Welcome to my blog!

I used to blog here mostly using local photos about my neighborhood or Washington DC or other places I visited. But I took a break from the blog for a few months and then found myself posting about crafts and sewing projects I have done or are doing. These involve fabric recycling or re-use and refashioning of clothes, or other frugalities. I've left up the previous blogs and may occasionally revert to those topics again. May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tarmac Springs


Recently some water leaks sprung out in the tarmac on the road surface on the street where we live. I photographed these little springs to record the event and found later that the images lost their scale.  That is, they no longer seemed like little points of water but could have been somewhere else altogether.  Maybe it was the brown gravelly concrete or the grey tints of the curb stones or the texture of the floating leaves but I ended up liking the color tones a great deal. Maybe I'll just call this water Tarmac Springs!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Some Flowers on the Windowsill

Some people are not very good with flowers and plants and others seem to have green thumbs and can get things to grow. I tend to fall into the green thumb category and notice plants and flowers all the time.  From my perspective, however, they notice me and I have to confess that plants and flowers seem to talk to me. Oh, they don't say complicated things, usually more along the lines of "water me" and "prune me" and "re-pot me" and such-like. So I'm always pleased to find myself somewhere else, especially indoors, where there are flowers and plants, and they are clearly being taken well care of by someone. So that's what this group of flower photos is all about. I found myself in a small office room with these lovely orchids on the windowsills and a rather old poinsetta that was just starting to redden. I think the orchids are quite old too;  I'm thinking that these are likely the sort of plants abandoned by others and the green thumb person took them up and has taken care of them for quite a while.  They are placed in a room used by many, so the care lavished on them benefits a great number of people and, of course, benefits me. Maybe you are wondering if these flowers have talked to me? Well, they are certainly not asking me to re-pot them or water them or prune them, since someone else is doing that for them!



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Neighborhood Oddments: A Little Dog, a Bike, Mattresses and a Chair

Little dog likes to ride
Bike stuck in tree
Mattresses stuffed behind drainpipe
Weathered chair in alley
I was just driving slowly through the neighborhood over the past coupla months and saw some interesting things that caught my eye.  For instance, this little dog was quite happy to be in the front seat looking out as the car drove down the street.  Then there's this bicycle piece caught up in a tree,  perhaps it thought it was a plant or something.  Then, what about those mattresses tucked  neatly behind a water drainpipe? Who put them there? Are they serving some purpose like buffering some noise or stopping cars get scratched or something? And I nearly picked up this ole weathered chair a few times, with some idea to paint it but then decided to just leave it there, as it really did look good, all grey against the red fence wood.  I just never know what surprises might be in store for me when I drive through my neighborhood.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Man-Made Birds' Nests

I stumbled past this tree filled with man-made bird's nests in the 1700 block of First Street NW recently. I was quite taken aback by the creativity! They seem to made of bits of old wood, guttering, wire and nails and painted crazy patchwork style. I stood a while snapping away and then saw a little bird climbing out and up its "chimney"! I think it might have been one of those little chickadees you see around here. I know it wasn't a sparrow as I'm sure they only make their own homes of twigs.  Awesome! There were at least half of dozen of these and I think most of them were in use.  They look like places that it would be hard for cats or squirrels to get into.  I just love it when people find new uses for discarded or leftover things and put them into creative re-use.  It's just so inspiring! Now about those bits of ole wood piled up in my basement....and those half-used cans of paint...


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Those Guys in Orange on First Street NW

Wandered down First Street NW today to go vote in the DC general election and found myself focusing my camera on the guys in orange working on the water tunnel projects.  I was fascinated by all the equipment they were operating and how much of the road they had dug up. These guys are doing some dangerous-looking work so I asked a friendly supervisor worker how things were going. I heard that they were pretty much on schedule and so far none of the workers have been hurt. I asked about what I was seeing and it turned out they were digging out dirty old gas pipes. I then talked to another project guy working on Adams St NW and he mentioned that he'd been with the company that dug some of the tunnels for the Metro system and he'd worked on tunnels all over the U.S.  So, I'm thinking the workers on this project are experienced and seem to be doing a good job and we should be friendly and say "hi" when we can despite our feelings about the dirt, dust, noise, drillings, the road closures and detours.


 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jewels on the Mall

Hope Diamond
Don Pedro Crystal
We visited the Museum of Natural History recently.  It's on Constitution Avenue North West at 10th Street NW and quite easy to find and get to. Better to get there by bus or taxi as I could see no parking whatsoever.  We took a look at the Hope Diamond and all the other crystals and gems there, among other things (such as bees, butterflies, mummies, grasshoppers, cave men). Apparently these crystals and gemstones -- I learned that gems are merely cut and polished crystals! -- are worth millions of dollars, naturally, but maybe they are better off behind glass. There's stories associated with all of them but I just don't remember.  I just photographed the ones that caught my attention.This museum is one of the Smithsonian museums and very interesting. There's a cafe there too, where we had a snack and some quite decent coffee.





Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stressed Out in #Bloomingdaledc by The Public Works

Detour sign instead of tree
Huge concrete truck lumbers onto quite side street
Large sheets of metal covering up huge holes
Lately, I've been feeling quite stressed out by all the public works in the neighborhood. I can't figure out if it's all the water tunnel dig, or gas pipes being moved, or other utility work, but it's all becoming a bit of a nightmare.  And, it's not just the bright orange and yellow plastic things -- signs, pipes, vehicles, worker jackets but it's all the big lumbering vehicles and the ever-changing lanes and roads and alleys being worked in, or the increase in heavy service trucks.
Steel plates & graffited toilets & orange cones
Huge equipment, mysterious yellow barrels
And for another thing, it seems like every time I leave the house during the day I encounter some kind of blockage:  this might be a slow-down due to having to drive more carefully over the large metal plates that are mysteriously appearing in some alleys and roadways (and what huge holes lurk underneath them); it might be a temporary "road closed" sign forbidding me to enter a street I used to routinely use;  or it might be some giant concrete carrier or truck blocking the road, trying to turn a corner or grinding its gears going over the speed humps of our quiet residential street. Some of them are even 18-wheelers (yes, I've counted them) who seem to have got lost in the "Bryant Street Detour" and are attempting to get somewhere. Who knows what an 18-wheel behemoth is doing driving westbound on Adams Street for instance, or why another two-tonner is attempting a U turn on First street.
 
giant coils of yellow plastic pipe & orange cones

I want to also mention the increasing number of helicopter flights by police, park police, news stations and others (that I have been unable to identify their origin). Their noisy circling over all the development is adding to the nervous tension that I now feel as I try for some peace in the garden or on the deck. I'm sorry to say I just give them the one-finger salute as they disturb the rose pruning.

Diggers and drillers and more ORANGE things
Oh no, another street closed!
Maybe it's also the sight of the large blue toilets that the road crews must have that now also have graffiti on them, or maybe it's all those orange cones and orange nets and signs taped onto trees, but I'm finding it all GETTING ON MY NERVES. Did I mention all the added dust and litter -- since street sweeping has been suspended -- and grit and grime?  Did I mention the 2 a.m. drilling digging sounds from McMillan site?  This Bloomingdale neighborhood is no longer the quiet outpost it used to be. We're living in the middle of a giant department of public works project and it's exhausting.
Cranes looming over

More heavy equipment blocking quite residential street

Workers in orange, yellow with STOP/SLOW signs



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

And The May Garden Is So Different

Candy Geraniums
Yellow Irises
It's almost a month later from my last blog about all the flowers in my garden and now everything has changed. Gone are the tulips and daffodils and it's all irises and budding roses and geraniums and peonies.
It's a lot of pink and yellow and even blue and very exciting to see everything coming out blooming again.
King Peonies
Pixie Queen Irises
Miniature Blue Iris
I've been growing these flowers for years now and it's always a lovely surprise when the leaves shoot up and the buds form and then -- usually after a few days of sun and heat -- the flowers start to unfurl.  Each year the flowers are different, either a bulb has doubled and there are more flowers or somehow the plant is making bigger flowers, or in the case of the Queen Elizabeth rose bush, smaller flowers seem to be appearing, but a lot more than usual.  I've spied about 20 buds there! And for some other reason the miniature blue irises doubled and are a huge mass this year.  Just so delightful!

Queen Elizabeth Roses Budding

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Flowers

Well, I can't get by without doing at least one blog filled with photos of my flowers from the garden. The past few weeks have seen all the daffodils come out (after the forsythia) and now there's violets hiding everywhere and the peonies are starting to shoot up.  Also, so glorious are the tulips; there should have been more but either the dratted squirrels had lunch on them or, due to the snow and ice that came so late this year, some of the bulbs actually rotted in their pots. Nevertheless, I have some peach, red and yellow tulips, and a lone creamy white one.  It's such a delight to put bulbs down in the late fall and then wait and see what comes up in spring! So amazing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No, Not A Pinata, But A Wasps' Nest

Look, up in the tree, it's a balloon? A ball? A pinata? Nope, it's a huge wasps' nest! So amazing. We were driving on Q Street NW in Washington DC and looked up at what we thought was trash or something in the tree but on closer inspection turned out to be a giant wasps' nest. Or at least that's what I think it is as it looks like one I once saw in a museum.  I zoomed in with my camera and saw the opening and expected to see things buzzing in and out but it's probably too cold for wasps right now.  But I am wondering, where do wasps go over the winter? Do they die or hibernate?  I'll have to go look this up!
Well, I just ran off to Wikipedia about wasps and learned a lot including that it is probably a wasps' nest as "social" wasps chew trees and other stuff to make a paper pulp to make their nests. Apparently there are lone wasps too, but they don't make big nests and live together. (Sounds like some people we all know!).
I expect this nest will get covered up as the tree leafs up but I'll keep an eye out in about a month and see if I can still see it. 
The address for this wonder of nature is about 1406-1408 Q Street NW, just east of The Bike Rack shop nearby.