Say it with Flowers

I had intended to write this week’s post about Beading Yoda’s lovely beaded flowers.   But that will have to wait.

What a week this has been.   Boris is almost recovered from the Benjimonster and is much less stressed.  I cannot say the same for myself.  It all started so innocently.  My health insurance company decided to give its customers a discount on their premiums if they enrolled in a program called Active Health to learn about healthy habits,  adiet, exercise, and so on.  You get points for each module you complete. Collect 100 points and you get your discount.   Easy, right?  Wrongo Bongo!

I logged onto the program’s website and managed to enroll after numerous calls to customer service to learn how to navigate a website obviously designed by Dr. Mengels.

In the weeks that followed, I duly entered my blood pressure, my cholesterol,  completed questionnaires, and studied health topics.  As I completed each module, I was awarded a certain number of points.  I was on my way to my discount.

Nor so fast.

Yesterday, I foolishly downloaded the Active Health iPad app for the program and completed more tasks.  As I tracked my progress, I noted the app was not saving anything.  And there was no option for me to save. I tried to contact customer service online.  There was a place to write a message but no way to send the message.  So, I called customer service.

I was referred to another number.  Then a third number.  Then I spent almost an hour  with a service rep who tried to guide me through the website.  But, as I repeatedly reminded her, I was using the app, not the website.   Alas,  she could neither help me nor refer me to someone who could.  “And yet,” as the saying goes, “she  persisted.”  As I hung up I wondered where she got her stamina.

Later that evening, I decided to try again on the website instead of the app.  I ran into the same problem.   I called customer service again.  As the conversation with a different rep wore on, I realized that he knew that the website did not work,and that tech support was non existant. But the rep was  creative-I’ll give him that-he suggested that I abandon the online health education module altogether and opt for phone counseling in order to get my points  So I agreed. We scheduled an appointment with a health counselor.  Then the rep started to rattle on about the Philadelphia Eagles.  Time to say goodbye.

The health counselor called the next day at the appointed time.   “What health issues would you like to work on? ” she asked.

“Stress,” I replied, “I really need to work on my stress.”

“What gives you stress? ” she queried.

“I was doing pretty good before I enrolled in the Active Health program,” I admitted, “but broken website coupled with service reps who don’t have the resources they need to do their job  has caused me a great deal of stress.”

“Oh.”

The counselor suggested that I meditate and gave me a number I to call if the stress became overwhelming.  “There are counselors there to help you,” she informed me.

“Is this covered by my insurance?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she responded.  “Let’s schedule another session.”

“How’d it go?” my husband asked me later that day.  “Not as bad as I thought it would be,” I admitted.  “In fact, I’ve decided to start smoking again so at our next session she can give me advice on how to quit.”

Only two more counseling sessions to go.

And now, to keep myself honest, here are pictures of flowers taken on my walks around Philadelphia.

 

A Cure for My Wintertime Blues

I lost my hat.  I lost my favorite hat.  I suppose I should be seriously bummed but, with all the problems in the world, it’s not worth the effort it would take. Besides,  the loss of my beloved chapeau has given me the opportunity to go hat shopping. Traditionally,  I acquire my hats in one of three ways: online shopping, someone gives me a hat, or I find the hat.  Literally, find the hat.  I found my favorite hat on trash collection day a few years ago.  It was tucked into a Neiman Marcus box that was sitting on top of a pile of garbage.  I could not resist looking into the Neiman Marcus box and there was my hat.  It needed no adornment.  I could wear it right out of the box.  And wear it I did during the cold weather.  I have one more hat (given to me by a woman I hardly know) that I wear during the coldest weather.  I have an in-between hat.  I bought this hat in a store, but after I brought it home I put it away and could not find it for two years.  And then I set it on fire by accident.  Don’t ask.  It is a small hole in the brim.  I sewed it shut and no one notices it until I point it out.  Which I do.  And I have some summer hats.

So I have been auditioning new hats.  I like to decorate my hats with flowers made from cloth or felt.  Which brings me to the cure for my wintertime blues that is the title of this post.  Homemade bread and soup are good for the wintertime blues,  but they reinforce the fact that it’s winter.  Flowers, on the other hand,  even felt ones, point to the Spring and Summer that are sure to come.12.BigGroup2_1

So I have been making felt flowers.  Once I start doing something like this, I can’t stop.  (Before I got on this kick, I was making stacking rings like there was no tomorrow and only stopped because I filed holes in my thumbs and I had to let them heal. ) (And now I have thumb protectors.)

