Monthly Archives: May 2011

Rabbit Doesn’t Run, She Just Drives Fast

Packed and ready to roll. 8:20 and sunshine!

Day the first of the epic adventure. The one featuring 3 women (for part of it, two for the rest) 1 Mini Cooper, and 3 weeks camping and carousing through parts of 8 states.

 I will rendevous with the rest of what has been tagged the Prairie Dog Posse on Friday after an epic solo drive to Salt Lake City. I’m presenting at one of my favorite conferences, UASLA, wall to wall campus based lending professionals and me.

I spent the two nights previous to launch running around like a crazy woman. What would I forget/lose/neglect? So far just my binocular which somehow got left in the garage. Rats. My jittery nerves took most of the day to settle into road mode, but 500 miles in one day will either un-jitter you or ruin you for life. I’m relaxing in the Ontario Inn, in Ontario, Oregon. $49.95 with my senior discount. (crap, at least getting old is good for something.)

I stopped at the Bonneville dam and hatchery to stretch my legs and wander around in the sunshine. This is the first Sign of the Day!

This damned town is confusing. There are cross streets with the same name. How can you be at the intersection of 4th Ave SW and 4th Ave SW? Ditto, 1st, 2nd, etc. No wonder it took me thirty cranky minutes to find this place. Which reminds me of the signs. This was a day featuring signs.

Power! How perfect is this? Its a sign!

It also featured going fast and sunshine. Two things I like a lot. I’m posting this going to bed and Hoping I can find coffee in the morning, another long drive ahead of me, all the way to Salt Lake City. The adventure is underway!

Peace. I like this one a lot too.

This little guy gave me my own wonderful concert!

I love spring, May brings irises like these I found at Bonneville

 

"That's a tur-bin, not a tur bine, and it has flat fins that don't hurt fish. It's not a blender." I cracked up and walked away from a frazzled ranger and large pack of little kids on a tour.

The non blender tur BAN and the ranger and pack of visitors.

My favorite thing I saw today was a windmill blade on a semi trailer, so big it had outriders clearing the way. To get an idea of how big the blades are picture three semi trucks up there instead of windmill blades. yep, HUGE!

 

The best signs were in a gift store. Messages that seemed sent to me directly!

The best sign of all. Me and bug splattered Mini smiling because the day is OVER!

Psst! Hey P-Doggs! This one's for you and Tori, who had heart surgery today.

Life in the Garden, Heucheras Make Me Happy

 

Smashing new petunia this year, pinstripe, so purple its almost black

Three warm  days pulled me out the front door and into the sunshine. I’m beat from gardening but happy. I love spring in my garden, I could spend endless days just poking and puttering. When I was a brownie scout we used to sing a song that went, “White Coral bells along upon a slender stalk, lily of the valley line my garden walk. Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring, that will only happen when the fairies sing.”

Okay, first problem. Lily of the Valley or Coral Bells? Coral bells luckily are not hardly ever white and who cares about their flowers. Its the leaves that make us collectors crazy to acquire each new one that shows up. I started the day by planting my new pet petunia, Pin stripe. Purple black and yellow striped. How cool is this?

Another shot of the purple petunia.

I had my Canon A3000 in one hand and a trowel in the other. Morning light is wonderful and saturated, showing off the Heucheras in the Rabbit garden. They have lovely names, Snow Angel, Berry Smoothie, Lime Rickey, Georgia Peach, Creme Brulee and Obsidian.

One day at a time, my mantra

Of course I had to get a shot of my favorite gardent thing. I remind myself to take it easy every time I see it. That’s the new pink climbing hydrangea in the background heading northward to the trellis which is made from an old bed frame.

Sparkling Burgundy Heuchera

Somewhere along the line I seem to have let go of most flowers, except for purple and blue, and decided to chase striking foliage. I have Hostas and Heucheras in my gardens and they definitely fill the color bill. Okay, I have a bazillion statues of rabbits hiding, my collection of suns and I definitely have a thing for blue bottles. Color is probably not an issue.

Blue bottles, a girl can't have enough

Snow Angel, so pretty and so unusual with its pink and white leaves

I gave myself three new stunners for my birthday, Berry Smoothie, Fire Chief and Obsidian. I went to get Obsidian but I couldn’t resist the other two!

Sparkling Burgundy Heuchera

Berry Smoothie, what leaves!

