Saturday, March 26, 2016

Shopping with my sewing machine.

My current summer clothes collection has seen better days.  Mainly pants, I do have some shirts.  I have one pair of decent shorts, one pair of ratty garden work shorts, one pair of capris and one pair of jeans.  The jeans are falling apart I have worn them so much.  So enter my trusty sewing machine.  After catching up on the doll clothes I was needing to finish to add to my Etsy shop. I decided to start working on some existing projects for me.  Yesterday was the day I finished up a new pair of jeans, altered a sleeveless top I wear during the summer, and almost finished up another yellow top for summer.  I have material for days, so I might as well make the most of it.  Some of my fabric was bought on sale at a fabric store, I'll admit, but the vast majority of my fabric comes from thrift stores.  If I see something that catches my eye and the price is good, I will buy it and keep it til a need arises.  My options at a thrift store are not relegated to only yardage of fabric.  If I am looking for flannel or cotton blends, I buy good condition king size sheets to use for fabric.  Mainly I look for solid colors, but if there is a pretty pattern that wouldn't make me look like someones sofa, I will consider it.   Once the yellow top is finished I still have a really pretty vest I need to be working on.  I know it takes longer to actually make something to wear, but it gives me a good feeling to be making something useful out of things I have on hand already.  Make no mistake though, yard sales and thrift stores will still be calling my name soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Good Morning!

Feels like spring is in full swing now!  My spinach, lettuce, and beets are poking their head up and low and behold I have a couple of Asparagus spears as well!  Slowly but surly I am reclaiming the back yard after the winters neglect.  Well I can't really blame the winter for the neglect.  It is more our neglect during the winter.

One thing I noticed in cleaning up the garden so far.  My cilantro weathered the winter fine.  I was really surprised.  For years now I have tried to grow cilantro from seed.  I had success as far as getting the plants to grow, but they soon went to seed and I still had to buy cilantro if I was going to make salsa.  Same thing happened last year and in frustration I just pulled off the seeds and threw them on the ground in a raised bed.  Well they took root and grew.  It was fall then and I thought I would just leave them be and the frost would take care of them.  Granted we didn't have an extremely cold winter, but we had some seriously cold days here and there.  Frost was plentiful as were some hard freezes, but they survived thru it.  They hunkered down, and rather than grow up, they sent roots down.  I now have three compact plants which are lush and green and relishing the warmer weather.  I'm hopeful now this means I will have plenty of cilantro to make my salsa this year.  SEE?

 In addition, I had one parsley plant I left standing and it did the same thing.  Not surprising since parsley and cilantro are of the same family.  It looks like everything survived the winter except my lemon Thyme plant which got eaten by some hungry deer or rabbit.

Other adventures in yard work have included the gratuitous use of spray paint.  Spray paint and I have become good friends.  While cleaning out our storage shed,and removing our patio umbrella frame from it to boot, I discovered said umbrella frame was looking sad even though stored out of the elements.  I set about taking the entire umbrella frame apart and began the process of sanding and spray painting each piece.  Feeling pretty proud of myself; that is until I went to put it back together.  Yea.....probably should have taken better care to remember what went where.  But, though it took longer and was a little frustrating ( plenty of "Really!", "Seriously!", and "OH Come On!"), I did finally get it back together.  I am also spray painting some window boxes that have seen better days.  I have planted marigolds in them and have them on the deck.  We will see if the marigolds come up.  In addition I spray painted the base of our patio table.  Give me time and I will find something else to color!

Little by little I will get the patio reclaimed and we can once again enjoy time out on the deck  By that time I am hopeful all my little plants will be big and lush and we can enjoy everything in bloom.

So how are things in your neck of the woods?  Spring fever hit you yet?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

I know, I've been remiss lately

I have dropped the blogging ball recently for a multitude of reasons.  It has been very busy here at the homestead.  I have been using up concrete blocks to finish the raised beds.  I can say now I'm done with that.  I got 3.5 raised beds added to the garden, and 1 raised bed for my strawberries.  I have also been able to prune my fruit trees.  Only down to one peach tree now and 4 apple.  I am beginning to clean up the existing raised beds to reveal my herbs still standing.  Something ate my lemon Thyme which is the herb I  use for making cough syrup.  I can use regular Thyme, but not sure how good that would be.  Aside from the loss of my Thyme, I still have Mint, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Thyme, Chives, Parsley, Cilantro (I can't believe that!), and garlic.  Remember the store bought garlic I planted last year?  Well they're up and growing.

I have to confess I'm cheating this year on tomatoes.  I am not starting them from seed (GASP!).  I need fewer tomatoes and so am just going to buy maybe 16 plants that are older and hopefully we will get a good return on our harvest.  No corn this year.  But the plan is for Green beans, a Cucumber plant, Spinach, Lettuce, Beets, Broccoli, Green Onions,and Bell Peppers as well.  We already have Asparagus growing.

Inside the homestead, I have been sewing doll clothes and a pair of Jeans for myself.  I can't complain about it, but I made these jeans what I thought would be a size smaller, and they ended up too big.  I think I'm gonna take them in.  As problems go that is one I want.  It doesn't happen often.  Probably something I did, but I don't care.  Still makes me feel good.  The doll outfit I have been making is my first custom order from Etsy.  I mailed it off today and have started on some other items to add to my shop.

Another reason for my silence of late was a lack of anything worth while to write about.  Writers block is a tricky thing.  Even now I write to stay in touch more than impart some little tidbit.  But just so your read isn't a total loss, here is the recipe for cough syrup

Cough Syrup

3 TBS dried Thyme (I like Lemon thyme)
1 cup raw honey
2 cups water

Bring water to a boil.  Add Thyme and let steep until water has cooled to less than 95 degrees.  Strain out the Thyme leaves.  Mix the honey with the Thyme .  Store in the fridge.  Works like a charm and is nontoxic so you take what you need.  Stores up to 3 months in the Fridge.  The raw honey has antibiotic properties and the Thyme is an ingredient used in commercial cough syrups and is good for respiratory issues.  So there you have it!