Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Working in the Garden

You can never have too many daffodils. They are all starting to bloom now. I think I put about 50 of them in the ground last fall. So far only a few of them have bloomed, but there are a lot of buds.
Tulips are coming up as well, they are slightly behind the daffodils, but that means that I have to start spraying them with the garlic water so that the squirrels don't eat them. Nasty little creeps.
The Southern Graphics Council meeting happened this past weekend and Melanie and I presented a demo on the Japanese stab binding. It went really well! We got lots of compliments, and I'm really pleased by the process.
After I got home on Saturday afternoon - I worked in the garden. I can't believe it but I actually had to mow the lawn already!
My goals for the outside are:
1. Keep the weeds and undesirable growth to a minimum. This will mean spending a lot of time out there managing it. It also means being vigilant about mowing the lawn so that dandelions don't take over. Grrr - those things are hard to get out of the ground.
2. Build a better fence in the way back and on the side. Right now they are just chain link fences and they are ugly and worse, I can look through them at everyone else's garbage, and they can see through as well, to spy on me. (But I'm not paranoid or anything.)
3. Start dealing with my porch. The snow storms we had in February finally did a number on the back end of the porch - it's super dangerous now. I don't think it will be that difficult to fix, I just need to plan ahead and use an electric saw. I'm not cutting all of the those boards by hand. I think I'm going to have to do things in stages.
I spent a lot of time yesterday cleaning up more "laub" - what is that word in English? Um, brush? debris? fallen-down-plant-stuff? There are also still a ton of branches lying around needing to be cleaned up as well as roots needing to be yanked out and on and on. Of course none of this counts all the trash hiding underneath everything. Yuck.
Along with lots of candy wrappers, cigarette holders, and unidentifiable stuff I also found the following treasures:
They are (top row l-r): broken shovel, fabulous twisted vine, broken rake.
(bottom row l-r): rear view mirror to ? moped? knife, a hoke-thingy that was used to put shutters up on my house back when my house had shutters on the outside, another strange metal thing I couldn't identify, a green marble, a peach pit that had rooted (I stuck it in a pot - I'd like a peach tree), half of a coconut shell, some other weird metal thing and chain. There is actually lots of chain all over the place. Unfortunately it's grown through plants and things and I can't get rid of it. All of these things really make me wonder about the story behind the object. How did this thing get here - was it a careless human? What were they doing/thinking? What on earth were they chaining up? I also found a ton of glass. It makes me wonder if people used to throw bottles and watch them shatter. It makes it dangerous for me ( did wear two pairs of gloves) because I'd like to dig up some soil, but it's full of glass. The soil by the way, is fantastic. I must have brought up about two dozen earthworms. Big fat ones.
Oh, since this is a blog about my house, I also replaced the bulbs on three of the porch lights. Oh! and! the insurance guy came last week and I'm gettin' some money to help fix the massive leak. Yay!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yeehaw! Ah gots a forsythia bush in mah yard!!! Hot diggity!!!
I discovered this fact after wanting to go over and hack away at this bush to get it out of my yard. I tried last fall when I started clearing things away. But I gave up. I thought I'd have another go at yankin' things up from this portion of the yard, only to look up and see the yellow buds! Oooeee, this is so exciting! These bushes grow like crazy around here and they are spectacular! What a nice little surprise this morning.
Unfortunately, the rest of the yard looks like this at the moment.
Would you believe - that's progress? (the forsythia bush is on the left between the ugly blue tarp and the dark green drum).

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring Everyone! The crocuses are blooming! The daffodils have spears and the tulips are growing.

Even the raspberry bush is growing leaves. So far we've had a beautiful weekend in Philadelphia - thus the long wait between posting. I just wanted to be outside! I'm still cleaning up debris from the back yard - maybe a bit more today. I'm also prepping for the workshop I'm doing with Melanie this weekend for Southern Graphics Council and I'm working on a book performance. Mary put me in touch with a technical friend of hers (thank you Mary!!!) who is going to save my butt for this project. We spent the afternoon in the Wissahickon Creek washing paper. :) Once the performance happens I'll post it here, so that you can see what I'm talking about.
Hope you are all having a lovely day as well!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's spring! It's spring! It's spring!

Ooh! Stuff is blooming in my yard! Things are budding. I took lots of pictures - will post soon!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Later that same day...

I had to go out and run errands, pick up my crop share, go to Chinatown, and stop at school to meet with a student and pick up stuff from my office. All in the pouring rain. I left the leaks with buckets, and when I came back, not only were the buckets almost full, but the leaking was more extensive. What to do??? I got a ladder and poked holes in the ceiling to see if there was a low point and to get the water to come out in one place. Then, out of desperation I called the phone number on the invoice from Wally figuring I'd get an answering machine so I could leave a sob story and hope to hear from him on Monday. It wouldn't solve the problem, but at least I would feel like I had done something to get going in the right direction. To my surprise, his wife answered the phone. She took a message and to even more of my surprise, half an hour later, Wally rang my door bell!
He looked at everything. Even poked a hole in wall. I didn't look but he said there is water just running down the back of the wall. Great. The water is coming into the wall below the third floor window. Obviously the water has been coming in there for a while. That's probably why the stones over the 2nd floor window were falling out. We took a shower curtain and blocked that space off.
Hopefully it will slow the drips down. I really hope so, because I'm running out of big buckets.
Things to do on Monday:
1. Call Jeff and cry him a river. See if I can persuade him to come sooner than May.
2. Call insurance company. See if this is covered by home owner's insurance.