Berry Smoothie, has raspberry colored leaves!

I am so drawn to these plants, I have a list, I want Beaujolais, Frosted Violet and Sashay next.  The green ones are a great contrast to the purples and oranges.

Lime Rickey, what a great name

Obsidian, so close to black its beautiful. I've lusting after this for months.

I have Citronelle, Key Lime Pie and Lime Rickey in the green family. I hope more are coming. The greens are so bright they don’t even look real.

Citronelle, and that's the corner of Midnight Rose showing on the right.

Creme Brulee, what a warm yummy color, I'm angling for its cousin Caramel too.

Midnight rose is pretty amazingly two toned too.

I love this color, it just glows

This is Fire Chief, with a fireman husband, how could I resist?

Firechief has some firey color, I can't wait to watch it get bigger

the tiny pond in my rabbit garden, its the Chickadees favorite watering hole year round

The rabbit garden

Sitting on my green bench this morning, drinking tea and enjoying the morning this was the view. The columbines are ready to pop in their can can skirt glory, the early clematis is covered with buds and everything is just bursting with new growth. Tomorrow, I’m moving on sharing the hostas and my amazing colorful trees, and the ones that are not colorful are very odd indeed. Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, how’s that for a name?  Photographed in my garden, May 20th, 2011

Rabbit Returns from Santa Cruz

What I saw this morning when I woke up

Everyone is glad I’m home. Nellie wanted to be closer so she jammed herself into the Shi Tzu’s bed to greet me first thing this morning. I arrived back in Olympia last night just as it got dark. I’m always surprised when I go somewhere else, in this case Santa Cruz, CA, that it gets dark so much earlier there than here. One of the beautiful things about the Pacifc Northwest is our long evenings as summer approaches.

Chaminade Conference Center complete with deer

I think summer is at least sneaking up on little wet feet. It rained buckets in Santa Cruz and it is sunny and glorious here, either that or the world is ending…wait, that’s not supposed to be until May 21st according to the latest crackpots. I’m not happy, the idiot bell boy broke my beautiful French suitcase which I will unpack shortly and give it to Terry to McGyer back into working order. He’s good at that sort of thing which I appreciate. His fixes are tidier than mine for sure.

My Stargazer lily bouquet gift from Tor is still blooming on the coffee table which improves my mood by quite a lot. No rain helps too. Sunny and gorgeous outside. It rained all through the conference. I got to do two presentations on campus based lending, I won’t go into details because eyes immediately glaze over if someone isn’t in that field. I do like a nice captive audience.

Stargazer Stunner

Chaminade Spa and Resort had dreadful rugs, really ugly pseudo modern geometrics that made the stairs hard to see, but they are granted a reprieve because of the food. Not a rubber chicken in sight, great grub and I’m sure we all gained weight. Every time I turned around there were more snacks, breaks with treats and amazing buffet meals. I suppose if you are trapped indoors with ugly rugs and heavy rain outdoors, they try to feed you into submission, it worked.

I only got a chance to take a few pictures. God bless Iphones. Chaminade is on a hilltop and used to be a mission style boy’s school back in the day. Beautiful remote grounds requiring a shuttle to get from your room to the main building, crazy. At the bottom of the hill is a cemetery in which I spotted an ANGEL. Anyone who knows me knows cemetery angels are on my top ten list of things to photograph. Denise pulled in, I hoppped out and voila.

I caught this amazing shot. Today’s tip: If you have an Iphone, get the photo app called Instagram. Love it for effects. Lots of folks like Hipstamatic. I have both and much prefer Instagram.

We saw five fairly nasty accidents on the highway between Santa Cruz and I-5, San Jose. Three involved police cars. What is up with that? Obviously, Californians have no clue about driving in the rain on curvy roads, even the cops. Slow down people.

Got to the airport, got dropped off and sat down to wait out the three hours to my flight home. Entertainment was provided by the birds who called the airport home. Starlings. Indoors. Strange….I was amused and I’m still wondering how they got into this autstere, very painted white, spacious airport.

San Jose airport starlings. They kept me amused for two hours, my own teeny tiny twilight zone.

