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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soil block maker-new gadget

This is a new (to me) garden tool called a soil blocker. I got mine from Johnny's seeds.
In the past, seeds were started in peat pot or plastic trays. Success was usually pretty good at first, and then seedlings would take a nose dive. After reading more into seed starting, the general consensus is that seedling roots hit the plastic walls and stop growing.With peat pots, the roots usually  did not penetrate the pot very well and also stopped growing. A soil block is just soil, it is supposed to help air reach roots on all sides and allow seedlings to get in the ground running.
Soil is  a mix of coir, peat, compost and potting mix, along with enough water to make a mix the consistency of oatmeal. The dirt is crammed into the metal plunger until the water squeezes out the holes.
The plunger is depressed and the row of soil blocks are placed in a flat. 
The tray is filled with many rows of dirt "pots" and then seeds are loaded into the small center depression area.
This tray has 150 little seed pots ready to go. I am starting 5 types of tomatoes, several lettuces, and two squash. They are sprinkled over with vermiculite to help prevent fungus. The old system of seed starting is below the new flat, these are filled with poppies.
I am standing next to the mini greenhouse wearing my usual gardening outfit-well pretty much my usual outfit.
In case you wonder what Erik does out in the garden, he made me this garden bed for Valentines day:
With two raised beds, we hope to have a better harvest this year of tasty fruits and veggies. Here is Erik in his gardening outfit:
You can get one like his at home depot in the paint section, but being plastic and all it will make you sweat!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

French Screen-finally finished!

 This is a long overdue project, now finally finished. I procrastinated on this because I could not decide how I wanted the screen to be finished. Originally, the plans were to pad the surface, cover with silk satin and hammer in bronze tacks to the edges. After the big ugly gold chair project, I had had enough of hammering tacks. Also, the bulk of the fabric and padding caused worry as to being able to store this if need be.Forgive the camera distortion, the sides of the screen are in fact straight.
Here is the unfinished screen in the original state:

 I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Chateau Gray, and finished with her clear wax. The border was accented in gold metal leaf.
The chalk paint has the advantage of sticking to any surface, and cleanup is easy with soap and water. The color is quite strange, it moves between olive green and blue gray depending on the light.  
Here is a vintage French flower basket for a decorative touch with vintage millinery blooms.
I had some trouble using the wax properly, and some areas are more shiny than others..but it does have a nice aged look to it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Go to these Art shows!

There are two great shows going on right now-one is the Masters of the American West at the Autry center, it runs through March 17th. It houses a great assortment of living artists painting traditional western subject matter.

This is Bill Anton's painting-he is awesome, and his use of color even better in person.
The other great show to see is at the Pepperdine University,"Illustrating Modern Life- runs through March 31
 It showcases exceptional illustrations from the great masters of the Golden age of illustration.FREE admission to this show, so no excuses!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Paintings-Miniatures

                                                         "Sunset" 8x10 oil on linen panel
Just finished some small pieces for an upcoming show at Sander's Gallery. These are all quite small.
                                                   "Afternoon Stroll" 5x10 oil on linen panel
                                                      "Tiny Dancer" 5x10 oil on linen panel
"Antique Sioux Moccasins"  4.5x6 oil on linen panel