Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weather...First Frost??????

I am not sure if Friday night (11/26/10) was considered the first freeze of the season or not.  I woke up Saturday morning to frost on the protective covering to the plants and lots of my flowering plants were black (time to trim them back).  However, the weather is being predicted to be at or below freezing tonight 30s in Austin and in surrounding towns mid to high 20s.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed the chilly weather in the late afternoon as Austin received it along with crazy wind.  Mine started off all wrong, but overall it was a good day.

I woke up Thanksgiving morning prepared to enjoy good food and visiting with family and friends.  Around 5:30AM (we are earlier risers everyday) as I was going through my normal routine, my husband came and asked me to help him with something in the kitchen, he needed me to take a look to see if he was seeing something correctly (I immediately thought some SNAKE or RAT had invaded the home, not looking forward to seeing what it was).  As I entered the kitchen, I saw tons of pantry food on the cabinets.  I said WHAT THE (all I could think of was the work that would be involved in taking care of whatever it was that he saw).  He said take a look at this and tell me what you think.  I immediately knew what it was....weevil (WE EVIL).  HOW IN THE .....did they get in my pantry, then you know how in movies where you see flashbacks, I knew exactly how I got them.....
  • About 2-3 months ago someone gave me some wheat crackers to try out.  I put them in my pantry when I got home (Friday) then on Sunday I decided to try the crackers with some peanut butter and asked my daughter to make them for me (as she was making a PB&J herself).  She came to me and said mom is this normal and I saw weird casings in the folds of the cracker container and some dead bugs.  I said no sweet heart, put them all in the trash.  I did not think twice about it after that.
  • Last month we started seeing bugs flying in the house.  I thought OH NO my plants have gnats again (last time I got gnats, I lost all but 2 of my plants around 10 of them) and I felt so bad because I guess I over watered the plants (did not do the finger test).  So I figured well there goes my last 2 plants.  After looking at the bugs more carefully, they were not gnats, but much bigger and they did not seem to bite when they landed on you (can't say 100%).  We were dealing with these bugs for about a month and it was driving me crazy because I could not figure out where they were coming from and what they were let alone how to get rid of them (never thought about grabbing my camera or a baggie to put them in to investigate later, just wanted to kill them).
  • About 5 days prior to Thanksgiving, my husband went to use some Basil and saw a bunch of bugs inside of the container (I started buying my seasonings from the weigh-it section of the grocery store), I could not figure out what they were since they were green (I guess from the basil).  We are supposed to seal all containers tightly before you put them away (mainly to prevent something from going stale), but hey it happens sometimes, so I think that is how they got into the container (unless I did not notice them when I poured the seasoning from the baggie to the seasoning jar).
  • About 3 days prior to Thanksgiving, my daughter told us that when she went to get something from the pantry that in the bag where we store the plastic bags from the grocery store to reuse as trash bags, bugs flew out of them.  I figured, maybe a bug got into the pantry and flew out when the door opened.
Well all reality hit on Thanksgiving morning.  Everything and I mean everything was pulled from the pantry and investigated from top to bottom, inside and out and dates were checked.  Everything was opened and poured out to look through, put into separate plastic containers or zip lock bags.  We had an assembly line going (of course my 15 year old did not like being awaken at 7:00AM to help (but do they really)).  My husband pulled the items out and put on the dinning room table, I then went and picked up a group of things, inspected it, wiped it down, etc. and put on 2nd counter for my daughter to dry off and put on the breakfast table (mind you these are all separate rooms, trying to contain the problem).  My husband wiped down the walls and shelves inside the pantry and my daughter wiped down the door inside and out.  The pantry was swepted and mopped and left to air dry while we finished doing the food.  We ended up with a kitchen size trash bag and a black outdoor garbage bag of trash.  Nothing went back in there that was not encased in something plastic.  I figured if they appear at least it will be easy to see where they are coming from and I can discard that product.  I will have to get used to my bread being in the refrigerator (don't like cold bread, but I am sure I will get use to it).  I was so hurt to throw away so much food (a few items were about to expire, but most of it was recent purchases or the expiration date was far off, but it had been invaded).

