Happy New Year! We’re all waiting for something in 2021 – our turn for the Covid vaccine, hugs, Spring, unrestricted travel – so many things. But we’re not just waiting, we’re hopefully waiting!

Now that there’s a glimmer of light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, we feel a little more in a hurry. But you know what they say, “Hurry up and wait!” Ugh. But they also say, “Good things come to those who wait.” I’m going with that one!

Gardening brings me great pleasure, so while I’m waiting for warm enough weather to start digging outside, I started a tiny bright spot in a pot – forced paperwhites. I’ll also have to wait for these, but I’ll enjoy the daily progress, watching the growth of the green stems which will eventually produce plentiful white blooms. Then I can enjoy those blooms for several weeks more.

The only other flowers I’ve ever forced were amaryllis at Christmas a few years ago. And who doesn’t love watching those big beautiful flowers grow and bloom! Paperwhites are very similar, but unlike the solo amaryllis bulb, the punch of paperwhites is en masse.

Forced Paperwhites, as shown by White Flower Farm

This was an easy project. All I needed was a container, rocks, bulbs and water. I bought my bulbs at my favorite garden center, McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and picked up a bag of river pebbles at Lowe’s. I had three small containers I thought could work, and I ended up planting all three. The more the merrier! I also had a partial bag of dried forest moss, so I used some of that as a finishing touch. Here are some photos of my projects.

An excellent description of how to force paperwhites for winter blooms is available at mygardenlife.com. Follow their step by step instructions for selecting and planting your container.

And no, I didn’t drink as I planted! As the bulbs sprout and begin to grow, I plan to follow the gardening tip from the researchers in the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University The tip involves combining a small percentage of alcohol (gin, vodka, tequilla, etc) with water to replace the water you’ve started your bulbs with after having initial greenery growth. One part alcohol + 7 parts water should keep your flowers from becoming top heavy. Who knew!

Learning to follow a charted pattern with some Fair Isle knitting

I’m a self-confessed “glass half full” gal. I know all my “happy projects” – knitting, needlepoint, cooking, canning, flower arranging, etc etc – are the Glad Game of my Covid bubble. (Thank you, Pollyanna!) But they’re my joy makers, and they all involve patience and waiting for a lovely outcome.

Sometimes it feels like we’re all doing time in solitary. It’s not fun knowing you have no control over the pandemic big picture while you try to stay healthy and positive. But my projects energize me, allowing me to turn “time on my hands” into creative experiences. They used to be hobbies; now they’re essential activities.

My “Chelsea Cutting Garden” needlepoint pillow canvas ready for the finisher

Scientists say working with your hands makes your brain happier. Whatever you enjoy, be it painting, quilting, playing the piano or whatever, I hope you’ll celebrate the activities that keep you emotionally sound while we wait for what we’re hoping for.

Ken & I at our Solo Thanksgiving with the Turkey Place Cards made via Zoom with the grands

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One thing that makes my journey unique is that all of my interests are driven by a joyful and genuine curiosity. I delight in finding less expensive ways to make something or creative ways to enjoy something longer. Finding and creating joy - and sharing it - is core to who I am.