Monday, June 29, 2009

It is fitting that we had a pinata at the picnic yesterday. I forgot my USB cord in Philadelphia. So, I am unable to upload the video that I took right now. Until tomorrow when I am able to upload my footage... here is a video that my friend, Colin, made sophomore year. I always loved it.

There is something beautiful about expectations and pinatas. Watching the look on everyone's faces while a child is swinging at a pinata is mesmerizing. And once someone finally breaks it open, the frenzy that follows is always genuinely amusing.

Everyone is always smiling and laughing. Everyone is always happy.

Side note: Free wireless in the Denver airport (!!!)... however there is ad at the top of the browser of a suffering malnourished child next to the text "Gimme Shelter"... a very nice way to put everything into perspective.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On our drive back into the park from our reunion picnic today we saw three elk. Yesterday, my grandmother kept saying, "All I want to see is a real live moose!" We had a long debate about whether or not we were looking at elk or moose... my brother and I just concluded that it was an elk. Regardless, my grandmother wasn't in the car with us and missed the sighting completely. We took pictures. They weren't really moose anway.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I am at the most beautiful YMCA I've ever been to and I completely forgot how beautiful Colorado is and how different it is from the east coast. I arrived in Colorado late last night (delayed flight, bad weather, blah blah) and went straight to my cousin's house outside of Denver... it was dark and I couldn't see much of anything. This morning after I met up with my parents and brother, we began to drive out to Estes Park and I saw the large dandelions that had turned to seed! I had seen a little boy holding one back in Philadelphia and, here, they are everywhere! Apparently it's called Goatsbeard!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I leave in a couple of hours. We're having the Laguna Family Reunion in Estes Park, Colorado. I wasn't even a thought for the first family reunion way back when... and some may be shocked to hear this, but this is my first family reunion ever. Needless to say, I am very excited.

Whenever I fly anywhere I feel like I put my whole life on hold. My mother cleans obsessively before she travels anywhere... I think I was instilled with some of that gene because I woke up early to wash my bedsheets even though they weren't dirty. It's strange, I think, what gets passed down from generation to generation. I've made a lot of art about that idea in the past... and, I realized after my failed dye experiment, that I'm sort of making art about it now too.

There are certain things that can't be changed... they are the way they are because they are... genetics happen to be one of those things.

I knew this project was going to be tough.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yesterday I tried to make magenta dye from dandelion roots to dye the flowers... and my experiments were unsuccessful. I'm pretty sure that I made the dye incorrectly, however, I have no idea what I did wrong. Instead of magenta, I got more of a brown color....

In any case:

Here is what the dye looked like on the stove.

And here are the flowers... still yellow.

I also tried putting them in vinegar... and there wasn't anything promisin
g there either.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Progress: This is what the dandelions at the Crane are looking like right now. They are still little, but they are about 5 1/2 in tall now! And they are starting to get a deep crimson color in their the stalks of their leaves.

Studio: Surprisingly, this is the cleanest corner of the studio.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I got this email last week. Ian has been telling me that he wants me to make mutant plants... I'm still up for trying anything and everything. As always I appreciate any and all input!

Hi, Good luck with the pink dandelion project. Very interesting
My brother Anthony runs a horticulture extension and research facility for
NCSU in Fletcher North Carolina and commented on your project.

He thinks it can work it out.

I think so. If she can get the two or three species to interbreed and
produce viable seed, then perhaps a few plants might be pink. Usually, the
off colors are recessive genes, which means 25% of the population will be
pink while 75% will be yellow. If 100 seeds are produced, then 25 will be
pink. However, weeds are called weeds because they are weeds. They
routinely self-pollinate or they can produce seeds without pollination and
fertilization, which is called apomixes. Plants that self-pollinate or
produce seeds apomictally will all be yellow because they have not been
outcrossed to another dandelion. She has no way of knowing this because she
would have to test the chromosomes in the resulting seeds. She can control
pollinate the plants herself, but she would have to collect pollen from the
pink plant and dab it on the flower of the yellow plant, while
simultaneously emasculating the yellow plant so it does not pollinate
itself. Then she would have to cover the yellow plant with a bag so no
other pollen comes in. Who knows the reproductive biology of dandelions.
She can just keep the plants near one another and hope they outcross.