We had never had this problem before and we have been in this house going on what felt like 100 11 years.  We felt so invaded and just kept wondering what had we been eating before...as my husband always says nothing like a little protein (GROSS).

If the weevils did not come from those crackers then these are the only other ways that I can come up with:
  • Food from grocery store had them.
  • My vegetables that I bring in from the garden have them.
  • Some other product we brought into the house had them.
Have you ever had these before, if so what did you do to get rid of them and what do you do to keep them away?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weather Forcast 11/25/10-12/1/10

I guess this means a nightly routine of covering the plants will begin tonight.  I just checked the 7 day forecast as I heard that a front would be coming in about this time and this is the forecast predicted.  If it is cold in Austin it is even colder where I am at.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and you have the opportunity to visit with family and friends to share your reasons for Thanks.  Oh also eat to your hearts content (save room for desert).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weighted Pin Cushion

Earlier today I completed the Weighted Pin Cushion by Elizabeth from Oh, Franson.  The pattern can be located at Sew Mamma. I had this on "current projects" list for almost a year.  I had not used fusible interfacing before and wanted to learn more about it before I dove into this project.  The project came together quite quickly.  I now can say that I like fusible interface.  I picked up a value pack on sale/coupon at Joann's and you get 15"X3 yards and I only used a sliver of it.  I have lots more for other projects.

I did have to refer to some of the pictures a little more closely to ensure that I was reading the instructions properly and I found that was on the right track, however, overall it was a great project.

Completed waste bin, this was neat, I did the boxed corners and lining.  I think I will make a larger one and make a trash can for my car in a fabric that I like.

With a button.

I dd not put in the sewed lines for the pockets as I have trays on my table that holds most of my tools, however, I am using the pocket to hold feet for the sewing machine.
Instead of rice, I used rocks.  I had these and they did not work for the project I bought them for, so far they are working in this project.

TA DAH........
The only thing that I would have done differently on this project was to put the waste basket on the other side.

Thanks Oh Franson for sharing this tutorial I really appreciate it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Growing Culinary Herbs in Texas

On Saturday, November 12th, I attended an herb class that was offered by the Central Texas Horticulture at the American Botanical Council, presented by Vicki Blachman.  It was a great class.  I never knew so much about herbs and thought the 1 or 2 plants that I picked up and have been lucky enough to keep alive were the extent of my "herbal gardening".  Now I am adding herbs to my list of plants to purchase.  They truly flavor food dishes and also offer that certain look to your garden.  Some of the herbs such as Tarragon, Lavender, Mexican Mint Marigold, etc. add splendid color to your garden.  Also the herbs that remain green are beautiful as well, such as Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, etc.  They also add tremendous smells in your garden through wind and by the brief brush of them as your work or walk through your garden.  I truly recommend this class to anyone who is new to gardening.  Vicki also touched on preserving the herbs and she has made various flavored vinegars with the herbs in her garden (nothing goes to waste).

We also received this publication, which touches on information regarding herbs from the Texas Department of Agriculture-Go Texas.

If you are in the Austin area, I highly suggest that you bookmark the Central Texas Horticulture blog to keep updated on future classes.  I have taken several classes through them and even if you know a lot about gardening (not me) I think you will learn something new as well as meet other people who love to garden and also newbies who are always looking for someone to help them, that could be you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

AMQG: Block #1 (Friendship Star)

I completed my block #1, first block in the year long quilt-a-long for the Austin Modern Quilt Guild that I have recently joined.  I am trying to limit my use to scraps that I have on hand and then I can splurge to purchase fabric for any borders needed.  I missed a meeting due a scheduling conflict with my daughter's band practice.  Looking forward to the next meeting.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanks to my subscribers

I wanted to let my followers know that I am THANKFUL for you subscribing to my blog to read what I have to say.  It always shocks me to know that someone is interested in my ramblings and bad photo taking.  You are truly appreciated.

