Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Last Time I Saw You; Flash Fiction As Memoir of Uncle George who Left This Earth at Age 30

Cigarette in hand, leather vest, your back was to me as you walked away.  My eyes were focused on your biker motorcycle boots.  No one knew it, not even you, but you were beginning your walk into eternity. Now I know why I had to have those distressed black  Frye motorcycle boots so badly.

My Uncle George's Grave, Designed by his Brother, Tom, and Artist, who is now buried near him.

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: My Mom; Most Excellent Woman of All

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: My Mom; Most Excellent Woman of All: Mom's philosophy on time mnagement centered on laying out clothes and school books the night before class.  Books and purse when by the ...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Aug. 24th Doll Collecting at About.com Newsletter

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Aug. 24th Doll Collecting at About.com Newsletter: Doll Collecting at About.com Newlsetter Week: August 24th By now, many of the "junior" collectors among us are heading back to...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Just One Look," and Feeding Holly While Ditching Malware; Dr. E's Greening Tips

I'm still trying to get rid of the malware ads; I did figure out if you keep hitting cancel, it will go to the ad, then you can hit the back button on your browser to read my blog. You have to keep doing this, but you do get to see the blog. I've contacted blogger and Goolge, but can't get rid of it, so I also post on Memoir, Writing your Life Story, another of my blogs.

Emily Doll from A Little Princess, public domain image

There is a chill in the air as we hit Mid-August. I long for fall but loathe winter. Not as many plants this year, but trying to nurture a thriving, twining pumpkin vine and a couple of interesting peppers. I have a two toned red and cream mini rosebush doing well, and several fairy gardens with plants, some monrovia that attracts monarchs and a yellow swallotail, and some very pretty colias this year. Marigolds and snapdragons did not have a good year at all, and we could find no black flowers.

One holly plant and a boxwood that is not an evergreen were blasted by below zero, unseasonaly cold temps two winters ago. I have used ferti-lome evergreen food on both; desperate times call for desperate measures. Both are coming back very slowly, and I'd say it isn 't about landscape, but survival.

Violae, public domain image

This last statement reminds me of Harlen Coben, and something he might write on survival, and of his quote on artistic inspriation from "Just one Look." I might add, that, for me, artistic inspiration is survival:

"Loneliness, the precursor to boredom, is conducive to the creative process. That was what artistic mediation was all about--boring yourself to the point where inspriation must emerge if only to preserve your sanity. A writer friend once explained that hte best cure for writer's block was to read a phone book. Bore yourself enough and the Muse will be obligated to push through the most log-filled of arteries" (27).

I think I'm there; Oh, Muse, where are you?!

Micro Mini Hulk carved from Human Hair; public domain image

From ferti-lome Evergreen Food:

For Narrow leav ebergreens like arbor vitae, fir, hemlock, juniper, larch, red cedar, spruce, taxus, yew [think mourning pics and "Eleby in a Country Churchyard:"

Boston Commons Graveyard; public domain image

"for plants 1-3 feet in ht, apply 2 caps full per plant and water well. For plants 3 to 6 feet in ht., apply 4 to 6 caps full and water well. For plarger plants 6 to 12 feet in ht, apply two caps full for each foot of et by punchng holes around the plant and filling with recommended amoutn of Evergreen Food. Water in well."

Phantom Petunia, public domain image

You should also try to avoid root damage by culitvating too deeply. I apid $8 for a four lb. bag. It seems to help.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

About.com Newsletter for August 10th

Public Domain Image
Joe Spencer Collection and Soft Sculpture
Here are a couple newly discovered dolls from Gallerie II, and a memoir of someone who helped me along in my own collecting.  A recent interview with Elizabeth Ann Coleman for Antique Doll Collector Magazine Blog reveals that Ann Coleman is researching ceramic porcelain shoulder heads for her most recent project, so here is an update of an article on china heads and all their variations. Finally, as I continue to uncover great finds, I include an encore performance of a tribute to my mother, who encouraged my collecting in all things. More soon about another estate collection, recent find, dolls for fall, and auction updates.  Remember, I try to answer all emails, but give me a few days turnaround, and note I am not a dealer or professional appraiser. I'm just someone, like all of you, who loves dolls!  Happy Collecting!
Ellen Tsagaris
Doll Collecting Expert
Joe Spencer Collection for Gallerie II of Gathered Graditions.
Joe Spencer Folk Dolls for Gathered Traditions are delightful works of affordable doll art. If you love holidays, especially Halloween, you will love these original soft sculpture creations. Our thanks to Ryan of Gathered Traditions, too.  Read More
Like us
Uncle Tony and the Supermarket Bride
My beloved Uncle Tony was a big brawny man who worked construction and who bid on dolls for me at auctions.  Read more.
Like us
Earth Angels of the Doll World; China and Ceramic Dolls
This first of three articles about china heads discusses the earliest known Venus ceramic figure through modern examples made in the 1960s.  Many collectors are still interested in traditional china heads, even so-called low-brows.  Sometimes, I'd like to see statistics on how often these dolls were reproduced.  Any ceramicists out there who can help out?
Like us
Mother Daughter Doll Collectors
My mother became a default doll collector, who rescued, dressed, and returned their innocence, to dolls. She was also skilled at dressing dolls and repairing them, and she had an eye for the unusual.  Do you have photos of dolls your mothers have made that you would be willing to share with me for a gallery? Email them to me at your convenience. Thank you!
Like us
Looking for Dolls in all the Odd Places!
Here is a post on some strange places where I've found dolls lately.  Keep your dolly radar beeping, and never give up the search!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Great Article on Tropical Hibiscus also for Dr. E's Greening for the Common Person

