Category: Gardening/Herbalism/Nature

Mar 19

Something Else Sunday

Books/Writing, Cats, Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 2

something else sunday

So, I’m changing up my posting schedule a bit. I’d been thinking about it for awhile and then Puput’s post on Figuring Out Your Perfect Blogging Schedule gave me the extra little push I needed.

I love books. I love writing. I love writing about books. However, I also have 50 million other interests (I’m not even really joking), as well as a family. I am also getting ready to move from Korea back to the States, which is a logistical nightmare and will undoubtedly eat up more than its fair share of time.

In order to continue to enjoy blogging and not burn out, I’m paring down my posts and narrowing in on focus. And here’s what you can expect!

Mondays: Down the TBR Hole
Tuesdays: Bookish or discussion post
Wednesday: Writing Up Wednesday
Friday: book review

If I feel inspired or have extra time, I may add additional posts, but for now this is what works best for me. You might notice, if you’re paying close attention, that Something Else Sundays are not on that list. I created this series because I still wanted to talk about my other interests. And lately…I just feel like they don’t belong here anymore. So I’ve created multiple instagram accounts and a little side blog for my garden/nature pursuits. You can find me in these various places:

Fiber arts Instagram: BentNeedles
Gardening Instagram: BentGardener
Adventure/Exploring Instagram: BentAdventurer

Now these things may bleed over now and then and I may still do personal updates every so often, but trying to come up with stuff every week was just exhausting. Especially when a lot of weeks, it seems like all I do is work and read if I’m lucky to have time! Oh, and…

Don’t worry, Sir Tristan will still be putting in appearances now and then as well. 😉 I hope this new schedule and the freedom from pressure I feel like it will bring me results in a blog that’s more fun for my readers, with less “extra” stuff that really isn’t in your interests!

Last week on the  blog:

This week:

  • Down the TBR Hole #17
  • Crown of Midnight (YA review)
  • Writing Up Wednesday #8: Motivation
  • Walking the Nile (nonfiction review)


Jan 30

Something Else Sunday #23

Books/Writing, Crafting, Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life, Pets 0

something else sunday

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone that celebrates! I got Friday off from work for it (even though we don’t celebrate…perks of being in South Korea). It’s time for another Something Else Sunday…

Well. I had a 24-hour shift on Saturday, so I’m still trying to pull my head out of the fog. 9 a.m. Saturday morning to 9 a.m. Sunday = a very, VERY grumpy me. I have tried naps and they only help a little bit. So I’m about to just give up and go to bed for the night.

In my “Something Else” this week, I repotted my poor little orchid…which turned out to be much closer to dead than I thought…look at all those dead roots!

Poor thing. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to save it…the transplant seems to have shocked it and the leaves are now turning yellow. Sigh.

I did work on my newest cross-stitch start, the Madre Terra pattern from Alessandra Adelaide Needleworks. It’s a tree, a beautiful tree, and the colors really make me happy. I’ve started on the turn since this picture was taken.

Last week…there was a slight rearranging/rescheduling of posts, because I completely forgot about a book blitz I had signed up for. Whoops. But that’s ok. I made progress on a few other things, one a surprise I can’t WAIT to tell you guys about but can’t just yet. Hehehe. Anyway.

Last week on the blog:

Down the TBR Hole #9
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin (review)
Writing Up Wednesday #1 (new meme you should TOTALLY come join!)
Book blitz for Celtic Fire

Coming up this week:

Down the TBR Hole #10
Fear the Drowning Deep (YA review)
Writing Up Wednesday #2
Waterless Mountain (MG review)

Oh, and can’t forget the kitty cuteness…only this week it’s a (very blurry) throwback. This is baby-kitty Alfie…watching the fish was his absolute favorite thing to do! I hope to get a tank again once we’re at home. Pretty sure Tristan will be fascinated as well.

Have a great week, everyone!!


Jan 08

Something Else Sunday #21: A Garden of Dreams

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 3

Welcome to another Something Else Sunday! This week I’m taking the opportunity to share another one of my passions with you all – my love of all things that grow. I haven’t had an actual garden in almost 4 years, but I’ve almost always had at least one or two houseplants during that time. I really miss my “big” little garden square in the community garden (that was back in 2012…yikes!). My only current houseplant is a beautiful moth orchid given to me by a friend last Thanksgiving. That Sir Tristan decided to un-pot…3 times. About two months ago I decided that, since it was still somehow showing signs of life, I would replant it and start watering it again. Also vigilantly guard it. Ahem. The leaves are growing, but it is still such a sad little flower compared to what it was when I received it!


