When I Climbed the Mountain

The writing life is filled with peaks and valleys. I’ve been bumping along at high altitude lately, but no time was more exhilarating than the day I woke up in Tampa, Florida after a book event, got on a plane for Atlanta, was picked up at the airport and zipped downtown to CNN. I was there to do the spot you see below–two and a half minutes of very fluffy commentary on winter ales and “light beers.” (When asked to do light beers, I selected session IPAs, which was my own subversive contribution.)

At CNN, they take your pic and give you a lanyard and then you go through a pretty serious security screening. The spot we did took maybe an hour, and I got to joke around with Coy Wire, a former NFL player who hosted the piece (a down-to-earth, self-effacing guy), and a couple of producers they roped in to taste the beer. Afterward, I was shuttled to Decatur for another Beer Bible event, and I was on a 10 pm flight to Nashville for the next book event. For one marvelous day, I felt like quite a big shot.

Anyway, there it is, my 2.5 minutes of fame on national TV. The piece ran several times yesterday, and now I have it for posterity.

ON-AIR GUEST

With Coy Wire on the set.

from Beervana http://beervana.blogspot.com/2015/11/when-i-climbed-mountain.html

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Succulent Gift Bouquet in Colored Sand

Succulent sand bouquet

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For a great hostess gift, arrange a bouquet of succulent rosettes in a glass container filled with layers of colored sand. Despite no roots, soil or water, cuttings wired onto faux stems and wrapped with floral tape last for months, living on the moisture in their leaves. The sand lends color, style and interest, and serves as ballast so top-heavy rosettes don’t tumble out.

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Colored sand is available online from Amazon, occasionally found at crafts stores, or you can make your own. Obtain a bag of playground sand from any home improvement store, plus Rit dye in whatever colors you want (sold in supermarkets and online). The sand looks white but is actually pale gray, but that’s OK, because the resulting muted colors look good with the plants. To color sand, pour the liquid dye into a pan no longer used for food, add sand to the level of the liquid, and bake until the liquid evaporates—300 degrees for an hour or so. Stir occasionally with a metal spatula or clean garden trowel. Let it cool outside, stirring every so often to expose moist sand and to break lumps. When cool, funnel the dry sand into glass jars and store the excess in ziplock bags labeled with whatever color or mix you used.

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When making a bouquet, I like to select sand based on the colors of the rosettes or vice versa.

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It’s fun to experiment with layers of sand and hard to go wrong. I generally fill the container halfway with three different colors, turn it on its side and rotate it to make swirls, then add more soil to make sure stems will be concealed. Push a chopstick into the layers to make V’s along the inside of the glass. These next two bouquets are by attendees at one of my workshops.

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Kathryne's bouquet

 

Check out my new Debra Recommends page for more garden-themed gifts and decorating ideas!

Sign up for my “Stunning Succulent Arrangements” Craftsy Class and learn how to make bouquets, wreaths, terrariums and more. For a limited time, I’m offering 50% off the regular enrollment of $40. Makes a great gift! Take the class at your convenience, see other students’ work and post your own (if you like), read my answers to their questions, and ask your own questions, too!

from Gardening Gone Wild http://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=29484

Photos for an Exhibition

Garden path through arbor with Eden rose.

I have just finished a series of 16×24 photographs for an exhibition.  An art buyer, working for an interior decorating firm, requested these 11 vertical photographs for a hospital patient waiting room.

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The request came out of the blue – I had never worked with this art buyer, and I had never printed any of these images. The buyer found them by searching my stock library,  and I set about preparing them as art prints. For each of the images I added various filter treatments using Topaz filters.

I suppose I am a frustrated artist working with a camera wanting to be a painter. Actually, not so frustrated – Photoshop provides photographers with some amazing tools. I need make no apologies for how I see these images, I am not really a fan of super detailed photographs, much preferring the look of brushstrokes to a combination of pixel.

Here is a detailed section, before and after, from one of the photographs – climbing Eden Rose on an arbor.

Garden path through arbor with Eden rose.

Garden path through arbor with Eden rose.

Garden path through arbor with Eden rose.

The trick of working with various art filters in Photoshop is not to overdo them. They should be used with intent, which is why I like the Topaz filters because they offer nearly unlimited controls of each facet of the filter. It is quite satisfying to spend the time with the filters adjusting various brushes and their strokes, color densities, detail enhancements, etc.