As the pendulum swings...

It's pouring rain in Philadelphia today. sigh.
I woke up to find massive leaking over the window that Wally fixed in January. Thought to myself, must call him on Monday.
Came downstairs to the first floor, heard very suspicious dripping sounds. Yep, the leak is running down through my walls and leaking through to the studio. Ruined some of my rubbings from Korea. Now what?
I guess I can spend all that money I'm saving on my gas bill to fix this new problem.
AND - who do I call for this on a Saturday???

Friday, March 12, 2010

For the doubters....

As I was doing my bills today, I realized I was paying quite a bit less on my gas bill than I have been all last year. If you recall, my gas bill last February was in the neighborhood of $780. Thank goodness there is the option to average the gas bill out over the year, it sure makes it easier on the bank account. But since I noticed that my bill was about half the amount as usual, and not wanting to be caught off guard, I called PGW. It turns out that I'm using half the amount as last year. !!! My monthly bill was $300 and change. What is the lesson here? - Insulation works! It's the only thing I did differently. I've even kept the temperature the same, and kept the windows covered with plastic. I just plugged all the drafty holes in the basement. Hmmm, :), feels good to do something right.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Garden Bites Back

The weather was so beautiful on Saturday I spent the afternoon attacking the garden. Too bad it attacked back. I pulled down a bunch of vines. I knew which ones I wanted to yank down and got quite a few of them. It felt pretty good until I tried to start cleaning up. Some of those vines have thorns. Nasty ones. I tried to bag up as much as I could. But those darn thorns kept scratching me. My wrists and ankles got all chewed up. And worst of all, it turns out I had a blister on the bottom of my foot. I didn't know about it - wouldn't have made much difference if I had - but it broke.
After deciding my foot was in enough pain and I should probably wash my hands, I assessed the damage. The worst on my hands were the three punctures to my left index finger.
Not only that but it began to swell up somethin' fierce. I tried to see if I could pull a thorn or something out - nothing doin'. My finger was completely puffed up yesterday. I put calendula on it over night and it was a bit better by morning. But what finally did the trick was washing the dishes. I can't believe it.
When I was younger - maybe 8 or 9, I had a some sort of a cut on my finger. It was probably just a paper cut, but I was moaning about it after dinner and my dad said, "Wash the dishes, that'll clear it up." And he was serious. My mom, sister and I scoffed at this - dirty water can't be good for a cut! Somehow, his mother was quoted because she was a nurse, and we of course didn't buy it - and on and on and on. I remember it being a little bit of an issue, and I've remembered this for what, 20 years? Well, Daddy, I owe you an apology. I washed the dishes this morning and promptly the swelling in my finger started to go down. It is almost back to normal now. Go figure.
Now my foot is an entirely different matter. It is a completely unprotected blister, open, located in a spot on my foot that gets too much movement to keep a band aid on it. Grrr. Talk about painful. Whew! At least it's nice enough weather to be able to ride my bike to work tomorrow. That will save my foot a little.

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Than Persephone Got

Ta-dah! Finally - the first batch of ten of the book for my dad is finished! And I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. I decided that the book I found at UPenn on Wednesday was the perfect binding. I stayed up until midnight making paste papers, and made a mock up.

It's very satisfying to look at the finished pile.

Of course, non of this would have been possible without the help of the inspector:

Thursday, March 4, 2010


So I met my friend Mary tonight for a "beer". On our way home, we went through the UPenn Bookstore. I found the green journal. When I got home, I decided I needed to make it - and I think it's okay.
Actually I think it's pretty cool, I'm going to do a mock up tomorrow morning to see if this is the enclosure for my dad's book!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quick post

Hello. Just a quick post to update you.
The snow is finally receding and we are finding interesting things beneath it all. For example this book. Which I must have taken umpteen images of. People thought I was a little weird. By the way - all of the snow you see here is completely gone. Took this last Saturday, and actually hung my sheets out in the sun yesterday.
However, we are supposed to get another inch this afternoon. So far nothing.

I took the week off so that I could get some art related stuff finished. It's been really great. I re-printed the book for my dad. Spent most of yesterday setting up gigs and backing fabric. I'm going to make some paste papers now and then get back to editioning. It's a good feeling, and I'm listening to Harry Potter - so it's all good.
That's the first 11 books there on top of the pile (no covers yet) I'm going to squeak by on my edition, I think I will just get 70. (70 because my dad turned 70 - get it? :)) It was your basic printing nightmare. Whatever could go wrong, went wrong. But it's done, moving on....

I'm also managing to move along on the silver sweater which is a source of a little jealousy from guess who. Here he is, ahem, guarding it. He's been incredibly funny and cute lately.
Yesterday while I was on the phone I looked up to find him sitting on top of the fridge on my shopping bags. Totally blasé. This actually kind of explains a lot. I keep hearing heavy thuds of him jumping when I'm downstairs. I think he sits up there so he has a better vantage point to watch the mice coming out of the stove.

I also bought some beautiful beaded silk which was 40% off. I wound it the other day, isn't it beautiful?
But that will have to wait for now.

Okidoki, that's enough.