Good Luck


Good Morning!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Right now I'm still thinking that dye is my best bet.

Things You'll Need:

  • Old Nylon Stockings
  • Flowers
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Stockpots
  • Cookie sheets
  1. Step 1

    Dry the flowers of your choice in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 150 degrees F.

  2. Step 2

    Put the blossoms in a nylon stocking and tie the top shut.

  3. Step 3

    Cover the flowers with cold water in a stockpot.

  4. Step 4

    Bring the water to a low boil for about ½ hour.

  5. Step 5

    Remove the pot from the heat when the water is the color you want it to be.

  6. Step 6

    Remove the stocking full of flowers.

Tips & Warnings
  • Some flowers, such as dandelions, lose their color when dried and should be processed fresh instead of dried.
  • Dandelion plants produce a nice magenta color; the roots will make purple.


I also found this site which gives a nice color chart. And Ian sent me this.

My mother has been telling me that I've been making her look for dandelions recently. She also told me that she and her co-worker, Chuck, talked about what would happen if dandelions had always been pink the other day.

Karen lives in Texas and told me about Lady Bird Johnson who planted wildflowers along highways in Texas. She'll probably kill me for this (but it was on Facebook so it's fair game):

I've lived in New Jersey since I was seven and never stopped on the side of the highway to take a picture with a wildflower.... and there are a lot of highways in New Jersey.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Internet problems have yet to be resolved... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all will be back to normal tomorrow.

I believe that the dreary weather is taking a toll on the dandelions in the Crane.  When I designed the structure I was anticipating a lot of light that would be coming into the space through the window in the back.  Lately though it hasn't been sunny for more than three hours and most days it rains.... there isn't too much sun hitting the dandelions... it has been starting to show.  I went and bought three lights and set them about a foot closer to the dandelions than the grow lights that are installed into the structure.

Also, two baby dandelion popped up in the middle of their planters!  They must be late bloomers but I'm happy to have them join the family.

I'm planning to have some dandelion bouquets at the Crane this weekend.  It would be nice if the rain stopped for me when I go outside to pick the flowers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yesterday I was unwillingly without internet, but I found these guys in the empty lot next to my house:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tea Party 2

Today was a very good day. The tea seemed to be quite a success! I was able to meet a lot of people and tell a lot of people about the project. Since Art for the Cash Poor will be going on again tomorrow I decided to extend the Tea Party an extra day. So, if you will be around tomorrow between 1 and 5, head to the Crane! My friend Michelle is going to come and help me out. Lucy came today and helped me out. She also helped me set up the project and will be helping me out in a few weeks when I have to leave Philadelphia for three days to go to a family reunion.

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of believing. I am of the mindset that if you truly believe that you can do something then you can. I am of the mindset that you don't have to see something to believe in it.

I really dislike David Sedaris. However, reading one of his books brought me this quote so I can't hate him too much:
"That’s what fantasies are for. They allow you to skip the degradation and head straight for the top. "

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tea Party

Tomorrow I will be serving dandelion tea at the Crane from 1 to 5. At this time Art for the Cash Poor is going on ( so there will be a fair crowd. Please be sure to stop by and check everything out! It's should be a very nice day!
Ruth has been spitting information my way. Here is the wonderfully informative email that she sent me today:

Continuing the vein of what I wrote you on using juice from red cabbage, that by adding an acid (lemon juice or vinegar), the color of the juice changes from blue (think of chicory, a dandelion relative) to pink.

Tangent to the chemistry of changing a blossom color into pink (or visa versa), a somewhat similar principal works in growing hydrangea plants, simply by altering the pH of the soil. Neutral to alkaline soils with pH 6.5 or higher produce pink flowers, blue flowers bloom in acidic soil of pH 5.5 or lower, and soil with pH between 5.5 and 6.5 produce purple flowers or a mixture of blue and pink flowers in the same plant.

