Wednesday, June 27

Felt Baby Shoes 3

Just finished the second pair of shoes, for a boy. This pair I lined, as I didn't like the seam showing in the back of the shoe. I'm much happier with the results, although it did take longer to do.

Tuesday, June 26

Felt Baby Shoes 2

I just finished my first pair of baby shoes. They are quite small, newborn size, I'd say, and would be just a little bit big for an American Girl-sized doll.

The ribbons are held in place by flower-shaped eyelets, and are easily interchangeable with other color ribbons, making the shoes more versatile.

What do you think?

Monday, June 25

Felt Baby Shoes

Well, I think I'm on to a new venture: making things with the intent to sell.

I have admired baby shoes for a long time (even though I appreciated my own children's feet best in their natural/naked state), and recently found a style that I really like: felt or felted (knitted) baby shoes. Considering that knitting will take considerably more time, I am currently opting for the felt baby shoes.

Today I went to my local fabric store and bought several different shades of felt and a few buttons. I have gobs of ribbon. (We used to live near a ribbon outlet store. -- What fun I had there!) So I am in business. Soon. Wish me luck!

Furniture Painting

I'm actually doing it! -- Painting our china cabinet. We bought it approximately 4 years ago, and it's spent that whole time in its unfinished state. Initially I'd planned on staining it, but after sitting in the sun (partially) and getting the wood "tanned" in some spots, but not others (i.e. the back of the inside of the cabinet has six rings of white in it: where my six plates have sat for the past 4 years), we decided staining sounded like too much work. So, since I love French Country for my dining room, I decided black sounded like a good option. Plus, it will really make my china stand out.

The poor cabinet has been in the garage since last August following a commitment to not bring unfinished furniture into our house, and it is now time to thin out the kitchen cupboards by painting the cabinet! So last night I removed the doors and shelves and primed the cabinet shell. This morning I painted it, and sadly discovered that it will need another coat. The garage is WAY too hot and humid to work in anymore today, so it will wait for tomorrow morning for the second coat. David brought a dollie home from work in the event that tomorrow afternoon sometime we should be hauling it into the house. Over the next few days I'll get the shelves and doors painted as well, and then post a picture.

Blogging is good for keeping your commitments to yourself, if no one else! Ha!

Sunday, June 24

Cottage Garden 5

I can't exacly say I'm proud of how my garden looks, as it's half tomatoe bed and half baby perennials, but I'm going to post what it looks like now so I can see the changes as they develop. I have a vision in my head for what I want it to look like, so that's what matters, right? (And if I can make it happen, I guess.) These are some of the perennials and annuals that are brightening a corner of the garden.

To the left of my porch, the tomatoes are bushy and quite tall (about 5 feet):

My clematis is growing, slowly but surely.


Blue Sage

Hydrangea (that's supposed to be blue!)

The tomatoes to the right of the porch are tall and spindly.

My much-prized Russian Sage

Tomatoe clusters

A great find the other day were these hollyhocks, growing along the fence between our's and our neighbor's house. I LOVE hollyhocks, but didn't think they'd grow well here. These proved me wrong! Yeah! So guess what I'll be planting more of along the fence?

On our back porch, I planted a number of plants in this large pot: Dahlia bulb, zinnias that I'd thinned out and transplanted from the front flowerbeds (and they actually took off!), ageratum, and alyssum.

I love the color and the "fluff" of these ageratum. They are annuals, but I just discovered that Bluestone Perennials has a perennial form of ageratum. It looks the same as these, but I get to KEEP them!

A zinna about to bloom. I have no idea what color this will be, as I planted from seed dark purple, light purple, dark pink, light pink, and lime green. Can't wait to see it! Although I planted all my zinnias at the same time, they are all growing at different rates. Some are 3 feet tall with buds; others are 3 inches tall. They've also migrated through and out of my flowerbed due to a couple heavy rains and heavy waterings that washed the seeds around. Oops!

Thursday, June 21

Cottage Garden 4

I went to Lowe's this afternoon to get the paint for my china cabinet, and of course had to look at the plants. Actually, I headed to the plants first, because something outside Lawn and Garden caught my eye as I parked my car: Russian Sage!

Since the beginning thoughts of my garden, I have admired pictures of Russian Sage, but I've never seen any healthy-looking sage for sale anywhere, until today. So I came home with three of them, and also bought a few other plants to try out: Blue Daze, Salvia, and Blue Sage. I set them around in my garden, and even amongst the tall tomatoes they look great! (I'm becoming anxious for the day that I can pull the tomatoes out and start the flowerbeds over as FLOWERbeds.)

Our house has taupe-colored siding with black shutters. I like the monochromatic look of purple-blues with accents in white and pink against our house. It's restful to me.

