Wednesday 31 August 2011

Echinacea Purpurea opening in stages

It only ever gives a few flowers so they are waited on with baited breath each year. I was trying to photograph each stage but this one surprised me by opening suddenly yesterday. Two flowers and three more to come. Not the bulging mass I hoped for when planting them but they are in a tough spot competing with tree roots from which I can't extract it to put it in a better place. The slugs did their best to destroy it but we picked them off nightly for 2 weeks until it's leaves were big enough to manage on their own. Now that it's flowering the effort feels worth it, even for just 5 flowers, but what great flowers.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Floor Fabric Food

Brown Floor with Blue shoes, liked the combo and looked for similar in my hard drive. One of my Fabric Prints and a small Pak Choi that hasn't yet been planted out - oops.

Monday 29 August 2011

Product love - Apple

One of my early textile designs recoloured in Photoshop on a Mac around 1991 or '92,
with a Cally-fied Apple logo on top to show that Apple made it all possible.

Update 6th October: I was really sad to hear that Steve Jobs died yesterday. Hopefully my original post below says something about the impact he had on my life and work. He will be missed.

I was sad to hear about Steve Jobs resigning his post as CEO of Apple last week.
I feel a bit anxious at the thought of him stepping back and how that might change things at Apple, though he is not leaving the company, just that role and the involvement it required. With PMS raining down on me like a storm it's no wonder I got a bit weapy as I watched You Tube footage of him giving a commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. I'm such a Nerd, I'd have loved a speech like that at College instead of the stuff I often struggled not to sleep through.

He is definitely someone who has literally had a big impact on the quality of my daily life for more than 20yrs. His visions, brought to life, made my work not just possible, but pleasurable and my old Macs are still Iconic objects in my house.

The only Mac I owned but haven't kept is the PowerMac 7500, designed during Steve Jobs absence from Apple and definitely not an icon of it's time the way the other's have been. Thankfully he came back and before long the Mac Cube, then iMac and then iBook were born and computer design has never been the same since.

I've never had a Mac die on me, ever, or get a virus, so they were great value for money even though they were often twice the price of others. They all still work and were only upgraded because they were getting too old to work efficiently with modern software and internet developments. The 7500 was given away after my Cube came but the others live on and have all retained some value as still valid useable Macs or collectors items.

5 Mac's we've each had or shared since 1996. Spot the one that didn't have Steve Jobs involved?

I've added things I was typically working on on each Mac and it's interesting that the newer the Mac the more I work with old designs and pieces from my early college days. At the moment I'm slowly updating 1000's of my old textiles designs and patterns to jpgs and getting them into some sort of order to actually get some of them printed. I'd never dream of doing that without Apple and Adobe on my side.

Apple Mac Love Affair - the early days:
1984: Macintosh 128k
Played with in Macy's
1985: Macintosh 128k
Did my first Graphic drawing on one, was hooked
89-94: Mac LC & Quadra
Colleges, so I'm guessing based on dates and looks
94-96: Mac Quadra, Mac Classic & Mac Colour Classic
All at work or work placements.

My Own and Mr P's Mac's:
1996: Mac Colour Classic
Shared - Ex work freebie soon replaced by the workhorse that follows
1997: Power Mac 7500
Shared - End of line sale - for our Graphics business, lumpy but efficient
2002: Power Mac G4 Cube
Mine - Refurbished ex-display bargain, rekindled my true love of Apple
2007: iBook G4
Mr P's - but I was never off it, what a glossy white delight
2011: MacBook Pro
Mine - Unbelievable Birthday Present, Thank you Bro, thank you forever

I had my first play on a Mac in Macy's in 1984 but never saw one again until the next year when and American came to stay with us and brought his new Macintosh 128k with him (he carried it as hand luggage). It was great, so dinky for a desktop computer at a time when IBM PC's where huge. And it had the mouse, (remember, that thing that IBM said no-one would ever use). I drew a picture of a camel and a palm tree beside of a pyramid (auto filled with brick pattern - mind blowing technology at the time). My first digital image, I loved it. I still have it actually, in a folder somewhere, it looks like it was done on an Etch-a-Sketch but for the times it was astonishing that you could do graphics on a home computer.

