Drying Herbs

The standing, self-watering garden that my sister sent me is fantastic. Not only do I not have to break my neck to plant anything – there’s no grubs or critters digging through the soil. This one pictured just has one tomato plant and herbs. So far everything is thriving and necessitated a session of drying herbs way earlier than I usually do in the summertime. (I have the same plants in the ground, too, but they’re doing so poorly it would be embarrassing to photograph and include them here. I may never go back to regular gardening after this.)

Tamdoll's Standing Garden @GardenersSupply. I may never go back to regular gardening after this. tamdoll.com

Drying herbs is easy; I just take a few snips, and place them in a cool, dry place in a paper bag until they’re crumbly (6 second video below, if you don’t see it, please let me know!).

Faster Way to Drying Herbs on a Sunny Day

I thought I was being clever and quick until I dug up my old how-to from 2009, which was much simpler & would have been quicker on a sunny day!

Drying Herbs with the Sun. Simply cut, lay out on one layer, cover with a screen and put out until dry. via tamdoll.com

  • Cut herbs and lay out on cooling rack in a sunny spot.
  • Turn a screened window frame over the rack, so delicate herbs don’t blow away.
  • Bottle, label and pack them up. (Makes a nice gift!)

So easy, will definitely use this method on the next sunny day.

Drying your own herbs, or have summer gardening tricks to share?

Books and Dr. Who

Listening to audio books is a great way to pass the time while working repetitive tasks, like crocheting endless rows of the same pattern. They’re also great to listen to while cleaning house, long car trips and going to the gym, making boring tasks much, much more interesting!

I recently finished a crochet version of the fourth Dr. Who, pattern by Allison Hoffman. The doll was a gift for my dad since he was the one who introduced me to Tom Baker‘s Doctor, and the first time I’d ever seen the show. The scarf colors aren’t exactly accurate, but it was the best I could do in the time frame/resources I gave myself:

The Fourth Doctor Who and Books blog post by Tamdoll


While working on this project I listened to NOS4A2, by Joe Hill. (The link is to Amazon.com, I actually borrowed an audio copy from the library.) This is the second book by Joe Hill that I’ve read and they are very creepy. The local, familiar, New England settings definitely add to the creepy factor.

Since I’m probably going to start including book posts more often in the future, there’s one book I read over a year ago that I really wanted to recommend before I start only talking about new ones: Wool (Silo Saga), by Hugh Howey. I picked it up on a recommendation and didn’t know anything about it when I started, then found the mystery of the situation kept me reading to find out “what happened?”. Now when I read blurbs of the story, I’m not sure if the descriptions would have made me eager to read it and I’m glad that I didn’t have that distraction. Would love to hear what you think if you read it.

You can find me on goodreads.com if you’d like to share book lists.

More: I find the story of Wool’s journey to becoming published fascinating.




* The Amazon links provided are affiliate links, I may be compensated if you make a purchase on Amazon.com after clicking through. Thanks for your support.



Recycle Art to Create Cards

Finding the time to make handmade cards isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the extra effort when there’s a special occasion. Here, I’ll share how I’ve recently begun to recycle art from other projects to create something new; speeding up the creation of cards from idea inspiration to final card. Why always reinvent the wheel? If there’s an element of another project you like and don’t want to recreate from scratch, reuse it!

Original creation done in Life Book 2014 class with Marieke Blokland:

Recycle art original piece by Tamdoll

To Recycle the Art:

  • scan the original;
  • edit in Picasa (or your favorite software);
  • print onto heavy weight paper;
  • spray with Krylon Workable Fixatif* to prevent smudging;
  • cut out the elements to be reused and glue them to a card; then
  • embellish, edit, personalize… the possibilities are endless!

I scanned my picture at the library and did the extra edit & printing steps at home. There’s a reason I didn’t simply copy/print at one time: by cropping & scaling only parts of the images to fit onto a 1/4 page card size, then copy and paste, I was able to get 3 repeats of the images onto a single paper. With a bunch of these base cards ready, it’s easy to personalize and have fun with individual ones when an occasion for a handmade card arises.

Finished card:

Recycle art with Tamdoll

A little animated .gif for you below as the finishing touches were added.

Recycle Art Animated .gifThese two Sugar Sweet Sisters are getting a workout this year in my handmade birthday cards, I haven’t tired of reusing them yet. Do you ever Recycle Art in projects? Please share.

* The Amazon links provided are affiliate links, I may be compensated if you make a purchase on Amazon.com after clicking through. Thanks for your support.