I have taken a tour of the garden and marveled at the changes in just two days.This is my favorite time of the year and it will be hard to leave the garden to the family while I take off on my epic journey with Flamingo Pam. Barista Barbie is ready to go and Pam and I are still arguing about who has to crank the battery free lantern for four minutes to get an hour of light. Barista Barbie has been to France, all over the USA in my pocket, she has her own blog actually, and now she gets to set out on a two week trip with new places to see and be seen.

Barbie, shedding a little light on the subject

http://barbiebarista.blogspot.com/2006/01/beach-pix.html This is a link to Barbie’s old blog which I hope never goes away because the archives from France are there, I just can’t remember the password! So Barbie has a new blog,http://barbiebaristaworld.blogspot.com/ which contains the story of last year’s Mini trip to Oregon through the eyes of Barbie Barbie Barista. It will shortly contain this year’s epic adventure too.  This could be fun.

Rabbit Falls For Flowers

I sort of accidentally had a wonderful Mother’s Day. My sons are grown and gone.  Three of the four are nicely married to wonderful women wh0 are the moms to my grandchildren, understandably the boys were focused on theirs wives and kids. The baby, who will be nineteen tomorrow, lives in Seattle now and as luck would have it we were able to bring him back to Olympia for his days off. I wallowed in his company because I miss him lots. Still.

Pink hydrangea, why can't they stay this way forever?

Terry asked me what I wanted to do. After coffee and a leisurely hour reading a trashy novel I elected to go to Molbaks nursery in Woodinville. Molbaks is the holy grail of nurseries with plants I covet. A lot. I bought one plant, a climbing hydrangea. I was a good girl for once. However, I did unleash my little Canon camera. I frolicked and shot and drooled and coveted and had a wonderful time.

Now this one looks French, Norman blue even

 

This one is my favorite

Of coure, I love the roses too. This one is perfect

This rose looks like it fell out of a fairy tale

This is a peony! Its yellow, amazing and smelled like heaven

I like daisies too, especially these sweet South African ones

They come in all shades of purple, yellow and white, even orange and they last until the first really hard frost. Gotta love flowers like tha.

I like Calla Lilies too. They come in pink and yellow now, much prettier than the white ones.

So sophisticated! Pink callas are my favorites, although I like the black ones too.

My favorite shot of the whole day. It looks like its made of wrapping paper.

 

And then we came to the orcids. Pin stripes, who knew?

This one is fierce looking, it catches insects.

The most girly girly flower in the world. Orchids.

The throat of this orchid looks like white silk or skin, it makes you want to touch it.

And this one has a painted throat!

These will grow like weeds or wildflowers if they get sown early. So delicate!

 

Rabbit is Reminded that War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things

Swaddled in the safety of my American life, I watch my husband glued to the news on television and the ‘conflicts’ that play out at 6 o’clock each evening.  If I never saw a news broadcast again I wouldn’t miss it and I wonder at his intent fascination. I remember that other conflict, when I was just 19, naive as hell and married to a helicopter pilot.

 The news back in 1967 was never good, a lot of my friends died that year, and other friends were changed forever. Pilots tended to party like rock stars stateside and have short life spans in Nam. Back in the 60’s I learned to mistrust both the media and politics.  I’m still a true child of the 60’s, I’m cynical and I assume the talking heads are lying for their paychecks.

Times change, now we have the Middle East. Conflicts go on and soldiers’ deaths just become numbers. As a nation we become numb to the sheer size and length of the mess we find ourselves in. I look for good news, I love seeing the dads and moms come home from the Middle East and surprise their kids, their shocked joyful faces on television make me cry.

I earned my own version of stripes as I grew up the daughter of a soldier and then married a soldier. I never went to a regular doctor until I was 20 years old. Our doctor was the base dispensary and our doctors were Captain X and Major Y, not doctor X. I even have my own set of dog tags that were issued to me when we went to live in Germany after the war.

 My grocery store was the commissary, and I am particularly proud of having been sent home from the commissary at Ft Rucker in August of 1967 because my skirt was too short! A blushing young MP ascertained that fact with a ruler. Yes, the  skirt was wayyy above the knees. I looked and dressed like Twiggy then. As a California girl driving a yellow Barracuda convertible and always in a mini dress, I caused more than a few problems on that Fort. Somewhere I have pictures to prove it too.

