Planting the Garden, Springtime in Maine

We have had some amazing Spring weather for the last two weeks.  Beautiful, sunny, highs in the 60s.  But not a drop of rain until last night.  So, I planted all of my “early spring” veggies the last week of April, and have been diligently watering them.  Sugar snap peas, spinach, arugula, various lettuces, are all in the ground and sprouting.  Our herb raised garden has quite a few plants growing in it from last year — love that — and the chives, tarragon and oregano all look amazing.

Spring chives

Spring chives

Tarragon, planted from cuttings in 2012

Tarragon, planted from cuttings in 2012

I also discovered dill the other day that was not meant to be there.  That’s okay!  I transplanted it to a good square and we’ll see how it goes.  We have also been doing our spring chores because of the great weather, and I painted our entire front porch (back breaking work with something like 75 little spindles to paint, some of which are located behind prickly rose bushes), and Hubby cleaned and sealed our porch and decks.

Our hops plants are growing like….hops.  I think they’ve grown at least 8 inches in the last 3 days (or it seems that way).

Hops-Nugget-Spring-2013

Hops-Nugget-Spring-2013

The dogs are enjoying the lovely Spring weather too.  Hamp is 4.5 and finally settling down a bit.  Magnus turned 13 a few months ago, but is still getting around well.  I think Hamp keeps him feeling young a bit.  Even when he has to steel himself to go up the stairs at bedtime.  I think his old bones are happy it’s Springtime.

Magnus

Magnus

Hmm...Hamp, what's that dirt on your nose?  Digging in the garden already?

Hmm…Hamp, what’s that dirt on your nose? Digging in the garden already?

Ball Heritage Collection, Vintage Blue Canning Jars

Heritage Ball Jars

Now, I’m know that I’m not the only one coveting these Heritage collection vintage blue Ball jars.  Wee Folk Art just posted on Facebook with a link to a tutorial that shows how to tint your own glass jars.  Which then reminded me about these jars and how I had wanted to go on the search for some.  They are $13.xx something on Amazon (Prime), which is of course pricey for 6 pint jars.  So, I checked my local True Value hardware store, and they had them for $10.99 with free ship to store (they weren’t in-stock at my local store).  I couldn’t resist!  Now, what to do with them when they arrive??  I wonder how canned goods would look with the blue tint?  I will probably save them for craft projects.  They would be great little center pieces or flower jars on the patio this summer.  Maybe some end-of-the-year teacher gift giving.  Thousands of ideas of things to do with  Ball jars — actually it’s a bit overwhelming.  I might just have to use them for drinking glasses so I can enjoy them all of the time!

Llama Pillow

He-l–l–o–!?  No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  But, I did get a new job, which has taken some getting used to.  I’ve worked out of my house for the last 12 years, and while the new job is absolutely awesome, it’s in an office and I’ve been trying to get used to not being home all day.  I used to be able to take breaks by throwing in a load of laundry, etc.  It’s made the nights and weekends a bit more busy, as I’m sure everyone perfectly understands!

I picked up the cutest pillow panel from Laurie Wisbrun’s Etsy shop a few months ago (there’s still some left in stock!).  My friend loves alpacas and llamas, and I knew I wanted to make her a pillow with it.  So, here it is!  The backing is some fabric from my stash, which I think looks great with it.

Llama Pillow

Back of llama pillow

The back is a simple envelope closure.  I’ve never sewn with the pom pom trim, and it’s not easy!  I also put it on backwards, but my friend doesn’t care.  I did read a tip (after having made the pillow of course) that it is easier to deal with the pom poms if you first sew it onto the front in position (using a smaller seam allowance that will end up being hidden), and then sewing the pillow together.  In essence, basting it into place.  I’ll do that next time.

