Sunday, September 27, 2009

Smelly Pouches

There is a Chinese saying that when there is a 陰 yin there will be a 陽 yang: a negative will have a matching positive. So if the butterfly ginger is the positive gorgeous flower, is there a negative one? Oooo, yes!

We purchased our house from a landscape gardener; the gardener collected plants. Since Florida and its flora are new to us we decided to wait a couple of seasons before making any changes to our garden.

There was this big patch of low growing succulents near our front door. It wasn’t much to look at and nothing happened for two years. Then it surprised us by producing these big pouches.One day, when I walked pass the plants I could smell a whiff of stench. I didn’t know what it was and started to investigate. One of the pouches has opened up and it smelled so foul. It’s the smell of rotten meat. That wasn’t the worst part. The next day, I saw maggots wiggling in the centre of the opened pouch flower and a warty toad was sticking its long tongue out to feast on the larva. After that shocking sight I got rid of the smelly plants in record time.
The gardener kept a specimen of this plant in a flower pot far away from the house. I have left it alone. After 6 years it flowers for the first time and it is certainly unusual.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Butterfly Ginger

Our niece is coming over to stay with us for 3 weeks. We have a belief in our family that the best welcome you can give is to welcome friends and families to a clean house. I was just getting started in sorting out the guest bedroom when our top loading washer died in mid-cycle. So I was having a mini domestic crisis last week and have to delay posting till today.

You know they say that you can trace some of your adult behaviour back to your childhood. I think it was around the time of this picture was taken (I am the one on the right) my mother fenced off a small area of land for me to use as a little garden and my auntie taught me how to cast on and to knit. I grew all sorts of plants in my little plot: ginger, mint, lilies… what I remembered most was the scent of the plants and the perfumes from the flowers.

So when we moved to Florida and live in a house with a big yard, I wanted to grow ginger. The sub-tropical weather here often reminds me of Hong Kong.

I planted these butterfly ginger about two years ago, they flower for the first time…so pretty and the scent so beautiful. The flower shapes like a butterfly too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wild Life in Our Garden - Bird of Prey

Poppy is an excellent watch dog. Normally she is very quiet. If she barks it is for a reason. So one day last week I was working in my craft room and Poppy was snoozing away. I had such a fright when Poppy suddenly gave out a single loud bark.

Thinking that it must be the mailman I went outside with her to check it out. But instead of going to the gate, Poppy went right over to an area near the Chinese bamboo.
Usually it takes a few seconds for the mailman to drive down the lane in his delivery van. I waited, but no van. Puzzled, I asked Poppy “What is it?” In response Poppy did her nose thing, pointing high up at the tree as though to say “It’s up there!”
I looked, and I looked…then I saw the back of it.
I had a better view when I went around the other side of the tree…an owl. I didn’t know Florida has owls; and how on earth Poppy knew about it when she was fast asleep in my craft room? Poppy never ceases to amaze me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hat and Flowers

I made another hat for our local knitting group. They knit and collect hats for a charity for young chemo patients. I kept it simply this time so that it is unisex. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting on the Go Caps & Hats, page 75, it's called the Watch Cap.
I finished sewing the caftan for my husband so I am now free to start other projects. I crochet a few flowers. I love making them. I get so much enjoyment just seeing them materialized from thread to little pretty embellishment.

The pattern for the pink flower is from CrochetPatternCentral. I printed it a long time ago and didn’t make a note of what it was called. There is a long list of free flower patterns on this site.
I made up these blue flowers.
The flowers are made with 100% cotton craft thread and a size 2.00mm crochet hook.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We didn’t have a cookout this Labor Day weekend; instead we had a day out in Fort Lauderdale. I remembered to take the camera with me.

Fort Lauderdale Beach is very pretty, well kept and clean.
Poppy looking longingly at the water but dogs are not allowed on the beach.
So many restaurants and most of them will let you sit outside with your dog.
I didn’t realise my husband was taking this picture…we were having a break and waiting for our coffee.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Amigurumi Band from Japan

Saw this all singing amigurumi band video over at the weloveamigurumi website. So cute. I uploaded it here.

There is a second video just as funny. While I was watching the bear and the bunny singing, I can't help but notice the changes in their expression and the close-up of their finger work over the clever!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Thimble Collection

I think because I use thimble when I do embroidery and hand sewing I keep an eye out for them when we travel overseas and would buy a pretty thimble as a souvenir.

Many years ago my husband returned home after working abroad and surprised me with three beautifully decorated thimbles. He visited Jerusalem one weekend, as he wondered in the old city he saw the thimbles and thought of me.

I showed them to my mother-in-laws when she called round to our house. We were all going whooo and waaa over the owl and eagle shaped thimbles. How unusual - we all said. At Christmas that year, my mother-in-law gave me this special display unit plus a selection of China thimbles as Christmas presents. I loved it and couldn’t get over how thoughtful she was.
Sadly my mother-in-law passed away last year. Whenever I see my thimble collection now they remind me of her and of her kindness.

I added one from Greece when we were on our honeymoon, one from Malaysia, one from Turkey and two from Holland on different visits.

Hubby has picked up four more from his travel across the States. He actually threatened to collect one from each state but I asked him not to because space is limited. There are only 4 places left in the display unit.

Do I use them? Yes, and my workhorse thimble is the top right corner one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big Round Button Jar

Just finished crocheting a few things, I am back to my patchwork and sewing now. My husband wants a new nightwear, so I am making him a caftan. I was looking for four small buttons and thought, Oooo, I have to show you the jar I use to hold all my buttons.

It is a massive round jar, almost as big as my sewing machine. Isn’t it cute?
I bought it a few years ago from HomeGoods. I like to group the buttons in separate little clear plastic bags. This way, it is easy to find what I was looking for when I tip it all out.