Monday, December 28, 2009

My First Dress

I finally ventured deep into garment sewing other than pajamas and the occasional hemming (by my standards this is venturing in) and I created a sheath dress. I think I did okay, except I think the pattern was not the right size and I did not fully measure myself properly so I don't have as much room as I would have liked. However, I think I did pretty good overall. The fabric pattern looks good and I decide to go out of my comfort zone with the color and chose red. This is the Simplicity Easy-to-sew 3532 version C. I have many more patterns that I want to try out. Like they say PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT (well almost that is)

Not sure if you could tell, but the dress is hanging on a duct tape dress form that my husband helped me with over the weekend. Boy, let me tell ya, it is tight and hot putting on duct tape and a little dizzy too. Glad it is over. It came out pretty good, except for the stuffing part and taping up the seam, it seemed that I could not get enough stuffing to make it level out well. I suggest this to anyone as it helped me to see as I went along how the pattern would look.

Well, I hope everyone had a wondering holiday season and I am very much looking fowarded to 2010. ENJOY and be SAFE!!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ethel Gloves

I previously talked about the Ethel Gloves back on. I received my new gloves last month and I was so excited to receive them. Ethel Gloves is now going to offer the XL size and they fit great. My wrists are a little bigger than normal so they are a little snug there, but overall they fit very well (so much that I hate gardening in them when it is muddy outside, which it has been for the last few weeks). I suggest if you would like to be stylish in the garden as well as use gloves that are very functional during the process, these are the gloves for you. They are so reasonably priced, delivery is quick, and above all they seem like a second skin when you wear them (no slipping while performing your gardening duties). I noticed when using my gardening tools, there is no excess material to get in the way and you can grip the tool with no problem. I am so used to getting gloves at the local big box store and they don't fit properly and you spend more time pulling them back up on your hand or clearing dirt out of the inside.

I really like them. Maybe you can let Santa know these are what you want and I am sure if you have been good, maybe even slighlty good, or maybe you thought about being good, you will have them under the tree :>

Thanks again Kimberly and everyone at Ethel, you all have been great and so thoughtful through the whole process.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I went to my graduation potluck for Citizen Garden on Thursday. I completed the course with over 26 hours of volunteer time. The event was very nice and we all brought recipes fixed with things from our garden or local farmers market. I am proud of myself and very glad that I took the course. I learned so much, but most of all the people I have met through volunteering has formed relationships to last. I recommend to everyone to at least try gardening, but above all give back to your community and I am sure if there is nothing in your community, there is one that could use your time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Do you think?

1:45pm-Well my husband was right, can't believe I just said that.....we only got about 10 little snow flurries and that was it, maybe something will happen tonight since they are forecasting a freeze, YEAH RIGHT, did I just say that.

1:00pm-I see snow flurries out of my office window.....WELL it's close.

It is supposed to snow today in Austin, Texas. My husband says "YEAH RIGHT", my daughter and I on the other hand are very optimistic and we have all things crossed that it will snow. It does not happen that often and for us when it hails that is snowing. HA HA.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Early Christmas Gift

Thanks to my husband, I received an early Christmas gift. You see I am directionally challenged and I own up to it, so he got me a Garmin nuvi 255W GPS system. It works great. I highly recommend it to anyone who is like me. I can read a map and I can usually get somewhere with no problem, but sometimes when you map items through the various websites that provide step by step driving directions, they leave off key things and you can easily miss a side street that you need. The Garmin so far has done a great job. The great thing about it, is that we were able to get it for considerably less due to Black Friday sales "literally" down to a couple of hours that night on line. Also, I must say the voice that is used is very understandable and not that tech-tronic voice you normally hear and you can't understand everything that is being said. My Garmin will be used tremendously.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I had a moment...

I went to the grocery store finally last night to get my Thanksgiving cooking items (I know you are saying what... you waited this long, well I have been real busy at work and things are just crazy) and I finally got to my last item which was eggs. Well as most people do, I check the date and I also check to see if any are broken. Well, I started checking the dates and noticed the 19th, 5th, 10th, etc. I was getting upset because I could not imagine this store was selling out of date eggs. So I thought to myself maybe it is just this brand of eggs (which I love), so I moved to the next brand and the dates were 3rd, 5th, etc. I was on my way to find a manager to let them know that they were selling out of date eggs and how hazardous that could be to people. I stopped to form what I was going to say....Sir, how can you be selling eggs that expire December 5th, 19th, etc. when it is November 24th, I can't imagine that you don't know that these items are out of date.....Well did you catch what I was saying to myself.....I was thinking the dates on the eggs were for November when in actuality they were for December...NEXT MONTH. I chucked to myself and thanked GOD that I did not embarrass myself and did not lay my wrath on some unsuspecting grocery store worker.

