Mountain of Moss

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mountain of moss

My life is now a mountain of moss! No complaints. If you remember from my last post, I created my first moss terrarium. Above is the second creation, put together as a raffle item for the Humane Society’s Canine Carnival. It features two small plants as well as two kinds of moss, plus some fun stones and little faux mushrooms.

mountain of moss

Next on the mountain of moss were these two little cat-themed terrariums. They have mood moss (Dicranum scoparium) and Aquamarine Baby Tears (Pilea Glauca) cuttings in them. The Baby Tears are starting to put down roots, which I find quite exciting! As I’ve only just started working with terrariums in July, the track record for how they survive and hopefully thrive isn’t there yet. But cuttings that are rooting is a good sign!

So now, I have a few holding areas for moss as I prepare to make my next terrariums. I’ve put the different varieties into several containers to hopefully continue to propagate, and the mountain of moss should grow.

mountain of moss

Mood moss on the left, pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) on the left, and two strings of baby tears on top.

mountain of moss

And in this holding area, Tree Moss (Climacium americanum) and Brocade Moss (Hypnum imponens) along with two small plants in the back.

mountain of moss

Here’s the little setup at the window. No direct sun, and regular misting with filtered water. If you’re interested in getting started in moss terrarium building or moss propagation, I highly recommend Green Mountain Moss. You can find them on Etsy (click for link here). Their supplies (soil, etc.) and live moss plants are fantastic. Fast shipping and the moss arrives in perfect condition, well labeled and beautiful. They often include extras as well. Their website is here (greenmountainmoss.co) and their facebook is here (www.facebook.com/greenmountainmoss). You can also find them on Instagram and TikTok. Anyhow, they are my absolute favorite moss supply company.

We are well into August. The hibiscus in the garden are in bloom. I need to get a video done this week. I think it is looking like late summer outside. The summer events are over at work, thankfully. Pi came and stayed the night before going in for his surgery. They decided not to amputate, so he was neutered and he is in the kitten room with the other kittens. After a power outage last week, we are trying to see about getting a generator for Mom’s house. I think with climate change, we may well be facing more power outages.

Mid July

Thursday, July 14, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

It’s already mid July. How did that happen? The summer is going much too quickly, as always. What have I done to show for it? Not much, actually. Some art projects. Some garden maintenance. Lots of riding the spin bike in the evenings. Watching YouTube videos on how to make better YouTube videos. I’m trying to take care of my health, but I’m still waiting for my CPAP machine and new glasses to come in. I don’t know, it rather feels like I’m squandering life.

The last two summers were spent with painting, and I haven’t done any painting at all. I do miss it. My latest project was creating this small moss terrarium (below). I wanted it to be like a living book nook, but I don’t think it was successful. I did manage to make a tiny staircase which is kind of cool. I will be interested to see if the moss grows or dies. I think they are kind of fun to make, and might make nice gifts, especially for people who have cats and can’t have regular houseplants.

Not that anyone ever reads these posts, but if you do, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d subscribe to my YouTube Channel (click here). As I mentioned above, I’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos on how to make better YouTube videos. I don’t know why I find the work so interesting. You can see more garden updates that way, too as I’ve been taking regular videos.

I do miss reading. I used to love the summer reads each summer, sitting on the couch with Maxy on my lap. Maxy is gone, reading puts me to sleep, and my bad glasses give me a headache when I do try to read. I have been listening to audio books. The latest is Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts. They aren’t ghost stories in the traditional sense, though I suppose there’s one or two like that in there. It’s more the uncanny type of stories that will remain in your mind long after you’ve read them. I wasn’t sure with the first one or two, but now I highly recommend it. Many years ago I read a collection from Breece D’J┬áPancake, and there was one particular short story that never left me about a snow plow driver. This book is full of interesting tales like that one.

After finishing Severance on Apple+, I am now on the third season of Servant. I guess it is renewed for a fourth season, but that won’t be out for quite awhile. Severance was excellent.

Yes, mid July and I am squandering life. How is your summer going?

Special Guest

Friday, July 8, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
special guest

We had a special guest over the Fourth of July weekend. Kitten Pi, who has an injured hind leg, stayed with us and brought us all kinds of joy. When he’s not playing, he’s sleeping, and he prefers to cuddle up close when he sleeps.

special guest
special guest

He’s gone on to another foster home until he’s ready for surgery. In the few days he was with us, he let me know that perhaps I can love another cat again. Pi is a special little soul, and we were lucky to have him as our special guest.

The summer is half over now, which seems incredible. I’m having a weird situation, where I have so many thoughts of so many things I’d like to do, I feel it is all overwhelming to the point where I should just go to bed. I’ve always had a list of the projects, ideas, things I want to learn about and do, but I’ve never before felt like it was all too much.

We are getting ready for our first of two in-person events at work since the pandemic. I haven’t been in a crowd in two years, so I expect this will feel a little uncomfortable.

The garden is looking pretty good. While June was exceptionally dry, we’ve had a bit of rain in July. We now have tiny tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants. The flowers look good, too.

