Saturday, May 30, 2009

From the garden

My wonderful little boy has been so good--he falls asleep on his morning walk and gives me a good hour, hour and a half to get some work done in the garden. Today, I planted the cone flowers in between the lavender and purple roman candles. There are a few more around the back, but I love this angle because you can see the jumping frog we love from a craft store in Berea, KY. All of the flowers you see in this frame are from a local grower. I've found that I really save money in the long run because the flowers are hardier since they don't have to travel.

I wanted to show you this idea for a little pedestal planter. The pedestal is actually the base of a lantern that the former owners of this house installed. We considered resurrecting the broken lamp, but really didn't want to spent the money on the initial investment we didn't really like the aesthetics of in the first place. We also didn't want to use up the electricity when our street is well lit anyway. After checking with an electrician about safety, we decided to just leave the post and reinvent it into something else. First, I spray painted the base with green outdoor paint. Then, I added the planter and coconut liner. I usually try to plant something tall, like a spike plant, to add more depth and interest to this front garden.
Of course, you're lucky if you don't have an eyesore to try to get rid of! You can achieve the same results with the base of a birdbath, overturned planter, or just about anything else that is more narrow at the top--start looking around at garage sales and maybe even your own pile of discards (we all have them:)

Finally, ideas from the vegetable garden! In this case, the organic farm that offers CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares. I've had broccoli in my own garden and the onions are coming up, but nothing compared to the bounty I picked up last Thursday. Keep in mind that my husband is out of town, so it's up to me to make sure none of this gorgeous food goes to waste. Two fun items this week were garlic scape and kohlrabi.
You can make a great, inexpensive pesto with the scape (the tops of the garlic plant--I'll never use basil in pesto again).

Here's what I did:
Cut the bulbs off of a handful of scape
Chop them up and throw them into the food processor
Add 1/2- 1 cup of toasted walnuts (I threw in all that I had, which was a cup)
Pulse until pretty ground up
Add a cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Pour in about a cup of olive oil while pulsing until a good paste forms. I've frozen the pesto in baby food trays to enjoy spread on french bread with my tomatoes when they're in.

My husband and I discovered kohlrabi last year when we pick about a ton up in our CSA. We love it shredded and made into hash browns. So good. Also, since my recovery from breast cancer, I am trying not to eat potatoes because of the high glycemic index, but I can't deprive myself of the weekend morning eggs and hashbrowns. To make it easier to prep the kohlrabi for later use, I simply shredded it, oiled a large muffin tin, packed it into the tin and froze it. This way, we can pop out a portion to fry up without having to wrestle with a big frozen clump. If I'd had an onion on hand, I would have gone ahead and shredded it with the kohlrabi. Oh well, I'm sure there will be more before the season's up. I love that I'm eating such fresh food right now, and stocking up my freezer with organic, local food as well. In the long run, this really does save money. Happy gardening and eating!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fabric Design

Hi all. This link is from my sister, Erin. It's a really creative blog called Portabellopixie from fabric designer Sandi Henderson. I love just browsing through the photographs of beautiful fabric (see above), but there are also patterns to buy as well as free patterns and tutorials (my fav. are the rolled roses). Have fun and make sure to browse her flickr groups too for other fun sites and shops.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cheap and Easy Bath Toy Project

OK, so this barely counts as a project since it took about one minute to do, but I thought I'd share the idea anyway. I've been meaning to find a better way to store the baby's bath toys since I've been keeping them in a bucket that doesn't drain or air out the wet toys. I looked at bath toy storage options online and just couldn't' bring myself to spend the money. I'm also trying to change my mindset that I need something new--this blog is all about looking around at what we already have for inspiration.

Then, while I was doing laundry and wondering how I accumulated so many lingerie mesh bags, the idea hit me. I simply found some leftover ribbon (this one's made of a natural fiber and has wire, but it doesn't really matter), cut the mesh on either side enough to thread the ribbon through, and there you go. No cost, not a lot of time. If you don't have a towel bar in your bathtub like I do, see what you could use in the space. For example, if you have a small window you could get an inexpensive tension rod and create a window covering at the same time. Or, you could tie this to the bottom of a shower-head caddy.

It's been a busy week, I promise to be more inventive next week!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sew Darn Great Book

I'm in love with a new sewing book I bought yesterday called Sew Darn Cute . Ari and I had a fun-filler mommy/baby day at Joseph Beth bookstore here in Lexington. We sang and read books at Baby Story time (Ari's best friend Jade was there too!) and then we had an impromptu, very indulgent lunch in the cafe.

I know I haven't written about this before now, but I should just come out and say that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February. The cancer was not in my lymph nodes and even though I'm still waiting to find out if I'll need chemo, I'm doing great. I have been fighting with my insurance and surgeon all week over a bill for my mastectomy I had 8 weeks ago, so itsy-bitsy spider, lunch, and shopping for craft books was a great way to get my mind off of everything going on here (and in California, but that's for Kandyce to talk about). There's just something about looking at craft books, or swatches of fabric--or anything else that get the creative ideas flowing, you know? Puts me in a good mood.

One more thing--I've since realized that the author of my book find also hosts a website and blog of the same name. She has great ideas for simple projects for baby, the home, clothes and accessories. Great for beginners like me. Now, I just need the baby to start going to bed early again so I can try some of these things out!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Flowers

I am so glad May is here too--thanks for your post, Kandyce, and the wonderful ideas. If anyone is looking for a beautiful book on how to make paper flowers, check out Susan Tierney Cockburn's book, "Paper Bouquets: Using Paper Punches to Create Beautiful Flowers" by Lark Books. (I'm not just saying that because my mom is the author and artist behind these amazing flowers--it's really a wonderful book)!

Ari and I are loving "walking in our garden" each morning. Here's a picture of Ari walking with his Grammy(the artist herself) the week she was vising and helping put in the front garden. After all of the rain and warm days we've had here in Kentucky, the flowers have really taken off and filled in. I'll take a picture in a few weeks when the bulbs come in.

Happy May Day!!

Today is the first day of May!! This is exciting in my family for many reasons. First, my oldests' birthday is in 12 days. She will be a whopping 13. Now, I know what your thinking, "It can't be true?!" Well it is. And unfortunately it means that my days of having my little girl at home with me are quickly dwindling. (Dramatic pause, sigh, wiping of tear) . Any hoo, the second reason we like May is because it means that it will probably not snow too much more here in sunny Colorado and outdoor fun can go on and on and on. Third, it is also a month dedicated to Mary, which in our Catholic family means honoring our Blessed Mother. I was thinking of planting a Mary's Garden this month when the weather warms up a bit.

So, in honor of this May Day we are making paper flowers and delivering them to friends and neighbors. The tradition is that you play a type of ding dong ditch and leave the flowers as a consolation gift. If you get caught you are supposed to get a kiss. This definately sounds like a game for the boys. My girls wouldn't mind the kiss one bit. Actually neither would the boys... Oh well, its all about giving, right?

Have a lovely May Day!!