Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guest posting at Heatherly Loves

Hey, there.....I am just about done with this whirlwind called "the end of school." So, before I come up for air, check out my guest post at Heatherly Loves.

Click here to check it out....


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spotted in the garden

Well, I hope all of you lovely people had a great Memorial Day weekend.

Ours was busy. Not so relaxing....but fun and busy. This is one of those days when I need a weekend to recover from the weekend.

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to shake this cold I have had for a week and a half now. My wonderful husband has gone out to the store to pick my refill of cough syrup. : )

I spotted something in my garden recently...

Look a little closer....

What does that say about my gardening style? : ) I think.....gardening + cold one = a nice way to spend my evening after a long day at work.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's up now

Hey, there, all of you beautiful people....

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I tell you what, thing have been absolutely crazy around here. We're going through a personnel change in my department at school and it has been really tough! I'm going to have a new teaching partner next year, so not only am I bit sad to not have my current partner anymore, we've had to do a bunch of interviewing in the last few weeks. My weeks have been really busy at school. We just had our last concert of the year last night.

On top of that, I am just now getting over a really nasty chest cold. I went to the doctor and got some medicine earlier this week and it's finally subsiding. I guess I can finally look forward to the weekend a bit!

First of all, thank you to all of those who have served and especially those who have given their lives....

My husband and I will be heading to Indianapolis, Indiana to witness the greatest spectacle in racing....

Yes, that's right, the Indianapolis 500. This year, I'm going to try to make a good effort to document this experience in pictures and I'm sure it will make for a very nice post.

I'll be back at it in full force next week....and then I'll be UNLEASHED. School is almost over. : )

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good read: Hunger Games Trilogy

I have to admit...I was slightly skeptical of these books when they first came out.

I work at a 5/6 grade building, so the kids definitely get in these crazes for popular books. For instance, the Twilight series. Now, I am most certainly a fan of anything that gets kids reading (like Harry Potter).....but I think the Twilight series--the movies and books--is a little vapid. To be honest, I've never read any of them....I guess I should read before I judge, right?, when the Hunger Games movie was coming out and the students were super excited about it, I decided to see what the fuss was all about. I asked the librarian if I could borrow a copy. 

I could not put it down. All three of them, I could not put down.

It is very thought provoking for adults and for kids. I had a lot of discussion about the book with the librarian. She said that both she and the principal read the whole series before releasing it to the kids to check out. I found it interesting that she said the kids don't really have a big reaction to the violence in the book. One of my friends said that her mom started it, but couldn't finish it because she found it disturbing to read about kids trying to kill each other. I could see how she could think that....but I think the books definitely say some things about our society.

I would highly recommend it.

So....I guess I should give some of those other popular series a chance? : )

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My first real "garment"

Am I ready for Project Runway or what?

Well, not so much. : ) But I am proud of myself for making a complete dress all by myself. I did do a dress for myself last summer--and for my baby here to check out the post.

Those were made using a sort of pre-made ruched fabric that I had bought at the fabric store. Which was great for starting out.

So, I decided I would try a dress from just a plain old piece of fabric. I used a tutorial from Sew, Cook, Laugh and Live. I love Jos's sewing patterns and tutorials. They are perfect for an intermediate like me! Click here to go to the tutorial.

I started with this fabric. It was on the red tag shelf, so it was a good buy. I bought 2.5 yards of it.

Basically, the dress is two rectangles sewn together at the sides.

You then hem the bottom and make a casing for elastic at the top.

I decided to add some straps in a halter style. I could have left it strapless or added straps that go across (but I would have had to measure and sew them precisely). I like the halter look. I would look nice for a night on the town or when I wore it to school, I wore a black cardi over my shoulders.

Here is the dress finished on me...

Jos does point out that with this style, a belt is key for providing some shape. Like so...

It was a big hit the one day I wore it to work. I didn't get a chance to snap a pic of myself all styled up, so I'll do that the next time I wear it. 

Between this and the dress form I inherited from my sister, my husband claims I am ready for Project jersey sewing skills are not nearly up to par for that.

And I don't have nearly enough drama about myself for that, either. But I do have a cool new dress!

Party Time......
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl
Simply Creations Link Party at Simple Home Life
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Addicted to Decorating
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Project Parade at The DIY Showoff
Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime
Tip-Toe Thru Tuesday at Crayon Freckles
Pinspirational Thursday at The Artsy Girl Connection
Make the Scene Monday at Alderberry Hill
Sunday Salvation at Sassafras Salvation
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef n Training
Flaunt Your Flowers  at Tootsie Time
What I Wore/What's Up Wednesday at Rae Gun Ramblings
Sunday Roundup at A Rosie Sweet Home
Overflowing with Creativity at It's Overflowing

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fly, fly, butterfly

Last weekend, we went to the butterfly show down at Krohn's Conservatory in Cincinnati on Mother's Day. I guess I'd heard about it before, but I never considered making the trip down. It was my husband's idea to go down for Mother's Day--it was free for moms that day, yay--so we checked it out.

Unfortunately, it was raining and my husband had to stand out the the rain for tickets. I guess a lot of dads had the same idea we did! But....once we got our tickets and stood in line to get in, it was REALLY neat! 

They handed out these little pink flowers that you held to attract the butterflies.

On my son's yellow jersey....

These butterflies were a really pretty blue when their wings were open and they were flying.

Although these butterflies came from around the world, it got me thinking of planting some flowers to attract butterflies to our garden.