Holiday Place Mats

Well, I started these sometime in early December, but got side-tracked by Christmas and was not able to finish them before the holidays.  I am trying to finish up my works-in-progress from last year before I get too engrossed in new things.  (Hard to do with my short crafting-attention span.)  One down!  37 to go!  No, just kidding, what I would like to finish before moving on to other things are my Amy Butler Daisy Chain quilt for our bedroom, the house appliqued tree skirt (from Fat Quarterly’s Holiday edition) which is sitting on my ironing board and ready to be quilted, the knit Nature Walk pants from the Liesl Gibson workshop last November (1 of 4 pairs completed), and the Doodle Stitch-Along stitching and quilt (2 of 4 blocks complete).

For these place mats, I just cut out the various shapes, stitched them together.  I didn’t bind them traditionally, instead just put down the batting rectangle, then the backing right side up, then the top right side down.  Stitch around, leaving about 4 inches to turn it.  Turn, poke out the corners with a chop stick.  Press well.  Stitched along the bottom rectangle, close to the seam on each side (2 rows of stitching).  Then the same along the seam between the two top rectangles.  Then, top-stitch all the way around the outside, closing up the open hole from turning it as you go.  Easy-peasy!  And now to put these away until next December when I will seeing my new place mats!

Up close picture of my basic quilting

In the meantime, of course since I can’t resist, I have started/completed a few other projects.  I made two Kidlet wall pockets from JCasa’s free pattern using some burlap with the Echino bicycle fabric.  For my friend who loves her bike!  The inside is lined with some Kona cotton in a teal color.  Super cute!

Kidlet

And made an absolutely lovely visit to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine (AMAZING place!) and picked up some gorgeous yarn to make their Family Favorite hats for the boys.  My first knitting project!  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m on row 5 and doing alright so far.

And that’s not even everything!  I had better get my little crafting fingers working!

Woodland curtain

Woodland Friends Cafe Curtain

I bought some adorable prints on Etsy of mushroom homes, gnomes and hedgehogs for my children’s/Guest bathroom last year.  I really should paint the room, but I really dislike painting.  I probably will one day, but for now, I’m just trying to brighten it up with accessories.  The pictures are great and really made the room look better.  But I still had a plain white cafe curtain in there.  Blah.

So, today after spending the day at my friend’s camp (aka house on a lake), I came home and at 5pm decided that I *needed* to make a new curtain before my in-laws arrive tomorrow.  Umm…children….dinner….hello?  It was quick and easy though and I still fed my children dinner.  Just about 30 minutes later than normal.  The fabric is Woodland Friends in blue.  Now, I think I need a new rug.

Gnome print

Mushroom house print in the background

K doing a super-job kayaking

Christmas Gifts – Kids’ Drawings Placemats Preview

Drawing placemats

I am in the process of writing up a tutorial for how to make these super-cute placemats that I made for Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas. It’s just taking me a bit longer than normal because I need to go back and look through my notes on how I edited the drawings in my Paint Shop program. I’m a huge novice on using programs like Paint Shop so it’s not easy to write up what I did since it was a bit trial/error. However, if you’re already skilled that way, then you will probably find it easy to recreate these!

They were a big hit with Grandma and Grandpa.  I only made four though, and when we were visiting them last month, I decided that they needed two more.  So I’m going to work on those as part of my tutorial-writing process.  More to come!

Rainbow window stars

A few weeks ago, we had school canceled for a snow day so the boys and I made these window stars using Garden Mama’s tutorial.  The boys are 7.5yo and 5.5yo and did a pretty good job with the folding.  Even when it’s not perfect, it’s really not noticeable.  Now, I’ve been busy making them for friends, school, etc!  I shared them with the Elementary teacher at J’s Montessori school, she shared them with the art teacher, and now they are on the hunt for kite paper so they can do them with Elementary and Extended Day students (i.e., the Kindergarten-age children).  I purchased my kite paper at Mercurius (awesome art supplies but wholesale only — I got mine in a co-op) but I’m sure you can buy it elsewhere.  I saw it at Nova Natural online or Waldorf School stores are a good place to check too.  You can also use tissue paper, wax paper, etc., but I really like the sturdiness of the kite paper.