Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bounty from the garden - July 29, 2013

Dill, garlic chives, some Greek oregano, one slightly unripe tomatillo (wanted to see if it was ready, the answer - no), and one mutant tomato that might be a heirloom variety.

I'm in a pretty crabby mood today. My mortgage people in their infinite wisdom decided to overpay my property taxes, and are trying to recover the difference from me. I've spent at least 2 hours on the phone with them so far today, with plenty more to come, I'm sure.

And I made a major mistake on a quilt I'm working on. A week's work - wasted.

Sigh. Not my day today. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

I make my bed for my cat

I'm a big reader of the Happiness Project. One of Gretchen's maxims is about making your bed, and I totally believe that. However, that's not exactly why I make my bed every morning. Rather...

When my bed isn't made, Biscuit likes to sleep at the edge of it. She's disapproving, really. She carefully sprawls on just the hand-made quilt, risking no contact with the sheets underneath.

Same thing today. She was at the edge of the bed, slightly irate. I displaced her in order to make the bed. (No hospital corners in my world - I straighten the pillows, drape the flat sheet over the bed, drape the quilt over the flat sheet, and I'm done! 30 secs max.)

Seconds after that, Biscuit approvingly settled herself at the base of the pillows, and embarked on a cleaning routine.

And after a thorough cleaning, it's time for a nap.

Unfortunately, right after this picture was taken, one little kitty spit up on the handmade quilt, a gift from my aunt. Sorry, Chandrama! My chores for today now include washing a quilt.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bounty from the garden - Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swiss chard, mint, chives, basil and more cherry tomatoes.

Yup, there's some shameless showing off here. In case you were wondering, I used the swiss chard in a curry, the chives and the mint in a salad (grated daikon radish, grated carrot, chopped chives, mint, lemon juice and salt). 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bounty from the garden - Saturday, July 27, 2013

Grape tomatoes, other yellow tomatoes, beets (and lots of beet greens), lettuce, potatoes and basil. It's a good life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

McCalls 6551 - easy summer dress

Finally, some garment sewing, right?

When in New York, I did pretty well resisting fabric, but showed no such restraint around patterns. JoAnns was having one of it's 99c sales, and I think I bought about 15 McCalls patterns. (Ahem.)

Hence and therefore, I thought it might be appropriate to sew one up.

I was originally attracted to McCalls 6551 because of the colour-block, hi-low hemline, but decided my fabric was most suited to version C - the scoop neck dress. Sewing-wise, everything was chugging along just fine till I attached the sleeves. Eeeks. Horrors. Those are not good sleeves, they looked really bizarre, stuck out in a super-weird Star-Trek like way, and were just honestly pretty horrid. I quickly ripped it out and attached a bias strip to finish the armsyce. Much better.

I'm always quite in two minds about dresses with sashes. I like the waist definition, but they always seem a bit messy to me. Same with this one. The dress isn't too sack-like without the belt, and I might end up leaving it off more often than not.

Sizing-wise - I made a small on top, medium on the bottom, and did petite adjustments at all the marked lines.

The fabric - a gift from my mom, many many years ago. 100% cotton, it's a woven yellow and red with the prettiest weave - looks orange from afar, but it's got a lot of detail in it. I love cotton to sew up - it irons well, cuts easy, and doesn't shift under the machine.

In summary:
Likes - scoop neck, the colour of this dress.
Dislikes - sleeves that got ripped out, sash.

Wearability - medium. I like it and will wear it, but it still remains a pretty ordinary summer dress. (Not a bad thing, that. Not everything needs to be special.) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden pictures...

Ok, I've gotten bitten by the gardening bug... I'm shamelessly showing off the garden so far. For context, the front garden (with all the flowers) was in place before I bought the house last year, but the back-yard was a weed-filled mess.

The front of the house. I do love the flowers, but had it been me, I'd have added other colours - the overwhelming purple theme isn't quite me. 
The pathway, leading to the shed in the back. To the left is my vegetable patch. (The arch in the back, next to the composter is a makeshift trellis for some squash to climb up.)
The vegetable patch. Since it was the first year I could plant in the house, I didn't have much of a plan - just threw in a lot of different vegetables into the ground, and I'm waiting to see what thrives, and what doesn't. 

The cluster tomatoes are doing brilliantly. 

I also got these, I think they are San Marzano. Good tomatoes for sauce. No sign of them ripening yet though.

The lettuce is doing well, the peppers (in the background), not so much. It's too early to tell what's going to happen with the Brussels sprouts, in the middle of the picture. 

The swiss chard is doing great though! (The slugs do rather like it, unfortunately.)

 Apart from all this, I also planted a couple of raspberry plants by the fence, and they seem to be doing ok as well. Next year, I'll try to have a bit more of a plan, but I've got to say, it's pretty fun seeing what I can eat out of the garden every day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

June happenings

What a terrible blogger I've been! Summer blogging is always a bit sparse in my world - but this summer has been especially bad. Since I bought the house last year, there's always some house project to do, seriously cutting into sewing and blogging time.

Anyhoo - I didn't really mean to sew another quilt, but at the start of June, I found myself shopping my mother's stash, pulling out fabrics that were very non-me. My quilting style tends to favour a lot of white paired with bright solids - this time, I pulled out the most subdued fabrics, the biggest prints, etc. and got to work.

And it is in fact very un-me. But in a good way - it isn't the normal colour palette I use, but I really love it.

I was also in New York in the middle of June for a weekend, catching up with some old friends, and one of them is going to have a baby. I had three months to make a baby quilt, but since I had all my quilting stuff handy, I pulled out some brights, used the same pattern, and got to work. We don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet, so I used all the colours of the rainbow, and made something that's hopefully colourful and fun.

And the garden! I've been dreaming about a curved pathway since I got the house. We finally put it in a couple of weekends ago. This is a pretty crappy shot of it, and it still needs to be filled in with soil in the bits that are bare earth right now, but here's the pathway so far. I did a fair bit of the work myself (and roped in friends for the rest) and I'm really proud of it. Plus, it even managed not to wash away in the flood we had, so yay!

In actual sewing news, there's been a half-finished dress on my sewing table for about 3 months. Sigh. I've been roped in for a project that's keeping me busy, but once July is over, I'm hoping to be able to get back to garment sewing... Fingers crossed!