2012 Gardening

I've got a problem with my yard.

There's not enough sun.

When we first moved in, I had the trees trimmed and there was plenty of sun in the backyard to grow tomatoes and other veggies. Two years later... the trees have grown and now my "garden patch" is shade. DAMNIT. Last year I got about 3 tomatoes, TONS of basil, TONS of jalepenos (which Rusty liked the best...) and only two banana peppers.

So the trees need to be trimmed again. But this time I want a quote to know how much it would be to just take one HUGE tree down. I know. Shoot me. I want to take a tree down. But here's the thing about it - the tree sits at the corner of our house, eventually the roots will probably wreck the foundation of our house, they might topple the fence over, and I swear, this tree pees something every 6 weeks. If it's not those stupid helicopter thingys, it's leaves. If it's not leaves it's something else. Not to mention all of this stuff goes straight into our gutters which means that either Bimmer Man or I have to climb up onto the roof to clean them out. And we have to clean them out at least once a month. Seriously. it's a huge pain. Did I mention that one branch sort of grows funny and every time it storms it looks like it'll take down power lines to our house? YIKES. So I think that needs to go.

But in any case... this year I'm going to have to do tomato plants in pots around the yard in the sunny spots. I know - we're going to be those "weird" people that have plant pots in strange areas of the yard. Whatever. Call me weird - but my tomatoes taste awesome. Fresh BLT anyone?

And there's a few new flowers that I want to try too (I go for perennials):

This is a Gayflower a/k/a Blazing Star I think I'm going to put this in the back of the yard by the compost pile. It drains like you wouldn't believe back there and it's in the sun for about 7 hours per day.

Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts - This is another perennial that I want to try. I have major plant envy of a neighbor down the street with HUGE Bleeding Hearts. I want to grow HUGE Bleeding Hearts (the only thing I can grow really well in the front beds are Cosmos, Russian Sage, and Bee Balm). Bleeding Hearts are for the shade and do well all summer long. Le sigh. I need plants that do well all year and not just for a few weeks in the spring.

I'd like to plant Astilbe but again... it's early to midsummer blooming and I already have so many of those plants that by August our front beds are just green. Boo to that! My plan is to go to the local nursery in June and start hounding the people that work there about what I can plant that is going to bloom in July/August/September. Well, besides vegetables. Maybe I should just fill our front beds with veggies!

Happy Friday!!!


To Sew List This Week

I um, accidentally ordered too much zig zag fabric. Like 4 yards too much. So I need to use it up.

Want to know the embarrassing reason of WHY I ordered too much?

Because I didn't look at the width. Oops. Generally speaking, home decor fabric is much wider than the fabric you find on bolts at places like JoAnn Fabrics and Hancock Fabrics. I thought I'd have to make 4 total curtains and not just 2 - but 2 looks good enough for me so...

These pillow covers that I pinned on Pinterest are on my list:

I think I might have to modify the design a bit though - I think I might keep the pocket side on the front and add in a buttonhole. Yikes. That would be my first attempt at buttons. Maybe not.

I can ALWAYS make tote bags (but I never have any of those handle thingys so I make my own with the fabric I have on hand):

I don't know... anyone have any other ideas? Does anyone want anything? I can sew... I just need some ideas!



I just looked at my "Crafts to Make" Pinboard and realized that it's a whole jumble of stuff that I can categorize even further.


Crochet. Sewing. Ok, mostly crochet.

But this weekend I'm going to organize it. And I'm going to put the crochet and sewing onto their own pinboards.

That's my plan and I'm going to TRY to stick to it!

(You can see my Pinterest stuff by clicking on the link in the right hand sidebar of my blog)


Easy-Sew Curtain Tutorial

AHHH... The curtains are complete. And they are made pretty easy - I've just done clips at the top (but if you want to make tab top curtains, I'll have to find another room that needs curtains so I can sew some for you and make another tutorial... too hard to explain without pictures!).
Start by ironing your fabric. I've left the selvedge on instead of cutting it off. I'm lazy and this is supposed to be easy.
Then hem. By hem I mean fold over each side 1/2 an inch (in my case as much as needed to cover the selvedge). Press nice and flat.
Then fold again and pin. Leave about two inches at the ends - you'll need to fold and press the three other sides of your fabric and it's a real pain to pull pins out and repin when you really don't have to. I'm lazy.

