Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Starting Seeds in the Basement #1

On March 8, we put one asparagus seed in each of 16 peat pots. The seeds were a year old with a 70% germination rate for 2009. Since we had made no effort to take care of the seeds properly, I lobbied to use 2 seeds per pot but Ken thought we would possibly get more out of our 32 seeds this way. They started emerging March 19 but for one reason or another we weren't ready with the lights. Those were hung and ready to go late Monday, the 22nd, so we left it for the next morning. The early emergers are probably leggier than they should be at this stage so I blow hard on them when I'm checking on them to strengthen them up as Steve Solomon suggests. (Actually he suggests a fan but they are so tiny.)
As of this morning we have 11 of the 16 up which is 69% germination. I know lots of things can still happen to them, but it is so exciting that we are going to have asparagus started from seed. In a year or two, anyway.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Late Birthday Weekend

Because of all of the snow and otherwise unreliable weather, Pam and I had not had a chance to celebrate our birthdays which fall about a month apart. So this past weekend, after both birthdays were over, we got to spend some time together. I got a plethora of goodies including some doll scaled fabric pieces and Maggie Taylor's "Landscape of Dreams" (gasp, swoon). Last year we had decided to get some ball jointed dolls to craft for - sewing, jewelry making, furniture making, whatever. The first thing you do with the dolls is make up their faces with paints, pastels and watercolor pencils, called doing a faceup. I had enjoyed doing mine and Pam needed to tackle the job during the weekend. She was quite apprehensive and when she was finished doing a beautiful faceup on her doll, revealed that it had made her really nervous. Want to guess who wears makeup all the time and who knows nothing about the process? Funny, huh? For her birthday, I had sewed two outfits - the sporty striped tights and turtleneck with the brown skirt to match an outfit for my doll, the smaller one, and also a Victorian blouse, skirt, underskirt and jacket in black. She loves the steampunk scene and that was what I was aiming for. It will give her a chance to do all of the fancy jewelry and trims that make it steampunk.
One of the things that is coming to light in this experience is how differently we approach things. I know I've talked before about how her background in graphic arts makes some aspects of our paper arts (color, design, balance) second nature to her while I struggle with them. The way we go about dressing the dolls is even further apart. I love taking patterns, which I have a ton of, that fit other dolls and making them fit these dolls and sewing by hand or machine to make the clothes. Pam, as it turns out, does not like sewing - although she seems willing to give it a try. Her approach to doll dressing is to take an old luggage tag or a pair of gloves and turn it into a belt or legwarmers and a tank top with a clip, clip here and a stitch, stitch there. We made the sweater and legwarmers in the middle picture out of a pair of socks. As we have found many times before, our totally different approaches seem to complement each other.
Ken treated us to going to see "Alice" in 3D. We both loved the costumes and hope to use some of the ideas for springboards for doll clothes but the whimsical wordplay of the original Alice was in short supply in this version of a favorite story.