Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Skunk Likes Bleach???

I think we have a weird skunk in our neighborhood. A while ago I noticed a small hole on the ground right outside of my basement door, next to my flower bed. I didn't pay much attention to it. Then on Sat, I saw lots of bees (don't know what kind) flying in and out of that hole all the time. Obviously that's their nest! I never knew bees can live underground. I normally don't kill bees, but this time they are just too close to my house, especially we don't have a screen door for the basement, so they can accidentally get inside and might sting us. So, I had to scare them away, or kill some of them. I drove away some ants last month by pouring bleach on their path, so I thought the same method will work on the bees. I poured some bleach down their nest, but the bees just hesitated a little bit, then kept flying into the hole. Maybe they don't really care. So, I gave up. Then on Sun morning, when I was checking my garden, I was surprised to see a huge hole right where the bee nest entrance was. I thought some animal came during the night and had a dinner party there. Then around dusk, my neighbor knocked on my door nervously. She dragged me over to their side, (we live in a two family townhouse), and clearly there it is, a big skunk, digging at that hole again. I almost freaked out. Still remember the huge skunk made home under my deck and vegetable garden? I couldn't get out of my house or open any window for a very long time. So, I ran back to my house, bravely went out to the deck, and clapped loudly and walked towards the skunk. Lucky for me, even though this skunk didn't like loud noise, it was not scared. So instead of spraying me, it just turned around and left quickly. My nice neighbor then came out with a big bottle of some sort of organic stuff, maybe animal repellent, and poured a lot in that hole and around it. I didn't know what else can keep the skunk away. So, I took out all the chilly powder I have, and dumped it all around the deck and my garden. Don't know which one worked, the skunk didn't come back. Then I tried very hard to figure out why the skunk was digging there. That bee nest has been there for a while, but the skunk only came digging after I poured bleach there. So, is it possible this skunk happen to like the smell of bleach? But base on the research I did online, skunk and raccoon suppose to hate that smell, and that's why bleach can be used as repellent when you have a skunk or raccoon problem. Why on earth is this skunk loving it then??? Now I have to go buy more chilly powder, in case it come back again. =(

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thrift Finds

Went to some yard sale and a couple of thrift stores last weekend. Even though I didn't get what I wanted, I did get some pretty good stuffs, a hand painted plate with my favorite color, a brand new photo album, a beautiful window curtain panel, a set of small casserole dish, a couple of baking pans, and an almost new Teddy bear.

Look at that beautiful painting on the plate. Don't you just love the color? It's so fresh, and perfect for a summer table. And it was only $.99! Oh, can you see the curtain panel underneath it? Again blue! It matches the nursery's wall color perfectly. I am going to make it into a tie-up curtain, and if there is any left over, I will make a pillow cover to match the curtain. I decided instead of framed arts (which is normally with glass and could fall on my baby and hurt her) I will make some butterfly cutouts, and tape them to the wall behind the crib, in a fun pattern. And there are blue, lavender, and white butterfly on this curtain. How perfect is that! So, $2, definitely worth it. Just wish there were two of them, then I could make more matching stuffs for the nursery, maybe a bedskirt for the crib, or a baby quilt.

I don't really know what to do with these casserole dishes, but they are so cute, and at $2 for a set of 6, how can I resist it? I will just use them to hold some dessert, or make some mini cake in them. I will think of a way to use these babies.

Oh, I was so excited when I found the right size floating shelf in white at Target, and they were only $10 each! I bought 4! The nursery is tiny, with the crib, twin bed and the glider, there is no more space left for a bookshelf. And I always loved floating shelves, so I was beyond happy to find them at such low price. BUT, when I tried to install them last night, I was SOOOOO disappointed. The drywall anchors and the screws just won't hold up. The shelf started leaning forward as soom as I put it up, even without anything on top. Now I know why they are so cheap! Have to return them tonight. And now I am left with two big holes on my wall! =( I will just have to build some ledge kind of shelves myself, and then I can secure them anywhere I want. Just need to ask DH to paint them white, since I am not supposed to touch paint now. Still I will buy a big can of those NO VOC paint, since I want to paint every piece of furniture in that nursery white later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Amazing Miltoniopsis Jean Sabourin