Here's a photo that shows the two folds - I've started pinning the second fold closer to the camera and you can see the first fold in the background. Pin as you go. For anything that's shorter than a foot I don't pin. I just press and then sew. But that's how sometimes I don't get straight stitches so.... learn from me. PIN.

Pin every 6 - 8 inches. I hate sewing, stopping to pull pins out and then sewing again. I've got it down to where I know the speed I can go and pull pins out without stopping the machine. EXCITING.

However, with this method of hemming you end up with the ugliest corners ever.

See? UGLY. UGLY. UGLY. And I don't like ugly. So we're going to fix that.

Unfold the corners all the way and make sure you can see your press marks. They will be your guides through this confusing part.

After you've unfolded the corners, cut the bulk out - just the corner, I trim from diagonal to diagonal on the press marks. There's nothing worse than breaking a needle when you get to the corners.

Now fold in the first fold like normal. You get a flat corner.

And now fold down the corner. Yes, fold down the flat corner maybe about 1/2 an inch to an inch. Just to where the first fold meets your new corner fold (if that makes sense... or just fold the corner down).

One more time just to show you. Here's the flat corner.

Now just fold it down.

Then you can fold in the sides one more time. See in the top - the first fold you pressed? Now we're folding down the second fold you pressed earlier.

And ta-da! When you fold down both of your second folds you get the pretty corner! YAY! (These are the best corners to use when you make napkins. Trust.) I always makes sure the largest hemmed edge is on top - I want the needle to go through all of that fabric to tack it all down. Now do you see why we cut the bulk out? There's a TON fabric in corners of curtains and you don't want to break a needle.

Pin your hard work down so it stays put and you don't have a meltdown when you get to the corner and realize that you've forgotten to pin. Sort of like I did with the first curtain panel that I made. Oh boy, did I wish I had a nice, big Jack and Coke that day.

Sew as close to the edge as possible. Backstitch at the very beginning 5 - 7 stitches and when you get to each side of each corner. I want those corners tacked down as tight as possible. I HATE repairing curtains. Such a pain.

See? Pretty stitchs - I think Martha Stewart would approve. When you actually sew a hem instead of using the iron on stuff, it looks so much better. I know... only I will know that it's there... But still...

Ok, here's what a corner looks like half sewn. See how I've back stitched? Make sure you do that on all of your corners.

At voila! Curtains!


Valentine's Day Wreath

Last summer I got this AWESOME idea to make a felt circle wreath. It turned out to be the death of me. In fact, it's 7 months later and I'm still not finished with it. Why? Because it takes too freaking long. I plan on just putting it up for sale in my Etsy store when I'm finally finished with it. Good riddance and I hope that someone else enjoys the fruits of my labor. But that might not happen for a few months. And then I got the idea for this wreath from Anna over at Directions Not Included. She's awesome if you haven't started reading her blog. DO IT. You'll be happy about it. But after cutting about 300 felt circles by hand, I've given up. And I've yielded to my trusty cutting mat.
Cut about 2 yards worth of 4 inch x 4 inch squares. I just folded the fabric over twice and cut twice as many as I normally would. You don't have to be precise. At all.
Here's my fantastic stack of fabric. Yes, that's about two yards. I think if I do another one of these (which I totally will!), I'd use three yards of fabric and cut one long strip to cover the white foam so you can't see the white foam through the fabric. No problems so far - but I also have to drive by the front of the house to make sure you can't see the white from the street.
What you'll need next: straights pins, foam wreath.
Take a square of fabric, fold into a triangle (or a rectangle, your preference).
Fold again.
Stick a pin through the bottom.
And pin to the wreath form.
You can either start at one area and work your way around or just pin randomly. I pinned randomly and found that it goes by faster that way. You can watch 3 episodes of "It's a Brad Brad World" and be finished pinning with some pee breaks and a lunch break in between.

Happy Valentine's Day!



Here's a Rusty picture for you. It's still my favorite and I will probably resurrect it a few more times this year. Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

On my to-do list:

1. Clear off the dining room table. Like usual.
2. Finish two crochet projects. Ok, I lied. I have three projects that need finishing but I can only complete two this weekend.
3. Finish two sewing projects & make a curtain tutorial for you lovely readers.
4. Stay warm.
5. Grocery shop.
6. Possibly make a Valentine's Day wreath for the front door. That sounds a bit ambitious for this weekend but we'll see how much awful television is on to keep me occupied while I cut fabric/pin/glue it on a wreath form.