When I went to various Colleges they were all to do Art so Mac's were pretty much standard throughout and were in colour by then. It cemented my loyalty to the Mac and introduced me to another love, Adobe, initially through Photoshop, then Illustrator and finally InDesign. It's a shame Apple and Adobe have fallen out, I feel like a parent watching their kids fighting and knowing that the family would function better if they just got along like they did when they were young. Business and ego's tend to spoil a lot of good things.

The Cube and Apple Studio Display were my most exciting purchase. More than I could afford but utterly worth it. My quality of life literally improved overnight. Quiet drive, fast and space saving. They needed 80% less desk space and every inch counted when I worked from home in a tiny flat. As a delightful bonus it came with the new kid on the block, iTunes, and we all know where that has taken us. I couldn't have loved 2 inanimate things more.

My old flat in Edinburgh in 2002, with Apple Display and Cube (peaking in on left edge)

In the past it was mainly people doing creative jobs that used Macs because they were so geared to visual and audio performance and software, but thanks to iPods iPhones and iPads more people are seeing the benefits of beautifully designed things. I am concerned by the frequent and obsessive upgrading which seems incredibly expensive and wasteful but I suppose that's just endemic (right word?) Western Culture these days. I never upgrade until I really truly need to because I can no longer use my existing software.

Anyway, the change in people's buying patterns for phones and music has clearly tempted some to change their computers too (Yay and Welcome!) and I noticed on Friday that the stats page on Blogger was showing something I'd not seen before, Mac OS users being greater than Windows users with 50% of blog visits coming from Macs. Steve Jobs, you are vindicated, good design does matter, people will pay more for the effort to develop it and was/is worth pursuing.

It shows also that Firefox is tied with Internet Explorer. I'm surpriseed so many still use IE but I suppose people like what they know and often use what is pre-installed (hence the Safari users, sorry Apple, Firefox beats Safari hands down for me). I highly recommend you try Firefox if you haven't already. Imagine if people had refused to use Google because it wasn't a Microsoft product?

I have used other PCs in various jobs and they only confirmed for me that the extra cost of my Macs over the years was totally justified and that I never, ever want to use Windows or Internet Explorer if I can possibly avoid it. At Ikea I got my Department buy a Mac (until then I was taking all my work home to do on my own computer in my own time). Suddenly people went from rarely using the Dept. PC to fighting over time on the new Mac, the passion of the convert. Within a year they had to order another to meet demand and have been getting Macs ever since.

I know that Windows has incorporated lots of Mac OS stuff these days and is no longer visually hard to bear, but I still prefer Apple's commitment to looking forwards instead of playing catch-up. I hope they can keep doing that now that Steve Jobs isn't fully involved. Looking after your health is important and hopefully taking a step back will mean he and his forward thinking brain and instincts will be around to keep an eye on Apple's direction for a long time to come.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

August flowers - vibrant colours

1. Fennel & Crocosmia. 2. Fuchsia. 3. Solidago- Goldenrod. 4. Cleome- Spider flower.

Even on an overcast day these flowers seem to glow as if the sun was still shining.

Monday 22 August 2011

Summer foods change to Autumn foods

Nothing says summer like wild tomatoes on toast. But already the Summer veg is showing hints of Autumn. The raspberries are almost done and being replaced by brambles, though they are mostly not ready just yet, another week or two of warm sun needed.

No more Elderflower, Hibiscus and Lemon cordial (below). I can probably start picking rose hips soon so perhaps something along that line for days when I want rose coloured liquids and a boost of Vitamin C to ward off those colds that so often catch you when the seasons change.

The Rowan berries have been fully red for a week, a sure sign of the Summer winding down. It feels like we never really had a Summer, so much rain and wind, but then I look at my garden pictures and there was so much happening, I can enjoy what I snapped over a few days for the rest of the year. Not that the garden has stopped giving, there are lots more flowers to enjoy as well as edibles. Still picking what the wind left of the Blueberries and the Aronia 'Viking' is so abundant it's more than made up for the missing Blue B's.

