Camping Shirts 2010

I started a little tradition three years ago and started making camping t-shirts using freezer paper stencils and fabric paint for our annual camping trips with our good friends.  The boys are all best buddies, and it is so awesome to see them hanging out and having fun.  They actually love the t-shirts and wear them year-round.  Even now that they are getting older — it makes a crafty-mama’s heart grow two sizes!

You can see my original tutorial for the freezer paper stenciled shirts from 2008, here.  Once again, we went back to the exact same campsites.  Awesome sites.  And this year we had perfect weather as opposed to the washed out 2009 trip.

The first year were bears, last year were moose (we do live in Maine after all), and this year were bald eagles!  The bald eagles turned out super-cool, if I do say so myself.  I gathered inspiration online, and then freehand drew the bird on a piece of paper.  Hubby cleaned it up a little bit for me – my talons weren’t talon-y enough, I guess.

I did something new this year, and decided to try printing them out on my inkjet printer, straight onto the freezer paper.  With the intricate designs, I have found that it is hard to re-use a stencil.  So, I had four of these babies to draw and cut out.  I cut freezer paper to approximate 8.5×11″ letter-size paper, and slid it into my paper tray, making sure that it would print on the paper side of the freezer paper.  It worked marvelously!!  And then I cut out the designs with my little Xacto knife which was a 100% improvement from using my embroidery scissors like I did last year.  I did three coats of paint this time, which on the turquoise shirts, worked really well.  Two coats didn’t seem quite enough.  As always, just wash them inside out.  They hold up really well.  The boys still wear their bear shirts from 2008.

2008 Bears

2009 Moose

2010 Bald Eagles

Walking up the path from the beach -- they are getting so big!

The boys all chose the bald eagle mascot this year.  They love coming up with ideas for the next year’s shirt.  It’s great.  I actually saw a bald eagle in our backyard yesterday!  It was super-cool!  Our golden retriever had a lot of fun barking at him.  This was a juvenile, hence the non-white head.

Bald eagle in the backyard

More pleated zipper pouches!

Made up two more of these pleated zipper pouches from Skip to my Lou’s tutorial last night to hold little gifts.  Such a quick and easy little gift to make.

So, is it odd to have taken pictures of my pouches in my hanging flower baskets, lol?  It was a gray and rainy day, and that was as much light as I could muster!  And they are such beautiful hanging flower baskets, after all.

A Garden Tour

I was reading a recent post on Make and Takes about Marie’s square foot garden, and when she asked what her readers were planting, I went on and on in my post.  Hmm…it was getting a bit long.  So I decided to take a little tour through our garden tonight.  My pictures are pretty sorry.  But, hopefully tell a story.

So, let’s see, walking around the yard and by-passing the perennials because I really want to talk about edible things.  I did just plant 11 perennials last week in our front garden that I got from Fieldstone Gardens.  Maine-grown hardy perennials.  Worthy of a road trip.  Seriously.  They also do mail-order.

Last year, we planted 1.5 pounds of sunchokes that we got from Johnny’s.  They dig them up on their farm in the fall and send them off.  We were worried when we didn’t see them right away this spring, but here they are!  We planted them along the edge of a naturalized area (aka weedy marsh).  They should grow to between 5 and 10 feet!  And they produce yellow sunflowers.  Then you can eat the tuber in the fall.  Sort of like little potatoes but with better flavor.  They are also called Jerusalem Artichokes, but yet have no relation to either Jerusalem or Artichokes.

Sunchokes, aka Jerusalem Artichokes

Let’s see now, heading around to the backyard, we have our berry patch.  We had a spot of trouble with our two blueberry bushes this year, not sure what, so the hubby trimmed off a bunch of dead branches, and they look sad, but they seem to be recovering.  There are also three raspberry bushes here and a bunch of strawberries, both June-bearing and ever-bearing.

Berry patch


New for this year are hops.  Hubby is a long-time homebrewer.  Like longer than we should say out loud.  He has been thinking about growing hops for quite awhile, but wasn’t sure where to locate them.  They grow extremely fast and to about 20-30 feet tall, and need full sun.  He’s been avidly reading The Homebrewer’s Garden and finally decided to plant a hop plant after I casually mentioned that the play structure would make a good support.  Oops!  Did I voice that out loud??!  Right now, he’s just planted a variety called Nugget because that is what we could find locally.  He just ordered two others, a Kent Golden and Cascade, I think, from a place called Freshops.  He added that vertical support to the top of the play structure to give it some more height.

"Nugget" hops

Now, no garden tour would be complete without a quick stop at the compost bins that hubby made last year!

Compost bins

Sorry about the evening shadows here.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so it was now or never.

Now, onto the fun part….the vegetables!

Some patio containers for tomatoes.  Here are two that I bought as seedlings at the farmer’s market – these are Cherokee Purples and I also have Muskovich (an heirloom variety) in the square foot garden.  Also have another container with a cherry variety and basil.  And I have four more seedlings that I need to put into pots.  Lots of tomatoes this year!!

