Monday, May 21

Cutting Garden

With my veggie garden blooming and for the most part, maintaing itself, I needed something new to try and got my heart set on a cutting garden of sorts. I love, love, love fresh flowers around the house, but despise paying grocery store prices for such a temporary fix. Hence, the cutting garden.

I did a quick search of flowers meant for cutting and came away with a short list of options. I was able to find a few at Home Depot to work with, as well as some seeds to try.

I'm leery of planting anything in the ground for various reasons, the primary one being I don't exactly know where I want them, so they all went into large pots, which the internet assured me would be okay {I believe everything I read on the internet}. I suppose it is less of a 'cutting garden' and more of a 'flowers in pots for cutting' situation.

My 'flowers in pots for cutting' experiment includes:
{not my pictures - click them to link}

Bachelor's Button in the form of really cool seeds

Cosmos in the form of seeds

Burpee mix of wildflower seeds, all preferred for cutting. 

I also purchased starter plants of the following:

Shasta Daisies

Coreopsis (Tickseed)

I already have a few small gerbera daisies growing, which I replanted in a larger pot this weekend in hopes of encouraging growth. I have also been growing some zinnias from seed, which should start blooming any time now. 

My dad gave me a few Red Canna Lily bulbs back in April, which I promptly planted with no clue what would happen. They sat in the ground for quite some time with no apparent growth whatsoever, so imagine my surprise when I turned the corner yesterday to see GIANT stems with GIANT leaves growing in the bed on the side of our house! All I could do was start yelling, it surprised me so much. That area of the yard was possibly once a nice, bordered flower bed, but is now just a weedy, overgrown space where giant centipedes and spiders live {ask me how I know}. I'd like [Curt] to weed it soon, throw some new dirt down, and see if I can't grow some more flowers from seed among the Canna Lilies. I'm going to take the "scatter seeds, say a prayer, and see what happens" approach.

I can't wait to see what blooms from all this, and I hope to have a home full of colorful flowers for the next few months. What are your favorite cut flowers? Do you have any tips for cutting gardens? 

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Friday, May 18

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Back in March I built myself a little raised bed to see just how green my thumb is and I've been pleasantly surprised with the results. This post is really so my dad can see my progress, but I figured others might be interested as well. For your enjoyment, here is my garden, in GIF form so you can see the before & after. I took half the pictures on May 2, and the rest on May 18, so the progression you see is roughly over two weeks.

First, the bed itself: It's hard for me to see the growth because I stare at it every day, but seeing these two pictures is amazing to me. The beans and carrots have especially taken off recently, but the whole thing looks a lot more green :)

Next to the garden I have a tomato planter my dad made me a couple years ago. These plants have also shot up in the last couple weeks! The one in front is a Juliet Roma and a Cherry in the back, which died in a frost back in early April but is slowly coming back and even has some buds.

Here's a closer look at the Juliet Roma, which has quite a few baby tomatoes, and even more buds:

Back in the garden, the romaine lettuce has been growing like crazy since the beginning. I started these as four little tiny heads and we've been eating them for a couple weeks now. I just pluck off a few leaves from the outside of the plant whenever we want a salad. I am in love with the convenience of a salad whenever I crave it and I'm even more excited for some tomatoes to add in! You can see that one head of lettuce has split into two - twice the fun!

I lost a couple green peppers in the frost and replaced them with these guys. They are starting to bud and get fruit. The plants that died got replanted in pots and seem to be making a comeback, so here's to loads of green peppers this summer.

Speaking of pots, here's a look at a Better Boy tomato plant my dad started from seed in his grow lab basement. He brought the plant down to me in early April and it already has baby fruit :) I need to replant him in a bigger pot with a cage so he can keep growing.

Here's a look at strawberries in the raised bed. I lost my first four or five strawberries to neighborhood birds so I had to put a net over the whole bed. {you can see it in a few of the before pictures} This has done wonders and we've been able to eat a few strawberries already. It seems like although the plants have continued growing, the strawberries themselves have stalled, other than that one set of blossoms. I can't wait for more because the strawberries we did eat were absolutely amazing!

