Saturday, May 28, 2011

In a Jam!

Yesterday I made strawberry jam. I haven't made this in years. I bought one gallon of strawberries this past week at our locally owned fruit/vegetable stand. The strawberries were so fresh and sweet. The recipe made 9 half pints. The hardest part was figuring how long to keep the jars in the hot water bath. One recipe said 5 minutes and the other one said 10 minutes. I kept them in 10 minutes. I am not sure how good the jam is because it said to wait 12-24 hrs before eating. We'll find out tomorrow morning. This afternoon I am hoping to make some fresh bread. But D#1 and D# 2 won't quit fighting, so I am not sure if I can get it done.

Above: Cherry tomatoes growing in my whiskey barrel. I have been forgetting to update their progress every Friday. The plants have basically tripled in size. Basil is planted next to the tomato plant.

Above: Tiny green cherry tomatoes.

Above: This is the German heirloom tomato. It has quite a few blossoms on it but no tomatoes yet. I haven't seen very many bees this year at all. I may have to get out there and pollinate them myself with a paint brush. Last year I noticed that we didn't have a lot of honey bees. I would love to keep just one hive but am not sure how to keep them in my hive. I have done some research and found out that the bees can move depending on if they like the area they are in or not (actually the queen will move the hive). I don't want them leaving and taking up residence in the neighbors yards. That would bee a bummer. HeeHee.

Above: Brave lizard. Our dog Bullet likes to catch and eat them for some reason :(

Above: My herb/marigold garden. I planted them in galvanized wash tubs. The tubs are on a bench up against the bay window of the kitchen. Mint, marigolds, rosemary & ornamental sweet potato vine.

Above: The other tub. Notice the little sprinkler system. Love that thing!! It is so nice to not have to get out at the crack of dawn (to beat the heat) to water everything. It would usually take me 2-3 hrs to get everything good and soaked. I really need to get out in the front yard and take care of that flower bed. We do have a tiny little problem. A house wren has made a nest in the bird house and every time you go out there she sits in the tree and fusses-really loud. So, I don't want to stress her out. Maybe next weekend the babies will be old enough to fly and then I can finally clean out that bed.

Have a great weekend and remember those men and women that have fought for our country and lost their lives, for the ones still fighting and for our veterans! God Bless! We are so appreciative of sacrifices that you have done for our country to keep us free and safe!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two Quilts Finished!

Finally....I finished the quilts. They were not hard at all just time consuming, especially when you are designing as you go along. I wanted to make a "wonky" quilt because it is Dr. Seuss after all. I could not find a pattern for the type of wonky quilt that I envisioned. So, since necessity is the mother of invention, I created my own. I have never made a quilt without using a pattern. It was not hard but I did have to plan it out in advance. The two quilts took about 3 weeks to complete. I first had to stamp each child's hand onto fabric using acrylic paints and a fabric medium. I then used a solid color fabric for the first border, then a solid black fabric to kind of "ground" the framed hand print. Then the Dr. Seuss print-which is so adorable. I then added a solid blue border to the full length and width of the quilt. The binding is made from fabric that has titles of Dr. Seuss books: The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, etc. I did embroider each child's name under their hand. I debated on whether to allow them to sign each block or embroider it. I figured less confusion at preschool the better. I had them sign a small panel that I appliqued on the back of the quilt. It turned out so cute. I am glad that I had the forethought to make an extra set of hand prints so that I am now able to make D#2 a matching quilt. How special that will be in a few years for her to look back on that quilt and remember all of her friends from preschool. Duh...Why didn't I get hand prints from her teachers?!!?  Maybe I can get them sometime soon. I also did all the quilting on these two quilts. I usually don't quilt my quilts because I don't have an easy way to do it. I just have a basic sewing machine without a large throat, so this makes quilting a little more difficult. I always quilt my smaller stuff like baby quilts and small wall hangings. So this larger quilt was a challenge that I was willing to take on. I actually found out that it is not as hard as I have always made it out to be. If I rolled up the edges and kept them rolled I could quilt at a steady rhythm. I got really good at stippling-which is just a wandering stitch. Click on the photos below to zoom in and you can see what I am talking about. I used a clear thread on top and a blue green thread in the bobbin.

Above: Quilt #1. There were thirteen students in the class, so I had to make two extra squares.

Above: Quilt #2

Above: Close up. Notice how "wonky" the squares are. I did use some plastic templates that I made just for this quilt. If I hadn't used the templates that quilt would have been really "wonky" in all the wrong places :)

Above: Back. Notice the red fabric at top. This is a sleeve for hanging the quilt.

Above: Back of the quilt. The signature panel. The back fabric that I used is the head of the Cat in the Hat-so adorable! We have had a wonderful year in preschool! Next year D#2 starts kindergarten and couldn't be more excited! Head on over to Prims n' Pins to see what I made the Director of the preschool and the music teacher.

Have an awesome day!! and stay cool! Today the mercury will reach 94 degrees here in the Piedmont of NC. Whew...that's hot.
Happy quilting,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day + Bowling = Family FUN!

We had a lot of fun on Mother's Day. The kids and DH took me bowling. I didn't win, but had so much fun. Usually when we take these "family outings", the kids fight. Not so that day. They were on their best behavior. We then went out to eat at Fudrucker's. They mainly serve hamburgers, chicken, & salads. I hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day! I feel so blessed to have such a loving and caring family. I do miss getting together with my mom, sisters and mother-in-law on this special day to help them celebrate.
Above: Looking to see who's turn it is.

