Friday, November 29, 2013

Our home construction has really put me through the wringer for the past few weeks. Stress had a way of catching up to me, so when it was time to travel to see family for Thanks Giving this year, I backed out last minute.  One of my neighbors had invited me previously, so now I took up on their offer and spent Thanks Giving at their house. Besides the delicious meal we had some fascinating conversations, something I don't get to do too much these days.

I have been feeling kind of under the weather lately, so today I just relaxed at home and did scrap booking. When we opened up our fireplace early on in the construction, we discovered a stash of old Christmas cards and memorabilia from the 40s and 50s inside, how it got there? I have no idea.  They are fascinating though, our home address was stated on all the letters and cards, and plumbing bill was $3.00 back then, for instance.

I spent a great deal of time figuring out the best way to display them. There have been quite a few things I accumulated over the past two years that I intend to put into my house history scrapbook. It was a project I wanted to start after we move back into the house, but since our home construction stressed me out just a little more than I could handle, I started my project early to help me relax. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

I picked up a small beginner's water color set today and started fiddling with it.  Something about the holidays approaching that's making me extra crafty as I've been doing quite a bit of drawing and scrap booking lately. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

This orchid I purchased earlier this year has re-bloomed. It was no small feat for me as it was misplaced when I first got it and became badly burned. I moved it to a planter shelf with a few other orchids under a huge maple tree for several months. It has been doing pretty well since, and recently bloomed a new set of fragrant flowers. Since the temperature has dropped quite a bit in the past few days, I decided that it was finally time to move all my orchids indoors. 

I really shouldn't have mess with it while the plant is in bloom, but I couldn't resist the temptation of at least freshening it up just a little bit, and that's just what I did.  I had to spend a good half hour cleaning this one up, finally cutting off the burned tips, cleaned up the leaves and sprayed them with hydrogen peroxide.  I then carefully moved some excess moss in the medium and replaced with a bit more bark without touching the roots much as I can, and called it a day.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

These days I can really feel the holidays rolling out full force through out the universe. It's on the radio, in the stores, and flooding in the air. My local craft store has already begun some decent 40% sales and loaded with holiday decors. This year I'm not big on Christmas, I spent a big chuck of my energy dealing with our disastrous home construction, so yesterday I picked up a couple of stamps on sale so I could relax a little and do some coloring. Speaking of the simple pleasures in life, something so simple and silly just makes me happy, and it really doesn't take much!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I left most of my orchids outside for a couple of months but they did not do well. A few days ago I moved them indoors, they've improved tremendously since... only problem? They are all crowding on my very limited kitchen counter space!

When we move back to our house I will designate a space near the window for these orchids, but til then I will have to figure out a way to accommodate their lodging.


My hubby was away over the weekend for a family celebration. I had to stay behind to keep an eye on the contractors (more horror stories on that later,) and subsequently spent the weekend holed up in the bedroom reading about orchid growing tips. I'm so intrigued about all the fascinating information floating online. Over the weekend I took lots of notes, and put together a basket of "essentials" I now deem of vast importance. Hydrogen peroxide? Check. Rubbing alcohol? Check. Fungicide? Check! Spray bottle? Check. Fertilizer? Check. Scissors? Check. Spare pot? Check. Cinnamon? Check. Mayonnaise? Check. Wait, what? Yep, it's one of the things that I will need according to the world wide web, and I don't doubt for a second it's authority on that:) 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Orchid talk

I still have a whole lot to learn about orchids. Earlier this year I purchased this beautiful orchid from a show, but half a year later, it's almost dead! I saw one leave with bulb wholesomely rotted away while the other ones are still ok. When I took out the plant from the bark, much to my dismay, I discovered that the roots had completely died. Not knowing what to do, I took the orchid to my local nursery. It's pretty quiet on a Saturday afternoon near holidays, but there happened to be one employee who knows how to care for orchids. He immediately ripped off the dead leave because he said the rot will continue eating into the healthy leaves until the whole plant dies. After that I took it home, trimmed off some more dead roots with sterilized scissors, and now this is what I got.

Sad isn't it?

I decided to keep it indoors as it doesn't seem to enjoy living outdoor so much. Let's keep fingers crossed that in a few months this beauty will recover from my ignorant abuse! I am also starting to keep a note book for my orchids and plants for references. As I didn't keep notes on this one, I had no idea what variety it is and how to care for it!

* some updated info found on the American orchid society website here. I believe this variety of orchid is called Cattleyas 'Ana Ingham.'

On the up side, I found this beautiful orchid yesterday at the grocery store. It's quite a amazing orchid, and unlike the last one I actually did some research on how to properly care for it.

Hopefully when Fie Fie and I put our two heads together, we are going to keep these orchids alive!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Found these two pictures from our travel earlier this year.  I love camellias, wish I have mature tree like this one.

Last year I planted this beautiful camelia tree. This year it's not doing great, but still have flowers budding.

I put some camelia mix in hoping that it will help, otherwise it pretty much stayed the same.

And a picture of Fie Fie just because he's cute:)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



A couple of my neighbors wanted to do a movie night with me, I prepared finger food for the event. It was quite fun, perhaps we will make this a regular event!


I'm a kitchen gadget kind of person. Recently I learned what this amazing blender could do and decided that I needed one. It arrived yesterday and I am looking forward to lots of fresh smoothies in the morning from now on:)



My kitchen talk bores my doggies obviously!

Monday, November 11, 2013

After a few modifications, I've finally settled on this design. There are two Cotoneaster in the front that I've had for about a year. A week ago I planted two new ones in the back. The bigger ones were just as small when I first got them. I like this structured look, of course there's no science to it, it's just my personal hobby.

