August 20, 2014

Garden 2014

I had a baby. We moved. I started a garden, looking back, I probably should not have. That is my story. And this is the story of how it ended up going, as I tend to often bite off more than I can chew (whaaat, really??)
You'll like this, trust me. Just when you (may have) thought I was good at everything....
 In May, my friend's Dad came over with his awesome farm tractor and tilled our desired garden space. Allen was so wonderful, so helpful, and Nathan just loved watching him every second! It was on this day that I started to have a little twitch when thinking, "what in the world am I doing?"...but I just smiled to myself and kept on thinking about what I would plant. After all, why shouldn't I go from last years 9'x9' garden to this years 17'x42'?? 
        I then drew my "layout" in my journal and got to work sectioning off the garden beds. I also grabbed some very long sticks from our backyard brush area and made plant tee-pee's for the cucumbers and beans to grow on. (I just stuck them in the ground and tied them at the top with twine). 
 Nathan ambitiously helped me put in the garden stakes around the perimeter, as I hammered them in and stretched the plastic fencing around to fit over them. We bought the stakes and fencing at Menards, and on-purpose, bought the "temporary materials" just in case I wanted to move or change the garden next year. At least I showed a little fore-sight there. The dirt is a little colored here because I added a few bags of peat moss to the beds. Note: I should have used 10x this much. 
 Nathan and I got to planting. We were both excited. We planted green beans, 3 types of cucumbers, corn, limas, (but none of those grew at all **sad face**), 4 types of lettuce, 7 tomato plants, 1 pepper plant, rhubarb, asparagus, zucchini and squash, onions and potatoes. Was that all??? I think so??
 We watered......
 And a week later saw some growth............look close...the lettuce is in rows:
And it grew....BUT ALL OF IT GREW!!! YES! So, just in case you ever do it, you will need to make sure you do a second tilling a week (or is it two) later to make sure those grass seedlings do not re-emerge. By July our garden was growing, but so was the grass...all over. By July, this Mommy's time in the garden was usually limited to just 12 minutes every morning (generally while holding the baby on my hip) watering what was growing, and trying to avoid the grass. 
Overcome by the grass choking out the good stuff, I googled ideas of what to do. Then, I went to Lowe's and bought 6 bags of mulch and had my Mom and neighbor bring me huge stacks of newspaper. I laid the newspaper in thick stacks (6-10pages deep), got it wet with the hose and then topped it with mulch. And that corner of the garden looked pretty awesome. The plants loved it, and I did too = no weeds, no grass, but thriving plants! 
And look how beautiful (for a few weeks) my tomatoes, peppers (pic below)... and zucchini, asparagus, and potatoes (pic above) looked! 
And then, with all the best intentions to return to Lowe's to get even more mulch and to the recycling center to get free newspapers, I folded, and didn't do a thing. I guess this Mamma was getting tired. Or maybe I was just too busy pattern making inside and playing with my littles outside. Who knows. But, I "checked out" about the end of July, and just made the best of what I had so far. 

It fortunately, has not been for nothing. We have received a plentiful from out there, and it's still coming in (tomatoes and kale). We have eaten fresh dishes, had fresh salads, and even got to give a little away. My starting goal was to breed a community supported agriculture program in my backyard, but that did not happen. But the hope is still there. I have a neighbor around the corner that sets up a delightful little veggie market around the corner, open on Saturday's. So, maybe I'll just leave it to her expertise alone for a few more years. 

In a's how GARDEN 2014 has gone...
 And you wonder what was James' doing that whole time Mommy (and brother) were digging in the garden?...Good question! At the beginning he was usually in the swing, but by July he could sit up on his own (which Mommy thought was just fabulous), so out came the blanket and toys. He loved it (except for the mosquitos on occasion). Yes, I think this happy baby of mine would be content to sit and watch just about anything. He certainly is that kind of baby that everyone should get to have. 
So, happy gardening to you! Whether you bite off more than you can chew or not. 
Just make it work. You'll be blessed even by the little. 

But you should probably not ask me for gardening advice, and this would be why. 
Happy Harvest everyone! 

August 13, 2014

A go-to bag for myself.

