"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tips For The Vegetable Garden

   I am making plans for a bigger, better vegetable garden  next year. Due to the dry conditions this year and traveling a bit,my garden did very poorly this year so I hope to also put in a drip system for the garden.
Tip from county extension agency:
    WVU Extension Horticulture Specialist Lewis Jettreports broccoli and cabbage can be planted outside after April 8. For bulb onions, transplants or sets can be planted April 1-15. Scallions can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring through June.

      1. Place 1-2 Tb Epsom salts in planting holes.
      2. Spray every  2 weeks with solution of 1 Tb Epsom salt and a gallon of water.
      3. Use powdered lime in soil you plant maters in to avoid blossom end rot. I also put a hefty ring of
          lime on top the soil around each plant,to soak in over the entire growing season. Had zero BER
          using this method.

      1. Place 1-2 Tb epsom salt in planting hole.
      2. For larger fruits, spray plants with a solution of 1 TB Epspm salts in a gallon of water. Once it
          begins  to bloom and again 10 days later.
      2. The longer the fruit is left on the plant, the sweeter it will be.
      3. Plant 2 plants together to shade the fruit more.

      1. Plant in blocks of at least 4 rows, rather than long rows.
      1. For harvesting all summer, plant every 2 weeks.
      2. Water on sunny days so foilage does not remain wet.

      1. Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting.
      2. water regularly but do not get developing heads wet.
      3. Mulch to hold in moisture and keep soil temperature down.
      4. can be blanched and frozen for up to 1 yr.

      1. Mulch thickly to retain moisture and keep soil cool.
      2. Avoid proximity to strawberries, tomatoes,broccoli, and cauliflower. Can be grown near beans
          and cucumbers.
      3. fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting.
      4. will keep in a root cellar up to 3 months.
      5. To get more crops from early plants, cut the head out with a knife, leaving outer leaves and
          roots. It  will send up more heads. Pinch off till only 4 or so remain and these will develop into
          tennis ball size heads.

      1. Make sure soil is free of stones and deeply tilled.
      2. Mulch
      3. when plants are an inch tall, snip off some to thin plants to 3" apart.
      4. fertilize 5-6 weeks after sowing.
      5. Carrots taste better after a couple of frosts.  after the first hard frosts in fall, cover rows with
         18" of shredded leaves for harvesting later.
     6. You may leave mature carrots in ground for storage  if soil will not freeze.
     7. Carrots can be stored in moist sand for winter use.
     8. Cut off tops, and wash under running water, and store in ziplock bags while still wet, and will
         stay crisp 3-5 months in the fridge.

     1. side dress plants with nitrogen fertilizer and water regularly.
     2. when the white head is 2-3 inches in diameter, tie outer leaves together with twine or tape to
          protect  the head. Plant is usually ready to harvest 7- 12 days after this blanching.
     3. For long time storage you can freeze or pickle heads.

     1. Start seeds indoors for the best success rates. Soak seeds in warm water overnight to increase
     2. Mulch
     3. Fertilize and mulch regularly, they are heavy feeders.
     4. Tie stalks together to keep them from sprawling.
     5. You can easily root store bought celery by cutting off the base, soak in water for two weeks and
          roots  will develop.

     1. when seedlings emerge water regularly, and fruit develops increase to a gallon a week.
     2. Mulch to hold in moisture.
     3. Spray plants with sugar water to attract bees and set more flowers. Can also plant with flowers.
     4. harvest when about 6" long
     5. They are heavy feeders, side dress with rotted manure or add diluted liquid fish emulsion every
         other week during growing season.

    1. Plant in fall 6-8 weeks before 1st hard frost, about one month before ground freezes.
    2. Break cloves apart a couple of days before planting and leave on papery husks.
    3. Plant 4" apart and 2" deep.
    4. Cut off flower shoots to increase bulb size.
    5. Water every 3-4 days during bulbing in mid may thru june.
    6. harvest when tops begin to turn yellow and flop over.
    7. Let them air dry in cool shady place for 1-2 weeks to cure
    8. Store in cool dry place.

    1. Dont bury more than the bottom third of and onion below ground.
    2. Fertilize when bulbs begin to swell, then again  when one foot tall.
    3. Mulch, For sweeter onions, water more.
    4. Cut or pull onions that send up flower stalks.
    5. when onions turn yellow and start to flop, bend down and stomp on them to speed ripening.
    6. loosen soil to begin drying, then in a few days turn up and allow to dry on top of the ground.Be careful
        not to bruise or it will encourage rot. When tops are brown,pull onions.
    7. Harvest in late summer before Fall.
    8. allow to dry for several weeks on an open screen before storing in cellar. Dont store with apples
        or potatoes.

