Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mommy, you can make it!!

My son has so much confidence in me! We needed a thank you gift - and decided the recipient could really use a big tote bag.

"Mommy, you can make it" the Munchkin told me. He helped me pick the fabrics from my stash, and told me to put a "J" on it for her initial.

The tote was totally "off the cuff" - using a reusable grocery tote for rough dimensions, I pretty much made it up as I went along. The fabric was a home decor weight "canvasy" fabric with a lot of fray, so I did a lot of enclosed seams and zig zagged edges where needed.

I then used the Lazy Girl Designs Perfect Pouches pattern and made a large flat pouch for inside, and then used variations on that pattern to make a pencil case and a boxed bottom pouch out of the rest of the scraps.

I am not sure which was more fun to see - the look of appreciation and pleasure on the face of the recipient, or the look the Munchkin gave me when I showed him the finished set.

Both were really great feelings!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tales from the Garden 2010 - eat your veggies

Two years ago my neighbor mentioned in early April that she was planting peas.

Early APRIL??? I thought that was incredibly early - and incredibly crazy -but my childhood memories of eating peas fresh from the garden were strong and sweet - and I wanted to plant some of those myself... I got mine in later - the heat got to them - I let them go too long -and I was disappointed with hard, dry, icky peas.

Last year I planted them early - I have learned that you can plant peas as soon as the ground is workable and will get an early harvest. I did not let them get so big this time, and the harvest was better... but limited in volume.

This year??? Boo Yah!!!

I had done some more reading -and learned that peas are a good "intercrop" with hops... so those big spaces between our hops in the long sunny bed behind the garage were filled with many many pea plants.

And the whole front row -with salad greens.

It's a bunny buffet... but the bunny seems more interested in the soybeans and cilantro -both of which I have very little of - and not in the overabundant lettuce.

Go figure.

More peas are in the main bed climbing up one of the plant hooks.

Mmmm.... warm peas! Happy Happy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tales from the Garden 2010 - Fruity Goodness

I can't take credit for these - the plants were here when we bought the house - I have just kept them weeded, trimmed - and harvested!

When I saw that they were ripe for the first harvest, I went right out, not even bothering to change out of my work clothes.

My white slacks and white shirt and orange cardigan.

It was worth the risk - and I got out unscathed and unstained - unless you count my fingers and my face! Like being in a candy store! Yummy!

It does look like I might get enough in one day to do a small batch of jam... something I have never made before. I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tales from the Garden 2010 - Transplants

After last year's successful upside down planter experiment, I was determined to expand my selection of plants. With that in mind, I started a few varieties of tomatoes and peppers indoors and then hardened them off by putting them on the deck under the picnic table, out of direct sunlight.

When it seemed like the last frost was past, I planted them in this year's bags - recycled PO tyvek pouches (I had to make new ones for this year - the pouches don't last more than one season). I was able to hang a wire shelf (yard sale find) off the side of my deck over a low traffic area, to take advantage of some good sunshine, some wind protection, and easy access from above for watering. Four plants went there -I merely labeled the sides of the bags with a permanent marker to tell me what was in them. One is a bit 'runty' as it was planted later and got waterlogged in the peat pot before planting, but we will see how it does. The other three were early indoor germinations and seem to be thriving.

Five more bags were hung down the middle of my planter boxes, on the same hooks as last year -three tomatoes and two peppers. This spot works great as they are up and over other plants, saving space, and the excess water (rain barrel water) that drips out of the bags when I have to hand water them ends up in the beds below. The poles also double as a place for the peas to climb.

At last check this evening, I had no tomato blossoms yet, but the plants look healthy and happy.

And if you look very very very very closely in this photo of my jalepeno - started in April inside - you can see what looks to be the very beginnings of a pepper!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tales from the Garden 2010

I have not done a garden update recently. Pictures of the 7 yards of mulch, or the 20 bags of weeds and other debris at the curb for composting, are not so interesting.

I did make the extra effort this year to start seeds inside. This is a shot from April, in front of my southern exposure patio doors. I did not use grow lights, but only what sun came in through the doors. I turned and rotated my trays frequently, and also blew a low speed fan on them for about 30 minutes each morning and evening to imitate the wind and supposedly make the stems stronger.

I must have done something right, as nearly everything sprouted, and many were transplanted to larger pots, where they seemed to thrive without getting too leggy.

A few things that the Munchkin and I planted on Earth Day did not sprout well - like the corn, peanuts, sunflowers and squash. Some were cases of very old seeds, and in other cases I don't think I had them planted deep enough, and they got moldy. The soybeans sprouted right up, though, as did a few pepper plants and varieties of tomatoes.

Tomorrow I will show you what happened when the indoor garden moved outside....