Patio tomatoes

The Square Foot Garden

We have three square foot garden boxes.  Our backyard / side yard faces South, so we made the boxes 2’x8′ and sited them along the house where we don’t have any windows.  They are filled with the “Mel’s Mix” that is outlined in the book, Square Foot Gardening.  One is devoted to herbs, and the other two are regular vegetables.  We have a trellis made of rebar and netting along most of the back of the vegetable boxes.  This year, we had to put up a chicken wire fence (annoying) because our dogs kept walking in the garden.  They like to eat the homemade compost (eeewwww!).

So, starting from the left, we have three squares of pole beans along the back (8/square).  See the trellis?  We did pole beans and bush beans the last two years, but we prefer the pole beans and they are more prolific, so skipped the bush beans this year.  Pole beans are also easier to pick.  Then in front, we have two squares of broccoli (new to us this year, 1/square), and the third square is broccoli raab (4/square).  All but the broccoli raab was directly sown in the garden (all of our seeds are from Johnny’s).  I started the broccoli raab inside and transplanted.  Doesn’t that broccoli look awesome??

Pole beans, broccoli and broccoli raab

Next along the line, we have three cucumbers along the back (planted 2/square).  There are slicing and pickling varieties.  By using the trellis, you can save a lot of space in your SFG with the cucumbers.  I started these indoors and transplanted them.  Unfortunately, I moved them around by accident, and I didn’t know which ones were which varieties.  I guess we’ll see!  And in front, we have some lettuces.  From left to right, 2 squares of arugula, and kyona mizuna.  These are planted four per square, direct sown.  Love the arugula and very prolific.  All the lettuces are actually.  You need to pick them almost every day and make sure they don’t bolt.  The more you pick, the more they grow!  yum!

Cucumbers and lettuces

Now for peas, peas, and more peas!  We have seven squares of peas planted along the back trellis, 8/square, direct sown as early as the ground can be worked.  (We were a little late, but still okay.)  These are a sugar snap variety.  In front, we have more lettuce, all planted 4/square, direct sown.  Purple mizuna (more bitter than the kyona variety), green romaine and red romaine.  I planted green romaine seeds from last year and they didn’t do well.  So I re-seeded about two weeks later, but that’s why that square looks sad.  To trellis the peas, you just need to push them towards the trellis as they start to grow that way, and they will latch on rather quickly.  Easy-peasy.  The lettuce varieties are very satisfying to grow.  We’ve been eating salad all week!

Peas and lettuce

Next up are more peas and more lettuce.  Peas along the back, and Deer Tongue (a buttercrunch type), Bibb lettuce, and Spinach (Emu variety).  The spinach is planted 9/square.

Peas and lettuce

And finally, at the end of our vegetable boxes, we have one more square of peas, and three tomatoes (all Muskovich from the farmer’s market) in the back.  And in the front, two more spinach varieties (Spargo this time), and two more tomatoes (only labeled as “patio tomatoes” at the store…hmmm…).  Spinach is direct sown early, early in the season.  The tomatoes are seedlings (I don’t seed-start tomatoes very well), and planted one per square. They will take over the entire square, but it will be okay.

Peas, tomatoes, and spinach

And one quickie shot of our herb box.  There is dill, nasturtium, wormwood, sage, parsley, thyme, and oregano.  And one tomato plant because I had an extra space.

Herb box

These are still looking a bit poky.  Hopefully they take off soon.  We planted four squares of parsley because we love to make tabbouleh so much.  The parsley went crazy last year, so we have hopes.

I hope you enjoyed my tour of our garden!  Thank you for coming by.  What are you growing?  Anything new I should try next year that you love?  We have been square foot gardening for three years, and we love it.  I highly recommend it even if you have the space for a traditional garden (which we do).  Almost zero weeding, easy to plant, easy to pick.  It’s lovely.

Little zipper pouches

I have never put a zipper into anything in my life and decided that I should remedy that situation.  So, I decided to make some cute little pouches for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day.  Now, I’ve made a few things (all bags, no clothing), and it’s not hard at all!  Once again, one of those sewing things that sound a lot harder than they really are.

Little zipper pouch

Aren’t the little pleats adorable?  I used the pleated pouch tutorial at Skip to my Lou, and it was super easy!  Took about half an hour, at the most, I think.  I had mother in law come with me to the store, and had her pick out two fabrics but wouldn’t tell her what it was for.  I made the one above, as well as one using the opposite fabrics for the top and bottom (which I neglected to get a picture of).  It’s even lined!  Super-cute and highly recommended as a quick, little gift or for yourself.

I have not been doing much crafting lately, hence the no posts in May!  I have been busy gardening.  Expanding our garden once again.  I bought 11 perennials for our front bed from a local perennial nursery, and did a day of back-breaking work to put them all in.  There are three maples in the middle of the bed and they cause some problems in trying to plant other things.  My whole vegetable garden is planted, except I have to plant a few more container tomatoes.  I’ve already harvested my first salad!  Yummy!!!

And check out our “puppy”!  No longer so little.  Now he’s over 80 pounds.  At least he didn’t turn out to be the 100 pounds that the vet was expecting.

Cute puppy shot