Okay, I know.....enough said.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ready To Sew Bernina-2008 Fire & Ice BOM Club

Well I am finally getting an understanding of this quilting thing and I am starting to get more feet for my beginner machine (took some research, but I'm getting there). This was lasts years blocks and my first block of the month club and introduction to quilting. Through this block of the month clubs, I learned so much about piecing together blocks. Sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out, but other time I was like "SO that's how its done". OKAY. I have to now place it into a format for my quilt and finish it. I am not sure if I should use black sashing so the reds and yellows will pop. I think using white will make the quilt look odd. Just not sure.

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Baby Quilt

Well I finished a quilt for a coworker. This will be her 2nd child and it is a girl. I could not resist this cute pink and brown fabric (even if it has skunks in the pattern, it make the skunks look cute) to make this quilt. I made it as simple as possible as I was trying to do some designs on the top and this would be my first time other than stitch in the ditch. I use a real pretty pink thread for the quilting and I think I did all right. Unfortunately, due to the business of the pattern you may not be able to see it in the photos.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I just had to laugh...

This weekend while cleaning up around the garden bed and compost bin, what did I find? Well it seems that I may have dropped some seeds while putting my bolted basil plants into my overflow compost bin because on the ground, I had sweet basil growing among the weeds. I just burst out laughing. The reason I laughed is that no matter what, if it wants to grow, it will grow. Also, it was not like I was trying to grow it, the rains that we have had made it great for the plant to survive.

Has this ever happened to you?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's New To My Flower Beds (Fall 2009)

This past weekend, I took some time out to plant these bulbs in my garden. I am really hoping they will do well and I will have these beautiful flowers to come up in the spring.


Bearded Iris-
I think these purple and baby blue iris plants will look great in my yard.

I received these plants while volunteering at a local botanical garden a few months back:
Coleus-At first I thought it would not survive as it had wilted considerably, however I decided not to give up and this is what it looks like within a few months.

I just planted these in my flower bed this past weekend. Hopefully they will do well in the Texas winter, I will add another layer of mulch to my beds this weekend to hopefully protect against in undue coldness.

Palmetto-I am going to call it a dwarf palmetto for now as it is a toss up between that and a Sabal Mexicana Palm.

Drummond's Wild Petunia-I did not think this plant would make it, but all of a sudden it started producing small purple flowers that looked amazing. I think my dog is brushing up against the pot because when I come home the flowers are laying in the soil of the pot, unless it is a strong wind. Just not sure.

Mexican Blackeye-It has not flowered yet, so we are not sure if this is exactly what it is. Can't wait to see the flowers and to plant it in my flower bed.

I am really enjoying myself with gardening and trying new things. I try to grow anything I get my hands on. I just love it when my yard is alive with activity...plants growing, flowers blooming, and bees and birds enjoying it all.

Ethel Gloves

I was so excited to come across these gloves while reading the blog at chiotsrun, I had been searching for a nice pair of gloves, not just my husbands old gloves and not the ones that you basically use one time and throw away (because of digging in wet soil). Well I sent my husband a *hint hint* e-mail for a possible Christmas give last month with the link to ethel gloves and low and behold I received not just one pair but two beautiful pair this month. I was jumping for joy. They are truly beautiful gloves. However, and I say this with sadness, I discovered well lets just say the roundness of my hands were a little larger than the largest size they had would accommodate. I pondered for a few days on what to do because they were so nice. Well finally earlier this week I e-mailed their customer service and explained my dilemma and asking what I needed to do to return the gloves, well to my surprise I received an e-mail not to soon after I sent it...letting me know they were sorry to hear the gloves did not fit and they would send me a pre-paid return label to send the gloves back. WOW that was just way cool, no hassle returns. Also, the lady told me they were in the process of making XL gloves and she would let me know when they were available so that I could order those. That is what customer service is all about....understanding your customers, offering help on fixing the problems and then offering to keep in touch later. Thanks again Ethel Gloves/Kimberly.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Paper Piecing

I created my first paper piece item. I am so proud of myself (so that I have waited this long to post :). I took a class at Honey Bee Quilt Store in Austin and the teacher Jennifer Ofenstein/blog is truly amazing (you should see her Harry Potter piecing). She broke down the process so that I could understand and she was always checking on us to make sure we were not lost. I learned so much in just the one class, see first project made below:

I created these right after the class and I am really getting the hang of it.