^Then and now. The difference is ghastly. I’m hoping I can return it to health before we move. Since I can’t take it with me, I plan to give it back to the friend it came from. See the scar on the leaf in the second pic? Courtesy Sir Tristan. *angry face* The leaves are growing, but they are horizontal now as opposed to pointing up as in the first. I have ordered some new potting mix and fertilizer though, so hopefully once I can repot again, it will do better.

With our upcoming move, I can’t start any new plants or a garden just yet, but I’m dreaming! Even once we are settled back in the States (hopefully late May to early June…hopefully), I’ll have to limit my gardening attempts because of the state of limbo our residence and jobs will be in at that point. So, this is my chance to dream. To dream of the garden I would have, if I knew living arrangements and finances were going to be stable for the next 2-4 years. Do any of you guys garden? If so, how do you suit your plants to your living environment? I know many of us live in less-than-ideal places for gardens!

First, I would set up a pollinator garden. Mainly for bees, but also for butterflies and other pollinators. Did you know that record numbers of bees having been dying in the past several years? While the numbers seem to have stabilized somewhat, they are far from what they were a decade ago and they’re such a HUGE part of having a successful garden!


I’d use something like this Bee Feed Mix, left, and the Sensation Cosmos Mix on the right. Cosmos are phenomenal bloomers and I love their feathery leaves. Perfect for a low maintenance flower bed at the front of a house!

I’m dying to have an Old English rose, like this Munstead Wood from David Austin Roses. I could just live in their catalogue, every single one is so beautiful. My parents gave me my first rose (an actual plant) when I was 7 or 8, and I’ve been in love ever since.

These are “Kentucky Wonder Pole” green beans. I like that they climb so you don’t have to bend over to pick them. MANY hours of my middle grade years were spent bent over a bean patch in the summer! Haha.

I would have a huge vegetable garden. With enough green beans to feed not just me and my husband but friends and neighbors as well. Green beans are by far our favorite veggie! There are so many different types I want to try. I love heirloom and historic varieties, and there are SO MANY becoming available now. Look at how many beans – just beans – there are! Not to mention the tomatoes, melons, and all the other different veggies.

Comfrey, shown here from Strictly Medicinal Seeds. I’m fascinated by herbal medicine, and comfrey is one of the few I’ve actually tried myself and found it surprisingly effective! I really want to study herbs more, grow more, learn and experiment with them. Besides having herbs for seasoning, I’d like to start a medicinal herb garden and comfrey would be my first pick.

Last but FAR from least – bulbs. I adore bulb flowers. Their colors are almost universally bright and stunning and they are the most beautiful thing in spring. Hyacinths, like the above heirloom “Marie” from Old House Gardens, are my favorite. One day I want to have beds and beds of them. They smell positively divine.

There are SO MANY MORE plants and trees I want to grow and experience one day! These would just be my starting place. I love growing things. I love nature. I miss it. And I’m sure I’ve probably bored my bookish readers enough, so I’ll stop here. 😉

Coming Up This Week:

Down the TBR Hole #7
Review of The Bear and the Nightingale
TTT: 2016 Releases I Meant to Read but Didn’t Get To (and Totally Mean To)
Review of Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Review of Riddle’s Tea Shoppe Teas


May 17

The Philippines – Siquijor Island

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life, travel 17

We recently came home from visiting what must be one of the world’s best kept secrets. This was our first time traveling to the Philippines (my first time traveling at all for pleasure, all my other trips had been for work) but it definitely won’t be the last! Obviously with so many islands, YMMV, etc. etc., as the Philippines also has crazy, bustling cities like Manila and smaller but still overwhelmingly busy towns like Dumaguete (probably not normally so busy, but it was the day before elections when we stayed there and WOW).

We rented this house off Air BnB (also our first time using them) and it was fantastic. Right on the beach, quiet, everything we wanted. It was the most beautiful place I’d ever been…the entire island, not just that spot.

IMG_2648This is their version of a taxi, simply called a tricycle…they’re everywhere! And usually with 5-7 people on them. It was awesome. 😀

IMG_2655We went from Dumaguete to Siquijor in this, a canoe with a motor stuck somewhere in the back. 22 miles across the ocean. In a canoe, with the long horizontal boards tied together with plastic. O_O I felt SO adventurous.

IMG_2660This was the sunset that greeted us the first night we were there. I had truly never seen anything like it.