I also wanted to say THANK YOU to all those who post comments on my blog posts, the information/comments/suggestions/compliments you share is appreciated by this newbie.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

Thank you.

big B
Texas Red
myamiphil (under your profile, I could not get your blog address to come up)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Signature Block Swap

I have just signed up to participate in the Signature Block Swap, through quiltingimaginations through a YAHOO group.  This will be my first quilting type swap (looking forward to it).

This swap will entail using earth-tone fabrics and signing and dating your 3 1/2 inch blocks on the front.  Imagine how this quilt will look once put together.  You will have a quilt that was made from quilters all over the world.  If you would like to participate, please go to quiltingimaginations and join the group, then select the "Files" link (left side of page) and sign up.  The deadline to sign up is January 15th, with a mail out deadline of April 30th.  This seems like it will be a fun swap and the block construction is quite easy (seems like you can whip them out fairly quickly) the more people that join the more interesting it will be.

I already have an idea of how I will do my blocks.  I will put all the signed blocks in the middle and surround them with unsigned blocks then maybe an inner border of a light color then and outer border of a darker color.  Not sure yet, but my first idea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chores completed through 11/14/10

Here is a list of chores completed in the garden:
  • Watered and feed (with liquid food) all vegetables and plants in the back garden.
  • Potted up aloe vera, peace lilly, lemon blam, and sweet potato vine in front garden.
  • Expanded flower bed next to faucet in back garden.
  • Moved iris from pots to expanded flower bed in back garden
  • Also planted Muscari, Daffodil, Papewhite, Black Beaded Iris, and Dutch Iris bulbs to the expanded flower bed in back garden.
  • Shortened the hoops on the raised beds, 2 of them as the 3rd one currently has tomato plants that are real tall are are currently tied to those hoops to keep them upright (realized that the hoops were way to high and the row covers that I purchase for winter use is not utilized to its best because of all the air that gets in under the cover).  Be careful, got knocked in the side of the face once the PVC was cut, under pressure.
  • Layed mulch on the expanded flower bed and already established flower bed.
  • Removed the pepper plants, realized after looking at all the plants that there were only few bell peppers and jalapeno peppers, so was pointless to keep that bed dedicated to plants that was probably about to stop producing.  Amended the soil with more garden soil and added compost/granulated food in preparation for more greenery to be added.
  • Removed the eggplants (4).  As I was removing the last 2, I found a couple of small ones.  I had already pulled the plants and figured the fruit would not be able to mature before it gets too cold.  Took a long time for it to produce fruit.  Got LOTS of flowers though.  Next year will plant it in a different location and much earlier.  I found the tag for the eggplants they are Eggplant-Black Beauty, the tag says they have a 80 day maturity time frame, think I pulled them to early.  Now I know.  Here is what others say about this plant.
  • Moved one of the society garlic planters to the back porch after I found out that society garlic is good to deter mosquitoes (we will see).
Upcoming chores:
  • Weed within the enclosed garden bed.
  • Lay more mulch (if not more newspaper then mulch to kill off the grass).
  • As soon as frost appears, remove the remaining tomato and pepper plants (should be sometime in late November to December).
  • Purchase more winter row covers (at least 5)).
  • After tomatoes and peppers are removed, top off beds with compost and work into the soil.
  • Remove the Zinnias from front and back garden.
  • Move tender floral plants to the shed/garage as soon as frost is about to arrive.
  • Research why blueberries failed.
  • Update garden plan for Spring 2011 along with list of plants that did well this year to purchase again next year.
  • Begin list of plants and when to start from seed for Spring 2011.
  • Figure out layout plan for possible irrigation system in vegetable garden.
  • Research the building of cold frames, ensure the ones being built are interchangeable with existing raised beds.
  • Plant the following seeds (may not get good germination, but experiment, it is only seeds):
  1. Early Golden Acre Cabbage (sow September-May)
  2. Gala Mache (sow September-February)
  3. Micro Greens Spicy Mix (sow spring, summer or fall)
  4. Kale Red Winter (sow early spring, late summer or fall)
  5. Spinach, Baby's Leaf Hybrid, Harmony Hybrid, and Bloomsdale Long-Standing (sow early spring, late summer, and fall in the South)
To aid in germination, put a plastic top over the area for the seeds and then remove as soon as seedlings emerge.

