Seedlings

 

And that, my friends, is how you start seeds.  I’m super duper excited about this since this is my first time starting my own plants.  It was very easy, and seems to be working well – I planted these on Wednesday and I already have sprouts.  The boxes I’m using are by Jiffy – I got them at Home Depot for a very good price, and I would definitely recommend them.  After planting my seeds I left them overnight with the lids on, per the instructions, and when I went back the next day to check on them, they were nice and steamy under the lid.  I know they’re staying warm at night, and not drying out, although I expect I’ll have to add water in a day or two.  I got two sizes – several with the smaller pellets like you see above, and then two that had larger pellets for my tomatoes.   It took mine 30-45 minutes to absorb all the water and fluff up completely, so be prepared for a little wait if you use these, but I quite like them and will probably buy the pellet refills and continue using them.

I’m having Easter house guests this weekend, so I’ll be cooking something wonderful (I hope!) and visiting with my family.  I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter, as well, and a beautiful weekend!

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Fabric Shopping and Local Flavor

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I know I told you all weeks and weeks ago about my new sewing machine and how I had visions of textiles dancing in my head, and you’ll just have to take my work for it that I actually did make something wonderful (two somethings! Eeeek!) a full two weeks ago.  I made an Envelope Cushion Cover that I found here, and another project that I will refrain from mentioning until the intended recipients receive their surprises in the mail.  It was so much fun!  It was one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever had to hold my finished projects and know that not an hour previously they were just piles of fabric (much like when I did this and got so excited).  It was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some more complicated projects.  I’m really keen to try out a dress, like this, or a quilt, like this.  I’m going to keep practicing with cushions and, ahem, other things, until I feel really comfortable with my machine, but after that, it’s anything goes!

I actually made my first fabric purchase from Joann’s, because I have one only about 10 minutes down the road, and it was very convenient.  But I actually had another place in mind that I wanted to check out for textiles called The Fabric Peddler.  I spent several of my college years in Carrollton, Ga, and it’s a pretty cool little town – a typical old southern town in that it’s got a great town square surrounded by all these cool old homes and buildings.  The one I had in mind is a former railroad depot that has been turned into a combination antique and fabric store.  The Fabric Peddler has been there for years, but I think the Feathers & Twigs is a fairly new addition, and I really had fun looking around. The fabric selection is pretty good, and I found two things on the “$3/yd” table that I’m looking forward to using.  I’ll tell you more about those another time, because, honestly, I had the most fun browsing the antiques.

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I’m usaully skeptical when I see an “Antique” store, because most of the ones I wander into end up being just yard sale junk.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good yard sale, but I don’t think your IKEA coffee table that has seen better days qualifies as an “antique”.  This place was a typical consignment style antique format (one big space seperated into small areas for each seller’s items) but there was some great stuff here.  Things that were clearly aged, but of good quality, and lots of solid wood furnishings.  There was a good range of newer “lightly used” items likes those rolling pins, and some actual antiques, like the colander.  Everything was arranged beautifully, and there was plenty of room to move around.  All in all, a great little shop that I’ll be visiting again.  Hopefully soon since I found a chifferobe that I absolutely love, and if I can convince Jacob, I’ll be moving it into my bedroom next weekend…

After my browse through the store, I was heading out of town and so enjoying the beautiful weather (74° out on Saturday!  Lovely!) that I just had to stop and walk around the old part of town for a minute.  I took a few photos that I had to share some with you.  It’s hard to explain what is about places like this that I love so much, but they’re just so full of character and charm…and some other quality that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Whatever it is, I love old neighborhoods like this, and I could happily wander around for hours enjoying the view.

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I hope all of you had equally lovely weekends, and a great St. Paddy’s day!

Decor from the…yard?

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Can you believe I got those bud vases at Wal-Mart?  I’ve been wanting to use more greenery in my decorating, so when I saw these little vases, I thought it would be a great way for me to dip my toe in the water, so to speak.  I’ve mentioned this blog to you before, but Pure Style Home is a really great site that I find very inspirational, and Lauren has mentioned using greenery – even just the plain little things you have growing around your yard that wouldn’t necessarily work for an arrangement – in vases, glasses, bowls, or any other vessel you find attractive, as a cheap way to add color and that little something extra to a room.  You always see flowers and greenery in magazine showcase homes, and store windows, but it’s something anyone can do in their own home with very little effort, and for free.  I love having flowers around, and especially if you’re expecting guests, it can really dress your home up and give it a fresh, chic look – especially if, like me, you don’t have a lot of other decor yet.  Since we moved into a larger house I’ve found that the things I was using as decor in our previous home just aren’t enough to fill in our new space, so I’m always looking for ways to add to our sparsely decorated living area.