Life hasn’t always been watching platoons march into a ditch because of my short skirts. Time flowed on and life changed over the years. I had children and stopped wearing mini dresses, but I never have been able to give up fast cars…

After he got out of high school, my oldest son joined the army. It was what he needed at the time, a mother who carried a gun, also known as a drill seargeant. Corey was  proud to be in the 82nd Airborne jumping out of perfectly good planes. He jumped out of one during Desert Storm, the sixth one in to Kuwait. I didn’t know he had been shipped out until I picked up the newspaper and saw the headline. It was top secret and the families didn’t hear from their loved ones for weeks.  Fear is knowing your child, your baby, is in harm’s way and being helpless. 

I’ve been a  military daughter, wife and a mother. Mother was the hardest of all.  I have packed most of those memories away like mementoes in a mental box. I knew they were there but I didn’t have to shake them out and look at them to know every wrinkle and tear in the fabric of my life from those years.   

Today, I got reminded of how it feels to be on this side of the war and feeling helpless. As an American civilian, I have access to bath tubs and curling irons and fast food. Cell phones that work are part of my life.  My dear friend and fellow troublemaker, T. ,was doing my hair this afternoon when she got a text from a friend in Afghanistan, he was supposed to come home in April, but he’s still there and now it’s May.

His text said he wished he could hear her voice but his mobile phone got broken in a fire fight last week so he couldn’t call, only text. He said he had some shrapnel in his thigh but he was doing okay.  He said, “You there?” typing across the miles. I could feel he just wanted to know life was still intact here; he wanted to hear about American normal so he could forget for a few minutes.  T. typed a reply and asked him how he was doing and if he was okay.

 His answer broke my heart in two. “I’m okay, but I can’t stop thinking about the guys in my platoon that were alive last week.” I cannot even imagine how that feels. Its almost too big to wrap my head around. 

He said now with the shrapnel in his thigh an incompetent guy had taken his place in the platoon and he was worried, if his guys got hurt he felt like it would be his fault for not being there. 

I had tears in my eyes, but I don’t have any answers. I don’t know how to end this conflict to guarantee the safety of America and Americans.  I only know that this is a reminder every American needs. Out of sight is not out of mind, bring them all home safe, and will the last one out please turn out the lights? That line about the lights is an old joke from my guys in the 17th Air Cav. Its still true, I wish it didn’t have to be.

Rabbit and Her Sister and the Empty Nest

My wonderful sons, from left, Corey, Torin, Josh and Joel

This is the first year of the empty nest. It’s not terribly uncomfortable, or sad, or happy. It’s been all those things in turn, but it’s also been very nice to have the house to myself, turn the television to PBS or turn it off, and play music I like—loud. I miss them all but I am adjusting.

I am watching myself entering a new place in my life after having had children at home for much longer than most women do.  My oldest son is 40 and the youngest of my 4 boys is almost 19. I have no regrets at their age spread. Each one was wanted very much at the time he was born and brought me astonishing joy as they grew up.  Now, even the baby is gone to the wider world, out from under my wing.  I am left looking around at the gaps, holes, and worn places in my life and learning how to fill them, patch them and live with them.

Life is quieter now and I find that strange after all the years of raising a family. The curse or blessing of being an artist/writer is that we observe our lives as we live them; the stuff of our lives is what we make our work from.  It’s like watching a train rush by and suddenly it’s gone. The racket, clacking, wind and noise just whoosh, then it disappears. I know the train was there and if I lean out over the tracks can see it getting smaller in the distance. That’s how life feels right now. Yes, I will turn around and walk  from the tracks back to the car and drive to wherever it is I’m supposed to go next, but part of my heart is gone with the train.

My big sister Marji, 11 years older, and my brother Lee, 13 years older

I talked to my sister yesterday and we agreed that on Mother’s Day we would not be sad because our sons were spending the day with their wives and children instead of us. We both feel a deep and peaceful joy when we look at who our kids have become.  Our own mother was a crazy mean-spirited woman who could be wonderful fun and a wonderful parent one minute, and in the next turn into someone terrifying who could and did hurt us mentally and physically.  As she has aged, she is 91 now; she has metamorphosed into a much nicer person and I find her pitiful instead of fearsome. She has no memory of her cruelty and if you call her on it she retreats into tears and says she did her best.

My mother at the age of 13, about to be married to a man in his late 20's.

