Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quick Projects

Lots of little projects happening around here.

Summer Hat

It's getting nice again, which means lots more time outside. Which means, bring on the sunblock and hats! Lucy has grown out of her hats, so I had to whip one up so she can really enjoy being outside - and NOT have to worry about burning her scalp. Yes - her scalp will burn - a lot. So hats are mandatory for her. Not to mention, they just make good sense for additional sun protection of the face, ears, and neck.

Since she loves Dr. Seuss these days, and Mom sent me a bunch of Dr. Seuss fabrics - she got a Dr. Seuss hat!

Cute right? She loves that it is reversible - she can choose what color she wants to show off. And, now that I added a little elastic in the back, it will stay on while she is twirling and playing. 

Crayon Rolls

Just a super quick project that can be nice for the little ones. Holds 16 crayons and has an elastic hair tie as the holder - no need to tie a ribbon on these. Each one takes about 20 minutes - love that!

Yard Projects

Then it was off to create a compost bin. We needed something fast, easy, and functional. This is what we came up with. 

Left over chicken wire and 4 plastic stakes that easy go into the ground. I used zip ties to anchor the wire to the stakes. The last 'end' I left free and added about 8 inches that 'overlapped' with the beginning. This allows me to open one end so I can dump the wheel barrel in here when necessary. Works great for now. If we end up doing a lot of this, we will likely build something more substantial.

Then I added a little landscaping fun to the yard. I wanted a nice spot to look at when standing at the kitchen sink washing all those dishes by hand! 

Amazing what a little mulch, bird feeder, flowers, and azalea plant can do for a grassy area. That tree is a pink dogwood. Much better now. Again, this was a quick project that I finished in just an hour or so. 

Until next time...

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Birthday Celebrations

Yep - more birthday fun these days. My son turned 10! YIKES! Not sure how I can be old enough to have a 10 year old - when did that happen?!

We had quite a delay between the actual birthday and the party with friends. Seemed every time we started to think about the party, we got sidetracked or had a full weekend with other events. Finally, we just decided to do it. I sure wish I would have taken pictures. Really, I was so busy with all the party stuff, I didn't take a SINGLE picture! Oops. At least I have some great memories.

My son continues to push my cake making skills. He wanted a battleship at first, but then I was able to convince him it would NOT look like the professional cake pictures we were finding. Sorry, my skills are NOT that good. We finally decided on a Mayan Temple. I would have loved to have had trees and more decor  but really, I ran out of steam. This is what I ended up with.

My daughter just wanted a strawberry, so that was easy.

And yes, I made cake balls like this with the left over cuts of cake. And now, after the party, I have made additional cake balls with all the left over cake. Into the freezer they will go until another time. We have had ENOUGH cake for a while. :)

We ended up doing a BIG birthday bash with friends and their families for both the oldest and the youngest (which worked out great since so many of our friends have siblings that overlap). We broke out the smoker and had pulled pork and ribs. YUM! Our friends were wonderful enough to bring some sides as well.

My hubby has worked a lot on converting the hayloft of the barn into a 'club house'. We put up some twinkle lights, a few hay bales, a white sheet, and brought in a movie projector. So, when it was time to settle down for the night, the movie viewing began. All the boys were in the barn for the night, cuddled up watching movies. Yeah - it got a bit cold. The girls and little ones were in the house with me. :) I was plenty warm.

I will say - having lots of space to run around really helps to wear out the kids.

We are looking forward to the next party - in a few months. ;) We did NOTHING most of the day sun as we just rested and tried to recover. It really was a lot of work, but well worth it. And, thank you to Sunday afternoon chick flick-a-thon. I took an early shower and curled up in the playroom watching girly movies and doing a little crochet. Pizza was delivered for dinner. The girls did my hair and the kids basically let hubby and I do nothing.

