Thursday, April 29, 2010

Um...Adorable! Fabric Flower Ring Tutorial

Oh I gotta make this adorable fabric ring from V & Co! I know I was saving my fabric scraps for something!! And there's a 40% off any regularly priced item at Hobby Lobby coupon floating around - so I can go pick up the ring base to get started!!

From V & Co

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dogsitting for Duke

Our good friends added a new family member a few weeks ago - a great dog named Duke! They picked him up from a local humane society and he is just such a doll! So well behaved, mild mannered and potty trained!

We had the pleasure of dogsitting Duke while his parents are away for the weekend. He gets along great with our dog Showbiz - in fact they look a lot alike! They had quite the romping session in our backyard!

Ours has the pink heart collar and Duke has the blue harness. Don't they look like they're having a great time? :) They were so worn out afterwards!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bump Update: 17 Weeks

There isn't much to report yet from a bump point of view - but if you compare the pictures we took at 6 weeks to now at 17 weeks you can kinda see a bump! Granted I also had to eat a fairly large breakfast RIGHT before this photo shoot to really get it to stick out. :)

I'm still able to zip up my jeans and my energy has finally come back and then some! My latest cravings have been watermelon and strawberry milk. We're counting down to May 10 when we get to find out if it's a boy or girl!

For anyone who wants to keep tabs on our nursery progression (currently at blank slate stage) and ideas - make sure to visit my other blog! The Birds & The Bees

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Welcome Stones Crossing Church MOPS Group!

Hello ladies! It was great to meet you all yesterday morning and be able to share a little bit of our gardening adventures with you! My husband and I are by no means experts at gardening - but I think that's the point - you don't have to be a "Master Gardener" to get started and grow your own veggies! Especially with the square foot gardening method being as hassle free and successful as it is as opposed to traditional means of gardening (i.e. tilled plots with straight, wide rows). So I hope you all jump in and get your hands a little dirty and grow some great veggies in your yards this year!

And you can always refer to our past gardening posts to live and learn through some of our successes and mistakes!
I did mention composting quite a bit and probably should have covered it a little more - so here's more resources for those of you interested in that:

Falling in Love Over Compost You too can learn to compost, and boost your garden.

Backyard Composting
Composting is the natural process of breaking down organic materials into a soil-like material. Compost added to soil improves soil structure, and adds nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. Benefits of composting:

  • Increases the organic matter in soil
  • Improves soil fertility
  • Decreases the volume of household trash to landfills
  • Lowers your household water bill....
Download the complete article in PDF format

Also a few of you had some really great questions about keeping deer away and rotting pumpkins and melons that I didn't have a really good answer to, but after some googling - I found some great answers!

Battling Aphids, Caterpillars, & Mites the Natural Way

One thing I have to deal with every year on my plants and in my garden are unwanted pests. You can purchase organic soaps, and I have, from the store but making an insect soap at home is just as effective and less expensive.

3 drops of nontoxic dishwashing soap
32 ounces of water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Spray bottle (be sure to label as insect soap)
Mix all ingredients together in the spray bottle. When spraying on plants be sure to saturate them, but avoid the blossoms.

National Gardening Association Pest Control Library
Use our "mug shots" to identify pest problems in your garden. Click on names for photos and complete descriptions

Phytophthora Fruit Rot

This fungal disease affects all cucurbits, especially winter squash and pumpkins. It is most common in humid areas of North America. Fruit in contact with soil are especially susceptible. The infection begins as a watersoaked spot or depression, later producing spreading white mold. Rotten spots grow rapidly, and fruit may eventually collapse. The disease may set in after harvest. The fungus survives in soil for at least two years.

Prevention and Control

Use a minimum 2-year crop rotation excluding other host plants (eggplant, pepper, tomato). Plant only on well-drained soil or raised beds. Elevate fruit off soil surface.
Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dept. of Plant Pathology/

by National Gardening Association Editors

Although most people think of Bambi as a cute forest creature with retiring behavior, due to an growing population, deer have become a major garden pest throughout the country. Although they tend to keep to forest edges and fields grazing on grasses and leaves, they become more daring when food is scarce, venturing into suburban yards. Deer graze and browse leaves, stems, and buds of many woody plants, as well as alfalfa, roses, corn, vegetables, and fruits. Their damage is evident because they leave jagged leaf edges on the eaten plants, not to mention distinctive cloven hoof prints and bean-shaped droppings.

Although deer will eat anything if hungry enough, given a choice they tend to stay away from succulent plants, poisonous plants, pungent flavored plants, and plants with hairy or furry leaves. Plant ornamentals with these qualities in areas of heavy deer traffic. Some gardeners have had success using human hair, dog hair, soap, blood meal, rotten eggs, hot pepper, or predator urine spread around or on flowers and trees. Deer can be scared away by motion sensor devices attached to lights or loud music. Of all the methods, though, fencing is the most reliable. It's best to erect the fence before Bambi has found your garden or yard.

