I’ve been a most seriously busy bee. BZZZZZZZZZZ!
Spending time with my sewing machine, I have cranked out a few sewing FOs! Featured here is another Tiny Pocket Tank by Grainline Studios made out of some scary ’70s polyester that I procured from a thrift store. This fabric feels pretty awful to the hand, but surprisingly is comfortable wearing against the torso.
Knowing that I would never use this fabric for much else, I decided to make up another tank and consider this fabric stash-busted. I’ve really been trying to bust the stash, so this feels nicely satisfying.
On the Knitting Needles
I’ve been clicking away at this sweater-thing. Finished one sleeve and am almost done with the second. I’ve lost my size US4 12″ circular needle (which I use for knitting sleeves) and am knitting these sleeves with DPNs… while I’m not one of those knitters who shies away from DPNs, I am definitely faster with a good circ, so these sleeves are taking a while. Also, the collar will be a stand-up thing with buttons, instead of the floopy droop you see.
As a side note, I have to say that I just love it when I receive nice notes from knitters about my patterns. I’ve been in a designing funk for a while – - I don’t really know why I feel all funkified but I do. Perhaps I should go back through my emails and find some nice words that knitters have written to me, and post them on my craft room wall for inspiration and motivation, to escape my funk. Yesterday, I received an email from someone inquiring about how they might go about lengthening a sweater, and she mentioned that she had knat THREE of my sweater patterns and ended her email, “PS, write more patterns!” and it really made my day.
On the Sewing Machine
Well Readers, that dotty dress I’ve been working on has gone away for good. Last weekend, I made a concerted and methodical push to create an FO, but my efforts were all for naught. After FINALLY finishing the bodice, I discovered that it was irreparably too small for me. So then I had a BRILLIANT idea to just make the skirt portion of the dress as a stand-alone skirt. NOPE! After spending three extremely aggravating hours trying to hem the skirt, I gave up. While the pattern is a “Very Easy Very Vogue” pattern, my fabric choices were not a recipe for success.
After tossing my failings into the rubbish bin, I whipped up the above-showcased Tiny Pocket Tank, which was a quick, easy, relaxing, and confidence-enhancing success.
Then! I made another Truffle Dress, which I will be writing an FO post soon. Having made two Truffles, this came together frustration-free and fits perfectly! Josh and I are hosting a Garden Soirée tomorrow and I made this dress specifically for tomorrow’s gathering.
It has a floral pattern that I really love, which I think will be extra pretty at the Garden Soirée. I don’t know if anyone else is going to dress up, but I sure am! I did some extra spiffy stuff on the finishing so I think this might be my most finely made sewing FO to date. (Stay tuned for that post!).
And now! I’m about to start on Jasmine, also by Colette Patterns. Having read through all of the reviews of this pattern, I’m going to include a few recommended modifications (ie, hiking up the neckline and narrowing the shoulders). I’m still trying to decide which fabric to use. All of these fabrics are semi-sheer (and the fabric in the pattern photo is also semi-sheer) but I don’t really DO sheer of any degree, so I’m thinking about fully lining it (like I just did with my latest Truffle Dress).
My little ladies are growing up so fast! This week, they transitioned from chick starter to pullet developer feed. Also, last week they enjoyed my gross okra, and this week they enjoyed an eggplant disaster. You know, I don’t always cook, but when I do, I generally set off the fire alarm.
We had a sudden heat surge last week and this week (with record high temps at 95F… it was horrible!) and the ladies didn’t take it very well. We don’t have much shade in the backyard during the height of the sun (I’ve planted several bushes in their paddock area, but the bushes are still too small to provide much shade). We do have the lean-to thing against the shed and I hung up a shower curtain (another thrift store find) for more shade, and I’ve been adding ice to their waterers with added electrolytes and sprinkling their favorite grassy areas with water. I also brought out a fan for them, but they just seemed scared of it. Despite my attempts to help them beat the heat, they were panting and holding their wings away from their bodies, and I was very worried. Fortunately, temperatures are now down to a reasonable 65-75 degrees and everyone is much happier. I’m hoping that it was just the suddenness of the spike in temperatures that made it seem so bad, because this is supposed to be a really hot summer.