Yesterday I pulled my first carrot, A beautiful Organic Early Nantes variety, so tasty and one of the few vegetables not bothered by pests this year and the Rainbow Chard seems to be perking up a bit and has the loveliest stems of bright yellow, red and raspberry. The Alpine Strawberries seem to be going on forever, they've clearly loved the wet weather.

Berry coloured kitchen

Sorry for multiple reposts, Blogger is doing horrible things with my text, images and alignment, still trying to fix it so I'm fiddling with posts to monitor changes.

The Berry colours aren't just happening in the garden, they are in the kitchen too with raspberries and beetroot being the main glorious culprits in the making of smoothies, hummus, and all manner of finger staining delights. This particular one (above) was long, dark and quite woody, not juicy like the big round ones I use in salads (shown below), so I was blending into things where the other ingredients would stand out more, like elderflower, aronia and raspberry frosted smoothie, and raspberry ginger pear and coconut milk ice cream (not shown, I ate it too quickly).

Monday 15 August 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - Hot berry colours

Achillea 'Red Velvet' (twice), Cornflower 'Double Black', Viola 'Rose', Mimulus 'White Flame, Aster chinensis Matsumoto Crimson

Viola (possibly 'Red blotch') with Heuchera 'Purple Palace', Pelargonium 'Lord Bute', Sanguisorba officinalis 'Red Thunder', Osteospermum 'Sunny Sheila'

Clematis Purpurea 'Plena Elegans', Knautia macedonica (twice)

Allium sphaerocephalon, Persicaria amplexicaulis 'JS Caliente' (not as red as this photo implies), Osteospermum (unknown variety grown as an annual)

Renamed my post as I realised it was the August Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and May Dreams Gardens, something I've been meaning to link into all year. There are so many things flowering just now I can't keep up with the photo's but these ones I had uploaded already and are all in flower on the 15th, looking very summery in their hot colours. I may do more posts of other colours this week.

Of course there are plenty of other colours in flower just now, Yellow stars include Rudbekia, Tagetes Orange Gem, Coreopsis, Fennel, Ragwort, Santolina. Blues come from Hyssop, Nigella, Monkshood, Clematis, Viola. Whites are everywhere making the garden glow at night mainly from the Feverfew and the various large flowered Daisies but also Clematis, Dianthus, Cosmos, Sedum, Foxglove. Purples from Verbena bonariensis & Rigida, Clematis, Osteospermum and my beloved Kale. Paler pinks from Phuopsis (which has been flowering for months and months), Brachyscome, Mallow, Hydrangea... the list for so many of these colours goes on and on.

I'm so thrilled that my new patch which is only a year old has so much thriving in it already, mostly grown from cuttings, divisions and seed or gleaned at bargain prices. I've spent less on this than the 'average' UK woman spends on clothes and make-up each month. And on that note, I was shocked to read that 85% of UK women over 50 spend £1500 on their holiday wardrobe!!! I'm stunned, I doubt I've spent that on my entire wardrobe in 10 years. Imagine how many plants you could buy. And that was a report done during a recession, goodness knows what they used to spend.

Anyway, I'm going to spend some time today doing a bit of an update on my FOLIA
garden tracking page to get photo's on for as many of this months flowering plants as possible. I invite you to take a look and maybe even start documenting your own growing activities there.

Monday 8 August 2011

A slice of July

The most beautiful way a pest could destroy your multicoloured Kale, and other photo's from the garden last month...

Because I've not been well enough to garden much I like to grab a bit of everything when I can to bring inside. Below is the result of a 30 minute haul towards the end of July. There were plenty of things missed but that was OK because there wasn't barely room for so many flowers in the house. My bettery ran out befoer getting photo's of the most sculptural jar of eucalyptus, allium christophii, heuchera and pink seed podded honesty. The honesty has been amazing this year changing from green, to deepest purple and now to shades of pink, shown here in this photo from one of the plants outside on top right of this montage of July flowers...

The leaves of Brunnera 'Jack Frost' are turning from white to a metallic silver and really set of the purples and plums of the Sangiusorba, Clematis, Astilbe, Berberis and Heuchera.

Also enjoyed this week lovely colours and themes in Daphne's posts Frill and Vroom Vroom.

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