Monday, August 29, 2022

Pansy-read planter

When you clear out the pokeweed around a tree at the foot of your garden and find a Pansy-ready Planter, your heart sings. And then you research pansy planting. (See FeltedFoxHollow on Instagram for Before pictures.)

A lovely friend suggested a fern, but I want something for Winter. So I'm planting pansies now and will add a fern this Spring. It's going to look so good!

Planting summary

  • For zone 7b, plant pansies October 1 - October 15.
  • Pansy bed should be at least 25 percent composted material.
    Like this at Home Depot. (It's 50% off right now, Monday, August 29, 2022!)
  • When planting in October, add any water-soluble powdered fertilizers.
    Like this at Home Depot.
  • For Winter (November through March), fertilize monthly with nitrate-containing fertilizers.
    When I find a recommendation, I'll add a link here.
  • Water well after planting. Avoid getting leaves and flowers wet. 
  • Add mulch to protect against cold weather damage.
According to, pansies need a root system as "big as a softball" in order to bloom in cold weather. To achieve this, plant small nursery "six packs" in early October, the larger three-inch pots in November, and the four-inch pots in December.

But in North Georgia, planting the small six packs would result in blooms around March. As I want them sooner, I'm planting four-inch pots.

Reference links

Thursday, November 21, 2019

How to pack a Pocket Pie for school lunch

Update: I first published this in July, 2013. It's been such a popular post, that I'm republishing it again.
My kids enjoy Hot Pockets. I'm not a big fan of processed foods, but I will happily admit that last school year, Hot Pockets were an occasional life saver...especially after I figured out how to pack them for lunches.

I was so excited about my new school lunch option that I, of course, told all my friends about it. Which is when I discovered that some people are intimidated by the lunch packing how-to's. So I'm sharing the process here. It's not complicated. Really. And your kids get a hot meal without having to spend precious lunchtime minutes waiting in a cafeteria line.

Hot Pocket packed in a Thermos for school

How To Pack a Hot Sandwich for Lunch

What you need:
1 Wide-mouth Thermos
Hot water, enough to fill Thermos
2 parchment paper or aluminum foil rectangles. Large enough to mostly cover half a sandwich.
1 hot sandwich (e.g., Hot Pocket or a grilled cheese sandwich)
  1. Fill Thermos with boiling water. Let sit for a few minutes.
    I do this before I make breakfast for the kids thereby giving the water plenty of time to heat up the Thermos.
  2. Cut two pieces of parchment paper or foil into rectangles. They should each be large enough to cover half a sandwich.
  3. Warm up Hot Pocket in microwave. (Or prepare your warm sandwich.)
  4. While sandwich is warming, quickly drain and dry Thermos. Resealing the lid when you're done.
  5. Working quickly, cut warmed sandwich in half and wrap each portion in paper or foil.
    (Wrapping the portions individually makes it easier to pull them out of the container.)
  6. Place in Thermos and seal.
I've asked my kids how warm their sandwiches are by lunchtime and one responded that they were still "hot." But that's my sensitive one. I doubt the sandwiches are "hot," but I'm confident that they are, at the very least, warm.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Make Your Shadow Dance

I just posted this on my AlphabetHoops page, but I want it on this blog, too. I think everyone needs as many ideas as possible on ways to add joy to their lives.

Eons ago, I donned a full-body turtle* costume and danced next to a busy Tallahassee, Florida street.  I was an introverted 18 year old who would NEVER have danced (alone) in public, but that costume freed me and allowed me to move in ways that would never have occurred to my unmasked-self. At the time, I recognized what the concealment did for me and was grateful for it. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Years later, I took up a new hobby…hoop dance. I am still an introvert and not a performer, but because I concentrate on my hoop, I lose most of my awareness of the world around me. I can actually hoop in public now, and with joy. To repeat, I’m still not a performer. If I’m hooping in public it’s because I’m practicing or happily teaching someone (or many someones) how to hula hoop.

