hanging basket tip

I like to change it up a little when I plant hanging baskets. So I will plant hanging baskets with things like herbs and nasturtiums and not the usual suspects like impatiens and geraniums.

But have you ever planted your hanging baskets using the moss and coco fiber liners and realized you should’ve gotten replacement/new liners after everything was planted? I have, and I thought I would share a little tip with you.

If you have standard size hanging basket forms you can carefully lift out the coco or moss liner with your plants in it, and slip a new coco or moss fiber liner into the bottom of the hanging basket, and slide what you already planted in the old liner (including the old liner) right on on top. You do not have to re-plant.

Happy gardening!

household tip: death to fruit flies

Fruit flies are annoying and they seemingly appear overnight no matter how clean your kitchen is – especially if you compost and collect appropriate scraps in a kitchen container to add to your outside bin.

Anyway, I was taking out the kitchen compost scrap container today and noticed a couple of fruit flies, so it was time to bring out the easy-peasy fruit fly trap.


Take a small container, I use an orphaned coffee cup that holds about 6 ounces. I go into my cupboard and pull out my apple cider vinegar and fill the coffee cup a little over 3/4 full with apple cider vinegar, to which I add a few drops of dish soap. Then I leave it on my kitchen windowsill.

Do this and your fruit fly drama will disappear almost overnight. If you have a large infestation it may take a couple of days.

Basically I leave this cup filled with vinegar on my window sill into the fall off and on. All you have to do when you see enough drowned fruit flies is wash them down the drain and fill the cup and start again. It couldn’t be easier and is an organic solution.

Apple cider vinegar also seems to keep food smells at bay, so it has another use.

vintage lamp shades


I love vintage lamp shades. I pick them up wherever I can find them reasonably priced. Barn sales, church rummage sales, thrift shops, flea markets, or garage sales.

I don’t like to pay a lot, especially if the lamp shades need “love”. I look primarily for solid color cloth covered shades in white or cream that are not torn or shredded. I prefer old linen, cotton, or silk shades. I will note if shades are of a newer vintage and polyester I tend to leave those for other people. I am not a fan of polyester or rayon lamp shades.

Sometimes these vintage lamp shades will have a water stain or two on them. If the fabric is silk, cotton, or linen you can either tea stain (which you can also do to old table linens as well, incidentally) or dye them to give them new life.

Tea staining means literally brewing tea bags in hot water, letting it cool slightly and either sponge paint the lamp shade with tea, or paint it on with an arts and crafts paint brush. Do not overly saturate the shade with tea liquids or it may fall apart.

I will sometimes tea stain a couple of times for a particular shade, but I let the shade dry in between tea applications. Use a plain old regular tea. I just use tea bags that are filled with black tea (like Tetley or Red Rose). Green tea doesn’t work for this.

You can also paint or sponge color on that you use to dye Easter eggs – yes, food coloring. Just prepare the food coloring in a bowl like you were going to dye eggs and again use a sponge or paintbrush to apply to the lamp shade.

Food coloring/ Easter egg dyes give a different look than traditional dye, giving off more of a “wash” like a water color effect. The shade in this post is one I did. I took this photo with a mobile phone so color isn’t quite what it is in person which is a pale blue / aqua wash. I further dressed up the shade with some bits of wired ribbon I had hanging around.

Anyway, just a fun and inexpensive way to get new life out of an old lamp shade. You can also use traditional fabric dye mixed in a bowl and painted on as well.

Important to note if you do this arts and crafts project, cover your work surface with something like a plastic shower curtain or plastic sheeting.

I will also look for shades that have a funky pattern or something if I have a specific use for them, like a smaller shade for a converted oil lamp. Those shades I look for in more pristine condition as they won’t be dyed or re-trimmed.

Thanks for stopping by on this stormy evening!

driver vs. utility pole in west whiteland


On Friday evening, May 23 at the start of the Memorial Day Weekend many residents in East and West Whiteland Townships experienced a major power surge and subsequent outage and damage due to a case of driver vs. PECO Energy Utility pole.

This driver and their accident has caused damage to many residences and businesses in at least two townships: East Whiteland and West Whiteland are the ones I know about.