Above: Sweet little D#2, she "granny" bowled.

Above: Son putting a spin on the ball. The score board also kept a mph on your ball. Son and Hubby both got over 19mph. It quit working after that :(

Above: Hubby's gonna get that strike!!

Above: D#1 did real well. She had her form and release down pat!
We need to get out and enjoy more of this family time together. D#1 graduates from high school soon.
Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tied To Grandmaw's Apron Strings

I finally have an apron in the shop. I actually had the apron finished about a week ago, but it is the "tweaking" that takes awhile. I decided to change the fabric flower into three yoyos, I added more buttons and a pocket. I knew that I wanted the apron to have a removable tea towel but couldn't find a tea towel in my stash to please me. So, I embroidered a vintage design onto a repurposed feedsack pillowcase. Can't believe that someone took a feedsack and made it into a pillowcase, it was a little scratchy for the face. But, I guess when you need a pillowcase and nothing else is available, you can't be too picky. Or maybe you can't afford a pillowcase and you use what you have.
Above: Grandma Eva's Apron. I named this apron after my great grandmother Eva. It is made from a repurposed vintage sheet so it is very soft. The cream ric rac is also vintage.

Above: Close up of the little towel I embroidered.

Above: Hand stamped a vintage silverplated spoon to go with the apron. I have a few more fun ideas for these spoons that I hope to finish in the next couple of days and share with you. The spoon is functional, you just need to run it through the dishwasher to remove the non toxic paint I used on the letters. It reads "pickles".

Above: D#1 modeling the apron.

Above: Notice that she is stirring invisible frosting in her bowl. And yes, her fingernails still bear the plum nail polish from prom night.
Have a great rest of the night!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Plantin' Veggies

 Hey! Glad you stopped by today. I spent the whole weekend gardening and enjoying the warm sunshine. I put sunscreen on my face but forgot the tip of my nose. Oh didn't burn too bad. We planted carrots, sweet potatoes, radishes, eggplant, big Bertha bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, sugar snap peas, a blackberry bush and herbs. In the other garden, which is waiting approval from our neighborhood ARB, will have crook neck squash, zucchini, cucumbers and maybe some okra. I do have a few tomato plants in whiskey barrels on the deck. One is a cherry tomato, a patio tomato and a German heirloom tomato. I will try to take pictures every Friday and give an update on the vegetables.
Above: Whiskey barrel with basil and cherry tomato. Notice the chicken wire. I just love the look of chicken wire but this was a necessity. It keeps the critters out of my pots and away from the tomatoes.

Above: Here's the critter the chicken wire keeps out-Bullet. She is a Jack Russel and loves to dig. Of course my pots make the perfect digging spot, the soil is nice and soft -so much effort is not needed to dig a nice big hole. She also happens to love tomatoes!!

Above: Cherry tomato

Above: Basil

Above: Small washtub with marigolds, mint, rosemary and a sweet potato vine (visual enjoyment only, they don't produce sweet potatoes). I have two of these pots on a red bench in front of the bay window in my kitchen. Bullet loves to sit on the bench and whine to get in. She also leaves muddy paw prints all over the glass. These tubs have stumped her. She is a little confused and has tried various ways to get around them. So far, the tubs have worked.

Above: The main garden. It is 8 x 20. The other garden will look just like this one, notice the fence around it. Keeps the "critter" out.

Above: My peony did wonderful this year. When the two older kids were small, they would ask me if this was a rose and I would tell them "No, it's a peony." They thought I said "pantie", as in lady's under drawers, so they called it a "pantie bush". Down south, peony and pantie sound so similar.

Above: Peony about to bloom. You are suppose to snip off the smaller blooms to the right and left of the larger bloom, but I can never bring myself to do it. Kind of like "thinning out" the small vegetables the garden before they get too big. It is so hard for me to do.

Above: Lamb's ear. So soft! and invasive, but easy to pull up.

Above: Butterfly garden. These black eyed susans will be so beautiful in July. I will take pictures then and post them. When the flowers seed, the Goldfinches just love them.

Above: Volunteer johnny jump up. Not sure where he came from, but he has been around for the last two months. So beautiful.

Above: The sun was starting to set so I had a hard time getting the color to come out on this photo. This beautiful and unusual plant is called a Fuchsia.

Above: View of the peony from the deck. It is really much bigger than it looks in this picture.

Above: Big kids and hubby getting rid of some yard debris. Hubby is hiding behind the tree, squirting water on the flames to keep them from getting out of control.

Above: Two ferns on the pergola. I love to sit out here and read or stitch my embroidery.

Above: This cute little wind chime was a gift from sister, Marianne, as a wedding present to Dear hubby and myself. It has traveled all over the United States for the past 20 years. 
Above: Dear Daughter #1. Her prom was this past Saturday. She went with a friend to get her nails "done". Both hands and feet. It was an experience that she will not soon forget. Such fun times!! (I dotted out her face because my blogging sister and I agreed that when we post pics of our children that we wouldn't show their faces. There are so many weirdos out there, you can't be too careful with your children!!! I hope y'all understand)
Hope you enjoyed this lengthy post (sorry), but we had alot of fun this past weekend with prom and yard work. I feel like we got alot done.
Have a great rest of the weekend and keep those ten little fingers that God gave you busy,
Hands to work, hearts to God,