Projects Underway, So I Will Show You My “Gardens”

I honestly have no idea how this happens! I just finished five fantastic pieces and I turn around and the garage is filled to capacity with new ones!

Lately, I have been trying to work as early in the day as I can, as the weather has been hot and humid. I don’t have to be in the garage long for me to be soaked with sweat. I keep hoping that it will help me lose weight, but, alas, it isn’t working. 😦

So, the first thing on the ‘To Do’ list this morning, was to mount the circulating fan that has plagued me by constantly being in the way, to the ceiling. A fairly easy proposition and with The Kid’s help, we had it done quickly. And what a difference it makes being close to the ceiling and managing to circulate over most of the garage’s space.

DSCN3645So, as to the fact that I really don’t have anything to show because it is all in progress, I thought I would give you a look at how the container gardening is going.

2015-06-05 17.46.33These are how my started-from-seed tomatoes looked when I finally replanted them in the containers (5 gallon buckets acquired for free around my part of town). I hadn’t gotten my version of tomato cages up at this point.

DSCN3659And here is what they look like today. They are growing nicely! I have been collecting coffee grounds which I am going to mix with Miracle-Grow soil and add to each bucket. Hopefully that will give them more of a boost. I do have flowers on most of the plants, but need to check if I should pinch those off or just let them take their course. Seems that the plants are on the smaller side, at least to me. This is the first time I’ve ever grown tomatoes.

I’m also growing something on the other side of the deck. There are three trees in there, one is the tree I want to plant in the yard to memorialize our dog, who we lost a little more than a year ago. We are going to dig the hole and add her ashes and then plant the tree above it. I have been casting concrete stepping stones that have a ‘paw print’, to act as a walkway to the tree.

The other plants are ‘surprises’. I have no idea what they are or how they germinated or what they will ‘grow up’ to be. Time will tell. All I know is that I’ve always had a green thumb, even when I don’t intend to grow something!

DSCN3663And here is The Kid’s little corn patch. I cannot wait to have home grown sweet corn! (I think they should be taller, though.) This is not mine to mess with though and The Kid just wants them to run their course. It has been so wet as of late, and I suspect that is what is preventing the plants from growing “up”.

julie

Lately, I Have Been So Distracted!

There doesn’t seem to be any ramp up time for me when I start thinking about going back to work. It goes from a fleeting notion to a full blown hunt in a snap. Much of my time lately has been taken up with the construction of a job hunt. I have had a few minutes here and there, but it seems that once I get things organized and ready to work, I am tired or distracted by a phone call.

But, with that said, I have finished a couple of projects. The first one is something I’ve done before, but I never seem to get bored with the idea. The suitcase dresser is a very popular style, especially when you’re looking at a piece that may have damage or isn’t the highest quality. I’ve probably done a half dozen of this style now, and it always comes out great.
Although these are difficult to do, they tend to take some time to complete. Especially when the cabinet requires work as well. The Kid was much more involved in this one, as all of the drawers had to have fronts placed and supports both front and back of each drawer. One drawer had to almost be rebuilt from scratch, the one good thing is that all the pieces were there and just needed to be put back together.

I created a tutorial some time back, you can see it Suitcase Dresser Tutorial. I didn’t take many photos, since I’ve done the tutorial. I will tell you that if you have dedicated space to work on it, it helps. I did most of the work in the kitchen and dining room, and had to constantly move the drawers as I progressed with the work.

DSCN3560I tend to work on it ‘assembly line style’, that is, I glue the fabrics on all of the drawers first, then glue the tucks on all four sides. Since each side needs to be clamped while is it drying, I can only do one side at a time. So I have to find a way to stack them out of the way while the glue dries.

I’ve gotten some things done with the container gardening… if you recall, I am attempting to grow tomatoes on the deck. So far, so good.

DSCN3564That’s The Kid’s one stalk of corn, he wanted to try just one. He also planted corn in his backyard garden.

DSCN3565We’ve had so much rain that everything is so green and the grass around the garden seems to have overtaken much of it. On this side, we attempted to build a small berm; the yard slopes such that when it rains, we end up with a little stream. I call it “a river runs through it’… and we’ve now figured out to avoid it, but with the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve had, it has widened. We experienced standing water around the seeds and we worried that nothing would ever sprout. But it does finally seem to have a foothold and now we have to watch the garden to make sure it gets the proper amount of water.

DSCN3575And speaking of growing… I rescued this little violet when it was on its last leg about a year/year and a half ago. Someone had left it behind when they left their job and it sat for nearly two weeks without being watered or attended to. It was sad. I brought it home and repotted it in a larger pot in MiracleGro soil. And almost immediately this thing started sprouting new leaves and flowers. It has given me almost nonstop flowers ever since. Don’t those little purple flowers just make your heart smile?DSCN3571On the other hand (or should I say knee), I am now forced to ice or apply heat to both knees almost daily. The ice packs that I’ve been using have started to leak and I never really liked them anyway. They never really fit right against my knees, consequently, I did not get the full benefit. I had seen this ice packs using rice and you can both heat them up or cool them down.DSCN3572 I actually had bought two bags of rice awhile back and with so little crafting time, I thought maybe if I just cranked out a few smaller projects, I might feel like I am accomplishing something. The project is simple enough… I would cut some muslin fabric and sew the edges together leaving one open side; to keep the rice from bunching up on one end or the other, I added some baffles. Then using soft fleece, I made each one a cover. I used velcro for the opening – this way if the covers get dirty or wet, then can just be thrown into the washer/dryer.