Images©2002, courtesy of

Monday, April 19, 2010

Herbs for the Senses

 Lemon Balm

As I've grown into a gardener in the last couple of years here after buying a house with a yard and room to do so - I've started noticing things that I really like to grow. I mean at first you go all hog-wild at Lowe's putting every pretty plant in your cart and digging willy nilly to put it in your yard. But after awhile - and by while I mean like 2 years into it and so many plants that when you buy something new you have to walk about the yard for about 20 minutes trying to find a spot to put it - that or dig a whole new flower bed - you start to realize the plants that really make you happy. Not that any can make you sad - just some are more fun than others! :)

I've found that I really like things that smell good - and not just flowers - but leaves that emit aromas when you brush up against them. There's something about being able to pull weeds around a plant and when you brush up against the air is filled with a luscious herby smell. Puts a little more pleasure into ripping up those dandelions if you get to practically sit amid a spa-like infusion of scents like  lavender or mint!

I catch myself now cupping bee balm leaves as I walk by just to catch a whiff of their delightful scent. (yup, not only am I the crazy lady out with her camera snapping pictures of her daffodils, I'm also out there touching and smelling the leaves all the time...yup)

Here's my list of must-have perennial (comes back year after year) plants the play on the senses!
  • Bee balm (can't describe the smell - but I LOVE it!!) - and they have gorgeous big flowers that the bees and humming birds love!
  • Lemon balm (smells like lemon) - my husband loves to weed-eat near them just to catch a whiff :)
  • Mint - grows like crazy but smells amazing and can be used for so many things
  • Lavender - needs no explanation here
  • Hyssop (smells like black licorice oddly enough) and bees love, love, love their flowers
  • Chamomile
  • Lilac
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Marjoram
These plants are so fun to have around - I love having family or friends over and crushing the leaves for them to see what I mean - or to catch their surprise at the licorice smelling hyssop.

Here's a few more I want to add to my list:
  • Lemon verbena
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Sage

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Etsy Gifts for Gardeners

Seed Bombs $7 at Visualingual
Practice random acts of gardening with these seed bombs! Five seed bombs  are packed into each pouch, ready for gift-giving.

The bird-, bee- and butterfly-friendly wildflower mixture includes  Upland White Aster, Prairie Aster, Cornflower, Siberian Wallflower,  Shasta Daisy, Lance-Leaf Coreopsis, Plains Coreopsis, Sulphur Cosmos,  Wild Cosmos, Sweet William, Purple Coneflower, California Poppy,  Perennial Gaillardia, Indian Blanket, Baby's Breath, Wild Annual  Sunflower, Dwarf Sunflower, Dame's Rocket, Candytuft, Blue Flax, Scarlet  Flax, Perennial Lupine, Russell Lupine, Baby Blue Eyes, Evening  Primrose, Red Poppy, Mexican Hat, Prairie Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan,  Gloriosa Daisy, and Sweet Coneflower. These wildflowers were chosen  because they're native to the Midwest, where we live, but many are  actually native to much of North America.

The muslin bags were made in the USA and screenprinted by hand by us  with the West Coast Seed Bombs design. Inside each pouch is the full  list of the seeds included. When you've used up the seed bombs, reuse  the pouch or frame it!

Stoneware "Scare Cat" - $16 at JolieFare Medival
Gardeners in France have been hanging stoneware scare cats in their  fruit trees and berry bushes for centuries, as far back as the reign of  Louis IX, the Sun King.  The dark shadowy outline of a cat's head hiding  among the branches, with its glittering, glowing eyes, will make birds  do an immediate u-turn in mid-air and seek their fruit treats elsewhere.   The scare cat will slowly turn and move as the breeze blows through  the branches, which makes the eyes glow and flash, very much like a real  stalking cat on the prowl.

Scare cats are especially effective for those early weeks when your  fruits are just beginning to grow and are still tiny enough that the  birds can decimate your entire cherry, peach, apple or berry yield in a  very short time.  Later in the season, of course, after you've picked  the fruits you want, you can take the scare cat down and let the birds  enjoy the rest of the harvest.

A scare cat in your garden will keep the bunnies and other munchers away  from your lettuce and other veggies.  You can make a quick and easy  'stake' by stretching out a wire coat hanger, with the hook at the top.   Use pliers to bend the hook upwards and hang your scare cat from it.   Be sure to position your scare cat so that it looks like its peering out  from among the greenery.

A scare cat in a sunny window is also very effective for saving the  lives of birds that keep crashing into the glass.  I have one window in  my house where that was happening all the time--apparently something  about the way the sun hit the window, the birds just couldn't see that  glass barrier.  My scare cat has solved that problem and no more birds  have died crashing against the window.

Scare cats are made of high-temp kiln fired ironstone, with amber marble eyes.  Each scare cat comes with a long length of strong  invisible fishing line to hang it in your trees, bushes or window.  Each scare cat is made by hand, no molds are used, so each one will be a  little different.

Available either in natural red brick ironstone, or finished in a matte black. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our First Farm Fresh Delivery!

