Not a Hummingbird

April 11th, 2014

Last night my family called for me to come and see the really small hummingbird in the courtyard.

Yeah, not a hummingbird. It was a Sphinx Moth. How did I know this? A few years back my neighbor gave me a dead moth he found on one of his potted plants. It was a Sphinx Moth. And then I found one in my garden. Again not alive. I placed them in tins and they are resting here–

Sphinx Moths in Tins

I tried to get a photo of the one in the garden. Unfortunately, the photos were all very blurry. This is the best one.

Sphinx Moth

I found this great image taken by Raymond Christensen and posted on Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Christensen Sphinx Moth Photo

Some Information on Sphinx Moths
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Colorado State University Extension

North American Moth Photographers Group (Gorgeous Photographs)

Wire Twist Pliers

January 1st, 2014

My husband is a private pilot and does some of the mechanical work on his plane. He recently bought a tool for twisting wire. I thought the tool would be great for a future project.

Wire and Wire Twist Tool

I selected steel wire–24 and 18 gauge. A length of wire was cut with the twist pliers’ handy cutter. The wire was bent in half. A clamp was inserted through the loop created and to a stationary object (handle of a drawer). Then it was time to twist the wire.

Twisting the 24 gauge wire was easy peasy. But, the 18 gauge wire was really a bit too thick.

Wire Twist Tool

Twisted Wire

The top twisted wire is 24 gauge, the bottom is 18 gauge.

The tool was purchased from Aircraft Spruce.

2014 January 1

January 1st, 2014

Tradition Continued–

First day of the year, first visit to the ocean.


Loads of anemones.


Possible idea for new series???


Searching for holey rocks.

Holey Rock

Holey rock with a pebble inside.

What were they thinking?

October 2nd, 2013

I ran across this necklace on a vegan site.

Why would a vegan site offer a necklace that has a jump ring through the eye of a bunny? Because the bunny is stamped with the words Cruelty Free???

Jump Ring Through The Eye

Bunnies have been blinded or worse over the years? Why would anyone want to wear a reminder of that?

New Tool–Numbered Tape

September 30th, 2013

When I use hardware cloth for embroidery, I make my designs based on the spaces not the threads (wire). I am currently working on a piece consisting of three panels. Two of the panels will mirror each other. I needed to make sure that I followed my design without mistakes.

I number my grid paper designs, so it occurred to me that numbering the hardware cloth spaces would make for an easier go.

Numbered Tape 1

It worked great and saved loads of time. No more counting before making a stitch.

Why the double numbers? So the numbers can be easily read however I am holding the hardware cloth.

Numbered Tape 2

Brugmansia Double White

September 30th, 2013

Brugmansia Double White Plant

First bloom on a two year old Brug cutting.

Brugmansia Double White Flower

Detail of Brug double white flower.

More Bugs in the Garden

September 30th, 2013

Bug 1

Bug 2

Bug 3

Everyone Loves Brugmansia

September 25th, 2013

I love Brugs. I became aware of them when we were living at the beach. We often would take walks to the beach in the evening. I kept noticing a lovely fragrance and found that it was Brugs. The plants were cut like trees and had large white bell flowers.

When we moved to SLO I decided to have a Brug garden. I bought one plant. I loved it so much, I started buying seeds of different varieties. At one point I had over 100 plants. And my gardens smelled great!

The Brug flowers are white, yellow, peach, white with a blush. Some are double flowers. They all are beautiful.

Then I realized I wasn’t the only one who loved Brugs. Everyone loves them. No matter how much I fertilize the Brugs and give them systemic, damage occurs.

Brug Damage 1

This is damage typical of cucumber beetles. The beetle looks a bit like a green ladybug.

Today I found this wormy guy on one of my variegated potted plants.

Wormy Guy

You may not think he can eat much until you see this–

Leaf Damage

I think that Spider Mites are the worst of all bugs. They are difficult to see and an infestation can occur rather quickly.

Spider Mites

Spider Mites on a Double White Brug.

This is an image of a Brug that was a cutting from a Brug that I grew from seed. It likes to grow tall, about 20 feet. We try to keep it pruned to about half that height, to allow for an easier removal of spent flowers.

White Flowers

When I prune my Brugs I always take cuttings. It is a superstition thing for me. I tend to be rather aggressive when pruning. The cuttings will be my back up plants just in case the parent dies. These are a few current cuttings that are ready to be planted–3 Brug varieties and Solandra Maxima.

Brug Cuttings

The Solandra Maxima has large flowers with a lovely fragrance. I bought a plant from a fellow at the Saturday Farmers’ Market. He told me that it is a vine. Actually it does not behave so much like a vine. I have found that it is somewhat shrub-like. I took cuttings and have it growing in four different locations in my gardens.

This is the result of a cutting from my original Solandra Maxima plant. The plant is filling in a corner niche quite nicely.

Solandra Maxima Plant from Cutting

Soon there should be flowers that look like this–

Solandra Maxima Flower

Trolley Needle

September 9th, 2013

I was researching embroidery techniques and ran across reference to a Trolley Needle. Appeared quite useful, so I ordered one.

Trolley Needle

The tool is used for keeping thread flat and in order when doing needlework. I will not be able to use it for a few weeks because I sustained a repetitive stress injury of my hand and wrist.

Another item that I keep in my tool chest is gaffer tape. I wrap it around the edge of hardware cloth to prevent snags and frays of fiber and my hands. I like that it sticks nicely but does not leave a sticky residue.

Gaffer Tape

These are a few panels in progress that may be part of a triptych.

Needlework In Progress

Trolley Needle

Gaffer Tape

Mayo Clinic Repetitive Stress Injury

Baylor Health Repetitive Stress Injury

Plum Pie and Fiber Trivet

August 11th, 2013

My niece (who will be staring 6th grade) taught me how to make a pie crust. I do not know if it is all of the years wedging clay, but every time I attempted to make a pie the crust was a huge disappointment. This is the result of the lesson.


The plums were from the tree in our orchard. My niece used the snowflake cookie cutters I impulsively bought last Christmas in Maryland.

We decided to share the pie with our friends who recently relocated from Washington. While we were there I saw this amazing trivet.


I love white on white–embroidered shirts and linens, knot work, woven work… The trivet is thick and the knots while not physically connected appear as diagonals. Simple, yet effective way to make a pattern.

Trivet Detail

Planning to give the technique a go and if it feels right, the pattern may show up in some of my work.