    1.  Hill plants when they are about 6" tall, then every couple of weeks.
    2. do not wash until just before use. Just brush off lose dirt before storing.

According to http://www.tomatodirt.com/seed-starting-timetable.html
I will start my tomato seeds about:
Zone 7: Start seeds indoors in mid February
Zone 6: Start seeds indoors in late February

And transplant to the garden: 1 to 2 weeks after last spring frost

Friday, November 23, 2012

Now This Is How You spend Black Friday........

No words needed.......................
Here in Myrtle Beach visiting my granddaughter.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crochet Edging Detail for Blanket

       I recently got on a kick working with crochet thread. I wanted to try my hand at edging a baby blanket. I have used the thread before to make lace to sew onto hand towels, but havent done a blanket, ad its been many years since I did that. I have been researching some free patterns on the web, but I hadnt had much luck at finding exactly like I wanted. I did find one, and started with it, but quickly decided to wing my own design. I believe it came out pretty good.

Here is how I did it. I took a piece of flannel, and cut it off full width by 34" long. then with the four corners layered on top of each other, lay a large plate up against the corner and cut it off with a rotary cutter to round the corners. Fold over edge about 1/4"  and stitch down. No attach number 10 crochet thread  by pushing a number 6 crochet hook into blanket below hem about 1/4" down from edge. Now single crochet (sc) all around edge of blanket with right sides facing, and join in first sc with a slipstitch.
       NOTE: you can also make this double thickness by sewing two pieces together , right sides facing, then leave an opening for turning. Press edges, and then do the sc.

ROW  1. chain 5, dc in base of ch 5, chain 3, * double crochet (dc) in 3rd sc from hook., chain 3, dc in 3rd sc from hook, chain 3, dc in same sc, chain 3.*. Repeat around and join with slip stitch in 3rd chain on starting chain 5.

ROW 2: Slip stitch into chain 3 space of 2 dc grouping ( as seen in step B notice the "V" shape formed by 2 dc in A)) , Chain 3, *  dc,chain 3, wrap yarn around needle to dc in ch 3 space below working close to bar of dc below, pull up a thread, yarn over, drow thru two loops and leave 2 loops on hook, do the again just to left of last partial dc, repeat into top of dc in row below, and do two more times in chain 3 space just to the left, then warp your needle and draw thru all loops on hook to make a cluster ( as seen in steps 1 thru 5) .chain 3, and dc in center of chain 3 space of two dc cluster in row below. * repeat to end and join with slip stitch into 3rd ch of beginning ch 3.

ROW 3:  ch 3, do * 8 dc in ch 3 space as shown in A, ch 2 sc into top of cluster below as seen in B, ch 2, 8 dc into next ch 3 space of the "V" as seen in A. repeat from * around to end, chain 2 and slipstitch into third chain that started row. tie off.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Money Saver Tip for Plug-In Air Fresheners

      Anyone that knows me, know that I hate disposable items. I try to avoid them as much as possible. It seems like such a waste to pay good money for something then throw it away. Just like the popular disposable mop covers.  Thats why I created my own covers for dusting or wet mopping HERE. This morning, I got tired of looking at my empty airwick plug in stuck in my bathroom outlet. Its been there for awhile. I just couldnt bring myself to buy another bottle. They dont seem to last very long. So I decided to look at the bottle and see if I could get the top off. Mine is the motion activated one. I took a butter knife and was able to easily slip the cap right off.
Now I had to figure out what to fill it with. I already had fabuloso a cheap cleaner with a great fresh smell. I hate that its not antibacterial, but I usually just add it to my mop water that has bleach.
I love how the room smells after mopping with it. I had plenty of this, so I simply poured it straight into the bottle. Recapped it, and plugged it in. A couple of hours later, I checked on things and loved the fresh smell in my bathroom. Best of all, it couldnt have cost more than a penny to fill, when the entire jug cost less than $3.
UPDATE: As of January 2015, we have begun our journey to more healthy living. Eating plant pased, eliminating plastics and aluminum and non-stick cookware. I now use cloth napkins in place of paper, and rags in place of paper towels. We also use natural homemade cleaning products. So due to this I have also stopped using these air fresheners. However, a good option would be to use natural essential oils.

I Love My Homemade Country Style Bathroom Vanity!

