Sunday, October 25, 2015

More Halloween Goodies

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I have truly been enjoying myself immensely while creating Halloween decorations for the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center. In my last post I showed photos of the fancy pumpkins, bows and poster that I made. Here I have a Halloween spiderweb wreath complete with resident spiders. A foam wreath foam was wrapped with a fall inspired ribbon as the base. A commercially available spider in a web was added to the center and a second ribbon in orange was wrapped around the wreath and interlaced with the web, holding it firmly in place. A pretty two-toned bow with sheer black tails and a pumpkin jingle bell in the center top it off. I made a bunch of itty bitty spiders to go around the edge of the wreath. Can't you just see the attitude in their eyes? They mean business.

Bows and glittery coils adorn the sparkly witch hats. These hats were already so pretty, they didn't need much more than a pretty coordinating bow to complete the look.

My final project before closing the book on this year's Halloween decorating is a straw fan done very simply with a silhouette of a witch flying on a broom. The witch is backed with vellum which mutes the colors of the red and yellow ribbons radiating behind it. The muting was just the subtle touch needed to keep the scene from looking too busy. The handle of the fan is adorned with curled black and orange ribbons and highlighted with a little white ghost in the middle.

As much as I love Halloween, it is time to let it go for now and revisit it again next October. Now I have to concentrate on the next big holiday -- Christmas! A creative diva's work is never done.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Witching Hour Is Nigh.

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Although I'm no longer acting as Dorchester Senior Citizens Center arts and crafts specialist, I still pop over for a visit from time to time because I really like the people there and I always find an appreciative audience for my crafts. This fall I'm making Halloween decorations for them and these are my latest creations.

The center secured the materials for these decorations from Materials for the Arts, a NYC organization that receives donations of goods from various sources and redistributes them to non-profit organizations. Sometimes the pickings are phenomenal, as with the beautiful ribbons and embellishments I used to create the bows. The bright orange paper was also scored at MFTA on a trip a few years ago.

Halloween...second only to Christmas as my favorite holiday.

Ballo ergo sum,

- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Vine That Ate Troy Avenue

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View from the front of the garden
No, you're not looking at a scene from an agricultural horror flick. What you're seeing is a monster tomato plant that has all but consumed my ancient azalea bush and is using it as its own personal trellis. This vine spontaneously sprang up in the middle of my garden of its own accord. Had I intentionally planted it, I would have placed it in a container. I thought about pulling it up but then I got lazy and decided to leave it and allow it to take its course. OH MY, I got a whole lot  more than I bargained for. Turns out that this tomato was an indeterminate variety. That means that it is a sprawling vine that keeps on growing and growing and growing until weather or other conditions kill it off. Some of those tentacles are over eight feet long!! If I had known that when I saw that cute little plant spring out of the ground, I might have yanked it out without any mercy but I'm actually glad I didn't. Turns out that:

View from the back of the garden

Indeterminate Tomato Varieties Have Better Tomato Flavor*

“Determinate” and “indeterminate” are terms used to describe a tomato variety’s growth habit — but many gardeners don’t realize these categories relate to flavor, too. Most determinate tomato plants have fewer leaves per fruit than their sprawling indeterminate cousins. These compact determinate plants have the advantage of growing better in containers and producing all of their harvest at once, which makes them great for processing. But, don’t expect them to be as flavorful as the vining indeterminate varieties that have more leaves to convert sunlight into sugars and, thus, develop more intense, complex flavors (*Source).
The fruits of my labor

Who knew? Not me, but I can tell you this. Those little tomatoes, pictured here, are delicious. My son pops them in his mouth and eats them like candy. I've used them in salads, in stews, made tomato sauce with them and they are great. Best I've ever grown, really, and I never would have known this had I ripped it out of the ground. And it's still producing in October! I have dozens of green tomatoes on the vine waiting to ripen. 

Basil, Lettuce seeds, and more
These days I've been harvesting as much as I can because the days are shorter and the weather is cooler. Here you'll see a picture of Italian basil, red lettuce seed heads, some tiny potatoes that were hiding from me last time and a green pepper. Those leaves are going to be dehydrated, those seeds will be separated out from the heads for next year, and those potatoes and pepper are destined for my cooking pot. BONUS: the cooler weather benefits cilantro which has begun to grow in my garden now from seeds that dropped from the spring crop. More tasty herbs on the horizon. The cycle begins again.

This year's growing season is winding down but I'm still reaping the benefits and planning next year's garden. I'm smiling just at the thought of it.


Ballo ergo sum - Gitana, the Creative Diva