Saturday, September 9, 2017

On the perils of keeping poisonous plants


Although I'm fairly sure I've driven off most of my readers due to neglect of this blog, I'll ask a question of the ether: what are your feelings on keeping poisonous plants?

That beautiful Dieffenbachia plant above was so inviting in the plant nursery that I bought two, one for my mom, and one for myself. The label seemed to have all the pertinent info about it - the temperatures it likes, amount of sun, how often to water, etc.

Nowhere did the label mention: extremely poisonous plant. And yet it is!

I felt so guilty giving my mom that plant that I immediately called to warn her. It's the sap that's poisonous, not the leaves, so gloves and skin covering (and eye covering) should do when cutting in, and no getting it near eyes and mouth. I'm fairly ok with keeping this plant on the balcony, out of reach of my cat (and with no small children in my house).

This one, I'm not so sure about:
Euphorbia tirucalli

This cute, spindly cactus-like plant was a gift. Likewise it came with a nice, descriptive label which I ignored, and began hacking into the extra stems I wanted to prune off. My sharp shears caught on the stems, and in the process I got a mess of very sticky white sap all over my arms and hands. I was lucky I was wearing glasses, and I resisted the temptation to rub my eyes just in case. Also I think I was lucky in that my arms were covered with potting soil, which showed me just where to scrub - since the sap dries clear and colorless, like glue.

Of course, nowhere on the label of the Euphorbia Tirucalli did it mention how poisonous that sticky sap is. The nickname "firesticks" gives you a clue, though, as my Google research told me the sap can make your skin feel like it's on fire, and cause temporary to possibly permanent eye damage. I thoroughly scrubbed it off after thoroughly freaking myself out about it.

No reactions occurred until the next day, when I scooped up the clothes I was wearing to throw them in the wash. My arm immediately broke out into a hot, raised rash with tons of tiny blisters. All I did was touch the clothes for a second. I can only imagine what prolonged exposure would have done.

So I find myself very on the fence about this plant - I'm clumsy, and can easily imagine myself tumbling down on it. Would you keep a poisonous plant?

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Honeymoon of Plants

My caladium

Oh boy has it been a long time since I wrote here last, and in that time, I've gone absolutely bonkers for plants.

Another caladium

I'm not sure quite when it happened. Somewhere after the hubbub of moving into an apartment with my husband, newly married, enjoying the quiet of this new shared existence, I was drawn to plants like I've never been before.

Begonia rex

Don't get me wrong - I have always loved trees, flowers, and being outdoors. But that's where it generally ended - outdoors. Something about seeing plants in pots never gave me a thrill. Until recently.

Unfurling caladium leaf

Caladium leaf unfurled

There's something so fascinating and so pleasing about watching plants grow. Such a thrill in watching a leaf slowly unfurl. To notice a stem or a leaf has turned towards the sun. I can't describe it, I guess. But it's addictive and wonderful.


And there's such a beautiful, wide assortment of plants, and in my climate, luckily I can grow them almost year round. Each day the balcony gets a new friend.

Pineapple plant


Potted succulent head

Right now I'm taking supreme joy in watching a cane begonia my mom gave me sprout slowly from its roots:

New leaf

Where will it end? Who knows! So far, I've been having a lovely time with my new friends!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Vintage Wedding Inspiration

So, I have a problem. I live in the wrong decade for bridal wear. :)

One of the reasons I find it so hard to get excited about wedding dresses is... they just don't do it for me. After a few searches, my Pinterest account became hijacked with images of modern bridal wear, and I realized I don't like any of it.

But after a few searches for vintage bridal dresses I realized I love wedding dresses, just not the ones from this century. :)

So as I go to get fitted one more time, for a wedding dress that still doesn't fit right, enjoy these lovely bits of bridal inspiration from previous years, all pinned to my Vintage Weddings Pinterest board...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bride and Groom

Finished Bride and Groom hoops!

So I haven't been around here too much lately, but I have a very good reason for that - I'm engaged! I finally found the perfect person, and I couldn't be happier. But I've been plunged headfirst into the odd world of wedding planning. I feel very out of my element - I've never been the "plan your elaborate wedding since birth" type. I like things simple, but lovely, and I like things to be a certain way. And I also know I want to DIY as many things as I can without it looking too silly or taking on too much to handle.

As a result, I've started planning a few simple projects along the way, which I'll post monthly to Feeling Stitchy. The first project is up above, a free pattern for two Bride and Groom hoops. The design is very simple - just the lettering, but you can adapt it in just about any way possible - with beading, fabric, and wrapping your hoops in a decorative way.

I opted for our wedding colors - navy and ivory, using a navy linen I've used in previous projects. I also used DMC Snow White for the bride hoop and DMC 822 (an Ecru shade) for the Groom hoop. I wrapped the hoops in ivory and light grey bias tape to give them a neat look. I also love the Chantilly lace on the bride hoop and delicate stitches on the groom hoop.

Did you DIY anything for your wedding? Would you like to see a DIY project in particular? Let me know! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Secret" Embroidery on Feeling Stitchy

Taupe fabric background
Well, I finally posted the results of my "secret" embroidery project.