     A few years ago, before i joined blogging  land, we renovated our main bathroom. We still need to replace the old tub and toilet, but all good things in time.
     We have a ranch style home. Built entirely by our own hands. except for when hubby needed a little more muscle than I have lol. It is 3740 sq feet.  As time goes by and kids move out, we have been updating a few rooms at a time. The most recent was our bedroom. I will make another post of it, however I did show off our new walk-in closet HERE.
     Anyway, quite a few years ago when we custom ordered handmade oak cabinets for our kitchen from a local craftsman, we also ordered a few for our bathroom. I wanted something that looked like an old fashioned hutch. So we ordered regular bottom cabinets to work with our existing laundry shoot and single sink placement. Then for the uppers, we ordered 2 narrow upper cabinets to flank the vanity mirror. We then went to Lowes and purchased an inexpensive beveled wall mirror. Centered it on the wall between the wall cabinets, then took pine boards and framed the mirror. My husband did cut a ledge out of the back edge of the boards that went against the mirror so we didnt have as much thickness showing in the front. Just  lap joined the corners, nothing fancy. Screwed into the wall, and screws were recessed so he could add wood buttons to cover them.

This is a view of the upper right corner of the mirror. You can see one of the wood buttons here. Also across the whole top to join the wall cabinets, he had the craftsman, cut a wide board as a topper to enclose the whole thing making it look like one unit. 

The woodworker also cut out a decorative front board to join the wall cabinets from oak. When it was all put together my husband also gave it its crowning glory by adding decorative molding along the whole top of the unit. I forgot to mention the counter top had the backspalsh cut out from behine the wall cabinets so everything would fit nice and flush up agains the wall.

We also bought under mount cabinet lighting for ambiance and when one needs a little more light. I just noticed in trying to get the picture to be right sides up ( blogger seems to want to turn my pics sometimes when posting), I ended up with a mirror image,lol. the only things left for this bathroom is a new tile floor and fixtures.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crochet Towel Edging Tutorial

     This morning I worked on the edging for the matching towel. I got t comleted in short time, and took photo's along the way to show you how it's done. I used No. 10 size crochet thread. You will also need a large eyed darning needle for the blanket stitch.
1. In step one, you will thread your needle and tie it off to the left corner of the towel with right sides facing you.
2. Do a blanket stitch along the edge of the towel keeping stitches about 1/4" to 3/8"  apart. Keep stitches even, and an even tension.

3. When you get to the opposite corner, tie your end with the needle attach to your  new working thread from you ball of thread. Now we are going to crochet.
4. Chain 6 and double crochet (dc) into the next space of the blanket stitch.
5. Chain 2 and dc in the next blanket stitch as shown above. Continue this across being sure to place a dc in the very end/corner .Chain 1 and turn.
6. Now single crochet (sc) in the first dc, then 2 sc in the chain 2 space. sc in the next dc. Continue this across to the end as shown above.
7. Chain 4 and turn. dc into the 4th chain from hook, and do 2 more in same space. As shown above.
8. dc in the 4th sc in row below. chain 3, and do 3 dc around the bar made by the last dc. Note how the 3 dc wrap around the entire dc bar.
9. dc into 4th sc in row below. Chain 3 and do 3 dc around the last dc bar again. repeat this process across row.
 Note: I had to occasionally dc in the 5th sc in row below to make sure I had no rippling. When you get close to the end, check out your spacing, You will want to end with a dc in the very end of the row, so you made need to change the spacing in the last two spaces of sc row below to get that end dc. This is due to variance in towel width and in your blanket stitches. You wont notice the difference tho. When you get to the end tie off thread and weave in your end.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crochet Towel Edging

     Last night I decided to start practicing again with crochet edging. I havent done it in a long time, but I thought it would make a wonderful edge treatment for some flannel or fleece baby quilts. Here are some pics of how well it turned out. I think I am going to put together a tutorial for it in the next few days.

Latest Baby Boy Quilt

        I just completed my second quilt for a baby boy. Seems like this family has seen more little girls being born. I kinda re-designed the first pinwheel quilt I did , and added some little boy touches. I also tried out some free form quilting that I hadnt done yet. I combined quilt in the ditch with it. I am getting better at it. I still had a few small tucks in the back that I had to hide, but not too bad.

