Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Smallest Voices

"You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering."
Ernest Hemingway from "A Farewell to Arms"

Coming Soon! "Winter Miracles" and "Snowdrop Hill" Collections from Cynthia Crane's

Another holiday season will soon be upon us bringing with it tidings of great joy and promises of love and laughter among our dearest friends and family members.

But we all know that for all too many this is sadly not the case. I'm speaking of those whose small voices are easily overlooked at this time of year for want of the newest shiny bauble and those making the loudest noise.

This post is a reminder to all of my lovely readers that before you begin your rush to prepare for the joyful holidays ahead, you take the time to put first those who need our help the most. 

What follows is a charitable project recently implemented by my fellow blogger Vicki of 2 Bags Full

"Letters From Africa"

Many of you already know Vicki and are aware of her many selfless acts of charitable giving shared on her blog. A few months ago Vicki received a letter from a social worker in Uganda who has been working with vulnerable and disadvantaged children, many of which are victims of physical and sexual abuse, and are children of young mothers, and/or are living with or are affected by HIV and AIDS.

The children make jewelry and other crafts which are sold to support the work of the agency.

Thus Vicki set upon another charitable giving project - "Letters From Africa". The childrens' needs range from craft supplies to personal items, but most especially there is a serious need for small monetary donations in the form of a Walmart gift card or Paypal transfer. There is a wealth of information on this most worthy charitable cause on Vicki's blog, including the how and where to send your donations.

And Vicki is also having another one of her lovely Giveaway Contests in conjunction with this charitable project!

The deadline for donations is December 1, which is also when the winners of the contests will be announced, so if you've not already done so please try to respond to Vicki's call very soon!

Listing in my Etsy Shop, Friday October 31

My contribution to Vicki's "Letter From Africa" charity will be a cash donation of 10% of the proceeds from the sale of 8 ornaments from my 2 new collections of Holiday Ornaments. "Winter Miracles" is a collection of miniature woodland animal ornaments, and "Snowdrop Hill" are snowmen and snowlady ornaments all decked out in comfy winter attire. 

I will be presenting these new ornaments in my Etsy shop this Friday, October 31, beginning around 11:00 ET.

I hope you will join me this year in sharing of little bit of your own love and kindness with these disadvantaged children in Uganda.

Next post: A little window into the world of nationally recognized folk artist Paul Gordon! 

With love and gratitude to you all - thank you for visiting today!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'D RATHER BE GARDENING: A Few of My Favorite Spring Bulbs

It's 3:00 a.m. on a crisp fall night in October and rather than lay in bed wide awake, my mind whirling with its usual cacophony of thoughts and ideas, I thought "What better time than now to write about spring bulb planting."

Brent and Becky's Bulbs, Gloucester, VA

In my Zone 6 garden I usually do my planting around mid-November (soil temp. must be under 55 deg.) I often split a large order from Van Engelen with a friend, which is a great value, or for smaller orders I purchase from their sister company, John Scheepers. But recently while visiting my local garden center I had the good fortune to find the bulbs on this year's wish list.

So what follows are a few of my favorite bulbs, most of which I've grown, starting roughly by bloom time.

SPECIES CROCUS (crocus tommasinianus)

Following are a couple of "species" crocus varieties which I choose because squirrels supposedly don't like them so I figure that gives them an advantage.




Of course daffodils are on my list! I don't think there is an easier or more pleasurable bulb in the world and squirrels don't like them either. I usually grow varieties that naturalize well and I like to plant them in large numbers for greater impact.

Brent and Becky's Bulbs, Gloucester, VA

This year I intend to plant them directly in the lawn rather than a mulched bed. Here is my list of favorite naturalizing daffodils:
Dutch Master
Ice Follies
February Gold

'Tete-a-tete' daffodils
I especially love the little Tete-a-tete daffodils.

'Tete-a-tete' daffodils with viola.
So lovely with little violas planted around them. If I could only have one variety of daffodil,  'Tete-a-tete' would be it.


'Gravetye Giant' Snowflake
Said to be the "big brother" to the Snowdrops, Gravetye Giant Snowflake boasts larger blooms than the species Snowflake.

Brent and Becky's Bulbs
After touring the gardens at Brent and Becky's Bulbs a few years ago, I fell in love with their large drifts of Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum). This will be my first year growing them and I just learned that they prefer moist soil, even boggy areas, so I'm not sure how well they'll do for me here.


Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Here you can see Allium 'Purple Sensation' growing at my former home, along with the little heirloom shrub rose 'Midnight Blue'.

Allium 'Gladiator'
And here is the taller Allium 'Gladiator' that I planted last fall here in my new home. I think it needs some "companions" so I may add pretty white Ornithogalum magnum as well as more tall bearded iris in this bed.

Well, hopefully I've inspired you by this small list today! Of course I do have other bulb varieties on my favorites list, but I'll have to save those for another day. As a working artist, I am in the midst of my busy season right now so I'm afraid gardening and blogging are having to take the "back burner" for awhile.

I have been very, very busy in my studio creating lots of new jewelry designs to add to my Etsy shop, which I will begin listing today.

New Bracelets by Cynthia Crane's Pottery!

New necklaces by Cynthia Crane's Pottery!

I would love to know YOUR favorite spring bulb selections, so please do share them in your comments below!

That's all for now friends! I think I'll go back to bed and get a few more hours sleep because later on, well, you know ....