Welcome to Priscilla Woolworth's Blog

A Gentleman Caterer and Naturalist

August 8th, 2015

A hike in the hills over Los Angeles isn’t just about exercise for caterer and collector Kai Loebach but a great source of inspiration. He finds marvelous natural treasures which he then uses to create superb mis en scenes at Kai’s Catering + Events. Tree roots or gnarled broken branches are hauled back and integrated into the garden or perched above water ponds until they are required at an event.

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For years, I’ve been admiring how Kai, who has a lifelong passion for gardening and design, uses plants and natural materials to create attractive, earthy and elegant table centerpieces.

He starts with healthy strong succulents, which he nurses himself.

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Kai grows and propagates his plants successfully by not planting succulents or cactuses too deep in pots and also waters them infrequently.

Kai shared some good advice with me: don’t water plants from overhead because they don’t like it (especially lavender) and remove all spraying sprinkler heads, replacing the system with a water efficient  drip line, which saves you money on your water bill and money at the flower nursery (due to plant loss).

When using succulents on a table arrangement for an event, Kai uses either potted specimens or just their heads as decoration. The following day, if the cut has sealed on the heads, they can be replanted in pots.

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Gourds bought from a local Farmer’s Market are kept in bins, piled into pots during their days off or cleverly stored in metal crates which double as seats around an outdoor table.

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These look so great: branches from a pruned fig tree are bunched together in a pot, looking like a multi limbed crustacean upside down.

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Kai is currently working on what promises to be a most beautiful outdoor evening wedding in Hawaii this month, using locally found plants and wildflowers as centerpieces, setting up a large tent filled with LED light filled lanterns, and the tables will be placed in a circle surrounded by torches. Sounds stunning!

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Kai Loebach’s Catering + Events is one of the leading boutique catering and comprehensive event planning companies in Los Angeles.

www.kaisevents.com

Noah Purifoy

May 31st, 2015

February 2014, I followed the High Desert Test Site trail to Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Museum in Joshua Tree, California. The location was undeniably unique and visually stunning. I was in heaven, surrounded by art made from all manner of recycled, reclaimed, repurposed and found ‘objects.’

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Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Museum installation will be on view at The Los Angeles County Museum June 7th till September 27th 2015

 

Raptor Rescue

May 25th, 2015

I recently visited the wonderful Ojai Raptor Center, in Southern California. Raptors are really important because they maintain nature’s balance by helping control animal populations. If raptor prey such as mice, rabbits, rats and prairie dogs become too abundant, they can damage crops and lands and transmit diseases to humans, domestic livestock and pets. As with all wildlife, loss of habitat is the most significant problem facing raptors, followed by illegal shooting, trapping and poisoning.

We all benefit from helping these majestic birds.IMG_4247

 

These young Great Horned Owls were raised at Ojai Raptor Center in the spring of 2013 when they were orphaned or displaced from their nest. All were released in the summer of 2013.

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The Ojai Raptor Center (ORC) is a state and federally licensed 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of birds of prey and other wildlife, and to providing educational programs about wildlife and our shared environment.

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THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT ORC, HELP PROTECT YOUR LOCAL WILDLIFE AND BIRDS OF PREY.  YOU CAN BECOME A MEMBER, MAKE A DONATION, SPONSOR ONE OF OUR UNRELEASABLE AMBASSADORS, OR BOOK ONE OF OUR WILDLIFE EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

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 WE ARE 100% VOLUNTEER AND DONATION BASED, SO IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO HELP FINANCIALLY, YOU CAN GET INVOLVED AND VOLUNTEER WITH US.

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Another way to take action to help save birds of prey is to educate yourself! Read about the different species of birds of prey that live in your area. Find out about how humans are impacting the natural habitats of raptors and share your knowledge! 80% of the patients we receive are admitted because of human impact, so as we say in the rehabilitation community, “more education = less rehabilitation.”

Below is a list of great links to help get you started. . .

LOS ANGELES AUDUBON SOCIETY GUIDE TO BIRD FRIENDLY TREE TRIMMING

RAPTORS ARE THE SOLUTION- WORKING TO SAVE WILDLIFE FROM RODENTICIDES

NATIONAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATORS ASSOCIATION

CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR WILDLIFE REHABILITATORS

THE PEREGRINE FUND

RAPTOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION

CORNELL LAB OF ORNITHOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA RAPTOR CENTER

HAWKWATCH INTERNATIONAL 

DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT WILDLIFE

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LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

“At the ORC, we strive to both rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned birds of prey as well as develop educational outreach programs through our many appearances with our non-releasable birds of prey- our ambassadors.  Each ambassador serves as a beacon of hope as they help us educate the public on wildlife laws, environmental preservation and co-habitation with the nature around us.  I hope that you will join us in our mission to preserve our wildlife.”

-Kim Stroud

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All photos by me except for the first one of the orphaned Great Horned Owls.

