Our first tomato. Is it from the one gallon heirloom tomato variety it took me 45 minutes to pick out at the nursery? Of course not.
It is from a tomato seed pooped out by one of our intrepid, self-sustaining chickens. Of course her placement could have been a little bit better.
It's on a slope leading down to the chicken coop. On the other side of the coop we have a veritable garden of corn and other tomato plants popping up. We aren't cultivating those, however. This one Rick put a support around and we are watering it just to see what kind of tomatoes it produces.
In other gardening news we finally got the driveway circle planted. And by "we" you know I mean I picked out the plants and Rick did the actual digging and planting of said plants. All sixty of them.
The space has morning and late afternoon shade and direct sun mid-day. The hardest part was figuring out how to place the plants. We will have a crab apple tree as a focal point near the center and we wanted a variety of flowering shrubs and ground covers to provide interest throughout the year.
We still have some filler type plants we want to put in and everything needs to grow and fill in but it looks really pretty already (in my humble opinion). Please ignore the stack of firewood in the background. It will be removed in the next few weeks.
We'll have to wait until Spring to get our Crab Apple since the variety we want isn't available right now. For now we just have a stand in Crepe Myrtle to help with the placement of all the rest of the plants.
The only problem we have at the moment is keeping the chickens from digging up the smaller plants and for some reason Belle is totally smitten with the Scaevola Mauve Clusters and wants to lie on them.
A couple of months ago this Wilton mini donut pan showed up in the blogosphere. Ever dutiful blogger that I am I rushed out and bought one.
It has been languishing in my cupboard all these months because I didn't want to buy a quart of buttermilk for the 1/2 cup of it the recipe (that came with the pan) called for. Well I finally found powdered buttermilk so I had no excuse not to make them.
I will say there is a very fine line of how much to fill the pan and the point where - oops - too full. I only had two out of 36 actually have the hole go all the way through. The recipe makes 36, by the way, not the 24 is says it does - probably more if you filled them properly.
So I ended up with 34 little cups. I powder sugared them, planning to just ignore their defect when Rick walked in and said I should fill them with something.
Brilliant. So here are my mini filled donuts. I used a mixture of blackberry and strawberry jam. The recipe does not taste like donut to me. more like a light sponge cake. Tasty but not donuty.
I have no idea what this blog says (and translating it doesn't help) but what a fabulous idea for invitations. I especially love the second to last picture of all the stacked boxes tied with a pretty piece of lace.
Ah - sadly today is the last official day of my vacation. It's back to work for me on Monday. I plan to make the most of it this weekend, enjoying houseguests and relaxing. I'm craving blueberry pancakes so they might figure prominently in my weekend too.
I can't believe my two week, stay at home vacation is almost over. The theme for the two weeks ended up being sewing.
Our patio furniture cushions are in dire need of recovering. I would love to just replace them but the cushions (the seat cushions anyway) are an odd shape. It dents in on either side at the front to accomodate the armrests.
Finding replacement cushions is tricky - I suppose we could just get square ones and squish them in but the cheapest set I could find (and not even in a fabric I would consider) was about $50 or $60! I have eight chairs and two lounge chairs. That would add up.
So I decided to make a prototype chair cover. Took two separate tries (and many trips to the fabric store) but I think I found the fabric I want and have created a pattern that works.
Now I just have seven more sets to make. Plus the two lounge chairs.
I was thinking of taking them to a place that does machine embroidery and have a scripty monogram put on the back cushion but Rick looked at me skeptically when I mentioned the idea. Personally I think it would add a nice touch.
As you can see the deck is nearing completion. The deck guy thinks it will be done by next week.
This may be a case of putting the cart before the horse but I started on my quilt label for the vintage sheet quilt (which is being sent off to the quilter today!).
I had an embroidery epiphany last night. I found this cute design from Michelle of Scissor Quirk and downloaded it. Then I started monkeying around with it. I just wanted the outer design element so I popped it into Photoshop Elements and erased the center design.
My plan was to just print it off and trace it on to my embroidery fabric (the image is black and white). Then I got to thinking it sure would be nice to just print it directly onto the fabric.
I'm sure everyone already knows you can iron your fabric onto a 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of freezer paper and run it through your inkjet printer. But then I would have the issue of having the design rather permanently in black on my fabric. I adjusted the color so the black lines were pale grey, figuring they would hide better under my thread colors.
Then the epiphany - why not just print it in the colors I intended to embroider? That way if anything shows through it wouldn't be as obvious. Plus it is a good guide for color placement.
I used the color replacement tool in Photoshop Elements and changed each line into the color I was planning on using to embroider. I also added my name, date and location in the center.
I don't know how the inks will hold up to washing so before I sew it on to my quilt I have a test one to wash.
I think the tedious part of embroidering is the transferring of the design. I love that I can just print it directly onto my fabric. Of course the size of the project is limited but I don't tend to embroider large pieces anyway.
(The design is rather hard to see in these pictures -click on the image to see it larger)
Last week I spent a couple of days at my sister's house sewing. Well a lot of time was spent holding the baby but that was totally to be expected.
I was able to bang out my vintage sheet quilt top in the two days I was there. Since it is a super simple pattern - just 8 1/2" blocks sewn into rows.
I am pleased with my humble little quilt. Now if I could only find someone to quilt it. I have fully admitted to feeling intimidated by taking it in to be quilted since I am not a serious quilter.
I did put a feeler out to one quilter but I haven't heard back from her yet. Oh the angst - I'm sure she is just busy but when one is already feeling anxious it does feel like ones insecurities were totally justified.
I will say that it did turn out exactly how I wanted it to. Pretty, muted colors, lots of white. My plan is to back it in plain white and do a plain white binding. Nicki had the idea of incorporating a narrow crotcheted edge to it. Now that would be adorable, wouldn't it?
Edited to add: I was contacted by the quilter I initially emailed! Whoot! I'm having a slightly Sally Field-ish moment here...
I'm off on a little road trip to visit Nicki, Sara and, of course, Baby Eva. I'm bringing along some sewing - my vintage sheet quilt and I hope to get all the blocks cut out and maybe a sew a row or two.
My old sewing basket goes perfectly with my vintage sheets since they are from the same era. I've had that basket forever. Of course it feels a little ridiculous to bring any sewing accoutrements to Nicki's since she is set up with everything I could possibly need.
It's kind of like showing up to Mario Batali's kitchen with my own wooden spoon.
If I don't get anything done it's because I was too busy being a great auntie.