Front of Denim Hems BagSo, I’ve also attempted to use up some of the denim that I cut up a few weeks ago. The main bulk of the denim is going into one or the other of two main projects: a braided rag rug and reupholstering a wing chair.

That leaves me with pant leg hems (2 per each pair of jeans), back pockets (2 per) and a waistband. So, I took the plastic bag of hems and sat down in front of the sewing machine and started sewing them together. Once I had a sizable piece of fabric, it hit me… this would make a terrific all purpose bag!

Back of Denim Hems BagI have always been a fan of canvas bags – we use them for groceries and I carry them into many places that I shop. I had found one that was about the right size of the piece that I had sewn, so opted to use it as sort of a lining. With it in place, I then used a waistband to finish the bag.

I found an older bag that had a beautiful handle and removed the rivets that were holding the handle in place. I cut four pieces of leather as the support of the handles. I couldn’t get the rivets to hold with my home kit, so I’ve opted to find some place that does leather work. I also want this place to stitch the bag pocket, as there is too many layers for my sewing machine. That is the thing with denim, it gets too thick very quickly. In fact, during this entire process, I broke 18 needles! And these needles were specifically for denim and other heavy projects. It is just as you work, the layers can add up very quickly… especially when you’re talking about seams!

DSCN3570On the other end of the sewing spectrum, I’ve been doing some hand sewing. I just start a with a circle of felt – whatever color I have on hand – and start adding stitches and have been using beads on many of the pieces. I didn’t have a specific project in mind, but while perusing Pinterest, I saw some pin cushions that looked similar. So, violá!

DSCN3569Won’t these be the most adorable little pin cushions?

DSCN3568And the great thing about this, is, this will give me a chance to use up much of my scrap felt. I can sit and watch television and stitch to my heart’s content. (Someday I will get back to working on my My Huge Cross Stitch Project. I just had to take a break from it for a while.)DSCN3567And the last little project… My son built this in his wood shop class a couple of years ago and I never knew exactly what to do with it. But working lately in my home office lately has shown that for the health of my knees, I need to have my feet elevated. And what better way to do it than with this little footstool! I painted it my signature red and I had just enough fabric to cover the foam that I added (material is left over from re-cover my dining room chairs and pillow covers for the couch). Don’t you just love it when things come together?VioletsSo, I am going to leave you with another shot of my happy little violets!

julie

Final Quilt Wrap Up (For Now)!

So, even though The Kid and I are not home, but out on the open road, I uploaded photos of all the quilts that I spent the previous last ten days completing.

Here is a quick rundown of them. The first one is a very fun piecing project. Gave me a chance to dig deep into my green fabrics. The great thing about green is that there is such a variety of choices: light, dark, deep, yellow-green, blue-green, kelly green and of course, all of the patterns and designs.

 

 

DSCN3104This one has an awesome backing fabric, totally the opposite of the front. Sort of. Its a kind of camouflage in shades of green.

DSCN3103To be able to just sit and sew strips is so therapeutic and allows me to watch old classic movies and really be able to zone out. Might not be for everyone, but for me, this is pure relaxation.

DSCN3102Up next is this strippy quilt. These were the left over pieces from another quilt (still yet to be quilted) that I wanted to use up. Simple and easy around a large red center.

DSCN3100A leftover star block ended up in the middle of the back which really shows off the quilting.

DSCN3101Another “mini” quilt made up of the leftover blocks of a larger quilt (and also another one waiting to be quilted). This turned out so well, I am so anxious to see the full sized quilt.

DSCN3097This one also had an orphan block end up on the back. And as before, the red solid backing really shows off the quilting.

DSCN3098And one more courtesy shot. I took these photos the day after our “blizzard” in Kansas City. It was forecasted to receive 2 to 3 FEET of snow and I think we had a grand total of two to three inches. And by the next day, most of it was gone.

DSCN3096And drum roll please:   tatatatatata dum! The last quilt in this series.

DSCN3095This was done mostly with a pre-printed fabric and some piecing in the middle. A wonderful little patriotic quilt.

DSCN3094I was gifted this fabric and I really didn’t know how I would use it. I really felt like I couldn’t cut the flags – so I wanted to use them whole and I figured what better way than as the border.

DSCN3093It might be hard to see, but the center quilting is sorta a flag motif. The blue and white represents the stars of the flag and then the results of the red and white stripes. Okay, I know it is a bit of a stretch, but hey, it is the thought that counts right?

Okay, since we are on our adventure and far from my sewing machines, I will probably not post for the rest of this week. But I will be back at it sooner than I will realize.