Many of the effects are not obvious until you you look closely at the image and indeed, I like to think are irrelevant to the appreciation of the photographs on the wall.

I will present 11 images here, hopefully for your enjoyment. I don’t know how these verticals will appear on whatever device you are using to view them, but do try to imagine them as nice large prints framed  on a wall.

Gate Through the Wall Garden at Filoli

Gate Through the Wall Garden at Filoli

 

Breakfast Nook in Sally's Garden

Breakfast Nook in Sally’s Garden

 

Through the Hornbeam Hedge.

Through the Hornbeam Hedge.

 

Country Garden Room with Old Roses

Country Garden Room with Old Roses

 

Path to the fountain in California country garden.

Path to the fountain in California country garden.

 

Garden Path Through Arbor with Eden Rose.

Garden Path Through Arbor with Eden Rose.

 

Urn with Geraniums by Path to Back Door in Summer Garden

Urn with Geraniums by Path to Back Door in Summer Garden

 

Sulpher Buckwheat Along Path in California Native Plant Garden

Sulpher Buckwheat Along Path in California Native Plant Garden

 

Butterfly Pollinator Garden at Rio Grande Botanic Garden

Butterfly Pollinator Garden at Rio Grande Botanic Garden

 

Pond edged with daylilies at Sasebo Japanese Garden

Pond edged with daylilies at Sasebo Japanese Garden

 

Hidden Gem - at Los Angeles Habitat Garden

Hidden Gem – at Los Angeles Habitat Garden

What fun it was to have an excuse to make all these prints. If there is enough interest here in the comments, I will show how I did the treatments as posts on my PhotoBotanic website.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. For me, my daughter and son-in-law are visiting from New York all week, so now, this is done.

from Gardening Gone Wild http://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=29457

It’s Hard Out There For a Publisher

This is a slightly random aside, but I wanted to draw your attention to a great post about the state of the internet over at Talking Points Memo. For those of you who don’t read political blogs for fun, TPM may have escaped your notice. It’s a left-of-center site that grew out of a personal blog by Josh Marshall. (As an aside to the aside, the site was my introduction to blogging. I’d never heard the word “blog” until Paul Krugman called attention to some of the work Marshall had been doing on the coded racist words of then Majority Leader Trent Lott. Within a month, I had started my first blog.) Like all news/opinion sites, it has struggled in the age of social media.

What’s changed in the last 4 to 5 years is the inroads social media sites have made into the paid advertising space. Much as Craigslist virtually destroyed the classified ads business that local newspapers owned, a site like Facebook can deliver ads more efficiently and cheaply than most traditional advertisers. 

The great liberation brought about by the internet made it possible for someone like me to put my voice in front of (potentially) the whole world–a phenomenon new in the world. But if you envision the structure of media as a funnel, where the voices of the public are the wide end, and the media gatekeepers act as the narrow end, what happened with the internet–and especially, with social media–was the elimination of that narrowing. Now all people can connect with all people, which means the writer in this equation isn’t very important anymore. Josh’ perspective is that of he publisher, but since we can all now be publishers as well as writers, it may be a distinction without a difference. Writers and publishers are still casting around now to figure out how to make a living. Many of us develop nervous tics because it seems like our societal value is approaching zero. Though from a purely academic perspective, the changes are fascinating.

Which I suppose is about as good a place to segue to links as any. Today at All About Beer I discuss a significant epiphany I had in Miami, Florida on the subject of beer. True story.

So join me back in the Abbey Brewing pub. Most beer culture in the world right now has its roots in European brewing. Abbey reflected that—with a healthy dose of American sprinkled in. As I mentioned, Miami is loaded with culturally-specific businesses, so there’s nothing out of the ordinary about a European-American pub making up part of the tapestry. And yet, in that moment, I realized how much American beer culture—especially craft beer culture—carries with it this European valence.

We also have the latest Beervana Podcast up and ready to caress your ears in our dulcet tones. In this latest episode, we discuss wintry beers, touching on topics like wassail, Lamb’s wool, glühkriek, bière de Noël, and of course, price elasticities. We have also slightly tweaked the format to include news and beer recommendations (an extension of the “Beer Sherpa” feature birthed here on this blog) as well as a a “mailbag” feature, in which we are attempting to draw you into the discussion. We welcome questions, comments, criticisms, witticisms–anything that inspires you. Email us at the_beerax @ yahoo.com.

from Beervana http://beervana.blogspot.com/2015/11/its-hard-out-there-for-publisher.html