I think she did. Her life was not a bed of roses; her mother seems to have been raised without a moral compass. My grandmother’s mother died in childbirth when she was only two. She was raised by a grieving angry father and her older siblings. My grandmother managed to marry my mother off by the time she was 13. Grandma Faye had already dumped her Quaker straight arrow husband gotten pregnant and run off with the handyman.

Wedding day, 1933. 13 year old Jeannie not knowing what was ahead

Imagine my mom’s life: two children by the time she was 16, her husband was a wife-beating alcoholic with an alcoholic father who lived with them.  She couldn’t go home, her father was remarried and her stepmother had her own agenda. She took her babies and left Lonzo when she was 18. She struggled to keep a roof over her head and food on the table living  on her own in Chicago with two toddlers. She finally had to give up and take the children back to her ex-husband and his new wife or lose them to the state. She left them there for five years. She was 19 and she had lost her entire teenage falling in love, dating, living life years along the way.

The war came and she was beautiful. Soldiers fell in love with her every day; it would have gone to my head too. When she met my shy homely dad, she didn’t tell him she had two little kids in Missouri until just before they were married. He was an only spoiled child of a doting mama. My sister was a wild child who didn’t even own shoes and had a bad case of rickets from years in the Ozarks when her mother went to get her. My half-brother wouldn’t leave; he stayed with his father and never escaped that life completely.

Marji and Lee as little kids

When Mom found my  Dad, he was like a draft horse with potential. Mother wanted a race horse and she set out to make one. It didn’t happen. My dad is still a wonderful draft horse and my mother is bitter and angry with life and him 24/7 –and he still adores her after 70 years of marriage. I have never figured out why. Our family life was larger and louder than anyone else’s. Both my parents yelled and fought constantly. I didn’t know some families were quiet and peaceful until I was 18 years old and left home.

 I was so afraid of my mother that if she called me on the phone after I was married, I would throw up when she hung up.  She was a completely selfish angry cruel loon most of the time, but still she opened so many doors for me. We lived in Europe and I visited all the great museums and ate amazing foods and met astonishing people because of my crazy mother. Remember that little door in Alice in Wonderland she couldn’t get through into the garden? My mother was the key to that garden for me, she could open the door for but she couldn’t go through herself.

At the age of 89, my mother met her great grandchildren, Corey's kids. Here she is enjoying Amanda's company.

When I grew up enough to ask questions and understand why she was who she was, I forgave her. She has never made it to where she wanted to be. There was always something else to attain and when she got that she discarded it and went hungrily after the next thing.  I think because of understanding the tragedy of that I can stop and smell the roses. I take such joy in my life, in the little things, the moments.

I’m not a saint and I’m sure my boys can tell stories of my horrible temper and explosions over the years, divorces, marriages that should not have happened, but in the end I look at them and know that I did something right. My sister and I broke the chain. Our children have gone on to have lives that are not crazy, violent, horribly painful or terrifying.

Our kids are all stable, married, productive, and for the most part happy with their lives. Yes, everyone has problems, but theirs don’t involve a parent who beats them, berates them or terrifies them to the point of illness. We agreed yesterday, that breaking the chain of loony women is the best thing we could ever have done, and we gave ourselves that happiness for Mother’s Day. It feels like the perfect gift.

Green Rabbit Greets May

This Christmas cactus is a birthday cactus, it lives in the greenhouse all winter and comes out in May to celebrate my birthday.

Hooray, Hooray it’s the month of May, outdoor gardening comes to stay! I think we are past the potential for a hard freeze in the Pacific Northwest so the greenhouse door is open. The residents are getting used to cold nights and warm days before they make their potted progression to their summer spots.

All my cacti and succulents are looking forward to going back to their west facing bed in the next two weeks. Winter in the greenhouse is coming to an end.

The hostas have poked their noses out and are in the process of unfurling their gorgeous green leaves. Somewhere along the line I discovered the beauty in these plants that are so similar but each one is so different when you look closely. Little ones, enormous ones, yellow striped and blue-green striped, and as long as I put slug bait out they just get more beautiful by the day. I used to love a huge variety of brightly colored annuals, but over the last few years I have discovered the subtle pleasure of the same genus in a wide variety.

Don't these look like a green bouquet? Tightly furled hostas about ready to explode.

I have yellow ones, and green ones and blue green ones, and little ones and giant ones. they love the shade and they are just plain beautiful in the middle of summer.