Great Crafty Storage Ideas

I came across an article that gives various ways to organize and store your craft supplies.  In thinking of what I have in my craft room, I had already incorporated some of these ideas.  When I purchased my "faux" craft storage supplies, I did it because it was cheaper and did the job the same if not better than a name brand item.  What is cool about the items they list is they show you the before with an approximate cost then they show you the after and how they changed the item to fit in great with your craft room.  The items they show can be very expensive if purchased in a craft type store, but the options they give you can usually be found in your local hardware store or big box store in the sections that you would not normally visit for your craft storage.  You never know, there could be a gem waiting to be turned into a crafty storage system.

Quick and clever ideas for organizing craft supplies

Craft storage containers

Space tidy tabletop storage solutions

Some items I have revamp into crafty goodness:

This was from IKEA and it was a rack made for the tops of your pots/pans.  I use it to hold my quilting rulers.  I had to use some left over cardboard to hold some of the odd shaped and smaller rulers.

Got this at Wal-Mart in the automotive section for nuts and bolts, now holds my jewelry making supplies.

These are blocks in separate "Hefty Jumbo Bags" hanging from hangers.  This way I can pull out a bag to add a finished block or when I am done I can pull it out to work on the quilt top.  Keeps things clean and neat.

This is what I made into a ribbon holder.  I took a dowel (cut it in half), rubber bands and 4 curtain rod holders and made them to hold ribbon spools  Eventually I would like to replace the rubber bands with maybe some end caps, but the dowel is real small, so not sure if they have something like that.

This was an elephant that I found at a dollar store and I turned it into a pincushion which holds my needles with left over thread and my pins that have plastic heads (so I know not to use these when ironing).

I acquired this a few years back, it is a plate rack and I have turned it into a thread cone holder.  I will eventually paint it a different color (the gold is not for me) and I may decoupage the plates (they have a Christmas theme on them).

I got this from IKEA, it is used in the kitchen and it hangs from a metal bar (see the hanging mechanism to the the front).  I am  using that bar somewhere else so I used some left over picture hanging clamps and put it on my wall to hold my printer ink.
This metal grid is from the system that gives you tons of grids and the little plastic round connectors to make shoe racks, shelving units etc. It always fell apart, so I donated the system to Goodwill, but found this one left over in a closet, now it holds misc. items.  To attach what I need to it, I just use the black clips from office supply store.
 Like I said you can turn things into so many useful items for your craft room.  I am always looking to re-purpose something and not pay a hefty price for an item just because of a name.

I recently acquired this top and this base because I needed a table to support my vintage 66 Singer sewing machine.  The base made the table to low, so I remembered that I still had 2 legs left over from a sewing table that I created with IKEA legs and top (I ended up only needed 2 legs as my original sewing table, fell apart and the drawer unit was still good and that supported the other end of the table).  So I went to IKEA and picked up 2 more legs and which to my luck they were on sale for around $3.00 (originally $5.00) and now I have a VERY sturdy table for my somewhat heavy sewing machine.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Green Bag Lady Bags

In August I received 2 Green Bag Lady bags.  I use the green one to carry my projects to my quilting groups on Saturdays because it can hold a lot of things.  The red one is used to carry vegetables/fruit.  I just remembered that I had not taken a photo of the bags to share with everyone.  They are such simple bags, but are so very useful.  I am a subscriber to the Green Lady blog.  Please check her blog out if you are not aware of her and her cause. 

Cynthia/Texas 11076 and 11077

Thanks Bagette Dad and Teresa.

Makeup Expiration...Is Your Product Expired?

