Thursday, June 30, 2011

This and that

I did some repairs recently on some of my favorite clothing items. Now that I have my sewing machine, I can do some minor repairs...and much more quickly than sewing by hand. The first thing I repaired with my sewing machine was our American flag. The end was fraying, so I put a new seam at the bottom and it looks ever so much better.

My latest repairs have been on some garments. First, I had really worn out the bottom of my favorite sleep pants. I love their color and they are so comfy. They were really long, though, and I basically walked on the ends of them and wore holes in them. This is the part I cut off. Ugh! Thank goodness no one outside of my family saw me wear them.

So, I put a new seam around the bottom.

Sorry, the perspective on this pic is wrong. I don't really sew in that position.

I had a problem when I tried them on. They looked like floodwaters....they were about 3 inches too short. So, I regrouped and cut them off to about capri length. Here are the ends now:

So, now I can respectably wear my sleep pants again. My next project involved some of my favorite capri sweatpants....I guess that is what I would call them. They actually are pants that I love to wear on weekends or in the summer and they are super comfy as well.

Confession: Actually, I probably need to throw them out...I've had them for three or four years. But I love them so!!

Well, my problem is that I painted a mirror in them and got paint on them. I'm usually very careful with drips, but got a little on my pants:

There's also a tiny bit of paint in the crotch area, but no one will see that! ; )

I picked up a patch at the craft store...

And I ironed it on....

I then wore them the next day. However, the little spikes started to come off and so I trimmed them off and sewed it on by hand, so there is no chance of it coming off.

I'm feeling pretty good that I was able to rescue two of my favorite comfy things.

Plus, the patch makes me look really b%^ a#$%.  Don't you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's in bloom?

Well, we are making our way through the summer's almost the 4th of July and we're coming to the end of my favorite part of the growing season. Although it is a bit nice to have the annuals starting to heat up right now! Here's what's in bloom...

First up, my hypericum is in bloom. These shrubs are right underneath our windows in the front. These particular plants looked really sad after our drought last year and I thought they were not going to make it this spring. They bounced back, though, and are looking good! The common name for this is St. John's Wort. My variety is 'Sunburst.' The foliage is a bluish-green and the flowers remind me of daffodils.

Next,  I planted some allium bulbs last fall. Alliums are in the onion family. Many of them bloom purple. This variety is called 'Drumstick,' which appealed to me since I am a music teacher. I love the plants, but I put them in the wrong spot, so they will get moved once the leaves die back.

I'm super excited to have my oakleaf hydrangea in bloom! I planted this last summer, right next to our garage. Mine is a dwarf variety and should be happy at 3-4' tall. The blooms are so pretty.

Last, one of my favorite perennials in my garden....coneflower, or echinacea. Yes, it is distantly related to the homeopathic variety people use! I am in love with the coloration of this flower. The variety is called 'Summer Sky' from the Big Sky series. If deadheaded, the blooms last several more weeks.

Soon it will be time to feature some annuals...they're just getting the party started!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mommy and Me

I recently completed my very first garment....a real sewing project! It all started a few years ago when I bought this fabric....

...along with some terry cloth I was using to recover a bathroom stool. It was on clearance and I suppose I was drawn to the color. It's my favorite, especially for clothes. I tucked this fabric away, since I had no sewing skills, nor a sewing machine.

Fast forward to the present. I now have a sewing machine and also have taken a sewing class, so I figured it was time to put some of my new skills to good use. I decided to make myself a dress, but after seeing how much fabric I had, I decided to make one for my 2 year old daughter, too.

The fabric was easy to work with...the shirring was already done, so all that was left was to sew the side seams and hem it. I could have left the selvedge and had an unfinished look to the long hem, but I decided to make it knee-length. I already have a dress similar to this one that is long!

So...I sewed hem on my dress....

And then I sewed the side seam. Repeat for little Sweetie's dress. Here is a shot of her dress pinned up.

Now I had two dresses....

However, I needed a way to attach straps to her dress. I asked the lady at the cutting counter at Jo-Ann Fabrics what to do. She advised me to use ribbons that would tie in a measuring! Sounds good to me.

I cut four and went forwards-backwards-forwards on each one to attach. After finishing and getting ready to try it on Annie, I realized I had put the ties in her armpits. Hm. So I cut them out and reattached. At least no one can see this mistake. BTW, the only other mistake I think I made? Not prewashing my fabric. ; )

My Jo-Ann lady also hit me up to a thing called Fray-Check. This keeps the ends of the ribbon from fraying!

The end result? Matching dresses for me and my girl. Not my style all the time, but you gotta have some fun as a mama and daughter.

What a ham she is.

The DIY Show Off

The Lettered Cottage

Friday, June 24, 2011

Harvest Moon

I love the song Harvest Moon by Neil Young. I'm not a superfan of his by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that song is pretty cool. It's a beautiful love song and there's a broom player in the song. If you watch a live performance of it, the broom player swishes the broom rhythmically on the floor. How cool is that?

I harvested the last of my lettuce yesterday. Lettuce does not like hot weather and goes to seed when it heats up. I had been holding off on the last little batch, biding my time. Plus, we were out of lettuce. : ) It's been nice in the last few months....I have bought no lettuce at the store, but occasionally supplemented my crop with a few heads from the local farmers' market.

This time, I pulled the plants out by the roots since they were done for the season.

