Update on the Swiss Blue Topaz

It's coming along, and I got the new rondelles today from Suay. I will choose the best to use for the inserts into the chain...

The house of poo, kitty litter rolling sh*tter...

Omega-Self-Cleaning-Litter It works how? Well, like this.

The house of poo.... the HOP if you will spends it's days collecting . Maggie fits fine, and Rocky, all 16 pounds of his fuzzy Maine Coon self, also, fits fine. Granted, his head sticks out while he is doing deposits.
When collections are done for the day, roll the HOP. The good stuff collects in the little.. collection pan, and the bigger stuff keeps rolling, rolling along....

See, just like I said. That one is Maggie's. She makes them more petite.

Then the dump over onto the top of the pan, and as you roll it back, the deposits stay in the little drawer. The good litter falls back out of it's "safety zone" ready for more deposits. It's good to shake it around a little so the litter settles flat. My kitties prefer their litter flat.

Look, a little drawer of fun! TaDa! Want one? We got ours here.

A day in the Park in Summer....

There is a lovely community park nearby and during the summer my sister and mother and I went to visit. My sister was enamored with my fancy camera at the time, despite its not being fancy at all. At the time it was a 4 year old Olympus that has a macro setting. I think she just loved the close up ability. She took over 200 photos of bugs. Which are taking up space on my hard drive... I should e-mail them to her one by one.

Anyway, while we were at the park we met a guy. A scary looking guy who had it out for someone. What developed was a day of scaring insects and taking candid shots of their fear with the macro camera setting.

Here a spider fears for his life. Which strikes me as interesting since the purple guy seems to be part spider himself, maybe he is just bowing down in praise....

As the day wore on, spider guy was getting a little boring and we though that since it was a Saturday night, he should go out. Maybe dancing... he is poseable, so he can bust a move.

He put on his best dancing clothes, a hat because it was a little chilly out that evening and grabbed some flowers for the host of the party...

Yup, he danced so well, that he now has a star! Go see him on Hollywood Boulevard!

A day in the life of a landscaper....

So now that we are done digging in the mud and mixing concrete, we come to the more glamorous portion of the job. The plants. It's a wonderful time of year to be doing a design as well because of all the wonderful transformations that the plants go thru. Nowhere is this more evident to us than at the nurseries that we frequent.

I am always fond of the tiny little changes that take place on a smaller scale. The wonderful rattling seedheads that loose their seeds as they bend in the wind...

The fiddleheads of ferns that emerge with the newly moistened soil...
And the little landscapes in each individual pot that are so adorable in their petite expressions...

The planting starts soon, and I will keep this blog up to date with the progress.

Sterling silver wirework chain in progress

It is taking some time, but this is the newest work in progress. I'm still waiting on some Swiss blue Topaz for the other necklace, so this is what I am biding my time with.

Each component starts out as straight sterling silver wire... it's looped and wrapped with more sterling silver wire, then linked. If you like this, you should check out my bead store... and get some for yourself.

Gifts from Italy! WooHoo!

So, this is the wine that Krista brought back from Italy for me (us...I might have to share). It was made in the little town that she was staying in and I don't want to open it.

Then she went and got me beads.... and if you know anything about me, you know I am a beadhead. I'm keeping these... will have to decide how to use them...

More construction, my day job...

Steel toed boots by day, faceted gemstones by night.

So this is what has been going on at Ginkgo Landscape Design. After plenty of soil relocation and form construction and removal, it's a wall. It is going to hold back the soil so that the clients can have some pretty plants to match the design that we did for the front garden a few years ago. The old "wall" and fence was pretty much falling down. I take issue with those who construct fences that fall down. This fence, will not fall down.

We like to build things that will stand the test of time and withstand the elements. This is the newest creation. It's simple, basic and suits its purpose. The clients no longer have to worry about a slippery muddy bank, and have a useful garden space above their new retaining wall. A well constructed fence gives them privacy and a nice backdrop for their newly installed plants.

The boards used for this fence were custom milled from naturally windfelled ceder on my uncles property and are a full 3/4 inches. It's an organic, free range, fence!

If you want to see the fancy stuff, we do that too. Just check the before and after portfolio here: Ginkgo Landscape Design

Updated photos of completed design are below:

Vintage style wire and Swiss Blue Topaz, yes please!

A peek into the studio...

Yummie, don't you think?!

