Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Little Bit of this A Little Bit of That

I have been busy doing a little bit of gardening and a little bit of sewing and even a little bit of cooking! I am having fun with all of it. To the left is a color bowl I made for work. I used a rosemary arch to create a focal point then put down some sand and set in some small flat rocks to create a path. I lined it with some scotch moss and alyssum at the back of the arch to give a little showing of flowers. It looks like it could be a little fairy garden with the addition of some miniature items like a bird bath and maybe a bench to give it added charm. (Thanks for the ideas Maria!)

To the right is a hanging basket I planted for a customer. I did 2 of them and they are really huge. There are 3 cyclamens in the center and I think they measure about 16" across. They go with 4 planter boxes that have similar plants in them with small boxwoods in the center. They will be delivered Saturday so I hope Winnifred will enjoy them and that they will add the color she was looking for to her atrium.

I have been making some hot pads that I think I have already blogged about here, but I keep adding to the collection. I am still adjusting the pattern and thinking that they should be thicker. I have used the fish one and it works in I don't feel any heat coming through, but I still think another layer of thermal batting would give it more the weight that I am looking for. Sewing has been a lesson in patience and many other things for me lately...I guess I could say the same about gardening or just life in general. The important thing is that I am enjoying the learning process and try to look at failures not so much as 'failures' but, lessons learned on the road to perfection! I may never reach perfection, but I will enjoy trying. I had a lot of fun putting colors together for these potholders and playing with the binding. The whole process is giving me the urge to try another quilting project.

I also tweaked my cranberry relish recipe a few times this season. The latest version I created today and boy was it fun. I added an apple and some dried apricots, then when I was grating the orange peel I spied some limequats just laying around and that was just the inspiration I needed. I sliced them really thinly which is tricky in itself. There were little seeds in them that were easy to remove from the thin slices. The limequats mixed with the tart cranberries and other fruits were perfect! I have been craving cranberries the last few weeks for some reason so playing with this recipe has been really enjoyable (and tasty too!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Times to be Thankful

I hope everyone that might read this had a wonderful holiday! Thanksgiving always makes me think of just what all I have to be thankful for...and as usual I can think of so many things. I have been trying to be thankful every day for something so it is too hard to list them all here and I would definitely bore you all, but I would like to say that I am most thankful for the friends and family that are always there for me in my life even if they just pop in to say "Hi! I'm thinking about you." Most of my family lives in different states and we don't really see each other much, but we do think of each other a lot and the internet has helped us to keep in touch a little better. We can keep in touch through email, chat services and even things like this blog. So one of the things I am thankful for is that technology has given us this opportunity.

I had a very nice simple Thanksgiving with my sister who lives about 45 minutes away and my best friend, Michael. Philina made the ham and sweet potatoes and we made veggies and apple crisp. The food was great and the company was even better. We took a long walk around Philina's new home. The day was perfect for walking, so crisp and clear. There are so many wonderful plants around the grounds of her new condo and it is so nicely maintained. She has a lot of trees and open space for walking. After walking we enjoyed coffee and dessert with a movie. Ahhh! A perfect day...Thank you Philina and Michael!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gardening Lessons

I spent a few hours in my garden yesterday and learned a few lessons that I thought I would post in my blog in hopes that I will reread this and remember not to repeat the same things in the future. This is a picture of an Ice Cream variety Penstemon. I grew 3 different ones and they are all still blooming. I think this is Blueberry for the 'Do Not' list...

#1 - Do not plant mint even if you cut the bottom off a plastic pot and don't bury it too deep. It will still find a way to travel through the whole garden and you will be removing it for years.

#2 - Do not plant limelight artemesia. It is suckering and popping up in a wide area! It was a pretty plant when it was contained, but now it is a weed.

#3 - Do not plant annual morning glories to help hold your tomatoes up. It seemed like a great idea at the time and it even looked nice through the summer, but after a few months my tomatoes had a strange flavor (I blame on the company they kept) and now months after they have been removed I have their little seedlings trying desperately to make a come back.

