Gift of Amaryllis

Received an Amaryllis bulb for my birthday in November. Predicted the flower would open today, Valentine’s Day. Wanted to use it for a Valentine greeting.

Valentine Greeting

Looks a tad like a heart. If you squint a bit.
I embroidered the background for a piece. Didn’t quite work. Maybe someday it will find a home.

Sunday, Valentine’s Evening
Moved to a warmer and safer location overnight.
Amaryllis Sunday Night

Monday Early Morning
Moved the plant back to the warmest spot in the house.
Amaryllis Monday Morning

Can see the white Brugmansia flowers outside. The Brug is a Brazillian White that I grew from seed. We try to keep it to 6′, but currently is over 10′.
Amaryllis Monday Morning

Monday Nearly Noon

Amaryllis Monday Noon

Amaryllis Monday Noon

Amaryllis Monday Noon

Amaryllis Monday Noon

Sunday Afternoon, February 21

The weight of the three flowers is too heavy for the potting mix and pot. To the right is a bamboo stake in a pot of heavy rocks. When the fourth flower blooms, probably tomorrow, the weight of the flowers should be distributed a bit better. May not need support.


There is bamboo yarn inside a handkerchief to support the plant. The handkerchief should protect it from being cut or damaged by the yarn.

Used the Instants Photo Editio‪n‬ app to make the Valentine greeting.

Thoughts, Words… In Progress

Today I cut 330 plus pieces of hardware cloth for my Thoughts/Words… piece. The extra pieces are to replace blocks that are not quite right. Sometimes when trimming a block it is possible to break the joint. A broken joint can result in shredded fiber and make it difficult to bind the block. Also, the wire is sharp and can cause wounds.

Hardware Cloth

My gloves don’t appear too damaged.


This is how I had my hand taped. I kept adding tape when areas felt a bit stingy. The clear plastic tape on my palm is a horrible product. It gets sticky and leaves a sticky residue after it is removed.

Hand Taped

The tools that I use to cut the hardware cloth and the removed tape.

Removed Tape

And a few blisters.

Hand Blisters

My palm tonight after a day working, making dinner, and washing dishes.

Hand This Evening

Not as annoying as a month after hand surgery. Apparently, when you are told to work as much as you feel up to, they really mean an hour a day, not 6-8 hours per day.

Blue Hand

The result was the inability to work for nearly two months. And certain activities are still challenging. Last week I had a steroid injection to break up the scar tissue. After the bruise and sting went away, my hand is behaving more like a healthy hand.

I really should have spread out the repetitive cutting of hardware. Funny how when you get in the zone, you just keep working.

So, tomorrow I will spend part of the day cutting and perforating 330 pieces of roofing felt. Maybe begin assembling the blocks.

Who Is Left to Connect Me to My Earlier Life?

The quote is from Firewall, part of the Wallander series written by Henning Mankell.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mother’s ischemic stroke. An event that changed everything.

Last year was a challenging year. My younger sister survived her third surgery for oral cancer, but while in recovery had an ischemic stroke. She did not survive.

Two months later my mother had an ischemic stroke. For a few weeks the prognosis was positive-negative, hopeful-no hope. Before summer I lost the two most important women in my life. The women who knew me when I was a child. We grew and changed together.

I am working on a memorial series. Typically I my series have 11 pieces. Several pieces are in progress but not quite completed. Partly the delay in completing work is the result of recovering from hand surgery. Still do not have my fine motor skill and manual dexterity in my dominant hand.

I using fiber to embroider on hardware cloth for my code blocks. Holding a needle for extended periods of time still causes hand and finger pain. Needed to figure out alternative ways for making things. Since I can loom knit, decided to give that a go. This will also be the first piece in a long time that does not have hardware cloth. It is a good thing to break a dependence on a material.

Who is Left…, will still have a metal component. The plan is to use safety pins to assemble the blocks. The safety pins will also add the possibility of green patina running down the piece.

There are three colors of wool blocks: 41 tan for dashes, 51 dark brown for dots, and 52 cream for spacers. The 144 blocks will be laid out on a 9 x 16 grid.


Knit Pattern–Dash 41 Tan Wool Blocks

Cast On E-wrap
Knit E-wrap

R1 Skip, K5, Flat Knit
R2 Skip, K, S, K, S, K, Flat Knit
R3 Skip, K5, Flat Knit
R4 Skip, S, K, S, K, S, Flat Knit

Pattern rolls.

Knit Pattern–Dot 51 Dark Brown Wool Blocks

Cast On E-wrap
Knit E-wrap

R1 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit
R2 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit
R3 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit
R4 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit

Knit Pattern–Spacers 52 Cream Wool Blocks

Cast On E-wrap
Knit E-wrap
Only Knit Purl Stitches
R1 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit
R2 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit
R3 Skip, K, P, K, P, K, Flat Knit
R4 Skip, P, K, P, K, K, Flat Knit


Knitted Swatches with Cotton Cord Separating Blocks After First Fulling


Blocks for Code


The scraps are random sizes, might be fun to stitch together to make letters in a different code piece.
Been thinking about learning to use my mother’s sewing machine.


The blocks were fulled, not felted. Loops for pegs still visible.

Safety Pins
I ordered two types of bronze 3/4″ safety pins from amazon:

Household Mall 3/4-Inch Safety Pins, Bronze (1440 Pieces)

Firefly Bronze Metal Gourd Pin (1000 Pieces)

Received the Household Bronze pins. They are beautiful!

Safety Pins

Safety Pin Detail

Waiting to assemble the piece until I see the Bronze Gourd Pins.