End of June

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
end of june lily

It’s the end of June; the 4th of July weekend is upon us. June has passed incredibly quickly. Temperatures have either been high or low, no averages. Barely any rain. Things seem abnormally stressful, and I wish I could just let go of everything and enjoy the weather and the season and life. Any suggestions for how I make that happen?

end of june wood block print

I did finish the koi print, above. I’m pleased with how it turned out. I drew the image free-hand on the wood, then carved it and printed it. One of the things I like about carving the wood blocks is they are a bit of a work of art themselves, compared to linoleum. If you would like a printed copy of this koi piece, just email me and I will snail mail it out to you, free of charge. I’m not sure what else to do with the prints? I had said when I finished this piece, I’d go back to drawing/painting, but I have a bit of fear about that. What image will I choose? There’s just a complete fear of the blank page. I’m at my best mentally when I’m doing an art project, so I should start something. Last night I put myself to sleep thinking of Zines, so maybe I’ll do that in the meanwhile?

We’ve had almost no rain, so the garden is struggling a bit. The grass is turning brown and it’s hard to water enough to keep up. We have some green tomatoes, little peppers, and a tiny eggplant. We are trying to work out some watering solutions for Mom’s garden. It takes forever to water everything. As always though, her gardens are gorgeous and everything is three times the size of mine at home. I’m so glad I put the little water feature in this year. If anything, I’d have made it a bit larger. There’s something so peaceful about bubbling water.

Book Nooks & Mini Dioramas

Monday, June 20, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mini diorama

If you’ve spent time on Reddit, TikTok, or Pinterest lately, you might have stumbled into the world of book nooks and mini dioramas. And if you have found yourself in such a place, maybe you’ve thought of spending some time making one of your own? At least, that’s how I found myself on my latest project. I spent some time making two mini dioramas and one full size book nook.

The image above and immediately below are both of the mini diorama size. The actual box itself on each of these is around 2.5 inches tall. The phone box in the above image is about the height of your thumbnail. The bed below is of similar size. The phone box, bed, clock, desk, and chair all came in mini kits. They require super glue and tweezers to put them together, and you paint them. Honestly, I spent much of the time with the various pieces superglued to my fingers. They take patience. The LED light is about the size of a seed bead, and the wiring is kind of a frustrating process. I don’t actually think I will make one this small again.

mini diorama

The book nook is a bit bigger, maybe nine inches in height. Still enough so you need tweezers to work on some of it. I made the tree and the arch out of a foam clay. There’s a mirror in the back. It was more fun to make overall, though the lighting was still a bit of a hassle. I have ideas for more book nooks, but I’m putting them on hold for a bit to get back to another project.

book nook
book nook

I’m doing a wood block carving for printing. Much like the linoblock printing, this process requires carving a flat piece of wood. I’ve decided on a Japanese koi design. Carving like this I think requires a lot of practice, and I’m not where I would like to be yet.

It was hot, near 100 degrees, last week, and this week is looking to be just as hot. No complaints, though! It is after all summer in Michigan. The garden is looking green and lush. Tomorrow is the first official day of summer. Hope your summer is going great!

June is Bustin Out All Over

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
June is Bustin Out All Over

June is Bustin Out All Over! Summer weather has returned to Michigan. We’ve had the air conditioners in service at home and at work. Everything is lush and green. I’ve got all of the annuals planted at home, but still need to put in the perennial natives at the shelter, clean the vegetable garden, and plant all of the vegetables. It seems like I’m a little behind. Last year in the first week of June we were concerned about frost, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case this year.

Mom and I did the greenhouses, and got (most of) the cemetery plots planted. A major rain storm stopped us from completing all of our tasks, but we will go back later in June to finish up and see how our plantings are doing.

I’ve started working on a full size Book Nook (click here for examples, from Buzzfeed). While I have lots of ideas, I’m starting with a forest scene. Fingers crossed it turns out well. I’ll post some photos of the progress. As always, I don’t wind up having a ton of time to work on art projects. I’m anxious to get back to some wood cut printing as well. I am working on catching up on crochet cat blankets for adoptions at the shelter. We had run out while I was working on my last baby blanket project.

I’m not doing summer reads this year, but I am listening to the audio book for The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore. It’s quite captivating so far. I mostly listen to audio books when I’m making dinner.

If you are feeling also that June is Bustin Out All Over, and have the need to sing, click here for the song. Hope your month is off to a great start.

It’s Gonna Be May

It's Gonna Be May

It’s Gonna Be May? No, it already IS May, and well into it. This week May feel more like July though, with highs predicted in the 80s. I saw a meme the other day that said something like Summer? No, Outdoor Depression. With the state of the world, it’s hard to look positively on things outside your own home. I’m lucky to have happiness there.

It's Gonna Be May

While I did not manage to create my own postcards to send this year for National Postcard Week 2022, I purchased some cards from amazing artist MN John (check out her website here, postcards and stickers and all amazing!). I didn’t send out many, just enough to feel like I sort of participated this year.