I seem to have a nack for growing plants that get too tall and like to spread. I guess that is a good garden soil is wonderful and the location of my plot has just the right amount of light. I try to keep everything I put in it organic and the insects are happily finding the right balance of beneficial insects to invasive insects. I don't mind a few holes in my leaves and a few aphids to feed the lady bug population. My garden produces plenty of vegetables, herbs and flowers to make me happy and some to share with friends.

Yesterday was a real work out for me so I would have to say that my garden also provides me with some healthy exercise along with the other goodies! I removed some basil that was going to be freezing soon. I'd rather pull it now than when it gets black and slimey.

I also cut back my asparagus. The picture to the left is the corner where the asparagus is growing before I cut it the right is the corner after I finished the clean-up. This is the first time I have grown asparagus successfully and am still not sure that I'm doing it right, but it sure is looking like it is spreading so I'll see how it does in the spring. I now have a clump of green asparagus and a new clump of purple started. I hope I don't have to add 'Do Not grow asparagus' to my list.

I guess I should be making a list of what my garden does for me here too...

#1 - Provides food and flowers.
#2 - Provides exercise
#3 - Provides mental therapy!
#4 - Provides more gardening education
#5 - Provides a chance to get outside and close to nature.
#6 - Provides a place to recycle the little fish we catch and don't want to eat...they make great fertilizer.
# 7 - Makes my heart sing!

This picture is of a Peacock Broccoli. It is a cross between a kale and broccoli and you can eat all parts of the plant. I was snacking on it yesterday while I was gardening. Can't wait to cook it.

Cherry Menlove has a new post in her forum about "things that make your heart sing" and this is one of the many things that make my heart sing...growing things...ta da!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lots of WIP's

I realize that I am not posting often enough to my blog, but is there really a rule or protocol to follow for this 'blogging' thing we do? Well, I have not been just sitting here looking at other people's blogs though I have to admit that I do scour quite a few daily. I always get inspired by the creativity on the blogs I frequent and though I think I am quite creative sometimes I really need the inspiration of others.

Just so you know what kinds of things I have been up to I finally took a few pictures that show proof of my work in progress...
I have one bag done and more little bags to add to it. I also cut out another bag that I have yet to sew. There are so many projects in the planning process some are just stuck in my head and some I have put down on paper. I get this way every year at this time and I really wish for once that I would actually be realistic and just plan projects that I could really finish by Christmas, but where would the challenge be in that?

We did a little spring cleaning and furniture moving yesterday because of a few pieces that we rescued from going to the dumpster at work. It was fun really and feels really great to have things more in order in this tiny apartment we call 'home'. The corner shelf found a corner and some fun things that had been sitting around are now showing off quite nicely on it. The little drop leaf table is keeping some of my favorites teas close by so I can quickly prepare a cup of soothing tea if anything gets too stressful when I am sewing or cooking. Most important is that my Grandmothers bentwood rocker and bentwood table are now sitting side by side just as they should be. Now it is feeling homey again!

I have some fun projects for myself that can wait till after Christmas that I am really excited about. I found the cutest quilted wall hanging at a shop in Los Gatos. Theyclerk said that they had sold all the patterns at a quilt show so I kept checking back and finally got lucky enough to get one and picked up some really cute fabrics to work with it. Some of the fabrics are from a Michael Miller line with old fashioned mixers and kitchen stuff and lots of Jello! The fabric is called 'Mix and Perk'. The pattern is paper pieced little apron blocks. I am going to use some 50's repro fabrics for the aprons by Rebecca Ruth Designs. I am making it a lot like the one in the store with a few changes of my own. I don't really have the wall space to hang this so it might be used on my table from time to time. I just love it so I will find a place for it somewhere!

I have a busy day off planned tomorrow going to quilt store sale and shopping for party dresses with my sister. Probably not much sewing time...making the time has been the most difficult part for me along with making sure that I have ALL the supplies to complete a project. I am always missing a key ingredient like a zipper...dah! I always want to ask people with all the great things on Etsy "How do they do that?" Meanwhile I will just keep working on my WIPs and hopefully not add many more then maybe, just maybe I will post about some completed projects. That will feel as good as the spring cleaning I just did (finally!).