10 April They Arrived…

Gourd Pin

Gourd Pin

The extra space in the curve of the pin might work better with the thickness of the wool blocks.

The safety pins would be lovely for use in the i-cord bowl series I am planning to make. The title is Collected Memories. Got the idea when going through my parents’ collections found in random drawers.

A few years ago I dinked around with the idea of i-cord bowls. Wasn’t the time to develop the work. Maybe I was waiting for bronze safety pins.

Brown Bowl with Safety Pins

Cream Bowl with Safety Pins

According to the email I received from amazon, I may not receive the gourd safety pins until April 12th. So, I patiently wait for the order to arrive.

I-cord for New Project


Loom Knit I-cord Front


Loom Knit I-cord Back


Cast on Double Knot on Two Pegs with a Single Strand of Wool Yarn

Wrap for Purl

Wrap Peg, Two Wraps on Peg

Wrap for Purl

Place Third Loop/Wrap Below Previous Wraps


Pull Lower Loop Through Top Loops
Pull Lot Off of Peg and Replace Loop on Peg

Flat Knit

Flat Knit from Right to Left
Place Yarn Above Existing Loop
Lift Bottom Loop Over Top Leaving One Loop on Peg

Keyboard Malfunction and Solution

I have a MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016). Since I took it out of the box I have had a difficult time using the keyboard, especially the spacebar.

Thisis anexample of what happens whenItypeon this keyboard.

A couple of weeks ago it was so bad that I scheduled an appointment at the Apple store. The Genius rep cleaned my keyboard and asked me to type something to see if the cleaning solved the problem. It didn’t. The charge to repair the keyboard is $475. We discussed using a bluetooth keyboard, a new one would be approximately $60.

The Genius rep explained that many people did not adjust to the new keyboard design. I used and still use my 2009 MacBook.


A few nights ago I noticed that when I hit the keyboard exactly where the tape is, the spacebar worked. So, approximately .5″ of the 3.75″ of the spacebar works.

Plantel Plant Trays and Zenport Ring Knife

I recently attended the Santa Barbara County Fair in Santa Maria, CA. When I wandered through the horticulture displays I saw a sign for free plants. Plantel Nurseries was giving away vegetable plants. I snagged a few plants-kale, chard, lettuces, and celery.

When I returned home I immediately planted them in pots. While I was planting them I got to thinking about the Plantel plant trays. The cells were smaller than those of the typical plant trays available at the neighborhood nurseries.

I visited the Plantel website and was directed to Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.

Plantel Plant Trays

While I was visiting their site I found the Zenport Ring Knife.

Zenport Ring Knife

This is an image of the Zenport Ring Knife from the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply website.

I thought that it might be useful when I am working on a project that has loads of binding and cutting of yarn and cord. I wasn’t sure what size to order. One reviewer stated the ring runs small. I ordered two sizes, both were too large. So, I bound them a bit.

Zenport Ring Knife

The top ring knife is bound with a bamboo yarn and will be used for clean projects.
The bottom is bound with waxed linen cord for ease of cleaning and will be used for gardening.
Wrapping the ring makes the tool more comfortable to wear.

I am not recommending that anyone else should attempt this at home.
Using tools inappropriately can be dangerous.

Zenport Ring Knife

I attempted to use the knife ring as instructed, but it was awkward and difficult.

Zenport Ring Knife

I flipped the ring knife and it was easy peasy cutting. I had better control of the blade.

Even though it appears that the blade can come in contact with my hand, it does not.

I am not recommending that anyone else should attempt this at home.
Using tools inappropriately can be dangerous.

Rock/Succulent Garden in Progress

Rock Garden

Rock/Succulent Garden in Progress

Rock Garden

Rock Garden

The two small blue rocks in the lower right resulted in the need to move three flagstone and a blue rock.
But I really wanted those two little rocks. They will be a nice backdrop for thyme.

Next is to add cactus mix, plant succulents, install drip system, add mulch, and enjoy.

The mailbox is sitting on a box that will be replaced. The mailbox came from our home in New Jersey. The cardinal is the Ohio state bird. I am originally from Ohio; it was our first home. So, bit sentimental to keep the mailbox in the courtyard.

The mailbox also functions as a place to store frequently used garden tools.

Building a Rock/Succulent Garden

I am in the process of converting a garden space into a rock/succulent garden. Spent the past few days removing everything–Solandra maxima, small Japanese maple, a medium sized Brugmansia, miscellaneous plants, and a bazillion bulbs.

While removing the current irrigation system, I found an amazingly large root growing through the entire space. The garden space is only 4.5′ x 7′. Curious how anything else was able to compete.


The irrigation system was in place when we moved in. The main line seems to be quite deep.

Rock Garden Space

This morning, my first task will be to remove the root. I am hoping to remove it in one piece. That may not be possible.

Next will be the removal of some of the soil, prep the bed, organize the rocks, and set up the drip system.

Then after all of that, get the plants in the ground!

Rock Detail

Detail of rocks that are currently being used in my garden and will be used in the rock/succulent garden.

What have I learned? Two tools that have been helpful in the removal of bulbs and unwanted other stuff.

Garden Tools

The tool with the blue handle was designed for harvesting grapes, but I used it in place of my fingers.

Always wear proper eye protection when digging in soil that has some hard bits and rocks. It is important to protect your eyes from possible flying debris.

No excuses–if your goggles steam up, use a couple crops of Sea Drops. It is typically sold in scuba diving shops.

Sea Drops

The bottle lasts a really long time. I started using my bottle in the early 90s.