I am a collector I think, I have a collection of Hostas, aka Plaintain Lily; and a collection of Heuchera, aka coral bells. They come in an unbelievably diverse range of colors and sizes.

Heuchera's are a pop of color with just their leaves.This one is called Limelight.

And this one is purply gorgeous

This heuchera is called Creme Brulee, great name!

 

I buy Sluggo slug bait by the wagon load. Its non-toxic to pets and birds and that is so important. I  thoroughly enjoy strolling in the gardens at night in high summer with a flashlight and saltshaker taking revenge on slugs.  If you salt those nasty buggers they melt like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Take a pair of slug tongs and drop them in a can, you don’t want to salt the foliage of your favorite plant. I’m already putting slug bait out because if I don’t my lilies will be lily nubbins in no time.

Perennial forget me nots are great, the annual ones get mildewy and infect a garden. Every year I wind up fighting the self sowing annual beasts and loving this one.

The end of winter weeding is mostly done, a big patch of vegetable garden still waits for attention, but the main gardens and beds have been de-weeded. I noticed yesterday that outside the gate in the two front beds where my roses live I am going to need to go back and rip up more dandelions, endless….

Couldn't resist these pops of color that will go in pots all over the gardens.

I love May in my Rabbit Garden. The bunnies are back in place now that the hard freezes are past. I always put away the garden ornaments in the winter in the studio storage room, I do it so they won’t get water in them and then freeze and have pieces spall and split off. Love that word, its an engineer’s word. Spall, meaning to break off and fall, perfect no?

 I have so many bunnies hiding in that garden that it takes the massive foliage of summer to give them hiding places. I want them to peek out and surprise, not look like Granny Clampett has been in the Wal Mart garden shop again. I’ve been working on beautiful garden hangers from some wonderful old salt shakers from the 20’s and 30’s. They look gorgeous in the garden and can be purchased for $18 each.

Scary blue kitty with cobalt beads would look great hanging in something green in the garden.

The hydrangeas are covered with little green leaves and so is the kudzu of the northwest, aka kiwi vines. I’m still getting my mojo up to give the kiwi’s a haircut before they take over the world. The blackberries need a trim and the grapevine will too  if we want great berries and grapes this year.

Love these kissy fishies, they say "good together" on silver tags at the bottom. Too cute in the garden

My poor pond! Its clear but covered with green nasty slimy mossy weed. Sigh, time to empty it and scrub it down. That’s an evil job and I’m stalling as long as I can before I tackle it. I’m sure Misha will attempt to help, he was born this past November so any of the yard work is just fun, fun, fun for him.

I love this tiny little porcelain shaker that looks like a straw covered jug. I paired it with green and blue beads and it will look great dangling from a plant this summer.

Last weekend Terry and I visited Edmonds to see Manya Vee Selects shop, it was so cool and I got a great hat and a wonderful ferry ride out of it too. I also discovered an adorabale shop called Bountiful Home that made me want to empty my southwestern house and start over with shabby chic. Adorable! House stuff and a sweet plant nursery in one, I do want to go back and pick up some of their old wire baskets and containers next month, they’ll look fab in the pergola out front.

Vintage Japanese luster ware owl for the wise gardener!

The wicker furniture has all migrated to the front and the cushions will come out soon. The pergola is our outdoor room in the summer and we live out there in the middle of the gardens. I am planning an open studio art sale and show in late June and in July and really looking forward to having visitors come and enjoy my perfect little world.

Talk about a pop of color! Mr Penguin has turquoise blue and orange beads for a 50's retro look.

The sun is out, the air is warming, time for another cup of coffee outside where I can listen to the gurgle of the pond waterfalling and watch the chickadeedles having their morning bath.

Rabbit Shares How to Make Your Own Garden Tea Lights

Finished Tea Light all ready to light up the night, and adorable during the day too.

 Because I love, love, love these adorable garden lights and because unless you live within driving distance you can’t buy one from Running Rabbit Gallery, I am sharing the DIY directions for you.  Why can’t they be mailed? I haven’t figured out how to mail a 3 foot long copper stake cost-effectively–yet, so read on and make some garden fun!