We've finally signed up for Farm Fresh Delivery and even received our first bin Thursday of last week! I am a little overwhelmed with the veggie options to be honest - and am considering the fruit bin for $7 more. There are ways to customize your bin - you just have to do it the Monday before your delivery - I didn't try customizing it - but next time I will! :)

Lots of good healthy things though! We're already more than halfway through the fruit - imagine that! And I've barely touched the veggies yet - though I have big plans for them this week! :) Maybe it is a good thing to get us to eat our veggies!

I'm thinking yummy bacon green beans, sauteed asparagus with Parmesan, grilled portabello, fried zucchini strings, and a yummy taco salad with the lettuce and green onions.

We're signed up for bi-weekly delivery - so I'll work on customizing our next bin next Monday!

1 Each Small Farm Fresh Bin ($35)
1 Each Celery - Organic
4 Each Apples, Fuji (Small) - Organic
2 Each Grapefruit, Red - Organic
4 Each Oranges, Valencia - Organic - Uncle Matt's
1 One Pound Green Beans
1 One Pound - Asparagus
1 1 pound Squash, Green Zucchini - Organic
1 Each Lettuce, Green Leaf - Organic - Lady Moon Farm
1 4.5 oz - Onions, Green - Organic
1 16 oz. Berries, Strawberries - Organic
1 9-12oz. Mushrooms, Portabello - Organic

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Glance of Our Little One

Thank you, everyone for the warm wishes and congrats! We've been dying to tell everyone and it is so nice to finally be able to let the news out! :)

Here's your first glimpse of our little one! It was taken a little while ago back when I was 8 weeks, I am 15 weeks this Sunday. I was measuring small at our first few appointments so the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to make a more accurate due date. They did end up pushing my due date back two weeks from mid September to early October.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hint, Hint

Ok, everyone...I posted a little hint somewhere on my blog here a few days ago and I'm not sure if anyone has caught on yet.

I'll give you a hint though - it's on the sidebar.  :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good Things Growing in the Garden

It's so nice to have good things growing in the garden! Our rhubarb patch is now finally mature enough to eat this year, and our strawberry patch is thriving and now - asparagus! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weed or Not? (Edited) Weed! Lesser Celadine

Ok, fellow gardeners - is this a weed or not? I have a few of them coming up in my flower beds and I'm not sure if they are a friend or foe.

They are growing up within the flowers I got from another gardener - so it could be an actual plant that just got dug up alongside the rest they were giving to me...

Tell me if you know! Should I pull it or leave it?


Thank you everyone for the help! For awhile there I was convinced I had a great little wildflower (Marsh Marigold) - but thankfully a lovely reader (BerryBird) alerted me to the look-alike invasive species Lesser Celadine.

The most identifying factor between the two are the roots. Lesser Celadine have roots with many tubers and Marsh Marigold has no tubers on the roots.

Here's a helpful fact sheet:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cupcake Bath Fizzies

Aren't these cupcake bath fizzies just lovely??!

$5 each from Dirty Laundry (takes Paypal)

I need to start working on a gift guide here with all the cool finds I've been coming up with lately! (my brother's, sister's AND father's birthdays are all in April - and isn't Mother's Day here in May - oy!)

Friday, April 2, 2010

We've Been Chosen

I was walking out in the front yard this morning and admiring our blossoming daffodils when my serene thinking was interupted as our bushes suddenly came to bustling to life and this small brown object came bursting out at me!

My first thought was that it was the bunny who's been nibbling on my flowers here lately...but my first instinct was to scream - no matter how cute or fuzzy the object - I wasn't expecting it!

After screaming bloody murder and probably waking all the neighbors -  I realized it was just a mama mallard duck - and after peering into the bushes I now know why she was there! Yup, a whole nest full of eggs! After a little reading up on the subject - I know now that she's been visiting that spot for the last several days at least. They lay one egg a day - and when I saw it this morning there were at least 6!

Thankfully she returned to the nest after I scared her out - for a second I was worried that she would abandon the spot and all the eggs. But after uploading the photos, I peeked out the front door and could see her sitting there over her nest.

The duck couple have been visiting our yard for a few years now - we know each time they visit because the dogs bark and the cat goes crazy at the window - more so than usual. We even found a lone egg in the front trees by the sidewalk once - pretty sure it was an abandoned nest site - with all the kids playing out by the sidewalk I doubt she wanted to stay there long. 

But nestled by our front window and front door behind our bushes - the only distraction she has is when I open the window and the dogs bark out or when we walk around the the front yard looking at the flowers like I was this morning when she scared me...or I scared her...whatever - we were both scared and staring pretty shocked at each other.

Hopefully we'll get a glance of the fuzzy brood long enough to snap a few pictures before she hurries them off to the nearby pond. They should all hatch in 24-28 days!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Yes , I Did Make It And No, You Can't Return It.

I need a few of these around Christmas time and for birthdays!

$3.95 for sets of 6 from Knitterella

(accepts paypal - woot!)