There is a second hand bookstore near my house that I frequently visit. Aside from finding rare copies of books that are long out of print, t's always so nice to grab a 80 year old book for less than 10 bucks! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A few pictures from Sunday. Today my hubby and I took the doggies to the dog park. Fie Fie and Uggie ran around and around for a long time while Kelly only stayed by our feet as usual, though this time she was a bit more adventurous.

After we came home, I gave all the "kids" a warm bath, cooked dinner and called it a night. While we were eating dinner, Uggie started shaking his head again. This happened when I first got him, he would shake his head, and couldn't stop, and then he would start crying. Last time we took him to an all night clinic very late at night afraid that it could be a seizure, after dropping a fortune on tests, the vet found nothing. I found this discussion forum here and one person suggested milk with sugar when the dog has head tremors, I figure sweets would do the trick. I keep a jar of raw honey in my pantry just for Uggie. Every now and then when his head tremors, I feed him a big spoonful, and the head tremor stops instantly! I have no idea why, but this actually works! Now he's down to having one every three month or so, which is not too bad. After Uggie recovered, he stayed by me and looked up at me as if to thank me for making him feeling better. I just love my little love bug!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Best documentary I've seen in a while!

There are about 12 bags of compost in this vegetable garden, plus a little bit of organic fertilizer. My neighbor helped me put in these vegetables yesterday. For this winter garden, I've got broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, red and yellow onion, swiss chard, kale, snow pea, romain lettuce, salad greens? and a few herbs like cilantro and basil. Not mentioning the seedlings I sow myself like beets and radish.

I'm so excited about my vegetable garden, can't wait to try these when they are big enough!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The chihuahuas that I found at a parking lot are still at the foster mom's house. Today I went to visit them. I brought two bags of treats for the half dozen dogs staying at foster mom's house. It always breaks my heart to see them, when I was leaving, Charlotte clutched to the doggie door and refused to go inside. It's amazing they still remembered me after all this time.

The two pups got fixed a couple of weeks ago. The foster mom told me they were doing fine over the phone, but today she told me Charlotte did not move at all the first night because she was so scared. The foster mom had to quit work for a day to stay home with her to make sure she was ok. It seems to be pretty hard to find homes for chihuahuas, I am so sad that I'm unable to take them in. Life is filled with difficult decisions sometimes, and when it comes to me not able to help these little pups, I just makes me feel very guilty! 

I saw this pomegranate bonsai at my local nursery and absolutely loved it! It seemed easy enough to make one from a regular dwarf pomegranate tree. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I finally found homes for all my twiggy little trees. Non of these fairy gardens are really finished, but I put them in rich new potting soil, set them under a good sun spot. These were previously somewhat underprivileged trees that either had poor soil or poor pot, or little sun light. The pink Serissa tree in the first picture grew so meagerly compare to the other ones I got around the same time, I decided that it was time to move it to a deeper pot under plenty of sun. The ground covers will eventually grow to cover everywhere, but for now I'm not too worried about it! If all goes well, in a few weeks, they will start thriving!

My next door neighbors have a young renter couple that live in a separate unit. They've been living there for two years though we hardly knew them. Recently the landlords family decided to rip out a shrub wall between our backyards to re-landscape. All of a sudden I see them every single day when I'm working in the backyard. Even their cat come to visit and say hi. Turned out, one of our neighbors has quite a green thumb. He grew up on a farm and knew all kinds of farm stuff, he'd been helping a British gentleman on the other side of their house putting in a veggie garden and has quite a nice veggie patch himself. I had a tour of his veggie garden and was really impressed. Last week he offered to help trim my very over grown lemon tree for a small fee. He did a fantastic job, and this week he is helping me putting in my veggie garden. 

I remember the first year I planted lots of vegetables, but with little success. Turned out, the soil had to be turned pretty good since it was hard as solid rock.  I had two gardeners helping me work these things out before, all of them charged an arm and leg, but non of them actually did what this neighbor did for me, which is churning up the soil throughly. He also recommended organic compost, and talked to me about the various kind of winter vegetables good to grow local here in Southern California. He was about miles more knowledgable than my gardeners, and I'm learning about gardening first hand that books couldn't teach me. Anyway, my point is, other than the fact that I'm glad to get to know our neighbors better, I am so much more confident that this vegetable patch will be more successful than my previous ones. My goal is to grow enough vegetable to satisfy most of our cooking needs. Fingers crossed that it will happen:)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My miniature gardens are always a work in progress... I've had this one for quite some time now, today I added more isotoma and a little chair.  For most of them I've got down to a point where I only need to replace the ground cover every once in a while. Struggling to find good sunlight is always a problem for me!

One of my neighbor heard that I make fairy gardens for hobby, so he gave me several wine boxes, I've been able to make a couple more fairy gardens out of these boxes using trees that were stashed away for a while. The first tree from the left is a cork elm. The nursery owner told me that the trunk will crack as it ages, and while it seemed to be going that direction, I almost killed it once and all the leaves fell off at the wrong time.  I almost threw it away but decided to keep it for a while, the dry branches sprout out tiny new leaves after a while, and now it's thriving again. It's one of the happy ending trees that I have. The little tree in the middle is a hokkaido elm tree, I still have the big one here, it's loosing leaves right about now. This type of elm tree have the smallest leaves ever, I think they are just incredibly funny! The plant on the right corner with pink leaves is a dwarf bougainvillea. It has such a wonderful unusual light pink color! I'm hoping this one will grow into a handsome little tree! 

I've got more pictures of fairy gardens to come, but first, here's a little tip,

A little secret I use to keep fairy garden pots in place, glue nails to the bottom and stick them into soil!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I have been working very hard to revitalize my fairy gardens lately. They have grown in number by so much that, after giving away several of them, my backyard is still filled with them. 


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