Remember this baby? AK rescued it last year, for $5!!! It exploded under AK's gentle care, and blooms twice a year. And let me tell you, everytime it blooms, it's such a stunning show! Not only the flowers are huge, the colors are dramatic, that heavenly rose scent is unbelievably strong. AK has it on a desk in the corner of our big office, and every morning when I walk in, it's like walking into a blooming rose garden! It's getting quite big though, ready to burst out of its small pot. AK is going to devide it after the flowers gone, and he is going to give me some! I AM SO LUCKY! I bet even DH will love this one. Just hope I can take care of it as good as AK, with a new baby in the house.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two More Sale!

Just sold two more, actually it should count as three more, since one of the listing is for two child size bracelets. And these babies will be on their way to France today. How exciting! The bracelets are custom orders for a 3yr old girl and her baby sister. So I made them both for the 3yr old, so she can choose the color she likes, and keep the other for her sister for later.
And I love this earrings design, and the color combination. Actually thought about keeping it for myself. But it's going to be loved by someone else, I am ok with that too. I will just make myself another pair someday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pantry Inspirations

A couple of friends came over on Sun. We had a great time chatting and catching up. As I was showing them my house, I have never given them official 'tour' before, they both got really interested in my organizing skills. One of them actually wanted to go out shopping for some cute baskets right away. =) She has a normal size pantry closet in her kitchen, which we don't have, so I went to flickr searching for some inspirations for her. Found two great ones.

This first one is from Chez Larsson. I totally fell in love with her style, with all those white china and other kitchen stuffs, her house looks sparkling clean! Isn't that everyone wants, a clean house? Wish I had a pantry like that to organize. Our kitchen is kind of small, just some cabinets! Big enough for two of us, but I know for sure, once the baby comes out, there will be much more stuffs. That will be a good test for all the organizing skills I picked up over these several years. We'll see.
This second one is also really pretty. It's from Door Sixteen. Guess she spent a little bit more money than Chez, for those new beadboard and pretty wallpaper. The result is simple and yet elegant. Love how she combined the old rusty looking cabinet and the new white shelves. Smart! Just wish she took a picture of the entire pantry to give us a better idea.
OK, my dear friend, do you think these will work for your pantry? Cannot wait for you to finish it and show me some pictures. I SO want to help you with it (I have almost nothing in my house to organize any more), but you know I cannot touch paint now, and I cannot get too close to your two CUTE CUTE cats. =( Good luck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Red Tailed Hawk?

Yesterday morning, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I noticed the birds in my backyard were acting strangely. So, I went to the sliding door to take a better look. There was a hawk chasing all the birds! He/she moved too fast for me grab my camera. So, I found a picture of similar hawk on New York Daily Photo. I think this one looks pretty close. But my hawk did catch anything, at least I didn't see him/her catch any bird. We have lots of birds in our neighborhood, blue jay, robin, cardinal, chickadee, goldfinch, mocking bird, sparrow, and maybe owls. But rarely any hawks. I saw one about 3 years ago, different color though. He was so awesome, caught a bird right in the sky, and ate it right in my backyard. It was amazing! OK, not for that poor bird who got caught. We don't see these kind of wild life activities so often in suburb or city, so I enjoyed every single minute of it. I probably should stayed in the house, but I was curious enough to went out on to the deck for more action and better view. Guess that hawk didn't like to be so close to human, so it left as soon as he/she saw me. Too bad! Next time, stay inside, and grab my camera asap.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Birdie Mobile

My sister gave me the mobile she used years ago in my niece's room. It still works, just the plastic arms turned yellowish, and the small stuffed animals hanging there looked old and tired. So, I thought about the bird mobile tutorial I found on Spool Sewing a while ago. I fell in love with the birds immediately, so made some of them with my scrap fabrics. I didn't really know what to do with them at that time, but now I think they will be perfect for the mobile. I sewed some silver ribbon to their back, and tied them to where the old small animals were. And I found more scrap fabric to cover the plastic arm and the music box / motor thing. Now I think it looks great! Forgot to take the before picture of the whole thing, just a picture of the old stuffed animals.