A poem, written on the fly. Titleless.

dark clouds are digging away the sand beneath my feet during low tide...
owls watch as the tiny sand fleas crowd around and clams shoot water into my ears
the sand around my feet fills in and tide pools liquefy warmth to my new roots
seagulls voice their opinions at crows
the wind picks up as the day wears and sunshine mingles with the clouds
i feel the wind, and hear it along the tree lined bluffs behind me
an impatient moon fails in it's attempt to hurry the sun along it's path
clouds come down to the ground and steam blurs the boundary between water and air
the distant mountains catch fire

(originally "published" in a forum post on Etsy.)

Impressions in stucco

So, things are coming along. We are happy to have completed the stucco portion of the top level raised garden beds today. Fall is upon us, and winter is not far behind. I have taken some photos of the flowers and plants that refuse to let go of the summer, and will post them in the blog during the winter as a reminder of the warmer days.

For now, here are the planters that are newly completed. It takes a little while for the final color to set in as the stucco "matures" it changes and gains even more character. I love that about real stucco. There are so many new buildings that have the fake stuff that has none of the characteristics of actual hand applied stucco. I'm impressed when I see a building that does have it. (There is one in downtown Edmonds where we live, it looks great!)

In addition to the stucco, I like to put in leaf impressions from plants around the garden. This is one from the first set of planters. It's a Geranium leaf. The caps on these planters were done in a mold that we made, they also have impressions.

And as we looked into the planter that will be the water garden, we found that we are not the only ones making impressions. It's nice to have the approval of our garden critters.

Continuing the garden design at home, raised planters

The second pair of raised garden planters are in the works. The one closest to the greenhouse is waterproofed and going to be a water garden. The rest of them will most likely hold a variety of fruits and veggies. Just out of view in front of the greenhouse will be were I plant taller plants (sunflowers and corn) and rambling vines such as pumpkin.

The construction process is rather simple (compared to some we have done) and we are always looking for new ways to do things. See further down this blog post for more details.
The photo below gives you and idea of what we are going for. There will be six planters in all and the walkways between them will be paved with square stone similar to the pergola (see label pergola to the right and down for that blog post). The middle walkway will have steps to account for the slope of the land, but the edges will not so that we can wheel in things without the obstacles of steps.

How we constructed the raised planters...
The area for the planters themselves is leveled and well compacted (so that each planter will be level with it's pair on the other side). This really frustrates our resident moles, and they make every effort to maintain their tunnels and push up the compacted soil.

After the levels have been attained the first run of blocks is mortared onto the ground and leveled one at a time. It is important to make sure this part is just about perfect, since it is where you will build from. The blocks are stacked in an alternating brick pattern to the chosen height.

After this, a layer of high strength bonding mortar is troweled over the interior and exterior of the blocks. We have been experimenting with this process occasionally to test our mortars and color blends since this initial layer gets covered over by a final stucco coat.

Then the caps are built. The first pair of planters have some concrete molded caps, made one at a time. It was fun to put leaf impressions in them, but it took a long time to make them since it was done one at a time, and we only had made 4 molds. It's a great way to get a lot more detail though.
The caps for the most recent planters were done differently. You can see in the first photo that we built the mold right around the planter walls themselves. Again, everything is carefully leveled and concrete is filled into the molds. They are finished off after a few minutes to curve the edges.

After the mold forms are removed, the surface is prepped for the final stucco coat. Rough edges are sanded down etc.

Stucco is applied to the cap first, and smoothed out as we go. When that dries, we complete the walls. The water planter was waterproofed with the same bonding mix as the first coating on the walls, we just mixed it in a black color for the interior and base.

The regular planters are lined with landscape fabric and the first part before the soil is added is a layer of broken concrete and large stones, bricks and anything else of the like that we want to dispose of. We do this as a special treat for the moles that love us so much. They cannot make it through this layer.

Soil is replaced into the planters from the areas that had been dug out to create the correct grade for them. A special organic mix is added to the top layer to promote growth and as a natural fertilizer. I have to thank my parents chickens in part for their contribution.

Those are the basics to how we did our planters.

We have much more to do this winter during the downtime for Ginkgo Landscape Design. Not the least of which is to tackle the front garden and ivy along the street. I look forward to keeping you up to date.

Free stuff.... sure, I'm in.

So I was looking around at blogs that I stalk and found this "win a free handbag" site.


just stick your e-mail in the box and get in on your chance. blog about it, and get 25 more chances.
hm.... I like the brown one with two front pockets