All posts filed under: Projects

mud balls

a bit of Spring experimentation going on…   …these days with several new projects keeping me busy…I wish I could say out of trouble as well, but I have turned into a bit of a stealthy little Moss Bandit, decimating friend Laura’s backyard as I steal borrow a teeny bit of the gorgeous green velvet that grows behind her camelias.  But all in a good cause as I had fun making little mud balls of joy. Kokedama is the Japanese word for moss ball and this “poor man’s bonsai” as it is often called is nothing more than an ingenious way to grow plants, no pot needed. They are happy sitting on a plate of rocks or suspended from the ceiling on fishing line or macrame – all the better to enjoy the plants distinctive shape. In Japan everything from herbs to trees are fair game.  I was lucky enough to learn the craft from our area’s best creative design team, Sarah and Shinki at Mimoza Design, who were kind enough to lend me a cup …

arranging clouds

There is a stillness at the end of winter – a hesitation while the snow melts and the lawn heaves a bit from the thaw, like Mother Nature rolling over under a blanket of sod. This breathlessness makes me think, for some reason, in white and green color palettes, of tentative new beginnings and tender young shoots. It’s like arranging clouds. Adding in crystals and silver only underscores that icy thrill. Here’s a look at some of my end of winter projects – a hanging garden of hellebores, the last of the poinsettia and wee little baby fern heads, and an attempt at a curly willow spiral with pussy willow, pieris and chandelier crystals on a silver dish, filled out with ferns and succulents in hidden shot glasses of water. Hope you enjoy arranging some clouds. ***AND big thanks to Christine de Beer for her lovely curly willow spiral project – I attempted here in an altered form, wrapping a curly willow garland around two bottles, one clockwise and the other counter-clock wise. Her spiral …

Contain yourself

Well, now, really – who am I to ask YOU to contain YOURself. I’m the one a bit too coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs and containers these days. Although I do have a good excuse. Spring has just burst into summer. Plants need homes. Porches and store fronts need make overs and garden patios need party clothes. Truly it’s a fine time to go a bit nuts. Which is so easy to do, now that I have my plant guru Emily and her Montiego Bay Greenhouse as my de facto art supply closet, with her extensive palette of colors and textures and her petunias the size of young octopi. I did almost buckle in one riding shot gun with me to a garden party. And then there’s the Happy Hunting Grounds of Community Forklift, which provides no end of inventive containers, columns, ornate iron work and crystal door knobs. These terra cotta chimneys will soon over flow with cherry tomato, asian eggplant and petunias.  Perfect for small gardens and inhospitable growing conditions. A graduation party/family reunion was the perfect excuse for my …

Can-Do Candy Dish Succulents

“It looks like Miss Pixies exploded in here…” So said one of the astute participants of last week’s Succulent Terrarium Class at Logan Circle Ace Hardware.  Miss Pixies,” of course, is the venerable Washington DC vintage store on 14th Street and neighbor of the new Logan Circle Ace. So it was fitting that we combined the ethos of both establishments; Miss Pixie-style mid-twentieth century ephemera and Ace Hardware’s DIY devotion and Can-Do spirit. Ace provided a charming array of succulents, cactus soil and rocks, and I hauled in my comprehensive (some say “obsessive”) collection of ceramic animal figurines, candy dishes, cats-eye marbles and broken chandelier bits. Then we stood back let the students have at it. Because we are using succulents, a tough little desert plant that grows in arid tiny spaces between rocks and crags, we needed to replicate that environment in an “Open” or “Dry” terrarium.  A enclosed glass container, like a fish bowl, would create a humid environment where plants like ferns would be happy, but succulents do not prosper.  Instead we need an open, somewhat …