It was a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Love of Aprons


Now that we actually own a farm (small farm with chickens and a dog) I find I wear one ALL the time. They are great for gathering up all kinds of stuff to be taken to other places - hopefully back where they belong. My apron becomes a rag, Kleenex, and towel - hopefully not all at the same time. :) It keeps my clothes dry and clean while I make all kinds of messes - even while 'cleaning'. You all know I'm not very good at cleaning - right?

I find I like full aprons better than half - mostly because I just need that much coverage to really protect my clothes. Yeah, things do get that messy sometimes. I also don't like them too long - I'm short. I don't need my knees covered. When aprons are that long on me, they just get in the way when I am trying to garden, pick up toys, clean floors, etc. And, because I am short, the neck tie is often WAY too long. So, what's a girl to do?! Make my own - of course.

I found the perfect apron several years ago and have been using that as a pattern ever since. Instead of separate back ties and neck ties, this pattern is one long tie that slides through 'pockets' along the 'arm holes'. Perfect for making the apron fit just right.

Then, I saw an article in the April 2013 Country Living magazine (thanks Judy!) featuring this company. I REALLY liked the look and took that idea and applied to my pattern. This is what I came up with.

Cute right?
The best part is I already had everything to make it!! So, in just an afternoon (intermixed with all my regular 'mom' duties) I was able to have my new apron done! This project probably shouldn't take more than an hour or so to make, but I rarely get time to completely devote to sewing.

Now, I will probably make one with navy thread and another with green. That will give me plenty to alternate through - as they DO need to be washed every week, if not more often.

Hope you are enjoying spring!
Until next time...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adventures of weeding and mulch

It's that time of year! Time to be in the garden and/or flower beds sprucing things up and helping to give new life to a 'winter drab' landscape. I wish I had the talents to make my beds interesting year round - I don't. Each year I try to learn something new or add a plant that has interest at a time of year different from what is already there. But, this year I start over. Sort of. I am simply taking over a job that was started in 1951. Unfortunately, not much has been done over the past several years. So, now the hard work begins.

Weeds. Sooooo many weeds.

Can you see? On the right, the area I have weeded. On the left, what I started with! I have discovered I REALLY need to get myself a metal claw. I have been using the kid plastic ones for the past couple of years. I know, I think I am old enough to graduate to a metal one. The next trip to the lawn/garden center and I will be getting myself one - along with a pair of gloves as mine are MIA.

Thanks to my MIL, I have transplanted 7 violets from the 'lawn'. Here is one of the plants. I do love FREE plants! 


She also gave me a new tip. When without garden gloves, BEFORE you start digging in the dirt - fill your fingernails with soap. Use a bar of soap and run your fingernails over it until they are filled with soap. This prevents them from getting filled with dirt and adds a little strength so they are less likely to break. GENIUS! This is something she used to do years ago. A bar of soap is getting added to my gardening tools for those time I don't have or can't successfully use my gloves.


Now, I have about 60' of beds around the house. That's a guess, but they are on 3 sides of the house. All of which have been taken over by weeds. Since, it will take me a while to get through all that, I decided I needed to get some mulch and cover the beds as I go. Otherwise, by the time I finish, I would have to go back and start over again. 

So, off to the dump I went to get some mulch. Here in NC, we get '3 cubic yards' (really more like 5) for $25. Love that! Unfortunately, the truck got a flat tire on the way home. So, after about 3.5 hours I was home again ready to unload the truck. Our unexpected delay was actually not bad and gave me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people. Luckily, I was child free at the time. PHEW. And when I got home, my oldest wanted to unload. OK!!!

I have gotten through about 15' so far. There are a few things I left behind because I really don't know what they are. If they don't do anything over the next year, they will be removed. There are several plants that probably need to be moved and trimmed. But, since I have my hands full with the weeding all the other aspects will wait a year. 

And yes, Ibuprofen in my friend.

Have you started your landscape beds yet? 
What is your favorite plant in your garden? 
Is there a plant you wish you had?