How things grow while you’re away…

Good gravy! We’re gone for one week and the garden goes nuts!


We can’t even remember what kind of squash that is on the right, but I guess we’ll soon find out, eh?! 

SF was glorious. Another trip where I had too much fun to take many pictures. The cool, foggy weather was just what we needed, for as fate would have it, we missed a crazy hot and sticky week in Wisconsin! Sausalito is a wonderful town, and though I still believe we made the right move to leave when we did, I’ll always love coming back.

I did manage to snap some pics of my old stomping ground, Once Around. I had the extreme fortune to work here for almost 5 years, working my way up to sewing manager. It was by far the best job I’ve ever had. Who doesn’t love getting paid to shop for fabric? Alas, Once Around will be closing its doors on August 1st. Though my dream is to someday open a craft shop as happy as this one, that would be a huge feat…


The girls and I decided to bring home some souvenirs…


Fabric close up! The left pile is all quilting cotton. The right is a mix of canvas, denim, voile, and laminated cotton. 


And now we’re back, and baffled by how much a garden can grow in one week. Marin’s sunflowers are now about 8ft tall.


And the veggies we planted late are really catching up!


Oh, and I think these ladies missed us…

New Garden Bliss

It’s been so long! I am a bad bad blogger lately, but all for good reasons. Last week we had some of our closest friends from California come stay with us. My friend Erika later admitted that she had intended to lure us back to the Bay Area, but upon seeing our new home and town, she promptly gave up. We spent the week exploring what our region had to offer and, by the end of the week, they were Wisconsin smitten… Not enough to join us out here, but smitten nonetheless. It was a fun week indeed.

On a gardening note, it’s just about done…


We owe it all to our amazing builder friend, Pete, who cranked this all out in two weeks! And, though it’s a bit late in the planting season, we’re not wasting any time. Todd is filling all our new beds with cucumbers and peppers for pickling, San Marzano tomatoes for canning, berry bushes, late harvest greens and squash, and zinnias… Just because. 


We have a nice backdrop too. The mock orange and roses are open and fragrant right now.


I was able to make Erika a nice birthday bouquet right when the mock orange and elderberry bloomed. Good gravy, these smell awesome.


While most of the garden is still very new, we’ve been able to start enjoying what was planted in the original four beds. Our radishes are now the size of golf balls, and Anja has been gobbling them up like they’re going extinct.

It’s a happy garden 


That’s basil under our tomato plants. They like each other both in the soil and on the plate 😉.

On the craft front, I’ve been too busy enjoying our visiting friends to tackle any ongoing projects, but this week we were able to slow down and the girls and I have played around a bit. Old crafts were rediscovered…


Otter got some much needed play time…


And I’m still working on something special. I think I’ve revised it four or five times now, but it’s starting to look how I want it to look.


Happy Thursday. 

Venturing Out

Though it’s a little chilly today, Todd and I couldn’t wait to get the run finished on the new chicken coop. Granted, the coop is still not totally done, it needs some indoor and outdoor roosts and nest boxes. We also plan to add window boxes and a little special something  (stay tuned). So far I’m happy with the results.

finished run

It took the little ladies a little while to gather the courage to head out. I don’t blame them, they’ve technically never seen the light of day! After 10 minutes or so we finally saw some little heads poking out.

chicken explore

As you can see, we had to lure them with their chick feed a bit. As I type, there are a few out there right now enjoying the new space.

 

The peonies are finally in bloom

peopnies

I’m having fun with the arrangements, of which I am a complete novice, so be kind.

peony

In honor of our previous hometown of Sausalito, I posed a few with some of our Heath ceramics…

peony heath

Other new things growing around the yard… wisteria buds

wisteria

Day lily buds (and they are many)

day lily buds

Asparagus and garlic coming along nicely

asparagusgarlic

Now that the coop is functioning and the house is (mostly) clean, I have a date with my sewing machine and a few yards of Nani Iro double gauze… but that’s for another post.

Happy Tuesday 🙂

 

Playing around

It’s amazing what one can do with some half square triangles…

block7

I had a little time to spend in the sewing room yesterday and I’ve been meaning to make one more pillow cover for our family room. I liked the idea of just making a bunch of half square triangles with my scraps and then playing around with them until I found a layout I liked. The only problem with this plan is that I then get really indecisive on the layout. I should have known too, this is not the first spontaneous quilt block plan that has caused problems.

This is not even half of the blocks I came up with, but I kind of gave up taking pictures after a while. Although I had my heart set on something wild and elaborate, I decided on the top row middle block. I’m not sure why… call it a vibe? I also loved the look of the bottom middle block, but I think I’d like to try it with different colors. Another pillow! Anyway, I think the new block looks nice, now that it’s pieced and bordered with the last of my precious Merchant and Mills linen.

pillow top

 

Also new, THE CHICKEN COOP ARRIVED! Can you tell I’m very excited? It’s such a sigh of relief, being able to walk through my basement without wrinkling my nose in disgust. Word to anyone thinking of raising backyard chickens, it’s a wonderful and rewarding experience, but not for the squeamish. They poop… a lot… and it smells really really bad. I’m much happier dealing with poop outdoors than indoors, so you can imagine my elation.

