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January Things

28 Jan


Chinese New Year is almost here! As red is the most auspicious of colors, and as you are what you eat during the festival, red fruit is in high demand. Thus, it is time for bourbon cocktail cherries!

While utterly contrary to nature and the seasons in the Northern hemisphere, this is randomly the best time of year to buy cherries and strawberries in China. I used the same recipe as last year, although this time I added a vanilla bean, and used bourbon instead of brandy. I’m looking forward to enjoying these in Old Fashioneds, Aviations, Waldorfs, and more.


I’m taking the seed packet instructions at their word when they say “as soon as soil can be worked.” I planted lettuce and mild mustard greens this week, along with some beets and additional kale seedings.

first leaves

My little apple tree seems to have survived its first winter, and put out three sets of these cheery little leaves. Here’s hoping for an early spring!

Wine Box Garden

8 May

Here’s a quick and easy project idea for anybody with a small amount of deck or balcony garden space who’s interested in container gardening – grow herbs and other plants in wine boxes!

The main challenge I find with container gardening is water management. Small containers dry out quickly, and stressed plants provide a delicious snack for all sorts of destructive bugs and diseases. Large containers are great, but difficult to move, and most them are round – making difficult to group together in a way that maximizes space. Wine boxes are a great solution because they are easy to move, modular, and rectangular.

For this project, I bought a bunch of 12-bottle size wooden wine boxes from a local wine distributor. I simply drilled drainage holes in the bottom of each box, added potting soil, and put in my plants.

I’ve started seedling of beets, lacinato kale, salad greens, basil, zucchini, and marigolds in additional boxes. I can’t wait to see what comes up!

Do you have any container gardening tips?

Postcard from the weekend

9 May

I feel a little guilty – I still owe you a post about the process of making a wristlet purse, but it’s going to have to wait a few more days. I had planned to do it this weekend, but then there was this amazing wedding happening, and that definitely took top priority.

My friend Rebecca got married in a pretty little park in Shanghai. I had volunteered to go to the flower market to help with the selection of flowers, and ended up getting to make her bridal bouquet. She picked out some bold, fun sunflowers and two other flowers I don’t know the name of. I especially love the little yellow ball-shaped ones. I added in something that looks a lot like Queen Anne’s lace, but isn’t – no idea what it is. I did a simple arrangement and wrapped the base with bias-cut strips of light blue dupioni silk.

I made this little blue wristlet to go with the belt and the wrap on the bouquet and the rest of the accessories.

The wedding itself was super fun and casual. It was held at a park behind Yuyintang, catered by the fabulous Amelia, and the wedding party arrived on bikes.The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative.

Other than that, I spent most of the weekend weaving and playing with plants.

We’re moving in a few weeks, and I have to get my current project (all 13 yards of it) off the loom before I can break the loom down for moving. It’s going to be a push.

The little gourd sprouts from the seeds I bought in Yunnan last fall are growing fast. They’re about 14″ tall right now, and I transplanted 2/3 of them into a huge pot. I’m looking forward to getting them on the patio of our new place where they’ll get all the sun they want.

What were you up to this weekend?