Monday, December 29, 2008

Making Stuff

Hideous Objects
Now that all the lucky recipients of this Christmas's arts-n-crafts projects have been given their dubious gifts, I can finally blog about them. They're picture frames (I later put a photo of Matt & me inside a giant, lightning-struck baldcypress trunk in each one).

I think I earlier characterized them as hideous objects. You can see why.

Ours, Ladonna's, Mom & Dad's

Aunt Pauline's, my brother & sister-in-law's

The responses were the most fun. I made a prototype for the K's (not a frame, but a star--not gonna try that again--too many edges), and when Kate opened it, she said "Oh! Did--you--make--this?" In the sort of strangled tone a non-smoker would use with a five-year-old who had just presented her with a particularly hideous hand-made ash tray.

Mom's response was along those same lines. Ladonna cleverly skirted the issue of the frame by commenting lavishly on the photo.

My brother, on the other hand, took one look at the object and said, "Oh my god the sofa!"

You'll remember the hideous old family sofa that we replaced earlier this year. Well, it had been a member of the family for so long (since before my birth), that I thought maybe some of my loved ones would like to have a keepsake. So I made little picture frame ornaments, using foamboard, hot glue, Swavarski crystals, and ribbons. I tried to dress them up as much as possible--that upholstery is really overwhelming--but to make them attractive was beyond my skills. Aunt Pauline's turned out best because it is the most thoroughly covered in ribbon. And Ladonna's wasn't too awful. The others, well, they have sentimental value. I hope.

Victory Garden
In other artsy-craftsy-homemakery news, I got a jump on a veggie garden for next spring. It's been a while since I've attempted such a thing, but in the current economic environment... Hell, it beats learning how to darn socks. Plus, I want access to those stripy eggplants and to our favorite Aji Limon chiles, which are so hard to find. I ended up ordering from The Pepper Gal, the only source that had poblanos, pasillas, chile pequin (for the wildlife, not for us--we're nowhere near that badass), and Aji Limon. In the past, I've preferred to buy seedlings from nurseries--it can be hard to match nursery-grown stoutness and vigor--but now that I have a greenhouse at my disposal, growing plants from seed seemed like the obvious choice--much cheaper, much more variety.

In addition to the Pepper Gal seeds, I also ordered from Harris and dark horse Swallowtail Gardens.

Here's what I should be receiving in the mail:

  • Poppy, Oriental--Beauty Of Livermore
  • Larkspur, Giant Imperial-Blue Spire (to go around the gazebo--I positively adore blue larkspur against a white fence)

  • Basil, Lemon--Mrs. Burns (my favorite basil)
  • Lemon Grass, East Indian

  • Artichoke, Violetto (See artichoke advice from Natural Gardener)
  • Lettuce, Loose-Leaf--Lollo Rossa
  • Radishes, D'avignon (Do radishes grow in Texas? Especially ones with Frenchy names? We'll find out.)
  • Tomatoes, Cherry--Super Sweet 100
  • Tomatoes, Cherry--Yellow Pear
  • Tomatoes, Heirloom--Black Plum
  • Tomatoes, Heirloom--Brandywine, Pink (I know these heirloom tomatoes aren't going to grow here, yet I'm compelled to try)
  • Watermelons, Charleston Grey (really, really pretty. see pic)
  • Watermelons, Sugar Baby
  • Eggplant Ophelia
  • Eggplant Twinkle
  • Eggplant Classic (Seriously? Three eggplant varieties? Damn those seed catalogs with their irresistable veggie porn!)
  • Lettuce Harmony
  • Okra Cajun Delight (which Matt doesn't eat, but we both feel that it's a necessary nod to our southern roots)
  • Pepper Sweetheart
  • Guajillo Peppers
  • Aji Limon peppers
  • Peru Yellow (Hopefully, a synonym for Aji Limon)
  • Ancho Mulato (Poblano)
  • Peter Hot (a very naughty pepper that Matt loves, yet refuses to eat. I don't suppose I can blame him--I expect I'd feel the same way if it were a girly-part pepper.)
  • Chile Pequin pepper
  • Holy Mole Pasilla pepper
  • Aji Cristal pepper

For Fun:
  • Gourd Baby Bottle
  • Pumpkin Fairytale
  • Pumpkin Lumina
So far, I've only received the pepper seeds. Today I planted a few seeds of the most practical varieties, hoping for an early harvest: Aji Limon, Ancho Mulato, and Guajillo.

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