The accident reportedly occurred off of King Road near Phoenixville Pike as per my sources. A police report is pending, and apparently the Patrol Sergeant who took the call is off shift until Wednesday or Thursday evening.

I have checked the Daily Local to see if they have anything about this and see nothing.

If you were affected by this power surge and outage, and have damaged property as a result, call PECO Customer Service at 1-800-494-4000 to open a claim. The e-mail I find listed for Claims is pecoclaims@exeloncorp.com and their fax is listed as 215-841-4919.

I am further told that if you experienced loss as a result of this driver taking out the utility pole that you can request a copy of the police report from West Whiteland Police Department.

Save all of your receipts for any repair work or replacement costs you experience as a result of this driver taking down PECO’s utility pole. You will need receipts to file any sort of claim.

If I hear anything else about this I will post it.

happy memorial day 2014

These are a collage of photos of Memorial Days past. Enjoy the day and remember those who have fallen in service of our country.

These photos are a collage from all over including Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer (abandoned ruin), historic Montgomery Cemetery, and the at risk Oddfellows cemetery in Gladwyne, PA.

wreck of the day…morstein road

This was supposed to be a two lot sub-division by now on Morstein Road in East Whiteland but the old house just continues to rot…

When you drive by and look at the windows from the road you still see stuff in the house. I don’t get that. This seems like a project stalled with an older house now beyond rescue.

I feel sorry for the people that live near this on that road. They’re already dealing with a lot a lot having to do with some giant red barn garage at the end of Morstein.

double standard much, upper uwchlan?

So as everyone knows Upper Uwchlan has a thing about barn sales.

Saw this sign on our way back from the Elverson area. We decided to drive down Little Conestoga Road. Of course this begs the question of why is this farm allowed to have barn sales and not the Smithfield Barn? It is the same road and same municipality.

If these people can have barn sales the township should let others have barn sales, right? Unless of course only select barns are allowed to have barn sales?

Very curious indeed, and apparently the sign has been up a while?


To say I am bummed at the garden destruction courtesy of the hail storm yesterday is a bit of an understatement. Everything is bent and broken, and especially hard hit were all my ferns and hostas in the back garden on the edge of the woods.

Early this morning I was close to tears as I surveyed the damage. The leaves and fern fronds are just shredded and broken. This kind of destruction is hard for any gardener to see. I have worked so hard on my garden this spring to get things cleaned up after the winter.

Ice damage in February, ice damage in late May. Who would have thunk it?

So I emailed gardening writer Suzy Bales this morning to ask her advice especially regarding the hostas. This is what she had to say:

It is always good to give the plants time to recover and not to replant to quickly. Feed them with compost to help them recover. My hydrangea are dead from the ground up but they are sending up new shoots from the roots. Because the roots are established they will grow much faster than a newly planted shrub.
Best wishes,

I also looked at a thread on GardenWeb where a gardener from Oklahoma was looking for advice on caring for hostas after a hail storm. Hail storms like we experienced in Chester County yesterday are far more common in great plains states and other areas like Texas.

What I learned was gardener in these parts of the country are so used to these storms that some do things like cover hostas and perennials with sheets of window screening when hail is in the weather forecast. The theory is that the screening helps lessen the impact of the hail.

So I have decided to clean up the hosta leaves that are broken off completely and leave the rest of the plant to recover as best it can. You can’t really prune hostas per se, and if I remove all the hosta leaves broken or not it may be too hard on the plants.

Other plants got beaten up – herbs, zinnias, impatiens, hydrangeas, roses, peonies. I purposely stayed out of the garden today, but for everything damaged, I will only clear away what is broken. I don’t want to over-prune anything.

As I finish this post thunder is rumbling as the next round of storms are rolling in. This thunderstorm is going to be a doozy too I think . I really must say I am pretty much over the weather extremes we keep experiencing more of and next politician that says global warming is a farce deserves a piece of every gardener and farmer’s mind. That is the other thing I have been thinking about: how has this crazy spring weather affected farmers?

Anyway, gardening is like an unfinished canvas, there is always more to do. And gardening always requires patience. Tomorrow is another day and all that good stuff.

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.
~ Vita Sackville West