Since the nursery man hasn't called yet, I've decided to take matters into my own hands for coming up with a design. I drew up some plans today on graph paper. I'm finding that it's a good thing that I do this, or I would buy way too many plants, and they wouldn't necessarily go together well, or fit anywhere. The bed to the right of my porch I'm going to expand to double the size it currently is, and will be able to put in some pretty specimens. The bed to the left of the porch is awful, though. -- Since it's only 3 feet wide (and 30 feet long), and the eaves overhang 2 of those 3 feet, it's a problem child. Most shrubs will spill onto the sidewalk. (I'm okay with this, but finding one that doesn't obliterate the sidewalk is tricky.)
And I will have to water incessantly, as rain doesn't reach most of it. Trying to balance an area this long and skinny is also difficult. So . . . This may not be my favorite side of the house. Ha!

Wednesday, June 20

Cottage Garden 3

Yesterday we got some rain! This is very big news, as it has been so dry for so long here. We have huge fissures running around our front yard from the drought. Awhile back it was even affecting our foundation, as we had cracks running around the ceiling and along the corners of rooms. Two doors in our house wouldn't even close as the foundation had shifted enough to affect this even. So the rain was such a welcome relief to this thirsty ground.

A few months ago, David cleaned out the gutters so rain wouldn't wash out my seedling plants. Now, the plants are huge, but the gutters ran over again. One tomatoe plant and several zinnias were trounced, and my precious topsoil dirt that I labored over putting in my beds was washed across the sidewalk into the lawn. So I spent an hour or so trying to help the poor plants stand back up.

My tomatoe plants have grown another foot, I'm almost certain. They are full of blossoms and green tomatoes. They're taller than the stakes now, so I'm running out of something to tie them to.

Recently while visiting family in Michigan, we perused through several local nurseries with my aunt. (Michigan nurseries are to die for, in my opinion, after the small ones I frequent here.) I bought more than a fair share of plants, and so did Mum and my aunt. Somehow in all the buying, after Mum and I left, my aunt found some Glad bulbs that she thought were mine, so she mailed them to me. After she sent them, she realized they were her's, but she told me to keep them and get them in the ground right away. I finally did this afternoon. She wouldn't tell me what colors they are, as she wants me to be surprised. Yikes! (I'm a planner, so she's really messing with my brain.) So we shall see what we come up with.

Monday, June 18

Cottage Garden 2

Bummer! I just went back to Bluestone to order the plants, and their website says they're closing June 18th till August. Today is June 18! In hopeful desparation, I called their number, but I was truly too late. How sad for me!

Photography 1

My mother has an apparatus for cutting her own matting for pictures. She and I have assembled a lot of our own pictures by using this. We find frames at various flea markets and tag sales for 50 cents to a couple dollars, and then cut our own mats to complete the picture.

Recently, David's mother snapped a photo of our family that I had blown up to poster size through Winkflash. (See my links. I use them for all my photo needs. Best prices, that I've found: 12c per 4x6 with 99c flat-fee shipping rate. Even the poster was only $9.95.) Tonight Mum helped me cut a double mat for the picture and I popped the whole thing into a $2.00 flea market frame. I have to buy glass and backing still, but it's already up on my mantle. I am very pleased with the results.

Cottage Garden 1

I've been doing more research about plants for my flowerbed. Today I checked out English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners by Margaret Hensel from a local library. Beautiful photography covers every page. It is very inspiring to learn from. I will have fun with that over the next few weeks.

Aside from the book, I discovered Bluestone Perennials. (See my links.) I previously bought two plants through mail-order (Springhill Nursery) with much trepidation, especially after reading some reviews. But my plants arrived looking healthy, although extremely small. The clematis had all of one green leaf on it, but within days of planting, it was 6 inches tall and sprouting more leaves. It has since slowed way down. I rigged up a trellis for it, but so far it's not catching onto the idea of climbing. Not sure what's up. I've heard it said about clematis that "the first year it sleeps; the second year it creeps; the third year it leaps". I'd say it's sleeping at present. I'll be patient, though. The other plant I bought was a hydrangea (Nikko Blue). It was about 3 inches tall. Now it is in full PINK bloom and about 10 inches tall. Not sure what pink blooms are doing on a Nikko Blue plant, but it's pretty nonetheless.

So, with the above in mind, while I was leafing through a magazine the other night, I came upon a listing for plants from Bluestone Perennials. After seeing their prices and reading their reviews, I was very impressed! I perused through their site, and easily came up with several plants I think I'll be ordering, if it's not too late in the season to do so: Echinops Ritro (Globe Thistle), Eryngium Plano (Sea Holly), Perovskia Atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), and a salvia. (Can you tell I'm going for the blues and purples?) There are others that I love as well, but I'll wait till fall or spring. These, though, I think I could work into my garden now. And Bluestone sends three plants for approximately $10-14.

