Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Bit of Gardening Inspiration

Simple wood arch way looks oh so lovely with fabric scrap garland.

This lovely Beatrick Potter-like garden belongs to my friend Megan. Can't you just see Peter Rabbit dashing off now? They have the most magical mountain view surrounding their property.  We spent the day over at her house yesterday visiting with her sweet girls and another mama friend and her kiddos, and I'm always so enchanted with this spot that they call home.

Megan is my gardening guru around here. I'm not sure if she knows it, but whenever I see her garden, I feel determined to someday have an amazing garden like hers... someday in the way, way future when I'm not so distracted by other things. I love how simple and easy to navigate her garden is. And she always manages to have amazing and plentiful produce for her efforts. She also has numerous fruit trees and bushes and raises chickens... yes, she's a hardworking lady!

I don't think the photos do justice to the size of this thing. It is immense, and I don't know how she keeps up with it as well as she does. I should mention that she also has two kids about the same ages as my own. 

 I think I might have to include her garden in someway in a painting. I love vast country gardens. They're the best addition to any yard!

There's a large strip of raspberries that runs right through the center of the garden. The kids had a ball feasting on berries in the sunshine.

This patch of giant sunflowers and pretty purple flowers greet you at the entry way. This patch is her daughter's special spot. I think she might have her mother's green thumb by the looks of things. But just in case, there's a little Buddha nestled in there to help things along.

And here is one of Megan's many tricks of the trade for occupying her children while working on the garden... a dirt pit nearby. We have a sandbox, but really need a dirt spot too. Oona, who shows no interest at anything garden related at home, was very happy to dig away in this little spot for at least a good half hour.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of a country garden! Now I need to get out there before it rains and do some of my own digging!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden Journey: Snap Peas and Tricky Weeds

I don't know about you, but when each new flower appears on the scene, I think, "This is my absolute favorite!" I definitely feel that way when the first day lily opens up. When I see them I know that summer is in full swing. We had a huge patch of them at my childhood home, enough to swim in.  They also signify for me the abundance that is taking place all around us and in the garden this time of year.

 My intentions to do weekly garden posts have quickly fallen by the wayside, as both busy and lazy summer days have dragged me happily from the screen. But things are kicking along, surprising me like fireworks every morning. I was a bit depressed again about the garden when I discovered tomato blight. I never had it before, and I nearly panicked and pulled out half my tomatoes until I realized they all already had it.  I'm just removing the damaged stems and hoping for the best.

And I had another sad moment when I realized what I thought were gigantic zinnias growing in my front flower bed were just a weed that looked very similar. My zinnias are actually not very large at all... most likely because that tricky weed had taken over!

These flowers/weeds above are just on our hill side... something for the bugs and bees to romp around in... so pretty and no work at all!

 Corn and soybeans and black beans are mingled around our circle garden.

 Jake finished the teepee a few weeks ago and while nothing is quite climbing yet, I think very soon it will be covered... and as I often find myself saying about things that haven't quite gone as planned in the garden, "There's always next year!" 

I am delighted to be enjoying more of our garden bounty on a daily basis...  lettuce, kale, spinach, basil, oregano, a few tomatoes and and just recently, my late planted snap peas are finding their way into salads, sauces, eggs, and sandwiches. We've gotten a few raspberries and I can't wait to pick more. This is the time when you can begin to say... oh, yes, this is what all this work is for!

And as it turns out, soil is good for you! I found this article reaffirming! If you are like me and a bit of a disaster gardener, at least the dirt is doing good things for your stress levels.

P.S. Tomorrow I'm going to give a little tore of my friends inspiring garden!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

28/52 Slide

A portrait of my girls every week in 2014.
Oona and Elsa: somehow when they're together their activities always swirl in the same direction like magnets... sometimes for good and sometimes for ill

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Potato Sack Flapper Dress

It's been a while since I've shared anything crafty around here, and probably even longer since I've shared anything made just for me. I recently made this dress for a very special (but informal) wedding coming up. Jake watched the kids and gave me the afternoon yesterday to finish it up. It's not often I have uninterrupted time with my sewing machine... quite nice! Yes, I admit, it's a bit like a potato sack and has it's imperfections, but it's also super cozy, has hidden pockets ( a mom necessity) and makes me feel like a twenties flapper girl (all those "Miss Fisher" episodes are rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I'm not one hundred percent sure that this is the dress I'm going to wear for the wedding, but it is a nice summer dress, even if people might accuse me of being pregnant. My post-baby-growing body loves the lose and flowy look... I adore those Japanese sewing books with their forgiving patterns, and have plans for more moo-moos.

Jazz hands were needed to show the dresses full potential. And perhaps some dancing!

The fabric below is what I'm probably going to use for matching sundresses for the girls. (I have to stop making them match... it's a bad habit!) It wasn't my initial choice, but with two cooks in the kitchen (Oona and me) this is what we came up with. I better get to work, as the wedding is fast approaching.

Construction notes: 
Pattern: Simplicity Miss 2004
Fabric: cobalt shot cotton (forgot the maker)
I tried to lengthen it five inches, but then realized I didn't like the extra length and probably ended up cutting five inches off at the hem. I also did away with the binding and add a seam allowance for the neck and sleeves so I could fold it in. I hate making binding, but it would probably be nicer with it. I'm not sure if it's just the photos, but it seems the pockets might make the dress hang slightly funny, so if I use this pattern again, I might do away with the pockets. Maybe I should rework it without the pockets, but they are so handy to have!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

27/52 Music on the Park

A portrait of my girls every week in 2014

 Elsa: watching so sweetly
Oona:  dancing the day away

Monday, June 30, 2014

26/52 Sand and Fire

A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

Elsa: building fairy castles in the sand
Oona: enjoying the glow of the fire on Daddy's lap

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Garden Journey: Weeds, Bugs and Scapes

I'm going to try making my garden updates a weekly thing, so I can track progress. I must admit, seeing other gardens out there in blog land, I feel so inept. When will I ever get the hang of this? I've considered just giving up on the veggies and planting a small orchard since fruit is all my kids want to eat anyways. But there's something quite thrilling about the whole process that I can't seem to give up, even though it causes a bit of heartache.

Cucumbers, snap peas, nasturtiums, melons and morning glories are all growing in the middle circle and a fair amount of weeds after a few good days of rain and still no added mulch!

I'm trying out "the three sisters" this year...  squash, corn, and beans. We'll see if my corn actually gets taller than my beans so that they can twist around it. I still have some thinning and re-spacing to do

My winter and butternut squashes are a bit on the small side, but doing fine.
Half my tomatoes are looking good and the other have gotten a bit spotty and sad.

This year is the first year I had the foresight to plant garlic in the Fall. I never realized it was so magical looking with the twirly scapes on top.
And this morning I enjoyed my first harvest of garlic scapes, which were promptly turned into garlic scape pesto. It will be spread on sandwiches for tomorrows lunch.
These little devils have been hanging out in full force on some of my flower leaves. Anyone have any organic solutions to deterring crickets?

They are definitely top suspects for the crime of punching holes in my sunflowers.

And here's another little criminal jumping in mud puddles right after Mama put a cute vintage pinafore on her. Both the garden and Elsa were thankful for all the rain.

And last, but not least, I leave you with the strawberry thief... I think we need to invest in far more strawberry plants next year if we ever want to eat any ourselves. These kids gobble them as fast as they ripen. 
This week I need to:
- Add some mulch
- Thin and space things out
- Put up sticks and twine for the peas and morning glories
- Weed, weed, weed