Exploring Graphics Apps




So, I was looking for a design program that will help me in designing crochet chart patterns.  I have not been sucessful!  There are all kinds of Apps but none available for manipulating crochet stitches.  But this one app called “Concepts” got me interested in working with.  I see possibility of my being able to use this app to produce a crochet chart pattern.  So far,  I am able to arrange things anywhere I want to on a canvas without difficulty, as you can see on the photo above.  I really like this app.  This app is more suited for architectural and interior designs, but maybe it can be used for other creative pursuit as well!

Another  artsy App that I found interesting is called “Assembly”.  I love it for its capability of letting you insert text in the style of your choice on any photo you select.  It comes with pre-made stickers that you can use.

How To Start Lemon Grass Indoor

Winter is a good time to start lemon grass plant indoor.  First, you must select a lemon grass from a grocery store that has main bulb or root bulb intact like the ones shown on photo below.


Fill a clean flower vase with tap water halfway and put the bulbs in.  Put the vase with the lemon grass in a well lighted area preferably under a bright fluorescent light.  It will take almost all winter months for the roots to grow.  Change the water in the flower vase every week.  Rooting solution is not necessary for the roots to grow, just make sure there is sufficient water in the flower vase until the weather is warm enough to transplant it in a flower pot and put outside.  After the roots grow, some leaves will follow.  The leaves might be pale and wispy due to absence of sunlight but it does not take long for lemon grass to grow thick leaves once it is planted outside when the weather is good and warm.

I immensely enjoyed my lemon grass that I started indoor and I had abundant harvest and plenty to give away to friends!  See how the bulbs turned green on photos below?



One thing I would not do related to lemon grass is – I would not plant it in the ground.  It is a very tough plant to dig out!  It is best to plant it in small to medium size flower pot that can be easily taken inside during Winter.  It cannot be left outside because it cannot survive cold weather.

This is a very easy plant to grow but watch out for those razor sharp leaves!

Rainy Day Rose Afghan

Let’s get rid of our left-over yarn and make something beautiful out of them!  Crochet along with me in making this afghan of different colored roses!  Good Luck to you and me and Happy crocheting with the hope of finishing this afghan by the end of this year!


Tools  And Materials:  Left over yarn,  Red Heart, medium wt., category 4;  crochet hook, 4.25 mm; yarn needle; small scissors.

Note:  When making a slip knot to begin crochet, leave at least 7 to 8 inch yarn tail so that this can be woven inside the stitches afterwards.

Ch4.  Sc on 4th ch from hook to form ring.

Rose Flower

Round 1:   (Ch1, 3dc -ch1- sc – over ring) 4x.  Note: 4 rose petals made.

Round 2:  Ch1, *insert hook at back of next rose petal between 1st and 2nd dc, [fold petal wrong side up so that hook is under the foundation ring, yo and pull up this yo on wrong side or back of the petal], make a (B)sc on the foundation ring.  Note: (B)sc = means beginning sc or first sc made on current round.  * Ch5, insert hook at back of next rose petal between 1st and 2nd dc, [fold petal wrong side up so that hook is under the foundation ring, yo and pull up this yo on wrong side or back of the petal ], sc on the foundation ring*.  Repeat * *  until there are total of three ch-5 loops,  ch5, sc on beginning sc or (B)sc.   Total of 4 ch-5 loops made.

[ ] = means fold petal wrong side up, yo and pull up this yo on wrong side or back of the petal.

Round 3:  (B)sc on next ch-5 loop, ch1-6dc-ch1-sc on same ch-5 loop.  *sc-ch1-6dc-ch1-sc on next ch-5 loop.*. Repeat * *  two more times.  Total of 4 rose petals.

Round 4:  Ch2,  insert hook at back of next rose petal between 1st and 2nd dc, [ ], make (B)sc; ch4, insert hook at back of same rose petal between 5th and 6th dc [ ], sc on same petal. *Ch4, insert hook at back of next rose petal between 1st and 2nd dc, [ ], make a sc; ch4, insert hook at back of same rose petal between 5th and 6th dc, [ ], sc on same petal.* repeat * * twice. Ch4,  sl st on (B)sc.  Total ch4 loop this row = 8.

Round 5:  *Sc-ch1-5dc-ch1-sc on next ch-4 loop * Repeat * *around.   Total Rose petals = 8.


Round 6:  Insert hook at back of next rose petal between 2nd and 3rd dc, [ ], make a (B)sc, *ch6,  insert hook at back of next rose petal between 2nd and 3rd dc, [ ], make a sc.*  Repeat * * until there are 7 ch-6 loops.  Ch6, sc on (B) sc.

Total of 8 ch-6 loops.  Fasten off leaving a 7 to 8 inch tail.   Note:  The tail will be woven within the dense stitches of rose petals with use of yarn needle.

Rose Leaves:  Use any shade of Green colored yarn or any color you prefer.

Round 7:  Attach new yarn next to a sc at beginning of any ch- 6 loop.  Crochet over the tail of yarn as you make the stitches. (B)sc-Ch1- 4dc- ch3- 4dc-ch1-sc on this ch-6 loop where new yarn is attached.  Note: 1 corner leaf made.  From now on LEAF = sc- ch1-4dc-ch3-4dc-ch1-sc.  * Ch5-sc on next ch-6 loop.  Ch5- leaf on next ch-6 loop*.  Repeat * * until completing the 4th leaf.  Ch5-sc on next ch-6 loop, ch5, sl st on (B) sc.

