Sub Irrigation Planters! Part 1

Yep, after visiting Washington and seeing the sites, and especially, tons of art! I am spending my time building SIPs, or Sub Irrigation Planters!
I have to do this now because the summer’s hitting and it’s really impossible to keep plants alive in summer here without some kind of automatic irrigation.

So here’s the plan, Part 1 replace the window boxes on the balcony. Part 2 the window boxes in front of my studio windows, Part 3 build a roof garden on top of the house on the deck.

Part 1

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I made two boxes which fit exactly between the walls. Painted them a dark weathered grey and lined them with pond liner. They are just wide enough for two perforated drainage tubes and space for the wicking mixture. On the top right you can see the overflow tube, this ensures an air pocket. Very important to stop the roots from getting waterlogged.

Trying it out with one of my old window boxes to give it the plant effect .

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The boxes are watered on the other side via these bottles, which are screwed inside the drainage pipes. The boxes are now filled with the wicking mix, peat moss and vermiculite.

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And then keep on filling with a mix of peat moss, vermiculite and potting mix. And the old earth from my window boxes. And some azomite for minerals, and ecological fertilizer.

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Trial placement of the plants, I replanted the good ones I had and added new ones.

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Add more potting mixture, add lots of water to fill those reservoirs and saturate the rather dry mix, and it’s finished!

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And: Enjoy. Relax on the lounge couch with the Luxury Fekete Kutya.

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I love it so much! I just have to have another look a couple of times a day!

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Antar at his first flyball competition

I can’t believe I didn’t post this at the time! fact is, Antar’s his first official flyball competition was a great success! We had a wonderful time, lots of fun, and Antar did really well! Of course that is to be expected from a Fekete Kutya, but en verité, I am still all excited and rosy when I remember. Everything was good, we camped out. Antar had fun racing. nice friends, our team is the best, but we had a lot of fun in the evening with the other team’s members who also are the best!
Of course lots of amazing dogs besides Antar!

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Antar has to get his paws wrapped. It looks funny, you usually do that on a horse, but why on a dog?
As you can see on the drawing,this is the wrapping after a race:
that black dot is where the small pad  gets rubbed on the mats, and if he didn’t wear the wraps they would have been bloody! That’s what happens if a Fekete Kutya goes flat out!

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A couple of people were going to stay in tents, so I brought my super mini trekking tent. The Eureka Moonshadow.
It was Antar’s first time sleeping in a tent. Which meant that we didn’t sleep a lot. There was also a massive thunderstorm. It was expected, so we all set up underneath a large open barn, which turned out pretty good.

Here you see my mattress, me and Antar…   And how that works out in the real world….

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Memo to self: need a larger tent and mattress…..

The second day Antar got to race in the team! He got even more excited in the team! It’s more complicated though. Luckily coach was right next to us to keep and eye on us and tell me what to do when. Antar did great.
Except for the Fekete Kutya victory lap at the end of the last race, but he had passed the finish line so the race was officially over so it didn’t matter.
Except for me looking like a bad dog trainer.
Not everybody understands the challenges of training a Fekete Kutya.

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The Fekete Kutya, a rare breed. Part 1

From my sketch book:

One of the most rare dog breeds is the Hungarian sight hound, the ”Fekete Kutya”.

Appearance:
The Fekete Kutya is a medium sized dog, weighing 28 to 44 pounds. The height should be between 18 to 24 inches.
The only accepted color for the Fekete Kutya is black, with some white hairs, but no socks or markings larger than an inch in circumference. The coat is short, smooth and shiny. On the back runs a band of hairs with a coarser texture, the belly is only very lightly haired. Most Fekete Kutyas show a light feathering on the tail, in rare instances long feathering. This is accepted by the breed standard.

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The Fekete Kutya should be of an elegant streamlined build, but never slight or delicate. The legs are long and straight, with a sizable paw. The back is straight, with a slight bend at the rear, a roach back is not acceptable. The tail is long and slender, with a slight upwards bend.
The head is long and narrow with a sharply pointed nose. The ears are small and floppy, but capable of many diverse expressions. The eyes are small, dark brown and have an almond shape.

Medieval tapestry, embroidered with coloured wool thread on linnen, showing a Fekete Kutya hunting the Hungarian Furry Gerbil.

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Used for hunting, one of the most important prey animals for the Fekete Kutya was the now extinct Hungarian Furry Gerbil. The traditional hat worn by the medieval Magyars was made of Hungarian Furry Gerbil skin. These small, ball shaped rodents were notoriously difficult to hunt but proved no match for the speed and agility of the Fekete Kutya.

16th century engraving of an Hungarian nobleman wearing an Hungarian Furry gerbil hat, his favored Fekete Kutya at his side. The dogs were trained to ride on a special cushion attached to the saddle on certain occasions.

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The Fekete Kutya became such an outstanding hunter of the Hungarian Furry Gerbil that the animal is now extinct. However, the hunt for these rodents is so ingrained in the Fekete Kutya’s genes, that even today all Fekete Kutya’s have an insane, deranged, and manic obsession with balls.

The Fekete Kutya is extremely fast, needs daily exercise, and preferably participation in sport. Especially flyball. In fact the modern sport of ”Flyball” originated from the medieval Furry Gerbil hunt.