Thanks for taking this ride with me!

julie

Pumpkins, Strawberries and Spiders

Today’s post deals with my attempts at gardening. I’ve been pretty successful with growing houseplants and indoor trees. Five or so years ago I planted 24 seedling evergreens that today are more than 12 feet tall. Last year I planted strawberries in the space under the deck, and got a few little fruit during the season.

I was out in the backyard recently and found that the strawberry plants had nicely weathered the winter and were growing well, spreading out establishing new shoots. A few weeks back, I noticed that the plants were covered with little white flowers and yesterday, I saw that the little white flowers have been replaced with little tiny berries.

DSCN2443 DSCN2444 DSCN2441 DSCN2442The Kid has planted pumpkins, he had saved a pumpkin from fall that lasted all through the winter and into early spring. A few weeks ago, we started them in a long rectangluar planted in the kitchen near the window of houseplants and they sprang into life overnight! Last weekend, we removed sod in a great patch beneath the big tree, laid down some Miracle Gro soil and replanted the pumpkins. The Kid has been out everyday, tending to the plants and giving them water. I am excited to see his enthusaism and we are looking forward to at least one or two pumpkins by Halloween.

DSCN2439We had a house guest last night. But I am a firm believer that killing spiders is just wrong. So, we coaxed it onto a fly swatter and gave this little guy a ride into the back yard. Its cool that spiders are out there reducing the insect population, but they need to be outside and not in my kitchen!

DSCN2449We’re working on a garage-full of projects, they all seem to be in the middle of being done. Argh… it is so frustrating to have so much work to be done and yet so much time is spent waiting. Waiting for paint and stain and glue to dry. And while stained and paint are drying, you can’t get saw dust in the air, so that has to wait. And yet, while I wait for this to be done, I am busy acquiring other projects to work on. Its a crazy cycle!

julie

Moving forward… slowly but surely.

A little progress has been made on the doll house, but no matter how much I accomplish, I always feel like I should have gotten more done. There always seems to be a lot of waiting: waiting for paint to dry, for stain to dry, to find that needed ‘thing’ or get something assembled or installed.

Much work has been accomplished on the third level, which is actually a separate piece. I thought ahead and actually painted the interiors before we assembled it. No funky corners or angles to have to paint carefully and not worries about the flooring stain and the walls latex would interact.

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I opted to not make a peak in the ceiling line and rather have a flat space on top. I think I am going to put a railing around the edges and use like an outdoor patio. I picked up the most awesome little wicker set that will just be wonderful there. I think I want to install outdoor carpet  (or what looks like it) and then scatter a bunch of small planters with flowers behind it.

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Isn’t that little wicker set just darling? I have no idea what the original purpose of that set was, but it is perfect size for the 18″ dolls. It was just happenstance that I ran across it on one of me and the Kid’s ‘thrifting’ afternoons.

Speaking of waiting, here are the floors for the bedroom and kitchen, finished with two coats of oak colored stain and then two coats of polyurethane. I just love the way they look.

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The plan for the bathroom floor is black and white checker board tile… I just hope that it doesn’t add too much weight to the overall piece. To help prevent grout cracking, I am going to use flexible grout. Won’t a pink bathroom with black and white tile just be the cutest? I have a little claw foot tub ready to go in and have already made the sink and vanity. And of course, a toilet!

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I’ve started fitting in the lower cabinets and have set the range and refrigerator in to check for spacing. In the corner next to the refrigerator is a small narrow cupboard. There is a part of me that wants to rebuild it a bit taller, but again, I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. You cannot begin to believe how many accessories I’ve purchased, created, made or found to make this house complete. I am feeling like I am turning a corner to having this done. The hope is that it will be done soon, making it a perfect Christmas gift for some special little girl.

As to the other project – the large black wardrobe – has had progress. I’ve finished all the touch up on the black, white and shades of gray. I settled on the accent color of turquoise, and used it sparingly. Also, in the end, if I decide I would like a different color, it will be easy to change. Next step, wait for a warm day or two (or figure out how to warm the garage) so that I can apply two or three coats of polyurethane. I can’t wait to see it completed. Although the interior still needs to have a good cleaning with Murphy’s Oil soap and one or two pieces of trim to replace. This is turning out quite beautiful, if you ask me! What happens to it when I am done still has not been decided.

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Its a bit hard to see, but the center dot as well as four dots are the only spots of turquoise. Everything else? Shades of black and white. Oh and you’re looking at the rebuilt bottom, no sense in painting that, when it will never be seen.

One last think I wanted to throw in at the last minute. Autumn has definitely fallen here in the Midwest. We bought this house 9 years ago and the grand total of trees on our over sized lot was one lone oak in the backyard. Over the years we’ve planted many more, but the two in the front yard have just surprised us with their growth… these trees were about 4 foot tall and no bigger around than a pencil. And the fall colors in their leaves made me stop and take a photo on my way into the garage the other day. Too bad the color doesn’t stick around very long. Or that someone has to rake them up eventually!

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I sometimes forget just how lucky and blessed I am. I hope everyone takes a moment and counts their blessings too.

julie

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