Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farmhouse Garden 2011

Today we started a bed of leaf lettuce and planted spinach, sweet
peas, sugar snap peas, and bok choy. I am so excited! Baby A hung out
in the pack totally content for an hour and a half while we worked. I
can't wait to see her picking and eating goodies straight from the

Oregano & Mint

They come back every year. I planted them in a rusty old wheelbarrow.
We also have sage and cilantro that survived the winter. Mmmmmm hmmm.
I love fresh herbs! I see pasta salad in our future...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daffodil Dress

We are in full bloom here in Western North Carolina. I have been up and down the east coast and lived in the extreme north and the extreme south (Maine and Florida), and I have to say that spring here is more beautiful than I have seen it anywhere else. For one thing, it comes a few months sooner than it does in Maine- my dad is still looking at snow on the ground! And in Florida, you don't really get to experience seasons, you trade them for consistent sunshine, which can be nice too. But here, here in the lovely Smoky Mountains, it is all bulbs and flowering trees. It is all the yellows of forsythias, daffodils, and dandelions. It is all the purples of violets, hyacinths, and crocuses. It is all the pinks and whites of flowering cherries and pears, and the muted reds of new leaves budding on maples and oaks. Can you tell I love it here? Can you tell I really do delight in the majesty of where I live? I do. I am sentimental about spring here now- I think of what it felt like last year, coming home with our new baby girl. How appropriate that she was born just as the daffodils were stretching their heads up to meet the sunlight. I find it refreshing and inspiring.
Last week, I felt inspired to sew a new dress. I didn't want this one to take a million years, I just wanted to sew it up, sew it up right, and have it done before it became tiresome. Well, I finished most of it in two days, and then I spent a couple more putting on the touches that I like. The dress was spring inspired, and it is spring-y. It is my daffodil dress.
Our chickens are so tame. I opened the car door today and one jumped in :)

I did a faux sweetheart with ric rack at the neckline... 

and added some to the hemline as well. 

This was fun. I did a hand stitched exposed metal zipper to match the ric rack.
It's not as crooked at the top as it looks in this pic :)
Of course I added some sassy hem tape. I am such a sass. 
I used Simplicity 4491, which is a pattern that I see myself using a lot.
Imagine the possibilites!
This was a truly fun dress to sew, as the process didn't drag on and become a drag. I finished all of my seams with my serger, which I sadly have never done before. I guess I have just been too lazy! I am in the habit of adding a twill tape waist stay. It came out nicely. I feel like my construction is improving, and that's what it's all about! Well, that and having cute stuff to wear. And, unfortunately and fortunately, I don't know if I'll be wearing this one much. I like it, I think it's cute, but it doesn't fit! I have officially lost the rest of my baby weight and then a little more, and this dress is too big on top. It happened kind of fast in the last month or so, and I am no longer a 36" bust. Oh well. It would really chap my arse if it didn't fit because it was too tight.

So, it is time for what's next. That is starting seedlings...
We have great neighbors, and our buddy came and plowed and then tilled our garden plot for us. It looks better than it ever has before, and I am psyched to get to planting! The baby is bigger now, I have a ton more energy this year, and I am eating primarily vegetarian, so I think this is going to be our best garden yet. How are your sewing and sowing plans shaping up? Is everyone feeling as motivated as I am right now? 

P.S. I forgot to say (and I always like to!) that all of the materials for this dress were thrifted excepting the pattern, which I bought on eBay. The fabric was $2, the twill tape and rick rack cost pennies, and the hem lace was a quarter. Thrifty sewing might just be the best kind! There are no worries about what you spent on your fabric or making mistakes. More on that to come...

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm aware that I have a problem...

I'm just not ready to do anything about it yet. See what I found at
Goodwill today? This sat in someone's closet for a while, and doesn't
look too well used to begin with. It is very clean, and had three
things I have been looking for in one machine. First, it came with a
straight stitch throat plate as well as a zig zag. None of my other
machines have had a straight stitch plate, and they eat my fabric
sometimes. It also has droppable feed dogs and a teeny little free
arm. I was torn between the desire to offload some other machines and
the pain (!) of still wanting the features they posessed. Now, I can
officially say goodbye to everything except my serger and my Singer
338. Really. I mean it. Cross my heart.

Yeah- it sews beautifully....

Biggie has Been Living the Big Life for a Year!

My girl turned a year old last week- how the time has flown! I wasn't going to do much...I joked that I would wrap some of the toys she already has and let her open them, but way led to way, and we had a pizza party! It was fun- B cooked homemade pizzas, Grandma made an awesome strawberry trifle desert, and Biggie was cute as ever. I don't know where the last year went. At times it was very tough- for months I didn't get more than 3 hours of sleep in a row, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat for her. She is an absolute joy, which also happens to be her middle name. :) We are so lucky to have this little bunny in our lives! Isn't she a ham for the camera?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Like the Biltmore in March, How About You?

Last weekend we made a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville with the in-laws and some friends that came up from Florida with them. We bought year passes again, and we toured the house (my 4th time). It is really impossible for me to fathom having that kind of wealth.
Borrowed photo- thanks!
The house is positively amazing- it is worth seeing if you ever get the chance. It is the largest privately owned residence in the world. This is our second time buying the annual passes because the grounds and gardens are extensive (8000 acres!) and lovely as well. We like to pack a picnic whenever we visit Asheville and go eat it by the lagoon. 
Borrowed photo- thanks!
Well, we arrived a bit late in the day, and though we had time to tour the house, by the time we made it down the hill the greenhouses were closed. So, us gals left the guys behind and went back the next day. It is a 3 hour drive round trip, but it was so worth it. Here are some of my shots from both days.

I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves. We'll be headed back in a week or two to see the tulips come up in the outdoor gardens- there are tons just on the verge of blooming. I'll get more shots then. Well, spring has sprung in Western NC! In light of recent, tragic world events I think it is even more important that we take time to acknowledge and relish life's simplest pleasures. It is how we honor our moments and those we share them with. I am so happy to be where I am right now, doing what I am doing, and with whom I am doing it.