Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gardening Apron Tutorial

With thoughts of Spring on my mind and a job in a nursery where we are getting ready for Spring, I thought it would be a good time to make myself a few new gardening aprons.  I made a few before and have found them very useful both at work and at home so I thought I would share how I put them together here and then I will know where to look back for directions when I am ready to make more for myself.

I found I can make one with 3 fat quarters or 2 half yards of fabric plus about a half yard of flannel.  I like to use 2 contrasting fabrics so that the pockets stand out a bit and then I use the same fabric for the ties and waistband.  The flannel is used between all layers so the color doesn’t matter, it does give the apron a nice weight and makes it a little more absorbent for those gardening mishaps.  This apron would also work well as a cooking or sewing apron and the pockets are handy for many tasks.

Step 1 - 

Cut 1 – 16” X 20” of each fabric and the flannel

Cut 1 –3” X 21” of fabric you want for waistband

Cut 2 – 3” X 36” of fabric for ties (these can be pieced if needed)

Cut 1 – 1 1/2” X 21” of flannel for waistband

Step 2 –  Layer the 16” X20” pieces in this order

  • Flannel
  • Pocket fabric front side up
  • Background fabric front side down (facing pocket fabric)

Step 3 - Sew around 3 sides leaving the top where the waistband will be attached open.  Trim corners then turn and iron.IMG_2791

Step 4 – Fold pocket up, I usually turn it up about 5 1/2”.  Then top stitch on sides  making sure to back stitch tops so it won’t pull apart when there is weight in the pocket.  I measure in about 6” from each side and top stitch these down creating 3 pockets on my apron.  You could adjust this to fit your needs.

Step 5 – Attach a 3” X 21” waistband piece and the 1 1/2” flannel on top of that to the  open end of apron.  Fold up and iron.

IMG_2794 Step 6 – Sew the ties to each end of waistband piece.  Fold over the top and bottom edge of each tie and the top of the waistband and iron a hem, don’t forget to fold down the end of the tie first.  I use about a 1/2”,  then fold ties in half matching folded edges and fold down waistband and pin in place.  Top stitch ties on folded sides (no turning!) and top stitch waist band in place.  You could hand sew waist band if you prefer, I have done it both ways and am happy with both.

Now put it on and start planting and look good doing it! IMG_2796  Be sure to check out my previous post for ideas on planting pots of salad greens…


P.S.  I don’t know how to create a pdf file so to copy this tutorial just highlight the parts you want and copy them to a word file.  Anyone who wants to teach me how to make a pdf file please feel free to leave me some tips!

Grow a Salad Bowl

This is a little different than most of my posts on this blog, but is still about creating and with Spring on my mind what better time to think of planting a few vegetables.  Here you can grow a pot of lettuce somewhere semi protected and with Spring right around the corner what better time to get started!clip_image002


· Container

· Potting Soil

· Fertilizer

· Plants and/or seeds

Containers – You can get creative here as long as it is at least 6” deep and has a drainage hole. The wider the better so that you can fit more plants or use several smaller containers and make a salad bowl grouping.

Soil and Fertilizer Use a good potting soil with organic ingredients. You have several choices for fertilizer, I like to use Osmocote or EB Stone Starter fertilizer to mix with the soil when I plant. Then I water plants in with Root Stimulator to get them off to a good start right away while you are waiting for the other fertilizer to kick in. If you feel that your plants need a little pick me up later in the season you could fertilize with a liquid fertilizer like Dr. Earth 3-3-3, it is organic and mild, perfect for container feeding.

Seeds – Lettuce grows pretty quickly from seed and there are a lot of varieties available. The downside is having to wait and see if it all came up where you want it to be. Lettuce seed is small so it is hard to place in just the right spot. Lettuce prefers cool weather, but can freeze if it is too cold for too long. Radishes can be added to your pot, but remember that they have to be pulled so leave space for them to be pulled where they won’t take any other plants with them. A fun herb to add from seed is Chervil. You could intermingle Chervil with the lettuce and they won’t disturb each other. It has a small lacey leaf with a flower similar to a parsley flower, both are edible. Chervil doesn’t transplant very well so it is a good choice to plant from seed. It also prefers cool weather, in warm weather Chervil flowers quickly and then doesn’t produce any more leaves. Chervil doesn’t hold its flavor well when dried so is best used fresh, can be put in salads or used in vegetable and fish dishes. Chervil and loose lettuces are Cut and Come again vegetables which means they will keep growing and producing more leaves after being cut back.

Plants You can get many types of lettuces in 6 packs and some mixed lettuces include mustards which are very good raw in salads or cooked in other dishes. Spinach and/or chard are also great choices for growing in a salad bowl. Always keep in mind the size of the mature plant and give them room to grow. To add color and keep things fun you can also add flowers like pansies, violas, and calendulas which are also edible and provide a lot of interest in a salad. Herbs also make a wonderful addition to a salad bowl and some great ones for containers are thymes, parsley and of course, chervil. In the warmer months nasturtiums make a wonderful addition and both the leaf and flower add a peppery flavor to a salad.

Give your salad bowl a few weeks to get rooted in and it will be ready for picking for a beautiful homegrown salad or graze off your bowl for a healthy snack…


Recommended Plants

6 packs or 4” pots:


· Lettuces

· Chervil

· Spinach

· Nasturtium

· Chard

· Radish

· Mizuna

· Chives

· Thyme

· Parsley

· Sage

· Viola

· Pansies

· Calendula

Sunday, January 02, 2011

More Butterflies

IMG_2742 Yesterday it snowed, but I was inside working on more butterfly blocks and dreaming of Spring.  We are also planning our fruit tree orchard, more Spring dreaming.  Where we live it only snows once or twice a year so it was a real surprise to wake up to about 4-6 inches of snow yesterday.  We took a long walk and really enjoyed the white stuff and being able to see all the foot prints of different birds and critters.  We made sure the bird feeders were full and enjoyed watching all the bird activity through out the day. 

IMG_2785 My butterfly block that I made a few months ago has acquired a few more friends and I paired it with a block that I had been admiring from a book by Barbara Brandeburg called Tried & True Cabbage Rose Favorites.  She used it with a butterfly block also made using appliqué so mine is a little different interpretation.  This is what I came up with.  I haven’t put the outer borders on yet and will have to piece a lot of browns together to finish it, but this whole quilt was made from scraps so it will all tie together nicely.  The only problem I am having is deciding where to go from here…do I stop and quilt it?…then what do I bind it with?  I have a soft yellow fabric for the backing that has little peach colored flowers on it and I think it will be perfect though I might be a little short and will have to piece in something for that, a true scrap quilt.  I am really liking this and will use it for a wall hanging I think.

Spring is only about 77 days away!