Also the applique puppy face in the center is one of my new designs that I am going to add for sale on my embroidery design site.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Sewing Room Re-do and Organization/ Mini Fabric Bolts

     Stay tuned to this post for updates for organization ideas for the sewing/craft room. I am in the process of re-organizing my sewing room and taking over a now empty bedroom. You know......the old empty nest thing.
      I have to admit....ashamedly so, that my sewing room looks like Hurricane Sandy made a brief stop. I have been into other things, and have neglected my little sewing "closet".  In my last post I told you it is a little room about 6'x10'. Just a small spare room I "throw" my stuff in. A lot of unfinished projects, and left over mess from finished ones. It has gotten so bad, that the last two baby quilts I have been working on, I took over the dining room table. I lugged my big ol sewing/embroidery machine into the dining room, and scattered fabric pieces everywhere,lol. Well after reading some recent blog post about how others are organizing their fabrics, I finally decided to tackle this room.
     I have HAD my fabrics folded neatly into piles and placed onto my shelving unit. But everytime I get into a project and start pulling fabrics, these piles get rummaged around everywhere, like  the shelves in Walmart on Black Friday. Just without the bodies laying in the aisles, at least none that I have found, and I think everyone is accounted for. Although in this mess, one could never be sure.
     Last night, i came upon several posts where sewers are using mini fabric bolts for their fabrics.  At first i wasnt so sure it would be necessary. Why wouldnt nice neat piles like I see in other blogs work for me? Well duhhh.... It doesnt!  Disorganized, messy, rushed.......my middle names,lol. The bolt method would be perfect. Nice neat little bundles that will stay wrapped unless I am too lazy to even get that done. No.... I think i can.. I  think i can.
      OK, here it is.....my little sewing closet.( my new walk in closet in my bedroom is bigger than this). Now hold onto your wallets.....I wasnt hit by a hurricane......no donations needed here. And believe me, everywhere else my home is pretty tidy........most times. Except for when I get into something......like my kitchen while canning:
No Hurley, that was not a lie:
Anyway, back to the mini fabric bolts. Some were using comic book backing boards. These run about $12 without shipping for 100. Most were using boards that were 7.5 x 10. Some were cutting cardboard, others were using the foam core board. At first i was going to order the backing boards, but I was too impatient to get started. We were going shopping this morning, so I stopped at our local Deals. Its kind of a cross between Big lots and the Dollar Store. They had the foam core board there. Sheets 20"x 30" for only a dollar.  For now i bought 6 sheets. I marked these off and was able to get 8 boards per sheet. So thats  48 boards. 
I cut them out with my large cutting mat and a rotary cutter with an old blade. here is my nice stack of boards:

For an average width piece of fabric, I leave it folded in half as it comes on the bolt, and then lay it out on my table. I lay my 8 " wide big ruler on it, and then fold up the selvage edge over the ruler, and then the folded edge down over this. Folding it into neat thirds. Slip the ruler out, then line up a board over this, and start rolling. Secure the edge with a pin or two. and Wala!......
Oh i almost forgot....(well kinda) here is my sewing disaster as it is now:
And this show doesnt have my Husqvarna designer 1 in there, as its on the dining room table ready to quilt a baby quilt.
And here is the start of my nice neat bookcase, in my new sewing room with a small part of my fabrics neatly folded on their mini bolts:

Now isnt that purty!
Stay tuned and check out Pinterest for more organization and sewing room ideas. Meanwhile, I gotta get more boards and tackle the rest of my mounds of fabric.

Kids are Gone, and Mom's Taking Over

         For many years I have made due with a tiny closet of a sewing room. its about 6'x10'. I am a very disorganized person even on a good day. I am into a lot of different craft forms as well. so I have supplies from craft projects, sewing, knitting, paper crafts, and embroidery. and admittedly, I hate to throw anything away. I had a very frugal upbringing, and tend to think " I might need that someday". No matter how small or cheap the item. I am trying to get away from a lot of that thinking. tackling a room every now and then throwing things away. Now its time for the sewing room. Now i have room to put things.
        I am a grandma of 4, and 4 of my 5 children have now moved out on their own. So my once 6 bedroom home has some empty, or almost empty rooms. If the kids ever get the rest of their stuff,lol. I am wondering if they are leaving stuff just to "mark" their territory. Just in case they want to come back,lol. I have 4 bedrooms upstairs. One has been made into a home office of sorts. another project room in the waiting. There is also the master bedroom, which is now a completed project, and 2 other bedrooms. One I am leaving as a guest room ( if I can manage to get the rest of my daughter's things out), the other still has a few of another daughter's things,plus a full size bed. I would like to take that bed out, but for now I will probably leave it, and just make it up like a daybed for now, and make this 12x14 foot room into my sewing room extension. My sewing "closet" has my mounted tables below the window and along one wall. This is where i set my sewing and embroidery machines. But I want to put up a large work table in the bedroom, and bookshelves for my fabrics. Stay tuned for pictures and organization ideas for this major work in progress.