It's Gonna Be May

The flower beds have been all cleaned up, though I haven’t started on the vegetable garden. I did install our tiny water feature, and this Thursday will be putting in the water plants. I’m super excited to see how it turns out. The perennials are coming right up and looking good, but nowhere like they will be in a few weeks. It’s an exciting time of year for gardeners. Just over two weeks until greenhouse day.

It's Gonna Be May - Cass

Work has generally been a giant dumpster fire of stress. Not enough staff, unhappy staff, not enough money. Typical nonprofit stuff, I suppose. Kitten season has started, and as I’ve said before, you should never give your heart to a kitten. Cass here has spend some time in my office helping me work. He’s a good boy.

Ideas on the horizon? More linocut printing, book nooks, more YouTube videos and follow up on My Michigan Garden. Gardening, reading Nature is a Human Right, and waiting for my sleep test. Hope you are having a decent spring, or at least enjoying better weather.

Mid April Misc.

Monday, April 18, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mid april misc snow

Weather & Garden Update

It’s time for some mid April misc. thoughts. This morning we had snow, enough to coat the grass, but the rain later in the afternoon took care of that. With today’s high at 41 degrees and tomorrow at 43 degrees, we’re about 20 degrees below average for this time of year. Our daffodils at home are at least a week behind. The crocuses in the woodland garden did bloom, though the ones closest to the house were eaten by deer.

The gardening group started some spring clean-up at the shelter, and I cut back two bunches of tall grasses, mulched and caged the baby trees near the paw, and put down some plastic to kill the grass under some new beds. I have yet to do any garden clean up at home. You can see progress on my garden at the My Michigan Garden YouTube channel here.

mid april misc. crocus

50th Wedding Anniversary

On Friday for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary, I took breakfast over and Mom and I ate and looked through her wedding albums. It was a lovely morning. On Sunday, Easter, Bob and I went over for a delicious dinner. The rest of the weekend, we had a plumbing project in the laundry room that took up a good deal of time. Having a washer and dryer in your home really makes a difference.

Art

In my recent Plein Air magazine, there was an article entitled ‘Painting New Mexico’s High Desert’ by John Meister. Sometimes, I’ll read something that will just have me feel in my mind’s eye the description the author paints in words. This article contained such a description:

“Some people get why it’s called the Land of Enchantment the minute they step out of the airport; others spend years here before they realize it’s part of them. For the visitor, the history, sights, and cultural diversity provide a host of experiences. This is a place where stories are born. This is New Mexico.

Santa Fe, one of the top art markets in the country, sits a 50-minute drive north of the state’s largest airport in Albuquerque. The city’s warm adobe walls cast shadows and pitch light in every direction; bright floral gates and windows trimmed in color provide alluring subject matter for visiting plein air painters. At this elevation, the zenith of the sky is a deep ultramarine, and an outdoor painter doesn’t need much training to see this blue clearly reflected in the shaded areas below.

mid april misc. art

I’ve continued to work on some linocut printing. I’ve turned out a fox that was ok, and I’m using this bee to print on notecards for inclusion in my Little Bee Basket for the shelter’s upcoming auction May 5th, Cinco de Meow. My friend and previous boss Tina Slayton passed away. Though she’s been away from the shelter for some time, she helped me through a really rough period where I wasn’t sure if I could continue to work at the organization. She made things better for me, for the staff members, and for the animals. If there is a rainbow bridge where the animals wait, I know Tina’s Gracie will be there. But there will be so many other dogs and cats from the shelter that will be there too, to thank her for caring for them.

Misc. Thoughts

Monday, March 28, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

I’m not getting much done on any projects, but thought I’d share a few misc. thoughts as March comes to a close. I always do better with assignments and deadlines and without the Cornell class I’m just not getting in my art space as much. I did try this little linocut print (above). I know linocut printing is a skill and you have to keep working on it to develop it. I’m still in the process of two zines as well.

I expect the crocuses may be in bloom today or tomorrow, if they haven’t frozen solid. We had snow over the weekend, and temperatures 20 degrees below average for this time of year. The buds on the maples have popped, but that’s about all the action we’ve seen in Battle Creek. Two weeks from now it will be time to put up the oriole and hummingbird feeders.

Last night we watched the Academy Awards. Most of the winners were the movies I haven’t seen. The biggest item of the evening was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. I suppose that’s what this year’s show will be remembered for, anyway. As the Oscar pressure for viewing is off now, I’ve returned to watching gardening shows on BritBox. There were enough Hulu ads last night for shows that looked interesting, I may give a few of them a try, including Only Murders in the Building. It’s National Crochet Month and I didn’t make any special posts on it, but I did finish a shawl that I probably won’t wear and now I’m working on a mini blanket that I have no use for. I just need something to do with my hands while I watch tv.

April will bring daffodils and flowering trees and getting out in the garden. It will probably bring kittens at work, and baby geese by KCC. Hopefully, I’ll be more productive around the house and with some art time as well. I think once it gets a little warmer, or at least remains near normal temperatures for this time of year, everyone will feel a bit better.