Yard & Garden
Lots of changes in the yard and garden this week!
In response to the aforementioned lack of shade, I have bought two apple trees and a shade structure. The apples are for dwarf Gala apples and I need to get them in the ground ASAP. They were on sale for $10 each (probably because it’s getting kind of late for planting trees). I’d like to plant both of them in the chicken paddock (for much needed shade) but there might only be room for one (I need to research what kind of spacing they need).
As for the shade structure, I decided to purchase a canopy/gazebo thing. This past week during the heat surge, the complete lack of shade was very uncomfortable and the heat is only going to get worse in the summer.
I’m proud to say that I was able to construct most of the structure all by myself. This shade structure thing was on sale for really cheap (like, two digits cheap!) – - I’ve been shopping all around town and am just aghast at how expensive patio furniture is. So when I located this two digitly-priced canopy thing, I was really chomping at the bit for it (even though I dislike beige). I also found the sheer white curtains on clearance for $4 each to hang around the perimeter. I need to add some weights to them and sew a pretty sash to tie them up.
I also procured some flowers for my pots.
Furthering the aesthetic enhancements of the backyard, Josh set in some slabs of stone behind the house for a walkway. I’m going to sow in some creeping thyme and some other kind of filler (rather than bare dirt and crabgrass). Again, I’ve been aghast at the price of stone and pavers, but these beauties Josh dug up from our own backyard! It’s so interesting – - this house is fairly old and there are so many buried treasures.
For example, while I was planting my blueberry bushes, I found this porcelain rabbit. I’ve also found marbles, little Buddha’s, GI-Joes, doll’s heads, a helicopter toy, and all kinds of other treasures. In a way, I wish that I had been keeping all of the buried treasures, but most have been junky and broken and it’s not like I want a bunch of junky broken crap lying around.
Okay, so the garden is all planted. I know that I should have waited another week or so to plant my melons, cukes, zukes, and the like, but the timing was convenient for me to get them in the ground this week. Unfortunately, something is eating off my zucchini. I’ve scattered a bunch of Sluggo around them and am covering them at night, but the damage may be too great. I might also set out some beer traps.
With regards to other pests, I finally conquered my ant problem with some food grade diatomaceous earth. I’ve had three big ant colonies in and around my shed / chicken coop, and several big ant colonies at the back, where I had planned to plant my tomatoes and then squash. While I was preparing my tomato beds, I discovered a HUGE nest of ant eggs and larvae and decided to take drastic action. Perhaps some gardeners do not consider ants much of a pest, but they most certainly have not been eating whatever pests have been eating my veggies (so I question the supposed benefits of ants as predators), but seriously, six big ant colonies in one backyard is too many ants.
In other disappointments, I’m trying to be positive and consider it a scientific experiment, but some of my onions and leeks are doing fantastic and others are failing to thrive. Please behold, thriving onions and leeks…
… and failing to thrive onions and leeks. I’ve made an inventory of the differences in planting location, sunlight, fertilization, soil composition, soil temperature, and planting time, and by all accounts I don’t understand why those that are failing to thrive are doing so, considering that I believe they have the optimal growing conditions. Maybe onions and leeks prefer sub-optimal growing conditions??? Also, for your information, the thriving onions and leaks are a month YOUNGER than the failing to thrive ones, yet they are about thrice the diameter. Please tell me, what is up with this?
Also disappointing, the heat wave killed some of my pea plants. Squirrels are still eating my strawberries. Cutworms have eaten almost all of my beets. I killed one of my bare root rhubarbs and bare root raspberries. And some of my basil has died. POOP!
The good news is that a lot of my plants are doing really well. I’ve planted lots of pretty flowers around the house and have been eating spinach, kale, and red leaf lettuce from my garden.
Gratuitous Kitty Photo
That’s all for now. Garden Soirée is tomorrow and there is SO MUCH left to do! I’ll try to get some photos of my new party dress making it’s debut at the Soirée.