I think we'll go back in the summer when we have more time to look and it's less crowded.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What's in bloom

All systems are go in the garden.....we spent last Saturday edging and mulching. I have planted some annuals and also direct-sown some seeds into the garden.

Hip, hip, hooray. We're getting close to just sitting back and enjoying it all.

Here is what is in bloom right now.

My double pink Knockouts are in full force. I also used some imidicloprid to treat for those beautiful holes you see in the leaves.

Lately, I have been a big fan of plants that self-sow for the next year. There's something about a plant that's able to propogate itself without much help from me. Plus, who doesn't like free plants? This alyssum seeded itself from last year and is already blooming.

My Endless Summer hydrangea is putting on blooms. It's had a bit of a rough spring....not only was it planted just last August, we had all of our spring growth come in really early this year, so we've had some frosts that had blackened the leaves a little bit. But the hint of pink I see on these blooms is so pretty!

Here is a plant new to my garden, planted just last fall. Alchimilla mollis....lady's mantle. I'll have to snap a shot of them after it rains. The leaves are so pretty and the chartreuse blooms are not so bad either.

The catmint, which is Nepeta 'Walker's Low' is really coming into itself. This is the third year for this plant and it has just taken off.

Lastly, two standbys......daylilies 'Stella d'Oro' and spirea, var. unknown. It messes with my head a bit that the daylilies are already in bloom. I always associate daylilies with June. : )

Hope your garden is colorful, too.....


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Petal Preview

I hope you all had a very nice Mother's Day! I had some beautiful cards and handmade gifts from my children. We went to the butterfly show at the conservatory downtown this morning and then my husband took our kids to visit his parents and his sister's family. It was a lovely morning--despite rain almost all day--and it has been a lovely afternoon, just lounging and relaxing. I enjoyed a little champagne and wine on my own. Happy Mother's Day, indeed.

We had quite a day of yardwork yesterday....we edged and mulched all day. It's quite satisfying to have all of that done. The gardens are looking well. I got some of my annuals in as well. Speaking of annuals.....

We went to the spring gardening fair a few weeks ago at a local garden center. The Cincinnati Horticultural Society has long put on a Flower Show each spring. Unfortunately, they have been unable to do so in the last few years, due to the economy and their big sponsors unable to support the show financially.

So, instead, they do a gardening fair at a garden center. I enjoyed it last year, but was a little disappointed that they did not have any kids' activities this year. : ( My kids so enjoy gardening and hands-on activities.

I was pleased that I was able to check out some annuals a few weeks before it's safe to plant them here.

I really liked these petunias. I actually bought these for my front porch pots.

I was loving the hot coral color of this variety.

I think this petunia is so striking. I almost bought this one for my front porch pots.

I've planted this one before. I love the touch-of-pink white color with the pinky lines. So pretty.

I'm not a huge fan of verbenas, but I really liked these!

I also don't often buy geraniums....the plain color varieties always seem a bit dated to me. But....I love the colors in this one. Geraniums like these? Yes, please.

Maybe I should plant some geraniums....they are tough and they flower a bunch. Did you know.....they are the official flower of the City of Cincinnati? Betcha didn't.

What's your favorite annual to plant in your garden? I'll show off some of my seasonal additions here soon.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good reads: Iron Lace and Rising Tides

Lately, I've been super excited whenever my sister loans me books. She has picked out some gems lately and I love it when she shares books with me.

Two of the most recent reads of hers that I've enjoyed are Iron Lace and Rising Tides by Emilie Richards. The first, Iron Lace, is a novel about a New Orleans matriarch, Aurore, who is nearing the end of her life and she wants to share the deep, dark secrets of her life. It takes place in the 1960s. It definitely shows a glimpse of life in that area--for both priveleged and not-s0-priveleged. Racism and desegregation are huge themes in the book as well.

I really enjoy reading books about other areas of the country or the world and learning about how those people live their lives. We have so many different ways of life in our country....America is a big, diverse place.

The sequel is a follow-up novel to the first that tells the aftermath of Aurore's death as all members of her family must gather and hear the reading of the will. Many questions are answered and much drama, heartache and happiness ensue.

I truly could not put these down.

Thanks for the great reads, sis! I'm currently working on The Bells and I'm lovin' it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New kid on the block

We added another new plant to the front garden recently! We are getting closer and closer to finishing up the front beds. We started last spring on this part of the garden with this.

After we moved the taxuses, we were left with this.

Last summer, we added retaining walls. I should note that this was a test of marriage....: ) All joking aside, it was quite a job, taking several days during a heat wave and required lots of Advil and cold beverages at the end of the day.

They were having a tree sale a few weekends ago at the garden center, so I went to take a look. We ended up with a new little tree.

Here is my husband with our little helpers. They just love to help out.

We decided on a dogwood tree. I had been thinking about a Heritage river birch, but it would have gotten really big. They steered me to this dogwood (Cornus florida).

It's taken me some time to come to an understanding about my front beds.....I tend to think I need plants that can take a lot of sun. We live in a fairly new-construction neighborhood, so there aren't a ton of big trees yet.

But....our house faces dead east. So, once the sun passes the side of the house, it's shady the rest of the day in my front garden beds. Since this tree is on the northeast corner, something that would take some shade was necessary. I was back last weekend buying some annuals and they were recommending impatiens to me. Impatiens!??! I tend to think those are for people with heavy shade. So, I'll give them (and the dogwood) a try.

All that's left to add--of the shrubs and perennials--are the shrubs under the window. I'll work on those with my coupons that I have to use.

I'm looking forward to seeing this little guy grow.