Paper piecing is really not as scary as I thought and I will continue to add elements of it in my sewing/quilting. Thanks Jennifer & Honey Bee.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's In The Vegetable Garden Now (Fall 2009)

Box 1:
*Onion (seedlings)
*2 Bell pepper (left over from last season, but still have viable fruit)

Box 2:
*3 Bell pepper (left over from last season, start to fruit, I grew these from seed)
*Jalapeno pepper (left over from last season, I thought it was done producing, but as soon as I took the tomato plants out, it started blooming and fruiting again).
*Mixed lettuce (from seed) Noticed that I may have to lay more seed as not all germinated.
*Romaine lettuce (seedling)
*Arugula (from seed) Started this indoors and moved outside recently

Box 3: (this box is from items that I help seed and transplant with a non-profit volunteer program, I was able to bring home some of the left overs, I did have to add more seed to take place of the failed plants as they were used to being in a green house)
*Spinach (seedling and seed)
*Kale (seedling)
*Cabbage (seedling and seed)
*Collard Greens (seedling)
*Mustard Greens (seedling)
*Carrots (from seed)
*Radish (from seed
*Onions (from seed)
*Swiss Chard (seedling)
*Broccoli (seedling and seed)

Stand alone:
*Sweet potato (I grew these from splits from store bought potatoes, they are growing like crazy and I am so ready to pick them, but I will be patient
*Mixed green beans (seed) (Now that these are real good size seedlings, I found out that I may have been over zealous in starting these now as it may not be the season).
*Snow peas (seed) (plated these today)
*2 Cherry Tomato (seedling) I am still trying to get tomatoes, it may be futile, but I am going to keep trying.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall Is Here In Texas

YAHOOOOO!!!!!, it is now fall in Texas. I was dying with the over 50 continuous days of triple digit heat. My garden felt it (needless to say this was my first year doing a garden, what was I thinking, glad I did, so that I have that experience under my belt). I am so looking forward to gardening in the fall weather. I heard that in Texas this is the perfect weather to garden. I have many things already planted and they are starting to take hold. I decided to try planting a lot of my plants from seed. However, while at Home Depot one day I saw that they had quite a bit of their fall seedlings available, so I had to take some home. I will have to keep you all updated on the progress. Hope your garden does well this year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Peper Jelly

This weekend I had some time on my hands and decided to finally make some pepper jelly for my husband and father-in-law. Well I was nervous as this is not something that I will eat and had never tasted before. I got the recipe off the Ball box of liquid pectin and started on my way. It ended up making way more than number of small jars I had could have used 2 more small jars, but had a large jar on hand and decided to use that. My husband said it taste good and taste similar to what he had when he was in Georgia as a kid. I really enjoyed making it once I got over the scare of the liquid boiling over the pot (all I could see was me in the hospital having to explain....I was attempting to make pepper jelly). Funny now that I look back on it.

Is this Midew? (Update)

Update to Is this Midlew? (Originally posted 07/29/09) Well, I took out one of the plants that looked the worst and replaced it with another plant from a pot that seemed to suck all the liquid from the plant when I watered. Can you believe this is less than 2 weeks later. I already have zucchini (quite a few). I should have some to pick in a week or so. This is amazing. Also, I think by putting in a soaker hose in the raised bed really helped with mildew, since the root of the plant was getting the water and not the leaves.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Garden-Update

Well over last week, I surveyed the garden more closely since it has been so hot and this being my first year gardening, I wanted to see what type of changes occur during this time.

Keep in mind that I now know how important it is to keep track of dates so you know if things should already be ready, next planting season this will be monitored

Carrots-I decided to pull these to see if maybe I had anything (since it had been a few months since seeding/sprouting, well I have micro mini carrots, none edible. I pulled them all to make room to plant my tomato plants. BUMMER, just like the radishes

Lettuce-Way to hot to continue trying to grow these, so I pulled them and planted another tomato plant in its place.

