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!

Optimistic Foliage

Well readers, I finally have my garden down on paper.  I’ve got a neat little diagram with all my notes about sowing dates, planting dates, last frosts, first frosts, proper spacing, light requirements, etc. scribbled in the margins.  Actually it’s not “neat” at all, it’s quite messy, but I feel OK about that seeing as how it’s a garden and they’re supposed to be inherently messy anyway, aren’t they?  My only problem now is that it’s still to early to do anything…too early to plant, and too early to channel my burst of enthusiasm into tangible results.  I took the dog out for his romp around the yard, and as my productivity-induced high disappated in the face of a winter brown landscape, I saw this:

Lovely Eucalyptus

Lovely Eucalyptus

Lovely isn’t it?   From that view you’d never know it wasn’t spring or summer time.  Amazing how something so simple as brightly-hued foliage can lift my spirits.   Enjoy!

Link Love

Remember how I told you all about my gardening plans the other day?  And my new sewing machine a few days later?  Well, I’ve been kind of wrapped up in those things – I don’t have a huge amount of experience with either of them, so I’ve been surfing the web, reading books, trying to learn as much as I can so I can put all my big plans into action.  I thought I’d share some of the websites and blogs that I’ve found useful.  Enjoy!  And by all means, please share any helpful links you may have found as well.

Sewing in a Straight Line – This book looks amazing!  I must have it.  Also, her website is great too.

Tilly and the Buttons – some great info for beginners here.

Keeper of the Home – lots of great home-making ideas here, but I found the Gardening 101 articles to be particularly helpful.

Six Sisters Stuff – a great site for crafts and sewing.  I had this recommended to me by a friend, and I think it’ll be my first sewing project.

Threads Magazine – I just found this one and haven’t had much time to peruse it yet, but it looks like there are some good things here.

Walter Reeves – known as the Georgia Gardener, I have gotten both his flower and vegetable gardening books.  I know this won’t help much if you don’t live in Georgia, but if you do, his site is invaluable.

Pinterest – I can’t stay away from here.  But it is a huge source of inspiration…lots of cool ideas and sites I may not have found on my own.

MountainHike-1

Hope you all have a great Monday (oxymoronic?), and maybe find some of your own inspiration here…and don’t forget to share!

 

 

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.

Spring2012-1

*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].