IMG_2665The Baja Ba’r was a short walk through a lovely garden from the house, where we had amazing food, drinks, and conversation with both locals and expats. The food was unparalleled, and they couldn’t have nicer people working there. Oh, and definitely try the Baja Special (the big orange drink there)…7 different liquors. It will knock you on your ass but in the best way possible!

DSCN0623The beaches were beautiful…lots of rocks just a little ways out.

DSCN0625Look how clear the water is! It stayed that way too…crazy. And stunning.

DSCN0642We visited an old Catholic church built some time in the 1700s.

DSCN0663aMy absolute, hands down favorite part of the entire trip – I could have spent every day here, or at least PART of every day! Cambugahay Falls.

DSCN0667Yes, the water really is that color.

DSCN0671And clear.


DSCN0653Oh yeah. Of course, being me…there was this tree. This gorgeous, ancient, amazing tree. I could have stayed here all day too, except it was SUPER hot and I was turning lobster.

I have tons more pictures (we took 507), but I will leave you with this video. It’s about 11 minutes long, but I couldn’t bear to cut any more out! This place was so amazing and we created some incredible memories.



Oct 30

The Wheel Turns

Crafting, Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 2

I love this time of year. This time and spring makes me feel the most connected with history, both my own personal history and the history of the world. I like the old traditions of Halloween, or Samhain as my Irish and Scottish ancestors probably would have called it. All the modern day gore and zombies aren’t what I love about the season. It’s the idea of the thinning of the veil, of our loved ones perhaps being able to see us or maaaaaybe even communicate with us that pulls me. My dear grandfather passed near this time, on October 6, 12 years ago, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Every October, I miss him and wish I could talk to him, even once more.

Samhain also seems to be my time to finish things. Around this time I feel a huge push to get things done, largely because I want to start new ones. But I really think there’s a desire for closure that pushes me too. Anyway, here is my large finish for this year’s Halloween season.

Halloween Sampler 2015

I’ll get some better pictures once it’s framed, but I’m so damn proud of it. It won’t hang on the wall this year, but definitely next. My husband even likes it and kept asking me if it was going to be done on time. I’d pick up another project and he would ask if it was finished. All kinds of motivation there!

Hope you all have a very happy, blessed Samhain.


Feb 02

No Garden For You

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 4

There will be no garden for me this year. I am beyond sad and it’s really depressing me. The community garden will not work out, last year it was really hard to keep it up due to it being a bit out of the way and the work schedule just made it harder. This year it is REALLY out of the way and the work schedule looks even worse.

I am just…really sad. Really, really sad.


Jan 28


Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life, Pets 0

I seem to have needed more than usual this month. I apologize for the lack of posts, but honestly I haven’t been doing much worth telling, just trying to stay afloat. For me that means lots of “turtle time,” lots of time spent trying to make things. More on those projects later, but for now just a few pictures.

The snow we finally got! This was the morning after.

Getting stuck on the highway in it for 4-5 hours wasn’t so pretty, but it was somewhat entertaining. You learn a lot about your coworkers when you have to share a stopped vehicle with them for hours.

New fish! A bristlenose pleco juvenile, gender yet undetermined.

The kitten-turned juvenile with a biting problem that’s about to drive me bananas. Don’t let the innocent expression fool you.

But then he does stuff like fall asleep in my lap and touch my nose with his paw, and I can forgive him.


Jan 09

New Year, New Ideas

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 0

Some goals for this year, because I remember them better if they’re somewhat public. 😛

– Obtain passport.
– Take either a wilderness EMT, backpacking skills, or land navigation class. Depends on which is nearer/more affordable.
– Go to an outdoor rock-climbing clinic.
– Go hanggliding.
– Pay off something. Credit card, car loan, something.
– Change jobs to something with steady hours.
– Enter a photography contest.
– Take at least one, 1-night hiking trip.

I really tried to keep these in the obtainable range. I don’t like setting myself up for failure. We’ll see how it goes!



Oct 16


Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 2

The move has really upset my equilibrium. Which – duh – is what a move usually does, I’m just finding it uncomfortable. Since work is continuing on regardless, I don’t have as much time as I would want to put everything into place in the new rooms, which is leading to more time in limbo. I’ve found stressing myself out for the few hours before or after work aren’t worth it though, so I’m still trying to take some time to relax, read, drink my morning coffee.

The Roanoke River Greenway runs right behind our new building, and we’ve already been making use of it. It’s quite a lovely thing, I’ve already taken lots of pictures but for now will just leave you with these of a sculpture we discovered along the way, which I think is beautiful and amazing.