I had a small dinner party last Friday night – just some family over for a meal and a visit – and I really wanted to put my little vases into use, so off I went out into our (rainy) yard.  Thanks to the previous owners, who were very enthusiastic gardeners, we have lots of plants around our home, so  I walked out onto our front porch with no real plan in mind except to see what captured my fancy.   As I stood there looking around, I felt like I was seeing my yard for the very first time; since we’ve only been here for the winter season so far, I’ve only been seeing my plants for the potential they have to be pretty when they’re blooming.   It’s been pretty gloomy in our yard, actually, especially since we’ve had almost a week straight of gray, rainy days, so it was like a whole new world of pretty things opened up in front of me.  Most of my plants are actually fairly attractive, even without their blooms, and I’ve been overlooking them this whole time.  I saw that my azaleas had these really pretty glossy red leaves, and my little eucalyptus tree is perfect for adding a sculptural element; my rosemary is blooming with these tiny purple flowers (I used that in another vase in my kitchen), and I have lots of Leyland Cyprus trees just waiting to donate a snipped twig or two to my decorating efforts.  So if you’re feeling a little gloomy amid all the winter weather, or rainy days, I encourage you to step outside and take a fresh look at your yard.  You never know what will appeal to you, and you can bring a little of the outdoors in to give your home a little facelift.

I love to hear your thoughts!  What do you guys do to add that special touch to your home?

A Homemade Life

Merriam-Webster defines homemade as being made in the home, on the premises, or by one’s own efforts.  And that’s the key isn’t it?  The effort part, I mean.  In our modern world of technology, convenience, and instant gratification, it’s a simple thing to purchase ready-made items – be they food, clothing, decor, gifts…you name it and you can find it packaged up and ready for immediate use.  And there’s certainly a place for that – I’ll be the first one to admit that I take full advantage of the wonders of modern civilization – but there’s a joy that I get from making something myself that no amount of convenience can replace.

Deep thoughts, right?  It’s not something I ever used to think about – 10 years ago I’d have laughed out loud had you suggested that I’d be in such a mood at any point in my life – but as I’m making my home, my new lovely dream home, and looking to the future (a few years yet, parents and in-laws!) when I might have some tiny people running around, I find myself wanting more and more to have the things around me be things that I particularly love.  And lately I’ve been finding that the things I love the most are the photographs that we’ve taken, the special meals we’ve made and shared, the handmade cards given on momentous occasions…the things that I’ve invested my time and effort in.

My birthday is approaching (next week!) and I’ve had several bewildered reactions to my statement that I am making my own cake, and gladly.   Friends will offer to purchase a cake for me so that I can “enjoy my day” and not have to make all that effort, but I want to.  You see, in my baking, I rarely make anything that I choose.  I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the fruits of my labors – far from it! – but I usually make things at the requests of others, or because I know that my husband or my guests or whoever will particularly enjoy it.*  So for my birthday, I would like to make something spectacular that I alone have chosen.  I’m not a bad baker so I’m sure my friends and family will enjoy it as well, but really it’s my birthday, and I’m making the exact cake that I want.  And I will enjoy it all the more because I’ve taken the time to create it myself.

Where’s all this coming from? Where’s all this going?  I guess that I’ve just been so inspired lately – so many wonderful projects that I have in mind for my home, my garden, my kitchen.  One of my favorites of the modern conveniences is our present access to almost unlimited inspiration via the internet.  It seems almost everyone is an artist these days – sewing, writing, building, cooking, designing, photographing, and on and on and on.  And all of these words and ideas and images make me so eager and excited to create my own things that will inspire my family and friends and guests in my home – to share some of the joy and satisfaction I get from the creation of something lovely.

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*Please don’t think I mind making things for you!  There’s no greater compliment for me than to have someone request that I make something for them.  I’m flattered that you think I can do justice to your favorite dessert/meal/jam/etc, and no time spent in my kitchen is wasted when I know someone’s going to enjoy and appreciate my efforts.  And let’s be honest, I love to cook, so really I’m doing it all for me anyway [insert evil laugh here].