A Series of Nine x 2

A Series of Nine x 2

Close up Dried Flax Leaf

One of the mottoes I chose for this year, long before any of us knew what this year would be like, was “use what you have.” Months ago, when things were “normal” I was working through a Jeanne Oliver online class called Wild Awakening which got me using supplies I had but didn’t know what to do with. Last week I was trying to finish up a series of nine mixed media pieces from that class, before I started another online workshop.

3 of 9

The nine items were pretty much done, but the watercolor paper had rippled and they needed to be mounted on something. I considered using stretched canvas but I would have to order them and my pages were 11in. x 14.5 in. not the standard 11 x 14. So, I went through my house and the backyard storage building, and found a half box of those storage boxes you get at office supply for file folders. The lids were the right weight of cardboard and there were nine of them.

3 more of 9

After trimming them to size, I still had the problem of how to hang them. I had come across some old wooden blind slats while searching for the cardboard. The slats had holes in them for the cords. I trimmed them so the hole would be in the center and they would be an inch wider than the 11 in. paper.

Close up of hanging bar

I used waxed linen on either side of the slat, tied an overhand knot, and left the cords three inches long which was inserted between the paper and the cardboard when I glued them together.

The rest of the 9

I put weight on each piece for two days, hoping to keep them flat, but the gluing wasn’t perfect. I inserted glue into the blips along the edges and clipped them with clothes pins to dry overnight.

Closeup of dried flax leaf

Once these nine pages were mounted, I added a dried-up flax leaf to each one. I had trimmed the New Zealand Flax plant two weeks ago and I’m fascinated how some of these leaves bunch up in the center, each one slightly different.

Series of 9 in living room

I lined up all nine on the living room floor so I could see what they looked like.


Meanwhile, I had cleaned out my drawer where I keep seed packets and found some heirloom tomato seeds, I had saved on paper towels, probably about six years ago. On a whim, I planted a few from each towel in small cups. To my delight, some of them sprouted.

Tomato seeds sprout

By last Friday, the tomato plants needed to be put into larger pots. I searched in the garage and tool shed for some bigger pots, but I haven’t saved any pots when I buy plants the last few years because I haven’t been starting seeds. It didn’t seem worth the effort for the return I was getting.

Then, I remembered I had seen the neighbor across the street planting something from small pots earlier in the week. I called them and asked if they had nine pots I could use. His wife brought them over to me and we had a short visit at the curb.

Tomato plants in bigger pots yesterday

I know it is late to be starting tomato plants, but it stays warm until October or later where I live.

Now, if I can devise a way to keep the squirrels from stealing my almost ripe strawberries . . .

This is a really good time to creatively use what you already have – we are all inventors.



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