Saturday, May 9, 2015

How to remove suckers on your tomatoes

A tomato sucker grows in the upward-facing "elbow" of the stems.

You need to gently pinch off a sucker because soon it will be a full-fledged branch. Each extra branch takes energy from the main plant's ability to produce tomatoes. So you want to take off the suckers if you want to promote a good harvest.

Always pinch off the suckers to make your tomato plant grow upward, not outward. Growing upward makes the plant concentrate on producing tomatoes rather than on producing more stems. It gives your plant more water, nutrients, air and light
and brings higher yields. I pinch off my suckers every day, but then I may be a little compulsive about it.

You might want to congratulate me on the striking text and line I was able to add to these photos. They represent the breadth of my knowledge for such things in Photoshop Elements.

Friday, May 8, 2015

How to make a photo wreath 3

Part 1      Part 2
After cutting out all photos (glued on black card stock), take the whole mess to the office-supply store and have them laminate the photos in one continuous lamination. They have to carefully feed the photos in several wide. If done correctly, you will have a huge sheet of preserved photos that have enough room around them for the lamination to stick. You don't want any parts
that are going to come apart.

Next cut out each laminated picture. On back, place a
gold foil sticker and write the year. Punch a small hole
and insert a Christmas ornament hook in the hole.
I love my photo wreath. It's interesting
and brings back so many great memories.
I think I'm going to make a second photo
wreath, this one devoted to the grandchildren. 
Note: Store your photo wreath in a closet inside the house.
You don't want humidity to undo all your loving work.

This ends this series. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to make a photo wreath 2

See Part 1
Mount your color copies on thick black card stock. 
To get color copies, take your originals to the office-supply store and ask them to place them face down on the copier glass so you get about four to a page. I got mine printed on plain paper instead of photo paper. Although I am persnickety about quality, I knew the copies would look fine once mounted and laminated.

Supplies needed for the photo wreath:
Color copy of each photo for wreath
Gold foil stickers on which to write years
Black card stock
Lots of glue sticks
Plastic template
Black permanent marker
Hole punch
Christmas-ornament hooks
Now take the color copy mounted on black card stock, lay the plastic template over it, and use a pen to trace around the inside of the template window. Then cut out with scissors. 
Do this with each photo.
In making the photo wreath, I made what I call
my 3-year-old mess. As in the type of mess a
toddler would make. Somehow things just 
explode when I'm engrossed in a project.
Next: Part 3

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to make a photo wreath 1

Several years I got it into my head that I was going to display my favorite Christmas photos somehow during the holiday season. It would probably be a special photo album devoted just to the cherished Christmases of the past. Then I thought of hanging pictures on something like a string and using it as a garland. But as I was wandering around Hobby Lobby hoping for
inspiration, I came upon the plain wreaths. That
was my "aha" moment, and the whole project changed.
I got a fake wreath and hung it on the wall to inspire me.
Wreaths come pretty flattened out from shipping,
so don't forget to fluff out all the little branches.

This is where it all started. I went through my old-school photo albums (27 of them), pulling out the Christmas pictures that brought back the most memories. I can't say that they got put back in the right places, but nobody needs to know that.

Next: Part 2 of 3

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blending in

My KitchenAid mixer (25 years old) has seen many a bread dough, but I don't use it very often any more. Regardless, when I knead it I really need it. So I went looking for a cover that would fit so I could store it cunningly on top of my fridge. See how it blends in? Why didn't I know about this functional fashion statement before?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cape Plumbago fills in nicely

I have named Cape Plumbago to my list of Plants That Take Over the World. If left unchecked, plumbago becomes this mounding, spreading thing 6 to 8 feet in all directions.

When my landscape bed was young, I planted plumbago there. In no time it was spreading as well as helpfully producing tiny versions of itself around the original. This kind of situation gives me a combined sense of panic and ruthlessness, so I yanked out all that pretty plumbago.

Now I have plumbago out in the little square of soil by the mailbox, where it will behave. Even so, it is so wildly successful that my husband cuts it back quite severely several times a year. It always comes back healthier than ever -- much to his chagrin.

See how my plumbago isn't blooming much right now? I think it got into a fight with some pruning shears, and lost.