From the Martins at Logee's:

Growing Outrageously Colorful Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) 
By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin 

These large, eye-catching, dinner-plate sized hibiscus represent the words "tropical
Hibiscus 'Black Dragon' (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid)
flower" better than any other. Originating in Asia and the Pacific Islands, Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii. Decades of intense cross breeding with the rosa sinensis species has produced some unbelievable multi-colored blooms. The American Hibiscus Society was formed in 1950 to promote, develop and improve upon the hundreds of varieties that were quickly emerging.

Single vs. Double
There is both single and double flowering tropical hibiscus in the rosa sinensis species. The 'Fancy' cultivars have growth habits of both upright and spreading. Within this group, reside two general forms: the brightly colored, usually sold colored single blooms (sometimes double) that propagate easily and are often used as seasonal potted plants as well as tropical landscape shrubs. These are often sheared to hedges in frost-free landscapes.
Hibiscus 'Voodoo Queen' (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid)

The second form has much larger blooms, which have a diverse mixture of colors and patterning usually single but sometimes double and are often delightfully eye-catching in their beauty. These plants make excellent container plants where they often can be enjoyed on a deck or patio or grown inside year-round in the northern climates. Their abundant array of colors are exciting to watch as many will turn different colors as the blooms age.

The multi-colored blooming hibiscus plants are often slower in growth when compared to their landscape counterparts and a bit more difficult to propagate. At Logee's, we focus on the multi-colored flowering varieties because of their outrageous beauty.
Hibiscus 'The Path' (Hibiscus sinensis)

Light Level
The cultural requirements are the same for both types of hibiscus. They require full sun for optimum growth but they will grow and flower under partial sun that is half a day or more of direct sunlight. Of course, flower production does suffer some. For best results, a southern exposure with full sun will produce the most flowers over a season. As the days shorten, during winter in the north, often times plants will stop bud formation as the light intensity is not strong enough. Flower buds can fall off as the plant as it doesn't have the energy to continue their development.

Hibiscus need warm temperatures: Above 60°F or higher is preferable, although they can take dips into the 40's or high 30's. Do not grow under continuous cool temperatures because they will suffer and even die.

Water requirements
At Logee's, we grow hibiscus with a wet to almost dry cycle when watering them. Simply allow the soil to become visually dry between waterings (but avoid a severe wilt) and then thoroughly saturate the potting mix. If this is done on a constant basis, the plants will thrive and the root systems will remain healthy.

Dr. Earth Exotic Blend Organic Fertilizer

As hibiscus plants are relatively fast growers, they need regular applications of fertilizers throughout the growing season. A balanced fertilizer, either in a liquid form which is added to the water or a granular organic that is top dressed on the soil, will do the trick. Formulations like a 7-9-5 with trace minerals or an organic 6-4-6 will produce the most flowers and growth. Also, a pearled, slow release fertilizer works well to release nutrients continuously over a couple of months. Remember during the active growing season, spring to fall, hibiscus need consistent fertilization for the highest flower production.

Soil Requirements
Most peat based potting mixes that are available work well for growing hibiscus. They are slightly acidic and generally have a starter fertilizer included in their mixture. The standard potting mix is a combination of peat, perlite, and vermiculite.
Hibiscus 'Kona' (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis hybrid)

Hibiscus plants are susceptible to various insects. Whitefly, spider mites and aphids are the most common, along with thrip under certain conditions. It's important to monitor the plants closely, especially when they come inside from their outdoor summer growth. A spray with neem oil can eradicate most problems but it's best to do preventative sprayings before their move inside.

Pruning needs to be done to encourage a bushy form and maintain height and size. This can be done from early spring to early fall, although pruning will slow down flowering as the buds form on the growing tips. We find that a late winter/early spring pruning will give time for the new growth to form flower buds.

Leaf Color
Hibiscus 'Delta Dawn' (Hibiscus rosa- sinensis hybrid)

Some cultivars leaves turn yellow caused by environmental stress or edema. The mature leaves up and down the stem turn yellow and the leaves fall off. This condition will not harm the plant; it will just look sparse for a bit. Pay attention to the humidity, soil moisture and day and night time temperature differentials. Usually leaf yellowing happens during the change of seasons but once the season shifts, new healthy leaves will appear.


To view all the Logee's Hibiscus, click here.