Ingredients: I adore using demitasse-sized cups for these. I have seen others with full sized coffee and tea cups, but the tinier cups are perfect for holding a tea light candle.

cute cups make cute lights
Souvenir spoons are the perfect size

A nice touch is a tiny demitasse spoon, I keep my eyes open at garage sales and Good Will and snag all the itsy bitsy spoons I can. I scored a month ago and found a collection of souvenir spoons which are the perfect size and really cute too. Okay, cute as long as you don’t put them in a rack on the wall, in which case they slide right over to mildly granny-tacky.

You will need 1/2 inch diameter coppper pipe for stakes. You can buy it pre-cut which costs more, or you can pick up an inexpensive pipe-cutter and cut your own. Lowe’s or Home Depot is a great source.

1/2″ copper pipe caps. I get mine at Home Depot because the ones at Lowe’s have a slight curve to the top and your cup will not mount flush and flat, which guarantees good adhesion. If you have to get caps with a slight curve, make very sure you hammer the top flat before you glue them down.

E6000 Glue, available at both Joanne’s and Michaels. Best glue on the planet in my humble opinion.

First step: Glue the cup and saucer together with E6000. Make sure you glue the part of the cup that touches the saucer and then press them together and flip the cup over, saucer up.

Glue on the rim of the cup that touches the saucer.

Squirt some glue on the bottom of the cap and stick it down firmly.

Second step: Glue your flatbottomed cap on the bottom of your saucer and stick it down. Put this assembly aside to dry overnight. You want it really, really dry and adhered before you mess with fitting your copper stake. Save time and make a few more and set them aside too. While your cups are drying cut your stakes. You can make your copper stakes any length you want, short or tall, keep reading for the low down on pipe cutting.

Secured and ready for cutting

These are pipe cutters. There is one on the left for tiny pipe and the one on the right is for cutting larger pipe. We are using the one for larger pipe.

Third Step: Its pretty easy to cut your copper pipe. I am lucky to have a husband with a full on shop, not everyone is going to have a big old bench top vise. You will have to figure out how to hold your pipe steady to cut it. Two chairs and duct tape works for me. We had a ten foot pipe which made four 30″ stakes. The next step is to measure and mark your pipe.

We measured and marked the pipe with a Sharpie marker before cutting.

Open the pipe cutter and place it around the pipe. Twist the knob on the pipe cutter until it feels snug, about a quarter turn.  Then, twist the pipe cutter around the pipe two or three times until it loosens up, tighten it again, about a quarter turn. Do the same thing and keep following these steps until the piple is neatly severed.

Pipe cutter fastened on and turning the knob about a quarter turn to tighten it.

Turn it two or three times and tighten again, its cutting a groove that will eventually cut through the pipe.

Fourth step: Now you have your stakes cut and your cups are thoroughly dry. Time to put the garden lights together. Put a squirt of glue into the cap that is dried on the back of the cup, carefully fit the stake into the cup. Don’t twist side to side, push straight down to avoid stressing the glue bond. Once the stake is fitted, turn it right side up and find somewhere to stick it while it sets.

Glue on the pipe or in the cap to set your stake.

Mount the stake in the cap and then turn it all rightside up to finish drying.

Fifth step: At this point you can adhere your cute spoon too. Dab E6000 on the bowl of the spoon where it touches the saucer, add a tiny dab where the handle rests on the rim for added strength. Let the entire assembly dry.

Souvenir spoons are fairly easy to find and look adorable. I'm keeping the one that has President Eisenhower on it. How cute is that?

After your Tea Lights–pun definitely intended, are completely dry plant them in your garden. How about along a path to illuminate it at night? Pop a tea light candle in and light it and you have a gorgeous light–and if you are using a porcelain cup the whole cup lights up from inside and looks absolutely fabulous. 

Tea light at night, beautiful no?

 If they get filled up with water during rain, no worries, pull them up pour out the water and pop them back in the ground. The glue should last for a good long time. I have one in my yard that has held up for three years. A nice thing is that if a cup should get knocked loose, you can fix it fast with your E6000 and be good to go again.

Finished and planted

If you decide you would like tea lights ready to put into your gardens or for gifts, you can order them from Running Rabbit for just  $15 each. These make a unique one of a kind presentation when you pop one in a plant for a gift. Don’t forget, you have to be close enough to Olympia, WA to get them in person, I still can’t figure out how to mail them….but I’m working on it.

 Enjoy! I’d love to hear how you made your own and how they turned out.