brush in one position, not twisting and turning so you can see a definite form taking shape with the two colors.
paint sunflowers in acrylic
You can get an idea of what you should see but the video gives you a better visual idea.
Next you need to double load a flat brush (size of brush depends on the size of your sunflower, in this demo I used a #12 flat brush) with a yellow ochre or a darker gold color and a medium yellow.
Stroke the petals on.
paint sunflower strokes
Line up the chisel edge to your center, press, drag and let spring to a point as you turn the brush to the side.
bright sunflower painting
I will again link to the video below so you can watch after viewing all the photos.
how to paint a sunflower
Keep going around the center until you have petals all the way around.
fast and easy stroke sunflowers
You can do another layer of petals if you wish, that is shown in the video, these photos only show a single layer.
You will need to clean up the center,
just double load your scruffy again and tap over the base of the petals.
And voila'! You have a sunflower.
I also show how to do the half sunflower in the video.
Not that you couldn't have figured that out by yourself.
Go ahead and watch the video and I also demonstrate painting the leaves.
I kind of got off camera when painting the smaller leaves but they are basically the same as a petal.
If you wish you can actually go back and see the original post. CLICK HERE
So go and paint some sunshine!
Happy Painting!

Friday, June 6, 2014

How to Paint Leaves in Acrylics

how to paint the leaves
Now that you know how to paint the flowers on this sign it is time to learn to paint the leaves.
Aren't you excited?
Actually I paint most of the leaves first on a design, it sets them to the back.
To see the first two tutorials on this just click here..
How to Paint Roses
How to Paint Lilacs
This little tutorial is on these particular leaves.
The scallop or shell stroke leaves and the smaller little leaves.
There is also a brief video you can watch to see how my brush and hand moves.
paint a leaf
I start with undercoating my leaves, (if I wish them to be opaque) with a light green.
I let that dry, then I double load my #12 flat brush with the lighter green and a dark green.
paint a leaf 2
I start on the chisel edge and press while wiggling back and forth to create a shell shaped stroke.
paint a leaf 3
As I near the tip I let my brush come back up to a chisel edge and twist to the side.
(I think this is a good spot to watch the video so you get my drift)

Don't flip the brush, but you should reload with paint.
Keep the dark side of the brush next to the light when beginning the next stroke.
leaf tutorial (4 of 5)
Do it the same way you did the first stroke and let your brush spring back to a chisel edge.
leaf tutorial (5 of 5)
And there you have a leaf.

Here is a another video that I made quite awhile ago on painting leaves,
no talking, just painting.
You can watch me paint a few.
Its about 2 minutes long.
Try not to get two tips on the leaf,
that happens to me a lot.
Once again, here is the link to the video.
(in case it is not working above)
How to Paint a Scallop Leaf
and that is pretty much it.
FYI, I am testing out different suppliers of the brushes I like to see how they perform as far as price, shipping costs and customer service so I can give you  run down of the best places to buy good quality brushes.
It pays to use good quality brushes.
They are not cheap(comparatively) but well worth the bit of extra $$$ you pay for them.

Happy Painting.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Iris in My Garden

I love Iris.
And mine are at their height of  beauty right now, a true delight to my senses.
I must share all this colorful glory!
On the subtle side is Beverly Sills Iris.
She is so graceful and delicate looking.
Beverly Sills IrisJust to the left  is this ice blue Iris that is a perfect foil for her, the name of which I have long forgotten.
But if you go to Schreiners Gardens you are sure to find one similar.
Iris May 30-3The king of flamboyance amongst all of them is The Sultan.
Such an interesting contrast in colors
The Sultan IrisPrince George is just as regal, the orange beard a bright attention getter.
prince George IrisNot to far to his right is one I like to call Orange Sherbet, my absolute favorite ice cream flavor as a kid. Iris May 30-10Just behind Orange Sherbet is this gorgeous creature,

May 28-2I truly wish I could remember all the names of these Iris.
But again, you can find ones just as pretty or the same ones at Schreiners Garden
I am not an affiliate of theirs, just an ardent fan of their Iris quality and selection.
Continuting on down the same bed we come to this bright contender.
The foxgloves are just starting but they don't seem to be as lush as they were last Spring, most likely the lack of rain we had this past winter.

May 28-26An absolute favorite of mine is this Starship Enterprise.
It just glows with breathtaking beauty.

Starship Enterprise IrisIn a group they are even more stunning.
May 28-6A view of the side garden.
irissideLast Summer I did a post on how I divide and replant my iris.
Ta Da!
Here are the results.
All three of these beauties were part of the ones I dug up and transplanted that day.iristransNot only have they flourished but they are blooming away.
I have a few more of these to share but will save them for another tour.
My roses are going crazy right now too so that is a future post as well.
Happy Gardening!

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