When not exercising or at sport the Fekete Kutya will enjoy lounging on a luxury dog bed, next to you on the couch, in your bed, or actually on top of you.

The Fekete Kutya is famed for it’s intelligence, and these dogs are beyond compare in training humans. They also have a mind of their own. If, for example, the exercise offered is not up to par, according to the hound, they will conduct their own plan, which usually means running very fast around a building while the owner, trainer and various other persons call and yell for it to come back. However, the Fekete Kutya never listens to commands unless it feels like it.

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As the sport of flyball is derived from The Gerbil Hunt, the Fekete Kutya is the most perfect dog for this sport. In fact the Fekete Kutya evolved with the sport. In the early 18th century both the Hungarian Furry Gerbil and the fashion for Hungarian Furry Gerbil hats were on the decline and instead of hunting the sport of flyball was invented and had started to become very fashionable in aristocratic circles.

18th century colored plate:

”Lady playing Balle Volant with her Fekete Kutya”

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In the 18th century the first rules for flyball, or ”Le Sport de Balle Volent” as it was named due to the universal popularity of French as the European Lingua Franca, were established, and for the first time special equipment was designed for Balle Volent.
Three jumps, made of concave boards but with a fixed height were put out by the servants on a specially cut grass run, this was named ”La course”, At the end of la course was a square wooden contraption, ”La Boîte qui frapper la Balle”, it contained a rabbit fur covered ball and spring which, when pulled by a servant, would release the fur ball, ”Le Pouff”, in imitation of an Hungarian Furry gerbil. The dog would snap up the ”Pouff” and run back to it’s handler, who also had a Pouff on a silk ribbon, which was meant to entice the dog back and reward the dog by having another ”Pouff” to catch.

Stay tuned for Part Deux

Wedding

Yes, that’s why I was away from my blog for a long time! I was preparing my wedding! And I did it all myself. I arranged the marriage in Denmark, because of the paperwork. So, marriage license, paperwork, place to stay, invite a few people, became more people, arrange for places to stay, look up planes and trains, arrange a wedding brunch, decide on dress, buy material for dress, make dress, more people are coming, so arrange for a wedding dinner also, make coat, try to find fabric for coat, order a bouquet holder for the flowers, etc. etc.

So I have made two dresses, one marriage dress, one evening gown, and two corsets, and a tiara, and a nice warm clutch coat. I forgot my camera so I don’t have better pictures of the corset for now, but here it is:

The corset is made of white coutil with the same fabric the dress was made of as the top layer. The busk is gold plated, the lace is from England, it’s made by the last factory in England which still makes real cotton lace, made on antique machines, with antique patterns. They were the ones who also made the lace for the recent Royal wedding. But of course my wedding is way more important!

This is the back of the corset:

This is the dress, almost finished. My stand is antique, from 1880, and it is smaller than I am, and shorter too, so the dress hangs a bit loose. I used a vintage vogue pattern from 1953. I first made two toiles, before cutting the actual fabric. The fabric is a creamy white with embroidered vines with leaves and flowers. I brought fresh water pearls from China and I sewed one pearl on every flower. It also should have a petticoat underneath.

Here I am wearing it all! Trying out the snooty fifties model look! The petticoat was surprisingly warm. The gloves are vintage (the something old) The earrings and necklace were gifts from valued friends, (the something new), and I had sewn a blue ribbon bow inside the dress, and a silver coin.

The umbrella is a pagoda umbrella from the excellent Danish designer Lisbeth Dahl, I love the umbrella, and it was particularly appropriate as we got married in Denmark! I am wearing the coat here as well, it is made of a creamy white wool/cashmere blend, and lined with the same fabric as the dress. I did the flowers myself too. I brought the roses from the people at the flower market I have brought my flowers from since I was a student, the ivy (you can’t see it) is an ancient symbol of love, marriage, fidelity and growing together, and it is from my garden. I had three darker pink roses which a friend brought with her, they are a variety called ”Ribe Ruse” or something like that… This is important because we got married in Ribe in Denmark!

We got married in Denmark because the paperwork in the Netherlands made it impossible to get married in my country, and the process was horrendously complicated and we could set no dates aside and it was too problematic to get married in America. Also it took way too long!
In Denmark, EU country, Schengen country, it is very simple to get married. Very simple paperwork, very simple process, and I got in touch with a Danish Wedding planner who made the whole process a wheeze, as well as being very helpful with all the extra arrangements because we had a lot of friends and family coming.

So anybody who wants to get married and has too much hassle with paperwork and silly rules in their own country, or if you just want a beautiful, super romantic destination wedding, contact Rita at Wedding Denmark.

Illustrations straight into a printed book!

I have been having some fun! I love the members of Basenotes, the perfume forum I visit almost every day. I wanted to do something nice for my friends on Base notes so I have been re-binding and illustrating two old pocket books. It’s a great suspense novel by Ngaio Marsh: ”False Scent”. There is of course a theme of a very special perfume which runs through it, and I have my idea what it would smell like, and the game is going to be that who-ever guesses it gets one of the books.

So here are the covers, inside is a little vial where you can put your perfume if you like.

I drew the illustrations directly in the book, in the empty spots.

The fatal perfume is presented!

Inspector Alleyn inspects the body…