Turning my frown upside down….

So I had a bad day, I know we all do.  Sometimes I think we need them to appreciate all the good days we have.  Well I decided I needed to turn my frown upside down so I went outside and took a tour of my yard.  Here’s a little of what I looked at….

The lemon tree that my Mom and Dad gave us when we moved into our house.  Mom has since passed, so makes me think of her.

my first burpless cucumber of the season.  Its almost ready….

my first zucchini of the season….

mini yellow rose bush my Grandma gave us when we moved in.  She has passed also…

a salvia start from the front yard.  Its doing great, has a few blooms!

plums are coming along….

Grandma’s favorite flower….Hollyhocks

my Redbud tree is getting so big!  It looks a little droopy cause it was the hottest part of the day when I took his picture.

pinchushions are back.  They got a mildew really bad during the winter and i cut them all the way to the ground, wasnt to sure they would forgive me and come back. But they did!

a new addition, my favorite plant name ever!  Portulaca!

Another fairly new addition, State Fair Zinnia

Of course then I saw this….

my strawberry patch full of weeds.   But you know, it was ok.  Life goes on whether Im having a good day or not.  So I get to make the choice of how I react to things.  So I decided to just concentrate on all the pretty things I saw and smile.

The weeds will be there tomorrow……

Crochet Fleece Blankets

Crocheting is still very new to me.  I only learned about 5 months ago or so.  But I wanted to make blankets for Project Linus.  Its a non-profit that distributes blankets to kids, here’s a link if you want to lean more…..http://projectlinus.org/index.html

But as you know if you crochet, it takes a long time to do a blanket.  I made one for my daughter and am working on one for my hubby but I wanted to find something that has a faster turn around.  So I thought i would try to crochet on fleece.  So my options are to do a blanket stitch around the blanket or crochet on the blanket.  I like the look of the yarn going around the blanket instead of embroidery floss, so it then became how do I make the holes in the fleece.  Everyone told me about a rotary cutter with a blade called the skip stitch.  Ya, well, cant find it!  The company that had been making them has since stopped, not sure what happened.  There are a few others that I saw on the web but they had mixed reviews.  I went to the local fabric store talked with the lady there, she was ordering a new one and it was supposed to be in next week.  Next week came and went and still no rotary cutter.  I was tired of waiting so I decided to try something else.  The first thing I tried was cutting the fabric with super sharp scissors.  That is the blue blanket in the pictures.  You can see that some of the holes came out a little big.  didnt really like it.  Plus my hand was super tired.  I tried a few other things to poke the hole, nothing really worked good.  Then I thought I would try a seam ripper.  Totally worked!  I was so happy!  So thats how I did the green blanket and you can see that it worked really well, you dont see the holes.  So that is the way I will be making them!

Im sure there are several different ways to do these but this is the way I did mine.

I bought a yard of fleece trimmed it up.  I cleaned up the edges they werent cut very clean, then cut about 8 inches or so off.  Then I used a disappearing ink marker and a yard stick and marked every half inch.

After I marked all the way around, I made the hole.  This picture is the blue blanket so you can see where I used the scissors.  I then did a single crochet in the hole then one chain and single crochet in the next hole.  All the way around.

Next row is single crochet.

then half double crochet. Then single crochet to finish it.   With the green I did the same but I also added a little ruffle on so it looked girly.  For that I did half double crochet, double crochet, half double crochet, then chain 4 skip 3.  Does that make sense????  haha  Ok, well if you REALLY want to know let me know and I will do a step by step.  These 2 are all ready to be donated now I need to go get more fabric and yarn and start another.  I think I may try to do a receiving blanket.  From what I have seen online doesnt look like you have to really make a hole if you use a small enough hook you can work it in between the threads……anyone try it before?

Chocolate Saltine Toffee

I have been trying to post this for DAYS!!  Its just giving me such a hard time.  It was all done then my pictures disappeared!!!  So let me try again…….

SO!  As many of you know I am on pinterest alllll the time!  Well, I saw this recipe and NEEDED to try it.  I mean, chocolate, butter, brown sugar and saltines…….could it really be bad?

