Sunday, May 31, 2020

May's WOOFA Finishes

May was not an especially productive month for me as far as my WOOFA list. It's been sunny and not-too-hot outside so I've been focusing my efforts toward working in the yard. The only sewing project I managed to entirely finish was the navy and gold placemats.
But I did manage to make progress on a project that was really difficult for me: the living room reupholstery project. I finally summoned the courage to sew the couch fabric and I think they turned out decent. There were definitely mistakes made; I still haven't figured out how to get the fabric stretched really tight. I'll probably have to remove them occasionally and restretch and staple the fabric. At least this fabric should hold up a lot better to wear.
I cannot finish the back cushions because I don't have zippers for them. I ordered some back in March right before all the coronavirus shut-downs and I never received them. At this point, it doesn't look like I ever will. I think I'll have to call around to some of the local upholstery shops and see if they're open and if they sell zippers.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Homemade Cloches

I have been trying for nearly two months to plant seedlings in the front yard but every time we set them out, by the next day most of them have been pulled up out of the ground. I'm not sure if it's squirrels or the many ravens I've seen scrambling around in the beds, but I finally gave up.

Then when I was cruising around the internet, I saw a post about making your own chicken wire cloches. Most of the folks make them for some sort of artsy indoor use; I decided to try making some to cover the new plants.

We actually have quite a lot of chicken wire as we still haven't gotten rid of all the chicken wire we wrapped the chicken enclosure with back in 2012. It was nice to find something useful to use it for. Though, we have way more than we'll actually ever need unless we get chickens again.

My cloches aren't as fancy as the posts suggested making them. I just wrapped the chicken wire into a tube and twisted the wires together and sort of squished the top edges toward each other so it would be hard for a bird to poke its head inside.

We planted out some new plants yesterday and we tried installing the cloches over them. We shall see if they help. I hope they work.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Yard Projects

The calendula we grew from seed is looking lovely.
I planted three clumps of them and they're all in bloom.

Yesterday, Jeff got our tomato plants into the ground. Because there were so many, we had to spread them out into other areas. We put a couple of them into half barrels we moved with us from Redwood City and were still kicking around the yard.
We put a couple in the back yard, and the remaining three were planted in the front yard.
Jeff transplanted a sword fern that grew much taller than I anticipated and was shading two of our blueberry plants.
I transplanted a bunch of small columbine starts from the central mound of plants. We should not have let the Nora Barlow columbine go to seed last year. LOL  I have given away at least twenty tall flowering columbine plants to local folks, but these are just some of the small ones. I want to make sure they survive before I gift them.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Another Santa Rosa Gardens Order

Last summer, I discovered a wonderful online nursery, Santa Rosa Gardens, and bought a TON of plants from them. Many were deeply discounted and virtually all of them survived. I was really satisfied with the experience.

Last fall, though, I was disappointed when I received an email from them telling me they were discontinuing the single plant sales. If I wanted to buy plants from them, I would have to purchase a whole flat (usually about 72 plants); that wasn't going to happen. But in March when I cruised by their website I discovered they'd resumed selling a limited selection of plants in three-packs!

I thought it would be nice to get another batch of heuchera for the new areas we're planting, so I placed a new order last month. They were about $4/each, including the shipping, which is a really deep discount over buying them locally. I received the order this evening.

The box I received was way smaller than last year. They now ship heuchera in tiny plugs but they looked really healthy and they were still moist despite being in transit for three days.
I decided to repot them into 3.5" pots so we don't have to rush to get them in the ground.

Monday, May 18, 2020

It's Been 10 Years!

Today is the 10-year anniversary of when we bought this house. I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. In that time, we transformed the house by stripping all the paint and staining the wood which was more to our liking.
We totally replaced the kitchen and bathrooms.
There are more before and afters here.