a local flower ice bucket challenge

Here is something a bit warmer to pour over your head This is the floral equivalent of a toasty fire, is it not? And to think, it started out a bit differently… Looking for the snow shovel, I instead find one vintage aluminum ice bucket, sans lid. Things like that always find their way here, I can’t help but notice…  …they congregate in my “work room,” on the shelf with the Lidless Teapots, Cracked Stemware and Tarnished, dented Sugar Bowls.  I’ll deal with those on another project day…Today, I have a new project and the ice bucket gets a chance to shine. Hmmmm, well that is a large diameter for a flowers, is it not? A terrarium, perhaps?  Looks like I’m plum outta echeveria plants…I could drive to the green house to buy more, but…gosh. Would you look at that? No one has cleared the snow from the driveway! sheese… I best make do with what I have here. Well, what I have on hand is some crazy curly tendrils of Harry Lauder Walking stick (thank …

Trail Treasures

THE Event of Takoma Park, the annual Troop 33 Pancake Supper: all the syrupy pancakey and sausagey goodness you can eat (vegan and gluten free options available, naturally), AND local flowers with Trail Treasures on display.    Can YOU find, the bird’s nest, the fossilized leaf, Blue Jay feather, sea glass, the antler sheds and the solitary Lego Man?  They’re all in there somewhere… All items were found on camp outs and hiking trips from Maine to the Eastern Shore to the Smokey Mountains to Northern Arizona and back again to Takoma Park backyards. The Scouts were all a hard working bunch of Waiters, Greeters, Dish Washers and Pancake Flippers.   and Scout Parents and this Year’s Pancake Momma, Anya, busted major pancake-batter coverd butt to serve up this dinner.  I love her plastic fork crown.  fyi, this picture was taken seconds before the stove caught on fire, but she handled that with aplomb. She is a marvel. More than a little sillyness went on in the dishwashing area than is probably safe, but if an older …

Gifts from Trees

Time to break out the Thank You cards, as we are rolling in the gifts over here. Weeks before the gift giving season descends, we are the recipients of some lovely nature swag: bright leaves, dried pods, berries.  Thanks to the snakes, for shedding your skins…thanks to adolescent deers for out growing  your antlers.  You guys are The Best! (we ARE selling these wreaths and more, so contact us if you door needs Autumnal ADOORnment (get it? *snort!* sorry…). But most important, I need to give a HUGE thanks also to our ancient and massive White Oak tree, sadly taken down a few weeks ago.  It was 85 feet tall, 107 rings old; a glorious home for birds and squirrels and an exercise gym for my cat.  We loved it dearly but it was dying.  Dead branches shook the house when they fell on our yard, narrowly missing our roof and the busy street.  Our beloved oak sentinel had to go.  But then, honestly – what am I supposed to do with all that?  Time to call the Neighborhood …

Look Ma! No Foam!

 This has been a project of mine for a while – how to create large installation pieces without using Floral Foam.  And not to brag or nuthin, but I think I got this…  So what’s my beef with floral foam, you ask? You can click here on this Floral Distributing website for the gory details, but suffice it to say that the green brick of phenolic foam sitting at the bottom of the basket of flowers sent by your Grandmother contains many chemicals, but mostly it’s made of the toxins Carbon Black and Formaldehyde.  On a questionnaire about possible environmental effects, the manufacturers rather glibly report: “this formulation has not been tested for environmental effects. It is a thermoset plastic and is not biodegradable.” Aside from being a nasty piece of polymer, customers don’t like it.  Even the less-than-environmentally-aware customers hate digging it out along with dead flowers. Most commercial florists, however, prefer to turn a blind eye, because floral foam makes it super easy to make big showy pieces.  It has become, I fear, a bit of a …

drift wood

 For your outdoor-sy Dad or even just to dress up your patio – I found some groovy driftwood pieces that make a perfect home for succulents and candles.     Each one looks like a little set out of a Spaghetti Western – an arroyo and chaparral vignette in a dish, almost.  Give it enough light and the right amount of benign neglect and it will be a living centerpiece for years to come.  On sale today at the Old City Farm and Guild, 925 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 and also Tuesday, June 17, at National Geographic’s Courtyard Market , 1600 M Street NW, Washington DC 20036.