I came across this article on when makeup should be thrown out the other day and found it to be very interesting.  I have thought about when my makeup may expire, but never really researched it.  I also recall a few years back that Oprah did a show on how to read the coding on labels on your makeup to know when it is due to expire.  However, half the time the labels have rubbed off of my makeup and I can't refer back to this.  Also, I guess this would entail me making some kind of note on the product as to when I purchased it and/or opened it to know when it is time to throw it away.  It is amazing that so many companies push makeup and the cost is outrageous only to have to throw it away when there is a large quantity of it it left   I only  wear makeup about 4 times a week (for work, not on Fridays) and for special occasions on the weekend.  I am more cognizant of the mascara going bad as I had a problem with eye infections last year, so a couple of months after use it goes in the trash.  I am going to try to consider this when using my other makeup, but may not always follow through.  Enjoy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Friend Swap (UPDATED)

I participated in my first swap and this one was put on by Khristina over at sewprimkhris and my partner resides in Canada.  We have been chatting often about our lives and really getting to know each other.  I must say this was hard for me because I had not personally met Flavia and had to rely on our conversations and her blog to figure out what she would like.  You can't assume everyone will like what you do, so I sent her lots of goodies.  I received my package in the mail on Saturday and was excited (like a kid on Christmas morning....which by the way is officially 52 days from today).  Here are some photos of the items received.  I took pictures of each package before I opened it.  I really liked how she took the time to wrap each package with little trinkets.  She left a cute note in the package stating a few items will have to be explained and I think I know which ones they are (HA HA).

I opened the packages and this is what I found

What a cute note, yes Flavia I agree.

This could be an ornament for your key chain or something cute to hang in my craft room.

This is a rosary to hang in your car, I love the flowers and the cross attached to it.

She made me a CD (you go Flavia, American Idol is calling).

The cat and chicken pincushion patterns are way toooooo cute.  I can see where some of my scraps are going.

These bags will come in handy for on-the-go projects (I have lots).  I like the plastic on the front so you can see what you have inside.

This is sooooooo cute, scissor case

This bag is TOTALLY AWESOME.  I could not wait to clean out my Old Navy black and white camo bag that I carry, so that I could show this one off.  It is so durable and the embellishments on the front are way cool.

Thank you Flavia for the nice gifts.  I really like them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Weatherman is calling for possible freeze....(UPDATE)

This morning Shawn Rutherford called for a possible freeze for tonight and tomorrow night.  I currently have tomatoes and peppers still growing.  I was debating this morning about what to do with them due to the possibility of a light freeze.  I contemplated pulling all the fruit and leaving the plants covered, just in case the flowers that are on the plants still produce (I know it is getting later in the season and they may not have a chance to produce any edible fruit) or the choice is to leave the fruit and winterize everything.  Still in debate, since I am deemed to be in the Hill Country and we get colder than others when temperatures change.  The first freeze that I know of is usually in December.  Maybe things are changing.  What would you do in this situation?

Average Freeze Dates For Texas

I got home this afternoon around 6:00 and decided to pull some of the items (of course while trying to cover some of the tomato plants, vines broke so I had tomatoes from that) and bring them in and cover everything else.  Took me almost 2 hours to cover everything (with watering all the plants to hopefully help them get through the freeze, I read this helps).  I realized while covering the plants that I did not buy more winter row covers.  The amount I had was before the extra boxes I built and the extra old sheets I had did not finish the job either.  Well guess I will be buying more since a real freeze is sure to be on the way.

I also saved some Thai and Sweet Basil plants that somehow ended up growing in beds where they were not originally planted and also from the pathway of my garden.

In each pot there is enough plants to make several individual pots of basil.  I will be giving some away once I get a chance to pot them in individual little pots this weekend.

Hopefully my covering of all the plants helps and I can still enjoy my vegetables.

11/07/10-The temperatures did drop on Friday night as well as Saturday night.  According to the weather forecast tonight will also be around 42 degrees.  So I will wrap the plants again.  It shows that the rest of the week the lows will be in the 50's.  So I SHOULD be okay until the weekend.  Let's hope so.  These are photo's from Saturday morning.  I did not go out Sunday morning as I had been up since 4 am preparing roast for my Father-In-Law's birthday luncheon today.  My husband was nice enough to go out and unwrap the plants.  Nice sunny day today.  Headed out to wrap the plants.  You can see that one of the coverings blew partly off.  This bed has the eggplant.  I think I have lost them (never got any fruit, but tons of flowers).


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