And here is the end result! LOVE IT! And I am sure my baby will love it too. See, I even found some bird fabric for that music box. And the arms actually matches the bedding I made. PERFECT!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Love This Jade Fish!

This one is sold again! I loved it so much, and was lucky enough found a company in US selling this jade fish. So far I sold 3 of them, 2 in traditional China red, 1 in deep purple. They all looked great. Then last night, I was designing a piece for a charity event, thought it might look good with some modern twist. So, here is what I came up with. LOVE IT! I wanted to make a whole set, with matching bracelet and earrings, but ran out of the black satin cord last night. And I like it a lot, probably will keep it for myself, and make them a different design.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deck, rearranged!

Bought a new outdoor table and umbrella last week, and they happen to match our old chairs perfectly. Now we can enjoy our deck much more, and I don't have to worry about fainting under the sun (a new pregnancy symptom for me). And when we are not on the deck, my plants can still enjoy the full sun they love. The table and umbrella were on sale, but the biggest bargain on the deck are the chairs. I found them on the sidewalk 1 mile away from our house 3 years ago. They were a little bit rusty, but otherwise in perfect condition. I brought them home, my dad (was visiting at the time) cleaned, sanded and spray painted them. Then I bought some outdoor fabric (on clearance) and foam, made those cushions. (The third one is still in basement) So, all 3 chairs costed me no more than $20! Of course I want those gorgeous expensive outdoor furniture, but since we live in a townhouse, with no fence, I don't want to risk losing them.

And what's happening in my garden? My strawberries are finally turning red! I have been picking them every evening now. Home grown ones are just SOOOOO SWEET! Of course, some of them got half eaten by the birds, but most of them are in great shape.
My cucumbers and yard long beans are doing great. I spent a couple of hours last Sun to tie the strings on the trellis, so they will have the climbing support they need. Look at my cucumber plants, so strong, so green, even have tiny femal flower buds when they are just 8 inches tall! Amazing! Crossing my fingers now, there won't be that many cucumber beetles this season.
My foxglove is finally ready to bloom! I started it 3 years ago from seeds, only one survived. It looked so sad for years, but finally accumulated enough energy to send out 2 flower spikes this year. The flowers are just starting to open, but you can already see the amazing colors! Cannot wait for it to fully open.
My columbines are at their peak. I actually have four different colors, white, lavender, purple, and wine red. But a couple of them need some support now, the flowers are too heavy to stand up straight in the wind and rain.
My lavenders started blooming too. Cannot wait to cut the flowers and dry them up for the closets.
I didn't plant any bachelor buttons this year, this one is just a volunteer. But it reminded me how much I used to love them. I planted lots of them along the driveway for two years, and they looked amazing. Just too much maintenance, the grass tried to take over, and mulch I used always got washed all over the driveway in heavy rain. So, I gave up. No more flower beds along the driveway!
And last, but not least, my lilies and purple coneflowers are ready to bloom. Love these perennials, they come back year after year, providing me striking colors and beauty, and the best of all, I don't need to do anything for them!

Monday, June 8, 2009


How many bugs can a small garden have?
Last month, it was the Red Lily Leaf Beetle. They were having a buffet party on my poor lily plants every morning. So, I had to get up early, and catch then by hand. They look pretty, but man, they eat like pigs. There were holes in my lily's young leaves, some of them got 80% eatten! And they lay eggs on the under side of the leaves, so I have to kill those as well. Don't really like to smash the bugs, I like to use my nails to pull their little head off! (Muwhahaha, that's my evil laugh!)

Then after I transplanted my cucumber, celtuce, and eggplant seedlings, it was the slugs, eating them away during the night. We don't drink at all, so cannot use the beer bait method. Besides, that might attract all the slugs from my neighbors' yard over. And since I am not using any chemical in my garden, had to find organic ways to keep them away. So far, I found crashed eggshell works pretty good. Just hope the weather stays warm, so my baby vegetables can grow bigger faster. Oh, now, the slugs found another tasty food source, my strawberry! I have to pick them before they fully ripe, otherwise, the slugs will eat at least half of the berries. So annoying!

