Monday, January 31, 2011

Quilting Resolutions

Members of the Philly Modern Quilt Guild shared their quilting resolutions for the new year.  You can read the full blog post here.  One of my resolutions was to organize my fabric stash.  I really don't have that big of a stash when compared to many guild members, but what I do have is completely unorganized.  Currently, I just pile fabric in a few of bins with no rhyme or reason.  Whenever I start a new project I never know what I already have and I end up buying new fabric.  The leftovers get thrown back in the bins- its a vicious cycle!  So, I decided to take action this weekend.  I pulled out all of my fabric and organized it by color and loosely by size (things bigger than a fat quarter in one pile, smaller in another pile).
Fabric organization in progress...
I found that I was keeping way too many tiny scraps of fabric.  I used to make more applique projects and art quilts, so this made sense at one time.  Now, I realized that they are just taking up space and I hadn't needed them in years, so I got tough with myself and got rid of them.  Another problem was that a lot of my fabric was very cheap "walmart special" type of fabric.  Unfortunately for my wallet, I have discovered how wonderful good quality quilting fabric is, so I had to toss a lot of the cheap stuff because I couldn't stand the way it felt. 
Otis helping me organize

Now, my problem is that I have all of these piles of fabric sorted by size and color, but I don't know how to keep them organized.  I don't have a sewing room, so I need the fabric to be out of sight when I'm not using it.  I need ideas- help!  Any tips would be appreciated!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flower Show Update

Temple University participates in the Philadelphia International Flower Show each year as one of the major exhibitors.  The horticulture staff is responsible for forcing plants in the greenhouse to bloom during the first week of March.  This year, we are forcing over 2,000 plants of 110 varieties.  The show will be held March 6-12th in the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Here is an article about our 2010 display METROmorphosis, that won best in show.  And here is an article about our 2009 display Green Renaissance

I thought I would share a few photos of the plants growing in my greenhouse.  As of today, we have 34 growing days left until show installation, so we are just starting to see things come into bloom.  This is the time that I start having nightmares about the plants all dying or not blooming at the right time.  And I'm not kidding, most of my dreams right now are about the Flower Show!  I can't wait until we can install the display and just enjoy the show.
Peperomia argyreia and Hoya kerrii 'Variegata'
Sedums that will be used on a green roof in the exhibit
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (black foliage) and Euphorbia characias 'Tasmanian Tiger' (light foliage)
Taxodium distichum 'Mickelson' Shawnee Brave (TM)- these still aren't showing any leaves, so have them on heat mats and with heat lamps to hopefully push some leaves before the show.
Assortment of perennials and annuals for the display

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blue Phalaenopsis Orchid

Longwood Gardens's Orchid Extravaganza opened today.  I'll post a longer blog about the display in a few days, but I wanted to highlight one amazing orchid, the Blue Phalaenopsis.  Yes, you read that correctly, blue!  As any orchid lover knows, this just doesn't exist.  Longwood is highlighting a new technique of injecting dye into the roots of an orchid while the flower buds are forming.  When they bloom, they show an electric blue color.  I can't say that I particularly liked it, but I certainly was blown away by it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Double Wedding Ring Quilt

I finally finished my double wedding ring quilt!  It is hand appliqued and hand quilted with scalloped edges.  This is a quilt that has been in my UFO (unfinished objects) pile for years, so I feel soooo accomplished!

I have a little confession to make about this quilt: I started this as a wedding present for my friend Kristen over 5 years ago.  I didn't finish it in time so I bought her something else.  I slowly worked on it for a few years, coming back to it every now and then.  Then when Kristen was pregnant with her little boy, Aidan, I figured that I would finish the quilt as a baby gift.  But by that time I actually was a little too attached to it to give it away, so I ended up making her another quilt and I kept the wedding ring quilt for myself.  Sorry Kristen!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow at the Ambler Arboretum

A few snowy shots from the Ambler Arboretum last week.
Temple Beehives

Native Formal Garden
Formal Perennial Garden

Winter Garden

Herb Garden
Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Temple Ambler Greenhouse

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sad News from the Bee Yard

I'm very sad to say that one of my bee colonies has died.  Before the holidays, we didn't see any activity going in and out of the hive, which was a bad sign.  All three colonies were being fed sugar syrup with top feeders, but this one probably wasn't able to store enough food for winter.
Small cluster of bees

When I opened the hive, I found a small cluster of dead bees in the second box from the top.  Many of the bees had died with their bodies deep in the comb's cells, indicating that they died of starvation.  Taking the hive apart, I found a full box (9 frames) of stored pollen and about a box of nectar, but very little capped honey.  On the slightly warm day that I checked the hives, there were bees flying in and out of the hive and they were very busy feeding from the top feeder.  I consolidated the capped honey from the dead hive into a new box and gave it to one of my other colonies to supplement their supplies through the winter. 

RIP bees, sorry I couldn't get you through the winter :(
Dead bees attached to the frame
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