On a whim, I bough a few cucumber plants when I had to replace other plants from the frost. The little plants from the store were a little sad looking, and I did lose one, but wow! this cucumber has really taken off in the bed. I moved another cucumber from a planter into the bed and I hope that will thrive as well!

I don't really like carrots, but I have charming memories of eating them straight from my grandpa's garden as a child so I couldn't resist the urge to try some myself. It took awhile, but they are finally growing like crazy. The only hangup I have about carrots is that one seed = one carrot, which is a little depressing when you consider that one tomato plant yields tons of tomatoes.

I planted these beans from seed before the frost, which hurt them initially, but most are flourishing now and starting to bud. I think the beans have had the most impressive growth lately and I'm getting ready to eat lots and lots of green beans .. mmm!

Here's a few hibiscus plants from my dad. The red and yellow varieties have been steadily growing, but the pink one is really being a late bloomer. {ha - punny plant jokes} I was surprised to see the progression in these photos because I feel like it hasn't done anything since my dad delivered it in April.

Also from my dad, a jalapeño plant full of blossoms. Not sure what I'll do with jalapeños, seeing as the last time I used one, my hands (and consequently, my eyes) were burning for a good 36 hours after chopping it. If I end up with the load of tomatoes I'm expecting, I think I'll make some salsa so the jalapeños can go in there.

Not mentioned above, I have cilantro and basil growing in the garden. I have also been growing cilantro in a planter in the kitchen window that we've been eating. It turned to coriander a few days ago and now I don't know what to do with it. Replant some more cilantro seeds? Oh, I also have a big planter full of cilantro outside as well. 

You may have noticed the pink flowers in the corners of the bed, I don't remember what those are, but they have been blooming and reblooming since I planted them. I also have some zinnias, which I planted as seeds, along the edges. They should begin to blossom within the next month. I also have a few zinnias in planters on the front steps and planted some in the ground along our walkway. There are also six gerbera daisies in pots from my dad, but those aren't doing well. I'm thinking of replanting them in bigger pots or finding a place in the ground for them. 

Inside, my African violet has been absolutely thriving since I repotted it in a proper planter. It was seriously almost dead and now it's full of gorgeous blooms!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my garden, I'll be sure to post more when I start harvesting. I'm already planning for next year - I'd love to make another bed and do some more flowers, as well as try some berry bushes somewhere in the yard. 

What's growing around your home?

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Wednesday, May 16

Get Away

Curt spent the better part of March and April on the road touring all over the place. Thankfully he was home for the last weekend of March when we joined my family for a not-long-enough stay in Orange Beach. The weather was perfect, the sand was white, and we were so thrilled to spend time with my family. I even got to catch up with a couple of my cousins, including this sweet little guy!

{he was the lucky recipient of the Tula Pink nursery almost two years(!) ago.} 

It was the perfect getaway - just what I needed to relax and rejuvenate. I'm actually kind of ready to do it again soon, haha! 

The following weekend was Easter and I was able to join Curt on the bus for a quick little tour of a county fair in Alabama. 

It was so nice to be with him, even if it was the strangest way to celebrate Easter.

We ate funnel cakes and grilled corn and all kinds of disgusting fair food.

I did not ride any rides - I just can't trust large structures that fold up and travel down the highway.

Isn't it nice to just get away for a day or two? It's usually just what I need to take my mind off the crazies and enjoy life :) 

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Monday, May 14


Do you remember Magic Nursery Dolls?

I received a Magic Nursery Baby when I was younger and after submerging her nightie in water to reveal what, exactly, she was, I shouted "It's a twin!" {By the way .. how weird was that concept?!} My parents didn't believe me, despite the fact that I was an excellent reader and 'twin' is really not a hard word. Did they think I was lying? Making it up? Delusional? Mom, Dad, can you weigh in? All I remember is, they didn't believe it. But I GOT TWINS! And by the way, my babies did not have gorgeous hair. My twin arrived in the mail and I was such a lucky Magic Nursery mommy.