Round 8:  Slst on next 2 sts, *ch3, sc on next ch-3 corner loop, ch5, sc on same loop,  note:  first corner loop of this round is made.  Ch3, skip 2 dc sts, sc on next st, (ch3, sc on next ch-5 loop) twice;  ch3, sc on st between 1st and 2nd dc counting from right to left. * Note:  Always count from left to right unless stated otherwise. Repeat * *  around until 4th ch-5 corner loop is completed.   Ch3, skip 2 dc sts, sc on next st,(Ch3, sc on next ch-5 loop) twice, ch3, slst on 2nd sl st.  Fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Note:  First block of Rainy Day Rose motif is finished.  Second and subsequent blocks will be worked from Round 1 to Round 7 and  on round 8, the next block will be joined to the previous block.  This method is called “join-as-you-go”. Where a block just made is attached to previous block/blocks on last round before fastening off and starting another block.








Crocheted Tunic

Cold Weather is here and it’s time to make something to keep us warm.  Let’s get our knitting needles, crochet hook etc. and any unfinished projects out and start working on them.  Visit a craft or yarn shop to get inspired or browse craft sites for ideas on what to make.  There is an abundance of information (diy) online which makes it easy to learn making new things.

This tunic started out as a scarf and I decided to turn it into a vest first then I found more gray yarn that had been lying around unused so I decided to make a tunic instead.  It turned out good.  I hope to write the pattern at some point.  Hopefully soon, but I’d rather create than write.




Harvesting Lemon Grass


Now that the weather is cooler and I know that the temperature will drop at any time to where tropical plants will not tolerate,  I have made a decision to harvest my Lemon Grass and keep them in my fridge to use in my cooking this winter.

Before starting this task, I put on denim pants, long sleeved shirt and gardening gloves to protect my skin from the sharp leaves of these plants.

I would say that harvesting Lemon Grass is labor intensive, at least for me.  I need the physical exertion so I did not mind this rigorous activity.  I planted all my lemon grasses  in big pots this year due to having learned through my friends experience that planting lemon grass in an open field is not such a good idea.  It was almost impossible to dig the whole clump because of the dense sturdy roots it sends down through the soil underneath it.  The photo below shows just how dense the roots are!F1132580-A78F-4C09-860F-ED01FD5A5BE7.jpeg

The technique of getting the root ball out of the pot depends on what kind of pot the Lemon Grass is planted on.  The photo above shows that I used a black nursery pot to plant the Lemon Grass in and it was easy enough to get the whole root ball out.  All I have to do is tap the sides and botton of the pot then shake the plant loose and it came out easy.  If the plant is planted in a pot that has a water reservoir at the bottom of the pot, the water reservoir tray has to be removed first and the roots that extend to the water reservoir tray has to be clipped before I can successfully remove the clump out of the pot.  See photo below.


Once I cut the roots that extend to the water reservoir tray,  I can tap the sides and bottom of the pot and shake and pull the clump out of the pot just like I did for the one planted in the black flower pot.

Once the clump is out of the pot, I used a shovel to remove the dirt surrounding the plant and at the bottom of the plant.  See photos below.F1132580-A78F-4C09-860F-ED01FD5A5BE7


Then I separate each plant by pulling each plant apart from the clump until all are separated from each other.  See photo below.


The next step is to cut the leaves off each plant with the use of sharp scissors and also clip the roots with the use of sharp limb clipper.  Then remove the dead or dried leaves.

Wash the individual plants thoroughly using rubber gloves or disposable gloves to protect hands from cuts as the edge of the leaves and stalks of the plants are sharp.  Spread the cleaned plants on a dry towel.  See photo below.A2DC321E-BA6F-431F-95CA-ED46D8C0796C.jpeg

Once the plants are free of excess water from washing,  put them in a big plastic bag and place inside the fridge.  See photos below.


The photo on the left shows young plants which I will use as seedling for next year.  The photo on the right shows mature plants which I will use for cooking and give away to friends.

How To Clean Bitter Melon Seeds

The Video shows how to remove the gelatinous coating of Bitter Melon 

Part of Fall season gardening activities is gathering seeds for next planting 
season.  Some seeds are easier to collect than others as they come out dry but most
of them are coated with some gooey substance that has to be removed from the seeds.  One
of these seeds is the Bitter Melon seed.  Each seed is coated with a brightly red 
gelatinous substance.  I surmise that this substance attracts ants which eat the sweet,
mushy substance but leave the seeds alone and usually some of the seeds will sprout in the 
the coming year but very late in the season so it is best to collect the seeds instead of 
leaving them in the ground.  The seeds need to be cleaned and air dried at room temperature so
so that mildew or fungus will not harm it.  When they are very dry they can be wrapped 
in dry paper towel then placed in a plastic bag.

Lemon Grass

Since I planted Lemon Grass on my back patio, I have not noticed any gnats or mosquitoes hovering over me when I’m outside.    Maybe it’s too early to tell.  I would know more about it when the temperature drops down to a cooler one at the onset of Fall.  I’m really very pleased at how my Lemon Grasses grow so well in containers.  These are started from three single plants last winter, which I bought from an Asian grocery store.  I chose ones that have visible intact bud at the base of the plant and stuck them in a flower base half filled with water.  I kept them under flourescent light in my bathroom winter through spring.  They developed roots and leaves all through these two seasons in my bathroom and even produce pups or young plants around them.

When the weather was consistently warm this year, around May or Jun, I transplanted them to flower pots.  As you can see from the photo above that they almost fill up the pots that they are planted in.  It is very sensitive to cold weather so it has to be placed inside a garage or unused room inside my house.