Lima Beans-Nothing so far, I saw flowers, but no beans have formed. Seems to be the story of my garden. Here is a recent photo of them. I think they may be done for, not sure. I still see lots of flowers, but no beans.

Tomato plants-I have a total of 3 yellow tomato plants that I did from seed, only one lonely tomato is forming. I battle the tomato horn worms daily, you think you picked them all the night before and the next day, BAM you see more. I decided to use a safe caterpillar killer, I know this may affect butterflies, but I am loosing my tomatoes due to the horn worms (I thought by now the birds would have started to eat the worms, but I guess not).

Peppers-My hot and bell peppers have produced all season long. Next season, I won't plant as many, maybe just one plant of each kind. My family don't like green bell peppers that much and the others colors won't be eaten as fast, so I will have to think about the ones to plant.

Strawberry Jam

Last month I tried my hand at doing a little preserving. I took a class in June on preservation/storage of food. I did not have strawberries in my garden, so I picked up some frozen ones, because the fresh I had prior to this were not all that great. I followed the directions on the pectin package by Ball. The process was very easy and fast. After letting the frozen strawberries thaw enough to mash them, it took 30-40 minutes for the whole process and most of that time was letting the mixture in the individual containers set up. The great thing is that they last up to 1 year in the freezer and 3 weeks in the fridge. I have plans for other fruits to make into preserves. You should try it. Since we already had some store bought jam in the fridge, all 5 of the containers went to the freezer. My father-in-law will receive 2 of these.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Garden-Cucumbers (UPDATE-2)

Update To My Garden-Cucumbers (Originally posted 06/07/09 and 06/29/09) Well I have lost all the cucumber plants as of yesterday the last one died on me. When I started noticing the last one going, I started planting a new large pot with seeds and hopefully I will have at least one edible cucumber this year. If not hopefully in the future planting seasons. Oh my was I hoping to pickle some up. Oh Well, live and learn.

Is this mildew?

Is this some type of mildew? I planted the squash from seed and now I am seeing the white spots on the plants. I thought it was because the leaves are touching the soil, but really am not sure. I have 2 squash plants next to each other and the other one only has a few leaves with the white spots, but this one looks the worst. Are there remedies that I can put together or do I need to buy something from the garden center? Can I pull them and plant something else in that spot or do I have to wait a long time? These are in a raised bed with other types of plants. Also, if the problem was caused because they touch the soil, how can I raise them up without having this be a problem, rocks, etc.? Thanks.

My Garden-Blossom End Rot?

I have been noticing on my peppers (bell peppers too) that some of them have these brown spots and at first I thought that a bug was attacking them, but the problem was very inconsistent. So last night I finally did some research and took these photos. Some people say they think they have sunburn then others say blossom end rot. My only problem is that the brown parts are not on the end, they are sometimes on the middle top, etc. These plants are in a raised bed and due to the weather (41 days of triple digit weather) I have been watering almost every day. In the research I have had people have cut out the brown spots and ate the rest of the plant. My question is, what should I do to stop it, are these still edible? I bought shade cloth and can put that on stakes over the plant if sun is the problem (as I have direct sunlight all day (no trees to shade the plants), if it is a fungus of some sort, what can I buy to stop it? I mulched earlier this year, but it has since flattened out, should I mulch again (I used alfalfa mulch that I got a feed store)? Any information that you may have will be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the quality of the photos.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Garden-Vistors (UPDATE)

UPDATE to My Garden-Visitors (originally posted 06/14/09), my one and only dill plant was totally devoured in about a week and now all the caterpillars are gone. I hope they did not meet the demise of the purple martins and other birds I had flying around my yard......

My Garden-Cucumbers (UPDATE)

Update to My Garden-Cucumbers (originally posted 06/07/09), After replanting my over seeded cucumber plant into 7 different plants, I got a rather deformed cucumber on one plant and a couple more other cucumbers (however they were rather wrinkly and I was very skeptical of eating them, to the compost bin they went). I lost 2 plants, so I put more seeds in them and they have sprouted already (probably due to the rather hot days we have had). I think one more plant will have to be pulled to the compost bin as well, does not look that well. I was very excited to see the 3 cucumbers that I did get and it saddens me that I could have already been enjoying them by now and have made pickles, but you LIVE AND LEARN.

