Monthly Archives: May 2007

Eatin’ beans!

Flowers and vegies

I finally planted this weekend! My boxes have been ready for some time, but it was still too cool to plant. A friend gave me nine planter boxes, each four feet square. I traded five of them with another friend for a couple loads of planting soil. Over the course of the last three weeks, I put the boxes on cement blocks, filled them partially with soil from my yard and topped them off with the planting soil.

Naturally the soil dried out quite a bit, so Saturday I finally started using the 50 gallon water tank I purchased last year. I was a little nervous about hauling 400 pounds of water in the Subaru, but ‘Ru handled the weight like a champ, and I hauled two loads of water. I still have some work to do to make hauling that much water easy, but I did get the soil wetted up enough to plant and fill up my house water jugs as well.

Sunday afternoon I finished wetting up the soil and then bought two kinds of lettuce, basil, oregano, thyme and marjoram, and two six packs of pansies. That filled one of the boxes, with one six pack of pansies left over. It sprinkled a bit while I was messing with my water, so I figured it wouldn’t be long before we finally got some rain. But, because it was windy and not yet raining, I covered the unplanted boxes with some plastic to keep the soil moist and called it a day.

I woke on Monday to the sound of dripping eaves, and was very happy to see that a very light rain had started. I yanked the plastic off the boxes, glad to note that not much water had collected on the coverings, and let the rain finish up what I started the day before. By the end of the day, the boxes – and the rest of the yard – was thoroughly soaked. A welcome relief from the serious fire danger of the last few weeks!

I had some bean seeds soaking, so planted all of them – over half a box of bush beans! – and some dill seeds. Today I’ll get some lettuce, carrot, radish, and pea seeds and plant all that ASAP. And if that doesn’t fill the last two boxes, I have some flower seeds that can get spread out too. Considering that I have 1.5 acres, it seems a little silly to plant a garden in boxes, but it sure is a lot easier to work up the soil and my back is much happier too. I can’t wait to start harvesting some fresh veggies!

Butterfly garden flowers

My sister sent me some seeds for a butterfly garden, so those went into three planters last week. They’re already coming up! So the pots by the driveway (two tires turned inside out) will soon be colorful beacons waving in the breeze.

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Ursa Azul

Ursa Azul

Isn’t Ursa adorable? She is from a kit that my Secret Pal gave me a couple of months ago. I put her together while I was waiting for my dish water to heat up. A few changes from the kit – I sewed her together with yarn and a blanket stitch, rather than by machine, and she just had to hold some flowers. The bee landed on her right ear (her ear’s bent back, so it’s hard to see the bee) to sniff the flowers. And the ribbon supplied with the kit was all wrong, so I dug through the ribbon box to find narrow ribbons in a better color.

Ursa is made from a kit by The Kunin Group, makers of plush felt. She’s a fuzzy little girl, and very cuddly! I didn’t have any stuffing in the house, so I cut up some old (clean!) socks and filled her with those. I think she might get to go to the fair this summer…

A Weaver’s Yarn

My friend Susan has started a blog! She and her husband own my favorite local needlework shop in Fairbanks, A Weaver’s Yarn. So far she’s blogged about (gasp!) knitting stuff, but I reckon she’ll get around to posting about embroidery stuff sooner or later. Maybe if I bug her it’ll be sooner :-). Check out aweaversyarn.blogspot.com and leave Susan a comment to boost her incentive to post. The website also doesn’t have much info about the embroidery aspect of the store, but trust me, it’s a far-too-excellent spot to buy embroidery thread, sigh…

TAST – Basque, bonnet, and up & down buttonhole stitches

I’m still working on the chatelaine. The embroidery is finished, so now I have to work on beading everything and then add little doodad embellishments.

TAST - Basque, bonnet, and up & down buttonhole stitches

I tried out the Basque stitch (to left of bear), using two colors of thread and laying one row on top of the other. Next I worked the Bonnet stitch (also to left, and left of yellow & green Basque stitches), using just one color. I also tried out the up and down buttonhole (above bear), using a blue thread and on top, using a maroon thread. I crossed the top stitch, instead of putting the two stitches next to each other, just for fun.

I am really enjoying TAST, even though I am not a very active participant. Sharon has shown me a number of new stitches to use, and is breaking me out of my “eleven stitch rut”. I am pretty much stuck in the rut of using couching, blanket, herringbone, chevron, single chain, chain, back, fly, french knot, straight, running, and stem stitches on my crazy quilting seams. My new favorite-thanks to Sharon-is the barred chain/alternating barred chain stitch. And I have discovered that my stitch bible, Jacqueline Enthoven’s The Stitches of Creative Embroidery, is not the be-all, end-all embroidery book. There are many more stitches out there! But I still love that book!

silk ribbon silk ribbon

And hallelujah! I have finally broken the silk ribbon barrier! For a long time I didn’t like using silk ribbon, even though it is so beautiful, because I found it so difficult to work with. In April I saw someone using silk ribbon, and it was so pretty… so I tried one more time, and lo! I was happy with my stitching! So I’ll be working on a silk ribbon embellished photo for a class project to be taught this fall.

Summer evening

summer evening

This is how I’ve been spending the last few nights – lounging around in front of a campfire out in the backyard. We’re having a really dry summer so far; we could sure use a little rain (actually, a LOT of rain), but I’m going to enjoy the good weather and hope it sprinkles at night.

Gizmo’s catching his breath, after spending a good share of the evening chasing a tennis ball. I usually bring a book or a sewing project out with me, and trade off between sewing and slapping mosquitoes. Not too much skeeter slappin’ this year, at least not yet. The wasps aren’t bad yet either, though I’m sharing the outhouse with a couple of persistent fellers. I hope they don’t take up housekeeping in there!

And oh yes, it was about 10 p.m. when I took the picture. Love those AK summers!

Make a flat angel

I showed my needlework guild how to make a flat angel, and in the process had to formalize the pattern and instructions, so I added them to my website. The flat angels were inspired by the Wild Woman pattern from Aisling d’Art’s Wild Art Dolls.

Here is Mikki’s doll:

Mikki’s flat angel

It’s so much fun to see what other people do with this pattern! I love the pacifier in Miss Green!

I didn’t get a picture of Suzanne’s Red Fairies, but I’ll get that next month. They are Wild!!

Miniature quilts

Flower Basket

It’s a Whiplash challenge! Miniature quilts for the month of May!

A miniature quilt, otherwise known as ‘doll quilt‘, ‘fat quarter quilt’ or more simply ‘quarter quilt‘, can be made out of just about anything – try using scraps, or just a couple of fat quarters. There is no rule about the size of these, but usually small or miniature means not as big as a cot quilt, usually they are hung on walls, framed or used for a doll house. They can be practical – perhaps used as table mats or sewn into cushion covers. You could make them extra mini and turn into a greeting cards. Any sort of quilting method is suitable too, traditional patterns, random piecing, crazy quilting or journal quilting how about hand quilting a especially beautiful fabric. For more information check out a local miniature quilt guild near you.

Looks like anything goes, as long as it’s a small quilt and not big enough to sleep under. Well, maybe a fairy could sleep under it! And to think that I just brought in two boxes of scraps from the Fabric Shed… better get started!

AHA moment – maybe you’d like to see some of my small quilts: Sporadic Packrat gallery.