Consider that it is much easier to change a hydrangea pink to blue (adding aluminum, copper, or zinc to the plant soil in a water solution throughout the growing season, taking care not to burn the roots) than blue to pink (the reverse, i.e. subtracting aluminum, copper, or zinc from the soil); one cannot change a white hydrangea at all. To ensure that the minerals are made available to the plant, it is important to note the pH level of the soil; for hydrangeas, the lower the pH, the bluer the flowers. Plants grown in soil with a pH over 7 may need to have iron added in some dosage as well.

How about that? The solution to pink blossoms may be in watering the plants! Maybe?

Iron nails, and aluminum, copper, or zinc placed on three sides of a hydrangea plant will give three different colored blooms in one plant. 100g (3.5 oz) of raw dandelion leaves contain .171 mg copper, 3.1 mg iron, and 0.41 mg zinc; the more, the merrier? Aluminum indeed does change hydrangea blossom color; however, adding the toxic aluminum produces blue—not pink—and, dandelion is an EDIBLE plant. Nicole, I’m so thankful that you want to go in a positively PINK direction!!!

Copper acts as a catalyst in the formation of hemoglobin; the copper-binding protein, ceruloplasmin, plays a major role to distribute iron throughout the body, especially to the brain. (People with dementia have inadequate ceruloplasmin levels.) Dandelion is a rich source of iron, a mineral essential for life. Zinc is a trace mineral required by over 100 enzymes that make DNA for cell replacement and protein synthesis from amino acids. A human body needs zinc to maintain proper levels of vitamin C; dandelions help supply this important element.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Saturday at the Crane I'll be serving dandelion tea!

When I was looking up recipes online I stumbled upon this website:

I filled out a "contact us" form after reading through the site because, naturally, I was very impressed with what I found. Ruth emailed me back right away and had a plethora of ideas. Ruth just updated her site with our comments back and forth to one another.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Just got divorced and I'm married - m4w - 29 (Phish)

Reply to:
Date: 2009-06-08, 1:13PM EDT

I wanna be with you anyway....
is that bad??

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The introduction to this site is wonderful.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Riding up 13th Street from the library to the studio just now I saw a firefly. It was the first one that I have seen this year. I was at the library doing research and I read, while I was there, that black bears and grizzly bears (among other animals) enjoy dandelion flowers. I was trying to imagine a black bear eating a dandelion flower.

The firefly reminded me of a time this past winter when my father took a friend and I skiing. We were on the lift and all of a sudden my dad started chuckling and he pointed to his right. There was a mother black bear and two baby black bears following her walking up the mountain on a closed trail. A few runs later we were back on the ski lift and we saw the bears again. This time though they were on a trail that was not closed and the ski patrol had people stopped up the mountain. The mother bear looked frantic and the baby bears looked confused. Their fur was exquisite next to the snow.

Karen gave me that book, The Road by Comac McCarthy (apparently they are making a movie out of it now) for my birthday last year. Not only did it scare me so much that I was unable to sleep for days, but I always think about this one line in the book whenever something depressing like nuclear war and the apocalypse come into conversation. The line went something like "Everything was on fire". In the book nothing can grow anymore, which perhaps is why the book scared me like no other book or movie has ever done before. However, this is what made the story a little unbelievable to me because something would have to survive and find a way to grow.

Researching dandelions is, surprisingly, quite a depressing thing to do. It seems as though the majority of books that I found gave remedies to kill dandelions. I actually found one book called Weeds: Friend of Foe? that listed reasons why certain weeds are good and then why they are bad and how to kill them. Technically, dandelions are herbs but they were one of the "weeds" listed in this book.