Here’s the link for the recipe I followed…..http://www.justapinch.com/recipe/lisa-allen/chocolate-crack/quick-easy-candy#.T7lj9hf0WAs.pinterest

They also called it chocolate crack, I can see why…..

Here’s the recipe:

saltine crackers, I used 1 1/2 sleeves you’ll have to break some to get them to fit

2 sticks of butter not margarine (1 cup)

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 cups milk chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350.  I lined a cookie sheet (15×10) with the saltines

Melt the butter over med high heat.  Then add brown sugar.

Bring to a boil.  Cook for 3 minutes. Stirring constantly…

After cooking for 3 minutes, remove from heat.  Pour over crackers and spread with a spatula.

Put in oven and cook for about 5 minutes, till it bubbles.  Remove and sprinkle chocolate chips all over, let them sit for a few minutes for the chips to melt.

 then spread with a spatula and put in the fridge to harden.

I was the only one home, so, I HAD to make the sacrifice and lick the spatula!  mmmmm….

When all is said and done this is what it looks like.

It is so good!  I wasnt sure how it would taste with the saltine cracker in there, but really you wouldnt know it was there.  I didnt want to keep it all at my house so I sent some home to my friends house, her son ate it all within the hour!  I guess he liked it.

Plarn Grocery Bag

A few years ago I saw a purse made out of shopping bags other recycled plastic bags.  They had been layered together, was very interesting.  So since I am always trying to find ways to entertain myself I thought I would look and see if i could find out how to make it.  While I was looking I found a bag made out of plarn.  I wasnt sure what that was, turns out it’s plastic yarn.  Made out of grocery bags.  Sounded fun so I thought I would try it.

I usually use reuseable bags when i go to the market so I know I didnt have enough at home so I asked friends and collected all these.  I wasnt sure how many i was going to use cause I really didnt have a pattern that I was going to use.

You can really make any bag with it so if you have one that you like just use that one.  I used this one as a guide, http://www.kaylaksthriftyways.com/basic-plarn-tote/, kinda just made up my own as I went along.

This is the bag that I ended up with.

All together i think I had about 70 .  I have a small ball left over.

So to get started you need to turn your bags into “yarn”

So the first thing you do is flatten out your bag and then fold it in half length-wise, and then in half again.

 So you should end up with that….^

Then you cut both ends off.

Put the ends in with your recycling.  Then you cut the piece left into about 1″ pieces.  If you are using a bag thicker than a normal grocery bag I would cut them thinner than an inch.  They were to hard to work with….

I went through and cut up all my bags first then sat in front of the tv that night and put them together.  Made it seem to go quicker.   haha

To put them together….you work with 2 at a time.  Open 2 and then overlap them.

Its super easy even thought its going to sounds confusing, once you do it, it will totally make sense….

You pull the top thru the bottom..

Then pull tight.

I hope I explained it ok, i took alot of pictures hoping that made it easier to understand.

You just keep going with them til all your bags are gone.  Then roll it in a ball.

It will be doubled, so its like you are working with 2 yarns.

My daughter took it to school the next day and the kids all liked it and asked if I would make one for them.  So I guess i better start collecting more grocery bags.  :oD

As for the other bag I was looking for i think I found out how to do that, so Ill be trying that soon!

holey shorts Batman

My daughter has these old shorts that she just LOVES.  She’s had them for a few years and wears them often. They were cute when she first got them, they have those worn patches on them that are so in right now.  Well, what happened after several wearings and washings….those worn patches become holes!  And where they are on her shorts you see either her thigh skin or her underwear.  She’s 11 so neither option is really appropriate.  So we got to the point that she would put them on and I would make her take them off.  They were about to go into the trash when I got an idea….

Here is what they look like…..

see what I mean holes on the left and right.

My idea was to line the holes with a bandana.  Really any fabric would work but I had a bandana and thought that would be cute.  So I laid the bandana under the hole to try to get an idea of what size to cut it.  You can of course measure it, but for me takes to much time.  haha

I cut it a little bigger than the hole because I wanted to hem the edges to keep them from unraveling.  You could probably use pinking shears or they have stuff you put on the edges to keep them from unraveling.  But since I had the machine out already figured I would just hem the edges real quick.