Then, I cut off the roots and thick part and put it into my salad spinner. This took a while....the root parts have a ton of dirt (I even saw a few bugs/worms).

My salad spinner is from IKEA. Those puppies can get expensive! All of the yucky leaves and root parts went into my compost container to be taken out to the compost bin.

Finally, I put the washed leaves in a plastic bin to store in the fridge. Prewashed lettuce!

I am extremely pleased with my lettuce crop this year. Last year, we had built our raised veggie bed too late in the spring to sow lettuce seeds. In my zone, you can sow lettuce seeds as early as mid- to late-March.

Last year, I tried to plant a fall crop and had no success. We had a drought here last summer into the fall, so I could not get anything to germinate! Some of those seeds actually germinated this spring. I'm going to try again this year....I'd love me some fresh lettuce as fall arrives, before the garden goes to bed!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When the spirit moves you

In the last few days, we have had a massive campaign to organize. Not sure from where this came, but I have been happy to oblige the feeling. My husband is taking a leave of absence from his teaching job next year, so we had about 12 boxes of classroom detritus to absorb. We worked on that over the weekend.

It's been rainy, so it was a good opportunity to purge a bit. I spent yesterday morning cleaning out the rest of our basement storage room and cleaning out the last part of the area where my old cat liked to sleep. He was put to sleep in February, so I'm ready to not be thinking of him every time I go in that room.

We made a trip to Goodwill last evening, so I would say it's been successful. I did take some pictures of my buffet that I have in our dining room. This buffet offers a multitude of storage! We don't dine in there, so I don't really use it for fancy dishes.

One of the drawers is really handy for storing our electronics-related stuff. Here is what it looked like before I started:

Ick. However, I do take heart in the fact that at least these things were all in one place. ; ) I took everything out. Everything that was not already in a baggie, I put in a baggie and labeled it.

I also took advantage of the Great Classroom Clean-out to use a plastic file folder to organize manuals and installation DVDs that didn't warrant a baggie.

I vacuumed out the drawer.

Then put everything back in. Much easier to see everything and to find the cords I need. I did throw out a few unidentified cords in there. Ta da!

I do love this buffet. The end cabinets are big enough to hold these photo albums.

I really would prefer for them to be on these bookshelves.....

but have no room for them due to toys on the lower shelves!

Whew. Not the sexiest post ever, but at least I'm organizing bit by bit. When the feeling hits ya, you gotta act.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spray paint mania 2

My love affair with spray paint continued this week. I hope you all had a nice week! We had some beautiful weather and I've been enjoying a much more relaxed schedule with my children.....hallelujah!

Here is a grouping of pictures frames that I have in our dining room.

The frames on the outside are some of my husband's family pictures. The one in the center is my great-grandfather, who immigrated from Sweden and worked in Minneapolis, Minn. as a streetcar conductor. The glass in the frame is too cool--it's concave! I really like this grouping, but I didn't like the way the frames were all different finishes and I wanted to unify them.

I took them all apart and numbered the small ones so I could match up the frame and the picture.

I also decided to paint this frame that was passed on to me from my mom, who got it from my grandmother. The shape is so pretty, but it does have a bit of damage on one side. This used to hold 70s-style portraits of me and my sister.

As you can see, my spray painting cardboard has been getting quite a workout. I had two cans of aluminum metallic Valspar spray paint. These cans were on clearance at Lowe's and I bought them without knowing for what I would use them.

Once finished, I reassembled the frames. They all needed a good cleaning! I used those little points to keep the picture and mats inside the frame. The name is escaping me now, but I bought them at the craft store for $1.50.

And here is the grouping now....

I really like the darker opposed to a nickel finish. With my new grey walls, I think the darker metallic gives it a nicer, darker look. I wasn't sure if black or white would be best. This is just a little different.

Here is a pic of the detail on my concave portrait up close...

And here is the detail on my other frame, although I have not yet decided what to put in it, so it's sitting empty right now. I love how the detail turned out!

Enjoy the weekend!

The DIY Show Off

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


In the last few days, I was struck by a spot in my garden...and the garden here is still quite young. We have been in our house for just two years now. When we moved in, we had your typical builder grade plantings going on. Or maybe not--at least in these plantings, they had included some daylilies and a rock! Our first house had shrub, shrub, shrub, shrub, BIG shrub.

At this point, I don't think any of the shrubs are in their original spot...they've all been moved elsewhere.

Anyway...I was taken by surprise by this particular spot in the garden, since most of the flowers in this spot are in bloom right now. A few before shots....

That pic was taken after we had transplanted that little tree and you can see the spray paint marking out the garden bed edge. I had a family friend take off the sod....he has a little landscaping business and his guys cut our electric fence AND our cable line.  Grrrr...

The next shot shows the bed, some stepping stones, a transplanted Korean boxwood and some perennials. My son and I planted some steppable thyme in between the stones. Those stones actually cost only $2 apiece at a little garden store way out in the sticks.

Since then, we added some more perennials around the little tree, some lilies further down and a dwarf oakleaf hydrangea.

I didn't plan to have all of that in bloom at the same time...typically, I try to stagger the blooms a bit more than that. Who wants all of their candy at the same time?? I'd rather spreeeaaaad  it out.....but that can be tweaked.

For now, I'll just enjoy my little spot. : )