Needle felting can be tough on your fingers.  (I prefer needle felting to wet felting.)  I have gloves and finger cots and finger shields, but so far have managed to not innoculate myself with the felting needles.    I use felt sheets that I make from fulled 100% wool sweaters and scarves, and I adorn the flowers with roving, wool yarn and bits of craft felt.   I have not seen anyone who makes felt flowers in quite this way so I will post a tutorial sometime in the future.

You could use the flowers as brooches or corsages.  Each one as a pin sewn on the back.  But I prefer to use them to decorate hats,  Here are some pictures of my hats festooned with felted flowers.  Spring is just around the corner.

 

 

Bob’s Garden in the Fall of 2017

Things are quieting down in Bob’s garden about now and the last of the summer flowers are starting to fade.  The cacti are getting themselves ready for the winter and the turtles have gone to the bottom of the koi pond to wait out the cold weather.  The banana tree didn’t throw off any fruit this summer but its long, broad leaves still made me feel like I was in the tropics.  Here are some pictures of Bob’s garden in the fall.

 

For more pictures of Bob’s garden over the years, press here.

Summer Walks, Summer Flowers

  One of the things I love most about Philadelphia is the unexpected little streets and alley ways that stretch from Queen Village to Point Breeze and all the neighborhoods in between.   Here are some flower pictures I took on some walks around the city.1.SummerFlars0728_1417522.SummerFlars0728_1418043.SummerFlars0728_1418204.SummerFlars0728_1418235.SummerFlars4526.SummerFlars5077.SummerFlars5368.SummerFlars556

Bob’s Garden, Summer 2016

Bob’s Garden has really taken off this year! Three new turtles are swimming in the pond and a new banana tree has taken root in one of the wooden barrels sitting out on the south Philly sidewalk. The cacti have come back to life and are are throwing off scores of yellow blossoms.  The water lilies are doing swimingly (pun intended) and Barbra the Macaw is keeping a watchful eye over it all.  Here are some pictures.

 

image

image

image

image

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

Flirty Flowers and Macro Lens Mischief

Bob’s garden is growing full force this summer. One of the Koi fish is as big as a whale but refuses to be photographed.

Copy13 copyFortunately, the flowers are not so shy.

Copy11 copy

Copy 9 copy

I didn’t have any problem getting them to open up for the macro lens

Copy9 copy Copy5 copy

Copy2 copy Copy1 copy Copy6 copy Copy7 copyCopy15

I don’t know what this flower’s called – it’s from Seger Park down the street and I take pictures of it every year.

Puss

Even Plumpton got into the act despite the fact that he is now a grumpy old cat of 19.

Flowers of Mendocino




The flowers in Mendocino are incredible and the colors are wild. There is no bee shortage here. I’ve seen more than one hummingbird too.

We went to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens yesterday to see the fuchsias and the dahlias. Some of the pictures below are from that trip but I took most in the little town and near the shore of this idyllic place.

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Here’s the view from our hotel.

 image

The Secret Life Of Flowers

I love to walk around my neighborhood with my camera and I spent some time this weekend taking pictures. Flowers were blooming in beds, patches, window boxes and containers. The tulips were dying off and the irises were coming out. As I happily snapped my way around my bit of South Philadelphia, I started concentrating on flowers that were still in the bud stage, those emerging from the bud stage, the insides of flowers in bloom and the ones that were on the decline. It felt a little like I was peeking into their undies or seeing them without their makeup or their hair combed. I felt a bit like an intruder. Here are some pictures you will never see in the National Enquirer.

A9
J
128

Is Spring Finally Here?

wpid-IMG_20140329_113251.jpg

I saw this sign in the window of the Morning Glory Diner a couple of weeks ago but I admit that at that time Spring seemed so far away. Then yesterday, I saw my neighbor Bob outside starting work on his sidewalk garden. That means that Spring is here and that soon Bob, Loki the cat and Barbra the macaw will be hanging out by the Koi Pond. This year new family addition Calypso the cockatoo will join them. I can’t wait. Until then, here are some pictures I took at the Macy’s Spring Flower show now on display in the Wanamaker Building Grant Court. Enjoy!

6

2

3

wpid-IMG_20140329_112657.jpg

7

1