There is always something heartwarming about the "first" of each season... first firefly, first snowflake, first colored leaf. No matter what it always makes me smile. And when I smile there is always this renewed sense of mystery and wonder as to how it came back. It does not belong yet and that is what makes it so special.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The past few days in Philadelphia have been completely rainy, gray, and gloomy. Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day immobilized by the weather on Lucy's couch. I also spent a good portion of the day watching videos of dandelions on YouTube.

These are my top selections:

Time Lapse Flower

Time Lapse Puff

Time Lapse Wind

Friday, June 5, 2009

A friend and I were wandering the city we stumbled upon a big bag of clothes. Someone had cleaned out their closet and apparently they had never heard of Goodwill. In any case, this person had thrown out a dress, some coats, some sweaters, and a Marc Jacobs t-shirt in perfect condition (seriously). And this person was happened to be exactly my size. I went home with my arms full.

The first segment of this is absolutely beautiful.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I bought more lights for the dandelions and, just now, I went and checked on them. I am happy to report that I did not need the lights. I'm not quite sure what happened between yesterday and today, but they all seem to have made a complete 180 degree turn around. All the droopy leaves perked right up and there were even tiny fourth leaves sprouting on a few of the plants!

It has been raining all day in Philadelphia today and it is supposed to rain all day tomorrow. When it rains dandelion flowers close up.


This is Crepis rubra (commonly known as Pink Hawksbeard) and not a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). I just planted some today. I am told that they take about two to three weeks to germinate.

All of the pink dandelion images on this site are actually images of Crepis rubra.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I had to mark four upside down smiley faces today in my log after I checked on the dandelions.  I am afraid there are a few that are not doing too well.  Tomorrow I am going to go get a few more fluorescent lights because I am worried that the lamps are too far away.  I had to place them far away when I built the structure so that they would not fry the dandelions when they grew taller.

A family friend sent me an email today and told me that she used to love to kill dandelions until she realized that deer love to eat them.  Last week another family friend told me about his wife's great aunt's front yard that was covered in dandelions in all stages of development.  I am going to try and get directions to drive out to see it.  He said that it was about two hours away.  Could you imagine being a deer and stumbling onto that front lawn?

I read online that dandelion leaves are good sauteed with spinach.

As of now, my research has gotten me this far. This is
Taraxacum pseudoroseum, which is close to a pink dandelion, but not quite there yet. The yellow dandelions that we know and love are Taraxacum officinale.

And here is a white dandelion as well! This is called Taraxum pamiricum.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Everything seems to be going well! I was a bit worried with the transplanting of the dandelions because their roots were so delicate and fragile, but they seemed to be doing well just now when I checked on them. Once I had this teacher in elementary school who, when we were planting trees as a class, told me that if you rip off one of the tiny roots attached to a plants roots that it is like ripping off a fingernail. Needless to say, with that still in my mind transplanting the baby dandelions made me a little nervous. My mother has a lot of little cacti around the house in pots and she sometimes moves them into bigger pots. Watching that sure is a sight to see. She uses gloves now, but the cacti that have been growing for years and years have pretty large thorns and the gloves don't really help too much.

I have never seen a dead cactus. And now that I am thinking about it I cannot recall ever seeing a dead dandelion either. Usually when people spray dandelions with weed killer they uproot them right away. And usually people only really want the dandelions gone for aesthetic reasons. They make sure, whether or not the plant is dead, that they get rid of the flower... some things really don't make sense to me.

Yesterday, I picked Emma and Lucy up so that they could help me install the structure for the dandelions. We were driving down Poplar Street and at maybe Poplar and 18th I looked over and there was a little boy standing next to his mother holding what looked like a giant dandelion that had turned to seed. Since then I been trying to find what exactly he was holding and I think it may have been thistle. However, I am very perplexed as to how thistle would have ended up in Philadelphia. I am still looking into it.

Day 1

The baby dandelions have been transplanted into their new home at the Crane! This is the structure in which they will grow for the next ten weeks.

On the top is what the dandelions looked like this morning. On the bottom are dandelions recently transplanted into the bottom shelf of the structure. These little guys only germinated a week and a half ago... but they have grown so big so fast!