All that to say ... I made quilts for twins :)

I used the same fabrics for both - Loulouthi + blue, yellow, and two pink solids. I've been in love with triangles lately and really enjoyed making two sweet little tops with loads of them. I didn't really have any plan in mind, both the tops are fairly randomly pieced, only making sure there was a nice balance.

I bound one in the dark pink, the other in the light. I did straight quilting on each side of the seams, forming larger triangles of quilting. 

I also used two different flannel backs, both from the Loulouthi line as well. 

I don't know if these baby girls have been born yet, but I do know that their parents adored the quilts and I hope they provide lots of beauty and comfort for many years to come! 

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Friday, May 11

What Day Is It?

I haven't slept well for week now, so the days are all starting to blend together and I'm functioning like a zombie, but - hey! - I'm functioning. So I'll just post some photos and ramble a little, and you'll just nod your head and oooh and aahh over the pretty new fabrics I've been playing with in preparation for Quilt Market. Okay? Okay. Let's do this. 

Anna spent the last couple weeks waiting and waiting and waiting for her new fabric to arrive, and slowly, piece by piece, it came in. Which means I've been sewing with it, project by project.  

Last week Friday I dropped Curt at the airport before the sun woke up and then spent the morning at Anna's, sewing like a mad woman. Then I spent the night at work, where it was very busy and I had a lot of crazy cakes to finish.

By the time I got home Friday night, I was exhausted. So exhausted in fact, that I somehow managed to fall asleep on top of the covers, contacts in my eyes, teeth unbrushed, and the pièce de résistance: the bedroom light was still on. Until I woke up at 6:30 Saturday morning to the sounds of thunder and garage sale early birds. It was sad.

Yes, folks, I am a hot mess right now. Sewing by day and caking by night. Caking by day and sewing by night. 

Despite the exhaustion, I can't sleep. Despite all the extra work, I don't have much of an appetite for anything other than mandarin oranges and Sonic shakes {half-price after 8!}

Thankfully, Anna sees to it that I eat a slice of toast and get my coffee in the morning. Now that Curt's back home, he makes sure I brush my teeth and make it under the covers at night. It's good to have people.

My moonlighting efforts have been a tad cray, but it sure is fun! I'll sleep next week sometime, after all the Mother's Day cakes are picked up and Quilt Market is off and running. Yes, I'll sleep next week Friday, I guess. And I guess I'll clean the house then too. yikes.

I won't even tell you what's been playing on my iTunes to keep me moving. It's mindless and fun and upbeat and easy to sing along with. Okay, I'll tell you. Don't judge me. Seriously. Don't judge me, it's a tad embarrassing.

One Direction. 
There, I said it. I have the One Direction Infection and I don't think there's any turning back. Can you blame me, though? Look up One Direction on YouTube for yourself and see if you can resist those cheeky smiles and adorable accents. Then come back here and we'll talk about how I need to find Curt a pair of suspenders and striped t-shirts asap. 

So much to do and so little time! Have a great weekend :) 

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Wednesday, May 2

Ava's Quilt

{side-bar intro: Holy guacamole! Where did April go?! Sorry I've been absent - but I've been hard at work, and I'm working on a bunch of posts to catch up, so don't worry!}

This quilt is for baby Ava, who was born shortly before Easter. I wanted something simple but beautiful, so I decided on a giant log cabin made from other quilt blocks. I also opted for a few solids to really make the other fabric (Anna's Loulouthi) pop.

The center is a 16-patch of {I believe} 2" finished squares.
I added in a few flying geese along the thiner blue border, and half-square triangles along the top and bottom of the border.

I tried quilted letters for the first time to incorporate her name, which is not only so sweet, but also nice and short ;-) I quilted around the letters, and slightly wonky lines around the borders of the rest of the quilt.

I bound the quilt with this watermelon colored voile, which put the softest finishing touch on the quilt. 

The finished quilt was something like 40" square. And since I don't seem to have a photo of the back, you'll have to believe it is a polka dotty flannel (you can kind of see them shining through in that top photo). I washed it before gifting and it crinkled up so cozy. I hope Ava enjoys her quilt for years to come! 

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