Once I had that done I pinned it in place and then just sewed it.

 

Since I was already sewing, I sewed the cuffs too. I hate when then sag and I don’t iron unless there is not other option…and trust me I think about it.

I think they look cute and no more panties or thigh skin showing!

 

Hanging a basket the way Grandma used to

I was at the 99cents store the other day browsing, you never know what you’ll find there.  Well that day I found small wire hanging baskets.  which was perfect cause I was looking for a way to hang herbs from my fence, was leaning towards small galvanized buckets, but I couldn’t find any, so I settled for the baskets.

I remember being a little kid and helping my Grandma plant up hanging baskets in the spring, we would plant the sides and bottoms as well.  Anyone else remember those hanging pots?  They were a wire basket but they had squares to hold the moss in and you could plant the sides and bottoms up.  When they filled in it was like a big ball of flowers, really pretty!  Today they all used those coconut liner, not really a favorite of mine.  So when I saw the baskets I kinda hesitated, not sure if I wanted to look at coconut liner.  But for 99cents I went ahead and got them.  Another problem with the coconut liners are that you need to find the right size or get the flat liner then it kind of bunches up.  I figured since these were a rather small size it might be hard to find the liner so I decided to plant the way Grandma used to.  The problem of course is that these don’t have squares to hold soil.  So I had to get creative.

I had some green 22 gauge wire left over from something….flower arrangement?  I’m not really sure, anyway it would work perfect.

I started at the bottom of the wire form and crisscrossed the bottom hole then just went up wrapping around each post as I went

when it was done it looked like this

To line the baskets I was going to use green moss.  It comes in bags and is much easier to work with when it’s wet.  So I got a bin filled it with water and added the moss.

Looks kinda gross right?   haha  Once its all wet you grab a piece and squeeze the water out, it will be soft and easy to form into a layer, the bigger the piece the better.  When I helped Grandma this was always my part.

Start at the bottom and work your way up the sides.  Doesnt have to be super thick, just thick enough to hold the soil in.

Once you get it all covered fill it with potting soil.  The green wire doesn’t really show anymore.  See….

Then just plant them up!   I added mint to this one.

In the other 3 I planted basil, cilantro and spinach.  I like the way they look over the coconut liners and it reminds me of planting with Grandma.

I have a few larger hanging baskets that I am thinking of planting up just like Grandma used to, sides and the bottoms, but I need to find a place to hang them first……maybe from one of the tress?  hmmm….that may work.  Think I’ll go check.

 

Can’t help myself…..

I have come to the conclusion that having a large lawn is a guy thing.  This is a conversation that I have had over and over with women, their husband wants the lawn she wants flowers.  I have the same thing in my house.  My hubby likes the lawn, which don’t get me wrong I like it too, but I’m happier with less lawn.  So for the last several years I have been slowly carving away at the lawn, so slow in fact, that I’m not sure if my hubby has caught on yet or not.  🙂

A few weeks ago we added a few pavers stones to the patio off the den, well as I was sitting  out there enjoying the yard, I thought “Oh, that’s the perfect place for a few little flower beds”.  So, I put them in….

They are really small…..I didnt take out that much lawn….really there were some bare patches there anyway…..it’s a tricky place to grow grass……think he’ll buy it????

Here’s what it looked like before

See!  There are bare spots from adding the pavers…plus, well….it’s just not pretty!

So I dug out the grass….

added edging…..

The soil wasnt very good there, so I took some out so I could amend it.

I mixed the ground soil with planting soil, a small amount of peat moss and worm castings. Then I was ready to plant!

You can see my potting bench in the background, it’s all primed and ready to be painted.  The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend, maybe I can do it then!

So, anyway, I planted lobelia, alyssum, zinnia, marigolds..which really aren’t my favorite but the color was so pretty I couldn’t pass them up  and also impatiens. The spot is kinda half sun half shade as you can tell from the pictures.  And when summer gets here the sun will move and it will get more sun.  So we’ll see how these do.  I also added little solar lights.

Cute right!  When is fills in it will look better, there was more room in the beds than I thought, but still you get the idea.

Hubby will be home any minute…..we’ll see if he likes it.