To learn more: Ojai Raptor Center

 

Sustainably Repurposing “Waste Fabric”

May 24th, 2015

The inspiring work ethic of YA LIVING and its creator Lisa Bittan is in step with living more sustainably through wasting less.

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Lisa started YA Living 7 years ago, working with artisans in India making hand-made printed and embroidered fabrics, which she uses to create her clothing and home accessories line.

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While working with the artisans, Lisa noticed how much fabric was wasted in the manufacturing process. When fabric is professionally cut to make clothing or other products, it is laid out on a long, wide tables. Sewing patterns (or markers) are laid out on top of the material in a manner that will maximize usage of the material. However, invariably there is always some fabric left over since clothing and other items are not evenly and regularly shaped and cut. The leftover fabric either falls or is swept off to the floor. It is what the Indians call “waste fabric”.

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Lisa started saving the beautiful tossed away fabric

 

Last summer, while working on her spring collection in India, she realized that at last, the concept of  “re-purposing” had gained a lot of traction and since she had been re-purposing “waste fabric” from the beginning, she decided to develop an entire collection of products created from re-purposed “waste fabric,” creating gorgeous, useful, and better-priced products. In addition to reducing waste, it generates work for the gifted artisans who create them– and whose livelihoods depend on it and it stimulates interest in hand block printing and hand embroidery and other ancient crafts and techniques that are quickly dying out.

Living Scraps collage

You can find her notebooks, photo frames, notepads, pencil holders, desk sets, storage boxes, and hats and lots of other products at:

www.YaLiving.com

Did you know…Approximately 93% of all textile waste diverted to recycling is successfully reclaimed, yet 85% goes directly to landfills.

to read more: http://eartheasy.com/blog/2010/05/lets-keep-clothing-out-of-our-landfills/

 

Did you know…In China, millions of tons of unused fabric at Chinese mills go to waste each year when dyed the wrong color.

To read more: http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/25-shocking-fashion-industry-statistics.html

 

Earth Day 2015

April 22nd, 2015

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www.Justlabelit.org

www.EWG.org

www.Rootsandshoots.org

www.Conservation.org

www.OFRF.org

www.PlasticPollutionCoalition.org

www.Standfortrees.org

At the Flea

March 31st, 2015

Fleamarkets, antique stores and shops that offer vintage items for sale are the ultimate in eco-friendly shopping. Repurposing and reusing reduces the amount of waste that ends up in our overfilled landfills. When we throw things out, our cities and counties have to use our tax money to haul all our “used” stuff away to a landfill to be incinerated.

Donate your used things to the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity or the Goodwill. Or sell them at a Flea Market!

The following are some shots I took at the Flea Market in Long Beach, California

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Toaster, iron and electric kettles Repurposed as lamps

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Vintage cameras reborn as lamps

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Vintage items repurposed into lamps

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Vintage glass bottles are better than plastic! Use these to store non-food items.

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Great color on these vintage glass bottles. I have plenty at home so I didn’t buy any of these.

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I love these old bottles just as they are! Ha! These would look so great with a rose in each one, or a wildflower or even a gorgeous branch.

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Large bundles of dried sage. These are so great looking. At home, I like to burn one end by an open door or window. The scent is then diffused. Even burning natural herbs or incense indoors isn’t healthy of us to breathe, even though they smell wonderful.

Small bundles of dried sage

Small bundles of dried sage

Beautiful c

Beautiful crystals

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Scattered small seashells. I like the way these were displayed. Really pretty and simple.

 

 

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A pile of small terra-cotta pots was very tempting indeed but I held back!

 

 

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These colorful lifesavers look almost too good to use-it feels like they are just for show

 

 

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Cholla cactus. At home with me now.

 

 

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Two nautilus shells. At home with me now as well.

FLOCK at Lotusland

March 12th, 2015

Lotusland is a dreamy 37-acre estate and botanical garden created by Madame Ganna Walska near Santa Barbara, California and is open to the public.

Cactus and succulent walk

Cactus and succulent walk

Lotusland also hosts wonderful nature related exhibits. Currently on display is FLOCK: Birds on the Brink, a contemporary art exhibit by an environmental imperative –the global loss of wild bird populations and their role as indicators of the health of our planet.

Flock’s intention as well is to foster understanding of the critical impact of wild bird populations on human well-being and the conservation efforts to save birds, as we celebrate their daily presence in our gardens and communities.

 A few of the pieces featured:

Quail Eggs by Esther Traugot

Quail Eggs
by Esther Traugot

 

Close up of Quail Eggs. Coturnix egg, hand dyed crocheted thread, brass on wood.

Close up of Quail Eggs. Coturnix egg, hand dyed crocheted thread, brass on wood.