And in the meantime - don't forget to check the giveaway . Mom is currently hospitalized with infections - so it looks like this round of chemo may be delayed a bit - lots of time yet to enter... I will be updating with the cutoff date when I know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

High Calorie Giveaway

A 500th post giveway on a quilting/crafting blog is usually something crafty - patterns, fabric, notions, a finished project.

And this giveaway might eventually include one of those type of items. Heck - it WILL include some of those items.

But it is going to start with a cookbook - not just any cookbook but one that was being sold by a local medical office as a fundraiser for a recent American Cancer Society Relay for Life event.

It's your typical local group produced cookbook - lots of recipes your mom, neighbor, aunt, husband, or the lady at all the local potlock suppers might have in their stash. Some you may already have.

There IS a recipe for peanut butter pie!!!

But it is so much more! It is the effort of a few people, giving of their time to create something that can make a difference, however small, in the lives of so many affected by cancer.

Not just the patients, but the families -the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, spouses, grandparents, co-workers and friends that are affected every time a diagnosis has to be made.

Entry into this giveaway is simple.

For ONE entry - just leave a comment on this post. No need to be a follower.

For FIVE extra entries - please post a message or image on your blog with a link to the online giving page of the American Cancer Society or any other cancer research charity of your choice. Post me a message with the corresponding link, please. (if you don't have a blog - but are on Facebook, post there instead).

and for TEN extra entries - please consider making a gift of your own - in any amount - to ACS or any other cancer research charity. Just post me a message that you did - no need to tell me how much.

I'll take entries until my Mom finishes her current round of chemo... I will have to get back to you on that exact date.

...for Mom ... because there would not be 500 posts here without her love and support.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Time For A Change... And A Giveaway

When I was a kid, and especially when I was a teenager, rearranging my room is something I did on a fairly regular basis. It was a small room with some interesting quirks, but somehow I always found a new and different way to arrange it and decorate it - albeit not always conventionally.

So my family may find it surprising that after 5 years, elements of the Munchkin's original room decor still lingered. Motivated by the need to turn his bed to better catch the cooler breezes, and willingness to purge his old toys and books for a yard sale so he can buy a large set of LEGO (train!), a total redecoration of his room began. It was time for the jungle to disappear...

...the clutter to get cleaned out...
And the robots to move in. It started with a picture he drew - hard to see in this photo but the picture on the large shelf is of a big orange robot.

This bedding line from Target provided the color scheme, and some of the fabric to make the valances:
Some wall clings from JoAnn's provided a splash of robot for the walls and the front of the dresser.
And a fabric space scene from an earlier quilt shop hop filled a big empty wall (it also glows in the dark!)
The Munchkin still wants a slide for his buddies to go from the "hammock" to his bed, and some baskets for the top of his dresser, and there is one more pillow to make, one more picture to draw, and a bookcase to straighten - but that can wait for another day.
Tonight - he thinks his new room is "Awesome"!!!!
The giveaway? This was my 500th post - I will be posting a little giveaway at 501 to celebrate. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Just a bag

Just a small, simple, lined gift bag with a boxed bottom , padded bottom insert, and in-seam tie.
Custom ordered to present a special gift.
Orange and brown - fitting for who the gift was coming from -
that I just happened to have in my stash.

The recipient will never meet me, will never know who I am
(and unless he looks very carefully, will never see where I signed and dated my work).
The bag may never be used again.
But my simple little bag is now a continent away, in the possession of someone very involved in the world of textiles and fashion.

I know it is there, and that I made it.
And that in itself is very satisfying!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Free Range Strawberries

A few years ago I was given about 6 strawberry plants. I put them into one of those fun 'strawberry pots' with the little pockets on the sides, and tended them, and waited to see what they would do.

I got blossoms - and lots of growth - but no strawberries. I did some research on overwintering the strawberry pot, and did my best, but alas the plants dried out too much over the winter and did not survive.

The ones in the pot, that is.

The ones that had rooted where the vines had crept over the sides of the pot and down onto the ground.. those were another story.

Those came back - and spread a bit - and formed a nice ground cover around the area where I put my potted herbs. They flowered - and started to produce fruit - but our resident critters ate it all up.

This year....this year they have totally taken over the entire space (the pots you see in place are waiting for herbs to be planted - I wanted to "stake out" a spot for them before the strawberries got totally out of hand). They have even filled the space under the steps and partially under the deck.

And they have blossomed.
And they have borne fruit.
And the critters have either stayed away, don't live here anymore (ex-woodchuck), or can't get through the thicket of strawberry vines to get to the inner fruits.

I am in strawberry love!! They are not the sweetest berries I have ever eaten, nor are they very big (the biggest was about the size of a peanut M&M), but they are right out my back door and just perfect for a little snack!

And coming soon - "Raspberry Bliss"