So I’ve grown in that aspect---I can (hoop) dance in public, no turtle costume required. However, even after years of hooping, I still have not overcome the self-conscious inner voice that insists, “You are not a dancer.” Ad nauseum. I have tried various ways to silence (or at least mute) that voice, but nothing has worked yet. But do you know what I realized will work? Making my shadow dance in ways that I won’t…that shadow that is both me and not me. I can’t wait until my next practice session.
And this is Deanne Love's Instagram post that helped me make a connection between that turtle costume and shadow dancing:

P.S. I haven't written a blog post in months, but I'm so excited about this new inspiration for breaking the chains of self-consciousness that I wanted to share it with my little corner of the world. I hope that it helps someone add more joy to their life just as I know it will for me. (I KNOW this, people! Because if a turtle costume can help, then shadow dancing most certainly will.)

P.P.S. Deanne left a comment over at the AlphabetHoops post of this blog.

*I was the VHS movie rental manager for Turtle’s Records and Tapes. I did say “eons ago”…

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fun with Perler Beads (crafting tips at the end!)

"If you continuously compete with others you become BITTER.
If you continuously compete with yourself you become BETTER."
This summer's family craft activity involved Perler Beads. Ever since I realized that cross-stitch patterns are ideal for fusible bead projects, I've been itching to create something. So I did. And the supplies that were left out for weeks (!) on the dining room table tempted my boys every time they walked by them, so they created some pieces, too. I'm a big fan of keeping art supplies on hand so that one can create the instant one has the whim to do so.

My "Bitter vs. Better" above was actually the second piece that I created. I honestly believed that my first attempt had satisfied my Perler Bead crafting urge, but then it occurred to me that I could do so much better. 

This is my first Perler Bead project of 2015.
“Love is a verb, not a noun. It is active. Love is not just feelings of passion and romance. It is behavior. ... The words “I love you” are not enough to make up for that. Don’t kid yourself that they are.” 
~Susan Forward
So many beads tediously placed! I truly thought I'd had enough fun! Nope. And if the supplies weren't all put away, I'd likely be busy on just one more piece because I've thought of a gift idea! But I shall refrain.

And, of course, the family that crafts together, stays together. Or something like that.
Oldest son's finished project.
Youngest son's finished project. He doesn't want it framed.
Some fusible bead crafting tips:
  • DON'T iron the beads directly on the peg board. It will warp. Use the "masking tape method." 
  • This tool works for large expanses of the same color (as was the case for my "Love is a verb" piece). This video explains how to use it. It's not complicated...
  • This tool is a good scoop. But so is a teaspoon. And standard tweezers worked better for me.
  • Minecraft, Google, and cross-stitch designs are excellent resources for pattern inspiration.
  • Unless you really, really, REALLY enjoy sorting beads, don't buy a large mixed container of them. Individual bags of the exact colors that you need will get you creating much faster. TRUST ME ON THIS.
NOTE: I just created an affiliate account on Amazon. If you purchase items via the links I provided, then I get a few cents.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I miss the laughter most

Zinnia, Language of Flowers
 A few years ago, I lost a friend. One would think that by now my memories of her would be safely tucked away, to be brought to mind as a treasured remembrance when the missing-her becomes too great.

But that is not the case.

The pain is less, but the heartache is still an almost constant part of daily life. There are so many things I miss of What-Used-to-Be and What-Could-Have-Been.

And today I realized that I miss our shared laughter most of all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

And then I taught her to hoop

Alphabet Hoops is coming to Hewlett-Packard

There's a Hooping Basics class at Hewlett-Packard's Alpharetta (Georgia) office this coming Monday. And I'm teaching it! I'm super-excited about introducing hooping to a bunch of people in the tech industry. Well. I'm happy to teach pretty much anyone how to hula hoop, but it will be fun to combine my Day Job with my hooping passion, if only for an hour or two.

To spread the word about my class, I created a flyer for the office's events coordinator, to which she added a note that "There will be a prize for best hula hooper!" (In the image above, it's the angled text at the top left of my Playing a Round flyer.)

And then I introduced her to adult-sized hula hoops.

She almost instantly realized that at Monday's hoop class, it's very likely that everyone will be good at hooping. She will need a big supply of prizes...