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Wednesday
Feb102016

NJ Winter Farmers Market: Saturdays in Cranford through March 19

 

Dragonfly Beach Rock Charms by Aimee Zollinger of Sayerville are among locally made crafts available at Cranford Artisan's Market at Cranford Community Center.There might still be snow on the ground on Saturday, but you can still have some of your favorite tastes of summer at the weekly Cranford Artisan's Market, a winter market at Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave.

Regular shoppers at any of the Union County farmers markets might be missing the salty-sour treat of a fat, juicy pickle or a custom-blended handful of nuts and dried fruit as a healthy treat to fuel non-stop activities.

You can get those tastes of summer and more all winter at this indoor winter farmers market that brings a variety of food and crafts vendors to the Cranford Community Center every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 19.

“We're the only market in Union County that runs in the winter, says Jackie Carr, who also organizes the Cranford Farmers Market during its season.

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Friday
Feb052016

Water garden: Growing hyacinth indoors for fragrance and winter blooms

My blue bowl vase filled with fragrant hyacinths from bulbs grown on water.Spring hyacinth bulbs that I started in water weeks ago are now in full bloom in my living room.

They are filling the place with fragrance. I'm not sure if I like the fragrance, but the total sensory experience on the second snowy day this winter certainly brings a nice mood lift. It also helps that this hyacinth variety, 'Purple Sensation' is my favorite lavender.

This is the second year that I have grown spring bulbs indoors in vases with only water and marbles or stones.

The marbles or stones are placed in a vase or bowl with water added to just cover them. The bulbs are then set on top so their bottoms don't get wet. In glass vases and bowls you can see the roots grow, which makes this a fun project to enjoy with kids. Eventually, the rooted bulbs produce flowers.

The spring blulbs require a cold period, just as they'd have if they'd been properly planted outdoors in soil in the fall. 

I start the bulbs in my unheated basement, where they seem to be very happy, and then I bring them upstairs when they seem ready to flower.

So far, I've had success growing indoor flowers this way from bulbs for tulips (safe from the squirrels and the deer), amaryllis, grape hyacinth (muscari) and, this year, the full-size hyacinths shown.

There are several tulip varieties now well rooted in water in the basement, and I'll start more today to compare the difference in growth with those set on water several weeks ago.

Saturday
Jan232016

Forcing hyacinths in water: Snowy day report 

Forcing hyacinth bulbs in water. These were set in the bowl on Dec. 22 Forcing spring bulbs in water was so much fun last year that I decided to do it again.

I had not planned the blow-by-blow progress posts this year, but I shoveled 8 inches of snow (I measured) from my driveway starting at 7:13 a.m. I  finished at 8:33 just so I could go for a little drive on the Union County roads I knew would be cleared.   

Now it's 12:24, I'm back home, and the scene from my window looks like I never shoveled at all. So, here is an update on my bulbs. 

On Dec. 22, I put hyachinth bulbs on marbles in my blue bowl/vase. I put them in my unheated  basement and covered them with very loosely woven burlap cloth. Over the weeks they developed the roots shown, and grew robustly without light. Last Monday (Jan 18), I decided to bring them upstairs because their tops were already touching the burlap and some leaves had dark tips. I wasn't sure if they were being injured by the fabric, so I took it off and put them in the usual place near a sunny living room window.

They've greened up nicely. Here's what they look like on a snow-covered day.  

Hyacinths being forced in water. They are shown above with one month's growth.

 

Monday
Jan112016

Paper crafts get postal nod with 2016 Love series stamp 

Copyright 2016 USPSThe U.S. Postal Service is celebrating paper crafts with the release tomorrow of a gorgeous 2016 Love stamp that features a heart made of the colorful paper curls from the process known as quilling.  

Also known as paper filigree, quilling involves tightly rolling and shaping narrow strips of paper around a thin metal rod. The resulting coils are then shaped and glued to a surface to form intricate designs.

The Quilled Paper Heart Forever stamp is the 44th inductee into the Postal Service’s Love stamp series, began in 1973, and 150 million stamps will go on sale at local post offices nationwide tomorrow.  

 “Our beautiful Quilled Paper Heart Forever Love stamp evokes tranquility, peace and love as Americans correspond with beloved friends and family while away from home," says Janice Walker, a Postal Service spokeswoman. "And they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day cards.”  

Renowned paper artist and illustrator Yulia Brodskaya carefully cut, rolled and bent paper strips and glued them to a white background to make the vibrant, three-dimensional artwork featured on the stamp. The central heart shape is filled with eye-catching paper coils and surrounded by white paper swirls.  

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Saturday
Feb112012

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