This weekend, I found some snails, eating my purple coneflower leaves! This is the first time I found them in my garden, heard they are pretty bad too. Need to do more research on this topic. My purple coneflowers are really strong, so I am not worried about them. Just don't know what else in my garden will be the snails' next victim.

But this is my worst enemy ever! The Cucumber Beetle! There are two different type, striped and spotted. They both look cute, but they are just equally evil! They attacted my cucumber, wintermelon, squash, and anything else has yellow flowers! It's not their bites hurt the plants, they spread the bacterial wilt disease. During the past 2 years, I lost most of my cucumber plants to these devils. So far, haven't found a single one, but one of my cucumber seedlings had a wilted leaf a week ago. Pinched it off, but it still doesn't look so good. It might be the beetle's work. It's so frustrating.

But I am still NOT going to use any chemicals on my vegetable and flowers. I don't want to accidentally kill the good bugs and the birds. Most importantly, I am not going to poison my own family with those stuffs. I might lose some plants or harvest to the bugs, but at least I know for sure what I put on my dining table will be 100% organic. In fact, we should all stop using chemicals in our yard, so our poor earth will have a fighting chance.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yard Sale Goals

Summer is here, and yard sales are like mushrooms, poping up everywhere. Don't know about you guys, I have always been excited about it. DH doesn't like driving around and buying other people's used stuffs. He has no imagination, about how great one item will turned out after just a little bit elbow greece. I am thinking about having some fun this summer, before the baby comes. Even though our house is kind of full, and we have been donating our old or unwanted stuffs, I still have some things on my mind, that I rather buy from a yard sale.

We already have enough china for our family, but who can resist some beauty like these. They will look wonderful on our new outdoor table. Dreaming about holding my baby girl, all dressed in pink, and drinking some hot tea from a set like this. Sweet!
Oh, I also want to find a great quilt like this one. I hate carpet, no matter how hard I clean it, I still think it's dirty. Thinking about having my baby crawling on a carpet or area rug makes me sick. I cannot ripe out the carpet and install hard wood to the entire second floor now either. So, my solution is buying some of these wonderful quilts, and use them as area rugs. I can always throw them in my big new washer, and don't have to worry about allergen or dust mites that much.
I probably mentioned this before, I want to find a old dresser, just right height and width, as the changing table for the nursery. Got lots of inspiration from 7 Layer Studio. Love what she did to these great old dressers.
And I also need a side table or night stand in the nursery, preferably a matching one.
I am thinking about putting some arts on the wall. But concerned about my baby's safety, I will only use light frames without glass for above the crib, in case she throw some toy up at the frame and it fall on her head. So maybe I should find some super cute kids fabric, and make some canvas like this one. Or like this one.
And I also want to install some floating shelves, and display some cute toys or flowers or something. And how about these cuties? Don't think I can find something like these, but I do have some special ones already.
And I really like to have some cute lamps for the nursery. Love this idea from The City Sage.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Planting Done

All my eggplant and tomato seedlings are in the garden now. Glad I transplanted them Friday evening, because we were home the entire weekend, so I could provide the young plants some shade during the mid day. Today will be their first day without my protection. They looked OK this morning, just hope when I get home at the end of the day, they will still be alive. Kept some seedlings in their pots. They are for Elaine and Jackie, but one of them cancelled our little get together, so I have to take care of these babies for them, for one or two more weeks.

AK gave me some bareroot lily of the valley and dwarf iris. I planted them in the empty spots in my shade flower beds. But they looked so aweful and dried up, don't know whether they can survive. AK also brought me some gorgeous siberian iris, he dug them out of his friend's yard for me. You know, we share plants all the time, I gave his friends some of my hostas, columbines, and geraniums recently. Plant exchanging is a great way to add new member to your garden, and share your extra with other people. None of us has the heart to kill the overgrown but very healthy plants. Will take pictures of the siberian iris after I plant them tonight. Now, where should I plant them?