I don't sew much for myself at all, but after making my sister, Anna's awesome Go Anywhere Bag, I just had to have my own! I really made it a put-all-the-other-projects-aside-for-a-night kind of project. It's kinda amazing I don't make time for myself often for sewing, but every night you better believe after the kids are in bed I ritually sit down with some decaf coffee and some fudge mint cookies. Yes, every night. It's my reward for a day well done 
(or, even not done well at all...more common). 
And hold on to your horses...I actually got out my new tripod camera mount for these! Ha! It's more like the affects of some after church impromptu photo shooting...while my 3 year old scissored leaves off of tree branches nearby (I'm giving the trees "haircuts" he said). 
An ulterior motive in making this bag for myself was 
1. I needed a more girly bag
2. I've outgrown my first homemade diaper bag. Even though it was not too
deep, I could NEVER find anything!! My husband had to constantly wait on me to find
those keys that I promise you...I had just placed in there!! Good grief. So here we go. 

As you can see, I made 4 huge pockets inside this one that can hold lots of stuff....diapers and wipes in one, baby tethers in another, wallet and phone in another. So far, it works!!! 

I also enlarged this pattern by cutting it out about 2" wider on each side of the main panel and pocket pieces, and then 1" deeper as well. I may have gone a tad on the huge side, but slimmed it out by adding top pleats at the opening and snaps that let me bring it in at the top.
This fun retro circle print is duck canvas from Hobby Lobby. I used leftover grey cotton from making my sister's bag, and more grey to line it with. I used basic white cotton to line the outer pockets with.
In addition...I added 4 interior pockets to the inside (the Go Anywhere Bag has one, generous pocket pattern piece for the inside). I also changed it up by using two front pockets for both sides of the bag, instead of using the back pocket pattern piece (although that would have been fine too). 
Lots of pockets and so far I already feel more organized. This thing can hold anything! And, it's "girly"! Check and check! Mission accomplished! I can also bet that this is the ONLY time this bag will actually match my outfit, as I never plan that well ever (and don't really care that much)! 

I'm loving my new bag. Now to copy the design of a few pieces of favorite clothing I have sitting in my studio right now! And then there's that fabulous dress I saw on a girl at the market last month. I absolutely stopped her to see how her dress was constructed and several hours later, drew it in my journal. Yes, I must get to that. These are the things I think about all. the. time. 

August 3, 2014

My go-to bag.

My sister, Amy, has a July birthday. Each year I look forward to making her something. Last year it was a dress and some pretty awesome and fun-to-make bracelets. This year, she asked me for a clock.  I looked through her Pinterest board and only saw a few things that she pinned that I could/wanted to make. After considering the ideas more, I went in a different direction and made her a Go Anywhere Bag (pattern found HERE from Noodlehead). I made one for my friend Johanna last year, and just loved how it came out! I love Anna's PDF pattern, and so I thought my sister would like her bag too!
  I used red chevron duck canvas from Hobby Lobby for the main part, and some grey cotton for the outer pockets and straps. I lined it with a linen dress I up-cycled. 
And because I had to snap a few shots before I wrapped up her present...I'm in the pictures, 
instead of her this time. 

...and you know what???....My sister loved the bag...AND the clock! :) Yea!!
Happy birthday Amy!! 

Around Again

So, blogging.... I have a love/hate relationship with it right now. I love to show you all the many, crazy things I am doing around here. So, so much goes on around here even above just sewing. It's been a somewhat low-key summer here with my family, and while I've poured every last available second into pattern making recently (when the kids are asleep), I haven't had the time to blog as well. I do need a few hours each night of sleep of course, but if I didn't, I'm sure I'd be blogging too. If you have "liked" my Joy2Sew Facebook page, you haven't really missed a beat of what I've been sewing this summer, but I think I will take some time right now to update you on several projects I've kept busy with.

One of the best things about sewing is the range of projects I get to work on. This summer I have created dresses, purses, bags, leotards, mended clothes, altered a bridesmaids dress from too tight to fitted, made cozies for huge Igloo containers, sewed a swing canopy, designed a retro apron, and am now working on a snowman costume (Olaf). So many fun venues! And that's great....because my attention span likes fun, short projects!

What's next?? You know...more sewing.... But really.... my life, beyond what I tinker at, is so much fun too! My two boys are so much fun, getting so big, and starting to genuinely like each other (I think it's because the baby can finally play along and laugh with big brother now)! We have had a great summer all together...watching my kids play, redecorate and paint our bedrooms, clean up the basement to make it a livable space, and even cleaned out the garage finally from our move 9 months ago. And then there's the huge garden I planted but couldn't keep up with. Ahem. And now, while my husband is at annual Army training, I have a serious motivation to paint our entire upstairs living area! With each step, we are making our house a home. I love that, especially since we spend a lot of time at home. Living where we do is really a miracle story, and an unbelievable outpoured blessing from the Lord through close friends. We are so thankful to the Lord for all the ways He  has poured out so much blessing on us!!

Here's to blogging a little more...and to you, my faithful friends and supporters!