Barn Swallow Nest Photograph by Sharon Beals

Barn Swallow Nest
Photograph by Sharon Beals

Golden-Winged Warbler Nest Photograph by Sharon Beals

Golden-Winged Warbler Nest
Photograph by Sharon Beals

 

Nesting Materials General Store by Philip Koplin

Nesting Materials General Store by
Philip Koplin

 

Nesting Material General Store by Philip Koplin

Nesting Material General Store by
Philip Koplin

Nesting Material General Store by Philip Koplin

Nesting Material General Store by Philip Koplin

Nesting Material General Store by Philip Koplin

Nesting Material General Store by Philip Koplin

 

and pieces created by birds:

Hooded Oriole -nest made of woven plant fibers through palm frond-

Hooded Oriole
-nest made of woven plant fibers through palm frond-

House Finch -thin twigs, fine stems, leaves, rootlets, yarn, and feathers-

House Finch
-thin twigs, fine stems, leaves, rootlets, yarn, and feathers-

 

Pacific-Slope Flycatcher -moss, grass, rootlets, strips of bark, lichens, and leaves, lined with fine plant fibers, hair and feathers-

Pacific-Slope Flycatcher
-moss, grass, rootlets, strips of bark, lichens, and leaves, lined with fine plant fibers, hair and feathers-

 

 

California Towhee -twigs, grasses, and dried flowers, lined with strips of bark, and downy seeds-

California Towhee
-twigs, grasses, and dried flowers, lined with strips of bark, and downy seeds-

 

Barn Swallow -mud with grasses and found feathers from various species of birds

Barn Swallow
-mud with grasses and found feathers from various species of birds

 

FLOCK is on till May 23rd, 2015

For information on visiting

.lotusland.org

Vegetables Warriors

March 1st, 2015

These are the vegetable warriors in my garden. They are the ones that have survived year after year, are available most of the year, and require  very little attention except for the basics: water and sun. Some get only occasional water and others are only halfway in the sun, but once they are established, they are there for the long term.

 

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I pick them as often as I can and give lots away to friends

Sorrel leaves get pulsed in a mini blender with olive oil and added to  omelettes

Kale goes in green smoothies, turned into kale chips or added to sauteed vegetables or chopped in salads

Mint is picked often for delicious mint tea

Rosemary is added to cooking, or left in a bundle in the kitchen, on the dining table or in office because I love how it smells. Bundles are added to the fireplace for the wonderfully smelling fires

Oregano gets chopped and added to tomato sauces

Honorable mention: Swiss Chard is seasonal but keeps on reappearing without my help either

Which ones are the Vegetable Warriors in your garden?

I would love to know!

Orange Peels

February 28th, 2015

Always trying to reduce the amount of waste my household produces, I’ve been reusing and repurposing leftover orange peels rather than throwing them into the trash. From the trees in my garden,

 

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to the cutting board, and juiced,

 

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the discarded halves

 

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are dried on parchment paper in the oven (@250) for a few hours.

 

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The house smells amazing, while the oranges are drying.

Once they are done, I add some rosemary or lavender trimmings from the garden,

 

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and roll them up into small parcels using newspaper, and securing the ends with twine.

 

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They all end up in basket by the fireplace, and on the occasional chilly and rainy evening, I use them as a fantastic fire-starter for my fireplace. They smell so good!

fire parcel

 

Birdhouses in the Garden- Where Spring is in the Air

February 18th, 2015

 

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Nesting season has already begun for a few species and is rapidly approaching for others, so now is a good time to put out nesting boxes (bird houses) for the species that use them. Placing nesting boxes in your yard is a great way to help bird species that normally nest in old woodpecker holes or cavities. Since most cavities are excavated in dead, dying or diseased trees, there is a shortage of habitat supporting cavity nesters in urban neighborhoods. This is because, for the most part, foliage is kept well groomed and dead trees are considered unsightly or a liability, and thus removed.

Cavity nesting birds include woodpeckers, wrens, nuthatches, titmice, bluebirds, some flycatchers, swallows and owls.

You really have the ability to broaden bird diversity in your yards and neighborhoods by offering these cavity nesters an appropriate shelter.

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It is very important that these size of the nesting box and its entrance hole conform to species-specific dimensions and that the birdhouses are properly mounted at appropriate heights in suitable habitats.

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Offer soft nesting materials

Many species of birds will utilize soft nesting material in their nest designs. Goldfinches, bushtits, hummingbirds and orioles are a few of those species, but it is the hummingbirds that are making use of it now. Watch where they go with it! After a few trips, you should have an idea where the nest is. If you are lucky enough to find one,

do give mom her space-this way she never feels her nest is threatened.

 

If you want to put your own material out for them, never use dryer lint, because lint fibers are very short and will not structurally hold up in some situations.

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In case you are looking for  birdhouses, they are available here: http://www.priscillawoolworth.com/store/garden

 

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Source of the bird information, is a most wonderful resource: wildwingsla.com