Thursday, January 12, 2012

Surprise In The Garden

During my cleanup this past weekend (meaning I finally got around to doing it), I realized the sweet potato bucket needed to be emptied (technically it should have been emptied prior to the first frost, but life got in the way and we had 2 back to back frost come in too quick for me to do anything in the garden.  I just left everything alone.  I figured the potatoes had turned to mush or something, but when I brushed away a few inches of soil, I found a couple of potatoes.  I then took hold of a dead vine and pulled it and about 4-5 small potatoes were attached.  I thought this can't be true (only my 2nd year growing sweet potatoes).  So I started to clear more and more soil and low and behold this is what I found.  I don't have a scale to weight them, but that won't be a problem, because once they are peeled and seasoned (to become sweet potato fries) and put in baggies to go in the freezer for later use,  they won't be around long of enough to worry about the weight.  To see what bucket was emptied see my video here.

The photo above is the largest potato in the bunch.
I have to thank my daughter for helping mom out (well technically she was paying off a debt instead of paying me in cash, she paid me in labor, shhhhh don't tell Department of Labor you know child labor laws and all).  She pulled all the dead plants from about 7-8 beds (ranged from medium to large beds), chopped them up to be thrown away (my compost bins runneth over, that is the next project to figure out a better system since my trash can system is not working out so well).  She also helped me (sew) another mesh covering for my greenery bed (still pictures and what I did to come in case you want to give it a try).  The next project she will help me with if I can wait (since she has an all day business competition next Saturday and then SAT test the following Saturday) is to lay 6-7 bags of mulch on the garden floor (to prevent grass from growing) and clean up the flower beds around the house.  I am so ready for spring to come (but not the 100 degree temps of summer last year).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do You Know the Difference?

I came across this post and I found it truly informative.  I have just started seeing it appear more and more in patterns I wish to make from appliqueing, bags, etc.  I love the fact that Ashley includes brief project examples of how to use either interfacing, fusible adhesive, and fusible web and the close up shots of what each one looks like (back and front) helps you understand what you will feel and see when trying to decide.  Have you ever wondered what was the difference between these (keep in mind there are several different companies that make them, so you will have to experiment which you like best), well Ashley has broke it down for you.  I have seen racks of various types interfacing at my local craft store and they were all different and I was baffled on what I needed, also I was curious if I should buy more or different types when they are on sale or when I have a 50% coupon, well this post helps me.  The next thing to do now is test it out.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Summary of 2011 Events and Stuff

I wanted to take a few minutes to recap how my 2011 went (and boy did it go by fast).  I slacked off a few months on updating my life taking know how that happens.  The memorable events of 2011:
  • Knitted my first shawl, completed a full size quilt (including the quilting) for my husband.
  • Loaded all of my loose knitting patterns, magazines and books into
  • Completed my goal (well it started with 25 in May when first started tracking and ended with 100) of reading/listening to 100 books before the end of 2011.  Next year my goal will include half of them being classic books.
  • Daughter had all 4 of her wisdom teeth removed.  This was her first introduction to being put under and dealing with stitches and above all not being able to talk like the wants to.  Not sure if the no talking was a bad thing, just kidding.
  • Participated in my first "judged quilt challenge" for a charity group.  I made a quilt out of batiks (not a fan of that fabric).  I did not win, but it was truly gratifying to have to come up with a quilt with a specific theme and have it looked at by people.
  • My garden was destroyed (except for 1 bed that contained greens, Brussels sprouts and chard) due to a continuous 3 night frost.  I had tons of plants with tomatoes and peppers that were almost done and some just starting to ripen.  I know that I took a chance with a few new plants, but that was way to quick.  Luckily enough a few days prior to this freeze I took off a lot of the peppers that were ready and today I am still using them (I chopped them up and put all in separate zip lock bags).
  • Presented and attended my first Quilt University for my local quilt guild.  My booth instructed people on how to choose a pattern.  The Quilt University took a new quilter from the beginning to the end of making a quilt.
  • Built floating cold frame/enclosure for my future lettuce/greens that consisted of window screen and stitching together with cotton twine (pictures will soon come).
  • At the end of summer we ended up having around 90 days of consecutive 100+ degree temperatures.
  • Installed drip irrigation in garden.  It is not the greatest and I still have a few little things to do, but it works.
  • Tried growing "personal size" watermelon and they got to be about softball size and then all rotted.  Don't think the location was conducive to them.  Will try again next year.
  • Completed building all the vegetable boxes I needed in my garden and layed down about 1-2 inches of mulch on the garden floor bed to cut down on weeds, grass, etc.
  • Inventoried all my books and uploaded into  Turns out I own over 700 books.  I had to purchase 2 more bookcases to try and coral them all, that did not work.  I have since decided to give away the books that are no longer needed by me and that I know I won't re-read and that my daughter/husband aren't interested in.  I am trying to get it down to just 1 full bookcase at any given time that looks presentable.
  • Inventoried all sewing patterns onto an Excel spreadsheet and uploaded to my phone so that I don't purchase duplicate copies.
  • Converted to the IPhone world.  Never thought I would, but I did.
  • Inventoried seeds onto an Excel spreadsheet and uploaded to my phone so that I am always in the know of what seeds are needed.
  • After returning from New York was sick as a dog (dying dog at that) ended up with the flu for a few days and then into the hospital for a few days with pneumonia.  Oh what joy.
  • My daughter and I went on our first airplane ride ever (and even without my husband) and out of state to boot.  My daughter's band was invited to New York to perform and also the band directors included a few days of recreational fun for the students.
  • Attended first quilt retreats locally, next will be to go away to a retreat for a few days.
  • My daughter got her first "paying" job over the summer.  It was a joy to see her budgeting and spending her own money for a change.
  • Discovered audio books and found that I can get through 1 almost every day.
  • Had a tooth pulled, although in hindsight I think I should have gotten a second opinion, not to worry will be switching back to my dentist of over 8 years (long story).
  • Started back knitting and the obsession begins.
  • Decided this was the year to venture out and meet others and join various groups to expand my crafting, charity events, but above all to meet others.
Completed Projects 2011:
[3 x 6] Sampler Quilt Mini Bee-Flickr Group, 1st Qtr 2011 (Beehive 22), signed up 11/20100 (runs 01/2011-03/2011)  Must be mailed by 03/31/11.  Completed 3 of the 6 blocks needed (02/11/11)  Mailed 03/21/11.  

quiltingimaginations-Yahoo Group, Signature Block Swap, signed up 11/2010 (runs 01/15/11-04/30/11)  Mailed 01/27/11.   May do a miniature wall hanging or a mug rug.

scratchingpost-Yahoo Group, 2011 Birthday Club, signed up 11/2010 (runs 01/2011-12/31/2011).  Completed 12/2011

Mug Rug Swap Must be mailed by 02/21/11.  1 rug, pending completion of binding/label and 2nd rug needs to be quilted/binding/label.  Mailed 02/11/11.

quiltingforall-Yahoo Group, Spring Tulip Table Runner, due by February 28th for voting.  Completed 02/17/11.


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