Friday, December 14, 2012


When I was a horticulture student at Richland College, having to learn the Latin names of every plant was a bit of a nightmare for me. Memorizing useless trivia has never been my forte. My perennials and propagation teacher claimed it wasn't useless trivia. She said the problem with common names was that there was no controlling them -- people in different locations or in different eras could all slap the same common name on several very different plants, so how would you know which one you wanted? I guess I should have paid more attention to her.

They had an amazing vine there in the demonstration gardens that I was crazy mad for, but it wasn't its spring flowers that I loved. I can't even remember what color they were. No, it was the gorgeous papery samaras, which covered it in fall, that made me go weak in the knees. It appeared to be covered in masses of fluttering butterflies, in varying shades of chartreuse and rust, hence the name "Butterfly Vine." I bought one at the department's annual plant sale, and installed it there in our Dallas garden. Unfortunately, it's a slow grower, and we had to move before it ever really took off.

A few years ago, when I was out shopping for plants for the Cantina Garden, I stumbled across a Butterfly Vine, and snapped it right up. For several years now, I've been watching for those "butterflies", but they never appeared. Finally I had to admit that I had planted the wrong vine -- that it may have been a butterfly vine, but it certainly wasn't MY butterfly vine.

A few weeks ago, however, when I was over at Gardenville in San Marcos, getting a truckload of mulch, I spotted these fellows. I recognized them immediately, squealing "There they are! Those are my butterflies!"

I was hoping they had some for sale, but when the manager checked in the greenhouse, there were none left. He did take my name and number though, and promised to call as soon as he got some more cuttings started. Of course, we may not even be living in our house long enough to see the vine reach its full glory, but that's ok. Someday, someone is really gonna love me for my efforts.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I can't believe it! I saw SIX shooting stars this morning, just sitting in my usual spot on the dining porch, looking out the window. Must be part of that meteor shower. Pretty amazing, considering I didn't get up until 6:00 this morning, and by the time I got my tea made and oatmeal started, it wasn't all that dark out. Plus, peak viewing time isn't until tonight. I guess my little nest must be perfectly situated, for once. Gotta make sure I get up in time for the real show tomorrow!

Meanwhile, thought I'd share with you the second ornament I made as part of the 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas class I am taking online. This one from Mindy Lacefield scared the bejeebers out of me. I don't do people -- especially not faces -- and I sure as heck don't do them painting freehand with a brush, so this was quite a stretch for me. But after Mindy broke it down into manageable little steps, it wasn't all that difficult.

Of course, my girl didn't end up looking anything like hers, which was more waif-like, and reminded me of a Poor Pitiful Pearl doll I had as a child...

and I couldn't find a cute gumdrop spray for the top like she had, and had to use these tulle doodads instead.

Nonetheless, I managed to fall quite in love with her when all was said and done. Though it was certainly not intentional, she ended up looking like a cross between my niece Merrit and daughter Alexis. I think I'll call her...Melexi!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Yippee! My sister Poo did not take any "Before" pictures of her new/old townhouse, but it turns out her daughter did, and was happy to share them with me. The people who bought her previous house did so with the stipulation that she had to be out right after Thanksgiving, and she didn't even find this place until a week or so before, so she had no choice but to put all her furniture in storage, and stay with friends or family until she can whip this booger into shape. She's given herself until Christmas to get it done.

Entry Into Formal Living Area
Dining Area
Breakfast Area
Guest Bedroom
Master Closet
Looks like she's got her work cut out for her, but if anyone can do this, and in only a month, it's our Poodie!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Hubby gave me a couple of Christmas cacti last holiday season, and they bloomed like crazy for a while, but after that I wasn't sure quite what to do with them. They are not very attractive when not in bloom, and I didn't see the point of giving up space to, nor having to hand water, such an unattractive plant, all year long, in hopes that it might bloom again some day.  Still, I felt guilty just tossing them away. So, instead, I stuck them into the ground down in the Cantina Garden. I didn't figure there was much chance they would bloom again before we had a freeze, but it was better than the compost heap, right? Well, thanks to our unseasonably warm winter thus far, you'll never guess what I spotted in the garden yesterday...

just in time for it to dip down below freezing that very same night.

Still, I don't think I would have done anything differently, had I known. I mean, one day of bliss is one day of bliss, is it not?

Monday, December 10, 2012


I had so much fun with my sisters in Dallas this weekend, I still can't get over it. For ever so long it seemed as if our family get-togethers all centered around some kind of health crisis (Dad's leukemia, all sorts of Mama Drama, both sisters' knee and hip replacements, etc.), so much so that I almost forgot just how much fun they could be. This weekend, however, it really hit home -- what a huge difference being relieved of job, health and care-taking stresses can make in one's outlook on life.

It has turned middle sister Gus into someone we don't even recognize! She was the math major who worked for a huge data systems corporation, and who spent her spare time solving murder mysteries or burning her way through yet another puzzle book -- not only left-handed, but also very left-brained. She was not into anything crafty, and entertaining gave her serious palpitations. Well, she not only hosted this year's get-together, she was so laid back about it that she spent most of the day running around to arts and crafts places with me, and didn't head to the kitchen until about an hour before everyone was due to arrive! Of course, her left-brained side had things so well-organized she didn't really need to, so that was not the biggest shock of the day. The most astounding part was that she was going to arts and crafts places in the first place. Why? Well, she has always had a habit of "doodling" her way through the many, many business meetings those corporate types have to endure, so when she finally decided to retire, I talked her into signing up for Joanne Sharpe's Letter Love class on line. Joanne uses lots of doodling in her projects. So guess what the space around my sister's computer is beginning to fill up with?

She has another room that could have been used for all this artsy stuff, had she not already filled it up with SEWING stuff. Yep, you heard me. My sister Gus is the one who gave hand-made gifts to everyone on her list this year, while I gave nary a one. I am so freakin' proud of her!

Get a load of this precious "Origami" tote and matching scissors case that she made for me.

The origami folds create little pockets that you can stash all kinds of goodies in, and her new sewing machine makes all sorts of fancy decorative stitches, which she used to adorn the straps and binding.

She stuffed the bags with so many amazing things, they will need a separate blog post all of their own!

Big sister Poodie, there on the left of adorable niece Merrit and happy hubby John, has always been creative, but her obsessions were entertaining and home decor. Her last two homes were shared with my parents, so she had to incorporate all their furnishings and take their preferences and comfort into consideration. She and I both love Country French style, and both used lots of rich reds and greens, but her style tended towards formal, while mine was kinda "messy casual."

Just recently, though, she finally sold the big house she shared with my folks, and bought a little townhouse that would be much easier for her to maintain in her "golden years." The good news is that, since she chose one built in the 60s or 70s, the rooms are much larger than today's apartments, and will accomodate her massive furniture. The bad news is that nothing has been done to update the place since it was built. Best news? Poodie's got a helluva new decorating project, with no one to please but herself! She's pretty much gutting the place, and taking it in a direction she's never, ever gone before -- one that is so hip and modern that even my not-yet-30 designing daughter was impressed with all her selections. Which got me to thinkin'... I wonder if I can get her to send me some "before and after" pictures, so I can share them with you here on my blog? I think we will all be amazed by the end result!

And, speaking of end results, what do you think of Seasonality's new look? We still have some tweaking to do over in the side bar, getting the buttons in order, and linking them to content, but all in all, I'm pretty dang tickled with it. I especially like the fact that my photos can be much larger now, but it really puts the pressure on me to take the very best photos I possibly can -- no easy feat for someone who is a total technophobe. So, anyone know of a great online class, that will teach me to max out my abilities, using a point and shoot camera?