The project was a wedding embroidery for my cousin, AND a review of the new DMC Stitchable Mesh fabric. The finished post is on Feeling Stitchy:


Stitching on the mesh was a wonderful experience, but it did have its challenges, all of which I go into in my post.

flower detail

My favorite part was probably the sheen of it - it makes everything look like it's glowing - and layering fabric underneath creates an added "floating" effect.

mesh detail

Here is my finished project - a lovely wedding hoop:

I'm doing a very special giveaway on Feeling Stitchy - if you like the pattern I used for the embroidery, I'll create a custom pattern, with the names of your choices, for two winners!

I haven't gotten a lot of entries so far, but I'm still very excited to create a pattern for the people who have responded. Please add your name to the comments, if you're interested!

What do you think of the mesh and my project? Please leave a comment to let me know. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's better

Here's a preview of the pattern I'm featuring tomorrow on Feeling Stitchy for Wonderful Wednesday - this lovely free pattern was tweeted to us last week by Modern Folk Embroidery, and to me, it speaks volumes.

I'm going to be totally honest - these past few weeks have been hard. Every day, I find myself re-assessing where I am, and how I am to respond. The acts of hate I have seen out there don't belong in the country I love, and yet, they're there. There is division in families, friendships, workplaces and churches. I find myself asking each day "what can I do?" What can I do to stem the tide of hate, what can I do to protect the people in this country who are afraid, who are being attacked, and who are vulnerable?

It's taken some time, but here's my answer: every day, however I can, I'm going to do what I can do.

Every month, I've decided to donate to a different organization, even if it's just a small amount, to protect the rights of people that are being threatened in this country, and protect the fundamental freedoms of this country which make it truly great. This month, there were quite a few, so I started off with more than one, and I'll continue as my budget allows:

To protect the freedom of the press and ensure that no president may threaten a free press, I subscribed to:

To support publications that write things I am enriched by, write challenging articles that are rigorously fact-checked, and make me want to learn more, I subscribed to:

To hold the governing bodies of this country to their highest standard, I donated to:

These are all small things, the mere lighting of a candle, but each time I can, I will do what I can. Where my budget will not allow, I'll do my best to help with my hands and my feet.

But above all, when I see people being threatened, or who are being hurt or are afraid, I will stand up for them, however I can. As my favorite prayer says, I will do all of this "with God's help."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Vote embroidery for Feeling Stitchy

I had so much fun stitching up this free Vote pattern for Feeling Stitchy. It all started with Twitterfeed shutting down as of today, and me wondering how people find the blog the most.

So I crunched as many numbers as possible, but also thought it would be fun to let everyone "vote" from the particular place they were seeing the blog - Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, and Instagram.

I had 3 designs, that were all only different in terms of the fonts I used, and allowed peeps to vote. Boy, was Twitter quiet - I decided we haven't been using it as well as we could, by simply auto-posting. I'll try to be more diligent about visiting at least once a week with a more substantial presence. Facebook was also rather quiet - it could have just been the time of day. Instagram had the most votes. Honestly, I didn't even try Flickr, because it has been very quiet lately.

Stitching made me a bit nervous, as I wanted to finish on Saturday - so I woke up bright and early and lined up some coffee to get stitching the winning design. I could have added a whole lot more, but I wanted to stay true to the way I originally drew the design. I guess it was a lesson in designing, too!

This project was a lot of fun, for sure, and I followed it up by actually voting yesterday. If you haven't voted yet, please do! And if you'd like a copy of the free pattern, visit Feeling Stitchy! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fun vote project on Feeling Stitchy

Let's face it, this voting season in the U.S. has been anything but fun. So I'm doing a fun vote project over on Feeling Stitchy. Vote for your favorite design, and I'll stitch it up and offer it as a free pattern on the blog this weekend. Which should give you all plenty of time to stitch up a little something in time for election day. :) What do you think?

Head on over to Feeling Stitchy and vote if you want your voice to be heard! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Secret embroidery project

Secret project

I'm calling it a secret project because I don't want to reveal too many details in case the receiver of this gift reads this blog! :) I'm working on a beautiful DMC gold mesh for the first time ever (which I received from the lovely people at DMC). It has been a bit of a challenge to stitch on, but remarkably well-suited to stitches like couching and split stitch, with which I worked that nice "L".

Mostly, this transparent surface has taught me the value of keeping the back of my work nice and neat (something I'll admit I've never fussed about before).

Once again, I have found Mary Corbet's Needle n' Thread posts invaluable in learning tips and tricks. This post on lettering in particular helped me moved away from messy knots on the back of my work.

threads for secret project

Here are the threads I've chosen for my secret project - all DMC, with the exception of the one Nun's Boilproof skein (which I haven't used yet, but is there for its vintage prettiness). :)

It's been wonderful fun so far, and I'll reveal the results to you next week! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Finished winter wreath


After many hours of stitching and imagining and re-tracing, I am done! This project was one of the most fun I've ever attempted - I think part of it was all the encouragement I received on Instagram that kept me plugging along week after week.


I finished the back as neatly as possible, but I purposely made the stitches a bit long and loose, in case the back ever needs to be removed for repair or to re-stretch the embroidery.

finished center

I won't lie, I struggled a bit with the tiny date - I re-stitched it countless times, but I like this simple, very small, un-fussy version. I used DMC gold thread, just one strand for the date.

more details

Overall, this is one of the projects I am most happy with - a real pleasure to stitch. I expanded my stitch library and used stitches in ways I hadn't before - it was well worth the extra challenge. I'll have a review as soon as possible up on Feeling Stitchy - which I'll link to from here, of course, if you'd like to see it! :)