My Garden-Fall Planting Planning

I know it is early to be thinking of what I will be planting for the fall season, but since I am new to this, I wanted to sit down with a spreadsheet and see what type of time frame I had for starting my seeds to when they go into the ground. I now know that I have to start thinking about where I want to order my seeds from so that I am not left without anything or having to use less than good seeds. WOW it is a lot of work and you really only have a short window of time to get your plants started and then you have to worry if you have an unexpected season change. I still can't fathom how it was done in the Olden days, but then again that was all they knew (no hoping down to the local grocery store to get fresh (or some semblance there of) of fresh produce, if you did not plant it you did not have it so to speak). I really hope that next year I can get some tomatoes (I won't be doing the upside down method), there must have been something that I did wrong and I hate to have a whole season go by if I can't figure out what it is. Thanks to emilyrhp, her blog helps the beginner get an understanding of the whole process. Nothing like looking at real life photos and reading others comments on how they are doing with their garden, especially one on a smaller scale, like mine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Garden-Visitors

Well I noticed on Friday that I had some caterpillars on my dill plant, I was about to spray this off when something told me to investigate (remember self, there are beneficial bugs in the garden, no matter how creepy crawly they are). Well after some research, I discovered these many (and I mean at least 10 on a very small recently planted, less than a month, dill plant) caterpillars may be Swallowtail Butterflies I plan to leave them alone and see what happens. So far they are not migrating to any other plants in the raised bed. Also, it will be nice to know that I allowed another generation of butterflies to survive. And if they are not what they seem to be, I will know as well and then I will have to call on my husband to take care of business. I hope I don't have to do that (as I so eloquently explained to them). The photo of them is not that great (still researching for my next camera).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is This Pay Back?

I have been having a rough month so far (all the way around) and today I was looking forward to the nice salad I made for lunch this morning with some stuff from my garden that I picked fresh this morning (arugula and mixed lettuces, I also picked one very small radish) I added tomatoes (mine are not coming in yet to eat), english cucumber, carrots and some grapes. Well I finally sat down to eat my lunch (which was very late for me) at 1:30 and guess what I found on the very top of the salad looking at me when I took off the lid......a very unhappy green caterpillar. Why you say did I know that it was unhappy because it left me a nice surprise on the cucumber next to it (you can guess what that was). Well that went in the trash. I then went downstairs to our lovely cafeteria (not lovely and not so much edible either) to order a hamburger (figured very tough cooked meat was safer than a caterpillar) and guess what.......they ran out of meat. OH MY GOODNESS. So my lovely lunch today is a bag of Cheetos and a sprite.

The reason I say this must be punishment is because of the 3 tomato horn worms I had killed earlier this week and then I used some "natural" caterpillar killer on some of my plants last night before the big huge thunderstorm we had.

All I can say is laugh or you cry. HA HA

Monday, June 8, 2009


I just so happen to find 3 Tomato Horn Worms on my tomato plant. I also found some droppings in my pepper plant and was wondering what bird did that. After research and the discover this morning, I now know who the culprit was. I was so disgusted, I had to call my husband to come and help me (or should I say take care of them because I was not touching them even with a stick). I already read those suckers are hard to pull off, because they hold on for dear life and try to bite back. I thought my husband was just joking with me when he said the thing was trying to bite through the glove.

I know you say, you better develop some thick skin because this is nothing. Oh my gosh, I am still reliving the moment when I discovered the bug. GROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Earlysnowdrop has a video on her blog of the crazy looking worm

Also here is another website I found

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My Garden-Cucumbers

This is how my sad cucumber plant looked prior to separating it. I really hope this works. I hate to have to throw the plants in the compost bin. I made the BIG mistake of planting almost a who seed packet of cumbers in one pot. I could not understand why the plants would wilt so fast after watering them. Turns out the many plants were competing for water as well as space. I was so surprised when I pulled the plant out of the pot the whole thing came out together with no problem. The roots were in real good shape.

Before (poor plants)

After separating the plant I made 7 separate pots, could have made more, but did not have any more pots. Plus I hope at least 2 of the pots work out. I will surely know how to do this next year. Sorry for the dark photos, I lost daylight as I was finishing up the potting. Glad to have gotten it all done after work. I had to wait until this weekend to add stakes.


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