Are you doing anything fun? Got any projects to share with me that I can read? Leave me a comment with a link to your blog so I can see!


The Infamous Zigzag Fabric Curtains

YAY! I got the fabric in the mail.
The "rust" color is close - it's just a bit darker than the rug but it still looks pretty good. I'm excited to get the curtains finished and hung!

Baby's Room Update

It's coming along. We've got more "things" and furniture - Bimmer Man did an awesome job putting together the changing table and dresser (both are from Ikea).
But still... no artwork. Yesterday I was at Home Goods and found a cutout with a bird and bright paper but it just didn't fit. I don't know what to do. You can see in the corner by the window a poster - it's a Moulin Rouge print that I think will go on that wall. Le sigh. Having no artwork is sad, isn't it?
Here's the awesome dresser with the old curtains. I've got one curtain made and another ready to go (I think I'm going to make a tutorial on curtain-making. It's really easy: Pin, hem, fold the edges, keep sewing and then hang).
Bimmer Man also switched out the old ugly light fixture in here for this one with clouds on it. It's from Ikea.

So... everything is coming along slowly but surely. My baby shower which my awesome friends (Kathy and Andrea) are throwing is next weekend and I'm really excited to see everyone!


The Neverending Basement

 Here's the debris left from some demo. Bimmer Man still isn't quite complete with demo (however, if he waits about 12 weeks, I'll be able to help). The carpet still needs to be pulled up and the dry bar (shown in another picture below) needs to be pulled out.
 Along the far wall there used to be 3 useless closets. Two had hanging bars and the one had only one shelf. In a basement you need more shelves and less hanging bars. We need a bit more specialized storage as well (now I'm going to have to think of toys, crap, never thought I'd be saying that for awhile). BUT on this wall we're going to mount a flat screen television. Ideally, I'd love to have the components on the opposite wall (so mounted in the shop on the other side of the wall) so no cords are showing with a wireless feature for it and then hidden speakers. I'm not sure if that will work, but we'll have to talk about it. If we don't do the components on the opposite wall, then we'll have to do a wall cabinet of sorts. Hello, Ikea. Also, the door will be closed off. No need for two doors going into the shop (plus that means that I can get storage shelving for the shop so everything won't be piled on the floor. YES!).
 Here's the dry bar. The reason it's being ripped out: It's useless. There's no electrical outlet back there for a mini-fridge, there's no water hook-ups to even think about putting in a small sink. It's basically storage that's hidden in the corner that doesn't work for us. So the paneling will be coming down, the bar will be ripped out and in its place will become a closet (complete with a door). In the closet, I'll put shelves for toys, crap, etc... It will be much needed.
 Now, back to the laundry room for a bit. We have some repairs to do. When the new washing machine came, it didn't fit in the door - why? Because the furnace is partially blocking the door which is now hidden by the curtain. There needs to be some sort of door to the laundry room. I'd love a pocket door so that you don't have to worry about an open door at the bottom of the stairs and you can block out sound for the future movie watching nights of the washing machine/dryer/furnace/water softener/etc... We'll see how expensive the pocket door is, otherwise it may just end up being folding doors. Have to look into the cost.
 Now, here's another problem. It's the laundry chute!!! I LOVE THE LAUNDRY CHUTE. Not only will it be nice when our child(ren?) get older, but I have a feeling that Bimmer Man doesn't like it. I think I may need to convince him otherwise. How do I go about doing that? Not only will we NOT need laundry baskets in the bedrooms on the first floor (which are small to begin with) but it will be so much easier for this child and future children to keep their rooms clean. And to get laundry to the basement without breaking my back or hauling clothes through the house to throw down the basement stairs.

Phew. Basement update over with. Any questions?


Coming Up This Week:

1. Basement Update. Yikes. Pictures will be posted. Eep. Cover your eyes and get ready to suggest some flooring options for us... You'll see why...

2. How to make easy curtains. Tab top? Nope. I will be "cheating" and just hemming 4 sides and using clips to hang them. How lazy modern of me...

3. Photos of baby's room. Why yes, furniture is put together! YAY! (And yes, Bimmer Man did an EXCELLENT job putting together the white Hemnes dresser!)

Happy Saturday! I'm off to get the curtains done!