Wednesday, May 14

Sewing Project

I've been whining about my church clothes for some time. Shopping with two small children has not been a whole lot of fun, nor has it often been successful. When I have found something, I don't usually try it on in the store; I just buy it and bring it home to try it on, and then invariably return it, discouraged again. Recently, however, I netted a gain of two dresses! One, though, had only spaghetti strap "sleeves". It would never do as such, but I immediately saw the potential in it if I found something to go over it. So the shopping continued, resulting in nothing. Finally, I decided to resort to an old necessity: sewing. This meant I STILL had to shop for a pattern and material. Finally, after visiting four different stores, I found some beautiful material as well as a rather chic pattern by Simplicity. (I haven't sewn anything for myself in years, and Simplicity has changed a LOT. So I had some surprises on the way, namely in sizing, and was very happily impressed with the pattern I used.) I have fabric left over, so plan to use it to make Daughter a corresponding dress. Here are shots of the finished product, which I am way too proud of. :)

By the way, I'm not sure which pleases me more with these photos: the amazing shots I got with my camera, or the outfit itself. Am I vain, or what?!

Garden Inspiration

A few days ago, Husband brought home a number of books for me from the library. Since I have several project areas going, and much to learn, perusing the books has been a wonderful education, as well as very inspiring. The following pictures are all ideas I found in these books that I think will work well in our projects. (I wish I could tell you this is MY garden.)

One of the projects I'll be working on over the next few years involves the bank area. It is steeply sloped, and I'm thinking the most attractive, as well as erosion-controlled idea for this would be to terrace the slope. Likely this will involve approximately 3 terraces, with a set of steps as well. The steps that are currently in place are scary, to say the least. They look like a metal fire escape that you see on the sides of old brick buildings in downtown areas. -- Very steep and rickety-looking. Add to this the fact that they are set at an angle, and it's scarier still. Every time I go down them, I hold my breath. They are anything BUT safe, and there is certainly no visual appeal. So, steps will be my first job to tackle.

I am hoping to harvest most of the rocks from our property, thus the "few years". I cannot harvest them till late fall, due to my recent rampage with poison ivy. -- No repeats, please! So, once the leaves have fallen, I'll be out in the woods with my wheelbarrow, combing for rocks. I want to terrace dry stacked to save a little more money.

The other areas of inspiration I found involve the garden. I was struck (again) with the idea of training vines up posts. This picture shows vegetables and fruits being trained up posts. I like the thought of putting this at one end of a small fenced-in garden on a gravel bed, with a hammock or swing beneath it.And I really liked this design for a fence around a small garden. Again, it would be fairly economical, and would help with animal control, which I suspect will be a problem here in the woods. (We can hear coyotes at night on occasion, and have seen one go through our yard at dusk, although our neighbor's donkey has greatly helped with that. But we have numerous cats around, and have also seen oppossums and raccoons and rabbits. And have I mentioned squirrels?)

What's Growing

My garden and plants are keeping me peeking at them. :) Here are a few images of what's happening around here:

The Clematis is in full bloom, reaching to the gutters of our house! (I bought it mail-order last spring.) Last year, I don't recall it blooming this early, so I am quite suprised. I wonder how long it will last. Plans for the future include more of these guys. I absolutely love them!The hydrangea I bought from mail-order last spring is now sitting in a pot and thriving near the front porch, loaded with buds. Can't wait to see it! I wonder what color it will be this year???The garden is bursting forth from all the seeds I planted. Contrary to how it looks, most of those little green things are there intentionally; not weeds. Ha! The poppy peony and dahlia bulbs are all about 2 inches out of the ground. Seedlings of cosmos, hollyhock, bachelor's buttons, daisy, lavender, ageratum, violet and maybe some others are all popping up in a thick blanket. The tall bushy thing is a form of hollyhock, and very unusual. -- The flowers appear hidden under the massive leaves. It's not what I'd expected, but right now I'll leave it alone.My seeds that I started indoors are all thriving except for the sunflowers. -- The squirrels cleaned out the starter pots in one fail swoop. They left me with all of four plants. Rascals! They would have had a lot more this fall if they'd let the few go that I planted. Otherwise, I have 3 cucumbers, 4 yellow squash, and 18 tomatoe plants of 3 different varieties, all transplanted to larger pots. Now I need a garden to house them in. Hopefully we'll get to that this weekend.I've also planted some herbs and flowers in a pot. So far the basil and cilantro are shooting skyward; only a few flower seedlings have emerged.I also planted some flower seeds into peat pots. So far the lavender and daisies are doing great. The delphinium and bells of Ireland are not appearing yet. ??? I am thrilled with the lavender, though. That stuff is expensive when it's in the stores already grown! I didn't think it would grow that well for me, but so far I'm succeeding. Yeah!!! (The large seedlings are the sunflowers; the smaller ones are the lavender and daisy.)