Saturday, June 21, 2014


I've been working on the order for my awesome client JR (see this post) and decided to see what other sayings or poems I could find about rosemary. What a fun adventure!

Rosemary is an herb native to the Mediterranean with small needle like leaves. It has a rich history. According to an article written by Master Gardener Madeline Wajda, the first known reference to rosemary is on a cuneiform stone tablet from the fifth millennium B.C.

When researching the history of rosemary one will find that is rich with ties to ancient goddesses such as Venus, Greek physicians, religious lore and medieval witchcraft. One old myth suggests that the best rosemary cannot be purchased or cultivated from seed, but must be stolen from a witch's garden.

~Rosemary along with basil & sage in my herb garden~

When I went out to take this picture I counted the rosemary shrubs on my property and surprised myself, I have 17~

There is an old saying I kept running across "Where rosemary flourishes the lady rules" another take was "where rosemarie flourishes the missus is the master" evidently this saying originated in Medieval England, author unknown.

Wedding and funeral references abound as it is well known rosemary is for remembrance.

“ Young men and maids do ready stand,
With sweet rosemary in their hand,
A perfect token of your virgin's life;
To wait upon you they intend,
Unto the church to make an end,
And God make thee a joyfull wedded wife. ”

Shakespeare wrote quite a bit about rosemary. His Ophelia says in Hamlet, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember!” 
He also mentions how the English once placed rosemary in coffins and around graves in Romeo and Juliet when Father Lawrence says,
“Dry up your tears, and stick your Rosemary

On this fair corse.”
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long:
Grace and remembrance be to you both!
(The Winters Tale)

One of my all time favorite gardeners in history is Gertrude Jekyll. Below a quote from her about rosemary:

‘I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand, and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness to greet me as I pass ….’

As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul. - Anonymous

I'm off to steal some rosemary from a witches garden...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Faerie Folks are in Old Oaks~

I was researching poems, rhymes, songs and sayings for rosemary for a client and as we are prone to do while following links on the interweb I stumbled across some fun rhymes that had nothing to do with rosemary but were so good I had to use them~

Fairy garden markers have always been popular in my shop and now I have added a new one.

It is said this old rhyme originated in the New Forest, southern England and goes “Turn your cloaks, for fairy folks are in old oaks!”  it was thought by turning your cloak or coat inside out you could ward off the chances of a faerie encounter~ (I don't think I'd want to avoid that...)
The oaks are considered the very symbol of longevity and fertility, generation and life. It was common to carry an acorn in your pocket for luck~

Rock & roll gardeners this one's for you! Available now~

Here's another in the shop now:

And a few others we've done that are in new homes~


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More Junk Hoses in the Garden - Words with Hose~

The Junk Hose Birdhouse is my most viewed post to date. In honor of that here’s another fun thing to do with an old junk hose in the garden. Use them to write words on your raised beds!

Here I have used an old grey hose that I had butchered so badly with the mower I had to put the mower on jack stands and unwind its tattered-ness out of the blade housing where it was all wound up and sliced almost through in several places... what that means is there wasn't enough to do a large birdhouse. Or a small one for that matter. 

When I saw JD trying to bury it in the dump trailer under some real trash we had words, some of them were colorful. I have been known to cuss like a sailor and when my good junk is threatened it's all hands on deck! I got the "these pieces are to small to do anything with" argument. Right matey! Are you kidding me? 

Truth be told I didn't know what I was going to do with some of these smaller pieces but thank goodness I'm quick on my feet because I wasn't going to be the one walking the plank on this day. It just so happened the dump trailer was backed up the drive near the junk raised beds we had completed but had not yet finished decorating! Que the music from Jaws. Dawdumph, dawdumph dawdumph! Next thing you know I said you go get the drill and some screws and I'll meet you back here with scissors and a pencil.

I beat him back and started lightly sketching in pencil the word "Grow" on the wood. When he got back with the drill and wood screws I had already cut the G and was holding it in place to take the first screw. 

This is a simple, easy and fun project for the garden.

Ahoy! I mean happy gardening~

Friday, June 6, 2014

Inspiring Client~

I have this client who just flat out inspires me. He causes me to challenge myself which I love!

He sent a request earlier in the week and my sticking to being on a break this week (see post below) I let it ride until I found the desire to go for it.

He has commissioned 4 custom pieces, below is the first, made yesterday. I'm looking forward to creating the next 3. Thank you JR!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Collecting Arugula Seeds

Yesterday I signed off to go collect arugula seed from my garden. There’s all kinds of info on the net on how to do it; here is my process. Make sure it’s been about 24 hours since watering, 48 for rain. Do it on a warm dry day (rarely a problem in CA) moisture in the seeds is the only enemy here.

I use a glass jar so I can see what I’m getting. You can use a paper bag or a bucket too. Arugula seed pods when ready to harvest burst open if pinched in the middle. I hold the jar under selected pod and pinch. The seeds, and sometimes parts of the pod fall down into the jar.

Once you are done collecting you will need to remove the seed pod parts. A fork works pretty well.

I let them sit in the jar for a day, stirring a few times to make sure they are all dry and we don’t have any moisture. Now it’s time to store them. You have some options here.

Williams Sonoma offers these awesome seed storage envelopes by a company in England.

Or you can make your own out of regular envelopes or do like I do and use a brown paper lunch sack. I place about a tablespoon of seeds into a packet like this one below for my own use. If I'm gifting, I will fold over again so it's closer to the size of a postcard (and less likely to spill seed) and I'll place a teaspoon of seeds in the sack. 

I'll be collecting more seeds soon and if I pack any for gift giving I'll follow up with another photo!

Happy gardening~

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Taking a Break

I have become a “goal setter” since I quit my day job. I even post in those pesky “what are you goals this month” threads in the Etsy forums. I feel like I’m throwing it out to the universe and I don’t want to let the universe down of course! Really, it’s more of a personal shaming especially when those equally pesky month end “how’d you do with your goals this month” threads come back to haunt me.

In May I set some pretty big goals for myself. It was my birth month so I figured the universe might reward me with some gifts! I met or exceeded all but 2 of my goals and even got some done that were going to go on the June list. I’m not going to bore you with the met goals; instead, may I introduce the un-met:

  1. Get 75 items listed in the Anvil Designs shop. 
  2. Curate a treasury that makes it to the front page. This is on my list every month…

On May 31st I had 58 items. I’m not complaining I sold about the same amount of items in May as I did in Feb., March & April combined. I still ended the month with 10 more listings than the prior month so I’m carrying this one over. I might make it; I have 63 items listed as of this writing.

I have an obsession regarding curating a treasury that makes it to the front page. What can I say? I think it may be a whole post one of these days. At any rate I cant complain about this one either as I hardly made any treasuries in May due to working on realistic goals.

All that said back to the title of this post. I decided to give myself a bit of a break this week as far as the shop is concerned. My only goal is to do only things I feel like doing during my normal working hours. Yesterday I felt like working in my garden and spent about 3 hours doing so until it got too hot. But oddly when I had to take cover from the sun I went to my work bench and pounded out these 2 garden markers. Isn't it nice when nature inspires even when we are taking a break? 
Brand new design inspired by my morning yard work.

Not a new design but a new font for this design.

Now I'm off to collect seeds from my lettuce plants I let go to seed! 
Happy gardening~