Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Garden Lives!

From March until May we live in a constant state of worrying about the seedlings — Are they getting enough sun? Are they big enough? Are they getting watered enough? Did we even plant anything on time?! Finally May rolls around and we can transplant the stuff to the beds. Only, then we spend the next two weeks worrying that nothing’s taking and we’re going to have to buy replacement plants and everything’s going to be ruined. It’s really only in June when things calm down enough to really just enjoy the garden for the first time.

State of the Garden June 9 2011

We’ve been harvesting some stuff already, mostly from the lettuce farm on the deck. The lettuce farm has turned out to be a delightful addition to Maple Hoo. So far the winner of the taste test has been Yugoslavian Red, but we’ve got a long summer and a dozen more varieties to try. Schnookie also made the astonishing discovery that a nice bowl of pasta tastes a million times awesomer for the addition of some arugula, so we’ve added that to our list of things to grow on the deck.

Lettuce Farm

Forellenschluss

Meanwhile, in the front yard things are looking good. We harvested a delightful amount of green garlic, and then the scapes came in not long after. Some of the garlic was bulbs we’d saved from last year, making them essentially completely free! (Or something.)

Scapes

We also harvested the coral shell peas, which were as early as advertized. They also were short and didn’t need trellising. In short, they’re wonder peas! We’ll be planting them again next year for sure. We planted a second variety which looked to be dead in the water — literally; there was a lot of rain this spring. When things dried out, though, they bounced back and are starting to pod up now.

May 30 2011

Peas Rearing Their Head

Everything else is chugging along. After looking like they might not make it, the tomatoes have all established themselves nicely. The various cherry tomatoes, in particular, are looking hearty, with blossoms just starting to form. The peppers needed one last rainy weekend before they were ready to turn from seedlings into nice green leafy plants. The broom corn, beans, and pumpkins are all thinned and starting to fill out. (Some of the beans are also growing up. We sorta kinda ordered pole beans when we meant to get bush beans and we sorta kinda didn’t notice until they were all planted. Oops.)

June 6 2011

Not Pumpkiny Yet

Climbing Beans

Senor Patata Flowers

So far the only major set-back has been with the sunflowers we planted outside the garden fence. They were looking awesome, but something — rabbit? deer? — ate them all up. Jerks! Oh, and the passalong raspberries Schnookie got from a co-worker are looking pretty sad. Good thing the old canes (and the blackberries) are looking good.

Raspberry

June 12 2011

So as of mid-June, things are looking good! Here’s hoping the next four months go as well. This year we’re partaking in a Flickr project called Garden Grub 120; we’re taking a picture every day for 120 days of what we eat from the garden (or sometimes, on lazy nights, just a picture of the garden itself). You can follow along with our pictures here or with the group as a whole here.

June 14 2011

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Filed under 5. May, 6. June, Garden, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

Another Finished Quilt Top! Another New Project!!

After last year’s miserable showing in terms of finished quilts (I can count on less than one hand the number of quilts I finished), I’m on a bit of a roll this year. Believe it or not, I actually finished piecing Henrik Jane! It only took two years! I finished six months earlier than my target date! And… I forgot to take pictures before I gave it to the quilter! Sorry. It ended up looking way awesome, if I don’t say so myself. I promise I will take pictures in August when it comes back from the quilter.

While working on finishing up Henrik Jane, and while working on beating Red Dead Redemption (a.k.a. Grand Theft Horsie), I also managed to finish piecing my MoMo-fabric-based bento-box-ish quilt, MoMoBeBo:

MoMoBeBo Top Finished

Sorry, this picture is totally out of focus, but I’m too lazy to take another. You get the idea of what it looks like, right? I’m such a great blogger. Sigh.

I am delighted with how this project turned out. I knew it would look exactly like what I wanted because I just copied someone else was strongly inspired by this post. I had long admired the bento box quilts I’d seen on Flickr, but most of them were done in either solids (which are lovely, but if you look at my past history with overly busy quilts you can tell they aren’t really my thing) or in wonky blocks which really aren’t my thing. I like my cutting to be neat and orderly, thank you! Anyway, I ordered the official bento box pattern right when I started quilting but it seemed way too complicated to a newbie. There were so many variations and the cutting seemed strange for something that was just rectangles. But this tutorial (which I originally found on Moda Bake Shop) was so straight-forward, and the result was so charming! Charming, and crazy busy and bright, just like I like ’em, and not at all wonky!

I had a “Wonderland” layer cake moldering in a closet upstairs, and a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop burning a hole in my pocket so I picked up a layer cake of “It’s a Hoot” to go with it. Mixing the two lines was a lot of fun; I felt like “It’s a Hoot” made “Wonderland” a little more playful, while “Wonderland” lent “It’s a Hoot” a little sophistication. Sure, some of the colors didn’t seem to play perfectly together all the time, but this was a great lesson for me in just going with it, and seeing where the quilt took me. After all the tiny pieces of Henrik Jane, it was great to just rip through the easy cutting and enjoy the easy piecing. The MoMo fabrics were so soft and thin, I could finger-press most of the seams, too, making it even faster to hand-piece.

My only concern with bento box quilts is that I don’t like seeing the plus signs created at the corners of the blocks. I want to see the repeating squares. My solution to this is to hand quilt this puppy! Woo-hoo! My hand-quliting on Raccoonsweet has been going very well, and I’m really enjoying the process. It’s time to ratchet it up and hand-quilt a quilt I love, rather than one that’s only so-so. I’m thinking I’m going to use bright yellow thread to quilt squares in each round of each block. I just need to bite the bullet and get basting, which, let’s be honest, isn’t high on my list of things I’d love to do.

What’s more fun than basting a quilt? Starting a new project, of course! Meet FiestaFudd!

Feistafudd Blocks

The color in this picture is a little wonky; I can assure you the lemon yellow looks good in person. Honest!

When I saw the early pictures from Quilt Market showcasing the new Anna Maria Horner line, Loulouthi, I knew I was in love. Anna Maria’s “Good Folks” is still one of my all-time favorite lines, but the quilt I’m making out of it is slow, slow going (although I did finish another block for it in the last two weeks; that only leaves something like a zillion still to go). Meanwhile, I had fallen in love with the cover quilt from one of McCall’s Quick Quilting books. “Quick quilting” seemed like a really appealing alternative to the glacial progress on the Good Folks broken dishes project. It was a match made in heaven! The only catch was finding a solid to go with the prints. I got it in my head that I only wanted to use shot cotton, which, of course, I don’t have a color card for. I ended up ordering some lemon shot cotton for another project and lo and behold, it looked pretty awesome with the Loulouthi. At first I wasn’t sold, but after making these test blocks, I like how it gives it an almost Mexican pottery feel. Maybe it was all the time spent in Mexico in Grand Theft Horsie, but that was enough for me to say, “Lemon it is!” Each time I see this quilt, I’ll think of playing poker in Chuparosa with John Marston and the gang.

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Filed under Progress Reports, Quilting