Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chalk Markers in the Greenhouse.

i first discovered chalk board markers several months ago.  i bought a chalkboard to use as a memo board, but chalk looked so sloppy on it. i wanted it to look neater like the bistro boards that you often see with menus listed on them.  i did a little research and learned that they were using chalkboard markers. 

Chalk board markers write like a marker, but once they are dry they wipe off like chalk. The first set i bought off of ebay and i don't remember the brand, but they were fine tipped and behaved just like a regular marker. 

i recently had to the opportunity to review a set of 10 chalk  board markers from #Colors4Fun. These markers are quite large, and behave a bit more like paint pens than markers. You have to press the tip down to get the paint to flow.  

i loved the vibrant colors, but the tips are so fat that it's hard to write details on my little chalk board memo board.

So i took them out to my greenhouse. Chalk markers are one of my favorite 'gardening tools'.  i use them to label my post and seed trays. The chalk labels won't wash off just from basic watering.  When you want to take them off, you just use a damp cloth and they wipe away just like chalk.  They have helped me to stay much more organized this year with my planting. i usually lose my labels or the sharpie wears off and i can't read what i planted, but with the chalk markers the label stay perfectly visable until i want to remove them.

i really love these chalk markers.  My only complaint is that the tips are so fat, although i think for someone writing on a large chalkboard or bistro menu the large tips are perfect. They are just a little big for writing on my small chalk board.  So i'll be on the lookout for some with finer tips, just for that. This set will stay in my greenhouse. It's really a fantastic set. You can find it here on amazon. 

If you've never used chalk board markers before, i'd like to note that they do not always wash off of some chalkboards. i'm not sure why that is, but sometimes they leave a residue behind and sometimes they won't wash off at all. It isn't usually the marker that is the problem, it's the chalkboard. i've found that magic eraser works wonderfully to remove any residue that your chalk board markers have left behind.

Chalkboard markers are truly my new favorite thing and an unlikely gardening tool. Having all my plants labeled this year though, has been wonderful and i can't recommend them enough! 

i received this item for free in exchange for my honest review. i was not compensated. i truly love them!

Raising Black Swallowtails

A few weeks ago i found some Black Swallowtail caterpillars on my dill plants. They were already quite large when i found them, i'm not sure how i missed them before this. 

We brought them inside so we could watch them transform.

Unlike the monarchs, the black swallowtails don't hang upside down in a J. Instead they make a sling out of silk and hang off the side of a stick. 

They shed their skin a final time and the chrysalis is formed.   They typically stay in the chrysalis around 2 weeks, however late season Black Swallowtails will overwinter inside their chrysalis. This can be a problem if you have your chrysalis indoors, because the heat can cause them to eclose prematurely.  If you notice your chrysalis has not eclosed after 4 weeks, it's best to take it outside so that it can overwinter naturally.

Our first black swallowtail eclosed after about 10 days. We had a second one eclose the next day and we have one more chrysalis not quite ready yet. 

Raising black swallowtails is fun and easy. The host plants for the caterpillars are dill, parsley, carrot and fennel.  Every year i plant lots of dill specifically for the black swallowtails, this is the first year i've actually found them on it. i usually find them in my carrots. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Meet Izzy.

 Last week my husband surprised us with a new kitten. It had been living under my neighbor's house and surviving on dog food. The neighbor didn't want it and had been trying to find someone to take it, so Kenan brought it home.  It's about 8 weeks old.

The kids named her Izzy.  Short for Isabelle Mae. i call her little Pip.  Banjo was completely intrigued with her. He stalked her around the house and watched her from a distance. 

By the end of the day they were friends.

Our other cat,  Tallulah, will have absolutely nothing to do with her.  Tallulah stays outside almost all day just to avoid the kitten.  i'm hoping she'll warm up to her eventually.

 Banjo took to her right away and now they are the best of friends. We've had her about a week and she is unbelievably sweet. She was pretty much feral when Kenan brought her home, she had even bite him when he tried to get her from under the neighbor's house. 

Her and Banjo play all day together and snuggle up at nap time. Hopefully Tallulah will get over her jealousy soon. It didn't take her long to accept Banjo when we brought him home, so i'm not sure why she wants nothing to do with this new little kitten. The rest of us all completely in love with her. She seems to like us too. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Koram Grow Bag for Vertical Gardening

i was really excited to review the #Koramgrowbag ! The images from the listing make it look really neat.  However, when i received it i was a little disappointed in the size. So make sure and pay attention to the actual size of the bag.  These images show multiple bags connected together.

i really wanted to love this vertical garden bag, but i don't like it as much as i thought i would. The pictures in the listing are misleading. They must have multiple bags put together in order to create that look. It's much smaller than i expected (approx 3 ft x 11 inches), which is actually okay because once it's filled with soil and watered it's really quite heavy. It's made from heavy duty felt and has loops for hanging and grommets to secure it in place.

i have it hanging in my greenhouse with some lettuce starts and nasturtium planted in it. i think it would look awesome if i had done all nasturtium. It's really not big enough for veggies (in my opinion). So i may replant it with just flowers. i put the plants in a few days ago, and they are doing well. The lettuces wilt a little if it gets too hot in the greenhouse but is otherwise growing well in the bag.

The descriptions shows it being used inside, but the felt gets really wet when you water the plants and so the whole thing becomes quite damp. You wouldn't want that up against a wall without some type of protection behind it. i like the idea of vertical gardening though, and think these could be useful for those gardening with limited space. i attached a picture of me next to the bag so you can get an idea of it's true size. i think it would look awesome on a deck with cascading flowers in it.

Overall, it's not a bad product, but be sure and read the description well and don't assume it's going to be the size of the ones in the photos. The stitching is good, and the felt does appear to be heavy well made and good quality.

i received this product for free or discount in exchange for my honest review. i was not compensated.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jewelescent Gel Pens by US Art Supply- product review

  My kids and i both love gel pens. i use them in many of the crafts that i do, and we both like them for coloring. There are so many great colors in this set! It has 72 pens!! i don't think i've ever seen so many pens in a set before.

These will work great for adult coloring, scrap-booking and writing. i like to use them on chalkboards, when i have something that i want written/drawn permanently. They really pop on a black background. They are non-toxic and acid-free. All of the US Art Supply product line is really good and inexpensive. i've been very pleased with every product we've tried from them. i'll be review a set of 100 double tipped markers next!

 This set has 3 classic, 12 glitter, 10 metallic, 6 neon, 9 pastel, 12 glitter neon, 12 dye, 2 black and 6 swirl pens in it. They are smooth rolling pens, although some of the stuck just a little when i first tried to use them. They rolled perfectly after that though. They do not write quite as smooth as gelly rolls (my absolute favorite brand), but for the price and the amount of pens it's still a great deal.  The pen barrels are clear so you can easily tell when you are running low on ink. The caps click on the pen securely, so you don't have to worry about your pens drying out because the cap didn't click. . 

 The color choices are amazing, although i couldn't tell exactly what was what with some of them. i love all the glitter and metallic pens the best. The neon and pastel pens are easy to identify, but i wasn't sure what the difference was between the classic and the dye. i also really like the swirl pens. The pens come in a clear plastic box and they snap into a try, making them easy to store. My daughter has been busy drawing with these. This is really a great set for anyone that loves gel pens!

 i received this item for free or discounted in exchange for my honest review. i was not compensated. All opinions are my own. #usartsupply