Sunday, June 17


This blog was created after much encouragement by my husband, David. By profession, I am a registered nurse who works as little as possible. (I currently am supposed to be looking for a job, but am so completely uninspired, thus no job as of yet.) Since having our first child, I have worked only one day a week, and have spent the rest of my time caring for my family and devoting spare moments to numerous projects. At any moment of the day, separate projects can be found in various stages of completion. This has driven my husband nuts until last week, when he decided I should capitalize on my projects by developing a blog site to chronicle my projects. (Does he realize how badly this could backfire?)

Well, I may be project savvy, but I am illiterate with the computer. So THIS is my newest project. -- Blogging. I need silence when I do deep thinking to understand something as complex as a computer, and meaningful wordage for a blog site. And do you think that happens often with a 4-year-old and a 22-month-old? (Currently they are on the porch with David, staring through the window at me and whining. My mind is on "freeze" mode.)

The intent of this site, therefore, is for sharing my latest projects. The projects currently in progress include:
  • The flowerbeds. I was a "forced labor" gardener as a child, growing up in Michigan and Maryland. (Really, it wasn't that bad; my parents just decided to grow our own vegetables, and my sister and I were the "lucky" weeders and waterers of up to four gardens at a time. Since that time, I have cultivated a black thumb, killing even cacti.) Now, though, we have a yard that is the bane of all gardeners, in my thinking. We bought the house last August, and I have been working on the inside (another HUGE project) till a few months ago, at which time we discovered just how awful our yard is. Little to no topsoil sits over rocks and clay. (We actually have a 10-foot cliff in our backyard.) Overgrown, dying boxwoods filled in the 3-foot wide, 30-foot long flowerbed area in front of our house, wrapped around the porch, and continued on along the other end of the front of our house. We hated them. So, in true hillbilly fashion, we tied ropes around each one and ripped them out with our car. Now I had to figure out what to do with the dirt. After getting a self-proclaimed degree in horticulture through books and internet study, drawing up multiple plans, visiting every nursery in the area, and uselessly whacking at the clay in the flowerbeds, I decided we needed help. So we called a local nursery and took them up on their offer for a free consultation with design plans included. That was a month ago. We still don't have the plans, and I'm afraid I'm on my own again. Since it was so hard to dig up just the flowerbeds, we decided to use them as vegetable gardens as well as flower gardens. My eventual goal, though, is for an English cottage-style garden. But right now, my tomatoes are at least 3 feet tall, and various perennials, annuals, herbs and shrubs are scattered around. I can't brag on how it looks, but figure that this year is the "research" year, with plans to rearrange the perennials around later, and start some raised gardens (due to the wretched clay) in the side yard next year.
  • The house. We've recently concluded a remodeling project of our master bed/bath/closet area. Now facing me are finishing painting some unpainted furniture pieces we bought years ago that are sitting in our garage. (We decided upon moving here that we would not bring any unfinished furniture into our house this time. We hired someone else to paint our bedroom furniture. -- It looks beautiful. -- And I will be painting the hutch and the computer armoire.) Another house project is repainting the main bathroom walls. (We've repainted every room in the house since buying it except this bathroom. I just can't find the motivation to do it.) Trim throughout the house needs to be painted.
  • Scrapbooks. I am chronologically over a year behind on this. Right now I have three albums in progress. Two of these are done except for the journaling.
  • Sewing. Besides the regular curtain-making, pillow cover-making that I seem to do, David is convincing me to start up a "business" with making my own line of clothes/baby things. I live near an area that has at least 5 week-long consignment sales twice a year for children's clothes/equipment. The sales are awesome! The first time I did it, I sold my kids' clothes and bought new clothes and toys for them for an almost even dollar trade. I am hooked. While at the sales, I discovered beautiful hand-made clothes selling for outrageous prices. I was floored when I was told that the clothes actually sold! So David thinks I should make a few and try my hand at selling them. If they sell, I'll consider making more. My vision is along the lines of Swedish-inspired style.
  • Knitting. (I forgot to mention this one.) I taught myself knitting a few years ago, and currently have at least one major project going: A Swedish dress for Emily, by Dalegarn. I love it, but it is taking me SOOO LONG to knit! Maybe it will be Emily's daughter's dress. Or maybe I'll sell it at a consignment sale for 150 dollars. (Are you kidding me? Maybe $1000 after all the hours spent on it!) My favorite find for knitting is anything felted. -- I can make something in a day, which soothes my need for seeing at least one project finished quickly.

So, here's to posting about my projects.