coopTodd still needs to build their run (where the flags are). As much as I love the idea of free ranging our chickens, it’s not allowed in our town. I don’t mind, as I’ve seen how chickens can devastate a garden in minutes, and not all of our gardens will be fenced. We also won’t have to worry as much about predators this way, so it’s all good :). The birds don’t seem to mind, they have a bitchin’ new pad!

chicks in coop

I also made a few new discoveries in the garden today. Poppies! And these are the big kind, not the little California poppies that grow out of sidewalk cracks.

poppy

And I haven’t looked this one up yet, but I’m rather excited about it.

purple flower

Ah, Spring…

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

This time of year is filled with anticipation. The greenery is filling in fast, and new additions to the garden are making us excited for the coming months. While we wait for our builder friend to come help with the final raised beds and fencing, we aren’t wasting time getting our veggies planted.

garden good

So far we’ve got cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, peppers, lettuce, beets, kale, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and radishes. There are also existing beds of asparagus and strawberries that we inherited from the previous homeowner. We’re eating our first asparagus crop tonight!

cukestomatoesgarden

We have five fruit trees planted and six berry bushes waiting in the wings,

bushesfruit trees

 

I’m also finding so many flowers that we’ve never had coming up throughout the yard. Check it out, we’ve got peonies, yo!

peonies

I’m still not sure what color they’re going to be (most likely pink), but who cares?! They’re friggin’ PEONIES!

We also have some mysterious flowers waiting to pop open here and there, like these vines on our smokehouse.

smokehouse

And what are these things, anyway?

cool flowers

Also adding to the anticipation is the nesting pair of house wrens that have recently taken up residence in our Williamsburg bird jar. I’ve always loved these jars and was happy to receive one from my mother-in-law when we moved. Todd mounted it near our compost piles, so we have an excuse to check on them frequently while trying not to disturb them. We often see one of them perched on the stick… it’s really stinkin’ cute.

wren nest

Otter sure has been enjoying the nice weather lately. We’ve made an outdoor run for him in the yard and he spends most of the day there, conversing with the ever growing population of wild rabbits in our yard.

otter

On a crafty note, Marin and I came up with a cute idea for a new headboard in her room. We had an old queen sized headboard that we had found in the garage of our old Vermont house. It was decent enough, but had some weird grapes stenciled on it, so we had to jazz it up a bit. I asked myself “what would a modern girl like that would last through the teenage years?”. BLACK! I’ll paint the sucker black!

When I brought this idea to Marin, she jazzed it up even more. Why not use chalkboard paint?

headboard

The end result is pretty cool, if I do say so, though the headboard is a little shorter than I had hoped. I think eventually I’ll add some leg extenders so she can decorate more than just the sides. The center of the headboard is a bit taller, you just can’t see it in the picture here (it’s covered by stuffed frog). I think chalk markers would probably help too, since we don’t want her to get chalk dust on her pillows…

It’s the beginning of the last 2 weeks of school and I’m really hoping to get my craft on. I’ll have some progress pics of the new projects up soon :).

knitting on porch

 

The good and bad of making

Quite a lot is going on over here lately. We just received a delivery of our new fruit trees! I’ll get a good pic once we find a good resting spot for them, right now their in a jumbled mess in our driveway. Todd is in the midst of creating his dream garden, and he’s about 2/3 of the way there. It’s a slow and steady process, but will yield some major reward.

Spring day

Also in progress is our chicken coop, which will be delivered next week! We won’t have a run on it for a little while, but that’s ok since the chicks are still “chicks” and will have plenty of room in the coop itself. The brooder box is getting a bit cramped, as these little ladies are getting BIG! There are 9 in total, all standard sized breeds and, if all goes well, we will have a rainbow of eggs coming in 5-6 months.

They aren’t quite as cramped as they appear in the pics below, they just like to clamber together when they see a camera.

chicken end maychicken end may 2

I got some fun stuff in the mail recently! A nice pile of lovely fabrics. The three on the left I ordered from Miss Matatabi, which is my go-to for Japanese fabrics. The linen on the right is from a Lithuanian Etsy shop called LINENstep.

fabric

I’ve been puttering here and there prepping pattern pieces and cutting fabric. I’m actually quite fond of PDF sewing patterns, because I find it relaxing to cut and tape the pieces together. If I need a new size I just print the pattern out again!

patternspatterns 2

Unfortunately, I had one of those “DOH!” moments while serging my first Colette Mabel skirt this morning. It took assembling the skirt to near completion for me to realize that my seams are crazy wonky! It doesn’t really look this way when the skirt is laid flat…

mabel 1

But when you look closely at the seems they are all wavy and bumpy, making this skirt look rather terrible on me. It’s also too big in the waistband, there is no way this thing would ever stay up on me. *sigh*. The sad reality of making your own clothes is that they don’t all work out beautifully.

mabel seam

I’m assuming there is something up with my serger tension and I wish-oh-wish I could snap my fingers and it will be fixed! If anyone out there reading this has any advice, I am very new to using a serger and could use all the help I can get! Please comment below.

On the plus, I have enough of this cute double knit left to try again. I may just play it safe and make it all on my regular machine, the walking foot/jersey needle combo has always worked well for me…

In the meantime, the Cali Faye pocket skirt waits in the bullpen.

pocket skirt pieces

Happy Thursday 🙂