After a way-too-long computer game break, we turned our attention to the yard. It's a little chaotic as we tend toward the style of cottage garden, but I'm pretty happy with our efforts, so far. It will likely take a couple of years for the plants to establish themselves. I'll have to try and refrain buying more plants as I'm sure we've already overplanted the yard.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

May Friday Night Sew In

For this week's Friday Night Sew In, I decided I wanted to finish the quilting project I worked on last Friday. I fuss a lot with corners so it took me most of Friday and several hours on Saturday to finish quilting and binding the six placemats. I didn't remember to preshrink the cotton batting so when I washed them to remove the small scraps of paper, it caused the slight wrinkling.
Once I finished the placemats I sewed together some of the scrap pile and made a mug rug. It's sort of a weird design, but I figured the leftover pieces would likely go to waste.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Red Oak Volunteer

When we moved into this house there was a huge half-dead cherry tree in the backyard.
Shasta loved the tree.
Unfortunately, once we built the new garage I was worried the huge dead branches would come down and damage something. Ultimately, we decided to remove the tree back in 2013. At the time, I didn't notice that there was a little volunteer red oak at the base of the cherry tree.
Shockingly, it somehow survived the removal and grinding of the trunk. The little red oak tree just kept growing without any attention from us. This is how big (and overgrown) it got by June 2019.
When we received the $3 heucheras from Santa Rosa Gardens last July, Jeff cleared out around the base and pruned the red oak back to the central leader and planted in some of the clearance plants. I think it's looking quite a lot better this year.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

May Friday Night With Friends #2

I decided to get an early start on my Friday Night With Friends and spent the afternoon ripping apart my failed placemats from a couple weeks ago. It took me a couple of hours, but I managed to trim down the pieces and reassemble the placemats and make them right.

The quilting portion has been a bit of a learning process for me. Up until now, I have only ever done stitch-in-the-ditch, but the center of these placemats was too large a space to leave unquilted. I thought about how to finish it and I didn't have any interest in freehanding some design. Eventually, I decided to fill the opening with a Double Infinity outline. I downloaded a drawing from the internet then printed out six copies that were sized to fit in the opening.
I carefully sewed around the edges then spent about 15 minutes trying to remove the paper. Obviously, it would have been better if I used some sort of tear-away stabilizer, but I didn't have any so I just used regular printer paper. I found if I folded the paper along the perforation, it seemed to tear off more easily. There are still a few scraps of paper stuck in the stitching but I'm sure they'll disappear when I wash these after I'm finished.
After I finished sewing the center medallion, I went through and sewed stitch-in-the-ditch around the knotwork.
I spent a good part of Saturday continuing work on this project and I've finished sewing two of the placemats, but I still have four more to finish. And I still have to put on the binding.
I used a William Morris fabric for the backing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Back Patio Furniture

I gave up waiting for the outdoor dust cover and we went ahead and installed the seats on the patio furniture. I am really looking forward to eating many of our meals outside now.
I definitely need to make matching placemats. :)

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Front Yard Project

I am trying to fix our blunderings in the front yard. When we moved in, the front yard had good sun exposure and had many nice perennials. It was also overgrown and had a bunch of black walnut volunteers. (Our squirrels are super helpful at planting walnuts for us.)
We installed the rain garden in the front lawn in front of the planting bed. And while we didn't actually kill the plants, we planted large shrubs and a tree in front of them so they were eventually in part-shade. Then we let the shrubs get quite overgrown and it left those plants in full shade. Many of them died. We made a mess of it. This is how it looks now.
There is still a scrawny purple columbine with a couple pretty flowers on it. There are also a few iris rhizomes and lots of crocosmias, none of which get enough sun now to bloom. I think there is also a peony, but I'm not sure because I don't remember seeing it flower. I'd like to relocate the irises and crocosmia after summer to spots where they will get enough sun to bloom, and the peony in late-winter while it is still dormant. We might also move the columbine to the sunny side of the driveway.

After a year of research, I've gotten pretty familiar with plants that do well in shade so I have started working on plan to try and fix this shady area. This is my tentative plan. Obviously, not everything will be in bloom at once.
We've already put in the epimediums and hellebores. I've ordered the heuchera from Santa Rosa Gardens.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

May Friday Night w/Friends

I decided to join Cheryl's Friday Night With Friends again this month. I decided to give the gold and navy placemats a second try. The second time around I was able to build them with more of an assembly line process and I nearly finished them before I had to go to bed on Friday Night. I spent about two hours adding the small borders on Saturday.
I obviously still need to assemble and quilt them, but that will have to wait for another day.

I chose the colors to coordinate with our Wedgwood Cornucopia dishes.
I made this placemat design in Electric Quilt. It was inspired by a square knotwork block. I uploaded the file to google if anyone else would like to make the design.

And now that I've finished these I believe I can rip out four seams on each of my earlier versions and fix them by trimming a small amount from the wider portion. Then I'll end up with a total of six placemats though the gold will be different. I didn't have enough gold fabric to use the same one for this second try. I have got to stop buying one-yard pieces.